A lot happened in May — I flew back from Chile, spent 10 days in Connecticut, and worked in New York City the rest of the month. Here’s a recap of how it all went down.
I returned to the States on a red-eye… then flew from D.C. to Hartford… crashed for a few hours… and saw a play at Yale Rep that night. It’s become routine for me to make theater plans immediately upon returning from a big trip. I need a fix! I met my sister at her place in New Haven and we walked downtown before the show. Mary Jane is a new play by Amy Herzog about a mother caring for a young toddler (off-stage) who has lots of medical problems. It explores the way women are caretakers in these situations (moms, nurses, doctors, clergy, neighbors) and the community support surrounding these parents. I suspect it will run in NYC at some point in the future.
Shout out to Arethusa Farm Dairy for their delicious ice cream! I honestly just went inside to check it out, but when I saw they had pumpkin ice cream on the menu, I had to try it. This is a single scoop, split between two flavors (I also sampled the almond toasted coconut), and it cost like $3.50. I couldn’t even finish it before I had to leave to see the show. Tragedy.
Played Scrabble with Dad (he beat me so badly — why do I subject myself to this?!) and a stroll in New Haven with Beth & Oscar:
It was so nice to be home for Mother’s Day weekend. First, I have to share this perfect travel-themed card I got my mom:
That Saturday the weather wasn’t great, but we had a nice day at home playing games. My sister came over with ingredients to make lemon crepes:
Family photo time!
Mom made dinner, whipping up salmon, asparagus, and a delicious mango cilantro quinoa salad. YUM. (Don’t worry, on Mother’s Day we got pizza so she didn’t have to cook.)
My sister and I went up to Massachusetts to visit our cousin Lauren and her beautiful family. We went for a walk around a nearby reservoir and then got ice cream after. So much fun to spend time with these guys.
And we got together with our cousin Terry for a pizza dinner, and her lifelong friend Judy joined us. Really fun night:
One afternoon I drove out to Hammonasset State Park, a favorite spot from my childhood. (Perhaps not coincidentally, the outlets are nearby so I had to stop there briefly…)
I also went to R.J. Julia Bookstore in Madison — it’s one of the loveliest bookstores in Connecticut. They have a cute cafe in the back that serves legitimately delicious food too; I only had a latte, but their whole menu (and cupcakes) look delicious.
And then I went to New York City for the rest of the month, for three back-to-back TV gigs. I stayed at my favorite Airbnb in Harlem — a nice couple rents out two of the rooms in their apartment, and while this was my third time staying with them, it was my first time in the larger room overlooking the Hudson River.
The best part, hands down, is this view from my bed:
I took photos of this view every day, admiring the shifting light and colors. My favorite time was around 5:15am just when it started to get light outside. Some mornings the sky was pink! Here are photos at various times during the day / night:
My first gig was the Turner Upfront. Every major network hosts an upfront in the spring to reveal their fall line-up and woo advertisers to spend lots of money with them. Turner owns TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and more. So we had presenters like Samantha Bee, James Corden (he’s hosting a rap battle show in the fall), Anderson Cooper, Conan O’Brien, Anthony Bourdain, and more. It was fun to work on one of these.
Next up was the Peabody Awards. This show honors important media — everything from documentaries to podcasts to TV shows to journalism. Some of the projects everyone has heard of (Beyonce’s Lemonade) and others you most likely have not heard of (like Hell and High Water, and interactive website that shows what would happen if a Katrina-like hurricane hit Houston). Now I have a long list of things to check out! Rashida Jones was our host. Here we are inputting script changes after rehearsal — major thanks to photographer Randy Shropshire for capturing this.
I snapped this photo backstage at the end of the show — Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Timothy Simons are accepting for Veep, with presenter Senator Al Franken standing behind them. Rashida Jones is in the foreground watching from backstage.
Louis C.K. was also there, as he won for Horace & Pete, as well as Better Things, for which he’s an exec. producer.
Some more photos from the night… thanks to Sabrina for hiring me and being so terrific to work with! And there was an ice cream bar at the after party so we had to check that out. And the bottom-right photo shows our glamorous backstage set-up — that’s my work space next to our teleprompter op.
A shot of Lincoln Center near dusk:
Poke bowls and Lincoln Center… these are a few of my favorite things:
Welcome to the food / coffee section of this post!
While working on the Peabodys down near Wall Street, I checked out Black Fox Coffee and got a healthy lunch at Dig Inn. Less healthy: the avocado pesto pasta with chicken at Grey Dog and this insanely delicious chocolate chip cookie at Levain Bakery (seriously, best cookie I’ve ever had).
I stayed in Hamilton Heights, Harlem around 145th Street. As I said, it was my third time staying here, but I’ve always been working elsewhere or been in such a rush that until now I haven’t properly explored the area. Turns out it’s pretty great. My favorite coffee shop is called Hamilton’s Bakery… while the whole place is charming and their menu is great, I’d be lying if I said the main draw was anything other than the maple bacon cinnamon rolls. I also liked Monkey Cup — they have two different cold brews and let me do a taste test. My second-favorite coffee shop (after Hamilton) was Manhattanville Coffee — that’s me drinking their horchata iced latte in the photo below-right. Other favorite coffee shops in Harlem: Double Dutch, Harlem Coffee Co., and Lennox Coffee. And yes… I did keep a list of these and crossed off each one as I tried them…
I spent a lot of time around 125th Street in Harlem because we we’ve been working on Showtime at the Apollo for the last several weeks. This area is known for its soul food and French cuisine. Here are some places we checked out during lunch break… Jacob’s soul food salad bar, coq au vin at Maison Harlem, spicy chicken sandwich and sweet potato apple soup at Red Rooster, and a salmon burger at B&K French Cuisine. The joke was that we started every lunch break in search of salad, but inevitably ended up with something far less healthy. My waistline has not recovered.
View along the Hudson around 145th Street and Riverside — there is a lovely park here and on my one day off I got coffee and sat on a bench reading for a few hours.
View of the George Washington Bridge:
City College of New York, which I often walked by en route to the Apollo Theater each morning:
More views of Harlem…
It’s probably not a surprise that Alexander Hamilton lived in this neighborhood (Hamilton Heights) way back around 1800. I was walking by this church one morning and saw the statue below — of course, it turned out to be of Hamilton.
And then around the corner from the church I ran into the Hamilton Grange! (The same home mentioned in “It’s Quiet Uptown” if you are familiar with the musical.) Turns out the Grange was originally constructed down the street, then was moved next to the church, and finally relocated across the street to its present location:
Here’s a photo of when it was located next to the church with the statue, shown two photos above:
The Grange is run by the National Park Service and it’s free to visit. There is a very small museum in the basement, and you can see the upstairs main floor during certain hours when a docent is present. I spontaneously stopped by one afternoon on my way home from work.
It was such a pleasure to run into friends in NYC. One of my favorite nights was when I got a last-minute rush ticket to Pacific Overtures at Classic Stage Co. and spotted my good friend Sarah across the theater! She was there with a friend Barrie who I’d met once before, and we all went out for dinner afterwards. Such a fun, spontaneous night. Wish I’d taken a photo of us!
Loved meeting up with my former Y&R co-worker Greg — here we are grabbing drinks at Don’t Tell Mama, a piano bar in midtown:
Mini Emerson reunion on 125th Street! Here’s Sophia, Adam, Sabrina, and me following our dinner at Maison Harlem. If you compared this to a photo from E.I.V. (Emerson Independent Video) twelve years ago, we pretty much look the same.
And my LA roommates / good friends Jenny & Ziggy came to visit NYC!
We met up by the World Trade Center memorial. Here is the Oculous next to that site:
It was my first time visiting the 9/11 Museum — what an experience. Here are some shots from inside the museum.
Here is a caption for the steel pictured below: “Section of steel facade, North Tower, floors 93-96 — recovered from the WTC site after Sept. 11, 2001. On 9/11, hijacked Flight 11 tour into the north facade of the North Tower, creating a gash from the 93rd through the 99th floors and tearing apart steel columns weighting many tons. The underbelly of the aircraft mangled the top of this facade segment with force sufficient to twist and shred the steel.”
There are no photos allowed in the main section of the museum, which takes a long time to go through (and is very crowded). That main section is the best part.
Afterwards, we went to Lombardi’s for pizza.
And then capped off the afternoon with Big Gay Ice Cream:
I tried the pretzel one for the first time (American Globs)… so good:
One last shot from Washington Square Park:
Perhaps the highlight of the whole month was getting to go backstage at a Broadway show for the first time ever. A friend of mine is the assistant stage manager on Sunset Boulevard, and she very kindly gave me a full tour after the show. I was such a nerd and soaked up every minute! Thanks McKenzie!
I saw over a dozen shows in NYC this past month and will do a full post on that soon!