Sunday, April 29, 2012

Charly García's Concert in NYC

Hey everyone! This has been a long week, but I did have some time for fun. Charly García, an Argentinian singer/musician, was playing at the Best Buy theater in Times Square and I went to see it. I hadn't heard much from him before, even though he's a big figure in his country and known in many others, but I must say I had a blast!

"Charly García (born Carlos Alberto García Moreno on October 23, 1951) is a singer-songwriter, pianist and keyboardist from Argentina with a long career in rock music, forming successful groups such as Sui Generis and Serú Girán, cult status groups like La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros, and as a solo musician." Read the whole entry here: link.
Well, first of all I must say it was like an express trip to Buenos Aires, the Argentinian capital. It really felt like that, since almost the whole place was taken over by people from there. I could tell because of their accent in Spanish, which, by the way, I like quite a lot! You know how much I love this kind of cross cultural experiences, and of course, it had to be in NYC!


The show itself was a lot of fun. He has had an incredibly long career, and he performed most of his greatest hits. I had been listening to him before the concert, and I must say he's an amazing composer. He had talent for music since he was a child, and it worked out pretty well for him as an adult. I remember one of the songs I really like, "Demoliendo Hoteles", in case you feel like listening to something from him! Many of his songs have a lot to do with Argentinian history as well, which I really enjoyed. 

However, the best thing was the atmosphere in the theater. People were pumped! He's a star, but I think the fact that the crowd was mostly from Argentinians in NYC was a plus. I can only imagine how crazy I would go if a Spanish star came to perform to the city (Enrique Iglesias doesn't count, just in case.)

I just put up a video with a few clips I caught so I could share a bit of what I saw there. I hope you enjoy it!



That was the closest I've gotten to Argentina so far. Not bad at all. Seriously, it was a very interesting experience and it was about time to go to a concert. What will be next? For now let's have some rest to start a new week in this crazy place. I hope you had a good one and wish you luck and energy to face the week! See you soon!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Food and the City, Part II

Hey everyone! I once wrote about a few places I usually eat. Here's the post I'm talking about: link. Well, a lot has happened since then and here I am to introduce some other places I've been going to quite frequently. New York City is such a delicious place!

Grey Dog

This place has the best sandwiches and the best sweet potato fries I have tasted in Manhattan. It's the place to go for brunch, just make sure you're hungry enough. They have great variety in their menu. They have all kinds of sandwiches, salads, omelets, burgers and homemade deserts. Moreover the atmosphere there is pretty cool. I would say it feels like you're about to do some surfing in California, even though I've never surfed and I've never been in California neither!


The place is very close to Union Square. The address is 90 University Place. For more information check out their website: http://www.thegreydog.com.

Serendipity

This is the sweetest of the three suggestions I'm bringing today. I don't go there a lot because it's at the Upper East Side, making it quite far from my daily journey, and because I would end up having trouble to fit in my jeans after a few meals there. I only had an actual meal there once, because the best thing at Serendipity are the deserts. In fact, I usually make a full meal out of their selection of ice-creams and cheesecakes, don't judge. Try the Forbidden Broadway... and then let me know what you think. It has vanilla ice cream, brownie, hot chocolate, cream... and can't remember what else. See it in the picture below. I recommend it for at least 2 people. Impossible for one single person, I believe.


I suggest going there early to write down your name on the waiting list (about 30 minutes or an hour in weekends, but totally worth it.) It's located on 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues. For more information visit: http://www.serendipity3.com

Piccolo Café

Finally here's my latest discovery. It's really convenient for Berkeley, since it's just around the corner. It's a very cute Italian cafe. The first thing I liked was the place, it looks cosy and reminded me of cafes around that part of Europe. Moreover, they have items with Nutella in their menu, which is a huge plus! Their coffee is actually great (yeah, American coffee is something Europeans don't like too much.) I've also tried some pasta and it was great as well. If you're around, you should definitely check it out for a quick coffee, snack or actual dinner.



It's located at 238 Madison Avenue (right between 37th and 38th streets.) Check it out at their website: http://www.piccolocafe.us/238madisonave.

See you soon!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sant Jordi 2012

Hey everyone! One more year it's Sant Jordi's day and one more year I'm away from home. Most of you won't have a clue of what I'm talking about, but I'm sure there are some Catalans out there reading who will relate. I don't want to repeat myself too much, so here's the entry from last year (wow, a year has passed already!) where I explained what the day is about and how we celebrate it in Barcelona: Sant Jordi from the Distance.


Long story short, we celebrate this day by going to the streets and buying books to give to our beloved ones (also roses to the ladies, but I would be fair and give them a nice book as well!) Many authors go to the stands that the bookstores prepare in cities like Barcelona to sign their works and greet the readers. Such a cultural day for the Catalans! 

Now, this is New York City... there has to be somewhere to celebrate the day. Well, that's when I find an article telling me that there was an event at an Upper East Side Barnes and Noble to celebrate it. I missed it, but still sounds pretty awesome to me. At the event there was a workshop for kinds, an exchange of books and roses and discounts on the books. Also, the author Roger Evans read from his work on Catalan composer Xavier Montsalavatge with a little concert in his tribute.

"Sant Jordi, or Saint George, is the patron saint of Catalonia. His holiday is “the most important cultural event that the Catalans do,” said Salavedra, who has been president of the Catalan Institute of America for the last seven years."
"The Instituto Cervantes, a language school and cultural center on East 49th Street that is endorsed by the Spanish government, will hold its own event “in the spirit of the Catalan tradition.”
It will give all visitors that day a rose and a book, and schoolchildren will come by to read passages from Don Quixote in multiple languages."

You can read the whole article here: link.

Let me share some of my culture with this funny video about the legend of Saint George (Sant Jordi). I still remember how we used to perform every 23rd of April at school and make a show out of the story of Saint George. Good times!



Have a good one and see you soon!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Michael Miller's Art Show

Hey everyone! This week I went to the art show of Michael Miller at the rooftop of the Empire Hotel. First of all, let me introduce the artist to you.


Michael Miller, born in Glasgow, Scotland, currently lives and works in New York City. Michael is currently engaged in abstract painting at the Art Students League of New York under the instruction of Kikuo Saito and Frank O'Cain, who has a particular interest in approaches to space in abstract painting. From September 2010 to March 2012 he also studied with Larry Poons, one of America's pre-eminent abstract painters. Michael was admitted as a full member of the League in April 2011. He is also an active member of SONYA - South of the Navy Yards Artists - in Brooklyn. Michael has studied at the universities of Edinburgh, Leicester and Pennsylvania and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has a doctorate in history and civilization from the European University Institute in Florence. More information: official website.
You can see some of his paintings in the pictures I took that night. The one in the picture below these lines was my favorite from the works he was displaying.


I have been in the Empire Hotel rooftop a couple times before for similar events and I really like the concept. The place is absolutely beautiful, especially when the weather is nice and you can go outside to the terrace. There are great views of Manhattan's west side and it's just above the Lincoln Center. This kind of events allow you to chill and have a good time around art works from young artists, which is always great! I love how art is so accessible to anyone in NYC. If you can't get close to it, it's because you're not really trying, because there are events opened to the public day after day.


Moreover, they also had a live jazz band playing during the event. That's it, combining more forms of art in the same place at the same time. Oh New York! One of my favorite things in life is to see people play good music...



I hope you guys enjoyed your week as much as I did and wish you good luck for the next one! See you soon!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Staten Island Ferry

Hey everyone! Have you ever seen the Statue of Liberty? Here's the cheapest way to see it: take the Staten Island Ferry. How much? $0. That's right, the ferry ride is absolutely free and the views to the statue are pretty awesome.

It's not complicated at all. Once you get to the pier you just need to wait for the next departure (every 30 minutes, 24h a day) and you're all set. Once you get to Staten Island, you will be asked to exit the ferry and wait for the next departure from the pier.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a little bit of video blogging. I have prepared a video of my last adventure with the Staten Island Ferry to share with you what you get to see. Hence the Berkeley College add I caught at the pier!



I hope you enjoyed it! See you soon!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Time for Picnic in NYC

Hey everyone! How is your week going? Now that the nice weather is finally here (hopefully to stay) it's time to step outside and see what's going on around the city. Even though this is a concrete jungle, there are many beautiful parks around Manhattan. I love all of them. Here's a little review from my favorite ones to hang out!

Washington Square Park

I used to live very close to this one. I think people around the area are what make this park so cool. I've always end up meeting interesting people there. Moreover, the area is full of great places to eat, bars and cafes. It's not the biggest one, but you should definitely walk around Washington Square Park on a sunny day! More info: website.

Location:


Tompkings Park

This is the park at Alphabet City and I hang out around there a lot, since it's just a few steps from my current apartment. The East Village has a lot to offer, and this is one of those parks with a lot of activities all the time. In fact, I remember going there for the first time to hear a live jazz concert. More information here.

Location:




Union Square

This one is usually more crowded than the last two I mentioned, however it's just as awesome as those. There's everything around it: theaters, shopping places, restaurants, bars... and it's right in the middle of the city. One of the thinks I like the most is the markets they set up there on the weekends. They have fresh food and artsy stuff. Website: link.

Location:

 


I also wanted to mention the High Line Park, which is the newest one in the city; and Bryant Park, where I have most of my lunch breaks during the week. I actually dedicated full posts for both of them, so here's a recap:

High Line Park: link


Bryant Park: link

Of course, Central Park is the big guy of the parks in NYC. However, that's like a city itself! Every time I go around there I find new ways and places I had never seen before. Just a warning, it's very easy to get lost! Relax and keep walking. I would not recommend getting lost around there during the night time though.

I hope you guys are enjoying the spring! See you soon!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

ASC Training at Newark

Hey everyone! Last Friday I attended a training session at the Berkeley College Newark campus with the staff of the Academic Support Centers of all the school's locations. I actually had a lot of fun, and even though I had to wake up painfully early for a Friday morning, it was a good way to start the weekend.

First of all, leaving Manhattan always feels like a big trip. Even if it's only to Newark, New Jersey! When we arrived there, it was sunny and very beautiful outside. It felt weird and awesome to look around and see that the sky is actually huge and wide!

It's amazing how used I got to walk around skyscrapers all the time. No matter where I am in the city, you can always see buildings... Not anymore when you're in Newark. I had never been to a different location of Berkeley College and I actually liked this one a lot. It's in front of a park and it's definitely a lot quieter than the two buildings I'm usually at for school.


We got to meet people from all the ASC centers, which was very cool. The training started with a mind blowing name-game where we had to memorize everyone's name. I actually got most of them by the end of the day! Which is quite an achievement considering I get lost with names that sound different from Antonio and María...

We had many exercises and discussions about our role at the ASC. I have been working at the ASC for only one quarter so far, and it's being a great experience. In the training I could see how serious the center is taken and they do put a lot of effort to make it work properly. Yes, I'm encouraging all of you Berkeley people to take advantage of it!

Newark location

It was a great session not only because of the free lunch (thanks!), but because it really helped me feel more comfortable with my job. I'm sure it was the same for my colleagues. We had a panel discussion with experienced professors that work for the different Berkeley College ASC, who solved a lot of our doubts from their own experiences. Plus it was a pleasure to meet so many bright people!


We got back to the skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle of Manhattan in the evening. I enjoyed a long and earned nap and then ready to enjoy a sunny weekend! I hope you had a good one. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Friday, April 13, 2012

De-Junk, 4food

Hey everyone! How is everything going? Are you eating healthy enough these days? Here's the thing. Whenever I go back home or talk to anyone who hasn't lived in NY, there's always someone saying "you must be eating so badly there." I think they picture me with a Big Mac for breakfast every morning. However, that's such a myth. I find it a lot easier to get healthy meals in this city than in any other city I have ever been. You just need to want to make those healthy choices.


That's why I thought about introducing a new place I found around school and I really like. It's a little bit confusing at the beginning, because the concept of that restaurant is quite new to me, but it's worth a shot. It's called 4Food and you can find it online (they deliver) or at the restaurant at the corner of Madison Avenue and 40th Street (around the corner for the students at the NYC campus building at 41st street.)

The first time I got there I must say I was overwhelmed by the amount of choices you have to make... but now I actually love it. You can either build a burger, a salad or a rice bowl. I've always gone with a multi-grain rice bowl. Then you choose the meat you want, and then some sides, cheese, sauce, etc. It's easy enough if you follow the steps on the huge screens they have above the counter. My recommendation: multi-grain rice with wild salmon, broccoli, mushrooms, Swiss cheese and sweet chilli... Perfect take away to get to Bryant Park on sunny days.


You can have a look at the website for more information: www.4food.com. You can actually create an account and share the meals you "built." As I said, it's quite a new concept of restaurant, but what counts is that their food is actually good and healthier than many other fast food places around the city.

"Our mission is to De-junk fast food™. We bring fast food that's fresh, delicious, and nutritious to all ages, lifestyles, incomes, and ethnicities. No fads, fillers, or anything artificial. We're revolutionizing counter culture, in real-time. We upgrade food that people already eat-burgers, nuggets, fries, salads and teas-transforming them into new menu items that are convenient, and almost infinitely customizable to our guests' lifestyles and cultural preferences. Our food is measurably healthier than existing products."
Let me know if you give it a try! Ah... talking about food always makes me hungry! Have a good one and let me know if you give 4Food a try. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Marriage of Bette and Boo

Hey everyone! How is your week going? Today I'm proud to talk about my roommate Sam and his last success an actor. He's been studying acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts for the past two years, and he's finally graduating. Last week I went to see him performing at his graduation show at his school.

Here are some pictures of the show:




You can check them out here: http://wyville.zenfolio.com/aada/12027_bette_boo.

The play is a dark comedy about a very peculiar family. The main characters, Bette and Boo, struggle to have a traditional family structure since they are unable to have as many children as they desire. I find this kind of humor very funny, and I think it is a great play by Christopher Durang.

Here's a video made by The Paideia School Acting Troupe who also did the same play. I found it funny how they describe the characters here:


Now, the performance my roommate and his school mates did was great. Not that I am biased or anything, but they all did a great show. Since we're roommates, I have been seeing him rehearse and heard him going over the script over and over again. It was fun to see the result of all that work. As I said, very proud of him!

These are Bette and Boo, played by Sam Centrella and Chrissy Usher.
If any of you is wondering about the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC, it's located at 120 Madison Avenue (there's actually another campus in LA.) If you want more information about it you can visit the website: http://www.aada.org.

Have a good one, and see you soon!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a happy Easter! I didn't spend it with my family because I don't have that possibility, as you can imagine. However, I've always been a little bit confused with this celebration.


Yeah, sure I have seen rabbit stuff and colored eggs everywhere for the last few weeks... And I even remember coloring eggs at school back in Spain, even though it's much more of a tradition over here. But why all that? Well, I'm always kind of precocious when talking about religious things, because I don't have much knowledge on that, and I wouldn't want to offend anyone! However, here's what I'm reading about it. I found a very interesting article by Mary Fairchild that says:
"On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches.
Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after his death on the cross. As part of the Easter season, the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, always the Friday just before Easter. Through his death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, thus purchasing for all who believe in him, eternal life in Christ Jesus."

You can read the whole article here. There's more information about how the dates work, since it varies every year.

I haven't really celebrated it for the past years, because I have either been working on that exact Sunday or out my country. However, I do remember what we do where I live. Very sweet memories. My Godparents would come and give me an Easter "Mona". Which is a little sculpture or model made of chocolate. The traditional ones were just a cake with hard boiled eggs. However, it has become a tradition now that it includes the chocolate figure on it. See some examples:

That's the traditional one
Some bakeries get really creative!

And, of course, the best sellers in Catalonia are the Barça soccer team ones!
And if you're interested in this delicious tradition, you can get more information here: link.

Again, I hope you had a happy one! See you soon!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Friday Plan

Hey everyone! Sunny Friday, you have the day off and you have visitors at home... what to do in NYC? Well, fortunately there's a lot to do in the Big Apple! However, let me describe a cheap and yet amazing way to enjoy the beginning of the weekend.

We woke up early to a sunny day in Manhattan. Perfect time of the year to walk around: not cold and only warm enough. I wanted to show one of my favorite spots in the city to my friends, the High Line Park. It's located in the Meatpacking district. I live in the East Village, and we walked all the way to the west so that they could see Chelsea on the way there. 


There's a place in Chelsea that still surprises me every time I see it. It's the Limelight Marketplace. It used to be a Church, and it does look like a church outside and inside. However, it's been transformed into a shopping center. A cool one. You can check it out here: website. The girls loved shopping there, and since that's not really my thing... I just enjoyed waiting on the couch!


We finally got to the High Line Park around noon. It's a great place when it's sunny. The High Line Park is located on what used to be train tracks that go above the city. It's a very nice walk. There are resting areas everywhere and cool stuff to see. Also the views are worth it. It's quite a new thing, since it was opened last year. Therefore, many guides don't include it. However, if you're to visit the city, don't miss it!


After the walk in the park, we headed up to the MoMA. The museum has the Target Friday Nights, where you can get in for free if you enter after 4pm! That's a nice deal sponsored by Target that I have used many times already. I always find something new and interesting that I hadn't seen before here... that's why I don't mind going there again and again!

Thanks for reading! Have a good one and see you soon!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Second Birthday in NYC

Hey everyone! It turns out that my birthday takes place during the spring break. Now, having birthdays stopped being fun a couple years ago. Even though I will be forever young, adding up numbers doesn't feel that good. Anyways, this year has also been very special.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember last year I went skydiving to celebrate my birthday. Well, this year I decided to keep my feet on the ground and just enjoy good company. As I mentioned yesterday, I had friends over, and that was just enough to make me feel the happiest one.


There's a weird thing having birthdays here. There's a 6-hour difference between my home country and the US, so my birthday starts at home when it's 6pm on the previous day here. Therefore, I started receiving messages the day before, which makes my birthday much longer! Plus my real birthday was on Monday, but I wanted to celebrate it over the weekend on Saturday... which made it even looonger. So I feel like I've celebrated it for 3 years now!


I had a few friends over on Saturday night. Thanks all for coming! Tried to go to a club, but we finally didn't make it. But no, I'm not that old yet. We went there the following day anyways. Finally, on my real birthday, since I don't have classes on Monday, we went for lunch to one of my favorite places in the city: Grey Dog. They have the best sandwiches, I can tell you that much! My friends surprised me there with a cake and candles. Easy way to make me blush in the middle of a restaurant. Oh well, once a year won't hurt! :)

I must also mention that my parents, who are in Spain, met my friends before they came here and gave them presents for me. How sweet is that... I am so lucky to have the best parents ever! It made me very happy to have a package from them, it's been a while since I haven't been home and will be a while more since I get to see them again... I better get used to this!

Also, as you can appreciate in this picture, my friends made me appear on the cover on Men's Health magazine. What else can I ask for!

My friends left on Monday as well, which was quite sad... But I'm very happy that they got to come and for sure I will keep many memories from that week.

I hope you're having a good first week! Good luck with your classes and see you soon!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'm back!

Hey everyone! I'm sorry I haven't been posting lately, but I'm finally back. My spring break went by really fast. I had friends from Spain over during the whole break, and that's why I didn't find the time to sit and write. However, now I do have a lot of things to say!

First of all, how is the new quarter going? I just got started with it and so far, so good. I really like the classes I'm taking this time, and there's a lot of variety. They go from marketing courses to law and world literature. It's a good mix for the spring quarter. At least there will be no numbers for a while.

Back to my spring break. Oh boy did I have fun! Every time I have people visiting I get to do things that I usually don't have time to do in the city. Sightseeing, restaurants, museums... Even though I have seen those plenty of times, I still enjoy showing them to my friends. It's always fun to have them here and see where I live after so many years talking about it.

These two friends visiting were Cati and Marina. We studied together in college in Barcelona, and we've been friends ever since. We've known for many years, and have been away from each other several years as well. Nevertheless, it's always a pleasure and a release to see that every time we meet, everything's still the same. Well, everything except the fact that we're not eighteen anymore...  But we'll get to that some other time.


I will try to put together a few video clips I made while being a tourist in NYC and will talk about new things I found out around Manhattan. I'm also going to answer all the e-mails soon, sorry for the late responses but they're on the way! Thanks a lot for reading my blog, and see you soon!