The church bells ring in the near distance, their sound seeping in through my open window and announcing with a cool breeze that it’s promptly 10 a.m.

It’s also my day off.

I rolled sleepily out of bed at 10:30, which is now considered much later than usual. After a breakfast of eggs and fresh tomato bought from the local out-door market, I gather my purse and the “the usual suspects,” which are several items usually crucial to my purse.

“The Usual Suspects”

1) Map of NYC that has block-by-block directions (thank you Laura Comeau!) - I never know when this thing is going to come in handy.

2) Cell phone and wallet with keys attached - Duh.

3) Brown reporter’s notebook and pin – This book holds phone numbers in case my cell dies, directions to frequently visited spots or new destinations I want to check out, and of course my observations or notes about funny conversations I overhear. There are also calculations from trying to split bills with friends, to-do lists, and random suggestions from even more random people. I’m surprised by how reliant I am on good ol’ pen and paper.

“The Sometimes Suspects” – a.k.a. if my purse allows space

1) Ipod and headphones – depending on how long I’ll be on a train this can be crucial. I HATE hearing people chew in my ear and please Lord don’t pop your gum.

2) The “Not for Tourist” guide with list of banks, cafes, grocery stores, etc. (thanks Brooke Huley!)

3) Mace, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, book, and flip-flips.

So I grab the usuals, plus the Ipod and book . I turn unexpectedly onto the 30th Avenue and run smack into a festival including food from every country, toys, plants, jewelry, and local art. My mind tries to accept reasoning and then…click: Labor Day, of course!

The afternoon was spent taking in Astoria in its prime, and the evening was spent in Union Square with some friends, new and old.

PS – Best deal in NYC: The Crocodile Lounge serves you a FREE 8 inch, homemade personal pizza with every drink ordered. So at happy hour I got a beer and dinner for…yes… grand total = $3!

That’s life… more to come. And Thursday’s “Things New Yorkers Say” is up next ;)