October 28, 2013

Bright Lights, Big City

[Times Square Photo: Francisco Diez]

It's funny, Times Square has to be one of my least favorite New York 'hoods, but I love the way this photo captures the sense of being in certain parts of New York City.

The energy! The ambition! The excitement! The cheerfully wasteful excess as bazillions of kilowatts are unleashed solely to promote mindless consumerism!

Though I'm sorry, if you are a certain age, this location may have tripped a few rusty switches in the memory banks. Massive apologies if I have subjected you to Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert debating country versus city living in one of the most annoying tv theme songs earworms ever. Or is it just me who can't see "Times Square" without hearing:

 "The Chores!"
 "The Stores!"
 "Fresh Air!"
 "Times Square!" ?

(Which then leads to the worst couplet of all:

 "You are my wife..."
   "Goodbye, city life!" 

...but we'll save that rant for another time).

Eva Gabor: Not Exactly a Feminist Icon

Anyway, so what does New York City have to do with health and fitness?

Well, probably a lot of things!

There are tons of opportunities to either embrace or eschew healthy choices in a densely populated urban environment. And it could make for a fascinating discussion with all sorts of intriguing philosophical digressions if some less lazy health blogger wanted to write it.

Pro or con? Discuss.

But really, I'm just mentioning the New York thing because as you read this, assuming the wireless interweb and Amtrak overlords allow, I shall be on a train to The Big Apple!

Yep, my wife has an Important Business Conference and I decided to tag along for the free hotel room, especially since New York has ample testing centers where I can take the stupid freakin Ace Health Coach Certification exam.  Not so true in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Actually, a decade or so ago, pre-blog, we actually got to live in the West Village for a few years. Which was quite an awesome adventure, at least until the heartbreak of 9/11 concluded our stay.

But from personal experience I know it is indeed possible to work out vigorously, run many miles, walk for hours and hours and hours, and eat healthy meals in the City. And you can sometimes even see celebrities doing the same. (Though I will spare you stories about Sandra Bernhard's naked boobs or the contents of Monica Lewinski's shopping cart.)

I also know it is possible to completely overdose on delicious delicacies from all sorts of stores, bakeries, and restaurants whether or not they have become so trendy as to have swipeable photos from their own wikipedia page.

Back in my day, the cupcakes were only $1.50.
Which makes a serving size at least 2, right?

But as to actual useful tips for staying fit in the City, er, sorry, perhaps another time. This is just a quick pre-trip "I'm Not Actually Posting Anything" blog post, which may be followed at some point with some more blurry camera phone pictures, or may not.

This also means the next November goals post could be a bit delayed. But don't forget about the last one and the related yoga giveaway if you haven't had a chance to stop by recently.  I'll be writing up more of an official review soon, now that I've gotten a chance to try it, but spoiler alert:  it's pretty darn nifty. As you may recall, you don't have to be from the U.S. to win for once.

And sorry if I'm late replying to blog comments but do be assured that I ALWAYS find a way to read them should you be kind enough to leave one!

Any thoughts about Urban vs Suburban vs Small Town vs Rural life and its impact on healthy living?  Got any plans for Halloween? Anything you think I shouldn't miss whilst in NYC? And is that Green Acres earworm gone yet?  Ooops...


  1. ok FIRST? you had me at the utilization of the word ESCHEW!!
    I love that word.
    Each time I tire of fitness blogging I ask myself REALLY, WHERE ELSE COULD YOU FIND A USE FOR THAT WORK REPEATEDLY.

    and Im no NYC help.
    Sure Id hit a million B-Way shows...but more than anything Id visit friends :-)
    wanna visit my friends?

    1. hi everyone! massive internet difficulties, cant reply except by phone so will just touch base generally below and say hi to some new folks. but thanks so much for all the support! LOVED reading these comments and will be back online eventually...

  2. Let's hear it for "more blurry camera phone photos"!
    You know I prefer rural, but I have to admit there is much more opportunity for my favorite exercise, walking, in an urban setting. Leaving on foot for work in about fifteen minutes.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    1. P.S.: "blurry" isn't absolutely required, but it makes it look as though you're having too much fun to hold still.
      Mary Anne in Kentucky

  3. I've spent some time in NYC! It's always a battle! Kindness for a cab driver is a sign of weakness!
    I stayed at the Waldorf, where they even clean and shine the coinage. Ran in Central Park and got lost on the streets trying to find way back to the hotel wearing running shoes and shorts and not much else (it was in the summer). Asked a cop for directions and he told me to get lost! Asked a female Cab driver in a stopped cab at waist level the same, she kindly gave me directions after looking me over :-)

  4. When in NYC I ran up and down the stairs to our 6th floor hotel room repeatedly, on top of using the hotel's gym. It worked.

    I did have the best full fat ice cream there, but only once. :-)

    When travelling, I think walking a lot does the trick.

  5. So happy that you get to tag along with your wife - I would love to take a trip to NY. I figure if I did my normal workouts, I could justify all of the eating and drinking that might take place!!!
    Have a great time and please post lots of pictures for those of us stuck in Kansas!!!

  6. I loved Green Acres and get quite a kick out of the theme song. One must meet it at its level to enjoy it and I can certainly understand how not everyone is going to do that.
    Personally, I can't think of Times Square without the ball dropping and for some reason that always irks the hell out of me.
    Enjoy your return to city life.

  7. I was just thinking about my year in New York, because it's where I got to see the awesome Lou Reed in concert (forget Rest in Peace -- let's assume he's on the beginning of great adventure).

    Manhattan, anyway, is pretty easy to exercise in -- lots of beautiful places to jog and nothing far from your door. On the other hand, I lived just upstairs from the best slices on the east side and only 92 short blocks from canollis that could make me cry, so it was a net disaster for healthy living.

    Give me the country any day. Fields, grass, wildlife and miles of road without stoplights.

    Have a great trip! Rock that exam like I know you will, then go walk on the wild side.

  8. Yay for adventure and possible camera phone photos! AND a train ride! I'm living vicariously through you. :-)

    Best of luck on your test, Crabby! I have no doubt that you'll knock it out of the park. \o/

  9. Urban, Suburban or rural? How about wilderness!! Just me and the critters! I live in the big city and I would go completely mad if I didn't make a point of sitting under a tree every so often and forgetting where I am. I plan on retiring to the wood but I fear that I will be changed by then and unable to relax without the sound of construction and honking horns.

  10. Have a great time in the big city - I've never been there but one of these days, I'll get brave and plan a trip. Oh, and thanks for the earworm...I thought I was the only person who didn't appreciate that TV show!

  11. I found it much easier to be healthy when I lived in NYC than now when I live in a small(ish) city. I think a lot of that has to do with the mode of transportation though, in NYC no matter where you go, you have to do some sort of walking. Here, I drive everywhere. Honestly though I had more free time then, so that was most likely the bigger reason. I do miss running in Prospect Park though!

    1. hi meg, am sorry you caught me at a blog-slackin time, but thanks so much for popping in! It is ironic that in cities where space is at a premium, there are so many more places to amble or run. good luck adjusting to small town lifestyle and im looking forward to checking out your blogs when i have pc access again! yikes it looks like a 4 year old typed this, sigh...

  12. If it doesn't make "a serving size at least 2", it would explain A LOT!!! ;)
    Have a wonderful time revisiting some old haunts and perhaps discovering some new delights!
    I wish you much success with the exam, followed by "wow, that was easy! I worried for nothing!"

  13. You can choose to live healthfully pretty much anywhere. There may be a few exceptions, thus the "pretty much," but i'm not going to keep you from your fun trip by spending time trying to think of them and list them.

  14. I stumbled on your blog by researching tips for the ACE health coach exam - love it! I am taking the certification exam on Friday (11/1) and feeling kind of anxious about it! How did your exam go? Any tips?

    Thank you!

    1. hey megan, thanks so much for stopping by! wrote a really long reply on laptop but can't seem to send due to technical difficulties, so pls excuse delay and thumbs...

      i took it yesterday and passed, it was ridiculous and i did a lot of guessing and still did well, so don't freak out if there are many, many q's you have to guess at. if you havent used their study coaching call asap! i worked with belinda and it really helped to clear up confusion and find what is emphasized. and feel free to email me @ adress on schmooze page!

  15. Nice on the NYC trip!!! And a free hotel room? That is my favourite kind of trip. I went to NYC in May of 2001. It was a bus trip and was quite fun! I didn't get to do everything I wanted to do, so I may have to go back some day.

    The Halloween plan is to walk around the neighbourhood with The Boss and admire the decorations and costumes...as long as it is not raining.

    Thoughts on urban vs. rural...hmmm...I am going for urban, rural for vacation only. I think I can be healthy in either place though, the choice is always mine to make.

    Good luck on the exam and enjoy your visit to the Big Apple!

  16. I was there for business a few times in my past. I loved walking the streets for the sights & people watching & the architecture of some of the places by central park & that 5th ave or whatever the fancy street was - fun to do that.. there was a museum I went to the guggenheim museum - very cool! Time Square of course.... ENJOY!

  17. Pretty sure you know where my vote would land in the urban vs rural debate.
    That said, enjoy your time in the Big Apple. I know you'll ace the ACE.

  18. The energy! The ambition! The excitement!
    the city that never sleeps.. enjoy!...


  19. How timely.. just as I'm moving from the city to the country. I can't say that I won't miss my people and my surroundings but I'm looking forward to healthier (more physical) living. If only Frank would stop buying those delicious tarts from the local bakery...

    Enjoy New York.. tis a fun city.

  20. "The ambition! The excitement! The cheerfully wasteful excess as bazillions of kilowatts are unleashed solely to promote mindless consumerism!" I literally laughed out loud at this. So true. Times Square is hands down one of my leeeeeeast favorite Manhattan neighborhoods.

    Hilarious, as always. Have fun!

  21. test comment, am I still shut out of my own freakin blog? seeing if phone works...

  22. ok, so phone works even tho laptop doesnt, but I am crap at thumbtyping...

    Just wanted to let you guys know how awesome it was to see your comments and encouragement! the test was Evil and Unfair and Horrible and I almost laughed out loud at one of the questions it was so incredibly out of left field... but I passed, and in fact did rather f--cking wel if I do say so myself. (As many of you kindly predicted.)

    Am off to visit museums and walk my ass off today as i felt it necessary to celebrate post-test with a sensible dinner followed by an insensible number of delicious treats from the above mentioned bakery. (Courtesy of a lovely blog commenter who may choose to remain unidentified or not, up to her!).

    anyway thanks again all i really, really appreciated your support!

  23. Congratulations, Crabby! Of course, we all knew you'd do it but I am sure it is a relief to be done.

    Green Acres? Wasn't there a picture of him yanking her by her wrist off into the country as they sang that dreadful couplet? I don't know if it bother me most that the show included that, or that at the time it didn't bother me that much to watch it. Ick.

    I love, love, love New York. I even bring my bike with me on most of my visits. Running around the reservoir, and other parts of Central Park, riding or running or walking down that cool walkway that parallels the West Side Highway. Just walking and walking and walking. Unfortunately, my husband does not love it as much, so we will never live there. We have compromised by living near our city, where I go to work every day, and spending a lot of our time in rural or wilderness places, plus although we are technically in the suburbs, we back up to open spaces and are regularly visited by deer, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, possums & all sorts of birds. We can look out the other window and see the city across the water. It's a nice blend.

    Have a great time in New York!

  24. It's been more than 13 years since I saw Times Square. Good-bye city life.

  25. Congratulations on rocking the exam! Enjoy the sights, sounds and treats! Wheeeee!!!

  26. The great thing about running is that you can do it anywhere.Sure, some places are more motivational than others, but if the desire is there then it does not matter I think. Never been to New York myself though but you never know when I might end up there!

  27. Congratulations on surviving the exam, and enjoying the rewards!
    I'm trying to convince myself to go walk in a city park I've never been to; I stayed home from work with a migraine today, but look! the gray fuzz has lifted so I can see again, and the pain is fading gradually, so I should do something healthy, right?

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    1. Boo to migraines Mary Anne. Hope you are feeling much better now!

  28. Congrats Crabby!!!! You've always been "Aces" in MY book, but now it's OFFICIAL :) ! And - OMG - The Big Apple!! Like DRG, love, LOVE, LOOOOOVE New York. Made a couple of trips there - at each end of the spectrum (very high brow trip of a life time holiday and SoHo tenement tour) and loved each stay in its own way. Am completely envious and hope you are duly celebrating your accomplishment with your wife for however long she can drag herself away from said business related activities.

    And you absolutely totally had me with the Green Acres theme! Like Leah said - meet it on its own terms. And if you ever have a chance to watch a rerun - just do it! Some of the one liners are amazing!

    Will wait patiently for Goal Post and begin drafting my tale now................ In the meantime, those little town blues, are melting away...... just with the mention of NY, NY

  29. Finally, am home with internet that works in both directions!!

    So sorry to have bailed on replying, but thank you all so much for the great comments. I had a WONDERFUL time roaming all the 'hoods and stuffed my eyeballs full of sights--am especially fond of the art museums and feel all arted out and content.

    Goal post coming up on monday; things will still be a bit scattered as we are heading off for our westward migration that day, but am really, really looking forward to being a bit more present on the blog and catching up with everyone on their blogs once I get settled in.

    You guys ROCK!!!

  30. I think new yorkers are pretty healthy since they walk everywhere. But I too am no a fan of Time Square. It freaks me out. That many people in my personal space makes me feel like there is going to be a stampede at any moment and I'll be crushed like a small child at a soccer match in Europe.

  31. Definitely recommend running in central park. I find it so surreal, but it's also an awesome distance for a bit of exercise :)

  32. I have never been to NYC but I could imagine the countless distractions that could prevent you from living a healthy lifestyle. But at the end of the day it comes down to discipline and making good choices regardless of where you live. The battle is won internally regardless of external influences.


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