Thursday, July 8, 2010

Second Weekend in the City

Saturday, June 26 & Sunday, June 27

I sleep in Saturday morning and spend the afternoon bumming around the apartment and doing some shopping at Trader Joe's at Union Square. The place is a zoo, and the line wraps around to the back of the store, but it's worth it. TJ's has the cheapest prices in town, and everything tastes delicious. Can't beat that!

Saturday night, I head to Central Park for the first time since getting into town. During the New York summer months, there are a number of companies that put on free outdoor theatrical events, and tonight's offering is Richard III. It's fantastic. We start just inside the park at 103rd Street and every ten minutes or so, there is a change of scene. Literally. The audience is directed to stand and relocate to another location in the park. We spend the evening moving with the actors, and by the end of the show, we're at 96 Street. The finale is like an epic Whitworth LARPing event: old-school sword fighting and several stab wounds. It makes me miss home a little, because I know how much my theatre friends would all get a kick out of this.

Since Jess and I are training for a 5K this fall, I get up early Sunday morning to go running in Central Park. The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is smack in the middle of Central Park, and two laps around it conveniently comes out to 3.1 miles—a 5K. Even at 7am, it's pretty warm, but the view and a good iPod playlist make it a fantastic way to start the morning.

Later that morning, I head downtown toward the South Street Seaport to see the New Amsterdam Market. It's a regular market during most of the year, but it only comes once a month during the summer. The New York Times ranked it the number-one market in the city, and they weren't kidding. It's full of gorgeous fresh veggies, breads, cheeses, wines, chocolates, and just about everything else you could imagine. My favorite sample of the morning was a chili pepper-tainted square of dark chocolate. It starts out sweet then hits you with a spicy bang from the backside. While this market makes for some great taste-testing, it'll put a dent in your wallet real quick, so I leave with two small rounds of Norwegian ruis bread (pictured below) and a small bunch of beets for a recipe Brooke gave me.

I make it home in time to clean up for the Redeemer Church 6pm service. The music in the evening services is all jazz, as opposed to the classical in the morning services, and I love it. I've only been to one other jazz worship service. It's new and fresh, and there are a ton of people my age there. After the service, I contemplate rushing to a free salsa class in Brooklyn. Instead, I cross the street with a wave of the congregation and join the group in a post-worship fellowship gathering. There are fliers and info on volunteer and fellowship opportunities, plus free cookies and coffee for everyone. It's harder than you'd think just jumping into a conversation with complete strangers, so I don't make any friends—yet. But I pencil in some group events coming up, like pizza nights and picnics in Central Park, plus volunteering with a group that passes out free meals to New York's homeless. I find I am much more at ease in building relationships if I can keep my hands busy. Keeping busy making sandwiches will take some of the pressure off direct conversation. I'm excited to get started.

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