Showing posts with label nyc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nyc. Show all posts

Monday, March 3, 2014

New York City 2012: The Wishful Student at Columbia University

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Ever since the movie, The Bucket List, there's never been a week that I haven't seen someone post/tweet/upload anything related to his or her own personal "bucket list".  I guess we all have our aspirations before we, well, kick the bucket.  Like most of my friends, one of the major things on my list is to really travel and see the world.  Apart from the generic, I have this specific travel goal and that is to visit all eight Ivy League schools in the US.  This is a real goal of mine, not something fabricated impromptu as a result of being at the right place at the right time.

I've always been fascinated of the Ivies since I was in high school and dreaming of where I would like to go to college had I been rich enough, smart enough, and active enough in community service and some other worthy advocacy. Anyway, enough about my sob story.  Just to give a brief background, there are eight Ivy League schools in the US and fortunately for me, they are all in the East Coast.  They've been called as such originally because of an athletic conference formed by the said private schools but the term came to be accepted as with reference to academic excellence and selective admissions.  

With no further ado, the eight Ivy League schools, and the same eight items on my specific "Bucket List", are: Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), Cornell, Dartmouth, and.........

Columbia University, New York City, New York!

If you've read my prior posts, you'll remember that I was roaming the streets of Manhattan like there was no tomorrow.  But then, I made sure to leave enough time for me to visit the first "scratch off" opportunity on my list.  Believe me, I am not exaggerating when I say that I was filled with too much giddiness.  If I only knew their Alma Mater song, I would have sung it.

But no, I wasn't an alumna, I was merely a visitor in this open campus.

Unfortunately, I cannot really go inside the buildings.  On a brighter note, however, I was free to look around the outside and take as many pictures as I wanted.

The stand-out building for me is the University Library.  It looks so imposing yet comforting at the same time.  Good thing I wasn't able to go inside or else I'd just drool all over the precious book collections that maybe date back centuries ago.

That's me wishing that I had the right to call Columbia my Alma Mater. Sob!

With my back to the library, this was the whole line of my sight.  Or my camera's, that is.  I paused for a minute just to imagine what it would be like if I were an actual student, a back pack and all, crossing the grounds to hurry to my next class.

I also wondered where the dorms were.

So I guess I wasn't the only tourist in the grounds.

Oh well, enough self-pity.  One more photo then a kiss farewell.

The neighborhood is just so... colonial, for lack of a better word.  I love every corner of it.

Just a parting shot of the back view of the main buildings. 

Goodbye, Columbia, my Ivy League #1.

For tourists, this is one less popular New York City attraction that I think is worth a visit.  I took a quick cab ride from Central Park West Avenue.  Here's the address: 116th St and Broadway, New York

Saturday, March 1, 2014

New York City 2012: The Refreshing Green That is Central Park

If downtown Manhattan explodes with electrifying energy, it needs to be balanced by something more serene... Something like Central Park. Whatever sins the city committed to Mother Earth, it made up for it in the form of a refreshing green space that expanded across 50 blocks and 3 avenues. I never fully grasped the vastness of Central Park until I was there walking for a considerable length of time and realized I haven't seen half of it. 

I entered the Park from 5th avenue corner 84th street and cut across to Central Park West Avenue.  Fifth Avenue in itself is a sight to marvel.  I wish I lived in one of the penthouses.

Outside of the Park is the Metropolitan Museum of Art... as in the Met... as in the Met steps... as in the steps where Constance Billard girls would hang out after school.  I forgot if I wore a headband intentionally,just to give tribute to the Queen Bee, Blair Waldorf.

Too bad it was closed early Sunday morning.  Honestly, I'm not an art aficionado so for me, it wasn't the end of the world that I didn't get to go inside.  I can definitely go back next time.

After a few photos on the steps, I proceeded to the park.  I should have done my research on the must-visit spots but in my mind, Central Park = Strawberry Fields... forever.  I'm glad the scenes willingly unraveled themselves to me; all I had to do was walk.

The Loeb Central Park Boathouse

The Lake

The Bow Bridge behind me.

Facing the Boathouse is the Bethesda Fountain.  The whole area is called the Bethesda Terrace, with the fountain being its main feature.  I found out all of these after the trip... because I live life effervescently.  

Since I couldn't wait to rush to Strawberry Fields anyway, I'm rushing my post towards it.  This John Lennon memorial was named after The Beatles' song "Strawberry Fields Forever".  This was dedicated to John Lennon because the entrance to this part of the Park was where he was shot.  

The sign says this is a quiet zone, and I couldn't agree more.  It seemed like the people who visit have a disposition of reverence for the musical genius who long passed away.  And then there's me eating ice cream ... no disrespect intended... just trying to be a "rebel" in a cold fall weather.

The plaque below lists the nations that contributed to the development of the memorial.  I spotted the Philippines! Represent!

In the center is a mosaic of stones with a single word, the title of John Lennon's famous song, Imagine.  Ironically, I can't imagine that I've been here and have seen this.

Across the John Lennon's memorial is a thicket of trees with a small reservoir that I think is still part of The Lake.

Outside of Central Park, I'm back to the metropolitan jungle, with concrete structures, rather than trees, casting shadows over me.  I was trying to look for the Dakota Apartments, John Lennon's home, when the eagerness of going to my next stop was just too much of an urge to ignore.

Columbia University, I'll be seeing you soon...


Saturday, January 18, 2014

New York City 2012: Roaming Manhattan

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This may seem like a cliche but I can't help thinking of these song lyrics as I breathed the air in Manhattan:

If I could open my arms
And span the length of the isle of Manhattan,
I'd bring it to where you are
Making a lake of the East River and Hudson

- Death Cab for Cutie

This song means so much to me and I found it fitting to have been playing in my head as I walked around the streets of this city.

Before that, a quick trivia for you.  New York City is divided into five boroughs that were consolidated into one huge city over a hundred years ago: Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.  In the future, I'll visit them all, but as of that moment, I was in the cultural center of USA that is Manhattan.

From Broadway street at Times Square, walked half-aimlessly, half purposely along 7th Avenue.  I told my cousin I wanted to see all the famous landmarks specifically.  I knew I would have other chances in the future to be back in New York, and so at this time, I needed to prioritize.  

A few steps from the middle of Times Square, I saw familiar building. Lo and behold, Parson's School of Design!  For all the numerous times the facade has been featured in the Project Runway TV show, I would be too dense not to notice.

Manhattan has been the setting of countless films and television shows that it's impossible not to exclaim with delight as I personally see each object with obvious familiarity.

On 5th Avenue, I found NYC's most famous building - The Empire State.  I went in and there was a long line to go to the top.  Someday, I'll have the time to climb it and see Manhattan from a bird's eye view, but not today, not today.

The lady to the left is in no way associated with me.  Nice smile, though, Random Stranger.

The Manhattan Mall - Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) corner 34th Avenue.


At the opposite direction from Times Square, we went to Rockefeller Center, an imposing skyscraper with a more famous ice skating rink (at least for me, as it has been featured in Gossip Girl).  But before reaching it, I saw my most favorite building - Chrysler - from afar.  By wanting to save the best for last, we ran out of time, but I think part of me knew that leaving Chrysler unconquered would motivate me harder to come back.  Its superior art deco design is such a beauty even from a few blocks away.

Still before reaching Rockefeller, we passed by St. Patrick's Cathedral.  I had to have a picture in front of the ornately carved doors.

What else would be on 5th Avenue? Saks!  It's just across Rockefeller and it's vintage, classy architecture made me sigh ala Holly Golightly, so classy, so poignant (speaking of which, I totally forgot to reenact Breakfast at Tiffany's!).

Finally, we reached the center of Mr. Rockefeller's vast fortune that shaped America.  Do you know his connection to the Philippines?  He funded the establishment of Central Philippine University.  Just with that fact, I think he's pretty cool.  I also think Andrew Carnegie, another American industrial forefather, is (for lack of a better word) cool because of his anti-imperialist principles during the Philippines' independence in 1898.  He even went as far as offering us $20 million to buy ourselves back from the US... which did not really materialize.  Anyway, for a moment there, I forgot that this is a travel blog, not a history blog.  Moving on...

A little Lego-love never hurt anyone.

In a few moments, you'll know what made the Rockefeller Center popular in, well, pop culture.

And here it is... the most famous ice skating rink.

This building is warming up to me. I guess it's my favorite now.

There is still so much to see in Manhattan, so many restaurants to try!  I did try Shake Shack near 86th Street and I love their burgers!  

I promised myself I'll be back for more of this city that I love, love, love so much.  But then, there's still the rest of the world to see.