Archive for Featured

The Rockefeller Center Tree

A classic New York Christmas just would not be the same without the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Arriving last month in New York at the Plaza, the 75-foot tall tree – originally from Norway – is still looking glorious at the Rockefeller Plaza and will do for another few weeks.

Watch this video and learn from Dylan Dreyer how and why this specific tree was chosen for this momentous task.

Men and Haircuts

Thanks to ‘Three Seat: Espresso and Barber men in the East Village no longer have to “go and get a haircut.”  Instead they can get a Cup O’Joe, and, while they’re at it, get their haircut.

Located on Avenue A, owner Aaron Cook explains that many people – on first entering the coffee shop – don’t realize it also doubles as a barber’s.  They’re like “oh look at that; it’s a barber shop,” which seems to be a great conversation starter.

So while they might not have necessarily been planning on having their haircut, they end up doing it for the convenience. Given that the coffee is included in the haircut price, they can certainly end up favorably comparing the price they paid for their new hairdo with their female partners!

Hidden NY Treasures?

Or tunnels at least…

It seems like almost every other week something is being discovered in NYC.  And now, it is tunnels.  Well, it is not exactly like they are being discovered but perchance they are being rebranded to make them more well-known.

One example is NYC’s postal tunnel.  From 9th Avenue (from under the east side), this runs between the Morgan mail sorting facility and the James A. Farley Post Office basement.  It is a very well-secured road tunnel which historically was utilized to transport mail via Amtrak trains which a specially-designated “mail only” train” to and from a Penn Station “secret” platform.  It was only in the early part of the 21st century that this process stopped, sealing shut the stairs and elevators leading to the platform.  Today though for those interested, the loading area and lookout gallery can be seen at the Post Office on special occasions (such as Fashion Week).  The gallery is now used for a Storefront for Art and Architecture installation.

And in other New York City tunnel news, it seems that those motorists who do not own an E-ZPass will no longer have to stress about having cash on them when they approach the Hugh L. Carey/Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel toll.  Instead, they’ll be charged via license-plate readers, with the registered vehicle owner receiving a bill in the mail.  Cashless tolls will certainly improve tunnel riding experience for New Yorkers!

What’s New in NYC’s Financial District

wtcThe oculus building officially opened this month, hope to the World Trade Center’s new Apple Store. The two-level store features a large, open space with minimalist design and has the oak tables (which Apple is known for) in a tall, large room that encourages the purchase of iPhone7! The store is the seventh of its kind in New York that was designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the most famous of which is the one of Fifth Avenue that appears like a glass cube.

Meanwhile, there are plans for a large Liberty Island museum, with plans for the design of this 26,000 building having been displayed at a recent groundbreaking ceremony. This museum is to take the place of the much smaller one that currently is located at Lady Liberty’s pedestal and will be constructed in order to blend into the parkland’s nature.

Museum construction will utilize sustainable best practices. Initially – according to FXFOWLE (the company that designed the space) partner and project designer Nicholas Garrison – the idea was to make the museum an extension of the park, with the aim of working with “the park’s formal, axial plan and respond to its spectacular setting. The island’s landscape is lifted and merged with the architecture to create space for the museum in a new geology.”

And talking of museums, a new – permanent – exhibition (New York at Its Core) is being set up at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). The exhibition will be a testament to New York City’s worldwide position as the Big Apple. The 6,600 sq. ft. space will be open to the public on November 18.

New York Comic Con

comicsLast week saw the New York Comic Con event.  This year it got even bigger, in its attempt to wow pop-culture fans with even more interactive features and a new registration system.  There was also room for 5,500 fans.  In the 10 years it has been taking place, it has really stepped up its game, putting it in the same league as San Diego’s International Comic Con.  Indeed, last year, there were 167,000 people who attended, even more than last year’s San Diego one which only attracted 130,000.

But now given the added feature of the NYCC Presents, there were even more attendees. Programs included: “Game Grumps Live Episode,” “A Shipwreck Fan Fiction Competition,” “Stuff You Missed in History Class Live,” “Doctor Who Costume Contest and Trivia,” “Tales From the Toybox,” “Rock Comic Con,” and “One Trek Mind Live.”

Given that the space is so much bigger, this means that many more will be able to be accommodated.  ReedPop event director Michael Armstrong.  He explained that: “With this addition, we’ve been able to bring way more TV and film content to NYCC than we’ve ever been able to. In years past, our largest panel room was around 3,000 seats. With the Theater at Madison Square Garden we’ve been able to almost double that. More people than ever before will be able to see our largest panels.”

Lower Manhattan Continues to Thrive

9-11Lower Manhattan has encountered substantial changes during the decade-and-a-half following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which saw the loss of 2, 753 lives.  According to a recent State Attorney General Report released by Thomas P. DiNapoli (New York State Comptroller) what happened after the attacks that resulted in an “unspeakable tragedy, ” was that partnerships emerged “between the local community, government, and the private and not-for-profit sectors — that made Lower Manhattan’s renaissance possible.”  Today the area has earned itself a reputation for having “a diversified employment base and strong annual job growth.”  He added that “Lower Manhattan is doing more than rebuilding, it is transforming and moving forward with resilience and hope.”

In commemoration of the day, a memorial procession was led by the NYPD Emerald Society Pipes & Drums.  Participants included Mayor de Blasio and Bill Bratton (who is leaving his post as Police Commissioner).  They marched from Cedar Street to the NYC Police Memorial in Battery Park City, down Broadway. They were joined by police bands nationwide.

And then there is the Irish Pub O’Haras.  Owned by Mike Keane, this has become a kind of shrine to the tragedy.  At the time of the event, co-owner of the pub Mike Keane watched the first tower fall from the bar’s roof.  He managed to get to safety but the bar was badly damaged and at its reopening seven months thereafter, it was transformed into “a haven for locals and Ground Zero workers.” The next year, a gathering was held at the pub in which Big John (a construction worker) ripped off a patch from a fireman’s uniform, stapling it to the wall which thereafter became a tradition.  Today there are over a thousand patches from various ambulance services, fire departments and more around the world, at the pub.  Indeed one day they even received a framed frag flown over from the Pentagon in the mail.  Another owner of the Irish Pub, Paul Mackin explained ““We get locals in their p.j.s, sometimes, because they can’t sleep.”  He himself was “changed” following 9/11 and now each weekend meets people “who come in here from all over the world. They enter as strangers and leave as friends.”

Yes, a lot has changed in downtown Manhattan over the last decade-and-a-half with some incredible developments and transformations in the region.  But 9/11 will never be forgotten and no matter how different the city may look, for those people who had a direct connection to it, things will always stay the same.