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Where is Bike Share?!

11 Sep

All summer I was reeling with excitement because New York City was finally getting bike share in the end of this Summer! For those of you who haven’t heard me yap non-stop about this, bike share is a network of communal bicycles available throughout the city. Designed mainly for short-distance commuting, bike share enables you to pick up a bike and one station and drop it off at another station at your destination, providing an alternative to walking and public transportation. NYC is slated to have 10,000 bikes available at 600 stations throughout the city, focused mostly in Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn. I was so happy we were catching up! Bike share programs are already available in roughly 165 cities around the world, including Boston, Washington DC, and London, which we feature on the Daisy Chain!

Me posing with Bike Share in London!

I was literally counting the days for NYC Bike share, called Citi Bike as it is sponsored by CitiBank, because I just started a Masters Degree program (!) that requires me to commute to the opposite side of town, and Citi Bike was going to make my life much easier. I had my route all mapped out: pick a bike on my corner, ride across town to the West Side, where I would get on the 1 Train, and then 100 blocks later I would be at school.

Sadly, the inauguration of Citi Bike was pushed back to March 2013 and I have been condemned to walk across town or take the bus. It’s actually not that serious, but I am on a little bit of a rant and I must emphasize again how much I love bike shares and how much I was looking forward to it. Alas, I must tell myself to be patient…OR, this provides the perfect excuse to hop down to DC, or over to London, or Mexico CIty, or Paris, or Medellin…

Me and my sister riding Boston’s Bike Share!

-Anne

Meatballs Anyone?

31 Aug

Looking for a good place to eat in New York this weekend?

Here goes a tip from my days in the Big Apple–>The Meatball Shop!

Sunday night and my boyfriend starts browsing through Timeout New York’s cheap eats. Sounds promising, right? As the word ‘meatball’ catches his attention, I cringe.

This is what I pictured…tempting to some, not so much to others…

I unwillingly make my way down from the Upper East Side to Stanton Street picturing a grimy joint with greasy meatball subs. As we get to the place, the hostess informs us it will take 45 minutes or more to get us seated which, in this case, was a pleasant surprise as I was not expecting a coveted place. As I walk in, I am immediately drawn by the welcoming atmosphere, the funky decoration and the upbeat tunes.

Great atmosphere!

We decide to ditch the wait and sit at the bar area, where a cheerful waitress explains us the menu. After deciding on our combination of meatballs, sauces and sides (there are so many possibilities, we took about 20 minutes!) we sit back and enjoy our drinks.  Shortly after, my vegetarian meatball arrives with my side of the chef’s greens topped with a spicy meat sauce—beyond delicious. We finish off our meal with an exquisite green apple sorbet. We learn they make everything in loco, from the meatballs to the ice-cream, adding to the place’s uniqueness.

Some of the dishes served at The Meatball Shop

It turned out to be a great experience that I recommend to friends looking for New York tips! So if you’re looking for a cheap eat in a trendy new York spot, this should be on your list!

Going for seconds when out of town friends visit!

-Flavia

Walking the World in 10 Blocks

14 Aug

New York is an amazing city, and writing about it is a pleasure. Today I want to highlight an extremely diverse community in Queens: Jackson Heights. I had never made it out there until a couple of weeks ago, it’s a significant train ride as Jackson Heights neighbors LaGuardia Airport, and it was definitely worth it!

With no agenda or time frame, I just got off the train and meandered to try to get a feel for the neighborhood. Walking along Roosevelt Avenue, there was a food truck serving up Equadorian street food, a Himalayan fish market, a Mexican travel agency, a Tibetan goods store, and many stores selling Halal products. I heard at least 5 languages being spoken on the street, and none of them English!

Pedestrian Plazas- gotta love them!

In a moment of brilliance, I coordinated my trip so that I would be there for lunch. Located by a pedestrian plaza offering some peace from the hustle of the main commercial strip, I stepped into Delhi Heights, an unassuming (but DELICIOUS!) Indian restaurant. I decided to try something new- a sandwich called Kathi Roll. Described as “Succulent tender pieces of chicken or lamb cooked and rolled in soft bread like roomali Roti or naan,” this sandwich delivered bursts of taste with enough spiciness to tease but not overwhelm. I paired it with a mango lassi- a delicious yogurt-based drink that cools and calms the tongue. Aside from the amazing food, because it borders a plaza, Delhi Heights had some great people watching, so I hung out observing and taking refuge from the heavy, humid, and hot NYC summer.

Kathi Roll and Mango Lassi at Delhi Heights

Once I cooled off a bit, I was ready for dessert in another part of the world. Walking along 37th Ave, which runs parallel to Roosevelt Ave., I stumbled into La Nueva Bakery. As a Brazilian living in NYC, I often feel nostalgic for all the treats and eats from home, and La Nueva Bakery had just what I needed to help fend off the saudades: churros and empanadas! Although these treats were the Uruguayan version of my hometown favorites- they certainly did the trick! I ordered a churro con dulce de leche to stay and a couple of empanadas to go (I had just had lunch!) The churro was crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, where the dulce de leche was inserted. It was just what I needed to get me through the weeks left before my trip to Brazil.

Churros con Dulce de Leche from La Nueva Bakery

The 7 train takes you right through the heart of Jackson Heights. Get off at 82nd Street to be right in the middle of the action! Jackson Heights might be a little off the beaten path, but it definitely gives you a taste (pun intended) of the many worlds nestled within New York City!

-Anne

Delhi Heights
37-66 74th Street
Jackson Heights, NY

La Nueva Bakery
85-02 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY

5pm vs. All-Nighters

19 Jul

Before moving to New York, I lived in Washington D.C. for about 3 to 4 months for an internship (it was actually my second time living in D.C. for the summer). D.C.’s work culture is largely influenced by the government’s schedule, and while it is perfectly normal to hear people shuffling around their desks at 4:59pm ready to go home, the same behavior would be frowned upon in New York.

D.C.’s 9-5 schedule has created an amazing happy hour culture, especially in the summer. You get invited to happy hours at work, you get invited to happy hours by the people you met at yesterday’s happy hour, you read about the best happy hours on the Washington Post and so on—the buzz is endless. In New York, however, the few happy hours I attended were later in the evening and did not carry as much buzz as they did in D.C.

Happy hour around Adams Morgan in D.C.

Before entering the New York corporate world, I was sure all-nighters were going to be something I only experienced when reminiscing about my college days. Little did I know that all-nighters and late nights were not a far-fetched reality of working people in New York City. The city moves at a fast pace and everybody seems to be in a frantic race to get somewhere and working hard and long hours seems to be the ticket there. Once you are caught up in this rhythm, leaving your desk at 5pm does not feel right.

My coworker’s picture of the sun rising at work…

Thankfully for New Yorkers, the city is still alive and sizzling later in the night when D.C. has already gone to bed–so there’s plenty of time to enjoy! Happy Hours usually happen in doubles, 4-8pm and a second round of Happy Hour from 11-1. New Yorkers work hard and play harder. You might not have met them at yesterday’s happy hour, but in the city that never sleeps, there is always someone, somewhere, who’s up for a drink.

Stay tuned for D.C. tips–my friend Rebecca will soon post on our “Visiting Voices,” and Mandy will give us a taste of outdoors summer fun talking about peach picking!

-Flávia

Foodie Fun at Schmorgasburg

17 Jul

Taking the L train on the weekends is always an adventure, and I was not alone in my trek across the East River to Schmorgasburg, a food market in Williamsburg. I was lured to Brooklyn by the promise of amazing food, great views, and a friend- and what a fun day it was!

Aerial shot of Schmorgasburg, courtesy of http://www.brooklynflea.com

Framed by dramatic views of the Empire State Building and mid-town Manhattan, Schmorgasburg features about 100 food vendors selling all types of food. From lumpia, a filipino street food, to vegan ice cream- whatever your craving, they have it at Schmorgasburg! I was hankering for a hot dog- done well, with relish and a soft bun. Brooklyn Bangers was calling my name. Made in Brooklyn, a trend at Schmorgasburg, this hot dog really hit the spot! I decided to try something different for dessert, and I knew I had found my match when I spotted Coffee Stout Chip cookies from The Cooke Guild! Guinness+coffee+chocolate chips= a good day!

Coffee Stout Chip Cookie, courtesy of The Cookie Guild

The food at Schmorgasburg is innovative and delicious, but one of the best things to do there is people watch! Schmorgasburg attracts people from all walks of life- hipsters recovering from hangovers, trendy young families, and people like me- amateur foodies wanting to explore the “outer boroughs.”

Bring your appetite, some water, and a sheet to picnic guys, because there’s a lot to taste and experience at Schmorgasburg!

-Anne

Schmorgasburg opens on Saturdays from 11-6pm. Take L train to Bedford Ave. or East River Ferry!

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