Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Museum Mondays

Manhattan's home to nearly 200 museums.  Running from 82nd to 105th Street, there's even a section of Fifth Avenue called Museum Mile.  Being a total sucker for antiques, paintings, and awkward artifacts, I'm trying to see as many as possible with my few months left. So, from this pint forward, Manic Mondays are my  Museum Monday.  To start with, yesterday I hit up the Museum of the City of New York.  Nestled on the corner of 102nd and 5th Avenue, I'd often overlooked it in favor of others in the area, but Sunday night I'd read an article about their new exhibit dedicated to New York Housing.

Staffed with some of the sweetest seniors around, the museum is really a gem!

The basement shows off toys from yesteryear.  Of course, there's your typical cars and whatnot, but being your typical girl, I especially loved the Stettheimer Dollhouse.  For more than two decades Carrie and Florine Stettheimer decorated the 12 room dollhouse with little luxuries. Evoking the elegant and eclectic tastes of the avant-garde 1920s, each of the tiny rooms even features a collection of original artwork on a miniature scale by artists of the sisters.
This definitely beats my Playskool model from the early '90s. 
The ground floor is divided to two exhibits. The first features lots of lithographs from Nathaniel Currier's 50 year career.  From 1857 to 1907, his company generated over 7000 titles.  With scenes like skating, sleighing, and cozy homesteads, the images showcase a romantic and largely idealistic view of New York City before the days of massive skyscrapers, each under a thick blanket of snow.
I really loved this image of Moonlight Skating on the Central Park Terrace. 
And, this one at the southeast corner of Central Park features the first organized ice-skating rink in the United States.   On winter wonderland days, crowds of 75,000 to 100,000 people would flock to the frozen lake.  Finding this image such a great representation of old NYC money, I even bought a print of this image in the gift shop.  
Look familiar?  Here's a oil portrait by Carton Moore-Park depicting Washington Square Park in the early 20th century.  I especially like the horse-drawn carriage heading to the arch. 
Next, there's a wing called Designing Tomorrow:  America's World's Fairs of the 1930s.  Loving all things vintage, I especially enjoyed this room!  Old newsreels play, and revolutionary consumer products (like the dishwasher) are on display, giving visitors a peek into fairs tens of millions of Americans visited during the worst economic crisis the country had known.

Talk about an awesome piece of architecture!   The National Cash Register Building was a key feature at the 1939 New York City World's Fair. 
The City's never been known as a place where people keep their opinions to themselves. So, a second floor exhibit--NYC Activist--explores 14 moments of social activism of both the past and present.  From Women's Suffrage to the Stonewall Riots, they've got it all.

Like I said before, the Museum's third floor was the real reason for my visit.  Making Room:  New Models for Housing New Yorkers presents an array of innovative architectural solutions that could better accommodate the City's emerging housing needs.  It all starts with surprising statistics.  For instance, did you know 33% of NYC households are single people living alone?  It's a bit scary because only 15% of Manhattan's rental housing stock is a studio or one-bedroom apartment ready for occupation.  Another section shows what it would be like to live in a full-scale micro apartment.  Only 325 square feet, the entire apartment reminds me of Ikea's miniature models.
Talk about your minimalist living! 
On display until September 15th, I'd suggest every Manhattanite take a trip to see the future of city living.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tea and Sympathy

It would seem the streets around Greenwich Avenue would have little in common with England's village greens and warm beer, but that doesn't stop Manhattan from having its very own Little Britain.  For those of us whose budgets don't allow an actual trip to the UK, I'd say this area of the City is definitely one you should frequent the next time a staycation is in order.  And how fitting that on the day I visited, ran clouds covered the sky.

The quaint district is centered around Tea and Sympathy, a British backlog where grub, gossip, and goodies are all quiet plentiful.  It's divided into both a store and restaurant.  The former features every item you could possibly imagine featuring a British flag plus tons of teapots and tasty treats.  A single gals dream, every employee working there is a young hot British boy with the best accent.  They even have my Scottish grandmother's favorite candy, Quality Street.  And, a few plates featuring the Queen and everyone's darling royal couple can also be found.
So many teapots! 
Doesn't this remind you of the candy shop in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I'm proud to say I resisted the urge to gobble all these tasty sweet treats! 
As for the restaurant, it's just perfect for ladies who lunch.  Alongside endless teapots, crookedly framed pictures of the Queen and Lady Di line the walls.  And one of my favorite features was wallpaper highlighting the best British books.  Floral tablecloths and creaky wooden floors complete the cozy British vibe.  You'd swear you just apparated into London, all Harry Potter style.

Of course, you're now probably wondering about the food--delicious!  First things first,  I of course had to order tea.  They have over 30 to chose from, but I decided on their classic Earl Grey.  And, for my meal it was a lentil pot pie.  All I'm saying is Marie Callander's got nothing on Tea and Sympathy!  Paired alongside green peas, the main course was simply scrumptious.  Their desserts sounded amazing, but I was way to full on my three cups of tea to indulge in apple crumble or sticky banana cake.

Now be prepared; only 23 can cram into the tiny hideaway.  So I wouldn't suggest coming here with bunches of shopping bags.  But besides that tiny deterrent, I'd say it's perfect!
And after your Tea and Sympathy visit, perhaps you'd like to take home their souvenir cook book?

Monday, February 18, 2013


Looks like this fallen confetti found a home on the fence

The calendar may read Presidents Day, but here in Chinatown, people are more excited about the Lunar New Year.  In celebration of the Year of the Snake, the neighborhood hosted its 14th annual parade and festival. Thanks to the celebration, today most of lower Manhattan is covered with confetti.  So, after a quick trip to the MoMA PS1 museum, I grabbed my camera and attempted to take pictures.

Perhaps you're wondering why anyone would want to take pictures of trash?  Honestly, I'm not really sure myself. Maybe it was my morning excursion to see contemporary art, or perhaps I'm just trying to soak in the neighborhood before I leave.  Either way, something about the colors drew me in.
The flower beds in Columbus Park are growing glittery plants.  
And, these residents spent their afternoon playing cards in the park. 
This man needed a haircut.
And, Mickey greeted all who wandered by.
If anyone needs some seafood, you'll get some fresh findings here.
And, if firecrackers are required to ring in the New Year, look no further than your local street vendor.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Oscars On The Brain

Probably for the first time ever I've seen most of the movies nominated for this year's Best Picture.  Beast of the Southern Wild takes my nod, so if you've got two hours and many tissues on hand, be sure to check it out.  The youngest person ever nominated for an Oscar, Quvenzhane Wallis plays an adorable six-year-old named Hushpuppy.  The afro-clad babe's forced to learn the ways of courage and love as the health of her hot-tempered father begins to fade and her ramshackle bayou community is flooded.

In the days of Netflix and Redbox, I'm not one to normally buy a DVD.  But, this is one story that's absolutely stolen my heart!

Notice the New York City skyline in the background. 
Of course, if you don't have enough time to watch a full-length flick but still want to see an Oscar nominated film, my suggestion would be take a look at this Disney short. One of the most romantic movies of the year, Paperman is the love story of a young businesses-minded man whose whole life changes when he meets a woman wearing red lipstick on the subway platform.  No names or cell phone numbers could be exchanged before the train doors close. But of course, once at work, his mind begins to wander to the mysterious woman.  He stares out the window, and low and hold, she's in the building across the street.  So, he attempts to grab her attention.  Now, I wont spoil the shorts entire plot.  So take the seven minutes and see how he ends up with his lady.  

Unfortunately, Youtube wont let me add the video link to my page without buying it first, but here it is on Hulu.  Take a look, and tell me what you think.  Does it measure up to last year's The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore?

And don't forget to watch the 85th Annual Academy Awards next Sunday, February 245h.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You Had Me At Woof

Madison Square Garden has gone to the dogs.

As the Westminster Kennel Club hosts its 137th show, 187 breeds from across the globe have made their way to Manhattan.  With almost 3,000 competing, the professional pups will strut their stuff for the judges.  Each ultimately hoping to take the title of Best in Show.

In between rounds, their handlers may take the pros back to the New Yorker or Hotel Pennsylvania for a quick cat nap or bowl of kibble.  That's right.  Just for a few days, NYC's ritziest hotels are turned into overpriced kennels.

And that's where my photojournalism assignment of the week comes in.  Today, I became a part of the paparazzi, the puppy paparazzi that is.  For two hours, I waited for pampered pooches to emerge.  The canine celebs were more than willing to pose for pictures, and their owners loved the attention.

Really, I just couldn't stop clicking.  In total, I took more than 450 photos.  I feel bad for my professor who has to go through them all, but for y'all here's my favorite seven.  Beware of the many smush faces!
Who says size matters?  This little guy was ready to take on any pup who came too near his pop.  

This baby beagle had a twin sister.  The duo were competing for the first time today.   
She was such a cute stage momma.  How could I not take their picture? 

And just for fun...they may be professionals, but they can't always live the glorious life. 
By far, today was one of my most favorite shoots.  Really, the only thing that would have made it better is if I could have seen some long-haried dachshunds too!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cupcake Cook-Off

Live. Love. Laf.
Talk about your sugar rush! The Mayhews hosted their annual Cupcake Cook-Off, and a record breaking 23 teams brought down their finest baked goods for competition.  With $100 dollars on the line, every baker brought it.  Pandas, swamp gators, and banana splits all made an appearance.  Needless to say, the judges had quite the decision to make tonight.  I took bite-sized portions of eight or nine, and picking a favorite was nearly impossible.  I guess you could say it's a good thing I went to the gym today!  

Be warned:  the next few photos are some of the most scrumptious looking desserts you'll ever see.  Don't view them on an empty stomach! 
And the cupcakes just keep on coming...
Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes...'nough said!  
This team took second place, winning special points for presentation. 
Cute bears are always a crowd favorite!  
Dudes can bake too, and quite well might I add.  They took five votes for Fan Favorite! 
Swamp gators make for good eating!  
Cupcake in a cone anyone?
When you've got this many cupcakes, to-go boxes are definitely appreciated. 
And after all this eating, so many empty cupcake liners could be found! 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's a Snow Day

Nemo's had his northern migration, and Manhattan's been blanketed with 15 inches of snow.  And, the flakes just keep on coming.  We're under winter weather watch until tomorrow.  I'm sure most people would prefer to stay indoors and enjoy the flurries from the comfort of their couch.  Maybe it's the Georgia girl in me (I never saw real snow until I moved to the City), but I decided to take my cup of coffee to-go, seeing the blizzard up close and personal.  

Forget the typical Hershey's Kiss, I want
something from Vegan Valentines Shop-Up instead! 
First thing this morning my friend, Rebecca, and I took the L to Brooklyn for a Vegan Valentines Shop-Up.  Heart shaped cookies, strawberry cake pops and other delicious goodies could be had, each one made minus all animal byproducts.  For customers craving something besides sweets, there was even beard oil from Brooklyn Grooming.  Filled with lots of free samples (like bite-sized cupcakes, chai tea and vegan fudge), it was like taking a Saturday trip to Costco surrounded by hot Brooklyn boys.  Despite the temptation, I'm proud to say I left with only a few purchases-- two baby bonbons and a chocolate bar from Rescue Chocolate.  100% of their net proceeds go to animal rescue groups, so even if the Fosteriffic Peppermint flavor taste funny, I'll be helping puppies.
Put a precious puppy on your wrapper, and basically I'm guaranteed to buy what you're selling!
Then it was off to Central Park.  It looks like we weren't the only ones who had the idea to see what the iconic park looks like covered with fluffy, white snow.  Talk about a winter wonderland!

Dogs in their snow gear.  Really, there's nothing cuter! 
So many kiddos were trying their hand at sledding.