Just another mild snow storm in NYC. It was just the perfect combination of new snow, temperature, and partially melted/frozen ice. There was a nice thick coat of fresh snow over the city. It was the ideal condition for photography and I definitely took advantage of it. I was not the only one. On my little photo tour I saw other people taking photos as well. I saw kids playing in the snow and MTA workers clearing the subway platforms. City life continued as normal as it could be on a snow day.
Came here with a group of people (6 + 3 dogs). It was amazing. The weather was amazing. A nice cool 32F. No rain or snow. Just some overcast clouds. The snow that had fallen days before made the hike that much more enjoyable. The dogs loved it as well. They were running constantly! Again we hiked all the way to the rock scramble but did not attempt it because of the dogs and there was not enough snow to cover the rocks for us to just walk over it all. I have decided to rename the rock scramble to “Boulder Scramble”. That’s what it really looks like when you reach the starting point of the scramble. In any case, it was a fun hike. Had great company and we were all able to enjoy some snacks at the Italian Garden.
A group of 4 of us came here the other day to try their ramen. We originally attempted to come here a week ago but they were catering a private event so the store was closed at the time. One weird thing about this place is that in the day time, it is a bagel shop. At night, it is a ramen place. They only have 14 seats so the wait time can easily be 1 hr. I would not come here with a big group. I’d recommend max of 4.
As for service, the wife is really friendly and nice. She definitely can handle the patrons and whitty enough to make the appropriate twists to the comments I made. Definitely capable of working the front of the house. Her husband is the chef and you see him every now and then. This is a small operation, husband and wife and the dish washer person. I can understand why it is cash only. I just hope that in the future when they have their own store front they will accept credit cards.
Onto the food, we tried both of their steamed buns (pork belly and short ribs), U & I, and Tonkotsu 2.0, and Spicy Miso. I’ll start with I think needs more work. The pork belly. Definitely not enough sauce and not very tender at all. Kind of dry if you ask me. It was a real let down. The second part was the Spicy Miso ramen. It wasn’t spicy and not enough miso. The noodles were exceptionally thick in my opinion. It felt more like udon noodles. The diameter of the noodles should be cut in half. In addition, the noodles were very al dente. If I had only these 2 things, I would have given this place 3 stars but since I had other things that were top notch, giving this place 4 stars overall.
The U & I was delicious. Good balance between wasabi, warm rice, uni, and maguro (genus of tuna), and fish eggs. I would have definitely preferred eating it with a small spoon because using chopsticks is extremely difficult to get all the ingredients in a little bite. The uni was sweet and the rest of the ingredients were spot on. The short rib steamed buns were amazing. They were so amazing that we ordered the pork belly to try. But to our disappointment, it was night and day. The pork belly fell short on a lot of things. The ribs were extremely tender/soft and had tons of flavor in it. The tonkotsu 2.0 was definitely version 2.0. The meat melted in your mouth. I couldn’t believe it. Yes some of it was fat, but the meat was extremely tender. The noodles were not overly al dente. Perfectly cooked in my opinion. Only thing I recommend is for you to swirl your noodles in the soup to break it up. Mine was still clumped together when it arrived. The broth was rich and had tons of flavor. It was salty and I did have to drink lots of water but bottom line, it was delicious. Much better than the Spicy Miso. Spicy Miso needs a 2.0 or maybe even a 3.0.
Overall, I’d recommend the tonkotsu, U&I, and short rib steamed buns. I’ll definitely come here again and recommend it to others. You just need to come early so you don’t have to wait that long.
Hercules came and started snowing on the 2nd and into the late morning of the 3rd. I wished it had snow more but we only got about a foot of snow. I knew the next day would be much warmer and that some of the snow would melt away so I purposely woke up a little earlier and walked around to snap some photos before getting into work. It was windy and still snowing at the time I took the photos. You can still see some of the snow coming down in my photos. I wish I had time to go to central park. Perhaps the next snow dump I’ll go there.
For New Year’s Eve, had nothing planned. I decided to go with Nitro to our friends’ apartment and just go to his rooftop and attempt to take photos of the firework display at midnight. We got to his place around 9 o’clock and just watched CNN and watched House Hunters HGTV. Never knew something like that existed but it was interesting to see what the market is like for that particular area. After killing time watching TV, drinking lots of carbonated beverages, we decided to head up to the rooftop 15min till midnight. I brought up all my gear and Nitro happily came along with us. When we got to the roof, it was surprisingly very windy. It wasn’t windy when I was walking on the streets. Combination of wind and freezing temperatures made it very uncomfortable up there. We counted down to midnight and I started taking photos once the fireworks started. Shortly after, I decided to go inside because my hands were in pain because it was so cold. I got some photos and that was good enough for me. Next year, I’ll have to find a different vantage point and hopefully we’ll get go be inside.
After a wonderful meal with friends in LIC, we decided to come here with Nitro. This is the first year that Astoria had a Christmas tree. I don’t know who brought the tree and decorated it but it was really nice of them to do so. Definitely gave the park some character for the holidays. I hope next year they will have an even bigger one and with more lights
Went to Montauk State Park for a hike this past weekend. Came here with a group of friends and 2 dogs.Online information for the start of the Point Woods Loop Trail was lacking. Here are the coordinates of the start of the trail:
Good maps coordinates: 41.067931,-71.878987
As you drive on Camp hero Rd, you will see a shoulder on the right hand side and that’s where you can park. Then you walk about 30 feet and you’ll see a sign post directing you to the trail. You just follow the trail and you will see lots of historic stuff. You will see where the weapons used to be and see a sign not to touch military equipment/ammunition if you find any. As you continue walking, you will come across another sign for the Bluffs Overlook. I highly recommend going to the overlook to the ocean and the cliffs. Be very careful not to stand too close to the edge of the cliffs. We thought this was a good place to stop and eat lunch. An amazing view. As you continue back onto the trail, you will eventually walk near the coast line and head towards the lighthouse. On the way to the lighthouse, you will pass a parking lot on the left hand side. You can definitely skip the hike and just drive to the location =P After you get to the lighthouse, just find the concession stand and head down onto the beach and head West. You have to walk for quite a bit before you hit the seal area. We never made it to the seal area but I hope to come back to see them.
The trails were very easy to hike. We encountered some patches of mud but other than that, no rock scrambles or steep cliffs to hike up or down.
Even though we came here during the winter, I couldn’t believe how many ticks we found on the dogs. Luckily none latched on to me but a friend of ours had an unexpected passenger.
This place is also great to see the winter birds if you’re a birder.
I would definitely come back here again to see the seals and birds. I’m just not sure if I’ll bring the dogs back again.
Links to our trail.
Montauk State Park – Points Woods Loop & Seal Haul Trails
We came here today again with the pup and it was beautiful!! It was snowing but that didn’t bother us. The trails were clear, nobody else was on the trail with us so our dog was able to be off leash. The trail markers were easily seen and lots of photo opportunities. Unfortunately, there was heavy fog/clouds so we couldn’t clearly see the NY side. Getting down to the base of the mountain was easy. They had steps for you. We then ran into the large rocks where we had to scramble. We weren’t sure if we were at the right place but we went up the mountain. We got about half way and decided to turn back. Only reason was because it was still snowing, our dog was having some difficulty, and we didn’t know how long we would have to scramble for. Next time, we’ll go without the dog and when it’s not snowing and once I know what to expect, we can do it again. I even got a chance to test out both GPS tracking softwareL MapMyHike and MyTracks. I’m not sure what happened but MyTracks was more accurate. It seemed like MapMyHike lost GPS tracking for awhile. I’ll just have to double check next time instead of letting the software run on its own.
Here are some samples from the hike (5d Mk3 + 16-35mm f/2.8 II)
Lived in NYC for a little more than 5 years and not once have I ever gone to the parade. This year however was different. We got there at 6:30AM and found a spot at 240 Central Park South. This is about 200 feet from where the floats turn around at Columbus Circle. The weather was a cool 25F with winds up to 15-20 mph. We just waited and confronted each gust of wind that came at us. We were relatively close to the sidewalk and nobody in front of us to shield us from the winds. As usual, got a chance to mingle with the people around us, even the cops. Once the parade started, I think everyone forgot about the cold and just enjoyed the festivities. A few of us got lucky and the cops let us go into the paid area and that’s how I got a lot of closeup shots! I would only do this again if the weather was warmer next time around
Here are some photos from the event: (taken with 5d mk 3 + 50mm f/1.2L)
Came here with some friends and our dogs. All of us had an amazing time except for the dogs. The dogs had to be on leash and the walkways were quite narrow. A lot of people come here and you can easily see why, it’s a very easy hike with a lot of waterfalls to see. The red trail is not difficult at all. All the trails are well maintained and hardly no rocks at all. This is a great place to practice your waterfall photos, even during bright midday sunlight. This place also charges an admission fee of $12.50. Driving there is very easy.
Here are some sample photos (all taken with 5d mk3 + 16-35 f/2.8L II or 70-200 f/2.8 IS II):