Color Me Mine (or yours!)

So I popped on Facebook one night and saw that the pottery studio, Color Me Mine, had moved to a close location near my workplace. I decided to check it out with my friend. I had been to the previous location twice, once with one of my best friends and another with my co-workers. It’s a relaxing, almost therapeutic place where you can select a piece of ceramic and paint it yourself. They then glaze it and you take it home after a week!

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Well I chose to paint something that I felt would be useful – a large flower pot – and thought of a very special person in my life as inspiration – mom. But SHHH, don’t tell her. It’s going to be part of a gift for her.  🙂

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FAQ on CNY traditions

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Remember last year’s post on my Chinese New Year celebrations? Reading back on the article this week, I actually thought last year was cold, but this year was a killer. One day, it was 5 degrees with a negative feel!  But it was well worth it.

For the first time since I joined my husband’s lion dance group, I went to almost every lion dance practice and march that he attended. It was really powerful looking at this form of art from a more concentrated lens and understanding the meaning behind every move, every drum beat, and every dance form. I wanted to know the reasoning behind everything – especially how the lion dancers and drummers coordinate. Thinking back 10 years ago, it was just noise for me as it is for most people still, but the beat of the drum has actually become music for me while the lion dance and kung-fu aspects have become an appreciated study. While taking photos and helping out through the parades, I observed, questioned, and enjoyed every moment I could. It was actually nice to hear people questioning me because it motivated me to find out the answers myself and be able to explain them better.  Well, here’s a few of the simple answers for you!

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Post-Blizzard in Chinatown, NYC

A picture can tell a thousand words… So here’s a bunch 🙂 Since the storm photos I took before were shot in Chinatown, here’s what the area looked like after the storm.  

(Columbus Park – House Sparrows) 

(Bayard Street) 

(Bayard Street)

(Mosco Street) 

(Mott Street) 

(Bayard Street) 

Also figured it would be fun to walk across the Manhattan Bridge.  We only made it a quarter of the way, but the view was worth the hike in the deep, unplowed snow from the start!

(East Broadway)

(Graffiti next to the train tracks)

(Monroe Street)

(East Broadway)

Lastly, this was one of my favorite shots. A man was driving a sports car and got completely stuck in the unplowed snow on Mott Street.  Tons of people started standing around to watch as he gassed really hard and only resulted in flying snow. The rear of the car started shifting left and right while he helplessly kept trying.  After a few minutes, different people walked over and started pushing the back of his car, directing the driver and working with each other. After about 10 minutes of constant shifting and pushing, he was finally able to drive away.  I loved the teamwork between complete strangers!  You go, New Yorkers 🙂

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Art with beauty, purpose, and… CANS

I’ve been thinking a lot about ART.  The meaning, the use, the purpose, the reality, the places it takes you.  Art isn’t as simply defined as it may have been centuries ago. As a matter of fact, I found this definition from Pilar Diaz regarding art.  “Any attempt to define art is an attempt to destroy it. No laws can define it. No medium can contain it. Not old idea or imitation survives. Art creates its own laws, ones of revolution and change. Art bears witness time and time again to the rebirth of itself. Art translates the language of the human experience because ART IS.”

What’s your definition of art??

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Meanwhile, I really enjoyed a unique art exhibition using cans at Brookfield. As you might already know, Brookfield in Tribeca offers weekly / monthly features all around. You can read about other things I’ve been to there, such as their food court Hudson Eats and Le District. Last week, the giant art exhibition took place, featuring different cansculptures®  made by architects, engineers, constructors, and students from a charity called Canstruction. The structures are made entirely with cans!  Winners get chosen internationally and displayed. At this event, there were 29 cansculptures – too many favorites for me to pick.  At the end of the event, the variety of food cans are donated to local hunger organizations. Art with a purpose. love! 

Here were a few of my favorites from the weekend event:

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Kids’ Perspectives Up High

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If you’re thinking that these kids’ views are quite high, you’re right. As part of our social studies integrated curriculum on New York City parks, I took my class to the High Line to study how this park was different from others and why it’s so important to New York City. Given a historical background on the High Line before it became a park, they were pretty excited to see that their teacher wasn’t just making up some random story that a park was built on an old railroad track. 😛  With their high level of interest and engagement towards the High Line, I felt it would be fun to share what they noticed in case you haven’t been to this hugely tourist attraction yet.

The High Line was actually built to help overcrowdedness and traffic while carrying goods to and from Manhattan’s largest district. Later on, since trains weren’t really needed anymore, the last one ran in 1980, and demolition was lobbied by many. On the other side of the debate, many residents advocated to preserve it and use it as a public open space. They won, and the first section of the park became open to the public in 2009 and was completed just last year.  (I didn’t realize that 6 years has flown by already since I first went!!)

So what did the kids notice?  ALL and MORE of THIS.  I’ve captioned the photos with as many quotes from them as I can remember! Some just put a smile on my face… 

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Featured Spotlight: Christina Seid

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Happy National Ice Cream Day! While I am away in the bustling city of Hong Kong right now, it doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten to celebrate this awesome day that gives all an excuse to eat ice cream till there’s no tomorrow! 🙂 In celebration of this day, I would love to introduce to you the owner of one of the top ice cream stores in New York City. Meet Christina Seid from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. She has a huge heart for the community and runs a blog that confirms her passion for giving back and for her business. Recently, she awarded three students from the Lower East Side prep high school with scholarships for contributing to the Lower East Side and Chinatown. “I have never been so moved by a graduation!” she explained.  While chatting over some condensed milk on toast and sipping tea at a local restaurant, Christina shared her story with me again about her store! Enjoy this read of a glimpse from our conversation!

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Seaport’s Smorgasburg & More

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If you’re visiting New York, you might be told to “check out Smorgasburg” on the weekends. It was really cool the first time I went because you have many of the hottest vendors all in one place (but hang onto your wallets because you will want to try a little here and there!). It’s definitely an experience where you should bring friends or family along to try everything.  I mean everything. 🙂

Before, you could only find Smorgasburg in Williamsburg and the Brooklyn Bridge pier, but two new locations opened up last weekend: Coney Island in Brooklyn, and Seaport, Manhattan.  Plus, both of them are opened daily. I had a chance to pop by the opening weekend with some good friends and shot some pictures along the way. Seaport has completely transformed since it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy but its historic roots haven’t changed and is definitely worth visiting this summer! Here are a couple of highlights:  

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One World Trade Center

Thanks to special tickets from my sister-in-law, during this Memorial Day weekend, we went up to the pre-public opening of the new One World Trade Center. It was definitely an emotional step towards the site at first. It was exciting as the structure gives new life and an incredible view, but nerve-racking as it brought up some memories of the past.

12 years later since 9/11… 10,000 workers… 104 floors… 1,776 feet… One World was spectacular. I don’t know if it’s because of my love for a city that I’m beginning to know like the back of my hand or if it was the anticipation from the elevator up to the presentation room before the observatory. It was surprise after surprise, and at one point I think a tear may have shed from the beauty of the sight.  I would explain more, but it would seriously take away the element of surprise that it gave when I was there! For those who think they may never go and really want to see, shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to send you a video of the experience! 

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Frank Sinatra said it right –

If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York, New York.

One of the most beautiful places to me is the skyline view of Manhattan. No matter what, I never get tired of it. There’s just something magical about this city – the people, the talent, the diversity, the adrenaline rush. If you can make it through this city, you can definitely make it anywhere. Though there are some seemingly impossible people on days you just can’t tolerate, you learn to embrace the uniqueness of the hustle and bustle city that once was just a landscape of green back in the 1600s. I wouldn’t trade this place for the world.

Thanks to simple technology today, I can take panoramic view photos right on my phone and share them with you. Happy mid-week, New York! 🙂

xoxo

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A New French Food Hall in NYC

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There’s a new French culinary destination in town (or in our case, city)! Le District made its debut less than 3 weeks ago in the luxuriously renovated Brookfield Place. You might remember this place from when I wrote about its interior food court in my blog post “Foodies Love Hudson Eats!” Well, renovations are finished and it houses many new shops and stores, an indoor courtyard with palm trees, a temporary music installment, and the new Parisian food court right below Hudson Eats.

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