Experimental Art

For a few lucky residents in Riverside (CA), their backyard is an old cemetery. It’s not the typical, bland cemetery. Instead, the antique houses face marvelous tombstones and lush green grounds. It screams character and utter quiet. This is an ideal location, if you’re an honorary member of the Addams Family, of course.

Though, I adored the charming neighborhood with it’s creepy views, I didn’t think I would ever have any fascinating memories there. Until, one day, my perception changed. At that time, I was dating a budding artist. We met in art class. I admired his talent. He also had great style. At first, I wasn’t quite sure if he was gay.

Instead, I started talking about Sex & the City and somehow, he was mesmerized. “Surprise, he came out of the closet.” We spent a significant amount of time together. He always had wild music playing. His room was a tribute to 60′s pop art and colorful collages. He also had pet rabbits, which typically smelled fowl.

At that time, we both lived at home. It made dating rigorous, since his parents didn’t support the gay thing. One day, we decided to go to his favorite make-out corner. He had me drive up a hill. The winding roads led to the old cemetery. I parked the car and we made out. I opened my eyes and there was reality again. The place was slightly eerie, but left a memorable moment.  On the upside, it was a quiet place for a kiss.

I drove him back home. Eventually, we lost touch, but found each other years later. I was happy to know he was dating and pursuing his love of art. As I sit in my New York apartment feeling nostalgic, I giggle. In old fifties films, there was always that make out corner. Mine will always be remembered as the cemetery in Riverside, Ca.

Sh*t Polar Bears Say

Hibernation is for bears. Rather, than hibernating like an ordinary bear, I decided to make every day a New York adventure. I channeled my inner polar bear and made the most out of the abnormally cold temperatures.  Initially, I was also seeking a Boo-Boo to compliment my Yogi (looking for a date).

Luckily, I found the perfect sidekick via okcupid. My previous dates with Boo-Boo (his nickname) were quite wonderful. Therefore, I was delighted to plan another riveting outing. This time, I organized a museum trip, which would follow with an authentic Chinese dinner in (you guessed it) Chinatown.

I bought my museum ticket and sipped on a cappuccino, while watching hipsters being (well) hipsters. As I amused myself in the world of hipster lingo, my date ran quite late. I glanced at my watch and he was nowhere to be found. I went upstairs to tour the exhibit, “art from the Eastern Bloc.

When I returned to the lobby of the museum, Boo Boo was nowhere to be found. He didn’t even respond to my texts. Hence, I had a first. Within all my years dating in New York City, I hadn’t experienced being “stood up.” Rather than returning to my apartment and to wallow in rejection, I marched to the dive-y noodles restaurant for a “foodie’s day out.”

Snow fell from the sky. The Lower East Side faded into Chinatown. The streets were more bustling. While crossing Canal Street, I glanced at the Manhattan Bridge to my left. As car horns serenaded my eardrums. There was something comforting and even charming about that non-shalant moment.

“I maybe single, but I am not alone. At least I am in New York City, where dreams come true.” After that sappy moment, I gave Boo-Boo a piece of my mind and felt so much better telling him off . In the wise motto of New York across the five boroughs, I yelled a big old ” fuggedaboutit.” I then filed that moment under, “another edition of dating in city.”

A Night-owl’s Romance

“You are now entering the Polar Vortex,” said New York, while welcoming me back home from sunny Southern California. Upon my arrival, the city was bracing itself for a massive blizzard. Like any good New Yorker, I weathered the larger than life snowflakes for a trip to Trader Joe’s.

While, I anticipated a bit of cabin fever, I picked up all my favorite foods (prosciutto, hummus, crackers, English toffee and meat loaf). Standing in line, I noticed all the adorable gay couples, shopping for their bit of winter comfort foods. I thought to myself, “geez, they must really enjoy cabin fever.” On that note, I headed back home on the subway.

Upon exiting 135th street station, the darkened skies above New York turned hazy from  intense snowfall. I reveled on the sweet sounds of snow crunching against my feet. I finally reached my tiny fifth floor walk-up apartment, which I think rivals Buckingham Palace, in my humble opinion.

Instead of psychoanalyzing War & Peace or finally starting up that Kurt Vonnegut novel, I went on okcupid. I met a boy instantly, which doesn’t happen often on that side. He was an art history major with a minor in creative writing. Via email, he asked quickly, “Hi, wanna go on a date? I replied, “yes,” naturally.  I was excited. The next day, I stepped out of my humble apartment building.

There were snow banks everywhere. Snow turned sidewalks into an unrecognizable sea of ice. At that moment, I found my favorite and most romanticized image of Manhattan. The romanticized image mirrored my optimism. However, a day before meeting my potential new boyfried, I had a different kind of date.

” I have the stomach flu,” said I to my father. I rely on him for medical advice, even though he’s not a doctor. “You need to take it easy and just ride through it,” he said. In the grand tradition of fathers, he ended the conversation with ” please, no booze or coffee till you feel better. Love you.”

It was a most stressful weekend. I didn’t want to cancel the date. Instead, I showed up. Wearing my best cardigan, I stepped into the candle-lit restaurant on the Upper West side. He appeared like a prince rescuing a princess from a gilded tower. His scruff was utterly endearing, as were his glasses. As we sat down, the conversation grew into a feast of delightful topics.

” I think, I lost a few pounds from this stomach flu,” said I. He looked away and I was mortified. I shook my head and bursted into laughter, “whoops, you can’t count this into an awkward moment.” He laughed as well.

We finally glanced at the menu. His forehead was covered in sweat. Grabbing a napkin, he said, ” I can’t stop sweating, guess this is my awkward moment.” During the date, I still didn’t feel wonderful from my case of the stomach flu. However, I did enjoy having a proper date. Afterwards, we took the subway home and he planted a kiss on me. I walked out of the train, feeling quite delighted.

Eventually, my stomach flu went the way of VHS tapes. I focused my energy on the following romantic question. “Does he love? Does he love me not?” He texted and we planned another date. This time, we locked eyes over Thai food in the East Village. It was magical. We found ourselves on the subway late night.

He was heading home a few stops before me. Prior to exiting  the train, I told him, ” text me when you get home.” He glanced over and laughed ” really?” I replied, “yes, please text me.” Finally, as I prepared for bed, he did indeed remember to text. I smiled. After that, we didn’t become a romantic item. Instead, the experience was simply a  lovely memory of going on date.

The Traveling Beard

A bearded man can’t live off berries and leaves of the forest, alone. Hence, I was getting my carbohydrate fix at the local Latino diner. It a most wonderful place with a long counter top, telenovelas playing on the TV & salsa music whisking diner patrons to exotic locations.

In the midst of traditional Latin foods, such as Mofongo (fried plantans smashed with different fillers), beef stewed, empandas, Moros y Cristianos (black beans mixed with white rice), I ordered the spaghetti (granted I usually go for a more traditionally Cuban/Puerto Rican dish).

After indulging with a bit of guilt, I ordered a tres leches cake. Inevitably, I experienced food coma. Therefore, a long walk was needed. However, I longed for a bit more people traffic.

I took the C train to Columbus Circle, for an after dinner walk around Ninth Avenue. I love my walks around Hell’s Kitchen. It’s New York reigning gay-borhood. The tall buildings, eclectic restaurants, car horns, neighboring bright lights of Times Square and narrow sidewalks, feel quintessentially Manhattan.

As I cut off slow pedestrians on the northwest corner of 53& Ninth, I made eye contact with a cute guy with red hair. I kept on walking, but really wasn’t sure why he was starring my direction. While walking toward Eighth Ave, I happened to make eye contact with another guy. This time, it felt like attraction at first sight, but the shy part of me kept walking. Then, I strolled back towards Ninth Ave and surprise, more eye contact.

I wouldn’t say I was a Casanova or a pretty boy in any sense. However, I wondered, why out of all nights am I suddenly a Casanova? I touched my face and realized I was scruffy. “Oh yeah, I had let my beard grow,” said I. In a sense, I was rebelling against appearing overly well put together. However, guys were responding more to the “I don’t care kind of attitude.”

Since, I was still a singleton in New York, I decided to keep the beard. Armed with a slight beard, shoes, which need to be polished and a little tummy, I still went out and enjoyed life. Even, if I hadn’t caught any attention that night, I’d still proudly strut my stuff.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 60 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Owl Perched On A Tree

Harlem is one of New York’s most charming neighborhoods. Handsome brownstone blocks collide with quintessentially old New York tenements. Coffee shops, which could easily fit in 1960’s Greenwich Village, sit next to bodegas. Hills dominate the landscape, illustrating the diverse terrain of Manhattan.

This is a neighborhood I call, home. I have friends who ended up in this slice of the New York pizza pie. Some may regard it as the Arctic of Manhattan, since it’s rather high up the island. However, it retains the magic of old New York, which has not been lost in gentrification.

On a late autumn evening, I encountered a first world problem. “Shit, I left my phone charger at my friend’s apartment,” I declared. I called up (my friend) Anna and made the trek to the west 140’s. As I walked around Uptown’s most quintessential sidewalks, every sight delighted me. The majesty of hilly St Nicholas Park, impressive architectural style and even the roar of the subway made an enchanting memory.

When I reached Anna’s apartment, she invited me to hang out in her fire escape. Even though, I played it cool, I was secretly frightened about the idea of sitting so high up with a gapping hole in close proximity. Instead of just grabbing my charger and bolting, I made my way through a narrow window and into the fire escape.

I sat next to Anna. The jitters persisted as she poured me a glass of wine. As I took a quick gulp of the Pinot Gris, the fear slowly diminished. The sirens, ambulances and funky music (she played) produced an exotic calming sound. I looked across our sprawling neighborhood. Like any proper New Yorker, I tried to find that quintessential Manhattan skyline view.  The one with the Empire State Building and GE building glowing against modest low rise buildings.

It was nowhere to be found. Instead, the towering projects glowed with yellow lights. Further east was the FDR (highway) with its free flowing traffic. While directly below were the perfectly manicured gardens of brownstone buildings. We talked and drank more wine, but little did I know my very first world problem would birth a New York moment.

I conquered a fear of heights. Also, I took a moment to find the beauty in a non-traditional birds eye view of the city.  As, I crawled out of the fire escape through the narrow window, I thought to myself, “wow what a beauty and unexpected memory.”

Buddy Holly

“ I like your style, but you need to wear more color,” said my father, a marine.  When I hit thirty, I grew into one of those New York boys, who didn’t have an inch of bright color in their closet. Therefore, I wanted to liven up my wardrobe without sacrificing my sense of style.

A funky and colorful edge arrived, in the most unexpected of places. A fashion designer friend of mine gifted me a pair of glasses. These weren’t ordinary hipster glasses. Instead, they were loud and featured a tortoise shell pattern, which I lovingly dubbed the Buddy Holly glasses (with a twist, naturally). I instantly fell in love with the style. However, I didn’t actually wear my decorative for a while.

One faithful day, Anna and I wandered around Harlem. With the grey autumn skies, cinematic apartment blocks with stoops, enchanting hills and icy breezes, we knew to capture our special day on camera. I had a quick scavenger hunt in my tote bag and found the Buddy Holly glasses. Afterwards, I placed them on, Anna loved the look and as did I.

On a stoop, I took a photo of myself wearing the cool glasses. This would be my new signature look. We then headed to lunch and I found myself part of a new subculture, where eyeglasses ruled the land. I felt funky and a bit more creative, just by wearing the new accessory.

The unique design made me into a museum piece. On the subway, onlookers would study the design and symmetry of the glasses. It was something I never quite experienced, since I always remain under the radar. It proved, that being ham in life can quite fun.

From that day on, I wore my glasses everywhere. It amazed me how a simple accessory could liven up my wardrobe. Therefore, I didn’t even need to wear bright colors in order to change up my look. 

Howling Winds

I love my weekend routine. On Saturday mornings, I wake up early and head to my favorite Upper West Side diner. After devouring the lumberjack breakfast (pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs), I walk off my calorie intake along the quintessentially Manhattan sidewalks.

After a quick commercial break (bathroom break at Columbus Circle), I take the B/D (subway) to West 4th. I love listening to the live piano player at Washington Square Park and then heading to the East Village for some cozy coffee house madness. In the grand tradition, of all things New York, the unpredictable blew in my direction.

As New York dropped to unseasonably low temperatures, it brought about a surprise. While preparing for a night out, I heard intense and romantically eerie winds. I ran to my window, as my concern grew to joy. “ Snow, it’s snowing,” I proclaimed happily. An unexpected snowstorm hit the city. Rather than hiding for cover, I ran down five flights of steps to enjoy the icy goodness.

I roamed around, as snow filled my pea coat to the brim. Like my coat, snow soon piled upon trash cans, cars and trees. It was more romantic than a Shakespearean sonnet. About thirty minutes later, the snow magically disappeared. Talk about cameo appearances. Later that night, New York froze to temperatures only polar bears and penguins would enjoy.

 

After attending a birthday party in Hell’s Kitchen, I maneuvered around the people traffic of Times Square and was determined to enjoy the city regardless of freezing temperatures. While the crowds slowly disappeared in the west 50’s, the sidewalks became increasingly empty.

At that moment, the city felt like my own private playground. The glittery lights of Midtown reflected against the store fronts of the Upper West Side. Something about New York in wintertime makes my sweet tooth go bananas. Therefore, I stopped by the diner for a carrot cake and decaf coffee. It was a very simple evening, but quite delightful.

The next day, howling icy winds dominated the sidewalks more intensely. My pea coat served as a shield, similar to a warrior in battle. However, I found the beauty in the incoming winter months. The parks were livened up with dead trees and colorful leaves. Ducks merrily swam and wandered Harlem’s hilly St. Nicholas Park.

On Fredrick Douglass Boulevard, the leaves were swept from the pavement. They circled around and danced to the beat of Mother Nature’s urban drum. It was an unexpectedly gorgeous sight. The icy temperatures persisted and even in the most intense winds, I found the charm in a wintry New York. After all, there’s nothing cozier than bundling up in winter fashion, admiring holiday lights and enjoying a hot coffee by a quiet park lake.

The Perks of Being Extremely Campy in NYC

With leaves falling, leaving trees barren, the city transforms itself. The brightly lit canyons of Midtown give way to holiday camp. It’s a gradual process, which paints the sidewalks with lights of glittery green and red. On one faithful night, I went on a date.

As I sat at Sophia’s wine bar in Midtown East, sipping on a sauvignon blanc and eating a Panini, I couldn’t feel any romance. My date was a delightful dinner companion, but I couldn’t romanticize the situation. After dinner, we took a walk crosstown. There was certain magic in the air. While my date was as romantic as a beer pong tournament, I rekindled my love affair with the city.

We approached Rockefeller Center. Terrible club music blasted, as we walked toward the tourist mecca. Surprisingly, I found delight in one of the most fabled New York traditions, ice-skating in the middle of Rockefeller Center. My date and I reveled in watching the skaters.

The skaters represented a social hotch potch of humanity. Tourists (naturally), families, couples and the young at heart, enjoyed the cheesiest of traditions.

Naturally, the most fun came in the form of schadenfreude (German for laughing at somebody else’s misery). There were plenty of slips and falls, but since it was New York pre-holidays, even the injured were laughing off their misfortune.  I looked to the left; under scaffolding was the famous Christmas tree. Although, it’s a sight, I ‘ve seen many times, there was a surprising magic. The sight reminded me, the holidays were around the corner.

I walked my date to his bus, although there were no sparks, I had an unexpected and very quintessential evening in my own backyard. From that faithful night, Christmas madness slowly crept around Manhattan. Christmas shops popped up everywhere from Little Italy to Bryant Park. Fifth Avenue dazzled the pupil with bright lights decorating the fancy shops. The Time Warner Center sparkled with ever changing lights.

I once again, visited another skating rink. As I sat at Bryant Park with my holiday beverage, watching ice-skating mania, my jaded smirk turned into a smile. The holidays and enchanting cold weather was finally upon us. Living in the holiday capital of the world, has made me appreciate every minute of Christmas camp.

Drawing With Crayons

In autumn, the brightly colored pumpkins lining brownstones from the West Village to Harlem liven up the grey infused sidewalks of New York. As cold winds rush through the canyons of skyscrapers, a new season is marked.

No other place exhibits the theatrical change of season better experienced than (shockingly), Central Park. When Mother Nature takes a magical crayon and paints the park in orange hues, it not only changes the verdant green grounds, but also represents a new chapter in life.

For the New York singleton, the cold front signifies the special need for a cuddle buddy to make the cold nights cozier. This New York singleton (yours truly) only had one thing on his mind.

“I’d like a large hazelnut coffee, hot, said I on the first day, where temperatures dipped into the low 50′s. The transition from cold to hot coffee has always marked the welcoming of the fall season.

On a typical weekday morning at the deli, I put on my earphones and drifted into the land of musical melodies. “I want you to want me” by Cheap Trick randomly played. “Wow, this is one of the best songs ever,” was my initial reaction.

I glanced up, as the song played and in walked “Mr. Matinee Idol, a beautiful serving of beef cake. He was traditionally handsome. Although I wandered as he strolled in. What is his personality like? He didn’t have smiling eyes, but a stern demeanor.

In my head it didn’t matter. To me, he walked in, while one of the best love songs of all time played. “Wow, is this is some sort of coincidence? Or is life throwing me signs? I pondered while scarfing down a bagel.

The next morning, I was at the same deli (eating the same bagel/coffee combo), when “mad about you” by Belinda Carlisle played. “What happened, while this song played?” you ask? As predicted, Mr. Matinee Idol strolled in. I was mentally dumbfounded. He kept walking in, every time I jammed to a romantic song.

“That’s it, tomorrow, if he walks in while another love song plays, it really is a sign” was my analytical assumption and secret hope of what would happen next.

“Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?” He walked in, while that “Ironic” (by Alanis Morisette) song played on my iPod. That was life just having a laugh. Although, I didn’t pursue a budding romance, the musical accompaniment to his appearances delighted me.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 404 other followers