First, fun news: I have an intern! She’s Alex, and has an enthusiasm for photography – and life in general – that rocks my world. I need to get a better photo of her face, but for now, enjoy her cool-girl photo stance and rockin’ blond hair patch.
On Friday, 3 May, I finally did what I’ve been hoping to do for about 18 months: I convinced an eloping couple that getting into the row boats of Central Park in their wedding clothes was an excellent idea. Since I had Alex to
boss around help, she rowed, and I was able photograph them around the 22 acre pond from the stern of my very own row boat. Then I tried rowing, and she snapped some shots of me. It was so cool, like a scene out of Stuart Little.
It’s a career highlight, a Life List item I got to check off, and I’m pretty sure that I won a bet with Katie Jane over who can get newlyweds in a row boat first.
If you do this, I recommend going on a week day and slathering on a good sunscreen.
Patrice and I were invited to the grand opening of Off the Wall, a frozen yogurt place, that has a new store on 14th Street at 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Here we are posing like big shots against the step-and-repeat. The Kardashians can eat their hearts out.
photos by Chase Heilman
Off the Wall works by giving you a cup and letting you fill it up with as many of the various flavors they have yourself, and then you pick your toppings and pay by weight. That’s awesome for me, because a lot of times I just want a TINY bit of dessert, and even the kids size is too big for me.
Not this evening, though. Patrice stopped at a polite amount of sampling, and then stood back giggling at me while I – no kidding – tried every single flavor they sold. As press, they let us have all-you-can-eat access to the frozen yogurt machines before the general public got there, and it was my DUTY to research this thoroughly.
It might have been the best day of my life.
Here are my favorite yogurt + topping combos:
blueberry muffin yogurt + Cap’N Crunch cereal topping
salted butter pecan / peanut butter blast swirl
non-fat milk chocolate (which was exceptional!) with cheesecake bites
coffee bean with cheesecake bites
A scoop of cheesecake bites (when no one was looking)
Euro tang yogurt with crushed ButterFinger.
vanilla, eaten not so much as a yogurt but as a vehicle for rainbow sprinkles
Two bonus items I just love:
The “Cultured Artist Series” hosted by Off the Wall supports the local art community and will feature a new masterpiece every other month curated by local artists and students. This was up the night we visited.
photo by Chase Heilman
Nelson, the employee that helped us, was super fun and adorable.
This post is part of my NYC with Amber guide
The Earth Room | 141 Wooster Street | Manhattan
“I want to take you somewhere, but I’m not telling you what it is,” a gentleman said to me recently.
“I hate surprises.”
“You’ll like this one. Trust me, it’s more fun if you don’t know what it is first.”
He was right.
It’s a room – a big room – filled with dirt, and it made me really happy.
Admission is free. It’s open Wednesday – Sunday, 12-6 (except for the half hour of 3 – 3:30) in the winter months.
I keep trying to describe it, but you should just go see it. Either you are happy that it exists, or you won’t get it.
No photos were allowed, and I obeyed the rules, so I’ve stolen this photo from here.
SoulCycle NoHo | 384 Lafayette Street | Manhattan
A few weeks ago I tried spinning for the first time at SoulCycle in NoHo NYC. All of my girlfriends simultaneously got really into it, and I knew it was a only a matter of time before one of them roped me into going, too. It ended up being Esther who went to my first class with me; she was all, “You’ll feel awesome! It’ll be fun!”
If this were an 80′s movie, the word “fun” would be echoing in a haunting manner right about now. “Fun…fun…fun…”
It was hard, you guys. Gym equipment of any kind is intimidating for yoga-loving me, so being clipped into a bike by my feet felt hardcore. My goal for the class was the same as every new athletic endeavor for me: just try. Stay in the room. Do your best. Then push a bit to see how far you can go.
I stayed, I pushed, and, at one moment I pushed too hard, lost my balance, and fell off my bike. I was able to right myself before I crashed totally over, and took it easy for the rest of the class. I came out glowing and happy at having tried something new, though. Also, slightly bruised, but hey. I did it! Here I am all sweaty, immediately after class.
A note: I like my body. I always have, even at 200 pounds (p.s. I’ve lost 45 pounds since I started trying!), but it was a tiny bit difficult to be a little chubby and in a room full of crazy awesome bods. I don’t know if spinning works that well or if it generally appeals to people who are already fit, but there were a whole lot of toned folks up in there! I won’t name-drop, but there was even that girl from that TV show spinning a few bikes over. I’m used to my Bikram yoga class, where everyone comes in all shapes and sizes. No one gave me a side eye or anything though, because people are generally lovely, and I would like to say thank you to the entire staff of SoulCycle NoHo for making this new spinner feel welcome. Everyone I interacted with was fantastic.
I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to try again. The pros were REALLY fun music, a fantastic workout in not a lot of time, a good sweat, and that it was really fun to take with a friend “whoo-hoo!ing” and sweating next to me. It got me good and tired, too, which I liked – so tired, in fact, that I slept through my subway stop, making it the first time that’s happened to me since moving to NYC!
The cons were the equipment – the bike and the shoes that clip into the petals were both awkward for me – and how challenging it was to stay standing the entire time (you don’t spin sitting down, which I didn’t realize until I saw everyone else standing up.) It’s also a little expensive.
Have you tried it? Would you go again? Should I give it one more shot?
New York Trapeze School | Pier 16 (South Street Seaport), New York, NY 10036 | Manhattan
Well… maybe not with the “greatest of ease”.
I started off pretty positive…
… however, if you read the last post where I jumped off of something high into the air, it will not surprise you that I got to the top of the ladder at trapeze class and shook my head.
“I am not going to jump off of this.” I said to the instructor, looking down. “I’m terribly sorry, but it’s back down the ladder for me.”
She blinked at me a few times from under her hoodie; later I found out she was briefly accessing if I was one of the scared people that needed the kind-and-gentle approach or a tough-love kick in the rear. She went warm and reasonable with me, which ended up working.
“What are you afraid of? It’s safe!”
“It’s supposed to be high.” she said, somehow managing to avoid a “Duh!” tone of voice. “That’s the point. Don’t worry, you’re totally safe. We have celebrities and little kids that come here. No one gets hurt.”
The ladder already had someone else on it waiting, and I was all strapped in, and really, the only way off the platform was through the air. So I smushed the tears off my face with my sleeve’s edge and jumped, while doing an epic ugly-cry that turned into a belly laugh, because, after two seconds, it got really fun to be swinging around up there.
You can’t tell from these photos if this is the most awesome thing that ever happened to me or the worst, right? Neither can I. I think, though that jumping off of things that are high is not my jam. But in retrospect, it was cool, I felt victorious, and, after the four staff members on the ground all shouted up at me to open my eyes, I was able to get an amazing view of Brooklyn, the FDR, and the river between them.
Thank you to the crew at the Trapeze School of New York at Pier 16, especially Dana who picked all the right words to get me to leap, and to my sweet friend Lara Ruth for setting this up and snapping shots with my camera. Now go do this!
first photo by James Stress
This post is part of my NYC with Amber guide
Murray’s Cheese | 246 Bleecker Street, Manhattan | Greenwich Village
Have you heard of Murray’s Cheese? They’ve been selling hundreds of varieties of cheese for decades from their shop, and this summer they are opening a “cheese bar” which sounds wonderful. It’s a New York City institution, and I finally made my way there when Tracy was in town.
The best part about a visit: they give samples.
She and I selected two cheeses each, then snagged a quarter pound of prosciutto, a jar of fig spread, some olives, a baguette, a cheese knife, and two drinks. We made our way to a park bench a few blocks away to eat it all, spread on our laps. (If you are planning this, maybe bring a blanket.), and it is probably the most delightful meal I’ve had in a long time.
If you do this as a date, avoid the Munster cheese if you want to make out later. It was amazing and wonderful, but smelled like a fart.
This post is part of my NYC with Amber guide
The Metropolitan Museum of Art | 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street) | Manhattan
On Tuesday, a friend texted me at 7:30 in the morning unable to face work for the day. It was sentiment I shared, given the current, um, disheveled state of my studio, so we blew everything off and played hooky at Metropolitan Museum of Art.
When people visit New York, there are very few touristy things I recommend they do (I promise that Times Square is overrated) but this is worth visiting. Get there early on a weekday to avoid the maddening glut of noisy tourists “getting culture” on the weekend and ruining the experience, and get a map, too. The place is huge.
When I was in Paris last year, Emily and I had a gentleman buy us a bottle of wine (he was trying to sleep with her, or possibly us, but that wasn’t going to happen. Still, we felt sassy and cosmopolitan anyway having wine close to midnight with our thickly-accented Parisian companion.) He was an art professor, and mentioned things in the Louvre that he would keep if allowed to go in and take anything he wanted.
I decided my “I’d steal this” piece at the Met is Cypresses by van Gogh. He painted it while he was in an a voluntary asylum stay in his last year of life. I loved looking very close at the thick, wavy lines, imagining that they were soothing to paint. Art as comfort is something I can relate to.
P.S. A tip on getting there, especially in a cab: Don’t confuse “The Met” with “the MoMa” (the Museum of Modern Art), which is a whole other (wonderful) museum in a whole other (totally different) part of Manhattan. I have known no fewer than 3 separate visiting friends who have made this mistake. Have fun!
Momofuku Milk Bar | 360 Smith Street, Brooklyn | Carroll Gardens
There are five Momofuku restaurants; Milk Bar, which has a few locations around New York City, is where you get their signature funky desserts. I’ve always enjoyed the famous “crack pie”, but lucky for my hips there aren’t any locations near me, or, at least, there haven’t been until few weeks ago, when they opened a new one in Carroll Gardens, about a mile away from where I live in Park Slope. I rounded up these cuties:
and we walked over to the new location.
I got crack pie again, which is basically a visually boring but unbelievably delicious combination of butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, and magic.
Here is the candy bar pie, “cereal milk” flavored ice cream, and up top is a salted pistachio and “cereal milk” ice cream swirl. The salted pistachio is slightly odd and really amazing.
Today is the day of my Charity:Water event!
I’m nervous and excited. There’s going to be a photo booth, and if it’s successful, I’m making it part of my business plan. Setting up a photo booth is something I’ve been dreaming about since this March; it’s overdue. Panic over logistics set in yesterday, so I texted my friend Clay who is another smart photographer, and he helped me brain storm it down to a manageable project. Thanks Clay! You seriously saved my behind.
Will I see you there? You still have the opportunity to RSVP on Facebook.
If you can’t make it but you still want to donate, you can PayPal me dollars (theambershow at gmail dot com) and leave me your address. As a thank you, I will write you a poem and put it in the mail. It will be awful, but will probably make you smile anyway.
The details, again:
25 Avenue B (btwn. 2nd and 3rd street)
New York, NY
open bar from 7 – 8pm, $5 suggested donation
drink specials all night
full burger menu
a photo booth that hopefully doesn’t suck
Culture | 331 5th Ave, Brooklyn | Park Slope
I can’t tell if it’s a New York thing or a since-2009ish trend that spans nation-wide, but there is a LOT of frozen yogurt options in this city, especially in my neighborhood. I feel like it was really popular in the 90′s (TCBY, anyone?), and then you couldn’t get any for a long time, and now there are at least seven (!) places within walking distance of my apartment that I can go to to get my fro yo on.
Culture, though, is in a league of it’s own. The owners make it themselves on site, and it’s different than the watery frozen stuff you are used to in that it’s actual yogurt that’s been frozen.
They offer lots of fresh, unique toppings and have a list of suggested fun combinations; my fave so far is the key lime which is filling gobbed on top and then dusted with graham cracker crumbles. They even put some pie filling on the bottom (thoughtful!) so I didn’t run out of the good stuff midway through. See?
Prices are comparable to the rest of the neighborhood’s offerings but the product is way better, making it a bargain in my opinion. Go get some!