April 17, 2013: Hello, NoMad! This place so deserves a shout out here on Neighborhood Nomads — not only for its name, but for that picturesque ivy that creeps around a streetscape otherwise full of cement and for the two bicycles on their kickstands in the lobby parked on those oh-so-New York City tile floors. Not to mention it’s not just the hotel, but the entire neighborhood that’s called NoMad, named for the area north of Madison Square Park. How perfect is that? Husband and I picked up some coffee and walked north up Broadway to NoMad Saturday morning, circling back through the Shake Shack in the park. How could we not? An entire neighborhood called NoMad just feels like the right place to wander.
December 15, 2012, Washington, DC: Booker Mitchell calls me shortly after he hops out of a cab on a busy Friday afternoon in New York City. He doesn’t always take a cab, but he had a lot to carry this afternoon leaving school. You see, Booker is not only a true city nomad and National Geographic Traveler‘s newly minted Traveler of the Year, he’s also a student in the 10th grade.
Incidentally, Booker is also a friend of my brother’s despite their age difference of more than 20 years, and that’s how I came to admire Booker’s work as both a traveler and a young journalist. I love watching his webisodes on Booker Travels as he skateboards and surfs throughout the world, and I relate completely to his mantra, “Live Life Outside.” In short, this insightful and worldy teenager exemplifies what it means to be a neighborhood nomad, and by the time he leaves school and begins the weekend, we have a lot to discuss.
“If the future is going to be greener, then it must be more urban. Dense cities offer a means of living that involves less driving and smaller homes to heat and cool. Maybe someday we’ll be able to drive and cool our homes with almost no carbon emissions, but until then, there is nothing greener than blacktop.”
-Edward Glaser, Triumph of the City
March 31, 2012, New York: I recently read both Edward Glaser’s Triumph of the City and David Owen’s Green Metropolis. They both make the case that city living is a wise environmental choice — both argue that city dwellers tendencies to live small, walk more, and reuse spaces we already occupy rival choices to head for the hills in order to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Still, city dwellers yearn for the green spaces and breaths of fresh air so readily available out there in our natural landscapes. Lucky for them, there are more and more efforts to bring the outdoors in to the urban equation.
I think about these initiatives this afternoon as we make our first visit to Manhattan’s massive recycling project known as the High Line.
November 20, 2011, Washington, DC: Sara is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We met in the first grade in Baltimore, Md., stayed in close touch after my family moved away, and eventually became college roommates in two adjoining 80-square-foot dorm rooms in Manhattan. When Sara first emailed me this summer about her new place in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope, I couldn’t picture it. “I found a new apartment just a couple of blocks away from my current one,” she wrote. “Let’s just say I think my new apartment used to be the ballroom!”
Then she sent a photo. Wow. Then I saw for myself last weekend. Double wow.
Read on for an interview (and photos!) with Sara about her Brooklyn Ballroom.
“I carry the place around the world in my heart but sometimes I try to shake it off in my dreams.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald on New York
November 17, 2011, Washington, DC: Last weekend wore me out. For the past few nights, I’ve come home from work unable to write and unable to think. New York is tiring.
But it’s tiring for all the right reasons. In one weekend, we saw nearly twenty percent of our wedding guests, dined and celebrated with immediate and extended family, ran into an old friend at one in the morning, made treks up to Columbia and out to Brooklyn, and descended back into another hometown.
There are so many reasons to love New York City it’s downright exhausting.
If we lived here again, could we keep up? Would our pace slow to a semblance of sanity if we didn’t have to pack it all into a weekend? Or would the city still whisk us away?
November 13, 2011, New York: Saturday morning in Union Square begins with a jackhammer, a film crew, a farmer’s market, and a column of steam rising from the street outside L’Express. After a visit to 71 Irving Place for a cup of coffee on one of my favorite city blocks, I begin this walk through a neighborhood I’ve come to know well over the course of a decade.