Bohemia Blog by Agent Allye Spencer
stay∑ca∑tion noun informal
noun: staycation; plural noun: staycations; noun: stay-≠cation; plural noun: stay-≠cations - a vacation spent in one's home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.
Now that Iíve proven, ďstaycationĒ is in fact, a real word; I donít need to use quotations.
I like staycations so much so that my family wonders when Iíll be coming home for holidays. Letís be honest, the best time to have a staycation is during Thanksgiving and Christmas. When I canít even hear the word, ďairportĒ, without getting hives.
I believe in staycations; especially for people that live in big cities. I spend so much time, energy and money living in New York City, that I love taking a step back, to make sure that I soak in the real reasons why I am living in Upper Manhattan. Staycations ground me.
Itís not necessary to go crazy on your staycation. When I take one, I usually spend my time in my beloved Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Morningside Heights/Harlem, doing lifeís simple pleasures.
EXEMPLI GRATIA (Day in the life of Allyeís, winter staycation):
7:30 A.M. -≠ Rise and shine, chug a glass of water, brush my teeth, grab my yoga mat and run out the door.
8:00 A.M. -≠ YOGA TO THE PEOPLE, 2710 Broadway, 3rd Floor-
This is one of NYCís best kept secrets, although Iím not sure itís a secret, but it feels like it should be. Itís an hour-≠long Vinyasa class and itís by donation only. Pay what you like, but also donít skimp if you can help it. Theyíve got an incredible thing going, and we want to keep it that way. It should also be noted that the studio is gorgeous. And even if you just wanted to go in and take a nap on your mat (cough, cough), it would be worth it.
9:30 A.M. -≠ PLOWSHARES COFFEE ROASTERS, 2730 Broadway-
I canít even write the name of this place without getting giddy. Serious coffee. It started as a boutique wholesale coffee roaster, and now they have opened a couple stores. Here you can order anything and it will be great, but my go to Upper Manhattan drink of choice is an almond milk latte (they use Califia Farms, for all you almond milk snobs), and I pair it with a freshly baked, perfectly flaky, buttery croissant-≠Iím still having a vacation here, ok.
10:30 A.M. -≠ Iím a strolling person. So the next hour or so I will spend taking a stroll along Riverside Park. With ample time spent lingering around the dog parks, making some owners eyes dart around with added caution. Relax! Iím not stealing Toto... I just want to daydream about what my life would look like, if I accidentally did steal Toto.
12:30 P.M. -≠ BOOK CULTURE, 536 West 112th Street-
This place is a Morningside Heights staple. There is something incredibly soothing to me about this bookstore, and Iím not even an avid reader. Maybe itís just that I like quiet, peaceful places in New York City. A city that constantly pushes you physically and emotionally. I can spend hours sifting through different books, thinking that Iím finally going to take the plunge and become an expert in all the different branches of philosophy. But thatís just the kind of hopeful positivity this shop supplies. Itís a beautiful place.
3 P.M. -≠ MOUSTACHE, 1621 Lexington Avenue-
This restaurant requires taking another stroll through Upper Manhattan. This time, itís aimlessly wandering across Central Park to get to one of the best restaurants in East Harlem- Moustache, a low-≠ key, middle-≠eastern restaurant. I really am sorry for anyone who has not dined here. The flavor profiles are (puts fingers to mouth, and explodes them from face), ďMuah!Ē. My meal here is, the lentil soup (that makes me weak in my knees), the merguez or chicken kebab plate, and a side of literally, freshly baked pita. My mouth is watering.
4:30 P.M. -≠ Iím finishing my wine and digesting at Moustache, and maybe even diving into a little Epistemology...Who knows!
5 P.M. -≠ I take another winter stroll back across Central Park. Yes, I do realize that this is the 3rd stroll of my day. But Central Park, at dusk, in the winter, is something to experience. It is magic. The roads are quiet, the air is fresh, and if youíre lucky enough, there is a little snow on the ground and a beautiful blue hue that lights the park.
6 P.M. -≠ HARLEM SHAMBLES, 2141 Frederick Douglass Boulevard-
I have to take a deep breath when I talk about Harlem Shambles, because my palms get sweaty. Thatís how much I love this place. I discovered this butcher shop this past summer, when I was randomly sitting at a bar watching the Euro Cup at 8 A.M.-≠drinking coffee, may I add. I overheard the guy sitting next to me, telling the bartender that he was going to Shambles to pick up his Delmonico (bone-≠less rib eye steaks). I have been going to Harlem Shambles ever since.
They are a boutique Harlem butcher shop serving locally sourced, beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. They have an incredibly knowledgeable staff that is super helpful and kind. This place is doing it right. For the staycation, I pick up a few Delmonico cuts, because Iím having friends over for dinner. (Oh, and by the way, this place is so popular amongst my friends, that all I have to say, is that I got Harlem Shambles for the evening, and they come running from as far as Brooklyn)
7 P.M. -≠ MARTIN BROTHERS WINE AND SPIRITS, 2781 Broadway-
You need wine to go with steak, and Martin Brothers has been an Upper Manhattan neighborhood fixture for over 40 years. They have a beautiful selection of wine and spirits. This is where I note, that I was in the wine industry for a while, so Iím a bit picky, and Martin Brothers does not disappoint. Noah, the manager, is always around, and if not, the rest of the staff can certainly help with selecting and pairing wines (Noah has also helped me on many occasions with the tequilas, but thatís for the summer staycation edition). Martin Brothers knows their product, and it is so appreciated. I pick up a 2010 Hermitage, 2006 Saint Emillion, and a little rye whisky to start the festivities with an Old Fashioned cocktail.
7:30 P.M. -≠ I am home and have, yes, finally showered. 8:30P.M. -≠ Friends arrive for a deliciously long dinner.
10 P.M. -≠ SMOKE JAZZ CLUB, 2751 Broadway-
One of the top uptown jazz clubs in NYC. Itís a cozy venue, with a rich atmosphere and great acoustics. It opened as Augieís Jazz Bar in 1976 and turned over to Smoke Jazz in 1999. Iím a huge fan of feeling like I belong to a different generation. And what I adore most about Smoke, is that it has the ability to transport me out of the 21st Century. My friends and I show up just in time to catch an incredible set by, Alexis Cole. Cole was called ďone of the great voices of todayĒ by Sirius XMís Jonathan Schwart, among other adoring reviews. And yes, she is fantastic.
1 A.M. -≠ Get home, chug a glass of water, brush my teeth and hop into bed.
And that is a day of staycation. There are no rules and no guilt; just pure enjoyment like you would try to have on any other vacation, except without the airport security and frantic packing. I feel rejuvenated after a staycation. It makes me appreciate the simple things Iíve been able to acquire in life. It reminds me of the gorgeous uptown neighborhood that I am fortunate enough to call home, the endless culture that I have access to at my fingertips, and the special bonds that Iíve formed with close friends over the past 10 years of living in NYC.
Having a staycation grounds me. It reminds me to put more emphasis on the present, and a little less pressure on the future.