Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Midtown Manhattan Market Madness


It’s mad in Midtown Manhattan right now!  The shopping is insane in the days leading up to Christmas. But truthfully, there’s also a great spirit here, buzzing in the city. And it’s fantastic that there are so many super cool eateries in the area that really seem to be getting into the spirit too. So it really feels like Christmas – and the season of fun and festivity – lasts for a long time even before December 25.

If you happen to need to go to the Post Office, check out the James A. Farley branch as you’ll really see something special.  Apparently over 600 million packages are being sent out at the peak of the Christmas rush and it’s truly miraculous to see what goes on there.  Indeed, a staff-member at the main postal branch in Manhattan said around 250 boxes were mailed out in less than two hours! 

Part of the Operation Santa program, this is a super cool, feel-good program. It’s a way of everyone giving and getting.  A bunch of volunteers come in and read the letters to Santa, and then – on his behalf of course – go out and buy the presents for the kids. What a wonderful spirit. Midtown Manhattan is definitely getting into things in a big way over this holiday season.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas in Midtown Manhattan

Very little can come close to beating  the hubbub of Christmas in Midtown Manhattan.  This year is going to be no different.  Santa Claus will be accompanied by dancing Chinese dragons, to really light up the city.  They will be performing at the Fifth Annual East Meets West Christmas Parade which can be enjoyed through Little Italy and Chinatown.  At the parade – which kicks off at Mulberry and Canal Streets – one will be able to view a colorful array of Asian and Italian traditions, along with marching bands, feature floats and more.  Allegedly, this is set to be the city’s second largest parade (Macy’s Thanksgiving one being the largest).

It was in 2006 that the parade’s organizers decided to set their sights even higher and significantly expand the parade.  Today, it is a collaboration between the Little Italy Merchants Association and the Chinatown Partnership. Until then, Little Italy did it on its own (for around three decades) but with the additional input of Chinatown, it is really something quite magical.

Bridging the Cultural Gap?

Indeed, while Little Italy and Chinatown have geographically been pretty close-knit in the Lower Manhattan area for over a century, they haven’t worked together like this.  But now this could all be changing. In 2010, the two were given joint recognition on the National Register of Historic Places and they also banded together to bring in World Trade Center tourists to visit the area.

So, maybe with the holiday spirit in the air, the Christmas season will do even more to bridge the unnecessary gaps that exist between the two.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Empire State Building to Go Public?


There is a chance, that by March of 2012, Malkin Holdings LLC (the Empire State Building controller) may start the official process of becoming a publicly-traded real investment trust.  This building is a true landmark of Midtown Manhattan, spanning 102-stories and is perhaps one of the first places visitors flock to see. 

According to Empire State Buildings Associates LLC, the process the company is currently undergoing could result in documentation being filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the not-too-distant future.

Boosting Business in Midtown Manhattan

Should this go ahead, it would be great for business. If it happens, it will mean investors will be able to purchase a piece of one of the most well-known buildings in the Big Apple.  As well, according to Green Street Advisors, Inc., over the last couple of years, property prices in offices in the Midtown Manhattan area have increased 87 percent.

So we say, more power to you ESB!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Engineering Center to Open in Midtown Manhattan

In 2012, Facebook will be opening its first engineering center outside of the west coast, in Midtown Manhattan.  It does have an office in New York, but not this kind of office.  The current one is more sales-based.

Sheryl Sandberg, FB COO was present at the formal announcement which took place at Facebook’s existing New York office, in Madison Avenue.  While there was no official figure for the amount of employees who would be working there, Facebook’s plans are to add “thousands” throughout the world in the near future. 

Facebook is currently at the Bank of America Plaza (overlooking Grand Central Terminal, Midtown Manhattan), where it intends to remain.  With a staff of around a hundred, the work carried out there is advertising sales.  Right now, the company in Palo Alto employs around 3,000 people with engineers based there and Seattle.

At the FB office, NY US Senator Charles Schumer and the city’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, penned messages on the wall, which is the actual equivalent of the FB virtual “Wall,” with the former writing, “Facebook love New York.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Midtown Manhattan Color Combustion!

Enjoy some color in midtown Manhattan.  It used to be awash with black-and-white, but now it’s simply lit up in pretty much all the colors of the rainbow!  Gone are the days when the area looked grey and businesslike from the skyline.  Color has entered the city…and it has become a real joy for everyone.  Indeed, it has even been described as akin to the colors in Tokyo’s Ginza strip, according to designer of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle and the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, David Childs.

Partly, this is light reflected from the ground, and partly the colored lights emanating from the very tall buildings.  As well, some of these buildings also have lit up antennas which have been described as “upside-down lollipops” which can be viewed from out of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building – like they are sticking out of them.

Five Manhattan Crazy Colors

The five buildings that are lighting up midtown Manhattan are: the 52-story New York Times Building on Eighth Avenue, (color changes are reflected in the iron-glass construction at different times of the day); 1 Bryant Park, the Bank of America’s 51-story building (this has a white façade lighting which can switch night into day); 42nd Street with two Silver Towers (residential) close to Hudson River; and 4 Times Square, the 48-story reflective glass and steel Condé Nast building. Two of these buildings – the ones on 42nd Street – have been fitted with a $3.5m energy-efficient light extravaganza, put in by Douglas Durst, the developer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hotel Construction in Midtown Manhattan

Two new hotels will be constructed in Midtown Manhattan’s Fashion District.  One will be located on 25 West 37th Street and the other on 960 Avenue of the Americas.  The loan required for these was recently secured by Hidrock Realty, at a value of $66m.

960 Avenue of the Americas

Other finances for the project came from BBVA Compass Bank ($36m for the hotel on Avenue of the Americas).  The entire development will require $72m.  The mortgage came at a discounted price from Societe Generale a couple of years ago as the owner at the time failed to meet income requirements, resulting in a foreclosure last summer.  Redevelopment began shortly after to reconstruct the office building into a hotel.  It should be completed by this time next year.

25 West 37th Street

Looking at the other property, a construction loan totaling $30m came from the Bank of Nova Scotia.  This will require funds amounting to $54m for completion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New York City Bridges Centennial Celebrations

A set of bronze medallions was presented to Emigrant Savings Bank from the NYC Bridge Centennial Commission.  The Bank received these at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters at a recent ceremony as an honor for its work on various New York City bridges’ centenary celebrations. 

In a report in PR News Wire, Vice Chair of the bank, John Hart, on accepting the medallions said, “I am honored to receive these medallions on behalf of Emigrant Savings Bank and Howard P. Milstein, Chairman of our parent company, New York Private Bank & Trust. Like the bridges themselves, we feel Emigrant Savings Bank is an integral part of New York City's infrastructure. For more than 160 years, we've connected communities throughout the Greater New York area. We are therefore particularly proud to have participated in such a memorial celebration.”

The actual 100 year anniversary was last year.  But various bridges that have been standing for a hundred years reached this milestone over the last few years.  The bridges that marked the celebration included: University Heights; Borden Avenue; Madison Avenue and more. All over the East River, celebratory, fun events took place such as music, walking and boat tours, fireworks and more.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Car Amnesia in Manhattan


It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. Well, not quite, but no-one likes the thought of not remembering where they parked their car.  And it’s especially irritating if you’ve just run a marathon….literally!

That is exactly what happened to Charles Petraske, 34-year old New York marathon runner who had parked his car in midtown Manhattan the day of the ING New York City Marathon.  Thereafter he hopped on a bus to get to the start of the race, and then, after an impressive three hours and 16 minutes, he completed his marathon. 

The only problem was, what happened next.  Petraske took $40 and his car keys to the race’s start line and left the ticket on the dashboard.  When he returned to Bryant Park however, he couldn’t see anything familiar, least of all his car – it simply wasn’t there.  The only memory he had of where he parked the car was that it was near a flashing billboard that had commercials for MasterCard, New York State Lottery and Coke Mini…not so helpful.

Of course, just calling all the garages wasn’t going to help and the police didn’t exactly have all the time in the world to help the tired, sweaty runner either.  They said they could only identify a towed car.  In the end, it was his wife who was called into the rescue – she came from Albany to pick him up.

Moral of the story?  Always make sure you make peace with your wife if you’ve had a fight before leaving home; you never know when you might end up losing your car and needing a rescue!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

De-Maddening Midtown Manhattan


Traffic in midtown Manhattan can indeed be maddening.  But now, with the upcoming crosstown bus service due to hit its streets, the maddening of Manhattan could well be a thing of the past.  In reality, what has happened is that the current bus service has extended to 34th Street, serving around 33,000 people on a daily basis. 

The bus service travels in a special lane, specifically designed only for that bus, which immediately cuts out a lot of traffic.  Passengers buy tickets at the bus stops and can thereafter board at the front and back.  As well, it has been found that this select bus service has taken off 12 minutes from a trip beginning at South Street Seaport and arriving on 12th Street.  The service has only been in operation for about a year, where it started on the M15 route, traveling along First and Second Avenues, but since then it has incurred quite substantial growth.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New York Produce Show and Conference

Wherever you are in New York, we sure hope you made it down to the Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan for this year’s New York Produce Show and Conference.  It took place last week – between 7 to 9 November – and has been part of a long tradition “celebrating fresh,” for those in the produce industry to engage in useful networking; participate in the conference and trade show and enjoy the industry tours.  Set up by Eastern Produce Council and Produce Business, it indeed marks New York’s only annual produce show and conference in the entire city of New York.

The banners were up for some time advertising this event, so if you missed it, what were you looking at?  In other words, how could you miss it?  It was everywhere.  But you need not worry as rumor has it that the plans for next year’s show are even greater and even better.

So what can you expect at the show?  Many exciting things: demonstrations by top chefs; more than 300 booths displaying their top quality produce; tours of Hunts Point – the world’s largest online food distribution center – and Philadelphia markets; sports celebrity autograph session and much more.  Located on 54th Street at the spectacular New York Hilton Hotel, you can take time for some pampering during your visit as well.

So if you missed it all this year, look out for the plans for next year as it is set to be even more spectacular.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sweet Stuff for Sugar Publishing

Sugar Publishing – a private media company which runs PopSugar (lifestyle and entertainment community) – just signed a lease that will last for a decade for the ninth and tenth floors of an office building in Manhattan’s Midtown South district.  The exact venue is 386 Park Avenue South.  The lease was signed through Savanna and Monday Properties

Sugar Publishing’s current premises are at 532 Broadway.  W. Clark Finney of Cushman & Wakefield represented Sugar Publishing in the deal.  The deal marks 50,000 square feet of leases having been signed in this building since the beginning of the year.

Property Location

The property is at 27th Street and the northwest corner of Park Avenue South.  It is next to a number 6 subway station. 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

New York Historical Society

This week will witness the reopening of the New York Historical Society.  It has undergone a huge renovation, costing approximately $65m.  For those interested in learning about the history of New York dating back from pre-colonial times until the Occupy Wall Street movement, this is now a great educational, informative venue to visit. 

The renovation has been somewhat challenging in various realms.  On the one hand, there is a desire to maintain the museum’s historic feel, but on the other hand, we are living in the high-tech 21st century world and thus those coming to the museum are accustomed to learning through technology.  The museum successfully reflects this.

As well as the hi-tech feel on the inside, the actual aesthetics of the place have changed, with a new entrance and lobby on Central Park West, as well as an Italian eatery that was not there prior to the renovation.  In addition, New York’s largest movie screen can be found at the museum (at 75 feet).  A children’s history museum has been added too.

Planning Ahead

In an effort to give people a sense of history as time goes by, there is also work on explaining the Occupy Wall Street protests, as in later years, this will be history too.  Researchers have thus been spending time at Zuccotti Park to observe and record these events. 

All the changes being made at the museum point to its main criteria – to give New Yorkers who love New York a real sense of the city.  History, present and future, this museum will have it all.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sing-A-Long with Mangum

It didn’t take long for entertainer Jeff Mangum to invite his guests to sing along with him when he performed at Manhattan’s Town Hall last week.  “So,” he asked, “are you guys going to sing?” he urged. The response was slow at first, but after a little more encouragement from Mangum, many more guests joined in with “Ghost.”  Following his rendition of the song, he explained why he so wanted his guests to join him.  In a news article he said that when everyone joined in, it made everything “more human.”  He used to sing for his friends he added, as he asked for the lights to be put on so he could see everyone. 

Those who managed to get tickets for the event had no doubt waited a long time to see Mangum perform. Indeed, it has been nearly 10 years since Mangum has performed in public, due to the very intense private period he adopted after the success that became a cult of “In the Aeroplane.”  He did return last May, but that was for a benefit performance for a friend who was sick and he insisted it wasn’t to signify “the start of a comeback.”  But, as they say, man plans, God laughs and with Mangum it appears that this is exactly what happened.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Manhattan Endures Helicopter Crash

Last week a helicopter crashed just past midtown Manhattan at 34th Street into the East River.  Some passengers aboard ended up in the water but were soon taken out by rescue workers on boats, ropes and ladders.  Five passengers (including the pilot) who were aboard the Bell 206 aircraft when it crashed, had to be rescued.  According to WABC (ABC news for the local area), within a few moments of crashing, the plane disappeared into the water.

It is not the first time a low-flying plane has crashed in the region.  Indeed, two years ago when nine people were killed during a collision between a helicopter and a small plane over the Hudson River, concerns were raised about low-flying planes and the dangers of the heavily-congested area.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Petula Clark Visits Midtown

Probably best known for her hit “Downtown,” Petula Clark is coming back to the Big Apple for a performance after about three decades!  The British singer who has been living in Switzerland for many years, will be performing at Feinstein’s, Loews Regency, Park Avenue at 61st Street.  Catch her show in the new year between January 24th to February 4th.  According to her publicist, Clark will be performing many of her hits from her musicals.  The woman is definitely somewhat of a legend, having been the first ever British female to have a No. 1 hit on the US charts with the infamous “Downtown.”  But she was certainly not a one-hit wonder as this marked the first of many hits for her including “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love.”

Petula Clark Visits Midtown

Probably best known for her hit “Downtown,” Petula Clark is coming back to the Big Apple for a performance after about three decades!  The British singer who has been living in Switzerland for many years, will be performing at Feinstein’s, Loews Regency, Park Avenue at 61st Street.  Catch her show in the new year between January 24th to February 4th.  According to her publicist, Clark will be performing many of her hits from her musicals.  The woman is definitely somewhat of a legend, having been the first ever British female to have a No. 1 hit on the US charts with the infamous “Downtown.”  But she was certainly not a one-hit wonder as this marked the first of many hits for her including “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Midtown: Dangerous for Walkers?


For those who enjoy walking in the streets of Midtown New York, they might just have to reconsider their hobby.  According to a recent study, the streets of Midtown have been ranked as the city’s most dangerous.  Indeed, just looking at the figures for the last few decades, it is quite evident.  According to Transportation Alternatives, an advocate group, between 1995 to 2009, over 8,000 motor-vehicle accidents that involved pedestrians occurred in this neighborhood.

Manhattan:  Perilous for Pedestrians?

In general though, Manhattan seems to be somewhat of a perilous place for pedestrians.    Every single neighborhood in the area had at least 2,000 accidents that involved pedestrians during these years.  This is pretty crazy given the fact that in the Bronx neighborhoods, the figure was 788 and Staten Island, a mere 653.  Clearly therefore, Manhattan – and especially Midtown – is not the best place for walkers.

The other issue is financial.  According to Transportation Alternatives, the price for traffic incidents is more than $4billion a year on the city’s tab.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fire in Manhattan Hotel


Last week a fire erupted at the Warwick New York Hotel, 65 West 54th Street.  The fire started on the 35th floor but incurred no injuries.  Nonetheless, close to 80 firefighters arrived in response to a call for help.  Guests were requested not to use the elevators during the investigation from the fire department.

Warwick Hotel History

In 1926, William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper publisher, commissioned the building for Marion Davies, his lover.  It was established as a venue to host the couple’s theater and Hollywood friends, located opposite the Ziegfeld Theater.  In 1966 that theater was razed but sometime later reopened at its current location.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Downtown NY Real Estate News

An 18-story office building situated close to Penn Station and Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, has been purchased by NY real estate private equity firm, Savanna.  The property spans 444,000-square feet.  The exact address is West 31st Street, in between Sixth and Seventh Avenue.  The real estate firm plans to spend $26m on renovations.  According to a statement issued by the company, its managing partner, Christopher Schlank, pointed out that there are substantial plans for various building development over the next few years in these surrounding neighborhoods.  Further, Savanna’s plans should result in this venue becoming one of the higher class buildings in the area.

Savanna Success

Clearly Savanna is on a roll.  This latest deal is the second one it has sealed in just two weeks.  The first one was its acquisition of 80 Broad Street which spans 417,000-square feet.  The Penn Plaza property will be leased and managed by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pera Mediterranean Brasserie Goes Downtown

Pera Mediterranean Brasserie is to open another restaurant at 54 Thompson and the corner of Broome Street next month.  The original restaurant that has been open for five years, serves an Eastern Mediterranean cuisine.  The new eatery will be 3,000-square foot that will be able to seat more than 100 visitors and will overlook a 2,000-square foot garden.  It is hoped that it will open during spring next year.  The menu will have some similarities to the original restaurant but will also take some of its inspiration from its neighborhood’s electric vibe.  Turkish chef Metin Calisir and American chef Nathan Crouser will be overseeing all the food preparations that will be Eastern Mediterranean style with some New York City additions.

The new restaurant will be designed by DYAMI Architects with a lot of input from the restaurant’s owner Burak Karacam who did a lot of the design in the original restaurant.  There  has been thought of developing another restaurant for a while, but the owner felt very strongly about its location and attributes, so needed to find the right space before moving forward to this place.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Doubling of Midtown West Office Building Sales

It seems clear from all the evidence and reports, that there has been a huge increase in the sale of office buildings this year in certain areas of New York.  Last year, sales reached $1.8bn.  But this year it went up to $5.7bn in the Midtown West area (which is the area between 30 to 59th Street, and Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River).

According to the Eastern Consolidated MetroGrid Report for Midtown West, even though New York City over the last decade has witnessed significant development, in more recent times, there has been a substantial building progression in the Midtown West area.  There are now a further 35 new residential properties, 30 new hotels, 14 new office buildings, 10 new retail buildings and one new industrial property.

Property Price Increases

Apart from the fact that there are so many more properties being constructed and sold in the area, prices have also significantly risen.  First, in 2010, only three hotels were sold but this year, that figure more than doubled to seven.  Second, sales of hotel buildings were $425m last year, but this year that figure has increased to $1bn.  From 2008 that price has really escalated since figures three years ago had plummeted to as low as $175m. 

Midtown West Office Building Data

Taking a look at office building sales in the Midtown West area, there has been another significant increase.  In the second quarter of this year, 25 sales were made.  In the entire year of 2010, 27 sales were made.  So the figure for this year is almost quadruple of last.  Prices however, have been somewhat in flux.   For four years, ago a drop was witnessed of less than $400 for a square foot, but today that figure stands at $435.  Yet in 2007, the figure had reached $500 for the same space.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Job Boost for Hudson Square

According to Michael Bloomberg, current Mayor of New York City, Financial Times proprietor Pearson Plc is hoping to create six hundred more media and technology positions in offices near to where it is currently working from, Hudson Square, in Lower Manhattan. 

The Mayor said that Pearson Plc will also be the recipient of at least $13.5m in state tax credits and electricity bills discounted by the city, over the length of a decade, starting in three years’ from now when it moves into 25,000 sq m. of space at 330 Hudson Street.  Of this figure, $4.5m is an energy savings plan called ‘Business Incentive Rate,’ $9m from the Empire State Development Corp.  Along with this, other financial incentives could be available to the company too.  As Bloomberg commented in a statement, “Pearson’s relocation to and expansion at Hudson Square and its long-term investment in New York City is the latest example of the private sector’s confidence in the direction of our city and future growth of our local economy.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

‘CSI: The Experience’ at Times Square

On October 1, at Discovery Times Square, NYC, individuals will be able to undertake the challenge of being a crime scene investigator and try to solve a real true-to-life mystery.  Tickets are now on sale for the event at the box office on 226 West 44th Street.  The experience lasts for between 60 and 90 minutes and will be open Sunday to Wednesday from 9am to 8pm and Thursday to Saturday from 9am to 9pm at a cost of $25 ($21.50 for seniors and $19.50 for kids).

The Experience

The ‘experience’ stands at 12,000 square feet and was created with the help of 175 forensic science experts so that a true scientific-based experience could be incorporated into the TV show’s entertainment aspect.  The guests become investigators and undergo one of three crime scenes and 15 forensic lab stations as well as video messages from Anthony E. Zuiker, creator of ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,’ cast members (past and current) and forensic experts.  It is as close to a real investigative experience as could be, with real “DNA, blood spatter and fingerprint analyses, to forensic anthropology and toxicology to immerse exhibit goers deep into the science of solving crimes.”  Guests on the show need to be at least 12-years-old.

Friday, September 30, 2011

EZ Studios Hosts NY Fashion Week

As the leaves on the trees began to change color and the fall season started, New York Fashion Week came to midtown Manhattan at EZ Studios.  At 7pm on September 9, media and guests took delight in the privilege of viewing the arrival of celebrities at the AKOO Clothing fashion show which was thereafter described as the “most alluring event of the evening.”

There were tons of people waiting to catch a glimpse of AKOO Clothing’s debut.  Nuttin’ But Stringz was the surprise guest, opening the show with “a spectacular performance to set the mood for the rest of the night.”  Livestream streamed the event and Hosea Chanchez hosted it.  Other celebrity attendees included: Ramses Barden and Victor Cruz (of New York Giant’s); Matt Nordgren (Bravo’s Most Elegible Dallas); Meeka Claxton (VH1’s Basketball Wives), and more.

A great time was truly had by all.  As AKOO Clothing Marketing Director Jeff Belizaire said, “this show was a labor of love for everyone involved. We’re overwhelmed with pride to have organized such a major production during New York Fashion Week. We also feel honored by the crowd’s responses and outpouring of support. We have definitely achieved all of our brand objectives while setting the bar extremely high for the next New York Fashion Week.”

Friday, September 23, 2011

Greenacre Park for Paradise

For those seeking out a little pad of paradise in a crazy afternoon in midtown Manhattan, go look for the Greenacre Park, located at 217 E 51st Street.  You need to look for it, because one reviewer who had been living right across the road, took six months to locate it.  And therein lies its charm.  No photographs or high noise levels are permitted; it is just meant for the serene spot it is.  One cannot imagine that such a spot of tranquil paradise could be found smack bang in the middle of mad Manhattan.  But lo and behold, it can.

If you’re looking for some fresh, healthy, organic fare, check out the green hornet drink at Jack’s Coffee.  Awesome sandwiches and wholesome food, this fits in with the gentle sensation you’ll get while reading a book by one of the park’s incredible waterfalls.  Don’t worry about getting interrupted – noise is not permitted and dogs, Frisbees and sunbathers are all shunned.  This is meant to be Zen and you’ll be quickly informed if you’re not following the rules.

Clearly this park gets back to basics in so many ways.  This is what parks were intended for although these days so many of them are so far away from such tranquility.  But here, you’ll get exactly what you came for.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stone Rose for Big Time Entertainment and Great Food

If you want to mix it up a little over the weekend, you might think about checking out the Yabu Pushelberg-designed Tapas restaurant in midtown New York, Stone Rose.  Located at 10 Columbus Circle at 60th Street, you will be privy to almost unmatched views of Central Park, while lounging in style in either an intimate spot, or a place specifically designed for group dining.

If you’re not so into the whole live music thing (which starts on an early weekend from Wednesdays ‘til Saturdays), go from Sunday to Tuesday and use Stone Rose to just sit and people watch.  Even if you’re there alone, you can take advantage of Happy Hour and the bar scene.  And for a fun birthday celebration, why not book a private party at Stone Rose?  Although on a review it was rated as having an “energetic” noise level, sometimes this can provide the company you are looking for, without the pressure of having to engage with someone at the end of a long working week.

It’s all in a Name

So from where did the name Stone Rose originate?  On its own admission, “for its masculine elegance and design finishes in stone and rosewood.”  In terms of its food, order one of the plates and share with your beau.  Check out the wild mushroom crostini with chèvre and white truffle oil; Kobe beef skewers; daikon sprouts and fresh mint; or shrimp summer rolls with shredded snow peas.

Choosing is Critical in Midtown Manhattan

When you finally get to take a fun-filled vacation in New York’s midtown neighborhood, you may feel overwhelmed with the choices of restaurants, accommodations and things to do in general.   Quite simply, the city is jut buzzing with possibilites at a high quality level. 

Ultimately your choices will depend upon what you are looking for.  For those seeking out a chic, contemporary style, they may want to look at one of the Triumph Brand hotels owned by Shimmie Horn, such as the Hotel Belleclaire, located on Broadway and West 77th Street, which was once described as a “skyscraper on Broadway.”  For special spa amenities, check out the Four Seasons Hotel New York, on East 57th Street, which also is known for its luxurious settings and helpful staff.

And while you’re in the city that never sleeps, you might want to take in some sites, like the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, or the General Grant National Memorial.  And for those who prefer the nightlife, then the AZYA Wine & Chocolate Bar will provide you a bar with a difference, and is unlikely to disappoint.

So before booking your vacation, make a decision on what you’re looking for – you’re bound to find out in midtown, New York…along with so much more.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jazz Close By

If you’re after a bit of jazz around the Upper West Side, a great hangout is the Avery Fischer Hall Lincoln Center located on West 64th Street.  For jazz lovers it’s the place to be and knows no bounds, making no discriminations. Good jazz, is simply good jazz and the jazz you’ll get here is great for all ages and walks of lives.  The only requirement?  To love jazz.  Check out the different concerts available, as well as classes, workshops, lectures, tours, recordings, TV broadcasts and more.  Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis leads the club and does a great job of it.

Marsalis himself has an impressive resume.  He plays the trumpet, has been a bandleader, music teacher and a composer.  He knows what he’s talking about when it comes to jazz as he works hard to promote an appreciation of classical and jazz music and does this for the younger crowd in particular.  He has earned nine Grammys and one of his very own jazz recordings won a Pulitzer Prize for Music, which was an unprecedented move.

So for really top jazz, this is where it’s at.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is It “Good Enough to Eat”?

When you’re looking for a great place to fill the vacuum in your stomach, go down Amsterdam Av at 83rd Street and check out Carrie Levin’s eatery.  Aptly called ‘Good Enough to Eat,’ in the 1980s, Levin took her desire and talents to create “good, old-fashioned American food,” to the next level.  The result was – and still is – “Good Enough to Eat.”  It began with serving wholesome breakfasts all day long, but later on moved on to soups, sandwiches, Meatloaf dinners and more.  This ultimately led to her reputation as “one of the first Chef's in NYC to create and celebrate ‘traditional’ American cuisine.”

Global Recognition

These days ‘Good Enough to Eat’ is so much more than a restaurant for Upper West Siders.  Indeed, it has earned a reputation around the world and is flooded with tourists looking for a taste of good old-fashioned American cuisine.  Sitting alongside the Upper West Side ‘regulars,’ customers consume mac and cheese, sweet potato fries, vanilla ice-cream and more, ensuring they leave the United States of America having really sampled its cuisine.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thatcher Gets Stamped on in Manhattan

During her days of ruling the government of Britain, Margaret Thatcher probably would never have imagined a few decades later she would be stamped on the streets of Manhattan.  But that is exactly what has happened.  Sidewalk portraits have been commission by Upper West Sider, Michael Schrage, MIT business innovation lecturer and Harvard Business Review blogger.  He commissioned artist Hani Shihada for the job as he wanted to spotlight philosophers “who represent values and ideas I care about.”  Other figures on the streets include Friedrich Hayek (Austrian economist) near West 112th Street and Thomas Sowell (American economist) on West 115th Street.

Shihada has been painting on sidewalks for over two-and-a-half decades and has developed a reputation for being the sidewalk portrait person, having done one of Ted Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor and President Barack Obama.  According to Schrage, he doesn’t see his move as political, but more fun.  He said, "I thought it would be great fun and a wonderful way to reinforce the Upper West Side 'brand' as a place where real intellectuals with real ideas can be debated and discussed.”

So next time you’re in Manhattan, take a stroll down Broadway close to West 106th Street and see if you can walk atop of Margaret Thatcher’s face.