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New York City: Business Travels, Snow, and Best Friends: a Photojournal

New York City, from the air

There’s no place like home. – Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

A long time ago, I grew up in New York City. Not the kind of growing up made of apple pies and playgrounds, but more when I was a teenager, navigating the city on my own, before it became safe, and learning a piece of who I am.

I learned how to get to a dozen go-sees (auditions) in one day, scattered across Manhattan. The subway and photographers and other models were my companions. Living in a 2-bedroom apartment with 7 other girls became normal, and we shared our sparse food with a gazillion cockroaches in a high rise on 82nd. It was an education.

Now that all 3 of my sons are older than I was when I first ventured to and around NYC on my own, I can say I can’t imagine sending one of my children off to grow up in a situation like I experienced, yet, I loved it. And every time I venture back to NYC, it’s like coming home.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of traveling to NYC for work, participated in 40-something pharmaceutical meetings, and attended a 3000-person gala dinner where the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron, spoke. It was an incredible experience, a week I enjoyed immensely. But my favorite parts were getting out and around the city I love with some of my favorite people in the world.

Following, some favorite photos from the Met, the New York Public Library, the gala, and from out and about New York City:

New York City, from the air

Degas, the Dancers sketches, The Met Museum, NYC
Degas, the Dancers sketches, The Met Museum, NYC
Degas and more Dancers, The Met Museum, NYC
Degas and more Dancers, The Met Museum, NYC (I love these)
Monet and the Water Lilies, the Met Museum, NYC
Monet and the Water Lilies, the Met Museum, NYC
Degas's the Dancer, the Met Museum, NYC
Degas’s the Dancer cast in bronze, the Met Museum, NYC — my favorite
David Cameron, speaking
David Cameron, speaking
New York Public Library front doors, detail
New York Public Library front doors, detail
New York Public Library interior, detail
New York Public Library interior, detail
New York Public Library
New York Public Library
New York Public Library entrance to Rose Reading Room
New York Public Library entrance to Rose Reading Room
the streets of NYC
the streets of NYC
NYC Washington Square Park monument, at night
NYC Washington Square Park monument, at night
St. Patrick's Cathedral, NYC -- luminous
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC — luminous
Flowers everywhere at Gramercy Tavern, NYC
Flowers everywhere at Gramercy Tavern, NYC
Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral, NYC
Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC
Sledding in Central Park, NYC
Sledding in Central Park, NYC

 

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Candace Bushnell on Success

Candace Bushnell

“Don’t be afraid to make a fresh start. When are you going to do what you’re meant to do? Keep on going until you get there.” – Candace Bushnell, author, speaking 3/17/16

On St. Patrick’s Day this year, I had the wonderful privilege of being in New York City. For those of you familiar with New York, you know the long-held tradition of the St. Patty’s Day Parade. I was there on that day, for the second time in my life, and I have to say that there is a unique spirit in the air. Everyone–regardless of background, heritage, or skin color–is Irish. It is fun.

On St. Patrick’s Day this year, I also was able to attend a Women’s Networking Breakfast for the organization (DCAT) conference I was attending for my job. The speaker happened to be Candace Bushnell, author of Sex in the City and Killing Monica, among many other notable honors. It was a delight to get to hear Candace speak. Her topic to the ballroom full of women in the Pharmaceutical industry: Societal Limits on Women’s Success. It was wonderful. Below, a few of my notes …

Candace Bushnell on Success

What society says about women’s limits aren’t true. Women get to think for themselves, and if they choose, can have a career. Candace spoke about her mother, who creatively found a way to begin a career when she was school-age. She remembers the juggling of laundry, carpooling, meals. And it’s only gotten more demanding in our busier age. But she saw that her mother benefited from having a career she loved.

Success, Candace says, true success comes from the inside, knowing yourself really well, feeling good about yourself.

Success isn’t about doing one thing and stopping, doing what you love, what you think matters, again and again. It’s about not giving up. How much do you want success? You have to stick with it. And then when success comes, it’s a new challenge. When you have success it means you’re going to change, and success (and change) can be harder than failure.

Candace Bushnell
Candace Bushnell speaking at the Waldorf Astoria, March 2016

We don’t respect successful women enough, as a society. A successful career takes dedication. Like being an Olympic athlete, it takes time to develop skills. But what we learn accumulates to add to success. She started as a pencil-sharpener and became a writer slowly, after much failure.

Don’t be afraid to say yes to things outside your skill zone.

Learn to deal with criticism and failure — gets criticized all the time. It’s part of the job. Can be paralyzing. Learn to take in the helpful parts of criticism and put it aside, and be willing to ride out the bumps of failure.

Candace Bushnell
Candace Bushnell

Work with other women as much as possible. “Just don’t talk badly about other women– make an effort to stick up for other women.”

Yes. I agree. And, as I quoted at the top of this post, “Don’t be afraid to make a fresh start. When are you going to do what you’re meant to do? Keep on going until you get there.”

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Midtown Manhattan: Favorite NYC Photos

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Midtown Manhattan, NYC

The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and beauty in the world. F. Scott Fitzgerald

Last week, I spent six wonderful days in New York City. I traveled there for a full week of meetings for work, and spent all the in between hours out and about in Midtown Manhattan. A few nights, I had wonderful dinners with friends–the best refreshment for the soul. I walked Madison Avenue in the rain, just to have the chance to see the windows while there. I enjoyed a bit of time in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade revelry which marches up 5th Avenue on March 17th. And, I had the immense privilege of attending a formal gala inside the Waldorf Astoria, listening to author Candace Bushnell speak for a breakfast (a future post here), and Ron Howard in conversation about his amazing career at the gala.

What is it about New York City that I love? The energy, the lights, the people, the sunshine and long shadows cast down from skyscrapers, the life that hums there. I caught New York City as a teen, on my second trip there, when I walked the long streets to go-sees for the modeling world after my foot had gotten in the door and pulled me into. There is something about New York City, especially Midtown Manhattan, that speaks of history and tradition, and also of the new and the modern. Some photos from my week there in that wonderfully unique place in the world:

Midtown Manhattan: Favorite NYC Photos

Midtown Manhattan, NYC
The Chrysler Building, Midtown Manhattan, NYC

 

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Fortitude, New York Public Library, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Fortitude, New York Public Library, Midtown Manhattan, NYC

 

Lexington Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Lexington Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Art inside the NYPLibrary, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Art inside the NYPLibrary, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Architecture and Lighting, New York Public Library, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Architecture and Lighting, New York Public Library, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
A Dark and Stormy Night, Central Park, NYC
A Dark and Stormy Night, Central Park, NYC
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Inside the Waldorf Astoria, floor art, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Inside the Waldorf Astoria, floor art, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Inside the Waldorf Astoria, ballroom, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Inside the Waldorf Astoria, ballroom, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Inside the Waldorf Astoria, ballroom, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Inside the Waldorf Astoria entry, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Inside the Waldorf Astoria, Grand Ballroom, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Inside the Waldorf Astoria, Grand Ballroom, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Inside the Waldorf Astoria, Grand Ballroom, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Inside the Waldorf Astoria, Grand Ballroom, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
5th Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
5th Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Midtown Manhattan, NYC
Midtown Manhattan, NYC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BackSpace: the Excellent Writers Conference

New York City, 6th Avenue near Radio City Music Hall

“Unquestionably the best of all writers conferences, this two [three]-day annual conference has leaped to the top with its emphasis on quality, not quantity. There are no formal pitch sessions. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to attend quality workshops and mingle with some of the best editors, agents and other publishing professionals in the industry in a comfortable, non-aggressive atmosphere.” – Bibliobuffet

New York City, 6th Avenue near Radio City Music Hall
New York City, 6th Avenue near Radio City Music Hall

In the last week, I’ve traveled from Prague to New York City and back. And while it’s so good to be home, it’s even better being home with the new bundle of information I gained from the writing conference I attended in New York City. BackSpace Writers Conference filled my mind with a well of new ideas.

Out of all of the writers conferences I’ve attended over the years, BackSpace was by far the best. Continue reading BackSpace: the Excellent Writers Conference

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Photos from NYC

A posting of photographs from our time in NYC, as seen over Valentine’s Day weekend (2009).
The lovely Lady of Liberty stood beautifully on the windy and cold morning we saw her from Battery Park. Venturing across on the ferry would’ve rendered me toe-less and finger-less from the bitter cold.

An interesting view through the bare trees of the city surrounding the oasis in Central Park.

Knights and their shining armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibits were spectacular, though most of the Museum prohibited photography.
One of my favorite NYC spots, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, across Fifth Avenue from Rockefeller’s Plaza. On this afternoon, services proceeded as usual … beautiful!

St. Paul’s Chapel (also above). Directly beside the Ground Zero site, and survived. Also, according to the sign in this photo, St. Paul’s Chapel is Manhattan’s oldest public building in continuous use (since 1764), survived The Great Fire of 1776, and hosted George Washington on Inauguration Day. An illustrious site, to say the least. And at the time I took these photos, a church service was just beginning.

The World Trade Center former site, or Ground Zero. Sad. I remember eating in the restaurant at the top of the Towers back in 1991.

Me, standing beside the sculpture that had previously stood beside the World Trade Center. It survived 9-11 and now takes this form. Today, it stands in memorium in Battery Park, with the flame (in the lower right of the photo).

Trinity Church. This photograph cannot replicate the sight and sound and feeling found in Trinity Church. The sounds we heard of the warming-up choral ensemble in red will live forever in my memory. The physical and historical beauty are awe-inspiring.


Here, Trinity Church and its beautiful exterior as it faces Wall Street and the NYSE. At that moment, the bells peeled in all glory of song.

The Federal Hall, with foundations entwined with our country’s deepest roots, on Wall Street with George Washington.

The plaque of George Washington mounted to the side of the Federal Hall National Memorial.

Of course, Times Square area.

And last but not least, the tents at Bryant Park (the back side) for New York Fashion Week. The Herve Leger show that went on while we watched apparently had several models take spills on the runway. Swarms of cameras followed celebs in and out of the backstage entrance. Quite interesting. The models looked quite the same as one would expect– six-foot-plus with crazy heels and four-foot-long toothpick legs to match. Nice to watch, but glad it’s not me anymore.

I love being just me, mom, wife, writer, photographer-for-fun, celebrating life.

And I loved our weekend in NYC. Thanks for letting me share some with you. –JK

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New York City!

Finally, finally, I am sitting down to write. Actually, I’ve been writing all week on my second novel, or more accurately, polishing and editing. So, I have been writing … but finally, I am now to my blog.

We had a wonderful trip to New York City over Valentine’s weekend. A GREAT experience all around. We took advantage of some of the recent and abundant deals going for last-minute getaways to NYC– airfare, hotel, restaurants. Not only did we stay in a very nice hotel, the Grand Hyatt near Grand Central Station, but we ate at some of the best restaurants we could imagine. And we booked it all, and made reservations, online.

At a few friends’ prodding, I’ll briefly explain how we made our choices for where to go.

1) As with our trip to Paris last year, we booked our airline and hotel in a package deal through Travelocity. We compared prices with other sites, and when it all boiled down, Travelocity had an easy deal for what we wanted.
2) Hotel choices for both our trip to NYC and Paris mostly rested on where we wanted to be staying location-wise. Since we’ve both been to Paris before, we knew the area and where we wanted to spend our time. The same applied for NYC, and we wanted to be near midtown, not flooded by the craziness of Times Square. The Grand Hyatt turned out to be perfect for us.
3) Restaurants are another story entirely– in NYC there are so many, it’s almost impossible to choose. But since the NYC Restaurant Week worked through reservations made through their website, www.nyc.com, which funneled reservations through OpenTable.com, we started there. Other factors included:
a) Ambiance– the restaurant had to have photographs online, appealing ones that showed a cozy ambiance.
b) Location– we looked for places that were in a certain area depending on what we thought we’d be doing on that day, for instance, eating dinner after a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
c) Reader Reviews– the reviews had to be high to consider a place. Of course there are the people who write in reviews of “the lighting was too dim” or something else meaningless in my opinion, but if the majority of the reviews said the service and food were both wonderful, I generally thought them to be true.
d) Price– for restaurant week, where NYC had a fixed $35/3 course dinner, we chose restaurants that would be a good buy, ones where OpenTable had rated them as $$$$$, or most expensive.
e) Reservation availability– if OpenTable showed no reservations for, say, 6:00 pm and no reservations available at 7:00 pm, but had a reservation available for 6:30 pm, and met all the above qualifications, then that restaurant was the one to book. We like a bustling atmosphere, not a restaurant that is dead.
So: based on all the above criteria, we found we loved two restaurants in NYC. L’Absinthe on the Upper East side and Town on 56th Street. Each is very different from the other in terms of style and ambiance, but both had outstanding food and impeccable service. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Of course, we did more in NYC than just eat … and enjoyed seeing the Statue of Liberty (despite the freezing wind), listened in awe at the beautiful church bells from Trinity Church as they peeled down the Wall Street area as we walked through history there, soaked in the beauty of the Met and their special Impressionist exhibit, and watched from the exterior the action going on at the tents at Bryant Park for Fashion Week. All of these could be posts for coming weeks…
We look forward to the next time we make it to NYC. A great experience, with great memories, for sure.