Geplaatst in New York

Aging 

Nobody is eager to get older. Time will leave its imprint no matter how hard we try.
Wrinkles, droopy eyelids, stiff muscles, drooping buttocks and breasts, vision and hearing deteriorates and so on. Suddenly we are turning from a spring chicken into a blue hair. Or even worse you develop some sort of dementia. You might slow down the whole process of aging a bit by a healthy lifestyle, but there is no way back.

Whiting your teeth, dying your hair, using anti-aging products, leaving your partner for a younger copy, exchanging your sexy lingerie for some shapewear, plastic surgery: for some a ‘no go’ for others it’s a fine solution. A social debate. What’s still excepted and what’s not, is a thin line. What do we tell our children when they want to have plastic surgery?

Aging gracefully is about more than looks. It’s about accepting and appreciating the inevitability of getting older, taking care of  body and mind, and being your best self at any age. Be honest it’s a radiant personality what makes you beautiful. My grandma, she was a dazzling beauty till her last breath at the age of 98. Why can’t we appreciate the beauty of getting older?!

I have to admit aging is easier when you have good genes. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Connect the world.

To everybody’s big surprise I graduate High School in 1987! Thanks to my mom, she was a great support. After graduating my mom offered me to go to the US to improve my English. I did not think much of it, but agreed.  Up to today I’m so happy that I went. Of all places the exchange program dropped me in Kansas. At first I cried my eyes out. Why? Why Winfield, Kansas?! Why not Florida, California or a city like New York?

Looking back on my exchange year I feel advantaged. Advantaged in a way that I had the opportunity to experience the authentic Midwest living. Cowboys and cowgirls still exist in the late ’80. Except for the part that they redeemed their horses for pick up trucks.

A while ago I did this virtual tour on google earth all around Winfield, Kansas. Like time stood still, it hardly changed in the past decennia. Once a year there is this big blue grass festival. I would love to go there some day.

During my High School year ’88 I stayed with three different families. The first one kicked me out after about 6 weeks. Up to today I do not know the reason why I could not stay with my first family. I can only speculate. The following week I managed to find myself a new place to stay. I did not want to worry my mom, so I called her after I had everything arranged. Being a teen I choose a family with lots of freedom. A single mom and a daughter my age. The last month I moved to Wichita, where I stayed with a big Mexican family. A widow mom with 8 daughters and one son. I had a wonderful year even though it wasn’t alway easy being a seventeen year old far away from home in a different culture than my own.

It’s hard to realize now but back in the ’80 there was no internet. My classes I spent writing letters to friends and family. Once a month I had the opportunity to call home for only 5 minutes to reduce costs.

It impossible the imagine a life without internet now. In a way it makes my world a lot smaller being able to be in contact all the time, but it also makes it so much bigger. Sharing my blogs to all these known and unknown people all around the world. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

‘Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.’ – Berthold Auerbach

The other day I met this really friendly guy, JJ, in the Washington square park. He overheard me talking to this couple next to me. He tells me he is going to Amsterdam in a few weeks. He shows me the apartment he is going to rent. Darn, they really under charged my guests in my apartment.

JJ is is a musician. He also has a 9 to 5 job to pay for most of his expenses. After a long and hard day at work he usually goes to the park to jam with other musicians to unwind.

When I cross the park a few days later I see JJ with a couple of guys jamming.The crowd is getting bigger and bigger. Lots of people are familiar with the lyrics and join in. The guys sure know how to entertain. What strikes me, they play just for fun, instead of making money. It’s almost midnight when they stop. JJ invites me for a drink at the Reggio’s café, a bar Bob Dylan use to hang out.

Making music has always kept JJ going. In good and bad times. It helps him to relax after day at work. He does not have to keep up an appearance like on his 9-5 job. He tells me a story about a timid boy who asked if he could sing too. The boy seemed to have a golden voice. One of the treasures of an open stage in the park.

After we met, I saw JJ preform twice with two different groups of musicians. Some are pretty good musicians. Like the guitar player who played at my request some blue grass. Lots of people in the park enjoy the free music.

The beauty of making music is that it does not matter what kind of job you have neither is it based on race, sex, salary, education, religion, ethnicity or disability.
Suddenly the homeless man is a band-member. Music bonds. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Goodbye NYC

Tonight is my last night at 1, 5th Ave. The night sift doorman is in the lobby. I ask him if I could sleep at Keith’s place tonight. Little surprised his asks me if I know the guy. I tell him that I’m sure he won’t mind, he’s never there. ‘Just give him a buzz please.’

Unbelievably, Keith Richard bought his apartment on 1, 5th Avenue two year ago for $10 million. Mr. Richard has only used his apartment a couple of times over the past years and is now selling for $12,23 million.

I’ll bet Mr. Richard will not mind me using his place for just one night. Can you imagine me pretending to be miss Richard for one night without Mr. Richard being around. That would be a great way to end this wonderfull stay in New York.

Bye Bye New York. Gonna miss you… Thank you for the marvelous time. I’ll hope to be back soon. -Bregje-

http://ny.curbed.com/2016/3/17/11253720/rolling-stones-keith-richards-home

Geplaatst in New York

Notes on greeting and farewell in the United States. 

‘How are you today?’ is the most common way people will greet you. Irrespective of if you know the person or not. Just an answer like ‘Fine, how are you?’ will do. They do not expect an extended explanation. Back in time I use to make up some weird answer to see if they were even listening. Don’t even bother, most of the time they do not. A sufficient farewell would either be ‘Bye’ or ‘Have a good one’. But of course there are many more. If a momentary conversation has taken place one can use ‘Nice to meet you’ or ‘Nice talking to you’. It’s that simple. Make sure that if you come across someone on the street and you are in company of others, do not forget to introduce them. If not, they consider you being very rude.

‘Please’ is the magic word. We Dutch do not use that word as often. Not that we are not polite, we just pay more attention to the tone you use.

Different cultures have different codes on social behavior. Typically, you shake hands when you meet someone. This is common most everywhere. But one additional thing is, here it is common to hug a person, even when you first met. Just a light hug, where you just put arm around his or her back and just touch your head lightly. Cheek kissing is very common in most parts of the world except for English-speaking Canada, the United States and Asia. A single kiss is acceptable in the United States, but it’s mostly a big-city phenomenon. Like when I was introduced to the owner of the ‘Omars la Ranita’. Here it’s not done to kiss anybody else, except your partner, on the lips. Even not your own kids! So many cultures, so many habits on whether to kiss or not.

Except for French kissing, this seems universal as far as I know. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Girl on a mission

Out of the blue I came up with the idea to use some ‘old school’ advertising on finding myself an other home swap over Christmas, by handing out some flyers in the neighborhood. Actually I came up with the idea when I noticed that Jack’s has a bulletin board. 

As always the firemen were helpful finding me a printing service. They send me to Stapples. 

After explaining briefly my purpose to this Leah girl, she helped me create a smart looking flyer. The hardest part was coming up with a catchy text in such a short notice. Since I was running out of time to get it all printed in time I just had to accept the fact that it could not be fully considered this time. 

The whole deal will cost me only $20.68 for 50 copies. Can’t wait to see the result. They will be ready by tomorrow afternoon. 

Gonna spend all day Sunday on handing out my flyers around the neighborhood. I might ask Isabel and Douglas to help me since they know everybody in ‘The Village’. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Historic buildings restored and transformed.

First of all I am not an expert. Like I wrote on my first blog I like to show you my experiences though my own eyes.
I love the way they mix the old with the new buildings and transforming industrial buildings into a new purpose. Historic buildings restored and transformed. A mix of new and old, beautiful and shabby, original and bland, industrial and residential.

We’ve seen it happen in Smithfield’s in London, the Pearl district in Portland, the Kødbyen in Copenhagen, the Meatpacking and Chelsea district of Manhattan, DUMBO and Williamsburg in Brooklyn and so on.

One of the high lights in the Meatpacking district is the High Line. The High Line is an elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York. Founded in 1999 by community residents, who fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition.

And true to the history of New York, it’s a constantly changing landscape. So this Livin’ The High Line feature will always be a work-in-progress, just as the city itself is. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

The doorman.

I have my first writers block. Can’t figure out what subject to write on. Actually I do know many subjects but since I went online I realized that I can not write all I want anymore. I have to be concerned about what subject is appropriate or what’s not.
But also what will get me or the other one in trouble.Like all the gossip I know about the rich and famous in my apartment building on 1, 5th Avenue. Thanks to our doormen Julio who is a doormen at 1, 5th Avenue for 28 years. People share all their ins and outs with the doormen.The good thing about being a doorman at my building over the Plaza Hotel is that it’s less formal.

A doormen in NY has a similar kind of function as a barber in India. I’ve been told that when an Indian couple wants to get married the brides family first asks the barber if the groom to be ‘is crossing the line’ before they decides to get married.

Am I allowed to share all the information on my famous neighbors with the world? Allowed maybe, but it would not be very classy or respectful. Some celebes decide to share their own gossip with the NYPost like this Amy Pack lady… http://nypost.com/2016/08/04/maid-busted-taking-pics-in-ex-boss-1000-outfits/
I would love to be a doorwomen for a while. I guess I have to wait till one of my doormen to get retired…. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

A Joy to behold

New Yorkers versus the rest of the country fashion wise. We all know the (oversized) American men and women wearing sweaters and shorts of their favorite sports teams. New York City is different. New York City is regarded as the fashion Capital of the United States. I do not know about the rest of the world, but we definitely dress down compared to New York.

You’ll see all kind of styles on the street. There is something about the New Yorkers. Especially in a upper class neighborhoods men and women sure know how to dress well. I have to admit if I would spend a week salary on one outfit I would look smart too. But it’s not only the amount of money they spend on their cloth, it is the way they wear their cloth. It’s the whole package deal what makes them look good. Being in good shape, self conscious, elegant, well dressed and having an own personal style.

In comparison with other parts of the world being gay is (still) social accepted here. So are the drags, transvestites and transgenders. Walking around in their flamboyant outfits gives a colorful image to the streets.

Being mistaken for a New Yorker, by asked for directions all the time, must prove that I also look stoning and stylish… -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Age differents

It is striking to see the amount of couples around here having this huge age gap. I am not talking about a few years but more like several decennia. The other day I was walking behind this lady in her late 50’s and her way younger boyfriend in his 30’s. A cougar or m.i.l.f. with her toy boy as they would been called.

I catch myself on having a bias based on my own sociocultural perspective.I have that same feeling when I see an older man with a girl of his daughters age or with a gay couple with an enormous age gap. I even have this feeling when I see a tall woman with a shorter man. It’s their life’s and in no way it affects me, but still this feeling comes over me. It’s kind of weird to realize that you don’t agree on your own prejudices thoughts.

The other day I also met two elderly gay men, both being engaged with younger man. I am talking about men in their 80’s dating guys in their 40’s. Gay age gaps like that are nothing new and are much more common compared to straight relationships. Like Oscar Wilde, he was 36 when he became involved with the 22-year-old Lord Alfred Douglas.

I did a bit of research on this topic, it intrigues me. Nothing based on facts, but just by browsing the Internet. Why would someone date someone else half their age? I read somewhere: ‘we don’t look at age per se, instead we think of life stage. We also consider shared core values, background, lifestyle, goals, personality and attraction.’ I find that hard to believe. When there is a huge age gap how can you share the same goals and core values. Look at the core values of your parents and your own even though they raised you. There will always be this generation gap. And what about the assumption that the attraction is either based on a mutually satisfactory financial agreement, a daddy/ mommy fetish or a mid-life crisis.

Myself, I rather have a relationship or affair with a man about my own age in the same stage of life. But that’s what I prefer. I do understand all the obvious reasons to date a younger man but that just does not suit me.
Or maybe I do have to get my cards out and consider to find myself a toy boy. You never know after all….- by Bregje