A Marriage of Tradition and Modernity: Yoshitomo Nara’s Thinker at Pace Gallery



We’re big fans of the Ramones, so we excitedly trekked out to the Queens Museum last year for the Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!: Ramones and the Birth of Punk exhibit.  (That post can be found here.)  As expected, we found a bounty of fantastic memorabilia on display.  But the exhibit also included amazing art from the likes of Sergio Aragones and Shepard Fairey.  In fact, this little gem graced the entrance:

Yoshitomo Nara Thinker Pace Gallery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

The piece was commissioned specifically for the exhibit and featured a familiar character from Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s work.  Ramona is named in homage to the band, which the artist is an unabashed fan of.  We became familiar with some of Yoshitomo Nara’s work on a visit to MOCA in Los Angeles many years ago, but only came to learn of this link at the exhibit.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised: the Ramones enjoyed wide success in Japan.  

Yoshitomo Nara is considered part of the Japanese Neo-Pop movement, which combines elements of Japanese culture with the Western influence that flooded the country as it rapidly modernized.  His contemporary, Takashi Murakami (who we’re also fans of) coined the term “Superflat” to describe the aesthetic.  Superflat referred not only to the traditional flatness of Japanese drawing, but to the merger of art and commerce into a single layer.  



Yoshitomo Nara Thinker Pace Gallery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Yoshitomo Nara Thinker Pace Gallery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Yoshitomo Nara has been open about his childhood and being a latchkey kid, and how he was often left to his own devices.  His pieces appear confined in that space and time, a reflection of what a young Japanese boy obsessed with manga and punk music might produce.  His young female subjects accessorize with knives and guitars instead of lace and glitter.



Yoshitomo Nara Thinker Pace Gallery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Yoshitomo Nara Thinker Pace Gallery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

His latest exhibit is now on display at the Pace Gallery in Chelsea.  Thinker takes his work in a slightly different direction.  The childlike figures are still present, but they also take the form of “forest spirits”.  The forest spirits add an otherworldly component to the exhibit.  There is also a collection of jars, which again combines​ the more traditional art of ceramics with his contemporary images and sayings.  Perhaps this how Yoshitomo Nara approaches spirituality as he matures.

Thinker is on display through April 29.

Location:
510 West 25th St

Hours:
Tues-Sat 10 am – 6 pm



Pair it with:

A meal at Harold’s Meat + Three

Yoshitomo Nara Thinker Pace Gallery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Yoshitomo Nara Thinker Pace Gallery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Yoshitomo Nara Thinker Pace Gallery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Chef Harold Moore wanted to offer a staple of Southern cuisine: the “Meat and Three”.  Perhaps the name gives it away, but in these restaurants diners select one meat and three sides.  But Chef Harold grew up in Northern New Jersey and has worked for both Daniel and Jean-Georges.  So what do you get when you marry a traditional staple with elite culinary training?  You get Harold’s Meat and Three, located in the spiffy Arlo Hudson Square Hotel.  

The restaurant achieves its intended juxtaposition.  The space itself is not similar to any New York City eatery.  First of all, it’s really, really big.  There’s lots of elbow room, which means you won’t “accidentally overhear” conversations.  And you won’t find the Hanger Steak and Eggs on any menu in the south.  The entrees are well executed, but the sides can be tricky.  We loved the Coleslaw and Cucumber Salad, but the Grits and the Crushed Cauliflower were excessively buttery.

Location:
2 Renwick St

Hours:
Sun-Thu 7 am – 11 pm
Fri-Sat 7 am – 11:30 pm

– L.

Cat Lovers Unite! Behold Cat Camp NYC



We love our cat. Chloe is family in every conceivable way.

And if you sense that I’m both unapologetic and unequivocal when making these two statements​, let me explicitly confirm your intuition. I am. On both accounts. Full stop.

I do not have a young child, nor do I currently have elderly parents or in-laws to care for in their latter years. (I’m incredibly grateful that they are all, by God’s grace, in good health.) As for my grandparents, they have long since departed this world.

That’s not to say I don’t know something about being a caretaker. For years, I’ve had a dependent, just not one I can claim on my taxes. I’ve cleaned up her messes. I’ve prepared her meals. Even handled her 3P’s (pee, poop and puke). I’ve brushed her hair and cut her nails and attempted, rather unsuccessfully, to bathe her. I’ve transported her to checkups.  (And chewed my nails through a few medical procedures.) I’ve soothed her crying on airplanes and hushed her hissing on road trips. I’ve spent untold hours doting on her, reprimanding her, worrying about her and pulling at my ever-thinning hair in frustration.



Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

When Lynn and I heard about the first-ever Cat Camp, the feline-focused conference and adoption event at Metropolitan Pavilion, it was a given that we would attend.  As the press release alluded, “The symposium will bring cat lovers together under one roof to celebrate all things cats and to discuss some of the most important and challenging problems facing cats today.” And Cat Camp didn’t disappoint. There were a tremendous number of vendors, offering wares and information on numerous cat-related products and services, scattered throughout the space.

Of all the vendors present, we were particularly taken with The Dancing Cat, where we found cards, prints and t-shirts featuring witty illustrations by artist Jamie Shelman.  The Dancing Cat has had an online presence since 2008, but their cards can also be found at Paper Source and other brick-and-mortars.  Jamie Shelman is a Rhode Island School of Design graduate, and you can shop her charming designs on etsy here.




Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Jamie Shelman’s Purrito illustration, courtesy of her etsy site
Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Chloe doing her best impression of Purrito

Several rescue organizations were present, hoping to facilitate cat adoptions. It can be heartbreaking to see kittens orphaned at birth and older cats abandoned in their waning years, or worse, abused and broken by the worst examples of callous human nature — all, waiting in cages, for permanent homes. One’s instinct is to save these poor creatures. And certainly I feel that pull, though I cannot indulge in its gravity.



Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Monty, a polydactyl kitten with only one eye, via Bronx Tails Cat Rescue
Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Katy, a chunky calico via Crazy Critters Cat Adoptions

At 18 years of age (as of this month), I stand beside Chloe at the abyss of her mortality. I’ve cared for her in what was at first gradual but is now, more recently, a precipitous state of decline. And at some point in the future, near or far, I’ll have to go on in life without her.  Cat Camp was a celebration of our journey, from the moment Lynn brought her home from the ASPCA, to the moment I joined what has become our family unit, to what will be a difficult end.



Pair it with:

Daily Provisions

Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

There was a running joke at work that I was a food porn sadist. On Monday mornings, around 9:00 am, I’d assail colleagues with pics of my weekend food conquests, be it burgers, slices of pizza, or any number of delectable sweets. You would hear a collective “Dear God, you son-of-a-bitch!” when these images would pop-up unexpectedly on their screens in group chat, followed by the likes of “Well, I can’t eat this crap 0% yogurt now, can I?” 

And so, there’s the segue into my weekend excursion to Danny Meyer’s new bakery and cafe, Daily Provisions, praised for his excellent crullers. And the accolades proved well-deserved. These are, without doubt, the best I’ve ever tasted. Crispy on the outside at the twists and warm egg-creamy, reminiscent of a souffle texture, at the center. They come in three flavors: glazed, maple and cinnamon and sugar — all three are excellent.

And though I’ve since moved to another department within the company, you can rest assured, my former colleagues received a group message with the images you see here, first thing Monday morning.

Location:
103 E 19th St

Hours:
Monday – Friday 7 am–6 pm
Saturday – Sunday 8 am–6 pm

– J.

 

 

Tango Pop-up Art Exhibition at Chelsea Market



One of the fundamental differences separating humans from most of the animal kingdom is our innate ability to recognize basic patterns. We are endowed with the cognitive aptitude to learn through association, to differentiate and categorize, to see the world through a frame of reference unlike any other living creature, and this acumen informs what we think and say and do. And what differentiates “creatives” from the rest of our species is their exceptional ability to see the achingly simple or astoundingly complex patterns the rest of us are unable to distinguish. The Chinese artist, Gao Youjun (also known as Tango), who is famed for his clever illustrations on the social network, Weibo, is a perfect example of this subspecies.

Tango Pop-up - Mad Hatters NYC

Tango Pop-up - Mad Hatters NYC

Challenged by a friend to open a Weibo account and post one drawing each day, Tango has spent the better part of the last four years delivering illustrations to the masses with his distinct sense of humor and signature minimalist style. Currently, an eclectic collection of Tango’s work is on display in a pop-up exhibition at Chelsea Market. The artist’s ingenious use of lines and whimsical juxtaposition of negative and positive space make for a brief, albeit incredibly enjoyable, way to pass a Sunday afternoon. Besides the ability to sample a compilation of his work, the pop-up also gives you the opportunity to purchase some of Tango’s witty cartoons on a t-shirt, mouse pad or phone case — gifts that are bound to delight friends and family members alike.

Dream On, the Tango pop-up exhibition which is presented by Bennett Media Studio, will be on display through September 25.  Don’t miss it.  You can also find Tango on Instagram here.



Pair it with:

Lunch at Dizengoff

Dizengoff NYC - Mad Hatters NYC

Dizengoff NYC - Mad Hatters NYC

Whenever I visit Malaysia to see Lynn’s family, the first thing I want to know is where her father has been eating. He has a penchant for short, incredibly intense love affairs with food: a particular dish from a particular hawker made at a particular time at a particular stall; the cuisine of a nation or ethnicity; the culinary specialty of a particular region of the country. Whatever it is, I can be assured of two things: it will best you can find and he’s eaten a lot of it.

Lynn and I exhibit this same behavior, and our most recent obsession has been Israeli street food. So it was no surprise when we parked ourselves at the counter of Dizengoff, the Philadelphia-based hummus restaurant from chef Michael Solmonov and restaurateur Steve Cook. Boasting an 80% vegetarian menu and offering four types of smooth, creamy hummus, an array of pickled vegetables, marinated salads, and fresh, taboon-baked pita, you’ll come away happy and full, just as we did. For our carnivorous friends, Dizengoff also offers a rotating meat topping for the hummus plates, and from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m, they offer Shakshuka, the delicious taboon-baked skillet of eggs, tomatoes, chili peppers, onions and spices.

If you’re hankering for dessert afterwards, check out our food pairing on this post.

Location:
75 9th Ave

Hours:
Daily 10 am – 7 pm

– J.

Silence of the Music by OSGEMEOS at Lehmann Maupin



When you arrive at 2nd Avenue and 1st Street in the East Village of New York City, you’re met with a massive yellow figure climbing out of the wall, dressed in a turned-around cap and a track jacket,wielding a boombox.  It’s a tribute to the hip hop culture that heavily influenced the artists, Brazilian twins known artistically as OSGEMEOS.  The mural features one of their signature yellow characters which is meant to be racially neutral (in contrast with having to identify with one of the six preset emoji skin tones offered by WhatsApp), and it’s just one of the thoughtful concepts you’ll find at the duo’s exhibition, Silence of the Music, at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in Chelsea.

Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo are consistently included in group exhibitions featuring street artists, which is how they made their start the 1980s.   Like most other street artists, accessibility was a priority.  But it served a greater need in their home of Sao Paulo where economic disparity, violence, and drug use were common societal ills.  At Silence of the Music, it’s difficult not to find hope and cheer in the pure explosion of color contained within the rooms.

Silence of the Music OSGEMEOS - Mad Hatters NYC

Silence of the Music OSGEMEOS - Mad Hatters NYC

Silence of the Music OSGEMEOS - Mad Hatters NYC

Silence of the Music OSGEMEOS - Mad Hatters NYC

dsc00136-animation

Silence of the Music OSGEMEOS - Mad Hatters NYC

But the exhibition pays tribute to music in particular.  The intersection of street culture and hip hop, most recently popularized in Netflix’s The Get Down, is a place they seem at home in.  A room with illustrations of dancers and boomboxes feels uniquely theirs.  And the gramophone-turntable-speaker sculpture sitting in front of a collage of 70s iconery is similarly on-brand.  But Silence of the Music is a multi-room exhibition which includes installations that have a more abstract relationship to music.  There’s a room where a sculpture takes center stage, but the walls are painted from floor to ceiling in layers of red, orange and yellow and it seems to simulate the sensation of being engulfed in the warmth of sound.

We commonly hear about people who may see sounds, taste words or associate a color with a number, and it’s all due to a condition called synesthesia.  Well-known artists like Pharrell Williams and Kanye West have admitted to their ability to visualize sound, and visiting Silence of the Music feels like the closest “normals” like you and I might be able to experience it.

The Silence of Music is on display through October 22 at Lehmann Maupin.

Location:
536 West 22nd St

Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday, 10am – 6pm



Pair it with:

Dessert from Seed + Mill

Seed + Mill - Mad Hatters NYC

Seed + Mill - Mad Hatters NYC

Seed + Mill - Mad Hatters NYC

Halva is a common dessert in many countries and the name is derived from the Arabic root word that simply means “sweet”.  Seed + Mill does a great job of contemporizing the traditional dessert for today’s palate, turning halva into tempting cakes in a multitude of creative flavors.  Though they appear dense, they manage to dissolve on your tongue without leaving any trace of heaviness.  The halva here is derived from sesame seeds making it naturally gluten-free, and there are many vegan options available.  We munched on a few pieces and saved some to crumble on our ice cream later.  There is also a goat milk soft serve with halva bits and tahini swirl that many swoon over.  It’s a unique dessert definitely worth maneuvering the Chelsea Market crowds for.

Location:
409 West 15th St

Hours:
Daily 10am – 8pm

– L.

IKON by Nychos at Jonathan LeVine Gallery



Kurt Vonnegut said, “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.”  I believe we all have an innate desire to create — to produce something we can call our own, however big or small — whether we’re painting, baking a cake, taking a photograph, or writing.  Every now and again an artist is able to hone his or her craft to the point of achieving a signature style, one so recognizable that it’s associated instantly with that individual.  Nychos, the Austrian illustrator and urban street artist, is fortunate to be one of those talents.

Nychos is well known and highly respected internationally, with multiple gallery shows and murals already under his belt at the tender age of 34.  He created Rabbit Eye Movement, a collective of international artists, which not only brings its members together but gives them agency and a permanent home in a gallery space in Vienna.  In his documentary “The Deepest Depths of the Burrow”, Nychos cements his commitment and support for the proliferation of art, propelling the motto “Travel to Paint, Paint to Travel” forward.  



Nychos IKON

Nychos IKON

Nychos IKON

Nychos’s personal signature as an artist is that of a “dissection, cross-section, meltdown and translucence”, a unique style which combines his knowledge of anatomy from his childhood hunting experiences with his background as a cartoonist and his continuous growth as a painter.  His latest solo exhibition, IKON, is now on display at Jonathan LeVine Gallery and features familiar images and idols from our past and present in varying degrees of exposure to his signature style.  Fictional heroes mingle with our favorite singers and childhood characters in a morbidly enticing display.  As stated by the gallery:

By dismantling their anatomy he explores the humanity that exists underneath the mask of celebrity and confronts viewers with the core elements we all have in common: flesh and bones.





Nychos IKON

Nychos IKON

Nychos is making the most of his time stateside: he was one of the new artists on the 2016 lineup of Coney Art Walls which debuted alongside the Mermaid Parade this past June.  In addition, Nychos will be creating a large-scale mural in Jersey City.  IKON is on display through July 23.  If you’re planning a trip to the High Line, take a short detour to 20th Street and explore the interesting themes put forth by this thoughtful artist.

Location:
529 West 20th St

Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday, 11am – 6pm



Pair it with:

Brunch at Cookshop

Cookshop NYC

Cookshop NYC

As a husband-wife team, we have great respect for other husband-wife teams who do it well, because we know how challenging it can be!  Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer are the power couple behind Cookshop, as well as the other established eateries Hundred Acres, Vic’s, and Rosie’s.  Cookshop opened in 2005 and was one of the early players in the sustainable dining game.  Over ten years later, their weekend brunch still draws a crowd made up of a mixture of loyal local patrons and excited out-of-towners.  Now that summer has rolled around, many are hoping to get a seat on the sidewalk with a view of the High Line, which is pretty close to heaven on a warm, sunny day.  The commitment to serving seasonal fare keeps things fresh, and solid staples like frittatas and pancakes — executed to perfection, of course — will please even the fussiest diners.  

Location:
156 10th Ave

Hours:
Monday to Friday:
Breakfast:  8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Lunch:  11:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Dinner:  5:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Saturday:
Brunch:  10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Dinner:  5:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Sunday:
Brunch: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Dinner: 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM

– L.

[disrupt] at Story



As a typically angst-ridden, rebellious teenager living under the crushingly onerous, authoritarian regime of my strict, socially conservative parents, there was a particular allure to novelty shops such as the seedy, provocative Spencer’s Gifts and the subversive, iconoclastic Hot Topic.  Fortunately, one or the other could be found in virtually every mall in the American Midwest. And even though I rarely, if ever, purchased anything at these establishments, I fondly recall the hours surrendered perusing the shelves and racks filled with random, quirky objects, never knowing quite what it was I’d find on any given visit. But eventually I grew up, my sensibilities evolved and interest in such trivial things waned.

Disrupt Story NYC

Disrupt Story NYC

Enter Story, a hybridized retail space located in Chelsea right off the High Line, that turns the concept of a novelty shop on its head.  It simultaneously offers the meticulously curated products of a boutique, the ever-changing and diverse programming of an exhibition space, and the thematic viewpoint of a pop culture magazine.

Every four to eight weeks Story transforms itself — from the interior design of the space to the inventory on its shelves and racks — adopting a completely new conceptual narrative. Most recently, Story collaborates with USA Network’s Mr. Robot for [disrupt], an exploration and celebration of ideas that challenge social, political, technological, and cultural norms.

Disrupt Story NYC

Disrupt Story NYC

Disrupt Story NYC

At Story you can currently find the requisite Mr. Robot fan gear such as an Elliot backpack and a Mr. Robot plastic mask.  But you can also find fun products that capture a similar rebellious spirit, like a pair of LED sneakers or a CapitaLIST Piggy Bank (a piggy bank with a chalkboard exterior on which you can list what you’re saving for).  Interspersed among its myriad products are also interactive elements, such as classic arcade games like Frogger, Pac-Man, and Skee-ball (a nod to the Coney Island ties in the acclaimed television show), as well as the contemporaneous Polycade.  Other Mr. Robot-inspired additions include a hackable Evil Corp ATM and a vending machine spewing free Mr.Robot paraphernalia which you unlock with a simple tweet.

Every Thursday from 6-8 PM, Story partners with local businesses for “Disrupt Thursdays: Hacking Happy Hour” with an on-site DJ, libations from Brooklyn Brewery, and food from a rotating selection of vendors. Previous offerings include Brooklyn Popcorn, Nathan’s Famous and Carpe Donut.

[disrupt] runs through July 24, so make sure to check it out while there’s still time, because on August 8 a completely new “story” will be revealed.

Thank you to Josef of istillheartnewyork, a fellow Mr. Robot fan, for giving us the idea for this post!

Location:
144 10th Ave

Hours:
Monday – Wednesday: 11am-8pm
Thursday: 11am-9pm
Friday – Saturday: 11am-8pm
Sunday: 11am-7pm



Pair it with:

Mah Ze Dahr Bakery pastries and Intelligentsia coffee at The High Line Hotel

Intelligentsia Mah Ze Dahr NYC

Intelligentsia Mah Ze Dahr NYC

Intelligentsia Mah Ze Dahr NYC

Head uptown a block and a half and you’ll find the first New York City outpost of Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee at The High Line Hotel. If it’s too hot or raining, there’s the option of sidling up to the cozy, zinc-topped bar nestled in the lobby. But if the weather is fair, take advantage of the stunning, walled-off courtyard with Minibar, the refurbished 1963 Citroen coffee truck. Along with excellent coffee and espresso beverages, an array of pastries — many from Mah Ze Dahr, an excellent wholesale and delivery bakery — are offered daily. On the many occasions we’ve stopped in for treats, we particularly loved the Lemon Ricotta Bread and Dark Chocolate Brownies (which, by the way, Lynn claims are the city’s best).

Note: We’ve also ordered Mah Ze Dahr for delivery on a few occasions in order to try items that are rarely offered in retail outlets. Having made a number of Best Of lists in both 2014 and 2015, we highly recommend the Brioche Doughnuts and the lesser known but excellent Banana Nutella Hand Pies.

Location:
180 10th Ave

Hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 7am-6pm
Friday – Saturday: 7am-7pm
Mini Bar (Truck)
Daily 8am-4pm, weather permitting

– J.

 

Shining City at the Irish Repertory Theatre


Ten years after a successful and critically acclaimed Broadway production, the Irish Repertory Theatre’s revival of Conor McPherson’s Shining City has very, very big shoes to fill — and to our delight, fill them they have, indeed.

Directed by Ciarán O’Reilly and starring Matthew Broderick, Billy Carter, Lisa Dwan, and James Russell, Shining City is a play that, when distilled to its essence, conveys a simple, unassuming ghost story — both figuratively and literally, though the figurative is much more compelling in this case. Staged largely in an office flat in Dublin and revealed primarily through a series of sessions between a patient and his therapist, it is a narrative wherein the apparition functions as metaphor for guilt over decisions made, actions taken, words spoken (and unspoken), injuries received and secrets harbored, and where hauntings are just the external manifestations of profound and debilitating regrets.

Billy Carter and Lisa Dwan in SHINING CITY at Irish Rep. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Billy Carter and Matthew Broderick in SHINING CITY at Irish Rep. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

Our measure for how good anything is — from a play to a concert, a museum exhibition to a poetry reading — comes down to the quality and length of the conversation that immediately follows its conclusion, and Shining City did not disappoint. Of particular note, we found Matthew Broderick’s turn as John captivating. We concluded that each time we see Mr. Broderick perform, he embraces ever more challenging material, and as a result, brings something new and unexpected to his craft. Another conversation involved the excellent direction of Ciarán O’Reilly, lighting design of Michael Gottlieb and set design of Charlie Corcoran, which were best showcased in quiet moments of transition in which the passage of time was beautifully captured by the subtle movement of set pieces and the representation of dusk, dawn, and myriad hours in-between.

Irish Repertory Theatre’s Shining City runs through July 3 at its newly-renovated theater in Chelsea.  Its intimate setting is the perfect incubator for the thought-provoking material.  For tickets and schedules, visit their website.

All Shining City photos are courtesy of Carol Rosegg.

Location:
132 W 22nd St



Pair it with:

Dinner at Boqueria

Boqueria NYC

Boqueria NYC

Boqueria NYC

Boqueria NYC

Having vacationed in Barcelona many, many years ago, we often find ourselves missing the rich character of Spanish food.  We are fortunate that New York City offers quite an array of options to fill the void.  Boqueria, with three convenient locations, offers a variety of tapas favorites, but it was the heartier Paella de Mariscos that brought us to their Flatiron location, conveniently located a stone’s throw away from the Irish Repertory Theatre. The contrasting textures of saffron-rich, fluffy-crispy Bomba rice, with salsa verde and a generous portion of seafood was very satisfying. But it was the starter of Gambas al Ajillo, with its hunk of crusty bread and brandy, garlic and pepper-infused olive oil that knocked our socks off.  Finishing off with churros was a no-brainer, but in addition to the traditional Churros con Chocolate option, Boqueria also offers Churros Rellenos, which are Nutella-filled instead.  Guess which one we picked?

Location:
53 W 19th St

Hours:
Mon-Thurs 12pm-10:30pm (bar menu until 11pm)
Fri 12pm-11:30pm (bar menu until midnight)
Sat 11am-11:30pm (bar menu until midnight)
Sun 11am-10:30pm (bar menu until 11pm)

– J.

Cindy Sherman at Metro Pictures Gallery



Cindy Sherman is the definition of a controversial artist — which, according to some, makes her a true artist.  Some find her work distasteful, or lacking in depth, while others find her work inspiring, innovative and provocative.  Regardless of which side you find yourself on, her influence in the art world cannot be denied.  Cindy Sherman is an American artist who is best known for turning self-portraiture on its head.  She acts simultaneously as photographer and model, but her pieces are narratives within a scene, so she also fills the role of writer, creative director, set designer, costume designer and makeup artist.  Her collections might capture her likeness as movie actresses, or as historical figures, or as clowns.  She has employed prosthetics and masks to alter her appearance or as standalone props.  

In an age where selfies have propelled celebrity, Cindy Sherman appears to be the anti-selfie queen.  Although she takes photographs of herself, she has always maintained that she considers herself anonymous in her work.  The makeup and costumes transform her into a character, and after hundreds of works (which she prefers to leave untitled so that viewers can invent their own stories to suit the scene — perhaps even insert themselves in it), she is as much a mystery as ever.  

Cindy Sherman NYC

Cindy Sherman NYC

Cindy Sherman NYC

Cindy Sherman NYC

However, in a series of new photographs now on display at Metro Pictures Gallery, she advised the New York Times that she now admits to a more “personal aspect” in her images of aging stars: “I, as an older woman, am struggling with the idea of being an older woman.”

I find her dilemma intriguingly relatable. We often wonder what it’s like for female celebrities to age: Oprah did a show featuring Teri Hatcher, Cybill Shepherd and Linda Evans to discuss the same.  But even if we were never famous for our beauty, we still pine for our best, younger selves (when we were 15 lbs lighter, or before we had kids, or when french fries were the only vegetables in our diet).  Cindy Sherman has inadvertently documented her aging process through her work, and like any other woman, has to find a way to make peace with it.  

Cindy Sherman has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre de la photographie in Geneva, and the Serpentine Gallery in London, among many others.  Her new photographs are on display at Metro Pictures Gallery — whose opening group exhibition in 1980 actually featured works by Cindy Sherman — through June 11.

Location:
519 West 24th Street

Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.



Pair it with:

Doughnuts from Doughnut Plant

Doughnut Plant NYC

Doughnut Plant NYC

Doughnut Plant NYC

Doughnut Plant was established in New York City in the basement of a Lower East Side tenement building where Mark Israel made doughnuts using his grandfather’s recipe and delivered them to other known establishments like Dean & Deluca daily.  It wasn’t until 2000 that Mark was able to open his first storefront, and he’s continued to grow it into four New York City locations and nine Tokyo locations.  While it started out with yeast doughnuts, what sets Doughnut Plant apart, in my opinion, is their cake doughnuts.  Cake doughnuts are dense and buttery as compared to their lighter, fluffier yeast counterparts.  The Brooklyn Blackout Cake flavor, my favorite, has been around since 2006 and is a chocolate lover’s dream.  But seasonal flavors are also consistently impressive, like the Blueberry, Coconut Chocolate or Caramel flavors.  Mark continues to innovate with his latest creation called Doughpods, where yeast doughnuts are filled with savory fillings such as avocado and samosa — we tried them, but the cake doughnuts will always be our first choice here.  

Location:
220 West 23rd Street

Hours:
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday 7 a.m. – Midnight

– L.

 

K2 Friday Nights at the Rubin Museum



A friend of mine was visiting from London years ago, and had brought with her a big box of chocolates she’d picked up on a trip to Belgium. The group of us chatted as we sampled from it, when someone exclaimed, “I can only have one piece, it’s so rich!” Having probably devoured eight pieces by that point, I’ll admit that the notion of having too much of a good thing eluded me in that moment.

My unnatural capacity to consume desserts aside, I find that the law of diminishing returns tends to hold true in most other areas of life, and a self-imposed threshold can do wonders in increasing one’s enjoyment. For me, this definitely applies to art.  While it’s easy to lose oneself in a great museum or gallery for hours, I’ve discovered that after a certain amount of time has passed, or after I’ve viewed a certain number of pieces, my ability to truly appreciate additional works decreases. The Rubin Museum has a unique approach to this problem.

The Rubin Museum features art from the Himalayas, India and neighboring regions, but they’ve always promoted a more immersive experience, encouraging visitors to engage in more than just walking through the galleries.  They regularly offer meditation and yoga sessions, talks and a variety of other programs to “inspire visitors to make connections between contemporary life and the art and ideas”.

Rubin Museum NYC

On K2 Friday Nights, the Rubin’s galleries are open to the public for free from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The in-house cafe is converted to the K2 Lounge, which offers tapas and drinks while a DJ spins. A musical act plays in the theater and a movie is screened there later in the evening (tickets sold separately). So whether you want to meet some friends for happy hour in a more creative space, or you happen to love the DJ/band/movie on tap for that evening, it’s a fun way to slowly introduce yourself to the material on display.

Rubin Museum NYC

Rubin Museum NYC

In addition to the music and movie offerings, you can also choose to take a 45-minute exhibition highlights tour. Please note, when we took the tour, the music from the K2 Lounge often drowned out the mild-mannered guides, and the group was a little too large to effectively make it an enjoyable experience for all. If you happen to see a smaller group gather by the staircase at 7:00 pm, then by all means, jump in — the guides can offer history and some other meaningful tidbits on the featured works. If it’s a larger group, then you might be better served wandering the galleries yourself with their audio tour guide which can be accessed through their website, their app, or a traditional device borrowed from their admissions desk.

Rubin Museum NYC

Rubin Museum NYC

The philosophy of the region is inspiring, and the works from mostly unnamed artists are vibrant, thought-provoking and captivating. K2 Friday Nights are a great way to start a weekend.

Location:
150 W 17th St



Pair it with:

Dinner at Momofuku Nishi

Momofuku Nishi NYC

Momofuku Nishi NYC

Momofuku Nishi NYC

Momofuku Nishi NYC

The Asian-inspired tapas have held you over, but now it’s time for some real food. In Chelsea you’ll find David Chang‘s latest venture, Momofuku Nishi, which is headed by Josh Pinsky and Carey Hynes, who collectively worked at Momofuku Ko for nine years. It’s a merging of Italian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese concepts, but all that really means is the chefs are using every tool in their box to bring you a crazy-flavorful, unique culinary experience. The Clams Grand Lisboa and the Fried Fingerling Potatoes with Smoked Yolk and Tarragon were highlights, but the dishes being served all around us were eye-catching (we asked neighboring diners what they ordered and they did the same) so return visits will be likely. You can make reservations two weeks in advance by signing up for the Momofuku Reservations website, though only a limited number of seats are made available so that walk-ins can still be accommodated.  Additional bonus: No tipping.

Location:
232 8th Ave

Hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 5:30 pm – 11 pm

– L.

Zoolander 2, Kiehl’s and the DZCFPWDAG



Living in New York City is not without its challenges: sky-high rents, overcrowding and a consistently manic pace. But those who suffer it do so for the trade-offs: great art, great food and great entertainment. Besides its 8 million residents, visitors also pass through here in droves, making it a great market for… just about anything. Enter Zoolander 2 and Kiehl’s cross-promotional stunt: The Derek Zoolander Center for People Who Don’t Age Good (or DZCFPWDAG to those in the know).

Zoolander Kiehls NYC

The center was open for youthification for five days, coinciding with the Zoolander 2 New York City premiere and New York Fashion Week. We couldn’t possibly expect to parade around the city in our unyouthified state, especially not with all the celebrities, models and street-style stars in our midst, so we headed over stat.

Zoolander Kiehls NYC

We first stepped on the Aging Scale which advised us that we, unfortunately, aged not so good.

Zoolander Kiehls NYC

So they immediately sent us for decontamination.

Zoolander Kiehls NYC

And then had us “breathe in youth and breathe out age”. I didn’t feel the age leaving my body, but in my defense, my nostrils stopped working when I was five.

Zoolander Kiehls NYC

We were counseled on the appropriate pants-to-nipple ratio (a public service announcement to address the ongoing crisis, of course — we must all do our part), then we were ushered into a meditation area. Once we completed all the steps in the youthification process, we were asked to document the proof of our youth. While we were offered the Derek Zoolander Lookbook of Really Really Ridiculously Good-Looking Looks as inspiration, we were warned not to attempt any of the cutting-edge poses lest we hurt ourselves. It was a state-of-the-art, innovative multi-faceted process that zapped our oldness away.  Folks, do not try this at home.

Zoolander Kiehls NYC



Paired it with:

Dinner at by CHLOE.

By Chloe NYC

By Chloe NYC

When fashionistas descend on the city, the average dress size drops precipitously and most of us are left with a sense of guilt and shame over the chocolate croissant we devoured that morning.  This, then, is the moment to visit by CHLOE, a trendy vegan joint in SoHo. The Chloe referenced in the name is none other than Chloe Coscarelli, a vegan herself, and the first one to win a televised cooking competition (Cupcake Wars). Everything here is made from scratch, and many will confess that the burgers, creative salads and interesting desserts appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike.  So if you’d like to graze with the gazelles during Fashion Week, make your way over here. Or just come when they’ve all left and order two of everything. It’ll still be healthier than ordering a McDonald’s Kale Salad.

Location:
185 Bleecker Street

Hours:
Sunday 10AM to 10PM
Monday – Tuesday 11AM to 10PM
Wednesay – Friday 11AM to 11PM
Saturday 10AM to 11PM

– L.