Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

Big Bambu at the Met

Location | New York, NY

Jiye and I wanted to catch Big Bambu at the Met before it ends this week

The big mess of Big Bambu

So we headed up to the rooftop and it was a really crazy exhibit. It was amazing to see how far they had come after many months of working on this thing. Bamboo was everywhere, was were the ropes to tie the pieces together.

View from the rooftop

We stayed on the rooftop for a bit. The view of the city and Central Park is really nice and well worth a visit if you just want to chill. There’s a cash bar on the rooftop too, so good for a chill get together if they have a nice exhibit.

Flickr Set.


10 2010

Beer and Governors Island

Location | New York, NY The New York Brewfest was on Governors Island. The website describes the event as:

NY Brewfest is a craft beer sampling event sanctioned by the New York State Brewers Association. A commemorative 4-ounce glass is given to all attendees at the Information Booth/Entrance. Admission allows samplings from over 300 styles of handcrafted beers from more than 100 breweries. Great local foods will be available for purchase, and New York bands will perform throughout the evening. The event is a venerable gumbo of the Empire State’s creativity.


Needless to say, I was sold. I actually had a “Connoisseurs’ Pass” which allowed an extra hour entrance to the event (well worth it). We had free reign over a lot of booths and A LOT of beer.

View from the Governors Island Ferry

Now, I am not a very large person. Drinking a lot of beer, even out of a 4oz cup, was probably not a good idea for someone with little to no tolerance. I became incredibly hyper during this event.

At least we ate some food...

So, Greg decided it’d be good to feed me. What’s good at a Brewfest? Well, spring rolls, burger, and homemade chips. We even had some ice cream after. Well, after an hour or 2, Greg decided it was time to go so I followed him out as I was feeling pretty tipsy from all the alcohol coursing through my veins.

View from the island

I actually let him go home, while I stayed on the island and laid out on a blanket… and took a nap. I woke up later and actually took a long walk from Wall Street to SoHo (after getting off the ferry, that is).


06 2010

Grant’s Tomb Amongst Things

Location |  Flight from JFK to SFO

One of the coolest things in regards to NYC are how many historical sites there are on one tiny island. There’s so many random things to find and I love discovering something new.

After an amazing (and very filling) lunch at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que on 131 & the West Side Highway.

My plate from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que!

After that, Drew had told us Grant’s Tomb was only down the way, so we headed over there (in the cold) and walked up a hill. Greg’s poor friend Jake must’ve been wondering where we were taking him!

The area is a little obscure, but very nice (and quiet). The Tomb is HUGE! It’s just sitting there in the middle of the park.

Grant's Tomb

President Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States and a decorated and much celebrated Civil War General. Despite is general unpopularity when he left office in 1877, his tomb is considered the largest mausoleum in North America (crazy!).

Near/next to Grant’s Tomb is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. It’s MASSIVE. That’s really all I have to say about it. I’d seen it before when I went up to the Cloisters, but this was the first time I actually stopped to take some shots.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

After all of this, we walked through Columbia… which isn’t very large (nor exciting). I was kind of surprised about how small their campus felt. I guess that’s the problem with going to a large school, everything else feels small.

Hopefully I can get some more shots of the city this summer. So much more to explore!


05 2010

New York Botanical Garden

Location | New York City

I went to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx this past weekend. This was my first time there, but it’s 250 acres of land dedicated to one of the best plant collections in the world. (Yes, I was listening when they were giving a tour).

Inside the conservatory

The conservatory was amazing. It was a giant greenhouse filled with a ton of exotic plants/flowers. I loved how they tried to let you see every inch of their jungle of plants. In the rainforest section, you could climb up into the canopy and in the dessert, they tried to give plenty of examples of plants that look like rocks.

Multi-colored Tulips

Outside we went to the rock garden & the children’s garden. There were a lot of beautiful tulips (a lot of them were past-peak). We also walked through some marshy wetland then to take the trolley around the grounds. There’s a lot of forest, but I wouldn’t walk through it (unless I was maybe jogging?).

Anyway, it was a lovely day and hopefully I’ll return once the chrysanthemum festival occurs.


04 2010

A Brooklyn Adventure

Location | New York City

The weather was amazing this weekend. After a crazy night out with some good friends, I woke up early and headed to Brooklyn for brunch at Buttermilk Channel. I met up with Jiye and Christine and we were easily seated.

I actually didn’t know what Buttermilk Channel was known for, but their eggs looked amazing. I ended up order a spinach, goat cheese and mushroom scramble. It came with a biscuit and hash browns. I also ordered some bacon-encrusted almonds for the table (which turned out to be not so great).

Salmon & cream cheese scramble

Christine ordered the salmon & cream cheese scramble. Jiye ordered the salmon platter. There was also a (terrible) coffee cake.

After brunch, we went to Jiye’s neighborhood and hung out at Tazza and had something to drink.

Then I met up with Winnie at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. It’s currently cherry blossom season and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Winnie & me in the cherry blossom promenade

They also had some beautiful tulips, especially the double tulips (which looked like a few tulips within each other).

Double Tulip

The gardens didn’t take too long to get through, about an hour and a half. After that we decided that we wanted to eat dessert – at Junior’s! So we took the subway and went to try out the famous Junior’s cheesecake.

I love cheesecake!

Winnie got the Devil’s Food Cheesecake and I got the Strawberry Cheesecake.

Overall, it was great weekend. May 1-2 is the Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanical, but I don’t suggest going (it will be PACKED). This weekend was packed… craaaazy. If you do go, enjoy!


04 2010

Best Single’s Day in Recent Memory

Location | New York City

I’ve had a fantastic day. I decided to go on a date with myself. It began with a trip to H&H Bagels, which, if you have never gone there before, you must. I was incredibly happy with my favorite toasted everything bagel w/ lite lox spread (delectable!). Sat there enjoying my lovely bagel and writing in my journal.

Facade of the Cloisters

Then I walked across town and got on the M4 bus to go to the Cloisters. The bus ride literally took more than an hour. When I got there, I decided to take some shots outside first because the daylight was perfect. Then I went in and walked around. It’s really a lovely museum. A lot of courtyards and places to rest and just enjoy the museum.

Stained Glass

I definitely need to return in the spring when the gardens open up.


Then afterwards, I walked through Fort Tryon Park (the museum is located in the middle of the park). I walked through snowy pathways and to the entrance where there was a playground. Of course, me, being the child I am, totally went on the swingset.

The bus came and I took the hour and a HALF long ride back to the city where I stopped off at Book-Off and then Zaiya before running 10 blocks to meet up with my coffee date, and specified lover from SF, Albie. We sat around and had 2 coffees, fries and sweets before he walked me back home.

I believe tomorrow I may be going to the opera with Albie. Soooo excited to finally go!

*humming opera songs


02 2010

New York in the Wintertime

Location | New York City

One thing I’m always thankful for is that I live in a city where there’s plenty to explore. My cousins are currently visiting from Michigan, so I took them on a mini tour of New York. We went up to Central Park to walk around. The lighting was perfect, but I wish I had someone who enjoyed shooting as much as me there. The weather was beautiful, it was around 50 degrees, beautiful clear blue skies and sunny.

Perfect lighting in "The Mall" section of Central Park

Perfect lighting in "The Mall" section of Central Park

We strolled through the section of the park known as “The Mall” over to where the Bethesda Terrance & Fountain, where we found that the fountain had been drained. We walked up to where the sailboat pond (known as The Conservatory Water) is and found that it too had been drained! Earlier in the summer Greg and I had visited to go inside the Kerbs Memorial Boathouse where the Central Park Model Yacht Club houses their boats.

We walked upwards toward the Met and over to Belvedere Castle. I’d never gone there before and this was a treat. The view is pretty breathtaking up there. Although when you look south, you can only see treetops, but when you look north you get an amazing view of the Turtle Pond below, then over the Great Lawn and into the Upper East Side.

View from Belvedere Castle

The view from Belvedere Castle

After spending some time there, we walked through The Ramble over to Strawberry Fields near the Upper West Side. I’d never seen the Imagine memorial (for John Lennon) and stopped a second to take a picture.

I love this song.

After that we exited the park and took the train down to Midtown and walked over to Rockefeller Center to see the big tree. The crowd was insane. They blocked off the roads because there were just too many people flocking to see the tree. It took us about half an hour just to get through the crowd.

We walked down Fifth Avenue (a bad idea during the holiday season) toward the New York Public Library on 42nd street. We sat in front of the library for a bit to rest before we went around to Bryant Park. They had their holiday shops up and their lovely little tree and ice skating rink. They rename the winter version “The Pond.” We took a bunch of pictures around the tree and watch the Zamboni go round and round on the rink.

Bryant Park Tree

After that we walked over to Grand Central where I showed them the inside and then we went our separate ways.

My cousins, Billy, me, Andrew and Tim.


12 2009

The High Line

Location | New York City

If there’s one place I’ve been meaning to visit for awhile, it’s The High Line. Sometimes I just love being a tourist in my own city! Yesterday was a chilly 17 degrees while also the calm before the biggest snowstorm of 2009 (well the end of 2009). We accumulated around 12-15 inches last night.

Yesterday, in snow and cold wind, my friends Yaya, Matty and Steve walked from my apartment to The High Line. The High Line is a park built on the remnants of an elevated rail line that lifted freight cars 30 feet above the streets in the west side of Manhattan. It runs from the Meatpacking district (Gansevoort St) up to 34th Street.

The High Line is really pretty lit-up

The High Line is really pretty lit-up

So The High Line is a cemented sidewalk with some wildlife on each side. At night they light it up so it is a really beautiful setting against the backdrop of the city.

Keep It Wild! Stay on the Path!

Keep It Wild! Stay on the Path!


12 2009

Exploring New York Weekend

Location | New York City

I’m thinking about starting an explorer’s club where we can be tourists in our own city. There’s so much to learn and see in New York City that I’m amazed that I don’t spend more time walking around and reading books about the rich history of this fantastic city.

This weekend, Oct 10-11th, was Open House New York Weekend. It’s when many not usually open-to-the-public places becomes a big “open house” for free.  There were over a hundred different events and it was a little overwhelming to pick ones that I wanted to attend. Unfortunately I didn’t plan my weekend very well so I only saw 3 sites. At least in the end it became a very eventful and fun weekend.

Saturday began with breakfast at Clinton Street Baking Company (not part of OHNY, but worth speaking about). If you are visiting NY or live in NY you must try Clinton Street Baking Company at least once AND you must get their pancakes. They are my absolute favorite pancakes ever. Although I normally get the banana walnut pancakes, this time was the first time I did not. I ordered the special, which was a waffle with pear and sour cream and wine reduction. Or that’s how I remember the description, although in reality it was a fantastically fluffy waffle with plum coloured pears and a whipped and sweetened sour cream topping that had some spices in it. Delicious! Greg ordered the banana walnut pancakes (I reiterate, my absolute favorite) and Amy ordered the farmer’s plate (yummy, but I still prefer their pancakes and waffles).

Waffle w/ Pear and Sour Cream and Pistachio at Clinton Street Baking Company

Waffle w/ Pear and Sour Cream and Pistachio at Clinton Street Baking Company

After breakfast, we wandered around until it was time for the East Village Walking Tour. The walking tour is sponsored by the Lower East Side History Project, which hosts many other tours if anyone is interested. The tour was led by Andrea Coyle, who, although slightly awkward, was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the East Village.

The tour was 2 hours long, and we actually didn’t do much walking in the first hour. We saw the birthplace of punk rock, the world’s smallest opera house, one of the last remaining cast iron buildings in the E. Village, shop with the best egg cream in Manhattan, spot where Abraham Lincoln’s famous Cooper Union Address earned him the Republican nomination, Warhol’s last residence, and the Merchant House, the last family home to be completely intact from the 19th Century ! I know, information overload right?

Merchant House Museum

Merchant House Museum

If you get the chance, take the tour. The one I took runs every Saturday and Wednesday at noon. If you don’t have time (or can’t), read more about the history of the E. Village at this site. There’s some pretty remarkable stuff.

After the tour I went to Washington Square Park to chill a little bit, but then walked through Washington Mews (my favorite street in New York) to take some pictures. Then a stroll through the Union Square Greenmarket ended my OHNY Weekend Day 1.

Washington Mews

Washington Mews

So then Sunday was day 2. It began early (9:30am) where I arrived at Cafe Pedlar in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. There I had a delicious Stumptown latte, complete with adorable heart shaped foam (European style lattes are THE BEST!). After coffee, was the 11am Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour. Read about the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour in my “Underground” post.

When the tour finished, it was already 2 pm. We were supposed to meet Greg’s friend, Robyn Lee (who is also an amazing food blogger and does just about everything that I can only dream of in an awesome career) at the Newton Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Unfortunately the tours were booked full, so we decided to head over to the Belltel Lofts. We thought there would be some sort of architecture tour, but instead they sent us to the 19th floor’s roof deck. (The building is really 27 stories high, but the open decks were on the 19th floor). There were some so-so views of Brooklyn, but it was very hard to see the Manhattan due to many high rises blocking the view.

Afterward, I was starving since the only thing I had eaten since 8:30 am was a latte. We ended up at Char No. 4. I had been wanting to go since reading about it on Serious Eats and I became a very very happy camper afterward. For the $16 prix fixe, you get a poached egg, slice of ham, onion and chives potatoes (which were droolworthy amazing), a biscuit with cranberry jam, homemade chunky apple sauce, coffee and juice. YUM! I will post a picture once I get a copy from Greg (he took the pictures of the food).

After eating, it was already 4pm. We decided to head over to the Financial District to the U.S. Custom House. It’s a great looking building. Inside there’s a beautiful rotunda with a very large skylight. The Custom House also houses the National Museum of the American Indian. We walked around for awhile, but the doors closed at 5pm. We then left and I saw the Wall Street Bull for the first time. The last time I went looking for it was in 2007 right before I officially moved to the city and my dad and I wandered around but couldn’t locate it (we didn’t have a map at the time).

U.S. Custom House

U.S. Custom House

Then Greg took me on a mini-tour of the FiDi. I’d never really taken the time to explore it, but since Greg works in the area he actually knew quite a bit (thanks Greg!). We looked at One Broadway, which used to be known as the “International Mercantile Marine Company.” Although now it’s a Citibank (eek!), the building still has the markings of its history. You can still see “First Class” and “Cabin Class” passenger signage over the doorways because the building used to be for receiving passengers.

After that, we took a walk down Stone Street, then to Federal Hall (where George Washington was inaugurated). We sat there for awhile observing all the tourists. Then it was up the street where I spotted… *GASP*… SAD PANDA! Most of you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but there is this person dressed up in a giant panda costume that frequents the Financial District seeking tips. I’m obsessed with Sad Panda, but so is the Daily Intel Blog from New York Magazine. Anyway, the reason why he is called “Sad Panda” is because he, indeed, looks sad. Spotting him made me really happy and I was lucky enough to get a picture with him! YAY!



Then Greg and I walked without aim. We walked by Century 21, the giant J&R, the Woolworth Building, stopped at Korin (a knife store which closed minutes before we arrived), and then made our way up through TriBeCa. We got sidetracked when we saw this GIANT building with no windows. We found out it was the AT&T Long Lines Building. Apparently it is filled with telecommunications equipment and each floor is 18 feet high. After figuring that one out, we walked through part of Chinatown where there were tons of vendors selling knock-offs on the sidewalk. It was incredibly congested. Then we were in SoHo. We made stops at Muji, CB2, Topshop, UNIQLO and tried Sur la Table and Banana Republic, but they closed.

Then it was up through SoHo, NoHo then back over to the East Village. We made a quick stop at Japanese Premium Beef Company. They only sell premium Washugyu beef (a kobe-like beef).

Finally it was back to Astor Place where Greg proved that the cube could spin… (I didn’t believe him because I’d seen people struggle to push it, but apparently it’s just VERY heavy).

So that ends the day. It was a great weekend to explore New York. Beautiful weather, not too hot and a lot of fun things to do! Hopefully I’ll do more “explore New York” type things in the future so look out for more blog entries if you managed to even finish reading this one!


10 2009


Location | Underground, Brooklyn

We’re underground and I wanted to get a few facts in here. [I started this post earlier today.] So while on the tour I typed away furiously the facts that our guide, Bob Diamond (the one who discovered the tunnel again) spoke about. So here is the story of the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel with many stories as told by Bob Diamond (and their supporting evidence). So underneath Atlantic Avenue in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, lays a tunnel approximately half a mile long. Opened in 1844, closed in 1861.

Bob Diamond and others give tours of the tunnel twice a month, and as part of the Open House New York Weekend, I was able to secure 2 spots on the tour along with 120ish others. The tour begins at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street next to the Brooklyn Trader Joe’s. A line snakes against the sidewalk. You can only enter the tunnel 20 at at time since the entrance to the tunnel is actually a manhole in the middle of the intersection. In groups we cross halfway to a cordoned off portion of the street and wait our turn to climb down a (short) ladder about 6-7 feet in the ground.

This was actually climbing out, but I'll pretend we're climbing in...

This was actually climbing out, but I'll pretend we're climbing in...

Then it’s a careful maneuvering as you walk across a short plank, under a large beam wrapped in bright yellow caution tape and then through a small-human sized hole in a cement wall labeled “WATCH YOUR STEP.” On the other side of the hole is a wooden staircase that leads you into the very humid subway tunnel.



The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel is considered the oldest subway tunnel in the world. It was built in 1844 by Cornelius Vanderbilt because Brooklynites (pedestrians and wagons alike) were getting run over by the train system that ran along Atlantic Avenue (since apparently the trains had no brakes and came barreling out of the then-forest without warning.) Too bad, according to Bob Diamond, Vanderbilt didn’t build the tunnel to save lives, but to save time in when they had to clean up the streets of carriage and pedestrian carnage.

Anyway, so the railway, and then tunnel, were built because during that time they needed a way to get shipments from the New York Harbor to Boston via train. The tunnel began construction in May of 1844 and they were given 4 months to complete construction. Of course, it wasn’t completed until December 1844 (well opened, according to Wiki, fully completed in 1845). During this time, because Brooklyn and the rest of Long Island is actually a pile of soil due to debris left by glaciers that had traveled across the North American landmass, it is impossible to dig a tunnel. So they used the “cut and cover” method, where you dig a trench, roof over the area then cover again.

To try to meet the deadline of 4 months, apparently they hired an overseer who is a cross between a construction foreman and a slave driver to make the (mostly Irish) sandhogs (those digging and making 13 cents a day) work everyday of the week (yes, including Sunday, the Sabbath). The workers did not take too kindly to this and apparently they shot and killed the overseer, chopped up his body and buried it in the walls of the tunnel.

Love it. So much fun history in this tunnel.

So fast forward, the tunnel closed in 1961 due to Lynchfield Brothers who wanted the LIRR to leave Brooklyn. After a controversial ruling that banned underground trains, the tunnel shut down in 1961. The tunnel was to be filled in, but in reality the man hired (strangely enough, a Lynchfield) only sealed off the ends, filled in some space with dirt and the tunnel lay forgotten (although appearing occasionally in random news articles) until 1979 when then-19 year old Bob Diamond went looking for the tunnel.

Luckily, despite being discouraged, he found the tunnel and now tours are given and he is trying to preserve the history with the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association.

Inside the Tunnel

Inside the Tunnel

There’s a lot more history to the tunnel, but you can go hear about it on the tour (or check out the BHRA’s website).

You can also read more details at:


10 2009