Category Archives: Out and About

Union Squared

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Though Union Square can be overrun with tourists and skate kids, when the sun comes out, they really are the centerpiece of the park. The park is one of the best places to people watch. I wouldn’t say it is full of fashionistas like other haunts in New York, but there is a definite trendy edge to the many denizens of Union Square.

I am always on the lookout for cool statues, and the famous faces of Lincoln and Washington give stability to the chaotic nature of the park on a sunny day. Their stoic bronze faces peer through the endless buildings to the south. Their dark figures are the perfect contrast to the endless blue sky.

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I spotted some kids boxing on the east end of the park and snapped a few pictures of the faux scuffle. I am more partial towards martial arts, but they made such a fuss with their crowd of friends, I couldn’t help but capture the moment. What I would give to come back as Puerto Rican child in New York!

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The skater kids on the west side of the park were ever so cool. Wisps of cigarette smoke permeated the area. Feet covered in Vans and Chucks shuffled about. I always liked red Chucks.

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I was about to be ran over by a guy who was skateboarding nearby as I wandered about with my camera, but I narrowly avoided a cement-laden demise and caught a cool blurry photo of him zipping past.

The sun is here my friends, finally. Go out into your parks and enjoy the warmth we have been waiting for!

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Hocus Crocus!

Holy Springtime, Batman! Its that time of year! Tonight everyone is supposed to set all of their clocks forward an hour to be in line with daylight savings time. Why the planet adheres to this antiquated practice of messing with time (and circadian rhythms) is beside me, however not to be outdone, Mother Nature sent some of her finest blooms up early for all of us to enjoy.

If your know the signs of Spring, there are two flowers to look for: Crocuses and Forsythia. The latter is hard to come by in New York, but there were crocuses aplenty in my old garden in Midtown. They peeked their brightly colored heads out from underneath the fall leaves in little flurries of spring color.

The Daffodils decided to join in on the party, and trumpeted the coming arrival of the vernal equinox with a splash of goldenrod and cream. Their skinny leaves fluttered in the breeze.

I made a new friend in the garden named Jamie, and he has been a resident of Hell’s Kitchen for decades. He told me about his ritual of recording the passing seasons through photos in the garden. We agreed that our little, gated slice of heaven was a perfect timekeeper for the seasons.

 

A ring of Tulips slowly began to unfurl their velvety bezier curve leaves in the shade of the giant Tulip Magnolia tree in the center of the garden. The bees have not woken up from their slumber yet, so it is only these hearty perennials who have arrived without their presence.

 

Together, these tiny flowers have set the seasonal clock in motion with their Springtime festival of color and light. The year began a few months ago, but it is now that 2012 really comes to life. The colorful clarion call of the Crocus banishes the winter, and brings an end to the bitter cold.

Spring is here. Finally.

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Good Morning, Grey Morning

This morning I decided to go for a little journey. I wanted to get a great view of The City so I went to Sinatra Park in Hoboken. The sky was grey and the wind a bit nippy, but I set out in my favorite coat from Uniqlo with my camera looking rather festive.

I started off at Elysian Park on Eleventh and Hudson, and wandered through there until I found my way down to Sinatra Park. There were lots of loving dog owners out with their four-footed friends. I was jamming to some Kylie and Ke$ha this morning so I didn’t hear any of their barks and yips. Kylie is divine, never forget that.

There was a War Memorial in Elysian Park that caught my eye, and I was upset that one of the Sphinxes that crowned one end of the ark the monument sat upon had been defaced. Who does that?! Last I checked, Sphinxes asked Oedipal tourists questions and defaced them, not the other way around. Oh well.

I saw buds on a tree waiting for their elemental cue to burst forth with life for Spring, and I remembered just how fast 2012 was passing by. Springtime is almost here!

On my journey from park to park, I imagined the views of The City from the apartments on Hudson and along Sinatra Park. Though the newer buildings do not have any old-world charm to speak of, their stunning views of Midtown Manhattan are second to none.

There were some geese wandering around the park, but they were my only companions this morning as I snapped away in the breeze. They paid me little mind and continued on their way. The way they waddle about always makes me smile, and reminds me of the geese on the riverbank of my childhood home chasing after little baby geese.

Once I reached the apex of the park, I marveled at the Empire State Building for a while, and captured its splendor as best as I could in the grey weather. It looks great regardless of a lack of sunshine.

I looked southward to One World Trade Center and imagined the army of workers assembling what will be the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere once it is complete next year. Rising 1776 feet above the rubble, it will be a testament to our ability to bring our dreams to life.

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The Leap Day Post That Almost Didn’t Exist

I am rushing to finish this post for you before the Leap Day is over, and before February is over. Though I did not post anything all month, I wanted to share the last of the photos I took while at home with my family.

My dad and his wife took my brother and I to Deception Pass, up the coast of Washington. To be honest, I slept through more of the ride than I normally would have, but I did wake up for a quick trip to a vintage car shop, where I saw a very sexy Mustang and some cool Impalas.

Once we made it to Deception Pass, we were a little disheartened that the boat service that we were hoping to ride on, was closed for the season. Sadface! After some guffawing and haranguing, we scored some tickets to come back later when the season is full throttle. I did see a live BALD EAGLE though! A living symbol of America!

Instead of boating around the islands, we kept our visit topside and walked across the pass. The wind whipped around us, and the air was so fresh and full of the green goodness that emanates from all the trees.

The little emerald islands in and around the waterway were beautiful to behold. Though the water wears them down over time, they still remain, and are truly stunning against the rushing water.

We stopped by a National Park on the way home, and I would be pulling straws if I were to try and recall the name, but it was even more beautiful! We didn’t stay long because the day was getting shorter by the minute, and the sunlight was running out. We took a ferry back to the city and enjoyed the view.

Though the trip was not what we set out to do, I can’t imagine spending a great time with my family any other way. I cannot wait to come back home to take more pictures from the beautiful place I grew up in.

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At the Ocean with Mom

I had not been home to see my parents in forever and a half, so I took some time and came home to Washington to stay with them for a week. I have definitely been needing some time to recharge, reassess, and relax, so I am enjoying my time here with them.

Mom and I had been planning on spending some time to ourselves for a while, so we decided to come and stay in Ocean Shores for the weekend. Our hotel, the Grey Gull, is right on the beach, has a fantastic view, and is quite nicely appointed.

The two of us wandered down to the beach before sunset, and caught a glimpse of the tide starting to come in. I can’t wait to go to the jetty tomorrow and see what washes ashore in the morning. I like going the morning after a storm and being first on the beach to find treasure.

Between the gulls and the grey skies we had a great time walking along the beach. Hearing the ocean roar is an amazing reminder of the power of nature and the infinite detail in the world that we live in.

The goal tomorrow is to find some cool shells on the beach, investigate any cool animals or treasure that washes up, and check out a little house for mom to retire in that is not too far from the beach.

More to come soon!

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Fun With Frigid Photos

Currently, it is 22 degrees in New York. Brrrrrrr! I don’t even want to get into how chilly it is factoring in the wind. I will refrain from complaining too much though, because at this time last year, we were covered in snaux. My feelings on the white stuff are as follows: it looks nice when it is fresh, and is fun up until you actually have to trudge through it. In short, I was pleased we did not have a white Christmas this year.

All in all, we have had a pretty mild winter so far (knocks on wood). I have been able to wander about more than I normally would given the temperature, so I have been grateful for the extra rays the sun has been throwing our way (whether or not I made the sun shine lately).

Today I was set on taking photos for Gizmodo’s weekly shooting challenge. I am always amazed at the entries and winners each week, but have never participated myself. Something stirred in me today, so I set off for my old garden, and the High Line, to take some fabulous winter photos that used the compositional rule of thirds for the challenge.

My first stop at the community garden on 48th between 9th and 10th was relatively brief, but I did see a few interesting things and captured a couple good shots. I missed the explosion of color from the tulip tree and the constant buzzing of bees the garden is full of during the summer months. Some kids followed in after me and tossed a football back and forth, and I didn’t want to get in the middle of their game, so I headed back to the train at 50th street.

From 50th, I took a downtown C train. It was a tiny stroke of luck that I noticed my crush on the train and he said wassup. I tried to compose myself, after remembering that I bumped into him at brunch last week randomly too.  I managed a smile and a nod and stayed cool and exited at the next stop. Since when am I shy? I turned my headphones up a little and continued on.

At 23rd and 10th, I made my way up the tinted elevator and onto the High Line. I had not been there in some months so it was a solemn winter homecoming. I remember taking photos of Anthony there last year and drawing a huge crowd. Summer bliss.

Once atop my perch on the High Line, I noticed that there were stunning, crimson berries growing on small bushes on the east side of the walkway. I took a few shots of them and then noticed I had made a tiny friend.

I am no birdwatcher, but this bird was quite interesting in that it was so handsomely patterned even in the winter. Perhaps some kind of finch? I remembered how the goldfinches played along the river bank of my old home in Tukwila, and then I got excited about seeing my family later this month.

I ended up giving this little bird quite the photo shoot, and it provided me with the perfect shot to use for the Gizmodo competition. No cropping was necessary, because the bird remained still throughout shooting, like it waited for me to compose the perfect shot. Kismet. A decisive moment from Cartier-Bresson himself.

I continued along the High Line, looking up into fantastic condos and co-ops as I wandered the wooden path. I couldn’t feel anything but crystalline pain in the tips of my fingers, so I quickened my pace and stole a few more shots from the winter cityscape, and the window displays of DVF and Alexander McQueen as I made my way back home.

Once home, I realized that while I set out to accomplish my  goal of capturing a single, perfect moment trapped in the thirds of my camera frame, I saw that nearly almost all of my photos adhere to this most golden rule without even trying. As with phi, the golden ratio, there is something pleasing about the rule of thirds and how it draws your attention to a subject and simultaneously gives it enough space to breathe life into the image.

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***UPDATE***

Though my entry in the shooting contest did not win this week, it was still featured in the gallery on Gizmodo today! I was supremely happy to see my little bird perched there amongst some amazing shots. Go ahead and check it out here.

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Yotel Hotel Does Brunch Better Than You Can Imagine

Writing the year 2012 still feels crazy, but here we are in a year where all newborns will never know what a CD is, how to work a VCR, or that there were even bound copies of encyclopedias. However, those same children will have cool parents like myself to show them how we celebrated in the year that everyone was excited/nervous/anxious about someday.

Michael wanted to start off the new year right, so he sent out invitations for a very special brunch for the “Girls & Gays” at the Yotel off of 42nd and 10th avenue. I had heard the place was staffed by robots or something, and that Swizz Beats had DJed there before with Alicia Keys at a party once. I was sold at robots, but then Michael sent the menu with the invite and I was DOWN.

We are all about a cheap brunch with unlimited drinks, but this one took the cake, because they kept different plates coming throughout our time there. Everything from crispy shrimp to fried rice to french toast was served alongside the endless carafes of delicious drinks. Definitely try the Bourbon Peach Tea.

The music was definitely period, but with the majority of the clientele there being from outside America, we understood the constant flow of 80’s euro/dance/trance music — and yearned for at least 1 top 40 single. Despite not knowing the words to anything, the music kept me in great spirits the whole time. What I would have done for some Ke$ha though!

The wait staff and ambiance of the place were fantastic. We were well taken care of, and one waiter even had on the Concord Jordan XI’s I was almost trampled over for last month. So fresh! There were strange Yak-like statues at the entrances that I kind of wanted for my own because they were so odd. They made me smile.

I made some new friends who were of course more stylish than I, so naturally they had to be photographed. It was great seeing Alexis, Dimia, Kirk, and the gang because I have not seen them in FOREVER.

Towards the end of brunch, I spotted someone I had been crushing on for a long time in the distance, and you already know I made a slight fool of myself because I was saucy/nervous/anxious. It made my day to see him though.

Before we left, someone decided that one side of the restaurant was a runway, and challenged several people at our table to an impromptu walk-off. Naturally, the girls from our table shut them down in style. The guy above gave it his best though.

We had such a great time at the Yotel that we will definitely come back soon for more fun. I give them A’s across the board for outstanding service, great food and drinks, and for accommodating our crazy crew. 2012 is shaping up to be quite festive, so I am working on new reasons to celebrate.

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