Momther’s Day

Lady-Short-Hair

I spent a good chunk of my teenage years telling my mother I would never get married. I’d never have children. I’d adopt a ranch of dogs instead and love all of them. That was the dream.
Frankly, what were the benefits of having a spouse and bearing children and having to take care of both 24/7? In my head, it was all cons. Personally, if I were to have kids, I would also like to have been married and settled first. But that’s where the problem begins:
Who has time to go looking for a life partner? When am I going to get the time to get to know someone when  I don’t even know myself completely? Who has the money to invest in dates and rings and weddings? Who has time to figure out whether or not we have joint bank accounts? Who has the money to pay for hospital bills when the kids start rolling around? Have you seen college tuition? Who can pay that multiplied by the number of progeny? What if you accidentally emotionally scar ‘em for life? What if they turn into bullies instead of upstanding human beings? What if you accidentally give them too little lunch money? What if you loose one of ‘em in a mall and they don’t remember that you told them to ask a security guard to announce on the loud speaker that “Mrs. So-and-so your child was found wearing the mannequin arms as a necklace in Bloomingdales?”
It’s A LOT to think about.
That’s why we should give our parents props. Especially our mothers. My Nanay works a full time job and is raising five rowdy idiots to be good human beings. (Hopefully…) In middle school, I used to get annoyed that my father would send us to the laundromat with Nanay. But when I think about it now, my mother is working 24/7. She has her day job and her forever job. And yet, she hasn’t quit. She’s a badass.

Looking back on it, the reason why I hated the idea of being a mother and raising children was because its a scary and challenging prospect. Mothers, like teachers, can mold the future, simply by raising their children a certain way. That is one hell of a super power. More so mothers and parents who are single parents, having to carry the weight of everything solo.  Right now, I don’t know what is in store for the rest of my life. Maybe I will have kids or maybe I’ll have a nice life with my dogs and grow old alone. Who knows. But one thing is for sure, whoever I will be, it should be amazing. I owe that much to my parents and most especially my mother.
Hi, Nay! Happy Momther’s day!

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The Everlasting Race of Horses

A sunny weekend was all it took to persuade many New Yorkers and tourists to Central Park. Families filled the park as the warm sun shined. High-pitched squeals and bursts of laughter filled the air as children played in the playground while others enjoyed a game of hide-and-seek throughout the mounds of rocks and beveled grassy areas. The wind moved swiftly around the trees, whipping through everyone’s hair towards the directional current. Soft music resonated in the air; all different, and coming from opposing directions. I decided to follow the music that sounded like it came straight from a music box. It echoed from the other side of a dark tunnel. Was this the beginning to one of those circus-themed horror films, or was it actually something pleasant? The saccharin happiness made me skeptical as to what the calliope music was actually for. As I broke through the tunnel’s sight-line, I saw what droves of people were being called to… The Central Park Carousel.

the central park carousel from the playmates tunnelthe central park carousel from a distance

The inanimate horses spun around in a circular motion while hinging up and down, just as they did well over one hundred years ago. This carousel is actually not called “The Central Park Carousel”, legally it is called “The Friedsam Memorial Carousel.” According to NYC Parks the carousel is the fourth to be set in Central Park since 1871. The first was placed at least thirty feet away from the carousel that stands today. This was before the rise of electricity, so it was powered by REAL horsepower. The horse (or blinded mule) would crank the Merry-go-round by walking in a circle while tethered to the central pole. The crank would be below the passenger level and would be commanded by the operator stomping on the floor boards to signal start and stop.

It only cost 10 cents to ride back then, but that much money amounted to a hour wage of the average working class male in those days. In comparison, imagine paying Six Flags admission for a ride on the carousel that lasted less than three minutes. Would it be worth it? By the time of 1877 the Central Park officials decided to lessen the price to 5 cents. In 1907 the carousel was replaced to an electrical system and by 1924 it was destroyed by an unfortunate fire. A new carousel was put in its place but was scorched in another fire in 1950. The park had to replace the beloved carousel since the public highly valued it.

the admission booth for central park carousel the central park carousel horses

The fourth, and current, carousel was donated by The City of New York since the Board of Transportation found it, abandoned, in an old BMT transit line, that they acquired, near Coney Island (based on one of my Coney Island posts, it was probably left as an experimental amusement park ride). The Friedsam Memorial Foundation also donated 75,000 dollars to restore the found carousel and place it in Central Park; which is why it’s named after the foundation.

the wrought iron fence, decorated with horses

This carousel was built in 1908 by, artists, Sol Stein and Harry Goldstein with tremendous help from The Artistic Carousel Manufacturing Company of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It features 58 hand-carved horses (there aren’t any horses that are the same!), and two horse-drawn chariots, on a turntable 50 feet in diameter. After all these years the carousel still chipperly goes round in a circle, amusing over 250,000 riders a year.

a horse on the iron banister the carousel banister by the entrance

Today, the cost to ride is only $3; honestly, I’ve had Starbucks orders larger than that. So if you are looking for something cheap and amusing, try the Central Park Carousel; it won’t disappoint. Even though the part of the park is called “The Children’s District”, it’s not only for the children, but for the child in all of us.

the central park carousel in motion

Tune in next week as I continue the theme of different carousels in this beautiful city!

For the flowers in our lives.

Hey everyone Genny here! Mothers, aunts, grandma’s and future mothers, this post is for you. A star so bright and so soft, you fill the earth with life and love. When we are down you cheer us up, you bring comfort to us when we are upset. You, the goddesses, the guardians of the human race, I thank you today for all that you do and all that you will continue to do. Today I thank ALL mothers no matter if you’re biological or not, why? Because you dedicated your life to nurturing another life, protecting another life and loving another life. You’re strong willed and never let anyone make you think otherwise, you are loved and you are strong. Never tell yourself you’re not strong because YOU gave birth, you passed through such agonizing pain, you survived it and you should be proud. Thank you for all your efforts, thank you for giving us the strength to walk towards tomorrow, thank you because its reasons such as yourself that we, the younger generation are proud to be woman, we know we are not weak and that we are capable of anything we set our minds to. Happy Mothers Week to all!

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Visit Great Destinations While on a Budget

Each semester I venture out into the world to search for great destinations that I can frequent while on a college budget. Below you will find some of the destinations that I still frequent that don’t cost much, and satisfies my need to go out and enjoy the world. Some of these destinations are:

  1.      The Promenade

I was introduced to The Promenade before I started college. At that time, I would just go to The Promenade to sit on the benches and look out at the horizon. As time progressed, The Promenade expanded into what it is today. There is a bridge that lights up at night, which allows you to walk directly to the Dumbo area. Before reaching the Dumbo shopping area there are various stops on the way. There’s a full soccer field, basketball court, restaurant, pool, and a pop up beach in the summer. There are also areas where you can sit on the grass and simply relax. As you continue walking towards the Dumbo area you’ll stumble upon an amazing carousel, that is surrounded by a completely glass building. If for some reason you visit Dumbo and the carousel isn’t up and running, you can still see the beautifully sculpted carousel from the outside. If you continue walking there’s a beach like area where you can sit on rocks and look out into the East river. The view is absolutely amazing.

  1.     Betty Bakery

One day I was walking down Atlantic Avenue and I was stopped in my tracks by a beautiful window display. I just had to stop and admire the rare beauty of this little shop. As I entered the bakery, I was greeted warmly by the young lady at the cash register. Every pastry behind the counter looked absolutely delicious, and I was dealing with the horrible predicament of choosing one pastry. The young lady at the cash register was very patient with me until I made my choice. After a few minutes of contemplating, I choose a Lemon Tart with strawberries on top. I took my desert home with me so that I could enjoy it in the comfort of my own home. The pastry was amazing from start to finish, all the flavors blended perfectly together. I was completely satisfied and I felt that the tart was well worth price.

  1.   Ocean’s 8 at Brownstone Billiards

The first time I entered this pool hall I immediately felt cool, calm and collected. There’s a really mellow feel to the place, and the staff is really friendly and accommodating. Each group that comes in to play pool is charged by the hour. There’s also a student discount that all students are eligible for, as long as they have their college id card. Inside the pool hall, there are at least 20-30 pool tables that are equally spaced. In the back area of the pool hall, there are various arcade games like table hockey, ping pong, basketball, and a mini bowling alley. The menu has a variety of finger food, including boneless wings, french fries, and for veggie lovers there’s a few healthy options.  At times, I would go to the pool hall and watch the old timers play pool, with hopes of picking up on some of their talent. Throughout the past few years I would make random stops at the pool hall, to clear my mind and enjoy a relaxing game of pool.

  1.     Happy Days Diner

This little dinner is hidden between two larger buildings. During my first semester of college I used to walk right past this place, because I barely noticed it. One day a group of my friends stopped here for a late night snack. The staff was extremely friendly, and our orders were taken immediately. The food was delicious, and the menu ranged from classical breakfasts to fancy pastas. There was also a Belgian waffle on the menu that came topped with ice cream, whipped cream, and sprinkles. Everything on the menu is affordable, and it’s perfect for  a college student’s budget. The restaurant is always packed to the rim, but the service is so quick that there’s always an empty table awaiting the next customer. I’ve visited this restaurant on numerous occasions and every meal that I’ve had has been amazing. I’ve been a faithful customer for about 3 years, and I’d recommend this place to anyone who is interested in great food for a great price.

  1.    Brooklyn Crab

Brooklyn Crab is one of the most exciting restaurants I’ve ever been to. This restaurant is definitely for seafood lovers, because the menu has a variety of  shellfish. I personally always get crab legs, with the bread crumb and parsley covered mac and cheese. Just like the restaurant I mentioned before, the food is always extremely tasty. This restaurant not only has great food, but it has a pool table, and a complete mini golf course on the lower level.  I usually play a game of competitive mini golf so I can work up an appetite. After a victorious, or not so victorious game, I celebrate by having dinner, and sometimes one of their mouthwatering desserts. This is actually one of my favorite restaurants to go to in the summer because you can sit outside and look out at the horizon.

The establishments above may differ in price, but they all are great spots to frequent, especially during the summer time. As students we deserve to treat ourselves, so take a break and check these establishments out. I promise you they are worth your time.

Now that I have mentioned some affordable restaurants that are great for students to frequent, let me know if you have any suggestions in the comment box below. As college students we are all looking to get the best experiences for the best price possible. So help us all out and  let us know about the great restaurants or chill spots in the area.

 

Happy (early) Mother’s Day!!

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I’ve dedicated a lot of my posts this semester to important and influential people in my life. I think I have been very reflective lately and I realize so much of my success, determination, and even character traits, have been influenced by those around me.
I’m fortunate enough to have all my family and friends around, and accessible, and that really is a blessing. I have friends who have lost those close to them and it makes me even more appreciative and grateful for what, and who, I have today.

One person I am eternally grateful for is my mother. Not only is she the reason why I am literally alive, lol, but I am grateful for her love and guidance through all my journeys in life so far.

As we are approaching Mother’s Day, which is next sunday, I wanted to send a message to all the mothers out there: Expecting mothers, birth mothers, grandmothers, step mothers, adoptive mothers, aunts who play the role of second mothers, fathers who play the role of mothers as well, work moms lol, any and all the moms who hold that place in someone’s heart.

A mother’s role is irreplaceable. I’ve heard women say things like “there’s like no greater love than the love you feel for your child” and have seen women sacrifice time and time again for the sake of their child. It really is a phenomenal, demanding, and selfless job; and I applaud you all.

Think of how many jobs you have! Caretaker, comforter, advisor, role model, hero, teacher, doctor (lol), chef, therapist, supervisor, lawyer and advocate, security, financial advisor; a mother is basically every possible career in one.

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To my readers who aren’t mothers, find some time to show the women/ mothers in your lives that you appreciate all their efforts. Especially not being mothers, we have no idea what’s like to be one. I can take a guess: it’s not easy.

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I was barely able to take care of my birds, all three of them got away accidentally.

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So to the mothers: Happy Mother’s Day to you all and know you are loved, appreciated, and your love and care will never go unnoticed. We love you!

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two kids finding superwoman cape in mothers closet

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The Language of Self-Talk

By Robine Jean-Pierre

I’ve been reading this book inconsistently for quite some time now. My fiancé Angel read it first, and then he bought a copy for me. He knew that the knowledge inside would have a profoundly positive impact on my life, starting with my self-image. The book is called What to Say When You Talk to Your Self by Dr. Shad Helmstetter, and I may have briefly mentioned it in previous blog posts. With the support of research in neuroscience, the author asserts that the way our brains are wired plays a huge role in determining our success. The primary way to shape our brains (meaning our beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and behavior, successively) is through self-talk.

This does not have to mean literally having conversations with yourself in the mirror or out in public; it has more to do with the things you say about yourself, whether out loud or in your own mind. What you constantly say to or about yourself, you will come to accept and believe, whether it is true or false, good or bad.

Dr. Helmstetter explains that there are five levels of self-talk. Each will be explained in my own words below.

1. The Level of Negative Acceptance

This level consists of statements that start with “I can’t…” “I wish I could…” “I don’t…” and “I’m too…” just to name a few. People say things like “I can’t remember names” because maybe they had one bad experience and forgot someone’s name. They say it constantly because they believe it, but they believe it because they say it constantly. Even if they did want to be good at remembering names, this change would not happen instantly.

When you keep feeding your brain negative directions (“Robine, keep forgetting names since you can’t remember them”) it will follow them indefinitely. That’s why Dr. Helmstetter says this level of self-talk “is the lowest, least beneficial level” that “cripples our best intentions and seduces us into becoming satisfied with mediocrity.”

2. The Level of Recognition–and Need to Change

“I need to…” “I ought to” and “I should” are examples of ways to start a Level 2 self-talk statement. They may sound useful because we all know that recognizing a problem is the first crucial step in solving it. However, they still fall flat because, on their own, they will not push you to find that solution. The truth is that a statement like “I really should start my homework” is an incomplete thought; it is often followed by an unspoken “but” that connects it back to level 1 self-talk: “…but I can’t focus (or I’m too lazy).”    

3. The Level of Decision to Change

This is the level where positivity starts to get a foothold. It consists of phrases that begin with “I never…” and “I no longer…” When I first read this section, I found this level particularly interesting because of its usefulness in breaking bad habits, but I thought to myself, doesn’t it seem weird to say I never do something, if I’m still currently doing it? That’s where the question of honesty comes in for me. But again, the brain will accept what it’s told frequently enough, whether it’s true or false, good or bad.

Using an example from the book, if you are trying to quit smoking, saying “I never smoke” every time you light a cigarette is not necessarily lying; it is better to see it as wilfully reprogramming your brain so that you believe it and eventually act it out. I like the idea of speaking as if the goal you want has already been accomplished; the past has a sense of certainty to it.

4. The Level of the Better You

Dr. Helmstetter describes this as “the most effective kind of self-talk we can ever use.” Phrases in this level start with “I am” and end with whatever positive thing you would like to be. If you’re like me, this one might feel uncomfortable at first because you probably aren’t used to it; you might even feel guilty, since it seems too much like boasting or conceit. Fortunately, it’s not. It is simply a matter of telling your brain what you want to be, as if it already is the case. Try saying out loud “I am organized. I always get my assignments done on time. I have great memory.” These instructions to your brain are way more conducive to success than “I can’t stay organized. I wish I could get my assignments done on time. I just can’t remember anything.”

5. The Level of Universal Affirmation   

The statements in this level begin with “it is.” Dr. Helmstetter doesn’t explain it too much, but he says that this includes “spiritually oriented affirmations.” These affirmations “speak of a divine affinity of being that transcends our earthly life and gives greater meaning to our existence.” They have been used in ancient religions and may resemble a statement such as “I am one with the universe and it is one with me.”

Getting Started

Dr. Helmstetter recommends replacing levels 1 and 2 with self-talk from levels 3 and 4, as soon as possible. You don’t have to read the whole book to start testing it out. Just know that it takes time and effort to peel back up to years of faulty or undesirable mental programming, in order to replace it with new, positive, healthy programming.

In order to put it to practice right away, here is my personal example of a self-talk program I would like for myself:

I no longer procrastinate. I am organized and focused. I get tasks done on time and I enjoy doing so. I never run away from my responsibilities. When challenges arise, I do whatever it takes to overcome them. I’m positive, enthusiastic, optimistic, and joyful no matter what the circumstances.  I am a winner.

All of this information can be found in “Chapter Nine: The Five Levels of Self-Talk” in the book. I hope you found this article helpful, and feel free to leave a reply about what you thought.

Special thanks to Angel again for recommending this book to me.cover of the book What to Say When You Talk to Your Self

Life After Undergrad: Summertime game plan

So it is officially May which is also my birthday month! I am excited and nervous to turn 28 but I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me. This summer while I look for a job I also want to knock some things off my bucket list. I want to plan at least one trip and add some new memories to my scrapbook. I’d love to go back to California, but I also want to see Seattle and other parts of the west coast too. I also recently got my passport and I’d love to put it to use. I have always wanted to see the islands or part of South America.

I have always loved the summertime because it feels so free and so much seems possible. The days are longer and the sun just seems brighter and it makes me want to explore not only my own city but others as well. I think that travel is just as important as education is because some things you can only learn with experience.

Aside from traveling I have my sights set on going on as many interviews as I can. I want to get the experience and a feel for the industry so I can be better versed with the dialogue that employers expect.

Summer is also a great time to try out a new hobby or a new style. Nothing feels better than reinventing yourself and switching things up. You owe it to yourself to feel like your best self and live your best life. It really is true that when you feel good, you do better.

Burn

Lady-Short-Hair

There are only two things that I devote my entire attention to on my Twitter feed, which are BTS and Hamilton.

Recently, Lin Manuel Miranda, the wonderful father of the musical about founding fathers, has released “First Burn” as part of #Hamildrop. Hamildrop basically continues the legacy of the groundbreaking musical Hamilton with the release of new Hamilton  related content for every month of 2018. (I know many people are already scrolling away, annoyed at this “old” and “overhyped” musical, but it is art and I stand by it!)

“Burn” is the song in Hamilton that follows the revelation of Alexander Hamilton’s cheating with Maria Reynolds. In the song, Eliza Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton’s wife, sings of burning the letters that he wrote to her.

In this version that is in the final musical, Eliza is burning the letters to destroy the best version of Hamilton that could possibly redeem him to the public. But in the new Hamildrop, which is the original first draft of “Burn,” Eliza is, as Lin Manuel Miranda says, “purely reactionary.”

This Eliza is burning with n purpose except anger. However, this Hamildrop made me realize how strong of a character Eliza is. I was able to see her with new eyes and listen to her lines all over again. If you aren’t familiar with the musical, IT’S SO SO SO GOOD, PLEASE LISTEN. But if musical theater ain’t yo thang, that’s okay, too. All you have to know for this is that the character of Eliza Hamilton has an older sister named Angelica and she is the one most will point to and say, “That’s a badass woman.”

Angelica leads the song “The Schuyler Sisters” in which she sings about trying to find a man whose mind is at work. Not just a great face. While on the other end, Eliza sings “Helpless” about falling helplessly in love with Alexander. So, it’s easy to think that Eliza is weak and… well… helpless.

But, she isn’t! In fact, Eliza is strong despite the death of her son, resilient in the face of Hamilton’s adversities, is the finale of the musical and the bearer of Alexander Hamilton’s legacy. She is both a gentle love and a tough love.

I forget that being a strong woman also can mean being a gentle one as well. Even though Eliza isn’t as head strong as her sister doesn’t mean she isn’t strong. She is the moral compass of the musical, the woman who has weathered it all. She is this meme exactly:

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A Bite of Downtown Brooklyn

a stacked burger with fries on a metal pan

Image by: Brianna Vasquez

I found myself aimlessly scrolling through the recent photographs that I had captured on my phone and I had stumbled across a bunch of food-themed pictures. I seem to always find myself captivating the delicious beauty and heavenly appearance of food every single time that I go out somewhere to feast on a tasty meal. I cannot help but to photograph these almost life-changing memories. Yes, I am one of those people that will take about a hundred photographs of my food before I viciously consume it and hope that by the time that I am done being a modern day and food version of Stieglitz for my meal that it hasn’t turned up cold at that point.  It is just something about food that just captivates me. It inspires me to see delicious food being displayed in an amazing manner so that it can be visually appealing before it is eaten. A little over a month ago, my family celebrated my older sister’s birthday which I blogged about her birthday cheesecake. It was a really fun and exciting weekend as it was a milestone birthday which is always great to have a celebration for.

 

three fried pasta balls with sauce

Image by: Brianna Vasquez

I am slightly obsessed with Downtown Brooklyn and all that this amazing part of Brooklyn has to offer. Whenever there is any event or get-together, I always gravitate toward this particular area as it is of great interest to me. You can literally find whatever you need in Downtown Brooklyn. There are movie theaters, coffee shops, cafes, bookstores, bubble tea spots, fast food restaurants, bakeries, antique shops, pet stores, bars, mom-and-pop restaurants, libraries, supermarkets and much more. I have never left this beautiful area of Brooklyn disappointed. I love it here. It has become a second home to me being that the college is located here so I have spent so much of my time discovering this enriched place. It is very diverse with varying cultures that are established into each place, acting as puzzle pieces in the masterpiece that is Downtown Brooklyn. It is truly a melting pot as it contributes to each culture suitably regardless of the variance along the streets. And you have seen this even in my past blogs when discussing this part of Brooklyn in terms of bubble tea which is Taiwanese and the restaurant, Lantern which offers an array of Thai food.

a burger with a basket of fries

Image by: Brianna Vasquez

So when Sabrina and I were trying to decide on the perfect restaurant to take our older sister, we were a tad bit overwhelmed with the unlimited amount of options to choose from. We were hoping to have a fun evening aside from the full family dinner that had already been planned for her birthday…a sister’s dinner dedicated to just us three, to laugh and eat while enjoying each other’s company. We finally decided on Mooburger which is a restaurant that sells burgers, hot dogs, and an assortment of sides to pair with your meal. The food was absolutely delicious. We started off with an appetizer of mac-n-cheese balls with marinara sauce. It was spectacular comfort food…who knew that mac-n-cheese could get any more delicious when fried in a crispy breadcrumb coating and dipped in a slightly spicy tomato sauce? I sure didn’t but I definitely do now. I would recommend this place for literally any occasion because you don’t really need a good excuse to have great tasting food.

Schutte for the stars

On a beautiful day like today the place to be is outside, enjoying the sun and soaking up all of vitamin D that we greatly missed throughout the harsh snow and, seemingly, nonstop rain of the spring. We all know of the parks relatively near City Tech but there are many others that aren’t too far away. Only 25 minutes off campus is an amazing interactive park called the Pratt Institute Sculpture Park. Because what’s better than walking through the park on a sunny day while looking at art?

auburn leaves from bushes that line the campus

Pratt Institute was founded by Charles Pratt in 1887; it was meant to be an affordable college for industrial studies. Pratt based the school around everything he wished he could have obtained, having had gone to college. Being a prosperous business man, gave him the resources to provide this type of educational tool to the working class Americans of the time. He decided to purchase land in his neighborhood, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, which would later be home to the sculpture park. Pratt wanted to keep the college in his hometown and it gives us, many generations later, the essence of his passion for the school.

an artistic bench

“Whispering Bench – Texting” by Cathey Billian

a different angle of the artistic bench

By the time of the late 1970’s into the 1980’s, the school took a financial downfall. Since Brooklyn became a shoddy neighborhood and the enrollment rate faced an all-time low. The crisis ensued into the early ‘90’s until the new president of the school, Thomas F. Schutte, decided to do something really radical. In 1993, he decided to close the School of Engineering since the vast majoral popularity was in the architectural school. Students were transferred and faculty was redistributed, but the college remained open and used the financial turn to enrich the college and hopefully regain its popularity to potential students.

a sculpture of skeletal lions, fighting

“Lions at the gate” by Wendy Klemperer

a sculpture of a cluster of stones placed tightly juxtaposed one another

“Particle/Wave/Time/Space Continuum” by Karl Saliter

To beautify and update the campus, they decided to improve their historical buildings/halls and turn the court-field into a sculpture park. The park opened in 1999, all thanks to David Weinrib for conceiving such a beautiful plan. It began with just about fifty sculptures sprawled across the yards and gardens. According to Pratt Institute, they now have seventy sculptures, all donated from students, faculty, and graduates. The art is always evolving, and they even featured  a “LOVE” sculpture around six years ago.

a sculpture in the midst of fallen leaves on the campus lawn

“The end justifies the means, justifies the end” by Martha Walker

So if you are ever in the mood to shake up your usual routine and lounge in the sun, try Pratt Institute’s Sculpture Park. Visiting hours are 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.