Friday, June 24, 2016

2 Jul 2015: A stroll about Columbia University

2 Jul 2015: Thanks to the long daytime in summer, I continued to explore more of New York and visited the Columbia University which was a subway station away from the hostel that I had stayed.

I learnt that visitors to the Columbia University can download the self-guided walking tour to explore the campus. A beautiful and stately looking campus. There were a number of sculptures placed at various parts of the campus. I felt thankful to have an opportunity to visit this beautifully landscaped university campus.

Columbia University
116th and Broadway
New York
NY 10027

2 Jul 2015: Dinner at Fluffy's Cafe

2 Jul 2015:

After a visit to The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), I looked around for places for dinner. One of the best thing about travelling during summer is that the days are relatively longer and I could take the opportunity to explore for longer duration each day.

I ordered a red and white quinoa. A tasty dinner! A simple meal to be thankful for.

Fluffy's Cafe
370 West 5th St
Corner 9th Ave

Thursday, June 23, 2016

2 July 2015: The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

2 Jul 2015:

The Museum of Modern Art offers its visitors a treat to one of the finest collections of late 19th and 20th century art in the world.

During my visit on 2 July 2015, I had the great privilege to see a collection of Andy Warhol's iconic images, get a closed-up view of Van Gogh's The Starry Night, June 1889 and sculptures by Henry Moore. I had started my visit with the fifth floor for in my humble opinion, some of the most noteworthy artworks in MoMA's collection are located at the fifth floor's Paintings and Sculptures galleries.

The visit reminded me of the art history classes that I had taken when I was a teenager. When I was a teenager, I did not quite fully appreciate the value of the art history classes. When I became an adult, I became appreciative of the art history classes. These were the classes that gave me the exposure to artworks by the great artists even though I had yet to see those artworks face-to-face. Having the opportunity to see face-to-face some of the artworks that I had studied when I was a teenager was like a home-coming experience for me. I had learnt about the artworks and finally they were right before my eyes.

I could go back to the Museum of Modern Art countless times to enjoy this home-coming experience. I wished I had more time to spend at MoMA. This is the place to visit for some of the best works of contemporary art.

Learning point: There are classes that we had attended in the past which we did not know why. Yet let us have the trust that a few of these classes will prove themselves to be the best investments that we could make using our time. I know one of such classes were the art history classes.

Special thanks to Mr Ellis, my art teacher in Secondary School for giving me a foundation in art history and in fine arts.


The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
11 W 53rd St between Fifth and Sixth aves
Subway: B, D, F, V to 47-50th St

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2 July 2015: Carnegie Hall and a missed chance

2 Jul 2015:

I have heard about it. The Carnegie Hall is one of the world's great concert venues. Carnegie Hall was built by magnate, Andrew Carnegie, in 1891.  I was told that Carnegie Hall has superb acoustics.

I could have been more thorough when planning my trip in New York City. I was planning to take one of the guided tours of Carnegie Hall when I was in New York City. While I had visited the Carnegie Hall to look at its lobby area, I had missed the opportunity to take one of the guided tours by just two days. The guided tours are conducted from late September to June, and the last guided tour for June 2015 was on 30 June 2015.

At the very least, I had stepped into the main lobby of Carnegie Hall. I did not attend any concert at Carnegie Hall as yet. I was in need of a good night rest on 2 July 2015 so I decided to give up the option of attending a concert at the Carnegie Hall.

By the way, in New York City, there is a district that is called Carnegie Hill. However, the Carnegie Hall is not located there. Many thanks to one of the staff members from the United Nations for alerting me to this piece of information. It had helped to ask.

Learning point: This is a landmark that will be enjoyed in perpetuity. In the meantime, a reminder for myself to plan better in the future.

Carnegie Hall
154 W 57th St at Seventh Ave
Subway: N, Q, R, W to 57th St

Tours: Late September to June

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

2 Jul 2015: A Visit to United Nations Headquarters

2 Jul 2015:

While I was in New York, I took some time to visit the United Nations Headquarters. When visiting the United Nations Headquarters, it is essential to bring along one's identification documents. Guided tours are only offered on weekdays. By the time when I had reached the United Nations Visitor Centre past 1 p.m., all the guided tours were no longer available for reservation. The guided tours will take visitors to experience some of the non-public spaces of the United Nations Headquarters.

Knotted Gun sculpture, Non-Violence.

There were spaces for exhibitions at the United Nations Visitor Centre. Before I entered the indoor spaces of the United Nations Headquarters, I was greeted by the Knotted Gun sculpture, Non-Violence by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reutersward at the outdoor Plaza of the UN Visitors Entrance on 46th Street and 1st Avenue. This was made by the sculptor after his friend, the singer and peace activist John Lennon was shot dead in 1980.

One interesting thing about the United Nations Headquarters is that the United Nation issues its own stamps! Visitors can also create their own unique United Nations stamps with their photos taken at the Personalized Stamp Shop. At the UN Gift Centre, visitors can find many miniature United Nations flags as well as those of all Member states. This is perhaps a wonderful place for philatelists?

Admittedly, my legs were aching by the time I was at the United Nations Headquarters so I was spending more of the time finding seats to rest my feet. While resting, I took time to admire the works of art on display at the exhibitions.

My learning point is that anyone who wants to visit the United Nations Headquarters will find it more meaningful to join the guided tour, and to visit as early in the morning as possible to get a place in the guided tour. Admission to the United Nations Visitor Centre is free.

United Nations Visitor Centre
801 First Avenue (Corner of 45th Street)
New York

Monday, June 20, 2016

2 Jul 2015: Washington Square Park and more

2 Jul 2015:


After enjoying cups of coffee at Abraco, my next stop was the United Nations. On the way there, I thought of taking photographs of the nearby university campus of NYU (New York University) as well as visit Washington Square Park. The park is a landmark for cultural activity. Two prominent features at the park are the Washington Square Arch and the large fountain.

Washington Square Park.

Washington Square Park.

On my way to United Nations, it was essential to stop by the Grand Central Station if I were to use the public transport. The station looked very different during the day.

Grand Central Station.

On my way, I ordered a 99 cents fresh pizza for myself. I felt I could make better pizzas yet at 99 cents for a slice of pizza, I felt thankful that the meal was easily affordable.

A glimpse of New York City before I visit the United Nations.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

2 Jul 2015: abraço

2 Jul 2015 (Thu):

While visiting New York, I have made a point to visit the cafe Abraço which was on the list of Alon's Favourite Cafes in New York City. Alon Halevy is the author of the book The Infinite Emotions of Coffee.

It took me a while to find my way there. When I was there, I felt proud of myself that I have made my way there all by myself with the help of maps and the helpful directions of streets signs and from strangers.

I ordered a cup of cafe latte. The coffee tasted good! The cafe latte went well with the olive oil cake which was actually too sweet for me if I ate the cake on its own.

I had wanted to order the almond milk latte. However, there was no almond milk available that day.

This is a cosy cafe for a tasty cup of coffee. I had enjoyed the coffee there that I ordered myself a cup of espresso after the earlier treat to cafe latte and a cake. The beans for that particular day were made up of two-third of Brazilian beans from a specific farm. This I learnt from the barista.

Do not expect to have hotel quality service at this cafe yet this is a place for good cafe and standing up to have conversations with friends and the barista on duty.

86 East 7th St Manhattan
New York

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Read: Wubbolding's Reality Therapy

Title: Reality Therapy (Theories of Psychotherapy Series)
Author: Robert E. Wubbolding
Publisher: American Psychological Association

This link has a well-written overview of this book that I have read:

This book explores the history, theory, research and practice of reality therapy. A useful book to read.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

1 Jul 2015: A night at Made in Mexico and more

1 Jul 2015:

That evening, I rushed back to the hostel so that I could attend one of the hostel's activities to visit a Mexican and Latin pub. Visiting pub has not been a norm for myself and it was a stepping out of my comfort zone.

The hosts from the hostel brought the group of us who had signed up for the pub activity to this pub called "Made in Mexico".

I was more of an observer and less of a participant at the pub. I listened to the music. Food was good. I ordered a Morelia fries.

Made in Mexico
3950 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10034


After visiting "Made in Mexico", our hosts brought us to yet another pub.

By that time, I was too exhausted to even enjoy the music. Interesting, I heard people playing with firecrackers outside this other pub. Most of the people stayed on. I left a little earlier with a few other friends who stayed at the hostel and it was already past 2 a.m. Out of my comfort zone, it was, to be up so late and in a pub,

A night of Mexican and Latin music indeed.

Monday, June 13, 2016

1 Jul 2015: Caffe Palermo

1 Jul 2015:

While I was walking about Little Italy in New York City, I came across Caffe Palermo. I was told that this cafe is famous in the world for its cannoli and other Italian specialties.

I ordered a ricotta cheese cannoli. It tasted fresh and delicious. A lovely treat for the evening. The cannoli was USD$4 before tips.

Caffe Palermo
148 Mulberry Street
New York, NY10013

Sunday, June 12, 2016

1 July 2015: Gimme Coffee

1 Jul 2015:

While I was visiting New York in July 2015, I decided to check out a few of the cafes. I visited an outlet of Gimme Coffee at the Manhattan area.

Service was great! I ordered a cup of cortado. A cup of cortado is essentially an espresso with a small amount of warm milk. The ration of coffee to steamed milk is between 1:1 to 1:2.

After a lovely cup of cortado, I could not resist ordering a cup of espresso. This is one of the cafes that I will recommend for coffee in New York.

At this cafe, I met a lady who gave me several recommendations of other cafes that I could visit in New York City. I felt thankful for the recommendations given.

Gimme Coffee
Manhattan, Mott Street
228 Mott St
New York

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Pay Forward: A Better World, One Meal at a Time

Dear friends, please join me and a few of my friends to support our campaign to Pay Forward for a meal. Together, we can build a Better World, One Meal at a Time.

More details of the campaign can be found here: Pay Forward: A Better World, One Meal at a Time.

Friday, June 10, 2016

1 July 2015: Metropolitan Museum of Art

1 Jul 2015:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the foremost art museums in America. Affectionately known as the "Met", its collections spans across cultures of America, Europe, Africa, the Far East, and the classical and Egyptian worlds.

I had spent almost an entire day there. There is a cafeteria at the basement of the museum that offered meals that could be below USD$20. I would rather spend money on more visits to the museums so I decided that getting a decent enough meal would do.

One of my favourite galleries was the special exhibition titled Van Gogh: Irises and Roses. This exhibition showcased four of the works by Vincent Van Gogh. The exhibition brought together the series of four paintings of spring flowers. I felt touched to see all the four paintings displayed side by side each other, in the order that they were painted by Van Gogh. It was insightful to see the relationships between these four artworks.

There is an online lecture that was held in conjunction with Van Gogh: Irises and Roses. Here is the link:

Also in this museum are other works by Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir and many more. As for the guided tours, I think visitors who are clear with what are the specific paintings that they would like to see could consider giving the guided tours a miss out of pure interest of time. I however have found the audio guide to be very handy even though I did not have the time to run through every single item in its database.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave at E 82nd St 
Subway: #4, #5, #6 to 86th St

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

30 Jun 2015: Jerry's Grand Tour

30 Jun 2015: I had the great pleasure and privilege to attend the Jerry's Grand Tour organized by HI New York City. For a reasonable fee of $10 per person, this tour takes its guests to some of the key highlights of New York City. It was also during this tour that I have made new friends.

One of the first things that we did before the start of the tour was to get a Metro card! I remembered that we took the subway and travelled to many places. Jerry, our tour guide, brought us to Garden of Eden where we could get take-away lunches at pretty affordable prices. A place for delicious food at affordable prices.

The tour took us to Brooklyn area. We visited the promenade of Brooklyn Heights and were treated to good views. Jerry shared with us about the geography of the New York City. Eventually, we made our way to the Brooklyn Bridge Park before we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn area.

Brooklyn Heights.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge

Soon enough, we were at the Manhattan side. We caught glimpses of the City Hall, and visited the City Hall Park. We also caught glimpses of the Municipal Building. Eventually, the tour brought us to the World Trade Centre. Wearing a comfortable pair of walking shoes will be essential for this tour.

New York City Hall.
World Trade Centre.

Our tour stopped by 225 Liberty Street where we had a short tea-break. Our next few stops brought us to Wall Street where we caught glimpses of the exterior of the New York Stock Exchange. We were on our way for a ferry ride to Staten Island that will allow us to change a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. I had enjoyed the ferry ride very much.

New York Stock Exchange

Statue of Liberty

For the evening, we visited Chinatown and was at the area known as Little Italy. Eventually, we visited a place known as Haveli at 100 Second Avenue for a dinner of Indian food. For a five course meal, each of us paid US$12. This is a pretty value-for-money dinner in a restaurant setting.

We had dinner at Haveli.

After dinner, there were more to explore. We visited the Grand Central Station and experienced the grandeur of this building. We also caught a glimpse of the Chrysler Building and visited Times Square. There was a special treat during the evening's section of the tour and this shall be a secret kept till one attends the Jerry's Grand Tour to learn it for themselves. By the time the tour had ended at Times Square, it was past midnight.

Grand Central Station.

Chrysler Building

Many thanks to Jerry for an extremely informative and delightful Jerry's Grand Tour! This tour is worth recommending for anyone who likes to walk and explore New York with a group of new friends. Be prepared to walk for more than 12 hours!

Jerry's Grand Tour
Hostelling International New York

891 Amsterdam Avenue
New York
NY 10025-4403