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-

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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

Geplaatst in New York

Philistine

There is no doubt if I am my moms daughter. I resemble her both in terms of appearance and in terms of character. One of the most significant similarities, I am proud of, is that we both are extremely curious, sympathetic to others and like to write.

There is one big difference between my mom and I. I refer myself as a  philistine, cause I don’t read lots of books, I am not as interested in music, arts nor politics, compared to her. Visiting New York for my mom means spending as much time as possible on arti, musical and historical stuff. For her it’s unthinkable to ‘waist’ precious time while being in this big cultural city.

I am the opposite. During my holidays I do not like to be on a tide schedule and I rather blend in with the locals by having a nice conversation over a coffee than seeing all the high lights. I like to know what their life is all about and how they coop with curtain issues. For me to interact with locals makes my holiday so much more interesting instead of hanging around other tourist.
For example. The other day I did go to the MoMa. In a way, even though I am a grown up, I did not wanted to disappoint my mom. I have to admit I did like, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, the almost 700 snapshot-like portraits of Nan Goldin taken herself elsewhere in the late 1970s, 1980s, and beyond. I also liked ‘the mapping journey’ of Bouchra Khalili. A series of videos that details the stories of eight individuals who have been forced by political and economic circumstances to travel illegally.

But… most of my time I was fully distracted by the hordes of tourists taking their selfies in all kind of posses, probably to post on social media. Completely absorbed in their activity they had to be warned several times not to molest the art. As specially in the pop art section they were hard to ignore.

I wonder how many of these annoying tourist went just like me to the MoMa just because they were guided by their imposed values instead of doing what they really like.

Maybe I am not a  philistine after all, just like my mom. We both share our cultural interest, only each in our own way.

Geplaatst in New York

What’s getting into these dog-owners?

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand people love their dogs. But to my opinion it’s really getting out of hand down here in the village. The dog owners provide their dog food from the dog kitchen, footwear on a rainy-day, take them to a physical therapist, an acupuncturist, for a massage, to holistic pet-care or even to a shirk when their beloved ones are depressed because they might (not) be gay!!! Are they out of their minds. We are talking about animals! I even read about this wealthy lady, Leona Helmsley, who left her fortune to her dog, Trouble, a  $12 million trust fund. 

Geplaatst in New York

The hairdresser

 

The other day I met Douglas, Isabel’s significant other.
Douglas is one of a kind. He is quite a storyteller and just like Isabel he knows everybody on the block.
I just moved into this beautiful Art Deco landmark building on 5th Ave.
Douglas and I share the love of art deco architecture. One subjects leads to an other and Douglas tells me he use to be an hairdresser in the old days. Back in 1957, when men still wore hats. His salon was on the second floor of the former fancy Fifth Avenue Hotel at 24 5th Avenue. An upper class salon. Some of his clientele were Sibel Shephert and Bette Midler, but also the cast of the musical hair who were guests at the hotel. Douglas tells me he got fed up with all his clients wining about their private lives. Like their lesbian affairs, their troubled children, medical issues and and so on. Finally he gave up his salon feeling more like a shrink than a hairdresser.
I don’t know about our own hairdressers training but students here have to take two test before becoming an hairdresser. One practical on their cutting-skills and one written test proving that they know all the facial bones and nerves by heart. It takes 1000 hours equivalent to 6 month of training. The average life for a straight hairdresser is seven year. Gay men usually still kicking it for longer period of time cause they don’t get fed up that easily with the female intimacies, according to Douglas.
The defining principle of law is the requirement that every hairdresser takes a blood tests every year. That would be fine if the hairdresser is more Catholic than the Pope but it’s ridiculous when he or she lives a promiscuous life. And what about their clients life’s?

Geplaatst in New York

Foreign language

Why this topic. I am invited to a dinner party. I asked around what to bring. First I went into the flower shop but ran back out when I heard the price on a tiny bunch of French lavender. Sweet baby Jesus they charge twenty dollar! Wine it would be, even though the prices on alcohol are outraged as well. Curios and exited what to expect I arrive with a bottle of wine at seven. According to the doormen the dinner party is on the roof. Luckily I changed into my little black dress, still being underdressed. There aren’t  many people yet. I introduce myself to the hostess. I am quite surprised that Nathalie herself is not trowing the party but one of her neighbors. Since Nathalie is not there yet I excuse my self and go down to Nathalie’s. Guess what! I went to the wrong party! Nathalie is having a dinner get together with friends and I am invited.
Apparently I interpret the word ‘diner party’ differently. Luckily I did not give my precious wine to the wrong hostess.

For me speaking a foreign language like English is easier than listing to a foreign language. When I speak I use words, phrases and expressions I know. Reading is the hardest part for me.
Not all peoples have the same experience. The other day I spoke to a woman who finds reading so much easier.
I write most of my reports on my IPhone. Luckily I can switch my phone to English. This makes writing so much easier. Although it will not correct words sounding similar but with different meanings like ‘allowed’ and ‘aloud’.

I just realized that when I first arrived in New York, and also last year when I visited San Fransisco, I am surprised how easily words and phrases pop out of my mouth. After a week or so I start feeling ashamed and get more and more frustrated of not being able to express my self the way I can express myself in my native language ‘Dutch’.
Trying to find the right words, even in my sleep, can be really tiring.

Diner is nice. Nathalie’s friend is from Bagdad and is also not a native speaker. He chares his embracing moment. Growing up he learned English by watching American movies like the Tarantino’s. Back in Irak he once referred to an Afro American soldier as a ‘nigger’. Not knowing the impact of his word choice. He did not know he would be insulting the man. He liked this man!

I remember being seventeen and getting into the ‘Taco Tico’ a Mexican restaurant with some friends. Obvious they had been cleaning, the whole place smelt like ammonia. Instead of saying it smelled like ammonia I said: It’s smells like a maniac’. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

The dogwalker

The dogwalker.  

If you live in New York City you probably don’t have a backyard that your dog can access through a pet door when he wants to go out and stretch his legs or use the “facilities.” And if you’re like many dog owners in the city, you want your dog to be able to go for a walk when you as a doggymammy or doggydaddy haven’t got the time to walk your own baby. That’s why they have these masculine drop-dead gorgeous dogwalkers. It seems like they are picked on their looks. Many operators in the industry are individuals that conduct their entire business alone, including organizational and administrative tasks and walking the dogs themselves. I read somewhere that they probably make more money than we do.  

They are recognizable by their green shirt and their belt w/ karabiners on the side. Still looking pretty hot I would say. But…. even little babies need to poop some time.  

The other day we saw this good looking dog-walker picking up the poop of one of his furry clients and holding this poop bag as if he was going to faint. Believe me even a handsome guy turns into a dateless loser all of a sudden. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Public bathrooms NYC

Finding a public bathroom in New York City can be a big challenge. Why is finding a basic necessity so difficult in New York City? You manage to find that t-shirt you’ve been looking for, you successfully navigate the subway system without getting lost, but finding a (clean) restroom while you’re exploring the city can be a difficult task.

The NYPD issues between 20,000 and 30,000 citations for public urination each year. It’s not clear who really is at fault—the person who is relieving him or herself, or the city. Public urination is a response to a significant infrastructure in New York. It is one of the hardest urban problems to fight. Over the years there were several activist organizations. Safe2Pee, is one of an activist organization who says “It’s a fundamental human right”. PHLUSH, is an other group fighting upstream, like a salmon trapped in a river of urine, to get public restrooms installed in cities.

Yet it’s proved incredibly difficult to construct sidewalk public bathrooms. In New York, the density of people on sidewalks is much too high to stick a public restroom every four blocks. Restrooms are expensive. A similar restroom like the Portland Loo costs about $60,000 each to construct, and another $1,200 a month to maintain. To install a few thousand of these around New York could veer into the tens of millions of dollars just to install.

In brief the solution: Either buy yourself some diapers when you like to explore the streets of New York or use the link below. -Bregje-

http://m3.mappler.net/nyrestroom/