Friday, December 3, 2010

Angie is Away is currently on hiatus while BAA travels around the world for the next year or so. Stay tuned to for updates on the adventure!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Flat Stephanie & The Macy's Parade

My precious little cousin Amyah in Wisconsin sent me an unusual surprise in the mail a few weeks ago - my very own Flat Stephanie. Flat Stephanie is a friend of Flat Stanley, of course, and the two have been known to fold up into envelopes, mail themselves to relatives in interesting places and expect to be photographed with all sorts of cool landmarks. Amyah's whole class is participating and out of everyone she knows in the world, she thought I would be the best person to introduce Flat Stephanie to NYC.
I waited until Thanksgiving to share Flat Stephanie with Manhattan. When I pulled her out of my purse, Hodgie said, "What the heck is that? And why does it only have one arm?"
I couldn't really explain why Flat Stephanie has just one arm... that's a question for Amyah.
Much to our astonishment, as soon as I removed her from my bag, four different strangers at the Macy's Parade said, "Hey look, it's Flat Stanley!" Yeah, they said Stanley, but they got the general drift. She's a celebrity!
Stephanie really enjoyed the floats at the parade, and she was really glad (on BAA's behalf) the weather was mild and dry. 
"Santa! I know him! I KNOW HIM!"
I dropped the pictures in the mail for Amyah and her class today... and since I had so much fun with this project, I'm wondering, do I need my own version of Flat Stephanie to take on my trip? Perhaps Flat Liz, Flat Andy, Flat Hodgie & Flat RaeRae?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thank You for New York

On the corner of West 47th St. and 10th Avenue, you’ll find Five Brothers Gourmet Market. Open 24 hours a day, Five Brothers is part deli and part grocery, with overpriced $7 boxes of cereal and reasonable $3 sandwiches. Somehow the gourmet part eluded me all these years, as I have only patronized the brothers for junk food, diet sodas and tasty grilled cheeses.

There are plenty of other options for a quick bite or a can of corn in the neighborhood, but early in my NYC life I singled Five Brothers out as my favorite. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been short on cash (they have a $15 minimum for cards) and they’ve said without hesitation I could just pay them back whenever. That’s never happened in my hometown.

Since a 4 a.m. incident three years ago, my favorite cashier at Five Brothers has called me Twinkie. Having made our way toward home from Friday night karaoke at Mr. Biggs, Erin and I stopped by to stock up on our usual late night snack – chips and dip. I was stricken with a sudden craving that only a baked item with an unbelievably long shelf life would satisfy – a golden Twinkie. There were none to be found next to the Ho-Hos and the Ding-Dongs, but I was ravenous for a Twinkie, so Cousin went to the stock room to find one.

And find one he did. Ever since that night, Twinkies have always been in stock and on display at Five Brothers, and though I’ve never purchased another one, every time I come in the store, he shouts, “Hey, Twinkie!”

During our brief but frequent conversations over the past 51 months, I learned that my favorite cashier is not one of the namesake five brothers. Scandalous, I know. So I call him Cousin.

When I travel for weeks at a time, Cousin and his colleagues notice. “I haven’t seen you in a while, Twinkie,” he asks as I wait for my grilled cheese. “Where have you been?”

Last night, I paid for my pepper jack grilled cheese on wheat like always, and then it struck me that I should probably tell Cousin that my time in NYC was winding down so he wouldn’t wonder what happened to me.

“Cousin, I’ve got bad news,” I said, trying to be lighthearted. His face fell.

“Shut up, you’re moving.” He guessed right away. “I can’t believe it. The end of an era.”

He didn’t ask me where I was going. He just bagged up my sandwich and sour cream and onion chips and said solemnly, “$5.”

“I’ll come say goodbye before I go, “ I said, and he nodded.

As soon as I was out the door, the tears started to roll. When I moved to New York, I expected everyone to be hard and cold and mean. Now that I’m leaving, I can honestly say New York is as friendly a place as any I’ve ever visited. Sure, New Yorkers don’t make eye contact and they might run you over if you’re walking too slowly, but when it comes down to brass tacks, New Yorkers have always had my back.

From Cousin and his cohorts at Five Brothers, to the street vendor who makes my chicken pita, to the sweet lady at the Mexican restaurant on 9th who laughs when I order tostadas in my affected español, to the karaoke leader at Mr. Biggs who calls me Trouble, to the precious old Chinese man who picks up my laundry and doesn’t understand a word I say, to the guys who play dominoes right next door to my apartment and always wave at me when I'm on the way home from work, to my toothless, loveable superintendent… there are so many lovely characters in this town who have made my time here an adventure every single day.

I have a lot to be thankful for and tonight, I’m just thankful for New York.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Only in New York

I'm getting very, very nostalgic and frankly, quite sad about leaving NYC. It's been a brilliant four years! Check out one of my favorite NYC songs from Thoroughly Modern Millie.

My favorite line? Each day it's free admission to those who dream.

The wonders of the world are said to stop at seven
But truth to tell my figures don't agree
I number them at eight, with one so close to Heaven
The others pale, their magic stale
Just take a look and see

Step right up to Treasure Isle
Ev'ry inch of it, a sky-high mile
Fairytale land
Only in New York

Hey castle-builder
Want the moon, and nothing less?
Work for years, then overnight success
I know firsthand
Only in New York

Each day it's free admission to those who dream
You set your sights all the way upstream
Off you go, for you know that cream will rise

Make that wish, seek that thrill
Come and get it, 'cause you always will
Strike up the band
Only in New York

Each day it's free admission to those who dream
You set your sights all the way upstream
Off you go, for you know that cream will rise

New, improved and rearranged
It's ever-changing, yet it's never changed
Life on command
Hear what I'm saying, oh but it's grand
That's why I'm staying, right here as planned
Only in New York
Only in New York
Only in New York