The Freedom Tower and The River

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Half and Half.”

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A few blocks away from work is the Hudson River Park, which is my favorite park in the city. Not only do you get a picturesque view of the Hudson River, downtown NYC, and Hoboken, but the park is also excellent for biking, running, or the simple joy of hanging out with friends.

Do you have a landscape or a particular place that you’d always love to come back to? This particular landscape is one of my favorites, and has been the subject of my many Instagram posts.

During summer, I sometime would spend lunch breaks on one of the benches there. There has been a time when Chris biked from 57th St. to W Houston St. to meet me for lunch (it took him around 15-20 mins to go downtown, and another 15-20 to get back. So that only left 20-30 mins for the “actual” meal!). I would also come here after work and wait for the sunset, as sunsets are very beautiful here.

Parks are one of the “luxuries” that every New Yorker gets to enjoy in the city, especially during the summer. The city gets crowded during the summer because of tourists, but I think there’s no better season to enjoy this beautiful city. There are a lot of free activities held at parks, too.

Hope you, too, are having a lovely summer! (Well, if you’re located in the Northern Hemisphere lol)

New Orleans for my birthday

IMG_7944In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Muse.”

For my birthday this year, I decided to pack my bags and go to New Orleans for the weekend. I enjoyed the culture, sightseeing, the food (especially the food! did anyone mention happy hour?), and the company of friends.

Here’s a picture of Jackson Square – taken while we were on our way to get the famous beignets. Yummy!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

Far Rockaway Beach. The yellow-painted rock looks a bit odd, yet interesting, when you take a look at the whole picture.

I’ve only been there once and the travel time was at least two hours from where I live. I like this beach – it isn’t as commercialized as the Coney Island area and the gentle sea breeze greets you the moment you get out of the subway.

My heart and prayers go out to all the residents of the Rockaways and all those who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. Everything will be better 🙂

Maschere di Venezia

The Carnevale di Venezia is famous for its distinctive and intricate masks.

Every time I see one, I am always reminded of the sad, sad scene from the Phantom of the Opera Act II, Scene IX. Raoul and Christine were reunited once again as the Phantom finally let go of the love of his life. The monkey and barrel organ music box comes to life magically and the Phantom, while looking at his mask, sings this tragic tune:

Masquerade!

Paper faces on parade.

Masquerade!

Hide your face so the world will never find you…

*/Venezia 2011/*

La dame de fer

La Tour Eiffel | La dame de fer, “The Iron Lady”
Visitors are in for a charming light show during the first three minutes of every hour at night.

Paris, Île-de-France | May 2011

Eiffel Tower (1889). A visit to Paris just isn’t complete without stopping by the Eiffel Tower, much like visiting NYC isn’t complete without seeing the Statue of Liberty. Both iconic landmarks were designed by Gustave Eiffel, who is reputed to have been also involved with the design and construction of the San Sebastian Church in Manila.

Paris was the last stop in my trip last year and was the least enjoyable. I was keen on seeing as much as I could for a span of two days. The hostel I picked was the worst I have ever stayed in – oh, how I wish I could forget the terrible snoring of one of my roommates! Or the rude treatment of the hostel receptionist! What was the worst thing that ever happened to you while you were on a trip?

Nonetheless, Paris is very beautiful. What I absolutely loved about it was the lovely district of Montmartre and walking around its historic cobblestone streets was exciting! I dream of visiting France again – I’d love to see Southern France with my family!

Bow Bridge and the Lake

Bow Bridge and the Lake on one cold February afternoon

The Bow Bridge is named as such because its graceful shape suggests the bow of a violinist or an archer. Located in Central Park, this bridge is one of the most photographed places in New York. You might recall MJ telling Peter “There’s someone else” in Spiderman 3 (2007) or Finn and Rachel in Glee meeting in this very spot.

Here are some photos I took last May:

“Row your boat”
“Christine Hall will you marry me”

Colosseo Roma

Colosseo, the largest amphitheater built by the Roman Empire

May 20, 2011. I remember feeling extremely tired from walking around ancient Rome, thinking that it might be the longest walk I’ve had and will ever have.

Colosseo – Anfiteatro Flavio.

I walked and walked along a well-trodden path as I marveled at the ancient grandeur that the city offered. Then I realized that it stood there, right in front of me. I caught myself standing in awe of this mega-structure, as it was nothing like I’ve imagined.

That moment reminded me of how blessed I was to have eyes that see beauty in everything I see. Right then and there, a little smile crept into my face and the unbearable pain in my feet seemed to have vanished into thin air.

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P.S. A ticket includes entrance to the Roman Forum and Colosseum. I first went to the Roman Forum and got inside  the Colosseum a little more than an hour before its closing time. The queue to go inside the Colosseum is always long – it’s always best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. And maybe read up a little about its history, as you’ll appreciate the craftsmanship better with those little bits of info in mind.

On making criticisms

This picture reminds me of one particular piece that was reprinted in Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends & Influence People. The photo’s a little blurred since it’s a cropped photo but still sends the message across:

What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son.

~ excerpt from “Father Forgets”, W. Livingston Larned (full text HERE)

C’est la Vie!

Echoes from Long Island Sound

But I would suggest that an ideal human life lies somewhere between my own defiant indolence and the rest of the world’s endless frenetic hustle. My role is just to be a bad influence, the kid standing outside the classroom window making faces at you at your desk, urging you to just this once make some excuse and get out of there, come outside and play. My own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy.

~ Tim Kreider on “The ‘Busy’ Trap” (Click here for the article)

This summer, I can say, is the first real “carefree” summer I ever had in such a long time, without any exam to prepare for or any classes to take. I could wake up at 10AM and I couldn’t care less, have my breakfast and lunch at the same time while I watch Supernatural, take long naps, and sleep in an ungodly hour. In a way, I missed being a kid and I’m really glad I get to spend time alone, with only my thoughts distracting me. I know people who work seven days a week and this, for them, is a luxury they just cannot afford.

On the best ordinary days, I get to spend the afternoon at a park and wait until the golden hour to take some of the best pictures. When I get back home and take a good look at the photos, I realize what I’ve been missing out on. I never thought sunset could be so beautiful, with splashes of yellows and oranges across the evening sky. I’ve forgotten how wonderful it feels to have sand in my toes until I frolicked around the beach in my summer skin.

Last Saturday, June 30th, I got to go to a BBQ at Sunken Meadows Park in Long Island. Louka, Xiaoli, and I first met up with some of their friends in Queens then we drove to Sunken Meadows, with the trip taking about an hour.

I’ve never been in the company of so many Chinese before. I find it somewhat amusing that people I got introduced to where greeting me Ni Hao (although I think I don’t look Chinese at all with my being morena).

The beach serves as an escape from the drudgery of everyday life.

I hope that when I get older, I still find delight in the simple things that people ordinarily take for granted. I hope that I won’t be “too busy” and find myself stuck in the cruel rat race. When was the last time you’ve been to the beach or spent quality time with your family? I know I’m still young and haven’t gone through much in life but if there’s one thing I learned, it’s the journey that matters most. I hope you don’t lose sight of what’s important to you.

C’est la Vie!