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.

The Buzz in Chinatown

Chinatown is one of New York City’s most charismatic neighborhoods.  It is rich in not only culture but history and simultaneously offers a substantial insight into modern day living for its inhabitants.  According to Museum of Chinese in America president Nancy Yao Maasbach:

“The density of Chinese people and Chinese-Americans living in the United States is the highest in New York City. [The museum educates its locals and visitors alike to the region’s 1870s Chinese-US heritage as well.] We’ve found that while the neighborhood is not geographically expanding, third and fourth generations of Chinese-Americans are moving back to make this their home. They are entrepreneurial in a way that deepens the culture of Chinatown. It’s here that you see the old and also the new. There’s tradition, with an incredible fusion. And I think there’s never been a more exciting time for this neighborhood in New York City.”

As such it is perhaps not surprising that the area is subject to change and evolution of sorts.  Currently there is a potential art piece that is causing controversy. Gateways of Chinatown has been in charge of the project in conjunction with Chinatown Partnership and the Van Alen Institute. The aim of the sculpture to be placed at a traffic triangle was to “engender pride of place, foster connectivity, and reinforce cultural and social identity within Manhattan’s Chinatown.”

Lindy Lee, a Chinese-Australian artist was selected out of 80 submissions.  She worked with Levenbetts architecture firm and Urban Art Projects to create the design and installation of the artwork.

Brooklyn Bridge: Before and After Renovations

Renovations are being undertaken on the Brooklyn Bridge later this year.  Thousands of dollars have been earmarked for Navillus and MLJ construction companies to work on the two towers, replace walls and facades and generally improve the entire area.  Over the last century-and-a-quarter the Bridge has – naturally – experienced substantial wear and tear.  There is also much graffiti.

Photographer Mozes Victor Konig, Tel Aviv native said the following:

“Even though of course I know that this work is important, somehow I feel that it will be a shame to bid farewell to the graffiti.  As such, I plan on doing a before and after shot of the area.”

Local photographer Michelle Kamuchi echoed Konig’s words:

“Who can not smile when they see ‘LOVE, LOVE, LOVE’ emblazoned on the middle of the bridge. Is the plan to remove thatas well?” she asked.

On the flip side, a few years ago, an observation was made about the

“large swaths of the promenade covered in graffiti…. A picture drawn on a steel beam shows a man’s private parts. In another section of the beam, a visitor crudely boasts of having urinated on the span.”

It seems there is definitely room for improvement.  But still, we like Mozes Victor Konig’s idea about the before and after shots.  Watch this space!

The Revival of Murray Hill?

One of the neighborhoods Below 14th Street that often does not warrant much attention – apart from its easily forgettable nature – is Murray Hill. But Japanese-born chef Takafumi Hayashi might be able to revolutionize that perception or at least alter it on some level.

Hayashi is the chef at Tenho Ramen that opened its doors earlier this summer in Murray Hill.  at first glance, it doesn’t seem any different to many of the other local ramen-serving eateries but delving a bit deeper one finds quite the interesting tale…

For a start, Hayashi is the real deal.  not only is he Japanese but he hails from Kurume which is where the porkbone broth noodles Tonkotsu Ramen first originated in 1937 where the yobimodoshi method is used (the soup pot is never emptied, hence a much richer flavor is developed).

Locals: check out this spot.  Others: check out this spot too!

Herald Square Happenings

Deep into the summer what can New Yorkers (or tourists) expect from the various neighborhoods?  Here, we take a look at some of the latest goings on in Herald Square.

What better way to cool off than with a funky milkshake at CrazyShake Bar?  Black Tap just opened one of its famous restaurants right in Herald Square, treating customers to a visual as well as a delectable experience. Watch your very own milkshakes being created in a manner that brings exciting ingredients to life.   This newest location marks Black Tap’s largest branch in New York and features a mural designed by local twin artists, How and Nosm.

Last week, Pokémon Go launched a program from 3-7pm, altering and “hacking” the region.  In an attempt to defeat Team Go Rocket Grunts through local PokeStops, trainers made their way to Herald Square to check out the coup (which could also be enjoyed above the Hudson River).  Later on in the week, Special Research Tasks were added to Pokémon Go, tasking players with catching and purifying Shadow Pokémon.