Manhattan’s Green Green Hill

greenThat would be Inwood Hill. Right at the tip of Manhattan sits the stunning Inwood Hill along the Harlem River. What’s wonderful about this unspoiled area is that while the rest of New York (and in particular Manhattan) was just built up and changed and modified, this was quite nicely left alone. Indeed, some even say that it hasn’t been touched since the American Revolution. That’s quite something for anything in New York!

What’s fascinating about this place is that it has not gotten pulled into the growth of NYC’s “most famous metropolis,” but instead has remained in sync with nature. This stunning 196-acre forest can offer the millions of New Yorkers a vacation, some Zen time, an escape, and more while still being in the heart of The City That Never Sleeps.

Inwood Hill brings New York a sense of serenity. Greenery is always needed no matter how metropolitan a city becomes.

Manhattan’s Mobile Movements

busManhattan is currently encountering a battle of the different mobile transportation options. This war began in San Francisco and has now migrated across state lines.

Price slashes were announced by Uber and Lyft, in an attempt to get more customers. It is therefore wise for those looking to get around Manhattan for cheap, to check up on current offers from the different companies.

It seems that right now, the three main competitors are: Gett, Uber Pool and Lyft Line. Prices average out at around $5-10 depending on when, where and how many people are in the vehicle at the same time.

Kids, New Yorkers and Their Art

art-workshopMadison Square Park is hosting an art workshop – for families – on two days’ time. It’s free and is suitable for the entire family. It recommended if there is parental supervision for the workshop.

The Fata Morgana Family Art Workshop will educate participants about Fata Morgana – the monumental outdoor sculpture with “500 feet of golden, mirror-polished discs that create canopies above the pathways around the park’s central Oval Lawn.”

For kids looking for something less artsy and more animal based, Madison Square Park still has something to offer: the free activities in the park throughout the summer, such as Spirit Animals and Pinch Pot Pet (both on July 20).

Apartment ‘Pop-Up’ in New York CitySeinf

For those who always used to look forward to their weekly Seinfeld installment, they can now enjoy the apartment in which most episodes took place right in New York City.

A pop-up of the apartment rented by Jerry in the show in the Upper West Side is now open to the public for viewing. Fans can play an interactive part like Costanza’s Valentine’s Day photo shoot, or Kramer’s infamous “barge in” entrance that used to take place in most of the shows.

Although the show was said to have taken place in the Upper West Side, this pop up replica is situated in actuality at 451 West 14th Street, a few miles south of the area.

Dining in Style

foodFor those staying in the center of the world – aka the Flatiron District which exemplifies all that New York City is about – take some time out for fine dining. At Shimmie Horn’s Hotel Chandler, sits a stunning, boutique flatiron restaurant. Juni provides an intimate setting, with space for just 50 people and offers fresh, seasonal foods to its customers. The name comes from the Latin word for June and each season the food changes, reflecting “the best local harvests.”

Get out of the crowded, fast-paced atmosphere for a while and enjoy the delicacies prepared by Chef Hergatt, who trained as an apprentice at Crystal Twig and won the AHA’s Best Young Chef award in 2000.

As well, the Juni Bar offers “custom fruit- and vegetable-inspired cocktails, fine wines and a rotating selection of beers,” and is a must-visit for locals and tourists alike.

Mamma Mia! Makes its Midtown Farewell

Having been performing in Midtown for nearly a decade-and-a-half – making it the eighth longest-running show in the history of Broadway – Mamma Mia! is taking its last bow. According to producer of the show, Judy Craymer, the last of its performances at Broadhurst Theatre (located close to Shimmie Horn’s Iroquois New York hotel) will be on September 5 of this year.

Craymer explained:

“Mamma Mia! has celebrated a passionate 14-year love affair with New York City. I am thrilled that Mamma Mia! has brought the music of ABBA to Broadway and so grateful to the hundreds of wonderful actors, musicians, stage managers, crew, front of house staff and the other people of the theatre who have given their professional lives and souls to be part of the Mamma Mia! family and adventure on Broadway. And a huge thank you to our fans who have come from all over the world to see the show. It’s an honour to be recognised as one of the most popular shows in Broadway history and we’re looking forward to celebrating our last summer at the Broadhurst Theatre.”

So if you’re in the area over the next two months, don’t miss it!

Midler in Manhattan

Divine Intervention is coming to Manhattan. Or, more precisely, Bette Midler and her tour. Featuring material from It’s the Girls (her new album) as well as other parts of her long-term career, this show has fun costume changes and sets, classics she is known for including Wind Beneath My Wings (from the famed Thelma and Louise movie) as well as her risqué bath house humor.

In addition, since her latest album – It’s the Girls – is a tribute to girl power, this would make a perfect trip for a true girl’s night out (such as a bachelorette party) at Madison Square Garden. Manhattan is a great place to see Bette Midler given her duet, ‘Manhattan’ with Rod Stewart.

For those who miss the Manhattan shows, they can catch it in Brooklyn at the Barclay Center.

Reconnecting Washington Heights and the Bronx

Finally, after decades of closure, the High Bridge linking Washington Heights and Highbridge is reopening. Built in 1848 it closed down in the 1970s and pedestrians were not able to make the move from these two neighborhoods. At the reopening, officials and community members were joined by Gale Brewer (Manhattan Borough President) and Ruben Diaz Jr. (Bronx Borough President). The two raised their hands yelling “Welcome to Manhattan.”

This is a great way of bringing families together. As Diaz said, “today this is about making sure that we’re not just joining Washington Heights and the Highbridge section of the Bronx physically, today is about joining families.”

What is great about this is that it is similar to the bridge as it was in the 1950s. Indeed, Sidney Horenstein crossed it during that time and said it is now “almost the same…save for the 8-foot protective fence, the benches and the light posts.”

Overall the feeling is that it is great that people can walk between these two neighborhoods now. The focus though probably has to move toward ensuring safety though.


Melbourne Meets East Village

indian-foodBabu Ji is a restaurant that hails from Melbourne, Australia, which is making its way overseas. To the East Village to be precise. The restaurant’s name could refer to many things: a bureaucrat, a song in the Bollywood movie Salaam E Ishq, title of India’s former Deputy Prime Minister, Ramsevak Singh, among others. The New York eatery is run by husband-and-wife team Jessi (who runs the kitchen) and Jessica (who controls what happens at the front of the Avenue B location).

It’s a pretty hip place too. Bollywood films on the wall (perhaps to tie in with the Salaam E Ishq reference?) and typical Indian street food including the Papdi Chaat which could make a great start for New Yorkers wanting to sample Indian fare but are a bit scared. These are sort of like nachos but using chickpea crisps. Served with an interesting chutney too.

So for New Yorkers wanting to sample a bit of India, check out Babu Ji.

New York Summer Fun

Central-ParkThere is so much to do in the Big Apple. And in the summer the calendar gets even busier. Of course Central Park is always a classic, but here we look at other potential hot spots over the course of the next few months.

With festivals, carnivals, and more, New York City is the place to be. The Pier A Harbor House in Manhattan is has a spectacular beer garden, where one can enjoy a pint of Guinness, or a Long Hall Lager, while taking in the Zen of the sunset and panoramic views.

For views of the Hudson River, take in a latte while basking in some culture at the Studio Café, located in the Whitney Museum of Modern Art and for those who prefer the aesthetics of the East River, the Brooklyn Barge Bar is a great place to visit.

And then of course there are the more active delights in the city, such as Central Park’s Amazing Scavenger Hunt that operates every day from 10am until 7 30pm, enabling tourists and natives alike to uncover true gems that are often missed completely at the park.

So get out the sunscreen, put on your sun hat and discover the thrills of New York in the summer of 2015.