Sep 30, 2010

The pace of NYC

When I first interned in NYC a few summers ago, the thing that struck me during my first days of commuting was the pace of this city. Nobody walks. Nobody stands idly on escalators. If you do, you're likely to get run over or dirty glares. Of course, now I've become one of the glarers, hah. I guess in a city where time is BIG money, that's what happens. Grand Central Terminal is where you can really get a good view of the scurrying madness. I think I love and hate it.

I have always wanted to try a proper long exposure here, but as I did not bring a tripod nor a remote shutter, I did what I could with what I had. These were mostly just for kicks, and I do want to go back prepared.

Gotta keep up.

Sep 27, 2010

Meetup at the meatpacking

I'm sure you can tell from my last flickr meetup post that I love getting the opportunity to meet my flickr contacts and always have a great time. It's an extra bonus when you get to meet someone who's coming all the way from Amsterdam! So what if it was pouring today at sporadic intervals and I didn't even have so much as a point-and-shoot on me? Improvising with my iPhone was fun enough.

I had gone shooting with Bryan a couple of times last summer, and he is quite a character. There is always a ton of energy with him, and he is terrific at directing people in shots (something I admire and desperately need to work on myself).

In between trying not to get run over on the cobblestone streets in the Meatpacking District and seeking cover from the rain under any scaffolding we could find, we also ate at Kesté, arguably one of the best places for Neapolitan style pizza in the city.

Without further ado, I present Bryan and Cleo.

In other blog-related news, I just noticed I had reached over 100 subscribers in Google Reader. You have no idea how exciting this is to me! I know it is a tiny little victory, but it really is incredibly encouraging, and I can only hope to produce greater and better content as I go on. Thank you, readers. :)

Sep 26, 2010

Never too much coffee

Getting coffee on lazy weekends is so much more enjoyable than getting it during the harried morning rush hour on the weekdays. Yesterday, I finally (after three failures) managed to get to Abraço in the East Village during a time it was actually open. Of course I had already guzzled down a drip coffee from Kaffe 1668 by this time, so that might have been a little unfair to Abraço. It certainly isn't the most photogenic of the cafes I frequent, but it also has no space to be, with just barely enough room to stand a handful of people.

I love when menus are this simple.

I've blogged about Jack's before, but it's probably the best cafe near me and somehow, I never tire of taking pictures here. It must have something to do with the brick wall and wooden furniture. Ahh, love.

Abraço | 86 East 7th Street
Jack's Stir Brewed Coffee | 222 Front Street

Sep 24, 2010

Happy weekend!

Aren't we (photographers) all suckers for pretty bikes parked on streets nowadays?

Umm, are you expecting your guest soon...?

Yes, that's what the waitress at annisa insecurely asked me as I sat there pitifully alone at a table in a very open dining room, well over an hour from the original reservation time. How embarrassing. I was trying not to meet the eyes of the other diners, as they looked similarly sorry for me. Meanwhile, I cannot reach my very late dining companion who I was supposed to be treating, and am debating whether to eat a grand meal by myself anyway to save the harsher embarrassment of just up and leaving. When I finally do get in touch with him, he tells me he's in a cab when he is clearly still at work! Haha, such a dumb lie. All I could try to do was maintain my composure in front of all the diners and try not to draw any attention to myself. Geez, I am a patient/good friend. You definitely owe me, NC. ;)

As for pictures, what a white balance nightmare! Laziness has stopped me from picking up a simple grey card, but it really would have helped here. I shot in AWB and tried to fix the color balance in Photoshop but made everything a little too green. Whoops.

The rest of the night more or less went by in a blur; however, those lychee popsicle palate cleansers were out of this world. I could definitely substitute those for caffeine - so delightfully refreshing.

Perhaps I need to revisit with a better dining experience so I actually remember the food.

annisa | 13 barrow street

Sep 22, 2010

Various eye-candy

Recently, I haven't taken as many Polaroids as I would like to, but I did want to share these shots taken at the Union Square Greenmarket (possibly one of the most photogenic and Polaroid-able places in the city) and of course, Emma, Cindy and her beautiful Hasselblad!

I will hopefully return with a more substantial post - many good dinners recently :).

Sep 20, 2010

On and about the High Line

I have never actually gone to the High Line without the sole purpose of taking photos in mind, and recently, I've been a little worried that I'm doing too much capturing and not enough living and simply enjoying. It becomes hard to make distinctions though, when it IS the process of capturing and seeing things with my camera that I enjoy so much. I think I do need to have more days where I go sans camera, a difficult task because the city is so photogenic and I want to freeze all of my experiences - immortalizing them, in a way.

Well, enough chit-chat. Let me share some images from the last High Line visit (taken during Cindy-Seth-Emma day). No matter how many times I've gone up here, there are new angles to explore and new sights to be seen. It is possibly one of my favorite spots in the city.

Sep 19, 2010

Always sunny

Ah, Philadelphia. Home of Bui's Lunch Truck, smelly street steam, smelly public transportation, Garces and Starr, and wonderful old Penn.

My beautiful friends (and a cameo appearance from yours truly).

LOVE, indeed.

Sep 17, 2010

An intoxicating meal

I must warn you that the photo collage that follows is nearly 6000 pixels in height, heavy in food porn (and charming chefs) and may induce food coma or intense salivation. Let's carry on with that warning in mind.

Aldea is a beautiful space that effortlessly invites overzealous picture-taking. I was shocked to find 177 photos in my upload from one meal - I kid you not. Orchids adorn the sleek dining areas and a well-lit open kitchen anchors the chef's counter, which is where we sat last night. It was engaging and a pleasure to watch George Mendes brood over little details (not that I didn't notice the other talented sous-chefs).

We ordered the tasting menu with wine pairing, and I wanted to try the "Sea Urchin Toast," so we snuck that in there. The cocktails before dinner might have not been a brilliant idea in retrospect. It seems I have forgotten my lesson from Daniel.

I have little faith in my ability to describe/review the plates we had, so I will shamelessly allow the pictures to tell the story. Also, when it takes you over an hour and a half to put together a behemoth collage like this, you don't have too much energy left to do a proper write-up. Excuses, I know. :P

Aldea | 31 W 17th St

Sep 16, 2010


Life is quickly picking up speed, and it is becoming harder to blog every day. It doesn't help that my now practically defunct Mac cannot handle the kind of programs I use religiously to help me prepare blog material. I would be upset, however, if I could not find the time to keep up with this photo journal, so if it means missing a few ZZZs, I will still happily do it (hello, coffee!). Now if only my computer would cooperate the same.

Here are a few more shots from strolling around the West Village during the great flickr meetup. I have always been taken by the charm of this neighborhood. It is definitely not something you get in Midtown or the Financial District. There is also an abundance of bikes here. I often miss riding a bicycle but am way too clumsy and uncoordinated for the streets of this city. My knees would eat the concrete in no time. The last time I really rode on a regular basis was probably middle school. I suddenly remember how exhilarating hills can be. Anyway, onto the pictures!

Okay, seriously, can I have some metal buckets full of flowers in my room, please? :)

Sep 14, 2010

Cindy, Emma, and Seth

A flurry of talent arrived from San Francisco this past week, and I had the privilege of spending a beautiful Saturday with some of my favorite flickr photographers (view their streams here and here, though I am sure you are familiar with their work). I've participated in other informal flickr meetups in the past, and they are always a great amount of fun. It is especially nice to see other photographers' shooting styles and even better, it is a relief when no one in the group cares that we spend a good 20 minutes shooting at the same intersection dodging traffic, because the light is just too perfect and we can't tear ourselves away.

Cindy's daughter, Emma, is by far the coolest (and most photogenic) 16-year-old I know. She also has a head of hair in a to-die-for beautiful shade of red.

I had a hard time choosing pictures (even more than usual) for this post, and I have probably overloaded it. And still, I have plenty left over that I eventually want to share. We started around Union Square, moseyed over to Washington Square Park, lingered in the West Village, and headed up to the High Line, all areas that pretty much always promise good photos.

The Lomo Store walls made perfect backdrops for some portraits. Also, how charming are those little camera keychains! I think between the four of us, we must have had at least a dozen cameras in our hands and bags. Well, that's how we roll.

Ahh, there are too many beautiful streets littered with great light in the West Village. The picture of them outside the puppy store just cracks me up. Haha, that's some real behind the scenes for you all. :)

The rest of the photos from the day, I'm sure, will make their way into some later posts.

Many thanks, flickr, for connecting me to so many inspiring and talented people.

Sep 12, 2010

Seeing rainbows

As usual, beautiful, sensory overload at the Union Square Greenmarket. A real feast for the eyes. I always want to buy so much, but there's always the issue of lugging everything back when I already have my hands full of cameras. Yes, I have the strangest dilemmas.

I also met some fantastic flickr people (Cindy, Emma, and Seth) yesterday - post to come soon!

Sep 9, 2010

Macbooks, lattes, and the NY Times

Just a short post today. I have expressed my love for Kaffe 1668 before but it must be reiterated. Now that I no longer work a block away from this place, I miss it sorely. I don't think there are any single-brewed-cup places near me now. Plus, everywhere I turn my head in this place, I see a lovely photo waiting to be captured, even in the dying late afternoon light. Kaffe 1668, can I take you to Midtown with me, please?

Sep 8, 2010

A stone's throw away

Governor's Island, that is.

Went here this past Sunday to try to catch the Food Trucks Fest, did half of the city, it seemed. Alas, dreadful, dreadful lines stopped me from getting any food, and I was glad I didn't wait, because I heard of at least a few stories where the food sold out by the time you got to the front of the line. (Man, and I thought the line to the ferry was bad!) Even more than ever now, I miss my Food Truck/Cart go-tos in Philly and am already planning a trip back for one of them in particular. Nonetheless, it was fun to walk around in an area that I had never explored before. Like the Cloisters visit, I felt very much away from the city here. Nice rolling-hills and lush grassy fields. Here are a few scenes.

I couldn't get enough of these kids playing baseball. So cute. Other fun charms hung from trees.

And some rather gratuitous portraits for you. Mirror shot taken in the Etsy store there (did you know a live Etsy store existed??).

Sep 7, 2010

Eating, shopping, eating, shopping, drinking, eating

Well, that's pretty much my Labor Day with my almost-twin friend, Joyce, in a nutshell.

Penelope is a cute eatery in Kips Bay with country-style decorations. There was a 40 minute wait or so but my Penny Egg Sandwich was well worth it. The pesto really made the sandwich. They also have a Nutella French Toast that was calling out my name, but I was feeling savory that day. I do want to return, but I feel like the problem with brunch in the city is that you have it maybe once a week at most and there are always new places I want to try before going back to one.

Shopping in SoHo somehow always, without fail, leads to a Forty Carrots stop. They had a lemon flavor this time that worked well with their regular (usually I think the other flavors swirl horribly). It was reminiscent of a Rita's gelati or custard. Later on, parched, we hopped into Anotheroom in Tribeca. It's more of a moody, romantic candlelit place, but we moved to the table outside and enjoyed the breezy night.

A Thai craving ended the night in Chinatown. My dish resembled Drunken Noodles and was crazy flavorful and spicy. Something about fat soft noodles like this just makes them so easy to go down. I wasn't even hungry to begin with, but before I knew it, I was staring at an almost empty plate.

Gotta love days like these.

Sep 6, 2010

Why hello, beautiful

These beauties definitely deserve a post of their own. I was the lucky recipient of these photogenic boxes of macarons from only the best in Europe, Ladurée and Pierre Hermé.

Backlog of pictures to post but ch-ch-ch-changes in my life are going to make it a little harder for me to post as regularly. Please be patient :D.

Sep 3, 2010

Fortuitous encounters

Last week, at the Think Coffee near Union Square (to-die-for grilled cheese sandwiches by the way), this guy at the table over says to me, "You're the cheshire smile from flickr." I was completely flabbergasted and probably grinned and nodded like an idiot. I suppose it is a small world though! Nonetheless, I was really excited to meet a flickr contact by chance and not through a planned meet-up. Turns out he is a big java junkie as well, and this week we headed to Blue Bottle Coffee in Brooklyn to chat more about photography and coffee and everything in between. This place is like nothing else I've seen in the city. The New Orleans iced coffee I had almost tasted like an espresso drink. Very velvety, comforting, but with a huge kick to it.

Sure, it's a little out of the way, but I will go pretty great lengths for great coffee. Plus, I've crossed off another on the NY Times list, yay.

Sep 2, 2010

Coffee and gelato

Whoops, hate when I accidentally publish a post while I am editing. Sorry for the hiccup to the modest handful of Google reader subscribers out there ;).

Anyway, on an unrelated tangent, can I tell you how difficult it was to format the following collage? I had half a mind to write a system of equations to figure out the proper dimensions. Seriously, it should not have been that hard to get one portrait and three landscapes to fit in a 600 pixel wide rectangle. I felt so dumb, and after much trial and error fiddling it still wasn't perfect and I had to finagle it. What the hell?! Should have just resorted to algebra in the first place. (Sorry, Dad.)

As I just about ran out of my last bag of Roasting Plant beans (of Guatemala origin), I decided to head back for more. This time, I came home with some Costa Rica beans. Just the smell of them is almost enough in the morning. I tried a cappuccino there yesterday, and I would recommend sticking to their coffee. It wasn't bad, but no latte art and you might as well have their specialty. This is definitely not a cozy, lounge around for hours type of place, but the whole roasting beans on the spot is neat to watch.

Of course, no visit to the West Village is ever complete without a stop at L'Arte del Gelato. That, or Cones. I am always the only person getting gelato or ice cream by myself, womp womp.

Roasting Plant | 75 Greenwich Avenue
L'Arte del Gelato | 33 Barrow Street

Sep 1, 2010

Everything looks perfect from far away

A view from above. :)

I got to play tourist and head to the 102nd floor observatory of the Empire State Building the other day. When you live in the city, you tend to avoid all the tourist hangouts and I think the general attitude is that "Oh I can do that any day I want" but then you never do. So I didn't want to pass up this opportunity. If there's a "next time," I'd love to go around sunset or nighttime. Oh yeah, and there's always the Rock too. I'm just sad you don't get a view of midtown from these. :P Can't have everything, I suppose!