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.

Church Renovations and Expansion

church-revovationsThe Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church is getting a residential addition built on. It has been what the Upper West Side congregation has wanted for a while and just last week it was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The original church was constructed back in 1893 by Newark’s architect, John F. Capen in a Romanesque Revival style. Now, with these updates, residents will be able to purchase units in a seven floor building. There will be between 7 and 10 units with duplex levels on the top two floors. The church will have a separate entrance.

As well as the new building, there will be repairs to the current one, such as repairs of stained glass windows, refurbishment of poor water drainage, etc. The poor building structure had been having such a negative impact on the atmosphere in the church that many regular churchgoers started leaving. Involved in the process is a three-decade-working church pastor. This was a real shame since the church used to be a true place of church activity.

The hope now is that the structure located on 81st Street between Amsterdam and Columbus will return to its original grandeur, but for the 21st century.

New York Hotels – Great Package Deals

new-york-cityThe US offers so many hot-spots and vacation destinations. New York City will always be one of the most popular destinations for domestic and international tourists alike. When vacationing in New York, finding just the right hotel deal can make-or-break one’s visit. These days, many top hotels in the central areas – right by the tourist attractions – offer great deals for each person’s needs.

From romance to divorce packages, executive deals to theme hotels, New York has it all. While the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa has been traditionally known for its top-class weddings, it is moving with the times and now offering a $5,000 package to divorcing couples. With the “Divorce Hotel” program, the couple is given separate rooms, and can use all the amenities. And, if desired, the couple can be filmed for a reality show as they embark on to the next stage of their lives.

This is quite a leap from Shimmie Horn’s Triumph Hotels’ romance package that focuses on “seclusion in upscale setting.” As well, one of its recent packages was the Key to New York City where visitors who booked 3+ nights at any of these six hotels received – free – a one-way car service between the hotel and NYC’s three airports, or a complimentary experience in one of the six neighborhoods.

There are always new and exciting packages being offered in New York’s top hotels. Check them out before booking for the best and most useful deal for your needs.

Post Office Named for Hero

uspsnycThe House of Representatives recently passed a bill that has made one little girl in Manhattan very happy. The post office – located in Inwood at 90 Vermilyea Avenue – will soon become known as the Corp. Juan Mariel Alcantara Post Office Building, in memory of Yelayni’s father, Juan Mariel Alcantara. He was killed in Iraq in 2007, at the tender age of 22. He never got to meet his daughter, who is now 7 years old.

His family feels that this tribute will ensure he “will live forever. He gave his life for his country. People will know who he was, what he did for the country.”

Alcantara was the 12th noncitizen soldier from Manhattan to die in Iraq.

 

New York Fashion Week

new-york-fashion-week-spring-summer-2013-537x402For New York, it’s that time of year again… New York Fashion Week. There was so much happening last week at one of The Big Apple’s most-watched-and-talked-about annual events that it could have been a bit overwhelming for some.  What to look out for?  What must be seen?  What cannot be missed?  For any of those vacationing in an exclusive hotel in town such as one of Shimmie Horn’s Triumph hotels, a bit of advice might not have gone unheeded to prevent missing the best of fashion, 2014.

One really cool presentation at last week’s festivities was the one that came from the students.  Each year they seem to get younger and younger.   And this year was no exception.  Perhaps the designer who garnered the most attention – and rightly so for being so talented, so young – was Isabella Rose Taylor. The 13-year old from Austin, TX, presented her first New York Fashion Week collection, off the backdrop of its debut at Nordstrom stores nationwide!

Some other hot items to spot this year included designs made from foam embellishments and digital prints (brought to us by Carolina Herrera) a dedication to Joan Rivers, technology-enabled immediate purchasing through www.versusverace.com (cheaper than the company’s regular high-end line), Diane von Furstenberg breaking into song at the end of her fashion presentation.

Also this year there appeared to be a lot of color at the show, such as bright red and blue trench coats presented by Tim Coppens.  Well, New York can get a bit dreary so why not brighten the place up a bit?

One just can’t help but try to imagine “what will they come up with next?”  Well, 2015 will be sure to show us.

Is Denny’s Going Upmarket?

DennysDenny’s was always the local breakfast bar, fast, not particularly healthy and very kid-friendly.  Now, however, its presence in Manhattan might be giving it a whole new name altogether.  The new Denny’s, set to open in Manhattan’s Financial District, is to offer its wares on a whole new level – $300 breakfast, upscale, with champagne.

The Grand Cru Slam has basically the same stuff as other traditional Denny’s breakfasts, but this time with a twist. The 2004 Dom Perignon Premier Cru Champagne comes with the breakfast, but for those looking for something different yet still upscale, cocktails beginning at $11 will be on offer too.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Belgian Waffle Slam, costing $10.99 will fare with hungry Manhattaners stopping by for breakfast.

Transforming the Upper East Side?

ny-highlineThere has been a push recently in New York’s Upper East Side to transform the area that houses a garbage dump.  Indeed, those in the neighborhood are working on transforming the quite unsightly garbage-transfer station into an attractive amenity.  So instead of residents having to face the garbage trucks, these will be relocated by a quarter-mile-long ramp and covered with a green walkway modeled after the High Line.  In addition, the station’s roof will become a park, akin to the sewage treatment plant along West Harlem’s Hudson River.

There’s no way of getting rid of the transfer station, so, making it into a building to enhance the neighborhood, is, according to board president overseeing the Asphalt Green Recreation Center next door, Andy Nussbaum, the next best thing, whereby people get to enjoy a “lovely park and outdoor space.”

In addition, the Sunset Park waterfront will complete its reconstruction and redevelopment.  Over the next month, New York will be completing Bush Terminal Piers Park construction, located between 43rd and 51st Streets.  It was back in 2006 that the transfer station was proposed by Michael Bloomberg in order to give authority to each borough to dispose its own garbage which would then be brought to the new facility and transferred to barges on the East River to be moved out of the state.  Now, it looks like it’s going to be moving to the Asphalt Green complex periphery.  According to Kathryn Garcia, Sanitation commissioner, they will push ahead with their “open dialogue with the community to find a reasonable, cost-effective solution to their concerns.”

New York Culture Over the Weekend

This coming weekend sees the return of the Mark Morris Dance Group.  Yes it’s time for the annual Mostly Mozart Festival, featuring Acis and Galatea and more.  Performed by the San Francisco Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, which is led by Nicholas McGegan, it will be choreographed and directed by Morris.  Make reservations at the David H. Koch Tehater at Lincoln Center, any time from tomorrow til Saturday, so don’t miss it.

Also on Saturday is the 9th annual street fair at the Everett Center for the Performing arts, between St. Nicholas and Amsterdam Avenue.  The Dance Theatre of Harlem will be putting on performances from both professional and amateurs around the city.  Street vendors will line 152nd Street, selling various American and ethnic foods, books, clothing and other fare.

Gearing Up for Manhattan’s EstroGenius Festival

EstroGeniusEvery year, for close to a decade-and-a-half, the Manhattan Theatre Source has been presenting its EstroGenius Festival – a true celebration of the power and wonder of women.  This multimedia festival brings together a slew of female voices from an array of different disciplines, including: short plays, dances, visual arts, special performances and more.

This year the festival will take place between October 2nd and November 1st at Stage Left Studios.  Located nearby some of the nicest hotels in the area (including Shimmie Horn’s Gershwin Hotel on East 27th Street, the Courtyard New York Manhattan/Times Square South on West 40th Street and the Crowne Plaza Times Square on 1605 Broadway to name but a few), this festival is a lot of fun for tourists looking for something different to do with their time in the Big Apple.

There will be special performances by teen program Girl Be Heard that uses theater to empower young women, boosting their confidence, in spite of their own personal challenges.  Watch this space for more details, as next month EstroGenius artists will be announced for this year’s festival.

Atomic at Acorn Theatre

atomicLast week ‘Atomic’ opened at the Acorn Theatre.  Located on 410 West 42nd Street, the show will run until August 16, starring Sara Gettelfinger, Randy Harrison, Jeremy Kushnier and Euan Morton.  It is directed by Damien Gray.

The story of ‘Atomic’ is about a group of top scientists trying to create the world’s first ever Atomic Bomb through the government-funded Manhattan Project. Kushnier is the brains behind it, but has a conflict of conscience. But when someone believes in him, he finds it incredible just how much he can achieve.

The production boasts 18 original songs and is an “exhilarating look at a stark and controversial subject.”