Archive for 05/24/2017

Kids in New York City

With the summer fast approaching, what is on the calendars now for kids in the Big Apple?

At New York’s Central Park Zoo from May 13-27, the Drawing Center put on Saturday workshops engaging kids with all sorts of art materials to engage in a half hour science and drawing program.  Presented together with the current exhibition, ‘Exploratory Works: Drawings from the Department of Tropical Research Field Expeditions,’ Wildlife Theater Troupe artists guide participants on the program.

Kids can also go to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to enjoy an exhibition featuring Tattfoo Tan’s art.  In an interactive manner, kids are then able to gather up things needed for camping trips, put them in their backpacks, learn to tie knots and tell stories around a fake campfire.  As well, each Saturday different workshops are held, such as the Trail Blazers coming to help the youngsters engage in floral creations, enjoy nature through their senses and partake in an orienteering scavenger hunt. Then there is the map-reading journey leading to Brower Park where the children can get help pitching a tent.

And let’s not forget about all the regular attractions New York holds for kids, such as the Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Matsuri and the Astoria Park Pool to name but a few.

Oodles of Noodles

At least if you’re in the East Village.  Noodle eateries are all becoming increasingly popular these days in the region.  One example is Simone Tong’s Little Tong Noodle Shop at the East Village’s 177 1st Avenue.  Somewhat appropriately named (in the sense that Simone is, well, quite small) but does not represent the size of the servings, which are pretty large.  Using mixian for her dishes (which directly translated from the Chinese means rice threads, but are more commonly known as rice noodles) which have a springy texture and a little tang in taste due to fermentation.  They originally come from the Yunnan Province of China.  They are not seen all that much in America but that will likely change if Tong has anything to do with it.

So large is the noodle explosion in the area that when one eatery closes, another opens in its stead.  After Biang closed its doors at 157 Second Avenue, Jacob Ding took a detour in his career as a financier and use family recipes to open up a Guilin boiled rice noodle and dim sum parlor.  Responding to his wife’s wish that such a place existed, plans to open Yuan Noodle began to form.  And it seems like he has the backing for it, having been raised in Guilin (China) where rice noodles reign. At the restaurant, these will be served dry (unlike the traditional way of being served with soup), as well as classic dim sum dishes.

Then there is the Momofuku Noodle Bar from David Chang, featuring a slatted wood design and an antique credenza displaying the menu. Food options include Berkshire pork belly and deep-pink shredded shoulder as from the long-simmered stock, one can choose from healthier toppings such as chopped scallions, slivered snow peas and  chewy preserved bamboo shoots, as well as somewhat unique Greenmarket corn, briefly sautéed and still crunchy, topping.  Having been awarded the Best Pickle Plate (2006) and Best Pork Tamale (2010) New York Awards, this restaurant is most definitely holding its own in the New York noodle market.

Martin Meets Manhattan

Thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, New York-based artist Martin Roth came back with a new exhibit, entitled, I cultivated a piece of land in Midtown Manhattan nurtured by tweets.

Roth, born in Austria, has provided visitors a Zen sanctuary, enabling them to descend into the subterranean gallery and thereafter emerge into a simulated forest clearing.  He does this through a room that is made to feel like a forest with trees covering all the walls and seven tons of soil supporting 200+ lavender plants under fluorescent light.

But what makes it quite unique is the fact that its sources are none other than…Tweets. The way it works is the grow lights on top of the lavender plants escalate in conjunction with the tweets of powerful public opinion shapers.  While the statements are re-tweeted with greater frequency, the lights become brighter, turning the lavender plants into a kind of index of the political cultural climate.

Martin has definitely bought something quite manifest to Manhattan.

The Wonder of New York

New York is thriving in wonderment.  From eateries to architecture, history to modernity, New York is just simply impressive.  Alongside a book by Justin Davidson (New York magazine architecture critic) entitled, “Magnetic City: A Walking Companion to New York” is a recent review in the New York Post by Steve Cuozzo who basically concluded that: “New York City has never been so appealing or life-affirming as it is today.”

With decelerating crime and a population of almost 9 million, there is a true sense of powerful energy, deals being done, and more leading to a huge demand for property and accommodation. One need only look at 42nd Street, the Brooklyn waterfront, the Financial District, the High Line, South Bronx, Sugar Hill, Upper West Side, West Chelsea and the World Trade Center.

Of course there are still the squalid neighborhoods like the Meatpacking District, Lexington Avenue, Brownsville-East, etc.  But overall, when talking of art, affluence, culture and excitement, New York will often be included in that sentence.  Just check out Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, the Chrysler Building and Times Square if you want to enjoy “the city’s nimbleness, its ability to navigate the chaotic present” today.