December 31, 2011

Letting Go

Letting go is hard for me & probably for you, so I thought it may be an appropriate topic as my final blog entry for the year. How do we "let go" of things? What exactly is "letting go"? And is it really that hard to "let go"Wow, lots of questions & a bit heavy.

As for me, I feel like a pit bull at times coz I don't "let go" of things... a thought, a problem, a grudge. Other times I'm like an elephant that never forgets. I may forgive to a degree, but I never forget. I have issues, we ALL have issues! I wish I had the ability to "let go" of all the negative crap & just "let it go", but it's a process - a long, challenging process. Even with my Yoga study & practice, I still have these problems... although they had no problems with letting me go! Oooops, there I go again - "let it go". Breathe in the positive & exhale the negative.

"Letting go" is also purging & getting rid of stuff... becoming detached from "things". That is also challenging for me coz I am so connected to my things & the memories that are attached to them. Perhaps its because my mother has dementia & I wanna hold onto my memories for as long as I can? Who knows, but hey...this is not my therapy session!

Then there's the final "letting go". I remember being there for my father & also for my mother-in-laws last minutes in this world. That was very difficult, but I am proud that I was able to be there & help them "let go".

Of course you know by now I've been at war with myself with my "letting go" process of leaving my home in NYC. I am sure many can relate to the "letting go" of the familiar. I guess my point is "letting go" is challenging & I could go on with my "letting go" theories & stories, but for now I shall just "let it go" and breathe... 

Thank you all for a great year & for visiting my blog. Please feel free to leave your comments. Whattya waitin' for? Please spread the word about my blog & "Follow" me already... Here's to an even more fabulous, positive New Year with lots of new beginnings for all of us!

December 22, 2011

Where Do I Go?

I feel as if I don't fit in anywhere anymore... Suburbia OR NYC! Where do I go? A great poignant song from "Hair" the Musical (which I toured with in Europe) still rings true to me. Where do I go? I like it here in Suburbia... to a point, but I feel trapped & unable to get around. I get lost & cannot find my bearings. It's not funny, I get lost easily. I have a very poor sense of direction - I always have. I have gotten lost in malls, in restaurants looking for the bathroom, in parking lots... seriously! It just ain't right. I have panic attacks & a daily dose of anxiety that can immobilize me. Suburbia is a nice place to visit... but somehow it still ain't my home. Where do I go?

Whenever I return to NYC, I'm afraid that it may not live up to my expectations & constant yearning to move back, because to me... it IS Oz! Could it be I am becoming a closeted Suburbanite! WTF? Where do I go? I dunno. Will the sound of the early morning garbage & delivery trucks annoy me or the people walking a slew of dogs or the baby strollers that are overtaking NYC sidewalks? Where do I go? I dunno! I feel as if I almost don't "fit" or "belong" in either place anymore. I return to NYC as often as possible... for my sanity! (No comments please). It takes awhile to readjust when returning to Suburbia, but there is no readjustment period when returning to NYC... I'm alive, full of energy & I know where the hell I am going!

Some say you can never go back home. That infuriates me & makes me wanna do it all the more! But whaddya do? Where do you go? I ask myself this question daily... a lot! I dunno, ..."but I'm not staying in burlesque, I'm moving. Maybe up, maybe down..." (BTW, that's a line from "Gypsy") coz my life IS  a movie (at least in my mind). It's not always a "Cabaret" but it's not gonna be "Lady Sings the Blues".

I will continue to question things daily & hopefully one day make peace & know where it is that I'm going. To me, it may be just knowing that I can walk outside my apartment & go to a store at midnight to get some ice cream while actually seeing people on the street. Sounds yummy to me!

Thanks again for visiting my blog & please feel free to leave your comments.Whattya waitin' for? I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon. Please spread the word about my blog & "Follow" me already...

November 23, 2011

White Picket Clichés

The grass is always greener. 
Look a little closer, perhaps it's just astro turf... ya never know!

You don't know what you have till it's gone. 
...What if you never had it?

Things were so much easier when I was younger. 
Yeah, the abacus is much easier to use than calculators or computers. 

Thank God It's Friday! 
No, thank God it's just another day, dammit. You're alive! So stop bitching about Monday, Hump Day... EVERY day is a blessing.

Long story short. 
Do people that say this EVER make it short? What they're really saying is, this is gonna be a longwinded & boring story, but if I trick you into thinking its short, you may listen! 

I'm getting ready for Monday. 
Seriously, how long does it take to "get ready" & why start whining about it on Saturday night? Enjoy & be in the moment. Look on the "bright side"... you could die before Monday morning!

Another day, another dollar. 
WTF? You could make a dollar just by cashing in some of those bottles of soda & beer you've been drinking! Just recycle!
Same shit, different day. 
I don't know about you, but my shit is different most days. The consistency (no pun intended) is that I must be "regular"! TMI... but I hadda go there.

Last, but not least. 
What does that mean? Is it EVER last? Maybe when presenting an award at an award show, but other than that... really?

I could go on with the list of clichés, but why bother? Enough people already do it on a daily basis, sometimes I do join in, usually not. I'd prefer to be surrounded by positive, creative people who question the way things are & think independently, not live by clichés.

The grass may be greener in Suburbia, but personally I am not an outdoorsy kinda guy. I don't like all the animals & creatures that are part of the package deal. Long story short, I am not gonna make excuses for who or what I am. Last but not least, I've come to the point in my life that I know what I like & know my priorities. So if at first you don't succeed... perhaps it's just time to try something new or move on. Try it, you'll like it - well  I've tried many things over the years & I learned a lot by trying them, but that doesn't mean I always liked them. You don't know what you have till it's gone, maybe because youth is wasted on the young. But, I can always be comforted in knowing that there's no place like home. Okay, it's time to move on from all these clichés. Besides, I'm getting ready for Monday... Thank God It's Friday! Oh, no it's NOT Friday, it's only Hump Day! arghhhhhhhhh. But tomorrow is Thanksgiving & I can already hear another round of clichés about to begin. 

Thanks again for visiting my blog & please feel free to leave your comments.Whattya waitin' for? I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon. Please spread the word about my blog & "Follow" me already... 

November 5, 2011

Just a Piece of Paper... or Is It?

Yes, a piece of paper can make a difference... in many different ways.

Didn't think it was possible, but my husband & I are more in love today because of a piece of paper. That piece of paper that "validated" our marriage, it made a difference. We never thought it would or that it could or that it even mattered, but it does. Odd that after being together for 17 years, who wouldda thought that a piece of paper could matter so much - it does! And just by signing a piece of paper, Gay Marriage became legal... in some places.

Receiving a card (just a piece of paper too) in the mail does make a difference. If you are celebrating a milestone, like a wedding or a birthday... it can make a world of difference. If you are old or alone & don't have many friends or family... a card, "a piece of paper" can bring a little joy or a smile to a face.

A piece of paper that you threw out that didn't make the garbage pail but hit the ground & blew away. Oh well, it's "just a piece of paper". Perhaps the pile of papers that you didn't recycle, but just threw in with the "regular" trash. Or what about that piece of paper that you threw out your car window? What you do with that piece of paper does make a difference. 

In many forms, literally... paper can make a difference, & that difference lies within each one of us. So if you hear a conversation about the legal rights of Gay Marriage & the "piece of paper" that comes with it, know that it DOES make a difference. Know that you CAN make a difference by mailing a card to someone that needs to be remembered & perhaps make their day. And finally know that you DO make a difference with that piece of paper that you just threw in the recycling bin.

So the next time you see a piece of paper... think of the possibilities, it ain't just a piece of paper.

Thanks again for visiting my blog & please feel free to leave your comments.Whattya waitin' for? I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon. Please spread the word about my blog & "Follow" me already... 

October 18, 2011

Breakdown/Breakthru/Breakout : Mini Makeover for me & My Blog

I think I had an epiphany or something like that. Ok, ok... I had an idea!

I always think people should reevaluate their lives & their looks. To rethink their lives & the same look they've had for years without questioning it. Keeping the same style of clothing, same hairstyle, same glasses, same makeup, same attitude. We as people are constantly changing (hopefully) & need to express that by not getting stuck in a comfortable rut! Most people are afraid of change & don't question things after awhile. I'm guilty of always changing & questioning everything - the complete opposite! I fear not being aware of what is currently going on in the world & being "outta touch" with modern civilization.

In previous blogs, I was "thinking" too much before just writing in my blog & trying to write what people may have expected, since my blog is called "NYC2Suburbia". Then I realized, what the hell am I doing? I have to be more of myself & the creative outspoken person that I am. I have to write about whatever is going on with me (within reason) & share it with you all. After all, THAT is what I do in my everyday life, as those of you who know me. Also I tend to "think outside the box" & as a result may have scattered thoughts. Hopefully they'll make sense to you. If not, skip over that thought until the next thought... that's what I've been doing for my entire life - especially when reading!!! I tend to lose focus with so many thoughts & my lack of attention (sounds like a therapy session now).

My first change has been the format of my blog & I'll continue to play with it till it feels right. I am a very visual person as you may know & I constantly change my style, so why not my blog? It is an extension of me, right? Right! So glad you agree. I will still complain about how I dislike Suburbia & how I love NYC, not New York... but New York City. They are entirely different and if I gotta explain that to ya, well then you've never lived in NYC!!! I am trying to adapt & adjust to Suburbia with somewhat of an "open mind", it is challenging for me, but I am trying to reevaluate our current situation. 

I will also be writing about things as they happen to me & not worry so much about the "perfect story". I realize there is no perfect story & if it's that interesting - like meeting a celebrity, getting married or moving, I can always add to it! What a novel idea? My words are not gonna be carved in perfect stone with the perfect typeface or perfect color! Some days I feel like crap & will wanna complain. Other days I may wanna share something wonderful & new I just discovered, so please join me for my journey. It may be a "bumpy ride", but that's life, baby! As of now I don't have a thousand followers YET, but when I do, they will be following me because they love my honesty & humor, & maybe even my bumpy ride or the color of my typeface!?! "Ya never know!" as Sally Bowles said in "Cabaret".

So if you are not "following" my blog yet & just check in occasionally... WHAT THE HELL are ya waiting for & why just be a VOYEUR? I know it can be fun sometimes, but ya gotta commit to this ride I'm on. Nothing lasts forever... you can always unfollow. Spread the word, talk about it, complain about it, but leave a comment! You can always comment anonymously but please comment, I LOVE feedback! Ya don't have to just say I love the story, I love the artwork, I wanna know what you think. I truly believe honesty is the only way to go, so if you love it, that's terrific, but all I want are your honest comments.

I know that I've done things to get approval or attention in my life & still do! But, I have started to realize that I need to do things for myself, not others. Its like in "The Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy realized she never had to go any further than her own backyard for happiness cause if its not there, you never really had it to begin with. Well, that's a bit heavy AND true! As many of you know I've been "clicking my heels" since moving to Suburbia & I now know that this doesn't have to be a life sentence, but merely a step to the next place I'm going. It may be NYC (I hope & pray) or it may be over the rainbow to somewhere even better than I have EVER been before. But as Scarlett said in "Gone with the Wind"... "I'll think about that tomorrow". It usually keeps the readers coming back for more anyway. Until then, enjoy the "new" me & my breakthrough!

October 6, 2011

Groomzillas vs. The Wedding Monster

I was planning on giving the full wedding report in this blog entry, but I've put too much pressure on myself & realized I have turned into a Gay Groomzilla & still have not returned to my normal self yet! So I will give a detailed report on my next entry, I promise... if only to share the experiences of what we went through getting ready for our marriage. The drama, the laughs, the detours, the fun, the sweat, the surprises, the horors, the crunch - all of it!
Don't give up on me, it was a lot to digest getting married after being together for 17 years & trying to plan it from across the country made it even more challenging! That plus being back home (in NYC) is always an emotional experience for me. In NYC, I am constantly being surrounded by life, energy & friends (all of which I adore), but this time I was super sensitive because of our pending wedding. Enter the Gay Groomzillas, still not sure who was worse (or better, depending on your point of view)!!!
Now some of you have asked when is the California party gonna take place, because originally our plan was to have another celebration out here also. In a "nutshell" it ain't gonna happen, but that's a whole 'nother story that we won't get into now. Our party was in NYC & it rocked, anything else would be a bad imitation & just pale in comparison. We're not the kind of people to sit around a table with place cards & not mingle or dance.  
Returning to Suburbia emotionally drains me, it takes me awhile to "re-adjust". I just get real down & move at a slower pace & continue to compare both places feeling caught in the middle. Once I'm back in Suburbia, I start planning my next return visit to NYC... & this is before we unpack & do laundry! This is my story, so I just want ya to know that I'm still trying to survive Suburbia with my Sanity, $ense & Style. Some days it just takes longer coz I may be a lot less sane & a lot more sensitive, but hopefully always keeping my style - after all, I am a married man now!  
"Our Wedding" Teaser Video

Thanks again for visiting my blog & please feel free to leave your comments. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon. Please spread the word about my blog & follow me. 

August 24, 2011

"What Matters Most"... You Decide

Who wouldda thought that getting married could make the front page cover story of the newspaper? Well, maybe if they were a celebrity couple, royalty or "reality" stars... but we're not!!! We are just two simple guys with a dream! Did I just say that? Okay, maybe we are not that simple... in fact, there's nothing simple about us. We were lucky enough to have won a contest to meet Barbra Streisand last month & that came at a time in our lives when we really needed a jolt of excitement, so thank you Barbra. 

Trying to adjust to life in Suburbia maybe could have some excitement after all. A full page article "all about us"? How great is that!!! You just gotta try a lot harder out in Suburbia. Excitement comes too easy living in NYC - like that's a problem? No complaints from me on that one as you may know from my previous posts. Here's the link to the story:

So the big news is we are returning back "home" to NYC to get married!!! WTF? After 17 years together, we are finally "allowed" to get married! How ironic is that? Anyway, we wouldn't have wanted it any other way... well, actually why is it that we still can't get married here? But, that's another story. More about our NYC Wedding in my next post when I will actually be married! Wow, that's the first time I wrote that!!!

Maybe it was when Barbra wished us luck on our marriage that the good kharma started. Anyway, August 23, 2011 the day our cover story hit the news stands & her new CD was released... Coincidence? You decide, it's all "what matters most".

Thanks again for visiting my blog & please feel free to leave your comments. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon. Please spread the word, until the next time... 

July 22, 2011

"The Main Event" - Meeting Barbra STREISAND !!!

So what do you do when you finally get a chance to meet a celebrity you've admired your entire life? I am not a fanatic, but Barbra's career has been important & meaningful to me ever since I can recall! Lines from her movies & songs are a part of my daily vocabulary. "Don't tell me not to live just sit & putter..."

I have a connection to her through her work, since that has been the extent of it. I was never fortunate enough to see (or been able to afford) one of her rare live concerts. We both are from New York & have a similar rhythm that comes from being native New Yorkers. I learned to question things & see things differently because she made me aware of these options at a very young age, so I am forever grateful to her for that. "Papa, can you hear me? Try to understand me..."

Long story short, as you may have read in my previous post, I won a contest through Sony Records to coincide with the release of her latest recording "What Matters Most". It was called The Barbra Streisand Flyaway Sweepstakes & I was chosen to meet Barbra Streisand in Vegas on the set of her latest movie - "My Mother's Curse". There was ONE winner & it was ME!!! OMG! "It's gonna be a great day..."

Sooooooooo, what the hell do you say to an icon when you finally get to meet them? I had a list of things I would say, but I was just overwhelmed with emotion & was not able to do my "checklist". The first glimpse I caught of her is when she appeared on the set. I was about 20 feet away from her & I could not believe I was actually watching Barbra shooting a scene & I was gonna meet her in a few minutes. My armpits were wet, my mouth was dry, my lips were tense & I was doing my deep breathing to help calm me down for what seemed like an eternity. "There are moments you remember all your life. There are moments you wait for and dream of all your life. This is one of those moments..."

During a break in the filming, she looked my way & headed towards me, almost tripping over the velvet rope pointing & saying - "Ohhhhh, you must be the winner!" and she extended her hand towards me. Holy shit!!! She came towards ME & spoke to ME. (And yes her hands were incredibly soft "like butter"). I was almost at a loss for words, which is a first for those of you that know me. I introduced myself & she was "sweet as pie" to me. We talked about her upcoming album, I told her I enjoyed one of the cuts, she asked which one & I hummed a few lines. (I hummed to Barbra)! OMG!!! I wished her Mazel Tov on the success of her yet to be released CD. When I told her that she was my first wedding gift, she looked at me like - whaddya tawkin' 'bout, kid? I explained my partner of many years & I will finally be "allowed" to get married & we were returning to NYC to do it! She in turn wished me lots of luck & said that it was about time & how happy she was for us. She immediately asked her photographer to take our pictures (she was truly excited for us), but he suggested to shoot on the set, since the lighting was better. We walked over to the set together, which was in Caesar's Palace lobby in Las Vegas. I said "Wait a minute, I wanna get my good side". She looked at me & said "Which is your good side"? I said "you tell me, you're the director". She laughed. OMG! I made Barbra Streisand laugh AND congratulate me all within a few minutes. She was so warm, engaging & real. After the photo shoot, she told me to ..."stick around for as long as I want to...". Wow!!! She liked me, she really liked me! But I was thinking -  "Nicky Arnstein, Nicky Arnstein... I'll never see her again." NOT true, I was on & off the set for the rest of the night & was even asked if I wanted to be in a scene taking place at the slot machines (OMG, yesss)! Somewhere in between all that, I had gathered up the courage to ask if I could get some vintage magazines autographed & she not only personally signed them, she signed them in the specific color markers I requested!!! WTF? "Extra, extra I'm in love. I'm gonna thank my lucky stars above..."

At the end of the night, which slowly turned into early morning, I was exhausted. I was leaving the set when Barbra's publicist asked "are you leaving already"? I said it's really late & it was a full day for me, BUT if Barbra wants to have a glass of champagne when she wraps filming, I'll head back downstairs immediately!!! The anticipation, the preparation, the planning, the traveling, the uncertaintly, the meeting, the conversation, the photos, the laughter, all "the memories" made it truly a once in a lifetime experience & I knew that I was extremely lucky. I mean "How lucky can you get?" And as Barbra said in "Yentl"... "Nothing is impossible". She was right... once again!

Thanks for visiting my blog and please leave any comments, suggestions or thoughts about what you've read. If there is anything you'd like to add related to NYC vs Suburbia, please feel free to do so. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon. Please spread the word. Until our next time...

July 11, 2011

"Hello Gorgeous" - Nose 2 Nose with Barbra Streisand?

I must have a pretty loud voice because the universe heard me! 

In my previous  blog entry I was complaining (like a good New Yorker does) about the lack of celebrities in Suburbia. Well, a few days ago I received confirmation of a contest I entered. I WON the opportunity to meet one of the greatest stars living today!!! OMG, I am hyperventilating just thinking about it... Barbra Streisand!!! WTF??? This has got to be some sort of kharma! Two New York kids meeting nose to nose in Vegas. (If I had a choice it would've been Brooklyn, but this makes it even more surreal).

Okay, okay. Breathe. What do you wear... what do you say when meeting Barbra? It's not that I never met or had celebrity run ins, but THIS is an actual meeting... she's expecting ME on the set! It's all a bit much to digest, but the reality of it all is starting to settle in. Now I really do feel like a "Suburbanite", a "New Yorker" wouldn't be nervous at all. It's something that happens a lot to New Yorkers... okay maybe not being invited to the set to chat, but walking by a set as they are filming. I guess I still have the New Yorker in me, because I did switch flights & seat assignments already. And of course I'll request photo approval, but other than that... OMG!!!

I feel better being able to share my experience as it's happening, so I can remember the emotions that have been snowballing. Starting with disbelief, increasing anxiety & escalating to being totally psyched!

BTW, Have I complained about never winning the lottery out here in Suburbia??? I said, have I complained about  NEVER winning the lottery out here in Suburbia? Helllooo, are you listening?

Thanks for visiting my blog and please leave any comments, suggestions or thoughts about NYC vs Suburbia. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon.

June 27, 2011

Suburban "Excitement"... Was It Robert Downey Jr?

I miss seeing celebrities! Granted, they never changed my life... but it was exciting to bump into them on the streets, restaurants, bars, theatres & have exchanges with them. Of course there's lots of filming that constantly goes on in NYC... so it's a daily occurrence. But I miss those exciting exchanges!!!

While living in NYC, I never became jaded by running into celebrities. In fact, I felt more alive & always had a great story to tell friends later that day. On the downside, if a stars trailer was parked outside your apartment window, the noise & fumes from the generator were annoying- but that's a small price to pay! I have yet to meet one Suburbanite who actually saw or met a celebrity in Suburbia.

It goes without saying that in NYC, you can do something exciting every night & never be alone. There are tons of shows to see, hundreds of restaurants that stay open late & always people on the streets. Nonstop excitement, diversity & life!

The most "exciting" thing in Suburbia is shopping! There are super sale days, early morning door busters, coupon cutting sale days & even late night shopping sales... (I am guilty of the later, but haven't seen more than a handful shop at that time of night). After all, its "too late", or they're "getting ready for tomorrow" or watching reality shows in real time, rather than dvr it & watch it at a convenient time. wtf???

It's a very different mentality in Suburbia. Another "exciting" thing to do is sports!!! Well, sort of, if you consider WATCHING it on tv rather than actually participating in it. But an extremely "exciting" thing would be to get a bunch of junk food on a "super sale" AND "play" (I mean WATCH) sports for hours! Yeehaww!!!

Okay, okay... to each his own, but I am just comparing what excitement is in NYC vs Suburbia in general. Hands down NYC is & always will be exciting... for me. I live for my next visit to NYC where I am not consumed by loneliness & dependence on a car.

I realized the difference between "excitement" in Suburbia & NYC tonite in a restaurant when the waiter asked if I was Robert Downey Jr & I just smiled coyly & left the restaurant quickly, exiting like a celebrity (hahaa). As I ducked out, I  felt like maybe I made the waiters nite a little "exciting". At least I knew I wasn't going shopping at some unnecessary "sale" or passing out on the couch from the exhaustion of "watching" marathon sports while gorging.

I went home & checked my airline rewards miles. How soon before I could visit NYC - MY city of excitement? Not soon enough... not soon enough, but maybe... if I could be a double for Robert Downey Jr in his next movie! That could be exciting! And what if in his next movie he played the role of a Suburban shopaholic who watched sports nonstop on the couch. Wow, that would be a trip!!!

Thanks for visiting my blog and please leave any comments, suggestions or what you think about NYC vs Suburbia. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon.

May 16, 2011

When Ya Gotta Go... Ya Gotta Go

Suburbia wins hands down when it comes to public restrooms! What are ya talking about you may be asking?

Well, being a native New Yorker, one of the few things I complained about (while living in NYC) was the public restrooms. There are very few, so if you have bladder issues, you are in trouble... I was always in trouble!!! How many Starbucks or McDonalds can you really slip into anyway? However, in Suburbia, you can always find a public toilet. They are in retail stores, supermarkets, home improvement stores, fast food restaurants, gas stations and malls. OMG! Nature does not have to wait in Suburbia... is that an oxymoron? Anyway... Amen! I have finally found a reason why Suburbia is better than NYC & it is because Suburbia has LOTS of restrooms. I am no longer in pain & can hydrate as much as I want!

In NYC, there are verrrry few public restrooms & most of them ain't pretty!!! So yeahhhhh! I am actually happy Suburbia has something that NYC lacks... I always have access to reasonably clean public toilets. It's pathetic that this makes me happy... but it does & I am, so that's that! However...

There is one fabulous restroom in NYC & I LOVE it! I've gotta share this with you - it's an outrageous public restroom  on 42nd Street in Times Square. It is the "Charmin" (as in toilet paper) restrooms. It is a potty palace set up annually for the Holiday Season. They have deejays playing music, picture & video booths for documenting your "visit"! It is extremely clean & I have never had so much fun going to the bathroom!??? Each private bathroom is named after a city such as "Hollywood", "Chicago", "Tucson" etc. And each room (about 20!) comes equipped with a choice of a variety of different types of Charmin toilet paper to use! For the first time in my life, I had to force myself to "go" just so I could check it out! What fun, but that's a one of a kind place. Now if they ever offer THAT here in Suburbia... well, I could almost wet my pants just thinking about it!!!

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April 28, 2011

The Hood: NYC vs Suburbia

While living in NYC, I was spoiled! Like most New Yorkers, I preferred  to stay in my own neighborhood. I would make a big deal about going crosstown or uptown. I wouldn't even consider the "bridge & tunnel" ride to meet friends for dinner or a night out.
I truly enjoyed my neighborhood. Shopping, eating, drinking, movies, theatre... everything was within walking distance or a subway ride away. Restaurants knew me, storeowners knew me, it was all very familiar.... almost like being in a small town. Not at all like the preconceived idea that people who live outside of NYC have about us New Yorkers. I would like to break this myth... New Yorkers are NOT cold, mean & nasty! We are a friendly diversified group with personality. We may be in a hurry to get to places, but will gladly stop & give directions to you, I know I did that quite often.

Living out in Suburbia, I've gotten even worse about leaving the neighborhood! My dislike of driving everywhere controls my life! I do not want to leave the house & I do not venture far away. I don't like to get on highways where drivers are talking/texting on cells & possibly drinking. Unlike NYC, when having a night out, there aren't many places to go. Sure, there are malls, restaurants with bright lights that close way too early & not much in the diversity department. So, why bother??? The only way to get directions is from your GPS in your car! There is minimum human contact and perhaps that is why the people in Suburbia seem less friendly to me than New Yorkers. I think it is because of the lack of contact with people. Everyone is in cars. People even drive to their mailboxes & drive to throw out their garbage. OMG! I refuse!!!

It doesn't really matter to me whether I am living in NYC or in Suburbia. (Well, actually it does, BUT)... I enjoy my comfort zone, as most of us do. As different as both places are, the consistent thing is that I like to keep close to my home. But living in Suburbia is definitely much more lonely especially if you're a "people person". You can't really walk out at midnight and get a newspaper, ice cream bar or have a conversation with anyone on the street. And if you decide to get in your car... it may take awhile to find a store that is open at midnight. After all, most people are getting ready for tomorrow instead of enjoying their today.

Thanks for visiting my blog and please leave any comments, suggestions or what you think about NYC vs Suburbia. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon.

April 4, 2011

GAGA-licious: Another Concert Experience

In my last entry it was pretty obvious that I preferred the NYC concert experience compared to Suburbia. But if you read it, (and I'm sure you did), at the end of my entry, I wrote that Lady Gaga was coming to The Oracle Arena. And I started to think hmmm... if this Native New Yorker is returning to perform at The Oracle, maybe I should revisit the Arena too?
I am no longer a virgin to The Oracle Arena (Oakland's equal(?) to NYC's Madison Square Garden). I had my 2nd Suburban experience going to the Arena. This time, I kindda knew what to expect with the timing, the driving, the parking, the tailgating... so I wasn't as green!

I was fortunate enough to get some tickets the night before, even though it was sold out. I thought maybe it was kharma or the universe allowing me a 2nd chance at a Suburban concert & this time not be as critical. I was psyched about seeing this New York Italian artist called Gaga & all the hoopla that surrounds her & her incredible underrated voice. Wow, can she sing!!! It was such a fantastic show, I almost forgot I was in Suburbia! haaahaa (Sorry, fellow Suburbanites)!

Her positive energy and messages about being different and acceptance was very touching. She also SANG everything LIVE, unlike some other blonde "performers"... oops I said it again! Gaga thanked the audience for spending our money to see her show & she was determined to give us our moneys worth. She wasn't kidding! She is a multi talented musician & songwriter also. I left the show a Monster, (aka a Gaga Fan), loving the Lady & her music. And even though I was in Suburbia, I saw two of the best concerts in my entire life... Prince & Gaga... within one month of each other!!! "Awesome"... but you will NEVER hear me utter "dude" so "forgetaboutit" as they say in New York! 

I still love concerts in NYC & prefer them, but think I finally was able to enjoy the event for what it was. It certainly helped having Gaga there as my support and cheerleader.

Once again, if you have any comments or similar experiences about NYC vs SanFran, please share them. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and please pass the word.

March 3, 2011

Concerts: NYC vs. San Fran

During my last trip to NYC, I was bummed that we were going to miss Prince in concert by just ONE DAY! His current tour is called "Welcome 2 America", and I have never seen this musical icon perform live. I was happily surprised when his tour was coming to the San Fran area. It was going to be my first major concert since living here. 

Here's my take on experiencing a concert in NYC vs San Fran...

Both arenas - Madison Square Garden & the Oracle Arena, are very similar, except in size... MSG is much larger, & in this case, size is not necessarily a good thing. Both are similar in style, design & overall feel. 

For me, once again, its all about the driving out here in Suburbia! Having to drive, means having to allow extra time to get to the concert (traffic, weather, dining etc.) sooo prep time takes longer. Also, since you're driving, you should not be drinking, & if I am going to have a night out at a concert, I personally prefer a cocktail or two. Obviously I won't be the designated driver, but then again my sense of direction is so bad, I would probably still be driving to the concert even with the help of my GPS! The driving part has yet another added layer... the parking fee - paying a huge ($35) parking fee (cash only) at the Oracle Arena -  WTF?!!! Once parked, there are people having tailgate parties in the parking lot. I have never been to a tailgate party, so this was my first experience to see it, & to be fair, it was interesting. It was not my cup of tea, or specifically not the way I prefer to enjoy a frozen margarita!!!

It seems much more civilized, easier & fun to see a concert when in NYC. You can take the subway or a cab just before showtime, have a few drinks with dinner, no parking fees, & no tailgate parties! You enjoy the show & afterwards, perhaps have a light late dinner... which is really challenging here in Suburbia. 

There is no comparison for me... it's an obvious choice. The better concert experience has got to be going to a concert in NYC. The show at the Oracle Arena was great, Prince was outrageous & the entire evening was extremely memorable, but I'm not sure if I would go to another one. Then again, I did miss Lady Gaga's "Monster Ball" tour a few months ago in NYC & she will be returning to the Oracle this March. Come to think of it, she is a New Yorker & if she's gonna be there... We'll see, maybe I'll give it another shot also. But I still can't wait for my next NYC concert whether it's at The Garden, Radio City or Carnegie Hall... that for me is the ultimate concert experience. 

Please leave your feedback or comments about the pros & cons of going to a concert in Suburbia vs. NYC. Have a great day, thanks for checking in & please pass the word about my blog nyc2sanfran.

February 21, 2011

Yes, Virginia, There Are Four Seasons

Being a native New Yorker, I was somewhat surprised that there were four seasons here in Northern California! The weather here does not have the extremes like New York does, so I'm always surprised to hear native Californians complain about their Winter. If they only knew what is is like to experience an East Coast Winter! It can be cold, bitter & nasty... no names mentioned! haaaa

When many of my friends & family from back East talk about the weather here, the majority of them think that California (ALL of California) is always warm, sunny & has palm trees...  Well, FYI, it isn't always warm & sunny & it doesn't only have palm trees! We also have four seasons here in Northern California. The weather isn't as severe as NYC, but there are still four seasons. (Wow, live & learn, I guess).

Being the non stop complaining New Yorker that I am, I have to say that the weather here ain't so bad. Okay, okay... I still wish it were warmer a little longer & there was a little less rain, but come on, I gotta complain about something!!! Oh, did I mention the shorts & flip flops that still go on parading here in the middle of winter? Well, that's another story...

Please leave some feedback or comments about the pros & cons of living in suburbia vs. the big city. Have a good day & thanks for checking in.

February 12, 2011

Another "Normal" Day in NYC

Just another normal day for us in NYC and it went something like this...

We met a good friend for lunch in our neighborhood, the West Village, (walking distance of course), & then proceeded uptown to the theatre district in a cab. We generally, do not travel by cabs because they are expensive & can take longer than subways, buses or walking. But being under a time crunch & our friends insistence, we cabbed it.

We must have been deep in conversation before we realized that our cab driver had tourette's syndrome, because he was directing traffic & moving cars out of his way all by using his hands! OMG!!! It was scary/funny at the same time. The three of us were a little nervous & sat on the edge of our seats, since the ride was somewhat slippery as the snow/hail was coming down. The cab driver finally jammed on the brakes & banged on the partition to let us know we were at the theatre. We were seeing a matinee on Broadway & got there with a few minutes to spare. Bursting with laughter as we left the taxi realizing what had just happened & that we survived it.

Getting inside the theatre, the usher told us to wait for a moment & we thought, "What now"? But the usher explained since there was a snow storm coming, a lot of seats were available & we were fortunate enough to get moved to house seats (4th row center)... we paid for balcony seats! Wow, how great. The show was an unexpected pleasure & it put us all in a great mood... we were actually humming show tunes as we left the theatre. The show was "La Cage Aux Folles", not necessarily our favorite show, but we decided to take our friend as a belated birthday gift. The show is overly stereotypical in theme, but this production was a welcome surprise with Kelsey Grammer & Douglas Hodge playing the two male leads.

After a quick early dinner at Bus Stop Cafe, in the West Village, where the waitstaff & managers all know us, we left for an evening Broadway show. (Oh, did I mention we both received a glass of wine on the house because they missed us)? This is a great neighborhood spot with very reasonably priced, delicious food. Friendly staff, nice lighting, great food selection & in the middle of the West Village! (Was that a plug for Bus Stop? Sure sounded like a thumbs up to me). Okay we then headed uptown via subway as the snow continued to come down.

We went to see "Spiderman" on Broadway with all the buzz & hype attached to it, the show is still in previews & has gotten a lot of press. So, we saw the show & it was pretty amazing. The second act is still finding its way, (even though we couldn't find it at times), but it was really exciting to be able to part of this visually stimulating show! Grant it, we went because of all the hoopla surrounding it & thought "When in Rome", but also as a great topic of conversation when we're back in the burbs. It was visually stimulating & sometimes cirque de soleil like. "Spiderman" has a thin story line & not many hummable tunes... but it was a spectacle & worth seeing... especially at a discounted price. (Checkout Broadway Box or Playbill or just google Broadway discounts)! Another NY tip... you never pay full price for a show. When we left the theatre, there was a full white out snowstorm going on. It was fun, we were laughing, taking pictures, videos & acting like kids. But then again, this is just a typical fun filled day for us in NYC! (Minus the snow... that was just icing on the cake).

Okay, this is how we live in NYC. How can you find anything close to that in suburbia? You can't! Okay, I can't... not yet! But, I wanna try. I know there's just gotta be more than I'm experiencing up till now...(Cue the music "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This"). So, please if anyone knows... post a comment or suggestion. If there could even be two shows playing in one day that were Broadway quality, that would almost be enough for me! There is The Marin Civic Center which could have great entertainment booked there, but we haven't seen anything booked there yet! What's up with that???

Oh by the way, I could probably do without the "special" cab ride. Once was enough... at least for this week!

Any ideas or suggestions for things going on out here in Marin, please leave a comment/suggestion & thanks again for reading. I'd really love to hear all your feedback.

February 4, 2011

A Return Visit to NYC: Snowy, Cold & Fabulous!

Okay, I am trying to be objective... but as I sit here at my laptop in our old building in the heart of the West Village in NYC, I realize that this is where I belong! As I look out onto the streets, hear the traffic, see the cars, watch the snow falling down & even feeling cold, I just feel alive in this city.

What is wrong with me? It is COLD and everyone in NYC is constantly complaining about the cold and the snow and the yadda yadda yadda. That's what New Yorkers do and they do it well - complain! (I can say that because I am a native New Yorker and have mastered the fine art of complaining). But come on people, NYC is full of life and non stop energy... good, bad, chaotic, frenetic and always diverse, dramatic and different.

How can anyone ever get bored or tired in a city that doesn't sleep??? A cliche... but oh so true. If I can't fall asleep in NYC, it's because I am thinking of the hundreds of things I want to do or can do. When I can't sleep in suburbia, it's because I am thinking of what I need to do, have to do and what I can't do!

This visit back to NYC reminded me of the one thing that I never liked about NYC and that was the winter weather. However, this time the weather didn't even bother me as much as it has in the past. It seemed like it was kharma or a test of my love for the city, which of course won out! I was so glad to be out of suburbia! What does that say about me? I'm not sure yet, but I am not looking forward to returning to the car driving sleepy suburban mentality where life stops at 8:00 pm and public transportation is thousands of miles away.

Check back with me as I continue to try to survive in suburbia with style, $ense & sanity and a lot of humor... and please leave me your thoughts or comments.

January 24, 2011

Driving in Suburbia - Cell Phones & Texting & Drinking, Oh My!!!

I am sitting here in our home at the computer typing & thinking, as I look out my window surrounded by trees & our beautiful garden that we've created. I have this repeated, gut feeling that this is a great place to visit, but... damn, I miss New York City and... where are all the people here???

I know where all my clothes are (we have closet space), we live in a much larger space (we have more than one room)... but, there is no life outside of mall life and highway driving! You have to drive everywhere! OMG, I love to walk and see people on the streets at all times of the day. If you don't want to walk, there are options - subways, crosstown buses, taxi cabs, gypsy cabs... options. Okay, I'll admit since living out here in Suburbia, many of my fears/phobias have surfaced! (Probably because they finally have the space to do so)!!! One of my biggest fears is driving. There, I said it out loud.. driving! People are driving using cell phones & texting & drinking, Oh My. Cell phones & texting & drinking, Oh My!!! What is that about? Do they need to see the Wizard before their designated time? 
This is Suburbia in its truest form. Very white, not much variety. No Jews, no Blacks and no Gays! (Just like the old school disco song). Okay, I like variety, I find life out here too sheltered and no diversity. That's fine for some, but when you grow up in New York City, you love the diversity, you need the diversity, you crave the diversity! It gives you something to talk about. You have a wide variety of people to complain about! Maybe being a true New Yorker means that you're only happy when you have something to complain about? If that's the case, I am definitely a New Yorker, because I have been complaining non stop since moving to California. But in many ways, I just feel as if I am fighting for my sanity while trying to survive suburia. 

So here's where I get to ask for your help. How do you feel about my dilemma? Has anyone felt this way? What have you done to cope? I don't want my blog to sound like an angry rant, but rather as a journey that I am going through and sharing with you all.

January 18, 2011

Displaced... From NYC 2 San Fran

One of my goals with this blog is to try to make "friends" with Marin & San Francisco. Being a newbie to the Bay Area from NYC, suburban life is totally new & foreign to me. So as I learn about the area, I will share my tips with you all... But, I'm gonna need everyones help that reads my blog. I am reaching out to you to give me suggestions, tips, & thoughts... all the things I could do for a newbie in NYC.