The Fourth of July in New York (Friday) was an overcast day due to a passing hurricane and Clay and I spent the entire day inside reorganizing, purging, and deep cleaning. Saturday morning we met up with Joanie and shared breakfast at the Standard Hotel’s Grill before walking north on the High Line then walking back down to Chelsea Market (the former Nabisco factory turned food hall) at street level before having lunch at The Gansevoort Hotel. Joanie then went back to her hotel to meet up with Mary while we went back to Chelsea Market to see 2 couples (+1 new baby) from Sydney! We then joined Joanie and Mary for an Italian dinner at Amaranth Restaurant in the Upper East Side near their hotel. The next day I was able to attend the last running of 'The Realistic Joneses' (play featuring Toni Collette) with Joanie, Mary, and Da.
The weekend of August 11th Clay was in East Hampton with Joanie, Mary, and Da walking on the beach, eating seafood, and trying out our new inflatable kayak. Meanwhile I was in the City with my college girlfriend from 705, Lauren. Friday I showed her my office and the Hudson Yards room, then we walked Mr. Duke to Gracie Mansion (NYC's official mayor's residence) and had dinner at Candle Cafe, my favorite vegan restaurant, before grabbing some 16 Handles FroYo (frozen yogurt) and staying up late watching National Geographic documentaries 'The '90's The Last Great Decade.' On Saturday Mr. Duke Pug and I showed Lauren the 82nd Street NYC Greenmarket where I compost our weekly food scrapes before watching more documentaries on decades. That evening we walked the High Line and grabbed a taco and ice cream in Chelsea Market before having dinner at La Bottega in Meatpacking and heading to my favorite UES local bar, Penrose, to catch up with a Winthrop University friend for late drinks. On Sunday we slept in and watched some more tv before shopping summer sales in Rockefeller Center and walking the Brooklyn Bridge which included stopping at the only full West Elm Market before she caught an Uber to the airport.
Right after Lauren left I raced to Broadway at Times Square to see a friend from our Hillsong NYC Connect Group star as the leading female in 'Holler if you Hear Me,' a musical based on the music of Tupac.
The next Saturday Clay and I met with others from Hillsong NYC to volunteer at The Father’s Heart, a charity that helps New Yorkers with a food pantry, soup kitchen, food stamps, legal help, GED and ESL classes, etc. Their motto is “To declare and demonstrate God’s love through practical expressions of compassion.” This ministry is very well organized, in the morning volunteers are split into groups and given the smallest of tasks so minimal training is needing and you can just start cranking out work when the doors open. Within an hour and a half we served 732 individuals. Guests who would like breakfast sit down and are served a hot meal of pancakes, bacon, fried eggs, and coffee and juice; they are continuously served plates until they want no more. Then they go through a line to receive their bags of food that contain 9 meals. Clay was in the kitchen helping fry eggs and I was at the door greeting and saying goodbye to people while also registering those that were new to the food pantry and needed id cards made. A number of people were deformed or had disorders, many who I tried to register had no identification and no permanent address other than the homeless shelter where they were staying. It was a very grounding and incredible experience and we felt just as blessed as those who walked through the doors. Afterwards I had a Ladies Lunch with the women of our married couples Connect Group and that night Clay went out with the husbands to a bar with vintage arcade games.
The last weekend of July Clay and Gina visited but they get their own post!