Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Staten Island Ferry Ride....

90 - ride the Staten Island Ferry...done 4/29/12

For the record, I have never set foot on the Staten Island Ferry until I added it to my list of celebrations.  I added it because I love being on the water.  Even for the 30 minute ferry ride between Staten Island & Manhattan, this ride will be a wonderful celebration.

Joining me today is my best bud Raul.  He & I had gone to Staten Island for pizza.  He choose Denino's...see the previous blog for that celebration.  And then we spent time at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center.  After spending this wonderful afternoon in Staten Island, it was time to head to the ferry. 

Before getting on the ferry, we stopped at the 911 Memorial.  It's sad we need this, but I have to admit this memorial is done in a tasteful way.  Lots of respect & love went into it.  It seemed only fitting we take a moment out during our day to see it.  How can you not? 

Now it's time to go to the ferry.....but not before getting some pictures around the ferry station...

I love this shot with a view of Manhattan in the background...

On the ferry...

A view from the ferry window...

The Statue of Liberty...

Coming into the Manhattan station I was able to get this great shot of the new Freedom Tower which is the tallest building in NYC...

I love the view of the NYC buildings...

Once in Mahattan, we debated on what to do.  It's odd...I was having so much fun in Staten Island that I really didn't want to do much in NYC.  However, I did want ice cream & yes, Mister Softee was there to offer my favorite....vanilla cone with colored sprinkles...

So we walked around & ended up at the South Street Seaport.  I don't remember the last time I was there.  Lots of people.  Very crowded.  I hate the crowds.  I try to avoid it because I hate bumping into people.  But welcome to NYC!  It happens.

We ended up just walking around the Seaport really quick.  I think even Raul missing Staten Island.  So one quick pic at the with the Brooklyn Bridge behind me...

On the way back to the ferry, we stumbled upon this old school Police truck.  It was parked out in front of the Police really....there is in fact an actual Police Museum in NYC!  I might have to add that to my list of celebrations.  In the meantime, here is a shot of the truck...

Once back on the ferry going back to Staten Island, we ventured outside on the back deck.  I love the view of Manhattan in the background...

I love this shot....

The Verrazano Bridge in the distance...the only way to get from Brooklyn to Staten Island...

Arriving at the Staten Island side...

And thus ends my very first ride on Staten Island Ferry.  For the record, the ferry ride is free in either direction.  There used to be a charge, but it was done away with in 1997.

And for the record, I can't wait to go back to Staten Island!  I had a lot of fun at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & would love to go back to see it all.

So this makes my 23rd celebration done.  17 remain.
I will turn 41 before this mission is completed & that's fine.  I'm still enjoying these celebrations.

Who knew 40 was going to be a great adventure?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pizza....Staten Island...Denino's

111 - go for pizza in all 5 boros; Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx & Staten Island

Staten Island - done 4/29/12
I still love pizza!  Nothing has changed since my trip to Grimaldi's.  And nothing will ever change my love for pizza.

And I love this mission of going for pizza in all five boroughs.  I have always thought Queens was home to the best pizza around...hmm...I might have to rethink that opinion.

So today I am headed to Staten Island with Raul for pizza.  And he has chosen Denino's.  He has chosen wisely!
For starters, Denino's is a famous place.  Much like Grimaldi's they sell the pizza by the pie.  No slices are available for sale!  So when you come here & you will want to, bring friends or show up very hungry!
We arrive early & park in the lot.  Since they open at noon on Sunday's, we have some time to walk around.  And since this is my first venture to Staten Island, I'm up for looking around. 
Across the street from Denino's is a Ralph's Ices.  Our waitress will inform us later that this is the original Ralph's.   
We also find a few little stores....none open this gorgeous Sunday.  There was an antique store that showed teacups in the window.....luckily they were closed.  I don't need another teacup!  And the handbag store is apparently by appointment only on Sundays.  Good to know for next time & yes, there will be another visit to Denino's.....there has to be!

Once inside Denino's there is a warmth that greets you.  The place is simple, but yet inviting.  And places like that are often the best places to eat! 
We are seated in a booth & take some time to review the menu.  With me today is my best friend Raul.  Since he is a vegetarian, there shall be no meat on the pizza.  Fine.  No worries.  There are plenty of meatless options.
We agree to the Denino's Margarita pie which is fresh mozzerella, basil, marinara sauce, & sprinkled with grated cheese.  It sounds delish, right?  Well, I'm sure it is....but we didn't get it.
Our waitress, Michelle, realized that we have not been here before.  She gladly offers us some advice on the food.  And she suggests that for first time visitors to Denino's, we have to go with the cheese pie.  How could we argue with her?  She was really cool!
So cheese pie it is!
While waiting for our food, we have time to check out the other people now filling up the seats.  And let me tell you, this place is definitely going to be good.  With all the people filing in, this place has to be good.
Our pie arrives...

Why is in fact delicious!

That first slice....

Mmmm....can you taste it?  I can & it's wonderful!  A little slice of heaven!  I wish I had more right now!!!

So warm & delicious & perfect!  A Denino's Cheese Pe is perfect for your first trip to Staten Island.  It's a pie that is meant to be shared with a great friend.  And Raul, I'm glad I got to share this pie with you!

So with two boroughs now done, three remain before this mission can be closed out.

Anyone know a great place for pizza in Manhattan?  How about da Bronx? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cherry Blossoms

#191 see the Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden....done 4/18/12

Raul, thank you for sharing this day with me.  I couldn't have done this with anyone else.

Oh sweet Cherry Blossoms! Regarded the world over as elegant & dainty & lovely, today they will offer out plenty of reasons to own a camera & to live in NY.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is home to numerous plants, trees & flowers & they offer a colorful palette that even Crayola would be envious of owning. From the lush greens to the vibrant reds & every color in between, Mother Nature has given me the perfect excuse to play hooky from work & be here in Brooklyn today.

The Cherry Blossoms bloom in late March or early April & last till the end of April or early May….if you’re lucky. And if you’re lucky enough to get to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, you will find yourself at peace. You will find yourself marveling at these gorgeous shades of pink. And you will find others there with the same intention as your own…to take tons of amazing photos of the Cherry Blossoms. As for me…yes, I will gladly share my amazing photos. Not only here in this blog, but on Facebook & in my photo albums.

Thank you Raul for sharing this day with me. I don’t know who else would have taken as many pictures as me this day. By the end of this day, I will have shot over 500 photos! I’m going to keep Shutterfly pretty busy!

It starts with getting up early. You want to get there as soon as the garden opens. You want to beat the crowd. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is rather famous for their Cherry Blossoms & even though it’s a Wednesday, there is sure to be a crowd.

Once we get to the garden, we ignore everything else. Well, okay, that’s not entirely true…we did stop to see a few things before getting to the Cherry Blossoms. But we will spend most of the time here among these shades of pink. There will be more photos of other areas of the garden, but the Cherry Blossoms are clearly the reason we have come here today.

To me, Cherry Blossoms have no scent. If they do, it’s truly faint. I don’t smell a thing. But they offer gorgeous shades of pink & these flowers that look almost like carnations. And when they are bundled together the way they are, they look beautiful. They cry out to be seen & to be adored. And I am clearly not the only person here today looking & adoring them.

I have a Cherry Blossom tree right outside my apt on the corner. It’s only one tree & it demands attention. So here at the BBG the families of these trees clearly demand your attention & clearly, they get it.

As I walked under the trees, I just aimed my camera & clicked & kept clicking. I wanted to hold onto this memory of this beauty forever. I know I can see them again next year….but that’s so far away. And what if the Mayans are right & the world ends this year? Oh no…I cannot lose this beauty. So shutterbug that I am, I kept clicking away & taking in every possible shot that I could.

The lighting was perfect under the trees. There were openings were light could peek through the branches & other areas where the branches banded together to block out the light & offer you shade.

One thing to know about Cherry Blossoms, they are very fragile. One gust of wind can clear a tree. And after a harsh rain, the tree will be naked. And while you think their beauty is gone, it’s merely resting for a new show next year.

Luckily, we are here on the most perfect day. These trees are in full bloom & they offer you their complete beauty. Today you will be thankful you own a camera & that you can be here. I know I was. I was thankful for the great weather, not too sunny, not too cool….just right. And I am so thankful to the amazing people at Canon for the camera I own.

Perfect weather.

Perfect camera.

Perfect person to share this day with.

Perfect amount of people here in the garden.

Oh yes. Perfect on all counts.

I love color. And I love when color comes alive in something. In this case the trees. They are truly amazing & offer out these beautiful tones of pinks. From the light to the bright to the dark, there are plenty of gorgeous hues & Mother Nature has truly outdone herself today.

As I turned 40 I realized a lot about myself. Nothing I hadn’t seen before, but stuff I sorta overlooked or ignored. Stuff I didn’t make time for, like having all this fun. Or stuff I hadn’t thought about doing, like the tea party. And now that I’m doing all these things, I’m enjoying my life a lot more. I’m having fun getting out there & getting asked questions about this whole mission. I’m still rather amazed that it’s being discussed. I enjoy that people are starting their own missions of doing celebrations for their birthdays & I hope to be invited along on some of their missions.

I’m glad it took me till my 40th birthday to want to do this. I think it means more to me now than it would have at 20 or even 30. And I don’t mind telling people I’m 40. It’s wonderful! If I could change any of it, I wouldn’t. I’m happy where I am in life. Regardless of what others think my life should be. It’s my life, not yours. If you aren’t happy in your own life, how can you offer me happiness in mine?

This makes mission # 22 done.  18 more to go & I’m not worried about turning 41 soon. I might even add an extra mission just to celebrate the next birthday. Maybe I’ll even add 41 more missions & keep going till I hit 50 years old! Who knows? 

After all, I’m a woman & we change our minds constantly!!

Here are a few of the amazing photos from this gorgeous day.....