Friday, 23 January 2015

A Day in the UN

This was way back in October 2013 when I became the Liaison Officer for the visiting Minster of Women Affairs to New York during the United Nations General Assembly. The assembly in 2013 had to be done in another UN building as the UN General Assembly Hall was under renovation
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon opening the session on Women's issue

Stevie Wonder was the guest of honour for this session. He was witty and funny and of course he had to sing something in
a capella. In short, we loved it!

Close up of Stevie Wonder. In case you are wondering, the lady in the box was a sign language person.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was also there to deliver his speech

I had my face in the screen!! Because the Minister was speaking next to me and the camera was on me instead of her. I had to control macho for what seemed and eternity but was probably only a couple of minutes!

The UN building - view from the park overlooking the east river

View from the UN park overlooking the east river and the Queensboro Bridge aka Ed Koch bridge

River patrol, security was tight throughout the UN General Assembly. If Obama was in town, helicopters would be busy around the UNb uilding

View of the park

C'est moi overlooking the UN building. a nice UN delegate helped me to take this picture

Part of the Berlin wall on display here

The café was cool they even had halal food on the menu
This was taken Oct 2014 in the proper UN General Assembly Hall. This hall was under renovation in 2013, thus the pictures above was taken at the temporary hall

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Downtown New York

Just some scenes on downtown New York

Freedom Tower built near the WTC memorial is currently the tallest tower in the world
WTC Memorial pool. Where the two towers once stood is now a memorial pool. There is also a museum next to it.

View of the downtown Manhattan skyline as we were on board the ferry to Staten Island 

The cheapest way to view Statue of Liberty from afar, take the Staten Island Ferry. It is free for now. Take it from Bowling Green, downtown Manhattan

View of the sunset horizon from inside the ferry 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Statue of Liberty

Last fall, Oct 2014 my parents & bestie came to visit NYC. We had loads of things planned and one was it was the visiting the Statue of Liberty, because come on, that is like the the icon of NY.
So we bought tickets online from because this is the only website sanctioned by the US Department of Parks to actually stop on the Liberty Island and Ellis Island. If you buy it online (and it is preferable to buy the tickets weeks in advance online because during peak season you will not be able to get tickets). Once we arrived at the check point near Bowling Green, we had to go through screening much like airport security - where bags are scanned and belts and coats need to be taken off. Then we proceeded to board the ferry.

Upper deck of the ferry facing downtown Manhattan. Freedom Tower on the left side
The journey from pier to island is only about 10-15 minutes and it is such a pleasant journey with nice photo opp of downtown Manhattan and the looming Statue of Liberty. The day we traveled was late fall and it was such a windy day, everybody was shivering from the cold wind and once we reached the island we had to stop at the café on the island for a nice cup of coffee with some French fries to keep our bodies warm.
We were given a handheld device to listen to facts about the statue which was FOC. W then went around the statue to have a good look and the best angle to take some photos.

Lady Liberty. Once you are here, you would be surprised to find that the statue is not that big. It is tall because of the pedestal that was built to house it. This was originally a lighthouse. The natural green colour of the statue is from oxidation of the copper layer which is called patina.

Me and bestie

With parents

Viewing scope pay a quarter to see view of Manhattan from the island

Bestie horsing around with some random statue

After that all of us decided to go up to the base because our tickets were basically allows us to go up the pedestal. To go up we had to go thru another round of security, complete with scanners and all. This time they are more strict as they do not allow backpacks and food or water to be brought up inside the pedestal. Once we past security, we wen into the lobby area were the original torch was kept. there is also an in house museum which has more information on  the history of the statue.

I think this was the original torch for Lady Liberty and they had to replace it due to corrosion

We took the elevator up to the base of the statue and some stairs up and this is the view
The view from the base. On the left is New Jersey and on the right is downtown Manhattan

Under Lady Liberty's skirt. Fun fact: do you know that the thickness of the statue is only the width of a penny pressed together?? It's not that thick!

If anyone have the stamina, they can climb up the 192 steps up this spiral staircase to access Lady Liberty's crown

The very nice ranger who manned the elevator going up and down the base
Rear View of Lady Liberty

After Liberty Island we departed back to Manhattan. We didn't stop by Ellis Island because it was cold and everyone was tired and hungry (again!) after the excursion to the Statue of Liberty. But all in all, it was an enjoyable trip and a must do for anyone visiting NYC.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Losing Control

So I had oral surgery last Monday. Had my two left upper and lower wisdom teeth taken out by the dentist. I only had local anesthesia and didn't go under. It's not because I'm a tough lady or whatever, it's because I would like to know what's happening with my body while the doctors are doing a procedure. 
It was a scary experience for me when I took out three teeth on my right side - two wisdom teeth and one molar and the doctor advised that it was better for me to go under so that when I woke up it will all be over. This was back in December 2013, that was about 5 months when I just arrived in NY and wasn't really sure of how the doctors, clinics, insurance works. So on the day of the surgery, I arrived at the clinic, had some injections in the teeth that were supposed to be taken out and then they gassed me to sleep. To be honest I was scared at the prospect of being voluntarily and momentarily 'put to sleep' while the doctors were working on me. In my heart I read all the doa and selawat I could. I don't know when I fell asleep but in the middle of surgery I woke up again and they had to put me back to sleep.
Waking up during surgery or the anesthetic wearing off during a procedure was perhaps not a new thing for me. I had  a few incidences when it happened, one of the major one was when I had a smallish tumor on my right breast back in 2005. After several consultation at the hospital, the doctor advised to remove it. This procedure required local anesthesia and I was covered from my neck down, shielding my view from what was happening or what the doctor was doing. But I could feel them prepping me and then injecting me because the doctor then said, can you feel this while he was poking at a few areas. I said I could but it didn't hurt. Although the view was obstructed but I could see the reflection from the above shiny beams of the surgical lamps that they were doing something on me. That somehow comforted me, in a weird nonsensical way. I kept looking at the beam because I would like to know what was happening to me. Not that I am morbid or anything, its just the way it was with me, at that time I thought it was natural curiosity. So back to this story. While the doctor was operating on me (felt more like he was pushing and tugging at my 'globe' with some instrument) and after some time I felt some pain and said oww. The doctor was quite surprised and they had to inject me some more before continuing. Alhamdullilah that surgery went fine and doctor declared that it was a benign tumour. 
The decision to not go under last Monday was a conscious one. Sure I was scared at the prospect of getting injected and feeling and seeing what the doctor was doing to me but I thought it was better than falling asleep under anesthesia. Because truth to be told, I didn't know if I would wake up from that surgery. Sure, you would say that it was a minor surgery, but what if your ajal comes at that time? I won't have time to say my last prayers.
So alhamdullilah, the oral surgery last Monday went well. Sure I felt the doctor tugging at my lower wisdom tooth, I felt the doctor's strength at twisting my tooth but somehow it was firm and gentle at the same time. With some maneuvering he managed to get both teeth out within 20 minutes including the anesthesia. I asked him to show me the teeth that he pulled out, it was bloody and nasty but somehow I felt relieved. He said I was a brave one for managing it quite well, and I told him it was much scarier when I had to go under, so it was better that I was awake to see everything. He said maybe I was afraid of losing control. Ha! I never thought it as that but what the doctor said made sense to me. Then he jokingly said maybe I was bad and did something and was afraid of not waking up - yes this was my initial thought.
I thought again if it was time for your ajal it could happen anywhere, anytime. But still for stuff like this I think I would prefer to be awake than asleep and be at the mercy of the doctor. Losing control is scary to me, not that I'm a control freak or whatever, but for something routine like getting my teeth pulled out or doing a root canal, I would prefer to be awake and aware of my surroundings. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Brooklyn Bridge

One of the best way to spend and afternoon in New York is to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, a 450 metres length of suspension bridge. I would recommend starting from New York side at the City Hall subway stop for the 4,5,6 green line, and walk your way to Brooklyn side.

In my estimation, you need to spend at least two hours to do the a full tour of the Brooklyn Bridge, starting from crossing the bridge, walk all the way down to DUMBO, see the  Manhattan Bridge in between the buildings in DUMBO, walk past the carousel towards Brooklyn Bridge park, get some ice cream at  Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory  spend some time at the park, then take the East River Ferry which costs about $6 to go across to midtown Manhattan.

First time I crossed the bridge was summer 2014. Then 4 times in Fall 2014 within the space of few weeks in between when I had my parents and some friends visiting. I must say that crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is probably one of my favourite things to do because you are rewarded with that breath taking view of the East River facing both Manhattan and Brooklyn side.

The Brooklyn Bridge

View of downtown Manhattan thru the wires

View of the traffic below split level on the bridge
With the parents early Oct 2014

With Ms Fantaghiro, mid Oct 2014. It was nice and sunny albeit windy day

Placque on the erection of the bridge
Reading up on some information on the building of the bridge
'Love' locks left by tourists at the bridge

A lock and rubber band

 Ribbons and such left by the tourists
Look where your are going! One lane for pedestrian, one for bikes. The bikes are pretty fast and they get super annoyed with people walking on the bike

 Yay! We crossed the bridge!!!

View of the Manhattan Bridge from DUMBO 

Manhattan Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge view with carousel in the middle

View under the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory original building at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, with the bridge as a background
Ice cream monster!
C'est moi at Brooklyn Bridge park pier
Easy way to get back to Manhattan is by taking the East River Ferry ($4 weekday/$6 weekend) and stop at downtown 34st and 1st Avenue. Take the free shuttle bus to midtown Manhanttan. If you don't fancy the ferry, then can either take the subway on Brooklyn side or cross back the bridge to Manhattan (if you still have energy left!) 
I wouldn't mind doing the bridge again. Even my mum, Kerabu Jantung said that crossing the bridge and spending some time at the park was one of the best moments when she visited NYC last Oct 2014.