Monthly Archives: February 2020

  • Underground NYC – Part 1

    Far beneath the streets and tucked away from subway stations, New York is filled with hidden tunnels and underground spaces that are the stuff of legend. We take you to places that will completely change your perspective on what lies directly beneath your feet in NYC. This is part one of our two-part series Underground NYC.

    1) Crown Finish Caves – Crown Heights, Brooklyn
    A brewery first popped up in Brooklyn at the intersection of Bergen Street and Franklin Avenue way back in 1849. The facility had several names and owners over the following decades before eventually taking up the moniker of Nassau Brewing Company. In 1866, the owners added an icehouse to the intersection, and a tunnel to connect it to the brewery. The space is currently being occupied by Crown Finish Caves, a cheesemaker that uses the underground space to age its stinky dairy products. Periodic tours and events are hosted in the space, so if you want to explore one of Brooklyn’s most historic subterranean spaces, keep an eye out for updates from the company.

    2) McCarren Park Pool Tunnel – Greenpoint, Brooklyn
    The now-renovated pool at Greenpoint’s McCarren Park dates back to the Great Depression (it was one of 11 massive pools around the city that were commissioned by FDR’s Works Progress Administration). Hidden beneath the park is a set of access tunnels and drainage pipes that could make any urban explorer foam at the mouth. Several people have chronicled their ventures into the pool’s catacombs, and access to them isn’t exactly legal, but that’s the case for many of the locations on this list.

    3) The Basilica of St. Patrick's Cathedral Catacombs – SoHo, Manhattan
    The 200-year-old Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral (the one in SoHo, not Midtown) sits over ancient catacombs that are usually off-limits to the public. However, an official 90-minute tour can take you through the ghostly subterranean lair. This unique and historic site serves as the final resting place for many prominent New Yorkers, including the Delmonico family, General Thomas Eckert (a confidant of Abraham Lincoln), Honest John Kelly of Tammany Hall and the first resident Bishop of New York, Bishop John Connolly.

    Check out our blog next Sunday for part 2!

  • First Look Inside the Waldorf Astoria’s Condo Conversion

    Frank Sinatra once paid $1 million a year for a suite at the hotel Waldorf Astoria. Now its new owner is banking on the hotel’s glamorous past to sell luxury condos. First pictures of the conversion have now been published.

    It’s been more than two years since the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel shut its doors in preparation for its transformation into a hotel/condo hybrid, and in that time, much has changed in New York’s luxury real estate market. A one-time mansion tax has high-rollers on edge, and a glut of unsold condos (particularly the more expensive ones) is making developers nervous.

    But those facts haven’t deterred Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese owner of the Waldorf Astoria and the driving force behind its residential conversion; the developer will bring the project’s 375 condos, rebranded as the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria, to market in early 2020, and it’s betting on the property’s long history to help sell apartments. The condo residents’ amenities will include a private porte cochere, an 82-foot lap pool, and private entrances separate from the hotel itself.

    The hotel/condo conversion of the famed property has been in the works for several years: Anbang bought the Waldorf in 2014 for a whopping $3 billion, and the hotel closed in 2017 to facilitate construction. In addition to the 375 condos, the Waldorf will have 350 renovated hotel rooms when it reopens to the public in 2021. Anbang is will restore some of the hotel’s interiors—including the West Lounge, formerly known as Peacock Alley, the Grand Ballroom and balconies on the third floor; and the Park Avenue lobby, with its 13 murals and a floor mosaic designed by French artist Louis Rigal—that were designated landmarks in 2017.

  • Watch Out Ice Cream Lovers!

    Ready your camera roll and prepare for a sugar rush: The Museum of Ice Cream just opened in NYC!

    The SoHo flagship opened its pastel pink doors to sugary goodness a couple of days ago. The immersive experience is playground, social media backdrop and sweet shop at the same time.

    If you managed to score tickets ($39), there are a few things to know before embarking on the adventure. For one, you might be inclined to prop your kiddos in the interactive rooms—the rainbow walkway, an ice cream-themed subway car—but let's face the music. Your littles aren't interested in photo ops, no matter how adorable they might be.

    More vigorous than it looks, the playground staple will transport visitors to the "melting caves," a dark yet luminous room that acts as a gateway to the best part of the experience: The playground. Expect swings, ice cream basketball and yes, even a pool. Instead of water, there are giant sprinkles, and you'll debate taking a dip.

    Perhaps an overshadowed portion of the attraction is the ice cream itself, but the flavors are certainly not worth missing. "Cone Up," a crunchy chocolate-vanilla mashup is a sleeper, and you'd be remiss not to indulge in a taste. Other notable options include the honeycomb-flavored "Queen Bee" and the ever-tempting "Churro Churro."

    Happy ice-creaming!
    More info: museumoficecream.com/new-york-city