The Riddler

Looking for a champagne with a difference in the West Village?  Stop on by at The Riddler.  Owned by Jen Pelka, with her brother Zach Pelka, Une Femme is now available.

Jen has wanted to create her own champagne for a long time but from a house run exclusively by women.  Enter Une Femme brand which features the Callie (a rosé California sparkler) and  the Juliette (cru brut).

Following the success of her first San Francisco branch, a year ago Jen opened the second champagne home in the West Village.

Along with the female orientation of the firm, the Riddler also insists on serving champagne exclusively in wineglasses, enabling customers to truly “experience all of the different aromatic notes.

Cutting Congestion in Manhattan?

Congestion in Manhattan has long been a huge problem.  But now, part of that may be eliminated, at least to a certain extent.

With two modifications being made in the New York City Charter, the Department of Transport is anticipating a spillover into Manhattan’s traffic issue.  A month from today, those commercial vehicles that double park for 20  minutes or more will be fined.  This will be in Chelsea, Midtown Manhattan and neighboring areas.

The way the law currently stands is that such vehicles are permitted to double park so long as they do not block the only lane.  Also, the Department of Transport has now mandated that the streets (First through Eighth Avenues between streets 14th through 60th)   that do not allow for deliveries between 7am to 7pm  will be expanded to 12th Avenue.

Meatpacking District: “Watch Out”

Doyle & Doyle has had a presence in New York’s Meatpacking District for two decades now. Specializing in vintage and antique jewelry, the sister-run store also offers house designs.  And of course, as a jewelry store, they sell watches.

But now the Meatpacking District is about to get two new stores with a complete focus on watches: Audemars Piguet and Rolex, both of which have just signed a lease very near each other in the neighborhood, one at Gansevoort Street and the other near to Soho House.

Other jewelry stores (which sell watches) locally include: Tempvs Fvgit (which specializes in vintage watches including Rolex and also sells US- and Swiss-made watches);  Tissot (a maker of luxury Swiss watches founded in Switzerland in 1853); Tourneau 3 Bryant Park (a store that sells name-brand watches as well as pre-owned watches) and G-Shock Soho Store.

Nolita: Up and Coming in 2020

The Nolita neighborhood (which got its name from being geographically North of Little Italy) is one of NYC’s trendier areas featuring a mod shopping area bustling with designer stores and home-design shops. With street cafes and new restaurants gracing the area, it’s a “must-watch” region constantly in flux.

While rustic, Italian wood-fired restaurant Peasant has been a beloved staple for two decades, at the end of last year ownership was transferred to restaurateur and celebrity chef, Marc Forgione.  Made famous by his creation of rustic, chic environments and farm-to-table cuisine, he seems to be just perfect for the Nolita neighborhood.  Supervising the wine program there is Matthew Conway who has – together with Forgione – been a regular at Peasant for many years.  They are going to be continuing the legacy which was set in place by the old owners – married couple Frank DeCarlo and Dulcinea Benson who are will be focusing on Barba Bianca, their Long Island eatery.

Zooba just opened up too in the area.  A Cairo-inspired fast-food chain is bringing its Middle Eastern street food to the hood in a large Kenmare Street location, offering mint-iced tea bubbles from its self-serve fountain.  Spectacular flashing blue, pink and purple geometric LED light fixtures top the open kitchen.  Menu items include aish baladi, hawawshi among other Egyptian culinary delights.  The attempt by co-founders Chris Khalifa and Moutstafa El Refaey (the latter who is also the chef) to steer clear of Westernizing the eatery seem to have been most successful.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Christmas in New York City.  The lights, the tinsel, the sheer magic in the air.  As authoress Alex Flinn so eloquently put it: “This isn’t a fairy tale. It’s New York City.” It’s not hard to see – even now a few weeks before Christmas – that New York is getting into the swing and spirit of the festive time.

The Columbus Circle Holiday Market opened last week and visitors have been privy to nearly 150 vendors selling their wares. Organized by Urbanspace their press release states that the event is now:

“Deemed one of the most elegant and beautiful places for holiday shopping, the market will showcase a large collection of unique gift options ranging from art and jewelry to décor and home goods from local artisans and designers.”

Enjoy food and drinks from The Baking Bean and Fries + Beer, Jicama: California Street Food and more.

Over at the Magic Hour Bar on Moxy Times Square roof, check out the very first Pink Holiday Playground. Featuring 12,000 pink lights.  Nikki McCutcheon, beverage director explained that the idea was to be “chic and sexy” offering a $26 Snow Globe Cocktail and $100 Pink Dough Pie among other menu items.

Recent Visits to Madison Square Garden

There have been a few interesting visitors to Madison Square Garden recently. Here we look at two with quite different roles in society:  US President Donald Trump and Dead & Company.

A warm reception greeted Donald Trump as he went to watch an Ultimate Fighting Championship (Mixed Martial Arts) in which Jorge Masvidal fought Nate Diaz.  Approximately 20,000 people were in the audience.

Another more recent visitor to the neighborhood was Dead & Company who was joined by Maggie Rogers at Madison Square Garden.  Rogers joined them on the first set, at the penultimate song, trading vocals with Bob Weir on Friend of the Devil. Other performers that night – 1st November – included Micky Hart and Bill Kreutzmann.

“Uniting Manhattan Through the Celebration of Public Art”

In an effort to bring art to Manhattan to unite the region, a spectacular mural can now be found at Third Street/Poyntz Avenue corner.  Thanks to Renato Perrieria and Douglas de Castro – two artists from Brazil – public art is being brought to the region. Bicecleta Sem Freio painted a large mural curated and produced by JustKids as part of the Incite MHK program that seeks to celebrate its people through art.

One tourist who was in the area admiring the local architecture who saw the art, Moshe Victor Keinig said:

“There is something so special about using art to bring harmony, peace and unity to a community.  Incite MHK emerged a few years ago from a group of local community members who wanted to bring Manhattan together via the arts. 

Keinig – who is visiting New York from Israel right now – feels that this would be a wonderful initiative in his country too.  He added:

“I would love to bring something like this back to Israel.  Enjoying art is just such a great non-political way to bring people together.  And we have some extremely talented artists back home.  It would be great for our country’s image around the world as well.”

Assistant Director of MHK Community Development Chad Bunger said that the event – revealing this new art – was an incredibly special, emotive experience, that he really enjoyed sharing with his family.  It gave him much pride knowing that “something like this [was] pulled off for the community.”

Since it was also hailed as a “team effort,” how much more appropriate would it be for a country like Israel, Keinig concluded.

Lower Manhattan Parking

Parking has always been a stress in the Lower Manhattan regions. but now it looks like it is going to take an additional twist…for the worse!  Close to 70 parking spots are being eliminated by the Economic Development Corporation on the waterfront in an effort to fix the Peck to Catherine slips esplanade under Brooklyn Bridge. Despite the inconvenience, local residents are generally welcoming of this project because of what it might result in.  With $15m from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation monies and $6m from the Gale Brewer (local borough President) and Margaret Chin (council member) could result in the building of an access to a beach area too.