Woman Sues Bar for Letting Her Ride 'Violent' Mechanical Bull While Drunk

 DNAinfo/Maya Rajaman

DNAinfo/Maya Rajaman

Originally posted by By Maya Rajamani on

MIDTOWN — A patron of the popular Johnny Utah’s bar is suing the venue after they let her ride the mechanical bull while "visibly drunk" — leaving her with "life debilitating" injuries after she was tossed from the machine, a new lawsuit charges.

Jocelyn Burmeister was at Johnny Utah’s on March 18 when she was “violently thrown off the bull before having a chance to mount the device,” a suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court Friday claims.

The bar, at 25 W. 51st St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues, is home to the city’s “one and only Mechanical Bull,” its website claims.

Burmeister, who was “visibly intoxicated” at the time of the incident, dealt with “life debilitating injuries and surgeries” after the incident, the suit says.

The bar should not have let her ride the bull in the first place and operated it in a “negligent and defective manner,” the suit notes.

The lawsuit also claims the bar failed to install safeguards and padding around the bull and was operating the device without a required license.

Patrons who ride the bar’s mechanical bull have to sign a waiver before doing so, Johnny Utah's website notes.

“Our ring is completely lined in padding and offers a safe landing area,” the website says. “However, it is a ‘ride at your own risk’ attraction.”

Burmeister is seeking unspecified damages.

Neither her attorney nor Johnny Utah's immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.



Zillow Sends Cease and Desist Letter to McMansion Hell, the Architectural Criticism Blog We Need Right Now



Originally posted by Jennings Brown on

Real estate aggregator site Zillow has sent a cease and desist letter to the creator of McMansion Hell, the most popular lampooner of suburban ticky-tacky monstrosities. Zillow claims that by using photos from its site, the architectural criticism blog violates its terms of service.

McMansion Hell posts feature promotional home shots taken from real estate sites, along with hilarious commentary and annotations about things like “doors to nowhere,”“windows you could scrape off with a paint knife,” “compulsory chandeliers,” and “dueling bay window purgatory.”

The site is run by Kate Wagner, a Johns Hopkins graduate student focusing on architectural acoustics. Wagner shared the letter on Twitter along with a solicitation for help.

Since Wagner launched the blog in July 2016 it has built a loyal following and been featured on dozens of sites, including Huffington Post, Slate, and Business Insider. But earlier today, the project was featured in a Washington Post article about the McMansion boom. “[McMansions] were built to sell in the year they were selling, not for future generations,” Wagner told the Post. “These houses are kind of disfigured, because they were built from the inside out, to have the most amenities to sell faster.”

Wagner told Gizmodo she makes about $22,000 a year from freelance writing and McMansion Hell Patreon donations and merchandise sales. “Needless to say, if something significant were to happen to the blog, I would be financially devastated,” she said.

According to The Verge, Wagner plans to make McMansion Hell into an e-book, which would feature purchased licensed photos. 

Wagner is currently seeking legal counsel. She said she has removed photos before when she was approached by photographers whose images she took off real estate sites. Shortly after sharing the letter, Wagner took the site down.

But Zillow said it hopes Wagner can keep McMansion Hell alive. “The intent of the letter wasn’t to force the writer to shut down her site, but we have a legal obligation to enforce the agreements we make with the people who provide listings on Zillow,” a Zillow spokesperson told Gizmodo. “We can’t give away what is not ours, so we are asking her to take down the photos that came from Zillow.”

People are already calling the legal move a bullshit attempt to avoid criticism, but it may have more to do with Zillow’s own legal troubles.

In February, a federal jury ordered Zillow to pay $8.3 million in a copyright infringement lawsuit to photo company VHT over images used on Zillow. Last Tuesday, a U.S. District Court cut the damages award in half.

Update 6/27 5:20 pm: The Electronic Frontier Foundation is representing Wagner. EFF attorney Daniel Nazer shared a statement with Gizmodo: 

“We are representing Kate Wagner and will be sending a detailed response to all of Zillow’s contentions soon. We hope that Zillow comes to appreciate that it made a mistake and withdraws the threat.”




Jean-Georges' third ABC venture for trendy, healthy, vegan eats

Get Jean-Georges involved, and going meat-free gets as easy as ABC! After a much anticipated, long-delayed wait, Jean-Georges Vongerichten finally opened his first all-vegetarian restaurant ABCV in February 2017. I remember when the famous French-New-Yorker chef first announced his project for the third ABC venture – in 2014! Whatever took so long for ABCV to see the light, it was worth it: Jean-Georges found the perfect recipe to make New Yorkers rave for veggies with a capital V!

ABC Kitchen is amongst my all-time favorite restaurants, and what I consider to be the ultimate New York dining spot. ABC Cocina is my go-to for a Margarita girls’ night out. In both restaurants though, most of my favorite dishes are the veggie-based ones. And I’ve already expressed how I love discovering vegan restaurants, so needless to say I couldn’t wait to try out ABCV. Jean-George’s newest venture has the signature ABC vibe and carefully curated, large contemporary space. ABCV’s design details are even more eye-catching that its sister restaurants, with a mainly white toned open space that feels classily minimalist despite the few eccentric pops of color and extravagant chandeliers. The decor sets the tone of what’s to come: it’s modern, it’s fresh, it’s clean.

Dinner served daily – breakfast & lunch only Mon-Fri as of yet



Closing down the dinner service

The best way to describe the food at ABCV is with their own words: take a breather – “plant based, non gmo, sustainable, artisanal and organic whenever possible, locally and globally from small & family farms, towards plant based intelligence, through creativity and deliciousness.   You get the picture, ABCV is healthy, trendy vegetarian dining at its best.

ABCV’s very extensive breakfastlunch, and dinner menus are almost fully vegan apart from a handful of dishes. The New York famed chef has made a habit of going vegetarian at least once a week, one of the many things I have in common with the fellow Frenchie! Jean-Georges is a chef of renown so there are obviously no vegan fads served, but a wide array of perfected, fresh plant-based dishes. ABCV started off as being the spot for super healthy morning breakfast and mid-afternoon power lunches, with all the clean eating faves: the matchas, the chias, the kombuchas, and all that jazz!


“Light & Fresh” vegetables (upper-clockwise): Green Chickpea Hummus with Thai basil ($13); pine nut and lemon, harissa, dried apricot ($14): Stems and sprouts with garlic, basil, sunflower and lemon ($14)


Avocado lettuce cups, toasted cumin, serrano and lime, pepitas ($13)


1 of the signature dishes & must-orders: Whole Roasted Cauliflower, with turmeric-tahini and pistachios ($17)


Whole Roast Cauliflower with the poured warm turmeric-tahini


Stems and sprouts with garlic, basil, sunflower and lemon ($14)


Strawberries, radicchio, saffron vinegar, celery ($14)


Slow Roasted Beets, dijon, avocado puree, chili aioli, pickles, lovage ($13)


More greens! And slow roasted beets


Market Carrots, stone ground nut and seed butter, chilies, lime


2nd order of Market Carrots – loved the stone ground nut and seed butter


Chanterelle, spring onion, asparagus, yuzukosho, egg ($17)


White Asparagus, hearts of palm, vanilla, basil ($17)


Warm Crimini and Morel Mushrooms with Sherry Vinegar, Garlic, Tarragon ($17)


Wild Mushroom Burdock Boodles, tempeh, pickles ($18)


Beluga Lentils, chili oil and black vinegar, new potatoes, broccoli stems, cilantro ($13)


Fried wild rice, spring vegetables, fermented carrot & turmeric, cilantro ($16)


Morel Wonton, spring vegetables, aromatic broth ($21)


Fresh Spinach Spaghetti, broccoli, kale, preserved lemon, garlic, parmigiano, saffron crumbs ($18)

For dinner, it’s the buzzing spot for a satisfying light veggie meal with celebrity spotting written all over it. The dinner scene is filled with beautiful people, yogis and models (I was sitting next to Gisele – she had the “Beauty & Wellness” tasting menu FYI! #youarewhatyoueat). Dishes are creative, colorful and on the light side, with a wide variety of vegetable ingredients. There really is something for everyone. ABCV is great for groups, with all dishes made for sharing, so come with your mindful-eating friends and have as much of the menu as you can, mixing up cold and warm plates and leaving room for their surprisingly addictive vegan matcha crème brulée dessertABCV also offers a $48 seasonal tasting menu for dinner, with a selection of signature dishes chosen by the kitchen.


Selection of desserts – the Vegan Matcha Crème Brûlée ($11) is the highlight

I particularly enjoy ABCV‘s beverage offerings, with great refreshing cocktails, restorative tonics, and cold pressed organic juices of course. And of course their wine list focuses on natural, ecological and biodynamic viticulture (duh).

Takeouts for weekday breakfast and lunch only

Like all ABC establishments, the reservation system can be arrogant. Getting a table at ABCV takes a lot of patience and anticipation, and I recommend calling rather than just relying on online booking. But you don’t necessarily need a seating to enjoy the best of ABCV – the restaurant is also a great spot for takeout, for breakfast, lunch or a healthy snack. This would totally be the sort of place I would make of daily takeout habit of if I lived in the neighborhood (and has become my habitual pit-stop post-infrared sauna next door)!

Highly attractive space, highly attractive people, and an substantive vegetable-focused menu that will make you feel… highly attractive! Like its peers, I can see ABCV becoming another New York staple. Along with Avant GardenABCV has become my go-to for a healthy, flavorful plant-based meal that will never make me miss the meat.

Open daily for:
Breakfast: Mon-Fri 8am-10:30am
Lunch: Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm
Dinner: Sun-Wed 5:30pm-10:30pm, Thurs-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm

Take out:
Breakfast: Mon-Fri 8am-11am
Lunch: Mon-Fri 12pm-4pm



PROGRESS REPORT: New Astor Place squares are hip and happening

 Douglas Dunn & Dancers lit up one of the new plazas at the inaugural Astor Alive! performing-arts festival last September.

Douglas Dunn & Dancers lit up one of the new plazas at the inaugural Astor Alive! performing-arts festival last September.

Originally posted by WILLIAM KELLEY for the Villager


Spring fever is upon us, and Villagers are once again enjoying our streets and open spaces.

At long last, the years of planning, design and construction of the transformative Astor Place/Cooper Square renovation project came to fruition over the winter. A decade in the making, these newly created town squares will come to life in the warm weather, primarily as places to sit, relax and observe the city’s bustling streets. In the next month, we will also welcome two small businesses opening kiosks in Astor Place — La NewYorkina and Astor Plate — once again featuring MUD coffee. The kiosks will activate both north and south plazas at Astor Place and contribute to overall plaza maintenance funding.

Construction’s end brought with it the eagerly anticipated return of Tony Rosenthal’s iconic “Alamo” (a.k.a. “The Cube”) sculpture, which had been undergoing restoration in New Jersey for almost two years. We are thrilled to welcome “The Cube” back home in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary, an impressive milestone given that it was New York City’s first piece commissioned as part of its first Public Art Program, which also turns 50 this year.

We also dedicated another iconic work of art at Astor Place in 2016, Jim Power’s mosaic poles, seven of which are now permanently installed in the plazas. Working with the city and local community stakeholders for approvals and funding, the poles tell the cultural history of the neighborhood, and are a triumph of populist art.

To celebrate “The Cube” ’s birthday and return of the mosaic poles, the Village Alliance is planning a host of free community events and programs in 2017.  Beginning with the Astor Poetry Jam on Sat., April 22, our seasonal programs will showcase local performance and visual artists, as well as a broad range of participatory events, in a comfortable and welcoming environment at the crossroads of East and West Villages. Following the Poetry Jam, we are planning the “Creativity Cubed” series, focusing on crafts and storytelling through paper sculpture, mosaics and other media.

The Astor Blaster Silent Disco on Fri., May 5, will commemorate the broad musical legacy of the neighborhood, while later in the fall, the Astor Alive! festival will once again highlight the current Downtown performing-arts scene, all free and open to the public. To stay up to date with the latest events at Astor Place and the surrounding neighborhood, including free fitness classes and more, follow @AstorPlaceNYC on social media or visit

On the business front, our local retailers continue to face challenges from online competition, but also from changing consumer spending habits, which are shifting away from goods and services toward more curated “experiences.” To encourage our community to shop locally, we continue to expand the Village Access Card program, now with more than 75 participants, offering exclusive benefits to neighborhood residents and employees. Our small businesses need your patronage more than ever, visit to sign up for your free card and explore the best of the Village.

Our most recent project installed uniform planters and upgraded tree-pit treatments along University Place.

Kelley is executive director, Village Alliance business improvement district



Lynn McCarty’s Paintings Are Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts

    “Action Hero,” 2017, oil on aluminum


“Action Hero,” 2017, oil on aluminum

Originally posted by R.C. BAKER for the Village Voice

In the past, Lynn McCarty eschewed brushes and poured paint directly onto her grounds, noting, “I love not knowing what will occur when I move and tip the wet covered surfaces.”

Recently, she has added a blade to her arsenal. Working on aluminum panels, she strips transparent scrims of paint out of earlier work and collages them into new compositions. Collage as a medium often calls to mind incongruous collisions of existing imagery — Max Ernst’s huge reptile crawling over two oblivious women in a Victorian parlor — but here McCarty (born 1961) peels up pure abstract forms and layers them into new configurations. In one instance, a rivulet of color might be abruptly interrupted and then restart a bit to one side, like an ancient stream bed shifted by long-ago earthquakes. In the two-foot-square Circle Around II (2017), a dark, bottom-heavy shape has scraped across a gray background, leaving whitish skid marks. This form pivots off of small chunks of bright color, setting up an oscillation of scale that from one perspective might feel as circumscribed as a clock pendulum, from another, as grand as continental drift.

    “Filter,” 2017, oil on aluminum, 20 x 18 inches


“Filter,” 2017, oil on aluminum, 20 x 18 inches

At times, evanescent slabs of paint cohere into figures with surrealist heft. The three totem-like forms in the five-foot-wide Spirit (2017) share a lime-green and burnt-orange palette; like effigies that see/speak/hear no evil, they are slightly comical, but slashed planes and jagged contours lend a baleful tinge that complicates easygoing beauty.

    “As One II,” 2016, oil on aluminum


“As One II,” 2016, oil on aluminum

Although a descendent of the elegant pourings of Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis from last century, McCarty’s deft compositions of ripped edges, crazed blots, sundered veils, and free-range colors convey an agitation in sync with our times.

Lynn McCarty: Slipping Sideways
Nancy Hoffman Gallery
520 West 27th Street
Through July 1



‘Operation Wrecking Ball’ nabs alleged ‘Miley Cyrus’ cocaine dealers

 Photo courtesy of the Attorney General’s Office

Photo courtesy of the Attorney General’s Office

Originally posted by Rob Abruzzese, Legal EditorBrooklyn Daily Eagle

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his sixth major drug bust in recent weeks, and this one had some star power as "Operation Wrecking Ball" led to 19 arrests on 226 charges as a gun and drug trafficking ring was busted up. 

The two major traffickers involved, Cedric James and Laquan Wright, both of Brooklyn, allegedly arranged for large quantities of cocaine to be transported from Brooklyn and parts of New York City to the Albany region. 

During the course of the yearlong investigation, officials noticed that traffickers were using coded and cryptic terminology in an attempt to disguise their alleged illicit activities and often referred to cocaine that they sold as "Miley Cyrus." 

In total, investigators found more than three pounds of bulk cocaine, 35 firearms, more than $63,000 in cash and large quantities of drug paraphernalia.

“Operation Wrecking Ball marks another significant dent in the narcotics pipeline that funnels in drugs and guns and threatens families across the Capital Region,” said Schneiderman. “My office is laser-focused on the growing epidemic of drugs and violence that’s surging across our state. 

“Today’s arrests — and the 265 dealers we’ve taken off the street in the last two months alone — send an unmistakable message that we won’t tolerate those who deal death and violence in our communities,” Schneiderman continued.

The charges include operating as a major trafficker, which carries with it a mandatory life sentence in state prison. Other charges involved include criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance (class A and B felonies), and conspiracy to commit those crimes.

The remaining defendants face maximum sentences between nine and 24 years in prison. 

The other 17 charged in the case included Joseph Berghela, Elijahjuan Cancer, Derrick Carrington, Richard Chrise, Dennis Durham, Ladawn Harris, Clifford Jackson, Lewis Labshere, I’Quan Mayo, Traevon Shannon, Christopher Mozone, Nekie Ricks and Deanna McCargo, all from Albany, New York; and Octavius Mills (Ruecker), Summer Saglimbeni, Meghan Wilkinson and Frances Wright, of Schenectady, New York.

The case was investigated by the Organized Crime Task Force, the Albany Police Department and was assisted by the NY National Guard Counterdrug Task Force.



Astoria’s Sugar Freak will reopen next week with new additions to NOLA-inspired menu

 Photo via Facebook/Sugar Freak

Photo via Facebook/Sugar Freak

Originally posted by Angela Matua on

The beloved New Orleans-inspired Sugar Freak will officially reopen in Astoria on June 26.

The restaurant, previously located at 36-18 30th Ave., closed in Feburary when owner Michele Addeo and restaurateur James Paloumbis announced it would reopen at 37-11 30th Ave. The new space previously housed the restaurant MexiBBQ.

Now, Sugar Freak will open at the bigger space and retain the “authentic homegrown feel” including the vintage plates on the walls and the tin ceiling.

“Everything is upcycled, recycled, and repurposed,” a spokesperson for the restaurant said.

In addition to its old menu, the restaurant will now offer new seafood boils, waffle tacos and Beignet Eggs Benedict. Freshly baked cakes and pies will be added to the dessert menu along with the deep friend banana pudding and traditional dump cake.

To make the ordering process smoother, customer will now order their meals at the counter before taking a seat. Sugar Freak will also offer delivery service, catering and lunch service.

If you’re interesting in working at the restaurant as a bartender, cook, server or working the counter, email you resume to info[@]



Op-ed: Queens real estate market is still heating up

 Photo via Shutterstock

Photo via Shutterstock

Originally post by TOM DONOVAN on QNS.COM

Queens has had all of the underpinnings of the next trendy area for some time now.

Its sheer size — home to 2.4 million residents across 178 square miles — would make it the fourth-largest city by population in the United States, lagging only Los Angeles, Chicago and Brooklyn. It is also one of the most ethnically diverse urban areas in the world, with more than 138 unique languages represented.

The borough also boasts some of the easiest transportation access in New York, including 12 subway routes serving 81 stations; nearly 100 bus routes; 22 Long Island Railroad stations; and the elevated AirTrain connecting both the subway and commuter rail systems to JFK International Airport.

In addition to the cultural diversity and abundance of public transportation, Queens is home to several iconic cultural attractions, including Citi Field, Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium, Aqueduct Race Track, Kaufman Astoria Studios, Silvercup Studios and Resorts World Casino.

People are finally taking notice. Boutique, artisan and national businesses that typically look to Manhattan and Brooklyn are now turning to Queens. Investment sales are reaching new heights – in 2016 sales volume in Queens hit nearly $5 billion, a 26 percent increase over 2015.

Multi-family housing is particularly booming, thanks in large part to the fact that Queens boasts the lowest vacancy rate of all five boroughs, at less than 1 percent. Elevator-serviced apartment buildings had the largest increase with $969 million in sales volume, an increase of 84 percent from 2015. Walk-up apartment buildings saw a 15 percent increase in sales, with a total of 232 buildings switching ownership.

All of this represents just the beginning of an increasingly hot market. More than 170 new development permits have been issued over the past 90 days within Queens. There are over 20 million square feet currently under construction, with more than 25,000 new residential units planned.

Notable developments under construction include the following: 22-44 Jackson Ave., a two-tower, 1,115 unit mixed-use project totaling approximately 1.2 million square feet in Long Island City; 23-15 44th Dr., a 66-story, 800-unit condo building in Long Island City; 93-01 Sutphin Blvd., a two-tower, 669-unit, mixed-use complex in Jamaica; and 336-350 St. Nicholas Ave., a 180,000-buildable-square-foot, mixed-use development site in Ridgewood.

Long Island City, Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Woodside in particular have benefited from the rising costs of their Brooklyn neighbors. As owners, investors, and developers have been priced out of more mature submarkets, their Queens neighbors have been viewed as safe, economically desirable alternatives.

The recognition of Queens’ heating market is evidenced by some new notable tenants including Apple, Shake Shack, Denny’s, H&M, and an Australian coffee chain, Toby’s Estate Coffee.

Iconic buildings have also traded in the last year such as Long Island City’s Falchi Building, a 658,000-square-foot office building purchased by Savanna for $257.5 million; 24-02 49th Ave., a seven-story, 650,000-square-foot industrial office building purchased by Innovo Property Group & Westbrook Partners for $195 million; Clock Tower development site, a 1 million-buildable-square-foot site purchased by the Durst Organization for $167 million; and Rego Park’s Saxon Hall, a 419-unit rental apartment building purchased by Madison Realty Capital for $136 million. Financings were provided by heavy-hitters like Blackstone Group, ACORE Capital and Deutsche Bank, to name a few.

With the volume of new residential space coming on line, sectors such as retail, office and hospitality will all benefit, creating a perfect storm of factors that will lead to Queens becoming the next hot market for investment sales.

Tom Donovan is vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, an international real estate firm with 300 offices in 70 countries across the globe. The opinions expressed in this op-ed are not necessarily those of or its staff.



Proposed Citi Bike Expansion Would Finally Include All Five Boroughs

Originally posted by by MAX RIVLIN-NADLER for The Village Voice.

Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez is calling on the mayor to sign on to a proposed deal with the company that runs the city’s wildly successful bike share program, a deal that would double the size of the bike share and bring the blue bikes to both the Bronx and Staten Island.

Rodriguez has long pushed for a Citi Bike expansion into less affluent areas of the city, going so far as to put a proposed $12 million toward it into this year’s preliminary city budget. While Mayor Bill de Blasio nixed the cash influx, the deal on the table from Motivate, the company that manages Citi Bike, proposed expanding the size of the program from 6,000 bikes up to 12,000, and would be done without any extra money coming from the city. According to the city, it costs $6,000 for every bike the system adds, including maintenance for the bicycle and the dock.

“As Citi Bike has grown, it has become a fundamental part of New York City’s transportation network. However, that growth is limited; many lower income neighborhoods do not have access to Citi Bike,” Rodriguez, the chairman of the council’s Transportation Committee, wrote in a letter to de Blasio. Yesterday, the councilman was joined by biking advocates from across the city in calling on the de Blasio administration to move ahead with the proposed expansion.

“Every New Yorker deserves access to bike share because it is a cheap, flexible addition to the existing public transportation network,” said Paul Steely White, executive director at Transportation Alternatives. The group has collected more than 5,000 signatures from New Yorkers interested in Citi Bike expansion into their neighborhoods.

While the city has spent millions on several new ferry routes, its bike share program remains far more popular. Right now, the program averages around 60,000 trips daily — even the rosiest projections of the city’s new ferry service puts its ridership at just 12,500 people per day. The city’s ferry service focuses entirely on riverfront communities, where new condominiums have been popping up seemingly overnight.

Since its launch in 2013, Citi Bike has become the largest bike share in the country, rebounding quickly from pre-launch setbacks and delays. Citi Bike’s popularity almost became its downfall, in fact, as the original technology operator was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2014, after the city withheld payments on account of glitchy software. Under de Blasio, Citi Bike was restructured, allowing for an expansion of the program and the design of a new software system.

The proposed deal with Motivate, reports Politico, would include allowing the company to increase its advertising space, and also allow for longer rides for cyclists. Right now, rides are limited to either thirty minutes on a day pass, or forty-five minutes for members. It would also maintain the Motivate’s exclusivity in the city, as other bike-sharing companies show interest in launching their own programs. 

Rodriguez’s letter, which was signed by 25 other councilmembers, urged the mayor to continue growing the system after the end of its current expansion, after which no other plans have been set in stone. Despite ongoing hysteria over the loss of parking spaces, the city has continued to push for bike-share expansion into western Queens and upper Manhattan.

And while city politicians have, for the most part, enthusiastically embraced the program, the city’s own police department has seriously lagged on ensuring cyclist safety. In a dark milestone for the program, the first fatality on a Citi Bike happened last week, with the NYPD quickly assigning blame to the cyclist, and not the charter bus that crushed him. Safe streets advocates quickly called on the city to provide more protected bike lanes for all cyclists, including those who have fled the deteriorating subway system for the relative ease of a Citi Bike.



Six Local Gems of the Upper West Side

by Eileen Guo / Applesauce NY

Visitors and newcomers to New York City will quickly discover that there is not one “New York”, but many, with each borough, neighborhood, and sometimes even street existing as a world in miniature.  But here’s a secret from long-time NYC residents: each mini-world – block, neighborhood, and borough – has different faces and rhythms at different times of the day; gradually getting to know all of them is one of the great joys of settling in to a new home in the city.

And perhaps nowhere is this truer than the Upper West Side, often described both as a small village in the big city of Manhattan as well as its cultural and intellectual hub. Bordered by Central Park to the east and the Hudson River to the west, the neighborhood runs from approximately 59th St in the south to 110th St – and Columbia University – in the north, it still has a charming deeply, community-oriented feel. For many residents and visitors, that community – coupled with the extraordinary amount of green space – represent some of the greatest draws of the UWS.  

Both factors make the Upper West an immensely livable neighborhood, 161 W 91st St, located on a quiet side street right off of the main boulevard of Amsterdam and equidistant from Central and Riverside Parks, the UWS at the center of it all.

But beyond the parks for which the Upper West is perhaps most famous, here are six neighborhood gems that UWS residents love about their neighborhood:

Barney Greengrass (541 Amsterdam Ave): Open since 1908 and continuously run by the same family ever since, this neighborhood restaurant and deli has become a favorite of New Yorkers and visitors alike, with Jerry Seinfeld, Alec Baldwin, and Billy Crystal (who was once sent a package of its bagels and lox while filming City Slickers in Moab, Utah) among its famous fans. Its décor has barely changed since the early 1900s, and this timelessness serves as a bulwark in a constantly changing city. Pick up a bagel, some of the city’s best in a city known for delicious bagels, for breakfast or the whitefish and Nova sandwich with vegetable cream cheese, tomato, and onion on barley (the recommendation of the current and third-generation owner, Gary Greengrass.

Equinox (2465 Broadway): This upscale gym has a beautiful – even by Equinox standards – location on 92nd and Broadway boasting classes such as ballet-inspired true barre, cycling, and “Firestarter”, an intense 30-minute cardio session to start off the day, as well as well-equipped weights rooms, studios, and spa, all within exposed brick walls with high windows looking out into the bustle of Broadway.  

Central Park Reservoir (86th St): Officially called the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, but known to locals simply as the Central Park Reservoir, the 106-acre body can be entered at 86th street, just blocks from the brownstone. One of Central Park’s most visited and scenic points of attraction for visitors, for UWS residents, the 1.58-mile route around it presents a great running or walking path.

Westside Community Garden (W 90th St) Upper West Side’s greenery does not come just from its proximity to Central and Riverside Parks but also its tree-lined streets and abundance of community gardens, like the family-friendly Westside Community Garden just a block away on 90th St between Amsterdam and Columbus. Operated by an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization, the garden boasts a flower park as well as vegetable plots, compost bins for neighbors, and a variety of events throughout the year.

AMC Loews’ 84th St Theatre (2310 Broadway): Why is a movie theatre on this list? UWS residents know that the 84th St Theatre goes beyond the typical multiplex experience. With electronically controlled reclining seats and reserved, stadium seating (make sure to get your tickets online for the best selection), both UWS locals and Manhattanites alike know that the 84th Street Theatre is by far the city’s most comfortable for feature films.

Zabar’s (2245 Broadway) On the corner of 80th and Broadway, Zabar’s is an UWS institution. It’s known to the mainstream public thanks to its depictions in a number of Hollywood productions, including You’ve Got Mail, Friends, Sex and the City, Seinfeld, 30 Rock, Gossip Girl, and even The Simpsons, and virtually every other New York City-themed movie or TV show. But for UWS residents, and other loyal regulars flocking in from across Manhattan, it’s the food selection – the bagels, smoked fish, olives, cheeses, and coffee – that keep them coming back, long after the cameras stop rolling. And fun fact for coffee lovers? Zabar’s introduced drip coffee machines to the United States in the 60s.



SoulCycle Park Slope Coming to Flatbush Avenue

Originally posted by By Amy Zimmer on

BROOKLYN — SoulCycle, the boutique spinning studio that started in 2006 and has since become a fitness juggernaut, is opening its third Brooklyn outpost this month on Flatbush Avenue at the crossroads of Park Slope and Prospect Heights.

Called SoulCycle Park Slope, it officially will open on the second floor above Union Market at 342 Flatbush Ave.  with a celebration June 15.

New York-based graffiti artist Elle Street Art has created a custom piece on the wall of the 55-bike, 3,188-square-foot studio with showers and a boutique selling the company's new line of performance clothing.

Opening day festivities will include healthy treats (from Jus by Julie), sweets (from Milk Bar Bakery) and succulents for cyclists to take home.

SoulCycle now has 16 Manhattan locations, as well as studios in Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg.

"Park Slope felt like a natural next location for us, given the popularity of our studios in Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg," said Gabby Cohen, SoulCycle's senior vice president of public relations and brand strategy. "With more than 75 SoulCycle locations nationwide, we're thrilled to join the Park Slope neighborhood and continue to spread the joy of movement in Brooklyn!"

The co-founders of the company resigned last year, a year after reportedly earning $90 million each upon selling a majority of the company’s shares to high-end fitness giant Equinox.



Manhattan real estate stabilizes as prices come down

Originally posted by Robert Frank@robtfrank on

The number of Manhattan real estate sales was essentially flat in the first quarter, ending a monthslong decline brought on by a glut of available condos.

Some 2,892 sales were completed in the New York City borough during the first quarter, according to a report from the Douglas Elliman brokerage firm and the Miller Samuel appraisal company. That was barely changed from last year's total of 2,877.

Average sale prices, which can be skewed by a few high-end transactions, inched up 2.6 percent to $2.1 million. Median sale prices fell 3.3 percent to $1.1 million.

Many sellers are lowering their prices as they become more realistic about values, according to Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel. Yet after two straight quarters of declining sales, a stabilization in volume could be a positive sign for the market.

"More sellers are coming to grips with market conditions," he said. "The seller is traveling farther to meet the buyer on price, not the other way around."

The big question for the Manhattan market is how it will absorb the tens of thousands of new units coming available over the next few months and years. Many of those units are aimed at high-end buyers. Already, the number of condos on the market jumped 7 percent in the quarter, reaching a six-month supply.

While the market was supported by strong sales of existing units in the quarter, new properties remained weak. Sales of new units fell 25 percent in the quarter while inventory rose 20 percent.

Miller said the outlook for the rest of the year is unclear, but said sales are unlikely to surge over 2016 — especially if interest rates continue to rise.

"It is unclear whether the jump in resales will have enough momentum to be sustained throughout 2017," he said. "We may end up seeing sales levels equal or slightly exceed 2016 levels even with a few rate increases."



The best things to do in the summer in NYC

Summer is in full swing! Discover the essential things to do in the summer to make it unforgettable.

By Time Out New York editors, Jennifer Picht and Jillian Anthony

Ah, sweet summer, you’ve arrived! The city gains a boundless energy once the warmer months roll around, and there’s endless things to do in the summer—including some great free things to do in NYC, our Rooftop Cinema Club and places to go camping near NYC for when you just need to get out of town. Use our guide to make the absolute most of these steamy summer nights!

Warm up the dance floor at MoMA PS1

It's easy to see why the annual Warm Up party series is so popular: You get to drink beer, eye contemporary art and dance beneath a large-scale outdoor installation. And then there's the quality of the musical lineup, which in previous years has included Afrika Bambaataa, Questlove, Francois K, Danny Krivit, the Scissor Sisters and LCD Soundsystem. This year, check out a sick lineup of artists and DJs, including Hot Chip and other big acts to be announced. Block off Saturday afternoons for this: It's going to be worth it.

Never take for granted how lucky we are to be in a city where a free show in the park has become a quintessential summer experience (even when you're stuck in the interminable line for said free show). For New York's largest free performing-arts festival, 18 parks around the city offer gratis programming, with Central Park's Mainstage at the center of the action. This year's musical lineup covers classical, jazz, hip-hop, indie rock and even comedy. Highlights include Chairlift (June 14), Public Enemy (June 21) and Indigo Girls (June 27).

Twenty-four rotating flavors—made with Battenkill Valley Creamery milk, organic cane sugar and cage-free eggs—are on offer at this sunny artisanal ice cream parlor. Take a seat at the L-shaped marble counter, or watch the creamy treats being made through the production-room window. Flavors range from simple and seasonal, such as strawberry and pumpkin, to more baroque creations like The Munchies: pretzel-infused ice cream with Ritz crackers, potato chips, pretzels and mini M&Ms.

When the pavement starts to emit more heat than your apartment's radiator and the mass of shiny, reflective skyscrapers offers no escape, it's time to book it to the closest swimming hole. That would be any of the city's outdoor pools, opening June 29. 

Bust out your best Daisy Buchanan frock or Gatsby suit for this '20s-themed fete. Old-timey tunes from Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, cocktails and complimentary dance lessons will complete a day of throwback revelry. Try your steps out in the Charleston contest!

Partake in the ultimate hipster sport without committing to a weekly team. Simply email and add your name to the roster of 350 roving players. If you're contacted to participate in a match, the fee will be at the discretion of the team. Various times and locations; visit for more details.

Can’t afford a tropical vacation? Hitch a ferry to New York’s car-free island, and once you’re there, get a tan as you chill in one of its hammocks. But it’s not all about taking a load off here. After launching the appropriately named 10-acre park the Hills last summer, GI continues to expand with exciting openings of attractions like Island Oyster (a beer garden from the Grand Banks team, serving seafood and cocktails) and Adventures at Governors Island, a new recreational facility with a climbing wall, maze and zip line. Tried-and-true events such as the 1920s banger Jazz Age Lawn Party are not to be overlooked either.

Films go down better with cocktails—you know this to be true. And the whole experience is even sweeter when you can take in a Manhattan or Brooklyn sunset. Rooftop Cinema Club has perfected the night out at the movies, and we’re delighted to exclusively announce its third annual edition of summer movie screenings. Once again, the party comes to two venues: midtown’s swanky YOTEL (570 Tenth Ave) and East Williamsburg’s OfficeOps (57 Thames St).

As warm weather rolls in, Gothamites gear up for all manner of seasonal activities, including outdoor diningart shows and enjoying cocktails with a view at the city's best rooftop bars. From buzzy hot spots at some of the best hotels in NYC to low-key first-date hideaways, raise a glass to the best rooftop bars in Gotham.

What better way to take advantage of New York’s gorgeous waterfront views than by actually getting on the water at one of the best boat bars in NYC? From docked summertime icon the Frying Pan to sailing-the-Hudson dinner cruises, get your outdoor drinking and outdoor dining on aboard one of these lively boat bars.



Upcoming FREE Summer Movies - June 16 - June 24

Originally posted on NYC Parks

Noir, romance, action, sci-fi, and comedy--Parks has movie screenings for all types of film buffs.

Historic Harlem Parks and Manhattan Recreation Film Festival: Moonlight

at Richard Rodgers Amphitheater (in Marcus Garvey Park) , Manhattan  

Join us at Marcus Garvey Park for a free screening of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins, 111 min.

Winner of Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards, this extraordinary drama explores three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young Black man growing up in an impoverished neighborhood in Miami.

Music by DJ M. Forde at 6:00 p.m.


Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park 

Movie Under the Stars: Secret Life of Pets

at MacNeil Park (in Macneil Park) , Queens

Friday, June 16, 2017 8:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.

Two mismatched mutts get lost in NYC due to their feuding, and must find their way home. During their journey, they encounter a vicious bunny who plans to lead a group of abandoned pets on a mission of revenge against humanity.

Know Before You Go
You should arrive before 7:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on; there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled water is OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome!

Movies Under the Stars: Central Intelligence

at Rainey Park , Bronx8:00 p.m. –10:00 p.m.

An accountant helps an old high-school classmate, now a CIA agent, with a crucial mission involving the hacking of U.S. spy satellites.

Know Before You Go
You should arrive before 7:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on; there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled water is OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome!

Movies Under the Stars: Sing

at Bloomingdale Park , Staten Island 8:00 p.m. –10:00 p.m.

A koala impresario stages a gala singing competition in order to save his theater, and the contest attracts the attention of such musically inclined animals as a harried pig mom, a teenage gorilla, a shy elephant and a punk porcupine.

Know Before You Go
You should arrive before 8:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on, although there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled waters are OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome!

Movies Under the Stars: Ricki and the Flash

at Greenbelt Recreation Center (in Blood Root Valley) , Staten Island  

June 2017 is New York Music Month (NYMM) – the first-ever citywide celebration of New York City’s diverse music ecosystem, across all five boroughs. The month is an initiative of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment in partnership with NY is Music.

An aging rocker returns home to her estranged family after years on the road following her dreams, and must face the music as she tries to make things right with her loved ones.

Know Before You Go
You should arrive before 8:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on, although there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled waters are OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken, so space is available on a first come first served basis. All are welcome!

Movies Under the Stars: Florence Foster Jenkins

at The Pit (in Sara D. Roosevelt Park) , Manhattan8:30 p.m. –11:30 p.m.

Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film!

An heiress longs to become an opera star in 1940s New York, despite a horrible singing voice. With the help of her husband and a talented musician, she finds a strange kind of success as a performer and recording artist. Rated PG-13.

This event is presented in observance of June's New York Music Month – the first-ever citywide celebration of New York City’s diverse music ecosystem, across all five boroughs. The month is an initiative of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment in partnership with NY is Music. For more information, visit .

Know Before You Go
You should arrive by 8:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on; there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled water is OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome!

Summer on the Hudson: Feral Love

at 72nd Track and Lawn (in Riverside Park) , Manhattan7:30 p.m. –10:00 p.m.

Join us for a special screening of Feral Love (Hancock Productions), a local tale of a musician, a feral cat colony, true love, and Riverside Park. 

A special guest quartet performance of live music greets you at 7:30 p.m. and a bonus short about the Riverside Clay Tennis Association cat kicks off the special evening. 

Bring a blanket and join us on the grass (lawn chairs are ok around the periphery only). 

Movie Under the Stars: Monsters Inc.

at Colden Playground , Queens8:00 p.m. –10:00 p.m.

Join NYC Parks, Council Member Peter Koo, and the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film.

A girl befriends two monsters. Voices include Billy Crystal and John Goodman. Directed by Pete Docter.

Know Before You Go
You should arrive before 7:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on; there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled water is OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome!

Movies Under the Stars: Lion

at Ferry Point Park , Bronx8:00 p.m. –10:00 p.m.

An Indian man who was adopted as a child by an Australian couple searches for his birth family.

Know Before You Go:

You should arrive by 7:30 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on, although there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled waters are OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken, so space is available on a first come first served basis. All are welcome!

Movies Under the Stars: School of Rock

at Cpl. Thompson Park (in CPL. Thompson Park) , Staten Island8:00 p.m. –9:30 p.m.

Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film.

Playful, high-energy comedy about a teacher who turns his pupils into a rock band.

Know Before You Go
You should arrive before 8:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on, although there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled waters are OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome!

Films on the Green: Mauvais Sang by Carax, selected by Wes Anderson

at WNYC Transmitter Park , Brooklyn8:30 p.m. –10:30 p.m.

Wes Anderson's Pick for #FilmsOnTheGreen

Mauvais Sang
Directed by Leos Carax
With Michel Piccoli, Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant, Julie Delpy
1986 | Drama | 1h50 | France | Carlotta Films US

Marc and Hans, two old gangsters, plan to steal the vaccine for a mysterious virus which affects those who make love without being in love. After the death of their associate, the two accomplices call on his son, Alex, a talented conjuror. But Alex falls madly in love with a girl he sees on a bus. Her name is Anna and she turns out to be Marc's mistress.

Arts, Culture & Fun presents MOCA Cinema: Pushing Hands (1991)

at Columbus Park , Manhattan  8:30 p.m. –11:30 p.m.

Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film! 

A Chinese tai-chi master moves to America to live with his son's family. This film is Not Rated.

This event is done in partnership with the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA).

About MOCA
The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is a non-profit institution that preserves, presents and explores the diverse history, heritage and culture of people of Chinese descent in the United States through innovative exhibitions, educational initiatives, and public programs. Visit to find out more and check out their calendar of upcoming events!

Know Before You Go
You should arrive by 8:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on; there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled water is OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome!

Outdoor Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

at LIC Landing Events Space (in Hunter's Point South Park) , Queens  8:30 p.m. –10:30 p.m.

Cinema LIC presents our first outdoor movie of the year!

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie receives a golden ticket to a chocolate factory. Led by the owner, Charlie and his grandpa venture on a thrilling tour of the factory.

Movie Under the Stars: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

at Bulova Park , Queens8:00 p.m. –10:00 p.m.

Join NYC Parks, Council Member Costa Constantinides, and the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film.

The Turtles team up with April O'Neil and vigilante Casey Jones to save New York City from the evil Shredder, fearsome new mutants Bebop and Rocksteady and an extraterrestrial invasion led by Krang.

Know Before You Go
You should arrive before 7:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on; there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled water is OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome!

Movies Under the Stars: Sing

at Van Cortlandt Park , Bronx  8:00 p.m. –10:00 p.m.

Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film!

A koala impresario stages a gala singing competition in order to save his theater, and the contest attracts the attention of such musically inclined animals as a harried pig mom, a teenage gorilla, a shy elephant and a punk porcupine.

Know Before You Go:

You should arrive by 7:30 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on, although there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled waters are OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken, so space is available on a first come first served basis. All are welcome!

Movies Under the Stars: Cinderella

at Wolfe's Pond Park , Staten Island8:00 p.m. –10:00 p.m.

Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film.

An orphan falls in love with a prince after enduring great abuse from her stepmom and stepsisters

Know Before You Go
You should arrive before 8:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on, although there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled waters are OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome!

Movies Under the Stars: Jason Bourne

at John Jay Park , Manhattan  8:30 p.m. –11:30 p.m.

Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film!

Jason Bourne probes his father's death while evading government forces. Rated PG-13.

This event is sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos.

Know Before You Go
You should arrive before 7:30 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on; there will be a limited supply of chairs available. Bottled water is OK, but no glass. Reservations are not taken; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome!

Movies Under the Stars: Twenty Feet From Stardom

at Herbert Von King Cultural Arts Center (in Herbert Von King Park) , Brooklyn  8:30 p.m. –10:30 p.m.

Celebrate Music Month with NYC Parks and New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment!

This 2013 documentary film shines a long-overdue spotlight on the hit-making contributions of longtime backup singers like Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Judith Hill, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega and more who have worked with such iconic artists as the Rolling Stones, Luter Vandross, Sting and others. Directed by Morgan Neville, the documentary won an Oscar and a Granny for Best Music Film.

Know Before You Go:
You should come before 8:30 p.m. to get your spot for the movie. Please bring your own picnic blanket or chair. Food is OK, but no alcohol or smoking is permitted.



Smorgasburg: A Weekend Celebration of All Things Gastronomic in NYC

by Eileen Guo

New York City is a foodie’s paradise, and in the summers, there is no better place to enjoy the diversity of its cuisines than Smorgasburg, the weekly open-air market on Saturdays and Sundays that has become a cultural institution since its opening in 2011.

Applesauce spoke to three of this year’s most popular newcomers to “Smorg”, who are emblematic of the melting pot that is New York.

Rose Michel, Haitian Food at Belmere Catering

The summer of 2015 was a big one for Rose Michele, the head chef and founder of Belmere Catering. “I was living in a domestic violence shelter and starting my catering company.”

For Rose, a Haitian-American – “I was in my mother’s stomach when we came over” – home cook who credits her time in the kitchen as saving her from domestic violence, it was a dream to go full-time with her passion – and to take part in Smorg. At the encouragement of the shelter, however, she went for it, and can now be found sharing her food – and stories, personal and historic alike – at Smorg every Saturday and Sunday.

Take the “Freedom Soup”, a rich and spicy soup with a pumpkin puree base. According to Rose, pumpkin was only available to the French during Haiti’s colonial past, and so, “When Haiti became independent, one of the first things we did was cook with pumpkin.”  

 Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Try: (Vegetarian) freedom soup, a concoction of carrots, potatoes, celery, and pasta in a spicy pumpkin puree, or fried pork belly, covered in her special homemade marinade.

Chakriya Un, Authentic Cambodian at Kreung Cambodian

When Chakriya Un started Kreung Cambodia, she had just returned from visiting relatives in Cambodia.  Struck by their poverty, she decided to raise $80,000 to buy them a tractor.  A lover of cooking, she turned to food as a conduit for both her fundraising efforts, as well as to connect to her Cambodian roots and the wider community – including her parents, survivors of the bloody Khmer Rouge regime that resulted in the death of 1.5 million.

In cooking with her mother, Chakriya found a way for the two to have difficult conversations about that period. Some of the dishes that Chakriya and her mother prepare include prahok, a fermented fish paste, which they prepare in bulk: 150 gallons over a time-consuming 3 days to make. But Chakriya relishes in this time together: “I get to cook the food of my culture and record information that would have otherwise been lost.”

Smorgasburg has been game-changing for her business, but just as rewarding has been the social impact: Kreung has convened a community of Cambodians around Cambodian food. “The authenticity of the food sparks conversations…among displaced Cambodians within my generation and in my broader community.”

 Photo by  kreung_cambodia

Try the Tuk Prahok D’tiss: a dish of ground pork cooked in coconut milk and kreung, a blend of kaffir lime leaves, turmeric, galangal, and lemongrass, and prahok, fermented fish paste (made by Chakriya and her mother), all served with vegetables and a side of rice; or the yucca fries with salty coconut milk and chives.

Tristan Chin-Fatt, Fusion at Destination Dumplings

 Tristan Chin-Fatt and Andrew Steinberg, the multi-ethnic restauranteurs behind Destination Dumplings, have several things in common: they both grew up in Queens, worked their way up New York City’s restaurant industry, and married Chinese women from Fujian province, where a type of flat dumpling called the bian rou is popular.

It was these similarities that led to the creation of Destination Dumplings.  Looking to create a food that would represent the many different parts of their own backgrounds, they were excited by the dumpling’s universality. “Every culture has a form of dumpling,” said Chin-Fatt. 

The basic structure of the dumpling also lends itself particularly well to experimentation.  So, while Destination Dumplings serve familiar tastes like the classic pork and chive dumpling, their most popular item, they also serve flavors such as peking duck, Jamaican jerk chicken, and edamame, all wrapped up in a layer of dough.  “We draw influence from our borough,” Chin-Fatt concluded. “[Queens] is really just a melting pot…it’s the most culturally diverse place in the world.”

 Photo by Destination Dumplings

Photo by Destination Dumplings

Try: the revolving “secret menu” which was, most recently, the “gyreza”, part gyro and part gyoza, made with a ground lamb filling with house-made tzatziki sauce and fresh dill.



The Canal Street Market Brings the Fancy Food Hall to Chinatown

 The fried-pork-chop bento box from Nom Wah Kuai. Photo: Melissa Hom

The fried-pork-chop bento box from Nom Wah Kuai. Photo: Melissa Hom

Originally posted by Chris Crowley on

Does New York need another upscale food hall? The developer behind the Canal Street Market certainly thinks so, at least in his neck of downtown. A 12,000-square-foot space, the market straddles the intersection of Chinatown (already home to bustling street markets) and Soho. Now, after opening its shopping section in December, with vendors like florist Fox Fodder Farm and Keap Candles, it’s finally unlocked the doors to its fancy food court.

The Food Hall itself will be home to 12 different vendors, including a branch of Ippudo’s Kuro-Obi, which specializes in dense chicken-broth ramen; Nom Wah Kuai, for dumplings and bento boxes; and Boba Guys, the bubble-tea specialists. There are a couple market regulars in Oppa (an import from the Gansevoort Market) and Uma Temakeria, plus sweets from Billy’s Bakery and Davey’s Ice Cream, grain bowls from fresh&co., and an outpost of the Lebanese restaurant ilili

Along with these established businesses, the market will be home to new concepts. There’s the superfoods-obsessed smoothie bar Lulu for all your unicorn-food needs, and a collaboration between Izakaya and Samurice, which serves miso soup and ochazuke made like drip coffee. While these vendors are expected to stay put, there will also be a stall called the “CSM Lab” that will host a rotating cast of restaurants, starting with Petee’s Pies and its dos-leches tart.

 Oppa’s bulgogi-steak sandwich. Photo: Melissa Hom

Oppa’s bulgogi-steak sandwich. Photo: Melissa Hom

 Ippudo Kuro-Obi’s Aka-Obi, chicken broth with Zuzutto noodles and spicy miso paste. Photo: Melissa Hom

Ippudo Kuro-Obi’s Aka-Obi, chicken broth with Zuzutto noodles and spicy miso paste. Photo: Melissa Hom

 Lulu’s Talulah comes with dragon fruit, peaches, bananas, lucuma, hemp milk, granola, cacao nibs, matcha, and bee pollen. Photo: Melissa Hom

Lulu’s Talulah comes with dragon fruit, peaches, bananas, lucuma, hemp milk, granola, cacao nibs, matcha, and bee pollen. Photo: Melissa Hom

 Everyone needs more halloumi, especially when ilili uses it for a pressed sandwich. Photo: Melissa Hom

Everyone needs more halloumi, especially when ilili uses it for a pressed sandwich. Photo: Melissa Hom

 Gotta eat it all. Photo: Melissa Hom

Gotta eat it all. Photo: Melissa Hom

Canal Street Market, 256 Canal St., nr. Lafayette St., 646-694-1655



Bushwick Collective Block Party 2017 Lineup (Busta Rhymes, Cam’ron & more)

Originally posted by By Andrew Sacher on

The annual Bushwick Collective Block Party returns for its sixth year on June 3, happening at the corner of Troutman and St Nicholas (right near Jefferson L stop). It’s got free face painting for kids, graffiti and street art, food trucks, a Modelo beer garden, and live music with a lineup that’s heavy on veteran New York rappers. This year’s got Foxy Brown, Busta Rhymes, Cam’ron, Statik Selektah & friends, CL Smooth, Mysonne, and DJ Evil Dee (of Black Moon), plus the great, comparatively newer New York rapper Meyhem Lauren. There’s also Educated Little Monsters, a program that teaches art to youth in urban areas, Syracuse rapper Tone Atlas, and still more that’s not yet announced.

It’s free to attend, and RSVP is open now.

The party happens two days after CL Smooth joins his old partner Pete Rock for a show at BB King’s (6/1) that also includes Talib Kweli, The Beatnuts and Buckshot (tickets).

Read More: Bushwick Collective Block Party 2017 lineup (Busta Rhymes, Cam’ron & more) |



The Campbell Apartment, Grand Central's Secret Bar, Is Reopening

 Courtesy The Campbell  The space will look remarkably similar on the inside, but the outside will make it much, much less of a secret.

Courtesy The Campbell

The space will look remarkably similar on the inside, but the outside will make it much, much less of a secret.

Originally posted by Meredith Carey on Condé Nast Traveler.

And now there's no dress code. How scandalous.

Commuters and tourists alike shared a collective tear last summer when Grand Central's storied The Campbell Apartment closed its doors for renovation, leaving travelers scrambling to find a cozy spot to down a stiff drink (or two) before their train departure. Luckily, the semi-secret bar, hidden in the upper level of the city's Metro-North train hub, is opening it doors again. But this time, it will be a lot easier to find. This Wednesday, May 17, the former office of millionaire financier John Campbell will expand into three different bars, complete with proper signage so you won't get lost in the stairwells of the station.

According to the New York Times, the original Campbell Apartment space, a city landmark, will keep its ornate decor. But, patrons can stop by Campbell Palm Court, the smaller bar area just outside the apartment, or the Campbell Terrace, an outdoor bar located in a former taxi stand.

While the decor harks back to an earlier era, the vibe is less formal these days: there's no dress code; the apartment area is now air-conditioned (sigh, yes); and you'll be able to make reservations for parties of two or more (previously, reservations were limited to large parties). But not everything is changing. The original wooden bar is still here and so is a familiar face behind it: Paris DuRante, the bartender who has a long history with the Campbell. He'll be mixing drinks this Wednesday.



The surging real estate market

By David Rosen

10 records set for sellers. I counted them. That’s how many times in 2017 we have gone to contract or closed a deal for higher than any similar property in the building.

 While I like to reserve space in this column for general interest pieces, we have been so inundated with real estate demand over the past month, social gatherings have been a bit on the back-burner.

 So, let’s talk about the thing I do really know about, the NYC real estate market past, present and future.


 2016 was weak. There were a number of reasons, and here are the top 3:

 1.            Election: people didn’t want to plant deep roots with the future up in the air and so they sat on the sidelines

2.            Echo Chamber Effect: I had written in earlier blog posts that the ill-conceived luxury market developments would create a downstream hangover. The high end market isn’t dead – it’s a mirage. It never really lived. Apartments aren’t often worth $50M - $100M. Estates with 30 varieties of animals, landscaping, water features, garages and a full time staff aren’t even worth that much. However, being rich doesn’t make you smart. And the developers behind many of these ill-fated projects are crying and screaming all the way to bankruptcy court that the market sucks. The market doesn’t suck. However, the luxover made these developers tell their PR people to state that it was a buyer’s market to keep their equity partners at bay which created a negative downstream perception.

3.             Weak bonuses on Wall Street in 2015: Wall Street bonuses, and the financial markets in general, directly affect the values of real estate. 2015 bonuses were soft according to industry experts over shots.


Fire emoji, smiley face emoji with heart eyes, smiley face emoji with money tongue sticking out.

Working with both buyers and sellers – I hope to give you an insight that is greater than my company’s excellent data provides. That’s because they can only see things once they close, truly a reflection of the market behind us. In real-time, the market is on fire. Some real estate agents have traded in their cars for helicopters.

Having already gone that route in my life, my personal approach to a hot market is keep doing what we are doing and be mindful that there are pro’s and con’s to a bull market.

 Here are 5 characterizations of the current market:

1.             Time is money, so condition is crucial: New Yorkers don’t want to pick out anything other than a home. They don’t, in general, want to replace, renovate, spruce, etc… The cost of being in ‘Excellent’ condition vs. ‘Good’ condition is the cost of their time, plus suffering, plus materials.

2.            You Would Never Believe I Am Only 25: No, I believe it, I can see your skin. And you want to buy a home. Well I love you. 50% of buyers are under 36. This is one of the strongest factors of the housing market and the US economy overall. It’s true of many of our clients (or close enough.)

3.            Bidding War is a Dirty Word: I prefer multiple offer opportunity. When people say ‘I don’t want to get into a bidding war,’ I smile. I think, I don’t want to get on the subway with some dude pushing me in the back, some hipster reading a book standing in the door, an empty seat in the middle of the car, and some dude singing out loud, tapping the pole with his ring and the ground with his foot, and some other man in a Napa Valley hat reading the broadsheet NY Times, but I do. Because the L train. By comparison, these bidding opportunities are tame. However, buyers for excellent opportunities outnumber sellers of excellent properties (at perceived good values.)

4.           If It Isn’t Sold After 30 Days It’s Been Rejected:  If the market is hot, and the listing hasn’t sold, its likely overpriced. And the agent knows – so they will bullshit you with factoids like ‘deal fell out,’ tenant didn’t provide access, and so on. Good places are selling before the FIRST open house in some cases. Don’t believe the hype.

5.           Interest Rates Are Going __________: you don’t know. I don’t know. Nobody knows. Your friend at Goldman doesn’t know. Janet Yellen doesn’t know. The President of the United States of America doesn’t know. Why?

Banks want to raise rates. More rates equals more liquidity which equals more profits. The Government would like to, in general, raise rates. This allows them to lower rates as a stimulus tool. It’s a built-in buffer. However, raising rates hurts the American consumer, and it hurts American exports. It strengthens the dollar and that isn’t a supportable position right now if you want to maintain and stimulate growth. With a new administration and lots of uncertainty, nobody feels bullish enough to lock in higher rates. If Clinton had won, and there were 2 or 3 quarters of steady growth, rates would have gone to 4.5% - 4.75% likely. Under the present circumstances, despite the never before done announcement of an impending rate hike, the future is uncertain on that front.


I am writing you 5 years after declaring Bankruptcy for a crime I didn’t do (the collapse of the housing market.) Along with millions of other Americans, my net worth and savings was negatively impacted by the 08 crash. Leading up to the crash, in 2007, I had a GREAT year. So when I see a bull market, I wonder what the future holds. Then, as now, fundamentals seemed strong. However, there are signs of a bubble in New York City and the boroughs.


[Bloomberg Map]


According to Bloomberg, the cost of renting vs. buying is trending upwards. When buying is no longer cheaper than renting long term, we are primed for a collapse of home values. That’s the canary.

 Here are 3 predictions for the NYC real estate market over the next 2 years:

 1.      People think there could be a CRASH!: The last crash was 2008, but it really was so massive that it went down all of 2009 and some of 2010 before flat-lining and trending up. We are in year 7 of a recovery then. These are often 7 year cycles. That is all conjecture, however, people believe it to be true.

2.      New York City will outperform the national market: I think there will be a crash in 2019, but a number of factors will protect parts of the City. Mainly the infrastructure improvements (Occulus to Second Ave Subway, new Bridges, Airports, etc.,) business expansion and international trade will help us. I see some Fortune 500 companies leaving the high rent Park Ave corridor, but other companies like Facebook and Google are here to stay.

3.      New Development is a Good Thing, Even At Bad Prices: Some of these places are too expensive for even ordinary millionaires. However, the properties themselves are useful for the population, and over time, something called the principle of conformity will iron out the kinks.



Supermodels in SoHo VS Pimps

By David Rosen

I recently shot new head shots with Erica Simone for the team. Erica did my last photos and as we entered 2017 I wanted to get the team some good new images for themselves. Plus I’ve been exercising and was feeling fancy!

The next day Erica posted on Facebook, “need volunteers for an art auction in SoHo”. Well that rang all my bells, so I was like, yes, please! Then I get a call from a woman named Monica. She gives me the rundown – meet here, this is the plan. Mind you – I pretty much have one element of this event in my mind; Art Auction for charity. I didn’t realize, until I attended Illuminate, that the sponsoring organization, Beauty For Freedom (BFF,) was the brainchild of Ford Model Monica Watkins.

I strongly encourage you to look into their platform and let them say it in their own words, but I was blown away by the goals, initiatives, and progress that BFF had accomplished. Their goal is to raise awareness for human trafficking, specifically for sex trafficking. The experts I rubbed elbows with (along with Supermodels Olesya Senchenko and Vika Levina who hosted the event) disillusioned me to some widely held beliefs, and raised my awareness to others.

First off – I said (wrongly) that ‘prostitution is the world’s oldest profession.’ Activist and Keynote speaker Jeanet, whom I spoke privately too at length, said, ‘No, it’s not a profession. It’s a form of oppression, and always has been, especially with children.’ With that type of guiding principle, I was incredibly impressed to see that the proceeds of the Art Auction was to help publish a coffee table sized book helping at-risk youth in concert with Project India, elevating young people and letting them build self-confidence and community through creativity.

The amount of collective selflessness was impressive, it also seemed profitable (in a non-profity way.) BFF was able to raise significant donations through their efforts, and clearly for a good cause. It’s not common I ever party like a rock star in SoHo with supermodels, but when I do, children throughout the developing world prosper, apparently!

In all seriousness, these are intelligent people doing virtuous work, and I highly recommend you investigate their platform as its laudable as it is elegant.


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Wednesday, April 12th 7-10pm, Supermodels Olesya Senchenko and Vika Levina hosted an art auction and cocktail reception at The Handy Liquor Bar (527 Broome St, New York, NY 10013) in support of NYC-based anti-trafficking non-profit Beauty for Freedom. Featured artwork included work by Ronnie Wood, Vika Costa, Tim Okamura, Tigran Tsitoghdzyan, Erica Simone and Travis McCann. Music for the event was curated by Celebrity DJ/Humanitarian DJ Mari Malek and DJ Deluxe and the auctioneer for the night was Robert Galinsky. Activist/Humanitarian Jeanet Ingalls spoke to an enthralled audience about how art is a powerful tool in the recovery and treatment for survivors of trafficking. 100% of the proceeds from the auction were donated to BFF’s travel abroad arts programming and children’s book project empowering survivors of sex-trafficking and at-risk youth in India via Project India which promotes self-esteem and self-expression through the arts. Guests in attendance included supermodels Iryna Lysogor, Tamara Zhukova, Sofia Resing and artists Tim Okamura, Travis Haas McCann and Erica Simone, Fashionweek Brooklyn Founder Rick Davy and PebblePost Founder Lewis Gersh.

*Cocktails and Hors D’Oeuvres sponsored by The Handy Liquor Bar

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