City Guide: A Weekend in New York City

Can you do New York City in a weekend? If you must! I did it this past weekend when my friend and I wanted to limit how many vacation days we were taking. It was beautiful, exciting, sleep-depriving, and I would whole-heartedly do it again if I got the opportunity (like, next week?).

Here’s my guide on what to see and do when you only have a day or two.

Saturday in New York City

I took a redeye into the Big Apple and arrived at 9am. I wasn’t exactly spritely as a spring chicken, but I was so ready to take full advantage of the long weekend ahead. All I needed was a little brunch. Enter, Pardon My French.

Breakfast at Pardon My French

The inside was cute: the outside was cuter. After taking a peek out back, it was impossible to not ask for a table back there. The chairs are eclectically paired and it’s all strung lights and greenery and gorgeousness.

backyard at pardon my french restaurant in nyc

Coming from San Francisco, the prices really excited me. For $19.95, you order any brunch item + bottomless coffee and/or tea. For $29.95, you order any brunch item + bottomless mimosas and/or bloody mary.  In San Fransisco, seeing a $20 eggs benedict on the menu is not uncommon (and that’s precisely why I don’t brunch). But I wanted to go all in for my NYC foodie weekend and so I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t exceed SF prices.

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I ordered the Tunisian eggs but thanks to my large party I got to check out all the dishes on the menu: from the grilled steak and cheese sandwich to the croque madame. The only dish that didn’t pass before me was the kale salad and, well, I was okay with that for once.

table spread at pardon my french restaurant nyc

Hot tip: BYOAM. Bring your own alternative milk. They have milk–not almond milk, not nonfat milk, not coconut milk just milk. Oui oui, don’t expect anything less than the real deal.

The Build-Your-Own NYC Walking Tour

Brunch provided all the energy needed for the long walking tour ahead. The beautiful thing about Manhattan is that you could wander for blocks and still be surrounded by beautiful brownstones, half a dozen restaurants per block, and sweet cafes.

chelsea in nyc

My advice: choose a direction and set yourself on that course, but don’t worry if you deviate from your original plan.

We started walking through the East Village after brunch, took the subway to the Upper East Side, journeyed through Central Park, exited out on the Upper West Side, took the subway down to Chelsea, strolled through Greenwich Village, and ended near Washington Square Park. It was a lot of walking but there is no better way to learn and see a city than by foot.Autumn in greenwich nyc

Dinner at The Spotted Pig

Saoooo guuud. That’s exactly how I sounded with a mouthful of shoestring fries. If I have one piece of advice for New York City adventurists, it’s this: go. to. the spotted. pig. Order the hamburger and balance it with a light prosecco. Yes, I’m a sommelier, can’t you tell? Anything else off the menu will be delicious, but I thought the gnudi was an absolutely hit.

Sunday in New York City

Breakfast at Black Seed Bagels

Wait in line impatiently staring at all the menu options, watch them hand roll the bagel dough, smell the scents emerging from the wood-fired oven, and try not to freak. These bagels are too good to be true. Lightly browned, beautiful, and good enough to forgo the toaster.

I custom ordered a veggie sandwich while my friend went for the classic.

classic bagel breakfast sandwich from

Brooklyn Bridge & Beyond

Cross the Brooklyn bridge by foot, bike, or (if you’re too tired like me) cab.

view from the manhattan bridgeOnce you’re well into Brooklyn, wander along the beautiful Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The views of Manhattan are breathtaking, plus the Pier 3 Greenway Terrance and Pier 2 roller rink are genius manmade creations.

Descend into Dumbo after seeing Truman Capote’s house. There’s rarely a dull moment in Dumbo so expect lots of tourists. No need to let it bother you though: just snap your pictures are continue on your way via cab to Williamsburg.

IMG_1020Weave in and out of Williamsburg’s tiny shops and street vendors. Stop to get a coffee in Devocion or a cheese platter at Bedford Cheese if you’re feeling snacky, then end your adventure with a loop around McCarren Park to see what the locals are up to before heading back to yours to get ready for the night.

Dinner at Top Thai Greenwich

Tiny and popular, so make a reservation. The pad thai is delicious and the red curry has the power to make me hungry even just thinking about it at 8am. The wait staff also strikes a good balance of being attentive without being overbearing—a hard-to-find happy medium.

Standup at Comedy Cellar

I love the 80’s vibe of this place and how every comedian has been on TV within the past six months. Comedy is a job and a muscle that needs to be flexed: this is the stage where comedians come to do that. Tickets are $24 plus there’s a two-drink minimum. Be ready to shell out $50–humor is a good investment.

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Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman Review

Lindy West didn’t just wake up one day ready to write a book. She pummeled through years of online bullies reacting to her blog: “I was eating 30 rape threats for breakfast at that point (or, more accurately, ‘You’re fatter than the girls I usually rape’ threats),” she writes. “No one could touch me any more.” What came of it was this thrashing memoir and ode to the loud woman that opens the door for a new type of fat femme.

West’s ponderings on the female body on the dot. Sadly, if I wasn’t a woman, I would have a hard time believing her narrative because at many times it’s sad and disgusting. But alas, I am a woman, have been forced to listen to too many rape jokes in my short life, have received comments about my body as if it’s a dress on a rack open to everyones’ opinions, and have been chastised for “asking for it.”

She muses that “chasing perfection was your duty and your birthright, as a woman” — a pressure all woman will feel at some point in their life, even if they hide from society for all but five minutes. She continues that by being born into a fat body, “I would never know what it was like — this thing, this most important thing for girls,” as society has shunned her at the gates.

West’s book leaps away from societal norms: cliff jumping from solid ground into a deep unknown. “Isn’t it our responsibility, as artists, to keep an eye on which ideas we choose to dump into the water supply?” All she is sure about is that there are plenty of internet trolls waiting for her. She does this for women growing up in our suffocating, belly-sucking, corset-pinching culture so that you and me will get a peek of what could possibly be on the other side and decide to fight against it. Or at least be aware.

The Breakdown: Brett Kavanaugh

Who is Brett Kavanaugh?

Kavanaugh is an attorney who has worked in the white house for 2 decades. In the Clinton era, he supported the impeachment of the president and pushed for sexually explicit details of his affair to be released to the court. Under President Bush, Kavanaugh worked as the White House Staff Secretary and later was nominated to the Court of Appeals. In Summer 2018, Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Why the drama surrounding his nomination?

He’s notoriously conservative. The Washington Post published this analysis of 200 Kavanaugh votes compared to those of his judicial counterparts, the results showing “that his judicial record is significantly more conservative than that of almost every other judge on the D.C. Circuit.”

So he’s a conservative Catholic..? And..?

And, well, a lot. Liberals are worried he’ll revoke cases like Roe v. Wade (the case that made abortion legal nationwide). Yes, the Supreme Court has that power. And Trump has already declared he wants abortion law to be set state-by-state, as he himself is against it. Luckily, he has some opponents.

So what’s the status of his nomination?

Before a nominee can take their place on the Supreme Court, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing with the nominee (Kavanaugh) to get a testimony and ask questions. After the hearing, the committee votes, and can do 1 of 3 things: provide a recommendation in favor of Kavanaugh, recommend against Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, or give no recommendation whatsoever.

Currently, Democrats are questioning Kavanaugh in his hearing, asking him the hard questions about whether or not he would overturn Roe v. Wade. His responses haven’t been the most clear.

What are everyone’s feelings towards Kavanaugh?

Trump loves him — although sources question as to how much: some say Kavanaugh only recently made it onto Trump’s radar for his publicized remarks against abortion earlier this year.

Liberals are afraid of what he could do to Roe v. Wade. And acutely aware that his presence on the Supreme Court will swing it more conservative than it’s been for decades.

What’s next?

This past week, a letter written by a California professor revealed Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. And she has notes from her therapy sessions and a passed lie detector test to prove it. Some senators are calling for his vote to be delayed until they can hear more.

Copy of Copy of Brown Elegant Dinner Menu

Google Algo Updates, Explained.

Because “algo” is much cooler than “algorithm” and there aren’t enough infographics in the world (?) More info below graphic.

hummingbird aka the google's gettingsmarter update (1)

Panda AKA The Common Sense Update

2011 with many follow up updates

Google starts penalizing sites for keyword stuffing (getting as many keywords onto 1 page as possible), duplicate content, and thin (weak) content.

PENGUIN AKA THE A LITTLE OUT OF YOUR CONTROL UPDATE

2012

Google says “nu-uh” to  suspicious or spammy-looking links. Webmasters step up their game to  avoid anchor text manipulation, keep an eye on incoming link patterns,  and disavow spammy links fast.

HUMMINGBIRD AKA THE GOOGLE’S GETTING SMARTER UPDATE

2012

Google search results begin showing pages that may not contain the exact keyword that was searched for. Machine learning starts picking up on user intent.

PIGEON AKA THE BLURRED LINES UPDATE

2014

Google tightens up its algorithm, making its local and core algorithms more in line with eachother than before.

 

MOBILE AKA “MOBILEGEDDON”

2012

Google makes the obvious announcement that more people are using their phones to search than ever before, and the unobvious  announcement that they will penalize sites that are not mobile-friendly.

RANKBRAIN AKA HUMMINGBIRD 2.0

2014

Google’s algoirthm continues to smarten up for user intent, looking for relevance in a variety of keywords and concepts.

FRED AKA THE DOT DOT DOT…

March 2018

Suspicions arise that Google cracked down once again on thin-content sites — particularly blogs with loads of affiliate links. But if Google doesn’t confirm it, did it even really happen…?

Do Better, Google.

News of Nia Wilson ripped across my Twitter. While scrolling through the #Sayhername and #YouOKsis hashtag, I saw this…

I recognized Nia Wilson. But who were the others mentioned in the tweet? I began to Google and learned about the brutal killings of 4 other black women killed within the same week as Nia Wilson.

LaTonya Richards was found murdered in her car, with a gunshot to the head. Authorities believe it was the result of a domestic dispute.

MeShon Cooper was murdered by a sick white supremacist. Family members apparently “weren’t surprised” to hear he did it.

Kishana Harley — a mother of four and social activist — was found brutally murdered in her Richmond, CA apartment.

But when I searched Google for news stories on Sasha Garden, I couldn’t find anything. When I tried searching for Sasha Garden, I got a hodgepodge of search results; including footage from an electronic music show and the FB page of a Sims-like cottage in Kenya. How is it that Google’s spiders were lagging so hard that they failed to serve me information about what should be a major news story.

Google deploys spiders out into the ether to “crawl” (essentially, scan the contents of) websites, determine how valuable the information on each page is, and display that information on the search results page. How was Google not deeming information about this recent murder case important or relevant to my search? Why was some random EDM show taking precedence in the search results?

I typed in Sasha Garden again.

I scrolled to find the murder story I was looking for. No results on the first page.

I switched to the news results tab. Nothing related.

I finally wrote Sasha Garden as “Sasha Garden” with quotations around the words to emphasize I was looking for news about this name. Finally, the stories appeared and I could read what I had come to Google for.

We throw shade at the media for their lack of reporting on the murder of black women. And we should. But when faced with this chicken-or-egg problem, why stop with the media? We need our browsers to step up and start informing just as much as we expect the news to.

I want Google to take responsibility for informing the public just as much as any other news outlet. Google, #SayHerName.

#SayHerName: Nia Wilson

Exactly 3 miles from where I sit right now, less than 48 hours ago. Outside your front door; outside mine. While we were comfortably kicking off our shoes, watching Netflix, listening to a podcast while cooking dinner at day’s end —

— Murder.

Nia Wilson was riding on BART with her sister when she was stabbed to the point of death. Nia, a young, black woman; the murderer, white male. Another black woman’s life sliding too silently underneath society’s dark, dirty blanket. Her death will be quiet, as news outlets won’t splash her name across headlines as they do others…Justine, Heather, Laci. It’s a phenomena and it is silent, but it is frequent. This incident is not an anomaly.

@FeministaJones collected the stories of 4 black women killed in the past 7 days as a result of senseless violence. Of those…

  • 27-year-old Sasha Garden murdered in Florida. Her body was found wounded and abandoned at 5am. I had to try multiple Google searches to locate this story. What does that say about how local authorities investigate the murder or how society treats her death, when I have to do multiple Google searches and even use ” ” to find out about what happened to Sasha Garden?
  • LaTonya Michelle Richards found with a head gunshot wound in a car. Authorities believe it was the result of a domestic dispute. Murdered cold-blooded by a man who at one point presumably loved her.

How many more innocent lives need to be lost to rally us to action? How much community pain will it take for us to force our eyes open?

Take action: