Saturday, April 28, 2012

Journey Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival

Last week I had friends coming from as far as Toronto and San Francisco to watch the world premiere of the documentary Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey at the Tribeca Film Festival in lower Manhattan.

Photo credit: Ninfa Z. Bito

The documentary is about how the band Journey found its current lead singer Arnel Pineda via youtube. Here's a trailer of the movie ..

On our way to the venue, we passed by the World Trade Center buildings under construction.

Finally, we arrived at the venue, the Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

Pretty soon the movie started. We laughed, sang, cheered and cried. It was a feel-good movie, I didn't want it to end.  Arnel's story is very inspirational and he is very humble and grounded despite his success. Kudos to Arnel and the film director, Ramona Diaz, and the producers for a wonderful movie.

An excerpt from ..
The film tells the true story of Arnel Pineda's journey to becoming the lead singer of the iconic rock band Journey, which is probably best known for their song: Don't Stop Believin'. He was discovered on youtube by Journey's guitarist Neal Schon. Born and raised in the The Philippines, Pineda was a cover singer for many years and was always hoping for his big break. He was very poor growing up, but he continued to work hard. His biggest fan posted many of his performances on youtube and then one day, he got a message from Neal Schon and relayed it to Pineda, who thought it was a hoax! It wasn't. Six weeks later, Journey flew him out to California for a test run and the rest is history, as they say.
I hope the movie gets distributed and shown in theaters everywhere.  For those in the Bay Area, it will be the closing film at the San Francisco Film Festival on May 3.

The following day, Arnel made time to have lunch with some of us who came to watch the premiere.  While waiting for him, we walked a little bit at The High Line, Manhattan's elevated park.

At the park, we also came across Carson, the first outdoor sculpture of Japanese artist Tomoaki Suzuki

Soon, we were on our way to lunch.  Here's Arnel Pineda and some of my friends walking in the Meatpacking District.

That evening, the Philippine Embassy on Fifth Avenue hosted a reception for the three Filipino directors whose films were in the Tribeca Film Festival line-up.  This graced the window of the embassy.

Here's a pic of the Embassy as seen from Fifth Avenue.

After the Embassy event, we walked to Rockefeller Center which is just a few blocks away.  In my previous blog, I wrote about the decorations in the Channel Gardens for easter.  Last week, the gardens look like a different garden with trees and flowers and other plants .. so pretty!

Here's a close-up pic of the flowers, just recently learned from @rockcenternyc that these are foxgloves.

Another view of the Channel Gardens ..

We then walked towards Times Square.  As usual, the crossroads of the world was teeming with people, more so at night with all the lights.

There was also a small marquee for Dick Clark  who died recently.  He hosted the Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, which transmitted to Times Square's New Year's eve celebration worldwide.

Photo credit: Nicole Morgan
After Times Square, we went back to midtown to pick up more friends.  There we had a great view of the Empire State building lit in green for Earth Day.  

Then we went downtown to accompany another friend change into more comfortable shoes.  His hotel was near Wall Street so we passed by the New York Stock Exchange, the Trinity Church and City Hall park on our way to Chinatown to have dinner.  As it was dark and drizzling a little bit while we were walking, I didn't take pics but I'll post here the pics of those places which I took months ago on a clear day.

The New York Stock Exchange.  Oops, I got the top part only.

Across the NYSE is the Federal Hall, where a statue of George Washington stands commemorating his oathtaking as the first US President

That night on on our walk there were people on the steps of the Federal Hall, not for George Washington, but for the Occupy Wall Street protest.

At the end of Wall Street where it intersects Broadway is the beautiful Trinity Church.  My picture does not give justice to its beauty ..

We also passed by the Barthman Jewelers clock which is said to be the only clock in the US that is embedded in a sidewalk .

We also had a glimpse of One World Trade Center on that foggy night ..

Then on to City Hall park, it's fountain that night was still turned on when we passed by.  Here's a pic my friend took ..

Photo credit: Nicole Morgan
Our walking path also took us past the entrance going to Brooklyn Bridge, the Municipal Building and other court buildings around Foley Square.  I'll go visit that part of the city again so I can write about it separately.  

We finally reached Chinatown where we satisfied our food cravings and had the most wonderful surprise.  About halfway to our meal, who would come in and eat in the same restaurant but Arnel and company. :-) 

Those two days spent with friends were simply amazing, I hope to have more days like those soon.

Thanks again to Arnel Pineda for taking time to have lunch with us the day after the movie premiere. Now, I'm the world's coolest mom! :-)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter at the Rockefeller Center

I went to St. Patrick's Cathedral on Good Friday to visit the church and do some reflection. On the way there, I passed by Rockefeller Center and decided to check if the Easter bunny topiary is already in place.  The bunny was right there, balancing an Easter egg on its head.  See how cute it is!

Some of my friends who saw the pic said it doesn't look like a bunny cause it looks like it has short ears.  Good thing I took pictures of its side view.

Do you see its cute tail? Here's a pic of the back view.

I still have a pic of last year's Rockefeller Center Easter bunny. Which of them do you think is cuter?

Hmmm, it kinda boils down to the color of the egg. You be the judge!

Lilies and hydrangeas surround the Channel Gardens at the Center. I especially like the hydrangeas arranged in a big easter basket.

The lilies are a sight to see, too.  I love these flowers!

There is also a trio of pastel-colored giant eggs.

They look so yummy I was wishing inside is a real chocolate egg.  After all, Easter is a season of hope, right?

I then crossed the street to go to St. Patrick's.  It is right across Rockefeller Center, it's twin spires looming high and majestic in the night sky.

I love the Cathedral's main door, too.

After the visit to St. Patrick's, I crossed back to Rockefeller Center again to watch the skaters at its Ice Skating Rink.  The ice skating season for this year will only be until April 22.

As usual, the Prometheus Fountain is always a sight to see.

Here's a shot of the skating rink I took behind the fountain.

All in all, Good Friday was a good day. I was able to visit the church, have some reflections, and gave thanks for all the blessings.  

Before going to Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick's Cathedral, I dropped by Central Park, to commune with nature, as I always feel peaceful just by walking along the Pond.  It may be man-made but the trees, flowers and animals inhabiting it are all God's glorious creation.

I wish you all a happy and meaningful Easter season!

For the rest of my Rockefeller Center pics, here's the album on Flickr - Rockefeller Center

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring inside Macy's Show Windows

These past weekends I went to see the Macy's Flower Show at 34th Street in Herald Square, which I covered in my previous blog.  I also mentioned that after you exit from the flower show tent, you'll immediately see the show windows at Macy's designed with the theme Gardens in Paradise.

At first, I was planning to include the show windows as part of the flower show blog but i took a lot of pics, so I guess this will be a two-in-one kind of blog.  It's Easter anyway, lot of reasons to celebrate .. and flowers are always part of any great celebration.

Coming to 34th Street to see the flower show, I can't help but ooh and aah at the beautiful show windows at Macy's Herald Square.  I chose to go to see the flower show first and visit the show windows after.  

I went to see the show windows twice, as it was early afternoon the first time I went there and I wasn't able to get a decent pic since the daylight was reflecting the buildings across the street on the show windows.  So I came late the next weekend to take pics of the entire show windows.

There are six show windows facing the flower show tent.  From the corner of 34th Street and Broadway, the first show window is what I call the Yellow Garden show window.

Isn't it gorgeous? A burst of color in the window, you can't help but smile.  Here are some close up pics of the flowers.

Next to the Yellow Garden is the Purple Garden show window.  The crotons and the flowers look great with the two mannequins.

Pics of some of the flowers ..

I call the third show window the Bromeliads window.  Bromeliads are probably common in Brazil that's why Macy's devoted an entire show window to display these beautiful plants.

After these three show windows is Macy's Herald Square main entrance, which is close due to the ongoing renovation.  This is what it looks like from the street.

The wall covering the main entrance did not extend to the plaque on the sidewalk.  I hope they restore this, too, or clean it somehow.

On the other side are three more show windows.  The first one nearest to Macy's main entrance is the White Garden show window.

I hope you love white flowers, too!


Next to the White Garden is the Pink Garden show window.

Pink on green looks so pretty!


The final show window is the Red Garden show window.

The mannequin looks like a god ruling his red subjects.


Wasn't that a feast for the eyes?

Going inside the store, I saw only one stand with flowers but it looks as pretty as the show windows.

A close-up of some of the flowers ..

Try to catch the flower show today, it's last day. I don't know about Macy's show windows, though. I hope the flowers stay there until end of the season.

For the rest of my pics on Macy's Gardens in Paradise show windows, here's my album on Flickr - Macy's Spring 2012 Show Windows.

Happy Easter!