Hidden New York: Warren Place Mews

It’s no secret that I find immense joy in geeking out on NYC. Going on an expedition to explore one of the many nooks and crannies in this great city? Sign me up! To my great pleasure, last weekend my friend Monique and I did just that. She’s a Brooklyn-native, so if there’s a corner of the borough to check out, she knows where it is.

After catching up over plates of cheesy grits and biscuits at Cobble Hill eatery/market, Ted and Honey, we walked around a part of Brooklyn I had never stepped foot in: Warren Place Mews.

Until we reached our destination, this section of Cobble Hill looked like any other: tree-lined streets, Brownstones and brick row houses. (Swoon, swoon and swoon.) Then we reached Warren Place. A vision in mid-19th century architecture and charm, this gated block of town homes made me fall in love with New York all over again. Just when I think I can’t stand to look at one more glassy high-rise, I remember that there is plenty of charming beauty to be seen.

A quick Google search told me that these Cobble Hill town homes were built to house working class families in the late 1800’s. The level of detail, from the wrought iron gates and spiral staircases to the old school doorbells (actual bells with rope), had me reeling. I’m no authority on architecture, but why aren’t buildings designed like this anymore? I guess it’s too expensive/modern design just went in a different direction, but I think we’re missing out on something here. Anyone want to open a revival architecture firm with me?

Here are a few pictures from our jaunt through the mews. (Please excuse the “meh” photography. iPhone 4 problems.)

IMG_4156 How charming!IMG_4158 How quaint! IMG_4160 There’s one of those darling little bells.IMG_4162 If only I could get inside…

IMG_4163

I’m sold on the Warren Street Mews. Although, who am I kidding? A Curbed NY listing had one of these babies going for $1.4 mill in 2013. Back in 1976, just one of the town homes sold for the micro price of $63,000. That’s NY for ya.

Showering Amanda With Wedding Wishes

I’ll never forget the day I met my friend, Amanda. It was in 9th grade, and we were at the Calhoun High School homecoming game. I wasn’t transferring to the school until the following year, but went to see my friend Danielle perform in the kick line. Amanda came right up to me in the bleachers and introduced herself with a friendly smile. We’ve been best friends ever since.

Her and her fiance, Adam, are getting married next month, and I am overjoyed to be in her bridal party. We’ve been in two other wedding parties together, so that makes it all the more special. It also makes me happy to know that at least one of us has moved on from the days of watching The Notebook and lamenting our singlehood. I kid, I kid.

We celebrated her impending nuptials last weekend at an English tea-themed bridal shower. From the teapot-shaped cookie favors to the beautiful vintage tea tins Keri scored for the floral arrangements, everything was perfect. The crazy good Italian food served at Piccolo’s didn’t hurt either. If you’re ever on Long Island, definitely check this place out. Here are some pictures from the day. Next up, Montauk for the bachelorette party!

couple  The happy couple.

photo-3Wishing Well filled with makeup and travel goodies.

photo-4Vintage tea tins and teapot-shaped cookies!

photo-5My sister, the artist, being put to work!

photo-6The Bridal Party. What a pretty bunch, if I do say so myself.

Toilet Paper BrideWhoever invited the Toilet Paper Bride game is a genius and a whack job.

Granny’s Lentil-ish Soup

home to table

The Dish:

Granny Pat inspired Lentil Soup – Our take on a Granny Pat classic adding some spinach and a little bacon for flavoring and color. We’d have stuck to the original recipe had we been able to find it – but there’s nothing wrong with a little kitchen improv when the time calls… at least thats how us amatuers see it!!

From Me to Chef Joe:

I will reach back out to you as soon as I have things ironed out. As for the Lentil soup, my grandmother didn’t put any meat in it – we ended up tweaking her recipe a bit, adding chicken stock to the water and tossing in some garlic, spinach and a little bit of crushed bacon for added flavor. Lentil soup is underrated…

From Chef Joe to Me:

That all sounds great but you should learn to make it the way Grandma Pat…

View original post 581 more words

Reflections… Dedicated to Vera E. Ceci

Happy New Year!

As it’s been almost TWO months since my last post, I’m starting this new year on the right foot with a fresh blog post. I swear I am literally the laziest person whoever dared to dabble in blogging. But, as the wise Lindsey stated last night before we rang in 2014, “no negativity!” – and she’s right. It’s easy to ramble off all the things you don’t like/aren’t happy about when it comes to X, Y or Z, but we should just as easily ramble off the things we do like/are happy about. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but a little positive reinforcement never hurt anyone, right?

You can’t help but be reflective this time of year when everything from movies and music to even Instagram feeds are turned into “Best Of” lists. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s good to regroup on what you’ve been through and prep yourself for the year to come. 2013 was definitely a trying one for my family, filled with loss and sadness, but it was also a beautiful year filled with new beginnings (weddings! friends with babies!) and hope. I am proud of myself for getting a new job I really love, moving into an apartment in Brooklyn and finally traveling to California and Chicago. 2013 was a busy, exciting year but also one that is forever marred.

My grandma lost a torturous 12-year battle with Lymphoma after suffering a stroke in May… as if the cancer wasn’t enough. Those few weeks and the months leading up to it were excruciating. I really don’t know what my family would have done without each other. The week between her stroke and her passing, we were all on hospital, and then hospice, duty every single day; reminiscing, looking through hundreds of photos, crying or just sitting and waiting. She couldn’t see us or talk to us, but we all knew she could hear us, so we talked a lot. My grandma was such a central part of our entire family that there were – are – an infinite amount of good times to look back on. From the famous 30-person Christmas Eve dinners she used to throw when she lived in “The Queens Village House” (as my family calls it), to her days as the most glamorous dancer you’d ever seen. The list goes on. It’s easier to picture my grandma as the beautiful woman who always loved being in a room full of people, wearing red lipstick even if she was staying in the whole day, than the sick person she unwillingly became. When I sit and think about it, that’s what makes me the most angry. Why does old age have to be so cruel? Why does a person have to lose all of their dignity? Why can’t it be graceful and peaceful? The universe works in mysterious ways though, because she passed away on my Pop Pop’s birthday. He died 16 years ago, so we all agreed that he got the greatest present that day. It’s truly an image I will always hold on to; the two of them being reunited.

While losing my grandma was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face, especially witnessing the toll it took on my mom and uncle, I am lucky to have had such a wonderful grandmother. As she was the only living grandma I had, we were extremely close. When I was little I would spend weekends with her and my Pop Pop at their house in Whitestone and, just for the weekend, I was an only child who got to do everything with her. We would eat out AND get ice cream, go to the hairdresser and spend all day shopping. She also let me drink coffee; a mug filled with mostly milk and sugar with a drop of coffee. My hypothesis is that this is the reason I like coffee really light and sweet. I spent time like that with my grandma well into my teens, and even as I got older and went to college and then got a full-time job, I still loved sleeping at her house or talking to her on the phone.

I’ve always been a glutton for nostalgia, so I wish I could flip a switch and go back to the time I asked her, “Grandma, why do all old ladies have short hair and wear glasses?” or the time I told her neighbor that she had food stuck in her dentures, but it doesn’t work that way. Instead, I have a plethora of memories to think about and for that I am grateful.

Glamour

She could have easily passed for a Hollywood movie star

dancer
In her dancin’ days

Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 12.25.37 PM

Me as a flower girl in her wedding

grandma
Here with my cousin Leigh and sister Kerry

Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 12.25.13 PM
My Pop Pop and Grandma ❤

We Are The Recess Renegades

I recently started playing kickball through ZogSports with my friend Nicole, and it has turned out to be crazy fun. We decided to sign up as a way to meet new people and do something different with our Sunday afternoons.  I have since learned that I play a mean 2nd base, haha.

Image

We play every Sunday at McLaughlin Park in DUMBO and then go for out for drinks afterwards, which is really why everyone signed up in the first place, right? I kid, I kid. We actually have a really great team, and are tied for 3rd place in the league. In other words, I see a kickball championship in the Recess Renegades’ future.

Image
Image

I know kickball may not seem like the most badass sport out there, but let me just tell you – it gets REAL out on the field. Just last week, one of my teammates had to get stitches in her eyebrow after a turbulent collision at home plate with a guy from the opposite team. Kickball is not for the faint of heart.

Image

We still have another month’s worth of games ahead of us, so I’ll be sure to update you all with our final stats.

If you’ve ever thought about joining an intramural sport, do it. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to meet really nice people from your hood. Just make sure you have medical insurance in the event things take a turn for the worse, and you need to make a trip to the emergency room. It’s no big deal, really.