Apr
15

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Postcards To NYC

UsedYorkCity.com
UsedYorkCity.com

Dearest NYC,

Putting a Vive la Crepe! in the basement of the Plaza Hotel?! Now there’s the ticket to this NYer’s heart!

xoxo,

Jess

 

Apr
14

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A Conversation With A Dreamer

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Victoria Milo is a Long Island native currently working in advertising but her natural passion lies in the arts where she expresses “individuality and creative beauty” with oils on a canvas. Although she is a remarkable artist, she says she never really considered herself an artist until March 1st, when her painting collection titled The Places We Ignore was actually hung up on display for others to see. Victoria Milo The Places We Ignore is completely inspired by the New York City subway. Most of us ride the subway trains daily but we may not be in tune with the natural beauty of the dirty and gritty train cars or the signs that tells us where to transfer to the next train. We never notice the way the train lights reflect on the yellowing tiles or the reflection of the impatient crowd on the speeding train. Victoria says that these details and the small things that we may not pay attention to are what mostly inspire her.  The collection is made up of scenes and pictures of multiple places in the subway system. All the paintings seem so intricate and well thought out but Victoria says they were all naturally chosen. She starts out by snapping a couple of pictures and then, she goes with the flow of her paintbrush. She likes to “enjoy the actual randomness of things” so most of the ideas may not have executed themselves the way she planned them. You can see that The Places We Ignore maintains a constant theme but each piece of the collection is unique. I asked Victoria about her creative process and she mentioned that she begins with a central theme and looks for that theme in everyday moments. Although everyday moments may seem mundane, she uses her oils and paint to evolve these ideas into something new: bringing the life back into the everyday moments. Victoria’s painting collection (some of which is shown here) is now on display at The Galleries at 153 East 53rd Street until April 30th.  Her collection is there to inspire us all to dream of all the possibilities and dream of them through the everyday moments and places we ignore. Victoria ended her conversation with me by encouraging me to be a dreamer: “You know a lot of them won’t be realistic but why not have fun with it? If I didn’t dream, I wouldn’t have all of this.” – Victoria Milo

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What piece of art has inspired you to dream lately?  Share below!

By: Denise Pina

Apr
11

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FoodPorn Friday: Houston Hall

Houston Hall by UsedYorkCity.com

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Thursday night in the city and you want to know where all the cool kids are?  Head downtown to Houston Street, and chances are you’ll hear them before you see them.

(yes.  it’s loud.  but embrace it and you’ll have a good time, promise.)

Houston Hall is, by Manhattan standards, a ginormous beer hall decked out like a cafeteria from the 1920’s: long communal tables, rustic decor, dim lighting…this vintage vibe is only offset by the huge screens/TVs playing the season’s it sport, and the top 40’s music playing soundtrack to the game.  The Choice A of spots to go to hang with old friends, meet new ones, all while having conversation be completely optional, which, let’s be honest, is kinnndddaa nice after a long week in the office.

Now, I realize most people go to beer gardens for, well, the beer.  And considering they brew at Greenpoint Beer Works, that’s all fine and good.  But you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you go and didn’t order the food…lots of it.  

The portions are generous, the picks go splendidly with the beer garden theme, and, get this, it’s a vegetarian’s dream.  Who would have thought?!  All the dishes featured below are veggie friendly and crazy good.  If I lived in the hood I’d be ordering takeout from this place all the time, it’s that kinda good.

I know what you’re thinking: so many options, right?!  Life decisions can be hard, my friends.  If you need a little guidance, I’d go with the fried pickles, fried macaroni and cheese balls, and pretzel with warm cheese.  Ya know, cause 2/3’s of the options with the word “fried” in it isn’t bad.  Plus, they’re insanely good…between my dinner date and I, we shamefully proudly finished every last morsel of those three dishes.

Without any further adieu, let the food porn begin…

Houston Hall by UsedYorkCity.com Houston Hall by UsedYorkCity.com Houston Hall by UsedYorkCity.com Houston Hall by UsedYorkCity.com Houston Hall by UsedYorkCity.com Houston Hall by UsedYorkCity.com Houston Hall by UsedYorkCity.com

 

WHERE: Houston Hall
222 West Houston Street
New York, New York 

What’s the most memorable dish you’ve eaten this week?  Describe below!

 

By: Jessica Tiare Bowen

 

 

 

 

Apr
10

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5 NYC-Centric Apps We Can’t Live Without

Uber

Besides my Metrocard, the only other thing I never ever leave home without is my trusty chihuahua* iPhone.  Any other New Yorkers out there relate?

I’ve only had this life changing amazing piece of technology for about a year, and it’s insane to think how I navigated my way around the city before!  (Blackberry, you’ll always have a place in my heart.)  Here are the top 5 NYC-centric apps that are, quite simply, priceless.

 

 

1. Seamless

Heading home from a long day at work?  Sure, you could wait until arriving home to log onto the desktop and place an order for your go-to Thai…OR, you could open up this handy dandy app on your phone, order and pay for it en route, and have it delivered by the time you walk in your building.  Amazing?  I think yes.

2. HopStop

In pre-iPhone days, I would email myself directions from HopStop, like, all the time.  Now life on public transportation just got a million times easier, cause you can search for door to door directions virtually anywhere!  Or if you’re feeling super lazy, you can even get an estimate on how much cab fare would be.

 

 

3. Uber

Speaking of cab fare…you know those times right around cab shift-change time when there are absolutely NO cabs in all of Manhattan?  And of course it’s thunder storming like crazy?  That, my friends, is where Uber comes in.  The app will send a black car (or SUV if you have a big pickup) directly to where you are, charge your credit card (tip included!), and drop you off at your destination.  Granted, it’s a bit more pricey than yellow cabs, but during a blizzard, it just can’t be beat.

 

 

4. FreshDirect

Okay, we know New Yorkers like to multitask.  So how about getting all your grocery shopping done while you’re bored to tears in a meeting?  (Not like I have ever, ever done this…)  You can order anything your little heart desires, and have it delivered as early as the next day.  Bonus: once you’re on their mailing list, they frequently send out emails announcing codes for free delivery, which means you really don’t end up spending anymore than you would at Whole Foods…and we all know how crazy THAT line is.

5. Instapost

Want a quick way to tell all your non-New York family and friends that you love and miss them?  Instapost takes your Instagram or camera phone photos, turns them into a postcard, allows you to enter text on the back, and will mail it off to the recipient the very same day!  And the best part is, this sweet surprise only costs $2.49, postage included!

We’d love to know…what are your favorite apps?  Share below!

 

By: Jessica Tiare Bowen

*As much as I would love to never leave home without my chichi Gills, my day job sadly hasn’t dropped the “no dogs” policy yet.  Fail!

 

 

 

 

 

Apr
9

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Top 10 NYC Movies From The Mouth Of A Native

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

{Dear Readers: The guest post written by Mike Vogler, Top 10 New York City Movies From My West Coast Point Of View, caused quite the passionate discussion here in NYC, so much so that our very own New Yorker and UYC writer Joanne came up with her own top 10!)

Photo Credit: http://www.onlocationvacations.com

Now Mike…

I don’t mean to start a coastal conflict nor a gender war. I am not equipped intellectually nor physically for either.  However, that being said … the genteel gloves are off!

There is a LEFT coast – and a RIGHT coast (pun intended!) that define our borders.  However, it’s like sliding doors. Sunny LA, Wintry NYC. You need both sides of the coin, another point of view, devil’s advocate….call it as you see it!

Your Top Ten NYC movie list represents an admirable, well considered selection and I especially respect the thorough research you put into the movie locales involving all five boroughs of the Big Apple, not just the slice called Manhattan. But it was teeming with testosterone driven selections! (Although I acknowledge your Number One spot was a smart choice and saved you from eternal banishment to the dog house, Mike!) But I think perhaps it’s the L.A. smog and not rose colored glasses informing your list. The films you chose are so dark and grim. More a view of NYC’s gritty underbelly then the romantic, optimistic “the sky’s the limit” approach – “if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.”  I don’t want the UYC readers to think NYC is ripe with corruption, mafiosos, mean streets and greedy Wall Streeters,  yet seasoned at its edges with a little serendipity! 

So lest those in the middle think NYC is all grit and grime, I’ll visit the lighter side of the moon with my selections rather then fly too close to the sun.

I am offering an admittedly highly subjective list for my “Filmed in the Big Apple Top Ten Movie List” from the female pov, and the biased opinions of a born and bred New Yorker – we’re all like that i.e. overly opinionated!  I am opting for the gentler, kinder movie NYC tempered by the double “X” factor. Yes, there are a few mean streets here but there’s also the yellow brick road.

The only criteria for my selections is that NYC work as great backdrop and setting, yet assumes such importance that our great city becomes an essential character in the film.

By the way, the last time I did a “Top 10” movie list, I had 117 selections.  So make certain your Netflix account is in good standing, you’re gonna need it!

Enjoy my self indulgent anecdotal commentary – my personal version of pop up video.

10.  “ENCHANTED”

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Who doesn’t love a fairy tale? Starring the gossamer Amy Adams, and a gorgeous Patrick Dempsey, this film solidified her cinematic future. A star was born.  Adored the charming romp thru the eastern side of Central Park, especially literary walk and Belvedere Terrace for the production number “How Do You Know?” But all the NYC backdrops, especially the Times Square neon and billboards, are essential to this fabulous fluff of a flick.  I remember when they were in NYC filming this feather of a story – it was the dead of winter! Brrrrrr.

9.  “REAR WINDOW”

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.comDirected by the great mystery movie maker, Alfred Hitchcock.  Starring the iconic Jimmy Stewart and that regally beautiful blonde, Grace Kelly. This is a terrific thriller and debunks the myth that NYC’s citizens don’t know their neighbors….and if they don’t, this movie proves that they SHOULD!  The view from the rear window in this film is EXACTLY like the one I have from my home. Many Manhattan apt. dwellers who live on the side streets can make the same statement. You never know what you’re gonna witness outside your window, be warned.

8.  “THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT”

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

With the legendary funny man, Peter Sellers, and the always interesting Angela Lansbury.  But the real standouts are the two clever, precocious 12 year old private school BFFs  on that crucial cusp of adolescence. Girl pals who make the streets and avenues of NYC their personal back yard.  Great views of NYC landmarks such as the UN and my beloved East River Walk (which I wrote about previously in UYC) and of everyday Manhattan neighborhoods. Who says you can’t raise kids safely in a big city?  Growing up in a city like New York is an education in itself. A must see, bittersweet  adventurous tale of that necessary, life altering transition from innocence to experience.

7.  “HANNAH AND HER SISTERS”

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Woody Allen is to NYC as Charles Dickens is to London … inseparable.  Set throughout Manhattan – the Carlyle, the Metropolitan Opera House, uptown, the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, CBGB’s, the Broadway Theater District,  Pageant Bar & Grill, the Chrysler Building…. he covers it all. But the real star of the film, especially to New York’s apartment dwellers, became the sprawling, fabulous, seemingly endless apartment where several keys scenes are played out. We all drooled over the dining room (who in NYC has a dining room?) the 12 foot ceilings with crown molding, endless book shelves,  a grand piano in the enormous living room, a center hallway – the sheer good taste of it all…the green eyed monster came out in all of us. Allegedly this was Mia Farrow’s real apartment (she plays Hannah) left to her by her legendary actress mother, Maureen O’Sullivan, who actually plays her Mother in this film.  I so miss the legendary Tower Records on Broadway and 68th Street, a logical neighbor for Lincoln Center.( Woody spots one of the sisters in Tower browsing their incredible jazz selection.) A great place to browse, listen, meet up – as a music major, I spent HOURS there.  My friends met their future spouses there (as does Woody in this film). A legendary selection of music.

6.  “SEX AND THE CITY”

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Our favorite gal pals continue their cable tv love affair (not to mention their love lives) with NYC on the silver screen.  The main 42nd Street branch of the NYPL will NEVER be the same. (I spent many a weekend in their 3rd Floor main reading room while in Graduate School) The grand entrance, flanked by those majestic lions (aptly named “Patience and Fortitude”) and grand marble staircase soured into a sad exit for our beloved Carrie, faster the a New York minute.  And again, we salivated over SJP’s and Big’s Upper Fifth Avenue apartment, not to mention Charlotte’s Park Avenue digs and Miranda’s Brooklyn brownstone. These glam gals defined NYC for an entire generation.  I ran into their tv shoots several times during the years they were filming their show in and about NYC.  Always a thrill to see these women “on the job.”

5.  “THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR”

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Such an intelligent, involving, intriguing plot – the perfect metaphor for NYC itself. Robert Redford plays a CIA low level think tank “brain” (code name: condor) who analyzes data and ideas for possible conspiracy theories. (Remember, this was pre 9/11 – where the criticism became “a failure of imagination”…how prescient). Sure enough, he comes too close to the truth and the story takes off. You will see our government in a totally different light after this exciting, absorbing film. I remember when they were filming on the streets of Manhattan, very exciting seeing Redford literally on the run!  The Lexington Avenue “Luncheonette” and East 77th St. elegant townhouse which served as this film’s catalyst, still stand, as well as the entire Upper West side Broadway run where Redford’s character literally ran for his life.  The Times Square recruiting station also still stands.  Gotta mention the legendary Max Von Sydow as a chilling “hit man” and a smart Faye Dunaway as an initially unwilling accomplice.  Love a good conspiracy theory!

4.  “WHEN HARRY MET SALLY”

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

NYC couldn’t be more beautiful in the Fall, and this film takes total advantage of this season.  If you have not seen this film – which centers around that eternal question  “Can men and women be friends without sex getting in the way?” then run, don’t walk to see an adorable Meg Ryan and a witty, smarty pants Billy Crystal. You have all seen the famous scene at Katz’s deli i.e. “I’ll have what she’s having.” This “hit the nail on the head” love story travels to Giant’s Stadium, the Puck Building, the Washington Square Arch down in the heart of Greenwich Village, Central Park’s ideal ladies luncheon locale i.e. the Central Park Boat House….each scene contributes to this insightful love story that could only happen in NYC.

3.  “MOONSTRUCK”

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Only a New Yorker such as John Patrick Shanley (born in the Bronx) could write such an off center, off beat love story. With lines like “Snap out of it!” and “Ma, I love him awful”… well, reality bites back!  Cher scored her Oscar in this film, but it was her NY spot on accent, highlighted by the Brooklyn Heights streets and glorious promenade that captured out hearts. The scenes both outside and inside the glorious red velvet Metropolitan Opera House take your breath away. Every other time I pass the infamous Lincoln Center Fountain, I spot someone posing like Cher in “Moonstruck” for a selfie.  I urge you all to one day go inside this major opera house, they offer a fab back stage tour.

2.  “ANNIE HALL”

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Another Woody Allen masterpiece. A work of epic proportion and way ahead of itself in the relationship area.  Both Woody and Diane Keaton (her quirky, cool look launched a fashion trend) have never been better.  You laugh, you cry, you relate. As expected, Woody’s love affair with NY continues, he takes us thru Coney Island in Brooklyn, his beloved Beekman Movie Theater on the Upper East Side, the beautifully filmed streets of New York invite you for a admirable stroll where everything is possible. And if you can’t get it here….well, you don’t need it!  Our beloved “Thalia” movie theater (the ultimate art house for film buffs and due to its late night/early morning programming, the perfect symbol of the city that never sleeps) is lovingly acknowledged in a memorable scene. It closed way back when. I cut my young cinematic teeth there on those deep, existential Ingmar Bergman stoic stories and Fellini double headers. Those were the days.

1. “BREAKFAST AT TIFFANYS”

Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Iconic. Unique. The epitome of my city’s inherent promise, its legendary night life, its drama. Starring the ultra stylish, supremely beautiful  Audrey Hepburn. She looked like nobody else, they broke the mold.  I moved to an old brownstone in NYC’s East 70s-so influential was this film to my generation of young women – as this is where the fictional Holly Golightly lived.  I pass the building where they filmed her apt. practically every day. Holly was godmother to all young women trying to make their dreams come true, knowing they can’t- or won’t- go home again. Keep sailing that moon river, my fellow huckleberry friends. You know who you are!

Now readers, we would love to hear from you! What is your favorite movie set in NYC?  Share below!

 

By: Joanne Theodorou