Boat Watching and Beautiful Sunsets.
Upon my many ventures I stumbled upon a new hobby. Now I’ve always LOVED bodies of water. But growing up in the heart of GA, my options were limited. I thought I’d only have a chance to gain the peace and serenity the waves could bring by only taking a vacation. Of course there are lakes and rivers but I couldn’t stay long because bugs usually saw me as their latest meal. Also, the good lakes were always so far away from me.
As always, NYC never disappoints. Whether I’m uptown or downtown, I get a chance to view the beautiful Hudson River. And across from it, the state of New Jersey. What first started as a walk on the pier with a friend, turned into a constant activity that gave me peace, serenity, and inspiration.
I’m always looking for ways for this city to just calm down in my mind. New York is ALWAYS busy. Sidewalks filled with fast walkers getting to where they need to go. Subway riders are constantly on the move with an “every man for himself” mentality. Not giving much time to take in a new experience because “MOVE! GET ON THE TRAIN!” The Hudson River is very different.
Whether hanging out, having a picnic at Riverbank State Park or taking a walk along Pier 46, the Hudson gives off good vibes and a place of refuge from the city that never sleeps.
One activity that I love while being a voyeur on the river is boat watching. For some reason watching these machines sail along the river places me in a mood that allows me to meditate, think, and get inspired. I love to develop stories for these mini ships as they make their way to Jersey or along the lines of the Hudson River Ride!
Just try it out! You can’t go wrong with spending an afternoon to evening witnessing the sun set and the clouds paint a beautiful picture of colors that you’ll only get to see with your naked eye once. A new visit, means a new canvas. Take in the moment and just BREATHE!
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!
It wasn’t planned but, here we go…
I was on the hunt. The AMAZING APARTMENT HUNT IN NYC. I’ll have to tell you about that one later. But once I found my personal space…I had to wait. Wait to move in that is. So where was I going to go? I was tired of being in someone’s place as I’m 32, I need to be an adult….sometimes. The good thing about New York being a major city, MANY HOTELS. The bad thing about New York being a major city, MANY HOTELS. I had to narrow down where I was going to lay my head for a good price.
With the help of a few sites, Kayak.com, Expedia, and HotelTonight, I was able to go on an unplanned expedition. A hotel tour.
Now why didn’t I just book a hotel or an Airbnb for two weeks and stay put? Great question. The answer, I didn’t know the actual move-in date. Yea, another “Welcome to New York”. Days of emails, phones calls, emails phone calls, and waiting for returned emails put a sister in one hell of a position. A position of the “unknown”. Glad that I’d eventually have a roof over my head, but anxious about when and how much it’ll cost me in the meantime.
First up on the list, The Franklin Hotel. An Upper Eastside boutique hotel, located in a nice area with shopping, cafes, and nice bistros to pop in for a good lunch. The staff was amazing and helpful. Took my bags up to the room, very friendly, and explained all the perks that came along with my stay. One of my favs, along with the free breakfast, free wine and cheese EVERY night from 5-6:30pm. Rushing home after work, I was treated to a relaxing hour of my choice or red/white wine and assorted cheeses to get me in the mood for writing (the Heartbreak Diaries). Now let’s talk about the room. Fit for a pleasant staycation, my room was a resort of its own. Decorated with vintage style furniture and artwork, I was treated to a view of museums every morning when I woke up. I even had a nice chandelier in my room! A few days there was just what I needed to face the continuous unknown “joys” of the apartment stuff.
Upon finding out “No you’re not moving in just yet”. I was on the hunt for another place as extending my time at The Franklin would extend my pockets that I just couldn’t do. Checking out of the Franklin, I found a reasonably priced room at the Days Inn on 96th street to spend the next few days. The staff was VERY helpful and pleasant. Location was GREAT as it had eateries in walking distance and the subway a few blocks over. However, the room…..ehhhh….not my fav. So I’ll just leave it at that.
Then, I was off to Hampton Inn-Times Square North. It was the weekend and I wanted to spend it locked in a nice room, writing! This spacious luxury was close to EVERYTHING I needed! I had TWO queen beds all to myself, big bathroom and the perks of a hot meal in the morning complimentary of the hotel of course. They also provided coffee/tea 24 hours. I was spending my weekend in Times Square! Taking a break from writing, I ventured out to check out the scene. Seeing the beauty of Times Square put me back into the mind frame of why I came to NYC in the first place. I needed that reminder, especially with all the trouble I was going through. Spent some time at a cool bar, The Three Monkeys - American Bar, trying out new beer and eating garlic fries for the first time, I was well on my way to rejuvenation. The next morning, I set my alarm clock, so I wouldn’t miss breakfast and got some much-needed rest in my comfy bed.
Sunday was check-out, and NO you’re not ready just yet to move in. May Monday. Back to my trusty app, I found a gem! $88 a night for another luxury pleasure at the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square (8th Ave). Pleasant staff, another hot meal in the books for breakfast and 24hour coffee and tea just for me! This room was a glorious splendor as once again I had two queen beds to choose from in a big space, my room was located in the perfect position. The sunlight light up the room as it was the BEST place to write, catch up on the Housewives and prepare for the upcoming week. Had to snap a few mirror selfies in the bathroom as the mirror was lit like a celebrity’s dressing area creating the perfect glow. I did NOT want to leave but “maybe Monday” was waiting for me. Right? WRONG!
Next up on the tour, Wyndham New Yorker Hotel. Nice place, very big, the room was vintage decorum but….the Hilton Garden Inn spoiled me. It didn’t do it for me. I don’t know what it was but….It just wasn’t it. It could have been the stress from the non-move in. However, they did have a nice restaurant, Trattoria Bianca, inside where I enjoyed a tasty rum and coke at the bar. Spending my time there watching the Bulls play, I met a foreign businessman who bought me a glass of wine. A few sentences later, I received an invitation to his room. Are you serious?!?! I’m dealing with some real life ish and you think I’m going to come up to your room!?? Nah bruh I gotta go! Thanks for the wine sir. **rolls eyes**
Another swipe on HotelTonight App and I found a good price at St. Giles-The Court. Which should be called St NIGHTMARE! The staff was lovely as I checked, I found a great room adorned with unique décor, big bed, spacious bathroom, and a secret area in the room draped with wine glasses. Dainty right? It also had a comfy chaise style chair right in front of the TV where I spent most of my evening. When it was time to lay down, the nightmare began. I woke up to itchy skin, and numerous bites on my body. Oh hell no! This can’t be what I think it is. Running late for work, I flipped up sheets and then my pillows only to discover a critter chillin on the cool side of the pillow. To my surprise, the dahlia didn’t sleep alone! Uninvited guests who did NOT chip in on the room stayed with me, feasting on my sensitive skin. Rushing to work swelling up, I sent a lengthy email along with pictures to the hotel, along with the Better Business Bureau. I’m not finished with them!
More emails, calls, and another email. Oh girl you’re still on tour. Greeeeaaaat! To the rescue, courtesy of unlocking a new level on HotelTonight, the next tour stop was Hampton Inn Madison Square. After walking over an hour to find the place, THANKS Googlemaps, I settled in a nice room, coffee and tea available, multiple channels on the TV, and some writing time. I was able to get A LOT of work done here but apprehensive to lay down, due to my previous scare at St. Giles. I enjoyed my two-day stay as I ran late because of the tasty breakfast served each morning. And they didn’t give the same treats every day! Gotta love variety!
Glady, Hampton Inn Madison Square was the final leg on my Hotel Tour. I was able to move into my apartment and enjoy settling MY OWN ISH! Now I didn’t leave each tour stop without special gifts. I’m an avid collector of bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, face soap, and whatever they had laid out for me. I even came across a “vanity kit”. Which included q-tips and a cotton ball. Nice!
Although I had an allergic reaction due to St. Giles’ staff negligence I learned to enjoy my hotel tour and found a great app for traveling. I guess this journey was meant to be in my NYC Living. Wonder what the next journey will entail.
Stay tuned…And don’t forget to download the app, HotelTonight K?
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!
Roaming around seeing the beauty in the most simplest objects.
Museums and art galleries aren’t the only places where you can get a first-hand look at a masterpiece. Just look around, I mean REALLY LOOK. There are various wanders right in front of you. You have to get out of your mind and focus on what’s around you. The beauty. The abstract work of your perspective creating inspiration. Living within your atmosphere instead of just passing through it.
Notice the serenity it provides, or how it can motivate you to move throughout your day with no worries. When I see these, I have to immediately capture them adding to my “Museums” collections. Instead of seeing emptiness or just something being placed in a random section, I choose to view it as art.
Art is a gift to us by GOD, an individual, and even Mother Nature herself. Appreciate it for what it is and start your own collection. Picture simplicity as a work of art.
Even angling your camera showing another how your eye can see things in a different light. Share this “light” with others and encourage them to see beyond a simple placement.
Where do you find your museums? Email them to TheBlakkDahlia@gmail.com for a feature!
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!