Library After Hours: Love in Venice at the New York Public Library


There were two take-aways from my trip to Venice many years ago.  1) Learn to travel light.  Though the bridges are pretty, lugging suitcases up and down them gets old fast.  2) I don’t care if Venice is sinking, it can take me with it.  The city that brought us tiramisu, Titian and Vivaldi was as magical as promised.  Paris may hold the title City of Love, but I’d be strapped to conjure up a city more romantic than Venice.  Maybe the fact that I’m a fan of a little-known rom-com called Only You starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. has a little to do with it. (Fair Venice is one of its co-stars.) Continue reading Library After Hours: Love in Venice at the New York Public Library

Central Park Ice Festival



I used to live in Cleveland, and Cleveland in January is what one might call “peak winter”. The cold from the lake was brutal, and working downtown meant being directly subjected to lake effect snow and subzero windchill temperatures. Winters often lasted from November to April. New York City winters are mostly mild by comparison, which is likely the only reason why I would turn to Justin and say, “Let’s go to the Central Park Ice Festival! That sounds like fun!”

Continue reading Central Park Ice Festival

Madison Street to Madison Avenue: A Chinese New Year Celebration



Justin recently replaced his umbrella and when it arrived from Amazon, he opened it up in our apartment to make sure it was what he was expecting.
“Don’t you know that’s bad luck?,” I asked.
“Is it?,” he replied, completely unfazed.
#husbandsowhite

We Asians are a superstitious bunch.  The number four is bad luck!  You can’t buy someone a clock, it’s bad luck!  Don’t clip your nails at night, it’s bad luck!  I’m Malaysian, and I’m biracial.  My father is of Chinese descent, while my mother is native Malay.  So we grew up celebrating the Chinese New Year, and my late grandmother made sure we were all well-versed on the many traditions meant to ward off bad luck and bring good fortune as we ushered in a new year.

Continue reading Madison Street to Madison Avenue: A Chinese New Year Celebration

Flatiron Walking Tour



Are you a fan of Serial? How about Making a Murderer? So are we. It seems all the best crime dramas are products of real life. So let us tell you about one that happened in our very own Flatiron district: the sensational murder of acclaimed American architect, Stanford White, by the wealthy Pittsburgh railroad heir, Harry Kendall Thaw.  All you have to do is step back in time to a little over a century ago.  1906, to be exact.

Continue reading Flatiron Walking Tour

Tourist for a Day: A Visit to Rockefeller Center


I’m hungry – take me to the food pairing!

True story: a few years ago on a late December evening, we arrived in Grand Central after visiting with some friends in Connecticut.  We needed to pick up desserts for a friend’s party and Bouchon Bakery was a favorite, so we thought we’d make a quick run to Rockefeller Center.  Well, we collided with the holiday-loving mob, and it took us an hour to navigate the tiny Plaza.  So now, like all other New Yorkers (well, except Mary Lane at New York Cliche), we avoid Rockefeller Center in December.  

Unless it’s late in the season and/or it’s late at night, and it looks like this. Continue reading Tourist for a Day: A Visit to Rockefeller Center

Chuck Close at the 2nd Avenue Subway



If you were introduced to twenty people but you could only identify them using their social security numbers, how many would you be able to pick out of a crowd the next day? If you’re like me, probably zero. That’s kind of what it’s like to have prosopagnosia, or face blindness. Facial features become a mess of details that you just can’t remember. That’s pretty fascinating, right? And you know what’s even more fascinating? Chuck Close, the renowned portrait artist, suffers from it. Continue reading Chuck Close at the 2nd Avenue Subway

Better Late Than Never: 2016 NYC Holiday Window Displays


Whether you’re noshing on leftovers, watching Christmas Vacation again, or shopping the after-Christmas sales, we thought we’d help you eke out another ounce of holiday cheer with some pictures from the holiday window displays around New York City.  The amount of creative work that goes into the windows is always inspiring.  Making the pilgrimage has become one of our treasured holiday traditions, so we thought we’d share some of our favorites here.  Continue reading Better Late Than Never: 2016 NYC Holiday Window Displays

Shoppers Special Nostalgia Train Ride



There are many things I love about New York City, but there’s a special place in my heart for how the city celebrates the holidays.  It’s a special time of year when everyone’s a little less brusque, a little less hurried.  Tourists are in awe of their surroundings, but for a brief moment in time, the locals are too.  And all we need to shield us from the bitter cold as we take in oversized trees, holiday markets and dressed-up store windows are hot cups of cider in mittened hands. Continue reading Shoppers Special Nostalgia Train Ride

Canstruction at Brookfield Place



When I was a college student in Cleveland, one of the events my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed was the annual Chalk Festival held at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  The festival is an homage to the old Renaissance street art tradition, and participants pay a small fee for a square around the museum’s garden, a box of chalk, and a sponge for blending.  Our first year we sat around doodling, then afterwards we walked around the garden checking out everyone else’s work.  There was a scatter of seascapes, comic book drawings and personal messages.  Then we came across an exact replica of Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night.  In chalk. Continue reading Canstruction at Brookfield Place

Tourist for a Day: A Visit to Battery Park



Every once in awhile, Conde Nast Traveler or some other travel magazine will publish an article on “How To Not Look Like a Tourist”.  And without fail, it leads to a spirited discussion in the comments section and on social media.  It’s not difficult to understand this ambivalence towards tourists.  New York City received approximately 58 million visitors last year, and locals simply have to accept that it’s a part of city life.  Yes, you’ll encounter those five tourists who decide to walk side-by-side and take up an entire sidewalk. But 2014 statistics show that visitors generated a record $61.3 billion in overall economic impact, supporting 359,000 tourism related jobs and $21 billion in wages. Continue reading Tourist for a Day: A Visit to Battery Park