Autumn in New York

Fall is in the air here in New York City! The leaves are changing, the pumpkin ale is making its annual appearance on grocery store shelves, and to top it all off, I got to experienced my very first East Coast apple-picking trip a few weeks ago. It came complete with hay rides, petting zoos, and apple cider donuts (dunked in homemade apple cider, of course). The whole day was beautiful and fun, although I didn't quite pick any apples because I was too busy taking photos the whole time -- shocking, I know. Thankfully, my roommate Tiffany picked enough for both of us while I documented the day's events with my digital camera. Ah, the beauty of teamwork . . .

But in spite of all that, I am slowly becoming convinced that nothing can top the radiant charm of Central Park on an Autumn afternoon. Tiffany and I had been lounging around all morning long, drinking coffee and applying to jobs on the Internet, when I decided that it was high time to tear our eyes away from the brightly lit screens and get a bit of fresh air. So, we strapped on our running shoes and headed over to Central Park.

As we speed-walked our way through the paths, we passed men standing behind little carts and roasting chestnuts that smelled of toffee and donuts. We passed a small pond surrounded by rocks of all sizes. Some were smooth and flat -- perfect for sitting and reading a book on -- while others were large and majestic and covered with red ivy that swirled along the sides of them. As we made our way deeper into the park, we came across one of the quintessential white bridges that are shown in many movies of New York. This one was filled with people who were clearly watching and excited about whatever was going on below them.

We walked closer and heard the faint sound of musical instruments playing -- a violin, a piano, perhaps? It was accompanied by a slow, sweet voice with the hint of a Southern drawl. When we finally reached the large crowd of people, we found a young girl with blonde wavy hair playing the piano on a stage underneath the bridge. She had a small orchestra behind her and a smattering of fans sitting on the concrete below. There were film crews and lights and fences to keep all of us bystanders at a safe distance.

I turned to the woman standing next to me. "Do you know who's singing?" I asked.

"It's Taylor Swift," she said.

And so it was. Her new album was being released that day and she was doing a live performance/video recording of some of the songs. Just another average day in Central Park.

I can't say I've been a huge fan of Taylor Swift, but I certainly gained a new respect for her that day. In between songs, she made multiple efforts to interact with her fans and waited patiently while the directors chose the perfect group of autumn leaves to place strategically atop her piano. She came off as sweet and genuine, and I read in the paper the following morning that she actually wrote all the songs on her new album. Tiffany and I listened to about three of them, and each seemed to have evolved from the "Poppish" teeny-bopper stuff she usually plays, to more of a singer/songwriter feel with lyrics that are earnest and, well . . . mature. Yes, that's what it was. Our Taylor Swift has grown up and is no longer singing of high school crushes, but of failed relationships and twinges of regret.

Of course, I had left my camera at home that day because all I was really supposed to be doing was taking a quick break from job hunting and emailing out resumes. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of this occasion, so I leave you instead with this link to someone else who is apparently a much better blogger than I am because he brought his camera that day! There's some pretty awesome photos that will at least give you a sense of what it was like.

Speaking of being a bad blogger, I realize I have not updated this in more than a month, so I will be posting a new recipe within the next week, and then very likely taking a break. Now that I'm here in New York, I really want to prioritize working on my book. It's going to be a massive undertaking combined with working part-time and taking two classes at NYU -- yes, I did get a new job, and I am very excited about it!

More details on all of that later, but for now, thank you for following my adventures over the past ten months because it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun without your love and support :)
Stay tuned for my Butternut Squash Lasagna recipe paired with a review of Post Road Pumpkin Ale coming up next week!

Miss and love you all,
~ Christy ~

And now, some pics of our apple picking trip to Hurd's Family Farm in New Paltz, New York

Tiff in the trees
Some new friends from Trinity Grace Church
Reflection of clouds in a pond