January 16th, 2022

I had a pretty good week, although not especially eventful. Partly was due to work stress, partly I think still mentally recovering from the holiday breaks and COVID. By the time the weekend rolled around, I was feeling pretty mentally drained. It's also been very cold, so I spent most of my weekend huddled up indoors, reading and working on some personal projects. I did manage to convince myself to get out of the house on Saturday, and went to the Empire State Building to see the skyline.

On Tuesday I went out to Katz's Deli, a spot famous for their mile-high pastrami sandwiches. It was a ton of food, as you can tell. The pastrami was really good, but overall it felt like one of those places that is a bit more overhyped than it's worth.
On Friday I grabbed some coffee at Maman, and I was really stunned with the ambiance, which made you feel like you were in a hidden garden.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Stephen Wiltshire once drew NYC and the resultant artwork is on display in the Empire State Building. Wiltshire is an autistic savant, and draws very detailed and accurate skylines completely from memory. There's a short documentary about him on YouTube.
Here's one photo I captured on my way up to the Empire State Building observatory.
Another photo of the city, from the observatory. You can see the One World Trade Center, the tallest building standing out towards the middle. Just to the right of it is the Statue of Liberty.
A final photo of the sunset from the Empire State Building. I was pleasantly surprised that a jazz guitarist came up shortly before dusk and started playing, which was nice.

January 9th, 2022

Well, this week didn't quite turn out as planned! After a year of (relatively safe) traveling, COVID finally caught up with me. I've spent the entire week quarantining, so not really a whole lot to share. Last Sunday I went to the Museum of Modern Art, which was the day before I started to exhibit symptoms. Luckily, the virus went through my system fairly quickly and I'm feeling much better now. According to the latest CDC guidelines, I'll be able to leave quarantine tomorrow as long as I wear a mask whenever I'm around others.

Here's some photos from the museum and a couple other small daily things:

I started off my morning before the museum visiting a highly-rated bagel shop. Delicious!
This was one of my favorite exhibits at the museum - Pepón Osorio’s Badge of Honor. It's a two part exhibit, one side being the jail cell of a father and the other side being the room of the son. It's based on a father/son that Osorio met and interviewed, and the films are played inside the exhibit. It resonated with me in a number of ways, and was very thought-provoking.
I had a bit of fun taking this photo. Of course, van Gogh's Starry Night in the back there. Would you be honored, or peeved, to have your artwork hung alongside such an infamous painting? None of the other pieces in this room seemed to get even a glance.
There was a beautiful sunset on my walk home from the museum. I really wish I could have made it to the 16th floor of the Google office, but not enough time. I did manage to snap this pretty cool photo, though. I like how the colors of the car and road match the skyline.
It snowed, and not a small amount! I was oblivious to this fact until I had to run to the CVS to get some medicine. Not a glamorous photo, but I was still under quarantine so it was just to the store and back for me. Not to mention it was, obviously, very cold!
There's a super cool place called Westside Market just a block from where I'm staying. They have standard groceries, but also a lot of fresh-made foods. I'm always in awe of, and tempted by, these gigantic slices of lasagna. Looks absolutely delicious!

January 2nd, 2022

Happy New Year! 2021 was a year to remember, and I'm hoping 2022 will continue to be some of the best years of my life. Despite some shaking up of my travel plans, I've found myself in New York City just in time to celebrate the new year. And celebrate I did! I met up with an old friend from Honolulu to go out for a night of eating, drinking and watching the best blues band I've ever heard in my life. It was a night to remember, I had an absolute blast and am really excited I got to experience a new year celebration in New York City.

I've been enjoying the city a lot, much more than I expected. It's been really fun to cycle around and see so many iconic buildings and places - the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, etc. It's also been really cool trying all the quintessential NYC cultural things: coffee, pizza, bagels, chopped steaks, jazz and blues bars, rooftop restaurants....the list goes on!

For my first meal in New York, you know I had to go find a huge slice of pizza.
This is one of the highest-rated coffee shops in my area, and just below the building I'm living in. It's called 787 Coffee, and as fortune would have it, it's a Puerto Rican coffee shop. They have their own private farm there, and the beans are shipped here. Amazing!
This is a park that's nearby my house, called Little Island.
Here's a quick snap of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. I usually only post unedited photos, but in this case Google Photos did some automatic color adjustments and made it look much more sunny and bright than it was that day.
I picked up a new guitar while here! It's a Martin X-Series and plays absolutely beautifully. I still believe I like my Breedlove back in California more, but this is a close second.
I came across this pet store while walking around. They had big glass storefront windows where they put some especially playful puppies, much to my delight.
On Friday night, I went out to this really cool jazz bar called Cellar Dog. A great live band, plus lots of games: billards, shuffleboard, chess, etc. I was hoping to make some new friends, but the vibe was almost exclusively couples. Great place to take a casual date, though!
Me and Sonal, another friend from Hawaii, out with some of her friends at Ophelia Lounge. This place was awesome, it had a great view of the city and good cocktails.
Me and my friend from Hawaii, Aaron Cohen, out for New Year's Eve dinner. We went to a really nice seafood place called Lure Fishbar. It was the most money I've ever spent by myself at a restaurant, but worth every penny.
Here's one of the sampler platters that we got while at the restaurant. Fresh clams, crab, tartare, calamari and shrimp. The works! This was only one of many courses :P
After dinner we headed over to Terra Blues to watch the Jr. Mack band play and ring in the new year! This was hands-down the best blues band I've ever seen. The guitarist was blind and absolutely killed it, and the bassist was unreal.