Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guest Post: Embarrassment of Riches

While Liz is off jetsetting, I'm thrilled to share some of my favorite fall pursuits with you. My blog is named Embarrassment of Riches because of the overwhelming array of choices I face every day in New York City. This time of year in particular happens to afford some of the best opportunities for both residents and visitors alike. Here is a month-by-month breakdown of what my husband Shawn and I look forward to in the Big Apple come autumn:

September: US Open Live at Madison Square Park
Flushing Meadows is a wonderful, if expensive, place to catch the matches, but you can save yourself a long ride on the 7 train (and some cash) by watching the US Open satellite broadcast in Madison Square Park. For the past several years, American Express has provided a jumbo screen and bleachers; several restaurants pitch temporary tents to sell food and booze. (That's me, proudly carrying our complimentary seat cushions.)

September into October: Madison Square Eats
For a few weeks in October, the median just west of Madison Square Park (known as Worth Square) converts to Madison Square Eats, a temporary outdoor food court. The vendors are some of New York City's finest: Roberta's (wood-fired pizzas, shown above), AsiaDog (inventive hotdogs), Robicelli's (highly-sought-after cupcakes), Momofuku Milk Bar (Crack Pie and Compost Cookies), and many other merchants hawk their (edible) wares. (There's even beer and wine!)

October: Dachshund Octoberfest
Even if you aren't owned by a dachshund like we are, you can't help but smile at the sight of hundreds of weiner dogs (many of them costumed) converging on Washington Square Park. Who doesn't love those long-bodied, short-legged pups? This parade isn't necessarily a destination (unless you have a dachshund - then, it's a must), but if you happen upon it, you won't be sorry. (That's Chloe on the far left.)

October: openhousenewyork
During this October weekend, the city's architecture and design is unlocked to those who want to take advantage of dozens of free talks, tours, and performances. openhousenewyork activities include access to a boatbuilding shop, glassblowing studio, a brewery, the Gowanus canal (by canoe!), and some of the city's most beautiful churches, hotels, and residences. Two years ago, we toured the Chrysler Building's lobby (pictured above).

October: Halloween
On any given day, New York City is a fabulous place to people-watch, but on Halloween it is over-the-top phenomenal. As the sun sets, Shawn and I don our costumes and head to Greenwich Village with cameras in tow. We've learned the hard way to steer clear of the parade route and stick to the side streets east or west of 6th Avenue, where there are plenty of get-ups to gawk at. Unlike most other times, Halloween is the one occasion where strangers don't mind one bit if you take their picture.

November: Marathon Sunday
As an avid runner and two-time marathoner, this event is one of my favorite days of the whole year. However, I don't think you need to be a runner yourself (or personally know someone racing) to enjoy spectating at the ING New York City Marathon. Participants range from speedy to slow, jubilant to dejected, but if cheering them on isn't reason enough to get out there on the sidelines, the pure spectacle of the event is.

November: Holiday Window Displays
Holiday decor goes up in mid-November, with the most gasp-worthy windows belonging to Bergdorf Goodman. (Barneys always garners an appreciative chuckle). The window displays are best viewed on a chilly night (to minimize both glare and crowds) with a cup of cocoa in hand. Cartier's giant red bow, Saks' episodic light show, and Fendi's decorations are also worth the trip to midtown.

November: Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation
Seeing the Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons up close as they're being inflated is far preferable to jockeying for a spot at the parade the next morning. Visiting Woody, SpongeBob, and Garfield on Wednesday night isn't exactly a picnic, but it beats standing around for hours awaiting a slow-moving procession when you could be stuffing your face instead. I recommend getting to the Upper West Side (specifically, on the north and south sides of the American Museum of Natural History) early to beat the crowds.

November: Cold-Weather Comfort Foods
The Spotted Pig is one of the best places to warm up on a blustery day, and around the holidays, my drink choice there is an easy one: for a limited time, they serve warm mulled wine. This season also calls for pie, my favorite of which can be found at Four & Twenty Blackbirds. (Doesn't that slice of Salty Caramel Apple look incredible?)

November: Sample Sales
Around the time of year when you should start to think about shopping for others, it's Murphy's Law that your favorite brands will hold a warehouse sale. The deals are tempting, especially where Rebecca Minkoff (pictured above) and Diane von Furstenberg are concerned. Keep tabs on upcoming sales by visiting Racked NY and Daily Candy.

I've lived in New York City for almost three years, but I still often feel like a tourist in my own home. For a further glimpse at how I spend my time in this wonderful town, please visit me at my blog Embarrassment of Riches.

All images in this post are my own.