One Belongs to New York Instantly

Thomas Wolfe said that. This is an account of Wynne & Alison's journey in the Concrete Jungle. And Alicia Keys said that. Follow us along as we attend NYU, work, and live in the big city. Funny things happen to us in Indiana, imagine the funny things that will happen to us where dreams are made of...
Contact us: NewYorkInstant@gmail.com
Alison out with friends for sushi here in NYC.

Alison out with friends for sushi here in NYC.

I feel like a delusional invisible person half the time. So, I need to learn what it’s like to be treated well before its too late for me.

—Hannah Horvath (via lovelyladyvalerie)

(via nyctransplant86)

A Beautiful (Albeit Unemployed) Mind

I’m officially a part of journalism’s favorite social group: The unemployed, well qualified young adult. In May, I sat at Lincoln Center with the rest of NYU’s Silver School of Social Work graduates and was told how influential my career choice is. In fact, I have a favorite economy related joke about entering the work force that I tell people when they ask me “What’s next?” I tell them that since the economy has resulted in unemployed, poorer families, more work has been created for me. It always gets a chuckle. Which now that I’ve written it down it seems a little bit screwed up, but no matter. 

For me, graduation wasn’t that scary. In just a few weeks I was going off to Paris to complete my last three credits in a study abroad program in France. About thirty-five of my social work classmates and I jet-setted to Europe to attend an intensive two week class on grief/bereavement in the new DSM-V and sexual perversions. (Interested? Feel free to Google the topics, they’re important in the mental health realm.) Along with studying, I got to explore a fantastic city as an adult. I turned 7 in Paris, and got the flu there when I was ten. But as an adult, the city was as I expected: a new place. I could enjoy a cold beer, let the language float around, the beautiful buildings and the European fashion sashaying down the street. It was wonderful. I went to London for the first time, and I met some great new friends.

And then on June 17th I went home and was considered unemployed. 

I guess you can’t really say “considered.” I really am unemployed. I have applied to a few jobs. Most of my energy has been focused on eating healthy, trying to adopt a physical fitness routine and studying for the MSW licensure exam. So far, I’m doing well with all of those things. I have to admit, any fears I have about becoming employed are sort of underneath the surface. I have had few moments of panic when I think about whether or not I’m going to get hired. I was a waitress in highschool for years you know, I’m going to get hired SOMEWHERE, whether or not it’s as a social worker remains to be seen. To be honest, I am not sure I would have gone to graduate school if it wasn’t a professional necessity in my field. In social work, the types of work and counseling you are permitted to do depends on your degree. So it’s not all about having a higher degree for better pay, or obtaining a degree to be “better qualified” and waiting for the market to “clear up.” I am a social worker who thrives on clinical work: sitting with a client face to face, and providing counseling and service provision in person. In order to work with challenging clientele and be qualified to do so, the Master’s degree was required. I’ve always said that I was never a very good student, but I was a hard worker. I’d always obtained average grades, until I entered college and had a major that mattered to me. In graduate school, the work came natural because I was passionate about the subject. But that’s a unique trait that I reserve for social work. My father calls the desire to learn and be engaged in your world “the life of the mind.” As much as I wish I had this, I watch him and and wonder if I don’t. 

I watch the news, but not often. I admit to letting CNN’s Twitter account keep me the most up to date. I read a lot. But I admit to reading a lot of teen romance, and I’ve hardly read any classics. I want to get good grades. But I hate to study, and I’d rather take my chances on an exam if there is something good on TV. My father sometimes reads two books at a time, and will not read anything that he deems “unworthy,” for fear of his untimely demise without an explanation. How would he ever explain a John Grisham novel if he fell stone dead one evening? He watches the news, and then afterwards at least an hour or two of political commentary shows on a number of news networks (and don’t think this occurs any less on a non-election year). He plays the piano in his free time, paints in his studio as he has done the majority of his life, and can reference nearly any classical music piece simply by hearing a few seconds. (Yes, I’ve tested this.)

Yet during my internship, when I was forced to advocate for one of my own clients in the Bronx school system, I could feel something inside me come alive. My heart pounded as I was accosted by over worked public service employees. I placed at least six calls in one day to the same number in the attempt to get ahold of just one person. I employed the use of my talented and multi-disciplinary team. It felt like a social work lion with a long, glossy mane had sprung from my finger tips and was pacing back and forth on my desk. How dare they not call me back? This issue had to be solved. It was going to be. I packed my bag, changed out of my work shoes, put away my laptop, tied on my coat. As I went to shut my office door, I hesitated before putting my bag back down and calling the number one more time before I left. Even though I knew the office was likely closed. Just one more time. The lion growled when I heard the dial tone. When the issue was finally resolved, I looked my client in the face and instructed them to let me know if it came up again. “That’s now how we’re going to do things okay, so let me know if you have any more problems.” When they nodded, I realized the lion was no longer in the room.

Maybe this is what my dad meant by “life of the mind.” What New York Magazine and all the other media outlets say is true, myself and all my other twenty-something friends have the life of the mind in some way. My dad has it in the most traditional sense, but what I’m learning while being unemployed, is that just having it in some aspect keeps you fulfilled no matter what you do for a living. It won’t put food on your table, or pay your New York rent, but those aren’t the only things that keep you sustained. In this economy, there are some of us that can’t afford to rely only on mental sustenance. I know this, after all I am a social worker. But as a social worker in a mental health field, I do know how important it is to keep yourself fulfilled in ways that have nothing to do with your finances, your house or your 9 to 5 commute. Without “Reader’s Write” in the Sun Magazine, Conor Maynard’s cover of “Take Care” on the train back from London, or walking the UES with Alison while eating frozen fruit, I might not be as happy. I might be more worried about being unemployed. Those are the small moments that remind you what’s in your mind, so you can enjoy your life. Unemployment be damned.

Things We Love (June 28, 2012)

1. Cafe Habana (17 Prince, btwn Elizabeth and Mott)

I had the pleasure of joining a fellow social worker out for dinner tonight, and she suggested this place for some Cuban food, tucked amongst the shops on Prince Street. Though not a small restaurant, the seats are stuffed into every square inch (my long legs barely fit into our corner.) But the meal was wonderful, flavorful, comforting and something we can all respect here at New York Instant, cheap! Most of the drinks manage to stay under ten dollars, and the menu has a wide array of things I bet you’ve never tried before. Also friendly to a vegetarian crowd. So get thee to Habana.

2. Shakespeare and Co. Booksellers (716 Broadway, 939 Lexington Ave & 137 E 23)

After my study abroad time in Paris this summer, where I visited the real Shakespeare and Co., I decided it was about time I paid some homage to my favorite bookstore in the city. Sylvia Beach, an American from New Jersey, founded a Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, (the most famous locale is now just across the street from Notre Dame). Many famous writers/artists came to Shakespeare in Paris, including Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. The Parisian Shakespeare definitely rings of old, with books shoved into every cranny of the creaking shelves, and reading rooms upstairs where people like James Joyce once came to work. The NY ones retain some of that old charm, and do not carry “mass titles” as I like to call them. Sure you can pick up the Hunger Games there, but don’t expect them to necessarily have the newest Oprah’s book club. For books like Brighton Rock by Graham Greene, and Battle Royale by K. Takami (this was prior to the film being released in the US), I went to Shakespeare, and they had both titles. It’s good to celebrate small retailers, and when it has history like this, it’s that much richer.

Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, June 2012

3. Goodbye Blue Monday (1087 Broadway, Brooklyn)

My friend Ben, a recent Brooklyn-ite, took me here today and I must say it was a good find of his. Ben is forever ordering me around to different restaurants/diners/bars in the city, responding to my grumbles with a “Ah, get out of your UES cave, I’ll send you the address” *click.* And don’t tell him I said so, but his frequent challenges to my navigational abilities often wind me up some place good. Like today. Goodbye Blue Monday, if you happen to make the trek, has a bunch of shit everywhere. But cool shit, the way the Burroughs tend to fashion their shit in a stylish way. The beer is cheap, the selection is good, as is the wine and coffee. At the bartender’s recommendation I had an espresso soda with a dash of cream, and I dare say I would recommend it to anyone. Especially someone on a hot day reading quotes aloud to their friend about their impending (and doomed) marriage.

4. Fish’s Eddy (889 Broadway)

My friend Maggie, who I met at NYU, likes things that are white and clean. If you didn’t know Maggie, and her ability to get down with her bad self, you might call her a WASP. But you’d miss out on all the interior decorating finds that she is able to dig up. We’ve since lost Maggie to the trenches of Washington D.C., but prior to our separation, she bestowed me with the gift that is Fish’s Eddy. If you’re like me, and have found yourself in your early twenties, shockingly more interested in looking at home goods than clothes (sometimes), than you too will love Fish’s. Fish’s Eddy simply sells dishes and kitchen ware, but in cute patterns for even better prices. It wouldn’t seem like the place you could get lost, but you can and you will. For young New Yorkers building their supply of Shit I Didn’t Know You Had to Buy Because My Parents Always Had It, welcome to the best place to buy grown up dishes at poor people prices. Our new set is from here, as was Maggie’s. So thanks, Mags, and move back soon thanks bye.

fishseddy.com

5. Space Market (1 University Place)

Ask any student of NYU if they go to Space Market and their eyes will light up while they exclaim, “Are you kidding? Their ____ is my favorite.” I’ve heard that blank be filled with sushi, muffins, juice and iced coffee, but trust me, there isn’t anything Space Market doesn’t have. A cold and hot buffet, fresh fruit, a deli, baked goods, groceries, a soup bar and produce—I mean, what more could a young, hungry New Yorker want? I would motivate myself for an early Tuesday morning class with their pumpkin muffins and a carton of grapefruit juice. The pumpkin muffin has tragically been discontinued, but I can always find something delicious at Space. Not to mention, their cashiers no how to keep a line moving, and if you’re a NYU student late for class because you couldn’t decide what Space food to get, or a New Yorker in general, you can def respect this. I took Meg and Dustin here for a take-out lunch in the park when they visited, and sure Space isn’t gourmet, but it kept us more than satisfied. Bring back the pumpkin muffin and I’ll ask the Queen to knight this place.

Hamming it up at the Adventure Project’s Spring Gala. To find out more about the amazing things TAP is doing in Haiti, check out their website theadventureproject.org and don’t forget to visit the Gansevoort’s three Manhattan locales.

Hamming it up at the Adventure Project’s Spring Gala. To find out more about the amazing things TAP is doing in Haiti, check out their website theadventureproject.org and don’t forget to visit the Gansevoort’s three Manhattan locales.

This is me (Wynne) and my friend Jason at the Adventure Project’s Spring Gala! New York City’s volunteers and young professionals got together at the Gansevoort’s Park Avenue penthouse to celebrate and raise money for the Adventure Project’s worthy causes: aid to those living in Haiti through small stoves and fresh water pumps. There were examples of both of these tools at the gala (a kiddie pool let you sample the pump and the stoves were being represented by chocolate fondue stands) and three homemade cocktails were available for refreshment sponsored by Mercy, the hang over cure elixir. We got to sample the great drinks and munchies and learn more about the great things the Adventure Project is up to! Please take the time to check them out at adventureproject.org and don’t forget to hit up the Gansevoort’s three Manhattan locations.

This is me (Wynne) and my friend Jason at the Adventure Project’s Spring Gala! New York City’s volunteers and young professionals got together at the Gansevoort’s Park Avenue penthouse to celebrate and raise money for the Adventure Project’s worthy causes: aid to those living in Haiti through small stoves and fresh water pumps. There were examples of both of these tools at the gala (a kiddie pool let you sample the pump and the stoves were being represented by chocolate fondue stands) and three homemade cocktails were available for refreshment sponsored by Mercy, the hang over cure elixir. We got to sample the great drinks and munchies and learn more about the great things the Adventure Project is up to! Please take the time to check them out at adventureproject.org and don’t forget to hit up the Gansevoort’s three Manhattan locations.

Weekend (Wear) Update-Met Gala 2012!

Hello All!

Monday was the grandest of all galas, the most spectacular of all parties, and for some reason I wasn’t invited? Hmm rude.

It was the MET COSTUME INSTITUTE GALA! And literally…I mean LITERALLY…just blocks away from our Upper East Side stomping grounds, at the Metropolitan Art Museum. Since it is a fashion gala, everyone invited is always on their A—Game (well…usually everyone). I decided to list of my 5 personal favorite looks of the night. Let’s see if you guys agree!

1.       Camilla Belle in Ralph Lauren: The moment I saw this dress in this year’s annual “Hollywood” issue of Vanity Fair, I fell in love. It is just so beyond classic, but so sexy…Not to mention Camilla actually looks perfect in it. The dark burgundy lip adds to the classic look, but also brings an edge along with it. Joe Jonas (who was also at the gala)….eat your heart out.

2.       Jessica Biel in Prada: Jessica has one of my favorite red carpet styles (probably second to Gwyneth Paltrow…who I was sadly underwhelmed with last night). She never looks generic, always taking risks that pay off. No one does print like Prada, and I love the 60’s feel they have been going with lately. I also adore a tea length dress. The best part of the ensemble, though, is that rock on her ring finger. Well done JT (who is shown here in Tom Ford.)

3.       Rachel Zoe in Rachel Zoe: Rachel Zoe is severely stuck in a different era, and I cannot get enough of it! The white fringe with that amazing choker? I. die. It is bananas. Both the necklace and dress are so out there, but still so perfectly simple. (She is shown here with Karolina Kurkova, who is also wearing one of her designs!)

4.       Christina Ricci in Thakoon: Shut. The. Front. Door. Now this is a risk that paid off. The two piece Thakoon number is something you can only wear to the Met Gala. I love the colors (light, peachy pinks are my favorite…and as you can tell from my choices above I love my neutrals {black, white, ivory, etc.}). I am just in awe of this outfit. Here she is shown with Thakoon himself.

5.       Lea Michele in DVF: Lea is wearing my absolute favorite silhouette (also partly demonstrated in dresses #1 and #2). I think the plunging neckline/halter silhouette is just beyond flattering on almost all body types (as is an a-symmetrical, one shoulder silhouette). I love the navy shine and Diane von Fustenberg has such an amazing aesthetic, how can any of her design’s look bad? After a lack-luster red carpet season, I would say Lea Michele is back in a big way!

There you have it. The five looks that I couldn’t get enough of on Monday.

Also, Remember, if you are in the area, stop by the new Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibit at the Met. It is the reason for the season after all.

That is it for me…remember the world is your runway {or is you went to the gala…I guess the Met steps are your runway}

XOXO,

Alison 

Met Gala Runner Ups

So this is Wynne’s selection of Runner Ups from WWU, people who look good but were not chosen by Alison, the real WWU fashion selector. To see all the looks and decide which ones were your favorites, go here!

Ed Westwick, in Prada. GG for lyfe.

Amy Adams in Giambattista Valli

Rhianna in Tom Ford

Marion Cotillard in Christian Dior

Caroline Trentini in Olivier Theyskens

Gerard Butler in Alexander McQueen

And one we’re undecided on…(Alison pro Wynne con)

SJP in Valentino (with Valentino!)

White Pizza for Poor New Yorkers

We haven’t included a Recipe for Poor People in awhile, so I decided to share this little number I whipped up this weekend for a friend that was in town. I had a feeling these ingredients would jive together, and boy did they ever! This pre-made pizza crust is my favorite, not only for how easy it is, but because it can’t seem to decide whether it’s a crispy crust or a flaky biscuit. Delish! It also made great leftovers. 

Serve it with an arugula salad, (covered with the extra mushrooms and balsamic?) Or all by itself. Feel free to add chili flakes, thyme or any other veggies you think sound great. This is very adaptable!

Ingredients:

Pillsbury pizza dough (the kind in a biscuit tin)

1 small red onion

sliced portobella mushrooms

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

2 cups of ricotta cheese

non-stick cooking spray (optional)

1. Slice red onion into fourths and then small slices. If mushrooms aren’t already sliced, cut cap in half short-ways and then slice into half inch sections. 

2. Put three tablespoons and two tablespoons (approximate) of the oil and vinegar into the bottom of a medium-high skillet/sauce pan and add vegetables, stirring regularly

3. While the vegetables cook, rub a little olive oil (or non-stick cooking spray) on the bottom of a baking sheet to prevent the pizza dough from sticking. Spread out along the entire sheet and bake for five minutes according to package directions

4. Turn heat on skillet up, and be sure to keep stirring. The onions and mushrooms should be cooking WAY down, the onions should sweat and then start to carmalize in the balsamic. Feel free to add more oil and vinegar if the veggies are getting dry. It helps to put the skillet lid over the pan and shake it around too…

5. Pull out pizza dough (which shouldn’t be cooked yet) and drizzle with at least 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and spread over dough with the back of a big spoon. Next add the ricotta all over the dough as well, spread it as evenly as possible with the back of a big spoon

6. Be sure the vegetable are cooked through, and take them off the heat, spreading evenly over the pizza dough and cheese. If they aren’t, the pizza dough will be fine sitting for a few minutes while the veggies finish up.

7. Put pizza back into oven at the package temp for 10-12 minutes according to package directions or until you have desired crust crispiness.

8. Serve immediately. Make someone else do the dishes.