My Worst NYC Taxi Ride

June 27, 2019 § Leave a comment

Just past midnight on June 26, Kaiti and I walked through the taxi line at JFK Airport to get a ride home. We had just traveled 14 hours on our way back from Puerto Vallarta and just wanted to get home and to bed.

The passenger line for the taxi stand was empty, so as we neared the waiting row of cabs, we beelined toward the second vehicle, as the first one did not have its light on, which I assumed meant it already had a passenger inside.

It turned out that the driver of the first car (a black man in his 20s-30s with a Caribbean accent) was just on the sidewalk gabbing with some other people, and he waved us over as he headed back to his taxi.

The first thing he said to us was, “You girls going to Flushing?” Ugh. Way to make a bad first impression. I icily informed him that our destination was the Upper West Side, and we got in the car.

There were many things that seemed off or went wrong on this ride, so I’ll just number them:

1- I’ve taken a yellow taxi home from the airport many times, and every other time, almost as soon as we pull away from the curb, the driver will ask me for my exact destination/cross-streets. This guy did not, and we had to initiate that conversation a few minutes into the ride. Kaiti and I live about 5 minutes from each other (by car), so we gave him both destinations.

2- The taxi meter displayed “OFF” from the get-go. I saw it but didn’t think anything of it as I was very tired from traveling all day.

3- Kaiti noticed early on that he did not have a license/ID displayed in the car, which is very sketchy. Thus we don’t even know his name.

4- A few minutes after we got on the highway, he started muttering to himself and fiddling with the taxi meter/machine. It was down by his leg, so I couldn’t see what he was doing, but eventually he said to us that something was wrong, something about it being the end of his 10-hour shift, so the machine turned off, and he needed to restart it??

He then asked if we were paying by cash or card, to which I replied card. (I had enough cash but at this point didn’t want him to know I was carrying any…) He muttered something about having to take us back to the airport if the thing wouldn’t work, which was annoying because we really just wanted to get home! We passed by a Hilton hotel and I asked him if he could just drop us off there so we could find another ride, but he said he could only take us back to the airport. Ok…??

He kept messing with the machine, only barely looking at the road, which felt extremely unsafe, as there were still a decent amount of traffic at that hour. Eventually he pulled off the highway to deal with the meter and stopped on the curb of a dark street. We were very confused and irritated at this point and repeatedly asked him to just take us back to the airport.

5- He turned around to look at us. “Why, are you scared?” he asked.

WHAT THE FUCK?

What a grossly inappropriate thing to say.
OBVIOUSLY WE WERE SCARED and on the verge of calling the police at this point!!! What a fucking psycho!

I snapped: “No, we’re just very tired and want to get home!”

At this point I started sharing my live location in our Whatsapp group chat with our other NYC girlfriends, two of whom were still awake, thankfully. I really thought there was a high possibility of us getting mugged or worse.

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Rant: Loudmouths at Concerts

October 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Why in the world do people go to shows if they’re just going to talk the whole time?!

At the end of July, I attended SummerStage at Central Park. It’s fun because it’s outdoors, and you can bring blankets and food and have a nice picnic along with the music. Dawes and First Aid Kit were billed equally as headliners, but First Aid Kit ended up performing before Dawes; I suppose the latter is more well-known, but I was there for the Swedish ladies.

summerstage

We weren’t sitting that close to the stage (as you can see, that area up front is standing room only), but still close enough to ostensibly be there to hear the music. On the outer edges of the makeshift venue were stands where you could buy food or drinks.

People around us talked the whole time, and using their outdoor voices. The din of everyone’s conversation relegated the opening act to background music. It didn’t help that the volume of the music wasn’t nearly loud enough throughout the whole show.

I didn’t mind so much at first, but once First Aid Kit came on stage, a group of young adults (not pictured) came and sat down at an open spot in front of us. And boy were they having the time of their lives! Just talking and laughing noisily like they were at a bar.

I’m not a confrontational person by any stretch of the imagination, but occasionally I can get going when filled with righteous anger. And no assholes were going to keep me from giving First Aid Kit my full attention. So I stepped over and said to the loudest guy, “Can you guys talk quieter please?!”

It was not my most grammatically proud moment. But at least they finally realized other people were actually trying to hear the music.

It was also — and still is — baffling to me that people would pay money ($37.50 per ticket, not super expensive but not that cheap either!) to go somewhere and just talk over the performers. I get that maybe most of the people were there for Dawes and not First Aid Kit, but what about common courtesy to the musicians as well as the rest of the audience?!

Alas, the same thing happened to me last night at a concert for MS MR. It was a great show with two amazing opening acts (Vérité and Jack Garratt). I was perched at a prime spot on Terminal 5’s second floor balcony.

msmr

Just as Vérité finished their set, this white couple about my age came and stood next to me at the railing. And oh my god they would not stop talking!!!!! They blabbered through Jack Garratt’s entire performance, and I could barely concentrate on how awesome he was due to their loud, inane chatter. Eventually, the guy on the other side of them told them to hush.

Before MS MR came on, the people on the other side of me left, so I moved down the railing to get away from the two loudmouths…but they ended up moving right along with me! And continued their inebriated banalities through MS MR’s first few songs.

Seriously, why were they even there?! There are places where you can go and order drinks and talk loudly and it’s called a fucking bar!

I got so fed up that after a few songs, I leaned over and yelled, “Can you two stop talking for ONE SONG?!?”

The guy was like, “Whooaaaa” but neither of them actually acknowledged me. They quieted down some but continued talking, and at that point I had to conclude that they were just drunk. How else can you be so obtuse?

I can put up with a lot at a concert. Invasion of personal space, like when the woman’s long flowing hair fell into her beer and then somehow wiped that beer on the back of my hand, I won’t make a big fuss about if you’re contributing to the atmosphere of the show by actually enjoying the music. If you’re dancing and bump into me, I don’t care.

BUT WHY WITH THE TALKING??? WHY??

I don’t know if this is a NYC thing, or a young people thing, or a cheap-ish concerts thing, but oblivious assholes like these should just stay away from live shows. I would posit, however, that it does have something to do with age (and booze).

When I went to see Todrick Hall’s Twerk du Soleil show last year, his opening acts were a couple of aspiring pop stars who were basically mediocrely talented teenagers singing covers. But the audience, comprising also mostly teenagers (yes I felt out of place and old), were respectfully quiet during these performances! Or they weren’t drunk enough to not care.

It pains me that my peers see fit to talk over artists with actual talent, like First Aid Kit and Jack Garratt. They deserve better, and so do I.

Skin Laundry NYC Review

May 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

skin-laundry

I first read about Skin Laundry right before they opened in Flatiron; it was also right around the time I was lamenting the lack of high-tech skin solutions in the U.S. (or just New York?). It seemed like Asian countries have new treatments popping up all the time — Thermage, IPL, etc. — whereas Americans were content to stick with our drugstore brands while glomming on to Korean fads and occasionally getting high-end facials* if you’re rich.

Even if these new-age treatments are available in the States, I feel like they’re so rarely written about or treated as a regular part of the skincare regimen. It’s simply a different culture.

Anyway, I was mostly ready to jump on Skin Laundry’s wagon. The company, which started in LA, offers only one treatment: the signature 10-minute laser facial. In short, you get two doses of lasers to clean out your pores, then one dose of IPL (intense pulsed light) to even skin tone and stimulate collagen.

I was skeptical at first because every review I read about Skin Laundry sounded like effusive advertorial. The Yelp reviews for their other locations were marginally more helpful. The only semi-skeptical piece I could find about it was on LATimes.

Still, I went ahead and tried it, mostly because I managed to get my first treatment free when I RSVPed to their grand opening in March.

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An Afternoon at NYC’s First Cat Cafe

December 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

meow parlour storefront

Last Monday, Meow Parlour opened to much fanfare. Finally, New York gets its own permanent cat cafe! (I believe Cat Town Cafe in Oakland has the honor of being the first in the U.S.)

The first time I visited a cat cafe was in Hong Kong (pictures here and here); it was definitely more of a cat-themed cafe that happened to have pet cats — lots of tables and chairs with a full-fledged menu of kitty-shaped things.

In contrast, Meow Parlour centers on the well-being of its four-legged tenants. There’s lots of open space to sit and play with the cats, which are all up for adoption through KittyKind, plus nooks for them to hide in if they’re tired of human interaction. As my friend Jennifer said, it’s so hard to resist wanting to take one home!

I donated to Meow Parlour’s Kickstarter immediately upon learning about it, thus securing myself a reservation for two this past Saturday. When I arrived at 2 p.m., all but two of the kitties were sleeping (I think there were about eight total?), so I chilled and took in all the cat-friendly decor.

sleeping kitty

meow parlour cat cafe

The black hoop is a wheel for them to run on!

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That Time I Met Tyra Banks and Ate Her Ice Cream

February 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Tyra gif

This story is a series of coincidences.

It started on a hot weekday last June, a perfect day for Korean cold noodles (naengmyun). I had made dinner plans to meet Rachel at Han Joo in East Village, so I made my way there after work.

While waiting to cross the street at the corner of St. Mark’s Pl. and 3rd Ave., I heard a loud voice behind me talking about Nutella. He sounded very self-assured, as if lecturing on the wonders of hazelnut chocolate spread. Curious, I turned around and realized that the loudmouth behind me was my friend Drew.

What are the chances? It gets better. Drew was with two friends, Brandon and Travis, who were visiting from Florida, and they were also on their way to dinner. So I invited them to eat with me and Rachel (she arrived a bit later). The five of us had such a good time over noodles and BBQ that afterward, we decided to head across the street for dessert at Spot.

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A Fresh Start In Sunnyside

July 22, 2013 § 3 Comments

I’ve finally settled in to my new apartment in Sunnyside, Queens, and I must say it has been very enjoyable so far. The apartment is beautiful (photos below!), the neighborhood is charming, and my daily commute to Times Square takes literally the same amount of time as when I lived in East Village.

It’s almost that easy.

Here are just some of the benefits:

-There’s a trash chute on every floor, which means I never have to drag my garbage downstairs!!! THIS IS A BIG DEAL.
-Because I live in an elevator building, packages actually get delivered to my door instead of me having to make time for the post office’s inconvenient hours and long waits.
-I live much closer to the train station than I used to — 6 minutes walking instead of 15. The distance seemed reasonable when I lived in East Village, but when I went to pick up my deposit last week, it felt like forever.
-My new apartment building has a lobby. An air-conditioned lobby with couches and a coffee table. Before, I’d be forced to squeeze past delivery bikes or strollers just to get up the stairs. (One time, someone inadvertently wedged their bike between the door and the stairs and I literally could not get inside. That’s how tiny the space was.)
-I never, ever have to worry about being kept awake by noisy garbage trucks or barhoppers. Or my roommate’s crying kid.
-My room has a built-in AC/heating unit! I won’t have to mooch off the living room AC anymore! For some reason, though, my machine is in Celsius and I don’t know how to change it.
-I used to have to pay almost $100 a month in utilities and cable (WTF!). Now it’s half as much — and our Internet doesn’t get disconnected every 10 minutes.

I have only a few minor gripes:

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Why I’m Leaving Manhattan And Moving To Queens

June 18, 2013 § 5 Comments

In two weeks, I will be moving out of my East Village apartment all the way to Sunnyside, Queens. Some might wonder why I’d leave such an amazing neighborhood for some bufu land that even many New Yorkers have never heard of, but you’ll understand by the end of this post.

Map

As you might recall from my move-in post, for the past nine months, I’ve been living in a two-bedroom with my roommate Catherine and her daughter C, who just turned 4. People give me weird looks when I tell them I live with a toddler, and I guess it’s for good reason. Who would want to live with someone else’s kid? And perhaps those people are correct. But more on that later.

My main reason for moving out was economical. Rent cost me $1180 per month, which is reasonable for the location, but with the additional $40-ish for utilities and astronomical $60 for cable/Internet (she subscribes to HBO/DVR/etc.), I paid almost $1300 every month. Of course, when I say “I paid,” I mean “my parents paid,” which makes me feel awful for being such a leech. In contrast, my new apartment in Queens is around $900 a month. That’s a $400 difference!! What the what!

That in itself is compelling enough, but there’s more!

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