5th Avenue

 

northern view by day, 20th floor

northern view by day, 20th floor

5th-avenue

southern view by night, 20th floor

 

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Havemeyer Heartbreak

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For the past two summers we have had a special park just down the block from our apartment, overlooking one of the most breathtaking views of the Williamsburg Bridge. Havemeyer Park, a temporary haven in what remains one of the last pieces of undeveloped land along the East River Waterfront.  The park is open only on limited days, but always accessible on the weekends.

havemeyer @ night

There are free public grills, picnic tables, and plenty of space to spread a blanket out on and relax for the day.  In the evenings, you can even arrange to host small parties with live music, for a small fee.  There is a dirt bike course hosted by Ride Brooklyn.  There is a flourishing urban farm, which opens as a farmer’s market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I’ve heard the “Havemeyer team” will even cook you a farm-to-table meal for your party, if that fits your fancy.  How special is this gem?  Oh, and did I mention the tipi/teepee?

havemeyer-tipiWhen it first opened, I was so excited that there was a yet undiscovered park right down the street from me!  Only recently did I realize its impermanence. As soon as the construction begins to tear down the Domino Sugar Factory, Havemeyer Park goes with it.  I had to put my fantasies of hosting the welcome”rehearsal dinner” event for my wedding next year at Havemeyer to rest.  I suppose the natural evolution of a city is to grow, tear down, and grow bigger.

The book I’m reading right now takes place in New York in the 70’s. There was a paragraph that really stuck with me.  The author describes how New York is a city of present moment. It is a place where the past is disregarded, constantly overwritten. I’m heartbroken that Havemeyer Park won’t be around next summer, but I’m thankful that it is part of my present.

havemeyernights

And until then, I always make a point to stop by the park every weekend… to take in one more inspiring image of the Williamsburg Bridge and the glimmering city behind it.

A Spanish Love Affair on Point

metropolitan-opera-house-curtain

For those equally intrigued by observing movement, there isn’t a better place to spend an evening in New York then at the Metropolitan Opera House watching the American Ballet Theater company perform.  I recently saw Don Quixote a playful and engaging ballet accompanied by a tremendous display of athletic talent from the dancers.

chandelier-met-opera-house

The opera house is something else.  We sat on the Dress Circle level, which had reasonably priced seats for such an event.  We were C121 and C123, and found the view to still be spectacular.  We had a great birds eye view of the Orchestra as well.

abt-opera-house

As far as dress atire at the ballet, it can really range.  We saw men in tuxes and ladies in ball gowns, but we figured they were distinguished donors or of that sort.  We also saw tourists in jeans and shirts, seemingly just off the street.  I suggest comfortable, yet business casual attire.  If you’re on the Dress Circle level, most of your fellow spectators will be in dresses and button down shirts, but nothing too fancy.

wine-and-roses

Lincoln Center has recently remodeled the entire entrance to the main opera house, and it just looks spectacular.  Get there early for photos before sunset.  It is New York’s most beautiful open plaza, by far.

lincoln-center

 

That magic

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It is often in moments when I step outside the city walls for a weekend that I think about my own life choices, and exactly what it is that inspires me to stay in the middle of this mayhem.  The truth is, it is a very personal and perhaps at times selfish attachment.  I center my life in New York because it is exactly what I need to center me.

People for centuries have been referring to the magic that is New York City.  When I think about what I define as its magic, I think about the people it connects, the boundaries it removes, the challenges it sustains, and the pace at which we as individuals evolve in the midst of it.  I think about the resilience it brings to one’s character, by giving you the freedom to explore.  I am perpetually amazed by my everyday.

Perhaps the most formidable trait the city empowers is the thinking (and flourishing) outside of  American societal norms. It redefines normal, in the most refreshing way. Normal in New York is lugging your laundry bags up your five floor walk-up to the lingering stench of your neighbor’s drug habit. Normal in New York is living with roommates at any age.  Normal in New York is finding a cheaper and healthier meal at the restaurant downstairs then the one you cook yourself.  Normal in New York is grazing dozens of strangers while navigating the rush hour maze, and not finding it weird. Normal in New York is using the bed you sleep on in your studio apartment as appropriate seating for guests at your house party.  Normal in New York is crying profusely on a crowded subway after a rough day, and being allowed to do just that – without any judgement.  That’s New York’s normal.  It isn’t for everyone, but for me, it is a life worth living.

I am not so foolish as to be blind to the City’s downfalls, and acknowledge they are abundant.  But the beauty behind those of us that remain here is that we persevere against them. What is life if not full of obstacles and the small successes we celebrate in the overcoming of them?

peguclubtoast

So I would like to raise a glass to New York — thank you for being my home.

 

Winter Balls

The holidays always come quickly in New York.   The fall colors disappear, and the lights go up.   This holiday season I wasn’t in New York, but I did get to capture a couple special moments before the January freeze took over.  This year’s pointy crooked tree in Washington Square Park reminded me of a Dr. Seuss Tree.

washingtonsqpark

I can’t think of a scene more romantic than Washington Square Park at night, with snow-covered grounds and a white-lit tree, and seemingly no one around.

flyingballs

If I ever owned a restaurant, I would make the most of the holiday season.  The décor would never be cheesy, just very pleasing and warm. I found this image above of holiday balls dangling from a high ceiling at GMT Tavern on Bleecker Street quite satisfying.

yarnbomb

Up in Hell’s Kitchen I found a telephone pole yarn-bombed with a beautiful I Love New York montage.  It always amazes me that someone actually took the time to think, plan, crochet, and then construct the various street art I come across.  I’m glad I stopped to admire this little gem.

Brilliance

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I have become enamored with this lucky photo I took while taking a breather after work on a bench next to the Flatiron building.   It happened to be a perfect fall evening where it was warm enough to sit outside after sundown, and the sky was still radiating with dusk’s glow.   Amidst the hustle and bustle of a daily life in New York, we often forget to stop and just appreciate the ubiquitous brilliance around us.

Special Summer Shots

I walk around the city with my iPhone, as most New Yorker’s do these days.  Everyone has turned into a photographer.  I live in New York, and have for almost 6 years now, but I still feel the desire to photograph my daily experiences. Every day is a different story.  It’s phenomenal. I’ve compiled a collection of some of my favorite shots I have taken this summer, which I feel are very indicative of New York — in the summer.

Central Park, Sheep's Meadow Summer Crowds.

Central Park, Sheep’s Meadow Summer Crowds.

Sunset & sailing over the East River.  The best part about summer is coming home after work and watching the sun set.

Williamsburg Bridge @ Sunset. East River.

Williamsburg Bridge @ Sunset. East River.

Summer Street Spray, otherwise known as the illegal breaking of New York Fire Hydrants to stay cool in the summer time.

Summer Street Spray

Summer Street Spray

Summer rainstorms are divine in New York.  I love getting caught in them on my way home from work, when I’m sweaty and stressed and looking for some relief.  Nothing feels better than a warm downpour on a sticky summer day.

Warm weather tropical storms.

Warm weather tropical storms.

Leaving the city on the Fourth of July is an annual ritual of mine. Although I have heard spending the 4th in the city can be quite fun, I much prefer crossing the Hudson and heading north.  This year, a beautiful American Flag was suspended from the GW Bridge.  I almost felt patriotic driving under that.

George Washington Bridge on July 4th, 2013.

George Washington Bridge on July 4th, 2013.

My neighborhood is pretty spectacular.  My transportation options range from the L Train to the J/M/Z to traversing the Williamsburg bridge on foot, all the way to the newly popular East River Ferry.  This one photo was taken at the South Williamsburg Ferry port, right next to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  I was on my way to the Figment Festival on Governors Island.

East River Ferry Waiting Zone, South 9th Street. Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

East River Ferry Waiting Zone, South 9th Street. Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

I’ve always mentioned how much I love the High Line. It is my favorite park in the city.   This summer I have had lots of wonderful reasons to walk through it. CitiBike has made it even easier to reach at lunch time.  It is so special there.

High Line Park, North End.

High Line Park, North End.

This was a photo taken on another rainy evening. I was walking from Chelsea to KoreaTown.  I love this overpass connecting two buildings. The colors are so striking, especially when the sky is grey behind it.  I’m glad I looked up.

Bridge to K-Town. 32nd Street & Broadway.

Bridge to K-Town. 32nd Street & Broadway.

The waterfront by Brooklyn Bridge Park is marvelous. The entire thing has been redone, from a pedestrian bridge, to a huge picnic area by Pier 5.  Oh, and the ferry I mentioned above will take you right there!

Brooklyn Bridge Park Sea Port

Brooklyn Bridge Park Sea Port

I often skip riding the subways in the summer and opt for biking or walking.  A bike ride home is about 25 minutes, and a walk about 60.  Walking is my favorite because I get to explore new areas.  Last week I stopped for a break on my walk home. It was in Father Demo Square.  I loved seeing the explicit quiet zone sign.  I had left work after a particularly challenging day, and this was just what I needed.

Quiet zone. Father Demo Square, West Village.

Quiet zone. Father Demo Square, West Village.

My friends and I have discovered a great new rooftop bar for dancing, the The DL on Delancey. Its lovely in the daytime. You feel like you’ve been transported to the Caribbean.  But that’s besides the point, and for another post.  I rarely take shots of the Williamsburg Bridge from the Manhattan side. I like this one.

View from Delancey in Manhattan. Brooklyn and beyond.

View from Delancey in Manhattan. Brooklyn and beyond.

I work by the Flatiron. At least once a week I walk over to Madison Square Park for lunch in the park. This was one of those days.

Empire State from Madison Sq. Park

Empire State from Madison Sq. Park

My neighborhood is full of passionate individuals. I guess that is one way to put it?  But this endeavor I found particularly cool. A group of volunteers have turned an old abandoned parking lot into a thriving mini-farm.

Old parking lot turning into Urban Farm.

Old parking lot turning into Urban Farm.

At the end of Grand Street in Williamsburg, there is a little hidden gem of a park called Grand Ferry Park.  It is great for sunset watching.

Waterfront at Grand Ferry Park.

Waterfront at Grand Ferry Park.

The rocks. Grand Ferry Park.

The rocks. Grand Ferry Park.