Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taking a Walk with Sandy

Oh Sandy.

Waterfront areas got it the worst with disastrous flooding. A family friend completely lost their house near Far Rockaway - the water just swept it away into the ocean. 

I live in a very elevated area, far removed from any bodies of water. The biggest problem we faced was the wind - boy was it fierce! At times, it sounded like a low flying airplane or massive truck rumbling down Broadway. 

We did not lose power (unless something happened while I was asleep), but our lights flickered occasionally throughout the evening. There are major power outages all around the tri-state area; I hope everyone is okay.

I had to walk downtown to an appointment earlier today as the MTA still has all service suspended. 

The brunt of the storm has now passed, but it left behind some nasty souvenirs. 

Sandy ruthlessly snapped off limbs of many trees along the streets of my neighborhood:

And whipped up fall leaves into wet piles making a mess in the streets:

After a scary incident with a partial crane collapse on 57th street, I've been wary of the tall cranes situated around my neighborhood.

Looks secure, though. I notice they hung an American flag on it. How cool! I'm sure it waved ferociously during the storm. 

Most stores have been closed and boarded up since yesterday:

Many have reinforced their windows with tape, hoping to hold back strong winds from blowing them in:

However, major grocery stores and some restaurants are still open, catering to the home-bound neighborhood. 

Seems like today is the day to go grocery shopping! Well, I guess if there's nothing else to do...

The checkout line was insanely long. (They are notoriously long at Fairway, but today was way worse).

The only positive thing I will say about Sandy (other than having 3 days off) is that she made everything smell quite nice. Fall leaves mixed with lots of fresh air from the wind, along with the rain which cleans the grime from the streets - the neighborhood smells like a fresh fall mist :-).

I hope everyone is doing okay and staying safe. 
Please email me your pictures! I will post them below.

Friday, October 19, 2012

On Commuting

Traveling to school and work takes up a hefty chunk of my day.

Well, it used to at least.

Queens College is a grand total of 1 hour away from where I live, and I take 3 trains and a bus to get there. I did this almost every day for the past 3 years.

At first it didn't bother me at all; I felt really cool "commuting" to school every day and getting out of Manhattan. But recently, it started to hit me. I started to dread the long and tedious commute.

Thankfully, I no longer have to commute to college every day. I now work part-time in Woodside, Queens, only 30 minutes and two trains away from home, and I only do the dreadful commute to college once a week.

What a difference!

Today, another employee at work shared with me that he lives in Spanish Harlem and it also only takes him 30 minutes to travel to Woodside. But he said, "it takes me over an hour to get to Washington Heights, and that's even closer to where I live than Woodside!"

"It's true," I concured, "it takes me close to an hour and 3 trains to reach the Lower East Side from my neighborhood, and that's fewer miles away than Woodside!"

I find it so mind-boggling that traveling on public transportation to another borough can take almost half the time as traveling within the same borough.

I am so grateful that I work somewhere directly off a train line; it cuts my traveling time in half, and I get to work cool, calm and collected. 

Perhaps I will write about Woodside in the future. I did some exploring and the neighborhood is quite nice!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Irish Hunger Memorial

credit: www.gothamist.com

Anyone guess what it is?

Well, I'll tell you.

The structure is the Irish Hunger Memorial, located in Battery Park City.

Credit: www.vipnyc.org

From around 1845-1852, a tremendous famine hit Ireland, killing over 1.5 million people. I learned about the Great Irish Hunger in my British History class last semester.

I learned that the Irish were seen as the lowest of the low by the British because they had different religious beliefs. Great Britain ruled over Ireland at the time, so their hatred resulted in terrible living conditions for the Irish.

The hunger is said to have been started by a fungus that arrived on a ship from America, and then contaminated the entire potato crop, the food they lived on. So the Irish starved.

To make matters worse, the British didn't do anything to help them.

Then came a huge blizzard, followed by a Typhus epidemic. It was really bad news.

As with most historical events, the Irish Hunger has tremendous significance in the larger picture of modern European and American history, which you can read about here.

The Irish Hunger Memorial, besides for being an incredibly cool piece of public art, is a very moving tribute to the Great Irish Famine.

There are many different sections of the memorial...

This walkway is lined with statistics, quotes and poems about the famine:
credit: www.nycgo.com

This garden contains stones from all the different counties in Ireland, as well as natural vegetation brought over from Western Ireland:
credit: http://erinoc1227.wordpress.com

And this is an authentic 19th century Irish cottage:
credit: www.wikipedia.org

All aspects of the Irish Hunger Memorial provide an in-depth history lesson of what happened during the Irish Hunger. Not to mention that it is an architectural masterpiece, which I enjoyed very much.

For more information about the Memorial, check out this informative website.

But wait! While you're in the area...

A few feet away from the Irish Hunger Memorial is Rockefeller Park, in which this lovely little enclave resides:
Credit: www.nycgo.com

This little pond is brimming with shimmery fish, storybook lillypads, sluggish turtles, and boasts a gentle waterfall. I was so enchanted by the scene that I sincerely wished I had the time of day to sit down and relax by its soothing waters.

What a find!

While the days are still long, and before the leaves completely fall off the trees, I hope to visit Battery Park City again. And if anyone cares to join me, I would love some company :-).