Archive for the ‘New York City’ category

City Romps: Pretty Things In My New Hood

September 26, 2008

Most of the time I am too preoccupied trying to text and walk with out getting hit by cabs or other idiots texting and walking to notice much of the city around me. But that’s sort of sad and pathetic. So lately I’ve been trying to banish my iPhone during my daily NYC treks so I can appreciate the crazies–like the guy with the cat on his head that I always see in the village–and the sights–like the graffiti (street art? ads?) below.

I just moved from the land of the Gossip Girl to the apathetically trendy Lower East Side. And despite the wry looks I get from the American Apparel employees when I go shopping in my gym clothes, I am totally loving the change. Every street has a different wine bar or vintage clothing store where old clothes are somehow more expensive than the ones I buy new. The residents range from Hasidic Jews to Dominicans to the hipsters slowly pushing their way in. The couples with matching jackets from The North Face that seemed to be a staple of the Upper East Side have turned into couples competing over who wears the tightest skinny jeans. Oh, and best of all, all the elevator buttons in my building must remain lit on the weekends so my neighbors won’t have to disrupt their Shabbat by pressing a button. It took me weeks to realize this wasn’t a prank the neighborhood kids were playing.

Anyway, the poster pasters have been busy this week and below is some of the street art my iPhone and lack of photography skills captured this week.


Dear Jeremy Piven, I don’t know if you noticed but I am way cuter than that girl you were with last night

September 17, 2008

Last night I was in Chelsea with my man friend picking up a bottle of wine when I quite literally ran into Jeremy Piven. I was too busy frantically searching for a new line of wines from Francis Ford Coppola to realize that the ball of juicy goodness I had just run into was Entourage’s very own Ari Gold. If I had realized immediately who he was the scenario probably would’ve gone something like this:

Oh my god I am so sorry I just stepped on your sneaker which is probably worth more than my apartment and wow you look SO much better when you have a little stubble and are not all uptight in a suit and on second thought your sneakers are just Pumas but seriously who is this skankface girl you are standing next to puh-leaze don’t tell me you are with this woman who is very possibly a lady of the night and oh my god seriously screw Adrian you are by far my favorite character on the show oh and did you know I ran into him at Chipotle a few years ago and that he actually plays in a band with a guy who is actually named Ari Gold? And how weird is this I was sitting next to Shauna (Debi Mazar) at Bar Pitti just last week…. until he finally interrupted my nervous word vomit or started slowly backing away.

But luckily, I was completely distracted so I simply smiled, said excuse me, and moved on. It wasn’t until we were standing in line that I couldn’t help but stare, not at him, but at the gargantuan blonde in platform patent leather heels and a skin tight shirt that she thought was long enough for a skirt. I believe there was also a red leather jacket or something equally trashtastic but I was too busy trying to figure out how her shirt/skirt was secured over her butt cheeks to pay much attention. Oh and there were extensions. I watched her hang on him with every limb possible, securing him with her tentacles so he couldn’t run away. When he turned his head to look longingly at his only escape route, I finally noticed it was him. And unlike his lady friend, he looked good. So good.

And so Jeremy, I write to you as a friend, after all I have had run ins with your castmates, and now you, so lets just say we’re friends. I’m sure your accomplice had a kind heart or a caring nature or a great tongue or what have you, but I just want to put it out there that, if you wanted to, you could do better. And if you need some help on where to go for “better” please see the photo above for inspiration. And call me.

Warmest wishes,

Katie Hull

Summer in the City Goes By Way Too Fast

September 11, 2008

I have been neglecting my blog this summer to get some freelance (aka paid) writing done, but I am here to make amends!  …Starting tomorrow. In between dodging the 7ft tall models that have been clogging the city for fashion week and avoiding heat stroke in Central Park, I managed to write some really fun articles, so check them out!

I just started blogging for a new site called Lemondrop which features “sweet, tasty, and tart” articles for women on everything from finance, news, and politics to health, sex, and relationships. I, of course, blog about the latter.

I also published an article in the September issue of WaterSki magazine (what can I say, I’m from Florida) which you can read here:

And, in an attempt to put my love of all things fermented to good use, I wrote an essay for Francis Ford Coppola’s new line of wines, which I have to say are delicious, and probably even more appealing due to the oddly shaped bottle and the $9 price tag. To see the article go here and click on the little airplane at the top.

Oh and if you have any interest in real estate or home buying, check out this blog.

The Superhero New Yorkers Really Need

July 18, 2008

Many of my friends back home think that life in the big city is glamorous. I am here to prove to you that it is not. Sure you might hear stories of seeing P Diddy in the Rolling Stone offices or how Woody Harrelson convinced me to go vegan (which lasted a whole six days before I bought a Cornish hen at Whole Foods and ate the whole thing off the bone like a cave woman) but what we are far less likely to tell you about is stories like this.


This morning I woke up still groggy from the night before. Having already sat through The Hulk, Hellboy, and Ironman (the only decent superhero movie), I went to see The Last Mistress, a French movie that made me secretly wish for cheesy romance and openly loathe the entire male species all at once. Accompanying me were two friends and three bottles of wine. One bottle was empty before the previews ended and when we stood up to leave at the end of the movie I think we all were shocked at how difficult walking had become.  So in fear of an impending hangover, the first thing I did when I woke up this morning was throw on some clothes and head down stairs to get some coffee, some carbs, and a large bottle of Advil.


I live on the sixth floor and I stumbled down four flights before fully opening my eyes. On the second floor I spotted what I thought was a small bird in my peripheral vision. I looked over and there, sitting overturned on the steps of my apartment building, was the largest dead cockroach I had ever seen. It was flipped over on its back exposing its shriveled up legs and tentacles which were still jutted out. I kid you not, this mutant creature was as long as my middle finger and a good three inches wide.


 It was then that I noticed that my entire building smelled like bug spray. I couldn’t help but picture my friendly landlord—who brings up all his tenant’s packages and even walks a few of the resident dogs—battling the varmints through the night. Perhaps because it is my personal response to empty an entire can of Raid in our apartment if I see one ant on the floor, I imagined him donning his big rubbery gloves and his professional sprayer and quietly going to war with the creatures while we slept. Sort of like a bug battling superhero.


I couldn’t help but kind of fall in love with my middle aged landlord in my hungover, romance hungry state. And that is just one of the many reasons the average life in New York City is far less glamorous than they want you to believe, and sometimes verging on sad and pathetic. Forget Batman, Superman, or Hellboy.  Let’s see a movie about the super hero New Yorkers will really get excited about.

People Watching at its Best

June 24, 2008

Karma is going to get me for this one. I already know it but I just can’t help myself. In keeping with my accidental theme of playing weatherwoman to the Upper East Side (but in a much more entertaining way I hope) I am yet again blogging about the conditions.

I am sitting in my little neighborhood coffee shop and from the comfort of my window seat I am having way too much fun people watching. Five minutes ago it was sunny day deserving of spaghetti straps and extra long lunch breaks in the sun. Then, bam! Out of nowhere the wind starts blowing, trees start swaying maniacally and the rain starts coming down.

The normally calm, put together New Yorkers start scattering like ants, seeking shelter and attempting to turn parts of their wardrobe into umbrellas. One man in a business suit dumped the contents of his plastic shopping bag onto a bench and proceeded to hold the bag over his head and rip it apart. The resistance of the plastic bag turned this into a dramatically slow movement reminiscent of The Hulk ripping off his shirt.

It is especially fun to witness the states of emotions the people on the street experience before conceding to the fact that the rest of their work day will be spent in shoes that ooze water in squeeky little bursts every time they walk. They are first shocked as they scramble to put their newspapers, their shirts, anything they have in their hands over their head. Like that is going to protect them from the rain that seems to be falling everywhere but straight down. After a few seconds of trying in vain to shield themselves from the elements, I watched as one by one, they suddenly got extremely pissed off. How dare you rain on me! Let me talk to your manager! They look angrily at the sky, at their soaked suits, before they finally set aside their pride and scurry across the street, dodging cars and puddles, and ducking into any dry area they can find.

Like I said, I will most definitely be struck down by lightening or caught in a similar downpour when I’m on my way to a particularly important event just for posting this from the comfort of my window seat, but I just can’t help myself. I just saw a really angry woman in four inch heels and two inches of concealer duck into the hardware store next door. Then a few seconds later, as if she’d rather brave the rain then whatever might be lurking in there, she dashed out again, actually looking a little bit sheepish for stepping in such an establishment. How can you not love this city!!

The Only New Yorker Who Hates IKEA

June 19, 2008

There are not many firsts left to be had in New York City, but yesterday marked what seemed to be a pretty big one. New Yorkers and Brooklynites began lining up at five on Monday morning, prepared to camp out with their tents and sleeping bags for the next 48 hours. They weren’t waiting for tickets to Britney’s post psychosis concert tour or for one of those riot inducing “I’m not a plastic bag” totes. They were waiting for a store to open.

In their defense, IKEA’s PR stunt masters advertised free couches worth $399 to the first 35 people in line and there were also free Swedish Meatballs to celebrate the opening of the first New York IKEA. But you would think it would take much more than a couch to get someone to play homeless on the streets of Brooklyn for two days straight. And did they know they still have to put the couch together themselves?


IKEA is a brand that twenty and thirty-something urbanites seem to drool over. If your town has an IKEA and a Trader Joes you know it is a trendy place to live. If it has its own section on Craigslist and even its own fringe newspaper, you’ve made it. I spent three years living in New York, listening to stories about this ultra cheap Swedish furniture store, but did not get to actually experience it until last year. After wandering through the store (which is the size of a small village) picking out a desk, dresser, and bed that would both go together and fit in my room, I brought the name of my selections over to the bored looking IKEA employee who informed me, one by one, that each of my carefully selected, awkwardly named pieces were sold out.

Once I found a set that I could bring home the same day (who cares if it was made for twelve-year old girls!) I weaved my way through bathroom textiles and $6 floor lamps before arriving in the warehouse where I had to figure out how to lift the long flat boxes of wood that would soon become my furniture. I was quickly discovering why IKEA was so cheap: they make you do all the work. They don’t have those big machines to get your Klippan Loveseat—which is somehow condensed into a 3” thick box–off the top shelf. You have to do it yourself, and then lug it around with you while you search the endless isles for your Dalselv bed and Malm dresser.

ikea dresser

And that’s the easy part. Once you get the boxes home, don’t expect to actually have a bed to sleep on for a couple more days. Because what you just got a killer deal on is actually planks of wood with pre-cut holes in them. You thought you got a bed for $200 but you were wrong. You got boards painted white and a little picture book of how to turn these sliced up trees into furniture.

I don’t think this would fly in any other industry but somehow IKEA gets away with it.  My dad is a homebuilder, and if he sold his customers pre-cut wooden boards, some loose tiles for the roof, and some screws, and handed them a little booklet that illustrated–with pictures, no words–how to put the house together, he would be able to give them the “house” for much less too. He could probably cut the price in half! But his customers would most likely be crushed in their sleep by the materials he sold them.

My couch lasted three months before the back started caving in. Now whenever someone leans too hard on the back of my couch (you know, like sitting) I have to pull it out from the wall and push the back end back up. My dresser (pictured above) has six drawers and five are still attached and three are still fully attached on both sides. It constantly looks like a robbery just took place in my room even if it is otherwise completely neat.

Unfortunately, for many New Yorkers who do not want to invest too much into their apartments, IKEA looks like the best option. There are two Kmarts in the city but they have a sparse selection of furnishings and they haven’t gotten the trendy thing down like IKEA has. And New Yorkers still have to survive with out the cheap and chic Target. Even though my $700 worth of forest materials turned furniture have less function and absolutely no resale value, I can see why it is so tempting to just go back and buy more low quality furnishings there. I would just stay away from anything that has potential to kill you while in use, like bunk beds.

The Day the Sun Won

June 18, 2008

Last week, during the second day of the crippling New York City heat wave that inspired this post I think the sun managed to singe my brain because I was getting a little bit loopy. Since I moved into my apartment just last September, I only had to suffer through a few weeks of the smelly New York summer before October came around, allowing me to open my windows and let the cool air flow in. Being a Florida girl, I knew very little about these things they call window units (I think that’s the technical term) and had never even seen one until I caught a Law and Order rerun that centered around a little girl who was crushed by a falling unit. So I didn’t have a very positive or clear image of window units, nor had I ever needed one until now.

I survived day one of the heat wave by alternating between my neighborhood coffee shop and my room, where I sat propped up in my bed with my tiny fan blowing directly at my face. I briefly wondered if my pose might be reminiscent of a supermodel’s but then the sweat started pouring defiantly down my face and my hair blew back and wound itself into one big rat’s nest. Thank god I’m not in a profession that requires any sort of attractiveness.

Day two I awoke at five that morning because even at that hour, my apartment was already baking in the 90 degree heat. My survival skills told me I had to take a cold shower and get somewhere that had air and a plethora of outlets to feed my computer.

sunny ny

Sometime after my third soy latte (Woody Harrelson convinced me to stop eating dairy, but that’s a story for another time) the rumbling air conditioner that had been keeping my little coffee shop cool and dry seemed to suddenly pause to consider the odds of fighting against this incredible weather, and just like that, it gave up. The brief sputtering that gave way to silence should’ve been my cue to relocate, but I continued on, happily puttering away on my computer, oblivious to the heat that was moving in. Three hours later, the caffeine wore off and I was hot and incredibly grumpy. I get kind of feisty when I’m in a bad mood (also when I’m drunk) so I decided I was going to stop hiding from the weather and embrace the beautiful sunshine: a sort of valint challenge to the sun.

I packed up my computer and headed over to Central Park. The four avenue walk seemed to take forever and my tank top was sticking to my back by the time I made it to Sheep’s Meadow, which was completely desolate compared to the last time I was there on Memorial Day. But the fact that this field, which was usually bustling with sun bathers, Frisbee throwers, and illegal beer vendors selling Milwaukee’s Best for $5 a can, was still and quiet, did not deter me. I pulled out my bottle of baby oil (again, I’m from Florida), took off my shirt (I had on a sports bra) and took a nap. It was almost four by the time I got to the park so I figured I couldn’t get in too much tanning trouble.

You might think this story ends with me getting a 2nd degree burn and hideous sports bra tan lines, but it doesn’t. My southern skin fared fine, it was the rest of me that didn’t do too well. I woke up two hours later and saw some creepy looking dude staring at me from under a tree. Time to go. The walk back was even worse and I actually had to do something I’ve only seen very obese people and tourists do and stop to rest on my way home.

Once I made it up my six flights of stairs I had cold water and my not so sexy spot in front of the fan. But my apartment was not much of an escape. I still didn’t have one of those deadly window units and every Upper East Side place that might deliver one to me was closed by now. I considered going to a movie for a two hour, $12 escape, but that didn’t solve the dilemma of how I was going to survive the night. I couldn’t get Chris Brown’s “No Air” out of my head and my skin was probably still soaking in all that heat from the park. It was time to call in reinforcements.  I got my man friend, Chris, on the phone and started reminding him how guilty he would feel if I died in my sleep when he had had the chance to come to my rescue. I could tell he was less than pleased with the prospect of coming into the city to bring and install an air conditioner when he had to be at work in New Rochelle at seven the next morning, but when I threatened to fake illness so I could spend the night at Sloane Hospital down the block I think he started to feel bad for me. And when there was a brief silence in our phone conversations and I told him it was because I might have passed out a little, he audibly sighed but was quickly on his way.

In a truly heroic move Chris drove 30 minutes to deliver and install my very own window unit, which can cool my little room in less than 60 seconds. And although I have only used it a couple times since, he can now say that he potentially saved my life, a statement which will be especially useful when he sees my father again, who likes Chris just about as much as any dad likes the man who dares to date his daughter. My dad likes to grill potential suitors on what they are doing with their lives, and at least Chris will have a good answer this time: saving my life. Now that I think about it, I was the one who actually did him a favor. So Chris, I’d say we’re even.