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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

A Tale of Two Cities: New York vs. San Diego (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, September 28, 2018


East coast / west coast comparisons are nothing new. For years conversations have pitted the Big Apple against the City of Angels. But after decades of New Yorkers migrating to L.A. beyond cars versus taxis and subways, is life that different in these two cities?

Sure, L.A. is an industry town while New York is the capital of finance, media, many other businesses, and arguably the world. But over time, the world has gotten smaller and the cultural chasm between these two coastal metropolises has shrunk. In fact, although I am a New Yorker, I feel right at home in L.A.  I can get all the same stuff and I deal with lots of New Yorkers who, by the way, brought their attitudes along when they moved out west.

That said, during the course of a recent two-week trip to San Diego and the gorgeous surrounding area, I noticed major differences between coastal lifestyles than I’ve observed when visiting LA over the past decade or so. In fact, some of those differences in San Diego living reminded me of So Cal back in the 80’s and 90’s. Simply put, San Diego is a picturesque laid-back So Cal city that is not L.A. and nothing like NYC. With this in mind, I offer you a tale of two cities or my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to the Differences between New York and San Diego.

So, in no particular order here’s the insights your Guy’s Guy absorbed over the course of a few vacations to San Diego and a short stint living there back in the 80’s.

1. People – People are people. Every one of us comes from the same source. We all share divinity and deserve to me recognized as such, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, sex, etc. In my opinion, the differences we see in people who live in various places around the planet can be attributed to culture an environment. So, let’s be clear about that and get that issue out of the way first. We are all the same.

That said, life in San Diego versus New York City can be very different and as a result people’s behavior in each city can be very different. San Diego reminds me of how I always saw So Cal: laid back, sunny and warm, gorgeous spaces and healthy people. The pervasive attitude in San Diego is chill and friendly. If you ask someone for directions they come to a full stop, consider your question and do their best to be helpful. When you buy something in a store or visit a restaurant, the staff is polite and friendly, every time.

In NYC, when a tourist asks for directions on the street or in the bowels of the subway, the natives are helpful. But if you are a local and you need help to ask someone something you’ve got to make a real effort to connect with people. And they might even give you shit.

Quick story. The other night, I was heading home on a crowded C train. I saw an empty seat and was ready to sit my ass down when a guy across the car yelled, “No, no!” I did not realize he was speaking to me so as I began to sit down I realized there was an undefined puddle of liquid on the seat. The guy saw my lowering my tush and yelled again, “Man, I told you not to sit down!” Only in New York do people try to help you and then yell at you. I only got one cheek wet and I thanked the guy while he was shaking his head and looking down like I was a total idiot. Hilarious.

New Yorkers move and think fast, real fast. When you attempt to ask a question to a New Yorker, the other person immediately begins qualifying you. While they remove one ear bud, they size you up and ask themselves, “Is this person going to hit me up for money? Does he have a knife? Will he rob me? Is he going to expose himself?” A million thoughts blow through New Yorkers minds when a random person attempts to ask them a question. After you’ve past the “he’s not going to kill me” test, I’ve found most New Yorkers to be empathetic and helpful. But is this a healthy way to live? I’ve gotten used to it over the years, but this hard truth hits home whenever I return to New York after visiting another city or country. The tone of life can be harsh in New York.

Not so in San Diego. People migrate there for the lifestyle and the weather. They like to relax and hang out. They are proud of their city. In fact they love it. I have never heard anyone complain about San Diego, especially the way New Yorkers often bitch and moan about our urban landscape with all its warts. Even New Yorkers who love the city complain about it when warranted, and that is often.

There is also major difference in the level of anxiety between people in the two cities. I was not subjected to any anxiety or anxious people in San Diego. Here in New York, the level of anxiety is palpable. The people and life in general in New York is intense and competitive. Upon my return to New York I noticed a difference in how people communicated to each other, even in friendly situations. There is an underlying level of competitiveness and need for validation. Someone asks you what school you are sending your kid and you find yourself feeling that you need to justify your choice at the risk of being judged by your neighbor. It can be that crazy here.

I reckon a lot of these types of interactions also take place in San Diego-- maybe it’s who lives in the better neighborhood—but I did not experience the same level of nervousness or paranoia as I get in Manhattan.

To me, the people in San Diego seemed a lot happier and relaxed compared to life in New York.

Score a point for SD.

2. The service – When you go out to eat in New York City the service can be harsh, but it is usually efficient. In New York, how many times has a server tried to take your plate away before you are finished eating? Lots of times, right? The good news is restaurant service usually is swift and often works like clockwork no matter how busy a restaurant gets. The waiters can be friendly or gruff, but you’ll rarely wait for your entree or the check. Retail shops are another story. There are some great salespeople in New York, but often the staff in stores can be amazingly unfriendly and borderline rude.

Last night I met a friend for a drink. I’m a boomer. My hair has lots of gray. When I entered the restaurant filled with business people, the guy working there blocked my path. I attempted to sidestep him, but he would not let me pass. He asked for my I.D. I asked him if he was actually carding me and he asked for my ID again. I pointed to my hair. I was way older than him. He told me if I did not like it to go somewhere else. This was an interesting way to treat your customers, but that type of nonsense often happens here. I also notice that many times store staff does whatever they can to prevent you from getting the right price. Like if something is marked on sale and it rings up at the old price or a sales sign offers 30% off and the staff insists the sign should have been moved because the sale has ended or some similar nonsense. We New Yorkers put up with this crap on a regular basis.

Of course there are lots of very nice folks in New York working retail. The issue is training. Staffs need to be taught the importance of being respectful to customers and not viewing the customers as the enemy. But unfortunately in New York, I have often learned that the “the customer is not always right”. Too often customers have to fight for our bargains.

Not so in my limited exposure to San Diego and the surrounding area. The peeps working retail are friendly and polite. Frankly, it does no cost anything to be civil. That said; service is faster and more efficient in NYC.

I’m still going to give another point to San Diego.

3. Food – Overall, the cuisine in New York City is the best and as varied as any city I’ve visited in the world. In New York, you can get anything at any time and it’s usually tasty and fresh. Like everything else, food in New York can be pricey, but you can also find authentic and affordable versions of anything and everything somewhere in the city. New York has it all.

Well, let me rephrase that. We have it all except for good Mexican food. You would think that since Mexican food traveled east in the 80’s that by now we’d have our pick of cheap tasty Mexican food and walk up taco joints that could compete with those on the west coast. But, it never happened.

In San Diego, Encinitas in particular, the food at the Taco Shop is fresh, fast, casual, delicious and cheap. It was just one of a plethora of casual Mexican joints that are better than any Mexican food in New York, and over the years I’ve tried most of the Mexican places in the city.

San Diego also has a Little Italy that is much nicer than the tourist trap in Manhattan. So Cal has many fine dining establishments. But overall, you can’t beat NYC for food. And yes, the pizza is still better here than anywhere.

Let’s give one point for the home team.

4. Real Estate – We all know how expensive it is to live in New York. But, So Cal, and especially the communities south of LA are no bargains. The locals say that you pay for the weather. That’s true, and although you can buy a house for the price of a 2-bedroom condo in Manhattan or Brooklyn, like NYC, it’s going to cost you over a million. During our trip, with Berkshire realtor extraordinaire, Susan Deetman, we explored the lovely coastal communities around Del Mar, Encinitas, and Carlsbad, as well as a few other bedroom communities further inland where the temps are ten degrees hotter and the risk is higher if the economy craters again.

In NYC you can make money by staying ahead of the curve. In other words, in New York you can still find neighborhoods that are ready to turn. We moved to Harlem in 2010, two years after the crash, and we bought a two-bedroom condo a few blocks from Central Park for under a million. In just eight years the price of similar units has doubled as Harlem undergoes its renaissance. Unlike NYC, in San Diego, the only new areas to buy a home moderately cheaper are further from the coast. But, in the areas north of the city of San Diego the public schools are highly rated. Yet, overall it isn’t cheap to live in San Diego, and your investment will not appreciate at the same pace as in NYC.

Another major difference between housing in NYC and San Diego is there is more variety when looking to rent in NYC. You can rent a new condo in downtown San Diego, but the prices are not that different from NYC.

Let’s give another point for New York.

We’ve covered a lot so far in my tale of two cities, but there is a lot more to consider when comparing these wonderful, but very different areas. Next time we’ll match up the beauty of the cities, recreation, entertainment, sports, getting around, weather, and the pace of life.

Until then, this week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is the late Tony Gynn, a former San Diego Padre, true Hall of Fame talent, and one of the greatest hitters in NL history.

10 Cheap Dates In and Around New York City (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, December 08, 2017

No matter where you live, being single and in the market for love in New York City can be expensive. And if you live in Manhattan, the stakes are raised. There are thousands of single people and cocktail and coffee bars in New York, and you can run up some serious debt once you get a taste for the amazing women and all the cool places to go in this town. So you’ve got to use your noodle if you want to be able to save some actual cash for that real relationship you may be gunning for. Dating and relationships cost money, and if you’re in the stage of life where dating is a sport, it can become a very expensive hobby or pastime. A night out with dinner and drinks can easily run up a bill over a few hundred, not even factoring in your Uber, taxi, or the dreaded mass transit ride home. And even if you are only out for drinks, at $20 a pop, two rounds of hipster cocktails and some apps, plus tax and tip can cost a C-note. With wages still stuck at 90’s levels, dating is very costly indeed. Dating should not cost an arm or a leg, and you work hard for the right to meet a few potential new partners a week while in your prime single years. This is when you want to have fun without having to think about what you are ordering and every penny you are spending. That’s a drag.

So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? It’s easy to meet women in this city and even easier to score dates online or through all those apps. But how can you enjoy the company of a pretty lady or two without breaking the bank? Well, amigo, every romance has to start with the proverbial first date, so you need alternatives to drinks at the latest mixologist lounge. Like free bar finger food, you Guy’s Guy will offer up timeless starters for first dates that will help you get to know and make a good first impression without the stress of emptying your wallet or crypto-currency account. So, I have picked out ideas to help you get to know someone new without busting your budget. I’m also assuming that the Guy’s Guys reading this will at man up and offer to pay for a first date with a young lady who has caught their eye. I’m going to start with five options this week, hoping you give at least one of them a try before I toss out another five your way next time.

Drum roll please… 

1. The High Line – Way, way back, what is now known as the High Line used to be a railroad that shipped goods between the Meatpacking District and the rail yards near the docks adjacent to West 34th Street. The rails stayed put after the trading and shipping along the lines stopped years ago. During the late nineties, a group of smart New Yorkers, including David Bowie, decided it was time to clear away the overgrowth and turn the High Line into an above ground pedestrian walkway. It was a brilliant vision, and soon the money flowed in so that the work could begin. The transformation was handled in chunks as sections beginning around West Street and worked north until the project reached completion this year. And what a job they did. The High Line is a gorgeous path that winds its way a level above the far west side of the city through various condo projects and the Hudson Yards. It takes about thirty minutes to walk and at a cost of zero it’s hard to beat. If you want to break for refreshments there’s a brewery and a number of coffee houses and cafes along the way. The High Line is a fantastic first date location that won’t cost you a dime if you don’t feel like stopping for a brew or a cup of Joe.  

2. Central Park – Okay, so this isn’t new like the High Line, but having traveled the world, I can’t think of a better place to run, walk, enjoy gardens, fountains or flowers, play tennis or softball, throw a Frisbee, walk a dog, take a boat ride, go bird watching, hike a trail, see a puppet show, or take in a zoo than glorious Central Park. And, almost everything you do in the park is free. The park spans from Fifth Avenue on the East Side to Eighth Avenue on the West Side and from 59th Street to 110th. It’s a big, vast, and it gets better and better every year. If you are looking for a solid pick for a first date or meet up, consider all the options the park provides. 

3. Koreatown – The 32nd Street strip predominately between Fifth and Avenue of the Americas in Midtown is home to what’s often referred to as K-Town. The restaurants on the street level serve delicious, savory, healthy hot meals at great prices. On the higher levels you’ll find bars and karaoke clubs where you can drink and sing with people from all over the world. And the women are very pretty. There are lots and lots of places to choose for great food and drink and K-town is relatively inexpensive. 

4. Battery Park City – Although New Yorkers usually think of this downtown West Side strip of land as a boring, residential oasis, it’s actually a very nice area to walk along the water and take in the sights, or grab a bite or a brew. You can to learn how to sail, sit at one of the many outdoor cafes, or stroll further downtown through the sparkling new Oculus transportation hub and Brookfield Place with its many shops and restaurants. For a cheap first date it’s hard to beat a walk along the ever-improving waterfront or taking a Water Taxi to another stop along the coastline. And when there is a lot of gorgeous nature to take in with your eyes, it becomes easier to manage how much green is coming out of your wallet. 

5. Harlem – After spending a year looking for a place to live, seven years ago I moved from Midtown to Southwest Harlem. And I have never looked back. It’s a wonderful place to live. Don’t call it SoHa, though. Eighth Avenue turns into Frederick Douglass Boulevard after the circle on 110th Street. FDB, as it is known, functions as an entry point to Harlem for a surprising number of New Yorkers who have no idea what to expect or where to go when they head uptown for the first time. One of the great things about Harlem is that most of the buildings, even the newer condos, top off at around twelve floors. This creates a significantly more open purview than Midtown and the streets and avenues below in Manhattan. Although Harlem is filled with lots of history and art, if you are coming here for a first date, I suggest you begin with a walk along FDB north between 110th and 125th or up one of the blocks nearby. This gives you easy access to more options while you’re on a first date and probably learning your way around the hood. There are a number of bars and restaurants along FDB on this strip that won’t empty your budget. Harlem is not cheap, but it is not nearly as expensive as Midtown. You can also take a walk along the Harlem Meer near 110th Street in Central Park or check out the Lasker Rink for a swim or a skate depending on the time of year.

You have five very different options to consider for a cheap first date, and we’re only halfway done. Next time I’ll offer up five more hot and cool locales for you. After that, amigo, you’re on your own. I’ll hold off on naming our Guy’s Guy of the Week until part two of this post. So, now you’ve got a week until I reveal the next five options, so get out there give one or two places a try, and let me know what you think.

Six Hacks to Beat the Heat

Robert Manni - Friday, August 25, 2017


It was ninety degrees in New York City as I sat naked at my writing station. And it felt great.

But here’s the catch—even when it’s hot as hell outside I stay cool the old school way by just keeping the windows open. No AC, not even a ceiling fan humming. Yes, I sweat, amigos, but I feel alive. As you can tell, I dig the heat, but I also like staying cool. I also believe thinking out of the box and using contrarian techniques when fighting those dog days of summer. With that in mind, here are your Guys’ Guy’s hacks to beating the heat.  Some may seem obvious, while others may make you scratch your head. But these have been deployed with success by yours truly so let’s get to them right now before I need to take another shower.

1. Hydrate – Studies show that almost 80% of Americans are dehydrated. And, aging is directly connected to dehydration. So if you want to get older even faster than you will, don’t hydrate. You’ll get old and wrinkly before your time. There is an easy solution though. Drink lots and lots of liquids, and especially water during the summer months. I know it can be a pain in the ass, but carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Water provides a critical component of your body’s cooling system. Instead of drinking tap water, which in the vast majority of communities has been proven to hold too many carcinogens, my wife and I use a Zero filter at home. We also make “living water” by placing a pitcher of filtered H2O on a bed of ancient crystals that are billions of years old. We purchase these mini stones online and they activate the water. We also take Mega Hydrate capsules. These little capsules provide the body with negatively charged ions, they may slow aging, while increasing the absorption of hydration elements in the body. Check them out online. Hydration is rule number one in maintaining your cool and health during these hot, sticky months. Stay away from sugary drinks, soda, and even alcohol as much as possible. You don’t need the sugar and alcohol speeds up dehydration. I like a margarita or a cold beer, but it’s got to be in moderation.

2. Dress to chill – Dressing appropriately during a heat wave seems like a smart idea, but in a city like New York people have trouble switching from their black outfits to lighter colors no matter what the temperatures are outside. I still marvel at folks wearing all black, long sleeves, and heavyweight jeans when its 95 degrees outside.  It never changes. But this obsession with black is not for me in the summer. As soon as the temps pass seventy-five degrees, I ditch my dark clothes, my underwear depending on the situation, long sleeves, and long pants also depending on the situation. I remember my early days in the city in the eighties when people in advertising still wore suits every damn day. I can still feel my body dripping with sweat while I’d stand on the subway platform in my suit and tie. It was horrible, and I was drenched before I got to the agency. I’m so glad we’ve made some progress there. But guys in the banking, insurance or legal professions still have to suit up. It looks good, but what a drag. And who came up with the idea of wearing a necktie? What a douche. If you’re still wearing a jacket and tie to work, at least buy tropical weight suits. Me? Whenever I can get away with it, you’ll find me in a short-sleeved shirt, a pair of shorts, and lightweight sneakers or sandals. Since I keep my hair close cropped, I also bring along a hat to protect my noggin from the searing sun.

3. Ditch the AC – This may sound crazy, but I firmly believe in the body’s ability to adjust its internal thermostat. Sure, there are times when the temps are unbearable and you need that AC cranking. I’ve found that if I am outdoors I adjust pretty easily to the heat and when I’m indoors I feel better when I’m being cooled by a ceiling fan versus an air conditioner. When I’m home alone, even when it is really steamy outside, I forego the AC and simply go full commando in my crib, like right now. Don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it. The main point is that, for me at least, the AC plays games with my body’s thermostat. I find that I come down with random summer colds that I’m sure are related to going from an environment with blasting AC into the heat and then back again. It feels unnatural to me and my body never seems to properly adjust quickly enough to those changes in temperature. I do better when I put my body in charge of cooling itself.

4. Get a haircut – I realize that hipsters rule these days, but those big bushy haircuts and wooly beards look real hot to me. I keep my facial trimmer at level two and make sure I shave down to that point at least once a week throughout the summer.  And bacteria builds up in those hairier parts if we don’t keep ourselves cool and clean.

5. Think cooling thoughts – Don’t dismiss this one. The incidence of violent crimes escalates during the hot months. It’s because people get heated up mentally as well as physically. The mind is very powerful. There’s a reason behind the terms, “blowing your stack” or “things getting heated up.” It’s because our minds play a role in how we feel. So if your thoughts are pleasurable and chill, you’ll feel the difference in how you handle the heat and humidity. I begin each day with a series of affirmations and I do my best to meditate for thirty minutes each day and journal any spiritual thoughts and feeling that may bubble up throughout the day. This practice helps me to keep things in perspective, when the temps are soaring. Another way to cool your mind is to read a book, preferably while sitting in the shade of a tall oak tree.

6. Sweat - Here is another contrarian concept. It’s baking hot outside you go for a long run to cool down. Sounds nuts? It’s not as long as the weather is not too, too hot for any kind of physical activity, sweating is very healthy and it will keep you cooler. When it’s too hot outdoors, hit the gym and work up a good sweat. Your body has a natural way of cooling down. It’s called perspiration and it works very well. During the summer months one of my favorite activities is to get up early, before it gets too hot, and go for a long slow run around Central park or along the boardwalk if I am near the beach. After my run I’ll go for a swim in the ocean, hit the chilled waters of Lasker Pool, or head home and take a long shower to cool down. During the day, when I get hot, I drink water and jump in the shower every few hours.

These are but a few ways to stay cool when the weather heats up and the summer gets long, hot, and humid. Like right now.  What’s important to beat the heat is staying hydrated, maintaining your cool under pressure, and thinking contrarian when seeking ways to perspire and cool down. The summers in New York City are long, and hot, and sticky, but we get through it every year. In a few months we’ll be griping about the rain and the cold while counting the days until next summer. So enjoy the hot weather while you can, amigos. The summer goes by quickly.

This week’s GUYS’ GUYS OF THE WEEK are people like me who thrive in the heat and when under pressure. Some, like your Guy’s Guy, like it hot while others are shade-seeking creatures. It’s all good, so let’s give it up to all of the hot shots that are actually really cool. Peace out until next time.  

Do I Stay or Do I Go? (5 Reasons to Leave NYC, 5 Reasons to Stay)

Robert Manni - Thursday, August 03, 2017


Although more and more people are moving out of New York, it feels like the city gets more crowded every day.

The first few years of living in New York is a love affair. But over time it can turn into a love-hate affair. When I was a kid, my dad worked in the Empire State Building. New York was a beacon to me. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I knew I would live and work there when I grew up. After graduating college I knocked around suburbia for a few years before landing a job in the city. Whoot! I was a young buck working at global corporation in huge skyscraper in midtown traveling the globe selling bubble gum. Since then, I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else but New York. That is, until now. After a few decades of city living and finally settling down and having a child, city life has changed. These days, my wife and I are discussing our future and we’re not sure if New York City is going to be part of it. We’ve done so much here, but there is so much more out there for our son and us. So soon, we may be saying adios to NYC.

I don’t want to move and find myself bored with the pace of a So Cal beach town, freezing my ass off in New Hampshire, or feeling like I’m much too far way in New Zealand. I also don’t want to be so jaded to think that there is no other place to live besides NYC. And although I grew up in New Jersey, sorry Chris Christie, but I do not want to return to my roots in the Garden State. I’ve had enough of the tri-sate area.

So, I’ve mapped a handful of the pros and cons of living in the big city and whether or not it is time to move out. To stay or leave NYC is a big decision, so let’s explore the criteria.

REASONS TO STAY IN NYC

1. NYC is a 24/7 playground - There is always something to do in New York. Unless you want some quiet time, being bored is virtually impossible in a city that never sleeps. If you dig people, they are out and about at all hours of the day and night. If you don’t believe me, hop on a subway at midnight and chances are it will be overflowing with people coming home or going out. If you’re the type of person that often gets that late night itch to find some action or some great food, there is no better city in the world than NYC. Once you become accustomed to the lifestyle and having all the resources at your fingertips, it’s hard to fathom living anywhere else in the world.

2. The people, the energy, the culture - New Yorkers are a high-energy, purposeful, intelligent, and cultured group. People with that purpose-driven mindset come here from every other country to follow their dreams and become part of the fabric of this amazing city. We’ve got some crazies here, but that’s understandable when you jam eight million people together and expect them to fall into some semblance of order and organization. Over the years I’ve had neighbors from every continent on Earth all drawn to New York like flies to honey. And there is no other city in the world with the cultural diversity of New York. Open any issue of Time Out New York and hands down you’ll find more things to do and places to go for the arts, music, theater, and film than anywhere else.  You get four real seasons and you can hit the beach, the slopes, or a golf course relatively easily from midtown.

3. The food, the drink – Not only does New York offer indigenous foods and drinks from every culture on Earth, it’s also a leader in inventing and fusing new foods and cocktails, whether it’s Korean tacos, cronuts, or alcohol-infused ice cream. If it’s new and it tastes good, it usually starts here. And, you can get it delivered at any hour of the day or night. Check plus, plus.

4. If you can make it there… - Deep down, I think every New Yorker carries pride knowing they are making their mark in arguably the toughest arena in the world. Unlike life in other areas of the country, many New Yorkers live to work and take pride in being the best in their jobs. Of course all work and no play gets old, so most careerists know how to cut loose in their down time, often in extreme ways. If you don’t believe me, check out the action at the clubs and after-hours dens of diversions in sex, gambling, and other extreme activities. If you’ve got an itch for something edgy, yeah, you’ll find it here.

5. It’s constantly changing – If someone asked me what’s the one thing that I’ve learned that stands out about living close to three decades in New York, I’d have to say that New York City never stops moving, evolving and changing its shape. Nobody can keep up with the city, even if a lot of New Yorkers roll 24/7/365. No one person has the time, stamina or resources to harness the pulse of this ever-changing magical city. Hot new neighborhoods like Hudson Yards and Gowanus pop up like weeds all over the city.

There. I’ve laid out a strong case for living in and never, ever leaving New York. If only life was so simple. There is a big wide world out there, amigos and it’s important to know when it’s time to pack up the caravan and move on.

REASONS TO LEAVE NYC

1. The rent, and every thing else is too damn high – Can you really afford to pay $3,000 a month for a studio in midtown or would you rather live with four random roommates in a two bedroom walk up in Bed Stuy? That’s just the tip of the financial iceberg that impacts your quality of life in New York City. New Yorkers can handle it, but after awhile living like you did in college gets old. New Yorkers like convenience so they eat out for most of their meals. That along with cocktails, the daily Starbucks, and a trip to Whole Foods on the way home gets expensive. Unless you are a savvy New Yorker who has been here long enough to stay ahead of the housing trends, it’s tough to keep yourself out of debt when you are renting, raving, and rolling in the clubs until dawn and all the while working a backbreaking entry-level job. Over the past few decades the situation has gotten worse. Unless you got a break on a Wall Street job, most kids fresh out of college to wheel and deal and improvise just to find a place to live, and that sucks. Back in the day, you might have to live uptown or on the west side, but at least you could plant some roots and live relatively comfortably with some privacy when starting out. That’s tough now. Almost a deal breaker if you ask me. I would not want to have to commute from the depths of Brooklyn or the Bronx for an entry-level position. I always managed to live near my office and relatively close to the nighttime action. I’m not sure that’s possible these days. And it’s very expensive raising a child in this town. Swimming lessons go for $50 a half hour. That’s just the beginning, folks.

2. Mass transit is worse than purgatory – Unless you have a trust fund to draw on or a corporate Uber card, you are probably using the subway. Over the past few decades the subways have gotten way more crowded, and much less reliable. And now we’re in the mass transit “summer from hell”. Very simply, riding the subway sucks more than ever. The cars are dirty, unreliable, and overcrowded, even in the dead of night. New Yorkers, and human beings in general, deserve better. Did I mention subway service on the weekends? Hahahaha. For a long-time New Yorker, traveling by mass transit has become a sore point and an actual embarrassment that is below the standards of a quality of life that New Yorkers deserve. And I don’t see the situation improving.

3. The noise, the lights, the crowds – After three decades you’d think I’d be used to the sounds of pounding jackhammers and blaring sirens at all day and night. Nope. Where I live uptown, we are also treated to churn of motorbikes plowing down the streets at all hours. All the lights from the streets and businesses that stay open all night make it challenging for us New Yorkers to get a proper night’s rest. By now I’ve learned to sleep through anything but why should I have to shut my windows to dull the roar from the crowds outside the bars at 3 am? Did I mention the lines New Yorkers stand in for a cool movie, event, or a bargain? I now pass on anything requiring me to stand in line, unless they are giving out free money or sex.

4. City living can be toxic – New York City living is a stress-inducing experience. Don’t discount the effects of living in a cramped metropolis filled with all types of Wi-Fi, radiation, and radio waves bouncing around and throughout the entire city. Humans soak this stuff into our bodies and over time it collects in our systems and causes havoc to our health. Recent studies show that our once-thought-as-wonderful city drinking water is filled with carcinogens and heavy metals. Get a water filter and walk in the park whenever possible. And even though New York has come a long way since 9/11, it is still number one target for terror.

5. Been there, done that – Black outs, 9/11, hurricanes, massive snowstorms, a garbage strike, the AIDS crisis, sweltering heat waves, and blinding rain and floods have all been part of my life in New York City. Like Mick Jagger sang, “I’m in tatters”, after surviving these tumultuous years. After decades of running wild and finally settling, there comes a point of diminishing returns for living in the big city. It’s that, “do I really want to put up with this shit?” feeling when you’re dealing with the cable company, mass transit delays, broken elevators at the train station, “show time” on a crowded subway, or witnessing general bad behavior on the street in front of your kids. This stuff gives even the most ardent New Yorker pause about continuing to live in this crazy town. Admit it. You’ve thought about living elsewhere.

So where does this leave me? I’ve put myself on a two-year plan before making a final decision about leaving New York. After working for major corporations, ad agencies, start ups, I’m not sure if I want another nine to five gig in the city. Nowadays businesses no longer require employees to come into the office every day. More and more jobs are done virtually, so it doesn’t matter where you live. I’ve done or tried just about everything I’ve wanted to in this city. So I ask myself, why not cash in and check out of New York to start a more peaceful life with my wife and kid somewhere less interesting, but saner? It’s a decision I will be considering over the next twenty-four months. Until then, I’ll keep fighting the good fight. Now I’ve got to go back into the bowels of the sweltering subway and get on that filthy C train to take my kid to his expensive swimming lesson.

This week’s Guys’ Guy’s Guys of the Week are all the folks who have taken the leap and lived in the New York City. Some like it hot and some do not, but everyone here adds a bit of spice to this human zoo. I’ll see you in the crowded streets, amigos!

How to Find Peace Anywhere, Even New York City

Robert Manni - Friday, August 05, 2016


“If you can find peace here, you can find peace anywhere”.

That’s not Frank. It’s your Guy’s Guy. And it’s true. It’s possible to live a serene, drama-free lifestyle in New York City.

One way to find peace is to sit near the ocean watching the sea and listening to the waves crash against the shoreline. After a few short minutes you will definitely calm down. Another surefire way to quiet the mind is resting under a lotus tree on a remote mountainside. But how can we find bliss when we spend portions of our day, not on a mountaintop, but wedged into a sweaty, overcrowded 6 train during rush hour?

No worries. Finding peace in New York City is not as difficult as you may think. Over the years I have found a number of ways to stay calm and find tranquility, even in the city’s unusually stressful environment. So, I wanted to share are a few tips to help you chill. I’ve included a few of my faves and old standbys, and some new techniques I’ve recently picked up. And, trust me amigo, they all work if you have the right mindset and truly want to slow things down, even if it’s only for a short time. So without further adieu, here are your Guys’ Guy’s Tips for Finding Peace Anywhere, even in New York City.

1. Limit your media consumption – Everyone in New York is inundated with an endless barrage of media—internet, iPhones, television, text messages, Instagram, radio, podcasts, video games, newspapers, and all of the advertising that accompanies it. Every day we're clubbed and have our faces rubbed i[ a mixed mush of Trump, Isis, Hillary, and the damn Zika virus. You can’t even take a piss in a bar without seeing ads selling you the beer you just eliminated. It’s a vicious cycle.

In advertising, our aim is capitalize on feelings of lack to sell crap you really don’t need. Media takes things to another level. It preys upon our fears. Their strategy seems to be, “let’s scare the shit out of them so they’ll stay tuned”, hoping for a solution to the world’s problems. But as we know, whenever one problem is solved, lots more enter the trending news cycle. When people fall under this spell of doom and gloom it becomes close to impossible to find peace or solace.

There is one thing you can do to help alleviate the issue. Make sure you find the time to unplug every day. Be mindful of your work, but afterwards make it a goal to go old school. Don’t check your the phone every ten seconds, take a breather offline, have a real conversation, and see if you can leave the office without plugging in your ear buds. I know that’s tall order for millennials in a hyper-connected city like ours, but unplugging can make a big difference in elevating your mood and soothing your feelings of anxiety.

2. Replace it with literature, music, film, and art – One can argue that surfing the internet is reading, and most of the time, surfing the internet does consist of reading. But let’s consider what we’re reading when we’re online. Snarky Facebook posts about the election, what people had for lunch, or the latest news about Bernie Sanders, Kanye, Beiber, or the Kardashians probably won’t help your inner peace or sanity. Books and other art forms can help you find the peace you're seeking, if you consume peaceful content. Porn, ultra-violent graphic novels, speed metal, and Tarantino films are not recommended when you want to add peace to your day.

3. Walk more – Buses are slow. Subways are filthy and curtailed by delays. Taxis and Uber can get expensive quickly. And all these modes of transportation create stress. Want some peace? Over the years I have found that walking whenever possible does wonders for your heart, relaxes you, helps you learn the city, and is a great way to either start your day or de-stress after a tough go at the office. Of course there are times when we need to take public transportation or call Uber. But if you pay attention, you’ll find ample opportunities to walk instead of riding that stinky C train. And, over time you may find yourself steering your walks towards the more scenic urban landscapes like our wonderful parks. 

4. Meditate, do yoga, get physical – I find that twenty minutes of meditation or yoga helps alleviate stress and fosters peace. If a high intensity cardio workout can help get you into a zone where you can find clarity, then go for it. Any physical activity that requires focus also works to quiet that noise and monkey chatter in your mind.

5. Find tranquil settings – I’ve worked in most areas of Manhattan except for Wall Street. And having traversed almost every inch of Manhattan, I know enough to avoid Times Square, Midtown, and the financial district whenever possible. Between selfie-obsessed tourists, cartoon characters, and workers marching to and from the office texting and yapping into their cellphones, I steer clear of these over-populated sections of the city. If you are forced to spend time in one of these congested areas because of your job, if you look you will find a few mini-oasis and quiet places to sit, some with urban waterfalls. Weather permitting; stepping outside during your lunch hour or on a break does wonders for your mood.

6. Breathe – If you only do one thing to help you find peace in the city, make it being conscious of your breathing. Each time you can sit quietly for a moment, walk down the street, or when you’re feeling angst creep in, focus on your breath. Concentrate on breathing in and breathing out. Do this for a minute or two and I assure you that you will find a brief respite from your daily struggles. Simply pay attention to your breathing. The more you do it, the more bliss you will find. It’s that easy, amigos. Peace out.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Sri Dharma Mittra. He is a wise and peaceful yoga teacher who has an amazing studio on 23rd Street in Manhattan and followers worldwide. 

Four Things about NYC I Could Do Without

Robert Manni - Friday, April 15, 2016


With the risk of dating myself, the year I moved into the city Madonna’s “Borderline” was a hit on MTV. Although I grew up in northern New Jersey and have traveled the world, over the past few decades your Guy’s Guy has become an authentic bona fide New Yorker. I’m not talking about the Hillary Clinton kind of New Yorker who comes from Illinois and needs five swipes of her borrowed Metro card to make her way through the turnstile. I’m talking about a night crawling, tar beach sun tanning, pizza eating, Yankees loving, roach killing, after midnight subway riding, “You lookin’ at me?” kind of urban warrior who has survived and thrived in the world’s greatest city for the past thirty years. Yeah, I’m that kind of New Yorker, amigo. And if you’ve read my blog you know that I adore this crazy-ass town. So, having been there and done that while putting up with the noise, trash, corruption, rats, blackouts, economic downturns, and even the 80’s, I claim my right to criticize my fair city when criticism is due.  You can call me a crank or the guy who shouts, “Get off of my lawn”, but I’ve earned my due, so at least listen up.

With all that in mind, I give you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Things That Can Suck about New York. Drum roll, please…

1. Weekend subway service- Are you kidding me? Who wants to spend an extra hour or two milling around the 14th station waiting for a severely overcrowded A train on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon? Weekend train service in New York is a chaotic mash up of delays, re-routed trains, and more delays. And as everyone knows, unless the station has Wi-Fi, hanging out on the platform watching rats scamper back and forth makes for anything but a winning weekend afternoon. The fares keep going up and the service keeps going down. These are the same complaints New Yorker’s had when I first moved in to the city all those years ago. Enough already. And, I’m not even getting into the filthy, often broken elevators that usually smell of urine. MTA, get your act together. More trains, cleaner trains, cleaner stations, clearer announcements…

2. Manhattan keeps losing its character- Although I love the other boroughs and get the whole Brooklyn thing; I’ve always lived in Manhattan. When you come from New Jersey, the city always meant Manhattan with all of its different neighborhoods and quirks. And the one constant about Manhattan is that it keeps changing. Unfortunately, over time Manhattan has grown bigger, taller, more structured and sanitized. It’s never boring, but I preferred the times when independent shops and cool neighborhoods had a chance to thrive. Not anymore. Now in every hood there might be a Chucky Cheese, Baby Gap, and definitely a bank or drug chain store on every corner. That is boring. Nowadays you have to look hard and dig deep to still find that gritty NYC character in Manhattan. I live in Harlem, which still yields an old school vibe, although the coffee shops and bearded hipsters have finally discovered my neighborhood. Oh well, at least the value of my apartment has skyrocketed. Maybe I’ll move to the South Bronx next. Maybe not.

3. Rising cost of living – Although New York has the best variety of restaurants in the entire world, unless I am on an expense account I don’t go out as before to eat and drink. I don’t believe in paying twenty bucks (tax and tip included) for a good tasting cocktail or $300 to eat a GMO meal for two at a decent restaurant with loud music. And you know that the louder the music is, the worse the food. And rent prices in Manhattan are beyond ridiculous. A cup of coffee and a designer doughnut runs you ten bucks. A take out lunch is about $12. A haircut? Forgetaboutit! I bought a Wahl trimmer and it works just fine, thank you.

4. Noise and bright lights – I often hear jackhammers pounding on Sunday nights at midnight. Really. There seems to be no laws, or at least laws that are enforced about noise in this city. I live in a residential neighborhood, but the ultra hip coffee house around the corner stays open until 4am and features live music or dee jays seven nights a week. Before calling 311 to lodge a complaint, I asked the owner if she could turn the music down a bit after midnight. Her response was classic New York, in a bad way. She suggested that the next time I thought the music was too loud I should let her know so she could come up to my apartment, go into my bedroom and listen for herself. At which point she would tell me that the music wasn’t loud.

My other peeve is bright lights and such on the walls of residential neighborhoods. People seem to think you can project anything anywhere in this city. Last year a new chicken joint owned by a famous television chef opened on my corner. Seeing that the building across the street, which faced my apartment, was blank, they began showing a thirty-foot high video loop featuring a mash up of urban culture mixed with footage of chicken breasts basting in a pan or proudly strutting around every night, all night. I complained through 311and also deployed social media posts until thankfully, the videos were pulled. But no blank space can be left alone. The same building has been refurbished and the wall in question now has super-bright LED light strips shining directly towards my home. Just because people and business owners can’t leave any open space alone. 

Although I enjoyed getting that out of my system, I did not even take on traffic, parking, Times Square, Port Authority, over flowing trashcans, dog shit and bikes on the sidewalk, etc.  If I keep going I may end up moving back to Jersey. Nope, I think I’ll take a deep breath and get back to extolling the virtues of my favorite city. Peace.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Mike Bloomberg, who over 12 years made a real difference in amenities and the overall quality of life in the city, even at the expense of some of the local character that we all miss in Manhattan. Of well, in New York, you can’t have everything. 

The Five Best Things about New York that go Overlooked

Robert Manni - Friday, January 29, 2016


Our city really is a helluva town. Where else at 2am can you hear the pounding of jackhammers outside your bedroom window or savor a bowl of spicy squid and noodles at a jam-packed midtown restaurant? If you’re Guy’s Guy, there are few better places to live. I know, I know. At times a Guys’ Guy’s patience gets tested by the randomness of this crazy city. But despite the less than lackluster subway service on the weekends and the stench of the uncollected garbage we too often inhale from the overflowing corner trashcans, there are many uncelebrated perks about living in our little town worthy of a shout out. So here’s to the things about living in New York City that we enjoy, but often fail to acknowledge as reasons why New Yorkers love this damn town so much.

1. Trees, trees, trees – Former Mayor Bloomberg did an amazing thing when he announced a goal of planting one million trees across the five boroughs within five years. He actually surpassed his goal by a few hundred thousand and the movement keeps rolling. If you look around you while traversing the streets you can’t help but notice the plethora of new trees lining the sidewalks of any borough in our sprawling city. Like most New Yorkers who aren’t billionaires, I live in a neighborhood that is undergoing steady gentrification. The city has done a lot of sprucing up the area by planting trees along the main streets and it really makes a difference. Five years from now, things will look amazing. And, unlike the seventies and eighties, our parks are now constantly cared for with ongoing planting and pruning of the landscapes. Central Park, Morningside Park and Prospect Park have never looked better. Which brings me to my second point…

2. Hudson River Park and the Highline – For many years I lived on the far West Side of Midtown. To put it mildly, the scene in the vicinity of the waterfront was barren, broken-down, and depressing. But little by little, over the past twenty years, the spaces along the water have slowly and steadily been revamped. It’s been an ongoing evolution, but the results are revolutionary for anyone who inhabited these areas back in the day. Because the re-engineering of the many miles along the waterfront encircling Manhattan has taken so long, it’s easy to forget what a shit hole it used to be. Today, there are new piers, playgrounds, and places to catch some rays. You can ride your bike, go for a run, or take your family on a picnic while watching the boats roll along the Hudson River. All this, and it's still a work in progress. The same can be said of the Highline, which started as a vision and a dream, but over time became a beautiful reality and now a destination for New Yorkers and the thousands of tourists from around the globe who visit our city. Sure it gets crowded, but this is New York, amigo. Smile, and go with the flow.

3. You can walk everywhere – Like many great European cities, New York is a unique American city in that you don’t need a car. You can either walk or take mass transit anywhere at anytime. How cool is working to and from work? And how much fun is walking to and home from a date, and maybe even cutting through Central Park? It’s awesome. Sure, the subways get overcrowded during rush hour, but it’s a lot better than sitting in traffic and pumping your own gas. Take that, L.A.

4. It's an underrated place to live for seniors – Surprise. It used to be that South Florida was the place for retirees. And during most of my time living in Manhattan I’ve constantly reminded myself to get before I got too old. But now I see that unlike many boring suburban communities with little access to culture besides what’s gleaned online or on the television, New York is jam-packed with museums, concerts, theater, and international cuisine. The city also offers many resources for seniors like Access-A –Ride, discounted metro cards and community outreach programs. And between the discounted MTA fares and walking, it’s relatively easy for most seniors to get around. Of course there are the harsh winters, but New York has four distinctly different seasons to break up the monotony of the 85-degree heat in Broward County, Florida or Arizona. And, our city parks are beautiful all year round.

5. It's a great place for kids – I live five blocks from Central Park and two blocks from Morningside Park. That means my son has access to over a dozen playgrounds on any given day. And, unlike adults, toddlers get to express their sense of adventure happily riding the subway or a bus. We can be almost anywhere in Manhattan within thirty minutes. Granted, raising a kid properly in NYC can be an expensive proposition, but where else can a kid go to daycare and get full Mandarin immersion or interact with all the diverse ethnicities and cultures that NYC offers? It truly is a word class city for educating a kid, and as mentioned, the parks and the playgrounds are pristine. I have more choices for taking out my little boy than I’d have in New Jersey, and we never have to deal with traffic.

I may be rooting for the home team, but truthfully, I’m only scratching the surface about the many underappreciated aspects of living in New York. So next time you’re dodging a pile of slush while entering a crosswalk after a snowstorm, trying to weave around a pack of tourists in Midtown, or waiting endlessly for a dirt-ridden C train to show up on a Sunday, take a moment and consider some of the underappreciated perks you get by living in the city like that beautiful woman or dude standing next to you on the platform. Cheers.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is former Mayor Bloomberg. In retrospect, he did a great job sprucing up the town and the economy. I did not like him telling us how big our soft drinks could be, and I don’t even drink soft drinks, but overall he did a damn good job in taking New York to the next level as a world class city. In fact, is there any better city?

10 Tips for Wellness at Any Age

Robert Manni - Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Guy’s Guys like staying healthy and fit, so consider this a greatest hits package for your wellbeing.

Over the past few years I have devoted a number of blog posts to relationships not just relationships between people, but the relationship between our body, mind, and spirit. Your Guy’s Guy will be migrating to new topics to write about, so I wanted to summarize the learning I’ve gleaned from reading, interviewing guests on Guy's Guy Radio, and from personal experiences, including a few health challenges. Guy’s Guys believe in paying it forward, but take these insights as you see fit. I’m not delving deep into the science behind these nuggets—there is ample material online and offline you can find supporting these suggestions.

So, in no particular order here is a summary of what I’ve learned over the past few years about staying healthy and fit. Drum roll, please…

1. Hydrate. Our bodies are composed of two-thirds water. Aging is dehydrating. Think about all of the old people who cross your path. Over time, a lack of drinking enough water speeds aging because our bodies dry up. Experts suggest we consume a minimum of eight 12-ounce glasses of water per day. That does not factor in incremental hydration needs from working out or drinking beers with your friends. Now, how many of you are quaffing the right amount of water on a regular basis?

2. Eat organic. Let’s face it, most of the food offered in the supermarket is processed, GMO-based or lacking in micronutrients due to the time it takes to get the food to the supermarket. It is now estimated that 96% of consumers in America are undernourished when it comes to micronutrients. The solution, and it is the only solution, is to choose organic and locally grown food whenever possible. Never eat farm-raised fish. Even the EPA suggests that we should only consume one serving of farmed salmon every six weeks! If that doesn't open your eyes to how messed our food supply has become, take a look around at the growing cadre of obese people we see and think about all the folks with auto-immune diseases, adult diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. This is just the tip of the health iceberg, so it’s time to choose your foods wisely, amigos.

3. Walk. One of my favorite things about living in the city is that I get to walk around a lot. And I love walking the streets of New York…at least most of the time. I avoid cluster-f-cks like Times Square and Fifth Avenue due to the out-of-control influx of random tourists now, but for the most part, walking the streets of New York is stimulating, great exercise, and a superb way to learn your way around town. When I first moved into Manhattan back in the eighties, every Sunday I would walk from my flat on West 34th Street to Chinatown for lunch before taking a different route home. I'm also referring to taking the stairs instead of the escalator and not clogging up the stinky elevators at the express subway stops. They're not there for lazy people who could use the exercise of walking up the stairs. They are for parents with strollers, seniors, and people with disabilities. Period. Sorry, I have a toddler and I had to mention that.

4. Rest. What ever happened to eight hours of sleep? If you are a city dweller with a high-stress job and a penchant for going out on the town a few nights per week, you're probably not getting more than five or six hours of sleep. Over time, this adds up in a bad way and eventually falling into a deep, restful asleep becomes a challenge. Consider grabbing a power nap whenever you can spare 30 minutes. It helps. And by all means treat yourself to at least one evening per week of staying home and hitting the sack early. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your batteries recharge.

5. Meditate. Mediation is a gift. It will clear your mind, keep your cool, and unleash your inner self for guidance. Sounds ethereal? Maybe, but over time, this age-old practice has been considered one of the most important ways to stay physically, mentally, and spiritually sound. Many people think that they're not capable of meditating. Their mental monkey chatter has taken over and they cannot quiet their minds. Here’s a tip. Limit your media intake. Don’t worry about having so many incessant random thoughts when you meditate. Like clouds, they will pass across your mental skyline and dissipate. If you stick to it, over time these monkey mind thoughts will lessen and you will become a blank slate. That’s when you get answers. Just let go, amigo, and the universe is yours.

6. Run. I live near Central Park and there is no better training run than the outer 6.2-mile loop circumnavigating the park. It’s filled with rolling hills, beautiful scenery and lots of good-looking runners. And it never gets any easier. I realize people break down and due to injuries many have to forego running by the age of forty, but if you don’t have any physical limitations, a run in the park, no matter the distance, is a great tonic for the body and mind.

7. Eliminate sugar. Sugar is the enemy, people. It’s a killer and it is hidden and disguised as corn syrup or other terms in almost all of the processed foods we eat. It causes obesity, diabetes, and other issues for the heart, blood, and organs. Scientists say that over 85% of Americans suffer from hidden Candida (yeast) overgrowth due to sugar consumption. And, folks, we see how many obese people there are today who are breaking down with autoimmune diseases. If there was one tip to take away from this post, it is to cut down or eliminate sugar from your diet.

8. Gluten. There are various opinions about gluten, but the truth is that much of the wheat and grains we consume is infected with mold and sprayed with pesticides before it gets to a factory to be baked and then sent to the supermarket. That’s why many people feel bloated after every meal. Our systems are not built to process all the pesticides sprayed on grains. And our bodies need to expend too much energy on this at the expense of tending to other areas of our health. Our immune systems become overtaxed and we get sick. Studies have shown that all disease begins in the gut. But what can we do? We like bread. The only answer is to limit your gluten intake (that includes pasta) and eat organic and sprouted breads whenever possible. You may miss the indulgence, but you will feel better, and over time your body will thank you through better health.

9. No meat. I stopped eating meat eight years ago and have never looked back. I began dating a vegetarian who is now my wife. Although she never asked me not to stop eating meat, I did so anyway. It seemed like a good time to change my eating habits and I am glad I did. I got sick about two months after ending my meat consumption due to my cells releasing stored toxins, but I stuck with it and eventually it passed. Sure I loved a good porterhouse and sizzling strips of bacon, but I got over it. And although I initially did not stop eating meat due to my feelings about factory farming, after a few years this became another factor in my decision and I will never go back to eating meat again. As a result, my energy is sky high and I feel younger than my years by a good margin. If you eat meat, may I suggest that you only choose grass-fed beef and animals that are farm-raised? It’s the least you can do to stop the cruelty and protect our environment.

10. Forgive. This might be the toughest choice of all. Throughout life we are faced with a lot of a-hole behavior that challenges us in many ways. Do we lower ourselves to respond in kind? Do we simply turn our heads away and ignore the slights? Or do we acknowledge the bad decisions people make and forgive them? I suggest the latter choice. When we forgive, we release negativity and we grow as individuals who are connected by the oneness of spirit. Forgiveness does not require you to forget the transgressions, but it allows you to rise above the darkness. I assure you it will lighten your mental and spiritual load. Try it and you’ll see.

There are many more ways to tend to your physical, mental and spiritual health, but any of these ten tips will add to your wellbeing regardless of your age. Thank you for reading and considering integrating any of these tips into your lifestyle. I wish you all the best.

This week’s GUY’S GUYS of the week is you, and all the folks who have read my novel or any of my 250 blog posts, listened to any of my 150 podcast episodes, or visited my website. The growing Guy’s Guy movement is all about making the world a better place where men and women can be at their best. It’s that simple. Better men. Better world.  

6 Ways to Brighten Up Your Summer

Robert Manni - Monday, July 13, 2015


It was late June when I marched through Penn Station and saw the first fantasy football publication on display at the newsstand.

Wow. We live in a “can’t stand still” culture where slowing things down is a real challenge. And in summer it’s critical to find the time stop to smell the flowers before their bloom gives way to autumn.

Guy’s Guys are optimists, and we love summer. The days are longer and the skirts are shorter, but that’s just one reason why your Guy’s Guy has pulled together a handful of nuggets to help you make the most of summer. I won’t be breaking any new ground here. Think of it as Guy Guy cheerleading. You see, I don’t want to imagine you hunched in your cubicle on a rainy day this October, slurping ramen noodles and wondering what the f-ck happened to summer. So here goes, amigos:

1. Get Outside – For context, I know it’s no fun walking around in the city with the temperatures in the nineties and that a hint of a breeze only wafts the smell of the rows garbage bags lined up along the sidewalks. That can drive any urban dweller indoors to the comforts of a cold shower, a frosty brew, and binge watching your favorite show. But before you close the curtains and turn up the AC, let me remind you that there are many wonderful respites from the heat outside.

In New York, we have the wonders of Central Park, the cool breezes along the Hudson River Walk, sexy outdoor cafes, and just a reasonably short ride to one of our local beaches. But regardless of where you live, summer is the best time for outdoor activities like running, tennis, softball, fishing, kiting, a long walk or even a quiet meditation under a shady tree. Your choices are endless. But at the same time, when you live in the Northeast, you’re on the clock when it comes to the seasons and the nice weather.

So make the most of those short summer months and get your butt outdoors. Trust me, even when it’s hot, if you’re in decent health, your body will acclimate to the heat. Personally, I rarely use the AC. My body adjusts naturally and I find that even the slightest breeze cools me off. In fact, I feel cool and refreshed while perspiring profusely during a long run.

2. Seek Water – There is something relaxing about water. Even my two-year-old son often takes a break from his wandering to sit by the Harlem Meer and watch its tranquil waters. I love sitting by the ocean and quieting my mind with the crashing waves providing a calming soundtrack to my thoughts. Swimming, surfing, sailing, water-skiing, fishing, rafting… need I say more? There are so many things to do when you are in the proximity of water. And if you prefer relaxing, pull up a blanket and catch some rays, people watch, or take a nap.

3. Get Physical – Spring blows by quickly these days. Here in NYC it seems like the temps jump from the 50’s directly to the 90’s. There is no smooth slide into summer anymore. So many people get caught off guard when out of the blue the temps hit the 80’s. They panic, thinking, “oh shit, I’m so out of shape and it’s summer. It’s too late to get in shape. I’ll just stay covered up.” Nonsense. The long days of summer provide a perfect opportunity to begin a new workout program or turn your current fitness regime up a few notches. Summer mornings are great for a run or any physical activity. The key is getting out there and doing something. In no time, you’ll see results. And even if the weather turns cold earlier than usual, you’ll have built a solid foundation and jumpstarted your efforts for staying fit in shape and looking good for the holidays.

4. Read – Most of us are glued to the computer screen or the television. How do we find the time to kick back with a novel? The good news is that summer often harkens a more leisurely pace at work due to vacations and in some industries a slowdown. With a little effort, I’m sure you can find time during the summer to crack open a good book. May I recommend my novel, The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love?

5. Fall in Love – If you ask me, people seem to let down their guard a bit and act friendlier when the weather is pleasant. Take advantage of it and paste a smile on your face, amigo. Once Old Man Winter comes calling, there will be plenty long cold nights where you will not want to bundle up and venture outside, no matter how bored you are. Summer is the perfect time for making new connections. It doesn’t mean you have to get serious, but I met my wife on a sunny day in July and we were in love by the end of the summer. Anything is possible, especially in the summer, but you’ve got to get out there and mix it up to make it happen. There are many other people out there like you looking to make new friends. You’ve got to be in it to win it.

6. Hit the Road – There's no better tonic for the blahs than a spur of the moment road trip. And summer is the perfect time for hitting the highway. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, just meeting up with your buds with get the sparks flying. Whether it’s camping, hitting a music festival, or checking out a new city, you’ll have the weather on your side all summer. Make the best of it. And if you want to travel somewhere exotic, summer is off-season in the Caribbean so you can score great rates on airfare and lodging.

So next time you hear yourself complaining about the heat, stop and think about the ice, snow, and bitter cold that will be greeting us this winter. So close that laptop, throw on your favorite shorts and a polo shirt, shut that apartment door behind you, and roll.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week are The Beach Boys. Like the Rolling Stones, this American musical institution, also recently marked their fiftieth anniversary with a tour. And their infectious songs celebrate the coolest things about summer like women, surfing, beaches, cars and fun, fun, fun. 

The Guys' Guy's Money Hacks

Robert Manni - Monday, March 30, 2015


Bruce Springsteen sings, “Times are tough. They keep getting tougher. The world is rough. It’s getting rougher.” And he was right.

If you have money, the past eight years have been a boom. The stock market has doubled and interest rates have stayed down. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, during this period the average person’s standard of living has declined while their cost of living has skyrocketed.

Guys' Guys enjoy the high life, but they’re also practical and resourceful. They know how to do bend with the breeze and make do with the simple pleasures. Over the years I’ve learned a number of ways to manage my cash when times got tight.

Here is my list of money hacks for when you need them, and even when you don’t.

1. Eat at home – I’m not suggesting that you never dine out, especially in Fun City. But you can use your noodle when it comes money and to your dining choices. I lived the high life for years on agency and corporate expense accounts. It was great fun and an effective way to establish relationships and conduct business outside the office. But NYC is freaking expensive, so unless you have a fat expense account or are killing it as an investment banker, professional sports star, etc, dining out all the time is impractical. Yet, to partially combat their loneliness, many single people in the city eat out at least a half dozen times a week, and that gets expensive.

The other consideration is health. When you eat dinner at home, you can choose organic, healthy foods. And let’s fact it; most restaurants cook and serve GMO foods laden with butter, oil and salt. So eating at home more often will save you money and keep you healthier.

1a. Bring your lunch to work - When I worked in midtown a modest take out lunch would run me about $10-12 bucks a day. Add in a coffee and a snack and the total rises to closer to $20. That’s $100 per week and $400 per month. This does not include dinner and a cocktail with your mates. If you bring your lunch to work, and maybe a thermos of your favorite beverage, your cost is probably reduced by $70 per week and $280 per month. That’s real cash.

2. Shop online – In big cities, people love to unwind after work by stopping into a retail store on their way home from work and impulsively purchasing another piece of clothing to stuff inside their overcrowded closet. Remember the old 80-20 rule. We usually wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. You can always convince yourself that you need another pair of shoes, but this gets expensive.

Unless I need to touch and feel a product, I buy my stuff online. Oftentimes, I score free shipping, and if not, there is always Amazon Prime, which is a pretty good deal if you use it frequently. The other benefit of shopping online is that it keeps me out of the stores. Yes, I know we get sucked into buying stuff online via consumer retargeting ads, but if you have an iota of discipline, you can simply click to another site and poof, it’s gone. Bottom line, if you are on a tight budget, stay out of stores unless you know exactly what you need to buy.

3. Buy in bulk – There are certain household items we use every day, and this is where buying in bulk can save you real money. If you shop at the better supermarkets, you can usually find major savings on larger sizes. I recently bought a gallon of Bragg apple cider vinegar for $15 at a leading chain. That’s more than a 100% savings on the smaller size. And I use it every day. There are plenty of deals for bulk items online too, and most of the sites will throw in free shipping. I’ve even gotten free shipping on oversized bags of kitty litter. So not only did I not have to lug that big bag home, I also saved a bundle by purchasing the jumbo size.

4. Before going out for the night, have a snack at home – Guys’ Guys prefer top shelf booze. And in Manhattan, a mixologist drink will run you twenty bucks when tax and a tip are included. That adds up quickly. If you are on a first date, two drinks and a few appetizers is one hundred dollars. I’m not suggesting that you drink before a date, but if you’re meeting up with your buds, it’s not a bad idea to eat before heading out. I’m sure you can whip up something at home more tasty and nutritious than a greasy bar burger.

5. Give up eating meat – I stopped eating meat seven years ago and I have never felt better. Your body does not require eating dead animals to function. In fact, with the current abhorrent factory farming practices, you will be healthier if you forego meat. And guess what, a plant-based diet is cheaper and much better for you. I realize that this is not for everyone, but if you give meat a rest, your taste buds will quickly evolve to enjoying veggie burgers the same way you once craved a bloody bacon cheeseburger. Your heart, waistline, and wallet will thank you also.

6. Enjoy the simple pleasures– That means life’s simple pleasures like reading and spending more time outdoors. I do my best to read a book every week. E-books are cheap and portable, and there's always the library. The city parks are great places for a long walk or a run, and they are also fun for a date. Just being outdoors gives you a needed respite from the stale air in your office or apartment. And it’s free. NYC.gov also publishes a list of free events in the city every week and some of them are pretty cool.

7. Reward yourself – If you manage to do all of the things on this list, congratulations. You are healthier, you have more cash in your pocket, and so, you deserve a treat. Do something fun and forget about the money. It’s good for the soul. If you stick to a more mindful approach to your money, you won’t even notice a dent in your wallet.

These are certainly not solutions for getting out of real debt or making more money in business, but when you are living paycheck to paycheck, like 50% of America does, the benefits from these hacks can serve you well. I hope they work for you.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is you, the reader. You’ve patiently poured through this article and picked out some the tips that fell right for you to try. Now the next step is putting them into practice and saving some cash. Congrats!


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