For the past couple years, we’ve found ourselves in Brooklyn in early June, just as the summer has begun in earnest. It’s no coincidence that it happens to be around the time of The Bushwick Collective’s Annual Block Party. Last year’s post kicked off our summer series on street art because The Bushwick Collective is still one of our favorite street art destinations in New York City. In last year’s post, we suggested that if our readers were more interested in art than a rowdy party atmosphere they should avoid visiting the area until shortly after the day of the event. And as it happens, we ended up taking that advice ourselves.
I recently read an article in Slate where Felix Salmon expressed concern that “blockbuster shows are ruining art museums”. Basically, he asserts that these big tent events are often a drag on sometimes woefully underfunded museum and gallery budgets or that they devour resources that would otherwise go to smaller installations and lesser known artists, all the while conditioning audiences to expect bigger and bigger spectacles. It’s a high that simply can’t be sustained. Lynn perfectly conveyed this sentiment when she talked about her underwhelming experience with Huma Bhabha’s Met Rooftop installation in a recent Mad Chatter post. It begs the question: in the age of blockbusters, is there still room for the museum and gallery equivalent of the shoestring budget indie film?
After a gruelingly long but otherwise uneventful winter, spring is finally in the air. Green shoots are muscling their way to the front row. Flowers are taking center stage. The hibernating inhabitants of the city are slowly emerging from their slumber, eager and ready to shed their winter layers and expend all that pent up energy. All the usual suspects come to mind: picnics in Central Park, visits to the Brooklyn Botanic and New York Botanical Gardens, and trips to Governors Island. Patio seats and access to rooftop bars become hot commodities. But we thought we’d offer another, oft-forgotten option to add to your list: Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Staten Island.
Whether you’re being grilled at a job interview or filling out a dating profile, you’ve probably been asked to describe yourself in three words. For us, one of those words would be “brunch”. And we’re probably not alone: there are over 18 million posts under the hashtag on Instagram alone. Brunching in New York City is a sport, and we’re training for the Olympics.
Wherever Lynn and I go, we never skip an opportunity to try local specialties. New York City is no different, other than the fact that it has a ridiculous number of them. Whether it’s pasta and pizza or bagels and babka, New York City has it all, and you can be sure we’re on the hunt for it. You might have read about my not-so-closeted obsession with the venerable soda fountain. Here’s a fun fact about me: when I get into something, I tend to go deep—bananas deep. I’ve made no exception with one of the quintessential soda fountain concoctions: Egg Creams. And Egg Creams are, without a doubt, a New York specialty.
My father is a man of simple tastes. He knows exactly what he likes, and he likes what he knows. Take, for example, his birthday. Every year, with few exceptions, his celebratory meal consists of a fully dressed burger (grilled at home, if possible), mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob. For dessert, he has a penchant for a my mother’s chocolate applesauce cake, an exceptionally simple, pan-style cake lightly dusted with powdered sugar. And when my mother happened to be ailing or was out of town on a trip, he served his three boys Chipped Beef On Toast, boiled hot dogs, or ordered a pizza. Culinary master and healthy eating advocate he was not, God bless him, but simplicity was his hallmark.
If you’re a street art lover, New York City is the gift that keeps on giving. You could turn the corner and find a giant mural of Mickey Mouse, or you could look down and find sidewalk art that’s perfect for your Instagram shoe-fie. Come back the next day, and you might find something completely different. Street art is fleeting in nature, and that’s part of its charm. But can you have something temporary, yet permanent? Something so iconic that it transcends street art’s evanescent nature? Yes, you can. In New York City, that phenomenon exists with the Bowery Wall Mural.
Here’s something you should know about me: I love animals. And I don’t just mean I love watching cat videos. I hiked up a mountain to visit a monkey park in Japan. I cried during Babe, Free Willy and Homeward Bound. For me, a trip to the zoo is as therapeutic as a walk in a garden or a stroll along the beach. I love, love, love animals. So when we heard a dog cafe had opened in New York City and that our friend, Lauren, had just adopted an adorable chihuahua, Boris & Horton seemed like the perfect spot for a doggie date.
I was recently watching one of those ingenious Southwest Airlines commercials—you know, one of the ones with the whole “Wanna Get Away?” taglines—and found myself unconsciously mouthing the words, Hell yeah, I do. We’re big believers that you can get away from the city without getting away from the city. But if you really do, literally, want to get away from the city, there are a number of incredible options that don’t require you to take a flight or even leave the state for that matter. Recently, we discovered the perfect day trip getaway with a visit to First City Project.
Continue reading Residence Gone Rogue: A Visit to Street Art Mecca First City Project
I don’t know about you, but when I think of early American history, my thoughts naturally migrate to Massachusetts, Virginia, and Washington DCーnever New York City. Recently, though, musicals like Broadway’s smash hit, Hamilton, and shows like AMC’s, Turn, have flipped the script on that. As it happens, New York City is a veritable cornucopia of American history, from momentum-changing events to the rise of some of our most enduring national figures.
Continue reading Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of History: Why You Should Visit Fraunces Tavern in New York City