Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The TKTS Booth at Times Square, New York

When my niece, whose first time it was to be in New York, was antsy one evening, I decided to take her to see the action at Times Square. What better place to show her the vibrancy of New York than Times Square at night?

We walked four long blocks west from where we were staying, and then four blocks over. It was a good workout and the streets that led there were quiet. But as soon as we got there, it was a different story. Times Square was hopping! Look at the throng of people who were there that evening. For a moment there I felt I was in Nanjing Road in Shanghai.

The last time I was in New York, a few years back, I didn't notice this new TKTS outlet. I was shocked to see this beautifully designed structure right where the old TKTS outlet used to be.

TKTS is where you can buy discounted same-day tickets to many Broadway shows. My sister who used to live in NY introduced me to TKTS many (many, many) years ago, when we were still in college.  Since then it has become a habit to always check TKTS first.

Not every show is on TKTS, specially those that have just opened. But there are tons of good shows on TKTS. The booth is open from 9 am to 6 pm everyday.

The TKTS botth used to be a ramshackle structure with a few attendants on this same spot of Times Square. The line used to snake around the booth, and the wait was always very long--sometimes more than an hour. sometimes even two. We bought tickets on this trip at 5 pm one late afternoon and there was hardly a line. I think we were just lucky.

I wondered exactly when all of this happened for the TKTS outlet and found a clue here.

The TKTS outlet is a highly stylized structure, with ampitheater/bleachers designed above it.
What an ingenious idea.  People walk up, sit down and take in the action around them. We sat here mesmerized for thirty minutes just watching the gigantic screens and the people.

I brought Sam again to Times Square the very next day, but this time to watch Evita (Ricky Martin as Che!)--her very first show on Broadway. She loved it. In her eyes, Times Square transformed into a goldmine of exciting shows instead of just crowded place with gawking tourists.

I suspect the TKTS booth is going to be one of her favorite destinations in NYC, just like it is for her ninang Lita.

TKTS Discount Booth

47th St and Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 912-9770

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gourmet Food Trucks at Hell's Kitchen Flea Market

A flea market and casual gourmet food--all in one place. It may be called Hell's Kitchen, but it sounded like heaven to me.

I dragged my sister to the flea market--my sister who doesn't like antiques because she's scared of ghosts. Not that she's has a sixth sense or anything like that, but she just doesn't like old things unless they are heirlooms of our family ("at least we know the ghosts...")

It's hard to go around a flea market with non-flea market people. It's a good thing the food trucks were there. We headed to straight to the Red Hook lobster truck.

We ordered three kinds of  rolls from the lobster truck: Lobster with lemon butter, Lobster and bacon (this sounds soo unhealthy), and a shrimp sandwich.

G would've loved this lobster roll, and C would've loved the dill pickle

I got suckered into buy a mandarin orange soda for $3.50 because of the hip artisan label. Tasted exactly like Royal Tru Orange.

Sam went to get a slice of pizza from the Valducci truck. It had a fresh tomato flavor and was perfectly crisp.

Our rolls were good. The best one was still the lobster with lemon butter. There was no place to sit though and we had to eat standing up. It didn't help that it was a very hot and sunny day with no shade anywhere except for a small shaded area right by the food truck.

We would have had a better experience if there were a few tables and chairs. We might have even tried more things.

This truck below only sells ice cream sandwiches. You choose your cookie, then your flavor. It even comes with an edible wrapper if you like.

It looked too deadly to order--like a million calories--so it was a good thing Sam got one. I had a bite. This was really good!

It was just too hot for them to explore the flea market further. I stole a few moments to look at some interesting booths. But it a really hot day--we opened our umbrellas to shield us from the heat.

We called it a day at Hell's Kitchen Flea Market. Then I dragged them over to the Antique Garage at Chelsea where I thought it would be cooler for all of us.

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market
W. 39th St. , New York, NY 10011  nr. Ninth Ave.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup 
212-243-5343 Send to Phone

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tawid Silver, Baguio

The showroom of Tawid Silver can be seen from the front door of my friend's house, making it look like it's a stone's throw away. Marissa's gate to Tawid's gate is the same distance as a par-4, but after Tawid's main gate, it's an uphill climb and a few meandering steps up, up and up. I'm so unfit, I was panting at the top.

But what treasures awaited. I'm hardly a jewelry person, but I like to see what things are available in the places I visit. Baguio has always been known for sterling silver jewelry. I don't know exactly why, but  I read somewhere that the Cordilleras has abundant mineral reserves--silver, gold, copper. I would have to ask my more knowledgeable mining friend.

There are many popular silver shops in Baguio but Marissa likes Tawid because of their designs and high quality.

My sister Lita in Sydney would love these--they are expensive there.  I got her something. I also owe another friend a  birthday gift, so I got her a pair of dangling squares. And then I saw basic silver loops, and I'm a plain-jewelry sort of person, so I bought myself the loops. If they get lost on one of my trips, I don't feel so bad.

What I was actually looking for are flat oval silver lockets for the girls. They want to put in pictures of Angelica and Mataji, their best friends who just went home to the States. I've seen those lockets before, but I just can't remember who makes them.

I also got myself a long chain for my costume jewelry pendants because I'm allergic to non-precious metal (I get a stinging sensation when I wear those costume jewelry chains).

Marissa got into the act and tried on a few things too, but since she lives right beside the showroom, she never has to rush a decision. Actually if I were the Tawid people, for all the business Marissa brings over from her Manila friends, I would give her what she touches.

 My friend Sandy has this necklace on the left and made me wear it one time for a pictorial because "your black dress it too plain!"

Yvonne and I circled the cases while Marissa decided to sit it out instead. Yvonne finally got herself her own mother's day gift. It was two inches too short when she first tried it on but they lengthened it right there, in the workshop a floor below the showroom.

Tawid has been around for about 20 years, making silver jewelry under another brand. They're just not aggressive marketers, that's why they sound like a new brand to us lowlanders.

Tawid is also sold at the Baguio Country Club, at the PNKY store under the club's gift shop. They have a nice selection too, and it's the same price as in the showroom. The showroom just has more inventory, we can bargain a bit there, and they can adjust the jewelery instantly.

27 St. Theresa Mirador
Baguio City Philippines 2600
email: tawidsilver@gmail.com

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Getting Crafty at the Incheon Airport

 Miniature shelves: a sample on the left, and a finished product on the right

At the Incheon airport in Korea, a stop-over for many flights of Korean Airlines out of Manila, I came across this gift shop. There was unusual activity going on inside. 

I looked in and saw ladies hunched over little pieces of wood. I went closer and saw that they were painting what looked like dollhouse furniture. Hey, I want to do that too!

Tourists are allowed to do a craft here for free (they check your boarding pass). I looked at my watch--forty minutes to boarding time--just enough to make one of these precious little things.

G would love this for her dollhouse.

This is what we were making-- a t'akcha

It took me about 25 minutes. What a unique idea for an airport. The kids would love a stop over like this. Here is my finished shelf, back in its original box, and ready for me to take home---for free!

Over at the other table, they were making stamping designs with a stencil on wet paper. I didn't have enough time to do this though.  The art assistants told me that they change crafts every quarter.

This fan which we used to dry our newly-painted little shelves was a previous project. They also had a shelf of other things they did before. I was just lucky that they were doing little furniture this time--perfect for G's collection of miniature furniture. I would've also been interested to paint a fan, or knot some rings, but creating this little Korean miniature "antique" was exciting for me.

I think G and C would love to do this. Then G's dollhouse will have three of them--and then we can have a dollhouse yard sale!


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