Archive | September 2012

St Paul’s Chapel – Across WTC

Today was the most beautiful day here in NYC, slightly cloudy and mostly sunny. Thanks to a friend of mine who dragged me to Manhattan downtown to show him around.

Ever since I landed in NYC, I have had numerous guests coming over, be it a family or friends or friends of friends or family friends. I have been a tour guide with no knowledge about “what about’s of the places.. err..I meant history”, but know what those top 10 tourist destinations to cover all in a single day! I have visited every single place more than 10 times each in a span of 2 years.

Anyways, coming back to our topic.. after my friend left, I rambled into St.Paul’s Chapel Church. Amazed at the importance of the church and the hope & shelter it gave to people during WTC (world trade center) attack who were contributing to clean the mess out. If you are further interested in reading about it.. Click here.

As I walk through, it is more of an exhibits where it showcases, how people were being helped by volunteers, the messages they got from people around the world, letters and paintings from the kids, volunteers work and the life during those crucial 3 months right after the attack. In spite of the fall of WTC towers, there has been no physical damage occurred to this Church although it’s just across the street.  People were working round-about-the-clock, in 12 hours shifts and staying back to finish the work instead of going home.  Truly amazing..and it brought me tears in my eyes as I read and remember the people who lost their lives and happy for them who survived this episode.

Few clicks for you to get  a feel of it: All in the order from the entrance to a round about inside the chapel back to outside. Good news is that, if you ever want to visit this, you can get a free tour, they are offered Monday to Friday at 12 pm. No reservations required.. isn’t awesome?

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Sam’s Falafel – Food Cart

That’s a food cart in NYC. Yes.. 100% vegetarian and #1 cart food in Manhattan Downtown.  Surprisingly, it costs only $4.00 (four dollars and Only Cash is accepted).

Of course, there are quite a few food carts around, and you get to eat variety of the food. The variety is usually available in the afternoon. If you are a vegetarian and would like eat for cheap .. this is the place.

Sam’s FALAFEL

Few more shots, It is pretty famous and usually there is a huge line during lunch time.

You have to wait for your turn.

Here is the Menu for you to choose, the platter is just too much food for any one to finish unless you are really hungry.

Menu..:)

..Where to find?

Broadway and Cedar St, Manhattan Downtown. (Close to WTC)

If you ever happen to visit NYC, try this food out.

Closest subway stop: 4, 5 (stop: Wall st) & R (stop: Cortland st) trains.

Life time learning – is it a never ending saga?

Learning is an life time experience

..I always wanted to grow up faster, finish studies and land up in a job so that I do not have to ever worry about learning subject and giving exams.

I was so relieved and excited the day I graduated. Time to rejoice, no more super vision by parents, a job, new people, new place, and yes I got my very first car too. I was totally on cloud nine until a week passed into my job.

As the ancient saying goes “The beginning of the end”..but for me it is “the beginning of the real-drama in life that tests what you have been prepared to do for so many years”.

The first real-job I landed wanted me to learn new technology, systems, environment, and required to possess problem solving skills to fix, initiate or finish the projects ahead of dead lines and with minimum supervision. So, I had to venture back my energy and time into learning, adapting, acting spontaneously, and being responsible. To even spice up, and stay ahead of my compatriots, one needs to be on top of the things, be it from business front, or knowledge about cheapest, best and latest technologies that will help perform your job efficiently one has to spend some time on researching new IT products released into market. I had to even give some Certification exams just to show the world that I have some standard agreeable level of knowledge. Sadly, I still give certification exams just to be updated with the current technology that I am working on. (*sigh* Competition, competition every where).

I thought, it’s great that I now possess all the skills to do the job and I can put an end to learning.. As I enter into comfort zone, only then I was put on a new project, new team and my life came back to square one. Yes, sad isn’t?  I had to start all over again. It happened every time on every new project that changes on the average of 6 months to 1.5 years. I hated it for choosing this kind of job stream and being in this position.

Transition happened so seamlessly that I found my comfort zone in this uncertainty of this modern age when recession hit. I got so used to learning and adapting to situations by then that it wasn’t too difficult to switch to a totally new technology and still do my best. And, I pride myself in helping others during that tough time in providing the necessary support.

My parents have always said – “if you work hard now, you’ll be happy later”. But I think, what they meant as.. If you work hard now and you will eventually get used to it and obviously you’ll be happy coz your mindset has that attitude. I totally second their thoughts.

Bottom line: Be in life or career, Change is the only consistent thing and we will be learning every single day.. Yes every single day!… We are students for lifetime. The sooner we accept this fact, the more fun it is. I know, I have learned it a very hard way.

Do you have such stories?  Go ahead and share.. I would love to hear back from you.

Scared of Public Speaking…you are not alone

Every presentation has a beginning , an ending and organized content in between that progresses smoothly from beginning to end. Giving a presentation has always been a night mare for me, I would tremble, stumble, jumble, panic and what not.. in front of the audience.

Public Speaking.. ?&#$^ (src: google images)

Starting from my under-grad days, I have always loved to participate in paper presentation contests, although paper would get selected but I’ve terribly failed presenting it and since then I’ve been looking for a platform to get rid of this public speaking fear. I have had given decent number of presentations since then and I see myself getting better at it.

As the saying goes, Practice makes man perfect.  True to the fact but you also need to find a means where you can practice it, and I found one – Toastmasters Club. I have been thinking of joining it from past 2 years. Today, I made it a point to attend it any cost and went in as a guest to get the feel of it.

Wonder How to Say it?
src: google images

It was a pleasant surprise to see the high-energy, warm environment and the speakers were truly amazing. It gave a confidence that this is the platform for any one who would like to get over with public-speaking anxiety and improve their leadership skills. I am excited and looking forward to attend these meetings.  The audience would evaluate each of the speaker listing their area of strengths, areas to improvise . It also gives a scope for creativity and improves spontaneity of people.

Lecturing is an art…

They really give feedback for each of the person who speaks up, be about being spontaneous, best presenter, best evaluator etc. One of my friend who came along said : Ignorance gives a person confidence. True to an extent that you wouldn’t care how you are speaking, your gestures, body mannerisms anything would come into picture coz you are not being judged.

Here is the Medicine for your problem.

I loved it and hope you’ll like it to. To explore more about Toast Masters in your country, Click here. And good news is, It is open to anyone and everyone who ever wants to join and improve their public speaking skills.

Images Src: I know you must have guessed it.. I am still a die hard fan of google images. I may swtich to bing soon just to avoid monopoly in the IT market.

Are you stressed out?

In this modern era, we are stressed out for anything and everything. Have ever paused .. and scanned through the things that are stressing you out?

Stress is the main reason for many new diseases, it shuts out  healthy and important hormones in our body, especially it weakens our immune system killing healthy cells. Is it worth? In fact, is anything worth more than our health?

Do watch the documentary on Stress, Potrait of a Killer.  That is available on Netflix as well. (For the people who are not familiar with netflix, it is a internet subscription service for watching  movies and TV Programs).

Totally worth watching, and hope this helps you as much as it did to me. It definitely makes you re-think, if stressing out on things of small value is any value at all. Stress is directly proportional to our ill-health.

That is why it is said “Health is wealth”.

Let me know your take on this is?

Blood Horoscopes

huh.. would you even think that your traits are determined based not only on the month you were born in but also depending on the blood group you have… well of course good and bad.

Blood Groups
(source: Google images)

As part of Blood Drive program in our organisation, one of my friend ended up donating his blood. His was O +ve, and I was… So far under the assumption that O+ is a an universal donor until I found out some very interesting facts that differentiates various blood groups.

Here is the Conversation:

so you have two blood proteins that are in some people but not in others
If you have one or the other, you’ll be either A or B
If you have both, you’re AB
If you have neither, you’re O
Actually, there’s a third one
If you have it, you’re +
Otherwise, you’re –
So, if you’re A+, you have 2 of the proteins
If you’re O-, you have none of the proteins
If you are missing some and someone gives it to you, then the donated blood will be rejected by your body
O+ can’t get blood from A or B blood types
But O+ can be given to anyone that’s +
and O- people can  give blood to anyone, they can only receive from O-
O-  is Universal Donor
AB+ is Universal Receiver
And also, he pointed out that blood horoscopes are most prevalent in Japanese culture. (my thoughts: I doubt if they still do )
Do you want to know what your traits are based on the blood group?
So, go ahead and share what your personality is like? Mine is Type O …And hey, please never ask me to donate the blood.. I have a scarcity of Iron and have to eat lots of Greens.. yeah i know.. but do I have a choice? .
and I am not really defined by what they have listed out there.. !
Go ahead and share yours.
Happy Blood Horoscoping.
PS:  Horoscoping word doesn’t exist…totally made up. Nor the blood horoscope classification apply.. it was a made up by one of the Japanese person who got insulted by an westerner travelling  Japan at that time. I read this somewhere just this evening and can’t seem to find the supporting link. There is another version of the story (here), but you can always google it away.

9/11 – Remembering people who lost their lives in World Trade Center Terrorist Atttack!

Salute to those brave people who lost their life saving others in the WTC terrorist attack on Sep 11 2001. May all those souls rest in peace. It has been eleven years and they seem as if it just happened recently. We can only wish, incidents like this should never happen. Below are the pictures clicked this evening.

Wrote on the floor with chalk-piece.

Sep 11, 2011 – 11 Years

Paying Tributes

New Word Trade Center – under construction

Another here..

And another..

Fire Department who participated actively during the WTC attack.

It is crowded with people visiting the memorial

Dedicated to all the 3000 people who lost their lives in this attack

Fun facts about living in New York

NYC – Citi that Never Sleeps

My Job demands me to relocate quite frequently and that gave me an opportunity to live  in multiple cities of United States ..and New York is the one that is having (rather holding) me the longest. I would like to share some fun facts that are soooo unique to NYC.

Fun facts goes here:

1. Citi Never Sleeps – 24 hrs round the clock, you’ll see people at any given time . I came alone home at 1 AM via public transportation.. no kidding, I find it is the safest place to travel at any time in nights.No wonder it has such a caption (actually that is a caption of Citibank but gets applied to NYC). Also called as Big Apple (I still wonder why it’s called by that name.. I have no justification..If you do know.. appreciate your reasoning)

2. Diversity -People are diversified and you’ll see the whole world right here in this 13 mi Manhattan.. I have met people from countries that I have never heard of (oh I meant, I never heard not that they do not exist)

3.Sky Scrappers everywhere.. Forest made of Concrete.. although in east-coast, seasons change but you’ll see no difference in the color of this concrete jungle.

4. Amazing Opportunities – oh yea, you can be what ever you want to . Well, you see people who show off their talents in trains and in subways and make some quick bucks for their living while stepping their foot into the career they wanted to make of. And you can simply do anything and everything you dreamed of. You can explore your interests/hobbies and meet like minded people.

5. Best Metro system 24×7 -I mean, I am talking about commute via buses and trains yeah yeah.. public transportation, subways are bit dirty though, well with such a huge population that is expected.

6. Expensive living and *conditions apply*: Well the living costs are high, you really have to pay quite a ransom for a small apartment. I have been in different states in United States, New York City  is the only place I’ve seen where one need to pay ” one months rent towards Broker Fees” even for renting an apartment. Air Conditioner and Microwave are NOT provided, You have even buy and fix window blinds, and some times you need get your own carpet and fix it. I find all these weird for one reason that It was never this tough at any place I’ve lived so far.

7. Crowded: Not only people, even the buildings are. If you ever happen to get into subway between 7 am and 9 am, You will be standing almost at the footsteps of a bus and you might not be able to squeeze in the trains unless you board the train at the very beginning. Yes, I am equally surprised and excited that… even in United States people have to stand and ride in public transportation for longggggggg hours. Yes, on the average people who work in NYC travel at least an hour to 2 hours…no kidding.

8. Public Parks: You think they are free, to use tennis courts, swimming pools or use any other amenities..you need to take membership and pay for it. Yes the fees are minimal but YOU Still need to pay for it. Well could be part of a maintenance fee for such a huge population and less land.

9. Swimming pools in Gym: It’s very hard to find a gym with swimming pool in it. Ofcourse Place constraints. and Gym memberships are very expensive.

10. Food ..this is the best place on the earth for variety of food cuisines. You find everything from .. eeks.. I can’t just list all the countries but say on the world map, from east to west and from south to North, diagnolly , tangentially, parabollically.. you will find the breadth of cuisines ..specially in Manhattan Midtown and downtown.

11. Competitive Spirit: On the average people born and brought up in NYC are much smarter (well in United States only..), Survival of the fittest applies here.. (some law in physics) , more competition , more choices ..certainly more smart people.

12. Fashion: Great fashion sense, New Yorkers dress well ! They have amazing fashion sense. I think people from paris, France are probably have more fashion sense than new yorkers. Well I am not sooo sure about it.. may be U could answer this. But definitely, great styles.

13. Education: There are best universities and schools for every thing, although driven by financial industry everywhere, it is a great place for other things as well. May be not, IOWA has best SAT scores across the country..!

14. Events: There is one or the other event happening in reachable distance within NYC that is most likely open to public.

15. Bars: For all the people out there.. as much as I wanted NYC to have the best bars, but I guess the Hoboken, New Jersey stands out.. This place has best bars in the world and it’s just 15 mins away from Penn Station, New York (take a path and make a ride).

As much as I want my brain to recollect facts ..it seems to be very tired to think even a bit further.  It had such a long long day today and needs some rest. It says it will take this up some other time.

And , before I end..as much fun and exciting it is to live in NYC, it equally gives Strain and Stress.

Welcome to NYC. Definitely a great place to live, Visiting does not give you real fun unless you live here.. It is a worthwhile experience. What are you thinking, If you ever get a chance to live in NYC even for a month… take it up!

Hope this gave you some not-so-mentioned-insights-about-NYC.  (I am too lazy to even proof read).

Summer ends on Labor Day Weekend

Apparently,  Labor day in united states is the official ending of summer and the beginning of fall season.  I ended up walking in my neighborhood park Flushing Meadows Corona Park this evening.  The biggest park in Queens borough in New York City. This is the park adjacent to where the US Open tennis takes places and also the Indoor swimming pool in the park have been utilized for Olympics some time back.

…anywaayyyy period to advertisement. To breath some fresh air this evening..I ended up going to this park and it totally surprised me with the liveliness .. heck I totally forgot that it is a Labor day weekend. Park is totally occupied by people everywhere with their camps on. Live music, good food, fun time for kids, great friends and family get-together’s around the lake. They were lying in the grass, playing sports, flying kites, fishing, biking and boating too.

While I walk, I wondered if the Flushing  name of park mean something?.. may be it’s just a water flushed out of our toilets.. eeks. who knows .. may be. My environmental engineering friend says, all the flushed water from our homes are sanitized with chemicals and left into the stream exposing them to fresh air so they can get rid of bad smell and then they are picked up, filtered and re-distributed as drinking water… oops, did I just leak the information out.. sorry about it. Yeah.. it sounds like – what goes around comes around. Forget what you learned here..and look at the beautiful pictures that I have captured while I wandered in the awesomely beautiful park.

Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Live music, good food and it is crowded… Lively

Camping everywhere, good food, live music and drums.

Boating and biking.. and it ends tomorrow (last day of weekend)

Kids park, the palm tree replica with water fountains…

Here are the beautiful Sun Set pictures

Sunset and Lamp Post

another beautiful one..

Another beautiful spot – resembles china town

…the end of walking tour!

Hope you have enjoyed this virtual tour of not-so-touristy local place in one of the 5 boroughs of New York City!

My first experiment ever – Quilled Paper ART

..Never knew there is something called Quilled Art until I happened to ran into Preethi Shoney’s Blog and happened to see one of her art work accidentally and that led me to dig through and find more about it. Since then, I have browsed many of the quilled art related websites and watched ‘how to make quilled paper art  tutorials’ in youtube.. yes you heard it right, thanks to technology which makes things just possible

…instantly ordered materials and here it is.. MY first ever experiment and I so fell in love with this art…and of course you need to have lots of patience to do this!

In spite of tilting the pictures taken to display it right, they are still acting upon me.. hell with that I say, this will not stop me from posting to the blog.