Come January, I realized it was time to take a vacation from my job as a copywriter at Birchbox. The only problem? I didn't feel much like traveling, and my bank account was giving that idea an emphatic thumbs-down. Instead, I decided to vacation closer to home. Instead of booking plane tickets to some far-off locale, I resolved to spend that money on exploring the many charms of my adopted city of New York. Behold, a diary of my adventures.
Friday, January 24
Staycation is all about venturing into the unknown—so it seemed appropriate that tonight I'd be accompanying my boyfriend to a Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn’s answer to Madison Square Garden. This was about as exotic an experience as I could possibly have in my home borough, since basketball—and all competitive sports—are completely alien to me. Nonetheless, I threw myself into the spirit as we watched "our" team compete against the Dallas Mavericks. My main takeaway: The last 20 seconds of a basketball game are the longest. It’s vital that you time your beer consumption accordingly, or your bladder will be one unhappy customer by game’s end.
Saturday, January 25
I have absolutely no recollection of what I did today. Staycation for the win!
Sunday, January 26
This afternoon, I attended a class on red wines at New York Vintners, a wine store in TriBeCa. It was my first wine class, but I have a strong feeling—call it destiny—that it won't be my last. Even just the wine we were given for sipping as our instructor kicked off the class was absolutely delicious: a sparkling, chilled red called Chook NV Sparkling Shiraz. Being neither paired with a friend nor romantic partner, I was certainly the odd man out, but I managed to enjoy myself and learn a thing or two along the way. For instance, did you know that “malbec” is French for “bad mouth?”
Monday, January 27
I meant to wake up at 6 a.m. and “seize the day,” but as soon as my alarm went off, I realized that the day could still be seized at a much more reasonable hour. After a dilatory lunch in my apartment, I set off for an exhibit I’d been meaning to see: the Natural History Museum’s feature on Poison. First, I rode the B train in the wrong direction. Undaunted, I switched over to the correct train and rode the B for another 30 minutes, all the way up to 81st Street in Manhattan. Fun fact: “Mad as a hatter” has a historical—and very sad—basis: hatters in the 18th century worked closely with mercury, which was used to transform pelts into fabric. The mercury compounds that resulted from this process were highly toxic. Mercury poisoning can cause some curious symptoms in its victims, like irritability and “pathological shyness” (wha?). Those poor mad hatters weren’t going crazy—they were displaying the telltale signs of mercury poisoning.
Tuesday, January 28
It’s day 5 of my Ultimate Staycation, and already I’m starting to feel a bit like a desperate housewife. My boss just caught me drafting an article for the Birchbox Magazine and wrote, “STOP WORKING!!!” Chastened, I closed out of my email with my tail between my legs. It’s 19 degrees outside, which makes me want to punch Old Man Winter in the face. Something needs to change—and fast.
Tuesday, 8 p.m.
The night is darkest before the dawn! (Or something like that.) Tonight, I met up with my boyfriend for a decadent Italian meal at Cacio e Vino, a cozy Italian restaurant in the East Village. We lingered over our pasta dinner for two and a half hours, splitting the most expensive bottle of wine I have ever had the audacity (read: willful bank-account blindness) to order. Needless to say, the experience was delightful. When the tiramisu was devoured, I concluded that this was my favorite evening of my entire Staycation thus far. Do not underestimate life's simple pleasures.
Wednesday, January 29
Today I visited a part of New York I typically avoid, 5th Avenue, to get my hair highlighted at legendary hair salon Louis Licari. Arriving at 10:30 on the dot, I was informed that my appointment was for 11:30. The blow of this information was padded somewhat by the swift arrival of a cup of steaming-hot green tea, and the assurance that my stylist could probably see me sooner. The process of getting one's hair highlighted is as tedious to describe as it is to actually experience, so I won't go into it—other than to say that it took a full three hours. To my stylist’s credit, the results looked completely natural—perhaps too natural. "Can you see my highlights? Are my highlights showing?" is now a question that I am constantly asking people, my boyfriend most of all.
Thursday, January 30
Today’s agenda: the Museum of Modern Art and Mormons. This is my most action-packed day of Staycation by far. See that block of granite, pictured above? It’s been lashed to a larger block of granite with a piece of wire. Stuffed in the minute gap between the two is a piece of lettuce. When the lettuce wilts, the gap will become large enough that the block of granite will fall, whereupon a well-placed pile of wood shavings will break its fall (obviously). To keep the installation intact, someone has to keep replacing that lettuce leaf to make sure it stays fresh and crispy. Can you imagine if that were your job? If you were “lettuce guy?” My boyfriend thinks they delegate the job to some unfortunate intern, but I’d be honored to have lettuce duty. Next stop: Broadway. You’ve probably heard of The Book of Mormon, the award-winning musical written by the creators of South Park. My parents scored us tickets, and my expectations were admittedly sky-high. And while I found it pretty entertaining, I wasn’t quite as bowled-over as the friends who accompanied me to the show. Call me picky, but it wasn’t as funny I would expect from the geniuses behind South Park.
Friday, January 31
No Staycation would be complete without a day dressed in head-to-toe FLANNEL. With temperatures in the low 20s, today was that kind of day. To complete the picture, I made myself the Perfect New York Bagel: I ran out and purchased a heavenly-soft whole-wheat bagel and topped it off with a fried egg and a slice of soy cheese. Add a sprinkling of oregano, and I felt myself settling in for a regular—but no less delightful—New York weekend.