Category: Central Park


An Encore Visit To The Set

March 28th, 2009 — 4:46pm

Wednesday night, I paid my second visit to The Set, Time Out New York ’s free monthly performing arts showcase of rising stars.

It was standing room only at New World Stage’s downstairs lounge, but I managed to snare a seat at the bar, thanks to show producer Pim. I also caught up with singer/songwriter Red Wine, who knocked my socks off at February’s show.

Singer Red Wine and me at The Set NYC

“I knew something good was going to happen today,” he said when I approached him. I predicted he’ll win a Grammy someday and he promised to thank me if he does.

Red Wine sang his irresistible cover of Ne Yo’s “Closer” before doing double duty as host for the evening. First up — veteran Aussie singer Anna Fiszman and guitarist Marc Landesberg.

Musical duo Anna and Marc: my favorite performers of the night

Their jazzy take on Ray Charles’ “Unchain My Heart” brought down the house and was, for me, the best performance of the night. Anna’s soulful voice is heaven sent.

Next up was young comedienne Liz Miele, who did an amusing riff about being an angry New Yorker unmoved by dogs or babies. Swedish dance trio Frida, Moncef and Ronja had the crowd applauding with their energetic, fresh take on hip hop.

Frida, Moncef and Ronja put their own spin on hip hop

Adorable magician Nick Ignazzi involved members of the audience in his act, which included being tied up, revealing he’s the Guinness Book record holder for most tic tac toe wins (32) and, of course, doing a card trick.

Young singer Melanie Fontana closed out The Set with a stirring rendition of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and an original ballad, “Water,” that I can’t wait to download.

After the show, I told duo Anna and Marc how much I loved their performance. Anna’s from Melbourne, one of my favorite cities Down Under, and she’s as engaging offstage as she is on.

Getting to know musical duo Anna and Marc

You can catch on April 11th at the Central Park Bandshell and then that night at Made With Love, a coffeehouse in Jersey City.

For more information about all of The Set’s stars, visit the show’s website.

Coming up…a swanky magazine shindig in Times Square and celeb spotting at GLAAD’s Media Awards.

| Central Park, Jersey City, New World Stages, rising stars, The Set NYC, Time Out New York

Sunday Afternoon In The Park

October 27th, 2008 — 1:10am
One of the best things about living in New York is discovering a part of the city you’ve never experienced before. Today, thanks to my good friend Tiffany, I enjoyed my first visit to Central Park’s northern section.

Taking advantage of the crisp autumn weather, we headed up to 106th Street. Along the way, we spotted a film crew shooting a car scene for HBO’s upcoming pilot “How To Make It In America.”

After catching a glimpse of the sunflowers in full bloom at Central Park’s Conservatory Garden, Tiff and I made our way into the park and ended up stumbling onto a Halloween party for kids that featured music provided by Natalia Paruz, a.k.a “The Saw Lady,” whose unique repertoire also includes English handbells and the glass harp.

NYC’s Central Park: Autumn splendor at its best

As we took in the fall foliage and passersby of all ages, we were in awe of the park’s bucolic charm. Like Tiffany said, it almost makes you forget you’re in the city. And it reminds you of another great thing about NYC — the quiet respites from the hustle and bustle to be found without venturing too far from your own zip code.

| Central Park, Central Park Conservatory, fall foliage, HBO, How To Make It In America, Natalia Paruz, The Saw Lady

Sunday Afternoon In The Park

October 26th, 2008 — 8:10pm
One of the best things about living in New York is discovering a part of the city you’ve never experienced before. Today, thanks to my good friend Tiffany, I enjoyed my first visit to Central Park’s northern section.

Taking advantage of the crisp autumn weather, we headed up to 106th Street. Along the way, we spotted a film crew shooting a car scene for HBO’s upcoming pilot “How To Make It In America.”

After catching a glimpse of the sunflowers in full bloom at Central Park’s Conservatory Garden, Tiff and I made our way into the park and ended up stumbling onto a Halloween party for kids that featured music provided by Natalia Paruz, a.k.a “The Saw Lady,” whose unique repertoire also includes English handbells and the glass harp.

NYC’s Central Park: Autumn splendor at its best

As we took in the fall foliage and passersby of all ages, we were in awe of the park’s bucolic charm. Like Tiffany said, it almost makes you forget you’re in the city. And it reminds you of another great thing about NYC — the quiet respites from the hustle and bustle to be found without venturing too far from your own zip code.

| Central Park, Central Park Conservatory, fall foliage, HBO, How To Make It In America, Natalia Paruz, The Saw Lady

Walking And Rolling: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

October 20th, 2008 — 10:55pm

Yesterday, I participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Central Park. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Making Strides and my 11th year being a part of it. And, because of my recent foot surgery, it’s also the first time I did the walk in a wheelchair.

My fabulous friends and fellow striders Caroline, Cindy, Leila and Sara burned some major calories as they pushed me along the four-mile route. I couldn’t have done it without them.

Making Strides Together: (from left) Cindy, Sara, Caroline and Leila joined
me in Central Park yesterday

Before making the trek, each of us pinned signs on our backs in memory of my beloved mom, who lost her battle with breast cancer at the age of 57 ten years ago.

According to the American Cancer Society, 182,460 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,480 women will die of the disease. The money raised at Making Strides goes directly to ACS programs including cancer research, education and support for patients.

I’m thrilled that, for the third year in a row, I’m a Pacesetter — someone who has raised more than $2,500 for the fight against breast cancer. And I’m looking forward to making strides, with the best group of friends a girl could ask for, until the day when there’s no longer a need for it.

It’s not too late to join me in making a difference. Click on the link to the right and donate whatever you can. Every dollar counts and brings us one step closer to crossing the finish line of making breast cancer a thing of the past.

| ACS Pacesetter, American Cancer Society, Central Park, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Walking And Rolling: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

October 20th, 2008 — 5:55pm

Yesterday, I participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Central Park. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Making Strides and my 11th year being a part of it. And, because of my recent foot surgery, it’s also the first time I did the walk in a wheelchair.

My fabulous friends and fellow striders Caroline, Cindy, Leila and Sara burned some major calories as they pushed me along the four-mile route. I couldn’t have done it without them.

Making Strides Together: (from left) Cindy, Sara, Caroline and Leila joined
me in Central Park yesterday

Before making the trek, each of us pinned signs on our backs in memory of my beloved mom, who lost her battle with breast cancer at the age of 57 ten years ago.

According to the American Cancer Society, 182,460 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,480 women will die of the disease. The money raised at Making Strides goes directly to ACS programs including cancer research, education and support for patients.

I’m thrilled that, for the third year in a row, I’m a Pacesetter — someone who has raised more than $2,500 for the fight against breast cancer. And I’m looking forward to making strides, with the best group of friends a girl could ask for, until the day when there’s no longer a need for it.

It’s not too late to join me in making a difference. Click on the link to the right and donate whatever you can. Every dollar counts and brings us one step closer to crossing the finish line of making breast cancer a thing of the past.

| ACS Pacesetter, American Cancer Society, Central Park, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Opening The Vault: Part Eight

September 25th, 2008 — 12:14am
It’s not very often that real-life romance kicks off in fairy tale fashion. I’ve been fortunate to experience this unusual twist a few times, most dramatically with my first love, California native Mark (a.k.a Sparky).

After meeting in the middle of an “NYPD Blue” shoot, Sparky and I were quickly in the throes of infatuation. Our initial days together were a whirlwind of intimate dinners, carriage rides in Central Park and talk of the future.

That first weekend ended with a diamond band from Sparky and a promise – that he would spend his upcoming vacation time with me.

Over the course of the next five weeks, we burned up the phone lines and Sparky made good on his word, booking a trip to London, where I was spending my junior year. During one of our conversations, I let him know my stance on sex – specifically, that I planned to wait until marriage to have it. Though he was taken aback by my revelation, Sparky didn’t waver when I asked him if he was still coming.

“Absolutely,” he said without missing a beat.

And so it was that, after a 12-hour journey from L.A., Sparky made his way to London to woo me like no other man had before. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 1994…
London, England
April 27, 1994
Dear Diary,
After our long cab ride from Heathrow, we finally arrived at the Regent’s Park Hilton. Up in Sparky’s room, I began unpacking his suitcase while he freshened up in the bathroom. When he poked his head out and saw what I was doing, he said —

“I should just propose to you right now.”

“Haven’t you already?” I replied with a smile, and he laughed, remembering that he had.

* * *

I treated Sparky and me to a show — the haunting, dazzling “Phantom of The Opera.” Toward the end, I heard a sniffling sound coming from him and sure enough, he was crying.

After the lights came up, Sparky apologized for being so sentimental. I assured him he had nothing to be sorry about. Overcome with emotion, he looked at me and said with great urgency —

“There’s so much I want to share with you.”
* * *

Hand in hand, we walked to Trafalgar Square. There, with the majestic fountains behind us, right in one of London’s most sublime spots, we kissed — over and over again. As Sparky remained standing, I sat on the edge of the fountain and rested my hands on his shoulders. Forget soap operas and novels, this was the real thing!!

London’s Trafalgar Square: The perfect spot for romance

Next, we strolled into Covent Garden for dinner at one of my favorite Italian bistros, La Quercia D’Oro. The conversation flowed effortlessly, a surprise given that Sparky and I were still very much in the getting-to-know-each-other stage.

Back in my room at Commonwealth Hall, I lit some candles. As soon as Sparky touched me, I could feel my entire body respond. All we did was kiss, but it was a thousand times more passionate than anything I had experienced before.

After we said goodnight, I knocked on my floor mate Carine’s door to get her advice about whether I should spend any nights with Sparky at his hotel.

“If you want him to respect the decision you’ve made [to not have sex], then you have to respect it too,” she said.


* * *

Though I resolved to follow Carine’s counsel, resisting temptation proved to be easier said than done….

London was only the beginning for me and Sparky. Not too long ago, he reminisced about our time together in England’s capital.

“The week we spent in London was the best time I ever shared with someone.”

Fourteen years later, I feel the same way. Even when there’s 3,000 miles of geography in the way, some loves never leave you.

| Central Park, Commonwealth Hall, Covent Garden, London, long-distance relationships, NYPD Blue, Phantom of The Opera, Trafalgar Square, waiting until marriage

September 13th, 2008 — 4:51pm

From epic love to a brief fling, all romantic chemistry begins with a kiss. Countless songs and poems have been written about the simple pleasure of a good kiss, a pleasure I’ve been fortunate to experience many, many times over the course of the 20+ years I’ve been dating.

Amidst all the suitors I’ve locked lips with, there are a few whose kisses lingered long after their exit — kisses that still conjure up a nostalgic smile whenever I think of them. Without further ado, I bring you my Top Five Kisses of All Time…

Number 5 – Under the Stars at Sea: A star-filled sky and the upper deck of a Royal Caribbean ship served as the backdrop for kissing my cruise beau Jimmy.

A perfect place for moonlit kisses:
the top deck of Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas
A handsome Andre Agassi lookalike with a heart of gold, Jimmy and his kisses transported me for three heavenly hours that night and led to a three-month romance that reminded me good guys do exist.
Number 4 – A Kiss Four Years In the Making: For most of my high school years, I had a crush on tall and lanky classmate Jay. After he and a good friend of mine broke up, after he got past his feelings for her best friend, the timing was finally right for us. Curled up on a couch with Jay watching the series finale of “Cheers,” I could literally hear his heart pounding as he worked up the nerve to cross the line from friends to something more. Amazingly, the kiss more than lived up to the four years of foreplay that preceded it.
Number 3 – Rekindling An Old Flame: About a year after ending our fiery, passionate romance, Illinois-born Steve and I found ourselves sitting across from each other at Guastavino’s restaurant. An architectural masterpiece nestled under the Queensboro Bridge with high, vaulted ceilings, Guastavino’s was the perfect setting for rediscovering the palpable attraction between us.
Number 2 – Romance Down Under: For as long as I can remember, I dreamed about having a romantic moment on the beach. Adorable Aussie Jason made that fantasy a reality during an affectionate sunset stroll across Perth’s famous Cottesloe Beach. As I sat beside him on a rock overlooking the water, Jason turned my face toward him and we kissed.
Number 1 – The Kiss of True Love: Is there anything better than the excitement of a first kiss? That excitement was tinged with something more when I shared my first kiss with California native Mark (a.k.a Sparky) during a moonlit Carriage Ride in Central Park. It’s a kiss that still makes me weak in the knees when I remember it.

Like I’ve said before, a good kiss makes you feel like a teenager again. Who needs the fountain of youth?

| , carriage rides, Central Park, Cottesloe Beach, , Navigator of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

September 13th, 2008 — 11:51am

From epic love to a brief fling, all romantic chemistry begins with a kiss. Countless songs and poems have been written about the simple pleasure of a good kiss, a pleasure I’ve been fortunate to experience many, many times over the course of the 20+ years I’ve been dating.

Amidst all the suitors I’ve locked lips with, there are a few whose kisses lingered long after their exit — kisses that still conjure up a nostalgic smile whenever I think of them. Without further ado, I bring you my Top Five Kisses of All Time…

Number 5 – Under the Stars at Sea: A star-filled sky and the upper deck of a Royal Caribbean ship served as the backdrop for kissing my cruise beau Jimmy.

A perfect place for moonlit kisses:
the top deck of Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas
A handsome Andre Agassi lookalike with a heart of gold, Jimmy and his kisses transported me for three heavenly hours that night and led to a three-month romance that reminded me good guys do exist.
Number 4 – A Kiss Four Years In the Making: For most of my high school years, I had a crush on tall and lanky classmate Jay. After he and a good friend of mine broke up, after he got past his feelings for her best friend, the timing was finally right for us. Curled up on a couch with Jay watching the series finale of “Cheers,” I could literally hear his heart pounding as he worked up the nerve to cross the line from friends to something more. Amazingly, the kiss more than lived up to the four years of foreplay that preceded it.
Number 3 – Rekindling An Old Flame: About a year after ending our fiery, passionate romance, Illinois-born Steve and I found ourselves sitting across from each other at Guastavino’s restaurant. An architectural masterpiece nestled under the Queensboro Bridge with high, vaulted ceilings, Guastavino’s was the perfect setting for rediscovering the palpable attraction between us.
Number 2 – Romance Down Under: For as long as I can remember, I dreamed about having a romantic moment on the beach. Adorable Aussie Jason made that fantasy a reality during an affectionate sunset stroll across Perth’s famous Cottesloe Beach. As I sat beside him on a rock overlooking the water, Jason turned my face toward him and we kissed.
Number 1 – The Kiss of True Love: Is there anything better than the excitement of a first kiss? That excitement was tinged with something more when I shared my first kiss with California native Mark (a.k.a Sparky) during a moonlit Carriage Ride in Central Park. It’s a kiss that still makes me weak in the knees when I remember it.

Like I’ve said before, a good kiss makes you feel like a teenager again. Who needs the fountain of youth?

| , carriage rides, Central Park, Cottesloe Beach, , Navigator of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Opening The Vault: Part Seven

September 10th, 2008 — 12:47am

Every September, I’m always somewhat wistful when that first chill hits the air, signifying the start of fall. The change of season always finds me thinking of new beginnings–like the one that accompanied the arrival of spring years ago when I met my first love.

As I recently mentioned (http://melissa-singlegalinthecity.blogspot.com/2008/08/opening-vault-part-six.html), my first date with California native and “NYPD Blue” sound editor Mark (a.k.a. Sparky) delivered the unanticipated bombshell that he was divorced with a child. Since I was only 20 at the time, I responded to the news by deciding to have fun with him while he was in town and nothing more. Fate, however, had other plans for us.

I now Open The Vault and take you back to 1994…

March 23, 1994
New York City

Dear Diary,

While I was very intrigued with Sparky, his divorced dad status made me more than a little wary. I quickly shrugged it off, though, because the chemistry between us felt so effortless…Upon exiting the restaurant, Sparky turned to me and asked–

“Can I put my arm around you?”

“Sure,” I said, charmed by his tentativeness, and so we strolled with his arm around my waist. During a cab ride uptown, he sat thisclose to me. I could feel the attraction between us intensifying.

It turned out the nightclub I’d chosen was closed. We then ended up at a very different destination–the Plaza Hotel.

As always, there were several horse-drawn carriages nearby. We climbed into one and went for a heavenly ride through Central Park.

Sparky was holding me as we reflected upon what a wonderful time we were both having. Suddenly, the words stopped. I turned my face away from the night sky and toward Sparky, and we kissed. It was a kiss like none I’d ever experienced before, one that ignited every part of me.

* * *

After the carriage ride, Sparky and I sat on the steps of the fountain in front of the Plaza. We couldn’t stop talking. It was like we were trying to tell each other as much about ourselves as possible.

Sparky spoke about how much he wants to share his life with someone, a sentiment that both excited and intimidated me given the 16-year age difference between us.

It was getting late so, hand in hand, we walked back to my building. Sparky asked me what I was doing the following night. Upon informing him that I had plans with my cousin, he declared–

“I don’t care – I’ll take her out too. I just want to spend every minute with you that I can.”

How could I say no to that?

* * *

Sparky and I packed quite a bit into those first couple of days together — from strawberries and whipped cream at NYC’s posh Regency Hotel to a second moonlit carriage ride through Central Park. And before the weekend was over, much to my great surprise, there was a ring on my finger…

Coming up…Sparky’s transatlantic grand gesture and standing up to cancer at a Dave Matthews concert.

| carriage rides, Central Park, Dave Matthews band, first love, NYPD Blue, The Plaza hotel

Opening The Vault: Part Seven

September 9th, 2008 — 7:47pm

Every September, I’m always somewhat wistful when that first chill hits the air, signifying the start of fall. The change of season always finds me thinking of new beginnings–like the one that accompanied the arrival of spring years ago when I met my first love.

As I recently mentioned (http://melissa-singlegalinthecity.blogspot.com/2008/08/opening-vault-part-six.html), my first date with California native and “NYPD Blue” sound editor Mark (a.k.a. Sparky) delivered the unanticipated bombshell that he was divorced with a child. Since I was only 20 at the time, I responded to the news by deciding to have fun with him while he was in town and nothing more. Fate, however, had other plans for us.

I now Open The Vault and take you back to 1994…

March 23, 1994
New York City

Dear Diary,

While I was very intrigued with Sparky, his divorced dad status made me more than a little wary. I quickly shrugged it off, though, because the chemistry between us felt so effortless…
Upon exiting the restaurant, Sparky turned to me and asked–

“Can I put my arm around you?”

“Sure,” I said, charmed by his tentativeness, and so we strolled with his arm around my waist. During a cab ride uptown, he sat thisclose to me. I could feel the attraction between us intensifying.

It turned out the nightclub I’d chosen was closed. We then ended up at a very different destination–the Plaza Hotel.

As always, there were several horse-drawn carriages nearby. We climbed into one and went for a heavenly ride through Central Park.

Sparky was holding me as we reflected upon what a wonderful time we were both having. Suddenly, the words stopped. I turned my face away from the night sky and toward Sparky, and we kissed. It was a kiss like none I’d ever experienced before, one that ignited every part of me.

* * *
After the carriage ride, Sparky and I sat on the steps of the fountain in front of the Plaza. We couldn’t stop talking. It was like we were trying to tell each other as much about ourselves as possible.

Sparky spoke about how much he wants to share his life with someone, a sentiment that both excited and intimidated me given the 16-year age difference between us.

It was getting late so, hand in hand, we walked back to my building. Sparky asked me what I was doing the following night. Upon informing him that I had plans with my cousin, he declared–

“I don’t care – I’ll take her out too. I just want to spend every minute with you that I can.”

How could I say no to that?
* * *

Sparky and I packed quite a bit into those first couple of days together — from strawberries and whipped cream at NYC’s posh Regency Hotel to a second moonlit carriage ride through Central Park. And before the weekend was over, much to my great surprise, there was a ring on my finger…

Coming up…Sparky’s transatlantic grand gesture and standing up to cancer at a Dave Matthews concert.

| carriage rides, Central Park, Dave Matthews band, first love, NYPD Blue, The Plaza hotel

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