Through My iPhone Lens: Lower East Side

With classes all day or a 9-5 job it can be hard to get out of your comfort zone and explore new things. I’ll be honest, after a long day at work all I want to do is go home, lay in bed, and watch the Bachelorette all night long. So yes, even I have to give myself a little extra push to go do something new or fun with my time after the work day is done.

After getting out of work an hour early last Thursday, I decided to just walk around New York City with no end destination in mind. This is always something I enjoy doing even if I am running on only 4 hours of sleep. You never know what little treasures you will find when you just explore and take in your surroundings. New York is full of wonderful surprises!

During my stroll around the Lower East Side, an area I love but never have the chance to visit much, I took all of these photos. The neighborhood inspired me and made for one of the most enjoyable afternoons I have had all summer.

Go out in your city. Walk into stores you’ve never noticed before. Let art inspire you. Try something new. You never know what small joys you may discover!

 

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Finding Happiness in Simplicity

I think we can all agree that our fondest memories are always those shared with the people we love most in life. These memories can range from a family vacation to a day at the beach to one’s favorite holiday. I often find that my most treasured memories do not have to be in a special place or at a special time but with someone special. When you are with a person that simply makes you happy just with their presence, the world of possibility to make an unforgettable memory automatically opens up.

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My cousin, and my best friend, recently visited me for a Saturday while I was living in the city. I often find that I don’t have to plan out concrete things for us to do in order to have an amazing time, especially in New York, because, lets be honest, everything is pretty amazing.

Naturally, we ate our way through the day, walking our way to different neighborhoods. We began with Good Enough to Eat in the Upper West Side, a block down from where I was living. This has been on my list of restaurants to try for quite some time now, especially after walking past long lines of people every weekend morning. We didn’t even have to wait in the line since I volunteered my butt to be burned on the metal chairs that were heating up in the hot summer sun. The things I will do when I am hungry! Needless to say, you can never go wrong with a biscuit and a well-cooked omelette (one with white cheddar and granny smith apples in this case!).

After browsing through a few book stores, riding the Subway downtown, stopping at Mount Sinai for band-aids for Natasha’s feet and sipping on drinks in the East Village, we managed to end up in the Lower East Side/Soho area. While I often pass this quaint blue building, seeing people chomping down on corn, I had not tried it for myself before this weekend. Natasha and I always joke that you can only eat corn on the cob around the person you feel most comfortable with. Let me tell you ladies, not a pretty sight! This has to be a given, but if I boy wants to take you to Cafe Habana on a date, run the other direction. Or maybe just suggest another restaurant.

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Sprinkled with cheese and zested with lime, this corn is a delicious summer treat to share with your best friend. We ate ours out on the street, taking in the buzzing environment, but there is also a sit-down part of the restaurant right next door.

Since we were in the area I stopped at Sunrise Mart, a convenient store carrying all kinds of Japanese goodies, to buy my favorite lychee gummies. Natasha and I may or may not have eaten an entire bag each while watching the sunset… They really are that good!

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My favorite summer activity is watching the sunset. It may seem so simple but it always gives me an extreme wave of happiness and love for life. It is crazy to think that everyone in this world sees the same sun every day and watches it come and go at different points in time. The sun and each day is something we are all guilty of taking advantage of. How often do you stop to appreciate the sun rising and the opportunity to start a new day? Or watch the sun setting and reflect on the day that just passed?

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As I sat in Hudson River Park, with my favorite city of skyscrapers and bustling lives behind me, I watched the sun fall over the horizon, closing the wonderful day I had just spent with my cousin. Life can get hectic. We all have jobs. We all have needs. We all have goals. I get it, it’s hard to balance all of these in one 24-hour day. In order to appreciate and enjoy these days, however, we need to stop and take in the natural beauty of what is happening in the world we live in.

The Beauty in the Broken

I was running along the Hudson River during my favorite part of the day, sunset, when I ran past this sculpture. I removed my ear buds which where blasting soft electronic music, stopping to admire the sculpture. As humans, art has the power to move us. It moves us in ways we may not even be able to explain. I often find myself compelled by a certain piece of art that I would have never looked at twice if presented to me in a different way.

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While I already experience an Adrenaline rush during my nightly runs, seeing an art piece as powerful as this one only heightens that high. It is art like this that really makes me think about life, which is exactly what the artist intended when she created this sculpture. The emotion on these faces is so raw and genuine that you cannot help but stop in your tracks and feel a connection while looking at it.

Tanda Francis sculpted this structure from concrete and steel, ending with a towering 10-foot-tall masterpiece called Everyone Breaks. She was inspired by the fact that life always forces us down at points in time. Every person experiences situations which bring them to tears or anger they cannot control. However, we always have the power inside us to push past these struggles in order to find happiness once again. The cracks in this sculpture simply show that something which was once broken is even more beautiful after being pieced back together again.

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When I stopped in front of this sculpture I was not sure exactly what attracted me to the art piece, which often happens. Sometimes you later find answers to why this state of awe occurred and sometimes you do not. After learning the meaning behind Francis’s sculpture it made sense to me why I was originally so attracted to it. I, just like every other human on this Earth, have had points in time where I have been so upset, heartbroken, or angry over situations beyond my control. It is from these situations, however, that I have grown into who I am today. I have learned to always value my self-worth over anyone else’s. I have learned to appreciate my loved ones while they are with me. I have learned to always trust my first intuition about someone.

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Without these lessons I would not be the confident, beautiful, hard-working young woman I am today. I would not treat people important to me with the level of affection and respect that they deserve. I definitely would not express myself through fashion in the same way I do now. I can promise you that you would not be the unique, wonderful person you are today without your life experiences, for your hardships have only made you more beautiful.

My look is not only inspired by the beauty of the sculpture but by the beauty of life itself. I choose to wear my favorite bodysuit to show off one of my favorite features- my back. Never be afraid to show off what you feel is the most beautiful part about yourself, whether it is your legs or a scar, for every feature makes you who you are.

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I think of myself as a fun, carefree person so I like to express that in my style. While I do love black, I am never afraid to add some fun accessories like these sunglasses and red crossbody bag. Of course, I added a contrasting puff to the bag to express even more of my personality.

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As Tupac Shakur once recited in The Rose That Grew From Concrete, “Did you hear about the rose that grew through the crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s law wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to be keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live that rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.” In other words, the most beautiful and pure version of yourself develops due to life’s obstacles and heartbreaks.