• Skate The Skyline

    Ice skating in New York City is one of those classic experiences that never gets old. But there’s always room to elevate the rink game. It doesn’t always have to be the Rockefeller Ice Skating Rink — most of the time filled with hundreds of tourists anyway. Our suggestion: enjoy a spin on the ice atop The Rooftop at Pier 17. After its debut last season, Winterland Rink is back and larger in size, serving up more spectacular views of the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.

    Price of admission to the rink starts at $15. Besides the great views, you’ve got a couple classy options to warm up. Designed by David Rockwell, The Tank warming hut offers rinkside drinks and bites, or duck inside the R17 luxury bar and defrost next to one of its two fireplaces with cocktails and hearty dishes like Wagyu Beef Short Rib. Or stop by one of the rooftop food trucks serving boozy hot cocoa and cider or wine by the glass, plus bites like salted pretzels, hot dogs and nachos.

    See you on the rink!
    More info: pier17ny.com/winterland

  • Serve a Full Thanksgiving Meal on an L Train? Only in New York City!

    Jodell Lewis, a local comedian, wanted to do something different for Thanksgiving this year, so he and a few friends came up with an elaborate idea: a full meal on the subway.

    After months of planning, they decided to go ahead with it, hosting a Thanksgiving dinner — bird and all — on a Brooklyn-bound L train. Video of the meal surfaced on social media and almost immediately went viral.

    The New York City subway is no stranger to wild stunts, like the annual No Pants Subway Ride or the time a man riding in a car, dressed as a turkey, carved and ate an actual turkey, or when two people set up a Ping-Pong match.

    In videos of the meal, Jordell’s friends and collaborators and surprised strangers shared a meal of turkey, collard greens and macaroni and cheese. “A lot of people haven’t had black Thanksgiving,” Jordell, who is African-American, said. So, the idea, he said, was to “make people feel like we’re inviting you to our home.” Jodell, who works with a group of New York-based comedians and artists, said his aim was to “feed hungry New Yorkers and give back.”

    The entire journey took about an hour, taking the group from Union Square all the way to Rockaway Parkway. There, they cleaned up and gave some of their leftovers to the homeless.

    “It was amazing to provide a classic New York City moment,” Jordell said. “Nothing else can compare to being able to eat Thanksgiving with random strangers on a New York City train,” he said. “That’s what people come to our city for.” LOCALIKE’s comment: ❤️
    Click here to watch a short video about the dinner: youtu.be/pude-VCbI_Q

  • Every Day I Pray for Love

    Explore new work by world-famous Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the David Zwirner gallery on 537 West 20th Street in Chelsea. The exhibition features new paintings, new sculptures, an immersive installation, and the debut of a new infinity room.

    One of the most influential artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Kusama occupies a unique position within recent art history. Since her early assimilation of pop art and minimalism in the 1960s, she has created a highly personal oeuvre that resonates with a global audience. Distinctly recognizable, her works frequently deploy repetitive elements—such as dots—to evoke both microscopic and macroscopic universes.

    The gallery debuts Infinity Mirrored Room - Dancing Lights That Flew Up to the Universe 2019, which offers an immersive and poetic experience of endless space. The continuous mirroring of the flickering lights ultimately underscores Kusama’s determination throughout her art to convey an “eternal unlimited universe and the eternity of interrelationships.”

    The exhibition also introduces new paintings in the artist’s iconic My Eternal Soul series. Created in a more intimate format on view for the first time in the United States, these works are singular explorations of line and form. Minutely detailed, yet with bold explorations of color, they are at once abstract and figurative. Framed by the paintings and addressing a similar dialectic is a large, new floor-based constellation composed of almost a hundred different stainless-steel elements. Viewers navigate an all-encompassing environment of organic-looking, cloud-like forms whose reflections envelop its audience and reinforce an impression of perpetuity and infinity.

    The exhibition is free of charge and open to the public until December 14th, 2019. No tickets are required—the show is first come, first entry. It is extremely popular. The average wait time is usually more than 2 hours to enter into the exhibition.
    More info: davidzwirner.com

  • Inside The Renovated And Expanded MoMA

    This past June, just as prime summer tourist season was about to kick in, the Museum of Modern Art, the city's third most popular museum with more than three million visitors a year, closed its doors for four months. The reason? A $450 million expansion, construction, and renovation project that not only increased the gallery space by 40,000 square feet or 30% (and "other" public space by 25%), but also entailed a complete rethinking, reorganizing, and rehanging of MoMA's vaunted permanent collection. And now the job is done! On October 21st MoMA is open once again. Here's a first look at the reboot.

    That dramatically-lit canopy jutting out over the entrance on 53rd Street is new, but it's not until you enter the building that you notice how different everything is on the ground floor. The lobby itself is pretty much just a big empty space now, save for a new high tech coat room—there are no tickets; you enter your phone number on the touch screen and get a text with all the necessary info—which the staff says will speed up this most dreaded of all MoMA lines. To the east is a new Member's Desk, and the entrance to the beloved, unchanged Sculpture Garden.

    To the west, there's a large new ticket-buying area, which now includes a bank of electronic kiosks, as well as a few spots to lounge about while overlooking the stylish new subterranean gift shop, which features a two-story "wall of books." Keep going and you'll discover the two new free-to-the-public galleries at the lobby level, called 1 North and 2 North, showcasing emerging artists.

    On floors two, four, five, and six is where the increase in gallery space really hits you. The soaring Atrium is intact but basically everything else has expanded west, and you can tell you're entering new territory whenever you pass through a black-framed entranceway. There are an extraordinary number of (re)discoveries to be made on these floors, especially now that they've included many recent acquisitions by African, African-American, Asian, and Latin American artists, as well as more work by women artists in general.

    There are other new exhibition spaces throughout, including a performance "Studio" (on the 4th floor) that features a wall of windows and an engaging sound installation. Accessible via a separate stairwell or elevator, is the new Terrace Cafe, notable for its outdoor tables.

  • Grab The Train At Grace Jones, Get Off At Yoko Ono: Exploring NYC's New 'City Of Women’ Map

    If you look at a map of the United States, you might think that only men live here. Writer Rebecca Solnit once said, “The peaks of our mountains sound like a board of directors of an old corporation.”

    And nowhere is manscaping more on display than in New York City, where there are 200 plus statues and landmarks named after men in history, including the Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle and Rockefeller Center, to name a few. Meanwhile, the most prominent woman is the Statue of Liberty, which isn’t even based on a real person.

    The lack of women on display sparked the idea behind the “City of Women” map, which renames each of New York’s 424 subway stops after famous women who lived, worked or reveled there. The map was created by Solnit and geographer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro.

    “Our map was also designed as a kind of intervention in a conversation that's really picked up steam in the last few years about gender and public space and the ways in which our names and our public spaces do honor and welcome a certain segment of the population that may not feel as welcoming to others,” Jelly-Schapiro says.

    The women on this map run the gamut, Jelly-Schapiro says. In Queens, the subway stop near the U.S. Open stadium is named after Venus and Serena Williams. Out in Bayside, Queens, the map honors the three ladies of seminal hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa.

    “We wanted it to be a mix,” Jelly-Schapiro. “We wanted to have the politicians — the Elizabeth Holtzmans or Bella Abzugs — but also absolutely entertainers, singers, community activists, curators.” Jelly-Schapiro says this map is really so powerful in making women more visible because the map of the subway “is the map of New York City that New Yorkers know best. It's fabulous fun now all the time to think about giving directions or getting around the city by saying, 'I'm going to get on the train at Grace Jones and get off at Yoko Ono,' ” he says.

    The map has had an impact on people of all genders, not just women, which Jelly-Schapiro says he didn’t expect. “It's shown me the sort of the power of representation and the ways in which it matters to see ourselves and people we recognize and admire recognized in public,” he says.

    More information: nonstopmetropolis.com/theposter

  • Architecture and Design Aficionados: This Is For You!

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least for architecture and design aficionados. October is Archtober—or Architecture and Design Month. For 31 days, the City’s design community opens its doors for more than 100 tours, lectures, films and celebrations, offering behind-the-scenes peeks at the buildings that give this metropolis its distinct character.

    Archtober just began, and we’re only a few weeks out from the 2019 Open House New York weekend, taking place October 18-20 across all five boroughs. During the three-day event, hundreds of architectural sites and cultural venues will open to the public, including many that are normally off-limits.

    Among the new sites that have been added to the docket this year include the High Line Spur (the final section of the elevated park), which opened earlier this spring; 277 Mott Street, a retail building designed by star architect Toshiko Mori; Pier 35, a new lower Manhattan park designed by SHoP and Ken Smith Workshop; and 25 Kent, a massive new office complex in Williamsburg.

    There will also be some cool special events, including open access to studios and buildings in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and a day of talks and performances at impressive and newly opened TWA Hotel at JFK Airport.

    You also have two more days to prepare for tours that require reservations; they’ll go live on October 8 at 11 a.m. EST. This year, those tours include old favorites—the Woolworth Building and the United Nations Headquarters among them—as well as brand new sites. You can learn about the recent renovations to Central Park’s Belvedere Castle, or visit the New York City outpost of Swedish photography museum Fotografiska, which is located in a landmarked Park Avenue building.
    But take note: the process of getting reservations is not easy, and tours regularly fill up within seconds of those going live.

    More information: ohny.org

  • Water Towers in New York City

    Water towers have become a ubiquitous part of New York City’s skyline. You never have to look up more than a few blocks to spot one of the roughly 15,000 tanks perched on top of a roof. New York gets its water supply from reservoirs north of the city. The water from these reservoirs is able to travel up to six floors without a problem. As buildings began to rise higher than six floors in the 1800s, it became necessary to add water towers to buildings. The water could be pumped, stored and distributed to floors beyond six stories.

    There are three water tower manufactures in the city – all of which have been in business for at least 100 years. They usually produce circa 400 wooden water tanks every year. The wooden vessels can hold up to 10,000 gallons of water and provide insulation that prevents water from freezing in the winter and stay cooler during the summer. Their natural temperature regulation properties make them more popular than steel tanks. Wooden water towers cost roughly $30,000 and have a life span of 30 to 35 years.

    Fun fact: While most buildings only have one water tower, the new One World Trade Center requires 16 water tanks in order to meet its water needs.

  • A New Beach is Coming to Manhattan

    Over the past 20 years, we have seen Manhattan’s West side waterfront change dramatically with the completion of Hudson River Park, the High Line & the massive development project Hudson Yards. As new architectural marvels have gone up, so have green parks and playgrounds that bring everyday life to the waterfront. And now, Hudson River Park (the second largest park in Manhattan) is set to get another new feature: A beach! It will be a first for the island. Here’s a sneak peak of the new Gansevoort Peninsula Park, which will make its debut in 2022.

    The 5.5-acre park, which used to be the site of a department of sanitation building, boasts different amenities. It will include a sandy beach for lounging, lots of green space, sports fields, a salt marsh, a dog run, and kayaking. The park, which sits right on the water, will provide New Yorkers and visitors with the opportunity to get up close to the Hudson River's increasingly lively ecology.

    Gansevoort Peninsula was designed by James Corner Field Operations, which also developed the High Line and Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

  • The Story Behind Those Charming Gantries

    Throughout the 20th century, gantry cranes were used to transport people and goods to/from barges and ships along New York City’s coasts. At the time that the gantries were built, manufacturing jobs were drawing people from across the world to the Big Apple. As the city slowly became industrialized and more bridges were built, trucks became the main means for moving goods around. Consequently, gantries went out of use by the 1980s.

    Today, you can still spot a few gantries along the city’s waterfront. Two of them are located in Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City and were originally built in the 1920s. These particular gantries were used to lift trains that arrived from Long Island onto barges in the East River to supply the rest of the nation with different goods. Another gantry, located at 69th Street on the Hudson River, was built in 1911 and served as a floating bridge that aided in the transfer of trains from land to water. The train cars were then transported from Manhattan’s Upper West Side to Weehawken, New Jersey by ferries.

    Over the past years, development projects in the neighborhoods around gantries have led to their revitalization. The most popular ones are in Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City and Domino Park in Williamsburg.

    In 1998, the two gantries in Gantry Plaza State Park were repainted black and the words “Long Island” were written across them in bright red letters. The gantries became a main focal point in the redevelopment project along Long Island City’s waterfront, which included the construction of the 10-acre Gantry Plaza State Park. The railroad tracks are still visible in parts of the park, hinting at its history.

    Further south, in Williamsburg, the gantry crane that lifted sugar from ships that arrived from Caribbean plantations was repainted turquoise blue during the construction of Domino Park. The 6-acre park was built on the former site of the Domino Sugar Refinery, which operated there from the 1880s to 2004.

  • The Secret of Coenties Slip

    Most people who have explored New York’s history a bit have heard of The Great Fire of 1835. One of the most devastating fires in the city’s history, it destroyed nearly 700 buildings (including the New York Stock Exchange) in Lower Manhattan, in an area known as the Financial District today. The devastating fire had a huge impact on the city’s development. City planners changed the laws to make new buildings safer, and 23 of 26 insurers at the time were forced to close due to the huge financial losses.

    Located in Lower Manhattan at that time was a now little-known tiny neighborhood called Coenties Slip. It is often seen in drawings or depictions of The Great Fire and was an artificially-created berth for sailing vessels. Old maps reveal what looks like a canal that originates in the East River, where ships and other vessels would load/unload goods and people.

    There were several such slips along the East River, but most of them (including Coenties Slip) were replaced by docks. After the Erie Canal was built in 1825, the slip harbored many of the boats that traveled along the new waterway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes of North America. The land was filled in 10 years later, expanding the southern part of Lower Manhattan. Many new buildings were subsequently built in the area, but were destroyed a few months later in The Great Fire of December 1835. Today, Coenties Slip is located about a block away from the East River.

    But there’s more to this storied corner of Lower Manhattan, which was partly converted into a pedestrian plaza in 2013. You might recognize the area from vintage photographs depicting elevated train tracks between South Ferry and Hanover Square as they unusually wind through Pearl Street in the Financial District.

    During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Coenties Slip became home to a group of now world-famous American artists. These include Robert Indiana, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly and Chryssa. These influential artists lived and worked in the old seaport district, which was a great inspiration for the various mediums in which they worked.

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