Monday, September 26, 2011

Music in a Dark Tunnel

The Scene:

On the E train home after a long day in school. I am settled comfortably in my seat with a school book on the 1920s (history class). The train is relatively empty.

I see an older man walk into the car, and take out a violin from a carry-case. He begins to play the most beautiful music; his skilled fingers catch every note to perfection. Beethoven, Haydn... and other pieces I recognize.

At the end of his performance, when he comes near me to collect, I ask him where he is from.

"Dominican Republic," he says.

And where was he trained?

"All over the world, but mostly in Germany."

Wow! It takes a lot to impress me when it comes to Subway performers (or solicitors), but I loved his music! Not everyday do you have skilled violinist make a private concert in your Subway car!

Anyone have any experiences with Subway performers?
What was the best/worst one you've seen?
What do you love/hate about Subway performers?

Post in the comments!

Side note: I just found this video online while searching for Subway performers -- weird, but I saw these same guys the other day, and this was filmed 3 years ago! (It's very nerve racking to see these guys perform like that on a moving train!!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

NYC Nightlife :-)

There is something special about New York City at night.

At night, as the city lights come out in full force, the city turns into a magical kingdom.

My favorite time to experience the city is at night. I visit my fountain at night, I take walks at night...Last night, I went grocery shopping at Fairway at 10:30 at night. It's the BEST time to shop, in my honest opinion. No pushing through crowds or waiting online forever. Just a nice, peaceful shopping experience.

Michael Huitt is an Upper West Side photographer who takes the most wonderful photographs of New York City, and many of them are at night! I don't know a thing about photography, but these are some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen!

Brownstones along 71st Street.

The 72nd Street 1, 2, 3 Subway station. 
I love this photograph so much, I made it my desktop background

I think this is Columbus Avenue at 73rd Street.

75th and Columbus at Midnight. 

59th Street and 5th Avenue.
I know this is not nighttime yet, but I absolutely LOVE the way he captures the sunset. Totally not traditional, yet incredibly captivating.

I've only shared a handful of his magnificent images. Click the link to check out the rest of Michael Huitt's New York City photography

Thank you Michael Huitt for permission to share your work in this blog!

Monday, September 19, 2011


**Please note: this is not about Otters! Read the entire post, and you will understand :-).

I was on the A train a few weeks ago, and as we passed by the 14th street station, I saw the cutest thing ever!



I've been meaning to write about Tom Otterness ever since I saw an instillation of his public art in the water off of Roosevelt Island, and most recently in the 14th Street subway station.

Tom Otterness is an incredibly creative American sculptor with a fabulous name and a unique sense of style. I'm sure you've seen his work before around the city. He tends to create sculptures that touch on political issues, such as low-wage workers fighting against the capitalist machine in a new, strange city.

The exhibit at 14th street is called "Life Underground."


I would not want to be here during rush hour, because this little man is hogging a valuable seat.

Otterness has art all over New York City. Check out this playground! Who wants to come with me to play on this slide? Doesn't it look like fun?!


It is so cool to find Otterness in the most random places. Check out his exhibit called "The Marriage of Real Estate and Money" in the water (of all places!) off of Roosevelt Island:


I'm sure this exhibit has deeper meaning, so if anyone with more time wants to research it for me, please post your findings in the comments.

Check out this behind the scenes tour of Tom Otterness's studio in Brooklyn, courtesy of my favorite blog Scouting NY.

 I LOVE public art. It makes you stop, think and smile in the middle of a hectic day.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What does it take to be a tourist in NYC?

What does it take to be a real tourist in New York City?

I was walking on 42nd street today, and decided to try being a real New York City tourist.

I do consider myself a tourist in my own city because I check out places that regular New Yorkers are too busy to check out, but today I acted like a tourist!

So, what does it take?

1. While walking on the street, stop short - causing everyone walking behind you to trip and make sharp to turns to avoid hitting you - and point out a random thing on top of a building/on the sidewalk/in the street.

2. Walk really, really, really, really slowly.

3. Wear t-shirts that display your country of origin.

4. Take really random pictures of the most boring, random things, like a subway station:

or a police officer and a bus:

5. Of course, how can you be a tourist in NYC if you don't take a picture of an advertisement on a tall building!

6. Be sure to stand in the middle of the street to take a picture of traffic:

Enough with taking pictures...

7. On the subway, stare at the subway map with a majorly confused look on your face, and point to different locations while having an animated discussion. Don't forget to gesture wildly!

8. Or, sit on the subway and study a Subway map as if it's a complicated math textbook.

(Shout out to my dear friend N - guess what! I took a picture of this guy and he didn't realize!! You're allowed to do that if it's a public area).

9. Have loud conversations with your friends on the Subway and in the street.

Yes, I know this is a little sarcastic, but I had fun :-).

If you have anything to add, please post in the comments!!! I will add anything suggested to the list!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Relaxing Evening in Central Park

I live in an apartment building, which means that I don't have a backyard. But the truth is, I really do have a backyard, and it's much bigger than the backyards of my friends who live in suburbia.

Yes, I'm talking about the beautiful Central Park!

A few nights ago, I decided to venture out to my backyard and have a little picnic dinner. I packed up some food, a drink, napkins and eating utensils, and I was on my way.

My favorite place to make a picnic is at the Ross Pinetum - a quiet little area near the Great Lawn with a cute playground and lovely picnic tables nestled beneath magnificent pine trees. 

The Pinetum is home to over 425 Pine trees representing 27 species, creating a miniature Pine forest!

credit: Flickr user WallyG 

There are parts of Central Park where you still feel like you're in the city even though you're surrounded by trees and grass. But, there are other parts of Central Park where you feel completely lost in an oasis of greenery and can't imagine how a city exists a few hundred feet away. The Pinetum gives me that feeling; it  is incredibly peaceful, relaxing and beautiful.

Interestingly, a few steps away from the quiet Pinetum is the Great Lawn, the center of activity and excitement in Central Park! It is so easy to go from quiet oasis to noisy activity...

On this rolling 55 acres of beautifully manicured grass, there are a number of baseball diamonds, where on any given night you can watch an exciting amateur baseball game. Families bring their blankets and make picnics by the trees, and Frisbee tournaments are all the craze, as well! 

The Great Lawn was originally the Croton Reservoir, constructed in 1842, but was drained in 1931 when a water tunnel was built making it obsolete. 

I love being out with so many other New Yorkers, enjoying the warm summer evening in Central Park. We all share the park - it is one giant backyard. There are thousands of New Yorkers in one beautiful place - walking dogs, enjoying the scenery, listening to music, taking a hike... and just escaping the hustle and bustle of city life.

Central Park is one of the most wonderful places in NYC. Please comment!  And let me know if you would like me to mention any area in Central Park that you visited and fell in love with.