Highlights from this year’s brooklynbookfestival, including a hilarious talk with Bob Saget and John Leguizamo. Oh and the totes! It was very difficult to not add to my ever-growing tote collection, not to mention my book collection too. 

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

I’ve been a bit MIA from Tumblr lately. I’ve found myself not checking it as often as I used to. A big part of that can be the fact that my computer broke and mobile Tumblr just isn’t as fun. However, I’m trying to get back into my Tumblr groove. 

So how have you all been? Lots of things have been happening here. Mostly that it’s summer and I’ve been exploring my new neighborhood, the East Village. I’m no longer a resident of the UES. But before I share with you all my East Village findings, I’d like to share some more photos of my trip to Abu Dhabi back in May. Here are some of the shots of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque that we visited on our tour bus of the region. It was amazing. I’d never seen anything so beautiful. Oh, and in case you aren’t up on your pop culture (I sure wasn’t at the time), this is where Rihanna got into a bit of trouble.

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The tips of the domes are all solid gold and the floor is white marble so that if you were to walk barefoot on it, it would always be cool to the touch. Seriously, it was nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit out and the marble was not even warm. 

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These columns are only gold-plated, but the the flowers on them are all made from semi-precious stones, like amethyst and turquoise. 

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The Mosque’s prayer clock made from Swarovski crystals that tell you when the sun is in the right position to pray.

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Inside the Mosque’s prayer room where it is completely air-conditioned and can fit 40,000 worshippers. The chandeliers are also made entirely of Swarovski crystals and the carpet was made by hand in Iran. It is considered the largest carpet in the world at over 60,000 sq. ft.

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Look at that amazing detail! 

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And lastly, here I am with our tour guide covered head-to-toe, as is required for women entering the Mosque. Our tour guide was one of the best I’ve ever had. He said some really beautiful things about his personal beliefs in Islam, as well as explained to us the differences in style for kanduras (the white robe you seem him in) between the Arabic regions. He had lived in New York for seven years previously and loved telling us about his time there. He was also very patient with us and our somewhat ignorant questions. If you look behind me to the right, you can see the Minbar, the pulpit used by the imam to deliver the Friday message. It is made of carved cedar wood that is adorned with inlays of mother of pearl, glass, mosaic and while gold. So beautiful.

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Overall, the Mosque, and Abu Dhabi in general, was a very eye-opening experience for me. I feel like I have a deeper understanding of Islam and of Arabic culture. I had never visited an Arabic country before and even though the UAE is one of the more liberal areas of the region, it is very traditional and proud of its culture. I would go back in a heart beat to explore more of the area.

filmus-monochromus

Dear followers

filmus-monochromus:

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I am writing to inform you of the tragic passing of my father Andy, better known as Filmus Monochromus. His death was due to cancer and was quick and peaceful.

I thank you all for the love and support you have shown my father through the years and i hope to still continue the uploads, not daily but at least frequent.

- Jack

I can’t believe this. I’m incredibly distraught by this news. I never met Andy in person, but he was one of the first people here on Tumblr to encourage my photography and share his infinite wisdom with me on film. You’ll be missed greatly, Andy. Thank you for sharing your photos and your life with us as well as your mentorship. And for Bela Tarr. 

My biggest condolences to you, Jack, and your mom. 

Views from the Park Hyatt Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

If you guys recall, at the beginning of the month I went to Abu Dhabi for work. The experience was once in a million. The Institute I was working with graciously put us up at a 5-star hotel with amazing views. The weather was beautiful (albeit very hot at 100 F most days), the pools immaculate, the ocean crystal clear and the city itself was much more progressive than I would have thought. It was a lot of work, but I’m glad I ended going on this trip. I’d love to go back. Abu Dhabi is very modern and new city that reminded me a lot of my hometown Miami. Any you guys ever been?

The view from 20,000 feet.
I made it safely to Abu Dhabi, guys! Thank you all for your well wishes. Haven’t gotten much of a chance to see anything yet, but I’m seriously jet-lagged (it’s 1am here and I’m hardly sleepy), so I’m just goofing off. How are you all doing? 

The view from 20,000 feet.

I made it safely to Abu Dhabi, guys! Thank you all for your well wishes. Haven’t gotten much of a chance to see anything yet, but I’m seriously jet-lagged (it’s 1am here and I’m hardly sleepy), so I’m just goofing off. How are you all doing? 

From the Archives

A few more shots of the delicious food at San Antonio Bakery that I mentioned in my last post. Featured above are the following dishes: pan amasado con pebre (baked bread with Chilean salsa), ensalada chilena (Chilean salad), empanada de carne (meat-filled pastry), pescado frito (fried fish), and torta de lucuma (cake made out of the fruit lucuma). 

It was all amazing and it tasted like my childhood. I’ve been really craving some Chilean food lately. Maybe I can go back this summer!

From the Archives 

Around this time last year, my parents came to visit me. They came via car so we were able to drive out to this great Chilean restaurant called San Antonio Bakery in Valley Stream, NY (they have a smaller bakery in Astoria). If you guys are looking from some real Chilean food in NYC, this is the place to go. It’s a little far, but the bakery in Astoria is a good alternative if you don’t have a car. I really wish there more Chilean restaurants in NYC, but San Antonio Bakery had all kinds of pastries, empanadas and great Chilean wine.