We always get excited when visitors start to spend time in New York City’s neighborhoods, because that’s when they discover how wonderfully schizophrenic the city is. There are so many pockets with distinct personalities, and we don’t just mean across ethnic lines like in Chinatown and Koreatown. The Upper West Side and the Upper East Side have distinctly different vibes, and friendships have fractured over the East Village vs. West Village debate. But trekking into the other boroughs is still a daunting task for many. With trendy spots like Williamsburg, Brooklyn gets all the love. But we believe Queens’ criminally underrated, westernmost residential and commercial neighborhood, Long Island City, is the perfect starter neighborhood to explore New York City’s largest borough.
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.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when our street art obsession began. But New York City has been the ultimate enabler, feeding our addiction from a well that never seems to run dry. Alas, junkies are never satisfied. Our appetites grew, and pretty soon we found ourselves down deserted alleys in foreign cities trying to get a fix. We’ve hunted down street art in ditches and mansions. And then in Athens, we nearly overdosed.
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.
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
It’s mid-January. You no longer have any holiday parties to attend, the novelty of your Christmas gifts have worn off, and you’re facing the daunting task of tackling your New Year’s resolutions. Throw in a Bomb Cyclone for good measure, and you might find yourself in a pretty deep winter funk. While many scurry to warmer temperatures, we think you can embrace all the fun things winter has to offer with a simple change in scenery. And Philadelphia is the perfect getaway for that mid-winter refresh. If you went to Philly and only saw Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House, then you’re missing out. Here are 7 things to do in Philly that will change the way you think of a snow day.
When people ask for advice about what to see in New York City, we tell them to visit the greatest hits: Central Park, the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and yes, even Times Square. But after they’ve seen all that, we tell them to see the real New York City. New York City comes alive in its varied and diverse neighborhoods, and this is also true for the wonderful city of London.
I grew up in Malaysia then moved to the United States as a young adult. Justin trailed along while his father’s highly transient career took him all over the country in his youth. So when it came time to make our own home, we fell into the normal trappings–we bought a house in a nice neighborhood in a state where it was sunny 299 days per year. But we found ourselves making regular trips to New York City that grew longer and more frequent, and soon we realized maybe it was more of a home to us than our house was. For us, home has never been about geography. It’s always been a feeling. A longing when you leave, and a pull to return.
If character is a collection of distinct qualities, Austin has character in spades. And one of the qualities we particularly loved in our recent visit to this vibrant Texas city was its embarrassing wealth of art. While there were incredible museums and parks, we are firm believers that some of the most important art can be found in public spaces. The pieces are often in unexpected locations: back alleys and vacant lots, across the walls of abandoned and neglected buildings or commissioned by neighborhood businesses. It’s the kind of art that viscerally reflects the rich histories and diversity of cultures of the communities in which they are located.
Did you go camping when you were a kid? I did. Do you have fond memories of sleeping in a tent and fishing in a lake? I don’t. Camping taught me one valuable lesson: that I hate camping. Part of it probably has to do with the fact that camping in Malaysia often involves thick jungle, humid air, mosquitoes, leeches, and ghost stories. And sorry, but Asian ghosts are TERRIFYING.