A Night At The 71st Annual Tony Awards

I still can’t believe it happened.

I’m still pinching myself that on Sunday the 11th of June, I was at the Tony Awards. It was the most surreal night, I felt like Cinderella but I probably looked like one of her ugly step sisters as it was 33 degrees and I’m pretty sure all my make up melted off by the time I reached the theater but I didn’t care because I was going to the Tony’s…as a seat filler, the highest honor next to being nominated.

While I am writing this, I’m also listening to the Spotify Playlist of the ‘Tony Awards 2017’ and I highly recommend it as it has some great songs from this year’s nominated musicals and If you very want to get into the spirit of musical theatre, I highly recommend listening to ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’ from Sunset Boulevard as it’s just beautiful and Glenn Close’s voice is so soothing. I even passed by the Queen herself on Sunday night and she was looking radiant but I’m getting ahead of myself so I’ll start from the beginning: How I did I become a seat filler. Now that’s a good question and the answer is that I am part of the Intern Theater Network (TIN) here in New York and TIN is part of the American Theater Wing which they and Broadway League host the Tony Awards every year. As part of TIN, I go to bi monthly seminars  given by theatre professionals as well as free tickets to shows so naturally when I received an email from TIN to fill out a survey about my internship for a chance to be a seat filler at this year’s Tony Awards I jumped at the chance, not thinking anything would come from it and yet, lo and behold I was accepted and I WAS GOING TO THE TONY’S!!!!!!!!!!!!

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(This email was my version of Charlie Bucket’s Golden Ticket)

I received this email on the 2nd of June so thankfully I had more than a week to prepare and also stress about getting ready on a budget. New York is an expensive town and I had to get ready for the ball and not a fairy godmother in sight so thankfully it was H&M to rescue for the dress and bag and I spent a whole afternoon running around Manhattan looking for a pair of shoes. The heat has also not been kind this week  but none the less, all I had to do was getting ready and go.

I didn’t sleep much the night before due to the heat and nerves such as ‘what if I trip and fall and everyone looks at me’ so I toss and turn anxiously awaiting Awards day. I arise from my bed at 10:30am and jump out of bed, running around and trying to get things done. I have everything, now I need was my hair and make up done. Thankfully living in Jackson Heights means there are loads of cheap salons around me but unfortunately my hairdresser didn’t speak any english so that was an obstacle we both had to overcome but thankfully she made me look pretty except by the time I got back to my apartment, I had to put a can’s worth of hairspray in my hair to hold my curls and waves in place. Next was make up and this is where I struggle the most, I am no MUA but I tried my best as I contoured, baked and painted my face within 15 minutes as I was racing against the clock. While climbing into my dress and shoes, it was slowly becoming a reality that I was going to Theatre’s most prestigious night out. I looked in the mirror and I was ready go.

Look at my glowing face in after I re-applied all my make up in the ladies room.

Question: How many of you have ever gotten the Subway into Manhattan in an evening gown and heels? And how many of you ever done it in 33 degree heat? I know I keep going on about the heat but I want to emphasise just how bad it was. By the time I walked the 3 blocks from my apartment to the train I was all hot and bothered, trying to fan myself. Thank god for the subway’s air conditioning. It was like leaving the oven and entering into a fridge and thankfully I was able to get a seat and practice for the night ahead! I felt awkward being on my own, all dressed up and being surrounded my people in summer clothes but I knew I was not the only one who was feeling like this today. I’m sure other people were also using the subway to get to Radio City Music Hall.

As I got out at 42nd St/Times Square, the hot air hit me in the face and so did the rush of people heading for the train, trying to dodge that in new high heels is not an easy task but I managed and as I climbed the stairs and reached the street,  my excitement was rising with every step. Walking through Times Square and seeing all the tourists amongst the Broadway theatres was an odd but pleasant sight to witness.

I was so close I could feel and so could my shoes as my feet were being pinched and tightened with every step but I just hold myself to keep breathing and focusing on ‘Heel, Toe, Heel, Toe’. As I turned the corner and approached Radio City Music Hall, I was bowed over the red carpet already set up outside and of course the NYPD and barriers all over the place. I was here, now all I had to do was get inside which was surprisingly easy after they let me through the barrier. I entered the Golden doors (after throughout 3 security check points) and gazed at the beautiful theater inside before being led to my ‘seat’ to await instructions and be brief on the duties ahead of the evening. Everyone looked gorgeous in their dresses as I looked around the room to see if I could spot any familiar faces from TIN. The organisers were extremely friendly and welcoming as they described our job as ‘a big game of musical chairs’ and that’s basically what seat filling mostly is. I could hardly pay attention as I watched the stage get set up and ready for the show ahead.

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After we were briefed, we were allowed one final bathroom/water break before the guest arrived and we had to be in the seats. I spent most of that time taking selfies in the ladies room and drinking enough water so that I would not pass out with the heat. As I returned to our seats behind the camera and monitors, I got chatting to a lovely group of girls from California. They asked me where I was from and after I replied with ‘Ireland’- I was met with gasps and declarations of love for Dublin and Galway and this made me homesick for Dublin AND Berkeley. It’s nice to know that you can make friends easily with an Irish accent.

Our conversation was disrupted by the parade of guests coming in and taking their seats and I was in prime ‘celeb spotting’ mode before being brought up to seat fill in the front for the creative arts awards. These are technical awards being presented and practitioners such as teachers being awarded for their hard work with a Tony Award and grants from Citi Bank because “Theater inspires” which it does but so does funding. These awards were also being presented before the show went to live broadcast so plenty of guests and nominees were still arriving and getting settled. I saw John Legend and Chrissey Teigen being brought to their seats as well as David Hyde Pierce chatting with some other guests as well as Christine Ebersole sitting across from me. After these awards were presented, the camera crew and organisers were in a frenzy to get ready for the live broadcast as well as more people kept arriving and mingling in the aisles. I kept looking around me to eagerly and to be alert in case I had to move when in the row in front of me was an older gentleman and his wife sitting down. Now hold onto your hats because…. it was only former vice president Joe Biden and his wife Jill, yes that’s right JOE BIDEN. As I was moved out of my seat, the coordinators were scrambling trying to get people into their seats for the start of the show and it so nearly happened that I was gonna sit with the Bidens.  They stood up to let me in and just as I was about to step into the aisle…Another guest tapped me on the shoulder to inform me that was his seat. Damn! I awkwardly stand there confused trying to find another seat before Joe Biden looks behind him and sees me and another girl standing there- I swear this was our interaction:

Joe: ‘Hey girls, what’s going on? Do you not want to sit with us?’

Me: ‘Umm…umm…We would love to Joe but unfortunately we can’t…I love your work!’

And then I ran away. So that’s how I met the 44th Vice President of the United States. I was then relocated in a row further back for the opening number but I still had a great view of the stage and Kevin Spacey nailed the opening number with help from Stephen Colbert and Whoopi Goldberg. I was enjoying the start of the show but unfortunately between awards or straight after a Broadway’s performance, I had to act like a ninja and quickly move from seat to seat. whenever I was put and sometimes that meant running all full speed down the aisle in heels while trying to weave through guests and dodge the cameras. I prayed I wouldn’t trip and fall and thankfully I did neither; I did however accidentally step on a few people’s toes and grab a woman’s hair while I was trying to get into the middle of a row but sure look, it was bound to happen anyways.

I was happily enjoying the show for the first half until once more I was kicked out of a seat and there was no where for the coordinators to put me so I was ushered to the back of the auditorium to sit behind the monitor screens and wait. This felt like an eternity waiting to move again, unfortunately I had to weave my head through the screens and people standing to get a tunnel vision of the stage and it’s performances. I did not mind missing Come From Away’s performance or Miss Saigon’s but I was gutted when Ben Platt came onto the stage to perform ‘Waving Through A Window’  from Dear Evan Hansen. If you’ve been living under a rock; I suggest you put it on Spotify right now while you read this. I got to see him perform the song through a shiver of the black curtain and my head weaved through other people standing in my way because I WAS NOT MISSING THIS SONG! I was singing along with him and as he and the cast finished and took their bow; I shot up from my seat and gave a standing ovation with the rest of the audience and I wiped away a tear; mainly because I knew my chances of getting a ticket to the show was slim to none because *Spoiler Alert* He won the tony for best actor in a musical and the show also won from best musical but at least I got to see ‘Waving Through A Window’ even if it was from way in the back.

I was getting antsy and wanted to get back up to where the action was so myself and another seat filler Mark thought about running down the aisle to the coordinators to be sat next but thankfully we didn’t or our asses would have been out on the street. A few more minutes passed and I was luckily sent back to the middle where I was sitting right behind Tim Minchin, the creator of Matilda and Groundhog Day the musicals and It took a lot of willpower to not tap him on the shoulder and say how much I loved his work but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed speak to the guests unless they started a conversation with me hence Joe Biden talked to me first so that was fine and also who would pass up an opportunity to talk to Joe Biden. I am getting side tracked, I apologise.

Soon after I was moved further up to the front and I actually passed by Ben Platt and Sara Bareilles who had that hit song ‘Love Song’ in 2008, remember? Well now she’s on Broadway starring in Waitress and also wrote the music and lyrics for the show too so she was in the aisles talking to other musical people while also trying to do a sketch about flogging pies to sell Waitress to the masses. I loved it and definitely wanted to grab a dessert from her but sadly the production crew wheeled it away before I could blink. It was getting towards the end of the show as most of the musicals had performed and the top awards were being given out however Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 came on stage to perform their ‘Balaga’ number and because I was sitting on the aisle, I got a rattle shaker from the performers as they danced in the aisles and as soon the spectacular number was finished; I had to awkwardly run up back to the monitors with a basket containing rattles and dumped it down before being grabbed and told to run back towards the front as they need people to fill the middle. I was getting a great workout I have to say. I honestly was catching my breath by the time it came to the end of the show and thankfully I had an unreal middle view of the stage and got to witness Lin Manuel Miranda’s exchange with Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright Penn as their House of Cards characters, Frank and Claire Underwood in person and it was the greatest awards presenting of the night. And of course, me and the whole auditorium burst of into laughter when Bette Midler had the longest speech and went over the music to thank everyone involved in Hello Dolly! as well as erupting into applause and cheering when Dear Evan Hansen won for best musical. It was the best ending to the night.

After that and as Kevin Spacey and Patti LePone sang to close the show, everyone was mingling and taking pictures on the stage and I was free to go. I said ‘thank you’ to the organisers and the coordinators and I grabbed a playbill as a memento before trying to get a selfie with the stage.

 

There was much excitement as people were leaving the theater but I lingered on to be a fly on the wall and watch celebrity and the guest interact like the creep that I am, I also wanted to get an extra rattle from The Great Comet so I was hunting in the aisles for one when Christian Borle from Falsettos and NBC’s Smash and his entourage passed me in the aisle and I also took Gavin Creel’s photo with an eager fan as he smiled and cradled his tony award. I didn’t want to leave as I moved closer to the stage while people were still around and ignore the FOH staff to exit the building and I couldn’t believe my eyes when Glenn Close walked right passed me and looked like the Queen she is in a gorgeous grey gown. I ushered towards the exiting doors and was caught in a crowd surrounding Leslie Odom jr as he took pictures and autographs for fans before being escorted out by security.

The main lobby of Radio City Hall was a mess as everyone was scrambling to get out at the same time meanwhile I was trying to get downstairs to the ladies room and more importantly the water fountain; it was 11:30pm, still roasting and I was still dehydrated. I left the theater with another TIN member Caroline as we exited and took more photos outside the building, not wanting the magical night to end before we parted ways for our after parties. There were many buses and coaches waiting to take guests to the main Tony’s afterparty at the Rockefeller centre but unfortunately I did not have a golden ticket for that part of the night sadly. Instead I walked in the hot night air to the TIN after party at O’Lunney’s Irish bar in Times Square to join the other seat fillers and exchange stories of who they saw/sat beside. I was exhausted and my feet were sore and blistered- it was time to call it a night, I said goodbye to the new friends I made and limped with my swollen sore feet to get the subway home. As I waited for the train to arrive I was still in shock of everything that had happened over the past few hours and I as boarded the subway to take me home to Queens, my Cinderella fantasy was over and I turned back into a Pumpkin.

Apologies for the extremely long blog entry but it’s been my greatest adventure yet.

Until Next time,

Much Love,

Ari X

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weekend Odyssey

 

I’m gonna start of this blog post with the disclaimer that the picture above was not what happened to me on a previous Saturday, this a random picture I took from Creative Commons, but this is what I wanted to happen to me. Alas the rain was pouring and the party was far away.

I live in Queens and the party was also in Queens yet a 30 minute journey turned into a 3 and half hours odyssey. Let me set the scene and while I’m doing that, you might as well settle in, pour yourself a glass of wine/ crack open a can and put on Scissors Sister’s Let’s Have A Kiki because it perfectly describe our odyssey.

‘Oooh, she’s been a bitch tonight.
And by bitch I mean this rain; no cab, nowhere.
So I had to put on the wig, and the heels
And the lashes, and take the train, to the club
And you know the MTA should stand for:
Mother-fuckers Touching My Ass
So then I get to the club
Looking like a drowned, harassed rat
And I’m greeted, not by Miss Rose at the door
But our friend, Johnny Five-O
Yes honey, the NYPD shut down the party
No ? for me, I don’t even know what’s the tea
So I hope you’re up girl
Because we are all coming over
Lock the doors, lower the blinds
Fire up the smoke machine and put on your heels
Cause I know exactly what we need’

 

So we wake up on Saturday morning and it’s cold and pouring rain outside. I instantly felt at home, all I needed was a cup of green tea and some furbabies at the end of bed but I was not at home, I was in New York and I had a Eurovision viewing party to get too. After getting up and getting ready, we grabbed our umbrellas, headed outside and instantly got drenched. I’m really emphasising the rain for pathetic fallacy. It barely rains in New York but of course on all days when I actually have somewhere social to be, the heavens open and my chances for getting to this party were closing fast.

After trudging to get a bagel and coffee, we headed back into the rain and waiting relentlessly for the bus. If you’ve ever waited for a bus in Queens, you’ll know it’s worse than Dublin Bus. 30 minutes later and I could feel the puddles in my shoes, my calves were not bone dry and everything was not coming up Milhouse. Me and Conor looked at each other and we sighed. We were already 20 minutes late for the party so we sucked it up and took out our phones and try to uber/lyft and both apps were not working. I felt like this was a sign from the universe that it didn’t want me to go and be social. The universe was also quick to under-estimate that I was on a mission. A mission to day drink. No rain was gonna stop me.

Now if you have common sense, you would have gone back to your apartment that is 3 blocks away, change your socks and dry off, wait for uber/lyft to work and start all over again. We did not have any common sense, instead we tried to get wi-fi in McDonald’s and then Duane Reade’s like the basic bitches we are and no luck. We then decided to try the subway even though many stations had shut down due to flooding. Making it down to the Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street Subway station against the wind and water in my face, I couldn’t stop hearing Let’s Have A Kiki in my head. After waiting 20 minutes on the platform for a train to arrive, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel. The light of the R train slowly pulling into the station, I never thought I’d be happy to see the R train so much in my life. We hopped on and sighed, finally our Saturday was back on track.

And then the MTA made on announcement over the speaker…’Attention Ladies and Gentlemen, due to train delays and obstructions, we will not making stops at these stations’. Foiled again, we got off the subway but I was still determined to get there. We dried off in the station while waiting for uber (lyft was taking too long) to redownload and work. 40 minutes later and our knight in dull white armour pulled up to the station. An Uber to the rescue but we were already uber late….pun intended.

We arrived at the party at 5:15pm, it started at 2pm. We were super uber late but thankfully so were other people so we threw down our jackets and umbrella and cracked open some beers. Thankfully, we hadn’t missed that much of the Eurovision as we settled in to dry off and watch the rest of the show.

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A blurry instagram photo of the atmosphere, It’s blurry because there’s was probably water in my photo. Oh, how I miss the camera on my Iphone.

Portugal won all too soon, much to the room’s despair but I was 3 beers in so I was happily merry. I would also like to disclaim that I am not a diehard Eurovision fan but I enjoy going to viewing parties like this and soaking up the super fans’ energy and passion. We all then began chatting after the show had ended, I also did not want to go back out into the rain but to stay inside and keep the party going. Alas, the party hosts were trying to clean up and we left for June bar around the corner for more drinks. This is a typical hipster bar with mismatch furniture and craft beers but they have great grilled cheeses and tunes are unreal. They had Donna Summer’s I Feel Love playing in the background. We stayed there for a few hours before following our friend Caroline into the city, I had relishing having a Saturday off and I was not about to have it end. We once again headed out into the storm. It was about 9:30pm and the rain had not stopped all day. Not once.

So we solider on as the drowned, harassed rats we were, as you can see from below.

We continued our journey into the night and into Alphabet City. We were to meet Caroline’s friends at a local bar in the area but before we did anything, we needed food as a bagel and handful of crisps vs. a few drinks is not going to end well, cue pizza. Solo Pizza to the rescue and their garlic knots were like little puffs of heaven. If you’re in a New York pizza place, invest in the garlic knots as garlic bread is not existent here and it was 3 for a dollar! Standard price but they’re were so good or maybe it was the alcohol and impending pneumonia talking. As we scoffed our pizza and freshen up, Caroline’s friends said to meet them at Zum Schneider, a kitschy, hipster version of a beer hall complete with traditional German ales and cider and even a mouse! No I’m not kidding, there was a small mouse just running around the whole bar all night long and my entertainment was watching it run circles around a woman’s feet as she sipped her beer without ever realising. Ignorance really is bliss.

Conor can vouch that the beer was amazing, whereas I drink ‘beers’ such as Twisted Teas which is basically alcoholic lemon ice tea so I opted for Hard Cider: Wölffer No.139, Long Island NY and it was deliciously dry and crisp but not delicious enough for it to be $10. Yeah $10, so I sipped and nursed it all night long, making it turn into 2 drinks instead of one.

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(But at least it was 6.9% and the bottle was pretty.)

The atmosphere of the bar was lovely as it was quiet enough to hear each other talk and have a conversation but lively enough with music as a couple were randomly dancing in the middle of the bar, even as we were packing up to leave and the barmen were putting up stools and closing up shop but hey, each to their own.

We parted ways and left the bar at 2am as after our odyssey, me and my purse were stretched thin and so was Conor, we had been on the go for basically 12 hours and it was time to call it a night, as the others headed off to another bar, we headed home to sleep via our second knight in dull white armour. Yes, you guessed it, another uber.

As we got into our front door, I was relieved to finally be home (even if it is in Queens) and peel off my damp clothes and sopping wet shoes to get into dry, warm pyjamas and get some rest as the rain provide a nice lullaby to sleep to instead of the usual traffic and loud side gate outside our window.

It may have been an odyssey but at least it turned into a fun adventure.

Ari

X

My Ode to Dublin

 

I’ve been homesick recently.

It’s been bubbling and rising for a while now and as much as I love New York, I miss Dublin and all it’s attributes. I miss the winding and bustling streets that carry you from one side of the city to the other. I miss the culture and art seeping from every corner, every street and every open space. I miss friendly faces and the chance encounter of seeing an old companion in town.

I just miss it all.

I suppose I didn’t realise how much until surprise, surprise, I was drinking in a bar on Saturday night. I swung the bathroom door open and accidentally hit the bartender and after apologizing profusely, she looked at me and gawked ‘OMG, are you Irish?’.  Cue a drunken American girl’s monologue about how much she loves Ireland and she’s always wanted to travel there. How much she has always wanted to drink in the pubs and that her two friends are currently in Dublin and she is extremely jealous.

With that proclamation, she took me to the bar to get in a shot of Irish Whiskey and I was all on board, while at the bar, I met her friends and was introduced as ‘her new Irish friend’. I taught her how to toast ‘Sláinte’ and we downed our shots. She asked me for suggestions and I drunkenly scribbled them on receipt paper so here are my top 3 things I love to do in Dublin.

  1. Climbing and hiking Howth Head followed by strolling through Howth village and enjoying a pizza and pint in The Dog House Blue’s Tea Room.

2. Having a drink and shopping in the Sunday flea markets in The Generator Hostel as well as a film in The LightHouse Cinema in Smithfield.

3. Soaking in the sun in the Iveagh Gardens before strolling down the canal and towards The Bernard Shaw for a drink and a good night out whether it be in the smoking area or the Big Blue Bus.

She thanked me as I smiled and returned to my friends. I hope she enjoys Dublin as much as I miss it. I can;t wait to return but I also can’t to experience New York in the summertime.

What are your top 3 things to do in Dublin?

And as always,

Much love,

Ari

X

Is the Grass always Greener?

 

First off, let me apologize by sounding like a Carrie Bradshaw thought from mid series Sex And The City but that is the question I am asking myself recently.

I’ve been in a weird mood this week, It’s been a rough week and as much as I trying to appreciate everything I have right now in NYC; I’ve been bitten by the homesickness bug and I can’t wait to be home, in my own bed with a cup of green tea (let’s be honest, a glass of  prosecco) and cuddling with my cats. While I’ve been indulging in these memories, I couldn’t help but wonder (I had to, couldn’t resist as I’m embodying Carrie now), wasn’t it just last year when I was at home that I couldn’t wait for NYC and everything that it would bring? Classic Carrie question and classic grass is always greener scenario.

I’m now even asking myself that question for when I return home; Will I be happier when I go home than I was in New York? Don’t get me wrong- New York is a phenomenal city and I love it here but carrying on from my previous blog entry; it can get a bit much. The concrete jungle can chew you up and spit you out quicker than taking a subway from one end of Manhattan to the other. I’ve been feeling like this pretty much every week and it’s got me thinking that hasn’t this been the case since I graduated college. Always ‘I will happier when I’m doing this’, ‘I’ll be happier when I’m there’, ‘I wish I was there instead of here, then everything would be perfect’, again it’s the grass is always greener on the other side. Sometimes I wish I could just go back to the safety net of college and be back in UCD circa 2014 but we can’t go back, only forwards and even if I was to go back to 2014, I would still in hunting for the greener grass.

Is this a self-defeating quality I have? Maybe, we all do it from time to time. It’s probably a millennial thing but I feel as I’ve delving into this question, other friends I know feel the same; ‘I wish I got into this course’, ‘I wish I moved here’ or ‘I wish I pursued this or that career/goal’. It’s negative thinking and yet we do it all the time. I’m sorry, I’m rambling I know, ‘I just have a lot of feelings’ *Insert Damian from Mean Girls screaming at me*. Just as I’m writing this blog post a friend Facebook messages me and reminds me “No looking back, only look forward” and that is easier said than done but he’s absolutely right. As much as I want to run back and hide in the glorious university days, unfortunately that time has gone and passed but what still lies ahead in the future is an adventure because anything could happen. There are so many wonderful opportunities and experiences that are waiting for us and they could miss us if we don’t pay attention.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’- John Lennon

I know I’m putting a lot of quotes and pop culture references in here but they’re helping me sort out this mental thought jumble I’ve been having for the last week down in writing.

Something else crazy that happened to me was today I looked at Facebook Memories as I do every day and I thought nothing of it until I saw a posted from 6 years ago today that I got accepted to study Drama at Trinity College Dublin and I’ve been back and forth thinking about this since. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had gone there for my undergraduate degree? Would the grass have been greener? Would all my hopes and dreams could true? I don’t know. It’s most likely not that much would have changed from where I am today but again, I taunted myself with that question.

There is one way however to get around this negative thinking though is to look at all you’ve achieved so far and just to keep going. Learn to work hard, breathe and keep going but you are getting there and you are enough.

And on that note, I will you with a quote below that pretty much sums up this blog post.

It’s funny how you plan your life and it never goes as you’ve envisioned it. No, instead, it goes as you never imagined it would go. For example,  you want to go left, but you end up going right. You want to be different, but you end up being the same. You want happiness but all you get is pain. 

Nothing ever goes as planned, and I think that’s how it is for everyone. Everyone is mostly content with who they become and never question why they never became more.’-R. M Drake

Much love,

Ari

X

 

New York I love you but you’re confusing me

 

New York is a great and wonderous place, don’t get me wrong about that but sometimes it can just drain your soul and spirit until there’s nothing left. You can play LCD Soundsystem’s New York I love you, but you’re bringing me down while reading this if you want. The song kinda inspired this blog post. I know I shouldn’t be complaining as I live in NYC but it really does get too much sometimes.

So here’s my 10 top things I hate about New York.

  1. It’s Expensive AF 

Nothing’s face value or free in this city. There’s always a catch whether it’s tax on clothes or a tip on the meal; New York can deplete your funds pretty quickly and it’ll never apologise for doing so- you should know better. Some Delis will charge $9 for a poorly made small sandwich that’s been sitting out in the display case all day…

2. The Subway

The Subway will take you wherever you need to go whether it’s A to B or C to Z however it is always packed to the brim with commuters or it never really works so you’re always playing a guessing game with some train lines. ‘Will the 7 show up in 5 minutes or 30 minutes today?’ I ask myself every morning as I climb the subway stairs and hence ended up being 5-10 minutes late for work nearly every second day but at least I have an excuse. It’s also so disgusting can’t wait for the summer.

3. It’s Always Noisey 

This city literally never sleeps. There always sirens, car honking, people screaming, subway noise and even people going through the trash and slamming the side gate beside my bedroom window will drive anyone cracked. I honestly can’t wait to return to the silence suburbs.

4. People Everywhere

Goodbye personal space and hello stranger’s crotch in my face as I try to read my book on the subway. There is never any space to have to yourself and the ironic thing is that I feel completely alone even in the biggest crowds.

5. Sense of broken communication

I feel as if New Yorkers don’t understand my accent, speech, general being and this can be extremely frustrating at times. No one can understand each other at the best of times but it can be especially hard if you have a weird accent.

6. Cut off from Nature

Central park is a joy to work beside but I miss having a garden and being surrounded by greenery and trees everywhere. I am getting tired of being stuck in a concrete jungle.

7. City Rush

The pace of this city and it’s people can weigh you down so much. It’s constantly all GO GO GO and never gives me one moment to breathe as there is no time ever to just be still and present here.

8. Personal space invasion

Hello again to the random person’s crotch in my face on the subway

9. FOMO 

I get it bad but it’s challenging to do things when you’re forever broke and constantly working. I know I was never gonna lead the Gossip Girl lifestyle but just once it would be nice to be able to go to a party or a show and not have a care in the world but alas, I gotta keep working hard to make my dreams a reality.

10. Time goes by so fast 

New York works on its own schedule and no one else’s. It a never-ending parade of things and days going by faster and faster and I’m scared my time will be up before I even get a true grip on it all.

But for all this I have 10 top things I love about New York:

  1. The sense of excitement

It gets me everyday once I step outside my door. I get this rush for endorphins every time I am in the city and just wandering around looking at new and interesting things.

2. The expansive theatre and art scene

It’s pretty cool yet hard to keep up with sometimes because I am saturated with so many options but if you research your stuff then you can find discounts or deals for most things.

3. Being Irish in NYC 

This is a real plus to have in the city because (this gonna sounds narcissistic) everyone loves to hear an Irish accent and become completely engrossed and friendly with everything you have to say.

4. Interesting people

Some of the most eccentric people live in New York and I love chatting to them and hearing crazy stories about their lives.

5. The Cat Cafes

It wouldn’t be a post by me if I didn’t mention cats somewhere but yeah, the cat cafes are amazing because they’re all affordable and fun with cute rescue kitties up for fostering and adoption and as I have said before please ADOPT, DON’T SHOP. Manhattan might have the monopoly but the best one is the Brooklyn Cat Cafe on Atlantic Avenue.

6. The Dogs

New York is full of great doggos and cute puppers at walking around with their cute little coats and stylish groomed fur; it’s hard not to walk past one and your heart turns to mush. I have a few times been a creep and just watch them in dog parks because I need something cute to be in my day. Please don’t call the NYPD on me.

7. The Weather

It hardly rains here and that’s alright with me however it can also be very bipolar just like Dublin.

8. The sense of home whenever I hear a fellow Irish accent

Thankfully there are many Ex pats and Irish watering hole dotted around the five boroughs so that I can feel that I never on another planet, some of them I know and some it’s nice to meet for the first time.

9. Anything can happen

Exhibit A: I met Kim Cattrall the other night while I was working, just out of no where she pops up and I usher her to seat; I didn’t expect that to happen.

10. It’s a strange and turbulent time to be an immigrant in the U.S 

I am getting the best political and civics education I could ever possibly ask for and it’s odd experiencing the Trump administration first hand but at least it’s given my life experience and plently of historic moments I can say I was apart of.

And as always, thanks for reading.

Much love,

Ari

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Thinking (creatively) outside the (money) box…

In this post, I will stray from my anecdotes and recommendations for more of an opinion piece. This topic has been on my mind for the last few weeks while I have been trying to write and edit a play. I have thought about this before but only now that I am closer to actually making my art a reality and not just a hobby when I can find the time, it dawns on me: where will I get money to fund this?

5858030702_91d59088f1_o (1)This literally my bank account right now. A sad state of affairs all together.

It’s a question all artists, no matter what medium ask themselves. Sure, there’s grants and arts council funds, online funding campaigns and even ‘begging’ the family and friends and again, when you’re starting out; where do you go from there? As a writer, I am always to have the idea of a budget in my head so I can realistically make and produce it, whether it be for the stage or screen. Now I am not going to attempt to make the next Star Wars or Avatar but yet I am still terrified of writing something as simple as a set change because again, where I am going to get the money to even buy the set pieces. It can get a bit daunting to think about making art this way but I’ve recently had another brain wave about this conundrum: challenge myself to make more out of less.

Some questions that arose from this were:

  • Do I limit myself creatively if I only think about budget?
  • Will my work not be as good due to budget?
  • What challenges will my art face because of this?
  • Am I not letting my imagination go full force because of budget?

OR

By changing the perspective; how can I make theatre out of nothing?

This is what I am trying to positively channel when I write and yet easier said than done. Also should there be another way of funding I should be investigating? Now I am still at the early stages in my writing but advice is always welcome from whose have been there before so please leave me a comment. I often find myself wondering how do other people do it? I know we are creatures of habit and curious creatures at that yet I feel like I know the answer already ‘They just worked really hard!’ but what did they do during that work is what I want to know.  I find myself running around in circles trying to answer these questions and yet perhaps I will only find out by experimenting and trying to get my work out there- again if anyone know anywhere a new playwright should be applying/talking to, let a starving artist know.

Much Love,

Ari

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Oh Canada!

I know this blog is meant to be about New York but recently I haven’t had any adventures in the big apple because I am now a broke ass bitch after paying rent and going to Vancouver to visit friends and as you may have guessed from the title, that’s the subject of today’s blog.

For those who don’t know it, I LOVE Canada- it’s the nicer, cleaner and prettier version of America. No disrespect to the U.S.A but Canada wins, hands down. You have Trump and they have Trudeau so yeah- they do everything better. Even the Donuts such as Tim Hortons are superior to Dunkin’ Donuts!

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Just look at that majestic flag blowing in the breeze!

The main reason I went to Canada was to visit my best friends Andrea and Danielle as it’s been forever and a day since I have seen them and it’s also our 20th year anniversary. We’ve been friends since 4 years old so it’s kind of a big deal. They now live in Vancouver which is a really cool city and throughout this blog, I will be highlighting great places to go and things to do.

The first thing we did when we landed was a lovely tour of Vancouver by courtesy of our host, Laura’s mom and luckily, we just missed the worst winter Vancouver has had in like 40 years as well as we fled New York during snow storm Stella. The sun was out and the Huns were out and I mean huns as in me, taking in the breath-taking sights of the green mountains and clear lakes as well as pine trees everywhere.

Andrea lives in Downtown Vancouver so we headed over there for a delicious roast dinner thanks to Andrea’s amazing culinary skills and had a nice catch up while admiring the views of the city from her apartment and the 360 degree view from the rooftop. We then headed to The Morrissey bar near her apartment for drinks and this bar is great because it’s the perfect mis mash of hipster decorating that looked like a medieval saloon bar that the witches from The Craft would frequent. After one drink however, we decided to go to sleep because travelling since 4am does not sit well with me.

The next morning, we went to Robson St in Downtown Vancouver to catch the hop on hop off bus because we might as well have done the touristy stuff too. Vancouver is a small enough city so you can see quite a lot in 2 and a half hours. We drove around Stanley Park, English Bay and Granville Island. We jumped off and went exploring around Granville Island and what has to offer; there’s a really cool shop called Made In Vancouver that has quirky and fun clothes and gifts but it’s kinda pricey so we only went window shopping. The public market section is best however because of all the amazing food such as Lee’s Donuts. I probably gained about half a stone while in Canada due to all the delicious food but sure, I was on holidays. After that and some Crème brûlée, we got the most divine poutine at Edible Canada at the Market.32618923754_0fe89bdc18_o (1)

Poutine is a mouth-watering dish of chips, gravy and curdled cheese and it a delicacy in its own right. After we stuffed our faces, we wandered around the market stalls and looked at the crafts for sale. You can get some really nice home-made and unique stuff like scarfs and Jewelery. Heading back on the tour bus, we took in more sights of Vancouver as we drove along the bay and back to the downtown district and to the Donnelly Pub Group for a happy hour pint. Vancouver bars are pretty great with happy hours however the only last until 6pm in most places and after that, drinks aren’t that expensive in bars anyways. It’s liquor store that are the pricier establishments I found in this city. We had dinner at The Fountainhead Bar and the fish and chips are great to order but the main upside of this bar and like many other bars in Canada- THEY HAVE GROWERS PEACH CIDER!!!!! I have not been able to find this anywhere in New York and it was such a nice treat to drink it again.

The next morning, we arose early to get a spot at the highly popular cat cafe Catfe located in Chinatown. Unfortunately we didn’t realise it was spring break so the cat cafe was not only crawling with furbabies but with actual human babies as well. We booked a slot for later that afternoon and decided to try the local cuisine a.k.a A&W while we waited. They have the best root beer and you can get really cheap poutine too but back to the cats- they were all adorable and particularly Snuggles was my favourite because he reminded me of my old cat at home, Tabby. 17671168_10154667959011919_1982102708_n

This is Snuggles, taking a nap/ignoring me after I tried to get 10 million selfies with him. The best part about the cat despite all the cute kitties running around, it that they are all rescue cats up for adoption and on the wall, they have Polaroids of all their adopted furbabies which is amazing because they’re on 90 cats now so that means minus the 12 cats in the cafe right now, they have rehomed 78 kitties!!! A young family was actually in the cafe at the same time as us getting their new cat readying to come home and it was a lovely sight to see.

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You can see all their pictures behind me petting a lil cutie. The cafe also had a cute coffee menu to order from such as hello kitty macarons, Catpaccinos and Hot Chococats. Check out more of the kitties below

 

They were great kitties; they even had fun playing with the window washer outside the cafe window. After parting with the cats, Danielle met us outside the cafe and we headed first to Tim Hortons for an ice capp and a donut. We then headed for the Commerical drive area to check out a local craft beer bar St. Augustine’s and how I was still standing after an 11.0% cider, I’ll never know followed by more cider then 2 bottles of wine with dinner at Danielle’s and then more drinks in Gastown. I drunkenly stumbled to an A&W at around 1am.

On Thursday, the first spot was a Tim Horton’s naturally and then onto the Vancouver Lookout. It’s cheap enough if you’re a student or bring your expired student card with you and lie, which exactly what I did. Tourist Hack right there for you! You get the elevator up to enjoy a 360 degree view of Vancouver city, North Vancouver and the surrounding mountains  such as Grouse Mountain. Grouse Mountain is meant to be the best spot for skiing and has plenty of resorts and great views as well. We then met Danielle outside the Vancouver pier to get a bus to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. It a natural outdoor park with bridges connecting over the Capilano river and basically you get a squirrel’s point of view as you walk through the trees over looking the river below.

17758110_10154667959311919_1389735749_nThe views were STUNNING and that is an understatement. The air was also so fresh being surrounded by pine trees, it went good after living in a polluted city and working in a basement…I felt so at peace just being in nature again. It was overwhelmingly uplifting to my mood and attitude. Thanks to Danielle for bringing us there.

 

And Into the wild we went, acting like squirrels and running across the bridges and through the trees was a fun but exhausting way to spend the afternoon and when we got back to downtown; the next order of Business was of course: LUNCH! Vancouver not only has a brilliant selection of food but also a brilliant selection of sushi restaurants and it’s such good fish for an affordable price. A sushi platter of  California rolls, tuna rolls and salmon rolls was only CDN $8.99. It was also quite filling too so eating dinner at Andrea’s apartment later that evening was a struggle but challenge I willingly accepted- if you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating Andrea’s cooking that you’ll understand how amazing it is. We ventured back out to Gastown that evening to Guilt & Co. for some live jazz and it was so much fun! You pay at the door whatever you want for admission and then sit back and enjoy live jazz music and fabulous cocktails however it’s quite popular so booking a table in advance is highly advised- thanks for that too Danielle.

Gastown has a lot of fun bars and restaurants and is a cultural hub of the city as well as being the oldest neighborhood in Vancouver B.C. The vibrant nightlife is something every tourist should experience when they touch down. The last thing I wanna share on this blog to do with food (obviously) as Main St is also a fun area with great restaurants but most importantly, you need to go Burgoo and order the fondue, what a fun rhyme to say!

Last but not least, I did not want to leave Andrea or Danielle or the beautiful country that is Canada behind but alas reality and my theatre internship were calling my name.

Until next time Canada,

Much Love,

Ari

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On Wednesday the 8th of March, we wore Black & Red

I’ll never catcall, I’ll treat and respect and help create an Ireland that will stand in awe of all mná”-Emmet Kirwan, Heartbreak.

If the Catholic Church would listen and loosen its grip on the Irish state; women could decide their own fate, or more importantly their own body autonomy. The church and state think of themselves as ’embassadors’ of the patriarchy thinks they have ownership over the Irish female body. This is why we need to repeal the 8th amendment and give Irish women the rights they deserve. I have spoken at length about body autonomy and after reading many articles recently surrounding the Strike4Repeal movement, feminism and even the horrors that arose from the Tuam Mother and Baby home investigations; I agree that the 8th amendment is more than pro-choice; it is about the obsessive control of Irish women and their reproductive integrity. 

Going back to Kirwan’s Heartbreak, the Catholic church never treated single mothers or their children with respect and they never will. A referendum for abortion rights is needed now more than ever because although it can not repair the sufferings of the past, it can be start of a new era  for women’s health and wellbeing. It will show that Ireland actually cares about its vulnerable and will help them when they need it the most. With a repeal on the 8th amendment, there will be no more Ann Lovetts, Ms. X’s, Ms. Y’s and no more Savita Halappanavars abandoned by the Irish state. There will never be a need for the future generations to march through the streets of Dublin with repeal signs shouting ‘ENDA, ENDA, WE WANT A REFERENDA’ for their human rights will be acknowledged and respected by the state. They will ever be denied these rights and forced to become human vessels, losing their bodily autonomy to a barbaric religious institution.

 

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The hashtags that were used to support the strike on social media were #WECANTWAIT #WEWONTWAIT and it aptly describes the urgency that surrounds this issue. By making abortions illegal,it only makes safe abortions illegal, women who have been put in that desperate situation will find a way out which puts them in further danger and risking their own lives. This needs to stop and if the 8th would be repealed, it will stop as free, safe and legal abortions will be available to everyone and anyone in need. It is very frustrating knowing that the €1 penalty for abortion was rejected by the government just yesterday as that would have been progress for the pro-choice movement, alas, we might get a referendum in early 2018. It is most unlikely however as Enda Kenny is the Church’s sheep when it comes to women’s reproductive rights.  The fight continues but I am hopeful that one day, our rights will be granted.

The 8th of March is also International Women’s day and it was strange spending it in America with Trump in office. I went to a rally at the corner of Central Park and stood in a sea of red clothes and pink hats and the speakers motivated the crowd to keep fighting for gender equality, ending the pay gap and to keep holding each other up as powerful and strong women. It was an incredible experience to hold my fist up in solidarity with the American women and chanting ‘BE BOLD FOR CHANGE’ and ‘A DAY WITHOUT WOMEN, A DAY WITHOUT ME’, the rally ended with the crowds dispersing and heading to surround Trump Tower and make a human wall.

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It reminded me that the women of New York and  America are angry as ever and ready to stand up against their oppressor. It reminded me of the turbulent days after the election results and again during the inauguration and I saw, with my own eyes, the struggles for women increasing-white women, black women, Latina women, Muslim women, working class women and even disabled women. They were prepared to fight back however and the resilient energy was incredible to witness.

‘Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it’, this is Hillary Clinton’s infamous line from her concession speech that women everywhere took away and ran with it. Even me. We declared to never stop being ‘nasty women’, because if we do then the patriarchy has won again. The American and the Irish patriarchy has won again.

That was an unfortunate day in November when an alleged rapist, racist and misogynist was elected the 45th president of the United States. The day when a woman was not elected even though she was the better candidate and more suited to the job because the white man couldn’t handle a powerful woman. And yet the fight continues…there’s still a long way to go, for Hillary, for me and for women everywhere.

We must persist with the repeal the 8th movement as we must continue to challenge our oppressors. The 8th of March challenged the 8th Amendment, it was a historic march in march. Let’s persevere together to get a historic outcome.

 

 

 

 

 

Everything was Black and White in the Moonlit Oscars

 

WARNING: The following blog post contains the winners of last night’s 89th Academy Awards, if you have not seen or heard the news then go watch it now… and for the rest of you, continue reading.

Before I dive into the politics of the Oscars here is a list of the winners of the 2017 Oscars:

BEST PICTURE: Moonlight

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:  Mahershala Ali in Moonlight
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Emma Stone in La La Land
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Viola Davis in Fences
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Zootopia
CINEMATOGRAPHY: La La Land
COSTUME DESIGN: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
DIRECTING: La La Land – Damien Chazelle
DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE): O.J.: Made in America
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT): The White Helmets
FILM EDITING: Hacksaw Ridge
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Salesman
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: Suicide Squad
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE): La La Land
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG): City Of Stars from La La Land
PRODUCTION DESIGN: La La Land
ANIMATED SHORT FILM: Piper
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: Sing
SOUND EDITING: Arrival
SOUND MIXING: Hacksaw Ridge
VISUAL EFFECTS: The Jungle Book
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY): Moonlight
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY): Manchester by the Sea
Still with me? Ok good, now some of you might be moaning at the long list and wondering why I included the production awards but I believe that they are far too over looked and never given proper credit as without sound editing, costume design, visual effects etc, films would not be the same dreamslands we see on the silver screen. Films such as The Jungle Book  would not have been possible; it literally would have been Mowgli surrounded by dummies.
I also want to state that while I’m happy for La La Land and Moonlight‘s success; I will be quick with my oscar snubbed section:
Annette Bening- Best Actress
20th Century Women- Best Film
Sing Street- Best Film and Drive It like You Stole It’ for Best Song
Amy Adams- Best Actress, She has become the female Leonardo DiCaprio
Viva-Best Foreign Language Film
Older Than Ireland– Best Documentary
All of these actors and films deserved better recognition from the academy and were wrongly snubbed but as they say ‘better luck next year’.
The 89th Academy Awards finally broke the 2 year tradition of #OscarSoWhite as now if you search on Twitter you will find #OscarSoDiverse or #OscarsSoBlack for the 2017 Oscars and while all the winners ( Ali, Jenkins, Davis, McCraney and Edelman) deserve the coveted prize, the academy still has miles of progress to go. While it’s wonderful to see Black artists nominated and rewarded it makes me think, what about artists of other ethnicities such as Asians and LatinX. Dev Patel is only the 3rd ever Indian actor nominated for an oscar while Lin Manuel Miranda was one of few LatinX nominees. Film is universal and it should be inclusive of universal narratives as well. Progress was made but not enough.
This now leads me onto the idea of representation in film. While films such as Manchester by the Sea, Hacksaw Ridge and Hell or High Water gave audiences the traditional caucasian hero and the struggles he faced, other films gave audiences new inclusive protagonists. In Lion, a  young Indian man must find his way home years after being separated from his family. In Moonlight, a young black man grows up in Miami amongst drug abuse and homophobia and In The Salesman,  an Iranian couple try to savage their relationship while their external circumstances test them.
These films received praise and awards but I do wonder, would we care as much if they were white? It seems that after two years of obvious white washing in the Oscars, all anyone cares for is 1st-the colour of someone’s skin and 2nd, the quality of the work. This idea is nothing new, the academy awards have been majority white for many decades and even now that we’re living in the era of Trump’s Administration, it’s still that way. After the now infamous best picture fail, Moonlight triumphed for best picture over La La Land and the internet raced to make connections between the mix up and the 2016 presidential election, the Grammys and even the Superbowl. While Barry Jenkins and his cast and crew basked in their moonlit glow, it was clear that the Oscars can be White and Black but there is still a long way to go.

 

A birthday is like a cat…you wake up one morning and it’s right there in your face

Welcome back to Ari’s Adventures In The Big Apple!

So a lot has changed since my first post, America’s education system is now run by ‘Derek Zoolander’, New York had a pretty intense snow storm and It was also my birthday on Wednesday so lots of change in the air.

Now I’ve started doing something on my birthday the past few years and it’s getting harder every year and that is finding the song for my age. The best and easiest example is turning 22 and blasting Taylor Swift’s 22 all year-long. As much as she annoys me at times, that song is an absolute tune and a perfect description of being 22 and ‘happy free confused and lonely at the same time, It’s miserable and magical oh yeah’. So last year, it was Blink 182’s What’s My Age Again? and goes along the line of ‘Nobody likes you when you’re twenty three’ and I honestly felt that at times, career-wise but I also knew that I was heading for brighter days as I prepared for my graduate visa. I quit my shitty job in Dundrum cinema and left for bigger and better things and that’s probably the best thing that happened to me at 23. I turned 24 on Wednesday and apparently the song for 24 is Bowling for Soup’s 1985 as it goes ‘Her dreams went out the door, when she turned twenty four’ and I really hope this isn’t true because I am busting my ass in this city and hustling everyday…so far however, 24 has been pretty good!

This post is now gonna focus on my birthday adventures and the treats that were in store for me as well as featuring really cool places to check out if you ever visit the big apple yourself ;). So I really celebrated my birthday last Saturday as I had the whole day off which is  a rare occurrence.  Now first things first on a Saturday and that’s BRUNCH! We went to Little Park in the Tribeca area and it was delicious hands down, the best breakfast sandwich I’ve had in a long time and they have an extensive cocktail menu so it caters to everyone’s needs. City Hall Park is nearby by so it’s the perfect little place to stroll afterwards, bonus points for spotting Santa’s abandoned village amongst the shrubs…in February as well.

After brunch we headed to the meatpacking district of Manhattan for my next surprise. I had a suspicion that it involved The Standard Hotel but yet as we were early for our ‘appointment’, I suggested a walk on the High Line. It is one of my favourite places in New York and it’s such a gem too. It consists of a linear park built upon an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad. If you’ve never been, GO NOW! Everything about it is incredible! The views are breathtaking as you can see the New Jersey skyline, the Hudson as well as peering down at the streets of the West Village. You can start at 34 Hudson Yards (which is perfect for me because hello 7 train straight to Queens) and walk forever. There is also lots of artwork as part of the High Line Art program which commissions public art projects around the park; if you happen to be a budding artist, you can apply at http://art.thehighline.org/about/.

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So yeah check it out and then you can head to the Whitney Museum of American Art afterwards for some amazing exhibitions. They also have a really cool wind garden outside where you can climb to the top of the building and get some panoramic shots of the city too. The Whitney however, was not my surprise. I was led into The Standard Hotel and up to the 18th floor which holds the infamous Top of The Standard, A classy, breath-taking and eloquent bar that gives a 360° view of New York, New Jersey and the Hudson. Conor had reserved us a table overlooking the Hudson at sunset… and it was pretty spectacular. I highly recommend doing this as it was a glorious setting with a glass of bubbly (minus the New York City Centre For sanitation below).  As you can see yourself….I even had to wear my Ray-Bans indoors cause the glare was pretty bad, yeah I know #basicbitchalert

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No birthday would be complete without something sweet, mainly cake but also cookies, specifically cookie dough. Most of you might have seen a video or an article of this new trendy spot DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections in the Tribeca neighbourhood and if you haven’t well look it up because it’s fantastic. The only downside is the massive queues outside the shop that was a block long and it was also -4° and ain’t nobody got time for that. So unfortunately I did not get any cookie dough but one day, one day I will!  Nevertheless, my sweet tooth was aching and the hunt so sweets continued and what did we decide to do? Naturally continue to walk in -4° tempature to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and get ice cream in the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. It was so worth it though and then we headed to the Brooklyn Bridge Park for our final stroll and amongst the lights from the bridge and the skyscrapers, it was quite magical.

We were quite relived for once to get back into the subway and have a chance to thaw and b warm up. The day was not over yet as we went on our way to meet up with friends at Beauty Bar. This popular hang out is located near Union Square on 14th Street and is the perfect place for a girly drink in the evening as you can get a martini and a manicure for $10 but on saturday night, it become a messy, loud and crowded hub of drunken people so be warned.

My actual birthday day celebrations were also lovely. After work, I enjoyed a twilight walk in Central Park. I am very blessed to work right beside it as it’s a massive plus to the job. After grabbing a delicious burger at Bill’s Burger Bar Restaurant, we went onto Beetle House, a lower east side bar inspired by the whimsical world of Tim Burton’s movies. It was so cool inside with lots of artwork adorning the walls and the original BeetleJuice gravestone placed above the bar.

They were also playing the original film soundtracks and it was amazing. The menu is also inspired by the films too. I had a Alice’s cup o’ tea cocktail  which consisted of Peach vodka, Gin, rum, tequila, peach schnapps, sour mix, and a splash of coke.  It was an unreal drink and the bar is a must visit for cult followers of Burton’s work. The only bad part of the bar was the rude and racist staff :(. I am obviously anti racism and don’t need that shit on my birthday or any other day for that matter therefore Irish people be wary because they have no problem bad mouthing us and our ‘ridiculous way of talking’ while you sit at the end of the bar and stare at them. The joke is on them though because I stole all their toilet paper and did not tip them. The main point to remember is that this is not how Tim Burton feels and he is not associated with them; I should know because me and Tim are best friends. See Exhibit A below. Apologies for the shit quality of the photo, my American phone is a piece of shit!

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I did have a great birthday overall, the day ended with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of prosecco with a chocolate oreo cake. Happy birthday to me!

More adventures to come 🙂

Ari

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