Tag Archives: new york

You’d Better Vote | BEDA Day 19

The New York Presidential Primaries are today, and I’m incredibly excited to hit the polls. Nothing makes me feel more adult than participating in the democratic system. I’ve voted in both presidential elections and local school board elections, and I always try to read up on the candidates ahead of time to make an informed choice. Of course, this makes me a bit of an outsider among my generation. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who just don’t plan or aren’t paying attention to the election at all.

First of all, kudos to you if you’ve actually been able to avoid all coverage of this year’s circus of an election. And second of all, that’s bananas. You’d better vote.

I’m not going to get too political or tell you who to vote for. That’s not my beat. I’m not really one to push people towards any particular candidate (especially since I have mixed feelings about all of this year’s options).

A representative democracy doesn’t work if its constituents don’t participate. You want things to change? Show up at the polls. Call your representative. Rally for a cause. Sure, things are broken, but we can still make our voices heard. We in the United States are so privileged to have a say in our government, even if the people we choose to lead it don’t always do what we want. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?

I encourage you all to take a little time, read up on the candidates, and show up at your polling place. And if you’re not registered yet, get on that. Even if your state’s primary has passed, there’s still plenty of time to register for November’s general election.

You’re not allowed to complain about the winner if you didn’t vote. Get out there.

Photo Credit: Theresa Thompson

Five Reasons Why Fall is the Superior Season

I have a confession to make. I, Charlotte Dow, am a basic fall bitch.

Tomorrow is the first day of fall and I couldn’t be more excited. Don’t get me wrong, every season has its perks. My fragile constitution just can’t handle the extremes of summer and winter. I much prefer the more temperate, in-betweeny seasons of spring and fall. Since spring comes with allergies that have me sniveling for weeks, that leaves fall as the supreme. I feel like fall never really got the respect it deserved until recently. Now every #brand cashes in on the change of seasons well before the calendar even turns to September. I don’t even mind the fall-sploitation. Bring on the pumpkin-flavored everything.

Not convinced? Here are five reasons why fall is the superior season.

1. New TV Shows! New Theatre! New Everything!

The drop in temperature gives us all plenty of excuses to stay inside and enjoy an avalanche of new entertainment. September and October are chock full of season and series premieres on TV. I’m particularly looking forward to the returns of The Leftovers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Luckily, they both air on Sundays, so I can balance the completely grim with the completely silly. Plus, as I mentioned in my Broadway on a budget post, the new theatre season has plenty to offer. Between Allegiance, Spring Awakening, Fiddler on the Roof, and King Charles III, my sippy cup full of theatre wine runneth over.

2. Dat Fall Foliage, Tho

While I still live in the northeast, I feel like I haven’t seen fall in its full glory since I moved to the city. The lack of trees is a bit of a problem and I haven’t had a ton of chances to go frolic in a pumpkin patch (or whatever it is that country folk do this time of year). This year, I’m determined to get in some quality time with the changing landscape. The vibrance of the fall colors up here make the brutal winters almost worth it. Almost.

3. HALLOWEEN

I mean, this should be reason enough to love fall. Yeah, putting together a costume (and plans) for Halloween tends to stress me out, but the night is so fun that I don’t even care. I’m not a huge fan of horror, but I love getting a little spooky. I’m so ready for some witchy-themed drinks, Hocus Pocus reruns, and thinkpieces on the occult. Plus, adorably-packaged candy never really gets old.

4. Peak Sweater Season

Once we hit about mid-October, I start rocking my cold-weather uniform: boots, leggings/pants, and a comfy sweater. I’ll admit, this ensemble does kind of lose its charm around February, but fall is a time to enjoy the novelty of being fully-covered and cozy. After months of freezing in my over air-conditioned office, I can wear something warm without sweating through my commute. I truly thrive in jewel-toned cashmere.

5. Pumpkin. Beer.

Do I really need to justify this one?

Now that I’ve convinced you all of autumn’s superiority, what are you looking forward to this season? If you’re in New York, Buzzfeed has compiled a list of killer fall activities in and around the city.

I have truly proved myself basic. Pass me a PSL.

An “Expert’s” Guide to Doing Broadway On a Budget

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It’s almost that time, kids. In a few weeks, exciting new productions will be popping up all over the Great White Way. Personally, I’m incredibly excited for the upcoming season. Productions like Hamilton, Allegiance, and the revival of Spring Awakening are bringing fantastic stories and much-needed diversity to Broadway. How do you keep up with the season without losing your shirt? Here are some of my favorite ways to catch a show on a budget.

Cheap

The TKTS booths – located in Times Square, South Street Seaport, and Downtown Brooklyn – have been the go-to outlets for discount theatre tickets for years. Head to your location of choice early in the day to grab same-day tickets at up to 50% off face value. Since availability varies every day, TKTS is a great way to go if you’re not too picky about which show you want to see. I’d recommend downloading the TKTS app as well for real-time updates on ticket availability.

You can also save a great deal of money by simply planning ahead. Contrary to popular belief, not all Broadway tickets have a face value of $100+. Mezzanine seats for weekday performances can cost as little as $35. If you can buy your seats directly from the box office and avoid online fees, even better.

Cheaper

The TodayTix app has been a true game-changer for me. This app offers discounted tickets to almost every show in New York up to a week in advance. Buying tickets for a show 3 days ahead of time is about as spontaneous as I get, so TodayTix is perfect for me. The app also runs e-lotteries for shows like On the Town and Fun Home, offering heavily discounted tickets to winners. There is a service fee for TodayTix purchases (roughly $10 per ticket), so do keep that in mind when perusing the app. Otherwise, this is by far my favorite way to snag a ticket.

If you’re under the age of 30 (let’s be real, if you’re reading this blog, you probably are), there are even more ways to get discount tickets in advance. My TDF membership is one of the best investments I’ve made since moving to New York. TDF offers members of certain demographics (students, teachers, recent grads, seniors, members of the armed forces, etc.) discount tickets to select performances of plays, musicals, concerts, cabaret performances, and more for just $30 a year. While selection is sometimes limited, tickets are never more than $50 each. Plus, your membership supports TDF’s amazing theatre education and outreach programs. Non-profit theatre companies like Roundabout and Manhattan Theatre Club also offer heavily-discounted tickets to young theatregoers. Sign up and keep an eye on your email to find out when these seats go on sale.

Cheapest

Most Broadway shows offer a limited number of discounted tickets through a rush every day, depending on availability. In many cases you can get a great seat for under $40 by simply showing up to the box office early on the day of the show. Rushing can be a bit of a crap shoot. During the busy seasons (the holidays, post-Tonys) you’ll need to get in line before the box office opens to secure your spot. If you really want to try your luck, many of the hottest shows on Broadway (Hamilton, Book of Mormon, Wicked) run a lottery for discounted tickets. Head to the theatre about two and a half hours before curtain to get your name in the drawing. While lottery tickets are probably the least certain way to get tickets, the experience itself can be pretty fun. You can find more information on Broadway rush policies here.

With the average theatre ticket price climbing into the triple digits, it’s nice to know that there are still ways to take in a show without going into crippling debt. Have you tried any of these services? What did you see? Share your experiences in the comments!

Sunday Style | A Tale of Two Cities

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Shirt: American Eagle | Shorts: American Eagle | Hat: New Era (similar)

Oh, Sunday. A day for hanging with friends, doing a bunch of laundry, and just generally resetting in advance of the week ahead. I like to keep it super simple on the weekends. T-shirts, jeans, and sundresses are usually my go-to. Today, I decided to use my outfit to honor my dual citizenship.

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This sounds like the most touristy thing I’ve ever done, but as soon as I found this shirt in American Eagle I knew it needed to come home with me. I like anything vaguely resembling a map, particularly those for public transit. I’m particularly obsessed with the MTA’s general design, no matter how much I complain about their actual service.

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Brows: NYX | Eyeliner: NYX | Mascara: NYX | Blush: Physicians Formula | Lips: Urban Decay

I kept my makeup pretty simple since my day mostly consists of errands and brunch. I recently discovered the NYX Felt Tip Liner and I’m liking it so far. The brush is a little stiff, but it’s a good alternative to my beloved Soap & Glory Supercat liner, which is sadly not available in the US. I also dug out a sample of the Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in F-Bomb to get some red lip action going on. No work means no makeup rules, y’all.

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Of course I’m still a Philly girl at heart, so I’m getting some shade with this vintage Phillies snapback I got at Citizens Bank Park last season. They may be struggling right now, but the Phils will always be my faves.

What’s your go-to weekend look? Let me know in the comments! And of course, if you want to keep up with all my nonsense, follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Sunset on the Bridge | New York City

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I recently moved to New York to start my career in the TV industry.

God, that feels weird to type out.

The job search felt like it took forever, but I found two awesome internships in the TV industry and started working about a month ago. Despite this, I’ve only had a few chances to go exploring, seeing as I’ve spent most of my weekends back in Philly for various reasons. I had a free evening during my first week in town and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I took to Twitter, looking for ways to amuse myself, and my friend Catherine suggested I a) get Chinese food and b) watch the sun set on the Brooklyn Bridge. So I did that.

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I’ve always admired the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s one of the few pieces of old New York that have remained through the cities numerous transformations. It’s a feat of engineering and aesthetically gorgeous. Before this night, though, I had only experienced the bridge via car.

I quickly learned that the bridge gets a little crowded around sunset with both tourists and commuters. However, I staked out a spot to enjoy the view while eating my dumplings. Somehow I managed not to get hit by a cyclist or a swarm of exercisers in a bootcamp class.

 

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I may have missed the early part of the sunset, but the sky was still gorgeous and I had a lovely view of the Financial District. I’ve spent a lot of time in Manhattan over the years, but I’ve never really explored the world below 14th Street. Now that I live and work here, I understand why people love it so much. The whole city is awesome, but there’s so much life downtown. You can really see the city’s rich history here among all the fancy boutiques and high-rises that have sprung up over the years.

I also understand why you have to give up your first-born to live here.

IMG_0391 IMG_0396Before and After the Storm

My grandparents live on Long Island, just a fifteen minute drive from the beach. It takes us about four hours to get there from Philadelphia, but my parents and I try to make the trip as often as we can. We had the great luck of planning our latest trip the weekend before Hurricane Sandy hit, devastating most of the greater New York area. Though we were worried about the storm hitting before we could make it back to Philly in one piece, we decided to take a pretty ballsy walk on the beach as the storm was coming in. The photos I took that morning don’t really do justice to the force we could feel just walking near the waves, but I felt like sharing them anyway. Mother Nature is a scary, scary lady. It’s incredible to think that these waters would go on to nearly drown entire neighborhoods just a few hours later. The people of New York, New Jersey and all the areas affected are strong, though, and they will be back on their feet and better than ever soon enough.

For the record, my grandparents (and other Long Island-dwelling family members) made it out of the storm relatively unscathed and I am incredibly thankful for that.

If you’d like to contribute to the relief efforts, check out some of these links for more information:

The Robin Hood Foundation:
http://www.robinhood.org/rhsandy

New York Cares:
http://newyorkcares.org/volunteer/disaster/

Jersey Cares:
http://www.jerseycares.org/jc_sandy_relief

Occupy Sandy:
http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/
http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/wedding-registries/

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IMG_0740 IMG_0850 IMG_0849 IMG_0844 IMG_0843 IMG_0830 IMG_0827 IMG_0738 IMG_0740 IMG_0752 IMG_0753 Oh, hi blog. It seems I’ve forgotten about you again. You know how mad life gets when you’re traveling and working and studying and trying to have a social life all at the same time. You get me, right? No? Okay. Well, this is embarrassing.

In case you couldn’t tell from all of the other content I’ve posted on the internet since last April, I made it back from England in one piece and with a boat-load of miles on my personal odometer. I only logged more miles when I returned by shuffling between two internships in the fall at The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia and BUST Magazine in New York City. I’ve learned so much about myself and about the worlds of indie publishing and professional theatre and I’m incredibly grateful for the experience. To be honest, though, this is one of the first truly free weekends I’ve had to update you all. Oh, the life of an occasional overachiever.

Along the journey of the past few months since my last update, I got a DSLR camera (a Canon EOS Rebel t3i to be exact). I’ve been breaking it out whenever I can to hone my photography skills and capture the world around me. I figured this would be a good place to share some of my photos as well as the stories that go along with them. Eh? What do y’all think?

I’ll start with a few shots from my weekend in New York earlier last month. For one of my Christmas gifts, my parents took me to see The Book of Mormon and Once, two musicals I’d been dying to see but couldn’t afford to get to on my own. We had a lovely hotel room on one of the higher floors of the Marriott Marquis where I tested out my new macro lens on the East Manhattan skyline. On Sunday, before the matinee of Once, we headed over to Bryant Park for some brunch. It was absolutely gorgeous out and the light was pretty perfect, so I got some nice shots of the fancy buildings that surround the park. Someday I’ll win the artistic lottery and be able to afford one of those apartments. A girl can dream.

P.S. If you want to read my review of Once, you can check out Standing Room Only, my theatre blog. I hate to break it to you, blog, but I’m a blog polygamist. We can make this work.

The Post 9/11 American Girl Doll

Whenever the time comes for American Girl to make a new historical doll set at the turn of the 21st century, they should totally base that doll off of my 9 to 10 year-old-self.

I’m not trying to say that I was the perfect representation of the average American girl at the time. But my life did follow the natural progression of an American Girl book series. Each doll had their own series of books, each book featuring the same theme as those of the other dolls to show how they were each similar and different. I could certainly find a way to fit moments of my young life into the themes of these books.

Meet Charlotte – Meet me! I’m fun! And 9 years old!

Charlotte Learns A Lesson – Math is designed specifically to make me cry.

Charlotte’s Surprise – We’re moving to Pennsylvania! Yay?

Charlotte Saves the Day! – A book of blank pages.

Of all of the books in my non-existent American Girl line, I think the most important would be Changes for Charlotte. My life as a 10-year-old almost seems too much like a cookie-cutter American Girl Changes For… book. In these books, some major event (bringing a family of former slaves back together, trapping season) in the featured girl’s life coincides with a major event in American history (the end of the Civil War, Manifest Destiny, etc.). For me, these two events were my move to Pennsylvania and 9/11.

The first few days at my new elementary school were all right. My teacher was nice, I met a few nerdy girls who unfortunately were not in my class, and I was starting to get the hang of things around there. I was particularly looking forward to going back to my old neighborhood in New Jersey to celebrate my 10th birthday with my friends. I mean, I was having a freaking gymnastics party. How cool is that?

I don’t remember much of my school day on 9/11. It was awkward and unremarkable like the rest of those early days. Everything seemed all right until I noticed that my dad was home early from work. And my parents had made chocolate pudding. You know something’s up when the Dows break out the pudding.

Mom and Dad sat me down at the kitchen table and we dug into our pudding. They explained what had happened earlier in the day as calmly as they could, given the situation. They’d had a few hours to process it by then and I applaud the way they handled breaking the news to me. Had I found out on the news or at school, I would’ve panicked. At that point a good portion of my family was working or living in Manhattan. My aunt was actually one of the survivors of the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. The fact that my parents weren’t panicking told me that everyone in the family was safe and that I could rest relatively easy.

I remember feeling a lot of emotions when I heard the news. I was mostly annoyed. How dare such a tragedy occur two days before my birthday? Once that wore off (it didn’t), I was worried. The first words I said to my parents after they broke the news to me were “I hope this doesn’t start a war”. In other news, yes, I am psychic.

More emotions followed in the next few days: relief that my family was OK, grief for people I didn’t know and a place I’d never been, confusion, the works. Mostly I just continued on with my exciting 10-year-old life, not thinking much about it because I didn’t want to.

And yet, every year on this day, I feel so attached to the event. Not because I knew anyone who died in the attack. Not because I was there. But because that day represents a very challenging, confusing, and upsetting time in my life.

I moved to Pennsylvania from a small suburb in New Jersey that just happened to be about 45 minutes outside of New York City. My parents and I went to the city often to see Broadway shows, visit family, and occasionally be big fat tourists. That was my city, is still my city. Leaving was difficult enough. Seeing the centerpiece of the skyline go up in smoke was almost too much to bear. It didn’t seem real at all. Sometimes it still doesn’t.

But back to the Changes. What followed that day were some difficult years of trying to find my place in a new school and town. My family and I were very much outsiders to the community. My parents didn’t meet and marry at Penn State, we weren’t the third generation of country club members in our family, and my mom worked. It was difficult to break into the crowd to say the least. Eventually we did. We carved out a place for ourselves in this community. My parents worked hard to hide their Long Island accents and people started calling my mom Catherine instead of Cathy. Our post 9/11 world was drastically different from our pre 9/11 world. And while I wouldn’t trade the life I have now for anything, I just wish that it hadn’t come at such a hard time for the country. The stress of my own little world was enough to handle.

American Girl would never publish that book. Way too depressing.

Thus ends everything I’ve wanted to say about 9/11 for the past 10 years but haven’t had the balls or the emotional depth to until now. Yes. That sentence makes sense.