April 29, 2008
Aaah, the thrill of moving to New York City, the excitement, high hopes and… a dump of apartment that you share with two other newbies. Films are made of that, books are written, and urban legends made up. We remember the article in the Times about, literally, an elevated hole in the wall, where only a small mattress would fit, that somebody had put on Craigslist as a space for rent for 35 dollars (photo above, by Chang W. Lee). Or a story from a friend, about living in a Hobbit-size studio that was big enough to stretch your arms and legs, but nothing more. Or the one about all the tenants of the Lower East Side building going on rent strike, cause there was no heat or hot water for a week, in the middle of New York winter.
Haven’t had enough yet? Then head down to the Tenement Museum on Orchard street, to hear some more of the “only in New York” stories. They have an open-mic night on Wednesday there, which is led by professional storyteller H.R. Britton. Three master storytellers will share their anecdotes, then open up the floor for guests to share their own three-minute tales about the trials and tribulations of renting an apartment in the Big Apple. What better place for that, than the Tenement Museum? The night of stories begings at 6.30 PM
April 28, 2008
It’s definitely Spring and April showers already brought Flowers to us. Just as the city brings a not-so-extreme makeover to a senior city staple. Brooklyn Bridge, at 125 years old, is getting a little fixer-upper. According to Metro, The Department of Transportation is about to begin a series of projects to freshen up Roebling’s bridge structurally, and give it a cosmetic touch-up. Cracks on the ramps leading to and from the bridge will be repaired between 2009 and 2014 and their supports will be strengthened. The ramp from the eastern side of the bridge to the FDR will also be widened to two lanes to ease traffic. The Bridge’s block arches-weakened by salt and water-will be reinforced to make them more earthquake resistant. The bridge will also be painted a light beige coffee color, to restore the original appearance of the span.
April 23, 2008
We’ve noticed something was happening on the North corner of Bowery and Houston last week. There were people scraping off old Neck Face graffiti and covering it with fluorescent, neon-like orange, yellow and green paint. “Just another advertisement” – we thought cynically (but you can’t really blame us, what with Bowery becoming a new, more expensive Broadway).
We are happy to report we were wrong!
The freestanding slab of concrete is just getting a makeover. It’s becoming what it used to be in 1982 – a Keith Haring Mural. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Haring’s birthday on May 4, the Deitch Projects gallery, which has represented the artist’s estate for more than a decade, along with the artist’s foundation, have hired painters to recreate the iconic work. According to NY Sun, it was Haring’s first major outdoor project, and it existed only for a few months before its Day-Glo colors began to fade under the sun. Haring then painted over the work, destroying his own creation before it could further decompose. Before he wiped it out, however, Haring’s friend, the photographer Tseng Kwong Chi, documented the image (notice how much busier Houston is now, above, compared to 1980-ies, below):
The mural on Houston will be up till December.
April 22, 2008
There’s a new guide book of the Big Apple hitting the stands today. It’s useful, it’s Earth-friendly, and printed on a recycled paper with soy-based ink. Greenopia, cause that’s what it’s called, is a “Zagat for the eco-conscious set”, reports Metro.
Researchers had found nearly 1,600 businesses from salons to shoe stores that were worthy of their green leaf rating system. We’re happy to say that the company lives up to what it preaches: they hired rickshaws to deliver 1,300 books to stores. Revolution Rickshaws, a bicycle cargo delivery company, that helped them with deliveries, is also featured in the guide. “We don’t just cover the organic restaurants and food co-ops. It’s all the things you spend your money on. There’s an alternative for almost anything we do.” – said Ferris Kawar, Greenopia’s VP of sustainability.
If we had any award system here at see-nyc, we’d give the highest prize to Greenopia. I lieu of that we praise them and give them six thumbs up (two from each of us). And we’re buying the book asap of course.
April 22, 2008
Photo: Librado Romero, NYT
Today is the Earth Day. You can celebrate it any way you want, but if you happen to live here or visit New York, there’s plenty of free (or almost free) stuff you can see.
Head on to Grand Central Station, to watch Earth-related artwork, photographs, quotes and messages that are projected on two giant pilars in the Main Concourse (between 10 AM and 8 PM). Not only that, but the most beautiful Building in the city is also going to be one of the greenest one, starting from today. Metro-North Railroad has completed the conversion from incandescent light bulbs to longer-lasting compact fluorescent bulbs, saving the Earth and some money on bills.
While we’re at it, Metro reports that Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, leading from Brooklyn to Staten Island, is also replacing conventional necklace lights with energy efficient LEDs.
Since you can’t walk on Verrazano though, go to the Metropolitan Museum and take the elevator straight up to the roof. There’s a huge, foil-wrapped Valentine’s heart, a giant balloon dog and a silhouette of Piglet there. You can see it all for whatever you want to pay (Met is one of the few museums in New York City, where the pay-as-you-wish policy is still in effect), plus an amazing view of Central Park and the beautiful buildings that surround it.
Still not enough?
How about a Rainforest then, right here, in Manhattan? Amazonia Brasil is a 13,000-square-foot exhibition, featuring tropical plants, recreated villages, shamans and photos documenting the life and death of the jungle. Entrance to the South Street Seaport is free today.
April 15, 2008
It is definitely spring in New York. You can see it everywhere – Cherry Blossoms are starting to pop out (we’ll be in Brooklyn come May, to celebrate Sakura Matsuri, New York City’s “Rite of Spring”; we’ll keep you posted), people start to go out more, they take out summer clothes from their storages and everything seems somewhat fresher.
Not there yet? Prepare yourself for full-bloom spring with a visit to a spa. Especially that, as of Monday, we’re having a Spa Week in the city, with $50 massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and other cures. You can enjoy the discount prices (which are really attractive; you basically pay half price for most treatments) through April 20th.
Just to give you an idea of what to expect: 50-minute pedicure at The Red Door, a super-enriched detoxifying oxygen bath at La Casa Day Spa, a 60 minute hot stone massage at Green Phoenix and a 75 minute deep-pore cleansing facial at the Moonflower Spa. Almost 100 locations in Manhattan are taking part. So hurry up, before Cherry trees have a chance to look better than you.
April 8, 2008
“Today is a sad day for New Yorkers and a sad day for New York City. Not only won’t we see the realization of a plan that would have cut traffic, spurred our economy, reduced pollution and improved public health, we will also lose out on nearly $500 million annually for mass transit improvements and $354 million in immediate federal funds”
We don’t always agree with mayor Bloomberg, but this time we couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Shame on you, Albany, for not agreeing on making cars coming into Manhattan below 60th Street pay a fee. We were hoping it would reduce traffic and gas emissions in the city. We were naive, thinking we won’t be scared of crossing Allen on Delancey (where all of the cars are turning to and fro Williamsburg Bridge and cause immense danger, including a recent death of Josephine, “The queen of Delancey”) any more. We were also secretly dreaming about sitting in our apartment in the peak hours and NOT feeling our building shaking cause another heavy truck passed by.
Now we, too, wave those dreams good-bye. Thanks a bunch, Albany. Special thanks to Mr. “Shame-On” Silver. He deserved every bit of the NYTimes editorial that said: “Rarely does one man have a chance to do so much harm to so many…He failed to put New Yorkers’ needs before his personal agenda. That makes him unworthy of his office.”