i ♥ NY (and philly, too)

this trip may go down in history as one of the most packed trips i’ve ever had – just a taste of everything. i flew into new york, took the bus to philly and back, was on call for work, hung out with a bunch of my favorite people, got hit on by the airport personnel, made some new friends, lived in the moment. pure bliss weekend.


tiago picked me up at the airport, and immediately we were off on the guitar hunt. first up was a small shop where they know him by name and i immediately called myself out as an ignorant bystander :) this is the hole in the wall where the legit folks go – none of this hipster BS, these guys are dealing in strats and pedals. i’m staring at the walls as though i know what i’m looking at, and i’m able to pick words out of the conversation at the parents’ table like when i’m watching Spanish novellas – like every few sentences i’ll pick out something that sounds like something i think i know.
guitar store

these corners of the earth, they’re really amazing. a few stores down we went to pick up a bass of T’s that had been in the shop. the guys here were a little more rocker, a little more black-wearing, long haired types. the guys at the first joint were old blues hands, this place had a touch more panache.
guitar store

tiago got his baby and checked it out on the spot. boy sounds GOOD! i still get dumbfounded by those moments when i remember how talented my friends are… when so many friends can play so many things, the magic of a guy with a guitar becomes commonplace – until in a quiet second your buddy starts plucking and you realize it’s a whole language you’ve only heard and never spoken :)
tiago checking the merch

thursday night was super mellow, just hanging with tiago and deise, eating junk food and catching up on nothing in particular.


deise and i spent the day as tourists, something i’m surprised has happened so rarely in new york, in my adulthood… we started with the empire state building

lobby of the empire state building… so shiny… it’s distracting…
the empire state bldg lobby

even though it’s so cliched, we had fun playing with the telescopes
deise checking the view

ahhh, new york on a bright sunny day!

and lady liberty, so tiny across the water

i just love deise – this is why we call each other irma.
deise and me

after the long lines and time in the sun, we were ready for some lunch next door

we saw a poster that makes me think of my tattoo:
poster @ lunch

and then we went shopping :) as it turned out, i was in desperate need of jeans and something to wear to our new york office if i was called into work – which DID end up happening – we hit H&M, Gap, Forever 21… deise picked up was this necklace, we each found jeans, and i found a great little black dress that was conservative enough for the office. i’d say it was a total win!
shopping at H&M

we stopped off and took a break at starbucks

and jumped back on the train – there was some confusion about when we were supposed to meet tiago, and what the plan was for later… we headed back to sunnyside, which has become sweetly familiar

i snapped a pic of flowers on the street… just because they’re there! i love this neighborhood, i love the vitality of new york in general. sometimes it feels like everyone’s humanity is shifting and overlapping more than anywhere else.

beautiful side street. quintessential new york, no?

a couple hours and a shower later, we went to a cafe in the east village to see deise and tiago play a set with our friend reinaldo, who is another percussionist and traveler – we met up with some of their other friends and had dinner in an intense, dark little spot with great food

the crowd started to pick up before long, and a few of our other friends showed up from around the city

they played a great set – the vibe was romantic and fun

i look like a nut here but i was just trying to keep my eyes open during the flash :) it was a beautiful night
i think we went to bed around 3 or 4…
par for the NYC course, i’m afraid haha


one of my fellow revolutionaries did exactly what i’ve been tried to do a couple times and get some great minds n a room to talk about how to build. here’s his description of the event…

The Workshop is a day-long gathering, inviting pivotal leaders to explore big questions at the intersection of humanitarian causes, ministry opportunities, and artistic pursuits. Through brainstorming sessions, group discussion, and prayer, participants will have the opportunity to share their ideas on these important questions:

  1. How do we partner with each other as organizations?
  2. How do we support each other through prayer and love as individuals?

The goal is to walk away from the weekend with a better understanding of how nonprofit, ministry, and arts organizations can work together; and to know each other’s hearts as individual leaders.

armi generously asked me to come in and help moderate, this was one of my motivations for coming out this weekend – here’s the promo video:

we opened with setting some ground rules…
Refresh Workshop

grabbed breakfast…
Refresh Workshop

and then we brainstormed for a few hours. we worked from an outline, captured thoughts and ideas around the intersection of [art, ministry, and nonprofit]. how do they play together… how do we define them… what are the inherent strengths and weaknesses of each, where are the equilibrium points between them?
Refresh Workshop

step two was deconstructing the center, going deeper into our ideas
Refresh Workshop

i could only stay for most of the first day – but it was exactly what i always wanted this kind of experience to be. like-minded hearts coming together in one room to figure some big questions out. people whose ideas and experiences complimented each other – who had seen some of the same things and had to solve for similar problems. i think we all came away from the experience encouraged and refreshed.
Refresh Workshop

after that thrilling few hours, i jumped on a bus that went from chinatown to chinatown between new york and phillybus to PHL

it’s a little smelly but cheap and comfortable
bus to philly

and upon arriving in philadelphia, i was escorted to my first phillies game – so different to be in an up-to-date stadium vs. chicago’s wrigley field! haha
phillies vs red sox

i was brought by owen and his wonderful girlfriend sam – we’re all happy to be here, it’s been a long time coming
phillies vs red sox

the stadium after the game – so cool
phillies vs red sox

after the game we spent that saturday night as so many before it, friends with guitars :) really, what else do people need in life.
singing white buffalo


kicked it off with some breakfast on south street

then back for phillies game #2.
what are these rubber bands called again?
phillies vs red sox

hanging with the day crowd is a little more family-oriented than the night game – LOVE THIS TODDLER
can't get enough of this baby

we drove back to south street after the game… in hunt of what owen and sam claim is the most popular pizza on the planet :)
south street

turns out i did indeed have the best pizza of my life. and met a guy who wanted my camera. i just wanted a photo of the storefront, and this guy got all up in my business :) i picked up an extra slice for that dude in the pink necklace, and then he started asking for other things – if you give a mouse a cookie, i guess.
best pizza i've had in years

we also had to pull over for FROZEN WATER. let us be clear. they’re not ICEES. i learned, i was instructed, i was corrected :) frozen water. got it. haha
they're not slurpees. it's frozen water

and finally, got back to owen’s for the series finale of LOST… now the back story is that owen got me hooked on LOST, i wasn’t into it at first but he was so convinced that he bought me the first two seasons for Christmas one year, then one thing led to another and we started having skype quality time so we could watch it together!

therefore, as the season came to a close, obviously i needed to come to the finale party. it was the only logical thing. and what a killer party :) sam made everyone plane ticket invitations, we had name tags, themed food and decorations –

somehow all the girls went for boy names and all the boys went for girl names. i picked richard, who was by the end of the show possibly my favorite character. plus sam made one plate of display cookies and another plate of delicious LOST shapes

so we had a little jungle spread – fruit salad, goldfish, themed cookies, fruit punch
i don’t know who saw this show and this finale, but i have two overarching thoughts
1. the classes i took in comparative world religions really came in handy and
2. that end to that show was really, really appropriate and moving. good stuff.


the morning after, it was monday again and i had to get back to work before i headed home. i took the morning bus back again from chinatown to chinatown and wore my pretty new dress to Y&R New York where i met up with my amazing colleagues on the Barilla team. we worked from noon to 6pm and grabbed dinner with our clients at tao, which was seriously impressive. i’m not impressed by restaurant ambiance that often, but this place was pretty hardcore :)tao, NYC

then finally, at 9:30, the vacation wound down at Kyrie and Gareth’s place, a lovely corner tucked into a lovely modern building where we had some wine and cuddles.
kyrie & gareth's apartment

and a rare treat – i actually got to see kasey, who i know from way back when he lived in chicago and we both went to church together. kasey is a unique brand of awesome, the guy works so hard and just loves it
kasey at bat

he’s such a badass… we kept giving him shit from across the room and he was like, ha, yeah guys, excuse me, i have this amazing project to finish… then he went back to work while we drank our wine haha
distracting kasey from work

i stayed til midnight or so, then got picked up by deise and tiago… we went back to their place where i got to hang with marley and lament, as always, that these life-tangents are always too damn short, but oh so delicious


got a ride to the airport in the morning.
tried to keep from getting depressed as i was leaving.
morning drive to the airport

got hit on by the baggage guy at southwest. he’s not pictured. he showed me his tattoo, a rather unimpressive but badass because it’s huge cross on his chest :) we’re facebook friends now. very nice way to end the trip.
southwest check-in

landed at midway. went back to the office for the afternoon.
didn’t catch up on sleep for almost a week.
and that, kids, is how it’s done!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s