Tag Archives: #nycliving

Season of Scams?

The Holiday Season inevitably means you will be asked to GIVE.  Giving is good!  I give my time, my service, friendship, food, money and gifts…. Sometimes we can even OD!  (over donate).

Living in NYC, I am asked on an almost daily basis to “just give a few pennies” or “give any food you might have – even a half a sandwich in your bag”.  People tend to come at me from any angle (I guess I have a certain look)?

However – I tend to NOT want to give based on the many observations made breathing, walking and working over the last two years here.

I hope this serves as a cautionary tale if you visit The Big Apple during the holidays (or any other time of the year)!

  • When approaching a homeless (senior) woman living on the corner of Broadway & W. 73rd (she lives on the sidewalk with her two dogs) I offered a pair of nice sneakers.  (I need to replace mine about every four months because I walk so much).  She looked at them, turned her nose up and said, “No, I am good.”
  • Early one morning — on my way to work, a young man put on a sad puppy-dog face (like that of a six-year-old) and whined in a boyish way that he needs money to get food for breakfast; he’s so hungry.  I snapped, “I have three kids of my own to feed.”  (yes two of my kids are in their 20’s but I still dole out $$$ for their travels, college, or well being).  His face instantly returned to that of a responsible adult and he gave me a look like, “I hear you Girl” …flashed the “peace out” sign, and moved along quickly.
  • Another morning at the subway — I casually looked down the stairway only to see a homeless man harassing each person he sees.  Since there is no train on its way – I stay on the platform above and avoid his presence.  As the train arrives I swiftly move down the stairwell and onto the train without contact from Mr. Touchy Feely Beggar Person.
  • A Desert Storm Vet asks for support as I am coming home late from work (at the theater).  It’s after 11 PM, but I feel for our Vets.  I give him $2.  He replies, “Is that all?!”  He’s annoyed.  He wants more $.  He wants enough money to buy dinner.  He asks me to walk a few blocks up and buy him a “rib dinner” from Chirping Chicken.  (I am guessing I am supposed to walk the dinner back to him while he sits there with his sign)?  I want to take my $ back but I don’t.  I say, “I just got off work, I am tired, I am going on my way.  Best of luck to you.”
  • A man is begging for money on the subway (this happens everyday); He seems hostile.  He is begging for anything… even pennies.  A man across from me gives him whatever he has in his pocket (it looked like a few dimes, pennies, and a nickel).  The homeless man screams, “THAT’S ALL?!”  The homeless man was a little scary.  The other man gives him a little more money, and he moves along.
  • A very skinny – very obnoxious guy paces the subway back and forth in a manic way whining like a two year old for money; he’s having a tantrum; he persists in a most unpleasant fashion.  His voice is incredibly irritating.  After the ride (when we are no longer his hostages) he yells at everyone for not giving him a thing.  Did I just get insulted?  Footnote:  On an express ride the beggars have your uninterrupted attention.  You def feel like a hostage!
  • Countless people have approached me on the subway, in the subway station, or on the streets.  Some hold doors for you expecting $.  (My co-worker told me her strategy for dealing with this one).  She says, “Hi, I am not going to give you money for opening the door for me.  I can do that for myself.  But I will smile at you and be nice to you… and say ‘thank you’.”
  • Some approach you and either ask for a swipe of your Metro Card, or ask for the card itself. Buzz off!  

If a singer or musician(s) perform(s) on the subway and create a feeling of happiness, I usually will give a donation.

If you are in the giving mood, maybe try Go Fund Me, or another organization of your choice.

Sadly all of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting will not be supported.  Click to see the story.

I would think twice before shelling out money to the beggars or swindlers on the streets of NYC though!


Photos below taken on my rooftop during the Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Are you a festive holiday lover or a Grinch?  (Yes, that is a Grinch float, not a frog)!  hehe – I thought it was a frog at first!


Catch This!

My friend needed help – fast!  Her son’s 10/31 birthday was quickly approaching, and she needed to pull of a Yankees themed birthday party the weekend before.

Cue the party assistant (me)!  I helped make this BOYS & GIRLS party (full of second graders) a HIT, and everyone left with a pretty cool “thank you gift”!
I created a special banner (with photos of the birthday boy), fun framed decor and party bags filled with themed necklaces or keychains …

  …the girls loved the necklaces!    

I used this same idea to create boys’ high quality keychains.  I used blue or steel colored beads along with baseball beads to make a cool yet different design for the boys.  They love to hook the keychains to their school backpack zippers!

Here’s a look at the BASEBALL party…

…his “Bronx grandma” brought an amazing cake, and the kids played at the Baseball Center on the UWS!

      There were at least 25 kiddos, and a few younger siblings tagged along.  Everyone received a party bag — however I didn’t fill it with Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Big League chewing gum and such.  I know NY kids LOVE Air Heads!  Plus I added some Halloween stickers and red, white, and blue pompoms for a little whimsy.    

(my son above right): He would rather juggle than play baseball.  He’s a circus kid, what can I tell ya?

One of the coolest things about this party (besides watching “Manhattan Grandma” cheer on her grandson) was seeing our friends from (ex.) Sweden and Columbia join in, and learn the sport of baseball!  They were not ashamed to admit they never played, didn’t know how, didn’t know the rules, etc., It made me appreciate diverse friendships, supporting and teaching others, and cheering on your fellow teammate!  There is unity in our little world in the UWS.

Above: juggling Henry and “TuTu” (grandma); Enjoying yummy pizza on this super stormy rainy Sunday — what a great day to be inside!



Monsters & Showers!

Could monsters be hiding somewhere in our home?  Maybe in the bathroom above the shower?  Our NYC apartment has a pretty small bathroom with incredibly BRIGHT lights.  Maybe these lights ward off the scary creatures?

I have really sensitive eyes and I am always hitting the dimmer.  Everyone else in the household prefers the bulbs on full blast — and when I step in while Henry is in the tub — I know I’ll get a SQUEAL if I dim them.  But only if he’s in the tub. Hmmmmm, I wonder why he won’t budge on  softer light in the shower?

While brushing teeth, and washing hands, the lights can be dim.  It’s been a compromise 18 months in the making!  (maybe at 5’6″ I am just closer to the bulbs so it’s an eye sore).

Cue me cleaning up the sink area: H is in the tub; a bulb flickers, then goes out.  Henry: (squeal) Mom, what did you do?  

Me: I didn’t do anything.

Henry: What?!!!!

Me: The bulb went out by itself.

Henry: (in sheer panic) AH! AH!  A MONSTER DID THAT!  THERE’S A MONSTER IN HERE!  

He exploded out of the tub with a wave of water and ran for his life.

We talked about this and processed all of the above events for the rest of the evening; he continually checked the bulb too.  Of course I explained that there are no monsters.  Sigh.

The next morning we were sure to make a trip to the hardware store.

OK…. now I know why the lights must be on full blast while he is in the tub!  

At seven years old – monsters (and scary clowns) are “for reals”.



Short conversation of the day…

Henry: (out of no where) Mom, I hope a scary clown doesn’t come into our apartment.

Me: (a little giggle) What?! No, Henry; that won’t happen.  A scary clown will not come into our apartment.  I promise.  It just won’t happen.

Henry: Well, OK.  (not really certain and his face is very serious).

Me: Where did you see a scary clown?

Henry: On Youtube.

Me: OK, that won’t happen.  I am secretly thinking — with all the movie promotions of It and  Halloween coming up… I guess this was bound to happen.

Footnote: We don’t have a TV in our apartment, but we let him watch a few things on his iPad.  He was watching a “family clip” where a dad dressed up like a scary clown.  Yeeeesh!



UWS Fall Bake Sale!

On October 21 we attended the annual Harvest Fest at my son’s elementary school!

Along with all of the chaos…err fun… (haunted house, face painting, games, craft & goodie stations) there’s a bake sale!  

It’s interesting to see what POPS up in the Upper West Side!  Do moms in this career-driven-crazy-busy-section of NYC really have time to bake?


The Jello cups were a hit!  I felt bad for the apple teeth — $2 seemed a bit overpriced too.

Are you wondering what that green “thing” is on top of the jack ‘o lantern treats?  Me too!  We had a kid bite in — to find out.  It’s a gummy candy of some sort (sliced into smaller pieces).


There’s options depending on one’s diet!

and…. I have no idea what this “creepy hand” cupcake with frosting is made from (below left):


These “mouth cookies” (above) looked interesting  I think there was strawberry jelly and marshmallows in there!

…hmmmm….a few store bought items.  A nice touch though!  

There were lots of cake pops and marshmallow pops!


I saw a basket of Trader Joe’s pumpkin shaped cookies… it may have gone untouched for the whole event.  

I also saw more versions of a rice crispy treat (with goo and goop) than you can imagine!

So what did I buy?  Just a few simple and traditional chocolate chip cookies.  (I made sure they were homemade)!  

Henry loved them!  …so that was this mummy’s favorite pick of the day!



Pick Your Pumpkin!

It’s FALL!


We have patiently waited a long time for cooler temperatures, new colors on trees, apple cider, sweaters & football…. at this point I think FALL is finally here!  (although football started several weeks ago)!

…and I am a New Yorker… I have no car, and I am OK with that.  However – something very unusual happens to a lot of New Yorkers every single Fall.  Suddenly everyone NEEDS to get to a farm.  Must go to farm.  Hmmmm…. if only the NYC metro system had a farm stop.

Let’s be real… we are not even close to a farm.  Not. Even. Close.  However I am on a couple social media “mom pages” where everyone is looking for recommendations for farms — complete with pumpkins patches and apple trees; apple picking is a must!

Then photos start popping up (on social media) of NYC families (with kids in tow) on farms…NYC kids on farms. What?  How?  Where?  This perpetuates the problem of desperate parents feeling inadequate because they can’t (or didn’t) get to the pumpkin patch (errr farm).

In the words of comedian Lewis Black, “Halloween is a harvest holiday.  And here in New York (city) –  we don’t harvest s_ _t.”

My advice: walk down the street (no more than two blocks); you will find pumpkins and apples.  Buy them, bring them home and don’t worry about the farm.


Remember — living in NYC is hard enough.  We don’t need to complicate things.



Baseball Play!

I can see that Dodgers fans are stoked!  …Yankees fans are too!  But the Cubs and Astros are still in it!

Who is going to make it to the World Series?  The Dodgers have come further than they have in many, many years (Fans have not been this elated since 1988)!

The Yanks were a wildcard win who have not been squeezed out yet… in short: some have baseball fever and can’t wait to catch the next game!

I found some baseball beads at Michael’s Crafts, and I am trying out some new kiddo necklace designs.  

It’s pretty easy to slide these on (with new frills, glass beads and even new closures)!  I still feel as though I may not have found my signature design or “look” but it’s exciting to create a new series of accessories!  

I am coaching myself along and I never know if my jewelry will be a hit or miss…but it’s a fun change up!

(Also there are no diamonds in these necklaces)!  Hehe.  

Let me know what you think!  And also let me know your World Series predictions!




Still Going!

Yay!  The domain: Really Pretty NYC.com is now mine, and I am still perfecting my craft!  ….I have learned so much about creating unique necklaces! (and I’ve been teaching myself every chance I get)!  Wait — did I really just write that?

The necklace clasps, jump rings, trim fabric, and chain all play a vital role in the final product.  Sometimes I reach perfection… sometimes I reach a snag!  The learning curve is “for reals”!

Before September I am hoping to do a photo shoot!  (I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me for that)!  My packaging (w/ insert) is all designed and completed (phew) and I made a few flyers as well.  This Fall I hope to sell my new collection on line (and at the Upper West Side’s Grand Bazar).

Henry says he doesn’t want me to sell any necklaces because they are too beautiful.  (He wants to keep them all).  Louie our cat loves sitting amongst my “nest” of supplies purchased from the Fashion District, and Louie frequently nabs a favorite necklace (it’s always the same one).  Plus I have a choker with pom pom embellishments and the cat swipes those pom pom’s every chance he gets!  Seth will comment from time to time and say, “Oh that necklace design is cool!”

A “trunk party” with Henry’s girlfriends (and parents) is on my horizon too…. I can’t wait to see how the response is!  My test trials have been really valuable, and now I look forward to seeing future reactions.  I am also excited about learning from young ones’ fashion view points!


Until the next chapter….  thanks so much to all of my friends with this process!  You have truly helped me on my journey, and I am so grateful!

Ready, Go!

If you’re an avid runner in NYC — you’re in luck!  There are 5K’s, 10K’s, and marathons offered all over the city year round!  Sometimes two or three races in one day!

On a particular Upper West Side street that I happened to live on– I can both participate and watch a race every morning: Monday – Friday, and it’s a darn good one!  The race to get the kiddies off to school.

We walk our little ones to school in the Big Apple… and on a sidewalk about four feet wide with tons of obstacles in the way (such as carved out tree/greenery areas, slow moving strollers, random garbage, doggie droppings) parents jog, hop over, circle around, slow down, walk briskly then sprint to the finish line!  Forget the racing shorts and tee’s with runner’s number…

Moms dress in almost every attire imaginable from yoga pants to business suits… heels to sneakers, there’s chic NY fashions and sweat pants and loafers; Dads are no exception.  They’ve got business attire with overloaded briefcases strapped across their bodies, or jeans, sweats, flannels, baseball caps….  The chatter ignites all around: Go! I’m right behind you!  Faster!  Almost there!  A little further!  A little faster, we don’t want to be late!  Go!

Then you hear a loud voice coming from the school: PARENTS I AM ABOUT TO CLOSE THE GATE.  SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR CHILD OUTSIDE THE GATE.  ITS ALMOST 8:20.

There’s a manic type of energy now.  Go! Go! Go! Go!  Running is now in full motion.  The kid makes it in the gate!  ….parents inevitably take a big sigh of relief then either retreat back home or start their own journey to work.

I might add — one can walk at a comfortable pace if you’re an early bird.  Considering our fast paced world and often our slow paced kids (getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth) I happened to see much more of the race!  Henry is somewhere in between.  Not really in a rush but kind of waltzing through.  I have to admit, after Henry is in the gate, I stand back and watch the race before I head back home.

With crazy parents, morning smiles, playful dogs, scooters and so many interesting facial expressions (in addition to those NYC seasonal fashions)  —  it’s morning entertainment at its best!

Up, Up, Up and Away!

From caterpillar…DSC_0650

…to chrysalis…


…to butterfly…

Henry’s class unleashes the amazing butterflies today!

butter    but   And Henry’s “Bilfo” was the FIRST TO COME OUT OF ITS CHRYSALIS!  

Asking questions about the butterfly release….  Students are a little sad to see them go, but they understand these guys belong out in nature!


We walk down to the school garden… bodies are wriggling… it’s so hard to remain calm.


The big moment has arrived… the class quietly watches to see what happens!


One by one they take flight… up, up, up and away….. we hear, “goodbye Snoopy, goodbye, goodbye!”  And there were NO hungry birds around;  Whew.  Some are worried about the one who didn’t come out of his chrysalis yet.  We think this “late bloomer” will emerge today!


This one’s wings are not working as well as the others.  It gets a little help from the teacher’s assistant.  “Why is it different?” they ask.

Just as we are all born different — so are the butterflies.  We have our strengths, and weaknesses.  Whether you fly up to the sky, or land on a pretty soft flower – life is what you make of it.