Hispanic Society of America

Recently, I have found myself in Hamilton Heights three times a week for a temporary job placement. As a result, I have promised myself to explore the area and visit a part of the city that I haven’t explored much of. The first thing on my agenda? The Hispanic Society of America. 

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First, let us begin with saying that visiting the museum is absolutely free. Yes. Free. And when living in an area as expensive as New York City, you take every free opportunity that comes your way.

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Secondly, because of my picture taking obsession, I had no room on my phone. In fact, my camera wouldn’t even open. So my solution? Take pictures on snapchat and save them to my phone. This, unfortunately, resulted in some very poor quality photography.

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The Hispanic Society of America is located inside the Manhattan campus of Boricua College right across Trinity Cemetery (where you can see the grave of Alexander Hamilton if you’re interested!).

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The biggest draw is perhaps the main room which is grand and obviously poorly captured by snapchat. But if you go upstairs, you will find larger paintings.

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NYC Guide To: Roosevelt Island

I have been meaning to make the time to take a trip to Roosevelt Island for a while now. I finally managed to make the trip yesterday and had a blast. Here is a guide on how to take visit Roosevelt Island.

Getting There

Roosevelt Island, previously known as Blackwell’s Island and Welfare Island, is a long strip of land located in the east river between Manhattan and Queens. Although today the island is used commercially and people live there, over the years it was used for hospitals, insane asylums, and prisons.

There are multiple ways to get to Roosevelt Island. You can take public transportation to get there, the F train and Q102 bus will take you. You can also drive into the island through three different paths: the Midtown Tunnel, the 59th Street Bridge Upper Roadway, or the 59th Street Bridge Lower Roadway. Technically you can also use these routes to bike to the island.

I choose to get to the island through it’s Tramway. You can get it simply by swiping your MetroCard, which currently costs $2.75 per ride, and you have one the most affordable views of New York City!

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TRAVEL TIP: I assumed that the best spot to get on the tram was at the front so you can see the city as you are moving away from it. However, instead, I recommend you stand on the side of the tram where the doors are; THAT’S where the best view really is. You can see from the photographs below the view from the front (or is this the back?) of the tram and then the horrible photo of me trying to photograph over people’s heads of the side view.

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I clearly learned my lesson and got a nice spot on my way back. And this time it was nighttime so all those New York City lights were out. These photos are still not the best and I can bet someone with a nicer camera than my iphone and better photography skills can take much better ones.

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Getting Around

Roosevelt Island has a cute little red bus that circles the whole island, the RIOC Red Bus. You can simply hop on and off at whatever location you are closest to. While I read online that the bus costs 25 cents, it is actually FREE. Running daily between  5:45 AM and 2:30 AM (be careful not to get stranded there for those three hours!), I found that the bus came pretty quickly and I never waited more than five minutes.

Things To Do

The Octagon

The first attraction I saw on the island was the Octagon. This was previously a lunatic asylum and is rumored to be haunted. At one point, the building architecture greatly impressed Charles Dickinson. If you go inside there is a gorgeous staircase and there is a gallery showing old maps of the island. However, today the place has been refurbished into residential housing. Bummer.

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North Point Lighthouse 

From the asylum we walked down to the lighthouse. Built in 1872, it was used to light the lunatic asylum and the boats along the river. Although you cannot actually go into the lighthouse, you can take in it’s beauty from the red benches in the park at the very south point of the island.

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Southpoint Park 

From under the Queensborough Bridge you can walk along the waterfront towards the south point of the island.

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Smallpox Hospital

The last thing we saw before making our way back home was the abandoned smallpox hospital.

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Other Activities 

There are of course things I didn’t manage to do, that you can totally take advantage of when visiting the island.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Southpoint Park 

While I was there, the park was still under construction. But eventually it will be finished and you can enjoy the Roosevelt memorial.

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I didn’t realize that this gallery was on the island until after. So don’t make the same mistake as me and make a visit to see what art Roosevelt Island has to offer.

What to Eat

Starbucks

Where you wondering if you could get your green tea lemonade to refresh yourself during the warm summer days? Well… you can.

Riverwalk Bar & Grill

I was planning on going in and getting some beer and wings but never managed to make the time to get some food (ended up getting dinner in the city instead).

 

Westsider Books

In my quest to visit every book store in New York City, I have come across Westsider Books. Located in the upper west side at 2246 Broadway, it is an easy walk from locations such as the Hayden Planetarium, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and the Belvedere Castle in Central Park.

This place is easily one of my favorite book stores I have ever visited. It’s crowning glory is the high ceilings with rows of books that adjourn all the way to the top. This not only produces a lovely view as your eyes trail upwards, it also provides the perfect opportunity for a ladder! And who ever wanted to climb a ladder in a book store?

This particular book store specializes in rare and used books. Although I did not managed to find a particular book I wanted to keep, the collection they had left me wishing I had purchased on of the original editions of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales. 

Sleepy Hollow

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I’ve been searching up a lot of lists lately that indicate different places around the world book lovers should visit. I noticed that many places or sites are located in my general area. In fact, one location, Sleepy Hollow from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving was not too far from me. So one morning I decided to give the town a visit.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery The first place I got to see was the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery which is often visited by the spooky headless horseman. I managed to find Washington Irving’s grave, although it isn’t that hard to miss.

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Kingsland Point County Park I initially wanted to visit either the Philipsburg Manor or Kykuit, but they were both closed on the particular day we went. Instead, we decide to take some down time and enjoy the warm weather at the park.

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The Horseman To finish off the trip we grabbed some lunch at a local dinner that was very appropriately named.

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Although I very much enjoyed my trip, I will like to come back to visit the two manors I didn’t get to see during this visit. I also think this would be one of the BEST places to visit during Halloween. Perhaps a future blog post?

Two Great Things

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In my attempt to be more reflective on the little events that occur in my everyday life, I made note of two great little things that happened today.

1. It rained. This morning started off with lots and lots of rain. You may question why this would be listed as a great thing to happen in my life. But here it is: I love the rain. I adore the sound of it hitting against hard services. I can’t get enough of how fresh the earth feels after it’s over. But mostly importantly, when it rains, I feel as if I am being cleansed. I feel as if all the issues and concerns that have been griming my life and blocking my progression are being cleaned away. The rain is always a fresh start. It is a way to begin again.

2. The sun came out. When I first left my house this morning I had a hot pink umbrella on hand to prevent the frizz from collecting on my head. By afternoon the sky had cleared up, the weather warmed, and the sun came out. The vitamin c had me feeling so positive and happy that I decided to take a stroll on Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens City. I could not stop from taking a moment to myself.

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Worry No More

IMG_1315[1]I recently took a trip to one of my favorite museums in New York City: American Folk Art Museum. This museum contains works of art by artists who were self-taught, many of who were in mental institutions. That alone is what draws me to AFAM so frequently. There is something so intriguing in witnessing how the mind and passions of an individual express themselves without any influence from the outside world.

While the museum is truly worth visiting, the museum shop is worth a trip in itself. The shop is deemed as one of the best in the world based on its uniqueness: the whole shop is composed of self-made artisan products. It is here that one can find the most special little gems. And that is just what I found on this trip.

While strolling through item after item, I came across a little cubical filled to the brim with these tiny handmade dolls from Guatemala. The back read as follows:

“Worry No More: There is a story that when the Mayan people of Guatemala have worries, they tell them to the worry dolls and then put them under their pillow at night. By morning, the worry dolls have taken all the worries away.”

It was at this moment when a thought possessed my mind and I have not been able to get rid of it since. Do I worry? Worrying is a consuming habit that many people struggle with. In fact, when it does overtake me, it can be draining, overpowering, and unshakable. However, I have found in recent years that I have shed my habit of worrying – but not for the better.

Instead I have replaced it with avoidance. I see myself avoiding issues and struggles in my life that would otherwise provide me with great stress. The problem lies with the fact that by avoiding them, although I relieve myself of worry and stress, the solution is only temporary.

This has never been more apparent than recently in my life. An event occurred that required me to rearrange the path I was going on. But instead of approaching the problem and figuring out how to come to a solution at the time in which it occurred, four months have pass. Today, the source of my worry has not gone away but rather grown larger and become more dangerous. What solution do I have now but to worry?

Why is it that I only find myself in these drastic extremes? I either allow the issue to consume me or assume it does not exist. How does one find the right balance between the two? How can I go about achieving this? In the meantime, I have the worry dolls to bring me comfort.

Christmas in the City

IMG_0441[1]One of my favorite things about NYC is how magical it becomes during the holiday season in December. One of the most popular spots to see? Rockefeller Center. Here are a few pics I took the other day.

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I will like to note that I actually do not know the family in this photograph. I just wanted a picture of the angels and did not feel like waiting for in the long line of people who all wanted to take a picture at this spot. So snap away I did.
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Happy Holidays 2015 Everyone!