Making Meals More Manageable

MealPassLunchtime around New York can get a little crazy.  It can be expensive, busy, and overwhelming.  Perhaps though, MealPass will be the solution.  This start-up is promising a cheaper lunch option and a ton of exciting restaurants.  It’s also a great way to encourage people to eat lunch: if you use it every week day, you could end up paying a really small amount – less than $5 for each meal.

MealPass – that works very much like ClassPass – started business at the beginning of the year in Miami and Boston.  It has completely taken off since then, with customers ordering lunch more than 25,000 times through the site.

Currently New York has around 130 participating restaurants, from which MealPass members can select a meal from the lunch menu from 7pm the night before.  They have to put in their choice by 9.30am the day of delivery as restaurants need time to prepare.  Then, members go to the restaurant to collect meals without having to line up or pay on the spot. While it is true there are other companies like UberEats doing this, the main goal of MealPass is affordability.





Tribeca Film Festival

film-festivalThe Tribeca Film Festival (that run from April 13 until yesterday), in its 15th year comprised 102 features.  These ranged from foreign language, independent movies to documentaries and more, spanning “all-star Hollywood attractions.”

In addition to the more than 100 features, this year’s Film Festival is showing TV events, virtual reality exhibitions and interactive installations.  Being on the newer side of film festivals, this factor is believed to be a good thing.  Indeed, according to Genna Terranova, director of the festival, this plus enables the festival to work differently, giving it the capacity to “change a little bit more easily, evolve a little bit more easily,” as compared to other older, more stagnated festivals.

Part of this is how the festival closed, which “the bomb – a multimedia, immersive project about nuclear weapons.”  This comprised a 55 minute doc-film on how nuclear weapons have evolved, shown on a giant screen by the Acid band, to a live score.  As Terranova pointed out, this truly was: “documentary-meets-concert-meets-immersive experience.”

Become an Acting Pro with Betty Buckley

stageFor those who have ever dreamed of becoming a professional actor and singer, for those in Manhattan it could become a reality. Early next month, Betty Buckley an actress and singer who has performed on both the TV and stage and was also a 1983 Tony award winner for Best Featured Actress in a Musical is going to be giving lessons right here in New York City.


For those in the vicinity from 1 to 5 May, the T. Schreiber Studio will be home to lessons from Buckley via the Song Interpretation & Monologue workshop.  Students preparing for auditions, students who want to improve, and even semi-professionals will be able to benefit from the workshop.


Buckley will be sharing “her expertise, guiding her students through a methodology that facilitates audience connection through songs and monologues. Her emotional connection to songs and audiences is renowned, and that very connection is at the heart of what Ms. Buckley imparts to her students.”

The East Village: Traditions and Changes

bakeryOver the last 40 years, the East Village has changed quite substantially in terms of eateries and shopping options.  According to Bruce Weber however, some things have stayed the same.  One of those is Moishe Perl’s bakery (certified kosher) located on “a block that could be described as dicey,” requiring the owner to move along some of the drunks sleeping on his street corner.

Perl has seen a lot of changes throughout the four decades he has been baking babka for the locals.  He has seen all sorts of different demographics come to the area, such as “hippies, families and yuppies.” But throughout all of this, one thing has remained consistent: the bakery that still only accepts cash as a payment method for the bakery that has received both the “Best of the Borough” and “Best Smell Ever” awards in its time.

But it’s not just the bakery that has remained consistent.  Some of the village’s old timers maintain that the spirit remains the same too. According to manager of Trash and Vaudeville, Jimmy Webb, the spirit of the area – rock ‘n’ roll – is still very much alive. And according to artist Dave Ortiz, “It’s still a neighborhood where there’s a freedom to be who you are,” and for him that means skating in Tompkins Square Park, just like he did back in 1988.

The good news is, therefore, that the East Village – despite any changes it may have undergone over the last four decades or so – remains a place that has upheld its spirit and where people can call home.

Krav Maga Comes to Tribeca

martial-artsShimmie Horn’s hotel in the Tribeca area, The Evelyn, is to be getting a new neighbor.  The 158 Franklin address – that until now has been home to the Steven Alan Home Shop – is to become the address for the first Krav Maga Institute in the district.

While Krav Maga has already had a presence in Tribeca (using space at Tribeca Health & Fitness and Church Street Boxing), it has never formally established its very own presence.

But this month all of that changed and by next month, the Krav Maga Institute will be offering a complete schedule to benefit all those in Tribeca.  Over the next few months this will further develop to offer Combat Cardio classes, yoga, and maybe even  Brazilian jiu jitsu and muy thai but all under the auspices of the Krav Maga Institute.  There will also be programs available for the youngsters: from 6 to 13 years of age, kids will be able to get a head start on their Krav Maga training.

The Krav Maga Institute is opening its first full-time space in Tribeca, downstairs at 158 Franklin, the building where Steven Alan Home Shop used to be. Up till now, KMI has been using fitness studios around the city—including Church Street Boxing and Tribeca Health & Fitness—on a part-time basis KMI will be offering soft-opening classes in April, shooting for a full schedule starting in May. By September it plans on being at capacity, with classes in the Combat Cardio program (fitness-based kickboxing), probably yoga, and possibly muy thai and Brazilian jiu jitsu. And there will be a program for kids age 6 to 13. When it’s fully open I’ll stop by for the full report.

Upper East Side Goes Organic

organicWho eats healthily in New York’s Upper East Side?  Which stores sell the most organic and nutritionally-dense food?  Where can one get a great meal in a restaurant that has health as its focus?

A study recently published attempted to answer some of these questions.  It was conducted by two researchers from the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, from NYU and a third from Clark University’s Department of Economics.  They found that there is a “high concentration of organic food offerings on either side of Central Park and in Morningside Heights,” but that as soon as you move over to Central Park (except for an area by the far west side of Morningside Heights), finding organic food is not so easy.

However, for those living in the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, the story is quite different.  And that might mean that residents in those areas end up eating healthier.  Indeed, according to one of the researchers on this project – Associate Professor of Food Studies at NYU’s Steinhardt School Carolyn Dimitri – the results “support the notion that consumers with greater access to organic food are more likely to buy organic food.”

For those interested in accessing more healthy options in the neighborhood, nutritionist Kristy Rao studied the area and compiled her findings into an article entitled ‘The 10 Healthiest Eats on New York’s Upper East Side.’


Midtown Festivities

irish-festThere have been quite a few festivities taking place in the Midtown Manhattan area recently. First, the Manhattan Irish Fest provided a ton of entertainment – so much so that Chairman of the Fest, Peter Hegarty said it was the biggest he could recall since this event started! It even has a new location to boot, which is great since in years’ past, people have gotten their shoes quite muddy! Now, located right by the Firehouse, at 195 S. State Street, the South Wabash Street parking lot makes things much easier.

Now in its 22nd year, tons of people enjoyed the festivities – a great deal of them clad in green clothing. There was a 5K race and parade, at which the Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society Chicago Police Department, performed.

With regards to New York City and St. Patrick’s Day, there’s more good news since Mayor Bill de Blasio ended his two-year boycott on America’s largest celebratory parade of this since it finally ditched its ban on permitting the LGBT community to march under their own banners. He happily said: “Finally, they can celebrate their heritage by marching in a parade that now represents progress and equality.”

Pokemon’s 20th Birthday Celebrations

pikachuJust took place in Midtown Manhattan, right by Shimmie Horn’s Iroquois Hotel. This video game character took the world by a storm for years and years and today has kids equally enchanted. In the 1990s people kept trying to “catch ‘em all,” and last weekend a team of huge Pikachu characters could be found running around the city in celebration.

Pikachus’ started their parade by the Brooklyn Bridge, moved along to Midtown Manhattan and then finished their walk at Penn Station. The crowd that came to witness this event was so large that an entire team of handlers were brought in to navigate the situation.

Of course, it was also good for business given that a new set of Pokemon-based games is due to come out later this year. In addition, the New York Nintendo store provided fun and games in recognition of two decades of Pokemon fun.

Successful Women in Manhattan

women-execThroughout its century plus of existence, only three women have been appointed to Manhattan’s Board of Trustees. Now, after 130 years in total, 38-year old Erin McDonough puts that figure up to four. She was appointed by Mayor Jamie Doyle and will be replacing Mike Adriensen. It is thought that having a women’s perspective on the board will be positive.

As well as being a woman, Doyle said that she actually represents a demographic that has not been covered until now – that of younger people with families.

Women are definitely becoming increasingly significant in the workforce in Manhattan and throughout New York. Indeed, 79 honorees were just named by The New York Business Journal in its 2016 class of Women of Influence. It forms part of an attempt by American City Business Journals to celebrate these people who build business environments that will ultimately lead to even more successful women in the workplace for the future. Those recognized earned the honor for being innovative, successful and people who ‘pay it forward.’ They included startup investors, chief revenue officers, CEOs, founders and more.

A complete list can be found here.

Times Square Bike Lane

bike-laneAt the Seventh Avenue bike lane at Times Square, the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has now built a part that is raised. Now the department is also constructing permanent pedestrian plazas and other enhancements to the street on Times Square. Right now though, the only part of the lane that is raised is between 45th and 46th Street. This acts as a detour for cyclists who want to use Broadway bike lane. It enables them to bypass pedestrian plazas.

According to the Department of Transport, this is just the beginning. The aim is ultimately to direct the cyclists to the eastern side of 7th. Between 46th and 47th Street, only sharrows (shared lane markings). Then, there will be a lane extension from 42nd to 46th Street. However, it seems that in NYC raised bike lanes are quite an anomaly, other than the block between Navy and Gold, by the Manhattan Bridge.

In general, cycling in New York has developed a reputation for being a somewhat dangerous activity. Nevertheless due to the difficulty and congestion of other modes of transport, it continues to be used as a popular way to get around, especially by delivery workers. Because they are known to be somewhat speedy movers, there have been many laws enacted to try to maintain driver safety over the years. For instance, in 2007 helmets became mandatory and five years thereafter it became law for “delivery cyclists to take a safety course and wear vests identifying themselves and their employers.”

Still, this issue is more related to motorbike street drivers rather than non-motor cyclists. Nonetheless, the introduction of split-phase signals – deemed by CB4 as being safer – brings with it a “doubling” of the improvement on streets that mostly received mixing zones.”

The evidence backs up CB 4’s assertion that split-phase signals are safer. Data from previous protected bike lane projects in Manhattan show that the reduction in injuries on streets that mostly received split-phase treatments was more than double the improvement on streets that mostly received mixing zones. (“C-B4 provides powerful and precise predictive analytics solutions in the simplest and most straightforward manner, going from data to predictions, recommendations and insights that can be understood and ACTED UPON by decision makers.”)