Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden



There are few people who can travel to Japan and not be charmed by it.  I can remember my first trip there with uncharacteristic precision, but like so many others, I flirted with its culture and food long before I set foot on a plane.  There is something so intoxicating about how truly unique it is, so it’s no surprise that Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Matsuri is one of its busiest weekends of the year. Continue reading Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival


“I don’t think there is a life in the mundane 9-to-5 hypocrisy. That’s not living. That’s just part of the Matrix. And drag is punk rock, because it is not part of the Matrix. It is not following any rules of societal standards. Boy, girl, black, white, Catholic, Jew, Muslim. It’s none of that. We shape-shift. We can do whatever we want.” – RuPaul

While we’d like to encourage you to be happy with who you are, we’d also like to embolden you to be anyone you want to be. That may involve introspection and ambition, or it may simply involve putting on a costume when the occasion allows it. There’s a boldness to the business of getting dressed up and standing in the spotlight. Some New Yorkers get up and do it every day, while others wait for an instance like the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival to get their shape-shift on. Continue reading Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden



If you took an Economics class in college, you might recall discussions around irrational behavior and speculation leading to market bubbles and crashes.  While the dot-com and real estate debacles might be fresher in our memory, one of my favorite examples of this was the boom and bust of tulips in the 1600s. Yes, tulips.  If you’re unfamiliar, the story goes that when the Dutch Republic gained independence from the Spanish crown in the 17th century, it ushered in a Golden Age with growing trade and commerce.  Fortunes flourished and estates grew, and soon the prized tulip — its bold colors unlike that of any other flower at the time — became a status symbol.  As demand multiplied, speculators were drawn to the quick profits and the prices ballooned.  At its height it was said that a single bulb was exchanged for 1000 pounds of cheese.  But in 1637, a default on a contract caused widespread panic and the tulip market abruptly crashed. Continue reading Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden

Flower Show at Macy’s Herald Square



Every year, New Yorkers get to embrace spring (whether or not it feels like it outside!) by visiting the Macy’s Flower Show at the retail giant’s flagship location in Herald Square.  This year’s theme, America The Beautiful, features miniature garden displays with the flora from different regions of the country.  The Southwest garden includes cacti varieties while the Pacific Northwest garden incorporates rhododendrons and begonias. The main floor is transformed into a shopper’s dream, with colorful flowers littering the paths between makeup counters and jewelry displays. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wandering towards the perfumery, inspired by the amazing florals that surround you. Continue reading Flower Show at Macy’s Herald Square

Hot Chocolate Festival at City Bakery

Have you had that experience where you were positive that you hated something, then you tried it again years later and discovered it was absolutely, mindbogglingly delicious?  That’s my story with hot chocolate. Continue reading Hot Chocolate Festival at City Bakery

Heart of Hearts in Times Square

When I was young, my father would take us to these book warehouse sales, where mostly outdated and oddball titles were peddled on the cheap. On one of those trips, I stumbled upon a book about the zodiac which introduced me to the world of astrology. The notion that the supermarket clerk and I could share similar traits based on our birthdates captured my juvenile attention, and when I reached the section with compatibility charts, I quickly looked up the only couple whose birthdays I knew: my parents. Appalled by my findings, I rushed over to my mother and exclaimed “You shouldn’t have married Dad! You’re not compatible!” My mother calmly replied, “If you’re not compatible with someone it doesn’t mean you can’t marry him, it just means the two of you might have to work harder.” Continue reading Heart of Hearts in Times Square

Sculpture Garden Mornings at MoMa

DSC00680

When MoMa made the decision to allow free access to its Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden in September 2013, the decision drew quite a bit of ire.  In this New York Times article from February 2014, Robin Progrebin asserts that the move was “partly to help mitigate its widely unpopular decision to demolish a neighbor, the former American Folk Art Museum, as part of its expansion.”  Complaints included the fact that the half-acre courtyard wasn’t designed to accommodate large crowds, and that congestion would eliminate the refuge the garden was intended to provide.  Additional concerns about maintaining the space’s integrity were voiced in Architect Magazine. Continue reading Sculpture Garden Mornings at MoMa

Holiday Train Show at NYBG

Being the proud owners of lush gardens and beautifully landscaped backyards, our parents probably have ten green thumbs between them.  But apparently that’s a recessive gene. Because the two of us?  We’ve killed cacti. (Yes, plural. More than one cactus, on more than one occasion.)  So instead of putting a sad ficus in the corner of our cramped apartment, to get our green fix we make our way out to the New York Botanical Garden and enjoy the Best Pretend Backyard Ever. Continue reading Holiday Train Show at NYBG

The Hard Nut at BAM

DSC00550

There’s risk everywhere in New York City—everywhere. That’s a fact.  The promise of success and the threat of failure lurk equally around every corner.  And those who live and work and thrive here embrace that risk unconditionally, drawing strength and inspiration from it. Fearlessness, ingenuity, persistence, perseverance—for artist and entrepreneur alike, these are the tenuous threads that stitch together their dreams. And it’s this frenetic sense of potential that can lead to truly astonishing results—from distinction to disaster to something altogether less interesting (albeit still quite worthwhile) somewhere in-between. Continue reading The Hard Nut at BAM

Holiday Window Displays

New York City can really get its holiday game on.  We are home to the 80-foot tree at Rockefeller Center as well as the world’s largest menorah.  And for those of us who pray to the Gods of Retail, we have the holiday display windows.  It’s seasonal art at its best, and often involves collaborations with designers from far and wide.  For a greatest-hits walking tour that most everyone should be able to manage (or tolerate, depending on who you’re with), we recommend the following route: Continue reading Holiday Window Displays