Yonked.com: Diary of a New Home Rotating Header Image


and a wedding too!

Not ones to do anything halfway, Adam and I decided to add a wedding to our already full plate of baby-growing and usual crazy lives. Though we only announced the wedding when we announced the pregnancy (within the last two weeks), we’ve actually been planning it since January, and have most of the major details already finalized.

The big event (well, the first big event of this year for us, anyway) is April 5, at the Roosevelt Ballroom in Yonkers. We have been to two B’nai Mitzvah in this space and loved the beautiful historic building, the caterer (who leases the space permanently), and, importantly, that downtown Yonkers would represent in our wedding. It’s about eight blocks from the house and feels like it’s in the neighborhood (even though there’s a major crack park and very scary housing project in between our house and the ballroom and we’d never walk those eight blocks in a million years).

We expect to have about 100 people at the wedding, with nearly all of my close family flying in from Chicago, Florida and California (and a few other locations) and Adam’s coming from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Florida (and a few other locations). We are also lucky to be gathering nearly all of our dearest friends with us that day.

It’s going to be quite a party! which is exactly what we wanted – a celebration of our relationship with our family and friends. I can’t wait! But there’s still enough to be done that I’m getting a bit nervous; March will be a very busy month.

Yonkers Riverfest and X20

We went and partook of an annual event at Yonkers– the Yonkers Riverfest— five stages of musicians, lots of people, street food, crafts etc. And it’s all free to attend!

Considering the scale of the thing, it was kind of podunk. While they had huge amounts of bands, and a fair amount of people– (The local newspaper estimated 20-30,000 people) the organization seemed haphazard, there were no directions as to what was going on and where anything was happening. They were accepting performers and crafts vendors up until nearly the very end of the performance.

We got there relatively late 6:15, and the parking was a bit of a problem, but my parking kharma kicked in, and we ended up getting a street spot about a block from the festival. We walked around for a bit, sampling some of the music stages, and looking at the street food– there were lots of empty tables where vendors either left or were never brought in.

The music was fine, we saw a little bit of a jazz/funk band, a blues band, and at the end of the night, just a bit of the headlining act Blood, Sweat and Tears (but featuring one of the guys from Three Dog Night)

We were hungry and nearly ate at the Big Bird booth (it’s a soul food place on Nepperhan Ave which we drive by a lot but never ventured in) But we decided instead to try our luck at X20, the Peter X. Kelley restaurant right on the waterfront. (Peter won the Iron Chef title recently, beating out Bobby Flay– his restaurant in Yonkers had been five years in the making, and he recently opened it) We weren’t sure if they would serve us (I had shorts, we weren’t dressed up) but we were not the worst dressed people there. The restaurant tables were all full or reserved, but they serve a full menu in the Dylan Lounge, their bar. We got there at just the right time, and picked up a seat at their extra tall communal table. The bar was beautifully appointed, with some great views of the George Washington Bridge.

It was expensive but worth it– and we were happy we went to the bar. We ended up getting four appetizers — the ravioli with short ribs, foie gras, and truffle butter (incredibly rich and decadent), the chilled pea soup with sashimi scallop submerged (we had the scallop served on the side, and I ate it, as S doesn’t eat fish– the pea soup was great and served in a bowl of ice, so that it stayed cold, and the raw scallop was delicious), the roasted cauliflower with brown butter and panco (very good, although the butter wasn’t quite brown enough), and the tuna/mango/lychee salad– also good, and served beautifully, but not very much tuna (and not served over lettuce, so how is that a salad?) We also had two desserts, a delicious cheese plate (a spoonful of epoises, and le petit basque– two very nice cheeses, and a creme brulee which was served with a bitter chocolate cake over a hard-caramel pedestal– also served beautifully.

The service was a little uneven– we didn’t get our roll until the dessert menu, they tried to take away the soup before we were finished, but other empty dishes languished, and the desserts (and bill) took forever (although the appetizers, and our neighbors entrees seemed to come right out) The plates were all beautiful (they even had a tiny bowl for the one scallop)

Sitting at the communal table was kind of fun– we ended up chatting a little with our seatmates, and talking about other restaurants in the area.

All in all, it was a great date night, and not bad from a price perspective (it ended up costing us $66 + tip) — the entrees were in the $25-30 range, and we had a much wider selection of food. They also have a sashimi/sushi bar that looked great to just kind of hang out at.

Their website is http://www.xaviars.com/yonkers/

We took some photographs, and here they are….



I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time and trying to figure out how to write it. And then my sister was here last weekend and expressed, out loud, some of the thoughts I’ve been having that I felt I couldn’t possibly share with anyone. And my sister is pretty PC, and very smart and savvy, and damn it, if she can say it out loud, I can too.

It’s about living in a neighborhood of mainly LIP. Lower Income People. Is saying it that way perjorative? I’m sorry if it is, it just seems descriptive to me. But that’s not the controversial part. (By the way, my sister lives in a somewhat similiar neighborhood in Chicago – it’s at least a few years ahead of ours in development but definitely not the North Shore yet.)

What’s probably controversial is my attitude towards living in my neighborhood amongst people who think that for some reason they are entitled to do whatever the hell they please. Like walk across the crosswalk against the light in front of oncoming cars without looking either way. With a baby stroller or a toddler in hand. Or throw trash in our yard, right over our fence, so much so that we can’t keep up with picking it up. Or hang out on my corner, right below my bedroom window, playing a boom box and yelling at each other so loud that we can’t sleep in the summer. Or….or….or. Why do they do that? What is it that makes them feel that they can set their own rules? Or are those the rules of neighborhoods like ours and my sister’s, and we just don’t understand them?

There are huge advantages to living in our neighborhood, and living in any neighborhood that seems to be on its way up. There are many days that we feel like pioneers, people who are helping to grow a city and make it more economically viable, safer, and prettier. We think we got a really great deal for our house, for the space, for the aesthetics of an old house, for our corner lot with our huge parking yard and gigantic garage. But we’re not the same as the people who settled SoHo decades ago, or who are settling outer parts of Brooklyn now – our neighborhood is not industrial. It’s always been residential. And so often I have the feeling that we’re invading, rather than pioneering, and that there is this huge sense of resentment among our neighbors.

Often when I pull into my driveway there is a man sitting across the street outside the (we hope former) crack house. This man pretty much knows my comings and goings and also, therefore, knows what I bring into the house. On weekdays he knows that I only ever carry my backpack and purse. But on weekends, after I drive away, I nearly always come home with bags of stuff. Stuff from the grocery store. Stuff from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Stuff from Target. Stuff from Home Depot. And yes, on rare occasion (house is pretty consuming these days), stuff from Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s. So this guy knows we have money to spend. Our neighbors mainly carry at max one or two grocery bags, on foot, from the bodega on Broadway. And here we are regularly unloading multiple bags from various stores that are only accessible to us by car. And you know what? Sometimes I feel sheepish carrying those bags into the house. Like it’s too much. Like it’s unfair that I can get this stuff when I know that a former neighbor/crack house tenant had to borrow $10 from Adam once to feed his kids and then sent one of the kids to buy a loaf of bread and american cheese.

(And yes, sometimes I feel like a target carrying those bags – and I look over my shoulder to make sure no one is following me into the house. And I really don’t like feeling that way in front of my own house….but a discussion of our neighborhood’s crime rate would have to be another post.)

But you know what? We earn this stuff. We’ve earned this house. Collectively Adam and I likely make more money than all the neighbors in the three-family house next door. Is it snobby to say that? But it’s the truth. And sometimes I think that we’re doing something good by setting an example – if one kid in our neighborhood can see our house looking nicer and us carrying packages of cool stuff and me going to work every day (indeed, in my shearling coat and with my ipod in my ears), maybe they’ll think about what they can do to get on the same track. Maybe we can befriend the kid who shovels the walk when it snows and help him figure out that he can go to college and earn a degree and get a good job and help his family and his neighborhood when he gets older.

But maybe there’s not aspiration there. Maybe that’s why there’s what I perceive to be this strange attitude of entitlement – maybe it’s actually rebellion or indifference or revolt. I wish I understood it more. I wish I didn’t feel so sheepish.