Tag Archives: nyc

  • New York Hosts Special Guests in its Coastal Waters

    Who would have thought that dolphins, whales and seals call New York home?
    During the summer months, humpback whales on their way to the Caribbean for the winter spend some time in coastal waters of New York. Several environmental initiatives have led to cleaner water off New York City’s coasts, which have becoming inviting for the beautiful water creatures.

    For several years, the non-profit organization Gotham Whale has been on a mission to educate New Yorkers about marine life in the area through responsible whale watching and dolphin adventure cruises. Now visitors can also join in on the adventure as the sightings have become more common. They had a confirmed 272 sightings in 2018. While whale & dolphin sightings are not guaranteed during the beautiful cruise along the waterfront, it is also a great opportunity for seal and birdwatching. You will want to bring along your binoculars for this spectacular family adventure. More info: go.localike.com/ob7

  • Cherry Blossoms Announce the Largest Celebration of Japanese Culture in NYC

    The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is taking place at Brooklyn Botanic Garden this weekend. The much-beloved festival, which is in its 37th year, is one the biggest celebrations of Japanese culture in New York. Every year, thousands of people visit the botanic garden in Brooklyn to enjoy the cherry trees, which typically bloom during the month of April, and to welcome the Spring.

    The festival often coincides with the blooming of the trees. It has become a favored destination for local families, who watch or participate in over 60 events. These include theatre, dance & musical performances, traditional Japanese games as well as tea ceremonies (to name a few). A marketplace also offers food & drink, sweet treats, clothing & toys for purchase.

  • The Easter Parade Brings Fifth Avenue to Life

    This past Sunday, people, dogs and bunnies in their fancy hats and colorful outfits gathered on Fifth Avenue (around St. Patrick’s Cathedral) to walk in the annual Easter Parade. Many New Yorkers look forward to this event, and spend hours creating extravagant, handmade hats and costumes which they display during the Midtown parade.

    Originally, only New York’s high society would gather in Central Park to show off their best clothing on Easter Sunday and churches would decorate their entryways with flowers. But things have changed since the tradition started in the 19th century. Over the years, the popular 1948 musical, Easter Parade, (starring Judy Garland & Fred Astaire) made it fashionable for everyone to parade their best fashions on Easter. Some people took inspiration from the season’s blooms and adorned themselves in flowers.

  • Three Waldorf Astoria Artifacts Are Being Exhibited This Spring

    Ever wonder what happened to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel since it closed in 2017? The famous hotel is currently being converted into luxury apartments and hotel rooms in a restoration & redevelopment project set for completion in 2021. The hotel portion will have 350 rooms, compared with 1,413 previously. 

    The public will continue to have access to parts of the Waldorf-Astoria’s landmarked interior spaces once it reopens. This includes the West Lobby on Park Avenue and the area formerly known as Peacock Alley (the large passageway connecting Waldorf and Astoria in The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which was home to the eponymous restaurant serving its world-famous brunch).

    Until the new space re-opens, the current owners are collaborating with New York Historical Society to exhibit three of the hotel’s famous vintage artifacts:

    • Cole Porter’s 1907 Steinway grand piano, which is being restored at the Steinway & Sons factory in Queens. The famous songwriter & musician lived in a huge suite on the Waldorf’s 33rd floor—where the piano was located—for many years. He wrote some of his best musicals and songs (“You’re the Top,” “Anything Goes”) there.
    • A rocking chair that was a gift from President John F. Kennedy, which was located in the Presidential Suite.
    • The iconic World’s Fair clock, which was originally designed for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. It will return to the lobby, where it was located prior to the renovation.

  • Old Subway Fleet Supports New York Marine Life

    New York City’s subway system has been steadily replacing its old fleet with newer train models over the past decade. This begs the question of what happens to the old trains once they permanently go out of service. Between 2001 – 2010, the subway reef program offered a solution & a home for the 2,500 retired train cars by introducing them to a new aquatic environment. After their motors, lighting, air conditioning units, etc. were removed, the old subway car shells were placed on the ocean floor. Here they were transformed into artificial subway reefs where they improved the marine environments for a variety of sea life. The new reefs have since attracted sea bass, tuna, mussels, sponges, and coral. Sea Train, a new exhibition at the New York Transit Museum, which opened March 20, features up-close photography of the subway reefs by Stephen Mallon.

  • Hudson Yards: The Largest Private Development Project in US History is Here

    Hudson Yards, the largest private construction project in US history, with a 25-billion-dollar price tag opened this Friday on Manhattan’s West Side. The project consists of 16 buildings (commercial & residential skyscrapers, a museum, hotel, shopping center etc.) Here are a few highlights:

    • The Vessel
    Consisting of 154 intricately interconnected staircases, and nearly 2,500 individual steps & 80 pedestals, the Vessel is an art project with a viewing platform designed by Thomas Heatherwick. Tickets are available for free.

    • The Shed
    A contemporary art & performance venue that commissions cutting-edge projects in pop culture. This venue, with an architectural structure that contracts and expands, will open to the public with a much-anticipated performance by Björk in its first season.

    • Shops & Restaurants
    From fast-food to fine dining restaurants, Hudson Yards brings new food & dining concepts by celebrated chefs David Chang, José Andrés & Thomas Keller under one roof – making it an exciting destination for food connoisseurs. High-end retailers such as Fendi and Dior also have a footprint in the development next to Zara & H&M - over 100 shops & restaurants in total.

  • A Quick Round of Jenga in Midtown Manhattan

    Speaking about skyscrapers these days has become a race in superlatives. The huge buildings are constantly being ranked & compared in terms of their height, value, age or eco-efficiency. 270 Park Avenue, on first sight, might seem like a modest competitor in this arena. The skyscraper, which was completed in 1964, is by no means an insignificant dwarf. Its 52 floors are spread over a towering 705 ft (205 meters) in a Midcentury architectural style with a steel and glass façade. 270 Park Avenue’s claim to skyscraper superstardom is coming into fruition in an unexpected way. It will be the tallest building ever demolished when it is torn down later this year. It’s a rather strange record to set, but a new record nonetheless.

    The building, which is owned by J.P. Morgan Chase, serves as the bank's headquarters. Over the years, the tower has slowly become cramped, with 6,000 people occupying as space that was originally designed for 3,500. But thanks to a recent change in zoning laws in Midtown, Manhattan, the construction of much higher buildings than was previously permitted is now possible. This, of course has been music to J.P. Morgan Chase’s ears. The bank has chosen to keep its footprint and build a taller skyscraper after demolishing 270 Park Avenue.

    The architectural community and concerned citizens alike are criticizing the project to demolish 270 Park Avenue. Besides seeming like the building was injected into the present day from the Mad Men era, 270 Park Avenue is also the only building of this size that was planned by a woman: Architect Natalie De Blois. De Blois worked for the world-famous architecture firm "SOM" at the time it was built. The firm’s name has become ubiquitous when it comes to top projects throughout the city. Their most famous work is Mies van der Rohe's Lever House.

    The renowned architect Norman Foster has already signed on to build J.P. Morgan Chase’s new headquarters. The 70-storey high building will accommodate 15,000 employees. And just in case you're wondering how a building of this size will be demolished in the busy streets of Midtown, Manhattan, here’s a clue: Imagine taking apart a "Jenga" tower piece by piece from above. But hopefully nothing will topple over...

  • A Public Luxury: Bryant Park's Fancy Restrooms

    Can ‘public’ and ‘luxury’ be synonymous with each other? In New York, the answer is a resounding “yeaahh!” In fact, Bryant Park one of the city’s best-known public park also boats its most luxurious public restroom. 

    According to popular legend, the fancy restroom was built in 1992 after the famous philanthropist & socialite Brooke Astor, encountered a "hooligan” who tried to sell her drugs in the park. Astor asked her good friend David Rockefeller to clean up the area; and with the wave of a wand, the luxury bathroom came to life.

    The restroom recently underwent a $300,000 renovation with high-end fixtures, crown moldings, and imported tiling. The walls are now decorated with floral artwork by local artists, who often paint in the park's courtyard. The non-profit Bryant Park Corporation, which manages the park, foots the $75,000 per year bathroom bill, which includes a weekly fresh flower delivery.

  • New York's Hidden Culinary Gems

    New York has its share of Michelin-starred restaurants to which foodies from all over the globe flock to. We also have our fair share of small, unassuming food spots that might not garner as much international fame and in fact prefer a low-key status. Here, the food shines above anything else, much to the approval of locals.

    We have put together a list of three secret tips that will lead you hidden establishments you would not have stumbled across in any travel guide. Add these three local hot spots to your next trip for an authentic NYC experience, and enjoy a delicious meal in the company of the everyday people, who give this city its driving soul:

    In the mood for a taste of the Dominican Republic? Your first treasure hunt leads you to Acuario Cafe, which serves Dominican food in Manhattan's Garment District at 306 W 37th Street. Look for the delivery entrance next to the sewing shop to find your way in. Walk down the long hallway toward the freight elevator, next to which you will find the little restaurant. Favorites here include the stewed goat served with rice and beans, yucca (a root vegetable) with garlicky onions, or roasted pork served with rice and sweet plantains. The authentic Dominican flavors stand out without breaking the bank at this food counter where the Dominican Republic meets NYC’s equally vibrant foodie community.

    Hidden behind a large, unmarked red iron door at 68 Jay Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn, you’ll find the tiny Patisserie Burrow. It’s hard to miss, once you find the classic NY-style deli next door. Once inside, follow the sweet scent of freshly baked goods down the hall, towards the Japanese bakery best known for its playful, handcrafted and arty desserts. Croissants are baked fresh every morning, next to perfect sponge cakes which come out of the oven just in time for the early afternoon rush. The creative chef behind Burrow, Ayako Kurokawa, is never short on creative ideas: New recipes bursting with flavor constantly find their way onto the changing menu.

    You have probably heard of those NYC restaurants hidden behind bodegas, a Latin-styled deli. Well, 5 de Mayo Food Market is one of those! The weekend-only taqueria is located at 81-06 Roosevelt Ave in Jackson Heights, Queens. A quick walk through the colorful fruit & vegetable stands, past the spices and the Cinco de Mayo décor, leaves you at a butcher’s counter where a few seats await diners in the know. Here, tacos filled with crispy or slow-cooked meats are dished up in fresh corn tortillas with crunchy & aromatic toppings. Bienvenidos a México!

  • Rise of the NYC Mega Mansion

    The race for Manhattan’s most talked about mega mansion continues to heat up. A townhouse at 134 Charles Street in the West Village has joined the growing list of luxury homes on New York’s real estate market – including the similarly priced penthouse on the 95th floor of 432 Park Avenue, located just a few steps away from Central Park.
    The new $80 Million West Village mansion will not top the famous Woolworth Building’s record-breaking price tag for its penthouse, which is set at a whopping $110 Million. However, the 18,000 square foot townhouse, designed by Leroy Street Studio and the renowned Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects, promises to reach new heights in indoor/outdoor luxury living.
    Amenities in the 6-bedroom home include a rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool, a stadium-style home movie theatre and a full-size squash court. Exclusive panoramic views of the Hudson River and Manhattan’s beautiful skyline will crown this private city retreat once it’s completed.

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