Blog: The Chicks Uncorked
Trie: City Lights & Sea Fever
In December 2018, I accepted a job in Washington DC that would wrestle me from the clutches of the Midwestern college town cocoon I’d long overstayed. The job aligned with my passions, and I’d been thinking for the last 10 years or so that I really should try living somewhere else.
I’d been to DC every year since 2009 for conferences and liked it; best of all it drew me physically closer to my true loves: New York and the Jersey Shore. Yada yada, the job was a really bad fit, and I left it about two weeks before COVID masked us all up and shut us all down.
Fortunately, I’d built my consulting practice to a comfortable enough level quickly, so though I finally had freedom, time and easier access to my East Coast faves, my dreams of spending quality time there would have to be shelved.
So if the magic wand came along to make the dark cloud of COVID float off into oblivion — and the places I mention below survive — I know exactly what I’d do.
I’d head to Manhattan for a few days to soak up every moment I could on the streets, in the shops, museums and in Central Park, and I’d enjoy wining and dining in my favorite haunts such as Patsy’s, Pazza Notte and Randolph’s.
Then I’d make my way down to my special shore town, Ocean Grove, a one-square-mile, dry town steeped in history and squeezed in right next to the storied, vibrant, arsty and slightly decadent Asbury Park. Together these towns comprise my ideal yin yang shore experience.
I’d rented a place in Ocean Grove every summer since 2011 — either a little yellow beach cottage two short blocks from the ocean or a room in this cozy B&B right across the street the ocean.
In this post-COVID dream vacation, I’d stay in whichever place would have me, and I’d once again blissfully indulge in: yoga classes on the pier and long walks on the boardwalk; shopping in treasured stores like Cheese on Main, The Emporium and Carla Gizzi; and excellent food in SeaGrass, Porta Pizza and the Ocean Grove Bake Shoppe.
And naturally, I’d close out evenings with friends, family and delicious Apothic Red or Paringa Sparkling Shiraz, which I’d schlep over to Lush in Asbury to buy (you can drink in Ocean Grove, you just can’t buy!). Soft ocean breezes and sounds of gentle waves would drift our way, as we’d all savor this very extra special time together.
Poppy: The Mouse Wants Out!
My first true outing after COVID has slithered down to the hell it deserves, never to be seen again, will be … to a RESTAURANT!!
You can’t even imagine how much I LOVE going out to eat. Whether it’s in my own town or halfway across the world, there is nothing that brings such pleasure as dining at a fine (or even not so fine) eatery. I just adore everything about it — getting a little dressed up, choosing where to go, perusing the wine list and then enjoying a pour while inspecting the menu.
And do you know what I love even more than eating in a restaurant — dining al fresco!! I think some of my happiest moments have been enjoying a glass of wine while indulging in some serious people-watching at a sidewalk cafe.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking. Hey lady, newsflash! You could be eating at restaurants right now. But you should know, gentle reader, that I have approached the era that is COVID like a mouse living in a wall. Sure, I may scurry out of my den a few times a week to pick up pre-paid groceries and hit the library to get my online-requested books, but in a flash I’m back in my darkened hole for another week.
So basking in the delights of an Italian or Thai restaurant is going to bring me such joy. Heck, when life gets back to normal, I may never eat at home again! I’ve never understood those who tire of restaurant food and look forward to home cooking. Not me. I could seriously eat out every meal for the rest of my life and never get over the thrill. Seriously.
But for now, I’ll hold out in my mouse condo, waiting for the lights to go out so I can slink to the liquor store for another evening of liquid courage. But I’ll pass some restaurants on the way, and boy, will I be dreaming …
Ruby: These Vagabond Shoes Are Starting To Stray
I can’t wait until we can all be maskless once again — to see everyone’s whole face once more. Imagine not having to guess if another person is smiling! And to wear lipstick again!!! I also can’t wait to get back to the place I cherish the most.
Before COVID and for the last 20+ years, New York was part of my life. This meant multiple trips each year that might have included celebrity fundraisers for animals (eg Farm Sanctuary), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or other worthy causes.
It always featured my favorite restaurants — Angelo’s outstanding pizza; the café at Bergdorf Goodman’s (BG Restaurant), where the Egyptian waiter over the years would give me an extra “splash” of wine; Patsy’s, where the owner, Sal Scognamillo, has become a good friend. His place was long a hangout for Sinatra, and Sal once took us through a door that led to a third floor apartment where Frankie would entertain.
There’s a wonderful flea market on 77th St. that’s been there forever. I have a collection of cups and glasses that a guy unearthed from various neighborhoods. They’re over 100 years old, each fragile, each a treasure. I miss seeing a play on or off Broadway. Oddly, I have a knack for getting a special, close-up seat for many of these plays. The last one I saw was “West Side Story” and was in the same row and Paul McCartney and family. Good memories.
Most of all, I miss Central Park. It’s probably my favorite place on earth. Over the years I’ve painted scenes from the park, about 18 of them. This place gives me a feeling of contentment I experience nowhere else. It’s been more than a year since I’ve been there. I pray New York comes back to what it was, and I once again can partake of the city’s pleasures.
Farewell, COVID, hello life!