Holiday Season, NYC Style

By the time Thanksgiving is over, New York City will be ready to display the festivity of holiday season. There will be more lights, wonderful window displays and amazing store decorations; seasonal events such as ice skating rinks at Bryant Park, Central Park or Rockefeller Center and my favorite is the winter market at Bryant Park. Of all the many wonderful things to see in New York City during holiday season, the window displays from the city’s top stores are the ones that are most breathtaking. Each store competes to show the astonishing display of themes on its windows. People will be wowed by the ranging of themes from Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s, Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman’s and many other upscale stores. They can be whimsical, full of fantasy, imaginative, depiction of stories that are popular like A Christmas Carol, Mother Goose, the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and so on. Those themes are truly work of art!

When you decide to visit New York City during holiday season, be prepared to encounter a lot of people, more than usual. There will be crowd almost everywhere! Wear sensible and comfortable shoes, bundle-up warmly, cause you’re going to take lots and lots of walk. Your main attractions will be mostly along Fifth Avenue. Saks Fifth Avenue has musical light show that covers its entire building. It is simply amazing! Young and old would gather across the store and waiting for the show to begin every 10 minutes. Across Saks Fifth Avenue is another attraction that has been showed on popular movies about Christmas, such as Home Alone: Lost in New York, which is the Rockefeller Christmas tree. The tree, the ice skating rink and the displays around the Rockefeller Center are another wonderful sights to see. You might also browsing the winter market at Bryant Park that has many local artists showing and selling their artworks. Not too mention, another ice skating rink, which is heated, and I think is more romantic than the one at Rockefeller. People can buy some hot cocoa or coffee and have varieties of munchies, sit on one of the park metal chairs and see people ice skating or just relaxing with loved ones. The market is also the best place to get presents for any occasion or souvenirs, if you’re a tourist. So, let me show you how New York City celebrates holiday season. You’ll be amazed for sure!

 

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My Sketch Journal in Sepia

When I feel like it, I sketch. Often times though, even when I brought along my sketch book, set of pencils and pens anywhere, I had to have a certain mood to really want to sketch. Sometimes my hand was already tired from doing a lot of chores, that even when I set my heart to sketch, my hand seemed abstaining from doing anything. So I might ended up sitting somewhere with my sketch book open and blank page. But when those moments came, I could sit for the longest time to sketch. Who would want to care for the dirty dishes or unprepared meal anyway? (Wink).

These are three of my latest sketches and I intent to make as many as I can and create a sketch journal. But I know my limit and my mood, unfortunately. I did my first sketch after my kids, their friends from the music camp and their teachers had a picnic. I cooked some fried rice for them and the picnic went so well and everybody was happy. A friend of mine who also a mother of a student at the camp, and her daughter, and I kept on picnicking under the shadow of some trees at Yale Cross Campus after everybody else went back to their activity. We had a wonderful time chatting and after my friend and her daughter left, I did my sketch. My object was the building of Calhoun College. A few months back, there was a protest wanting the school (Yale) to replace the name of Calhoun College due to the character behind the name, John C. Calhoun, who was a statesman who believed in slavery. Calhoun was a former US vice president.

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The sketch book that I use now is my second sketch book. It’s thinner and smaller than the first one that’s already full. The book has red cover. I fell in love with it when I saw it at the arts & craft store. I did my second sketch during our visit to the beach. We live quite near the beach and I promised my younger daughter and son to go to the beach when the weather became cooler one late afternoon. Summer has been crazy for us with several days of heat wave. So while my kids kept themselves busy by playing frisbee and walking to a small island that we could only reach when it was low tide, I sketched. Basically, I was left alone minding my own business. My sketch object was part of the Bradley Point that has several big trees with benches under them.

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When one day I took my younger daughter along to find a “good place” to sketch, I told her to bring a book. At first, she was bored, but then she sat nicely reading her book and watching the people who passed by us. We chatted and laughed at some people who looked silly or did something awkward. We were sitting on a stone bench near Sterling Library at Yale Campus. The weather was fine that day. I decided to sketch the Harkness Hall because I wanted to learn again about drawing perspective. It’s been a while since I sketch or draw something in perspective. My skill kinda dull at the moment. By the way, I chose sepia colored pens to sketch because it reminds me of old photographs. I sure hope I will continue to sketch more and create another journal to share.

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Travel Journal: Harry Potter’s Library at Cornell University

My first thought when I entered this library was that this could be Harry Potter’s library, or Dumbledore’s for that matter. But it’s not. This marvelous library is Andrew Dickson White Library at Cornell University. But by the time you see the pictures I took and post here, you will agree this library could be Harry Potter’s library (minus the flying books). A.D. White Library is a library within a library, it’s located inside Uris Library. My family and I were visiting Cornell and my friend, Danny and his wife, took us to see several point of interests around campus. Uris Library opened in 1891 and among the oldest and beautiful libraries of American colleges. William Henry Miller was the architect who designed the building. It is a magnificent building with a clock tower attached to it that becomes Cornell’s symbol. The McGraw Tower is another point of interest at Cornell that plays chimes concert daily.

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White was co-founder and Cornell University first president. When Harold D. Uris Library was established, White wanted to donate his personal collection of 30,000 books to Cornell. But instead of putting the books into the library’s collections, White wanted his books installed in a special library within Uris Library. He asked the architect, William Henry Miller, to design it. A.D. White Library opened as Uris Library opened. The library is also filled with White’s other collections of artworks, furniture and artifacts that he got from Europe when he was the U.S. Ambassador for Germany and Russia. There are paintings, plaster busts and several plaster casts of European coins and medallions that are placed in a glass case. Uris Library is open from Thursday to Sunday for 24 hours  for students who want to use the facility. Get that? Open for 24 hours.

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

A. D. White Library is a small library. Its location is rather secluded. We climbed some steps and reached a big door. My friend opened it and we entered another realm. We were floored! We were amazed! My kids were very enthusiastic and in a hushed voice telling me,”This is like Harry Potter’s Library!” There are 3 tiers in the library that were made from wrought iron. These tiers themselves are a work of art. The sun rays that beamed into the room reflected upon the iron frames, fell on the chairs and leather sofa that are placed in front of the windows. The atmosphere was solemn, peaceful and simply just wonderful. It’s very accommodating for whoever needs a place to study. I think I could really enjoy studying there for as long as I want.

Andrew Dickson White Library

Andrew Dickson White Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Point of Interest: The Stained-Glass Windows at Battell Chapel

Battell Chapel is the largest chapel in the city of New Haven in Connecticut. Since my eldest daughter has several orchestra rehearsals dan concerts in this chapel, I became aware of its grand stained-glass windows. From the outside, Battell Chapel looks like another ordinary stone building in downtown New Haven, which was the first planned city in America. New Haven became a city in 1784 and has thrived because of Yale College (now Yale University), the 3rd oldest college in United State. Battell Chapel was established through donations of Joseph Battell and his family who dedicated the chapel as a memorial for the Civil War. The style of the chapel is High Victorian Gothic and designed by Russell Sturgis, Jr. I love being inside the chapel admiring the glass works that are shown around it. The designs, motifs and colors of the stained-glass windows are stunning. I usually didn’t stay inside while waiting for my daughter practicing, but the last time the orchestra had a rehearsal, I tried to take as many pictures as possible of the stained-glass windows. My favorites are the windows that I’m putting first in this journal. Among the stained-glass windows that adorned Battell Chapel, one of them was created by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the master of the stained-glass art (the last picture). Battell Chapel almost always open for public everyday. People can come and astonished by the interior inside this historic building. When the sun shines at certain angles through some of the windows, it’d create a dramatic scene that you don’t want to miss.

Battell Chapel Stained-glass Windows

Battell Chapel Stained-glass Windows

Battell Chapel Stained-glass Windows<

Battell Chapel Stained-glass Windows

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Battell Chapel Stained-glass WindowsBattell Chapel Stained-glass Windows

Battell Chapel Stained-glass Windows

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Battell Chapel Stained-glass WindowsBattell Chapel Stained-glass Windows

Battell Chapel Stained-glass WindowsBattell Chapel Stained-glass Windows

Battell Chapel Stained-glass Windows

The Painted Lady of Times Square

I believe people should be able to express their understanding about art. With the reasoning of freedom of speech, that expression can be quite confusing. Some expressing it through an art form that they see fit to their purpose and yet on the other hand, it is considered as rather vulgar. In Times Square, that form of expression lately becomes a popular news because it happens in a public space and some says beginning to feel like a menace. Desnudas or the painted ladies who strut along in parts of Times Square, wear body paint on their bodies as they call it as art. They mostly wear only panties or bikini bottom while showing certain illustration on their bodies. For your information, in New York City, being topless is legal and these ladies who now exhibit their painted body in Times Square really knows well how to sell their artwork. They will pose with certain tourists who are willing to give them some tips. Those tourists who were mostly men looked bewildered and also amused. The rests of us, the other passersby and  tourists, parents with children would try to avoid the desnudas. When I saw the lady on these photos, a part of me admired her spunk, but another part of me couldn’t fathom the idea of showing off your body in a public space where everyone can see and even touch, and  is considered as art expression. With so many ways to express yourself, why this? In the end, I think because this one is the most profitable way to do without requiring any serious effort.

Notes: When I took these pictures, it was last October, I only saw one Desnudas or painted lady in Times Square. Now that it’s almost a year later, I read that the ladies are multiplying and becoming a handful. The local law enforcement has decided to take care of the desnudas.

Woman in Stars & Stripes

Woman in Stars & Stripes

Get Lost in SOHO

Some parts of New York City boast the mix of old and new, traditional and modern atmospheres. One of that one-of-a-kind mixed places is in SOHO. While taking my daughters and her friends for girls’ day out there, I indulged my self for the details that SOHO offers with rows of old buildings, the artistry that almost exists in every corner and the unique places that we visited. I love the cobblestone streets, the pillars and the reliefs that decorated the buildings, and even the fire escape stairs that are lining up on the side of the streets. I felt like being pampered with the many objects that we could see around SOHO, to be photographed, of course. My friend and I stopped at some of the artists’ stands that were there to see and admire their works. Among those artists was a photographer who sold her works at one of SOHO corner. She was kind enough to answer some questions from us, who were curious about how she printed her photographs and where did she take some of the images. So many eye-candy for the girls too, that they couldn’t contain themselves sometimes. They went in and out of some stores, that each one gave different perspectives. It seems that SOHO is calling us again, to come and immerse in its plethora of things that we can see, touch, feel and even eat. Perhaps, soon.

 

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Once Upon A Time, I Wanted to Be An Architect

When I was about 8, I knew a new word of “an architect”. I was curious of the meaning and my mom told me an architect is a person whose work is to design a building. I said to my self,”Wow! To design a building?” Since then if someone asked me what I wanted to become when I’m older, I would say,”I wanted to become an architect”. But unfortunately, I’m not really into formulas in math or physics, whereas those two are needed to study architecture. Oh well, I’m more leaning towards the art of the design itself, rather than building a structure. I enjoy looking at a building in details and feasted all the nooks and crannies of it to my heart content. I become a fan of an architecture study. I learn about the style of a building, which era it was designed and how the custom and art background from the architect influenced it. My amazement at an architecture of a building sometimes implemented in the photos I took wherever I go, but lately I wanted to draw it rather than take some pictures of it. That’s what I did and I want to do it more often, if I have plenty of time to absorb all the details that I see from a certain building.

I drew the first sketch during my son’s ensemble class. The class is on the 3rd floor of the music school where our kids have been studying for years. The big window in the class overlooks an old building that I could see from where I sat. It was Fall and the scenery was beautiful with the falling leaves on the ground and the leafless trees. The building itself is one of a landmark building in New Haven, Connecticut. Its called the Kingsley & Havenmeyer House that was built in 1850. Then weeks after that (I drew other images instead meanwhile), I sketched one of the building at Yale University campus.  My object was a building called the Street Hall that was built in 1864. The red stones that becomes a significant of the building looks contrast comparing to other buildings that over all are in grey. While drawing the Street Hall, my son and I were having lunch at Panera Bread across the building. My son became restless, because he didn’t want me to finish my sketch. So I asked him to join me drawing whatever things he saw. Sure did, it worked! That became our first drawing session. Then another chance came to sketch another building, when I took my son to Yale-British Art Gallery. From the huge window on the 3rd floor gallery, I could see the street below and Yale Art Gallery across the street. We decided to sit before the window. My son and I were actually enjoying our second drawing session with some chats and jokes. I added more details at home as much as I could with the help of some pictures I took with my cellphone. I was ecstatic with the image of the bridge that connected the Old Yale Art Gallery with the Street Hall. Nowadays, I can’t wait for another time to just sit and sketch somewhere, admiring a building as an artwork, as of admiring a painting. An architect is somewhat an artist too.

The Kingsley & Havenmeyer House, circa 1850 seen from the 3rd floor of Neighborhood Music School

Sketch of A Building

Street Hall – Corner of Chapel St. & High St., Yale Campus, circa 1864

Sketch of Street Hall, Yale

The bridge of the Olde Yale Art Gallery to Street Hall over High St., circa 1928

Sketch of Olde Yale Art Gallery bridge, Yale