Blissed Out on the Buzz…

Winter’s here, I’m telling you, and for those of us who are solidly outdoor runners–I loathe treadmills–this whole plunging mercury thing makes running rather a challenge. On my last windchapped outing a few days ago, I came to grips with the cold (literally), hard fact that strappy just wasn’t cutting it. Running along the Hudson wasn’t going to happen again for me until spring, it just wasn’t, so I’d better come up with a seasonal alternative and fast.

For kicks, why not run up to Central Park, around said Park, and then back?

The Pond at Bryant Park.
Skaters enjoying The Pond at Bryant Park.

The deal buster in my plan was Midtown. To get to CP, you gotta go through–there. You see, I detest crowds–and yes I realize that sounds crazy coming from someone who moved to Manhattan on purpose even. But it’s true, which is why ordinarily I avoid Midtown like well, the proverbial plague. Problem was, I was desperate, jones-ing for that Runner’s High. Unfortunately, off-hours in the Big Apple are hard to come by. With the city decked out for the upcoming holidays, checking out Midtown wasn’t just my good idea. The sidewalks were thronged, three-deep, making me feel like I was in some sort of virtual reality pinball machine. At times, I just had to give up the ghost and walk it. So much for my much anticipated endorphin boost.

But, mes enfants, when given the lemons, sometimes it is best to make the lemonade, or in this case, the holiday lemon curd…

Rather than gnashing my teeth and vocalizing some very non-brotherly love type expletives every time my shoulders got bumped, which was a lot, I decided to dial it down and just go with it. Smell, if not the roses, then the vendor hotdogs and roasted chestnuts.

Manhattan decked out for the holidays is truly a sight to behold. Fortunately I had my trusty Blackberry tucked into my runner’s arm band and I used the camera of said BB to snap some photos.

First stop: The New York Public Library. After paying my respects to Patience and Fortitude, I ran up the library steps Rocky style just because I could. Duly oxygen deprived (hmm, perhaps source of aforementioned Runner’s High isn’t endorphins at all) I circled back behind to Bryant Park. Not much running there given the temporary buildings set up for winter but fortunately lots of good photo ops. There’s even a small skating rink called The Pond. After watching for a while, I think I like this one better than Rockefeller Center’s. Not as grand for sure but somehow it just seems more friendly, more approachable. Then again, maybe I’m influenced by the signage: “The Perfect Antidote to the 9 to 5.” I haven’t had a 9 to 5 job in years, thank goodness, but if I did, I’m sure I’d need an antidote.

Rockefeller Center. No Christmas tree yet but an angel and a fish fountain are almost as good.
Rockefeller Center. No Christmas tree yet but an angel and a fish fountain are almost as good.

And of course, since I was in the hood, I had to stop in at Rockefeller Center, which is yes, really quite spectacularly beautiful despite the proud dad who didn’t seem to understand why I objected to his learning-to-walk toddler stomping on my beloved Blackberry, which I’d set down on the wall–for like less than a minute.

Peace and love,


Calling All Urban Cowgirls

Okay, so I started off my Monday night with the best of intentions, namely to drop in on my French language “meet-up” group, say a quick good evening–better make that bonsoir–drink a glass of vino and then call it an early night and catch up on my zzz’s.

Then again you know what they say about the road to hell…

At the meet-up, I ran into a friend who persuaded me to extend my evening. Our first stop was Bryant Park. Through the summer months, the park’s Summer Film Festival presents free-to-the public outdoor films every Monday night. Last night’s selection was the classic “Arsenic and Old Lace” with the forever wonderful Cary Grant. You just don’t say no to Cary Grant…The park lawn was covered in blankets as movie watchers noshed on picnic fare, enjoyed the cool, clear (for Manhattan) evening air and yes, watched the film. Think Silver Screen at its best.

But there’s more. Afterward, my friend proposed we drop-in at Johnny Utah’s at Rockefeller Center where some other friends of his were bellying up to the bar’s mechanical bull. By that time, I was wide-awake and game to add to my mounting roster of Manhattan experiences, so I went along for the um…ride.

Johnny Utah’s bills itself as the ultimate urban cowboy experience and last night’s Bull Riding Challenge didn’t disappoint. Think single women, couples, girlfriend dyads, and yes, even the occassional strapping Manhattan male all riding to the um…range while a play list from hip-hop to classic rock blared in the backdrop.

Bull riding is probably one of those pursuits best left as a spectator sport and, in my defense, I wasn’t exactly dressed for the occasion. So I passed–this time. That said, I was on that bull in spirit, really I was.

The above photos are, strictly speaking, from last year in Dallas. Still, you’ve met one mechanical bull, you’ve probably met them all. Then again, sometimes you just have to giddy up and go.


Live from New York…!!!

Hi All,

The famous Snow Flake on Fifth Avenue, the annual Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center (breathtaking!), the 75th year anniversary of the legendary Rockets, and Jack Frost nipping at…well, everything I “own”…Yes, you guessed it. I’m in the Big Apple soaking up the holiday vibe and walking the walk albeit in slightly more comfie shoes of my Strokes of Midnight heroine, romance novelist Becky Stone. So far I’ve skipped: a) the not so nice editorial news Becky receives at the book’s beginning (whew!), b) the totally medicinal martini she understandably quaffs afterward (replaced with a very good glass of shiraz), and c) the shoe-shopping splurge at Saks (drats!). I also haven’t managed to collide with any 6″4 blue-eyed blond-haired Max-like hunks on Avenue of the Americas–but hey, the trip’s not over yet. 😉

I hope you’ll stay tuned for the next update on my self-guided tour of the city at this most magical time of the year and please do look for Strokes of Midnight in brick-and-mortar and online bookstores.

Happy (Shoe) Shopping,