Those About To Die… Photos

17 08 2009

It’s even better than I imagined it. Special thanks to photographer Jason Geller who gave me permission to share some of his photos.Check out his album here.





The Tale of the Urban Nautical Adventure

14 08 2009

Alas, I wasn’t able to witness the bizarre yet fascinating extravaganza that took place last night at the Queens Museum of Art. But the picture in my mind is enough to hold my amusement: grown men and women in togas (representing the Queens Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and El Museo del Barrio) pelting each other with watermelon cannon balls and fighting with baguette sword.

Those About to Die Salute You, brainchild of the controversial (and sea-obsessed) artist Duke Riley, took place in  the World’s Fair-era reflecting pool in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, just outside of the Queens Museum of Art. Prior to the battle, Riley and friends have spent months in what was once the World’s Fair ice skating rink (now a room in the Queens Museum) building the vessels that took sail last night. And a motley crew of ships it was: 30-foot-long Spanish galleons, Egyptian river boats, and Polynesian war canoes, to name a few, most built of salvaged materials.

“Why?” one might ask, but the answer to that question is simply another question: “Why not?” In times of economic downturn, it’s exactly this type of silliness we need, and Riley found his inspiration for the show in the Roman era  naumachia, a type of bloody sea battle meant to amuse the hungry masses. (For more background, check out this interesting article). I find the whole thing hilarious and fascinating, and am sorry I missed it. At least I can looke at the pictures.





Green Grows Up, Over and All Around

19 04 2009

Spring has definitely sprung in New York. Everywhere I go my eyes and nose (and allergies) take in the beautiful buds of trees and flowers that have lain dormant all winter through.  That has me thinking about urban greenery. It’s still somewhat surprising to me how much of it I get to see here in the concrete jungle that is New York. In addition to the myriad parks in the city, most streets are lined with trees, and this is to say nothing of the rooftop gardens that are visible for those who choose to look up at them. The general idea seems to be that just because you live/work in a high rise, you don’t need to be deprived of greens.

Today this concept is becoming even more prevalent, as architects and artists everywhere seek to add green elements to buildings.  This makes not only for sustainable structures but atheistically interesting as well. To this end, Exit Art has a new exhibit up right now, in conjunction with  SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics). Vertical Gardens presents audiences with architectural models, renderings and more, all imagining green urban spaces in various forms.

These visions, both imaginary and real, look to the future of green architecture, from green roofs to vertical gardens and from Florida’s Jacksonville Library to the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. And then there are those visions that take greening even further: indoor gardens that not only green buildings but give a whole new meaning to the term locavore, full walls of garden that are not only pretty but harness solar power which can then be used as other forms of power and even vintage articles that demonstrate that such things are not an entirely new concept. New or not, though, they are certain to amaze.

Exit Art
475 Tenth Avenue at 36th Street
Hours: 10am -6pm (Tues – Thurs), 10am-8pm (Fri), noon-8pm (Sat). Closed Sunday and Monday.
Cost: $5 suggested donation





They Drink Beer in Philadelphia

10 03 2009

Attention beer lovers: get to Philly, NOW. Through March 15, the city of brotherly love celebrates the brotherhood of the brew. More than 50 breweries, plus some of the city’s favorite restaurants and bars combine forces to create a beer extravaganza with 650-plus tastings.  And we’re not just talking beer, folks. They’ve got brunches (three points to the Plough for best name: Kegs and Eggs), tours, and of course, the beloved ba(ee)r crawl.

For a full calendar of events and individual pricing, click here.





Friday Pennies: NY Souvenirs and Orchids and More

7 03 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve done a penny post, and after the week I’ve had, I need one. I don’t know why this week was exceptionally hard, but the combination of the frigid weather outside and my own feeling under the weather has had me feeling exhausted and pretty much blue all week long. But coming into the weekend, all is looking fine. A few reasons? Funny you should ask:

  • I’m lovin’ this blog post on Budget Travel about Authentic, Affordable New York Souvenirs. No snow globes here! A few favorites: the fantastic and unique New York dishes from Fishs Eddy, sweets from Zabar’s, and, of course, totes from Strand Books. A few to add: Fat Witch Brownies and that magical scrub from Sabon.
  • The fact that I was able to walk around today without my toes going numb. Is spring here?
  • Orchids.
  • Book group. I just picked up the latest book today. Confessions of an Economic Hitman, in which John Perkins tells of his role in helping “the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then taking over their economies.” Not, admittedly, something I would have chosen, which is why I’m thrilled that book group turned me on to it. I’ve read two pages and am already fascinated!
  • The weekend. Despite the fact that I must work tomorrow (I have to attend a class to learn about SAT prep, faux-yay!), the weekend promises a chat with Liz in London, a tour of an abandoned subway tunnel, and longer, lighter days.




Latest Obsession: Sosauce

2 03 2009

I’ll confess I’m not really big on the social networking revolution. I have the obligatory Facebook and MySpace accounts but rather obstinately refrain from using them unless someone contacts me first. I’m behind the times, I know (my older sister, on the other hand, has been on Facebook all of a month and has 300+ friends—go figure).

That’s to say nothing of the many social networking sites devoted to travel alone. I’m not sure if there are other industries that merit their own litany of social networking sites, but travelers, not surprisingly, love to connect and share stories (and pictures and tips) with other travelers. And so this is one type of social networking I can definitely get behind, especially when it’s as cool a site as my latest discovery: Social Sauce.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting a few of the masterminds behind Sosauce when they hosted a cocktail party with the EuroCheapo crew. Buoyed by Tom’s delicious sangria, I went straight home and, admittedly, stayed up far too long creating a Sosauce profile. Too bad I’ve only since recruited one friend (who, it just so happens, is one of the few people I know who is not on Facebook). Looks like I’m going to have convince my sister to come on board.

Anyhow, Sosauce is the social networking site to end all social networking sites, for travel at least. First, they call themselves “travel geeks” (note: any time you can be an “anything geek,” do it!). Second, there is a cool interactive guide section, as well as a great personal area where you can share videos, photos, journal entries, map your trips and much more. But my favorite part is the socially conscious aspect. The standard profile page gives travel geeks, in addition to the usual name, interests, etc. spaces, a place to choose their endangered species of choice as well as the social and environmental causes they most care about. And it must be noted that the business cards of Sosauce employees each feature a different endangered species with a bottle of sauce. Now if my adoring their business cards isn’t geeky, I don’t know what is!





New York Times Travel Show

10 02 2009

On Saturday afternoon, at a travel writing workshop in a stale (but relatively packed) subterranean room in the terrible Javits Center, Max Hartshorne and Kent St. John, editors from GoNOMAD.com, both mentioned that travel writers are some of the worst complainers out there. It was funny, but as I sat there, tired and a little grumpy from a long day of wandering the show floor carting increasingly heavier bags of pamphlets and materials on sundry places and cursing the Q train that would inevitably be as slow getting me home as it was delivering me that morning, I realized they were certainly correct. I mean I was, after all, at a TRAVEL SHOW, and despite the throngs wandering aimlessly through the crowded booths, I had seen some good dancing, sipped the Peruvian corn drink Chicha, and entered countless drawings, one of which I am bound (please, please?) to win.

And so, despite my griping, as, according to Max and Kent, only a good travel writer can do, I’d say, overall, the show was a success. I missed, alas, the trade day on Friday, so had to face the crowds of people actually planning trips, but I collected some great information and cultivated some new wanderlust. Top of the list now, in addition to the longstanding Petra and Russia, are Brescia, Guatemala, and(random, I know) Maine. I met a few people in the industry and ran into a few from the World Hum party and I came home with perhaps more information than I will ever need.

Some standout booths were: the Mesoamerican Ecotourism Alliance, GoPhilanthropic, and Intrepid Travel. In addition to GoNOMAD.com’s very popular and informative wrokshop, I also attended “What’s New for Solo and Women Travelers” (answer: women are traveling sans males more often and are getting gustier about it all the time) and Travel Through the Eyes of Travel Writers, a panel talking about travel and travel writing tips from some of the best established in the business.

Perhaps the most entertaining moments of the day, however, were spent gawking at all the costumed enthusiasts at the nearby Comic Con (yikes) and then discovering the little known “booth” occupied by “Brooklyn Rugby.” Read: two Brooklyn boys who were turned away from Comic Con and managed to find themselves a table on the show floor, which they decorated with pamphlets from an interesting (and totally without rhyme or reason) array of destinations. I think I may have been the only one to stumble dazedly into their booth after a long day of gazing at tables overflowing with literature. At least they said I was the honorary winner of their drawing (a “front row” seat at the next Brooklyn rugby match), and had the pleasure of poking fun at their rumpled, “just rolled out of bed to attend Comic Con” attire.

All in all, a successful day, and I did my best not to complain about the crowded subway car that took the local route home. (When I say “did my best” I mean “failed miserably.”)





Where Will You Be?

15 01 2009

The day we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived.

Bush gives his farewell address tonight! And a quick thumbs up to Gail Collins for her piece in the Times is titled He’s Leaving. Really. Perhaps the best Op-Ed title. Ever.

But, much awaited and welcome as this evening is, it is not (if for no other reason that it’s yet another George W. speech) the highly anticipated, wracked with joy event of which I speak. America has been a buzz of excitement these past few weeks, looking forward to Tuesday with all out fervor. For two months I’ve passed a familiar face in shop windows all over the city, vendors selling every type of  “Yes We Did” paraphernalia imaginable, and next week it will finally be official.

The festivities begin with an inaugural celebration on Sunday at Lincoln Memorial and will last through the Wednesday prayer service, and four million lambs are expected to flock to D.C. this weekend to be part of the historic and joyful inauguration of lucky number 44.

I, alas, will remain in New York. Though I am close to D.C., it does happen to be a work day (and we are having our own Harlem Children’s Zone inauguration celebration) and I happen to not like crowds all that much. However, for those who are braver than I, there is good news: if you’d like to go to D.C. but aren’t willing to promise your first born child for a much coveted hotel room, try staying with a local. Courtesy of Air Bed & Breakfast, local D.C. ers are offering rooms for rent, costing anywhere from $40-$100 a night. Easy to afford now that there’s a possibility of a tax credit. For more information on parties, getting to D.C., and even a Crash Kit, check out
www.crashtheinauguration.com
.

If you’re like me and can’t travel (or just fear being trampled) look local. Here in New York, where the streets danced on November 4, 2008, there will be no shortage of Obama celebrations, but local organizations around the country promise similar festivities. In California, Keith Carson, Alameda County Supervisor, has put together several days of interfaith/community service related events in honor of the new president and no doubt to get a head start on Obama’s Call to Service. Or if all else fails, plan your own party. Whatever you’re doing on January 20, though, it’s guaranteed to be one of those “I remember when…” moments.





Yes, I’m Bi-Coastal

7 01 2009

I interrupt this “I Heart SF” week with a bit of New York love, or, rather, I remark on a fabulous proof that my two favorite American cities are inextricably linked, making each even more lovable. and so…

New York

I must report that this Friday evening Bohemia is back in all its glory with a celebration of, Herbert Huncke, who inspired the word “beat” of the Beat Generation and then inspired Beat greats from Kerouac to Ginsberg to Burroughs. January 9, 2009 would be Huncke’s 94th birthday, and in order to celebrate his friends, fans, and fellow writers will be gathering at Bowery Electric for a tribute to Huncke and his own lyrical and poignant writing. Show starts at 8pm but doors open at 7:30pm. It promises to be a fantastic and enlightening event.

San Francisco

It’s a New York event, yes, but the heart of the beats truly lies in San Francisco. Though Huncke and his friends all met in New York City, it was San Francisco where most of their mayhem took place, and it is still San Francisco that is a tribute to the Beats and their fabulous legacy. And so, in keeping with the week’s theme, some of the best places to keep a San Francisco Beat (pardon the pun).

  1. City Lights Booksellers. 261 Columbus Ave. It doesn’t get much more Beat than this. Not only is the store, which takes up a block of Columbus Avenue, one of the few independent bookstores left (thanks Barnes), it is truly a “Literary Landmark,” both for the alternative culture it sanctions and for its 50-plus year history of commitment to progressive ideas. It was the nation’s first all-paperback bookstore, and its three floors house a vast selection of books, including many “harder-to-find” titles as well as a poetry room. Oh, then there was this little poem called Howl, and the man who caused quite a stir by publishing it.
  2. The Beat Museum. 540 Broadway. It’s just across form City Lights and features everything from Beat letters to Kerouac bobbleheads.
  3. Vesuvio. 255 Columbus Ave. It’s in Kerouac Alley. What more needs to be said?




Holidays offManhattan

21 12 2008

Ok, this may be cheating a little bit, but I’m going to do it anyway. In keeping with my holiday obsession of late, I spent some time on Friday writing about holiday festivities off the island of Manhattan for none other than offManhattan.com, a travel guide for New York that promotes green living by writing about places to visit outside Manhattan that are reachable by public transportation.

I had so much fun researching and writing this that I may have gotten a little carried away, but since most of these are things I want to do and see, I had to share them a second time here. Check it out.