Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Move Over Liza, Here's Alicia

When Alicia sings with so much passion, I feel every expression and every rough-cut metaphor resonates in my dreamy state.

I added background images of the NYC skyline to this composite video to depict the magnanimous concrete jungle imagery of New York City where dreams are made of.  

To see the photostream of these images:

It used to be my favorite childhood song. I would hum a high-pitch, low-drag version of it as I paddled in the harbor to our boat moored in formation at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club in the late 70's.  I sang it loud and sharp 'til I was blue in the face, while my sister clasped her hands over her ears.

Grew up in a town,
That is famous as a place of movie scenes

But even for old, timeless classics like "New York", there's always a time to make a change.

Noise is always loud
There are sirenes all around
And the streets are mean

Move over Liza and Sinatra.  Here's Alicia and Jay-Z.
Even if it ain’t all it seems
I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I’m from...

The city is indeed magnificent, the people exciting.  But for now forget the beauty and diversity of all 5 burroughs.

On the avenue, there ain’t never a curfew
Ladies work so hard
Such a melting pot on the corner selling rock
Preachers pray to God
Hail a gypsy cab
Takes me down from Harlem to the Brooklyn Bridge
Someone sleeps tonight with a hunger
For more than from an empty fridge

There's something magical about Alicia's soothing voice and the awe-inspiring lyrics that is both catchy and brazen at the same time.  I dunno.  I mean the lyrics aren't poetic Dylan.  They aren't as brilliant as Billy Joel.  But when Alicia sings with so much passion, I feel every expression and every rough-cut metaphor resonates in my dreamy state, as if the city that has so overwhelmed me with amazement and admiration is also the city that I can get down and become real personal with.

New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York, New York, New York

Monday, December 6, 2010

Who Said New Yorkers aren't Friendly

NYC this weekend was my 10th marathon, and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this whole experience, namely the volunteer and fan support

Since I'm a diehard Washingtonian, I'm partial to the MCM and the National Marathons.  But I have to admit, that NYC has now become my favorite.

Yes, DC, you are still the most runner-friendly city in the world, but the Marathon experience in NYC is like no other.  Nothing compares to it.  If you are a marathoner (what is that?), you should try it before you croak.

The fan support was almost continuous (with the exception of the bridges, of course).  And with people cheering, I felt almost no pain.  No cold, only hospitality.

My 10th Marathon: NYC

NYC is an incredible place to visit, to celebrate the beauty and diversity of all 5 buroughs and to meet the warm and exciting people from the city and all around the world.

Mayor Bloomberg told the World Bank Group employees in Washington DC that "the free, global  movement of labor, capital and ideas" was essential to NYC's growth and comeback especially after 9/11.

And today, I got to see the culture and diversity by running through all 5 beautiful buroughs back-to-back.  It was one of the most incredible moments this year, of my life, and it was the greatest marathon I've ever experienced, by far.

New Yorkers love the marathon like they love the Yankees, the Giants and the Jets, and they came out in droves to cheer and holler for all of us, locals or not.

And the band support was incredible -- all 120 of them including the Japanese Taiko drummers and a dance marathon with all the runners dancing to the beat of Y-M-C-A in beautiful Brooklyn.

I didn't get a best time, not even close, as I soaked in the crowd, but I scored a medal -- Bronze for my 10th Marathon.

I'm so glad No. 10 was NY -- Nothing comes close to the appeal.  And if I could only do one marathon, this would be it!

I made many friends here, and yes, I'll surely be back.  In fact, I've already registered for next year.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

NYC: Rowing to Hoboken

There's only one thing better than running along the Hudson River, with its breathtaking views of the New Jersey skyline, and that is being on the Mighty Hudson, itself.  No, not swimming -- I haven't gotten my tetanus shots, yet.  Rowing -- the 300 mile river that flows through the heart of the state is both revered by pleasure boaters and respected by seafarers.

I've known the Hudson before. Ten years ago, the USS Clark  (FFG-11) navigated these great waters from the capital city of Albany enroute to the Erie Canal and the venerable Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes Cruise, a by-gone era recruiting trip, was the Navy's best kept secret and one of the best times of my life.

After the invigorating Inaugural Vimeo Festival, which turned out to be an all-out social media carnival and a credible 2-day film school I was ready to charge onto the respected River and meet and film rowers like me, pushing through the large swells and strong Manhattan current that in the past only muscle men would dare challenge.

On this particular trip, I was blessed to join an avid rowing group at Pier 40, sit in the back by the Coxswain and film to my heart's delight.

I've never crossed the Hudson to New Jersey before and definitely never made an interstate trip across the mighty River.   We definitely got more than we bargained for by visiting the jewel on the Hudson, Hoboken, the little town where baseball was born.

But on this day I definitely made a lot of friends from and around the Downtown Boathouse.

And yes, I'd rather be paddling (Stand-up), but once in a while, it's better to meet people and work as a team.

Now here was my lucky chance.  Cheers to NYC and Cheers to the Mighty Hudson ready to be rediscovered. Once a dirty river shunned by New Yorkers, you've definitely come back, and today, I've called your lovely name.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beautiful NYC

Central Park, NYC

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Feliz Cumpleanos

It's been a while, a long while since I celebrated Mayo 12 in style.

Today, I received una bonita regalo.

The day started misty, wet, raw and capricious like the Hudson River, silent yet speechless.

We met at the Natural History Museum. I was greeted with a big hug and a beautiful smile, a smile that made me melt to the core.

I enjoyed a personal tour, a moment-by-moment narration of the fascinating and vibrant Inca culture -- a wonderful civilization that is so rich and ever relevant.  I was deeply inspired and left with a insatiable yearning to hear and learn more.

Some day, I will visit the Amazon Rainforest.  It is one of the Nature Seven Wonders of the World, and I am sure it will inspire me.

Because we wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty and climb up to the top of the pedestal, we decided to make that visit the next day when we had more time. (Before 9-11, I remembered climbing up to the top of the crown, all 350 steps through a cramped spiral staircase -- now this opportunity is more restricted, through the issuing of tickets).

So, the Whitney Museum was a pleasant surprise like a strawberry creme-filled truffle wrapped in an opulent hand-made box with gold and silver wire.  Unlike the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Whitney focuses on living and lesser-known American artists -- artists who I consider Avante Garde --pushing the boundary more and more until experimental becomes mainstream.

My new friend, Justine, who I met on the Bolt Bus gave us a free pass.  It was a nice gift -- something I couldn't resist and a testimony to being friendly to strangers, especially those who you sit next to.

Whitney was no MOMA (Metropolitan Musem of Art), but I felt the personal touch of artists showcasing their biennials. What was amazing floor by floor was that the exhibits embodied a diverse cross section of contemporary art rather than a specific theme.  I left feeling like I've seen something interesting, exciting unexpected.  I knew that this experience would move me again and again, for many more years.

The rest of the evening at the East End Bar (where Bday drinks were on the house) and then in the West Village (where the sound of Blues rolled from the Bayou of Nawlins) was loud, fun and evocative, and yes, oh so priceless.