Tag Archive | manhattan

Central Perks

Last stop on Saturday: Central Park. Living in Manhattan for 4 years, I only made occasional trips to Central Park. I’ve been skating, hanging out at the park, and that’s about it… 4 trips tops. I never really walked around, mainly because I did not want to go that far uptown and pay for a measly subway ticket. But I walked around that Saturday, and it was relaxing. I love the outdoors, whether it’s the beach, the park, the backyard, or the backyard of the HSC at Stony Brook. I like walking the streets on a cool, sunny day. It’s exercise, but a productive one. I end up shopping or browsing clothing/shoe stores for the latest fashion deals. Here’s a storybook snapshot of my stroll through Central Park:

Horse rides

Seal sniffing its behind at the wildlife area

Budding Cherry Blossums

The Mall... It's like a Walk to Remember

Bubble Show

One of the nicer lakes


























One of the nicer lakes











Duckies' matey










I love dogs! There were so many pooches on the roam

Another happy little pup










A Spanish music video was being shot

This was the singer... he just sat by the lake and stared off ... I bet he was cold too.

A drowning fish

We had a cute little boy waddle around us... ADORABLE


Reflections on the water

A creek, and more dogs


Chow time at the Shake Shack

Shack Burger



Lost And Found

I have a tendency to get lost and found. I’ve ‘lost’ my school ID countless times, but I always manage to find it again. Looking back, I think I would win an award for Most-Likely-To-Lose-An-ID-and-Not-Pay-For-It over my 4 years in college. I may have blogged about the 10 times I pulled hairs hunting for my ID in every crack of New York City, but here’s a recap of the memorable ones.

1) Freshman year, April-May 2007: I strolled to Starbucks on W. 4th Street looking forward to a Tall Vanilla Frap. Except, I couldn’t pay for it without my ID. I frantically retraced my steps, staring at the ground for the golden plastic. Before walking to Starbucks, I was at the Bookstore, where I last used it. Somewhere in between, I lost my ID, but I couldn’t find it! In my head, I’m thinking, “I’m barely done with Freshman year, and I have to pay for a new ID?” Then I spotted the garbage can. I remembered chucking my receipt. Dumb me, I chucked my ID with the receipt and walked away. The problem was, there was no open hole over the garbage; it was one of those covered ones with side-openings. You guessed it, I had to sneak my hand in from the sides and feel through the trash for the purple plastic. You know how in movies, people drop a wedding ring or precious ticket into the smelliest holes and have to retrieve it without losing it further down the drain? Well, that was what I was doing. I would’ve cried if my ID fell deeper into the trash because my arms would be the limiting step in retrieving my ID. In the end, I succeeded.

2) Sophomore Year, Palladium hall: I lost my ID in my own dorm room. This time, I wasn’t like a search dog sniffing a trail or a child following jellybeans back to Neverland. It had to be somewhere in my room. I scrambled through my desk and room, to no avail. The last place I was at, was the kitchen. Next stop, the kitchen… Not on the floor, not in the oven, not in the fridge or sink… I opened my cabinet, and there it was, hanging out with my clean dishes. My smiling face in that picture said to me, “Hehehe, you idiot. You forgot me in the cabinet idioto.” Damn…

3) Junior Year: Again, I lost my ID somewhere in my dorm room. This time, I lived in a giant sorority-like suite, a much bigger place to scavenge my ID. My room was tiny, but I turned it over like flipping pancakes for breakfast. Nowhere on my desk, not in the bathroom, not on the ground… NOWHERE. That meant I couldn’t leave my room either, because I wouldn’t be able to get back in without my ID card-key. I think I was going to hang out with a friend that day or something. Well, a few hours later, exhausted from my hunt, I gave up. I knew it was somewhere, but just not presently. I went to grab my jeans hanging over my bedpost, and I heard a “click” on the floor. It was my ID! No, it didn’t fall out of my pockets (I checked there already); it fell out of my cuffed jeans! It was folded at the bottom because all my pants are way too long for a shorty like me. Somehow, it lodged in the cuff and stayed there. Stupid.

4) Senior Year, NYU Bus: This one was just bad. I took the bus uptown to the medical center for work. I had my ID in my back pocket of my jeans. I usually kept my ID in pockets because at NYU, you always flash your ID wherever you go: the dorms, library, school, bus, etc… It’s just easier pulling it out of your pants than your pocket-book. Well, I guess when I got up to leave, the ID fell out of my butt pocket. I didn’t realize until later in the day. It was bound to happen; the pockets are not a safe place to secure your ID. I made it back downtown, ran all over the Physics building and Public Safety for over an hour, at the same time retracing all my steps and thinking of all the possible places God wanted to punish me at. By nightfall, maybe 6-7 pm, I make it my last stop at Tisch Hall, by the bus stop. I was pretty down, because I was also locked out of own dorm. I couldn’t swipe into my dorm OR room; I would have to pray someone was home to let me in. I also had a back up Medical Center ID to gain access through the hidden passageways of Palladium (I lived there too long). Anywho, I walked up to the security at the desk and asked nicely if he found an ID recently. He asked for name and blah blah. Then, I believe he said, “You live in Palladium?!” I lit up: “Yea, YOU FOUND MY ID?@!” I was jumping up in joy.

Lesson learned by Senior Year: Hole punch your ID and lock it to your keychain lanyard. That way, it’s bulky and noisy. When you drop it, it’ll make plenty of clinks and chimes. The downside: You just may lose every precious key, club cards, other IDs (I also attached my med center ID there too), and childhood decoration. It worked though.

I also lost my medical center ID one time. I was walking through the cafeteria after work in the lab, and when it came time to pay up, my ID was gone. I swore, it was clipped to my pants and I JUST HAD IT. It was lost somewhere in the cafeteria, but I still tried retracing my steps and asking the employees for help. Nada. It just… vanished! Luckily, my volunteer supervisor was kind enough to issue me a new ID at no charge. I worked too hard as a volunteer there, so he may have taken some mercy with me =) Either way, I liked my new hospital ID; it was clearer and newer, and the camera caught my more glamorous side. I still have it as a souvenir.

The only time I got a new NYU ID card was when it started deactivating and when the school thought I was graduating Junior year. Again, I liked my newer ID better; I had more color to my cheeks and vigor to my eyes.

Now the real story, a new cycle at Stony Brook. Back in the fall, I told my story of losing my ID. I dropped it in school somewhere, but retraced all the way around lecture rooms and halls. Turned out I dropped it during a club meeting, where it fell from my shirt. Now, just 2 weeks ago, I lost my ID AGAIN. This time, I went almost 5 days without an ID, hoping I could ponder where I left it last and if a good samaritan would return it. I was at dance practice in the Galleria, and I distinctly remember putting my ID and pink pencil case into my tote bag. Later on, it just vanished without a trace! I scrambled around my room, went all over the HSC, went down to the housekeeping offices, and sent out an embarassing email “Hello everyone, If anyone finds a baby pink pencil case with a bunny that says ‘play with me’ in the galleria, please let me know! I left it there after the AE practice! =(“ The pencil case was, dispensible, because I easily replaced all my colored pens and case (Yes, I hoard pens of every color and texture). Later that Monday, I sent a similar one with my ID, making it a point that it was one of a kind with a purple casing (the little bit of NYU pride I have left).

Well, it was in my friend’s car the entire time. She gave me a ride back, and somewhere on the road, my bag fell over and a few of my most precious contents fell under the seat. The first time she checked, she didn’t see it. That was because my card and case were nestled deeper under the seat, rolling almost to the back seats. Ah, I was so happy; I really didn’t want to pay 25 bucks for a new ID, when I knew it was just SOMEWHERE waiting to be found.

Found for Good

Today, I found something else, my old NYU ID. I’ve been looking for this baby since September, when I was going back to college to visit some friends and needed it for access to facilities. I got away with my Medical Center ID, but I still missed my NYU card. I mean, I have a whole history with it, swiping me everywhere and losing it anywhere. I gave up on my search months ago, because I really have no business with an expired school card. Not like I have that much time to visit NYU anyway. I was content believing I dropped my ID back in the summer, when I was working at a local recreation camp. Then, I had my ID still with my car keys; I have my key chain it was on, albeit the purple ID card. Hence, I believed I dropped it in some parking lot and rammed over it with my car. But I had that nagging feeling that it was just SOMEWHERE, waiting to be found again. During a study break, I sat on the floor and rummaged through my treasure bag of memories, mostly stuff from college and old pictures and decorations. I opened one set of pictures, and I spied a familiar piece of plastic… MY NYU ID. A happy ending indeed. That was the story I wanted to gush out today =P

Nutrition Over Lunch

I thoroughly enjoyed the brief nutrition component of the Foundations course today. How often can you say, “I go to medical school. And cooking is homework. Class time IS tummy filling time.”  I will admit, I love fine food and dining, cooking, and those wonderful restaurant excursions back in Manhattan. I sound like such a fatty, speaking I love Artichoke Pizza, Halal falafel over rice, ice cream sundaes, Subway footlongs, Insomnia cookies, Red Mango fro-yo, St. Mark’s Japanese cuisine, Momofuku desserts, and much much more. I cannot get enough of Food Network; here’s a snippet of my idols: Giada de Laurentiis, Martin Yan, Mario Batali, Morimoto, and Bobby Flay. I peruse recipes more than my Histology primers on a daily basis. Plus, I used to be vegetarian during college, so I am accustomed to eating a variety of vegetables and studying nutrition labels. I’ve also been told I have perfectly-aligned horse teeth; I swear, canines do not exist in my mouth. As I reminisce about food (and getting hungry again), I think about my traditional Asian family, where home-cooked meals have been the norm. Coming home to the sweet aroma of soy sauce, spices and MSG (kidding) has infused in me a passion to be a domestic chef AND doctor.

Today I prepared an Italian pasta dish off eDiets.com, Angel Hair Pasta with Tofu and Ricotta. I used the basic recipe as a foundation, then I made it my own. I incorporated whole wheat spaghetti pasta with fresh bell peppers and tofu. I used organic tomato soup as a base with the lowfat ricotta cheese, in addition to Italian seasoning and oregano. To top off the dish, I added a little Parmesan cheese for kicks and cashew nuts for some crunch and chew. It is a well-balanced, flavorful dish with protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and low sodium. I liked how this dish utilized tofu, a traditionally Asian commodity. It’s vegetarian, packed with protein, and very versatile.

I learned today that tofu and beans contain phytoestrogen, which can dampen hormone effects and cancerous growths, and particularly help post-menopausal women. Even though soy is good for the body, I should limit processed soy. If only I knew this earlier, I would not have went on a Trader Joe’s spree for 3 years in college.  During my stint at NYU, I thought it was healthier to have meat substitutes that were lower in calories and fat content. I bought all these DELICIOUS Veggie Masala burgers, Soy Nuggets, Meatless Meatballs, and soy cheese from Trader Joe’s, which were all very heavenly. It is okay to eat natural soy though, like soy and edamame, but not the processed soy and meat substitutes. Surprisingly, I’m a terrible Asian, because I am blessed to have a soy allergy, to a slight degree. For instance, I have a reaction against soy milk, so I cannot consume more than half a cup. If I do, I feel my throat closing up and red bumps start popping out around my mouth. When I nibble on too many edamame beans in the fuzzy pods, same thing happens, but not as drastic. Even when my mom makes this amazing silken tofu and vegetables, I have a capping point before I blow up like a pufferfish. Now, I learned to limit these ‘soy substitutes,’ which is not too hard because I’m not vegetarian anymore. I missed the real deal, and my Asian roots were calling back to me to eat meat. If I do go back to vegetarianism, I’ll have to incorporate more beans, chickpeas and tofu instead. Right now, I’m stuck somewhere in the middle: should I stick to meats or should I go back to being an herbivore?

If only I didn't have such a major inflammatory response...

... I wouldn't look like this

I liked the family style gathering we had. I had a taste of other people’s specialities: cous-cous salad, falafel balls in salad, edamame hummus, vegetable stew, Indian basmati rice dish, peanut pad thai, and cucumber-tomato-chickpea-feta salad.  Now, I would like to play around with new ingredients, such as cous-cous, Suzie’s rice cakes with vegetable mixes, and homemade edamame hummus. Cooking is like a science experiment. Have fun with it and try new things. Just don’t bust the kitchen in the process, like bursting the organic lab into flames after cooking ethanol on the hot plate. It’s happened. Time to branch out of the Chinese noodles-Korean gimbap-Japanese sushi roll-Italian cheese & pasta-addiction and try new and successful things.

Home Alone

It’s Thanksgiving recess at school. I spent a few days at home, came back to Stony Brook for some Black Friday shopping at Tanger’s Mall and studying, and here I am, ‘alone’ at my other home. Well, I’m not completely alone, but it is eerie to be in such quietude. Just now, I heard the jingle of the door decoration, like someone was at the door. A car just pulled up near the house again. When I was brushing my hair at the mirror, I heard the door jingle again, and I was easily startled; I half-turned around, expecting Freddie Kruger with his ulnar claws or a Chucky doll holding my pitiful paring knife. My childhood imagination and nightmares still stick with me unfortunately.

I’m watching Home Alone 2: Lost in New York on ABC Family. I love holiday movies like these, because I grew up embracing the holiday spirit- gifts, shopping, music, movies and winter break. Macaulay Culkin (who plays Kevin) is adorable and witty little pipsqueak in this movie. He still ends up separated from his family. This time, he’s not exactly ‘home alone;’ he makes it as far as the airport. His family is running late, and in their frenzy and marathon race to the gate, Kevin falls behind and mistakenly follows another running man who’s wearing the same coat as his father. Instead of heading to tropical paradise, he’s off to New York.

One of my favorite scenes: When he plays a mafia movie to escape the hotel administrators. Kevin plays the mafia guy’s sexy voice and the hotel gang responds foolishly….

So mafia man says, “Get down on your knees and tell me you love me.”

Creepy concierge, “I LOVE YOU” (ear-to-ear smile)…

Mafia man, “You gotta do better than that”

Hotel gang (Chorus): “I LOVE YOU”
Mafia man, “I’m going to give you the count of 3… to get your lousy, lying ass out the door…1…2… (BANG BANG BANG~~~^&%$%$%##$^%)… 3. Merry Christmas you filthy animal… (bang bang) and a Happy New Year (bang).”

And the fools jump out the door and slither away, totally outsmarted by a kid.

And the 2 burglars again, out of jail!!! They remind me of Simon and Garfunkel, but not at all musical. The end of the movie is like playing Mouse Trap on two bozos.

I really like the symbolism behind the turtle doves, a symbol of friendship and love. It’s like in the song, “12 Nights of Christmas” with the part with the 2nd night of Christmas. Kevin received the doves at the toy store, when he donated his $20 worth of shoveling snow. In the end, it was touching when he shared the dove with the pigeon lady. The ‘twinkling’ song played in the background, as they embrace and snow flurries down on a white Christmas. I hope to find my turtle dove one of these Christmases…

Right now as I watch this classic childhood movie, I am missing Christmas in the city. This movie is making me long for Manhattan. I’ve spent 4 years there, it has almost become a second home. Here’s another list itching to be posted:

  • I miss the holiday shops at Union Square. An evening stroll with the bright lights and homey music, it really felt like the holidays were here to stay. Last Christmas when I went with a few friends, I had the urge to buy one of those winter hats with an animal face on it. I wanted the panda one, but knew I’d look stupid wearing it out everyday, even if it was to keep my head insulated.

  • I miss ice-skating. I love the feeling of a Winter Wonderland at the scenic parks. Junior year, I went to NYU’s “Wintuk” ice-skating in Central Park with a good friend. That was the first time I stepped on ice and learned to skate; let’s say it was a wobbly trip around the rink, luckily without that many bruises. Senior year, I went to Bryant Park with Kendo club to ice-skate. This second time, I ended up with more bruises on my legs than I could count on both hands. Finally, this summer as a camp counselor, I became more pro because I did it everyday. Only difference was, I was stuck on the frigid ice with shorts and T-shirt. At least when it’s winter in the city, I could bundle up with leggings, puffy jacket, and stylish scarf.

  • Herald Square’s hustle and Macy’s merry window displays. I’m a shopaholic, but I cannot resist the decorations and glam.

Flashback to 2006 Macy's

  • Winter Wonderland on 3rd Ave, Union Square

    Oh the white blizzard before the slushy mess ruins my trip down Broadway. This year during my last semester, NYU did a revolutionary thing: giving us a SNOW DAY. Yes, this never happened, even when nearby schools like Columbia or CUNY schools closed down for a blustery storm. NYU gave us a late, but amazing gift that Wednesday in February. I felt like a little kid again, jumping in joy over a snow day. I stayed in my PJs and totally skipped out on volunteering at the medical center. As I mused over the belated Winter Wonderland, I remembered my childhood and how much I enjoyed feeling cozy at home while watching the snow or rain fall. I mean, I do not like being stuck in the bad weather, because I’ve had a bad rap-sheet on getting trapped at the library or forgetting my umbrella just when the downpour begins. But, I like listening to the rain patter or watching the pure-white snow drift softly from the clouds.

  • Rockefeller Center’s Christmas-tree lighting. I went back in freshman year. The wait was long and the crowd just as obnoxiously suffocating. I don’t think we actually saw the tree-lighting, but we did see the naked tree, light-less. That night, we ended up at Bryant Park and took a pseudo-picture with a lighted, miniature tree =P

  • Holiday shopping is never as easy as in Manhattan. I reminisce strolling on the streets, blending in with the holiday crowds and finding amazing deals.  Holiday in the city, does not compare to plain Long Island here, where everything requires pumping greenhouse gases into the air.