Archive for March, 2008

Tierra Sana– Wheatgrass and Fresh Juice Come to Rego Park

Woo hoo! There’s something new in Rego Park, and it’s not an Uzbeki club, Russian-language video/cellphone/drugstore/optician combo! Not that I have anything against our newest immigrants, but not since Starbucks opened here, have I seen any business catering to the ever-growing number of young and middle-aged professionals who are moving to Central Queens to own co-ops, priced out of Manhattan and sick of paying rent.

Tierra Sana is a vegan, funkily-furnished eatery with a juice and smoothie bar that looks as if it could be in the Flatiron. It’s only weakness during my visit, was spotty service, which they are going to have to iron out if they want to reman afloat. It’s a huge space, and rents along that part of Queens Blvd. are sky-high, so they have to serve up a lot of panini, smoothies, wraps, and veggie juice.

But I am committed to trying to become a regular customer, to lend my support. The felafel panini I had on my visit was just the nutritious lunch I needed. And I would just as soon let Tierra Sana juice me up a carrot-apple mix if it means avoiding cleaning out my own juicer. And the friendliness of the staff made up for a little disorganization; you could tell that they care to please.

Love and Art on a Sunday

Photo from

After having heard rave reviews, I got tickets to see Sunday in the Park with George with my family for my mother’s birthday. We started the night off with a delicious dinner at Carmine’s (a choice fitting for my mother’s picky and unadventurous eating habits). Then we walked over to Studio 54 for the show.

The curtain raised to show a blank, white room. Then paintstrokes were magically projected on to the room as the stage transformed to the setting of George Seurat’s famous painting. Throughout the play, these projected effects drew the audience into the experience and beauty of the painting.

The plot focuses on the creation of Seurat’s most famous work, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, along with the love story of him and his young model, relevantly named Dot. Daniel Evans artfully portrays this painter as a kind man with a scientific mind, obsessed with perfecting his work. Co-star Jenna Russell plays his lover with a genuineness and grace that easily wins the sympathy of the audience (despite my mother whispering to me that she wished we could see Bernadette Peters in the role).

The second act takes place in modern times and lacks a bit of the beauty and whimsy of the first act (reminding me a little of another Songheim play, Into the Woods). But the play finishes beautifully, making this production itself a piece of art.

Going Nowhere

Photo from Wikipages

Last night, I went to Nowhere. And by Nowhere I mean a smallish gay bar in the Union Square area. I was meeting up with friends and thought that Nowhere was another gay bar in the area, whose name I forget, with flashing lights and painfully loud music. I was happily surprised to find it was not.

Nowhere’s interior is cozy and brick, with a pool table in the back and an adorable, fake fireplace in the front. They serve 2 for 1 drinks on Fridays until 9. Always nice. The place has a chill vibe, perfectly comfortable to heteros. I came to the conclusion that going Nowhere is sometimes a good idea.

50 Years of the Egg

No, not the one that you have for breakfast, the Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.

After work, I headed over to the Design Within Reach Studio in Flatiron for the 50th Anniversary Event.

Before I go on, I should mention that I have this “thing” for furniture – especially chairs. If I had a choice, I think I’d get rid of my couch (since I don’t really sit on it) and just fill my room with Modern Retro chairs. Then, someone mentioned that if I ever decide to date again, I might want to lay on a couch with someone. Hm. Guess I wasn’t thinking ahead.

Anyway, I was really excited to see what DWR had planned for the event. When we arrived, they had about 4 Egg Chairs set up in the middle of the room with Swan Chairs in between and a few more Egg Chairs displayed in the windows. They served Deviled Eggs, Prosecco, Buffalo Wing and Chocolate Golden Eggs. Interesting Combination – but fun.

The excitement ended there and maybe I expected too much. I thought we’d be greeted at the door by someone welcoming us to the event, I thought the store would be a little more festive, I thought there would be more mingling, a give-away… nope. People walked into the store and didn’t realize they were at an event! An hour into the event, 3 people got up to speak very briefly about the history of the chair and that was it.

One hour, one glass of Prosecco and about 6 Deviled Eggs later, we left. We skipped the Buffalo Wings – not something you want to eat while sitting on an Egg Chair.

Disappointing, but any opportunity to spend quality time with my favorite chairs is still worth it.


SatyagrahaWhen I recently saw the poster for Philip Glass’ Satyagraha, I had no clue that the opera had been composed in 1980. With the Metropolitan Opera now trying to reach out to a younger crowd, posters that would be saved for the newest indie pop record was plastered in the Lower East Side on a phone booth.

I’m really freaking glad I saw it. Tickets are pretty expensive, but if you look closely, they have standing room only space that sells for as little as $15.

I’m so IN for peace. And so IN for Philip Glass. By the by, the image to the right is not the poster I saw. The poster I saw had the background image of Gandhi and a foreground filled with yellow letters exclaiming something along the lines of “what if an opera led you to non-violence” or something like this.

A Refreshing Subway Experience

So I was riding the subway a little late in the evening with my fiance, when a stylish-looking couple sat down in the same car. After they chatted for a minute, the woman opened her purse, pulled out a full-sized container of Glade air-freshener, and sprayed the subway car.  Can’t say I’ve seen that before…

I don’t know if this is the case, but I’d like to imagine that this woman just carries air-freshener around everywhere and sprays it whenever she smells an offensive odor – public restrooms, crowded elevators, garbage cans. That’s one way to keep the city smelling fresh.

Bike meet door, door meet bike.

Let me set the scene. It’s a sunny Monday afternoon and I was riding my bike along Bryant Park on my way back to work during my lunch hour. Riding east towards the beautiful public library. As I approach the green light at the corner of 5th Avenue I hit a stride and pedal swiftly while remaining alert and aware, as I always do, of the traffic around me. FUCK! No warning, no getting out of the way. Just the cold hard taxi door thrown in front of you like a roadblock. My left arm crashes sickeningly into the door as my healthy speed suddenly gives me flashes of Ghost Bikes. With amazing acrobatic grace I hit the pavement in a roll. The bicycle Gods were smiling on me. Nothing prepares you for this happening. The years of watching rear view mirrors and the head movements of passengers in taxis is far more scary than the actual event. During the Batman-esque tuck and roll I didn’t feel any pain. It’s slow motion in fast forward. It all catches up in an instant and I am there on my knees in the middle of the street evaluating my still intact body. Are my brains still in my head? Check. Junk in the trunk? Check. Arms still attached? Check. Then the lawyer who just doored me is frantically asking if I am alright. AM I ALRIGHT? Shit, I’ve barely checked if my junk is still in my trunk and you want to know if I’m alright?!?! Thankfully I am alright. A swollen, bruised forearm and a bit of disorientation is all the damage done to me physically (says my Dr.). I needed to replace my helmet though. After any accident a helmet needs to be replaced since the life saving protective foam can be compromised or have unseen stress fractures.

There is a lesson in all of this: You will eventually get doored if you ride long enough in New York City. The second lesson is: Fuck that guy for not looking!

Pudding Stones

Photo from

I went to a little wine bar called Pudding Stones on the Upper East Side to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Never a big beer drinker (though I love the Beer Garden), I always find a nice wine bar an enjoyable evening outing.

A small spot, this wine bar has super chic atmosphere and a nice selection. The drink of the night was Mont Blanc, a tasty red that I had never tried before, but ordered on the recommendation of the birthday girl. Although the narrowness of the interior did make mingling slightly challenging, the vibe and music proved a good backdrop for conversation and all my friend’s guests getting to know each other. Generous quantities of delicious wine helped, too.

Happy Easter — Passover in April– Students Get Split Break!

Happy Easter. Brrrrrrr. Those Easter bonnets are going to have to be lined with wool. It’s colder and earlier than usual this year.

And it doesn’t coincide with Passover this year, which makes for difficulty with the school calendar. NYC students and school employees had a long weekend this time. The week-long Spring Break will be in April, a month from now. I have learned that most of the country, as well as Christian parochial and other private schools in our area, had Spring Break last week or this week, coinciding with Easter.

NYC still operates on a schedule conducive to giving time off for observance of Jewish holidays. But I wonder about twenty, or even ten, years down the road. The faces of NYC teachers are changing. What was traditionally a career for Jewish people, is opening up to more and more non-white college graduates. This is a result of a new generation of African-American and Hispanic college graduates who want to go into the education field, and it is a good thing. The faces of the students have been changing for a long time. White families have been leaving the city for the suburbs for decades, and the ones who stay typically send their children to private schools when possible. Even in the whitest neighborhoods, there are few secular Jewish students. There are pockets of exceptions — newly-arrived Jews from Russia former Soviet Republics in Brighton, Bensonhurst, or Rego Park for instance. Better yet, with increasing Muslim student enrollment, do we close NYC schools on those holidays as well?

It will be interesting to see, in the coming decades, how the DOE adjusts the school calendar to the changing needs of a new demographic.

GNO, Spanish Style

Photos from

I met up with some female friends for dinner in the Upper East Side. We decided on  Malaga, a Spanish restaurant with an authentic vibe that a friend had been wanting to try out. Entering the establishment, I noticed the interior was a bit too brightly lit and the decor slightly questionable. A number of pictures hung purposely crooked on walls (something that bothered me throughout the evening and gave me the Monkish urge to straighten them all).

But the menu contained an extensive tapas list, along with the traditional paella. We went for the whole thing – ordering 5 tapas, the paella, and a bottle of Rioja. Everything was delicious! Due an unfortunate server’s mistake, the paella contained meat (instead of just seafood as requested), so I avoided it. But the tapas and wine proved a perfect accompaniment to a good conversation with old friends. It might not be the best place if you’re looking for a wild evening, but it’s a tasty spot for good Spanish food in a quiet atmosphere.

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