I’ve gotten so much better with this subway system. Now people are asking ME for directions and I can actually get them going in the right place! Go figure! Of course, I still have to deal with delays, random track switches from express to local. The usual NYC MTA aggravation that makes New Yorkers even more impatient with constant human contact. But all in all, you take it in strides and part of the experience. And we’re not even going to get on the MTA vending machine taking your money while the workers behind the desk tell you to “call the number on the side of the machine”. Umm ma’am I have places to be so just buzz the door, so I can walk through. Thanks!
Throughout the aggravation of transportation, the destination makes it all worth it One Saturday I ventured to lower Manhattan. Not too sure how I got there but I guess my feet and eyes wanted to take my mind on an exploration. The bar scene, shopping and “museums” were impeccable as always. I decided to make it an exploration day. I LOVE the décor in the random bars and restaurants. Each place is different placing its own spin on the dining experience while having fun art and fixtures that creates conversation or if you’re like me, have wonderful things to stare at while chilling alone.
I love to “people watch” when I’m out by myself. For those who don’t know what it is, the name says it all. I like to study various mannerisms, conversations, and create my own scenarios of how two or more people ended up together and where their story will lead.
At a spot near 8th street. I observed a woman alone, eating, drinking and slowly seeing the liquor take its toll on her. At first, she was timid. Making small conversation with the bartender but as time went on, she developed a courage like no other. On the other side of me there was a handsome man sitting and having a drink while doing some writing. I wondered what inspired him and the masterpiece he was in the process of creating. The liquored up woman decided to take a chance and come across the bar to sit next to him. Immediately, he showed that he wasn’t interested. But somehow she missed those signs and kept the small talk going. I don’t know whether he really had to go or he grew tired of entertaining an unwanted guest, but he quickly settled his tab and packed up to go. She ventured back to her original seat and finished her drink before leaving as well.
Hopefully her spirits weren’t all the way shot. I mean it IS just a man. The woman was inebriated heavily so a clouded judgment played a major role in her shot getting blocked.
The next bar was simple yet festive. A group of friends were upstairs playing a game of beer pong while spitting the lyrics to Cardi B. Part of me wanted to join in but #1 I didn’t know all the words and #2 that would just be weird. I grew bored and left to walk the streets. NYC is like none other.
I found a vintage Volvo parked on the side of the street in Greenwich Village along with beautiful brownstones that I’d wished I found when I was on the apartment hunt. Tourists holding up the walking process to take pictures of the high buildings and local spots. Capturing memories that will not only be posted on Instagram, but cherish and become part of the “Remember when we were in New York…” stories.
After all of my venturing I was back on the train heading back to Harlem. Not ready for the night to end, I wandered into a spot I came to when I was just a visitor. Harlem Public. A smooth, chill date spot with dim lights, candles on each table and me sitting alone. For the first time all day I wish I had a companion to chat with. Looking around at all of the conversations, even the loud ones that irked me, I felt at home. I was home. Soaking up the people and scene like I frequent there on the regular.
My night ended at a more “turn up” style bar sipping on my usual rum and coke while meeting new people. It’s amazing that most people I meet aren’t even from New York. They’re “transplants” like me. What connects us all is the hard part of getting used to the mechanisms of the city and making the best out of the situations.
Let’s just say I shut the place down and didn’t’ leave until the house lights came on. 4AM in the NYC streets. Ending on a high note as it began.
People watching mission was a SUCCESS!
Just give me a minute outside of this “New York Minute”!
The city moves way too fast. People are speed walking, cars going, trains moving (unless you’re late for work, then there’s a delay ugh). But all in all, you need a minute. Everything that should be a simple process causes hours/days/weeks/months of complication if you let it. Learning to adjust to it can be overwhelming but the beauty of the city makes it all worth it. While working out the kinks of getting used to NYC, it treats you to places and spaces to catch a breather. You must look for it or in my case, randomly run into it when life is keeping me on the go.
Why It’s Important to Take That Time?
You can’t allow the makings of a place defeat you. One would think that figuring out the train system is the key to the city. That’s only a portion. Simple gatherings of getting an apartment, getting a job, learning the areas, and even the makings of the people. All the while pursuing your dreams and keeping yourself above water so you’re not on the first flight home. For me, it seems as if every time I was stable in my adulting and I was on my way to get entrepreneurship endeavors together, something out of nowhere went wrong! Now I must take my focus off my dreams to fix something that should have stayed in an established state. That can be VERY overwhelming. So what can I do? Take a break. Through this city, I’ve not only found “Museums” but place of refuge to BREATHE. During these moments, I’m reminded of why I came here in the first place and the thoughts of running back to GA for good simple fade away.
Places like Central Park, walking down 125th seeing the booming businesses murals and the makings of Harlem. And even the building structures downtown can bring you right back to the spirit of the city! When I walk through the city without thinking of the pushy people, horns of impatient drivers, or the complicated measures for the most simplistic things, I say to myself "Now I remember why I came! THIS is what I live for!"
What to Focus on?
During these meditation moments, I think about what's going right instead of what's going wrong. Focusing on the blessings is a way to get back centered and not allowing a bad day or few minutes control me. Remember it's not a bad life, just a bad day. This also helps in regaining focus on the work I need to do. While my mind is in overdrive, I can't seem to remember everything on my "to do" list.
Take that time. You deserve it. Taking care of your mental health is essential in conquering the concrete jungle. You’re a survivor and you can make it. Just take a minute!
Where do you go to "check out" when you're overwhelmed?
Oh so we’re just gonna act like that didn’t happen!?!
Venturing throughout this city, I have found the most unusual quirks, people, settings, and daily routines. I guess these factors are what makes New York...New York. One common denominator is, people just accept it "as is”. No major complaints or that brave soul to stand up and say "Hey, that's weird. Stop it!" New Yorkers go on about their day as if they'd be lost if these occurrences didn’t happen.
I've talked about subway rides before. (Check out “Welcome to New York: The Subway Story”). People getting up speaking their truth, pleading a case for money (which happens everywhere). Within the station, you have your indie and starving artists entertaining the masses with drums, guitars, and a mic stand hoping to get discovered or at least a few dollars to last them for the week. I respect the hustle!
But you haven’t experience a TRUE subway ride unless you’ve seen a full on magic show. Yep, colorful scarves, card tricks, and even a rabbit out of the box. Now how do you hide a rabbit and make it just "appear" on a train!? And it’s the SAME magician hops from car to car putting on his show. Now I love the entertainment but no one thinks that’s a bit…different. And there is no, hey cut the music down or I’m not in the mood for a magic show today….hard day at work. Whatever the space or the crowd’s mood, the show goes on!
Let’s not forget about the dance crews hopping on a semi-crowded car. Looking normal as ever. Just a couple of guys going on about their day on public transportation. Until… You hear a request for riders to clear a path in the middle so they can successfully do their routine. That is when you know, a show is about to begin. Flips on the poles (not in a stripperish way), body contortions, break dancing, and GOD knows what else.
Then there’s the unorganized randoms. The flashy man blasting this reggae song on a portable radio and keeping it on repeat. Is this his music?! Promoting that mixtape “coming soon” bruh? At least skip to the next track. And I’ll never forget that GOD forsaking chorus line, nor the seated dance moves accompanied with it.
And just when you think you’re going to have a normal ride home, a man standing by the door in head phones carries out his “dance dance revolution” routine. Nobody bothers him, nobody cares. It’s just a normal day on the subway.
No one put these performers on a schedule. No one asked for it. But one thing I know for sure, when the entertainment is done, be prepared to dig for dollars or change to support the arts.
Now let’s step off the train. Police officers in full gear with rifles. RIFLES!?!? What happened? Oh nothing they are just set on ready just in case something major happens. And with NYC being a target for terrorist attacks, I’m actually glad for that anomalous.
All the while, I look around and it’s normal. Not a lot of people recording on their camera phone as if it's a wondrous sight, no one complains, no one cares. Just keeping it moving as if this is a normal day. That's just the way it is.
Welcome to my new normal...Gotta LOVE New York!
The Blakk Dahlia’s Weekend at NYFW
Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE NYFW. Living in GA I tried to make it up here but since I’m a resident, EVEN BETTER. Using my pull as a media rep for my magazine BRASH! Magazine, I was able to gain access to this season’s hottest shows put on by grand production companies and notable designers. Although I couldn’t make it out to a few shows as planned, I was able to spend the weekend traveling all the way from Canarsie to Manhattan to be in the building for some good fashions!
Style Fashion Week, never disappoints as they line up show, after show, after show of great designers topping themselves with new/one-of-a-kind designs. Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, IT DOES!
This year, the venue was PACKED with fashion lovers, media, and celebrities. All to see Draya Michelle’s Mint Swimwear line. The show was amazing and worth the wait in the long line getting pushed and dealing with the club-like atmosphere of “oh yes you can come in”, “wait a minute”, “oh no the line for you is over here!” But, hey it happens.
But once inside, all of that went away as I stood stage side getting the first peek of the beautiful models sashaying down the runway in sexy, classy, and unique swimwear!
Now let’s talk about Saturday. Woke up early to preparing to be in #modelmode to participate in a Love Yourself Campaign Shoot, and then another shoot on the streets of Manhattan, I had to jump into media mode for Stevie Boi’s show.
This fashion show was very chic and exclusive giving me the reason why NYFW is worth running around New York making it from show to show. From eyeballing legends like Whoopi Goldberg and my fav VH1 stars to witnessing PINK fashions in stylish variations coming down the runway. And these models WERKED IT!
I’m so looking forward to next season of NYFW. It won’t be as cold and I know these designers are getting busy at wowing the crowds in their shows. Now let me get on this networking, so I can get more invites!
New York winters can be bone chilling. And for this season, or at least to I’ve heard from many residents, this winter season has been the worst in a long time. So what does a southern girl like me do when the need to throw on a good crop top to hang out or go about the day? Layer up. Yes! Crop top season is year round for me as I love the short shirts and different variations of showing off the belly in a cute top.
Luckily for me, not all crop tops are fit for the Spring and Summer. There are cut off sweat shirts, turtle necks, and even those made with thicker material to help keep me warm and allow me to get my crop top fix.
Another way for me to stay warm in a crop is to layer up. Two crop tops in one, like my cut off hoodie. How to layer? Throw on a crop sweater to keep the look going and keep the cold and flu germs from creeping in.
A night out on the town during the winter doesn’t mean you have to stay within the big sweater limits. That’s when I throw on a crop turtle neck number with a heavy coat to keep the cold air from seeping in. Yea there may be a breeze here and there but it’s worth the look…Well, to me it is!
Sometimes, I allow my bottoms to make up for the bare skin space that my top doesn’t cover. A nice pair of high waist jeans, leggings, or pants can keep a crop look while blocking the cold. Accomplishing two missions in one!
I’m glad that clothing designers understand the importance of my “Crop Top Season”. Creating styles fit for the cold. So never feel as if it’ too cold for a crop. Put it on, layer up, and enjoy the style!
Comment Below. What's your fav Spring/Summer piece that you HAVE to wear in the Winter?
E. Alexcina Brown
I just like to write and create stuff. These are the diaries of how I'm living in NYC with sprinkles of life lessons I've learned along the way!