Feeling Hot? Jump into a Dumpster Pool on Park Avenue

That’s right, I said “Dumpster Pool.” On Saturday morning, I got up early, met some friends and went to the Summer Streets Festival. This is the third annual Summer Streets Festival, run by the Department of Transportation, where they shut down Park Avenue from downtown all the way up to Central Park for a few glorious hours.

I started heading uptown from around 23rd street, where all the Whole Foods free food was laid out for you to try! They had all sorts of delicious treats, like my favorite, gelato.

Next stop, a free class from Crunch. Anyone could choose various classes from exercise to dance classes, provided by various vendors throughout the city.

The paths were marked off, pedestrians on the right, bikers on the left. At the fest, you could choose to rent bicycles or rollerblades for free. You can even have your bike or blades fixed for for you.

Many people chose to ride with their pets!

Some put them in baby carriers and rode along, happily.

It was pretty great to be able to walk leisurely in the middle of Park Ave., where taxis are usually roaring past you quickly.

I had fun with my camera throughout the fest.

The Dumpster Pools were the highlight of the festival.  Admittedly, when I heard “sanitized dumpster pools,” I wondered how clean they really were.  But, they are very clean. In fact, the dumpsters were created from recycled steel from the World Trade Center for this specific use. The dumpster pools were filtered and chlorinated and had a nice, clean plastic lining. Brilliantly, David Belt created these dumpsters after being inspired by a different sort of dumpster pool in Georgia, which I assume wasn’t nearly as nice as these!

The water may have been a little cool to the touch, but on a hot summer day, after walking around for hours, there’s nothing better than taking a dip in the middle of Park Avenue…and having a life guard yell at you about splashing!

You have one more chance to do this, before this great event is over. This year, Summer Streets ran for three consecutive Saturdays. The last Saturday is this weekend, August 21st, from 7am until 1pm. Click here for more information on the NYC DOT Summer Street Festival!

Sunbathing in the City

When there’s only a bit of grass in your city, you sunbathe on your fire escape. I thought this was a great photo of typical New York City summer scene. First, it was the girl who was laying out on a simple towel, but later, a guy came by and called up to her. The girl threw down the key to the guy and a few minutes later, the man appeared in her window, took of his shirt and sat down with her. It was definitely a sweet sight and a very New York moment.

The Pretty Part of the Garden State

Just an hour and a half away from NYC, you can see the beautiful parts of New Jersey. Gorgeous roads, mountain, trees, trails, such a difference from all the nearby Jersey cities. If only all of New Jersey looked this way!

After a funeral and memorial service in Somerville (another cute town), we went back to Long Valley to hang out with family.

It was fun to take photos of the pups, so here’s a neat shot of “Peanut,” the cutest little weiner dog there is! Her real name is Rita, but she is tiny and looks like a little peanut. Apparently, she’s a naughty puppy that gets into trouble all the time, but I just can’t believe it!

Above, she is enjoying the day and sniffing the flowers.

Awesome Skating

I was walking home from an awesome workshop at Adorama, when I saw some skaters in Union Square. I stopped and took some photos. I set my camera to do continuous shots and set it to be on shutter speed and captured some neat shots of Gabriel trying out a fakey 360 kick flip. It’s fun to make friends while photographing and he was amazing. He would jump high in the air and would try to conquer this move in the crazy heat, even after falling and hurting himself.

Breakfast: A medley of fruit.

Lunch: Vegetable Burrito, with Beans, Rice and Veggies.

Dinner: Cous Cous, Beef and Green Peppers.

Horror Housing in Jersey City

I had planned on going to a class with Green Smoothie Girl, but it was canceled due to inclement weather, so I went apartment hunting with a friend instead. I should have listened to my gut many times throughout the night, but I was also trying to be considerate of my friend.

To start, a worker from a management company was supposed to meet us at 4PM. When we called him, he told us that he would be two hours late. I was weary at this point, but still went along on this adventure. We decided to go eat and take our time getting to Journal Square in Jersey City. When we got there at 6PM, we contacted him and he said he would pick us up in an hour. At this point, I was very annoyed, but still was going along with this. Another girl, who lived in this area and recommended him, decided to take us to her apartment while we waited. Her apartment was really great, it was about a two block walk from the PATH train and we were hoping that the cost and apartment type would be similar. She was renting it for $700 a month–though it was a studio apartment, it had a hallway entrance into the apartment and a hallway to the bathroom, so it felt much larger than a studio.

After three hours of waiting, we called the manager again and he said that he would be there in 20 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. At this point, we had waited for 3 hours and we were going to have to wait another 20 minutes. Needless to say, I finally had had enough and called him myself. He hung up on me several times, told me he couldn’t pick us up because his car was stolen and he was in a cab, but finally arrived after four hours of waiting for him.

I am not sure why I got in the van, but I guess at this point, it was more the culmination of waiting for so long and the hope that my friend would get a similar apartment for a similar price. What ensued was nothing like I imagined. He pulled up in a large red construction van filled with about 6 guys and tons of construction equipment. After the girl who dealt with him assured us that he was fine, we squeezed into the front seat of the van and were on our way.

After seeing that we were driving further and further away from the train station, I spoke up and said, “Where are you taking us? You’re going far from the train station.” I also said a few other things that are not appropriate to write. He told me that he was just taking us to see a great apartment. I should mention that while he drove, he dropped off the various workers at different points along the road to take care of their errands.

After I spoke, he turned the wheel and I saw that we were in a completely different neighborhood. It was not a place that I could imagine my friend walking home to after she got off the train at 11PM. He parked and outside the van was a prostitute. I just laughed. I mean, what was this? I knew that this story would just make a good blog post now, so I just wanted to see the apartment because it was obvious that it would be bad. If only I had the gall to photograph all I saw in those few moments, but all I can give you are these few photos I have.

We entered through a broken down door through a hallway filled with garbage, beer and large hard liquor bottles. To the right was the door where my friend, Monika, could possibly live. An eviction notice was posted on the door and that was just one of the 1000 red flags that occurred to me in a matter of seconds. After he unlocked 2 deadbolts and a padlock, we walked into the 250 square foot studio. The smell was like a punch to the face. The filth was not surprising, but the bugs made me suddenly itchy and want to get the heck out. The best part was that a man, clearly high on something followed us into this very small space and mumbled something, then walked out.

I asked him if he would allow his sister to live here and he laughed and then said that he would, but he understood that I was “too educated” to live in a place like this. Nonetheless, the price was $725 and it included everything. What I wanted to know was if his price included the bugs!

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and a Banana. I apologize, there is no photo of oatmeal this morning! I was rushing this morning and I had the choice of eating a full breakfast or only half and having a photograph of it. I chose the former.

Lunch: Panang Curry with Brown Rice.

Dinner: Chicken Terriyaki Salad. Remember when I said we took our time and ate? This is what I had. Delicious!

Manhattanhenge

As you all know, I have a passion for photography. I found out about Manhattenhenge from my friend, Joanna, who is another lawyer into photography. This is one day of the year where the sun perfectly lines up with the street and you can get some really interesting photos. So, you can see all the crazy photographers running into the middle of the street when the light changes to take photos! You only have a matter of seconds to get your shot, so everyone is aggressively taking photos.

There’s really a lot of ways to take interesting photos of the day. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to take HDR photographs. This time, I chose not to do that, but my husband did. He took 7 photographs on a tripod and we post processed them by combining them in Photomatix Pro. The result is beautiful. I begrudgingly will admit that he definitely took the better photos today.

I decided to use my 18-200 lens and zoom in on the interesting Times Square stuff on 42nd Street, while the sun hit the street. I had my ISO set at 1000 and my Fstop was at 22. I had my camera on manual focus and my shutter speed was 1/80.

Breakfast: Cornflakes and Skim Milk.

Lunch: Ham and Cheese on Multigrain Flatbread. While I ate, I researched some trip ideas in my Lonely Planet guide.

Dinner: Panang Curry with Sticky Rice. I obviously did not eat that entire container. It lasted me a while.

The 80’s Attack with Awesome 80’s Prom!

I had a BLAST tonight at the Awesome 80’s Prom with my friend, Donnell. The fun started as we approached Webster Hall, with the actors already in character outside.

We dressed up in our 80’s clothing and headed out to party it up with the students of the Class of 1989! I wore my skinny jeans and David Bowie Shirt with star plastic earrings as a tribute to Gem and Donnell wore a Blondie shirt with Zebra skirt.

We danced and sang 80’s songs and interacted with the class actors. I got my picture taken with “MC Hammer.”

Donnell went up to the nerd homecoming nominee and chatted him up a bit. This is how their conversation went:

“Hey, it’s guys like you that I love. Wanna know why?”

“Why?”

“Because you do things like grow up and start Microsoft.”

He looked dumbfounded in his retainer and said, “What’s Mi-crow-soft?”

Even Screech —errr..I mean Dustin Diamond from Saved by the Bell was there! I feel him with the Celebrity Fit Club and could swap stories with him! And for all of you who don’t think he’s awesome, come here so I can punch you. So, yes, if you ask me…the Awesome 80’s Prom really is awesome!

Breakfast: Cheese Crepes with Apples

Lunch: Chicken and Whole Wheat Pasta with Alfredo Sauce.

Dinner: Personal Pizza!

Concert Night

Tonight, after I worked out, I went to see Joe Firstman at the Rockwood Music Hall. For those of you who haven’t heard of him, you should check him out. He’s incredible and you will love his music. I’m going to write a more in-depth post about him this weekend, but for now, I’ll just post a photo of him. I will tell you that it was incredible and had extra suprises, but I will share those soon!

Breakfast: Apple Pancakes with Walnuts and Bacon.

Lunch: Whole Wheat Noodles with Beef. Of course, hot peppers were added.

Dinner: Thai Ginger Meatballs with Rice Noodles and Bok Choy

Happy 4th of July!

There was a ton of much needed R & R this weekend. My hubby actually woke up around 2:30PM. By the time he woke up, I was up for 3.5 hours. I was already finished with laundry and dishes, read for an hour and researched some travel ideas.

We went to our friend’s apartment in Tribeca to watch Fireworks right on the Hudson River. My hubby and I worked together on these shots. To get a good shot, we set our ISO to its lowest normal level (in the case of our D3s, 200), set focus manually at infinity, and set exposure to around f/9 or f/11 with about a 4 second shutter speed (we played with these somewhat throughout the night). For a shutter speed this low you need to set your camera on a tripod, and it’s best to use a remote shutter release and mirror lockup mode if you have that available.

It was warm and breezy on the roof and the view was spectacular. During the show, random people would burst into songs like “God Bless America,” and “America the Beautiful,” and the rest of the crowd would join in. I loved every minute of tonight. It was one of those wonderful New York City moments. We spent the rest of the night in our friend’s apartment, listening to great music and enjoying the company.

Breakfast: This morning, I woke up and made some tea. Because I wanted to get some stuff done, I waited to eat until Ray woke up and had lunch with me. I kept myself occupied with errands and reading.

Lunch: Lite Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli.

Dinner: Curried Shrimp with Veggies and Whole Wheat Noodles.

Long Weekend Ahead

I saw this lady with a bird on her shoulder in the subway. At first, she was not happy with me taking photos and turned away, but later, she came over by me and asked me if I wanted to hold the bird. I saw my train coming, so I declined her offer. She kept speaking to me as I told her that my train was here and even as I walked onto it. I felt a little bad that I had to hop on and couldn’t finish my conversation, but I needed to meet my hubby and plan out some fun stuff for the weekend.

Breakfast: Strawberry Almond Rhubarb Loaf

Lunch: Italian Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Lemon Asparagus Risotto.

Dinner: Chicken with Zuchini, Eggplant, String Beans and Cabbage.

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