Free May Events in New York City

Spring has finally arrived in NYC, and we can’t wait to attend awesome May events.The Big Apple has a lot to offer when it comes to entertainment and outdoors activities, don’t worry about the cost as they are completely free.

Our first stop would be a place already well known to downtown residents, Brookfield Place.  This recently opened world-class destination for shopping and dining with a luxury retail collection, a 25,000 square-foot French marketplace, waterfront dining and exceptional restaurants, offers a series of exciting cultural experiences and free community events throughout the year. This Spring Brookfield Place presents the Global Beat Festival in the Winter Garden on May 7th, 8th and 9th. The Global Beat Festival explores music from around the world befitting the stunning acoustics of the magnificent glass-vaulted Winter Garden. Each night pairs two groups from different traditions for an unforgettable 3-day experience. The list of participants includes The Libyans, Feedel Band, Niyaz, Emel Mathlouthi, Flavia Coelho, Guayo Cedeño and + Coco Bar.

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Another great downtown destination is The South Street Seaport. A historic area in New York City, it is centered where Fulton Street meets the East River, and is adjacent to the Financial District. The Seaport is a designated historic district, and is distinct from the neighboring Financial District. It features some of the oldest architecture in downtown Manhattan, and includes the largest concentration of restored early 19th-century commercial buildings in the city. This includes renovated original mercantile buildings, renovated sailing ships, the former Fulton Fish Market, and modern tourist malls featuring food, shopping, and nightlife, with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. The South Street Seaport offers  fashion, sports, educational and cultural events all year long. This year every Thursday from April 30th through May 21st at 21 Fulton Street you can join Stella Flame Jewelry and Farm Candy for a featured artist reception. Each event is from 5PM-8PM and located at 21 Fulton Street. Featured Artists: Quentin Vidor, Alex McMichael, Andrea Blanch, Terri Gold.

South St Seaport

 

On May 17 learn how to take steps to lead a healthier lifestyle at the Highway to Health Festival at The South Street Seaport Historic District. Founded in 2003 by heart surgeon and daytime Emmy Award-winning host Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, this event is infused with live entertainment, workouts, giveaways, health screenings, and opportunities to consult with health and fitness professionals. Don’t miss the opportunity to become more educated about your health.

While enjoying beautiful May weather and outdoor activities don’t forget about air conditioned museums where you can escape the heat. One of the places we would recommend visiting is the National Museum of The American Indian. This museum is never as crowded as other ones in New York City and admission is always free, which makes it a very attractive option for a weekend afternoon. Visit the Circle of Dance exhibition – a five-year exhibition that presents Native dance as a vibrant, meaningful, and diverse form of cultural expression. Featuring ten social and ceremonial dances from throughout the Americas, the exhibition illuminates the significance of each dance and highlights the unique characteristics of its movements and music.

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Our last destination is beloved by locals and tourists. Central Park this May is hosting Japan Day on May 10th. This celebration of Japanese culture kicks off with the four-mile Japan Run and Kids’ Race in Central Park. Afterward, it follows the style of traditional Japanese summer festivals providing plenty of food and family-friendly activities, as well as performances showcasing traditional and contemporary Japanese performers around the Central Park Bandshell.

Japan day Centrak Park

 

Have fun :)

The Tribeca Film Festival Highlights

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff.    With a goal of establishing New York as a center for film and celebrating the city’s vibrant culture, the festival has since brought an estimated $750 million worth of economic activity to Manhattan and revitalized the hearts, minds, and businesses of countless city residents. The Tribeca Film Festival has reached an audience of over four million international festival-goers in its relatively young life. In NYC for the past few years,The Festival hosted screenings throughout Manhattan as its 1,000-plus screening schedule outgrew the capacity downtown. We are very happy that this year finally, after spending many years in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, the Tribeca Film Festival event has moved back to our beloved TriBeCa in which it was born.

The festival program this year was typical of Tribeca, mixing narrative features and documentaries with strong music and sports programming and special events that include outdoor “Drive In” screenings and a 25th-anniversary screening of Martin Scorsese’s “GoodFellas” on closing night.

This year the Festival showcased more diverse filmmakers than in years past. As no human being could possibly manage to see every film screening at the festival, we’ve rounded up the films we were most looking forward to. Here is the list of six films we think you should pay attention to …

“Meadowland” – Story of a couple (Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson) who struggle to find solace after their son goes missing. Kevin Corrigan, John Leguizamo, Elisabeth Moss, Giovanni Ribisi, Juno Temple and Merritt Wever co-star.

Olivia Wilde (Sarah) Photo credit: Reed Morano

“The Adderall Diaries” – About a frustrated, drug-dependent writer who gets sucked into a murder case, The Adderall Diaries stars James Franco, Amber Heard and Cynthia Nixon.

Stephen Elliott (James Franco) and Neil Elliott (Ed Harris) Anna Kooris

“Anesthesia” – Tim Blake Nelson wrote and directed this reflective drama about a beloved Columbia professor (Sam Waterston) who is mugged in New York City and retraces his steps to find what led to the attack. Enter a cast of motley characters played by Nelson, Kristen Stewart, Glenn Close, Corey Stoll, K. Todd Freedman and Gretchen Mol.

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“When I Live My Life Over Again” – Jude (Amber Heard) is fed up with the big city, so she spends some time with her father (Christopher Walken), who lives in the Hamptons and is staging a musical comeback in the winter of his life. You read that right: Christopher Walken plays an over-the-hill singer desperate to resurrect his career — if living with his daughter doesn’t drive them both crazy first. Written and directed by Robert Edwards, “When I Live My Life Over Again” also features Kelli Garner, Hamish Linklater and Oliver Platt.

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“Bleeding Heart” – Jessica Biel stars in Bleeding Heart as May, whose life is thrown out of balance when she decides to rescue her long-lost, haphazard sister, Shiva, from a life of prostitution and abuse (Zosia Mamet).

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“Franny” – Richard Gere joins Dakota Fanning in this drama about an eccentric, meddling man who weaves his way into the lives of a newly married couple.

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Of course these films mentioned above are only a small portion of the fabulous Festival’s selection, hopefully you were able to see more of it. And not only films, there are many amazing opportunities to watch filmmaker interviews, live performances, and panel discussions throughout the festival. “Tribeca Talks” offer tons of relevant conversations about filmmaking in general—like a recently lauded chat between George Lucas and Stephen Colbert—as well as sneak previews and targeted talks leading up to festival screenings.

You don’t even have to be in NYC to see the festival. Film lovers outside of New York City can enjoy the unique curatorial perspective of the Festival through a variety of streaming and Internet-based programs. This year’s New Online Work showcase focuses on new-media creators, and can be viewed online for free.

We look forward to the Tribeca Film Festival every April and hope you will come stay with us to enjoy it.

Coffee destinations in TriBeCa

Finally New York City is taking it’s coffee seriously.

With a hundreds of coffee shops all over the City it should be easy to find a good quality coffee, but unfortunately there are still places that serve a brownish liquid with sour smell that slightly similar to real coffee. The biggest problem is finding good espresso. Here is a few things you should look for in a coffee shop – the first one is coffee bean grinders, good coffee shops have a skyline of grinders, one for espresso, one for decaffeinated espresso and one for brewed coffee. Beans should be grinded to order so they preserve the freshness and your espresso comes out aromatic with a nice dense but thin layer of foam. Milk steamed to order as well for each macchiato or latte. A telltale sign is arsenal of pitchers, instead of one big one and of course good coffee shops use only manual espresso machines run by baristas who have been trained by the leading roasting companies in the intricateness  of the device.

With all this being said, let us introduce you to the coffee destinations in TriBeCa. We will start with the most well-known chain and it’s Starbucks of course. Starbucks is definitely the most conveniently located option (right in the same building, just with a separate entrance) for those who is looking for a morning fuel and doesn’t want to walk any further than to the next door. But the good thing is that TriBeCa has plenty of options for picky coffee lovers and we are happy to share our coffee experience with you, so you know where to get a good cup of Joe.

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The first place on our list is Kaffe 1668, located 3 blocks from the Cosmo on 275 Greenwich Street. This café has everything the hungry and thirsty worker could ask for – WiFi, outlets, nice communal table and industrial yet homey vibe. They offer a decent selection of salads and cold sandwiches as well as pastry for breakfast, we also love the variety of cold pressed healthy juices and the coffee is some of the best in the city. Kaffe 1668 has one of the most varied coffee menus around the city. Drip coffee is brewed to order on a clover machine and around six different single origins are available. They use locally produced, non-homogenized high quality milk. The space is deceptively large, with additional sitting downstairs and cute, furry hand-made sheep, which are not only a part of the interior but you can actually purchase it for $85.00 (not cheap but very original). Overall Kaffe 1668 is a great place with very friendly atmosphere, where you can bring your lap top and work  or just enjoy  a cup of cappuccino or macchiato (which is really good) with a friend.

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The second place on the list is Laughing Man, located only couple blocks away from the hotel on 184 Duane Street. The whole concept of the company Laughing Man Coffee & Tea, which is owned by Hugh Jackman and David Stingard is awesome, 100% of its revenue goes to education, community development and new business development. But the concept is not the only great thing about the place. This tiny shop (with a room only for few customers) and no sitting area, unless you count a cramped windowsill (better than nothing) offers a very good coffee. We would recommend to order flat white with perfect consistency of the foam and ratio of milk and espresso, simply perfection in a cup. Shop also offers wide selection of teas and some sweet and sour pastries. Make sure to stop by when  in TriBeCa, skip the chains like Starbucks and support a great establishment that gives back and cares about the livelihood of the people that put hard work so we can appreciate a great cup of coffee.

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Another coffee spot in TriBeCa, located only two blocks away from the Cosmo and just one block from City Hall Park on 280 Broadway, is The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. This shop is part of a rapidly expanding chain that has been around for about 50 years.  The space is amazingly large with a bathroom a size of one bedroom NYC apartment, complimentary WiFi and very friendly baristas. They serve decent coffee and have a wide selection of breakfast pastries. What we love about the place is the powders they use for coffee based and caffeine free drinks. Vanilla and chocolate powders have very rich flavor, it’s like drinking a chocolate cake, which makes this place a must go for Hot Chocolate and Macchiato lovers. But what really got our attention is Chai Latte – rich, deep flavor of cinnamon and spices will mingle in your mouth with a splash of milky sweetness, simply a little delicious heaven in a cup. Chai comes sweet but you can tailor it to your taste, just ask barista for a sugar free version. And of course we had to mention a selection of teas, we lost count of all the flavors and kinds of tea they offer, you should check it yourself, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a place where you can always find a table so it makes it a perfect spot for individuals who likes to work on their lap tops in a quite, friendly atmosphere with aromatic cup of coffee.

La Colombe espresso machineLa colombe

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And finally our last choice is the best of the best in the coffee shop industry in NYC (the only reason is the last on our list is the location, you would have to walk about 10 min from the hotel, in our opinion it’s totally worth it)  and it’s La Colombe Torrefacation. This amazing coffee shop located in the historic TriBeCa building on 319 Church Street. This was the first New York home for respected Philadelphia roaster La Colombe.

La Colombe Torrefacation takes coffee and everything that related to it very seriously, with hand-made cups, polished wooden interior and twin Faema E61 (one of the best on the market espresso machine) all making an appearance. Espresso is truly amazing here, it has perfect whitish dense but thin foam and the aroma is breathtaking. They use high quality organic milk and pastries are always fresh and delicious. La Colombe is a perfect stylish café where you will enjoy some of the best coffee made by the most experienced baristas in the City.

Enjoy you perfect cup of Joe!

 

 

 

 

 

Best Desserts in Downtown NYC

New York City offers a vast selection of restaurants and coffee shops with all different types of foods and desserts. But more options you have harder it is to choose the right one. And when we say the right one we mean a truly good, one of a kind dessert ,the dessert that will blow your mind with its rich flavor and consistency. We explored few places in the city and here is the list of five top dessert destinations in the Big Apple that you must visit.

Union Square Cafe

Union Square Cafe has been offering great food and service to New Yorkers for almost 30 years. However, only in past four years this place really bloomed with fantastic selection of desserts. Thanks to it’s pastry chef Sunny Raymond. Try Pumpkin Cheesecake ($9.50) with toasted pumpkin seeds. The texture is more like a smooth mousse than a cheesecake. On top, a thin nest of crisped carrots add a pleasant crunch, and the whipped cream is flavored with toasted coconut. The cake’s beautiful colors and mild sweetness make it easy to love. Another dessert we love is the Banana Tart ($9.50). Imagine a banana tarte tatin, except with a crunchy brûléed crust and a well-baked butter cookie base. It’s just a tart perfection. Don’t hesitate to try Raymond’s crème brûlée scones, which remind of a less sweet Macao-style Portuguese egg custard tart. They’re available all day and in the brunch pastry basket.

21 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003

uNION Square Cafe

Cookshop

Cookshop is one of the most popular brunch spots in the City, located conveniently right next to the High Line. Unfortunately  is not well known for its great desserts from pastry chef Amanda Cook. There are two must-order items on the dessert menu. The first is a textural masterpiece called the Bourbon Pecan Pie Sundae ($9). A deeply flavorful bourbon caramel ice cream is paired with crunchy candied pecans and pieces of pecan pie crust. Instead of chocolate or butterscotch sauce, a more subtle sweet brown sugar honey is drizzled into the glass. You’ll need the extra long spoon they provide to make certain you get each component in every bite.

The second one is Chocolate Deliciousness ($9).It delivers chocolate four ways: a moist fudge strip, a milk chocolate ganache, a dark chocolate ganache, and an airy malted milk chocolate mousse. Crunchy dark chocolate pearls and whipped cream round out the dish. In our opinion this dessert is a chocolate perfection.

156 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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Chikalicious Dessert Bar

New York’s first dessert-only restaurant,  that was opened 11 years ago by Chika Tillman and husband Don. And despite opening two more shops in New York and expanding internationally, they still work their own New York kitchens. Their new West Side Dessert Club offers seven different seasonal plated desserts that can be put together into a three-course tasting with drinks for $32. We recommend the Steamed Apple Pudding Cake with warm vanilla anglaise and shredded apple. This moist apple cake sits in and soaks up the fragrant, lightly sweetened vanilla custard. The combination of the spicy cake and sweet vanilla makes this dessert irresistible. Another great dessert is Mocha Hazelnut Trifle is a slightly heartier dessert that features a memorable white coffee ice cream. A square of light chocolate cake that’s been soaked in coffee syrup sits in Frangelico pastry cream, whose smooth texture is contrasted with crunchy toasted hazelnuts. A generous scoop of white coffee ice cream, with a strong coffee flavor, sits on top.

203 East 10th Street, New York NY 10003

 

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Otto

Otto has been drawing locals and tourists alike for years for their great pasta. But this place has not only great food but amazing ice cream as well. Their pastry chef Meredith Kurtzman delivers consistently mouthwatering sorbet and gelato. The must-order is the Olive Oil Copetta ($11), which starts with a buttery, grassy olive oil ice cream and heaps on accompaniments that change with the seasons. Tart citrus curd and granita, fresh fruit, and herbs bring out all the fruity, pungent, and grassy flavors of olive oil for a sundae that shows that unusual dessert  ingredients can be even better option.

15th Avenue, New York, NY ‎10003

otta olive oil copetta

Contra

We love it’s $20 three-course dessert tasting. Like the savory side of the kitchen, the dessert offerings change nightly, but co-owner and pastry chef Fabian Von Huske always uses seasonal ingredients in clever ways.

He is best at light desserts that bring a multitude of flavors and textures. The Roasted Sunchoke Mousse at first seems like a simple plate, but fresh apples are used five different ways. Underneath a fluffy whipped mouse sits a thin layer of caramel made with reduced apple juice syrup. The result is a sweet and acidic apple caramel. Pickled apples balance the sweet of the caramel and dried apple bits add some crunch. A subtly flavored apple granita finishes things off in cool, refreshing way. Popcorn Parfait with a delicious concentrated grape juice and salty-sweet popcorn powder. Rice Pudding featured peanut butter custard with coconut snow and peanut brittle. For the lightness, flavor, creativity, and price point, this tasting is like nothing else in New York.

138 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

Contra Apple Dessert

 Enjoy!

 

Art in the Subway

The New York City subway system is the largest rapid transit system in the world by number of stations, with 468 stations in operation. The New York City Subway is also one of the world’s oldest public transit systems. Overall, the system contains 232 miles (373 km) of routes, translating into 656 miles (1,056 km) of revenue track, and a total of 842 miles (1,355 km) including non-revenue trackage. In 2013, the subway delivered over 1.71 billion rides,averaging approximately 5.5 million rides on weekdays, about 3.2 million rides on Saturdays, and about 2.6 million rides on Sundays. Sounds impressive, but New York City subway will impress you not only with it’s size but with a very large and diverse “collection” of art. Whether you’re a native New Yorker, a tourist or somewhere in between, you’ve likely noticed the assortment of artwork adorning the inside of many of the city’s train stations.

Let us tell you about some of them, within few blocks from The Cosmopolitan TriBeCa.The closest to the hotel subway station is Chambers St., it is located on the same block, right in front of The Cosmopolitan Hotel. Chambers St. subway station was opened on July 1, 1918, almost  97 years ago, and it has a group of art works “Oculus”. Oculus or Eye (1998) is the title of the artwork installed all over the Chambers Street/World Trade Center subway station complex. The centerpiece of the work is an elliptical glass and stone mosaic floor, with a magnificent micro mosaic eye at the center of an ultramarine vortex with the image of the City of New York woven into the picture.  Created by Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel, Oculus consists of 300 different mosaic eyes, all based upon actual human eyes taken from photographs. The project presents the eyes of three hundred individual New Yorkers translated from a photographic study conducted by Jones and Ginzel into stone mosaic by the classically trained Rinaldo Piras.

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Another Art work on Chambers St. Station is a mystery mosaic .The mosaics are so dark and grimy, you can barely see them from the platform. But both the downtown and uptown tracks at the West Side Chambers Street station are lined with these images of the first building of Kings College (later Columbia University), founded in 1754 the school held classes around the corner from Chambers Street on Park Place.

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Another noticeable art can be found on the walls of Fulton St. station, which was opened on July 1, 1948 and it’s the twelfth busiest station in the system, as of 2013, with 18,721,694 passengers. New York City has perhaps the greatest collection of marine art and maritime artifacts of any city in the world, with the possible exception of London. Eclectic collections available to the public can be viewed in museums throughout the city such as the Noble Collection in Staten Island, the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the City of New York, U.S.S. Intrepid, South Street Seaport and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Less well known, however, are some of the maritime memorials and art in public places that are ironically passed by thousands of people per day, but with little notice. Some examples are the Titanic Memorial at Fulton and Pearl Streets, the Merchant Marine Memorial in Battery Park, and General Slocum Memorial in Tompkins Square Park. Another important set of artifacts, origin unknown to most who view them, are six incomparable tile murals located in the subway station at Broadway and Fulton Street, commemorating the history of New York Harbor. These six works of art, known as the Marine Grill Murals, 1913, were created in 1912 by an American Artist named Frederick Dana Marsh (1872-1961) for the installation in the new McAlpin Hotel opening in 1913 at Broadway and 34th Street. When built, the McAlpin was one of the largest hotels in New York and instantly became a fashionable meeting place for visitors and shoppers around Herald Square. The hotel featured an elaborate basement restaurant that, when new, was named the Rathskeller but soon became more commonly known as the Marine Grill because of the twenty spectacular maritime murals, designed by Fred Marsh that graced its walls. In addition to the murals, the Marine Grill space was itself a profusion of arched tiled ceiling grottos separated within a forest of curved pillars all covered with tiles in various shades of terra cotta, brown, gold, red and green. It was indeed an architectural masterpiece with the murals as focal points. The McAlpin Hotel went through four name changes over the years until finally, in 1989, when way past its glory days, it was converted to co-op apartments and the Marine Grill was demolished. Six of the tile murals were thankfully preserved. In a joint effort by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Municipal Art Society, the New York Landmark Preservation Commission, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and an obscure group called the Friends of Terra Cotta, the shards of the Marsh murals were rescued from demolition and painstakingly reassembled much like giant jig saw puzzles by a group of art students. As part of the MTA’s Arts-For-Transit program, the restored murals were reinstalled in the mezzanine level of the Fulton/Broadway subway station during 2000. In 2010 they were relocated to the William Street entrance to the station where they remain on display passed by thousands of people a day who know little of their origin.

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Of course we had to mention one of the most mysterious subway stations in the whole NYC transit system. Brooklyn Bridge City Hall is well known for its abandoned platform. Opened in 1904, the old City Hall station with its beautiful architecture and curved platform was intended to be a showpiece of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company’s (IRT) new subway line. It was also the chosen place for hanging the commemorative plaques dedicated to those who designed, built and financed the underground train system. The station was closed just a few decades later in 1945 because its curved platform wasn’t able to accommodate the IRT’s newer, longer cars. Today, the subway stop still remains closed but you can get a quick glimpse of the platform by taking the 6 train past its last stop at Brooklyn Bridge. For those who want a full-blown tour, you can become a member of the MTA Transit Museum to access the City Hall station.

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Unfortunately a new version of City Hall station is not as glorious as the original one but you can still find few art woks there, “Buildings, Boats and a Bridge” is a group of wall tiles art, was installed under the sponsorship of MTA Arts for Transit and the Studio in a School Association. It was created by the students of Manhattan Academy of Technology and The Clinton Hill School in Manhattan under the directions of artists/teachers Beth Hausman and Lyn Riccardo.

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Another art piece is Cable Crossing, which was created in 1996 by Mark Gibian.This cabling exists along the roof of the main station entrance beneath a grate with some little glass cubes letting natural light down into the station, and form the fences between the areas within and outside of fare control where there no turnstiles. It is a tribute to the innovative cabling used on the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Let’s move to another station with an interesting art. Franklin Street Subway Station was opened on July 1, 1918. Many years later, in the mid-1990s. it’s platforms were renovated,with a particularly speckled marble that gives interesting shadows.The mosaic bands and panels were kept during the renovation, which saw the original wall tile replaced. There are “Franklin Street” large mosaics, small “F” mosaics and directional mosaics “To Franklin St.” and “To North Moore St.” But the center art piece of this station is  “Alleyways, TriBeCa” which was created in 2005 by Susan Leopold, This artwork is inside the windows of where the newsstand is on the opposite platform it looks homemade, not a durable mosaic like most installations on the MTA, and a little homemade sign directs people to the artist’s website consisting of two single photographs with mirrors and lights that create in the large central skylight of the new head house.

Alleyways TriBeCa at Franklin St.

It is very unusual art work, different from common tile  plaques, paintings  or metal installations , but that’s the beauty of NYC , you can find something you have never seen and will never see anywhere else in the world.

So, Now you just have to see it all with your own eyes. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Traditions

Christmas is the season of joy, and it is also full of beautiful traditions everyone follow without really understanding it. Lets look  at 5 of these Christmas traditions and try to explain the history behind it.

Christmas Trees – The origin of decorating pine or fir trees with apples, roses, candies and colored paper has its roots in the Renaissance and early modern Germany. Its 16th century origins seem to center around Martin Luther but its widespread popularity followed introduction by various members of the nobility. To decorate a Christmas tree became much more popular and widely accepted in the United Kingdom after Queen Victoria’s marriage to the German Prince Albert.

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Christmas Stocking – There is a lot of confusion surrounding where the tradition of Christmas stockings came from but popular legends have found ways to try and explain it. They tell of an old man with three beautiful daughters who had no money to pay for their dowries and so they could not marry. St Nicholas was riding through the village and heard of this story, understanding that the old man would not accept charity he crept down the chimney that night and found stockings that the daughters had hung by the fireplace to dry. Into these 3 stockings he placed a bag of gold each, the next morning the 3 beautiful women and their father were overjoyed and soon after the women were married. Ever since adults and children alike have hung stockings by the fireplace or at the end of their beds to be filled with presents while they sleep, ready to be joyfully opened the next morning!

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Candy Cane – According to popular history in 1670 a German choirmaster wished to find a way to get the children to be quiet in his church during Christmas Eve ceremonies. He asked the local sweet maker to make sweet sticks for the children but in order to justify the giving of candy during worship he had the sweet maker add a crook to the tip of each sweet (to resemble the crocks of the three shepherds) and to make them red and white (to reinforce Christian beliefs in the sinless life of Jesus). These delicious candy canes then spread through Europe while being given out at nativity plays. Now they are a popular tradition each year and come in many different flavors, not just the traditional peppermint, which the whole family can enjoy.

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Poinsettia – This plant and its associations with Christmas stem from Mexico, where they tell the story of a young girl who was too poor to pay for a present to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Angels inspired her to pick weeds from the roadside to place in front of the church alter and these weeds became poinsettias when beautiful crimson blossoms sprouted from them. From the 17th century onwards friars in Mexico incorporated these bright flowers into their Christmas celebrations, as they believe the flowers have a special symbolism. The star shape of the leaf symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem and the red symbolizes the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Christ. Today these beautiful flowers are popular Christmas decorations, with December 12th being National Poinsettia Day in the USA.

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Mistletoe – Traditionally mistletoe cannot touch the ground between being cut and its removal and it is to be the last of the greens removed from the house after the Christmas season is over. It is supposed to be hung each year to protect the house from fire and any man and woman that met each other under it were obliged to kiss. After each kiss a berry was plucked from the bush, once all the berries were plucked the privilege ceased. The use of mistletoe as a Christmas decoration was common but was not much alluded to or mentioned before the 18th century.

mistletoe Many of these traditions are old and steeped in centuries of history but that doesn’t make them any less important or special today. All five of the listed traditions are some of the most beautiful and enjoyable parts of Christmas! Enjoy it!

 

Holiday Gift Hunting

Holiday Season can be very stressful. There are so much to do and always not enough time.

You have to find a right outfit, come up with a menu, in case you are hosting a Holiday Party and on top of all that you have to find gifts for all the members of your family and friends.

To make your Holiday preparations less time consuming and more enjoyable we explored few Holiday Markets in the city, and found plenty of cool, affordable gift options.  You really don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on gifts, just walk around the city and get inspired by beautiful holiday lights, decorations and pop-up holiday markets with great selection of creative unique items.

One of the most popular Holiday Markets in New York City is the one in Bryant Park. Whatever you’re looking for, the Winter Village has you covered, with crafts and goods from over 125 retailers. You will find there hand-made candles, high-end teas, Christmas Tree ornaments, plenty of cute wardrobe pieces for cold winter days, hand-made interior decorations, and even unique hand-made  skin care products. Plus free ice-skating, and a pop-up restaurant overlooking the rink will make it even more enjoyable shopping experience. Winter Village at Bryant Park is going to be open until January 4 2015.

Christmas Market bryant park

 

Another big Holiday Market located in Grand Central is hosting 15th annual Holiday Fair with 76 vendors, from the New York Times to artisanal hat and jewelry makers. Who can turn down a break from the cold in Vanderbilt Hall? This Market will be open until December 24.

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One of our favorite Markets is The Union Square Holiday Market . When the red-and-white-striped tents go up, you know it’s time to start gift hunting. Sip on steaming hot apple cider as you wander through rows of stalls filled with ornaments, spices, and practically anything that can be handmade. This Holiday Market heaven is open until December 24.

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For the residents of Upper West Side  Columbus Circle Holiday Market will be open until December 24. After a winter stroll through Central Park, stop off at this annual market to grab some top-notch chocolate, hot cider, or comfort food. Then check out the locally made wares, including jewelry and homemade wooden puzzles. Plenty of cute gift options can be found there.

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Holiday Handmade Cavalcade is another Holiday pop-up market in Chelsea, open only for 1 weekend December 13 – 14. Here you will definitely find a gift for everyone on your list. Etsy.com brings its online crafts bonanza to life with a weekend in Chelsea Market. Over the weekend, 60 different vendors will sell their one-of-a-kind goods, including handmade clothing, toys, home wares, and stationery. Plus, the first hundred shoppers each day will receive a swag bag.

Happy Holiday Shopping Everyone :)

Our favorite restaurants in TriBeCa

Aamanns-Copenhagen Stunning Danish cuisine at13 Laight St. You will fall in love with pickled herring and sweet tomato compote atop the kitchen’s ever-present triangles of rye bread (not recommended for those on romantic date, this dish is breath-killing delight). Aamanns specializes in Danish small plates called smørrebrød and falls inline with the New Nordic cuisine that seems to be popping up all over the city. The room is cavernous but comforting — like a starkly staged Ikea living room — and teaming with stylish food lovers whose geometric haircuts seem to mimic the shapes on their plates.

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Marc Forgione located at 134 Reade St. This cozy brick-walled space tends to attract couples who seem to be on the brink of proposals. But the effect is not based on dim lighting alone. Chef and owner Forgione combines influences of rustic Italian cooking with bits of French technique and slightly Southeast Asian flavors. Order the cooked-under-a-brick chicken, a bird so juicy and sweet that you’ll be forgiven for gnawing on the leftover bones. The pumpkin soufflé — peeking out from atop a ramekin — and gingersnap cookies are also worth sampling before the evening is over.

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Kutsher’s Tribeca  at 186 Franklin St. This “modern Jewish-American” restaurant mixes family recipes (“Mrs. K’s matzo-ball” soup is an almost-sweet dill-flecked consommé) with much more elevated dishes (the gefilte fish is made from wild halibut and free of the traditional jellied exterior). The spacious dining room is flooded with latke-seeking young families and JDaters on the prowl. But it won’t take four questions to answer why this restaurant is constantly packed: the food is comforting and the service is warm.

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The Odeon at 145 W. Broadway. Once home to a glittery 1980s art crowd, the restaurant now caters to those who powder their faces instead of just their noses. But unrepentant partiers can still stave off future hangovers than by cracking through the gruyere ceiling on a bowl of French onion soup and soaking up its wafting steam. Other brasserie staples still deliver — a New York strip steak, dabbed with garlic butter and served with a mound of snappy fries; a grilled trout almondine so delicate and moist you’ll wonder why it’s not copied on every menu in town — but a decent meal could also be fashioned out of a heal of crusty bread and a few olives plucked from the belly of your martini glass.

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Locande Verde at 377 Greenwich St.  It’s De Niro’s world and we’re just living in it. At least, that’s what it can feel like at this celebrity-owned restaurant that perpetually packs in beautiful people. The chef describes the food as “family-style,” which would be true if your mama pinched together small pillows of agnolotti tender enough to sleep on. The crostini menu rotates seasonally and, if you’re lucky, it will feature the decadent truffled-ricotta-and-honey combo. Ignore the breadcrumbs that inevitably shower over your lap and instead soak up the atmosphere.

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Halloween Treats in New York City

When you travel to New York you want to bring back home with you something memorable and unique, something that only New York City has. So we thought, Halloween is very American Holiday and New York offers the best ways to celebrate it and the best treats can be found in the Big Apple as well. We will introduce you to the best of the best chocolate shops in New York that create delicious and cool looking Halloween themed chocolates.

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Our Hotel located in Tribeca and when we have chocolate cravings the only place we go to is TriBeCa Treats, its only one block away from Cosmopolitan and they have really good stuff. Big variety of cupcakes, brownies (to die for), chocolate nutty barks and chocolate covered pretzels, you can purchase majority of their treats individually or in a gift boxes. For Halloween TriBeCa Teats creating colorful frosted and sugar cookies in shapes of ghosts, pumpkin and all other Halloween characters. Very cute and delicious gift idea.

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Li-Lac Chocolates has been satisfying chocolate cravings in the West Village since 1923. This local New York City shop offers chocolates in memorable shapes as well as delicious American treats like turtles and almond bark. They also make Holliday special treats and their selection of Halloween themed items is amazing. You can find there everything from Caramel Apples to white chocolate mummy in a milk chocolate coffin.  It’s just a wonderland of chocolate.

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Jacques Torres Chocolate have multiple locations in the City one of them is in Soho. At Jacques Torres boutiques, you can see chocolate being made, but don’t get so distracted you forget to taste the delicious, moderately priced chocolates. We like their Halloween selection, dark and milk Chocolate Pumpkins , Wicked Hot chocolate and mouth-watering Wicked Pecan Brittle.

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Richart Design in Midtown East Manhattanis French chocolatier well known for creative, high quality chocolates and famous for the beauty of their chocolate creations. Treat yourself with Michel Richart’s latest Halloween creations: some dark Venezuela chocolates filled with an orange and cinnamon ganache, made with cream from Bress or blood orange mini-macaroons. The ideal companions of a Halloween evening, evoking frightening stories and seeking comfort from the finest chocolates bonbons.

Happy Halloween J

 

 

 

 

Halloween Attractions in New York City

 

The biggest Halloween event in the City is Village Halloween Parade (http://www.halloween-nyc.com/ . This cultural event stretching more than a mile, with more than sixty thousands costumed participants, dancers, artists and circus performers. This year Village Parade celebrates it’s 41th anniversary.  If you have never seen it before and  happened to be in the city for the Halloween, you should definitely attend it.

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New York City truly is the best host for all the creepy Halloween parties and hunted houses.

One of the oldest and probably most popular once is “Blood Manor” in Soho. (http://bloodmanor.com/). We would recommend it for fans of classic horror. Five thousand square foot labyrinth with seemingly never ending series of rooms, with a different horror setting, from a ghoulish strip club to a butcher shop for humans.

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For those who are not impressed with zombies and vampires “Nightmare” prepared a real-life  horror show (http://hauntedhousenyc.com/). This hunted house is based on scary real-life events and disgusting state on NYC’s subway in the ‘80s, with all its dirtiness, creepiness and freaks. All different sorts of killers leading guests into the creepy lives of murderers, such as Charles Manson, Harrison Graham and Aileen Wuornos. Let us warn you, it might get a little physical in there, so be prepared.

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For something even more extravagant, visit “Blackout”( http://www.theblackoutexperience.com/)  You must sign a waiver agreeing that you understand there will be “extreme horror, adult sexual content, tight spaces, darkness, strobe – lighting effects, strong odors, exposure to water, physical contact and crawling”. And all this craziness you will be experiencing on alone going through the house. It’s one of a kind Halloween experience, but for those with really strong nervous system. Think twice before you go there.

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Exhale, we are done with scary stuff. For a nice kids friendly Halloween we suggest to visit New York Botanical Garden’s Haunted Pumpkin Garden (http://www.nybg.org/exhibitions/2014/haunted-pumpkin-garden/index.php), where you will see pumpkin sculptures in the shapes of spooky creepy – crawlies. They also have a puppet theater and reptile show for kids. Very pleasant way to celebrate Halloween.

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Happy Halloween, hope you are going to have fun and share pictures with us on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/CosmoHotelTribeca.