Vanessa Ray has lived in New York City over the past decade, renting or sublet in the theater district on the very edge of the Upper West Side, in Brooklyn and more than once in Lincoln Square.
"I'd always seen Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, and when I started becoming an actor I thought, 'I'm going to shoot my shot in New York," said Ms. Ray, 39, who plays the Lively Policewoman Eddie Janko, now a regular at the Reagan dining table, in the longstanding CBS police case "Blue Bloods." (Season 11 finale will air May 14th)
It was the beginning of a great love affair.
"This is my heart," said Ms. Ray, who grew up in Portland, Oregon. and then moved to Los Angeles, where she owns a house in the hills thanks to roles in "Pretty Little Liars", "Suits" and "Blue Bloods". “I love California. When I have three months off, I soak up the sun and swim in the pool. Then I come back here to live properly. "
Vanessa Ray, 39
Lip service: “When I first went to 'Blue Bloods', I sublet a seat in the theater district. You walk around there and run into almost every actor you know. I've been with different people and a man went to kiss me on Ninth Avenue and I said, "You can't kiss me on Ninth Avenue." That says something. Let's take it to 10th Avenue if it's a new relationship. "
Not long after her 2015 marriage to Landon Beard, a Los Angeles-based musician who comes to New York as often as possible, Ms. Ray got it on her mind to try Brooklyn for size. It didn't fit, even if the two-bedroom apartment she'd rented in Williamsburg near McCarren Park was a short walk from the Blue Bloods in Greenpoint.
"I was having a tough time emotionally, so I knew I had to go back to Manhattan," said Ms. Ray. Fortunately, one of her best friends, Jessica Waxman, is a real estate agent. Ms. Waxman suggested three or four options, all near Lincoln Center and all near her own home, so the two women could easily meet for morning coffee and walks in Central Park.
"Jess said," Okay, Vanessa, you need a kitchen big enough to cook all the things you love to cook and big enough so I can watch you while you do it, "Ms. Ray said “She also knew I needed outside space and a view.
"I like to wake up and look outside and think," I have to go in. I have to get out of there, "she said." That's the driving force behind every success I've had in New York.
A year and a half ago, Ms. Ray moved into "a beautiful, healing room": a one-bedroom apartment with a balcony in a full-service post-war building where she can see the Hudson River from the windows in the living room and bedroom.
In the entryway is a photo of Mrs. Ray and Mr. Beard walking on Santa Monica Beach in the early days of their advertisement and another of them on their wedding day in Pala, California. Don't make a mistake. You look very happy.
But (and you read it here first): She has something for another man, a scientist. His portrait – and it's a big one – also hangs in the entrance area.
"I love Bill Nye," said Ms. Ray, who bought the painting at a vintage Portland store. “I was home schooled as a child. Bill Nye did a section on "The Mickey Mouse Club," and he was always doing stuff and blowing things up. My brother and I became passionate about science, and we've really gotten into it over the years. If I could meet Bill Nye I would be speechless. "
Until then, she will take what she can get. A few years ago when her co-star "Blue Bloods", Will Estes, met Mr. Nye at an industry event, he scored a signed coaster for Ms. Ray. It's in one corner of the picture frame.
By the time Ms. Ray became a regular series in 2013, she got used to a very heavy tan section from Crate & Barrel. “This couch is huge. It's practically a single bed, ”she said. "It was the most expensive thing I had ever bought in my life."
Perhaps to get her money's worth, Ms. Ray has brought it into every apartment she's rented in years past. "I'll say I don't need much," she said. "When I have a couch and a blanket, I'm pretty excited."
Those who know Ms. Ray will laugh at the above statement about "a blanket". She recently had about a dozen blankets in the apartment, all of them stowed in baskets – including Mexican blankets, Pendleton blankets, storage blankets, and a white polyester number from Restoration Hardware that is supremely soft and cozy.
"My husband says, 'Enough blankets, baby' but I like to turn things upside down," she said.
She feels the same way with kitchen towels. She has them for every holiday: Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, Easter, Halloween. "I have them all," said Ms. Ray. "I think I was a school receptionist in another life."
Your collection of essential kitchen utensils, on the other hand, is positively strict. The most common uses are a citrus juicer (it squirts lemon on pretty much anything) and a couple of pairs of tongs: “You can use them to stir. You can sauté with them. You can toss a salad. You can turn a steak over. You can use them to get something out of the oven quickly. "
These tools are kept in the drawer of a kitchen cart with a butcher's block top, which also houses a Nespresso machine and an Aicook juicer. "This is the key point," Ms. Ray said of the car. “It was the perfect size. The story of my life is that I'm always an inch away, but that really made it. "
In the kitchen watch over photos of her grandfather, a master of grilling, and her uncle Scott Smith, who taught her the joys of spices and sushi.
If the kitchen is the center of activity in the home, the living room is a place for reflection. There Ms. Ray is sitting on a stool near the television cabinet, writing in her diary and reading. If at the end of a tough day she is seeking confirmation, all she has to do is look to the table next to the section where “yes” is written in wooden blocks.
"I have 'yes' signs everywhere," she said. “When I first moved to Los Angeles, I had a friend who grew up doing this and I said, 'I want to do this too so I can remember to stay positive. "
There is another "yes" in brass letters in the bedroom. Ms. Ray and Mr. Beard are currently in talks about getting a neon yes sign. "But," she said with a sigh, "we haven't said yes to that yet."
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