Tunnel People Book

Teun Voeten is an anthropologist and war photographer. He sent me this Tunnel People book which now has become one of my favorite books I have read in years!

Tunnel People

in the 90's New York City was a bit different than it is now. There were many "homeless" people living on the streets, and in the many tunnels of the subway and train system of NYC.

"Mole people (also called tunnel people or tunnel dwellers) are homeless people living under large cities in abandoned subwayrailroadfloodsewage tunnels, and heating shafts.[1][2] The term may also refer to the speculative fiction trope of an entirely subterranean society." - Wikipedia

About the Tunnel People book

Teun Voeten went to explore the tunnels of New York City and befriended a few of the many "tunnel people" living there. He actually ended up living with a few of them for a couple of months, and you can read about his experiences with the "tunnel people" in this book. The tunnel he explored was the Amtrak one running alongside the Hudson River. I love reading non-fiction, to learn about history and experiences of people. That's why this book was a perfect gift! What I also liked was the font and language Teun used, as it very easy-to-read. The book really gave me a good idea of how these people lived. I also love reading about the history of my hometown of New York City!

What I will remember after reading this book

Even though the people living in the tunnel were having a hard time, many of them made the tunnel their home and even built their own shelter spaces. They seemed to have kind of a daily rhythm and were trying to make some money usually by collecting empty bottles with a bottle deposit fee for recycling. This gave them purpose in life and many took it seriously. Also, they seemed to care to find something to enjoy each day. Whether it was a nice "home cooked" meal, or smoking illegal substances. The main characters really came to life.  Bernard, Bob, Ment, Frankie, Tony, Joe & Kathy to name a few formed in my head, and when I was halfway down the book I realized there were photographs in the book as well! It was interesting to see that what I had in my head really matched the people in the photographs.

What happend to the tunnel people

Interesting fact is that eventually Amtrak and the City helped the people out of the tunnel and closed off the tunnel. The reason was that Donald Trump (the current President of the United States of America) was going to develop new construction and a park there, and so the tunnel people had to go. That area has since really developed into a nice place. And while the tunnel people found a new place to live, they did seemed to long for their days in the tunnel.

READ MORE: Helping the homeless on cold days

About Teun Voeten

As I mentioned earlier in this review he contacted me through Twitter. I am very straightforward about different issues on Twitter and maybe he liked that. When he visited NYC recently, we met and we talked about these different topics. What is intriguing is that he travels the World to the most dangerous places to record what is going on. His bio is extensive! He received his doctoral degree in 2018 from the University of Leiden after his PhD research on the drug wars of Mexico. Right now he is focused on mapping global trends in drugs, and especially drug-related crime in Antwerp, Belgium.

Get the book

if you want to read an easy-to-read true story which gives a good idea about life on the streets of NYC in the 90's, this is the book for you:

If you know of other great true story books, please send them to me!

Love, Lonneke

 


5 Reasons to Shop Locally

Shopping is fun for most people. You go shopping and usually you buy what you need or like. It is a fun process for many. Most of the time the criteria to shop are if the items are of good quality, and if they have a price tag you are willing to pay. But there are more criteria for shopping that will be very interesting for you to think about for a moment. For instance, do you know the whole history behind the product or the shop you purchase goods? Do you know where the money you spend goes to? Besides you buying something new and exciting, you spending money at a certain local shop can be life-changing for many people, for many reasons.Let me explain to you.

Some communities make easy guides to their local shops.Some communities have easy guides to their local small businesses and shops 

 

5 reasons to shop locally

1. When you shop at a local shop, you spend your money in a way that helps the shop owner and his or her family directly.

You are not sending your money off to another big corporation. If these small business owners earn money, they can take care of themselves and their family, and keep their business open. Sometimes you even get a better deal than at a big brand store. But most important: you are basically making sure these people, your neighbors, can make a living. Isn't that alone already a really good reason to spend your money in local shops?

Lonneke at AUH20 I love the cute finds and incredible low prices at AUH2O in the East Village! (Still in business!)

2. You get the best service

Small, local business owners care about the goods they sell very much. They have the most know-how of the products they sell, sometimes they make it themselves. In that case you can find out exactly how the products are made, something I always like to know. You just can't get any better advice on these products anywhere else. (Imagine big shops with employees that really don't care about you or the products they sell?) In the case you experience a problem, it is easy to speak directly to the person who owns the shop. These small business-owners exist on giving good service, and will find a product or service that will custom-fit your needs. They also will be helping out when there is a problem. They just want you to be a returning and loyal customer, and will do almost everything to make you, the customer happy with your purchased goods. When shopping locally, you can feel like people really listen to you, and really want to help you.

I did not know what bubble tea I should choose, so the owner of Thirstea NYC made me a custom-made bubble tea.the owner of Thirstea NYC in East Village made me a custom-made bubble tea (unfortunately out of business)

3. You support your local community

When you get out of your house, and see how the streets and shops in your neighborhood look, or how the local children's playground looks, imagine that when you spend your money in a local shop, your money will help care for these important building blocks in a community. Whether through taxes, or through direct payments from local business owners, they all together can make living in your community a pleasure. So putting it simple: when you spend locally, most of your money stays locally, and is spend again locally.

Lonneke Engel at Sustainable NYC

My friend Munemi and I at eco-friendly shop Sustainable NYC in East Village (unfortunately also out of business)

4. Bringing diversity to products offered

If we only buy products from big companies, the diversity in offered products will decrease. That's why it is important to shop with people who offer different products, and maybe even show their true craftsmanship. Also, by giving individuals a chance to make a living, it can pave the way for new ideas to develop into better products than the ones that already offered.

Actress Jennifer Esposito has a gluten free bakery in the East VillageActress Jennifer Esposito opened an 100% gluten-free bakery in East Village NYC: Jennifer's Way. (also out of business)

5. Social contacts

If you shop locally, you get to know who lives in your neighborhood. Your social contacts will become stronger. Remember, a community is build on the people who live in it. The more active the people in a community are working on strengthening their local community, the better and nicer it will be to live in it. And you might even make new friends too!

Vito the Dog, Navy Lamey at Local NYC

Vito the Dog and my nephew Navy Lamey are chilling at Local Cafe NYC in Soho after our trip to the East Village. Local has since become a bar to have drinks at night instead of a café.

What I like the best about shopping locally is the enthusiasm of local business owners. They are passionate about what they sell, they really chose to be in that business. I love all the information I get from them, and I am always excited to return. I hope my 5 reasons to shop locally has inspired you to explore your local community.

Love, Lonneke

First published on July 29th 2015, updated in 2019

p.s. As you can see most businesses I gave as an example have gone out of business. Unfortunately that is what happens if too little people support them so they are financially strong to survive. So if you know of a small business in your hometown, please support them, so they can stay in business and feed their families!

 

 


Be prepared for that Coronavirus

It has been all over the news: the Coronavirus. Every few years there seems to be a new virus that is making people sick or even killing them. People are worried for a pandemic. Some are even panicking, buying all the face masks they can find, and hand sanitizer as well. I look at it from a social perspective.

Viruses and bacteria

Bacteria and viruses are part of life. In a healthy person their immune system will take care of it. But sometimes a virus or bacteria can seriously attack a person, and even send the immune system in an overdrive. It makes sense to ALWAYS care for your health and your hygiene. Wash your hands, put on a correct face mask in more risky environments, and stay home when you feel sick so you won't infect other people. Every year many people catch the flu. it even kills many people. So whatever the Coronavirus will do, we already have a flu season with many people suffering each year so not getting sick and focusing on our health is something we need to do each day of the year.

READ MORE: 5 Tips to avoid catching a cold 

Substitute for coffee

Worrying is sometimes a good thing?

While in certain areas the Coronavirus is becoming a serious problem with many people infected, in other parts of the World people seem to have become much more vigilant and careful. People take their hygiene more seriously. I wonder if this will make a difference in the yearly deaths and people getting sick from the seasonal flu as well. Because improved hygiene of many people together, especially in a populated area, is always a good thing. I would advise people to listen to your doctor, your local health care providers, and just be smart in your day to day life. We just have to be prepared and see what harm this virus will cause. We have to do this together. If you don't feel well: do not go into public, let your doctor know and if he or she advises so: stay home to heal.

I am really curious to see if we get answers to the following questions:

  • Where does this virus come from and was it altered by humans?
  • Why do some people seem to be more affected than others by the coronavirus?
  • Does age, gender, ethnicity and medical history have to do with it just like with other diseases?
  • Does the air pollution in China have anything to do with certain people getting more ill than others?
  • What helps people heal from this virus?

You might have a few questions yourself too.

Be Prepared

In any case,  I always tell people to be prepared in case they are stuck at home because of illness or a quarantine period. I make sure I have enough water and food at home, for a week at least to make sure if we have to stay put, we have the water and the food. Medication is also an important one: Never run out and keep a few weeks worth of it at all times.  Candles, batteries, flash light, battery pack, warm blankets... Keep all your electronics charged. I learned about this during Hurricane Sandy. We did not have power in our area in NYC for at least a week, and some areas it took weeks! Many friends of mine did not have power. We all had to scramble, people were looking for food and ice to keep their stuff in the fridge cool because the power went out. Many were not prepared. It was a disaster for them. So next time a whole city is on a lockdown for a natural disaster or a viral disaster, it is important that you are prepared whether it is just a few days or a few weeks you have to be at home. This also counts for the ones you are responsible for: Your children and your pets. Make sure you have everything in order when you have to stay put for a while.

READ MORE: My week with Sandy

Inform authorities, and check on family and friends

You should let your doctor know if you have traveled to an area with the coronavirus, or if you have been in contact with someone who has a chance of being exposed to it. The more informed everyone is, the more everyone can manage this virus. Also, check in with family and friends. Especially the elderly that you know. They might need some help. Also, stay informed yourself!

READ MORE: CNN Coronavirus update

Coronavirus Racism

Since the coronavirus appeared in China, many news outlets state that there has been increased racism towards Chinese people around the World, which is unfortunate. They (at least the ones in NYC that I experienced) are just as worried about the virus as other people. We need to be better than this. The reality is: any person can give you a virus if you are unlucky. As long as people have interactions, people will transmit viruses. That's why quarantine periods do work most of the time to stop viruses from spreading. During any virus season like the flu season, it is smart to just think a bit more if you have to go out in public or if you can just stay at home (a cosy home is a great place to spend your time!)

READ MORE: Organize Your Home: Make your House your Home

It is part of life as well that sometimes disaster strikes, and it is up to the people how we deal with it. The more flexible and prepared we are individually and together as a community, the more chance we will survive this calamity, and many others to come.

Stay healthy!

Love,

Lonneke

Pictures by Pixabay and Pixabay


Vintage is the original Green Fashion

Really, you can officially call all clothing made before the 80's "vintage", but let's just call all the good, quality and beautiful clothing vintage. Are you with me?  I hope so!

What is vintage

Vintage is really recycling and keeping clothes from going into the landfills, so Vintage is the original Green Fashion!

Vintage is the original Green Fashion - Lonneke Engel

I always feel very happy when I find an item that used to be pricey, is in great shape, and looks beautiful.  And if the price is low now, and it fits me, it's a deal!  Most of the time people compliment me more when I wear something that they don't recognize as something they have seen in recent fashion shows.

Great vintage shops are everywhere!

New York City for instance has many secondhand and vintage stores.  Some focus on the 40's and 50's, others on mainstream brands for extremely cheap. The trick is to really dig in, and really look at each piece of clothing.  Maybe one of them is your gem.

Other places to find vintage

There are many other places to find amazing vintage.  What about your mom's closet?  Maybe your grandmother's closet?  The thing with fashion trends are that they come back every so many years, of course reinvented.  So what is old and ugly right now, you might want to keep in your closet a few years--it might be fashionable again.

Magic closet

Also, I keep a "Magic Closet", where I store all my unwanted clothing.  Coats, dresses, bags, shoes, you name it. I either sell, give clothes away, or donate. I also look into this closet every few months, because you might start liking an item again, maybe because you lost or gained weight and it now fits!  If you do have unwanted clothing, you can do the same. You can donate, sell or swap, or bring it to collection points in your area.  Those clothes will find a good new owner. You can sell it online at many places including RealReal,Letgo, Thredup, Poshmarkand Ebay !

READ MORE: Organize your shoe closet

Swap Party

Organize fun parties with your (girl) friends to swap clothes. Super fun! My friends come whenever they want, and exchange clothes with me.  This way I find something new, and they do as well.  It gives you the same feeling as when you go shopping; but this way it is shopping for free, so it feels even better!

If you are actually looking to expand your wardrobe, ask first if friends have some stuff they want to get rid of.  Most of the time they then suddenly think of that one dress they haven't worn and you might like... Otherwise: go shopping!

Did you know a lot of celebrities get their unique pieces from vintage stores or flea markets?

In the Netherlands my friends of Doortje Vintage (great online vintage webshop) started LENA Library in Amsterdam and they have made it a business for people to borrow vintage (or green fashion) from their fashion library. You become a member and can come get nice pieces all the time! Check them out when you are in Amsterdam.

A few of my favorite vintage stores around NYC

AUH2O

Best prices and cute clothing. I have found many things $3-10 that I wear a lot!

located in the East Village.

www.AUH20.com

Beacon's closet

You can also bring your clothes here to sell! Really nice collection they have of vintage and some more modern day designers.

Great prices.

Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

www.beaconscloset.com

Stella Dallas

Unfortunately, they just closed my favorite location on Thompson street!

But this is the place to go for 50's & 60's dresses. I found my wedding dress here!

www.stelladallas.com

INA NYC

High-end designer consignment.

www.inanyc.com

What Goes Around Comes Around

More really old pieces, found all over the world, really one of a kind leather belts, antique clothing and more

www.whatgoesaroundnyc.com


New York City Winter Movies tour

Whether you are visiting New York City during the Winter or Christmas, or are just at home and want to see some nice family movies during the Holidays, here are my 5 favorite movies to watch in the Winter time. And maybe you can go visit the film locations in New York City! Check my New York City Winter Movies Tour, starting with no. 1 on top:

1. Home Alone 2 Lost in New York

This is the all-time favorite, not-to-miss movie starring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin, who by accident gets on the wrong plane and flies to New York City by himself, instead of Florida with his family. While the Plaza hotel does exist (it is now half a residential building and half a hotel) The toy store in the movie does not really exist -the movie's toystore "Duncan's Chest" was filmed in Chicago - this is the movie's version of FAO Swarz, a toy store a few blocks to the East of Plaza Hotel, on 5th Avenue. You can go there and enjoy the toys. Go see the movie, and go see the Plaza hotel from Central Park. You can also book a room here and order room service just like Kevin did in the movie. I also love the Home Alone 2 trivia, as there are more interesting facts to this movie and film locations.

The Trailer of Home Alone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0kJieJ1k6k

2. Serendipity

Probably one of my favorite romantic movies ever made. A lot is filmed around New York City in the Winter. It is a very nice movie for the Winter nights, with lots of love, Winter season activities and snowflakes. The story is about how Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet at a kiosk at Bloomingdale's to buy gloves. Sara decides it should be faith if they should meet again,and she writes her phone number and name in a book. Jonathan writes his number on a dollar bill. The whole movie you see them trying to find each other's phone number and hoping destiny will bring them together.There is actually a restaurant in New York City named Serendipity 3 (225 E 60th street, between 2nd & 3rd avenue), and that's where a few scenes in the movie are filmed. Jonathan and Sara share a Frozen Hot Chocolate here, a famous drink from Serendipity they even trademarked. It is not so healthy but so fun to go and have one yourself!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePU2Ux9JIMM

Other places you should visit are Bloomingdale's (1000 3rd avenue & E 59th street) where Sara and Jonathan meet, The Waldorf Astoria hotel (301 Park Avenue between 49th & 50th) where Jonathan's wedding takes place, Wollman Rink in Central park where Jonathan and Sara are going ice skating and where they reunite. More locations of this movie you can find HERE>, as they also were filming in my neighborhood, as well as some unknown trivia questions HERE>

3. A night at the Museum

A fun movie with Ben Stiller, who plays Larry who becomes a guard in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (Central Park West & 79th street)  He is supposed to " not let anything in, and not let anything out". He later finds out what that means when he is by himself at night at the museum. (This movie was also directed by Chris Columbus, who also directed Home Alone 1 and 2.).

The Trailer of A Night at the Museum

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2G-8raHvOU

 

4. Elf

A true Christmas movie. Buddy (played by Will Ferrell) is an adult human who was raised by elves. He is going to New York City to meet his real father Walter Hobbs (James Caan) who is on Santa's naughty list. If you watch this movie you want to go visit the Empire State Building (350 5th Avenue at 34th street) and you want to go see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center (5th Avenue between 49th & 50th street). A joyful funny movie for the whole family!

The trailer of Elf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW9wRNqQ_P8

5. Noel

They want us to believe it is all filmed in New York City, but most of it was in fact filmed in Canada. So it should not really be on this list. You do see Rockefeller center and other nice shots of New York City in Winter/Christmas time. But as Paul Walker has a lead roll in it next to Susan Sarandon and Penelope Cruz,  I thought it was a nice gesture to include this movie in my top 5 list in his memory.

The trailer of Noel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLjj5EwviQY

 

p.s. I found a great website with more New York City film locations of all your favorite New York City movies in one place: On the set of New York

 


10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants

I love eating healthy food and I prefer to visit affordable restaurants! This is the list of my 10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants in 2019, where you can go and find healthy food any time of the day. I have stated which ones have good gluten-free options, and all restaurants are in different price categories as well as locations on Manhattan (where I live) My first choice would always going for an organic restaurant, and most of them in my list do focus on offering organic food, except for a few. These are easy going restaurants the bring-your-friends-or-family kind ( no reason to overdress), with a good take-out and delivery selections.

MY Top 10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants of the moment:

  1. le Pain Quotidien (LPQ): This is a staple place to visit whenever you need a good breakfast or lunch. As a true dutchie, I love bread. Since I stick to a gluten-free diet, I am so happy that they have THE BEST GLUTENFREE BREAD IN THE WORLD! There, I said it. LPQ also has great salads, breakfast items, many vegan and vegetarian options (a leaf sign on the menu means the dish is plant based), and most of what they serve is organic. This also counts for their coffee and decaf coffee. My favorites are the different tartines, the chia seed pudding, the lentil avocado salad. LPQ is take out and sit down. Multiple locations around the city. $ www.lepainquotidien.com 
  2. HU Kitchen: This is a great place with paleo dishes and take out treats and juices. That means everything is gluten-free, no dairy, and organic. They serve organic meat, chicken and vegetarian plates.  My favorite is the chicken burger. Every weekday they have a special, sometimes that is a vegan and gluten-free pizza (love it!) One location on 5th avenue between 13th and 14th $$ www.hukitchen.com 

    HU Kitchen NYC
    The Paleo Chicken Burger at HU Kitchen
  3. Dr. Smood: a chain with restaurants all over the city, this place calls itself "probably the healthiest cafe in town. They have a philosophy that people should spend their money on organic healthy food (the real healthcare as they say) and not on doctors. I love getting chocolate treats here, and the strawberry shake is delicious. www.drsmood.com
  4. Caravan of Dreams: A hole in the wall, this eclectic restaurant is dark and cosy, and a perfect place to take your friends for a vegan meal. Everything is vegan, organic and even kosher. They also serve a lot of raw food dishes. They have live music almost every night of the week. Favorites: all salads are amazing! I like the house salad dressing a lot, and the mediterranean salad. I love their seitan. Also the smoothies are great, and i like the ravioli of the day with sautéed greens, garlic tomato sauce and avocado. The raw brownie for desert is delicious. $   www.CaravanofDreams.net
  5. Spring Natural: Formerly Spring Street Natural restaurant, I order from here a lot as well, as they have daily changing menus, with a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. On top of that they try to get organic and local ingredients where they can. Think of this place as an American healthy diner. The salads are huge and their stir fry with veggies and rice can never go wrong. After 40+ years they moved from Spring street to a location just around the corner on Kenmare street. $    www.SpringStreetNatural.com  UPDATE: The location on Kenmare street has recently closed after 47 years of service, and the uptown one has been taken over by the new restaurant Thyme & Tonic. End of an era! Now instead maybe check out the different locations of Jack Wife's Freda!
  6. Bare Burger: Yes it is an organic restaurant and serve juicy and calorie-rich burgers and milkshakes, they also have a big selection of tasty salads and even many vegan and vegetarian options for a burger. I LOVE the black bean burger, and the fava bean falafel. $ www.bareburger.com

    Bare Burger dinner
    turkey burger with gluten free bun and sweet potato fries at Bare Burger
  7. Cafe Clover: This restaurant has a very beautiful look, and I love their out-of-the-box healthy salads and dishes. Sometimes a bit small, and maybe sometimes pricey, it is a nice place to have a nice date with a friend or lover. You can sit outside on the nice terrace too! By the way if you go here, also check out the Clover Grocery next door, as it has delicious organic treats! $$ www.CafeClover.comCafe Clover Salad
  8. Eataly: This inside market across the street from Madison Park gives you a chance to eat the most delicious local dishes. Everything is divided in categories. Of course I like to sit in the vegetable section, and sometimes in the fish section. It is worth a visit even if you don't sit down for food. $$ www.eataly.com
  9. Candle Cafe: I am always amazed by the warm filling nurturing delicious dishes they come up with. Full of many veggies, they are a treat and I keep coming back. The restaurants are completely vegan restaurants and located uptown in the Upper East and Upper West side.  Favorites: anything really. I am drooling just thinking about it. And especially the dishes with seitan. $$ www.Candlecafe.com .
    Candle Cafe
    2 of the yummy vegan Candle Cafe dishes that change daily.

     

  10. Westville. Probably not organic, but they have the biggest selection of vegetables. I love to order the market vegetables plate with a choice of four vegetables on the market vegetable list. they also have other nice options, I also like the veggie burger. Nice ambiance to hang out with friends.  Multiple locations $ www.westvillenyc.com

Love, Lonneke

All pictures by Organice Your Life®

Curious to know what changed in my list of 10 best healthy NYC restaurants since my last top 10 list? Check out my previous 10 favorite restaurants HERE!

Last tip: If you suffer from celiac disease you should be careful with these restaurants even if I state they have gluten-free options. There is no guarantee that there is no cross-contamination.


That time I did an 1 day juice cleanse

I once did an one day juice cleanse. All the way with the cheesy "I kiss my juice" pictures as proof.  I had a bit hangover from just drinking 2 bellinis at the Operation Smile Ball the day before. So when you don't feel so great, what do you do? Exactly you take care of yourself! Eating really healthy is your own medicine. So I decided to visit Organic Avenue.

About Organic Avenue

Organic Avenue was a vegan and rawfood chain in New York City. It was founded by Denise Mari, and back in the day I did an interview with her. There were so many new Organic Avenue Locations popping up around town at one point. To me it seemed they had a lot of success, but they also seemed to grow too fast. After a few years Denise sold the company, and from what I've read, she came back on board to run the company.  OA incorporated different foods into the menu besides cleanses (the vegan chicken and waffles was great!) but eventually they went out of business :( . Sad story of a vegan health food store I enjoyed so much in NYC! I notice many of my favorite restaurants have gone out of business, it is just part of doing business in New York City.

Organic Avenue Soho location
Organic Avenue Soho location before it closed

Now back to the juice cleanse story: There used to be an Organic Avenue Location in Soho, close to where I live, and I decided to do their one day cleanses.

The 1 day juice cleanse

I received 7 bottles of juice. 1 small one to start the day with chlorophyll, and 6 juices.  You were told to drink water in between..

1 day cleanse from Organic Avenue
1 day cleanse by Organic Avenue

8.30 am

Let's start this juice cleanse! I woke up tired and had my first juice at this time. A chlorophyll shot that made my tongue green! It has a specific taste, but it is not bad. Chlorophyll comes from plants and is an "extremely important bio molecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from light."- Quote from Wikipedia  

chlorophyll shot
chlorophyll shot

10 am

My first real juice is a nice simple orange juice. A great way to start a morning with some sweet citrus fruit juice.

orange juice
orange juice

12 pm

Green Love juice. Cucumber, celery, chard, spinach, pear, collard greens, kale, romaine, parsley, lemon juice. This one is a bit hard to drink due to the large amount of greens in this juice. So it took me a bit longer to drink this juice!

Green Love juice
Green Love juice

2.30 pm

Turmeric Tonic,  lemon juice, ginger juice, purified alkaline water, coconut sugar, turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cardamom, himalayan salt. This one was spicy but I actually liked this juice! It tasted a bit like something from the Middle East because of the spices. I drank it quite fast.

Turmeric Tonic
Turmeric Tonic
Lonneke & Turmeric Tonic
Lonneke & Turmeric Tonic

4.30pm

Veggie Vibe: carrot, cucumber, beet, celery, chard, spinach, ginger, parsley, lemon. This one is hard again! Took me longer time to drink. But you feel really healthy drinking it.

At this point I felt really energized and fit! Getting so many minerals and vitamins in, plus water is really doing good for your body, right?

6.30 pm

Spicy Avocado Soup: avocado, purified alkaline water, spinach, lime juice, celery, cilantro, garlic, Himalayan salt, jalapeño, cumin. This is my least favorite. maybe because of the garlic and that it is thicker. It took me some effort to drink it.

Lonneke & Spicy Avocado Soup
Lonneke & Spicy Avocado Soup

8pm

Last juice of the day! Fresh, sweet coconut juice. I love ending a day like this with something super yummy!

Although some people do cleanses a few days in a row, I think it was nice to just do a one day cleanse. This way it does not "shock" your body while still replenishing your body with the essential nutrients. It is also a great that for that day you have a plan, and the 7 juices keep you on track. You don't have to think what you are gonna eat or what's for dinner at night. The cleanse is telling you that already so it relieves stress that way as well!

Why a one day juice cleanse might be good for you

Because you drink the whole day so you are very much hydrated.  And you don't have much time to feel hungry. Right when you feel hungry, you have the thicker Spicy Avocado soup that is filling. I think anyone can do a 1 day cleanse to just feel better and get rid of toxins or indigestion, if you don't get tempted by any food! So do this during a rainy day when you are likely to stay at home, or if you are stuck at the office with no food in sight, that's my recommendation.

You start to appreciate food more while on a cleanse, that is for sure!

Why juicing might not so good for you

You notice there is a lot of parsley added to the juices. This is because parsley contains lots of Vitamin K, a lot of antioxidants, which helps our bones and strengthens our nervous system.(that's good!) But I only learnt later that Parsley, other green leafy vegetables and beets contain a lot of oxalates and goitrogens. I will go into that some other time why that is actually not so good for some people like myself (oxalates can form crystals in your body and can cause kidney stones, goitrogens slow down a thyroid). Not to mention the high sugar intake which research suggests due to the lack of fiber that helps release sugar slowly into the blood system, a juice is causing a sugar spike. And juices that are not pasteurized, can bring harmful bacteria to your gut which can cause a whole other range of issues.

Maybe, just maybe, juice cleansing was a hype from 2006-2016, and now people just have one juice once a while and are onto another fad, like Keto or Paleo?

Related: Why no one does juice cleanses anymore

Organic Avenue used to offer their juices in glass bottles, but they were more expensive as there was a fee for returning the bottles. Now they serve the juices in BPA- free plastic, I thought that was a nice thing! Of course with the demise of Organic Avenue, their bottles are gone too. (I just kept one as a souvenir).

If you want to do a cleanse, there are many places in New York City and beyond to get a juice from, including Juice Press, Pressed Juicery ,Blueprint and Juice Generation

Related: 5 cleanses that get delivered to your door in the USA

p.s. for my readers in the Netherlands: you can order from Sapmeesters.

Final thought on cleanses: You should decide yourself what works for you! I will now enjoy a small juice once a while!

Love, Lonneke

First Published on May 6th 2012, Updated with new insights in 2019

 


Lonneke Talks I'M Back Youtube video

Lonneke Talks: I'm Back!

I have decided to start making videos again! I will post them on my Youtube channel. Hopefully people will enjoy them and if my information can help a few people, that would be great!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqrnGrVrIqI&t=119s

Why I stopped filming for a while

I took a break for a while due to things that happened in my life the past years. I was forced to spend my time focusing on other things. I will address these one by one in the future. I think if I share my story of what happened to me it can help others in the process. I will do the videos in English or Dutch depending on the subject. I do a lot of research for each video, so you can call them "journalistic" pieces if you want to.

Topics of my Lonneke Talks Youtube videos will include:

  • Healthy Living
  • Animal Welfare
  • My life in NYC
  • Living in the USA under President Trump
  • Things happening in the country I was born and raised: the Netherlands

 

You can watch old videos and see what I have been working on selflessly the past years, because I felt strongly about these causes. After 20 years of working as model around the World, I took a sabbatical 7(!) years to focus on my health, and give back to my community and work on causes that I love. In my process of healing from a severe stress disorder (PTSD/Burnout/autoimmune disease) over these past years I decided together with my therapist that I would spend time on causes that made me happy and did not stress me out. I was not able to take on work, but little projects that I could do whenever I felt good enough, would be the best use of my precious time, and only if I had a good day. So I did :)

These projects included:

OrganiceYour Life.com

Giving people tips on healthy and organized living. I noticed a lot of healthy people sharing information online to stay healthy and live an organized life, but what happens if you fall ill like I did? Not many people who are living with a chronic illness or auto immune disease are open about it or share insights on how to get back to health and stay healthy. In the USA alone it is estimated that 50 million people suffer from one or more autoimmune diseases, so it is important that we help each other to feel our best! And it took me 7 (!) years to start feeling a bit normal again, still with some bad days now and then. It is all about managing my health every second of the day. And stress is definitely a big factor so I do everything to avoid it as much as possible as it is bad for my health! Unfortunately sometimes the stress comes from other people and you need to find ways to deal with it so it does not break you.

I share my tips and tricks on this website!

READ MORE: Organize Your Life: Make your House your Home

READ MORE: Managing your High Performance Life

Videos for Organiceyourlife.com

The past I did a few videos about healthy living in NYC for my website organiceyourlife.com. I liked to go to the farmers market, filmed a few recipes and interviewed a few inspiring people as I like having a good conversation with interesting individuals. You can watch all videos on my youtube channel GetOrganiced

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3VijUsmWW4&t=2s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLjPuj_MYUI&t=1s

 

Advising on laws regarding breed specific legislation in the Netherlands

Animal Welfare: We traveled to the Netherlands because we received an invitation of a dutch representative of the House, and met Dutch minister Schouten who was responsible for Laws regarding dogs in the Netherlands. There was a strong lobby to install a ban on certain breeds and having an American Staffordshire Terrier named Bane myself who is a trained service dog and who saved 2 lives so far, I wanted to introduce them to him so they know who they are targeting. I have experience with Pitbull type dogs and rehabilitating them, and have done extensive research on these bans Worldwide . Therefore I know they do not work, and in many cases they work the opposite way: more bite incidents. Because any dog can bite when in the wrong hands. You need to target the cause, not the result. Knowing the devastating deadly and costly effects of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), I urged her to not install a Law discriminating against certain breeds but install laws that are equal to all breeds and owners. I brought Bane to the Dutch House of Representatives and met different representatives and the minister herself. The best is when people see for themselves what they are dealing with. Of course the people who lobby for the ban ran away from us and did not want to get introduced. Scared little puppies they were!

Result of my efforts to stop BSL in the Netherlands

I am happy to say that despite the lobby for BSL and previous Secretary of State van Dam who wanted to instal BSL, this minister was so smart to request a research, and the report basically supported my findings as well. Instead, Minister Schouten installed laws that are equal to all breeds and she got rid of a list of 21 so called "High risk" breeds. Even though it cost me money, time and energy to be involved and I did not get paid for my advice I feel very accomplished and happy that Bane and I could do our bit to stop this madness in the Netherlands all the way from the USA. But people need to always be vigilant as at the next election another minister will enter the scene.

Below are 2 videos regarding this subject, in dutch. The first one is explaining what was happening, and the second explaining my visit to the house of representatives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMAQ_mZwsAw&t=12s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpE5P0qgsSI&t=34s

 

Dutch Politics

I also shared a few videos explaining the political system in the Netherlands. Because I am interested how the system works and how laws are made. I do a lot of research on it and on the judicial system over there and want to explain it to the Americans over here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN0nlrziN6c&t=3s

Life in America and the election of President Trump

I predicted Donald Trump to become president and made a few videos about his election and his first weeks. I did these videos in dutch to show the people in the Netherlands what is truly happening here as many Mainstream media outlets did not show the Truth. It seems that not much has changed and I might have to do more videos on this subject.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F232UIvJ4Ug&t=15s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkCU5TmbXJo&t=26s

And of course I like to talk about supporting good work by people and charitable organizations! This video is one that is special as I went to visit Animal Haven shelter in my neighborhood. They saved my dog Bane from death row and homed him for 10 months before I adopted him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyQtRSaiNOo

Court case of my abused dressage horse U2

This case has been going on for more than 6 years believe it or not! On May 20th, 2020 we will have to go to Court again in the Netherlands to have this case examined by 3 judges in the Appeal. The issue is that my horses were not treated with respect and care. They were abused. I do not condone any abuse, especially not when you have paid a lot of money for good care and training of your horses. I have found a great place for my horses to retire and spend the rest of their lives in harmony. You will hear more about it all of course!

READ MORE: 10 Charities to Give to this Year

End of my update

That is a little update on the things I have been doing the past years while trying to heal myself and deal with things from the past.

Youtube

I promise you my videos will be different than any other Youtube channel on Youtube, simply because I am not interested in any of the extreme entertainment, celebrity, and showing off mentality that most of them expose. I want to show real stories, and aim for fair and balanced videos to give you a balanced view so you can form your own opinion. I will also write more in-depth articles for organiceyourlife.com based on these videos.

Hope to see you soon on my Youtube Channel!

Love,

Lonneke

 


Candle 79 vegan restaurant NYC closing in 2020!

When you go organic & vegan, most people think you eat the most boring foods. WRONG! Candle 79 (and its sister restaurants Candle Cafe and Candle Cafe West) show that vegan food can be inspiring, warming and delicious! A great restaurant in New York City especially if you love original vegan food!

UPDATE: Candle 79 will shut its doors forever on January 1st 2020 due to real estate issues. So you have to hurry to enjoy some lovely foods for the upcoming Holidays! Check out what I like about it below!

Candle79-2

Romantic vibes

Candle 79 is a romantic restaurant with nice low lights and candles (the name says it all)  located in the posh Upper East Side neighborhood, and serves high-end vegan cooked foods since 2003. They have a great selection for raw foodies too, but most of it is true home cooked meals brought to another level by owners Joy & Bart. They have been rated #1 vegetarian restaurant by Zagat twice and everyone who loves vegetarian food raves about this place. They bring food from the farm to your table without harming anyone and any animal, only healthy food in a holistic way.

The menu has many options to choose from

When I get here, I never know what to choose, their regular menu already has too many options that make my mouth water, but they also have a few daily specials. What I love here the most is that they are the best at preparing seitan, and all their seitan dished are amazing. (Notice: NOT Gluten-free!) The World Famous Seitan Piccata is one of my favorites, as well as all their dishes with roasted fall vegetables and mashed vegetables. Every dish has many flavors on one plate and that's why this is one of my favorite restaurants in the World. Candle 79 has many homemade original cocktails, with organic alcohol or virgin ones. the coconut and ginger blend is great, as well as the rosemary infused sparkling pear juice.

Candle 79 -2

Seitan entrée with fingerling potatoes, onions, butternut squash, apple & more.
Candle 79 -3Tempeh Entrée with string beans, brussels sprouts, fennel salad, mole, mashed pumpkin

Candle 79 - 4Dessert special: soy vanilla ice-cream, candied figs, almonds & sauce.

Our favorites at this restaurant

  • Anything with their seitan : it's amazing! Like Seitan chimichurri, or seitan piccata with lemon caper sauce.
  • Avocado tartare with kale chips
  • Their ravioli or any other pasta
  • Dishes with any of the following: garlic mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, mashed pumpkin, roasted brussels sprouts, porcini mushroom sauce, marinara sauce, grilled tempeh, grilled seitan.
  • Seitan piccata
  • Their daily specials
  • Any of their virgin cocktails  or "Smooth sippers" as they call them.
  • Also, even if you never take desserts: Candle 79 makes desserts so good you can't believe it is vegan!

 

Cookbooks

They also have great cookbooks!

I love to make their seitan piccata lemon caper sauce from this cookbook (Click on picture for more information and/or purchase)

 

And they also have a great vegan Holiday cookbook! (Click on picture for more information and/or purchase)

Address

Candle 79

154 E 79 street

(between Lexington & 3rd)

Or try their other 2 cafes in NYC!

Love, Lonneke

First published on November 28th 2013, updated in 2019


Carriage horse working in NYC on a hot Summer day

Carriage horses in NYC

You might have heard that there have been a few incidents involving carriage horses in New York City in the past. While on duty, the horses in these accidents either got hit by a car, died while working, or got spooked for one reason or another. this is not right!

Carriage horses in Central Park

If you have ever been to NYC, and especially around Central park/Columbus Circle/5th Avenue, you have seen the carriages and their horses lined up waiting for tourists to go on a "romantic" trip. But do they know what the horses' daily life is like, I wonder? Truth is that they have to work almost every day, and it doesn't matter how hot or how cold, they have to work daily in a noisy and polluted city with dangerous traffic. They breathe in continuously the dirty air from the traffic. The horses live in small stables (sometimes even on the second floor of a building!) that can be fire hazards. There is no space to turn them out in a meadow. They literally can look at the beautiful fields in Central Park but can never stretch their legs there when off-duty. And if there is a weather emergency, the horses are holed up in their stables as there is no indoors to have them relax for a bit.

I think years ago, and I mean decades ago, it was a romantic idea of going around town in a carriage, but reality is that in the meantime the traffic in the city has increased by 1000% or so, and it is just not safe anymore. I am confident we can take all the carriage horses off the streets, by buying the rights from the owners and bringing them to safe pastures somewhere in the countryside. These horses are sweet natured, but don't belong in the city. It is not safe for them, but these horse drawn carriages are also not safe for pedestrians and other people that take part in the traffic everyday.

There is a lot of danger for the carriage horses as well as traffic like cyclists and pedestrians
There is a lot of danger for the carriage horses as well as traffic like cyclists and pedestrians

RELATED: PETA made a list of horse-drawn carriage incidents

One good thing is that Mayor DeBlasio finally made a part of his election promise happen : The waiting line has been moved inside Central Park which makes it a bit safer for the horses and the pedestrians. A judge ordered the carriage horse industry to do so in February 2019. Unfortunately I noticed that the horses are less protected from the Sun in the Summer, as they are further away from the buildings that would shield them from Sun most of the day. And the horses still have to travel far to their stables that are located on the West Side of Manhattan after a long days of work.

 

Carriage horses at Central Park
From the waiting line at the border of Central park in busy traffic...
.. to the waiting line just inside Central Park away from busy traffic
.. to the waiting line just inside Central Park away from busy traffic

Carriage horse Oreo

One of these accidents happend with a 6 year old horse named "Oreo" (love the name) bolted as he got spooked by a car that honked near him.

*6 year old is very young for a horse to let you know. It is logical that he doesn't know everything yet and can get scared. Actually, it does not matter how old or young the horse is, it is a living creature with feelings and emotions and any horse could spook.

On board were the driver and a couple hoping for a nice ride through the park. What they got was a horse that took off and had them falling off and getting hurt. He took off and an onlooker a few blocks down managed to capture Oreo. Of course Oreo was so scared of everything around him (he is a horse and he was in the middle of traffic alone) So when the police came, they had to shoot him with a tranquilizer shot. He fell to the ground and people passing by were watching this in horror. Read what happened exactly here. What I have read is that the injuries of the people were not major. And Oreo? They are giving him another vet check, but the first check showed only some bruises around his mouth. Yeah right, let's not mention the psychological trauma he endured that he has to live with for the rest of his life. This happened in 2012, many accidents have happened after this one. Also, I do not know if Oreo is still working as a carriage horse, retired, sold to someone else, or was sold off to a slaughterhouse. Who knows?

UPDATE: Oreo, now Orion was adopted by the wife of the President of  the NY Yankees, Randy and Mindy Levine.

Well, that video does not look pretty. Ono top of that Oreo's bit is so tight in his mouth it must hurt him a lot!

Carriage horses should be retired

I love horses, and I live in NYC. Therefore  I am excited that we CAN stop this because there is a great alternative! The people of NYCLASS continuously protest the horse drawn carriage industry in NYC, and actually have designed an electrical car or "horseless carriage" to drive tourists around Central Park. This way the transportation of people who want to see the beautiful views of New York City, can be safe and clean too. I love the idea!  I think it is a great solution, very fun and a good looking idea too. And the horses should enjoy a lovely retirement in a large meadow. NYCLASS once said that they already have places for all of these horses to go to! Because most of the time retired carriage horses are send off to slaughter and transported in deplorable conditions. Because in America you cannot slaughter horses, they are sent to Mexico on days long journeys. That is not what they deserve after serving so many tourists!

READ MORE: NYCLASS

We should get these cars all over the City. Do you have any ideas how we can do this? I wish I could adopt a carriage horse like Oreo and find a place upstate... we would only do fun rides in the woods and he would be in the pasture the rest of the day! I hope this will one day be reality instead of a dream.. Horse drawn carriages in NYC are so 1904!

carriage horses walking on Central Park West
carriage horses walking in traffic on Central Park West

p.s You can sign this petition to demand the NYC council to vote for the The Carriage Horse Heat Relief Bill, Intro 1425. This new bill will keep NYC carriage horses OFF the streets when the 'heat index' reaches 90 degrees or above. Sign the petition, or contact your local council members.

UPDATE October 30th 2019: the bill was signed into Law so horses cannot work anymore when the temperature gets too hot.

Carriage horse working in NYC on a hot Summer day
Carriage horse working in NYC on a hot Summer day

 

UPDATE: Christine Hansen, the face of the Carriage industry in NYC only needed a short amount of time to respond to my tweet about this article. Their PR machine is huge. She invited me to the stables, but besides that I have seen their stables before, what use is that of my time? I am sure they can make it look great for that moment in time, I have experienced that with my own horses in the past. It does not say anything about day to day conduct of drivers and the horses, it does not change the horses' daily dangerous work in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the World, the breathing in of toxic fumes every day, and the lack of outdoor space where horses can graze together, rolling and stretch their legs. That last point, together with interaction between horses, is essential in the wellbeing for any horse. By the way, Christine Hansen is the woman that was once in the news by working her horse in extreme hot weather when operation was already suspended by the City. 

Love, Lonneke

Me with one of my horses: Cooper Milo
With one of my horses: Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First published on December 18th 2013, Updated in 2019

 

 


Why Friends is the Best

This year marks 25 years since the first episode of the sitcom "Friends" first aired. While the 25 years celebrations are still ongoing (the anniversary was in September 2019) I just started watching a full rerun of Friends AGAIN on Netflix. I might be able to do another rerun just before the end of the year, when Friends is bound to leave the streaming service and go on to another adventure. Here I am going to explain why Friends is the Best, even after 25 years, and why I will keep watching it even when I am 80 years old!

The Storyline of Friends

Friends is about 6 friends: Rachel Greene(Jennifer Aniston) Ross Geller ( David Schwimmer) and his sister Monica Geller( Courteney Cox), Chandler Bing(Matthew Perry), Joey Tribbiani (Matt Leblanc) and Phoebe Buffett (Lisa Kudrow) who are living in New York City. It is mostly centered around a lilac colored apartment in the West Village on the corner of Grove street and Bedford street. Across the hall is a second apartment that gets a lot of air time. The friends spend a lot of time together, each have a special bond with one another, and you really see them mature in front of your eyes while we follow them in what life throws at them. Even though the storyline is a bit outrageous here and there, it is well-written by the shows creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, and all show's main characters shine at their own times. The whole show is thought out so well, that every part is why the show is such a success and most people love to watch it over and over again!

Friends intro

First of all, the intro helps this sitcom be a success. You hear an upbeat song that is easy to sing along and you are excited to watch another episode. Even if you are watching episode after episode, I notice I do not skip the intro but let it play, as it really makes me happy every time I hear (and see ) it.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs-HbHCcK58

 

Apparently the show was going to be called differently first "Friends like us" and the theme song would be REM's Shiny Happy People":

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl5751mttoE

As you can see this song is beautiful, but wrong. If they would have gone with this song and intro, I think it wouldn't have become such a success. Most people do not realize what an intro song does to how you perceive the rest of the show. The intro sets the tone. if the tone makes your heart make a little jump, most likely you also enjoy the rest of the show.

READ MORE: The story of the shoot for the final FRIENDS intro

Also, the lyrics (written by the Shows writers!) is like it really resonates with you.

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job's a joke, you're broke
Your love life's D.O.A
It's like you're always stuck in second gear
When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month
Or even your year, but....
I'll be there for you.....

Everybody has that feeling sometimes where everything is not going well and you have to keep the Faith and keep going!
or as Monica would say:

Welcome to the real World. It sucks, you're gonna love it

My thoughs on the storyline

Partly believable. For instance, the rent of the apartment of Monica and Rachel would be so high in real life they were probably not able to afford it. But what happens to each character in career and private life can happen in real life as I have been living in NYC for over 15 years and have seen even crazier things happen to myself or my friends! New York City is a place where spontaneous things happen. You go to a meeting and you end up at a theater show. You go grocery shopping and end up joining friends to a gallery opening. Anything is possible if you do not plan but just let life happen while being in NYC. (that's what I love so much about this City!) I also love Rachel and Ross getting together, even though I think Rachel was a bit hard on Ross at times. Chandler and Monica should have started dating earlier in the series if it was up to me. Phoebe had her shining moments with her songs "Smelly Cat" and others that stay in your head... Joey's storyline was great that he was so nice and struggling in his acting career but kept going and made it! Phoebe, Rachel, Monica and Joey all struggled throughout the ten years, but kept going. This is very normal in NYC. People never give up in getting a career. Ross had a steady job and even though Chandler switched jobs, he also had a more steady income stream. But most of all: I just love how most scenes happen at their cosy home. This is how I love my life too: with my best friends spending quality time at home!

Friends reruns over and over again

Why do I watch Friends reruns all the time and not other sitcoms? I mean, I watched other sitcoms, and also ones that are based in NYC like "How I Met Your Mother", "Seinfeld" and even "Sex and the City". But for some reason they all have something in the show that makes me not wanting to watch it again. Or that I am happy I watched it, but it was something that I watched during a certain stage of my life. Why do I keep watching Friends? I have thought about it, and these are my reasons why I still think Friends is the Best:

My 14 reasons why Friends is the Best

  1. Every time I hear the intro, it makes me happy!
  2. With everything bad going on in the World sometimes, it is great to just tune out and turn on a familiar sitcom you know is going to make you feel better!
  3. Everything was just better in the 90's/beginning of 2000's. When people did not have a cell phone yet and people would leave messages on their answering machines. If you watch the show episode after episode you see that this is a topic that comes back all the time.
  4. When I have to do household chores or work on my website or other serious things and I have to focus, I play a Friends episode in the background.
  5. Watching the show feels familiar as I also live in NYC and certain scenes are exactly like how a New Yorker would do it. For instance the episode where Rachel and Ross are going to do laundry together. It is so New York! (even though I am now one of the lucky few who has her own washer and dryer in her apartment, a true luxury in NYC!)
  6.  I walk by the street where the apartment is supposed to be located almost daily. Whereas the steps to the house of Sex and the City's Carry is not attracting as much attention anymore compared to years ago, the facade of the building that we see all the time in "Friends" episodes still gets many fans to visit to take pictures.. even though the apartment is not there as everything inside was filmed in a studio in Hollywood!
  7. The apartment itself is like a copy of my own apartment in NYC. I moved into my loft in 2006. My friends who have visited my apartment since, and who I have spent endless nights with chatting and cooking together remember the colorful green, orange, lilac, and blue walls all over, and the eclectic mix of furniture and little ornaments that I found at flea markets, the colorful and overpriced "Bazaar" ABC Carpet, or even sometimes on the streets of NYC (because New Yorkers throw out the most expensive stuff as space is expensive and storage is as well, throwing out a piece of furniture is a better financial option than storing it). I also had magnets on my fridge, I also had a weird lamp. Everything in my apartment goes together, while nothing matches and everything is all over the place. The way Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Joey, Monica and Phoebe use apartment 20, is how I have used my apartment over the years. A place to hang out for me and my friends and to host lovely holiday parties. While I have since toned down the colors on my walls ( I have grown up after all) the spirit of my apartment is still the same and I still love to have people over just like Monica did! And by the way.... I also have a naked guy in the apartment across the street in the Summers for years.
  8.  What Friends character am I? Reading the previous comment it is obvious that I am a "Monica". Or "Lonica" (how many people in the USA pronounce my name) I might just be a mix of brother and sister Geller. I am a cleaner, a cook and a perfect host, and a bit uptight sometimes ;) But I am also clumsy like Ross, I choose to be a bit naive like Ross, and I am funny when I am not trying to be funny, and I am not funny when I try to be funny: just like Ross. (and I might have been a bit like Phoebe for a while, when I was all into alternative healing stuff and a vegan lifestyle.) I am for sure not Rachel, Chandler or Joey.
  9. I have so many favorite scenes! Probably the ones with Ross (no not the Pivot scene, although it is good!) Like when he is on the phone with Julie and he has an issue to hang up and Rachel does it for him. And I loved the wedding of Monica and Chandler, and Phoebe in the Winter cold. Because I just love NYC in the snow.
  10. My favorite characters are from favorite to least favorite: Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, Monica, Phoebe.
  11. My favorite guest characters are "Richard" Burke Monica's boyfriend played by Tom Selleck and of course.... JANICE!!
  12. I am not a crazy fan of Friends or the 6 celebrity lead actors, I do think they are great. These 6 people are one of the big reasons why this show is a success. What I am trying to say is that I appreciate all parts of the show equally. I also really like the writing and the way the show looked, the stages of the different scenes. It looked so colorful and cozy. Marta Kaufman once said the show is like comfort food, and I think that is exactly what it is!
  13. Rachel (I love her last name) ended up working at Ralph Lauren, Of course I love that because Ralph Lauren is also the reason why I could live in NYC.
  14. Is there something I don't like? Well, now I have matured myself, and now that I am married, I look back at the show a bit different than before. I now watch episode after episode, I noticed HOW MUCH DATING these characters do during 10 years! Just like Sex and the City this show is really pushing the notion that twenty year olds date a lot and sleep with a lot of different people in NYC. It is kind of normal. Now looking back, I think that part could have been a bit less.. But these love interests of the main characters have definitely given enough funny storylines in the show that is for sure!
A Holiday party with my friends at my apartment in NYC back in 2008/2009, when the walls were still bright orange and I had all this eclectic stuff everywhere!

 

Thanksgiving dinner with friends, hubby and my dog Vito at my home (when I had repainted the walls!)

Here are a few lovely scenes for you to reminisce, while I am going to overthink if I should get that "Friends" sweater that I saw at Urban Outfitters today...

Love, Lonneke

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKIauVdgk_Y


40 things to do with kids in New York City

If you did not know yet, I tell you now: New York City is a great place to live, and to visit!

In 2012 NYC broke a record with the amount of visitors & tourists they welcomed: 52 million! And it has been going up ever since. Mayor Bloomberg, who resigned at the end of 2013, has spent a lot of his 12 year term as a Mayor, making New York City great for citizens, and even more attractive to tourists. NYC is not only a city for grown-ups. It is a very safe and fun place, and there are a lot of things for kids to do in New York City!

Pictures by Fairest Photo.

navy-milo-rocks-cp-nyc-1

Things to do in New York City

Let me share with you some of my favorite activities for kids in this wonderful City. Whether you live in New York City, or are just visiting for a short amount of time, there is so much to do. And some things will cost you, and some are free... but all are really fun!

Of course you can go play with your kids at one of the many playgrounds around the City, go shopping with your kids, and eat food at one of the 25000 restaurants & deli's New York City has. There are many FREE outdoor swimming pools available to all young kids in NYC in the Summer (with parental guide, there are pretty strict rules so read them first) and there are also many indoor pools. I recommend just walking around different neighborhoods in Manhattan. When you walk, I guarantee you will find a hidden toy shop, or a cupcake bakery. New York City is the place of discoveries! We always play this game with kids:

When the light turns white,

you follow your way.

But you turn left or right,

When the red light means Stay.

This will result in you walking through different streets than you would normally do, so you see new things!

A list of 40 things to do with kids in New York City ( and fun for parents too!)

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1. Central Park

Central park is so big and has so many attractions itself. It is the big heart of NYC and the tranquil quiet place amidst the buzz of the busy city. The lawns are beautiful and the meadows are so large you and your family can run free and play fun games like ball games.

2. Rent a bike in Central Park

You can rent a bike with your family and ride around Central Park.

3. Ride the Carousel

Ride the merry-go-around, the Carousel, in the middle of the park.

4. Explore the nature in Central Park

Walk around the preserved nature of a few hidden areas of the park. Go find them! I love the Rambles, with its idyllic bridge, waterfalls and views. But you shouldn't miss Strawberry Fields, a tribute to John Lennon with his "Imagine" mozaic. And the Alice in Wonderland bronze sculpture.

5. Ice skating in Central Park

In the Winter you must go iceskating at Wollman Rink. (For years owned and developed by mr. Donald J. Trump)

6. Central Park Zoo

You can also visit the Central Park Zoo (or the Brooklyn Zoo or Brooklyn Aquarium.) This Zoo was used as inspiration for the animated movie "Madagascar".

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Side note: I personally wouldn't take a carriage ride in Central Park. These horses are working long hours, and are stabled in small stables in NYC. They never have a day off. Mayor Bill DeBlasio promised before election that he would change a lot for the horses in NYC. I was wrong about Mayor DeBlasio, he is not keeping his promises. But he did open the way up for new animal shelters, as NYC has many homeless cats and dogs. So that's good.Check my article on the NYC carriage horses and a great alternative.

7. Picnic in Central Park

You can buy food at Whole Foods in Columbus Circle, take the food with you and walk to Central park, and have a pic nic at Sheep Meadow enjoying the clouds passing by.

8. Boating in Central Park

You can also rent a boat and go boating on The Lake, Central park's second largest water body, or rent a model boat and navigate it in the beautiful pond on the East Side of the park.

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Basically all of Central Park is worth to explore with kids. Central park has manicured areas, lots of history, and even wilderness with real waterfalls!

9. Visit the Observatories of NYC

Visit the Observatory at the Empire State Building, or Freedom Tower One World Observatory. While the wait can be long sometime, the view of the city is amazing for every age. (this is also the area where the 911 Memorial Museum is located. This is an impressive, but very quiet museum). Best is to book tickets online so you don't have to wait in line!

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10. Go on a New York City tour

There is enough to see on a city tour, and kids can sit and watch the whole city pass by. Kids especially love all the lights, so doing a walk or a tour at night is worth it too.

11. Statue of Liberty

Take a Water taxi all the way downtown and go to the Statue of Liberty.

12. Times Square

It is just fun to see all the lights. It's so bright and there is a lot to see!

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My "underground" favorite things to do with kids:

13. Hudson River Park

Visit the Hudson River Park all along the Hudson River on the westside of New York City. I love this park the most and go running/walking or picnicking there. It stretches from the Financial District to all the way uptown. The park has many activities for kids, like mini golf and (water) play areas. There are in fact many free playgrounds for kids to play all over town.  But I especially love the ones at the Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. When the weather is warm, there are many water -based games to be played. And the park along the Hudson River, is great to walk.

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14. The Highline

The Highline used to be a train track bringing in live animals that would get butchered in the Meat Packing District. Now it is a beautiful park along 12th street all the way up north. It is a nice long walk, with many nice plants trees, design elements, amazing views. At the end there is a little kids playground!

15. Helicopter ride

You can also take a helicopter ride above the city. The helicopter pads are on the West of Midtown at Hudson River, or at the Lower East Side Piers on the East River. You be surprised what the price is. It is not cheap but not so expensive either. Check it out!

16. American Museum of Natural History

Go to the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. It is huge and you see many dinosaurs  & mammoth skeletons. kids love it!(And watch the movie A Night at the Museum, as it is filmed in this museum.)

17. Chelsea Piers

Go to the Chelsea Piers, and go hit some balls at the Golf plaza, play bowling or play Basketball with a nice view of the City or the Hudson River. On their website you can see what is possible! At Chelsea Piers there is  also the Trapeze School of New York City. You can learn to fly and hang upside down in the air. Really fun especially for the older kids amongst us.

18. NY Watertaxi

Take the NY watertaxi boat tour around the island and see everything. It has a few stops on the riversides of Manhattan.

19. Broadway musical

See a Broadway musical or play. Even if you don't like musicals: there is nothing like seeing a show on Broadway.

20. Washington Square Park

Go to Washington Square Park, my favorite park with the famous Arch, and see all the diverse people hanging out, performing, or playing chess, and the dogs in the dog parks. This place is definitely for culture, but you also have a great view of the Empire State Building, and the Freedom Tower on the other side.

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21. Rent a bike in the city

You can find Citibike everywhere, and you can ride all around Manhattan via the Hudson River Park south to the Financial District, and back up along the East River (for older kids).

22. Visit the Intrepid

The Entrepid Museum. This used to be a warship, and when it was taken out of service, it became a museum. You can find the Concorde here, and other interesting (war) airplanes. (NY Fleetweek May 25-30!) Currently showing a "Star Trek  Academy Experience".

23. Visit Street fairs

See where there is a street fair going on in the City, and enjoy the locals and their food and merchandise!

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24. Swim in public pools

In the Summer you can swim at one of the many outdoor swimming pools from NYC Parks.  You can find current opening hourse HERE> Last Summer when my young nephews were in town, they went almost every day!

Day Trips

25. A day at the beach

You want a day at the beach? Take a ferry to the beach! Yes, Seastreak offers multiple daily trips to the New Jersey Shore. Take the stop Sandy Hook and enjoy a day at the beach.  I have done it! It is a nice short trip over the East River. Leaves from East River at Wall street, or East 35th street.

26. Visit a themepark

Go to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey in Spring and Summer. It's about an hour and 15 min drive, and you can either rent a car, or go by NJ Transit.

27. Visit an indoor water park

Go to any of the indoor water parks that you find around New York City. Some are a day trip, and some include stay at a hotel. The website Mommy Poppins.com has pointed out  7 great indoor waterparks in the neighborhood.

28. Go on a train ride

Take the train along the Hudson River upstate! Also a nice day trip, to enjoy the beautiful nature of Upstate New York. Go to Central Station (which is already beautiful to see) And buy a ticket at Metro North Train (MTA) Take the Hudson line up. Nice villages to go to are Peekskill, Hudson (where there is lots of art) but my favorite is Cold Spring as you get a beautiful view of the Hudson River, and it has an idyllic street with many little shops. Go to dinner at Hudson House Inn, as this historic inn at the riverfront has a nice view and food is great, as well as the people. Here is a nice page for more tips on visiting the Hudson Valley by Rail.

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CLICK HERE FOR SPECIAL THINGS TO DO IN THE WINTER/CHRISTMAS TIME WITH KIDS

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Food

29. Eat a burger

Try any of the organic Bare Burger restaurants in NYC (see my article in the link). There are all over the City and serve delicious organic burgers and salads and it is the perfect place to experience an American Burger the healthy way, your kids will love it.

30. Eat the best breakfast in town

Norma's: the best breakfast in the City ( my favorite!) This is a restaurant only open until 3pm every day, located in the Parker Meridien hotel. Sometimes there is a wait if you don't make a reservation. The restaurant looks clean, but the food... they make the best pancakes and waffles with fruit (I always order the Wazza waffle) and other breakfast food. Kids love it.

31. Visit nature in the city

Do you want to teach your kids about vegetables and plants? Go to the beautiful Bronx Botanical Garden! They have a rose garden, a part of a forest you can walk through safely, and on the top of the hill they have an area specially for kids where they can learn everything about gardening and even cooking what they grow in the garden!

32. Family style restaurant

If you want a more laid back atmosphere and a different neighborhood, Bubby's downtown in Tribeca is a great option too (the restaurant is owned by Robert DeNiro), they serve great scones and all American Breakfast.

33. Easy and delicious American Food

Underneath the Highline is the Standard Grill. When it is nice out, you can sit outside in the cute Meatpacking District area.

34. Drink a Juice

Whether it is on of the locations of the Juice Press ,Dr. Smood, or another brand a fresh healthy juice is a great start of the day, or a nice refresher. Some of these are also organic. You want to give your kids the right nutrients right?

35. Cupcakes, Bagels & Donuts

Of course you have to make a stop at Georgetown Cupcake, famous from their TLC show, and they even have gluten free and vegan options. They are located on Mercer street in Soho. My favorite Bakery is Le Pain Quotidien, and Maison Kayser with their organic breads. You find them throughout the City, and are great to go with kids to have lunch.

36. PIZZA!

Even though Rubirosa is my favorite pizza place, with kids it is better to go to Lombardi's, or Arturo's pizza. You can also take out pizza and take it to a nearby park and eat it.

Shopping

37. Build your own toy

Build a custom made teddybear at Build-a-Bear on 5th Avenue. You can choose the color of the bear, and what he or she will wear.

38. Shop for kids' clothes

You can shop for kids clothes everywhere, but around Soho there are many small boutique cute clothing stores for kids. If you need warm clothes I like the Patagonia Store on Greene street. Patagonia tries to do good for the environment, their clothes are not expensive and really nice and warm. If you want something really nice & fashionable, Trico Field on West Broadway are places where you find very special items for your young kids.

39. Science & history related gifts

The Evolution Store on Broadway. Kids love these dead animals and skeletons. You have objects from 1 dollar to thousands of dollars!

40. Make art with your kids

Children's museum for the Arts on Charlton Street: Let your kids find their art, this is a nice activity for around 2.5 hours.

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Stay

NYC is expensive, and the city is battling short-term rental companies by putting in laws that make most short term rentals not allowed. But it is in court so it is important you check out the local status of Air BNB and other short term rental laws. Your accommodation is an area where you usually have to accept that you won't have too much space in your hotel room. But hey, you are going to be outside all the time anyway! I would suggest to stay away from very busy areas like hotels around Times Square, or hotels in 20-50s streets. Uptown close to Central Park is the best bet, as well as hotels downtown. Here is a link  with some more information and another one with tips. The Soho Grand is a nice hotel in Soho, and I used to stay at the luxury Le Parker Meridien hotel close to Central Park with my family years ago: they even have a swimming pool on the roof and restaurant Norma's is in the hotel! (as well as a great burger restaurant called Burger Joint) When you are on a budget, try Holiday inn, Courtyard and Four Points by Sheraton in Soho, Financial District and Tribeca. You have to do some research, but remember with kids: the area and safety of the hotel is more important than size of your room.

Getting Around:

You can walk to the curb, raise your hand and get a "Yellow Cab". When the number is on, it is available. When all lights are on (on left and right of the number) the taxi is off-duty. When the light is off, the Taxi is taken. They usually take 4 people at once. If your family is bigger, you can order a Lyft, Uber, Via, Gett or Juno by downloading their apps and ordering a car in the right size. There are other good Limousine services like Carmel and Dial7. Taking your kids in the subway is also a very easy and convenient way to get around. And of course, you should walk as much as possible, it is my favorite thing to do in NYC!

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And finally: Take a lot of pictures. Make lasting memories with your kids. New York City is definitely something they will never forget in their lifetime!.

I hope these suggestions help you when visiting New York City, because there are many things to do for Kids in the Best City in the World! :)

For more current kids activities and more inspiration please go to: Time Out NYC KIDS

Love, Lonneke

p.s. all thanks to Navy, Milo & Lux Lamey (my nephews and niece) who came to visit us in NYC  <3

First published in 2017, Updated in 2019