New York City

Being a Building Gawker in NYC | New York City Photos by Rachel Abrahams

Being hobbit sized (almost 5'2") means I spend most of my days looking up at things. My husband is 15" taller than me. I need a footstool to reach the 2nd shelf in our upper kitchen cabinets. I need a full chair to get to the 3rd shelf or I just make a life decision of whether or not I really need whatever is up there. Most times, I decide I don't really need it. I have a footrest at work because putting my chair low enough for my feet to be flat on the ground means my keyboard then is almost chest height. My altogether favorite? Sitting in booths at restaurants. My feet don't touch the ground and I look like a child with my legs just dangling in mid-air.

So, what does that have to do with anything? Before my first visit to New York City, several people gave me the advice to not look up at all the buildings because it marks you as a tourist and then you're likely to get mugged. That's a really hard task for me to achieve. I spend my life looking up and around me and to not look at the buildings was even harder because they are SO COOL. It's amazing to see when you're from a small and flat area like mine.

I get it, though. Locals really don't like it because gawking up at the buildings also means you are probably blocking up the traffic on the sidewalk and then they have to get around you, which is super annoying. It's kind of like in our area where you know the people in front of you are tourists because they are driving slow, everyone is looking towards the ocean (including the driver), and they are weaving like drunks on the road. You risk your side view mirror trying to get around them and curse the car full of tourists the entire time. I bet it's just like that for NYC locals and the building gawkers blocking up the sidewalk.

So, what's a newbie NYC tourist (or even a seasoned one) to do? We jumped onto the hop-on hop-off tourist bus and had a great time being driven around to see everything (more than we ever would on foot), didn't care if we looked like tourists, and also let an expert guide point out the buildings with historical design/details/stories for me to capture as photographs. It's a win win situation in my book! I'll admit, I am a big advocate for taking those hop-on hop-off tourist buses (I even recommended them in my lessons learned from Paris posts). I know these buses aren't everyone's cuppa tea but I think they can be fun when you're overwhelmed by the massive list of things you can do in such a big city.

The bus tour let me get my stare-in-awe-with-mouth-wide-open-like-a-fish at buildings on and then shake myself out of my reverie long enough to take some photographs. Anything that had a cool detail or a great profile against the sky wasn't safe from my camera and I almost had whiplash from trying to capture it all and not miss a thing.

You've probably noticed by now something very different about these photos compared to my usual photos. Yup, I went with all black and white edits. Mind blowing - right?!? I think this might be the first time I have ever posted all black and white photos but I really felt like that was the better choice here. Sometimes the color can overwhelm the details and that is what my main focus here is, capturing the intricate and small details on the buildings that most people rushing by on the sidewalk completely miss as they avoid looking up (like a tourist) and try to keep the traffic flow moving on the sidewalk.

So here, this is your chance to really pay attention to that area above your heads - and don't be shy you can grab your I Heart NY shirt outta the closet and rock that bad boy. No one's judging here. Especially not this shortie whose feet aren't touching the ground while typing this.

If you're also interested in seeing the color version of these photos, I uploaded them on my website.

What do you think of the black and white photos? Do you also deal with tourists where you live? Any other shorties out there, like me? Or, if you're tall, what kind of fun challenges do you encounter?

That Time I Broke My Tailbone In Central Park | NYC Photography by Rachel Abrahams

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Full disclosure: You have my full permission to laugh. I would (and do!) laugh at this story.

Approximately 3 months ago, I went on an amazing trip to New York City, NY and Paris, France. My husband and I visited Paris once before but it was for only one day and the majority of our time was spent on a bus traveling to/from the city. For this visit, we wanted to do everything on our wish list, and then some.

We started off in New York City for a couple days because despite having gone multiple times, there were still many things we had not seen or done. It was amazing. We visited the Statue of Liberty, the top of the Rockefeller Center building at sunset (so crowded!), and multiple locations that were all memorable. We topped off our last day in NYC with a bike ride through Central Park and this is where things went downhill for me.

After renting the bikes and getting them “fitted” to our height, we circled most of Central Park and stopped at specific locations. I am so short I had to make a choice, either have my seat 1) low enough so my feet could touch the ground when stopped but my knees in my chest while pedaling or 2) too high off the ground but more comfortable while pedaling. I went with the 2nd choice. It was a fantastic way to see Central Park because it is so large and we were lucky, on that day, there was no traffic within the park.  As we pedaled up a small hill to our last stop, to visit Strawberry Fields (John Lennon) memorial, everyone was ahead of me and I stood up on my pedals to get some extra push going and that’s when it all fell apart.

My flip flop slipped off the pedal, I fell downward, my tailbone slammed the seat edge, and I was stuck dangling there mid-air because my feet couldn't touch the ground. I was in so much pain and was trying to stay conscious and not vomit over the side, all while angling myself and the bike downward so I could touch the ground. No one else saw it happen and when they turned to see where I was, rather than admit I was hurt I lost my mind like a crazy person.

My husband asked me if I was OK and I proceeded to ramble / yell / froth at the mouth about how I hated riding bikes, where could I return the bike, when would this be over, this was the worst idea known to mankind, and told him I was taking the bike back and didn't care about stupid Central Park. Mind you, this was filled with some super salty language. Quite a few f-bombs and other creative unsavory words that would make my grandmother blush scarlet. I was like a pirate after a bottle of rum who had just stubbed his toe and forgotten to take his meds that day.

As I went on my crazy lady rant, my husband looked at me with such confusion. He’s known I've always wanted to see the Strawberry Fields memorial, especially since I had the poster of the memorial hanging in my room starting at 15 years old.  He looked at me like I had lost my mind (I had) and said “What is wrong with you? Just get off the bike and walk up the hill. It’s RIGHT THERE” as he pointed to a distance of less than 50 feet away.

Still not admitting I was hurt, I heaved my leg off the bike so I could walk it up the hill. Once I got to the top and started turning a normal shade of coloring from purple to semi-red, I then explained to my husband what happened and finished with “I think I broke my tailbone”. All he could do was shake his head because, if you know me well, this isn't surprising news. I am always hurting myself.

By the way, our flight to Paris was scheduled to leave in several hours.

We visited the memorial and I walked the bike back to return it (the location was literally at the bottom of the hill we were on). As we got closer to the flight departure time, I knew and feared the pain was going to be tremendous on the flight and I wasn't wrong. I couldn't sit, stood instead, had the flight attendants ask me multiple times if everything was OK (Yes, everything is fine. No, I’m not planning on doing something terrible). It was 8 very very long hours.

The good news is, I toughed it out (the worst was trying to stand up from sitting and sitting in the taxi cabs), slept on my stomach, took tons of pictures, visited every single thing I had on my list, and was teased about my “broken butt” constantly. I had to laugh because yes, this is EXACTLY a story I could add to my “Rachel’s List of Stories”. I've been told I could write a book – like the time this guy asked me for directions while he was in his car and it took me several (far too long) seconds to realize he was stark naked behind the wheel. To be honest, I was distracted by how sweaty and red he was. I’ll save that story for another day though…..

P.S. It’s 3 months later and it STILL HURTS. It’s definitely improved but I still can’t sit too long, sit in cushy seats (like the couch or movie theater), sit comfortably in a car, or exercise extensively. I've read it takes forever to heal. They weren't wrong.

P.P.S. (or is it P.S.S.?) I will be posting more Paris photos in my next several posts. Sorry for the tease photo above :-)

It Takes Time | New York City Photography by Rachel Abrahams

New York City | Flat Iron Building

Not too long ago, I went on an amazing trip to New York City and Paris and have been madly editing photos since I got back. I typically take a million bajillion images and then get home, super excited, attempt to edit them and then overwhelm myself. I have a REALLY hard time breaking things down into bite-size pieces. I like to attack all at once and then can get lost in my effort and just walk away........abandoning the project.

I am trying hard to get better about this and I started with editing the NYC and Paris photos - one day at a time - just a few photos at a time. All so I can take my time and put an extra effort into each individual photo.

Here's my first one out of the gate. Many more to come.....

Ghosts In Grand Central Station | NYC PHOTOGRAPHY by Rachel Abrahams

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I have been sick with a cold, so I have no energy for wittiness or descriptive writing. I've been working my way through the 7 Cold Dwarfs: Sniffy, Drippy, Coughy, Sneezy (a classic), Achy, Chilly, and Sweaty (the twins). Loads of fun, I tell ya. My husband even declared wherever I am to be the "No Fun Zone".

As to the photo, this was a happy accident. Sometimes, those can be the best things to happen to you. I had my settings for a darker location before and the shutter was open for longer than I intended. It worked out better, in my opinion.

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