“Me” Day on a Covid holiday

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AI don’t get to go around much anymore, and everything has changed so much that things just don’t feel like they used to. Manhattan is still there but with a different “flavor”. Although I work there and used to be there five days a week, I only really got to explore and enjoy the city during those days I got to go around leisurely. Those would be the days I went in specifically to go around and do errands or take visiting friends or family to see the sights. Thursday was an errand: a doctor’s appointment.

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Like most others, I try to get the usual annual appointments done before the end of the year. I should really do better than that and try for earlier, but insurance will usually not take the appointment until after 12 months from the previous one. (It is supposed to be “annual”.). It went rather quickly with an hour’s wait only– I guess the ladies held their babies in and no one went into labor, so my gynecologist sauntered in pretty much on time. Hooray!

I wanted to get the steps in so I walked from 34th and Madison towards Bryant Park on Fifth and 42nd. It was a cold but beautiful day but I dressed for the weather and had my mask on. I was all set.

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The steps to the New York Public Library are usually full of people seated on them enjoying the sunshine. Famous for movies like “Sex In the City” (venue of Carrie Bradshaw’s non-wedding) and “The Day After” (where Toby McGuire and company holed up until they could be rescued). To me it was an early discovery way back when I had just arrived in New York in 2000. I would pass the time here between exploring the city and heading home. One day when they let us back in, I will write a post taking me back to that time. For now, no visit to this corner of Manhattan is complete without stopping by to take a picture.

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The rows upon rows of park tables and benches were mostly empty. Used to be abuzz with locals and tourists, any time of day. One would usually have to walk the length and breadth of the park to find an empty table, or wait for those seemingly about to finish their meal and scoot on over when they stood up to leave. Not this day. Or the previous or coming days.

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I am hoping they will put up a bigger Christmas tree like in previous years. This clump of regular sized Christmas trees are usually replaced at a later date with a beautiful Christmas tree, a mini version of the one in Rockefeller Center, although it’s not exactly a small tree. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if this is all we get this year.

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To make way for social distancing, only a third of the shops were allowed to sell in this year’s winter village. My favorite cheese house wasn’t there, so I went for my other favorite: the Crepe Cafe. This is one of the original food outlets that has been here every year.

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I always order the Banana Nutella Almond crepe here, and this was lunch for the day. I found my space on the periphery by the 40th street side, sat down and took off my mask. There were only a handful of food outlets allowed to open, and the pop up indoor restaurant was not put up this time around.

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Sitting down and looking around, Bryant Park felt more like a Sunday than the Thursday it usually was. People were walking around and there was a smattering of others trying to enjoy lunch like I was doing, but a very thin crowd it was. But I enjoyed the quiet.. and just taking in a beautiful day enjoying a favorite treat.

So much has changed in our lives since the pandemic began. Any semblance of normalcy is a breath of fresh air in our now masked existence. Literally. I have actually gotten used to going around with a mask, being that I actually do my usual hour and a half walk/jog with a mask on.

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The children’s carousel was still there. At least the kids still get to have their fun, even if at half capacity. When the weather gets too cold, this beauty will be shrouded and covered until things warm up again.

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The rink is alive with a six foot barrier to keep those watching on the sidelines safely distanced from the railing that some of the skaters hang on to. There are still tables and chairs around the rink, but socially distanced.

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The temperatures have held to decent “cold” and we really haven’t had snow yet, so my favorite Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain is staying pretty without a load of ice just yet. Truth is, it’s quite a sight when you see it laden with ice and still flowing. They cannot shut the pipes or it might burst, so they keep it flowing even in the cold of winter.

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We’re all trying our best to cope. The Bryant Park Cafe run by Bryant Park Grill has put up these dining huts and the park has a few available for groups like the one on the right. (not sure that’s the proper term). For the ones provided by the park, a notice is put up after the space has been sanitized. It’s just sad that the Governor has just shut down indoor dining and outdoor dining might follow next. At the very least, it is good to know that there is this option.

I walked uptown to view the Rockefeller Center but I will save that post for a possible part II of this post.. before I headed back to my bus stop, I had to decide which treat I would go home with. The line to Angelina Paris NYC was too long and I just didn’t feel like taking the chance even when social distancing. So I opted to grab some of my other happy food over at Magnolia Bakery.

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I miss those days when I could just walk down from my perch at work and grab a cup from the branch in the Grand Central food court. I went to the one on Sixth Avenue. These days, the lines that used to snake around the corner are no longer there, but they are still making their special cupcakes, cakes, cookies and yes, their heavenly banana pudding. I walked in before leaving the Rockefeller Center and found that they now have the banana pudding by the cashier. I was lucky to grab some red velvet banana pudding (a specialty flavor), and a second tub of their old time original. (Calories be damned! Lol)

I did the rest of my errands — stopped by Whole Foods near 42nd Street to grab some steaks and ground beef for my big guy, and headed home. Like always, it was nice to be able to spend an afternoon in a leisurely fashion for some “me” time. It’s a different kind of Manhattan now– and a different way of going about the things we had gotten used to before the pandemic broke out. While things have improved from the second quarter when everything shut down, we are far from normal.

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The threat of things going from bad to worse is hanging over our heads at the moment. It makes it all the more imperative to enjoy life while we can– without forgetting the new limitations and requirements of being socially responsible while we do it. (Masks on, please..). Life goes on, indeed. Even if not in the same way we used to go about it.

I have missed you, Manhattan

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AI remember the last time I was in Manhattan after our company ordered everyone to work from home. Someone I considered a daughter was visiting from Manila, and although we couldn’t go around, we agreed to meet at the apartment where she was staying to spend time catching up. That was in Mid-March, and I braved the city choosing to ride Uber going in and out. The city that never sleeps was practically quiet, with only a smattering of people here and there. Traffic was light.. most stores were closed.

I finally returned to Manhattan last Friday, and although the vibe is nowhere near what it used to be, it was a better cadence and more people were out and about.
Missed you, Manhattan! First time back in three moths.Traffic wasn’t as light as the last time I was here, but it wasn’t as busy as I was used to. Most people going about their business were wearing a face covering. Masks, after all, have been mandated all over.

Missed you, Manhattan! First time back in three moths.

It felt different. It was almost like there was an eerie whisper in a place that was always buzzing with life. I passed my building and wonder how it is over there now — yet I wasn’t curious enough to venture that way. It can wait. We are, after all, still officially working from home, so much so that I have indicated that in my voicemail. We don’t know yet when we will return to the office, but I am not excited by that thought.

Missed you, Manhattan! First time back in three moths.

I feel grateful to be able to work from home, spared from having to deal with the anxiety and stress of commuting. Or of being in an enclosed space with others — and that was never even a thought before we were all overtaken by the virus. Not that I wish this to be permanent, but I know that I am not quite ready to go back yet.

Missed you, Manhattan! First time back in three moths.Even Times Square which would usually be teeming with people all hours of the day was somber and quiet. The lights were still on like they always have been, but the place seemed to have been sucked of life with the absence of the people of all races and colors walking its streets.

Missed you, Manhattan! First time back in three moths.

It’s so deceiving how the skies are blue and everything looks sunny and bright — and yet there is a pervading sense of gloom in the streets as many stores are shuttered, and there is a pronounced thinning of the usual street crowds. Restaurants are still not allowed to do indoor dining. Some stores have signs on their doors saying that they have decided to close their shop/restaurant indefinitely. And there are the boarded up windows on the storefronts that fell victim to the looting of several weeks ago.

It feels as though the city is in a state of limbo. As if everything is suspended.
Missed you, Manhattan! First time back in three moths.Even my beloved Bryant Park wasn’t the same. It felt like a weekend morning when it was actually late in the day and a Friday. There were paths specified in the park and various signs around.

I terribly miss how the city used to be. But I missed it plain and simple that even in the midst of all that is different now, I was grateful to be back even if only for a short while.

The Whole Foods across from the park was closed. There was a sign saying this branch serviced online orders only and it appeared that this was their distribution center. Most fast food stores were open only for take out or delivery. The offerings were limited. My favorite Maison Kayser had signs that they have decided to close their stores temporarily. The hours were severely shortened. Most stores that were usually open even on weekends were now closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Most of the stores screamed “We’re Open” in signs, both handmade and professionally produced, just to distinguish themselves from the other empty stores that were everywhere.

I could actually feel the city moaning in pain. But what could I do. Like the city that never sleeps that now seems to be bedridden and chained down with limited movement, I’m just riding the pandemic out.

I don’t want to hasten a guess as to which stores will be around when this is all over. The prognosis is not good. The business landscape of the rows and rows of stores here in the city will certainly change in big, bold strokes when we return.

It is a sobering reminder that nothing is permanent. Even the greatest city in the world can be cowed into submission. What I know is that no matter how bad things get, this city will overcome. We’ve done it countless times before. In the gloom and doom and the sense of loss of 9/11, or the pain that became manifest in many stores succumbing to bankruptcy in the economic downturn of 2008 — and even now, we have come back.

It may be a slow one, but we are getting back up on our feet again, come what may.

Walk with me

It’s rare that I get to take so many pictures chronicling what is an every day trip for me from my home to my place of work.  When I posted them on my Instagram account, I was struck by the way the pictures seemed to be telling a story.  While they are seen as individual photographs on my IG feed, seen together and in my own mind is a single narrative that begins with the first picture and ends just before I go up to my perch to start another day at work.

So come walk with me and see New York City through my eyes this snowy and cold Monday…

I start my day walking to my bus stop to take the ride that will bring me to Manhattan. I always make it a point to look up. I sometimes wonder why people keep looking down, but hardly, ever, look up.
UntitledThere is a ton to be seen if we took the time to just take a moment to train our sights upward for a change.

I ended up taking an alternative route which will be my usual route in a few weeks’ time as we move eastward to our other building.  I really don’t mind.  The two stops are separated by avenues which take me all of 7 minutes to walk if I don’t stop anywhere.  But whenever I can, I say hello to the boss upstairs.  I walk into the Church of St. Agnes on 43rd to pray.

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This church is very special to me because it has been a place of solitude for me during my weakest moments.  I have shed tears here.  I have given thanks.  I have simply sat and be.  I listened without saying a thing, not even in my heart.  This is like home to me.
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I have walked in and out of these doors many times before, but for the first time, I paid heed to the ornate grillwork that showed the world outside.  Again, we don’t stop enough to admire the beauty around us.

From there I take the scenic route through Grand Central.  Instead of entering through the main corridor, though, I always choose to walk through Grand Central Market for the visual and gastronomic treat.

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I notice there are new stores now like the two stores you see on the left.  (EAT gifts and that new SUSHI place.)  I like walking down this way because I get to see my usual favorites and whenever I can, I grab lunch.  This time it was a half pound of French Raclette from my favorite cheese place, Murray’s.  I love the sights and smells of this place, from the smell of bread to chocolates to the pungent cheeses and fish at the end of the row.
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It’s food and more food all around — plus a few extras like gifts and flowers.  If you were to throw a last minute party for two or more, or even one you planned ahead — this is a one stop shop for anything and everything you might want to serve.  (You’d just have to walk a few steps away for the vino, though.)  I’m on an almond croissant quest and I had already sampled Eli Zabar’s a few weeks back, but wanted to grab a delectable shot to use when I do write my post on which one wins my heart and tummy.
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I can stay here all day and watch the world go by.   I have never seen this place not  busy — less busy, yes, but always abuzz.  And yet it isn’t a noisy or dizzying kind of busy that leaves you with that urge to walk away or leave this place.  It’s that kind of busy hypnotizes you into just letting the world turn as you find yourself a quiet corner to watch spin around.

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I don’t know when exactly they put up what is now known as The Great Northern Food Hall, but I’ve visited here a couple of times to grab a sweet treat or a pastry for breakfast. One of these days, or when we finally move perhaps, I might take a quick bite here and write more.  This is the side that greets you when you emerge from the main hall of the terminal, and you will find clusters of their various outlets for you to choose from.  (Each station has it’s own check out counter which precludes any guessing games like bigger food spaces.)

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It occupies one half of the huge space that was all of Vanderbilt hall.  With the Food hall there, the event space has been reduced to the other half which isn’t really a bad trade off considering what is now on the other side.

Making my way out to 42nd Street, I walk westward and find myself at one of my favorite spots in the city, Bryant Park, where the New York Public Library is situated.

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In the spring and summer this place is awash with green, but even in the dreary months of winter, the tall trees stand majestic providing such a dramatic background as you walk its grounds.

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Mornings are my favorite time of the day in the park because it’s practically empty.  As the day wears on, the seats and tables all fill up with regulars from the offices around or the countless tourists both local and foreign who seek out the thrills of New York City.

The snow that was in the forecast started to fall.

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I like snow best when it is falling, no matter that it is pouring in torrents or drifting down aimlessly as if the air was cushioning it from crashing down.  I’ve seen these tables covered and buried in white.. then in grey.  I wondered how much snow was coming.

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I walked to my favorite bakery kiosk by the edge of the park closer to Avenue of the Americas, and taking shelter from the snow which had started falling heavier, I actually took a film clip panning the area (which, I am trying to upload but have not been successful doing.)  It is uncanny how no matter how many times I take a photograph from any angle or any corner, it never quite comes out the same.

And so I crossed, looking uptown, snapping away as I walked.
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Then I decided it was better doing this at a full stop, so I became one of those pedestrians who stands in the middle of the street, whips out a camera and shoots a pic.
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Christmas in Bryant Park

I was going to do another Friday Five  when I started writing this Friday night, but I changed my mind after I went through the pictures I shot at noon around Bryant Park earlier that day. The sun finally came out despite the low temps and it seemed to be almost perfect lighting at high noon, so I had decided to take a detour around the christmas tree by the New York Public Library, closer to Fifth Avenue.  I bundled up, put on my shades, walked the longer route, and I snapped away…

Christmas in Bryant Park- December 12, 2014The park comes alive with the holiday shops every year, along with the skating rink that draws both local patrons and tourists.  It’s one place where the Christmas spirit is felt very strongly in this melting pot of different holiday practices and sentiments.  I always complain that it’s not as “christmassy” as back home (in Manila) because there’s a divide between Christian and Jewish holidays.  So we are awash with red and green and a sea of blue.

Christmas in Bryant Park- December 12, 2014

But here in Bryant Park, you just get enthralled by the overpowering holiday cheer, whether you believe or not in Christmas.  Its Christmas songs and decorations all around.  It brings the park to life in a different way — making it my favorite season in this favorite park of mine.  It reminds me of home where Christmas begins in September and ends with the Feast of the Three Kings the first Sunday of January.

Christmas in Bryant Park- December 12, 2014Christmas has always been my most favorite time of the year but it is celebrated very differently here.  It’s not quite the same as we know it back home.. still, it’s “home” to me now and has been for the last 15 years.  I revel in my little boy’s lighting up when he thinks of presents and all that.  And while like me, it’s our first Christmas here again after three years of christmases spent in Manila — christmas is christmas wherever it finds us.

Christmas in Bryant Park- December 12, 2014
I’ve decided not to make my holiday cards this year.. succumbing to the 50% off sale in Barnes and Noble the other weekend.  I just figured I’d save myself the trouble.  (Yes, I’m being cheap but this is THE BEST time to buy your cards.. and weeks after the holidays!)  I think I’ll actually be able to send out more being that I’m not pressured to produce them myself… and maybe it’s time I take a break and enjoy the holidays instead of stressing out about it.  (Note to self: start the cards in September next year!)

 

Christmas in Bryant Park- December 12, 2014

I’ve been thinking of actually sitting here one of these days, but the autumn has been a very cold and wet one — I almost shudder to think how our actual winter will be.   

I have always looked forward to Christmas — even when I don’t want to look back to holidays that may have not been festive enough or happy at all in the past.  I look to it as a time to make new memories and to close out a year ending — whether the year was good or bad.  I’m not quite in that mindset yet — writing about the year just passed.  It hasn’t quite gotten me there. 

I’m sticking to Christmas.  I know that no matter how simple or grand this year’s celebration will be, it definitely will be much better than the previous year’s.  And if only for that, there is much to look forward to.  I might even put up the Christmas stockings again — not so much for myself but for the little guy who is all this Christmas is all about.

Rain, Ice and Snow and Sir Kenneth Branagh

After the snow - as my day begins

I promise I will try to refrain from posting any more “SNOW” pictures until I get something spectacular yet again. Can we move on to spring, please? My snowboots get special billing in the collage above because I cannot be any happier with a practical (read: necessary) purchase than my Nine West Winter boots. Water-proof and traction is as good as any rough terrain pair — it has paid for its cost of acquisition many times over in this winter alone. And mind you, this was on sale at way below $100.

I can’t wait for winter to be over, more so today when I had to literally wade through slush, mush and snow — both hard and icy and soft and mushy.

Thankfully, it isn’t freezing cold, although you still won’t be able to make it through a block without your gloves and some headgear. I made it to work — and yes, in one piece.

For the first time since we moved to this building five years ago (if memory serves me right), I was greeted by a sheet of ice outside our window panes. At 41 floors above Manhattan, it was an eerie yet pretty sight to behold. I snapped up some pictures and this, below, is one of my favorites ever.

Icy rainy snowy morning

So what does rain, ice and snow have to do with Sir Kenneth Branagh? Nothing. It’s just that I didn’t feel like writing two posts so I’m combining them into one. (More for my benefit than yours.) I have been reading a back issue of Vanity Fair and had come across this one-page article, What You Should Know About Sir Kenneth Branagh.  Of course all it needed was his name and picture on the page to get me to read, and you’ll find it interesting whether or not you have a big crush on him like I do — but I was struck by the way the article was written — sort of a fill-in-the-blanks kind of thing and I thought it would be interesting to go and try that.  So here’s my version of What you should know about Pinay New Yorker:

She takes her coffee with 2% milk and Splenda, and when she feels like indulging her love of milkshakes, she puts some ice cream to flavor her coffee.

She irons her hair, as directed by her stylist Zeph, after she completely dries it and puts hair products in to protect it from that daily torture.

Every day, she begins her day by praying the Serenity Prayer (because that prayer is not only for those with real addictions but for anyone who needs courage and wisdom) and reads the daily reading from KerygmaFamily and prays.

Her being Pinay — despite being a New Yorker for the last 14 years, is a badge that she proudly carries even if she’s often mistaken to be Chinese or Latino.  And when told the last name throws them off, she launches into a mini-history lesson on how the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years, hence the Spanish surnames for most of the Philippine populace (with the rest of us Pinoys carrying Chinese surnames.)

Her self-declared “addiction” is to soda and chocolates, both of which she is trying to avoid by starting to lessen  her usually voluminous intake.  (More water, please, and when the penchant for something milky and sweet hits her palate, she grabs a cup of decaf coffee with skim milk and her sweeteners.)

She still writes letters longhand. And long letters, at that.

She commutes home these days on the 6 or something express bus to her side of Queens, getting there just in time to rush through homework, cook dinner and be a Mom.   She hopes one day to find herself sitting next to some famous hunk of a movie star trying to get into the character of someone riding the bus home from work in Manhattan.  (Can I have Brad Pitt, please?)

Her most beloved piece of home décor is a print of the Laughing Christ which isn’t hanging in her home right now, but which has been transported from Manila to New York during one of her previous trips home.

Lured by the daily buzz in Bryant Park which is just across the street during the lunch hour, she often dreams of just sitting there and blending in with nature even when it’s raining, and more so when the snow is falling heavily.

The appliance she most despises is the flat iron because she could never quite figure out how to iron clothes properly.  (Yes, there are skills that can be learned but not mastered.)

The superpower she desires most is to fly so that she can go wherever she wants to go without having to worry about getting there and getting back home in time to do homework and cook dinner.. yet again.

Her favorite songs are “Can We Still Be Friends?” by Todd Rundgren (very, very sad song but with a very good progression of notes that evokes such feelings of regret and resignation), “Two for the Road” by Monica Mancini — yes, the daughter of THE Henry Mancini who composed the song (a sad melody with a very romantic promise of commitment one can only wish and hope for) and “Bituing Walang Ningning” by Sharon Cuneta — I always said it evokes that feeling of one giving up everything for someone you think is worth giving it up for.  Of course whether that turns out okay or not is altogether a different story — and another song.

When craving a sweet, she prefers the old style caramels coated with milk chocolate like those that used to be known as “Pompoms”.

Germ-averse, she is not, but she takes care to make sure she sneezes into a handkerchief or sheet of tissue lest the germophobes around her get upset.

Her last twinge of bemusement was in watching her son make fun of her attempts to lose weight, saying she’s not cute and sexy if she isn’t fat.

Her celebratory drink is a glass (or two) of champagne which she hasn’t had in quite a while, probably for lack of something to celebrate or simply because New Year’s Eves are not pop-the-bottle-of-champagne kinds of occasions in her house (even if it is for her.)

Snowy, snowy Monday

Snowy Monday
We woke up with a good layer of snow covering most of the ground and a steady snowfall threatening more.  I was the only one who trudged out to brave it, and there was already almost two inches of snow as I made my way to the bus stop.

I’m a fan of freshly fallen snow, but I loathe having to deal with its aftermath.  You feel like you’re walking inside a freezer and you have to be quick to distinguish ice from slush from soft snow.

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More than an hour later, the bus managed to literally crawl to Manhattan.  Snow tends to slow vehicles because it is slippery and gives the vehicles a lot of difficulty when it comes to maneuvering.  It wasn’t as bad in the city but the snow didn’t stop falling.  The trees were already outlined by snow resting and accumulating on its branches when I reached Manhattan just after 9am.

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By noon, the New York Public Library and Bryant Park 41 storeys below me were blanketed with snow — and no, this photo is not in black and white.  Snow and the weather condition made it look like it was.

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The vista across from our building was a gloomy grey.  The continuing snow fall made it so, as if a shroud of gloom descended upon the city.

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The most dramatic yet was the one I took just a short distance from my doorstep as the sky glowed while a slight drizzle of snow fell to the ground.  For all the hazard and difficulties brought about by such heavy snowfall, you can’t help but admire the beauty of all that white, coating the outlines of the trees as you look up into what looks like a luminous night sky.  No bright lights — hence, the brownish tint of the picture.  (Plus, of course, a little help from Instagram’s filters..)

Breathtaking.

Snapshots and Random Thoughts: Another perspective

Over the eve of the Fourth of July holiday when I walked across Bryant Park to take pictures of the installation on the lawn, I snapped some pictures of my side of the park from the end closer to the New York Public Library which is usually the farthest point in my pictures of the park. Not this time.

Glass Canvas: NYC shot from Bryant ParkI actually took this random shot with the installation in the foreground but with a longshot of the building at the back.  I didn’t even realize I captured a rather imposing reflection of the buildings to its left  given the time of day.  (This was taken after 3pm.)  The reflection, of course, changes depending on the weather and the angle of the sun.

Another lucky shot.

I was cleaning up the latest folder of pictures on the memory card of my trusty cam when I realized I hadn’t downloaded this picture yet, nor had I uploaded it to my Flickr account.

It’s a gorgeous canvas considering the green glass was muted by the blue skies.  This is what makes lugging my camera around everyday very rewarding.

Upon reflection I realized, too, that I need to look at different perspectives more than I have been accustomed to.  I, too, am guilty of sometimes being confined to one perspective: that of mine.  I just need a reminder every now and then.  And it makes me realize that others tend to be as “confined” — thinking of their point of view alone, instead of seeing the bigger picture so to speak.

I think I’ll be taking more walks to this side of the park this summer.  I have been meaning to photograph the front of the library, too, since it’s been a while since I last snapped some pictures from that side of the park.  If only the heatwave would let up.

So we chilled at home, Angelo and I.  (Thank God for airconditioning..)  I have been busy with my watercolor brushes.  I completed more backgrounds and actually finished a piece, but I have yet to do the actual journaling.  I L-O-V-E my watercolor pallete!  I stared at my beads and was thinking of working on something but the brushes beckoned instead.  (There is still time to pull something together.. maybe before bed.)

Meanwhile, it’s sushi and sashimi for dinner tonight. Yum!  A perfect way to end a relaxing even if hot weekend..

Early morning musings

I started my day rather early today with a missed call at 4:30am.  The number was not ID’ing, so I texted my siblings back home in case someone was calling me from a phonecard.  I imagine it must’ve been a wrong number, because it turns out, none of them were calling.  I tried going back to sleep with no luck.

I went about my morning as usual and ended up at the bus stop rather early, and earlier still in Manhattan.  Since I am not about to go running for “Employee of the Year” by heading up earlier than my 8:30am clock in, I thought I’d sit a few minutes in the park and just watch Manhattan glowing in the sunrise.

I love Bryant Park during this time of the day when there is almost no one there to disturb the hundred of chairs that dot its periphery.  There is a solemnity to the whole thing when you view the park sans its usual crowd.  I picked a table and I sat.

Forget that the wind was freezing.  Our temperatures had plunged again today, requiring layering once again.  (Just when we thought we could put the winter gear away..!)  I just wanted to feel the wind in my face and keep quiet.  Sit still.  I snapped a few shots with the blackberry.  My camera was in my bag but I was lazy to take it out and snap away.  I wasn’t really here for the pictures — I just wanted to enjoy the park.

Akin to smelling the flowers as we are often admonished to do, sometimes you just have to stop a while and take in the view and get lost in it.

I was edgy in the morning because the subsequent meeting after I left was taking place.  I got the text message while on the bus to work that the deal had been sealed, and we had settled on an agreement to be reduced into writing by the parties by the end of the coming month.  I couldn’t help but cry when I read the message and texted my sister back, “Thank God.”  Literally, thank God.  The trip and the meetings and all the prayers worked after all.

So I sat in the park and said a quiet “Thank you, Lord.”  I looked around me, I took a deep breath and knew He had me in the palm of His hand.. and I lifted it all up to Him.