21 Questions

Date: May 30, 2014 at 11:18 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 40

You’ve been a great audience lately: You’ve stuck around when my posts were miserable and unhappy, and you were there waiting when I was ready to come back and try to bring myself back to life.

My posts have either been very, very sad or wicked, wicked happy. I realize there hasn’t been much in between.

Flowers indicate happiness and a life in bloom!

Flowers indicate happiness and a life in bloom!

So, because it’s Friday, and Friday isn’t a day for hard reading, how about a survey? I’ve actually never done one of those blog surveys that are always going around. But one of my favorite features on NYMag.com is the “21 Questions” column. I will now rip off that exact idea and those exact questions and answer them myself, simply because I’ve always wanted to, and why not do it on a public forum where people can openly judge me?

This might be fun and interesting or it might be painfully boring. I don’t know. Let’s find out…

Name: Ali. But you knew that already. So far this is boring.

Age: Freshly 29.

Fanciest little birthday cake I've ever had.

Fanciest little birthday cake I’ve ever had.

Neighborhood: Upper East Side, land of double strollers. Brian and I recently renewed our lease for a third year. We discussed moving out of NYC, but I was very sick at the time and couldn’t fathom the ideas of apartment hunting, moving and living somewhere new. Plus, I want a full year of being healthy in New York City before I can leave. I want to run all four seasons in Central Park before bidding adieu. When I’m sick, I hate it here and long for the country, but when I’m healthy, this city is the ultimate playground.

No filter! Just pure sunshiney goodness.

No filter! Just pure sunshiney goodness.

Occupation: Digital & Editorial Manager at JackRabbit Sports. I am still not used to telling people I’m not “an editor at a teen dance magazine…you’ve never heard of it, but it’s super fun and it was my favorite magazine growing up!” Old habits.

One of my favorite shoots during my Dance Spirit days: with Jeremy Hudson (on the left) and Mark Kanemura (on the right). They are the cutest couple I've ever worked with and we had so much fun at their shoot in L.A.

One of my favorite shoots during my Dance Spirit days: with Jeremy Hudson (on the left) and Mark Kanemura (on the right). They are the cutest couple I’ve ever worked with and we had so much fun at their shoot in L.A.

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Lin-Manuel Miranda. He conceptualized, wrote and starred in In the Heights on Broadway, which is far and away the best show I have ever seen on Broadway. He is so talented and is such a go-getter, and I’ve admired his work ethic for years. (If you’re a “Modern Family” fan, you may remember Miranda as a guest star on an early episode; he was the “good doggy treat/bad doggy treat” guy.)

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? Brian took me to Jean-Georges for my birthday this year. It was out-of-this-world ridiculous. Some courses were so good that I actually laughed at them, because I couldn’t believe food that incredible even existed. Now all food tastes like a bad doggy treat because it’s “regular food” and not “Jean-Georges food.” (So now, in case you’re keeping score: Brian took me out for the best meal of my life for my birthday. For his birthday, I crashed my bike and he had to take care of me all night.)

We took a selfie at Jean-Georges. Shameless. But we couldn't NOT. We needed the memories!

We took a selfie at Jean-Georges. Shameless. But we couldn’t NOT. We needed the memories!

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job? I don’t know. It’s so new and I’m so busy and I can’t believe I ever claimed to be “soooo busy” at my last job. I am feeling like I don’t come up for air much these days, and I’m definitely still learning the ropes and figuring things out. But mostly, I write about running, I post about running, I think about running and I talk about running. I do media buys and marketing, I work with an ad agency to get our new TV commercials juuuust right, and I do a lot of brand strategy.

Busy as we are, we made time to go to Dairy Queen on opening day. I hate to say that it was slightly disappointing. My Blizzard is chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups, and they ran out of chocolate ice cream just as I got to the counter. SAD.

Busy as we are, we made time to go to Dairy Queen on opening day. I hate to say that it was slightly disappointing. My Blizzard is chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups, and they ran out of chocolate ice cream just as I got to the counter. SAD.

What was your first job in New York? First “I’ll work for free” gig was Editorial Intern at Dance Spirit. First “OMG you’re going to pay me to do this?!” job came not much later, as Web Editor for DanceMedia, the publishing company for Dance Spirit, Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher and, at the time, American Cheerleader. I learned HTML, wrote tons of blog posts, edited all the magazines’ newsletters and moderated very active message boards filled with crazy ragey teenage girls.

My first job in NYC had a tiny little "break room" where you could eat your lunch. In that tiny little break room was a tiny little window, and from that window you could stare out at the Brooklyn Bridge. I adored it.

My first job in NYC had a tiny little “break room” where you could eat your lunch. In that tiny little break room was a tiny little window, and from that window you could stare out at the Brooklyn Bridge. I adored it.

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway? If/Then. If you go see it, then we can be best friends. It was incredible and I very highly recommend it, whether you’re an Idina Menzel fanatic or not. I cannot wait to get my hands on the soundtrack. I smiled like a fool for the entire first act, and bawled so hard during the second. I then proceeded to cry the entire way home, cried explaining the show to Brian, and cried myself to sleep. It’s good. Don’t let the tears scare you.

Do you give money to panhandlers? I like to, especially if they have a dog or a talent. But, admittedly, I very rarely if ever have cash on me, so I usually offer food since goodness knows I always have some of that on me.

What’s your drink? Water! I can’t drink anything carbonated (it makes my nose burn, why?), I’ve never had coffee and I think tea is boring. I like hot chocolate or hot cider in the winter, and if I’m feeling boozy I like something fruity or a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Hot chocolate at a photo shoot on one of those polar vortexy days. That's Meggie on the right. We worked together at Dance Spirit. You'd like her.

Hot chocolate at a photo shoot on one of those polar vortexy days. That’s Meggie on the right. We worked together at Dance Spirit. You’d like her.

I’m not a beer drinker (the carbonation!), chardonnay skeeves me out and I don’t think I’ve ever truly “craved” a green juice. I do have a newfound appreciation for Juice Generation’s “I Love Watermelon” smoothie, though; I tried it a few weeks ago and, would you believe it, it was my first-ever smoothie? Deeeelish. And I love the watermelon juice at Juice Press, which is where I end all my long runs.

I can chug the entire thing in one gulp after a sweaty long run. WATCH ME.

I can chug the entire thing in one gulp after a sweaty long run. WATCH ME.

How often do you prepare your own meals? Roughly zero percent of the time. Ugh, it’s so bad and I hate myself for it. I always fail to plan (thus plan to fail), and then I don’t have groceries, and by the time I get home at night I’m tired and I’m lazy and I’m addicted to Seamless.com. I have been bringing my lunch to work a bit lately, though, so maybe I get a few points for that?

What’s your favorite medication? Whatever this mystery study drug is that seems to be working! Beyond that: sleep. I have been trying really hard to make sleep a priority and I give myself a hard out for bedtime when I can. I can’t believe how much better I feel in the morning and, subsequently, all day long, when I get a good night’s rest.

What is the best thing in or about your apartment? Selena Gomez.

Selena loves sweat. He also loves his little llama friends on the table. They keep each other company when I'm not home.

Selena loves sweat. He also loves his little llama friends on the table. They keep each other company when I’m not home.

Brian.

AW, HI BRIAN, LOOK HOW CUTE YOU ARE.

AW, HI BRIAN, LOOK HOW CUTE YOU ARE.

The views. The proximity to Central Park. The proximity to multiple spots along the New York City Marathon route.

STOP: Poncho Time!

STOP: Poncho Time!

My little John Adler zebra trays that I discovered on this very cute blog.

The trays came in a set. One is light blue, one is lime green and one is dark blue. I love them all and they were on mega sale, so I love them even more.

The trays came in a set. One is light blue, one is lime green and one is dark blue. I love them all and they were on mega sale, so I love them even more.

Artwork by Tyler.

ONE OF A KIND. Very expensive.

ONE OF A KIND. Very expensive.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen on the subway? The same person more than once. If you do the same commute at the same time every day, you end up seeing a few of the same people from time to time. In a city this large, that blows my mind.

When was the last time you stayed out past 3 AM? Probably in my post-ABS (remember that guy?) party girl phase. I had some fun. I could hang. Now, 3 AM is scarily close to the time I wake up every morning.

A morning yoga-to-Soul stroll through Tribeca with Jessica.

A morning yoga-to-Soul stroll through Tribeca with Jessica.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square? Ah, I’ve heard stories of the “old Times Square,” but am too young to have actually known it. Times Square is a place I avoid, as many of us do, but at the right time, it’s not so bad. Stay far away during the post-work/pre-show hours, but if you can run through Times Square in the very early AM, it’s pretty special.

What do you think of Mayor de Blasio? I don’t think of him. He’s tall and he’s my neighbor now, but he’s no Bloomberg.

What do you hate most about living in New York? Everyone who lives here thinks they are the most important person alive. People shove you on the subway, throw elbows at you on the sidewalk and huff and puff if you dare get on an elevator with a suitcase. People can be very rude and very entitled and very nasty. It makes me sad.

Also, having to wash my dirty feet when I get home after a long summer day. It scares me to think about the grime I’ve picked up while hustling in flip flops.

Also people who try to steal your cabs (such bad karma!), also how expensive it is to take a cab to JFK, also how expensive groceries are, also how expensive restaurants are, also how expensive rent is. Holy shit how expensive rent is. But it’s been seven years and good gosh do I love this place I can call home.

Home.

Home.

If you could banish one person from New York forever, who would it be? It makes me happy that no one comes to mind immediately. I guess I don’t have that much hatred in my heart at the moment!

When’s the last time you drove a car? Last weekend! Before that it had been maybe a year or so. But while we were in Vermont, I drove the big blue van to and from many start and finish lines, and I helped get us out of the mud after Brian drove us right into a swamp.

You may notice two things about this picture: 1. Big Blue is covered in mud. 2. Brian is barefoot. That's because, as he faceplanted into the mud, he's shoes kind of sank right in there. And then he went into Dick's Sporting Goods in just his socks to buy a new pair of shoes.

You may notice two things about this picture: 1. Big Blue is covered in mud. 2. Brian is barefoot. That’s because, as he faceplanted into the mud, his shoes kind of sank right in there. And then he went into Dick’s Sporting Goods in just his socks to buy a new pair of shoes.

Finish this sentence: The NYPD ______________. Should give more tickets to people smoking in Central Park and to tourists taking selfies while riding CitiBikes on Saturday afternoons. So reckless, I can’t take it.

Times, Post, or Daily News? Times. I get the Weekender (in print!), but I save them all up for Sunday. My beloved Sunday routine is to wake up very early, walk to spin class with Bethany, see all my friends at spinning, walk home and do some errands along the way, and then put on clean sweats and eat breakfast on the living room floor while reading three days’ worth of The New York Times. My favorite sections are the Sunday Styles, Travel, Real Estate and Metropolitan (mainly for the “Sunday Routine” column). I do not read the Automobiles section.

Tyler loves to read the Concord Monitor. It has three whole sections! (Fun fact: I used to work there, in the advertising department, on summer and winter breaks from college.)

Tyler loves to read the Concord Monitor. It has three whole sections! (Fun fact: I used to work there, in the advertising department, on summer and winter breaks from college.)

Where do you go to be alone? For a run in the park, most likely to the Reservoir. Or I take a very very very long shower.

OK I FEEL BETTER NOW.

OK I FEEL BETTER NOW.

What makes someone a New Yorker? Am I worthy of answering this question? I’ve only been here seven years and I hear you’re supposed to give it 10 before you take the title. I feel most like a New Yorker when I leave the city and am overcome with a deep appreciation for the stars in the night sky (we don’t see them much here!); and then, when I come back to the city and get my first glimpse of the skyline, I know that I’m home. I will never tire of the views of the Empire State Building from any angle or direction, and Central Park feels magical every single time I’m there.

My new favorite running hotspot: Harlem Meer. I can't believe I just discovered this quiet gem a few weeks ago (I then proceeded to run the loop around it three times in a row because I loved it so much.) But be warned: The bathrooms down there don't open until 10 AM on weekdays!

My new favorite running hotspot: Harlem Meer. I can’t believe I just discovered this quiet gem a few weeks ago (I then proceeded to run the loop around it three times in a row because I loved it so much.) But be warned: The bathrooms down there don’t open until 10 AM on weekdays! I’m just lookin’ out for ya.

OK, that was kind of fun. For me at least. Maybe not so much for you. Filling out a survey and expecting someone to care about your answers is by nature highly narcissistic, but such is blogging.

NEXT TIME WON’T YOU PLAY WITH ME? Or just play with me this time, and answer one question. Specifically: Where do you go to be alone? If you’re a New Yorker, answer all the questions for me. GO.

40 Responses to "21 Questions"

I LOVE this post!! I think it’s because I’m in love with NYC and dream about moving there someday. Okay, so I have a husband and child so that probably won’t happen–but I can dream! I was just there running the NYC half in March and am already planning my next trip back! I need more NYC friends so I can come back more often hahahaha!

To be alone I run along the river. There’s always people around but I’m alone with my thoughts and running. Two things I enjoy so much!

I will be your NYC friend! We can have sleepovers!

Courtney says: May 30, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Don’t worry, I enjoyed reading! I live alone so to be alone I just go home. But if I want to be alone among people I like a good run along rock creek or a stroll through the portrait gallery (in DC).

When I am in NYC I love Central Park. I miss it already and I’ve only been home 2 weeks.

Luckily I live in a beautiful state with some of the best mountains EVER. Trail running isn’t fast and it’s a challenge but it clears my head and strengthens my soul. When I get to the crest of a trail I sit down and have a little snack and enjoy how wonderful life is.

Harlem Meer is my favorite place to pick up an extra mile or so. It’s a little annoying in the winter (so much slush and ice that it’s hardly worth it) but fun this time of year, and a good break from the hills.

Ah, good to know about the winter. I’ll soak it all up while I can!

i go to Riverside Park/run along the Hudson to be alone — fave way to start my mornings (and super close to my apt!).

this year’s tony awards will mark the first year in 7 years that I haven’t seen a tony nominated show (or any broadway show), which makes me feel like a brat, and also depressed at the same time. Reading your if/then review makes me so sad I haven’t seen it yet(also, can we not be friends anymore if i haven’t seen it yet? how about you just go again for me?) i think that you’re a new yorker when you are in another place and you get frustrated at the lack of energy/speed in the pace at which people walk, and/or get butterflies in your stomach when you return to new york and see the skyline and feel home (note: these are different butterflies than the “omg! new york! i see it! i can’t wait to see the sites!” this is “hello you beautiful city, i’ve missed you and I’m back”)

That makes me sad, too! I’m rooting for Aladdin in every category this year. And would love Idina to take Best Lead in a Musical, obviously.

That was fun reading your answers! I want to check out that restaurant! I bookmarked it on my yelp. I’m from philly/south jersey area but moving to hoboken Monday!! Eeek so excited!

Lindsay says: May 30, 2014 at 2:33 pm

I am madly in love with If/Then!! I went to NYC for the first time ever in April this year and I still can’t get over how much I loved that show!

Also, you don’t know me but I love your blog! While no two Crohn’s journeys are the same, it’s nice to know others understand how horrible this disease is. Thanks!

I understand <3 And it's nice having people read this blog who understand ME and this madness. So thank you! And OHMYGODDDD If/Then. I can't wait for the soundtrack.

When I lived on the Upper East Side I would walk from my apartment to my office on 34th and 9th on Friday afternoons to be alone. Love the Times and always had to read it on Sat mornings with a bagel and coffee in Carl Shurz Park just blocks from my apt! So sad they opened a DQ and Ralph’s in NYC after I moved out.

MOVE BACK. (Duh.)

What skeeves you about chardonnay? I think it’s funny that we originally moved on the same say two years ago, you just renewed for a third year, and me and Andy are moving for the third time. And HOW have you never had a smoothie?!

“Skeeves me out” probably wasn’t the best phrasing. I’m not, like, creeped out by it. I just HATE it. The taste and smell make me automatically make that wrinkled-up face.

As for smoothies: I always assumed I wouldn’t like them and that they wouldn’t fill me up or satisfy me, so I just didn’t bother. To think now about all the great smoothies I’ve missed out on in life! Time to play catch up.

I hate chardonnay because it tastes like I’m chewing on a tree. Every other white wine > Chard.

So glad to see that you are finally feeling better and have decided to keep blogging! You are a great writer and I love your witty style. Also, I think it’s awesome that you have a giraffe named Selena Gomez. Hilarious.

Selena Gomez, the male giraffe, is named after Brian’s favorite singer. We love him and are so happy to have him in our apartment. (And thank you for saying nice things. I’m happy to be writing now that I have happy things to write about!)

You’re very welcome! And I missed that Selena Gomez was male, even more perfect 🙂

THAT was highly entertaining. Loved loved it! I finally made it for a trip to NYC in the fall and I just about died thinking of all the lucky people who get to call it home. I kept waiting for it to feel like a let down, because surely it can’t be as fantastic and whimsical in real life as it was in movies right?? WRONG. It’s wonderful.

And I know I can’t speak for Central Park since I’ve only spent all of about 4 hours there, but people smoking in ANY park where other people are enjoying the great outdoors/exercising/being active PISSES ME OFF. I mean, I guess I’d rather them do it in the park than at the table beside me in a restaurant, but still. Just, EW.

Listening to you talk about your job is SO cool. You are beyond lucky to be working a dream job like that in the greatest city in the world, THAT is something to be happy about! 🙂 And also, the whole BLIZZARDS in Manhattan thing.

Jasmine says: May 30, 2014 at 5:29 pm

I am beyond jealous that you live in NYC…It’s always been my dream and I am slightly in love with the city! I’m also beyond jealous that you’ve seen if/then-It’s on my to do list for sure!!! No one here in good ol’ Halifax, NS understands my love of Broadway.
Also…cannot believe they ran out of chocolate before you got to the counter! Did they tip the blizzard upside down?!

“I do not read the automobiles section.” Hahaha, that’s one of the sections that I occasionally work on at my newspaper and I usually skip right over it in my Sunday paper. For shame!
I live for the NYT’s Style section, too…I miss the days of getting it in print for free in college…

I saw If/Then when it previewed in DC. I definitely want to see it on Broadway too! I found the soundtrack online the other day and have been listening to it nonstop.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/05/27/first-listen-if-then-broadway-cast-recording/9552743/

I miss NYC! I lived there for 3 years and love that photo of the reservoir. I agree, that’s where I’d go to be alone…and my biggest complaint about NYC was the expense and the ever-present amount of PEOPLE no matter where you were or what you were doing. Still miss it though. Glad you are doing better, Ali!

This made me miss New York. I also really want to see If/Then… like desperately. This post makes me want to call my Mom and make her go to NYC with me (read: her pay for us to go to NYC because I am the most broke I have ever been in this moment).

To be alone I go to VanDusen Gardens… I have a free pass every year, so the 55 acres of trees and beauty in the middle of the city are the perfect place for me to wander, journal, and be alone.

Of course if its raining, I take a shower or build a blanket fort in bed, because, you know, that’s like being alone too.

Well, I live in NYC but I don’t think I can stay awake long enough to answer the questions.

Where do I go to be alone? Weirdly, one of my favourite places is the Isolation Room at the Wild Bird Fund, where I volunteer to take care of sick and injured birds. The ISO room has very sick birds, and there’s only room for one person in there at a time. I like to take care of the poor, little things and I find it very peaceful. Except of course when one them is peppier than usual, escapes from its container when I try move it from its container to a temporary container (so I can clean up) and it escapes, flies up to the ceiling and I have to turn out all the lights, climb a ladder and grasp randomly in the dark to catch it …

The shower is a very good place to be alone!!! I was alone in a subway car for THREE STOPS the other night…that was CREEPY, but was oddly on my bucket list!!! I walked up and down the aisles humming (No running here….very pregnant).

I am from NY and miss it every darn day. I live in Seattle now. Womp Womp. If my mother didn’t decide to move out here, I’d go back to my 500 square feet STAT.
Also, I like you because you prefer hot chocolate over coffee. People think I’m a child because I do too. I dream about City Bakery. Go for me please?

To be alone i like to get out on my bike and ride into the countryside. I live in a very small village in England so they are many quiet lanes then never see much traffic. I love it, especially first thing on a morning.
I enjoyed your post and reading about NY. I have never been but would love to visit.

I run to be alone…lots of lovely little countryside tracks around my wee house. I LOVE NY – I’ve only been once so far, but I can’t wait to go again…and now on my bucket list (thanks to reading your blog for two years) is running in Central Park! I WILL do this one day!!! 😀

Terri R. says: June 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm

This post made me so excited!!! My husband recently got a job in the city and is commuting from central NJ. We are planning to move to the city at the end of the year and I can’t wait! NJ and suburban life has grown on me, but I love NYC. When I want to be alone, I run on the Towpath- it’s so calm and serene, sometimes I’m able to just meditate while I run. That’s the one thing I’ll miss when I leave NJ.

Cool post. I do not live in NYC. Nor have I been there. But this post gives me an brief glimpse of the city. Thanks

Jennifer S. says: June 2, 2014 at 8:43 pm

I NEED to know if you wrote the caption for the pic if muddy big blue and barefoot Bryan with a straight face. I laughed so hard I was crying imaging him first face planting and second shoeless. I’m sorry Bryan but THANK YOU for the laugh.
I also want to say I’m so glad you are feeling better! It’s nice to “see” the old you coming back!

Alone time for me is usually in the car to and from work or to and from dance. I blare my country music (sorry, not sorry) and let myself be absorbed in my thoughts. And on nice days at work, sometimes I take a long walk by myself or, when it’s not so nice out, go to the office gym by myself. Either way, they are terrific breaks throughout the day.

This was such a fun post!! I agree that an alone spot is crucial in NYC…I love going to the boardwalk in the fall/winter…guaranteed no one will be there.

Answering this because it’s VERY challenging. Honestly, the work bathroom or my apartment. The other day I needed a good cry, and I realized I had to go to my apartment and hope my roommate wasn’t home! It’s really tough to find a convenient “alone” place here!

I’m catching up on your blog in giant chunks, per usual.

This is cute, I may steal this for my blog!

I’ll answer a couple:

Best meal: Becco in the theater district. Every night there’s an unlimited pasta special — three different kinds of pasta, chef’s choice. It’s unbelievably good. The servers walk around at all times with giant pots of hot pasta. And I always eat enough to feed a small country. It’s the best indulgent meal in NYC.

My favorite NYC medication is Xanax. Shit.

To be alone: the library, my sister’s apartment/sanctuary, the reservoir.

The craziest thing you’ve ever seen on the subway is NOT the 6 train spitting woman?! Girl.

OH GOD THAT WOMAN SHE IS THE WORST OH GODDDD. I haven’t seen her in a while. Vile, man.

She disappears for months at a time then comes back. I hope she gets help, but the system is so screwed I wouldn’t be surprised to hear her yelling on 3rd Avenue again by fall.