How this Pittsburgh girl gets by in the Big City.

Oh Hey, Shia LaBeouf! Where is Bernadette Peters?

My goodness, what a day I had yesterday. One- it was freezing. I wore about 3 layers of pants, 2 socks, 3 shirts, coat, scarf, hat, and gloves and I was still freezing. This city is like one gigantic wind tunnel that you can never escape. Of course, everything I planned to do was outside. Kudos to my roommate who braved the adventure with me. Also kudos to her for putting up with my insane walking pace. Few have managed to keep up and she did like a champ.

We started off the day going up to one of my favorite places, Absolute Bagels, only to find, it was closed. This place is never closed. Christmas day-open. Thanksgiving-open. Friday January 19th-closed. Luckily, this is New York, and we walked two blocks down to another bagel shop. Why they must put the entire jar of cream cheese on my bagel, I will never know. I should bring Tupperware with me next time to put the excess cream-cheese because it could probably cover about 25 bagels after. 

We proceeded to head out on our adventure. When I was up in New York before, I pretty much managed to see everything I wanted to see, so I wanted to take this time to see my favorite places and few I never got to check out. We started in Columbus Circle, and headed over to FAO Schwartz. I had never been there, and I had heard they had stuffed animal elephants, polar bears, and giraffes that were life-sized, and there was no way I could miss that. They did and it was awesome. My roommate and I played the “Guess how much” game with the animals and I came away with two questions. One- who pays $1,000 for a life-sized goat? Two- Where in a New York City apartment do you keep a life-sized Hippo? If you have never been to FAO Schwarz you have to check it out. It is sensory-overload! I’m a grown adult and I was losing my mind- how a small child handles that place, I do not know. We pretty much checked out the whole store. I loved the Barbie section (my inner 8 year old self was dying). The best part was they had political barbie, with a strong independent Barbie running for office. The tag-line? “She stands on her own! Literally!”. God Bless America. It took everything within me not to buy it. 

After we were done we went up the East Side (where rich people who can afford a $1,000 stuffed goat live), and headed to the Central Park Zoo. Simon and Garfunkel convinced me it was somewhere I needed to go. Unfortunately for my roommate I had “At The Zoo” stuck in my head the whole time and sung the only line I know from it (“At the zooooo”) over and over and over again. As I said, she’s a trooper. Here’s what I will say about the zoo. I did it. I’m glad I saw it. I don’t think I ever need to go back. They didn’t really have a lot of animals. And the ones they did, I feel like I can see on a regular basis (they had a duck exhibit…). Either way, I’m glad I saw it, so I don’t see it as $12 wasted (new year, new me!).

Fighting the cold, we headed to the West Side and walked up to some of my favorite places in central park - strawberry fields, the lake, Belvadere Castle, and of course the places of all places, Shakespeare Gardens. It was so great to return to my little spot in the big city. I took a picture of me there, which I would put up here, but this computer is not letting me upload pictures…arg. It was a nice little moment for me, to go back to a place I loved so much.

We were freezing are buns off, so we headed back to the warmth of the apartment…only to return to a place with no heat. I had felt like it was really really cold in the morning, but I was sleeping by a window and didn’t say anything. Maybe I should have, because the heat was definitely off. Surprise Surprise though, my roommate called her landlord and he actually did something about it! The heat was back on the night. I guess it wouldn’t be a trip back to NYC if I didn’t rough it a little bit. 

Due to a lack of heat, I took a blazing hot shower and started to get ready for my night out at the theater. Going back to Signature was a great moment. If you have never been to the Pershing Square Signature Center in NY, go. It’s a theater-lover mecca. I went into the office and got to see all my old co-workers and friends. I always worry that seeing old co-workers will be super awkward, but with them, it’s’ not. It was great to find out all the behind-the-scene things going on at the theater, and to see all the faces that I spent so much time with last year. My old cube-mate and I headed out before the show started and caught up over dinner. Then we came back to see The Piano Lesson. This was a really big hit for the theater, and I know it has been nominated for a ton of awards. August Wilson is a huge Pittsburgh playwright, so it was nice to watch something that hit so close to home. The show closes this weekend, after 4 extensions, and the place was packed. I sit down in my seat, and who is sitting in front of me? Shia LaBeouf! Just another day at the office :). Then, my cubemate told me the most heart-breaking news of all time. Who is coming to the show this weekend? None other than the goddess of the theater, one of my idols, someone I wanted to see more than anyone else, Bernadette Peters. AHHAHAHHAHHHH I literally died in my seat. Heartbreaking news. And while Shia was pretty cool, he was certainly no Bernadette. Oh well. But hey, The Piano Lesson, amazing! Here is something though I have to point out about audiences. Why does everyone get massive indigestion and asthma attacks during a performance. It happened during my production of Glass Menagerie. Everyone starts sneezing and hacking away during the most dramatic moments. Take some Ziacam before you come. The old woman next to me had major indigestion, and kept falling asleep and snoring. Don’t come to the theater if you can’t stay up past 8:30pm.

The night was everything I could have asked for and more. I took a taxi home and stared out at the city lights and we drove by. Not going to lie, it was kind of perfect. 

Little bit more than $75 a week in NYC

 I told my parents before I came up here that this was going to be a completely different New York experience because this time I’m not dirt poor. Since I am no longer paying a $1,000 a month rent, I can afford things milk and bread. It’s so exciting. Today, when I get a bagel for breakfast, I’m going to get cream-cheese too! Have you ever heard of such a thing?!?!

I got into New York yesterday around 2pm. My roommates couldn’t let me in until around 4pm, so I spent some time walking around the city. When I used to live here, I had an unlimited metrocard, so I would get particularly lazy and take the subway up one block if I didn’t feel like walking. Now, I have to be one of those people that monitors their metrocard use because I have to pay for each ride. I decided, getting off at 28th, that I would walk up to 42nd and check out Time Square. I ended up getting sidetracked and went to the Empire State building and going inside. No matter what, I always think of ELF when I go there. It makes me want to get an elevator and hit all the buttons…and then probably get arrested. I headed back to 7th avenue and walked up to Time Square. Because it was a weekday, it didn’t seem to busy. There was a man dressed as Batman. It was disturbing. I used to try to avoid Time Square, but since it’s been a while since I’ve lived here, it’s novelty has come back. I’m sorry New Yorkers, you can’t beat those shining bright lights. Sidenote- listening to Ellie Goulding as you come into the city was the best decision I ever made. Do it next time you here. 

I ended up walking to 59th street, because for some reason in the city, I have physical ability. I caught the subway and headed up to my old apartment. Ahhh nostalgia. Getting off the subway stop was a little strange. I sort of expected everything to surprise me and make me go “oh I remember that!”. But, it felt very regular. Looking around the city, walking around the city- it sort of felt like I never left. My apartment has a new fancy door now and they have ripped up the old carpet and put hardwood floors. I said it looked nice. My roommates frowned and said “are rent will go up.” I find that crazy, especially because the place needed to carpet. It was kind of disgusting before. 

It was so nice to go back to my old place and see my roommates again. The new girl that moved into my old room did a great job with the place. She is a lot more creative and artsy than I am, so she is not using the box her bed came in as a dresser. People think it’s odd I used a box- I think it’s one of my proudest moments. We caught up a bit and then did my favorite thing you can do as a New Yorker. ORDERED DELIVERY!!!!!!!! The wonders of a fancy meal coming straight to you! I had also bought cupcakes as a thank you gift for letting me stay there, but funny enough, my roommates thought the same thing, so now we have an insane amount of cupcakes at the apartment. Not a bad thing in my mind. We feasted on our delivery food and cupcakes and called it a night.

Today, I’m not really sure what the plan is. Probably some aimless walking and seeing what I discover. Tonight, I go back to my old workplace and see my New York Savior. I’ll write all about it tomorrow!

Hello NYC!

I’m back! I know you all have anxiously been waiting by the computer, wondering when my blog would return, clicking on the mouse, praying that my words of wisdom would show up. Well, fret no more, because my blog will be back for a few days because I am up in NYC! My one job has been working me like a mule and I finally have some time that I could take off for a trip. I’m on the Megabus now coming up here. One year ago, I moved up via Megabus and let me just say, I am a traveling pro. Anyone who knows me, knows I take my traveling serious, ever since a not so great experience with “Richard”. If you have never heard the “Richard” story, ask me at a later time. It’s a story that must be told in person with significant Italian hand gestures and full-body storytelling. Anyway, since I’m a pro, I’m going to share with you some travel trips.

First, don’t be that person in line. You know who I mean. The one blabbing away on their phone, or the group of teeny-boppers who are laughing hysterically at some inside jokes when it is 6am in the morning. Everyone will hate you. I avoid these people like the plague. You always want to be sure to scope them out before you get on board so you don’t sit next to them and their ever-active vocal box on the bus. I had two of them this morning. The one girl didn’t even have a coat. Hmph amateur. New York City will eat her alive. 

Second, commit to the seat. This next step takes a backbone, and can be difficult at peak travel times, but if executed properly it has about a 95%success rate. When you get on the bus, throw all your stuff in the inside seat. May I suggest propping your coat up on the back of the seat. This way it looks like that seat is occupied, thus keeping it to yourself. Here is where it gets tricky. When someone comes over and says, “Can I sit there”, kindly say “someone is already sitting there, and then point at all the stuff. And then never look back. Commit to the lie! “Can I sit there?” “No, my mom is sitting there, and she is in the restroom now.” BWHAHAHA  Judge all you want. You’re just mad you didn’t think of it first.

Third. Now that the bus is in motion, take your stuff off that second seat and curl up in a ball to sleep. It’s like a mini bed. Ahhh, the joys of being 5’2”.

Right now we are passing through Alabam- uh I mean Central Pennsylvania. I always think to myself, what do these people do for fun? You could go for miles before you see another house? Does it take an hour to get to the grocery store? Do they go to the grocery store? These are things I contemplate on my travels.

So you might be wondering, why the random trip to NYC? Well, plainly, I miss it. A lot. Pittsburgh is wonderful in so many ways, but this city is incredibly important to me. Basically, I needed to get away. The other day at work, I realized the most exciting part of my day was using my new gel-shoe-inserts (they worked like a gem). This is unacceptable. I use to hangout with Edward Norton. Okay, I used to stand in the same room as Edward Norton. I decided it was time to seriously make a change, and get serious about finding work that fulfills me in some way. Yes, I know I have more life-start-up moments than Bridget Jones. But this trip to New York is my refresh button.

Ironically, without even planning it, tomorrow is my one year anniversary of moving up here. Funny how those things work out? I love full-circle moments. 

I <3 NY

I leave tomorrow morning.  I spent these last few weeks exploring all the parts of NY that I wanted to see before I leave. It’s an incredible city and I am so happy that I had this opportunity. While it isn’t in the cards for me to stay here right now, I know I will move back here someday. It was not easy to come up here. I had a great job in Pittsburgh, and had never really moved away from home before. I came up for a job that I wasn’t getting paid for, and I really knew nothing about the city. It was a challenge, and I did it. Best experience of my life, hands down. 

I want to thank everyone that has supported me through all this. Your love and support means the world to me. I also want to thank you for reading this blog. I hope I was able to entertain you and enlighten you about what it is like being an actor in the city. I also want to thank all the random people on the streets of NY who would take pictures for me of myself posing in front of various landmarks. Your non-judgement means a lot.

New York friends, I will return soon. Pittsburgh friends, I’ll see you soon!

Bronx Zoo and Highline

Well, this is it. My last day in NYC before heading back to the land of $1.19 Iced Coffees. It’s been quite a busy last few days here.

On Wednesday, I went to the Bronx Zoo. They do “donation” day, so I was able to get in for $1 (otherwise it would have been $16). My roommate told me the Bronx Zoo was way better than the Central Park Zoo, so I was excited to check it out. The weather was really crappy, but this was my only day to do it, so I went up on the 2 train. It took foreverrrrrrrrr and it was probably the sketchiest subway ride I have had this entire time. Creepers everywhere.  When I got to the zoo, I was a little overwhelmed by how big and dense it was. Coming from the “concrete” jungle to this lush, vegetated area was a lot. I had to duck from branches, and was walking on mulch for most of the time. It was a little too much of a “wildlife” experience for me. Then, because there is so much greenery, you can’t see any of the animals. The one zoo-keeper told me, “oh, the lions might come out from the forest, but we can’t guarantee anything”. So basically I traveled all this way to look at plants. Dear Bronx Zoo, not impressed. Sorry NY, Pittsburgh kind of owns you on this one.

On Thursday I went up to the Highline with my cube-mate from work. The highline is a definite “must” for anyone coming up to NY. It’s beautiful, and him and I had a blast staring at all the swanky apartments along the line. Afterwards we went into the West Village and got some pizza from this cute place called “Slice”. Congrats West Village, you might be my favorite part of NY!

"I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien, I’m an English man in NY"

I guess it’s more “I’m a legal US citizen who is first generation American in NY”, but it doesn’t really have the same ring to it. I went to Ellis Island today! I took so many pictures, but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum on here.

The tour begins by stopping at the Statue of Liberty and then heading over to Ellis Island. You start down in Battery Park, and if there is one thing and one thing alone that you take away from this blog, let it be this. PURCHASE YOUR STATUE ISLAND CRUISE TICKET ONLINE! I’m sooooo happy I did, because if you purchase it there at the ferry, the wait is about 3 hours long. Since I purchased mine online, I got to speed through the line, buzz through security and hop on the ferry. My ticket was supposed to leave at 11am, but I got there around 10 and was able to just head over.

We stopped at the Statue of Liberty first. Honestly, it was a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be

You couldn’t go up the statue, and other than the gift shop, there wasn’t much to look at, so I hopped back on the ferry and headed to Ellis Island.  I’m not sure if it is intentional, but you sort of feel like you are an immigrant on the boat heading over there. The water is rocky, the people are from all different diversities, and it is very cramped. Then you get off the boat, and there really isn’t much direction of where to go, so you just sort of stand there until some person in uniform yells at you to start walking. Then you head into the museum, and you are shuffled into this long line, where you wait for your audio tour. I know it’s not EXACTLY the same conditions the immigrants had to go through in 1903 but I felt like it was a nice character study :). Once I had my audio tour, I was off to go explore this wonderful, yet often misunderstood, part of our history. The tour took you through the process that our relatives had to go through. My immediate family did not come through Ellis Island, but my Great Grandfather did, so I tried to imagine what it was like for him. I tried to imagine walking in his shoes….I discovered that my great grandfather is an amazing man because I would have made it about two minutes. One of the first things they did was check your eyes for Trachoma, a highly contagious eye infection that could cause blindness. They would take a button hook and lift up your eyelid. I am literally nauseated thinking about it.

For this, I think my great grandfather is amazing. And I am being completely serious. Imagine how horrifying it must have been, to come to a country that you don’t speak the language, where you don’t know where you are, and all of this on top of a boat ride that has taken weeks if not months.Then you are forced into small corridors and being pushed along and sometimes yelled at by men in uniform. Knowing if you made any wrong move, you could be deported.

The tour said that if you look bewildered, or took a long time to go up the steps, or did any type of weird body movement, you would be sent into the holding room, where you would be subjected to physicals, and mental testing. Fail the test, and you go home. This only happened for a very small amount of people, but to those families, it must have been devastating.

For a majority though, Ellis Island was not the Isle of Tears, but the Isle of Hope. Here’s the Registry Room. Get to the other end of it, and you are a US citizen.

The roundtrip for the whole adventure was a little pricey, but I think it was worth it. Especially if you can luck out like I did and get a really nice day. The whole thing probably took about 5 hours, but I am a big sucker for museums so I loved it. I would also suggest taking the time to look up your family’s name in the books. Unfortunately, everything is digital now, so you can’t look it up in the manuscripts, but it’s still pretty amazing to see your family’s signature from a long long time ago!

Here’s the video I referenced below

Being a New York Socialite

Last night I got to pretend to be a New York socialite. My roommate invited us to her brothers apartment for a dinner he was having. When I say apartment, I mean house. Multiple floors and everything. In the middle of Manhattan. I could tell I was in for a swanky evening when I walked up to the door and it was wooden. Mahogany. No need to ring the buzzer, the whole place is his! I had found my Mecca. This was obviously where I was meant to be for my entire life. :)  We went up to the roof where he had a rooftop terrace. People, literally this evening was something out of a movie. The guests? Three touring concert pianists, a lawyer, a writer for GQ, and me. One of these things is not like the other!   Needless to say, I had to put on my sophisticated face and talk about worldly things like food ingredients and wine. Everybody was so nice, and it was so interesting to hear about the pianists’ lives. Two of them are twins and they tour all around the world performing four-handed pieces or dueling pianos. I asked them if they have ever been to a dueling piano bar…I obviously need to work on my socialite questioning. Once we finished our meals, we went inside where they had a grand piano. I asked the girls if they would play something for us. They sat down saying “what should we play? Oh I don’t know, just pick something off the top of your head”. Then they played. And it felt like I was in freaking Carnegie Hall. I could have listened to the music all night, it was that amazing. My roommate’s brother is also an amazing pianist (Carnegie Hall caliber) and he played something as well. Here’s a taste, with the side note that this is “not a real performance”, even though it sounds like the most incredible thing ever.

Okay. My computer is not letting me upload the video. I’ll put it up in a separate post. Anyway, the night ended singing show-tunes around the piano. Seriously. Just like they did in that one episode of Smash. You don’t get the reference? Maybe we should talk about our friendship…

It was amazing. That stuff doesn’t happen in Pittsburgh. I was definitely in my element :).

Vacation time in NYC

These last few weeks have been amazinggggggggggggggg. I have pretty much just been on vacation, and I have been able to go to all the places in NY that I wanted to see but was too busy with work to check out. Plus, being able to check out some of these more touristy sites on weekdays, avoiding the crowds, has been very good for my well-being.

Last weekend I went to the Brooklyn Bridge. Every website told me, “Prepare yourself, it’s a long walk, do not attempt to walk both sides”. So I followed their advice and took the subway to Brooklyn, and walked the bridge to Manhattan.

Dear Brooklyn Bridge website, the bridge was the easiest walk ever. Maybe you do not realize how many miles I walk everyday just to run my errands. I could have totally done both sides. Sincerely, Hannah

Obviously.

This week, I also went down to Southstreet Seaport. Not as exciting as I was hoping it would be. I have been looking for little souvenirs to get, but some of these tourist shops are super sketchy. I found one at the seaport that seemed legit, but then they would only take a $20 minimum for the a credit card. That seemed so ridiculous to me, so I asked the woman if she would make an exception. She stood firm for most of my questioning, but once I put my products down and said “you are losing the sale”, she caved. BWAHAHAHA. Don’t put a ridiculous credit card limit and you won’t have these conversations. I am sure she has learned her lesson. Anyway, if you are pressed for time in NYC and can only see a few things, skip the seaport.

Monday I was ridiculously sick, which was the worst timing ever, because on Tuesday I had an audition for the Disney Cruise lines. You don’t go to a Disney audition looking a mess, so I had to pull it together Monday and get ready for my SIX HOUR audition the next day. I was so excited for it because it was for an entertainment host and characters, which is pretty much what I did for two years in Pittsburgh.  There were so many people there (probably about 150). When I was finally seen, of course they had to start with dancing. FML. The dance was easy enough, but I am not a dancer, and then as if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to go first. In front of 50 some people. All who want the job and want me to fail. It wasn’t pretty. But I smiled my way through it and tried to cutesy my way through to the next round. I really wish they would do a documentary process of those auditions because it was so interesting. It’s the friendliest casting directors you will ever meet, but it is also very competitive. The next part was height check (they wanted a very particular size), and then that was it. Massive cuts, leaving about 12 people from 150. No, I was not one of the 12. It was a great experience though, and I will definitely be traveling up the NYC again for future auditions.

On Thursday, I went back to my old work place for the opening of Medieval Play. You know how sometimes you work somewhere, you develop these great friendships and then you leave and its super weird if you ever see those people again? Well, that was not the case here. It was so great to go back, and everyone was soooooo welcoming. I’ve been very lucky in my life to work in places where I love my co-workers. We spent the night laughing, drinking, and just have a really good time. There were some cool celebrities there, but sadly no Edward Norton. That night was my last chance to woo and marry him, and he was busy. Stupid Bourne Movies that you have to go out and promote and be all famous and everything. Oh well, I guess some dreams aren’t meant to come true.  ;) We had a great night though, despite the lack of Ed, and I can’t wait to come back and see some shows there next season.

Walking the “step and repeat”. Obviously I need to work on my red carpet posing before I become famous.

This next week is my last week here. I have still so many things I want to do! On Monday, I am going to Ellis Island. I’m hoping to look up my family’s name there, but I’m not getting my hopes up. They told me its a first come first serve basis, and I am willing to wait in line, but I’m sure there will be a ton of people there. I’m going to walk the highline with my co-worker one day, going to Chelsea, and checking out the Bronx Zoo (free on Wednesdays!). Then I believe I will officially have conquered NY.

"If it’s not Baroque don’t fix it" part 2

On Fridays, the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) is free to the public from 4-8pm. So a friend and I went to go check it out. I’m not the biggest fan of modern art, but god forbid I miss something that is free and where I can pretend to be a little cultured. Especially since a significant portion of my time in the coming weeks will be dedicated to catching up on Real Housewives episodes that Hulu has finally posted.While I don’t understand some…okay most…of the art at the MOMA, there were definitely some really beautiful pieces, and I do really enjoy checking out museums. I was pretty pumped to see Starry Night ( the original! not the Micheal’s paper print that I have). Check it out!

Now, while I enjoyed the museum and saw some really beautiful pieces I must say this-

Art:

Not Art:

Dear MOMA, please check out my piece that I would like to contribute to your collection:

It’s about..um..let’s say “eternity”, that seems like a complex enough subject. If you put up that blank canvass, I don’t see why this masterpiece can’t hang there as well. I’ll take 1 million dollars for my contribution. Thank you!