Category Archives: The Daily Life

Staten Island Half


I ran my first half marathon today! I’m still so excited, it was such a good race! The Staten Island half marathon was the last of this year’s NYRR Five-Borough series, and it was a cold but beautiful Sunday morning with a glorious sunrise. Seeing the Manhattan skyline on your last mile, and running into the baseball field of the Staten Island Yankees was a great motivator to finish strong. I’m glad I did it.


Summer in the City


Apparently, traveling has become an integral part of my life. Coming back from Baltimore early June, however, I managed to stay at home in New York for almost 3 weeks in a row before heading out again. It was amazing! The weather was great, and the City did not reek of trash and rotten rat yet. Of all the fun things I did, cycling around Central Park at sunset was certainly one of the most impressive and most rewarding things to do. Can’t wait to get back on the 6 mile loop!

Central Park


Spring is here! Finally! And it started with a bang; out of a sudden it’s everywhere. You can’t miss it. Birds are singing, squirrels go nuts, buds are popping out of trees, which were already presumed dead. And people: they’re everywhere too, in the streets, in the bars, in the cafés. But most of all they’re in the parks. Continue reading Central Park

Greenwich Village


Sometimes I wish Columbia could be around 14th Street, and by sometimes I mean always. But then it would be NYU, so it’s good that Columbia actually is where it is. It’s just that the area is so much nicer! The number of coffee shops and exotic restaurants is outrageous. Whenever it takes me down there during working hours or on the weekends, I enjoy the bustling streets of Greenwich Village. There’s always a new corner to discover, something new to see and try – just made for my curiosity.

P.S. after walking around in the Village all morning, with a coffee in my hand and a smile on my face, it’s actually quite hard to believe that tomorrow’s weather forecast predicts snow…



Blue hour’s sweet light was looming over Riverside Church when I left the astronomy department yesterday. Meanwhile, New York was turning into a huge slush puppie as the temperatures got milder. I felt like I had earned myself an afterwork beer with fellow Columbia astronomers and visiting ex-Columbiast Taka Tanaka. After being super productive during the last weeks, my Palomar 5 project is finally coming to an end! All I have to do now is wait for Yeti to deliver results. No, I did not hire Jaroslav Haas to compute likelihoods for me. Yeti is Columbia’s new >1600 core supercomputer, which has been inaugurated end of last year. I’ll post some results as soon as I get them, which will be in about one week. I’m excited, it all looks very, very promising.


Walking into Harlem’s Cathedral of Saint John the Divine last weekend, Steffen and I became witnesses of a truly multicultural event: several ginormous dragons were hovering in the nave of the church, while down below Chinese drummers were welcoming the year of the horse. Meanwhile a Christian Harlem community was having a get-together after their Sunday service.


Apparently, it’s not just me who likes Harlem a lot. In a recent New York Times feature, Harlem is shown from it’s promising side, with lots of Jazz, coffee and excellent food – but also with good neighborhood and a rich history.  It’s exceptionally colorful living here!

Sakura Park


I’m getting tired of posting winter wonderland photos, but going through Sakura Park every day I really can’t help it. This place makes me happy each and every day. Can’t wait till all the cherry trees start to bloom, bringing out the Sakura in the park’s name! Apparently they were imported from Japan in 1912 as a gift from Japanese residents of New York. Hence, it has become a place to have Hanami parties, the joy of looking at cherry blossoms. Who’s in for that?!