Snooki (and Jeryl) at BookExpo America

Hi there!

I’m sitting in the Sheep Meadow in Central Park on a perfect Saturday afternoon. The 15 acre lawn offers so much that I crave — a bucolic shady tree-bordered landscape of vast openness and green all within a short walk from my apartment. And even though the place is somewhat crowded today with a fun and interesting mix of babies, twenty-something babes, shirtless cute guys, spooning lovers, frisbee dudes and uber picnic-ers swilling cabernet and munching goat cheese pesto somethings, I managed to find a shady tranquil spot under a tree.

On very good days, the wifi works and I’m endlessly productive. Without wifi, I silently complain but it’s still amazing and particularly gorgeous, especially on this not-too-hot day. Because no matter how often I go, the Sheep Meadow always takes my breath away.

This past Thursday, I did a book signing at BEA, (BookExpo America), one of the largest book expos in the United States. It’s a madhouse and massive and fascinating. Imagine an ocean of publishers’ booths, one after the other, all peddling their upcoming books. Although I’ve been to BEA, I never did an actual BEA signing. My mood went from excited to somewhat scared to really scared to relieved to exhaustion to absolute exhilaration.

Right before the signing started I had that Charlie Brown-type moment of epic panic that no “autograph” seekers would visit my booth. (BEA calls the sessions “autographing events.”) However, my Snoopy troupe (otherwise known as my editors and publicist) were very reassuring. I really liked connecting with so many people through a book, or actually, my book. I found that to be so moving and cool to share that experience. And I was stoked to see so many librarians getting books signed for their collections (I was signing both My City, My Los Angeles and My City, My New York.) I mean I’m the biggest library geek ever so that really touched my heart.

The signings are one hour each then the next author immediately takes your place so you have to be out of there and quick. So the second the signing ended, my editor, Amy, shared that Nicole Polizzi (aka Snooki) was at the booth right behind my publisher’s booth singing postcards to promote her upcoming pregnancy book, Baby Bumps, but we had to move fast to another part of the hall to make it in time.

We raced through the crowds to the Snooki booth and I had a chance to very briefly chat with the suntanned wonder. She’s actually a tiny thing and was kinda mellow and sweet. When I told her my first name she said, “that’s different” so she seemed engaged. In the My City, My New York vein, I had to ask Snooki about New York. I only had about 30 seconds with her, but here’s what she told me. (If I wasn’t rushed, I would have thrown in some New Jersey questions too.)

“I love that New York is always alive. If you want to go out at 3am to get a cup of coffee, you can. In Jersey you can’t do that. One of my favorite places in New York City is Sushi Samba. I like the music and I love sushi. It has a nice lounge and I like their Cali rolls. They’re simple.” - Nicole Polizzi (aka Snooki)

I have actually become a sushi fan, so I’ll have to check out those “Cali rolls.”

Thanks, Snooki!

And thanks for reading.

Happy weekend,

Jeryl

P.S. A giant shout out to Dina Zuckerberg and Amy Lyons for taking such great photos!

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Photo credits: Dina Zuckerberg and Amy Lyons

Decoding social media with Brooke Shields

Hi there!

I’m really thrilled that clicked around and got this far on my website. I so appreciate your stopping by. But before I go any further, I have a confession….

I’m no blogger. I don’t even read blogs. The thought of ME blogging is actually cringe-worthy. But my friends say that writers MUST blog. And without one, I’m completely and without a doubt, so last century. So since my friends tend to be much savvier than I could ever be, I decided to trust them. And a quick Google search proved them right.
Here’s what people say about bloggers. (Actually I recently learned that  vloggers are even cooler, totally rad, but  bear with me. Rome wasn’t built in a day.)

Blogs are the new black
Blogs are the new diaries
Blogs are the new resumes
Blogs are the new press
Blogs are the new JOURNALIST!

So I figured I had better get on this blog bandwagon before I’m even more last century. Actually, someone (who doesn’t own a cell phone or a computer) once told me that she’s so technology challenged, she thought that she could text on her microwave. I swear, I’m not that bad. I mean, I am on Twitter now. (A small miracle. Although those same smart friends tell me that I shouldn’t labor over those Tweets like I do.)

While we’re talking about Twitter, I remember when I got a reporting assignment to ask Brooke Shields questions, one of them was about Twitter. But that was back in the social media dinosaur days, 2009, and I was just getting my Facebook legs. I remember looking at the question, wondering if it was a typo and then researching this newfangled way to send a sentence cyberspace. I admit, I didn’t get it. Our conversation went something like this:

ME: Do you use twitter? (I know. I know. But at the time, I wasn’t sophisticated enough to ask if she Tweets.)
Brooke Shields: Twitter? What does that mean? (I started to explain, but our dialogue overlapped.).
Brook Shields: Hmmm. I do when I’m around a cute guy. When there’s a cute guy I’m all a twitter.

Thanks for reading!

Jeryl
P.S. Brooke now has more than 4,000 followers! Way to go!

P.S.S. Check out my Twitter feed, @JerylBrunner

 

Jeryl Brunner

 

 

 

Spring for Serendipity!

There are hot fudge sundaes and then there’s the Serendipity hot fudge sundae. Picture a mountain of handmade mint chocolate chip ice cream swathed in rich, creamy, bittersweet hot fudge. Each bite a tiny miracle. A revelation. An explosion of warm molten chocolatey sweetness and mint and cream — all perfectly blended.

And since 1954, Serendipity 3 has been serving their signature hot fudge sundaes and other decadent creations to kids and kids at heart. Andy Warhol was a fan. And Cher continues to come for the frozen hot chocolate. So do Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who like to share the banana splits. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis first discovered the place while pregnant with John John. Marlene Dietrich preferred the fruit cake but declared that it was too expensive. And Taylor Swift was known to leave a 40 percent tip for a plate of cheese ravioli.

Just as delicious is the whimsical decor. The two story restaurant feels more like the coolest antiques shop with multicolored glass Tiffany lamps, gigantic clocks and stained glass windows.

And there is no place better to splurge on a mint chip hot fudge sundae (like I did on this summery April night). And I even walked home though Central Park. Look at it all illuminated. Simply a delicious night.

 

Katrin Sosnick’s New York City

Katrin Sosnick, owner of the consulting firm, www.rondeel.com, and a self-described popaholic

“One of my favorite places is Popbar, a dessert venue offering handcrafted gelato on a stick. The gelato is made fresh daily and has no perservatives or artificial flavorings. Since it’s on a stick, the best part is that you can deep it in chocolate and then have it coated with what they call, poppings. So it’s totally customizable! My favorite flavor is coffee popGelato dipped in dark chocolate covered with coconut poppings. Yum!!!”
Popbar, 5 Carmine Street; 212-255-4874; www.pop-bar.com

Derek Koch’s New York City

Derek Koch, nightlife impresario behind Day & Night and co-owner of the hotspot, MPD (Mon Petit Dejeuner), wwwdualgroupe.com

“I like walking into different neighborhoods to get inspiration and conceptual ideas. I’ll find streets that I have never visited or seen before. I love that New York gives me such a variety of different places, architecture and restaurants.

One street that really stands out is Gay Street because it makes me feel like I am somewhere else – that I’m not in New York City.  The buildings are different, the colors are different. It feels like you’re in a back street in Paris. I am transported for a moment.

And I really like visiting St. Marks Place.  I’m living on the West Side now, but my first 5 years in New York, I was in the East Village. The West Side is about what I do day-to-day. It’s my life. But in my heart, I am a little bit of an East-Village-dive-bar-kind-of-guy. And St. Marks has a very diversified, interesting mix of people.  It’s not your Pleasantville family sort of place.  It’s more rock and roll. It’s sort of a Twisted Sister tattooed place. And I don’t like to take the quiet back streets.  I like noisy busy streets where you can see interesting people.

I gravitate toward a place in the East Village called Tarallucci e Vino, It has been there for years and has a warm, comfortable feeling. You can sit there for hours upon end without being interrupted.  Have you ever been to a magazine store where you’re looking at a magazine and uncomfortable because  you feel the guy at the counter is going to say ‘are you going to buy or stand there and read?’  But I can have a cappuccino, sit and read a whole Dan Brown novel and not be disturbed or interrupted by someone saying, ‘are you going to buy something or are you just…?’ They have chocolate croissants, amazing lattes and cappuccinos.  It’s just a very nice place.”

Tarallucci e Vino, 163 First Avenue, 212-388-1100, www.taralluccievino.net

Rob Shuter’s New York

Rob Shuter, Naughty But Nice columnist on Popeater.com, TV Host on HDNet, http://naughtybutnicerob.com

“New York City is one of the most intense cities in the world. We’re literally stuck on an island together. It’s the original Survivor. We’re on this island and we’ve got to figure it out.

In New York, it’s impossible to hate because you are confronted by your fears everyday.  If I never see a bald man, it’s very easy to hate him. It’s easy to hate in the abstract. But I’m constantly confronted by every different aspect of life in New York City. You can live in a fancy building on one side of the street and look over the projects on the other. There’s a multimillion-dollar building in my neighborhood that is literally wrapped around a gas station. Only in New York could that happen.

There’s a fabulous doggy park on the West Side Highway on the corner of 23rd street. It used to overlook the Hudson and now it looks over Chelsea Piers. And because it’s in Chelsea, you get to see some of the rarest breeds of dogs you’ve even seen. They’re all purebreds. There’s not a mutt in that dog park. I wouldn’t dare take a mutt to that dog park. It’s like the Westminster dog show without the leashes. It’s wild. It’s all these gorgeously groomed dogs who live in fabulous fancy apartments and most of them have two daddies or two mommies. And they (the dogs) go absolutely bonkers for 30 minutes in this dog park. It makes me laugh out loud.

I have a Glen of Imaal Terrier who won her breed at the Westminster dog show. Her name is Curry and she’s an absolute lunatic when I get that leash off. She loves it. When I got Curry, I asked friends about doggy parks. And my friend said there was an amazing one there.

There,  in the middle of a motor way – in the middle of 12 lanes of traffic – all these rare gorgeous creatures. It was almost like Jurassic park –all different breeds all getting along. It’s almost like the UN of the West Side: with all the different countries represented. From the English Terrier, to your Scottish Terrier.  To your Irish dogs, to the American bull terrier. Your Afghans are in there. Your French poodles are in there being rude. There are Australian dogs. It’s marvelous. And the only thing we have in common is our love of dogs.

I’ve met everyone from every different walk of life in the doggy park. I’ve met business executives who probably live in $20 million penthouses overlooking the Hudson and people on more modest income who probably live in a walk up on 18th street. It’s every different type of human being with this shared passion. There’s no place else where these people would get together. As diverse as the dogs are the people are more diverse. And at the end of the day, we all have to get down on our knees with the newspaper and scoop the poop. It makes everyone equal. There’s a democracy. it doesn’t matter if you’re in your Gap jeans like me or Gucci suit, we’re all pooper scoopers.”

Chelsea Waterside Dog Run, 23nd Street and 11th Avenue, http://www.hudsonriverpark.org/explore/dogruncw.html