Friday, November 8, 2013

30x30: Green-wood Cemetery

This week's 30x30 experience might fall into the "slightly morbid" category, but I once took great joy in joining thousands of other tourists and running around Paris' Père-Lahaise cemetery to find the final resting places of Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, and dozens of other famous denizens. So it didn't strike me as too bizarre when I decided to take an afternoon (and a long subway ride) and pay homage to some of New York's more famous residents spending eternity in the state's largest cemetery.

I probably use this phrase too often, but boy am I glad I visited that cemetery. Not only was it interesting to visit the grave sites of Leonard Bernstein, Horace Greeley (of Greeley Square!), and Jean-Michael Basquiat, but I happened to go on what was possibly the most picture-perfect fall day of the year. Maybe ever. (ed. note: I bear no shame for hyperbole) The sun was streaming, the trees were lined with gold, there was a chill in the air and a crunch under my feet, and I swear the leaves were actually slowly falling around me, ensconcing me in my own personal, over-saturated Thomas Kinkaid painting. There was also not a soul around for what seemed to be miles. It was like everything Central Park wants to be but is too popular (and populated) to actually achieve.

There actually isn't too much else to say about this except that if you're looking for a quiet place in a busy city to walk and think, then I highly suggest Green-wood Cemetery. It's obviously free, and depending on where you live, possibly even more accessible than some of the city's larger parks. As long as you are respectful to the deceased and anyone living who may be visiting said deceased, then there is no reason why someone can't use a cemetery as a serene, reflective, meditation spot.

If you go: Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is open seven days a week; take the D/N/R to 36th St. and walk to the main entrance located at 5th and 25th Streets.

All photos were taken by me with my trusty iPhone 4s and edited with PhotoToaster, Snapseed, and/or A Beautiful Mess. 30x30 is my name for a silly little bucket list project that I intend to complete by my 30th birthday at the end of March, 2014.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

30x30: Noguchi Museum

It's no secret that I'm a bit of an art museum nerd. I've trekked across cities all over the world just to step foot in certain museums, and it's likely that given even a few hours of free time, I can be found wandering amongst the statues and paintings of the Met. So I was actually a little disgusted at myself when I realized that there was an entire art museum a mere 15 minute walk from my apartment and I hadn't once visited it in the four years I've lived in Astoria. I vowed to change that asap, and there was no better time than during this 30x30 challenge.

So on a blustery day in November, I took advantage of the museum's "First Friday" policy (a lovely program that allows patrons to pay-what-they-wish on the first Friday of every month) and walked over to The Noguchi Museum. Named after and designed by 20th century sculptor Isamu Noguchi, the museum is conceived to be an open-air sculpture garden, housing what Noguchi considered to be some of his best works.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the museum. It wasn't at all crowded (note to self: stop being an old lady) and it was perfectly peaceful to wander the naturally-lit galleries, getting in touch with my inner Zen amongst the wabi sabi of the minimalist wood and stone carvings.

It was a relatively small space - the entire experience took about an hour, and that was with circling back to view some galleries a second time. But the museum's accessibility (in terms of content, that is) is one of it's stronger points. While the Met is famous and amazing and spectacular, it is so incredibly huge that first-time or casual visitors can and do get so overwhelmed that it's hard to visualize just popping over for a quick and quiet visit. But the Noguchi is just the opposite - it's actually perfect for a lunchtime recharge (provided you're in the area), and makes me wonder if more museums shouldn't be designed with this idea in mind. Not everything has to be flashy and designed by a starchitect. Sometimes it's nice to just appreciate good art.

If you go: The Noguchi Museum is located 9-01 33rd Rd. (at Vernon Blvd.) in Long Island City; take the N/Q to Broadway and walk towards the river. The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday and is pay-what-you-wish on the first Friday of every month.

All photos were taken by me with my trusty iPhone 4s and edited with PhotoToaster, Snapseed, and/or A Beautiful Mess. 30x30 is my name for a silly little bucket list project that I intend to complete by my 30th birthday at the end of March, 2014.

Friday, November 1, 2013

365-photo-a-day - October wrap-up

shadowplay - tomatoes - fall colors - chrysler - cucumbers - cute
artichokes - serene hallway - happy opening - gourds - a quiet moment - tiny bouquet
walkin' in a spiderweb - yoga - date night chili - banksy #2 - flower - day off bagel
foliage - squash salad - banksy #3 - 6th ave. - honeycrisp - empire state building
lone lamppost - fall boots - pumpkin spice whoopie pie - 1am grilled cheese - cloisters - banksy #1

October was a beautiful month here in New York City...or so I heard. Ok, that's a bit of a lie. I did manage to surround myself with autumnal colors once or twice this month, but I largely spent the weeks crouching in a small dark box with a sweaty drag queen (long story). This lack of free time didn't come as a surprise to me though, so photographically speaking, I dealt with it in two ways - first, I allowed myself to take and use multiple photos from single-day excursions and experiences (one day at the Cloisters, one day Banksy-hunting). Second, I pushed myself to spend a little extra time at my favorite farmer's market each week, knowing that there I would find the highest concentration of colorful subjects that were easy enough to snap a quick pic of.

Was it cheating? Maybe, but I like to think that I made lemonade out of glittered lemons. While it was (and has been this whole time) a bit stressful to know that I needed to produce 28-31 decent photos by the end of the month, I did truly enjoy wandering the greenmarket, taking in the best of upstate New York's fall bounty. Had I not been anchored to this photo project, I might not have left the apartment ten minutes early each Saturday and would have missed out on some truly beautiful moments.

I have two months left in 2013, and I'm honestly not sure what the rest of the year will bring. I can only assume that there will be many, many more food photos (I'm hosting Turkey Day this year and cooking up a storm), but that just means that I have to try (much) harder to look up from my plate and snap a photo of the people with whom I'm sharing that food.

October by the Numbers:
Pictures of food: 10
Pictures of fall foliage: 7
Pictures of people: 2 (3 if you count my shadow)
Pictures of my feet: 2

365/Photo-a-day is a personal undertaking to capture one photograph per day in 2013. All photos were taken by me and processed with Instagram, Snapseed, PhotoToaster, and/or the new A Beautiful Mess app. The images were compiled using Picture Collage Maker Lite. What to see my pics as they happen? Follow me @maspad on Instagram!