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.

Weekend drive through the Lower East Side

It was sort of a last minute plan tying up a trip to my hair salon downtown and then hieing off to New Jersey for Max’s Fried Chicken.   What started out as a rainy day eventually turned into a sunny one which made the drive more pleasant.  On the way back, I snapped the pictures below with my blackberry (camera was left in another purse) as we drove through the Lower East Side back to our side of the city.

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I have vowed to myself that I will one day watch a movie here.  This greets us after emerging from the Lincoln Tunnel and we find ourselves on Canal Street.  I tried taking pictures but was unable to, largely because the traffic was heavy on both sides and I just couldn’t get a shot in.
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The diagonal orientation here was done on purpose and is something easier to do given that I’m shooting from the passenger side.  I have a couple of shots in my albums depicting the tight streets in this fashion which, I think, gives it a different perspective and a little more drama.

Driving through the Lower East Side - 1

This is my favorite of all the shots I took and is one of three that I managed to save as we idled at a stoplight.  I love the way this mural has evolved, considering its different versions through the years.  Seeing it, though, made me regret not having brought my camera along for a higher-definition photograph.  Still, how lucky could I get?

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Finally, before we headed on up to the bridge taking us from Manhattan to Queens, I found an opportunity to take a snapshot of this abandoned building which has been “decorated” with all these street art — giving it a different character but still a character all its own.

I hope you enjoyed our quick drive through the lower east side.

Walking Healthy

Walking up 6th Ave

Yesterday, I decided I’d try something new by walking from 42nd Street to 54th and try to accomplish two things: one was to take pictures for a post I’m drafting, and two, to exercise. (Shocked? Lol… So was I!). I figured I had enough time (it took me only 15 minutes) at semi- but not quite – brisk walking.

Walking up 6th Avenue

I did stop to take the pictures I needed (and then some like those accompanying this post) and got to my destination. I needed the “activity point”, having just rejoined WeightWatcher’s. I’ve been good so far, and I’m still feeling my way through. The program had worked for me before I got pregnant, losing around 30 lbs and dropping from a size 12 to an 8. I had done it in between my initial departure from Manila and my first trip home. My brother met me at the arrival area and told me he didn’t recognize me.

I have a little more to lose than that now but I’m trying to find a long-term solution instead of a quick fix. (The latter tends to allow the weight to come back as quickly as the weight went.). They’re marketing the program now as a lifestyle choice and it means altering the way I eat by sticking to some guidelines. I can still have my treats, but it would mean trading something off for it. I just want to get healthier and avoid the common illnesses associated with aging. I am, after all, 47 now. Let’s see how far this one goes and when I reach my first goal of a 5% weight loss. (Current and weight goal confidential. Ha!)

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

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.

A snapshot this evening of 42nd street from 41 storeys above Manhattan

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above from Pinay New Yorker

I was trying to get a shot to submit for the weekly photo challenge which had “FROM ABOVE” as topic, but I realize now it’s not exactly “from above.” It’s more from up high. (I know, I’m nitpicking but maybe I just need a little more confidence to make a submission.)

Quite a nice picture, though, taken as I was leaving the office today.

A Prayer and a Thought

I woke up today to more news about yesterday’s tragedy and we continue to feel the heaviness brought on by the carnage we keep hearing about.  I’ll say it again: let’s continue praying for Boston.

Naturally, there is a silent but pervasive buzz in New York City today as well.  We are no strangers to tragedies like this and despite the normally vigilant stance the city takes, we can never be complacent.

It makes me pause to think about what dangers might lurk around my home city now — and I am sure there are a ton that we aren’t even remotely aware of — and I get a barrage of mini-panic attacks around my list of “What ifs” bordering on the paranoid.

It’s during times like this when I look to a higher power for calm.  I suddenly remember I haven’t said my morning prayers.  I usually talk to God as I walk to the bus stop.  I got a free ride today.  In the end, there isn’t really much that we can do in the face of all the threats surrounding us.  We can never be too careful, true, but in the long run, there’s more to the equation than our caution.  That’s why I pray.

Last night, I was watching television before turning in, and I must say I have been struck by how several of the heroines we see on TV today are “non-believers” — is it a trend in television shows now to keep away from religion?  Perhaps.  Alicia Florick in THE GOOD WIFE “does not believe” even if her teenage daughter had “found” religion and is a born again Christian in the show.  Dr. Bones in BONES is too much of a scientific genius that she dismisses the miracles attributed to Jesus Christ as myths, yet backpedals and says that the reason the myths have persisted is because people have learned to forgive.  (paraphrasing last night’s episode).  Even Dr. Megan Hunt in BODY OF PROOF doesn’t “practice” her religion (which is not identified) and had asked her daughter Lacy if she minded that they didn’t go to church.

I’m not looking for religion in television, but that it is declared that the main character of the show has none to speak of gives me pause.  Why the need to declare this facet of that character’s personality when religion is not an integral slant in the show?

Just another passing thought in the midst of reflecting upon the tragedy so close to where I’m at and how it has emphasized the need for prayer to me personally, at least.