Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What I love about the Upper East Side

I've lived in the Upper East Side ever since I moved to New York City in 2005.   When  I first moved to NYC,  everything was booming and rent was steep and getting steeper.  My studio went from $2,450 to $3,000 in a year.  I moved from the doorman elevator building with a gym that was just at 15 minute walk to the GM Building to a fifth floor walkup in the mid-80s between First and York Avenues for $2,200.   The new neighborhood was a very brisk 45 minute walk from work and an hour on the M31.  With beautiful weather, I would walk through Central Park to be at my office right on the corner of the Park.

If you visit the E. 80s, I recommend that you:
  1. Drop by Glasier's Bake Shop on First Avenue between E. 87 and E. 88th Streets.   Their black and white cookies are famous and have been reviewed by the New York Sun, New York Magazine, the NY Post, all in the two years that I lived in the area.  But while the black and white cookies are excellent,  I love the scones, brownies, and zucchini bread.  When my husband moved in, he would drop by Glasier's almost every Friday - until we resolved to stick to our diets!
  2. Carl Shurtz Park on East End Avenue and E. 86th Street, right by the East River.  The gardens are small and beautiful.  It's deeply relaxing to just walk and smell the salt water.  There are films, music festivals, Christmas caroling, and art fairs.  
  3. Central Park - no need to say anything else!
  4. Sushi of Gari - the tasting sushi is a special treat but quite expensive at $150 for 10 pieces. 
  5. Agata and Valentina - First Avenue and E. 79th Street for the prepared foods!  A good place to pick up food before heading to Carl Shurtz Park or Central Park for a picnic.
  6. Bikram NYC - www.bikramyoganyc.com - on E. 83rd Avenue and Third Avenue.  
  7. Book Cellar at the Webster Branch of the New York Public Library - they sell used books and the proceeds go to the library fund. They have an excellent selection of fiction, cook books, etc.  
  8. Fruit carts - all over the UES.  Particularly good deals on the ones on E. 86th Street and along Third Avenue.
  9. King's Carriage House - fixed price menus for lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. The lunch is a bargain at about $20.  It's a small townhouse with charm, quiet, and excellent food.  E. 82nd Street between Second and Third Avenues.
  10. Eli's - for the prepared foods and extremely fresh produce, more expensive than Agata & Valentina, but closer to Central Park.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Starting Bikram Yoga

A good friend of mine swears by Bikram Yoga and when I'd visited her in Manila, she'd tried to get me to join her for a class.   Over a year later, I finally signed up for the 30 day special at Bikram Yoga NYC (www.bikramyoganyc.com).  $30 for 30 days of unlimited yoga.  A single class is usually $23, so this seemed like an amazing deal!

Before my first class, I even toyed with the idea of trying the 30 day challenge. Do a class a day for 30 days and you get your name written on their wall, a free week of class, 2 free guest passes, a T-shirt and 10% off your purchase of a program or yoga gear.  

My first class was harder than I thought possible.  They advise you not to eat 2 hours before the class. I drank plenty of water, ate my Jenny Craig lunch 3 hours before class, got there 30 minutes early but I couldn't last.  I was dizzy, nauseous, and I ended up being sick twice during class.   Oddly enough, I still felt better after having tried it.  

So two weeks later, I've learned to eat much less before class, manage the heat better, and  battle dizziness and nausea. I feel slimmer, fitter and stronger.  

I had a three day streak of skipping class, sleeping late,  and eating far too much again.  I tried to break it yesterday with the afternoon class and couldn't keep up.  I'm getting ready for another class today - hoping to do better.