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

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Travel Journal: Stopping by A Victorian Cafe

Located in the town of Corning, a town in the Upstate New York, which famous with producing glass kitchenware, is a pretty cafe called THE OLD WORLD CAFE & ICE CREAM. We visited Corning when we came to Ithaca to see Cornell University. This town is a charming town with lots of interesting things to see. During our stop at the town’s downtown area know as the Gaffer District, we walked around enjoying the scenery which is mostly decorated with historical architectures, wonderful galleries and pretty shops. Then because we’re hungry, we tried to pick places to eat and we came upon the Old World Cafe and Ice Cream. The cafe is located at the bottom floor of the Baron Steuben Place Building that was opened  in 1926. The building was named after Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben who was  Prussian-born who later became George Washington’s aide during the American Revolutionary War.

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

The Old World Cafe exuded the charm of a Victorian-style cafe. As soon as we got inside, we were taken to the beauty of yesteryear through the display of chairs, tables, wooden benches, rows of glass jars filled with candy and chocolates and the counters which were serving ice cream and several choices of foods. Behind each of the counter there were beautiful giant mirrors with amazing carved wooden frames. The carved ornaments were just breathtaking. Not to mention the lights from the sun that shined into the cafe added a natural light that was captivating. The old-style glass jars that were arranged on the counters were another of a special touch that made this cafe a destination when you visit Corning.

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

From the ceiling to the walls, the furniture, the tiles, the wallpaper and the displays on the shelves at the Old World Cafe brought us to Victorian era. I personally love the wooden benches at the cafe with a built-in-table that had beautiful mosaic decoration. The benches and the table were set up in a stall that was adorable. The combination of the ornamented ceiling, the floral themed wallpaper, the wonderful light fixtures, the marble counter top and the stools for people who want to have some ice creams and the knick-knacks added the charm to the cafe. It seems that if I have to tell you about this cafe, I might  be overdoing it because I simply fell in love with it. Oh, how about the food? Well, the foods that we ordered were delicious. I had a bowl of cheesy chicken noodle soup and Greek salad, while my family had some turkey sandwhiches and my kids also had a big cream puff with ice cream. It’s to die for!

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

The Old World Cafe & Ice Cream

Foods at Old World Cafe  & Ice Cream

Foods at Old World Cafe  & Ice Cream

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

The Writings on the Wall

In the corner of a busy block in Brooklyn, I came upon some writings on the wall. I stared at it smiling and my mind wandered to once upon a time when the time was younger and nicer. The writings on the wall took me to a story of a girl who loved a boy and a boy who was crazy for her. They were young, indeed, only 19, a pair of fools in love. Each never thought of what would becoming of them. They never shared their dreams and still unsure about their own future. But to be 19 and in love, you’re allowed to go crazy beyond realization that what came next might just be the end of everything. Love made you did something silly. “Would you be my wife?”, the boy asked one day. The girl was astounded. The boy might just got caught up in a moment (it was his birthday anyway). But maybe something more happened deep in his heart. The girl looked the boy in the eyes, wanting to know if what she heard was real.

I read the writings on the wall and I distinctly heard my self said,”I do”.

sign

sign1

Between the Light and the Dark in New York City

One day, I walked pass by the street in Manhattan and saw the Chrysler Building almost two hours before sunset came. Sunlight reflected on its gleaming metal body creating a pink hue. I was mesmerized. Standing on the edge of busy Manhattan street, I took several shots of the  building that its luster lasts through century. A friend told me how she loves Chrysler Building and wants to visit it someday and I promised her to take some shots if I ever near the vicinity. I went inside a store that lines up Fifth Avenue without caring about the change of scenery outside. Darkness fell and it seemed making Manhattan subdued. The footsteps of some tourists and people coming home from work became less and less. Meanwhile on the other part of the city, people flocked in Times Square where neon lights were the attractions as if moths to the flame. Chrysler Building and its twinkling lights seen from afar, like a lighthouse guiding some weary and tired people, like me, towards another destination to reach home, Grand Central Terminal. I walked down an alley where I heard the tinkling of utensils and glasses from a restaurant nearby. I saw a couple set up a tripod and took some pictures of the Chrysler Building. The mix smell of dust, old buildings, weather and pee wafted in the alley way. Between the light and the dark, people can get lost in its mystery.

As I typed this journal, I remember a discussion between me and a beloved one about sleeping in the dark. I need a sliver of light, just a small source of light, to be able to sleep. I’ve tried sleeping in the dark and it’s hard for me to concentrate. The mystery of the dark makes my mind working on a weird scenario. He said, sleeping in darkness makes his other senses more apparent. I suppose he’s right. I listen attentively when I slept in the dark and sometimes I chose to stay in the dark when migraine hit me. During the full moon, I let the curtain open a little bit to let the light get into the room and it felt somewhat calmer. Back in Manhattan, where the wind blew strong and picked up some strewn papers and plastic bags, I saw a man sleeping in front of a closed store. He covered his face with his hat, perhaps wanting to hide from the Manhattan lights that can be blinding to someone who just wanted to have a goodnight sleep.

The Chrysler Building, NYC

The Chrysler Building, NYC

The Chrysler Building, NYC

The Chrysler Building, NYC

Another Day in Paradise

While I was walking towards Grand Central Terminal, accompanying my two daughters and their friend, I came upon this man. I was taking several shots of the Chrysler Building at night, when suddenly my eyes saw the man sleeping on the sidewalk. He laid down on what it seemed to be two pieces of cardboard. The man crossed his legs and covered his body with a jacket. His face was partially hidden under a baseball cap. The man’s trolley, his primary tool of transporting and to hold his worldly possession laid close to him. Under his head was what I believed to be his clothes, in a bag, that became his pillow. As the dusk set, the wind blew a little bit chillier. People kept on passing by, some would stop to take pictures of the Chrysler Building. Under the dim lights in a somewhat quiet street between some buildings with upscale shops, bar and cafes, a man slept soundly without any care in the world. Scattered litters around him, dusts that settled and blown away by the wind, didn’t bother him at all. I took one shot of the man, and kept on walking. I didn’t want to wake him or maybe I tried getting away before I felt guilty for him. In my head, I could hear a song,”She calls out to the man on the street. Sir, can you help me? It’s cold and I’ve no where to sleep. Is there somewhere you can tell me?” from Another Day in Paradise, a song written by Phil Collins. The night sky had darkened and on a train ride home, the song kept playing in my head. “It’s just another day for you and me in paradise. Oh, think twice, it’s just another day for you, you and me in paradise”.

Asleep

One Cool Guy at Grand Central

I took my girls to New York last weekend for their spring break. When we just arrived at Grand Central Terminal and bought some baked goods, we saw a man passing us by. The man wore a red jacket, a skirt and red boots. He also had a very unique hair style, had lots of accessories on him and on his wardrobe. He was about between 60-70 years old. Having coming from a traditional and rather conservative upbringing, I know there’s an unwritten rule about people from certain age should act their age. But I don’t believe this man really cared about that rule. He walked with confidence, with his black canvas bag that had Union Jack, chains and metal spikes on it. It turned out that at the same moment, there were some people from photography club or some kind, who were having their photo hunting at Grand Central. Right away, the man with the red jacket became their point of interest and just like a professional celebrity, the man posing for the cameras ready for his red carpet moment. I couldn’t hear any of the small talk some people had with the man. I wished I knew. I wondered my self why he was wearing such an eccentric attribute. For what purpose? I think everyone’s curiosity was similar at that point. Meanwhile, we were really amused by the man. He reminded me that once in a lifetime, you’re allowed to go all out. Even though some may think you’re nuts or silly, there’s nothing beats the feeling of being one of a kind.

Cool Guy at Grand Central

Cool Guy at Grand Central

Cool Guy at Grand Central