The Guggenheim and some family fun before we leave New York City

A very hot New York City

A very hot New York City

The days are running out before liftoff. And by liftoff, I obviously mean our flight to Reykjavik, Iceland. We have been frantically packing, running errands, and trying to see friends and family. 6 months away from home is somehow simultaneously a really short amount of time and a long amount of time. There is one person, however, for whom 6 months is definitely a really long time: my nephew, Edan. He is 15 months old. 6 months is a really long time for him! So my sister Arielle decided to make a trip up to New York City with Edan before Dan and I leave for our trip so we could hang out with her and the little man one last time (until we get back). We spent yesterday hiding from the heat (unsuccessfully) at the Guggenheim Museum.

Guggenheim main installation space

Guggenheim main installation space – full of people lying on the floor

Beautiful colors

Beautiful colors

Apparently, every other person in Manhattan had the same idea (it was almost 100 degrees outside yesterday), so the Guggenheim – also known as the Guggie in my family – was exceptionally crowded. And we really should have expected that. Dan and I walked across Central Park from the subway (see the picture at the top of the post!) to get to the museum and I even remarked that the streets were oddly empty. But we persevered and I’m glad we did.

Arielle and Edan contemplating the lights

Arielle and Edan contemplating the lights

Constantly changing colors

Constantly changing colors

James Turrell created the main space light installation for the Guggenheim, and there were a few other of his light installations around the building. Once you exited the awesome entry gallery that was packed with people, the building was calm and cool. Edan found the reading room. Reading books is one of his favorite pastimes, so he made a momentary pitstop there.

Guggenheim reading room

Guggenheim reading room

But shortly after that he decided he was bored with the lights. Honestly, we felt that the museum was very sparse. They didn’t use the iconic spiral ramps of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed building for anything. They were empty, just used as a way to get from one place to another. It seemed lacking. But there was another gallery with the exhibit “Kandinsky in Paris”, pulled from the museum’s big Kandinsky collection, that Dan and I wanted to see. Edan had had enough of the air conditioning (crazy kid…), so Arielle took him outside to Central Park while we walked through that small exhibit. The Kandinskys and, on another floor, the small Thannhauser collection really got me excited for our trip. They all made me think of Paris, for some reason. We won’t be in Paris for quite some time, but still, how can you not look forward to Paris, am I right?

After the museum we took the train up to my parents’ house for dinner with most of my immediate family. Dan read Edan a book, though there were moments where Edan was not all that interested in the book…

Reading a book

Reading a book

Not reading the book, doing baby-yoga instead!

Not reading the book, doing baby-yoga instead!

Then it was back to the house for more cleaning and packing, which was finally done for the night shortly after midnight. Whew. I’m exhausted just remembering all of it. Only a few more days of this madness. Maybe after we leave I’ll finally get some sleep… ‘Til next time!

The privilege of being vegan in NYC

New-Vegan-Hop-Logo-150

Vegan Hop

“New York City. Center of the universe.”

New York skyline taken from Queens

New York skyline. Photo credit goes to Dan

New York City has been the center of my universe my entire life. I was born here, I was raised here, it is the place I am always happy to come home to. It is not, however, the place I went vegan. I went vegan in college, upstate in Rochester, New York. Rochester is also where Dan and I met. But immediately after college Dan and I moved down to the City so I could be back where I belong. With my people. People who understand my need to walk as fast as possible at all times. New Yorkers are a special breed and I feel lucky to be able to call myself a native. But New York isn’t just full of people who have places to be, it is full of vegan food.

Dan and I have been spoiled. His entire vegan life, and mine since college ended, has been spent in a place with (according to supervegan.com, my favorite site for all things vegan in NYC) 64 vegan restaurants and 120 vegetarian restaurants. We don’t eat out much, as it is expensive and not conducive to saving money to travel the world, but when we do it is almost exclusively at vegan or vegetarian restaurants.

Now, when I am outside of the City and I am in a place that doesn’t have easy access to vegan food I get grumpy. Iceberg lettuce and french fries? AGAIN?!? But Dan and I will have to learn. We will have to learn because “vegan” is not common everywhere. Including many of the places we are heading off to. 6 months on the road internationally will certainly teach us where “veganism” is a thing that exists and where it isn’t. I’m sure there will be gems along the way, and we will certainly search out vegan restaurants, but we will not be eating exclusively at vegan restaurants. We will be explaining to people all over the world what we do and do not eat. To mangle a quote from Finding Nemo: “Animals are friends, not food”. Though there may not be vegan restaurants in every city all over the world, I know there are vegans everywhere. If they can do it, we can too.

Time to learn the words for “meat”, “dairy”, and “eggs” in 50 languages!