A Saturday afternoon walk down Central Park

I was in the city to meet with a friend of my sister who was visiting from Manila last Saturday.  This was our second meeting and I just wanted to catch up with her before she left, hand her a few things for my sister, and just have a different kind of Saturday lunch in the city.  Something for me.

I couldn’t believe how many people were walking up and down on a Saturday, and I guess I really shouldn’t be complaining because that means good business for my city.  We met, had lunch and said our goodbyes.  (And there will be another post about that.)  I deposited her over at Carnegie Hall on 57th and Seventh Avenue and went on my way.  I had already made up my mind that I would make my way to the bus stop through Central Park to snap up some pictures and to do a bit of some exercise for the day.  I wasn’t quite up to walking all the way to my favorite Bethesda Fountain a bit of a ways in from the 59th street edge of the park, but I thought it would be a short detour to head towards the bus stop on Madison and 57th.

Walking down Central Park - April 26, 2014

I missed my little guy.  He always enjoys spending time here because it’s such a wide swathe of open space, and the rock formations are great for make-believe mountains and battles in his imagination.  He likes picking up twigs on the ground and using them as swords to fight off his imaginary foes.

Walking down Central Park - April 26, 2014

I didn’t quite go as far as his favorite rock formation around The Ramble which I am sure we will visit again soon.

Walking down Central Park - April 26, 2014

I always encourage friends visiting from other places to visit even just the outer fringe of Central Park to have a sense of its feel and flavor, but when you’re visiting all those other landmarks that dot the streets of this beautiful city, it ends up as an afterthought.

This is already my second visit this year, and I hope to visit more often in the coming weeks.  There is always so much going on and even just the changing of the colors and elements of nature surrounding the park can be so awe-inspiring.  I usually end up walking the trails of the park in the fall when the foliage is the prettiest and most breath-taking, but I want to see it in its full splendor in the spring.  (Right, Lou?)

You’d think that working on 42nd and Sixth Avenue and being relatively in the same area of Manhattan would make that a breeze — but it isn’t, and it does take some effort to make it happen.  My shots this grey but pleasant Saturday have inspired me to try harder at being in this corner of my city more often this year.

Walking towards the east, I approached the Pond (of Home Alone fame) from the west side of the Gapstow Bridge and caught some nice snapshots of the water reflecting the landscape around it.  I guess it’s because the sky was the way it was, and because I was viewing the water from where I was standing.  The reflection doesn’t come out as perfectly as the shot below from angles closer to the eastern side of the bridge.
Walking down Central Park - April 26, 2014

By the time I got to this side of the park, the clouds had started to gather up above. That, plus the flowers in bloom were beginning to droop down towards the ground instead of standing proud looking up at the sun like usual — a sign that it was about to rain.
Walking down Central Park - April 26, 2014

I exited on to 59th street and Fifth Avenue, heading out via the Plaza Hotel side to make my way to 57th.  Always well worth the detour even on an afternoon I’m trying to get home as fast as I can… What’s your favorite part of Central Park?

 

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.

Snowy NYC

I’ve been around.. just didn’t quite find a post worth sitting to write about, and have instead been “Instagram” busy.  (Find me there as GothamChick)  I have 15 followers, and I’ve been trying to post daily.

I love the app — but I still can’t do my posts without Flickr. (Where I have a healthy portfolio as Pinay New Yorker)

We got some serious snow during the week and I’ve been told we’re getting a little more tomorrow.  Just a little.  (Well, I sure hope so.) 

Winter Storm January 2014

So we got a lot of snow and it’s still lying around slowly “disappearing” if only because the temperatures are at record lows. We’re lucky to start the day with double digits. 9 degrees! That’s the norm these days.
Winter Storm January 2014You can hardly see the Empire State Building peeking from behind the thick blanket of snow falling on Manhattan.
Winter Storm January 2014

The buses were hardly running and I wanted to make it to the other side to go home, so I walked. I had my umbrella but the snow was blowing from all sides. The good thing is I was properly attired with my snow boots and long coat, so save for a constant spray hitting my face, I was good. (My greatest fear wasn’t slipping but having raccoon eyes by the time I got to my destination! Vanity!!! HAHA!)

The kids, however, were sorely disappointed because the following day wasn’t declared a snow day.  So my little guy trekked to school, but I spared him the walk home and had our friend pick him up instead of having extended day. 

Like most things that come our way here in the big apple, we went through the storm and then moved on.  That is so New York – moving on – and it keeps us going through the best and the worst of times.
Winter Storm January 2014

By the time we got to this part of the city on Fifth Avenue and our bus crawled in front of the New York Public Library, we had been in the bus over an hour.  And we did make it home at just under three.  Three hours on the bus — yes..but we made it home.

Make your own Magnum Bar in Bryant Park

This post has been waiting to be published a while now.  it’s been in my flickr account and has been bumped off the badge on my sidebar by more recent uploads, and with the temperatures dropping, I just want toshare with you yet another sinful treat to indulge in while in my favorite Bryant Park.

Magnum in Bryant Park

This kiosk is on the 40th street side of the park and used to be a seasonal ‘wichcraft ice cream booth in the summer and its hot chocolate kiosk in the winter when the lawn is converted into a skating rink.

Magnum in Bryant Park: Offerings

They sell your regular Magnum Ice Cream bar varieties ($4.00), but what you’d like to try here would be their custom-made ice cream bars.($6.00).  They show this menu on the wall to give you your options.

Magnum in Bryant Park: Milk or Dark Chocolate?
You get to choose between “milk” and “dark chocolate” coating.  I always prefer milk chocolate.
Magnum in Bryant Park: Pick your toppings
Then you get to choose two toppings (I picked honey roasted almonds and chocolate caramel chips.). Your choice will then mixed in a martini-shaker like mini cup and sprinkled over your now chocolate-coated ice cream bar. But that’s not quite the end of it — they actually drizzle MORE chocolate atop your now sinfully delicious bar…!

Magnum in Bryant Park: Milk Chocolate w/ Roasted Almonds and Caramel Chips
Yum! I’d grab one soon as the dropping temperatures might mean a seasonal bow for this to-die-for chocolate treat. This makes it as a lunch meal given how rich a dessert it is. Check them out when they open at noon, seven days a week — until the hot chocolate comes back.

At the MoMA: Lunch at Terrace 5 (The Carroll and Milton Petrie Café)

I don’t get to go out as often as I used to except when I am with the boys which is a given. (More posts on Lake George coming, by the way.) I like to showcase the sights and sounds of my home, New York, whenever I can, and I caught up with an old friend from high school and her mom who were visiting from Australia and Manila. I took the chance to show them New York’s pride, the Museum of Modern Art, and we grabbed lunch at The Carroll and Milton Petrie Café or Terrace on 5 which was a full service restaurant on the 5th level of the museum.

Sadly, it’s only when I have friends or family visiting that I get to go and sample the offerings about town. So take a look at the prix-fix lunch I had.

Terrace 5 at the MoMA : cheese platter for starters

Terrace 5 at the MoMA: Summer salad

Terrace 5 at the MoMA: Prosciutto and Mozzarella Bruschetta with summer tomatoes

Terrace 5 at the MoMA: yummy s'mores

The Museum of Modern Art is located on 53rd Street between 5th and 6th. The museum also has an entrabce on the 54th street end as it runs through the bock.

Downtown

Yesterday was the last day that Donna and I saw each other in New York, as she and her family are getting ready to fly out to Las Vegas before heading back Down Under to Sydney next week. it was a simple spend-the-day-together kind of day, and while I would’ve loved to spend more time with Donna, she was feeling under the weather, so I brought her all the way to NJ via the Path train and doubled back by late afternoon.

Donna is one of my dearest friends from high school.  Although we met in high school, we only became close halfway through, sometime in my junior year.  We also ended up in different universities, but this didn’t prevent us from visiting each other in our respective campuses.  Our lives had its ups and downs just as our friendship did — and her departure for Australia and then my subsequent move to New York even brought us farther, but there is something about real friendship that keeps it alive through time and space.

We spent the day Midtown and at the end of the day, I brought her all the way to New Jersey via the PATH train, and then I doubled back after I had safely deposited her to Tita Doy who graciously fetched her at the train station.  It was a lonely ride back.  I’ve had several of those rides after I brought Mom or Ofie to the airport during their prior visits to New York.  I’m trying not to dwell on it, but there’s no denying it.

I ended up downtown where I chose to be adventurous and look for the express bus stop which I found on Park Place.  I used to know the twists and turns of this part of Manhattan, back when I worked for a non-profit on Wall Street in 2001.  The landscape has changed and continues to change.  It is the same that it is not.

I looked up and saw this stark contrast of the new and the old, side by side.  One day soon it there will be a building in front of these two concrete giants.  There is a construction site from my vantage point which is still in its early stages.  Perhaps next year, when I go back (IF I find myself there again, that is,), I will see the new building rising.

I was exhausted by the time I got home.  I know it wasn’t just the physical exhaustion exacerbated by the summer heat.  My heart has a way of taking my body over when there is a dark cloud hanging over me.  I’ll get over it.

Donna will always just be heart beat away.

Downtown

With these stained hands, I type

Angelo saw my hands this morning as I handed him his daily allergy dose.  “What happened, Mommy?”  He looked on curiously as he saw my hands, stained with pink ink. 

“I was  busy last night.”

Busy, indeed.  Thankfully, after more washing and a shower, the stain is hardly visible.  And wonder of wonders, my nail enamel was totally unaffected.  (Vanity again. LOL)

I finally worked on a new set of stained map backgrounds and now have an additional 22 backgrounds to work with.  (Happiness..)  I also did something different by purposely “saving” the paper towels I used to wipe off the spray ink from my work mat (which is a plastic surface) and I came up with some rather interesting tie-dye like napkins.  I am scanning these and putting them up at my craft blog, Gotham Chick, as soon as I can make up my mind about the theme for the site. 

I need to rev up traffic to Gotham Chick, and what better way to do it than to offer digital files of the backgrounds as downloads for the digital and hybrid scrapbookers out there?  (I always like freebies!)  Soon.
Digital Paper Pack: Stained Paper Towels

Meanwhile, I made an effort to step out and actually HAVE a lunchbreak, and I went to my favorite Thai food street cart over at 43rd Street and Avenue of the Americas called “Bangkok Thai Street Food by Tuk Tukk Boy.”

Lunch: Thai food c/o Bangkok by Tuk Tukk Boy on 43rd and 6th Ave

I’ve been craving their Thai Shrimp Dumplings which I had already featured here before, but this time, I tried their Chicken Basil without the rice.  (Yes, I’m starting my diet unofficially, in baby steps.)

It was yummy as is, but would have been even yummier with rice.  I loved that it was spicy and yet not overpowering.  I got a little extra chicken because I didn’t get any rice to go with it.  (Thanks, Boy!)

 Thai Street Food on 43rd and 6th

I wanted to disappear into a corner in the airconditioned public area across from my building, but all seats were taken by people who were lounging around after the lunch hour rush. I didn’t want to go into the park, so I went instead to the open seating behind my building where I ate my lunch under the sun. It was pleasantly cool — and the sun wasn’t scorching. I really should do this more often.

 

Tulips and grates

Spring 2013: Tulip in Bryant Park

I find the contrast in this picture very striking although it was just “another one of those pictures” I snapped away on impulse.  A gorgeous tulip in mid-bloom around the grated fence on the perimeter of one of the monuments around the park.  I was walking back to the office after getting some pasta for myself and a sandwich and soup for the boss yesterday.  I could’ve just walked past it and I almost did.  The only camera I had was my blackberry, and it wasn’t the Bold which took better pictures.  I just felt it would be such a waste of visual candy to resist, so I snapped away.

Another one of those moments when I could’ve just hurried on or given in to being dyahe or shy about stopping and taking a handheld to take a picture — these days I feel like a dinosaur taking the blackberry out when everyone else has an iPhone, Android or Galaxy.  I’m cheap.  The two blackberrys are company issued, and I can’t find a good enough reason to get any of the other phones of choice unless they were given to me for free.

I’m trying to make it home to my boy a little earlier today since the boss is out.  Not by much, but I just wanted to have more time to chill.  I have my pearl necklace to work on which, I hope I can finally start stringing today.

Stringing beads and more so pearls is not something I can claim to be good at, so I thought I’d defer to one of my sukis or favorite shops here on Sixth Avenue.  (AKA Avenue of the Americas).  When in doubt, ask someone who knows

I already knew that I had a choice between string or uber thin wire, and while he said stringing would produce a more elegant strand if knotted, when he saw my freshwater pearls (which he immediately commented must be an expensive strand), he suggested I do wire instead given that I meant to produce a multistrand choker.  So wire , it is.  I’m excited to lay out the strands and maybe start crimping the ends.  Maybe.

I like the feeling of knowing I have created something.   I’ll get to it soon.

So today I turned 47…

THAT somehow feels so old.  And not even the genuine surprise of people who find out I’m as old as I am makes it feel any better.  47…

I spent the day with my “bodyguard” in the city.  Lunch at Junior’s in Times Square, a ride downtown to visit The Ink Pad (as recommended by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer of Balzer Designs, my crafting guru), then back to midtown to grab something at Sephora and then of course, the very point of the trek to the city: a visit to the flagship Toys R’ Us.  And what do you know — we even made it to the new flagship store of Disney a few steps away, then a quick snack at a McDonald’s a few steps farther we’ve never visited.

We were home by six.. dinner is being picked up from our favorite Thai restaurant, but we’ve opted to eat in after a long tiring day.

I’m exhausted.  I’m thankful for all the greetings — I haven’t even had the chance to respond on Facebook.  I’m just glad I got to spend my birthday with my boy.  We rode the bus, the subway (which he really enjoyed) and walked… and he still didn’t want to go home!  If I had the strength, I would have relented.

I had a really fun day… here’s to another year…hoping for the best.. but I’ll settle for better.