All posts filed under: New York City

The NYC Guidebook I’ve Been Looking For

View of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade Visiting a city as vast, dense, and rich as New York can be intimidating. I often don’t make plans at all. Allowing myself to be swept up in its current usually works out. Yet after you’ve hit all the “must see” locations and revisited your friends’ favorite haunts it can be daunting to tap into the local feel of a global destination. A new guidebook by travel writer Gigi Griffis offers fresh NYC tips by tapping into a diverse group of locals. New York City: 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, & How to Fit In features interviews with everyone from history geeks to outdoor adventurers. It’s not quite a traditional guidebook. 10 Locals aims to help visitors look beyond the obvious destinations and “figure out how to find the quirkiest museums, the most delicious restaurants, and that hidden-away park with the best walking path.” While everyone should experience Manhattan’s big tourist draws once, I especially appreciated the book’s outer borough suggestions. I couldn’t stop scribbling notes throughout …

Link Love: New York City

I’m in an Empire State of mind after spending last week in NYC. Whether you’re a visitor or a tried-and-true New Yorker, here are some links I like. Listen to The Bowery Boys – This history podcast covers all manner of NYC stories, from the hidden to the iconic. Explore the evolution of the Yellow Cab (debuted in Chicago!) or a groundbreaking female journalist’s undercover work in an insane asylum. View Before & After – NYC Grid juxtaposes vintage street photography with contemporary shots of the same spaces in New York. Viewing such images side by side tells an interesting story of this ever-changing city. Watch The Lost Tribes of New York City – A pair of urban anthropologists merged stop-motion animation of street objects and interviews they conducted with a spectrum of New York residents and tourists. The result is a compelling folk conversation. View this NYC tip guide – These hilarious tips for surviving NYC are funny because they’re true. The glasses scam is real!

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Monday Inspiration – Renzo Piano

The new Whitney Museum of American Art offers a distinct vantage to admire at every angle. Its multifaceted design has attracted both admiration and ire, but there’s no denying the adventurous and accessible spirit of Renzo Piano’s work is a fitting tribute to museum founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. In addition to the impressive High Line and Hudson River adjacent views afforded by the Whitney’s terraces and exterior stairs, I appreciate the opportunity for fresh air and contemplation to bookend the viewing experience on each floor. It’s a thoughtful design to house a dynamic collection. As critic Alan G. Brake notes, “…viewing art is not a static act, but rather a sequence of experiences of looking, focusing and unfocusing, thinking, moving, standing, sitting, etc.”¹ The quote in this image comes from a short documentary series by the Whitney community documenting the opening of the new downtown building, the museum’s fourth location. It illustrates so much of what attracts me to architecture, the ethos of the time and people who conceived a structure and all the stories that have lived within. This …

A Winter’s Tale: Snowscapes in Jackson Park and Central Park

First snow in the city hearkens fresh opportunity. A physical manifestation of the cold we love to suffer through, it’s at first beautiful and fun. From bright colors to newly blanketed contours, everything stands out; and before the plows, footsteps, and slush clamor in your everyday landscape is an undisturbed ermine mantle. Jackson Park – Chicago, IL I indulged in Chicago’s first snowscape of 2012 in Jackson Park on the city’s south side. The site of the 1893 Columbian World’s Exposition, the 500 acre park was built with splendor in mind. Jackson Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, considered to be the father of American landscape architecture. As a contrast to the magnificent drama of the World’s Fair, Olmsted created a serene sylvan scene along Lake Michigan.¹         The grand gleaming buildings and electric lights of the fair prompted its nickname “The White City.” Much of the White City’s glory, intended to be temporary, has long been lost but a few vestiges remain in Jackson Park. “The Republic” is a stately, shining tribute to …

arturo’s pizza : a slice of old new york

The funny thing about New York City is that it’s not so much an American city. Its street scenes wouldn’t soak in seamlessly if dropped in Iowa or Florida, but NYC is recognizable to us all. We’ve seen New York’s images replayed in films, sitcoms, and dorm room posters, its representations feeling so characteristic and yet so familiar. I don’t whether such a thing as “Old New York” ever really existed or if tourists are searching for a version associated with Henry James, Patti Smith, or Sex and City circa the late 90’s (before Carrie owned a cell phone). Is New York An Affair to Remember or greater parts Taxi Driver? More likely it has something to do with Sinatra, but no matter which New York you’re craving Arturo’s serves a bona fide slice. Step inside Arturo’s after a day of battle navigating and snapping pictures, and allow the enveloping live jazz to cure your urban ennui. Its three tight rooms are crowded and chaotic, with amiable staff ensuring the steady stream of Cabernet rivers over …

“This is Chicago Kid”

I had to go all the way to New York to see CHICAGO. The musical centering on corruption, sex, song, and crime in Jazz Age Chicago is one of my favorites, and I was thrilled to see it on Broadway. With a music and dance-centric plot there was little to the onstage set aside from a chair, a fire escape ladder, and a full band. The cast conveyed the rich and playful story to scintillating perfection with their razzle dazzling performance and enticing ensambles. Inspired by the cast’s ability to transport the audience to Chicago’s not-so-distant days of gangs, gin, and jazz with only a few props and the power of their performance, I attempted the same. Highlighting one Chicago neighborhood, I focused on storefronts in Lincoln Park, one of the old haunts of the North Side gang. 1. Anita Jerry Necklace – Sequin, $285; 2. Music Background Rubber Stamp – Paper Source, 14.95; 3. Lace and Satin Slip – Underthings, $84; 4. Patch NYC Solid Perfume – Art Effect, $24; 5. Mug Shots – …