New York City's abundance of concrete and asphalt pave the way to towering dreams of glass and steel that come true every day for the millions of us fortunate to wake up in its embrace. But all flowery prose aside, the hustle and bustle of this City can get to be a little much after a while if we don't make conscious efforts to slow down every now and then - to stop and smell (and buy) the roses, so to speak.
Try this on for size: see how fast you're walking? Slow it down by half, even for just a block or two.
Drop your phone in your pocket for a moment and notice the city around you- the striking architecture- friendly tourists scampering about- artful window displays. Focus on your breathing. Go back to your normal pace slightly more aware and appreciative.
Finding healthy outlets for the background stress and uncertainty in my life has helped me to stay on point, and as a neighborhood expert my clients look to me to share my Best Practices for Happy, Healthy Living.
Manhattan's green markets are a great place to get started when budgeting time to slow down. Natural hues, smells and flavors in themselves have restorative effects on the body and spirit. From the standpoint of stress reduction, making the effort to seek these out from local vendors provides a mission with goals and rewards entirely separate from the pressures of everyday life that we face in NYC, which gives the mind time to rest and heal.
Sometimes it's educational: I learn about new techniques, or new ingredients, or a lesson in history, gardening, or geography. More often- I succumb to a 15 minute stroll around an outdoor market that transports me to another time and place and reminds me how much I live in this often raw, frenetic city.
On the Upper West Side, the Sunday morning farmer's market by the Museum of Natural History is a must. It runs down Columbus Avenue on the East Side of the Avenue between 81st street and 77th Street. Just south of that is the delightful GreenFlea Market at the public school at 100 West 77th Street where you can find anything from vintage clothes to crystal glasses (for next to nothing!) a la Everyday, Affordable, LUXURY. I am here every single Sunday when I am in town. I never leave empty handed- and I always leave happy. Some of my favorite dealers are the spice purveyors and the specialist in treasures from the sea- remarkable seashells and coral and stories of where they were acquired and their rarity.
Downtown the Greenmarket at Union Square is a daily fixture and well worth the visit. From the selection of fresh plants and flowers to farm raised eggs, fresh cheeses and baked goods (my favorite being the carrot cookies from the Upstate Amish farm) the Union Square Greenmarket every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday is one of my favorite places in the city to get lost. A true urban sanctuary.
Set aside more time than you actually think you'll need. Take time for yourself. You deserve it. Balance is the key to happiness. And by all means share your favorite recipes and experiences with me! You can find me on Instagram @MikeLubinNYC, follow me on Twitter @MikeLubin and definitely sign up for my once-weekly newsletter on Happy, Healthy Living!