The City That Gives You Lemons, Also Gives You Lemonade

New York City has mood swings. Really, really bad ones. One moment it can be sweet, seductive, nearly—dare I say it!—tranquil and the next it can be capricious, defiant, and impossibly, impenetrably aloof. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that you have a better statistical chance of winning the Powerball Jackpot (1 in: 292,201,338 in case you were wondering) than predicting which mood you’ll encounter on any given day. This can make planning an infuriating exercise in futility.

Such was the case during one of our recent excursions. We set out late on a Sunday morning with an established agenda: a whimsical visit to a nearby gallery, followed by a properly gluttonous brunch. So easy! And yet the City, from the get-go, simply wasn’t having any of it and wasted no time gesticulating a spirited rendition of it’s signature, passive-aggressive response: thumbs in ears, fingers splayed, eyes glaring, blowing a raspberry.

To start, not one but two buses jumped the schedule. Then, once we descended the steps into the subterranean depths of the station to switch to a train, we immediately noted the ubiquitous MTA Service Advisories, with their prosaic, Helvetica-esqe typeface, haphazardly posted along the platform declaring numerous “service disruptions”. Finally, when we reached our destination—significantly later than anticipated, mind you—the door to the gallery was locked.

Peering through the glass into the dimly lit space, with only the faintest light penetrating the threshold and illuminating sparkling flecks of wafting dust particles, there was the reception desk, with its seat pushed in, empty. We read the stenciled hours of operation on the glass: Wed-Sun, 12-7pm. Then, we revisited their website on our smartphones. Same hours posted there. It was Sunday. It was past noon. What gives? Only after L. (clever woman that she is) called the gallery’s number, was it revealed on their voicemail that they had abruptly changed the days and hours of operation: Sunday—Closed.

We skipped ahead to brunch where the massive number of calories soon extinguished the fire of exasperation in the pits of our bellies. We emerged somewhat pacified, but as we made our way through the East Village down into SoHo, we discovered the following masterpieces along the way:

DSC01126 (1)

Continue reading The City That Gives You Lemons, Also Gives You Lemonade

The Patricia Field Boutique

The term “Fashion Icon” can conjure up so many varied images, and nowhere is that more true than in New York City. New Yorkers have long had the privilege of having an array of unique style idols to look up to, and Patricia Field is an undisputed member of that class. Best known for dressing Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, she taught legions of style mavens to mix the high with the low, the hard with the soft, the masculine with the feminine. And it’s that keen eye and sense of whimsy that you can find on full tilt in the unique store that bears her name.

DSC01169

Continue reading The Patricia Field Boutique

Pixar: The Design of Story at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

DSC00821

It’s Sunday. An unseasonably warm morning in December. And, regrettably, you’ve neglected to make reservations for brunch. Suddenly, the grim specter of laundry, errands and preparations for the upcoming workweek threaten to hasten the conclusion of your weekend. What to do? Sure, it’s not quite an existential crisis but it’s a serious dilemma, nonetheless. Fortunately, you have New York City at your disposal, with its staggering abundance of cultural institutions and historical sites. With a quick search, you note that one such institution, Cooper Hewitt, the nation’s preeminent design museum, offers an intriguing lineup of programs and exhibitions. And, voila, you have something on your Sunday agenda.

“The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.”  – John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios

DSC00887

Continue reading Pixar: The Design of Story at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

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.

DSC00516

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.

DSC00554

Continue reading The Hard Nut at BAM

Manhattan Adirondacks

You weave through the throngs of people, the red, blinking hand taunting you in the distance.  When you finally make it to the street corner, the red hand is stationary and the cabs are leaping out of their lanes towards you. You jump back onto the sidewalk to safety, barely avoiding the murky puddle at your feet, when some unidentifiable cloud of smoke wafts up from the sewer grate and hits you in the face.  Maybe it’s time for a getaway.

To leave the city without actually leaving the city, make your way to the North Woods of Central Park, where it’s so tranquil you’ll believe the subway tunnel was a portal to another world.

DSC00275

Continue reading Manhattan Adirondacks

The Curious Case of the Hess Triangle (or something to see on the way to dinner)

“Hey, hey, easy kids. Everybody in the car. Boat leaves in two minutes… or perhaps you don’t want to see the second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth, which is only four short hours away?”

-Clark Griswold, National Lampoons Vacation

IMG_20151204_163036

Continue reading The Curious Case of the Hess Triangle (or something to see on the way to dinner)

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

The Moth StorySLAM



I’ll confess: I’m a planner. I download maps and menus. I read reviews.  But you know that Yiddish proverb, “You plan, God laughs”?  That’s what this city does too.  You’ll be walking through Central Park on your way somewhere and be mesmerized by a group of a cappella singers.  Or you’ll be heading to a favorite dinner spot and be pulled into a small little cafe you’d never noticed before.  This city seduces you with its endless possibilities.  And Moth StorySLAMs very much embody this sensibility.

For those of you who may not be familiar, The Moth is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art of storytelling.  They host competitions all over the country where, similar to an open-mic night, people get on a stage and tell a story.  Each event is assigned a generic theme (for example, “betrayal” or “joy”), and the stories are tied to the theme.  The stories have to be true, and they have to be yours.  And boy, some of them are fantastic.  

Moth Story Slam - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Continue reading The Moth StorySLAM

Meet Adele Bloch-Bauer…twice

The 2015 movie Woman In Gold starring the magnificent Dame Helen Mirren is based on the true story of a woman who takes on the Austrian government in an effort to recover family paintings seized by the Nazis.  Meet the movie’s other leading lady: Adele Bloch-Bauer.

Woman In Gold
Photo courtesy of Neue Galerie

Continue reading Meet Adele Bloch-Bauer…twice