New York from above

As much as I love New York from afar, there’s something uniquely magical about the city from above, as it appears to rise forever into the sky, and you rise with it. During these days of meetings and mingling with friends, I tried to catch a glimpse of day turning into night from as many roof decks as possible. As I discover others, I have a few that shall always remain my favorites.

The Peninsula Hotel sun terrace sits on the 21st and 22nd floors with a view of the regal St Regis.

IMG_6885

Here I spent a humid New York day high above the bustle of the city, swimming and lounging in the sun, following a dynamic yoga class. Paradise found in midtown!

IMG_6851

Soho House New York is not only a chic members only address, but the place to be seen. A haven for creatives, the perfect spot to meet a work friend and catch up on the goings on of the NYC ad scene.

IMG_6982

A60 bar located on the 13th floor of 60 Thompson has stunning sunset views to compliment your cocktail. Where better to meet with a girlfriend who just flew in from LA?

IMG_6731

I may never have my fill of looking at New York’s skyline from afar or from above. Until next time…

 

 

New York from afar

As anyone who reads my blog knows, I love New York. It’s the city I called home for many years, and still do. And it’s where I became who I am. When I return now, after living in Paris for 5 years (hard to believe!), I often find the city chaotic and cold, from the inside. It lacks the charm and class of Paris, in which you can walk the streets and lose yourself in it’s beauty. Certainly the energy and dynamism of New York makes up for anything it lacks. The skyline of NYC is unlike any in the world. And now, with the Freedom Tower standing tall, the city truly stands alone.

IMG_6342

When I arrived to NYC I was invited on a Circle Line tour with fellow travel bloggers.

IMG_6358

I very happily felt like a tourist and enjoyed the views as night fell upon the city that never sleeps.

IMG_6373

It was upon this vessel that I met Kirsten, a travel photographer & Stephen, who runs walking tours.

IMG_6386

And is was here, with lady liberty aglow, that my love for this urban jungle was felt most deeply.

IMG_6391

Once a New Yorker, always, whether near or far.

five years later

As anyone who has read my blog will know, I wasn’t raised to believe in fitting in nor living by societal standards. I was raised believing that anything is possible, and that life was meant to be a design of our own creation. This was instilled by two creative, soulful parents who themselves rarely followed conventions. Above all, I was taught to live by my heart.

It was by following this unconventional script, from the urban jungle of NYC, to the scenic landscapes of the earth’s far corners, that led me to my Italian. And to Paris. Exactly 5 years ago.

NYC

Everyone has a story. Some have yet to live theirs. Today we celebrate ours.

 

expressive art

What is a trip to New York City without a visit to one of the many impressive museums or galleries? Since my Italian had never been to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece, and one of my favorite spaces, the Guggenheim Museum, there we spent a chilly but inspired afternoon.

IMG_4837

Just in time to catch the last days of the Christopher Wool exhibition.

IMG_4908

Wool, an artist from Chicago who began his career in NYC in the 1980’s, developed an art style that used language as his subject matter. A fan of his work, I found these pieces most thought provoking.

IMG_4917Rendering a word or phrase in bold, blocky stencils arrayed across a geometric grid, he preserved the specific form and order of the language, but freely stripped out punctuation, disrupted conventional spacing, and removed letters.

IMG_4845

The resulting compositions oscillate between verbal communication & pure formalism, with their structural dissonance reflecting the state of anxiety & agitation conjured by the texts themselves.

IMG_4933IMG_4867

IMG_4844Next stop for Wool, the Pompidou? I can think of a few French words and expressions…

New York minutes

This year we decided to brave the cold and ring in the early days of 2014 at home in New York City.

IMG_4694

What good it does me to walk these streets, feel the energy, catch up with the lives of dear friends…

IMG_4730

As cold as it was, with a blizzard on the way, we loved sharing these minutes with New York.

IMG_4794

IMG_4764

The Freedom Tower standing tall.

Pop Art bag goes to NYC

And art around every corner. Next stop the Guggenheim…

time travel

As many times as I’ve stepped onto an airplane, crossing a continent, it never ceases to amaze me how in mere hours you can be transported through time, or so it feels. Most recently I flew from Pisa, near Monterosso where my Italian and I spent the weekend with his family and friends…

Monterosso

…to New York City, to visit my family and friends. From what felt like the past, to the future.

NYC

Could there be any two places on the earth more different yet equally loved? Yes, certainly there are. But these are mine. Two very distinct and disparate parts of the world I call home. One for it’s calm and beauty, and one for it’s energy and innovation. And both for their culture. Not to mention all the other parts of the world that became home even for a brief moment. Ah yes, and then there’s Paris…

city of dark

This past week my mind has been with New York, it’s neighboring regions, and the east coast, the place where I was born, raised, and lived for so many years. New York is a part of me unlike any other city. It’s people are my people, resilient, strong and united in their cause. I feel this connection now, more than ever, with the sadness and suffering left behind by superstorm Sandy. I was there in 2001 for the tragic events of 9-11, I was there for the blackout several years ago, and I am there now, if not in body than in mind. Hard to believe how suddenly life can change, by forces outside our control. Stay strong New York, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, New Jersey… the world is with you.

Here’s a list of how to help those in need of food, clothing, housing…or donate directly to Red Cross.

time away

Sometimes it’s important to disconnect and to live in the actual world. Versus the virtual. Those who are social media savvy know exactly what I mean! Feeling the need to connect myself with the living, in the form of my friends and family, I took off a few weeks and flew to New York.

First stop, my favorite place of carousing and chaos… Soho! Freedom tower in the distance.

Many of our days in New York City, with my Italian in tow, were spent in central park, beneath the sun, picnicing with friends or lost within a heavenly gray mist.

I could not wait to explore my old neighborhood, the Lower East Side, bustling with creative energy on every corner. Once a downtown girl… always.

These last few weeks were filled with memories. Precious time spent with my mom, both in the countryside where I was raised and in the city. Copious amounts of culture in the form of ballet, theatre, art, food… THIS is the New York I miss. But in the end, when I ran from one rendezvous to the next, catching up on lives from across the sea, wondering how I had managed to live for so long is this frenetic city, it dawned on me. A city is indeed a composition of it’s offerings but, most importantly, it’s people. And many of these people remain very dear to me.

Already, I look forward to the next visit. While happy to call Paris home.

95 years young

Since I was a little girl I always appreciated (and often preferred) the company of elders. If given the choice whether to play with kids my own age or accompany my mom to a friend’s, I usually chose the latter. Perhaps I knew early on how much more you can learn from those older and wiser.

During my colorful New York chapter there was one particular uniquely wise and eccentric woman I often encountered, also perhaps the oldest fashionista to grace the New York nightlife. I first met Zelda Kaplan during my film debut. Aren’t we all entitled to 15 minutes of fame? Along with many other young women we starred in a film directed by Elise Bennett, Beyond the Ladies Room Door. Incidentally, the screening took place close to home at the Hamptons Film Festival. It was a bonding experience, spending time getting to know so many woman, filming for days in a bathroom… Zelda being the wise sage we all sought advice from. A role well suited her.

I write this now in tribute to Zelda Kaplan who passed away last Wednesday, very fittingly in the front row of a fashion show, 95 years young, and filled with life. An example of how aging does not mean living any less vibrantly. Zelda always made a statement in remaining an individual. After all, she designed all her own clothes, very beautiful fabrics might I add, and lived by her own rules. And her advice was always worth listening to. “One must be interested in the world, not in one’s self.” Rest in peace, Zelda.

 

Paris, My Sweet

“Fantasies do come true. Despite my moments of uncertainty and pangs of loneliness, I was loving life in Paris. I was so smitten with the Gallic city’s grand, plane-tree-lined boulevards and ever-so-slightly crooked side streets, its countless café terraces and the ritual of lingering on them with a single café crème or coupe de champagne.” – Amy Thomas in Paris, My Sweet

photo by Lindsey Tramuta

Amy Thomas. A writer, ad girl and francophile from New York City with a highly refined palate (and appetite) for sweets. A woman after my own heart! As fate would have it, our paths were meant to cross in Paris, where she auspiciously found herself writing ad copy for prestigious client Louis Vuitton. Pas mal! Upon meeting Amy, I immediately sensed an authenticity in her character, natural warmth, and a passion for life. Yes, we would have been friends in New York. Getting to know Amy through our shared experience of Paris, only proved that my instincts were correct. On one of these occasions, during her Croissant Smackdown (a tasting of Paris’ best buttery delicacies), Amy mentioned that she was just awarded a book deal on a project she had been working on. Sweet! I couldn’t wait to read her memoir, as only a true New Yorker in Paris could tell it.

Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) is here! In bookstores, on amazon.com and in my personal prized book collection. February 1st Amy Thomas became a published author, not only in the New York Times, but in the world. How proud I am of mon amie!

Needless to say, I inhaled the book, much like I would a box of macarons. Pierre Hermé or Laduree. It felt as though Amy were telling me her story in person, over a chocolat chaud. From nesting in her ‘tree house’ near rue Montorgueil to her many adventures sampling the best of Paris’ pâtisseries, via vélib’ bien sûr, to her endless attempts at finding her way into the core of a fascinating (and often challenging) city and the mind of its people. The tales are both sweet and savory, and worthy of being told, in a language and manner uniquely Amy. A lot of English, a bit of French, and all heart.

Though her experiences of Paris and New York, and often finding herself torn between the two (something I well understand) Amy has proven that you need not choose pleasure or success, beauty or energy, the macaron or the cupcake. You can indeed have it all, or at least taste it all, on either side of the Atlantic. Now then, where to find the best cupcake in Paris and macaron in New York? I believe the answer lies somewhere between chapters two and five…

If you are a fellow sweet freak, or simply adore Paris (who doesn’t?), you too will savor the pages of Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate).

You can also follow Amy via facebook, twitter and on her blogs God, I Love Paris and Sweet Freak.