Canine Café?

dog-220373_1280It’s not always so easy to have a dog in midtown Manhattan. Indeed, cities in general are a more challenging environment in which to house a pet. But for dog lovers in the area, there may soon be a solution. Maggie Chan and Mandy Chow are two 24-year old women who are hoping to get their Indiegogo campaign to raise $75,000 to build the Dog Café – a doggie playground and café for humans to match up New Yorkers with adoptable shelter dogs.

For those who just want to hang out with a dog and not adopt it, the café provides them a service too. The two women thought the lower east side’s Cat Café was pretty cool and based their idea on that. Their idea is a large indoor space in the area that will offer pet-sitting services, as well as give dogs the opportunity for playdates. New York shelters could then send in dogs that café-goers might be interested in adopting, getting to know them at the café before bringing them home. There are currently numerous abandoned dogs looking for homes in the city. As well this could help solve the city’s stray dog issue, by getting these dogs adopted too.

So just because you’re in Manhattan might not mean you to have to ditch your love for your canine companion.

Selfies: The new Foodies?

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Selfies seem to be the ‘in’ thing these days. Whereas it used to be that people would post pictures of the food items they were enjoying in various eateries to boast of their prosperity and joie-de-vivre, now it is selfies. But go one step ahead and you’ll get the selfie stick.

Selfie sticks are the latest craze in the city that never sleeps. And that was definitely no less the case a week-and-a-half ago as tourists and natives alike saw in the new year around Rockefeller Plaza and Times Square. One would have been well advised to watch their back (or front) for these digital sticks as getting poked was not such a strange possibility on December 31st in the heart of New York City.

The selfie stick – a kind of rod that can attach to a smartphone – is used to snap selfies without having to have someone’s arm lurking in the end result. Apparently they have been very popular in Dubai now for quite a while. But in New York – and the rest of the nation – it is a gimmick that is only just starting to gain popularity, even though phone-holding rods have been available in the country for the last four years. It was iStabilizer CEO Noah Rasheta who thought of the idea as he was frustrated on a trip to Asia that every picture had his arm in it. So he started working on a selfie stick, and thus the Monopod was born. Retailing for around $35, there have been approximately 40,000 of the device since 2012.

Sweetgreen Opening in Soho

SCG Retail just signed a lease for Sweetgreen to open in Soho, on Kenmare Street. Not far from The Evelyn, Shimmie Horn’s hotel in the Manhattan NoMad area, SCG Retail broker David Firestein pointed out that the neighborhood is “perfect for Sweetgreen’s farm-to-table approach to convenient food. Kenmare is a great location because it’s strategically positioned to tap into the tourist flow, the daytime office crowd, and the residents who are hungry night or day.”

Fast food has traditionally been extremely unhealthy fare. Now though, Sweetgreen has given fast food a different rep. When the company was launched back in 2007 it was through the three founders’ “locally sourced and organic ingredient” approach. The company is committed to “community and sustainability.”

In addition, the company offers local NYC schools educational programs in schools on the importance of eating healthy, wellness, etc. SCG Retail decided on the Kenmare Street location because of the food rejuvenation occurring in the area, with places like: Taim, Rubirosa, Parm, la Esquina, Osteria Morini.

Upcoming Festivities in the Upper West Side

Over the Christmas season, NYC & Company will be making amendments to its Upper West Side Neighborhood x Neighborhood campaign. The reason being, that it’s a major happening place for seasonal festivities. Both visitors and residents alike will be able to enjoy activities between West 97th Street to 62nd and Broadway. Indeed, the city wants people to come and take part. As NYC and Company’s VP of Borough Promotion and Engagement pointed out:

“The Upper West Side is one of the most festive neighborhoods during the holidays, and we encourage everyone to explore this family-friendly and culturally rich destination throughout the winter.”

Some of the enticing attractions include: The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet, Holiday Cheer for RUV concert at the Beacon Theater and origami holiday tree that can be found at the American Museum of Natural History.

There sure is something very special about Christmas on the Upper West Side.

Welcome to Spa Castle!

candle-335965_1280Spa Castle is about to open in Manhattan for the first time. Measuring in at 39,000 square feet, Spa Castle Premier has quite a Manhattan vibe about it. Spa Castle Original – located in Queens on a quiet street – doesn’t have the same flair, but that could be due to location. What happens in Manhattan has to have an extra level of culture and pizzazz.

Manhattan’s Spa Castle Premier has that polished feel, typical to many Manhattan buildings. Grab a cocktail from the pool bar and enjoy the glittering lights. Then luxuriate in the saunas.

Manhattan could definitely do with additional relaxation outlets. The most densely-populated of the five boroughs in New York, it is not the most stress-free place to live. Too much time is focused on being in the rat race. This is a great way to unwind and enjoy the ride!

Synchronized Swimming

Manhattan has synchronized swimming classes. Not only that, they are actually affordable. One does not have to be a wannabe athlete to make it happen. At the Manhattan Plaza Health Club, lessons are just over $15!

So not only does one not have to be rich to join, they also do not have to be overly-talented. The classes house everyone – from beginner to advanced – and then split up into skill level.

Those who take the classes generally report them to be a lot of fun, and something that can be built up over time. There are many basic attributes to it, and one needs to have a lot of them under their belt as it were, to be able to really participate in the sport.

In addition, synchronized swimming is great for the body, being both an aerobic and anaerobic activity.

Jackman Returns to Broadway


Hugh Jackman just made a return to Broadway. Starring in Jez Butterworth’s ‘The River,’ Broadway’s Circle in the Square has been putting this show on since November 16. It is going to run for 13 weeks and is being put on by Sonia Friedman Productions. The last show will be January 25, 2015.

Young Talent Comes to TriBeCa

jazzEleven-year old Joey Alexander is about to bring his talent to New York City. The super top child pianist – who lives in Indonesia – taught himself to play piano at the tender age of six. Now, he is all set to make his debut at the Apollo Theater and the Lincoln Center.

A couple of weeks ago, Joey was playing in Tribeca (close to Shimmie Horn’s Cosmopolitan Hotel – Tribeca), with Julliard students double his age with twice his experience! He was playing in order to raise money for a visa so that he could stay in New York City. He said that he likes music, but in particular he pointed out that “the music of jazz is here in New York.”

Well, he’s right there since New York certainly has a name for its jazz.

Rainbow Room

rainbow-roomRainbow Room has just re-opened a third restaurant in less than three decades. Offering 9,431 brunch buffet items with live jazz performances, the remodel of the 80-year-old Gershwin-era building has come into the 21st century through Tishman Speyer, the landlord. Using Gabellini Sheppard Associates as the designers who polished up some of the most notable elements including the crystal chandelier under a 23-foot-high dome and a revolving dance floor, practically everything else is new.

Mirrors help create an optical illusion of the panes being wider than they are. Walls have been redone in a silver-grey fabric, brightening the room, flexible lighting generates a romantic ambience, etc.

And then of course there is the food with a twist. The apple cider doughnut, honey-baked ham, miniature chicken and truffle pot pies, crab claws and shrimps are getting the joint a good name.

Perhaps most significantly about the restaurant is that there has not been such a sky-high dining experience in Manhattan since 9/11. With the Rainbow Room, sky-high dining may have just returned.

New York: Recent College Expansions

gatesThanks to a hefty donation from Thomas and Mary Alice O’Malley, Manhattan College was able to dedicate a $45m Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons building on its Bronx campus. O’Malley was a classmate of Ray Kelly and following graduation, both became army officers.

The successful O’Malley – who made his fortune in the oil-refining industry – donated $10m to the building. In addition, he was a major player in the rest of the building’s fundraising. Thanks to the new 70,000 sq. ft. building, Manhattan College’s north and south campuses are now connected.

The ceremony of the dedication was attended by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and president of the college, Brennan O’Donnell.

Meanwhile in Ithaca, another building dedication was taking place thanks to the generosity of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Cornell University is to be getting a new building for Computing and Information Science that will be named for him. Gates’ foundation gave $25m to the project that cost $60m.

Attending the ceremony were Bill Gates, David Skorton, University President and Haym Hirsh, Dean of Computing and Information Science.