1. new york city + me

    Is it actually possible to not fall in love with New York City? The people, the sites, the food, the culture, the vibe - it’s a lot to absorb! That being said, if you’re anything like me, multiple visits to the big apple are an absolute must! It’s impossible to see everything in one trip, and there’s always something new and interesting to explore, so, this December, I went back. Solo!

    Now that I’m back home, I thought I’d put this blog together to capture some of the mentionable moments from the trip. And of course, to post a bunch of photos!

    Enjoy!

     

  2. day one / first thing’s first

    I pretty much had my whole itinerary set before arriving in New York - sites, shopping, shows, etc. But before I could start exploring, my first item of business, (aside from checking in at the hotel), was to walk over to B&H and pick-up my 50mm lens.

    B&H was conveniently located a few blocks south of my hotel. I’ve never actually been in the store before, but I’ve ordered things from them online simply because, believe it or not, it’s cheaper to order from them and have it shipped here vs buying it locally. Anyways, I heard that the store was big, but damn was it BIG!

    I was on a serious mission to just pick up my lens and get out, but the size of the store distracted me from the task at hand. Just finding the photography/lens department was a bit of a walk within the building. There was good signage to help direct customers, but when you’re used to stores like Henry’s where lenses are immediately in your face, this was an unexpected adventure. I was politely asked if I needed any help while browsing at gorilla pods, and was then sent to one of the ordering counters for my lens.

    Now, if you remember how the ordering system at Consumers Distributing worked back in the day, this place kind of reminded me of that. I spoke to one of the sales guys behind the counter and told him what I was looking for. He looked into their computer system for pricing, advised me of warranty options, and recommended different price point filters. Once we’d worked on what I wanted, he put in a request for the products to be pulled from the back room. Within minutes another worker had arrived with a bin containing both the lens and the filter. After a quick inspection I was ready to cash out. The gentleman behind the counter printed out an order form for me, and then instructed me to go back downstairs to one of the registers. He said that my items would be waiting for me down there. After cashing out, I was re-directed to the pick-up area where staff had bagged and hung my merchandise on a numbered hook behind a counter that matched up with my receipt. Talk about an assembly line, but I guess it helps them to manage customer traffic, ensuring that only purchased items are leaving the store.

    With my new lens in hand, I walked across the street to T-Mobile so I could get my US SIM card setup. Then I was back to the hotel to gear up, and get exploring!

     

  3. directions

    With my camera equipment packed up, I flagged down a cab and asked to be dropped off at the Dakota. My driver didn’t know what I was talking about so I specified ‘Central Park West & 72nd St’ from memory. Yes, from memory. I then doubted myself and decided to Google the address just in case, but, I had it right!!!! I guess all of the trips to NY instilled certain addresses in me.

    Below is the first photo I took with my new 50mm lens, on the way to the Dakota. I love the bokeh!

     
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  5. the dakota

    I guess you could say that it’s become a bit of a tradition for me to drop by the Dakota before entering Central Park. Nothing has ever changed about it - there’s always security around, signage is front and center, and fans are always dropping by to take their photos at the historic site. Yet something about it always makes me feel like a trip to New York wouldn’t be right without passing by. Not only that, but it has this unique way of making me feel extra appreciative for two things - music and life.

    I was actually still in NY when John Lennon’s 32nd death anniversary passed (December 8th, 2012), and I contemplated re-visiting the Dakota that night. Some may think it to be eerie to re-visit the place at which he was shot (AND on his death anniversary), but I thought it’d be more like an homage. In any event, I didn’t end up in returning to the Dakota on the night of December 8th - which is probably the one and only regret I have from this trip.

     
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  7. strawberry fields/imagine memorial mosaic

    After taking some photos at the Dakota, I crossed the street and headed towards the Central Park entrance leading to the imagine memorial mosaic in Strawberry Fields. It’s always interesting to see how the mosaic has been decorated by fans, and I arrived just in time to see one superfan strategically place all of his memorabilia on the ground.

    I’ll always remember the first time I visited this mosaic, and the feeling it gave me in my heart.

     
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  9. wandering around central park

    After spending some time at the imagine mosaic, I then decided to make my way over to the Bethesda fountain and terrace. I was actually quite curious to see what would be going on there. Every time I’ve been to NY, something different seems to be happening.

    The first time I visited, we saw a group of breakdancers that did a pretty decent job in gathering a large crowd together to show off their stuff. At the time, one of our high school classmates was actually in a long distance relationship with one of the dancers, so we kind of knew we were going to run into them at the park.

    The second time I was in New York, a newly married couple posed underneath the terrace as their photographer got (what I can only assume to be) some beautiful photos of the bride and groom.

    The third time I was in New York, we kind of just hung out near the fountain, watching some guys make ginormous bubbles. Yes, bubbles.

    This time around, the Bethesda area was pretty quiet (as far as tourists are concerned), but there was some enchanting music coming from underneath the terrace. A quartet of musicians bellowed Christmas carols that echoed beautifully, and so I decided to take a moment to just take in the moment.

     
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