Category Archives: Simply Awesome

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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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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NYE = Emeri + Me

Emeri and I spent New Year’s Eve together, and brought in the class and sass for the new year. Neither of us really felt like being jam packed into the parties we had been invited to, although the rooftop party in Herald Square sounded tempting. The intimate bar at Mother Burger called our names instead ( and later Empanada Mama ).

We took naps throughout the day and took our time going into The City. We collided with some obnoxious revelers on the way to Midtown, but paid them little mind once we got past the brouhaha. The police were out in full force, but you already know we spotted the cute ones and kept it moving.

In true New York style, Emeri and I went out in a color palette that was mostly black and form fitting ( because we can). She rocked some stylish stockings and I kept it cute with my favorite woven tie. Juan had hooked me up with an unnaturally fresh line a couple days before, and Em and I got our nails did the night before to look our best.

Upon arrival at MB, there was a combination of squeals of delight from our favorite bartender, Jess, Emeri, and I. We were so hyped to ring in the new year together at our favorite spot. Denise made sure that the appropriate jams were played, and the spot was abuzz with laughter.

Jess introduced us to the new bartender there, Tim, and he got acquainted with us and our favorite drink: The Blue Happy Trail.

Once we had our fill, we said goodbye to our friends and welcomed the new year, and several empanadas at Empanada Mama. Somehow we made it back home with all our belongings and shambled into bed safely, to wake up much, much later and greet the first light of 2012.

Bless us friends and this new year!

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Unseasonably, Unreasonably Beautiful

I forgot to share these Fall photos with you right after I took them. I was asked by Nandy and Nay to take more photos of them, and I chose the Cloisters as the backdrop.

I hadn’t been back there since last winter, so seeing the leaves in pale golds, browns, and reds was a completely different visual experience. I remember how beautiful the grounds there were covered under a thick blanket of snow, and how it crunched under my boots.

This time though, there were leaves beneath my feet, and the air was light and crisp. The walk through the park to the Cloisters is the best part of every visit. You have to see it yourself in person to believe it.

I took some time to wander the Cloisters before the girls arrived and was taken by the delicate palms, intricate columns, and religious iconography that filled each hall. I took in the light filtered through the stained glass windows.

Nandy looked spectacular in her metallic, scaled dress, and it was fitting considering the Cloisters resemble a medieval castle. She was royalty indeed.

Nay was dressed to the nines as well, and she glowed in the Autumn light. Her and Nandy are always hilarious together so we had to take breaks to get out giggles in between shots.

On the way out, we took the time to take more shots as the sun faded into the next season.

I love this place. I love my friends.

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A Happy Thing Indeed: Mets 5 – Cubs 4

Carrie did something really nice for Carlos and I last week. She gave Carlos two tickets she had for the Mets game on Friday. I was just finishing up a document I had been working on all day when Carlos called and asked if I wanted to go to the game. I am not really a fan of the Mets, but I do love to go to baseball games, so of course I sped up my workflow and finished up early in time to catch the game. Luckily, I had randomly taken my camera with me to work, thinking I’d snap a few things at lunch (which didn’t happen, as I went to Chipotle and ATE).

We met up at Court Square and then took the 7 train to Citi Field and realized just how beautiful the day was. The sun was fading into the night, there was a cool breeze, and we were at a baseball game with great seats.

Our first order of business was food, because we were both starved. Conveniently, the Pepsi Porch that we had seats in, has its own section for food. We hardly had to stray a few yards from our seats to grab a hot dogs, onion rings, and drinks. When we found our way to our seats, we were blown away by how lucky we were. We had a perfect view of the game from the Excelsior level at right field!

I can’t pretend to know anyone’s batting average, or even half the starting lineup for any team in particular, but after having my dad take me to baseball games throughout growing up, I at least understand how the game works and some of who is who. Growing up a Mariner’s fan and remembering Randy Johnson in all the Eagle Hardware ads, and remembering when Ken Griffey Jr. was a Mariner (the first time) always makes going to any game fun to watch.

Carlos is a huge Mets fan, like his father, and was decked out in full real-boy Mets fan regalia: Mets snapback, Mets Jersey, and of course, matching sneakers. Its fun to see him get excited over the team. I got excited after seeing some of them up and close on the big screen that was to our left. Clap your hands if you see Angel Pagan or David Wright!

Whenever someone Dominican was at bat, of course they had Spanish music playing to signal their entrance, so hearing “Na de Na” come on was fun. Maybe I am the only one who knows who that song is? At any rate, being at a baseball game is as much about the total experience of actively watching the game, getting hyped or angry, and paying WAY too much for food. It is pure Americana, and Citi Field presents the game in a beautiful setting that is fun any time during baseball season. Every seat is a good seat, even the nosebleeds, as I would know from having a nosebleed there earlier in the season.

Oh, before I forget, the Mets got it together and pulled a victory at the last minute with a score of 5-4. Go Mets! Never thought I would type that, but you can’t help get excited for them when they play a good game!

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Sip n’ See Festivities

 

My amazingly beautiful and talented friends, Dimia and Bobby, combined their powers and had a birthday brunch/Sip ‘n’ See at Essex last Saturday. It was as entertaining as it was epic.

A Sip ‘n’ See, you see, is a festivity meant to show off a newborn and celebrate life itself. At least I think thats what NeNe Leakes from Housewives of Atlanta was really trying to get at? Anyways, Bobby and Dimia christened their imaginary child Apollo at brunch and we celebrated all their births in high style.

The usual suspects were there, such as Michael, Amber, and Alexis, but there was probably three dozen more to round out the crowd that we had going on. The seating arrangement that we had at Essex was spread out about the upper level, and we had a great view of the whole place, including the rather boring party at the other end of the building.

The food there was great and everything, but the constant flow of screwdrivers, mimosas, strawberry bellinis, and bloody marys really got the party started. I had more than my fill of sips, and saw quite a bit from my central vantage point, but how I managed to capture such great photos while slightly jollier than usual is beyond me.

Dimia and Bobby have an absolutely amazing constellation of friends, and everyone got along and was interesting to talk to and laugh with. There were big hats, nice shoes, and all kinds of great style to go along with the great smiles.

We kept the party going until the staff at Essex was more than done with us, and I think I had the last of the screwdrivers that were served. Oops. Baby Apollo even got to taste what was going on at the party, as any true child of the world should. Is there even a drinking age in Europe?

I am infinitely blessed to be surrounded by friends that are so much and do so much. I wish Dimia and Bobby all the best this year! Yayyyy!

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