Home is this great city, New York

#Foggy #ChryslerBuilding this #muggyday in #NewYorkCity . Still #elegant no matter what the weather.  #nofulter #myny #mynyc #midtown #manhattan #lookingtowardstheeastside #eastside #ilovenewyork

That I live in one of the greatest cities in modern times is not lost upon me.  Every day that I head to Manhattan to start a work day, I know I’m walking amongst people who wished they lived here and breathed the air I breathe 24/7, instead of being mere tourists or visitors to the city that never sleeps.  I get it.  It IS New York.  I’ve lived here the last 15 years and it never gets tired.

#OnMyWayHome: Went a different route after spending the day with a bunch of 11-year-olds in #Manhattan today and caught this glimpse of a different side of the #manhattanSkyline. #mynewyork #sunset #NewYork ##NewYorkCity #NYC

I have been at my happiest and my lowest of lows.  And yes, I have thought of leaving this city for good many times.  It’s not that I had gotten tired of it all — there are just times when there are bad memories that make leaving such an attractive proposition.  And yet I am always drawn back — mostly because a young man I brought into this world considers this his home.  And his home is my home.  Such is the consequence of parenthood — you don’t just make decisions thinking only of what you want or of yourself.  For the last 11 years, my world has been beyond what I felt and what I thought — it involved that other tiny person for whom I made day-to-day decisions.

I used to think it would be the same for every parent.  I have realized it is not.  There are just those of us who are constituted differently.  Instead of “we”, there is only “me”.

I am brought back to my Mom’s words of wisdom.  She used to tell me I should not look for my virtues in others — we were not created equal.  If we were, I wouldn’t be better than others.  In the same token, there are many created better than myself.  Amen.

#FifthAvenue with the #EmpireStateBuilding peeking from a distance down at everyone as they started making their way home.. I was zooming by in a #schoolbus after doing #momDuty with #myLittleGuy in #manhattan. Tired but feeling all warm and fuzzy insid

I’m good with that.  I try.  I’m not the perfect parent.  I have my weaknesses and shortcomings.  But I would fight tooth and nail for this little guy who means the world to me.

He’s finishing fifth grade this school term and moving on to the bigger boy world of middle school next year.  Give it a year more and he will probably be as tall if not taller than me.  His expressions have changed and his face and gait is evolving to a soon-to-be tween.  I recently chaperoned him and his friends on a senior trip, and I marvelled at how different he is with his friends.  He seemed even more grown up and more vivacious.  In the company of these other young men, he was his own person.  I found myself feeling wistful as the reality that my little guy is growing up stared me in the face.

I should be so lucky to have this young man a part of my life.  I have been truly  blessed.  And this IS home to him.  So home to me, it IS.

The #EmpireStateBuilding #today.  #myny #mynyc #mynewyork #NYC #NewYorkCity #NewYork #manhattan #midtown #lookingtowardsdowntown

The last year has seen me planting my feet firmly where I am right now.  Not that I have stopped thinking of what life would be in other places — but I have made myself at home with the plan to stay right where I am.

And I think I’m good with that.  Perhaps it’s part of sifting through the lessons of life that I have come across.  What am I complaining about?  Others would give an arm and a leg to be where I am.  Everything is falling into place, even if they are falling in places other than where I would have wanted to if I had a say.  But come to think of it, it’s not at all that bad.  In fact, if I allow myself to step back and see the bigger picture, it’s actually just fabulous as it is.

Forever the tourist in my New York

There is so much to see and discover here in my home, New York, that I have always refered to myself as a perpetual tourist.

Even though I walk the streets of Manhattan five days a week and my office is right smack in the center of Midtown,  I still find myself admiring the everyday structures and landmarks around me.  I look in quiet admiration at the Manhattan cityscape as it greets me every morning I make my way towards the Midtown Tunnel.  On the way home, I find myself taking a peek at the Empire State Building to check out what glorious colors adorn it on any given day.  I have seen its reflection on the glass canvass of the building on the southeast corner of 42nd and the Avenue of the Americas hundreds of times before, but I still feel like taking out my camera to snap a picture each time I look up.

There is a certain thrill to sharing “my” New York with friends and friends of friends and I’ve always taken to sharing recommended lists of “musts” and a walking tour or two.

A friend of my sister and I from back home is in the city with her husband who is running this Sunday’s ING New York Marathon.  Edlynn and Brian are visiting the East Coast for the first time, and I had taken to writing them snippets of recommendations and tips for visiting the big apple.  I really must get down to writing them formally to share here.

So let’s start with the edible things you have to try when you’re in New York City — at least per my recommendation:

Bagels from the streetcarts. My personal favorite is the raisin bagel with butter or cream cheese.  There’s a different chewy consistency to this all-American favorite and I like the sweet flavor of raisins and cinnamon mixed with butter.

Hotdogs please! Whether or not you’re a health buff or one who will eat anything, the so-called “hotdog experience” is one you must not miss if you are ever in this part of the US.  What makes it different is a person-to-person experience, but besides being the equivalent of our usual streetfood back in Manila, it’s an economical way of doing something we everyday New Yorkers do.

Cupcake-wise, CRUMBS takes my vote. I had always thought that Red Velvet was overrated, until I tried their Red Velvet cupcake. The sizing can be dauntingly huge, but I usually share one with the hubby.  The medium size is okay for an individual serving, but the minis don’t quite sate my craving.  Branches on 42nd between 6th and 5th and on Lexington Ave behind Grand Central

While most others would go to the next “must” on my list for the cupcakes made famous by Sex in the City, I’d vote for the Banana Pudding of Magnolia Bakery as the hands down winner in their category! Creamy pudding with slices of fresh banana and cake bits mixed in… pure heaven!  (That’s rephrasing their own description: ” Layers of vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and creamy vanilla pudding.. heavenly!)  They have a branch on the 6th ave side of Rockefeller center.

Going for more sweets, you’ll have to try Junior’s Cheesecake which tops all cheesecakes. They have a restaurant near Times Square w/ humongous inch-thick all-meat burgers and generally great food but the cheesecake is what you MUST try!

Pastrami Sandwich at Katz Deliwell worth the trek to Houston and the line.  I’m not a lover of liverwurst but someone told me that theirs is something worth looking into if you’re into that sort of thing.

Although they say Gyros and it’s really supposed to be pronounced “Hee-ros”, these wraps are familiar to us as the once (in)famous shawarma back in Manila. My personal recommendation: KwikMeal (corner of 6th Avenue or Avenue of the Americas and 45th street beside Citibank) or the food carts around 53rd and 6th Avenue which always seem to have quite a line forming behind them.  (Must be THAT good!)  The chicken, beef and sometimes even lamb can be served in naan or pita or over rice.  I personally go for the chicken on pita and I ask that they tame down the hot sauce and slather on the white sauce — yum!

Here’s to the taste of New York!