Subways and Countdown Clocks

In a world where you might be stuck underground waiting for a subway train, a digital screen that can tell you when the next train is coming can be a godsend. If you live in a city with a modern train system, you are probably used to screens that announce train arrivals and don't think anything of it. In New York, this is novel like a great white buffalo.

Well, it depends what train line you are on. And, for me, it's not great. I take the A train and the train is often crowded or delayed; and when it is delayed, there's usually not a "countdown" clock in sight.

Continue reading "Subways and Countdown Clocks"

Chihuly at New York Botanical Garden

A friend of ours suggested we visit the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in the Bronx this past weekend to check out the Dale Chihuly blown glass exhibition. I happily obliged. The NYBG is one of my favorite places to go in the city. When I was "fun-employed" — that planned period of time between ending one job and starting a new one — I made a point of heading over there. I don't know if many transplants to the city visit it, but they should; it's a beautiful garden and you almost forget you are in the midst of 8 million people.

Conservatory Reflection Continue reading "Chihuly at New York Botanical Garden"

Married in Manhattan…on a Budget

After being together for thirteen years, my then boyfriend (now husband) proposed to me. As he nervously put the ring on my finger my first words to him, after saying yes, were, "Wait, does this mean I have to plan a wedding?"

Married in Manhattan
My Husband and I on our wedding day at Washington Square Park

At that point in time, the majority of our coupled friends had already gotten married. I happened to be in a couple of weddings so had seen firsthand what I did and did not want in my own nuptials. However, even with that knowledge, planning a wedding was not easy.

The additional challenge for us was that our families were unable to financially support us so the burden of paying for the wedding fell squarely on our shoulders. That said, this is not necessarily a bad thing! Saving for a major expenditure, together, is actually good practice for saving for other things like a house, college fund or a nice vacation.

When the dust settled, we were able to get married in Manhattan for just under $15K which is well under the national average for weddings in this country. This is also WAY under the average for Manhattan which is currently at a ridiculous $88,176.

Additionally, I should note that this amount is inclusive of our honeymoon flight and lodging which ended up being a wonderful reward for all our saving and planning. Some folks suggested maybe we should wait until later and have a longer honeymoon but it was actually really nice to get away on an adventure that included our passports, however modest.

So, without further ado, now that it's been a full year since the wedding and I've had a chance to reflect on that day—and all the planning that led up to it—here are some tips and tricks on how we did it: Continue reading "Married in Manhattan…on a Budget"

Captured: Art of the Commute

At work, there is a gallery show for our department called the "Art of the Commute." Below are my submissions:

At the Start by Jen Gallardo
An Empty Car
Blue, in need of Orange
The Ghosts of Midtown
Maybe Breakfast?
Exiting Last Leg

Essentially, my approach was to photograph the disparity between where I begin my commute and where my commute lands me. I begin in my neighborhood which is pretty calm and quiet (for the most part). Most days, I get to the station and I will find a seat on the train as I'm at the last stop on the A train (where it terminates and then begins to head back downtown).

In contrast, after about 30 minutes on the train or so, I end up at 59th Street Columbus Circle. This is a relatively large station on the west side and a big connection point in the morning. As such, there is always a lot of hustle and bustle and tons of people walking around. I used long exposures to show in one frame the multitude of movement and people that's happening at that time of day.

It's here where I start the second leg of my trip, waiting for a B or D train to take me to Rockefeller Center where the building I work in is currently located. The Rockefeller station it not as big but just as nearly populated as so many other commuter's trips terminate there. There is a network of office buildings connected underground so there are a lot of people in and around the station. The revolving doors in the station lead to the underground shops in the "Concourse" level where one can find breakfast and emergency dry cleaning and shoe shining, among other things.

Perhaps if the series could have been longer (we were limited to a certain number of photos), I would have considered taking a photo of my desk (where my commute officially ends) or perhaps even my bed (where my commute officially begins).

"The Billboard"

You can't write stuff like this. But if the past few days of my life were made into a sitcom episode, it would be called "The Billboard" — or if it were an episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" this would be called "The One When Jen Takes a Photo of a Billboard."

It all began with a harmless coffee break. My co-workers and I walked up Broadway to Crumbs for some caffeination when we saw a strange billboard. The lovey-dovey couple on the billboard coupled with the quote "you are my soulmate forever" made us wonder. Since we are media people at first we thought, "this has to be some kind of marketing/pr move!"

Who are Charles and YaVaughnie? by Jen Gallardo, some rights reserved
Who are Charles and YaVaughnie? by Jen Gallardo, some rights reserved

When we saw the website that the banner linked to, we were most definitely sure it had to be some kind of marketing scheme. The website was a 90's era (meaning: bad) site consisting of a bunch of photos of the joyous couple and quite a few karaoke recordings we'll have to imagine they did together (who records their karaoke outings…?). Continue reading ""The Billboard""