Apr
16

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10 Classic Quotes From “Here Is New York”

For book club this month we read E.B. White’s short novel (or essay, rather, coming in at just around 7,500 words), Here is New York.  A beautiful piece on the city that I’d encourage every New Yorker, or anyone who has a love for New York, to read.  Rather than do our usual book club discussion today, I’ve rounded up my favorite quotes from the book to share with you.  I think you’ll agree White is oozing with so many feelings for this city, he’d kick Taylor Swift out as ambassador any day (and that’s coming from a Taylor fan!;-)

unnamed“It (NYC) can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck.  No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.”

“Many of its settlers are probably here merely to escape, not face, reality.”

“You always feel that either by shifting your location ten blocks of by reducing your fortune by five dollars you can experience rejuvenation.”

“Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.”

“Mass hysteria is a terrible force, yet New Yorkers seem always to escape it by some tiny margin: they sit in stalled subways without claustrophobia, they extricate themselves from panic situations by some lucky wisecrack, they meet confusion and congestion with patience and grit–a sort of perpetual muddling through.”

“The city makes up for its hazards and its deficiencies by supplying its citizens with massive doses of a supplementary vitamin–the sense of belonging to something unique, cosmopolitan, mighty and unparalleled.”

“Many a New Yorker spends a lifetime within the confines of an area smaller than a country village.”

“The city is always full of young worshipful beginners–young actors, young aspiring poets, ballerinas, painters, reporters, singers–each depending on his own brand of tonic to stay alive, each with his own stable of giants.”
“The citizens of New York are tolerant not only from disposition but from necessity.  They city has to be tolerant, otherwise it would explode in a radioactive cloud of hate and rancor and bigotry.”

“New Yorkers temperamentally do not crave comfort and convenience–if they did they would live elsewhere.”

This book was written in 1948…do you feel like the above quotes represent modern day NYC fairly?  How much have we really changed?

Apr
15

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Feast On My Top 3 Restaurants In NYC

Top three restaurants in NYC?  Annndddd…GO!

Obviously, this will look very different depending on who you ask, but today I’m getting all personal with you and sharing my very favorite restaurants in NYC…all wildly different in their own right.  Not to say that these are the fanciest, or trendiest, or even would be described as NYC classics, but they certainly have staying power if your palate and taste align with mine, read: going out to eat should be just as much about the experience as it is the food.  These three do it for me, every time.

Freemans: For Comfort Food Classics and a Cozy Downtown Vibe

Tucked down a little alley in the Lower East Side, this restaurant embodies classic Americana–the dishes here are simple, rustic, and inspired by old world traditions.  Think: ooey-gooey mac-n-cheese, butternut squash schnitzle, and wild rice crispy treats. Produce is all sourced locally in New York, and the interior design makes me want to wrap up in a big wool sweater, sipping cocktails well past brunch.

Freemans-NYC-608x433Panna II: For Indian Staples With The Most Festive Atmosphere You’ll Find This Side Of Bengal

This is my go-to restaurant anytime there’s a reason to bust out the bubbly and get silly on a budget: birthdays, engagements, TGIF…you name it!  Kitschy as it is, I adore this pepper-light strewn, BYOB restaurant, complete with upbeat staff who will ensure every visit feels like a reason to celebrate.  The dishes are your typical Indian fare–but so good–and plenty of options for vegetarians.

8091658027_f919508390_zABC Kitchen: For High-Quality Dishes You Can Feel Good About Eating

I believe the exact words uttered the first time I ate at ABC were “Best. Salad. Ever.”  And coming from a vegetarian who eats LOTS of greens, this is a big, bold statement.  With Jean-Georges name behind it, you can be assured your seasonally inspired meal is going to shine, and the all white decor is as fresh as the farm-to-table goodness you’ll be putting in your mouth.

beautiful-abc-kitchen-reservations-on-kitchen-at-abc-kitchen-reservationsThis round-up was inspired by citizenMag’s article on their Top 3 restaurants in Glasgow, which challenged us to come up with our own guide for New York. You can check out their own New York restaurant recommendations online or visit their New York hotel which is situated in Times Square (and boasts a mean coffeeshop, fellow locals!)

We’d love to know…if you had to pick your top 3 restaurants in your city, what would they be?  Share below!

||Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3||

Apr
14

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Intermission: Clinton The Musical + Giveaway

DSC_0139-2-1500x1000You know immediately from the telling title Clinton: The Musical that this show is going to be a hoot.  But you have no idea that you will laugh so hard, you’ll bust a gut.  I am still recovering from bruising bouts of laughter…so fun!  At one point I was missing dialogue, I was so convulsed in laughter.

You initially ask yourself while you are waiting for the show to begin, “How far will they go?”  Then the show opens with a tremendously energetic cast singing “Awful Awesome” and you find yourself in waves of spontaneous laughter silently stating to yourself “Oh no, don’t go there!”  Well, needless to say, THEY GO THERE!  There is so much material here ripe for satire, how could the writers and lyricist (Paul and Michael Hodge) resist?

Perfect timing for this show’s opening as Hillary has just announced her run for the Presidency; it’s her well deserved, achingly earned turn for center stage.  And indeed we have a hilarious Hillary played by the fabulous, paint-suited, Kerry Butler.  However, at this point in time, this is still Bill’s show–it opens in 1993 with his election to his first term in office.  But herein lies the rub (still don’t get how SNL missed THIS turn), as Clinton: The Musical has two diverse performers playing our infamous ex-President, i.e. Billy, (played by the charming, colorful Duke Lafoon) and WJ Clinton (sincerely played by Tom Galantich).  There are two sides to every coin, yet it’s always a triangle as Hillary will NOT be outshone by the two Bills–she certainly gets her two cents in.  And to drive the matter home, we have the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt (the glorious Judy Gold) from behind the White House portraitures, literally and figuratively, egging her on.  You get the picture!  So many clever tricks of stage and set add to the complete hilarity of this musical.

11077780_802061316553187_8656483240160329629_o-1016x1000 1617812_802061283219857_2402943327043009724_o-700x1000 10582814_802061276553191_8805031770189791103_o-1498x1000This musical comedic romp thru Bill’s two terms is brimming with supporting players, there is so much farcical material that this 90 minute, straight thru, no intermission show could easily play another 90 minutes–but your facial muscles would joyfully collapse.  Kudos to the real wish upon a “star” of the show, i.e. Ken Starr, outrageously portrayed by the villainous and versatile Kevin Zak.  Kenneth Starr’s dreams come true and he steals the thunder–until Newt Gingrich (evil comes in all shapes and sizes, right?) joins in the fun and fray.  These two are a comedy act on their own–they’re ready to hit the road–and quite simply, they have the audience roaring and practically stop the show.  You can’t wait until they return to the stage for another round of jokes; their scenes alone are worth the price of admission.

This is an over-the-top show where the sky is the limit as truth is always stranger than fiction.  You can’t make this stuff up!  Hard to believe how one man–excuse me–TWO men–could be so flawed.  Sorry to state the obvious, Bill, but the fault lies not in our “Starrs” but in ourselves!  So by the point in which mini skirted Paula Jones and Monica literally vamp and tramp their way across the stage–the jokes, the lyrics, the dancing is so interesting and clever; you’ll surrender yourself and pay the ransom!  There are even literal dancing cardboard cut outs of Al Gore and appropriate members of Congress–nothing subtle about this show–joining the spirited cast.  But funny as it all is, you gotta ask yourself after you stop laughing (which will take some time–the show ran 15 minutes over the night I was there as the cast simply had to stop and wait for all the giggling to subside!)  “Geez, how did we elect such a character?!”  (There is another noun and many adjectives I would rather use, but Jessica would rightfully censor me;-)

Kudos to producer, Ken Davenport, he certainly has an instinct for timely entertainment.  This show may not get Hillary any votes, but it certainly hits the right notes!

Gotta tell ya, I have seen many diverse, varied productions at New World Stages between 8th and 9th Avenues on 50th Street over the past several years.  It is such a fabulous venue, both inside and out (love their well designed outdoor space, surrounded by appropriate eateries) and I am continuously blown away by the talent, imagination, and creativity on their stages.  Those of you in the know, already know!  And those of you who don’t, seek out midtown’s New World Stages.  A wonderful NYC Spring is here, at long last, and there is nothing better then a meal outdoors followed by an affordable, entertaining show indoors.

p.s. we’re doing a flash giveaway of tickets to Clinton!  To win, comment below with your favorite NYC spring activity–bonus entry if you Tweet it out and tag us @UsedYorkCity–winners will be notified via email on Thursday, April 16th!  Thanks for participating!

By: Joanne Theodorou // Photo Credit: Russ Rowland

Apr
13

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Gazing Globes In Madison Square Park

unnamed-3Art is in the eye of the beholder, yes?  So when I was strolling through Madison Square Park yesterday, and happened upon a lawn full of orbs, my first thought was “ohhh, the artist must have dug up clumps of snow and icicles from this winter’s polar vortex storms and found all sorts of interesting things buried beneath, and then decided to showcase these snowy creations in snow globes!  Brilliant!”

I mean, right?!  Take a peek:

unnamed unnamed-4 unnamed-2 unnamed-1Needless to say, upon doing a bit more investigation on the exhibit, I found the truth goes a bit more like this:

Paula Hayes’s crystal balls positioned on elegant fiberglass pedestals summon the present and predict the future. Each see-through globe lit from within features a mixture of analog radio parts, castoff electronic transistor parts, glass vacuum tubes, micro glass beads, shredded rubber tires, and recycled plastic flotsam. To these mixed remnants of technology and culture the artist added crystals and minerals. A shimmering fairy dust was made from pulverized CDs and is layered within each sculpture’s interior.

Well, not exactly debris found in the snow, but remnants of old New York, nonetheless.  The globes will be on display through April 19th, 2015.

Have you ever grossly misread an art exhibit?  Share below!

p.s. another sculpture garden you can visit in NYC for free.

Apr
10

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New Yorker Moments: A NYC Spring Dinner Party

L1020004My friend recently got engaged, so what better excuse to have a spring dinner party, right?  While I’m still a novice at this whole cooking thing, I went out on a limb and tried some new dishes–baked ricotta with lemon, garlic and chives, creamy watercress soup, and strawberry goat cheese squares for dessert.

L1010997 L1020010While everything came out edible (I have Dominos on speed dial in case of a total flop!), the strawberry goat cheese squares are really something to talk about.  So simple, even I couldn’t mess them up!  About 15 minutes of prep work, and you’re done.  They’re light, flavorful, and need I mention the obvious…honey + goat cheese, the perfect combo.  You can make them earlier in the day and serve at room temperature, and the leftovers make for the perfect morning-after breakfast.  These beauties will be on heavy rotation for the rest of spring.

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Have you tried any new dishes lately?  Would love to know, please share below!

p.s. in case you missed it, here’s tips for hosting Friendsgiving in NYC!