death by paper cut

{July 5, 2012}   New York – Redux

i’ve never encountered the perils and anxiety of flying till my recent trip. flight delays and cancellations mostly happened to other people, until now. on my way to new york on singapore airlines, the A380 was delayed while transiting at frankfurt first for 30 minutes, then 2 hours, and only took off after 4 hours. and this was after a very strange 20 minute bus ride from the boarding gate to some far flung hanger. this was 9 june 2012, german time.


airplane finally in sight for boarding


at frankfurt, there were also countless announcements about a change of gate for the flight returning from frankfurt to singapore, needless to say the return trip is also being delayed. incidentally, my colleague who was to take the same singapore airlines flight but a day later experienced the spill over effect of this particular delay and was told that his flight would be delayed for 5 hours at changi airport due to engine problems. a pair of colleagues who were also to take the same singapore airlines flight 5 days later were told that their flight was to be delayed for 8 hours. national pride was at stake. actually, more like national embarrassment. my colleagues and i were to arrive in new york enroute to boston for a conference.

eventually, i managed to safely arrive in new york, but 6 hours behind schedule due to additional delays at the congested runways of jfk airport and then the attendant manhanttan-bound traffic jam. fortunately, i am able-bodied and traveling relatively light (inbound) to be able to weather the weariness of air travel mostly unscathed.

so, finally, hello new york and beloved friends d.c. and c.w!

thanks to c.w’s prodding suggestion, we spent the most part of my first full day in new york at governors island. the entirety of the island is a recreational park that can be reached via a 5 minute free ferry ride on weekends, but be prepared to be in line for 30 minutes to board it.

embarking at governors island on a brilliant summer’s day

FIGMENT at Governors Island 5 - Ferry to Governors Island

FIGMENT at Governors Island 4 - Ferry to Governors Island

governors island was all abuzz with the arty and free-spirited vibe of Figment – “an explosion of creative energy. It’s a free, annual celebration of participatory art and culture where everything is possible. For one weekend each summer, it transforms Governors Island into a large-scale collaborative artwork – and then it’s gone.”

since i’ve covered the usual touristy new yorker icons in my visit last year, i was glad that i managed to check the more offbeat and in a way ephemeral attractions this time. the concept of Figment is that anyone inclined to showcase an artistic or conceptual display can do so by taking any spot in the park and set up shop. the contribution is therefore ground up in nature and supported administratively by volunteer organisers.

c.w.’s contribution – travel with stamps

FIGMENT at Governors Island 7 - Clara's Travel With Stamps

FIGMENT at Governors Island 6 - Clara's Travel With Stamps FIGMENT at Governors Island 9 - Clara's Travel With Stamps

and everyone else’s

FIGMENT at Governors Island 66

FIGMENT at Governors Island 19 - Nolan Park

FIGMENT at Governors Island 26 - Nolan Park FIGMENT at Governors Island 30 - Nolan Park FIGMENT at Governors Island 73

FIGMENT at Governors Island 24 - Nolan Park FIGMENT at Governors Island 28 - Nolan Park

FIGMENT at Governors Island 34 - Nolan Park FIGMENT at Governors Island 35 - Nolan Park

FIGMENT at Governors Island 37 - Nolan Park FIGMENT at Governors Island 49 - Parade Ground

FIGMENT at Governors Island 75 FIGMENT at Governors Island 72

another thing i did that was off the tourist radar is a free guided tour of the new york public library. it was also a great way to spend a rainy summer’s day indoors.

The New York Public Library 2 - Astor Hall The New York Public Library 44 - Jill Kupin Rose Gallery The New York Public Library 3 - Astor Hall

in singapore’s ever changing landscape, where no physical structure, land parcel or library is really accorded a high degree of sacredness, it was very enlightening to read these words stately etched in the new york public library – “The city of New York has erected this building to be maintained forever as a free library for the use of the people” and “on the diffusion of education among the people rest the preservation and perpetuation of our free institutions.”

the rotunda in the upper level of the library displays floor to ceiling paintings depicting the development of the written word. these works of art were commissioned by the government during the great depression to provide employment for artists.

The New York Public Library 23 - McGraw Rotunda The New York Public Library 24 - McGraw Rotunda The New York Public Library 25 - McGraw Rotunda The New York Public Library 26 - McGraw Rotunda

images that strike a chord with me – children at the library on opening day in 1911

The New York Public Library 39 - Jill Kupin Rose Gallery The New York Public Library 43 - Jill Kupin Rose Gallery

sketching of the cross section of the library’s book delivery system in 1911

The New York Public Library 37 - Jill Kupin Rose Gallery

the top level of this cross section section is the main reading room that currently looks like this.

The New York Public Library 32 - Main Reading Room

the thoughtful and continual preservation of the new york public library is a testament that “books are the carriers of civilization.” what is passed on in this building is not only the content within the pages of its collection, but also the reminder of the generosity of various philanthropists who have enabled the assembly of the bricks and mortar of such a mammoth endeavor to come into being and with it, the longevity of the spread of knowledge made accessible.

in the periodical room on the ground floor of the library hangs paintings of prominent publishing houses including the iconic times square.

behold! times square then, times square now.

The New York Public Library 13 - Periodical Room NYC By Foot 6 Hour Walking Tour 74 - Times Square

the high line and central park are other absolutely free must-dos attractions in new york. without actually planning to do so, i’m quite glad to have seen both of these places in a different light (pun not intended) because this time i visited them in the later part of the day.

i’ve had extended walks in central park but thought it might be informative to do so with a guided tour which for me means free tours by foot as my go-to tour company. this central park sunset tour would make it my fourth with them.

new yorkers working out

Central Park Sunset Tour 4 Central Park Sunset Tour 12

new yorkers walking their dogs

Central Park Sunset Tour 5 Central Park Sunset Tour 32

intricate stone carving in the bridge leading to bethesda terrace that i never before noticed

Central Park Sunset Tour 10 Central Park Sunset Tour 9

evening light upon central park

Central Park Sunset Tour 27 Central Park Sunset Tour 17

Central Park Sunset Tour 22

Central Park Sunset Tour 20

game to walk some more, m.k. and i headed to the high line after the central park sunset tour and began walking downtown from 30th street past 14th street. in my previous visit last year, i walked up town in the day from chelsea market, so this walking experience is quite different.

The High Line by Night 3

The High Line by Night 14 The High Line by Night 5

The High Line by Night 12 The High Line by Night 4

The High Line by Night 10

another park that i frequent in new york is carl schurz park in the upper east side because it is just blocks away from d.c.’s place and the usual destination to walk her dog. it is not a big park, but it is compact and lies along the popular jogging route of the east river. also because of the dog runs in the park, it is a point of convergence for dog walkers, families and picnickers, like us!

East River Park 1

East River Park 28 East River Park 16

East River Park 29

East River Park 31

a new region in new york that i checked out this visit is further upstate in the lovely and quaint town of beacon. the highlights of the trip were the contemporary art museum dia:beacon and the shops along beacon’s main street. however the hour long train ride from grand central station along the hudson river is quite a feature in itself.

Beacon, New York 5 Beacon, New York 7

Beacon, New York 11 Beacon, New York 10

Beacon, New York 16

beacon’s main street is lined with galleries, lifestyle shops and cafes set amidst a hilly backdrop and vast open spaces. it is about a 20 minute walk from the beacon train station.

Beacon, New York 23

Beacon, New York 20 Beacon, New York 27

Beacon, New York 24 Beacon, New York 25 Beacon, New York 26

a good lunch spot is homespun foods good for their fresh ingredients and sandwiches. the cafe is very cozy and as its name suggests, homely.

Beacon, New York 31 - Homespun Foods Beacon, New York 32 - Homespun Foods Beacon, New York 37 - Homespun Foods

Beacon, New York 36 - Homespun Foods Beacon, New York 35 - Homespun Foods

back in manhattan, amazing food is plentiful. although new york bagels is in no short supply, the only bagels i make a bee line for is H&H Midtown Bagels East and they open 24 hours! look at that beauty! my default order is the “everything bagel with cream cheese scallion”.

H&H Midtown Bagels - Everything Bagel with Scallion Cream Cheese 2 H&H Midtown Bagels - Everything Bagel with Scallion Cream Cheese 1

a really nice place for ice cream in the east village is van leeuwen artisan ice cream. for an ice cream, pastry and coffee place, the shop has quite a large seating capacity. both the store front and the interior are very inviting. the soft flowery pastel hues of its decor puts you at ease instantly and the music played with vinyl records sets a chic yet rustic tone. if you are not in east village, van leeuwen also has a food truck you might come across in the city. i had the chocolate ice cream at the shop and the earl grey tea flavour from the food truck. i think the earl grey is more unique and fragrant.

Van Leeuwin Artisan Ice Cream 1 Van Leeuwin Artisan Ice Cream 2

Van Leeuwin Artisan Ice Cream 5

Van Leeuwin Artisan Ice Cream 6 Van Leeuwin Artisan Ice Cream 8

another great place to pop by for dessert, and with a great view to boot, is bouchon bakery at time warner center, columbus circle. although pretty posh looking, i was quite surprised that the mains and desserts are not as expensive as i expected. for example, the immaculately prepared chocolate souffle is priced at $11.95. for that quality, that price is hard to find in singapore.

Bouchon Bakery 6 Bouchon Bakery 7

Bouchon Bakery 8 Bouchon Bakery 9

view of columbus circle from bouchon bakery which is located at the south west corner of central park

Bouchon Bakery 2

although this recent trip to new york was about half the duration of my visit last year, i didn’t feel that it was more hurried. i managed to achieve my objective of shopping for clothes (in fact a whole new wardrobe) at discounted rates, stuffing my face, taking long walks and busking in the company of d.c and c.w. also, with the use of a 3G prepaid data plan, i could rely on google for information on demand and directions.

other photos of interest

go burger at hester street fair

Hester Street Fair 11

tiny moth at the 5th avenue apple store

Apple Store at 5th Avenue 7

tile and mosaic art in the east village

East Village 6 - The Bean East Village 10 - St Mark's Place

filming on location in 5th avenue traffic

5th Avenue, Manhattan 3

justin bieber fans camping overnight on the streets

Toyota Concert Series - Justin Bieber 1 Toyota Concert Series - Justin Bieber 2

brooklyn botanic gardens

Brooklyn Botanic Garden 12

Brooklyn Botanic Garden 20

trees of brooklyn’s side walks

Park Slope, Brooklyn 9

vinyl records at park slope

Park Slope, Brooklyn 17

colourful balloons in the sky

Park Slope, Brooklyn 21 - Grand Army Plaza


debbie says:

I really enjoyed reading this post =) Great trip!

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