December 7, 2012

Happy Go Lucky

Chinese restaurants always chose the most positive names such as "Happy Joy." I suppose a name like "Sad Anger Chinese Food" wouldn't go over too well. Situated way over on 10th Avenue in Hells Kitchen, they appear to do a brisk late night business keeping all the hungry New Yorkers happy.

Christmas is...

I can think of a lot of things Christmas is, but worshipping doesn't immediately come to mind on my top 10 list. It's probably situated someone around number 327 or so. This monstrous and creepy billboard is located above the Majestic Delicatessen Cafe located in the middle of the Times Square area on 50th Street and 7th Avenue. Whoever put this up was probably hoping to take advantage of Mitt Romney's religious affiliation even though that didn't help get him into the White House.

Eat Meatballs

Meatball Obsession (Home of the Original Meatball in a Cup) is one of those places that I noticed a few months ago and was curious enough to try it out. It's located on 6th Avenue, just south of 14th Street. This is definitely a no-frills kind of experience because the shop is located on the street next to a subway entrance and you order standing right on the busy sidewalk.

Totally capitalizing (or exploiting) the latest culinary trend to sweep the city, they offer one thing and one thing only. You guessed it, meatballs. I stopped by to try their food a few months ago and I can tell you that if you like meatballs then this place is for you. They offer steaming hot cups of turkey, beef or pork sausage meatballs that are supremely delicious and not too expensive either. You can also get your balls served in a pocket sandwich, but their specialty is obviously served best in a cup. To top things off, they offer a choice of cheeses and a good selection of soft drinks including my favorites Cherry and Vanilla Cream. There is a small table with a lamp pushed up against the side of the building where you can stand up and casually eat your food on the street if you choose or you can always take it and run.

Also nice to see that they've totally festooned their shop for Christmas.

December 5, 2012

Gingerbread Crane

Every year at Christmastime, Le Parker Meridien hotel sections off a portion of their lobby for a wonderful display of gingerbread houses created by various local bakeries and restaurants. This year the theme is "Landmarks Around The World" and they have some truly great creations. My favorite was the "Hurri-crane."

Of course, you'll recall the construction crane that nearly toppled right onto 57th Street from the skyscraper site during the middle of Hurricane Sandy. The 90 story building depicted in gingerbread above is One 57 and its located almost directly across the street from Carnegie Hall and the hotel. The police and fire department forced the hotel to shut down for almost an entire week after the storm because all of the streets around the hotel were closed and residents were evacuated.

If you drop in to check out all of the gingerbread creations, make sure to stop by the front desk and buy a raffle ticket for $1 to vote for your favorite. The winner will get a 5 night stay at the luxurious Parker Palm Springs and all the money raised is going to the food rescue charity, City Harvest.

Origami Christmas

The holiday season is in full swing and since it's now the first week of December all of the hotels and stores in the city are decorated for the upcoming holidays. Le Parker Meridien is a nice hotel on 56th Street and they have an enormous 15' tree in their lobby decorated with what appear to be hundreds of multi-colored origami swans.

If you have extra time in your busy schedule, I recommend taking a minute or two to saunter into a few of the many hotel lobbies throughout the city to see some of the more creative Christmas displays. It's a fun thing to do and you'll find way better trees than the vastly overrated Rockefeller Center tree.

December 4, 2012

Not "The Little Drummer Boy"

It's hard to imagine how this happens, but apparently no one will stop you if you show up on 42nd Street and 6th Avenue with a full drum kit and just start banging away. This guy wasn't a bad drummer, but it sure adds to the noise of the city for him to be beating the skins late at night (9:00PM) without any sign of stopping. For the record, he wasn't playing Christmas songs.

Skater Dater

There is a relatively new public park right off 6th Avenue between 29th and 30th Street and it couldn't be better designed for skateboarding. This evening after I was checking out a store around the corner I chanced upon an excellent skater taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to perfect some tricks.

November 28, 2012

Christmas in Midtown

There are an enormous number of hotels in Midtown, but if someone else is paying or you are splurging on a nice place then The Peninsula Hotel is as nice as any. It's located steps away from 5th Avenue and has a great luxury breakfast place on the 2nd floor that's expensive, but perfect for a business meeting. There's also a great bar on the rooftop. They did an excellent job on the Christmas decorations this year.

Cartier Christmas

The high-end jewelry store Cartier has an fairly incredible location at 52nd Street and 5th Avenue right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Every year at Christmas they cover the building with some type of enormous ribbon or beautiful lighting, but this year alongside the usual lights they added their signature panther high up on the upper floors.

I find it sort of confusing though because Cartier has the trademark on "Panther" and they have a Panthère jewelry brand, but some people say it's not really a panther at all, but is actually a leopard. You'll see what I mean when you look at this commercial. Isn't that a leopard? I have no clue and I suppose it doesn't matter either way. Their classic men's timepiece is the Tank watch so I assume it looks a lot nicer to put a ferocious wild animal in lights on the building than a ferocious military vehicle.

Atheist Parking

Parking a car in New York City is really expensive, but if you happen to be in Chelsea and are going to visit art galleries or the Highline don't look to get any help from above. This is also true for just about anywhere else in Manhattan.

November 25, 2012

The MetLife Building Christmas Wreath

Christmas decorations are out in full force in New York City. The MetLife Building which is connected to Grand Central Station has a particularly large Christmas wreath on display this year.

October 24, 2012

Art Daze

There was an art opening this past Saturday night for a group photo exhibition, "Attachments," at The Hole Gallery on Bowery in the East Village. It features a wide selection of new work by Andrew Kuo, Asger Carlsen, Jason Nocito, Jessica Eaton, Jim Mangan, Kate Steciw, Peter Sutherland, Sandy Kim and Tim Barber. Sometimes the work is so captivating it puts you in a trance.

Preppy Afternoon

A couple of prepsters were out for an afternoon stroll headed down 6th Avenue on a cloudy afternoon.

Halloween Deli

The pumpkins are out in abundance in New York City for Halloween. A typical Korean corner deli on 57th Street and 9th Avenue.

October 20, 2012

Streetcorner Staredown

I ❤ NY umbrellas and waiting for the light to change on Madison Avenue in a light rain on Friday afternoon.

42nd Street Sprinkle

It rained on Friday and everyone in the city had their umbrellas out. Crossing 42nd Street at Madison Avenue is especially treacherous even when it isn't raining.

October 13, 2012

Uptown Kate Upton

At a New York Festival party on Friday night for the film "Casting By," I was lucky that I had my camera because it's not often that you capture the exact moment that Sports Illustrated cover model Kate Upton falls in love with you.

September 28, 2012

Central Park Breakfast

There's really not that much better than a homemade breakfast above Central Park on a beautiful morning.

September 24, 2012

City Camping

I know it is completely illegal to go camping in Central Park, but a silly regulation like that won't stop New Yorkers who feel the need to be at one with the Great Outdoors.

All you have to do is just plop down your sleeping bag on the sidewalk next to a busy subway stop, snuggle up comfortably inside, and take a mid-afternoon siesta. What's even more amazing is that there are hundreds of people assembled only one block away yelling and screaming all day long to protest against the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is staying at the Warwick Hotel this week. Did I also mention the dozens of heavily armed policemen stationed outside the hotel as well?

If these sorts of things don't bother you then you have what it takes to be an urban camper. You'll also quickly learn to ignore things like taxi cab exhaust, curbside trash, cigarette smokers, and the thousands of people that trample by your camp site as they walk on by in Midtown Manhattan on a typical Monday afternoon.

August 2, 2012

Under the Streets

Did you ever wonder what's under the bustling streets of New York City? It's no wonder the streets are getting ripped up all the time. What a mess down there.

Jumping for Joy

Not entirely sure what prompted this high flying split on 56th Street, but I just happened to be walking by and caught it at exactly the right moment. Tryouts for the US Olympic Street Gymnastic team perhaps.

August 1, 2012

Super Summer Stylish

Random skater girl looking super summer stylish in Midtown.

Rainy Oysters

Another rainy night in Midtown Manhattan.

I love the neon of the Famous Oyster Bar, but I've never been there. It's been around forever and about the only thing I can think to recommend about it beside the neon is the location. It always gets uniformly negative reviews on Citysearch and Yelp.

If you are from out of town and are looking for a place to go for oysters, go to the Grand Central Oyster Bar. It's located in the basement of Grand Central Terminal and and I highly recommend it. It's definitely not to be missed if you visit New York City.

July 31, 2012

Birthday Nap

After a great day of celebrating your birthday, it's perfectly okay to take a nap on the long subway ride home.

July 24, 2012

Summer at the Guggenheim

A view of some museum goers on a recent Saturday night after the Guggenheim Museum closed for the evening.

The best day and time to visit the Guggenheim is Saturday night from 5:45PM to 7:45PM. The museum is open late (though not late enough in my opinion) and the admission fee is reduced from $22 for adults to the very reasonable "Pay What You Wish." If you're on a budget or traveling or otherwise aren't swimming in $22 bills, it's a great time to get uptown and experience a wonderful museum for a nickle or a dime or a dollar or whatever you think is appropriate. There's usually a line, but don't worry it moves quickly.

On a recent evening, I went to see the retrospective of the Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra. It was exceptionally well-curated and is a highly recommended photography show.

Saturday Smashup

I was replacing a lightbulb in my kitchen on Saturday morning and I heard a long, loud screeching of brakes out the window. I raced over to look out and there at the intersection of 55th Street and 6th Avenue was a fairly major accident judging from the condition of the car sitting in the middle of the street. Luckily, everyone seemed unhurt although the car appears totally demolished. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but someone was obviously speeding or ran a red light or something. This sort of thing will certainly screw up your Saturday afternoon.

The Age of Miracles

If I'm lucky I can usually find one or two books every summer that I really enjoy. This summer it's been "The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker. I've been reading it in Central Park on the weekends and I am really enjoying it.

She gave a reading and book signing last week at Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side and even though I missed the reading, I arrived just in time to be the very last person to get their book signed. There's nothing better than a signed first edition hardcover of an author's first book.

July 18, 2012

Polka Dot Balls

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is having a massive resurgence in popularity this summer with a retrospective at the Whitney Museum which runs from July 12 through September 30th. There is also a collaboration with Louis Vuitton for clothes, handbags and mores that is being promoted with the entire storefront and outside walls on 57th and 5th.

Passing by the restaurant at the Whitney on Saturday night, I saw that it is decorated with these oversize and festive polka dot balls.

Hustler Highway

From time to time, I see this truck driving around midtown Manhattan. It's obviously just advertising for men to go to the Hustler club, but I can't help but think they are missing out on an enormous business opportunity here. A mobile strip club.

Here'e the idea. Pick the business guys up in the Hustler truck down on Wall Street after trading closes at set times (4:15PM, 4:30PM, 4:45PM etc.) and offer free shuttle service home to the Upper East Side, Greenwich, Westchester. Not so sure their housewives will appreciate seeing their husbands getting dropped off at home in this sort of truck, but they're probably going to go there anyway and it sure beats taking Metro West or the subway.

Are mobile strip clubs even legal?

July 17, 2012

More Minutes, Please

Today was one of the hottest days of the year and there seemed to be an abundance of homeless people staked out on 5th Avenue in the 50s.

File this one in the Liz Smith "Only in New York" category because here's something you don't see every day. In New York City, even the homeless people soliciting for money on 5th Avenue have cell phone plans. Who gives money to a homeless guy talking on a cell phone?

I didn't notice until later when I took a look at my photos from today that he gave me the finger for taking his picture. He didn't get off his call though. That made me laugh.

June 19, 2012

Adult Toys

Just a random Monday night south of Times Square on 8th Avenue. The area still retains some of its seediness despite the efforts of Disney and others to wipe it clean. Also the police still walk the streets looking for criminals.

June 17, 2012

Ghosts in the Machine

Getting ready for a Saturday night of performing in Times Square. Obviously they don't have makeup booths for this sort of thing.

March 2, 2012

Sold Out Show

The Artist was sold out last week at The Paris before it won five Academy Awards on Sunday night. Yes, I finally ended up seeing it. It costs $13 to see a movie in Manhattan.