There’s always something new going on in New York City, so it takes a special event to keep the locals coming back again and again. The Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade is just such an event. Attending the parade has become one of our favorite Halloween rituals, so we were pretty brokenhearted to hear it had been canceled. Long story short, the event had become so popular that the park was requiring insurance to cover its many attendees, and the financial burden was just too great to bear.
We’ve lived in the Midwest, and we know that major cities like Chicago, Cleveland and Indianapolis get all the attention. But the thing we discovered on our recent visit to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area is that it’s the underrated, sleeper Midwest hit that’s waiting to be discovered. Minneapolis and Saint Paul are referred to as the Twin Cities, but locals know they’re less like Mary Kate and Ashley and more like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. The cities offer distinctly different vibes — Minneapolis is the ultra-hip, cosmopolitan twin, while Saint Paul is the charmingly historic, elegant twin. But don’t let the sibling rivalry fool you. As the saying goes: “The best thing about Minneapolis is Saint Paul, and the best thing about Saint Paul is Minneapolis.” In short, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
You may be wondering how it was, exactly, that we ended up at an alpaca farm on a hilltop in Westchester County, smack-dab in the historic Hudson Valley region of New York State. Well, we’d tell you, but we know you wouldn’t hear a word. Your eyes have likely already jumped to those cute alpaca faces. We get it, we really do.
When we showed up at the new CitizenM Bowery Hotel for our tour of the Museum of Street Art, the chipper front desk clerk showing us the way asked, “Do you know about 5Pointz?” We excitedly proclaimed that we’d actually visited the original (which returned such a big WOW that we felt like we’d just confessed to being present when electricity was discovered). It shouldn’t be surprising. The walls of 5Pointz were whitewashed less than five years ago, but its loss was felt amongst street art lovers worldwide. It’s a local legend, and treated as such.
In the earliest days of our relationship, food was common ground. And Lynn was far and away the more experienced gastronome. She turned me on to Malaysian cuisine. She explained that the Chinese food I had been eating–and genuinely liked–was, in fact, American food, promptly taking me out for the real thing. Lynn even gave me my first bites of sushi (or should I say “attempted” bites, as I struggled mightily with chopsticks back then). There was one food, however, that needed no cross-cultural exchange, clarification, or introduction: chocolate. When it came to chocolate, we were on the same footing from the start. It’s the foodie version of a universal language, after all.
The Museum of Interesting Things Secret Speakeasy is a traveling, interactive exhibition of antiques, collectibles, and inventions. The focus of the speakeasy is to inspire innovation and creativity. This is achieved through interaction with relics from our past. In many cases, the audience are full-on participants. They assist in unveiling the newest acquisitions, offer their own anecdotes about particular items, and ask insightful questions. Interaction at a secret speakeasy, whether with people or objects, is encouraged. Save for a few exceptions, audience members are entirely welcome to touch the items on display.
The Museum of Interesting Things Secret Speakeasy is presented by its inimitable host, Denny Daniel. He’s the curator and founder of the museum. If you are wondering what the show is like, the general ballpark is a robust mix of Barnum and Baily, Pawn Stars, and Antiques Roadshow. So, in other words, prepare to be entertained.
Please keep in mind that the secret speakeasy has been known to change venues last-minute. We strongly recommended that you check the website before the event. Typically, though, the speakeasy is held at The Loft in Soho at 177 Prince Street. Keep in mind, each month the programming changes to focus on a specific theme, so make sure to join the email list to see what is offered each month. This month’s theme is I Spy: Spy, Cipher, Crime, and Communication Tech.
For a preview of the event, read about our experience visiting a prior speakeasy here.
Can’t get enough chocolate? Well, The Big Chocolate Show has you covered. Now in its second year, this chocolate-centric annual expo brings together over 50 exhibitors from Europe, North, and South America in an epic celebration of everyone’s favorite decadent treat.
From September 28th through Sunday, September 30th, meet chocolatiers, artisans, chefs, and experts from across the globe at The New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan. Attend demonstrations by award-winning pastry chefs and chocolatiers. Enjoy guided tasting classes. Learn from experts about the chocolate making process. Join workshops to see how to roast, crack, grind, temper, mold and make amazing chocolates for yourself. Participate in The Big Chocolate Show’s FAVE awards and vote for your favorite brands, flavors, and textures.
Visit one of your favorite chocolatiers or discover a new love. Either way, it’ll be one sweet trip.
For additional information, such as tickets, event times and a list of exhibitors, check out The Big Chocolate Show’s site here.
There’s a saying that goes “Ask no questions, and you’ll hear no lies”. Being duped isn’t generally what one considers a positive experience, but the Museum of Illusions might be able to convince you otherwise. Optical illusions play with motion, color, patterns and space to create images that, when processed by the brain, create a perception that doesn’t match the true image in reality. Remember the viral phenomenon of 2015 where millions of people saw a black and blue dress as white and gold? (And if you do, have you made up with all the friends and family you disagreed with?) Well, that’s just one of many examples where the eyes can deceive.
Museum Day is an annual one-day event hosted by Smithsonian Magazine, celebrating museums and cultural institutions across the entire country. This year’s Museum Day will be held on Saturday, September 22, 2018.
Through their partnership with Microsoft, Smithsonian Magazine generously offers free admission to a participating museum or cultural institution for any ticket holder plus one guest. Museum Day is the perfect answer to that relentlessly repetitive question: What are we doing this weekend? Well, you now have the answer for at least one Saturday in September.
IMPORTANT NOTES: Museum Day tickets were made available on August 15, 2018. Tickets go fast, so make sure you get yours now. Only one ticket for one museum or cultural institution is provided per registered email address, so choose wisely! To review the list of participating locations in each state and to reserve your tickets, click here.
If you’re looking for some New York City-based recommendations, we have included some posts we wrote below offering some insights into our favorite institutions, all of which are participating locations for this year’s Museum Day.
Now in its 7th year, Photoville is the largest annual photographic event in New York City. Free and open to the public (all ages and pet-friendly), this immersive photography festival presented by United Photo Industries showcases the work of over 600 visual artists, in conjunction with over 100 curatorial partners, and offers photographers of all stripes the opportunity to come together and interact with a large, diverse audience.
Some of the Photoville’s highlights include nighttime projection programs, hands-on workshops, an eduction day for New York City middle and high school students, panel discussions and talks, tents with vendors, family-friendly photo activities, publishers and gear demonstrations, a community photo book store, tintype portraits, and a beer garden with a range of food vendors supported by Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Brewery.
As in previous years, Photoville will be located in Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO, transforming Brooklyn Bridge Plaza into an incredible modular galleries consisting of a network of more than 65 re-purposed shipping containers.
If you’re looking for the inside scoop, check out our post on last year’s Photoville here.