New York To-Do List

Over the Victoria Day long weekend, my boyfriend and I are driving down to New York City. We’ve gone every year for the last four, and each time we visit we discover new reasons to love the city. In 2011, for example, we rented road bikes and toured around Manhattan, then crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge, checked out Prospect Park and went down to Coney Island. It took us a whole day and we were exhausted by the time we hit the Atlantic, but it was great. We were both impressed by the miles of dedicated bike lanes that made cycling feel so much safer than in our home town of Toronto.

We might bike around again, but I think this trip is going to be more arts and culture focused. Here’s what we’re thinking of seeing.

Milstein Hall at Cornell University

Milstein Hall by OMA

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There Are No Bad Jobs (Only Bad Politicians)

While contemplating reforms to Canada’s Employment Insurance plan, finance minister Jim Flaherty — who makes $235,000 a year — remarked this week that “There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job.”

I beg to differ. Here’s three positions I would say no to:

Minister Bev Oda, Professional Orange Juice Sipper

1. Orange Juice Connoisseur: Sorry Bev Oda, but if I wanted to have millions of people mock, deride and resent me for my extravagance, I would sooner be a Kardashian or the star of a Real Housewives franchise (then at least I would have honestly earned the privilege).

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Making Fantasies Come True on HBO’s Girls

Lena Dunham plays Hannah on HBO’s Girls

On the fifth episode of Lena Dunham’s Girls (Hard Being Easy) everyone got what they wanted (well, except for Shoshanna – she’s still a virgin). Here’s what I mean:

Hannah got some material for her memoir

True, her rumply, roly-poly boss shot her down, depriving her of a good workplace sexual harassment story. But at least Adam Sackler (who, by the way, almost looks not gross wearing safety glasses) sexploited her in a new and humiliating way — dumping her than asking her to watch him jerk off. In the memoir, I’m assuming this episode will come before the chapters where Hannah checks herself into cupcake rehab then becomes a lesbian.

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Charlie (Sort of) Grows a Pair on HBO’s Girls

Allison Williams and Christopher Abbott play Marnie and Charlie on HBO’s Girls

When I watched the most recent episode of Lena Dunham’s Girls, my first reaction was “finally, Charlie has smartened up, manned up and told that duplicitous Marnie where to go.” But then I thought, wait a minute, Charlie didn’t exactly smarten up — he only realized that Marnie was stringing him along because his gross friend Ray (what’s worse, that Ray sniffed Marnie’s vibrator or that Charlie described it as “a shared tool”?) showed him a passage from Hannah’s diary. True, the passage made him instantly wise, but he should have known before hand that Marnie didn’t love him. For example, in episode 1, when Charlie asks Marnie “what would turn you on the most?” And she responds with “what if you were just a totally different person — you didn’t act like you?” She might as well have said “it would turn me on if you wore a mask and a strap on.”

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A House I’ll Never Own or Decorate – The Kids I’ll Never Have Edition

When I’m looking for a piece of fantasy real estate, I usually don’t go for detached, suburban (albeit in a very Dwell magazine sort of way) homes that sit north of the 401 (which, for people who don’t live in Toronto, is a bit like living on the moon). But when I saw 20A Senlac Rd. on Torontolife.com today, I made that soft, sad whimpering noise that I make when I’m thinking “damn, I’m poor and I wish I weren’t.” With an asking price of $1.7 million, it would take me over 40 years to save up a 10 per cent down payment, and then the rest of eternity to pay back the mortgage. If I had kids, I would especially long to live here. True, me having little ones is as much of a stretch as ever being able to afford this house, but whatever paternal feelings I have were stirred by the ravine setting and the perfectly decked out little nursery. Sigh, here’s how I’ll never decorate the house for the kids I’ll never have.

The Place: The four bedroom prefab was designed by celebrated American architect Ray Kappe — who has, incidentally, been featured by Dwell magazine.

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Making Salt Fish and Ackee

Ackees, photo by kaiton

On Sunday, my boyfriend and I are hosting a fundraiser brunch at our apartment for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation and their Friends for Life Bike Rally. We’ve done this brunch twice before and we always serve a full Caribbean meal — jerk chicken, ox tail stew, patties, ackee and saltfish, rum punch (!), plantain, rice and peas and so on. My mother is from Jamaica, so this food is near and dear to me. It’s like my mac-and-cheese or meatloaf — a deeply comforting reminder of childhood.

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Generation Owe (And Why I’m Neurotic About Debt)

Photo by Kerry Shaw for The Grid

This week, The Grid — a free, weekly magazine in Toronto — ran a cover story about the debt habits of twenty and thirty somethings. Written by a former colleague of mine, Carely Fortune, the piece suggests that easy access to credit and financial illiteracy has lead my generation to spend all of our hard earned cash, as well as a great deal of borrowed money, on all of life’s inessentials — trips to Cuba, new iPads, expensive jeans. We’d rather have instant gratification — lattes and cupcakes — than long term financial stability, retirement at 60 (let along ever) and living debt free. In short, we’re screwed.

The story opens at Woodlot, with Carley’s mom looking around the artfully under-decorated Little Italy restaurant, wondering how such a young clientele can afford the near $30 entrees. I know the scene all too well.

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