Posts Tagged NYC
Good Things Do Come in Small Packages!
Valentine’s Day will be upon us before we know it. I myself have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. I haven’t much had the chance to be honest. I’ve only ever been in a one relationship that spanned over the “greeting card holiday,” but when that day came, I was traveling domestically for work.
As we close in on V-Day, I thought it would be nice to shine a light on some of NYC’s finest establishments. This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Sweets in the City, an event hosted by Single Edition. Originally planned as a bus tour of some of Big Apple’s most romantic locations, the recent blizzard forced plans to be altered. Instead, Single Edition scrambled to gather all these great NYC treasures in one place.
Certainly when I say cupcakes and New York City in the same breath, most think Magnolia’s. I’m here to change that. The first confectionary I’d like to share with you is Sprinkles Cupcakes. Located near Bloomingdale’s between 60th & 61st streets, this purveyor of pure, delicious, uncomplicated, scratch-based cupcakes has blown me away.
The days of sharing a late-night romantic slice of pie at a diner have gone by the wayside. And, since the cupcake craze hit the scene, I personally (and unsuccessfully) have been trying to supplant it with a pie craze. After my first bite into a Sprinkles cupcake, my struggle ended and I was officially onboard.
Sprinkles has struck the perfect balance of cake and icing ratio. Most cupcake peddlers botch this entirely, forcing me to scrape half-a-pound of icing off my dessert before biting into it. Sprinkles has mastered this art, and made me reevaluate my love-hate relationship with cake’s red-headed stepchild. But enough about my cupcake hang-ups!
I got to sample Sprinkles’ decadent red velvet. Much to my delight, I didn’t have to sink my teeth in to find out what flavor awaited me. They’ve devised a brilliant color-coded system of dots adorning the cupcakes, revealing the flavors hidden within. Although not all flavors are available every day, they’ve developed a calendar telling you when your favorite flavors will be available.
When I got home from the event, I plopped down on the couch for a romantic evening and split the cupcake in half. The portion size was perfect for sharing, although truth be told, it was so sinfully good that my better half nearly missed out on his half. The cake was incredibly moist and scrumptious, the icing was perfection, and my teeth didn’t ache from sugar overload.
On top of their first-class cupcakes, Sprinkles offers great service as well. No matter the occasion, they can accommodate — weddings, parties, gifts for all occasions, last-minute orders, deliveries and more. They’ll even print your logo, monogram or any graphic on a sugar decoration. The pleasant surprises didn’t end there. When discarding evidence of my indulgence, I was also pleased to see my treat was packaged in a tiny, recyclable and aesthetically simple brown box. Who doesn’t love an eco-friendly, green company these days.
Disappointed you can’t experience this decadence because you don’t live in New York City? — Not to worry. They are baking cupcakes specially for you in Chicago, Washington DC, Dallas, Houston, La Jolla, Newport Beach, Palo Alto, Scottsdale and their flagship store in Beverly Hills. You too can find true love in the bottom of a small brown box.
So this Valentine’s Day, show that special someone just how much they mean to you with one of NYC’s true treasures — Sprinkles cupcakes.
It was the middle of July in NYC, and while many might find the thought of that heat taxing, I’ve always enjoyed the summertime. People are out during all hours of the day and night. The city comes alive because people are willing to spend more of their time outdoors.
Tuesdays are never particularly good days. You’re still three days away from the weekend, and you don’t have the benefit of being refreshed from the pervious weekend. After a long Tuesday at work, I made my way to CK‘s apartment. He was wrapping up at his office, so I expected we would be arriving around the same time. I was looking forward to seeing him and relaxing. What better way to end a Tuesday than relaxing and watching the sunset from the rooftop of his New York high-rise on the banks of the Hudson River?
We dropped our bags and immediately took the elevator to the penthouse floor. A few others share the same thinking we did, and they were enjoying the days final rays with a few cocktails and some light-hearted conversation. CK and I made our way to the far side of the roof and swapped stories about our days. Through the course of our conversation, I learned he had some work left to do for the evening. It just so happened to be my expertise, so I offered to help when we finally made our way back downstairs. I told him this would have to wait until after we ate dinner of course because I was starving. As the last few beams of light disappeared behind the buildings on banks of the Hudson River in New Jersey, we exchanged a romantic kiss and made our way back downstairs.
We agreed upon ordering in instead of cooking, especially since CK still had work to do. “Sushi it is!” he exclaimed. While we waited, he worked on his presentation while I worked on a blog post in front of the TV. We paused when the food came so we could eat, but once we were properly fed, it was right back to work. I put a little work into his presentation while he proofread my post, pausing to show him a few tips I’d learned along the way myself.
It was a really nice night. We’d fallen into this routine finally, and I was really enjoying it. We were a couple, and there was no fighting. When the good times came, I genuinely appreciated them. I was beginning to wonder if we were a Ronnie and Sammi kind of couple for a little while there (Couldn’t resist the Jersey Shore reference there). That was a scary thought. I didn’t want to be the couple who constantly fought. We loved each other far more than that.
When we’d done enough work for the night, CK asked if he could put on his beloved Rachel Maddow, and I begrudgingly agreed. I wasn’t thrilled with the thought, as I grew more and more tired of her nightly hour-long program. I follow politics pretty closely and follow the Nightly News religiously every night, but I didn’t think anyone needed that much politics in their life. That Tuesday night, it was irrelevant what I wanted because my body wanted to go to sleep. I quickly dozed off on the couch while CK drank in his liberal political commentary.
When I finally woke, it was much later, and I suggested we go to bed. I could see CK was tired, and it was obvious I’d had enough with the day. We made our way to his room and slid into bed. I didn’t even make the pit stop to brush my teeth. I’m not sure why I was so exhausted, but I’m pretty sure I was asleep before my head came to rest on the pillow.
This time of year, every night out on the town feels a little extra special. It’s Christmas time in NYC, and what better time to take advantage of all the city has to offer for date night.
Recently, I was approached by HowAboutWe, a subscription service designed specifically for couples, to try out their services. I’d heard the name before, but I had no idea what it was I was being offered. I went online to investigate further, and I was blown away by the opportunity before me. HowAboutWe had the direct line to some of the best dates out there. As I dove deeper into the site, I discovered that each month, CK and I would receive a new “DateBook” — filled with pre-planned, one-of-a-kind experiences here in NYC. These weren’t just ordinary dates — Broadway shows, dinner for two, cooking classes, driving experiences… The list went on and on. And, that’s just December.
For our first HowAboutWe date, CK and I chose “In Due Course,” including a four-course dinner for two at celebrity chef Todd English’s restaurant Olives at the W in Union Square. The date was purely magical. CK and I sat down at a very cozy table for two in the corner. Our every need was attended to by the amazing wait staff who brought us a delectable meal consisting of 2 glasses of Prosecco, a crab toast appetizer, Rabbit Tagliatelle, 2 glasses of wine, Branzino A La Plancha, and the coup de grâce — Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake. Everything we ate and drank was spectacular. And, HowAboutWe took care of everything from the reservation all the way down to the tax and tip on our bill. It was utterly seamless.
At $22/month, HowAboutWe for Couples membership gets you so much: FREE HowAboutWe Dates — every month, sold-out tickets and members-only events, early booking on HowAboutWe Dates, up to 75% off other HowAboutWe Dates, and rewards (like buy one get one free tickets on Fandango). I challenge you to find a deal better than that! I for one will continue to go back to HowAboutWe time and time again for amazing dates and opportunities.
It’s tough balancing the working and dating worlds. Anytime someone can take a little bit of the work out of either, I’m all in! They get how busy I am. That’s why most dates are flexible and can be scheduled whenever I decide, except however, some are one-time-only scheduled events, like performances or special excursions. But, who wouldn’t rearrange their schedule for those experiences!?
On top of that, this isn’t marriage— No big scary commitment. You can pause or cancel at any time. And, dates on HowAboutWe for Couples can also be purchased as a non-Member, without the Member discount and other benefits of course.
I highly encourage you to at the very least check it out by clicking the logo here. TRUST ME! You won’t regret it!Follow @onegayatatime
It had arrived. Although this would be my third year “participating,” I was legitimately scared. I wasn’t sure why it was so scary, but honestly, I was petrified for so many reasons.
My first interaction with Pride Weekend was a mistake. I was making my way to Governor’s Island for a polo match with my family when we found ourselves “stuck” in the parade route. The following year was the first year I was out when the weekend came around. It wasn’t pleasant as I witnessed my relationship crumble before my eyes like an out-of-body experience. I missed the parade that year, but I got a sampling of the other aspects of the festivities.
My fear was grounded mainly in the unknown. While I am a gay man, I do not participate in the typical gay culture. I’ve never been a big fan of gay clubs and what goes on there. I come from a background of a traditional relationship. In the gay world, that is like finding a diamond in the rough. The clubs seem to be the antithesis of this. They are a hot-bed of drugs, promiscuity and raunchy behavior. I know all gay men who go to bars don’t fit into this stereotype, but this stereotype is founded in truth. While I’ve been to a handful of gay clubs, and my comfort level was rising, I still had no idea what to expect. Never before had I been to a circuit party. I was venturing into the abyss, and this caused me incredible anxiety.
While I have learned to let go of the men in my past, I still carry the scars of my relationship with them. They’ve all hurt or used me in some way, shape or form. My biggest fear in life is being alone, and this fear is fed by thoughts of cheating, which is birthed from my baggage. The idea of CK with another man broke my heart. I had clear definitions of cheating, but there were worse things floating through my imagination — Like cheating in a form I feel is unfaithful, but the offender does not.
My relationship with CK was building a great foundation, however, the cement was still wet. We were only dating two months and ten days — Very young for any relationship. In the first month, I had strong suspicions I wasn’t the only man entering his bed. Things didn’t always line up and some of the clear indications were there, however, our relationship was still just forming. I knew there would be a transition period. While he told me he was only interested in me, and I was the only man entering his bed, I was aware how we met. I was also aware of his intentions before we even met through his first major slip-up on Grindr. I couldn’t expect monogamy from the first night — That wasn’t realistic.
While I was fairly understanding and looked the other way early on, I was not going to tolerate infidelity as our relationship progressed and strengthened. For starters, my heart wouldn’t be able to handle the pain, and lastly, it wasn’t safe for my health. I needed to trust him to be faithful. Outside the heartbreak, frankly, we were having unprotected sex. We’d been tested, but there are no guarantees. I trusted him with my life, literally, and if he was sleeping with other men, he was treating my life carelessly.
I sincerely had a feeling his intentions had evolved, but I couldn’t be sure how he would react when faced with temptation. I hoped I was the only man for him. As a result, I was petrified for the life of our relationship. I’d watched my relationship with N publicly combust the previous year, and I didn’t want a repeat.
I’m sure many of you reading think I am overreacting. It’s just a party… It’s just a parade… It’s just a weekend… Well, not to me. To me, it was a litmus test for the strength of my love for CK. I didn’t want that love to be tested, and I didn’t want to have to make a decision that could end my relationship with CK. He was my Superman. He was my world. If I lost him, my world would come crumbling down.
We had plans to go to a huge party at XL Friday night, Matinée circuit party Saturday, and the parade Sunday afternoon. I was venturing into this unknown abyss with faith and hope I could persevere. The thought of CK dropping X and losing control of his inhibitions with some other guy caused me great pain and panic attacks. The idea of another man’s hand groping his package caused me panic attacks. Picturing him dancing shirtless against another shirtless man caused me panic attacks. Every time these scenarios and many others entered my brain, my heart rate would increase drastically, I would start to sweat, and I would get light-headed.
All this added up to me being petrified and frustrated. When I asked CK what clothes I should pack to bring to his apartment for the weekend, and I didn’t get any cooperation or help. It all became overwhelming. To begin with, this wasn’t something I was looking forward to, and his lack of cooperation made me lose my sh*t. “Okay Babe. I’ll talk to you in the morning. Have fun tonight!” I said on the verge of tears as I hung up the phone on him.
I think that was the wake-up call CK needed. I don’t think he fully understood how much anxiety this all created for me. I voiced my frustrations for weeks leading up to Pride Weekend. I told him I was going out of my comfort zone, but I was willing to do it as long as I got some hand-holding. I needed help to get over this. It was just another fun weekend for him, but it was a big deal to me.
After a few minutes, he called me back. We discussed things a little more rationally, and CK’s tone changed. He finally realized I was struggling and tossed out the life-preserver. Now that I knew I had him in my corner, I was a little more relaxed, however, I still wasn’t completely comfortable. It was going to be a long, stressful and exhausting weekend both physically and emotionally. I bit down then and there, and braced for impact as I packed my bag and walked out the door.
I first downloaded Grindr as I was pushing back from the gate on my flight to San Francisco for business. Upon my return, I often played around with it at work. Early in my Grindr experience, I found a VERY sexy torso to strike up a chat with. The guy seemed very level-headed and not simply interested in hooking up. I also discovered he worked across the street from me.
But, when I asked him to hang out, he got very shy. He told me he was very picky and wasn’t that interested in meeting someone. I asked if he would grab a drink after work sometime, and he kinda let me down easy. Periodically, I messaged him after that just to say hi, but I never got much of a response. It was disappointing. Finally, I gave up.
Then one day, out of the blue, he messaged me. He asked if I had just been in Bryant Park sitting on a park bench for lunch. I was impressed and thrilled he recognized me without having met me. Ironically enough, I was on a lunch date with someone from adam4adam.com.
We chatted about the chances of him picking me out of a crowd in the city. I brought up the idea of getting a drink together. A month passed by since the last time I asked him. This time he was ready to play ball, maybe since he saw me in person? Not exactly sure. Either way, I convinced him to send me both his number and a picture of his face. At this point, I’ve had so many guys’ numbers in my phone, I needed some way to keep them straight (the first sign I was becoming a whore). My strategy was to get pictures of them to attach to their contact profile. I’m much better with faces than names.
A week later, on a whim, I sent him a text asking if he would be interested in grabbing lunch that very afternoon. I knew it was a long shot since it was such short notice, but why the hell not. Much to my surprise, he agreed. I had to run into a meeting, but would be able to meet immediately following since my work for the day was pretty much over. I told him to pick a spot. He told me he’d get right on it.
We met in the square between our offices and walked to KyoChon for some excellent wings. I had never been there before, so he explained all the ins and outs to the place. We took our food and grabbed a table upstairs.
He was great company. The conversation started immediately when I met him. The whole walk over we chatted about careers and how we got where we are today. The conversation still flowed while we ate. There were no awkward pauses or hiccups. I was very comfortable with him. He also had a great smile, something I’m coming to find is a weak spot for me. Ironically enough, he looked like Boston, had the same name as him, and he recently moved to NYC from Boston. The resemblance was a little uncanny, but I moved past it quickly.
I had a lot of respect for him. He left a very successful job at a law firm to come to NYC to find himself. He wanted a new job, but didn’t know what he wanted to do. He just knew he wasn’t going to find himself in Boston. Right now he was working in marketing, but that also wasn’t exactly what he wanted to be doing. He was still on the path to clarity.
We also talked about therapy. He was seeing a psychologist from time to time to talk through issues. He told me most people don’t realize it’s covered by most insurance companies to go for periodic sessions. He explained how it’s been a good outlet for him to get his head straight. I didn’t see him as a crazy person. I actually saw him as more sane for having such a healthy respect for it. I began to entertain the idea myself. My friends are my therapist. I have abused many of my friends in this respect and turned to writing a blog to alleviate some of that burden. Maybe a therapist was what I needed.
This was truly a quality guy. A guy I really wanted to get to know. I knew I would need to take it slow with this one. I didn’t want to come on too strong and turn him off right off the bat. We walked back towards our offices and said goodbye with a nice handshake. He turned and said, “This was good. We should definitely do it again!” I was very happy. I passed the test. Also, was this a successful “date?” It didn’t quite feel like it was a date going in, but maybe it was a lunch date by the time we were done. I was looking forward to our next.
As time passed, I didn’t push the issue of a second “date.” I also became distracted with other guys, but one day, while going through my contacts, I discovered him again. I shot him a text asking if he’d want to grab lunch again soon. He told me he was out-of-town for the week, but we would touch base when he got back the following week. Only time would tell if we’d figure it out…Follow @onegayatatime
WednesGAY lunch in the park…
Of the four dates I set up for the week, this one scared me the most. He was truly a wild card. He was gorgeous in his pictures — like model hot — but we only scratched the surface the few times we spoke on adam4adam.com.
When he told me his name, I was quite confused. In his pictures, he looked white, but his name sounded Middle Eastern. Only now, from googling the origin of his name, did I find it is of Spanish origin and not very popular.
I asked him for his number and if we could grab a drink sometime after work. He told me he doesn’t drink. Normally, this may have been a deal breaker for me, but I was beginning to enjoy my new dating adventures. Good or bad, they were experiences and something interesting to talk about with friends (Again, this is also when I thought I had an idea to start a blog). So I decided to be open-minded. I asked him where he worked, and he told me from home, by Bryant Park. So, I asked if we could do lunch one day. He suggested Cosi for lunch since it was nearby my office, his apartment and the park.
It was a gorgeous Wednesday after many days of cold and clouds. I was happy to be spending time outside. I walked to Cosi, texting him on my way. I wasn’t getting a response. Finally, after standing on the street for about 5 minutes, he texted me explaining he was en route and would arrive shortly.
When he arrived, I could tell he was quite flustered and sweating. Even through all that, I could see a beautiful man standing in front of me with flowing curly hair. Very dreamy. Also a bit intimidating. Towering over me, he was about 6’4″ or 6’5″ (I’m 6’2″ and intimidated by people taller than me since it happens so rarely). He apologized profusely for being late in an accent I was not able to place. He told me he would explain his tardiness when we sat down to eat. We hopped in line, ordered our lunch and walked across the street to the park. Ironically, I would later find out weeks later I was spotted while eating lunch by a fellow Grindr I was courting.
He told me he was on the upper west side on his scooter and was pulled over for not having the proper decals on his plate. It all clicked in my head why I wasn’t getting a phone call or text explaining why he was running late. Luckily, the cop let him off, but not before giving him a hard time. I then asked him what he did that allowed him to work from home every day. He gave me an awkward smile, and said, “Well I don’t work. I’m a landlord.”
I replied, “Not a bad gig. I’d kill to do that!”
He then explained he is originally from Miami and owns a few rental properties there. This was his source of income and allowed him to live a life of daily freedom. After he asked, I explained what I do for a living.
We started talking candidly about dating in NYC and in general. We talked about the challenges and pitfalls of trying to find someone to spend time with. Too many people are just simply looking for sex. He said, “We all have sexual needs, but it’s really challenging when you’re trying to find a meaningful relationship.”
At this point, between his pleasant disposition and his amazing looks, I was very interested. He also had an innocence about him that was very intriguing. On top of that, I couldn’t help myself. I was staring at his sexy jawline, his dreamy eyes and the flowing hair he continuously pushed behind his ear.
We talked about being from Miami and why he moved to NYC. He did it alone because he’s always wanted to live here and wanted a challenge. I admired this greatly. I myself have always considered moving to California, but don’t have the guts to start over. His courage was admirable and sexy. He elaborated. He told me about the man he left in Miami. They had been together for almost 10 years. “Pretty much husband and husband,” as he put it. He left him behind because he was not willing to move to New York. He needed to do this for himself — to find himself, so he left.
This was a bit of a curveball I wasn’t expecting. I tried to change the subject to something lighter. I asked him where he lives. He pointed out his apartment from where we were sitting. An apartment overlooking Bryant park is more than impressive. I asked him what he does for fun in his free time. I learned he lives a very European lifestyle. Grocery shopping all over the city on a daily basis, cooking meals, reading, traveling… He then went on to tell me he has a house in the mountains and loves to ski. And when he’s not there, he’s traveling out to his new LA apartment to get that in shape.
And all of a sudden, the dream came crashing down. We were not compatible. We came from different worlds. I admired his lifestyle and aspired to it, but I would not be someone’s kept man. He had so much freedom, a relationship with me would hold him back and create resentment. On top of that, my lunch hour was over.
We were both headed in the same direction, so we started to walk. The date ended without even a hug. I figured he wasn’t interested in me, and I lost interest when I realized how different our lives are. He suggested we do lunch again sometime, and I agreed. At this point, I considered putting him in the “friend zone.”
Sadly, we have not kept in touch since then, and I don’t know how well it would be received if I attempted to reach out to him now…