NYC


(this kind of murals were on several walls in west village)

I went to another US tour this summer and now I’m back.  I guess it’s a time to post a new blog about it.

I’ve went to Seattle (my sister  & Microsoft Campus visit for Window 7 UX design) > Portland (my family) > New York (my home city and I pretend to live there still) > New Orleans (SIGGRAPH 2009  – we had a presentation at Research Challenge – we got 2nd place!) > New York (caught up with some more friends) > LA (my brother) > back to Seoul (3 nights ago)

As you could imagine, I’m pretty weary so I will be short and sweet and only will focus on NYC.

High Line

I had to check out High Line, a new city park in Chelsea area on the railroad (about three store high looking over Hudson River.)  It’s beautifully planned and built. (photo below) I especially appreciated wooden floor of the park & the benches.  It was great to recline in the bench and drink a cup of coffee looking at the New Jersey side over Hudson river.  Wait a min, when these new interesting looking buildings were built?  cityscape around chelsea has definitely changed.

From High Line, Chelsea, NYC

PS1 MoMA, Warm Up!

It’s been years since I went to Warm Up! at PS1 so I’ve decided to check out the exhibition and the crowd.

(bottom:  Art Installation, Pool)

pool installation at PS1 exhibition

The Tea Room, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

This spacious restaurant has a long list of teas but, also good mimosa, wine and trout dish.

the tea room, williamsburg, brooklyn

’24 Hour Party People’ Film Screen, McCarren Park, Williamsburg, New York

Perfect movie, perfect location and perfect crowd.

(If you love 80’s music, I highly recommend to watch it if you haven’t.)

'24 hr Party People' movie screening at McCarren Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Mojitto at Rice, D.U.M.B.O., Brooklyn, NY

Rice is an awesome fusion rice restaurant with Thai and Cuban flavor & they never failed me.  Also delightly surprised with good Mojitto.  D.U.M.B.O. is a great place to stroll and has the best view of Manhattan.

mojito pitcher at Rice, DUMBO Brooklyn

My friend Andrew’s Art Studio, East Village, New York

It was great to catch up with this upcoming artist from New York.  He was in Netherland for artist residency so it’s been many years since I’ve seen his latest work.  His collection showed Dutch influence definitely!  I’ve decided to be a fan of his art.  Hopefully, he will have a show in Seoul one day.

visiting an artist studio in e. village

I’m about to head out to Seattle.  Stopping through Portland and LA, I will be arriving to NY eventually as it would be my primary visit this summer.  As a pre-New Yorker, it brings me back all the strange indescribable emotions whenever I visit that city.  I’m staying at unfamiliar neighborhood, still meeting new friends and old friends, adventuring out more.  Still, New York is what it is.  A city with lifestyle whiche you won’t find anywhere else in the world.  I was listening to LCD Soundsystem’s “New York, I Love You. But, you are bringing me down”  – a greate lyric.  You will understand truely if you were once a New Yorker.

New York, I Love You. But, You Are Bringing Me Down
by LCD Soundsystem

New York, I Love You
But you’re bringing me down

New York, I Love You
But you’re bringing me down

Like a rat in a cage
Pulling minimum wage

New York, I Love You
But you’re bringing me down

New York, you’re safer
And you’re wasting my time

Our records all show
You are filthy but fine

But they shuttered your stores
When you opened the doors
To the cops who were bored
Once they’d run out of crime

New York, you’re perfect
Don’t please don’t change a thing

Your mild billionaire mayor’s
Now convinced he’s a king

So the boring collect
I mean all disrespect

In the neighborhood bars
I’d once dreamt I would drink

New York, I Love You
But you’re freaking me out

There’s a ton of the twist
But we’re fresh out of shout

Like a death in the hall
That you hear through your wall

New York, I Love You
But you’re freaking me out

New York, I Love You
But you’re bringing me down

New York, I Love You
But you’re bringing me down

Like a death of the heart
Jesus, where do I start?

But you’re still the one pool
Where I’d happily drown

And oh.. Take me off your mailing list
For kids that think it still exists
Yes, for those who think it still exists

Maybe I’m wrong
And maybe you’re right
Maybe I’m wrong
And myabe you’re right

Maybe you’re right
Maybe I’m wrong
And just maybe you’re right

And Oh..
Maybe mother told you true
And they’re always be something there for you
And you’ll never be alone

But maybe she’s wrong
And maybe I’m right
And just maybe she’s wrong

Maybe she’s wrong
And maybe I’m right
And if so, is there?

Some of you might have heard their song on iPhone commercial. Two members(there are three memebers) of The submarines are Blake and John and they are good friends of my good friend so I have seen their performances few times here in NY. The first, at the Joe’s Pub (2004?) and the second time at the Mercury Lounge last summer. I like how they always remembered my name and pronounced it perfectly. Last summer when I was visiting NYC, my friend told me they are in town and we went to see them performing for our catch up. They just released their new album and it was great.

Again, we’ve been trying to find a time to catch up again during my visit to NYC this winter, and he sent me an email that The Submarines are playing at the Mercury Lounge. I thought, wow, again? They tend to be in town at the same time I’m! The shows were all sold out and it was very crowded and I could see they got even more fan this time. The performance was great as usual and they are really cute people. If you talk to them, you will know what I mean. 🙂

They said my name out loud with a joy when they saw me and were very glad to see me and their good friend(my friend) who kept catching up with me during their performances like it’s a routine. Well, to be fair, he didn’t know they were in town until the last minute and I didn’t mind at all. I love live music & it was lovely to see them. They will be heading back to LA after tour and so am I next week. 🙂 GO THE SUBMARINES!

If you haven’t seen them performing live, here is youtube video of them singing. It’s better to see them live of course. Enjoy!

http://parkingdaynyc.org/

It was last weekend when I was working with my leftover energy to run a UbiComp workshop after a long nights of a proposal writing.  Since the workshop was about sustainability in Ubiquitous computing, the subject headline of the alumni list caught my eyes. If you are not familiar with The Park(ing) Day, please click on the link above. I think it’s beautiful. I wish I could hang out in NYC street in a small park in a parking lot.

Then, I thought how lovely it would be to have a parking spot turned into a small park here in Seoul. It would be tough though. There aren’t street meter parking lots here much. Well, I haven’t seen one. The parking lots in Seoul city are generally run privately instead by city. The only possible parking lot in the street is the one in the Hongik university area in Seoul. It’s usually packed with cars and people until 2 am but, if some people decided to leave their cars home and decorate the parking spots into a series of parks, it would look lovely and artsy as the neighborhood stands for.

People in Korea, some of them(many) own cars to show their status, not because they really need them. The public transportation here excels. You can get anywhere basically – faster and reliable and inexpensive. However, people prefer to bring their fancy cars to small streets of traffic jams so they can feel better about themselves. I’ve got asked several times why I don’t own a car like I should have one because of my profession. They almost think it’s not cool that I don’t own a car. Not that would effect me how I feel about having a car in a city where is full of air pollution and traffic jams. I usually answer them like this, “One less person with a car would be good for the environment and for the city.”

I have a driving license and if I really feel the need, I would drive. For example, if I live somewhere I won’t have public transportation and if driving is the only option of getting somewhere. Beside I can always rent a car if I want to drive.

I guess I’m due for some simple updates on my summer in this blog. The end of semester went by really insanely fast as usual. I had no idea how I packed & left Seoul. It’s been already 2 weeks since I arrived in Seattle, drove down to Portland with my sister’s family to see my parents, playing 9 hole golf & flew to San Francisco for a weekend visit then, arrived New York City last Sunday. Somehow, during last a week or so, everyone around me wanted to go see artworks… I have no complain but, 4 exhibitions in a week is a bit a lot to take, don’t you think? Anyway, let me summarize a bit about them now.

Museum of Glass Arts, Tacoma, WA

My sister insisted that we visit this museum on the way to Portland, OR. I had no idea since when she had great interests in glass arts but, I was all up for it! Here is one photo of installation I liked. (it was hard but, I’ve managed to take a sneak shot of it.) They also have a stage where you can see glass masters in action. Yeap, it’s warm filled with heat.

ps. I’m still dumb founded about the fact that museum clerk asked me if I’m under 18 years old still. jeez.

San Francisco, Bay area

As all my family members live by the west coast, I begin to think about any place to live in the west coast. It’s a hard thought to be away from NYC but, since I am away from NYC now, it might be a good transition to think of SF as a future option? It’s cold during July though. The hills don’t bother me that much since I’m used to hills in Seoul. (Imagine hills like SF during winter time with snow & ice!)

Since I was visiting an itp friend, of course I ended up meeting other ITP peeps. Some I had classes with, some I’ve known the names. The thing is that everyone I met during this short visit were from New York. All of them! It’s like a course you take after New York or something? Anyway, it was chillest 4th of July I’ve ever had in the US. The San Francisco people told me that July is the chillest in Bay area, SF. Who knew? Beside unchanging weather which could be very boring, I really liked the Bay area, SF.

PS1, Elevator Installation

As a friend of mine was involved with this cool elevator installation artwork & he only said, ‘I built a button’ I had to see it with my own eyes. The light installation is on the ceiling of the elevator and you do see a large red button in the middle which is to stop this colorful movement of lights. 🙂

Murakami Exhibition @ Brooklyn Museum

The last day of Takashi Murakami at Brooklyn Museum

O.K. I had to admit it that when my friend told me let’s go see Murakami Exhbition at Brooklyn Museum since it’s the last day of the exhibition, I was hesitant. Because I went to exhibitions two days in a row and it would be three days in a row and my feet were hurting apparently. But, I do like Murakami’s artwork so I dragged myself to meet up with my friend at the Brooklyn Museum. Wow, they changed fascade, lobby… it’s been over a decade since I’ve been there, shame to myself. (O.K. Brookland is a pain to travel to during weekend as we all know!) Not surprisingly, my friend got stuck in the subway station for over one hour on the way to the museum and I who hates waiting without deadlines were extremely annoyed. The show was about to close in one hour & I had to make a hard decision. To go in & meet him later. As it turns out, he just made it to the exhibition 50 min to close and we were able to find each other inside of gallery rooms.

I really loved this show. No wonder there were lines like a Disney Land ride line but, I didn’t mind at all because there were 2 floors of amazing paintings, murals, statues by Murakami. It was a through retrospective of Murakami. His vivid colors are very hard to transfer in a small camera but, here are some images. Happy ending.

close up of a painting

close up of this large painting

at lora's

After not-so-great week since my accident, I’m finding my old self pretty rapidly. My wounds have been my biology project to observe intensively… (it’s always amazing how our bodies can heal.) For one week, no going out, no museums, no drinking, no dancing, no bikram yoga, no snowboarding…, I’ve managed to get enough sleep. ah~ much needed sleep. I went to my follow up appointment with my burning unit doctor and they seemed to think I’m healing pretty well. I just have to make sure not to get any sunlight for… hmmm not sure how long. I guess few months? They gave me 3 pairs of tight leg warmer thingy (it’s stretchable cotton bandage thing that keeps pressure on my legs) & told me that I probably will have to wear them for about a month. I was thinking ‘since leg warmers are in, why not buy another pair and wear them over?’ I asked my doctor if I can drink wine or beer now and his answer was, “Yes, of course! But not too much so that you will hurt your legs again!

Right!

Anyway, I started to feel great and it didn’t hurt walking anymore this Friday. After working a long afternoon & evening to fix some designs, codes with Michelle at Park Slope, I was wondering when I was having drinks as A called me the night before. I only got one text message at 8:30 pm as “where are you?” I sent few text message explaining where I was and when to meet. No replies or no answering my calls. Oh, she usually doesn’t answer any calls… Anyway, I tried to reach her until morning to figure out what happened but, wasn’t successful. Oh, well…, She is such a good friend who even was at ER with me but, it’s not good that I begin to be skeptical about any plans with her now. In New York, we all have many different excuses & last minute misunderstandings. I just have to remember the pattern. I’ve encountered several friends who just flaked on me without any messages in numerous occasions & I’m starting to wonder if this inconsistency was here before in NYC and I just began to notice that since I’ve been away from the city for a while… Now I appreciate reliability I get from some friends since I begin to understand being reliable is one of good qualities in friendship.

in front of 17 bleeker Coffee shop

I arrived back in E. village after a long work day. It was hitting almost 11 pm but it was Friday night. I called up Sonia and she asked me to come out since she is in LES with her friends. It was pretty close enough so, I decided to drop my backpack and join them. The bar is called “The Dark Room” Entrance is very grundgy. I had a hard time finding it. I may have passed that bar many occasion since I lived near there but, never noticed this bar. When I walked in, there were some crazy drunk guys and I had to find her quickly before any of those drunken crazy man talks to me. Then I found them dancing on the floor. I was quickly introduced to her work friends. Very nice people. They were all dancing so I decided to join with a glass of Stella beer. The music was a way to mainstream but, we were also singing so it was fun. I couldn’t believe myself but, I’ve danced few hours I think. It was definitely fun.

Even when I got a strange remark, such as, “You are very stylish for a Korean.” I immediately replied, “What is that supposed to mean?” That statement has a full of strange remarks. Is he saying Korean girls are not stylish enough and/or is he saying I’m stylish despite of my handicap of being Korean? Was it compliment or insult? That was pretty dangerous remark to say to someone like me but, I thought he meant well (somehow) and was delightfully drunk so I decided to let him pass this time. 🙂

We walked out for a social cigarette break then, we saw two boys yelling ‘sexist!!!’ on the way out as they were bounced off from that bar. Then Sonia’s friend talked to them and realized that the bouncer guy wasn’t allowing any guy without a girl accompanying them. (Since when did we girls have to take boys to the bar?) So we decided to help them out. Sonia and I claimed to the bouncer that they were coming to join us and we’ve known them the whole life (well, she said that 😛 ) The bouncer guy seems like half believing but, he let them in. They thanked us & got in. 🙂   After two glasses of Stella and two hours of dancing, I think I had enough for a night after my fast recovery. But, I couldn’t find my hand knitted Melino wool scarf. I found my hat and coat but, my scarf was no where to be found. Oh, no… Sonia and I were going through a pile of coats and those two guys who just got in felt obiligated to help us so looked for it as well. At the end, I STILL LOST IT!!! Well, Ce la vie. Good bye, my scarf. I’ve only worn it a little more than a month but, it was good to feel you on my neck. Still it was a good Friday night… On the way home walking, someone behind me pulled over my hood as he passed me, “HEY!” I screamed like a New Yorker.

It’s like a jungle Friday night at 2 am.

***Note: these photos are nothing much to do with my post except they are taken in E. Village, New York about the same time.

New York City street during hot, humid summer night…

My last two weeks in New York city was really humid and hot, oven weather. Usually, I would be sitting in the air conditioned office and working until sunset during summer days but, this time I was back for my summer vacation. I walked in the street almost everyday in the summer heat while going somewhere or doing errands. That resulted nice tanned sandal marks on my feet. 🙂 I was back to take care of some matters and work on my research projects with some friends and catch up with my friends in the city. The real reason I was back was that I need to keep that connection with this city.

Now I look back, 5 weeks has passed so fast… I haven’t realized how fast it passed therefore I have missed some friends during my stay. I hope they understand that I really wanted to see them all. I also got to meet some friends unexpectedly who I didn’t see that often. It was lovely. I met some new friends even during this short stay 🙂 I had so many generous helps and care from friends during this trip unexpectedly. I felt that I was very lucky to have such good friends… I was delightfully surprised about their largely generous effort to make my NYC stay meaningful and good.

I had some conversation with my dear friend who I spent decent amount of time together during my stay… I said, “You know, I love being in NYC but, I’m realizing that I don’t really belong here. Obviously, I don’t feel that I belong in Seoul, either.” My friend nodded and said he understood exactly how I felt and he also felt as if he doesn’t belong in NYC. After few seconds passed… “Actually, I don’t belong anywhere.” We almost said at the same time.

During this trip, I have grown closer to certain friends and I felt that our friendships have reached in different levels. It was so nice to chat with such a good understanding of each others. In contrary, I felt some newly formed distance with certain friends of mine who I consider very close… I guess it is natural process of different phases people have. I know we will turn around and our friendship will continue to grow again soon. I will miss them all.

New York still means a lot to me. This is only place I have came back after my first leave and lived the longest compared to any place in the world. 17 years. With my sentiments and other complex things going on inside me, my preparation to leave was again very hectic. On the day of leaving, 5 hours wasn’t enough for me to be back for my car service. After shipping two boxes of mail to Korea additions to other shipments, I was still running around to banks and organizing stuff.

My car service from Korean vendor was waiting for me about 15 minutes in front of my place. After apologizing my lateness to my car service driver, by the time I sat in the backseat, I was sweating like I was in Bikram yoga studio. (yikes, I know) I wiped off sweat on my forehead and drank up a bottle of Vitamin water then said, “JFK, Jet blue, please.”

Here is where my story turns…

The driver is about 50s – middle aged Korean American gentleman and he kept looking at me via back mirror. After few moment as I cooled down a bit, he said I reminded him of his ex-girlfriend who he really loved when he was a college student. I said, “Really?” half believing. But his eyes were serious… a bit even teary. I thought to myself, ‘He is serious.’

He continued, “I have a wife and two kids but, I still love her and I wonder how she is now…” ‘I guess he didn’t marry this love of his life.’ hmmm, I thought to myself again. On the way to airport, he spoke about her more reminiscing his past love.

How strange… I thought I was going to reminisce about New York on the way to JFK but, I ended up sharing his reminisce about his love who he still hasn’t forgotten.

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