nyc, then and now

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Part of my heart lives in Manhattan. It leaps back into my chest whenever I visit and takes my breath away.   

At 19, after a year of college in California, I moved there to sing and dance. I was so naive in so many ways and I'm sure that served me. I was mostly fearless, a girl with a dream but without a union card, hungry to figure out everything about city life: the subway and the streets, where to get a good bagel, how to purchase groceries based solely on what I could carry six blocks, how to pretend to look tough, and how to survive in an apartment with 5 mostly-crazy other people.  

I arrived during one of the snowiest winters on record and the blizzards that year came hand over fist. My first week, one particularly hairy storm caused the trains to shut down and I literally climbed giant banks of snow to make it to my first open call. It was for CATS. Those first few months are a snowy blissful blur in my mind. I often cried with awestruck glee on street corners when the realization would hit me that I lived here. Me!

I spent 4 years as a New Yorker and consider it a rite of passage like the college one I never fully had. It is such a blessing to have those kinds of life experiences where you use your own guidance to figure stuff out, hustle, and find your own way apart from your family. Such true self-confidence and self-worth results. My time living in NYC is one of the things I most cherish.

This visit was choc full of new NYC experiences for me, seeing things and going places I've never been, while carrying around my sweet and visceral nostalgia. It was just the best. I had this realization: You know when you can recollect a time in your life and distinctly define it as a "chapter"? Well, someday what you're living right now will be part of a chapter. Doesn't that put it into perspective? It's such a reminder to be fully here in it and not wish for something else. Because another chapter will inevitably begin. Maybe even sooner than you think.

The skies turned black one day in Soho and then it POURED...

So we ducked into Purl Soho. Their new, bigger space is divine!  For me, being amongst fabric and yarn never disappoints:

Alexis Bittar has super cool statement jewelry. And also a statement giraffe.

How can I have never been to The Strand??? It blew my mind. I could get lost in here for hours:

Loved seeing these wedding wishes...

Check out this cafe I found:)...

Some great exhibits @ The MoMA:

The dreamy West Village...(home to Carrie Bradshaw)...

I wish I lived across the street from Jack's Coffee.  The coolest, hole-in-the-wall place with the best java...

I was quite looking forward to checking out the High Line, since it was completed after my last NYC visit. It's an old elevated railroad line (originally constructed in the 30s) that's been converted into a walking garden path spanning twenty blocks or so. What a stunning and original urban nature retreat. I loved it. That's the groovy Standard Hotel straddling the stroll...

Train tracks and flowers...

The Meatpacking District is so cool and lively with new shopping and restaurants among the cobblestone streets and warehouse-y, old-industrial architecture:

I spied a hunky guy:

And a sweet pooch named Madison:)

The threshold to Hogs and Heifers saloon...

Chelsea Market!  I couldn't get enough of all the food food food and those paper lanterns all in a row:

I think somebody started getting a little camera annoyed shy by the end of the trip...

Some other places/things we enjoyed this time:

Babbo-I had truly one of the most delicious meals of my life here.

Morandi-Delicious brunch with lively atmosphere.

Freemans-The coolest space hidden in one of the only alleys in Manhattan.  I only wish they'd get themselves a much needed apostrophe.

Two Boots Pizza-Epic slices.

Joe Allen-A super cool and clubby joint, this is the best and most non-touristy place to have a drink or a burger after a Broadway show.  The place is seriously hopping at 11o'clock at night.  And you'll most certainly see celebrities in the best non-LA way.

Good People on Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club starring Francis McDormand and Tate Donovan-I can't recommend this play more!  Loved it.

The MoMA


P.S.  If you missed it, here's some NYC tunes...


  1. Wow, Jolie. I've never been to New York but always wanted to go. Somehow it just never happened when I lived further east, and now it seems incredibly far. Your photos are so big and beautiful -- deep. I just kept looking into them to try to see waaaaaaay into them, into New York. Thanks for that. xo

  2. Joe Allen! Wow! That has been there forever! When I lived on W45th back in the 70s that was my hang out. So many of my struggling actor friends worked there at one time or another. Haven't been in the neighborhood in years. What a blast from the past! Thanks for the memories Jolie my dear one!
    Ronni W

  3. Welp, I'm stepping out from my little lurker shadow to say that I'm pretty much obsessed with you and your sassy little site. I've just clicked through about a gajillion of your posts, but have to comment on this one because I just recently moved to NYC and always love reading about it through the eyes of others who love it. :) Anyhow, I think you're pretty cool, and am happy to have found you this morning! XO


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