Friday, November 24, 2017

Midtown Tree

Selecting the perfect Christmas tree for Midtown Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center is no easy task.  It has to be quite perfect.  But one has been found that meets the requirements.  It was chosen from Pennsylvania’s State College (Jason Perrin’s home) and is originally from Norway.  It was put on display behind the ice rink and it will be lit up in a ceremony on November 29.

The tree will – as in years past – remain at the center throughout Christmas and New Year’s and will only be taken down January 7.  Rockefeller Center has been adorned with a tree now for around 7 decades and is viewed by passersby between W. 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues.


This year measuring in at 75 feet it has a 50 foot diameter and weighs approximately 12-13 tons.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Suburbs in NYC?

Possibly.  Well, at least New Yorkers will be privy to a taste of suburban life with the opening of a branch of Target – America’s 2nd largest discount retail store.  Opening its doors in Midtown Manhattan at 112 West 34th Street, the third location in Manhattan will open three days from now. 

For Manhattaners – veteran and newbies alike – this is not the first in a great move.  At one point Target was not known for its presence in NYC.  But today that is no longer the case, with another one due to open next week in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn as well as one in East Village next year and two more in the region in 2019.

And there is more positive suburban-style news for NYC.  Insider City Guides recently ranked Brooklyn Bridge Park in its sightseeing research article Six of the best: City Parks for its “unmatched Manhattan views... manicured lawns and six (so far) re-purposed piers [featuring] a festival feel on summer weekends.”


Perhaps the suburbs aren’t so far away from NYC after all.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

New Happenings in Midtown

There are some new eateries opening up in Midtown Manhattan.  Although it already has three branches in NYC, Joe’s Pizza is now available on Times Square, at 1435 Broadway. The iconic store originally opened back in 1975 in Greenwich Village.

Next up is Luke’s Lobster which opened its 12th NYC location in Midtown Manhattan.  Located between West 38th and 39th Streets, to mark the occasion of its new place, the first customers to frequent the store received a free lobster roll. 


And for something completely different a plant-based “fast-food” joint just opened in Midtown also.  Run by Craig Cohran (co-founder of a plant-based fast food café that already exists in Manhattan), he opened P.S. Kitchen in Times Square as a way to give back and make a difference. The idea is to make giving more fun by creating a nice restaurant that would give profits to charity; enjoy a cocktail and a meal and at the same time support a worthy cause. The menu is completely plant-based and many of the employees come from underprivileged backgrounds.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Silent Parade

A century ago (last month) on July 28, 1917, around 10,000 black (kids, men and women) marched in silence down Fifth Avenue to protest against racial violence in the United States. This was one of the first mass protests of anti-black violence in America.  It was entitled Silent Parade.

To mark this, Google honored the centenary with a Google Doodle, “honor[ing] those whose silence resonates a century later.”


Organized by W.E.B Du Bois and James Weldon Johnson (NAACP leaders), it was put together as a reaction to the 1917 East St. Louis Riots during which a slew of blacks were killed and thousands displaced. The non-speaking march from Fifth Avenue to Madison Square symbolically represented an anti-violence stance by participants who marched with signs like: “We march because we deem it a crime to be silent in the face of such barbaric acts,” and “We march because we want our children to live in a better land," etc.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Midtown’s Restaurant Week

The summer’s Restaurant Week starts next week.  Between July 24 to August 18, restaurant goers in Midtown will be able to pay a fraction of the price at some of the region’s most upscale eateries. Offering three-course fixed priced menus for both lunch and dinner, around 400 restaurants are participating in the week long event, open to all for registration.

this year there are many more restaurants participating – 33 to be exact – they include: Bar & Cabaret, Benjamin Steakhouse Prime, Bob’s Steak & Chop House, Boucherie, Bâtard, Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Farmer & The Fish, Feast, Fifty Restaurant, Flinders Lane, Fowler & Wells. 


For lunch the cost will be $29 and for dinner, $42.  Program sponsor is OpenTable.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Getting Outdoors in Midtown

Summer is upon us and Manhattan is a great place to do something fun.  In this article we look at some of the fun things happening in the area and suggest places to cool down as well.

First, there is MoMa in New York which is spending $450 million on an expansion project.  The first phase has already been completed and the public is invited to check out the 15,000 square feet of “reconfigured galleries, a new, second gift shop, a redesigned cafe and espresso bar and, facing the sculpture garden, two lounges graced with black marble quarried in France.” Ultimately the expansion will provide more room for the 200,000 pieces to be displayed as well as 25 percent additional space for visitors to relax.

Then there is BevNET Live Summer 2017 – the “leading conference for the beverage industry,” with its networking opportunities, discussions on moving the industry forward and bringing your products to the limelight.

And while you’re out strolling the neighborhood in the evenings, don’t forget to enjoy one of the many fabulous rooftop bars in the area.  Check out: the PHD Terrace at Dream Midtown, Empire Rooftop, Roof at Park South and St. Cloud Social atop The Knickerbocker if you want to fully appreciate some of the great summer happenings in the area this year.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Midtown Manhattan and its Admirable Architecture

Midtown Manhattan has long been known for its spectacular architecture.  Being home to some of the city’s most iconic buildings (including the Chrysler, Empire State, and UN HQ), as well as the world’s largest central business district, it perhaps should not come as much of a surprise that there is often talk of buildings that were, constructions that are and architectural designs that are in process.  In this article, we take a closer look at some of them.

Executive Director of AIA New York State, Georgi Ann Bailey believes there are 25 must-see buildings in New York.  Two of these are in the Midtown Manhattan area.  One is the main branch of the New York Public Library.  Designed by architects John Merven Carrère and Thomas Hastings, this is the entity’s flagship building and a “prominent historic landmark” in the midtown area.  It is also a very old building (opening its doors in 1911) and today its 646,680 square feet boasts a 52 foot high ceiling in its famous Rose Main Reading Room, filled with thousands of reference materials on open shelves, furnished with brass lamps, comfy chairs and sturdy wood tables. Of course the grand chandeliers add to the grandiose nature of the building as well.

The other one included in that list in the area was designed by architects Edward Durell Stone and Philip L. Goodwin, with a remodel by Philip Johnson, and Yoshio Taniguchi. New York’s
Museum of Modern Art, can be found on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.   It has been hailed as being one of the world’s largest and most influential modern art museums.

Then there are the upcoming constructions. Amy Plitt in an article in NYCurbed  took a look at the construction on Jean Nouvel’s Midtown supertall (already in progress for a year now) which is finally taking shape.  Noting its distinctive diagrid, this is quite an exciting time for midtown’s architecture.
Another one to watch is New York’s Only If Architecture which designed a mirror-filled space to be used by three companies in a very minimalist style.  With 18,000 square feet at its disposal, this will feature both open and closed work areas as well as a showroom made out of modular rolling elements.  In addition, surfaces will be in black and white and have a very organized feel.
So, there is a lot of interesting building in midtown Manhattan of note today.


Pastimes in the Park

There’s nothing like the beginning of summer to start enjoying the outdoors.  And midtown Manhattan is great for that, especially when it comes to parks, given the Parks and Rec organization.

Last month, Bryant Park had its official annual summer opening ceremony.  Those present were able to tromp over the freshly grown grass, crushing it with picnic blankets.  This is because, every year, the lawn there is torn out and regrown in spring for those to enjoy in the summer.  With the new lawn open, the city has put together a calendar of events, such as outdoor theater, meditation and dance classes and nighttime yoga.

In other park-related news in the region, Manhattaners should take advantage of the green space that surrounds the American Museum of Natural History. At the Theodore Roosevelt Park, an initiative from Parks Without Borders is seeking approval to progress in this project.  Director of Long Range Policy and Planning of the Institute, Sarah Nielsen said the aim is to “make parks more open and welcoming and beautiful by improving entrances, edge and park-adjacent spaces.” As co-manager of the Theodore Roosevelt Park Project, she will lead a study on how the space is used and to determine what improvements might be viable.  The idea is to really investigate – and improve on – the current status of the neighborhood.


Meanwhile, in June and July, there will be a variety of family-based activities including: circus arts, children’s rapper and Beatles tribute band, all free for residents.  The Manhattan Parks and Rec organization (mentioned above) has been putting these concerts on for the last four decades.  They will all be held at the Larry Norvell Band Shell (City Park) and commence at 8pm.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

What’s “Up” in Midtown Manhattan?

It’s possible that soon enough a 4,000-foot length skyscraper will appear in midtown Manhttan. The proposed “silly straw supertall structure” designed by Ioannis Oikonomou believes his design features New York’s “hidden layers,” and thus tells the tale of how we perceive the city. It would connect the two towers over Calvary Baptist Church. As Oikonomou pointed out:
“[New York] architecture no longer operates as formation of buildings and streets. It is a cluster of catalysts to memories and emotions which inhabit our minds.”
Right now the area is quite crowded. It is filled with a seven-story prewar building and a 77-floor condo. Should the building go ahead, it would take up 2,000 feet (in height). Of course there is some opposition to the plan. Most notably from Chair of Community Board 5’s Sunshine Task Force, Layla Law-Gisiko who referred to the design as “silly and out of touch.”

Friday, March 17, 2017

Simon Indian Palace

A look at the new Simon Indian Palace eatery, just by Bloomingdale’s, but it’s pretty hidden. This is Nurul Amin’s first venture in NYC. Working alongside three chefs (Jalal Bhuiyan, Miraj Bhuiyan and Shohag Alam (an executive chef, curry specialist and tandoor master), this team create specialty non-vegetarian and vegetarian appetizers and entrées together for their customers. Take a look at this video to see inside the kitchen.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Beijing Arrives in Manhattan

Thanks to the work of entrepreneur Brian Goldberg, midtown Manhattaners can now get jianbings locally. A rolled crepe (common to Beijing street food), a permanent kiosk has replaced Goldberg’s popups to sell these food items as Goldberg  had recently recalled them seeing that New Yorkers were starting to make them.

While he may have been raised New York (growing up in Spring Valley), he definitely has the culture, having later become a Chinese scholar.  His eclectic experience had him train to become a professional luge racer and thereafter work in the finance industry.  Then in Hong Kong, he ran a few eateries.

The thought behind these local jianbings was Golderg’s idea to create something “that would be interesting and make people happy,” which is his ultimate goal in “making jianbing as mainstream as ramen.”  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Allegria Hotel: A Great Choice with Owners Stabilis Capital

Whether for a weekend get-away from New York City or for a business conference, the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach is a great choice. The hotel opened in 2009 with great excitement as the first upscale hotel in Long Beach in decades. In the summer of 2016, it was sold at a bankruptcy auction for $27.4 million. The winning bid went to Stabilis Capital Management LP, a New York investment firm.

As Stabilis Capital on New York reported in a memo, “Stabilis is excited to have won the bid and is passionate about this property. We believe strongly in the potential of the Allegria Hotel and, if the [bankruptcy] trustee approves the sale process, we look forward to making capital improvements and other investments in the property. We plan to establish the Allegria as a truly top-notch boutique hotel.”
The hotel includes 143 rooms and 124,000 square foot of oceanfront space.

After the auction, Ken Silverman, a Chapter 11 operating trustee said, “I’m confident that it’s going to be continued as a hotel, and the current management is going to stay on. I believe [Stabilis has] experience in the hospitality industry.”

Silverman continued, “The hotel is going to continue to operate, and we’re honoring all events and we’re still going to be booking. And the summer season has been spectacular so far — [the hotel has] either been substantially or fully occupied.”


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Grocery Options in Midtown

When it comes to grocery options, Midtowners should be happy that choices are expanding.  A Whole Foods Market is opening its newest location, right across from Midtown Manhattan’s Bryant Park in a couple of weeks.  The exact location is 1095 Avenue of the Americas.

While the market does not focus on being the least expensive grocery store in town, the benefits are that for the health conscious it has a large selection.  Its official opening will begin with a celebratory bread baking event which will start at 8.45am on the first day, 28th January and then 15 minutes later the 36,000 sq. ft. store will be open for business.  Featuring quick-serve prepared foods that Whole Foods has earned a reputation for over the years, it will also sell basics such as produce, condiments and canned items.


According to a recent Manhattan Retail Tour investigation, in general, grocery stores in the area are somewhat unique (compared to those across the country and maybe even worldwide) since the produce selection is actually driven by Manhattan’s multi-culturalism, and given that around 36 percent of Manhattaners are foreign-born with 60 million tourists per annum, tons of ethnic options make the rounds, which is often reflected in the layout and offerings of each market.