Found DUMBO Instead

I have written in my past blog post that it took me twice an attempt to locate the entry point and be awestruck by the awesomeness of Brooklyn Bridge.  Yeah, I was too obtuse and confused on my first attempt that I ended up in a different place and direction.

But I have been a firm believer of the powerful thought which says “Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures”.  This made me discover a New York spot that was not in my travel goal line but was really super worth of being off course.

I found and stumbled into Dumbo’s Washington Street!

it pays to be lost sometimes…

i would usually see this photo in grayscale… loved mine though…

It was the very spot where bearers of long-angled lenses, selfie snappers and hordes of photo takers would gravitate so as to take photos of the iconic look of Manhattan Bridge in between terracotta walled buildings.  And having been there was really a surprise making me in some way felt glad that I was having difficulty locating the Brooklyn Bridge’s promenade entrance.  If not for my being lost, I would definitely not see, smell and experience the vibe of this New York hotspot.

It then dawned in me that sometimes getting lost leads to unexpected rewards and that “it really feels good to be lost in the right direction”.

feeling lucky 🙂

Swerte, swerte lang din paminsan-minsan...

Perfect Strangers at 72nd Street Subway Station

Every subway station in New York City seem to depict and tell their distinct story.  Each station appears to have their own unique and notable personality.  One striking subway station that I stumbled upon which I was truly impressed with was the Second Avenue subway station at 72nd Street.

And out of curiosity, I tried reading articles about the remarkable design and artwork of the station.  I then found out that the numerous glass mosaic images on the walls of the station were done my artist and photographer Vic Muniz and he appropriately named these works of art as Perfect Strangers.

Perfect Strangers being a public art display can easily be perceived as a celebration of diversity of the people who live and work in any NYC neighborhood.  It is also a powerful message to all commuters about the normalcy of life in New York.  These mosaics can simply be distinguished as the microcosm of the city which reminds everyone of us that life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

working hard

young at heart

super friends

father figure

love wins

And it looks like this station has been earning some popularity and a amiaable reputation from people who loves taking photos.  It is because I noticed that it was not only me who was there taking photos of those Perfect Strangers on the walls! I’m pretty sure the live breathing strangers would post their photos in their respective Instagram account.  My photos however don’t seem to do justice!

Enough with the rumination! Let me just announce that I am so loving this station!  The price of the subway fare would be so worth it even if your purpose is to see and check-out the Perfect Strangers!

perfect strangers

the world has so much to offer

Galing!

Took 2 Days to Cross the Brooklyn Bridge

I wonder if all people who crossed the iconic Brooklyn Bridge timed on how long it took them to do it.  Did they took them only a couple of minutes because they were riding a bicycle or was too anxious and scared about the old bridge’s integrity and wooden floor planks  above the roaring traffic below that they walked and crossed it too fast? Or did it took them an hour or more because they want to relish and savor the moment and took so much photos of the star structure that connects Brooklyn and Manhattan?

My crossing the bridge actually took me two days!  It is so weird because I was never lost and went adrift when I was in more complicated routes around the world like the El-fna medina in Marrakesh, the Old City of Jerusalem and even going around the Uchisar settlements in Cappadocia.  But identifying where the entrance and starting point of the Brooklyn Bridge promenade strangely became a frustrating challenge and struggle. 

It is so exasperating because I basically went around the whole Brooklyn downtown area the whole morning from Brooklyn Heights Promenade in the south to walking the whole stretch of Furman Street in the east to reaching Dumbo area in the north and walking again the whole stretch of Jay Street in the west.  Yet, still the starting point of the promenade seem to conceal itself or veiled its appearance for me not to uncover.  It felt like I walked all throughout the whole Brooklyn yet the promenade entrance was no where to be found.  I actually started wondering if the entrance has already transferred to faraway Queens! And by late lunch time, feeling so hungry, so tired and frustrated, I saw York Street Subway station and decided to go down it and head back to my hotel located at the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  It was in other words a failed attempt.

But on the second day of my bid, I carried with me an enough amount of fortitude and determination and left behind in my hotel tons of stupidity which I seem to have brought so much during my first and initial attempt.  And to quote the great Margaret Thatcher, “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it”, I spotted with so much ease the entry point of the Brooklyn Bridge promenade on my second venture!

And since it took me more than the usual to step into and walk across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, I spent the whole morning there doing nothing but taking photos of the bridge, the people and the nearby sites while savoring the little success and victory that I just had!  And because of such an experience, Brooklyn Bridge for me is more beautiful as compared to how others would see and perceive it.

Iniiwan talaga dapat ang ka-shungahan sa bahay!

My NYC Bagel Exploit

Prior to leaving for NYC I know already that my maintaining under ketosis and keeping a keto diet is doomed.  That is why I gave my delicious in-ketosis body a break.  I ate what is supposed to be eaten in NYC! 

Since being given by fate the opportunity to revisit NYC which for me is such a stupendous blessing, not eating the classic NYC staple could therefore be deemed like a mortal sin.

Because of this, I obliged and dragged myself on eating the classic New York bagel.  They say that NYC bagel is strangely incomparable because of the water chemistry of this urban zone.  And what seem to be remarkable with my bagel-eating exploit is that I did not go to the usual, popular, well-published, most-recommended and tourist-infested café or store that offers the best bagel in NYC.  Besides, every New Yorker seem to have their respective strong opinion on who serves the best NYC bagel.

there must be something in the water…

 I then instead chose a guileless, un-fussy and archetypal type of a deli and mini-grocery store.  At one quiet neighborhood in Brooklyn, there sits and operates Longevity Natural Gourmet Market.  And to complete the complex puzzle of my NYC adventure, I decided to be a traditionalist on this exploit.  This prompted me to order for a no-frills kind of a bagel.  I simply ordered a classic variety with cream cheese on it.

 Longevity’s bagel has no food coloring, not fancy and thankfully was the traditional kind of a bagel.  It nevertheless was impressively squishy inside and remarkably crisp crust on the outside, which clearly defines the classic kind of an NYC bagel. It is soft-on-the-inside and lacquered-on-the-outside!

inside longevity natural gourmet market with people doing their own respective business

a mandatory selfie inside longevity

yum!

This is to confirm then that bagels in this part of the globe are indeed unmatched and should really be something to be gratified with.  Now I can really say that I am and was indeed in New York City.  And a piece of bagel made it further complete.

Yami! kakaiba pramis!

OY/YO a Symbol of NYC Multi-Lingualism

I fulfilled my personal promise that I would go around Brooklyn in case I would return to New York.  Brooklyn was the dynamic and remarkable borough I failed to visit the first time I toured NYC.

One goal out of this fulfilment was to check on the chic and chichi Brooklyn Museum, one of the largest and oldest museums in the United States.  But prior to entering the fine-looking museum, one would have to inescapably notice two giant letters.  It is unavoidably apparent because the figure is about 8 feet in height, 17 feet wide and it is flamboyantly bright yellow in color.

Entitled “OY/YO” by artist Deborah Kass is a giant pop-art sculpture that is part of the public art display of the Brooklyn Museum.  And everybody who got to step into the Brooklyn Museum for the first time, for sure, has a photo with this iconic sculpture.  I of course had mine!

Let me then relay my rumination about this piece of art.  OY/YO for me presents the onlooker with an abundance of meaning.  This seemingly simple yet humongous sculpture can resonate in different languages.  It can speak to onlookers may they have differing cultural, linguistic, social and ethnic background. 

Spanish speakers for one may read it as “I am” since YO is the Spanish word for I am.  But people from Portugal and Brazil may perceive it as saying “Hi” since OY is the Portuguese word for “hi”.  While Americans (especially African Americans) may see it differently because YO has evolved as a common and informal salutation among these people.  Yes, yes, Yo!

i admit, filipinos can sometimes be so american…

i prefer this one… because it got angst in the filipino tongue

In Somali OY is a word meaning vote!  Lithuanians and Yiddish speaking folks on the other hand may regard it as OY since Oy is the word they use for expressing disappointment and annoyance.  OY in Armenian, Uzbek and Azerbaijani according to Google translate is the English word for month. 

But for me, as a Filipino, OY/YO the sculpture would speak in both ways.  It is acceptable in both forms, as Oy and as Yo.  Similar to the American salutation, Filipino folks especially the hip-hop and rapper class would also use YO as an informal salutation.  It is like saying “Hey” in a friendly manner.

But once upset, irritated and wants to confront someone, Filipinos (may they belong to hip-hop, pop, disco, techno or other freaking genre) would address that someone as OY.  Oy is also like saying “Hey” but in an ill-mannered cheeky tone. And once Oy is uttered to you several times by a Filipino in a crude and threatening tone like Oy! Oy! Oy! Oy! Oy! This would mean you must have been caught from some kind of trouble and needs to pay for the repercussions that you seem to have done.

So it is just but fitting for OY/YO to actually be placed and exhibited in NYC, Brooklyn Museum in particular.  It is because NYC is considered the cultural melting pot of the planet.  Everybody in NYC seem to know and speak a second language. And OY/YO the sculpture can symbolize the multi-linguistic representation of everyone in NYC.  I am so fortunate to have bumped into such a vivacious kind of a sculpture.

And if OY/YO would have the opportunity to visit Manila, this sculpture would definitely be a big talk of the town because it has meanings and can definitely resonate something to a Filipino like me.

Yes, yes, yo! Oy, oy, oy!

Talking to the Huge Seated Dude in Washington D.C.

When I revisited Washington D.C., I revisited a humongous guy seated on a humongous chair.  The first time I visited four long years ago, I simply looked at him, be at awe and did not dare talk to him.  But this time around, I did not miss the opportunity of speaking to him and have him hear what I have to say.

I told him that the country he once led had gone a long way.  It’s free, it’s wealthy and has gone powerful.  I congratulated him on that.  I also told the seated guy that there are still pressing problems and tough challenges in his land that can’t simply be solved overnight.

 But what impresses me most is that in his home-land everybody seem to have the right to be ridiculous yet the people strive for democracy, liberty, opportunity and equality.  I also told him that I am particularly fascinated by some of his people’s good will and listening hearts.  I then asked the seated guy if he can adopt me and snatch me away from my present country.  The guy remained seated, unmoved and did not respond.

I then left and move on with my touring of Washington D.C. hoping that on my next visit he would say hello and would realize that I deserve to inhabit his land.

Dedmabels ang lolo mo! 

Unique Looking Washington D.C. Metro Station

I have written in the past that one benchmark for me to consider visiting and exploring a place or spot on the planet is the availability and complexity of its metro or subway system.  The subway or metro train has always been my preferred mode of transportation when discovering a metropolis.  It is quick, cheap and convenient. 

Also, for me, an urban zone’s train transit system is a suggestive representation of that place’s culture, social conduct, and communal conventions.  Riding the subway train is like being one with the locals.

When I was in Washington D.C., its metro train system was my most used mode of transportation known as the Metrorail. And what is so distinct and captivating about the Metrorail is its exceptional look, motif and pattern.  Its design is like a weird fusion of retro and space-age at the same time.  Being at the station creates the feeling of being in a futuristic movie set in which such movie was created sometime in the 60’s.

It is weird but I also often felt like being inside a thermos bottle!  And it also felt like some strange alien is about to pop out at the end of the stunning tunnel.

Even the lighting of the stations were something unique.  It’s not bright like the usual and distinctly dim which adds up to a whole lot of character as compared to other typical subway stations of other urban zones!  Being at such an uncommon looking-station adds up to the unique Washington D.C. experience.  The Metrorail stations are also photo-friendly.  It’s actually Instagramable!

And through my readings, I have learned that Washington D.C.’s metro stations were voted and included in the list of America’s Favorite Architecture.  After reading such, I seem to not be so surprised by this recognition.  Metrorail is hip, cool and totally dumbfounding.

Sakay Na!