NYC Needs Your Blank

NYC is calling you for service. After living here for a long while, it’s time that the city can benefit from us. Sure they’re charging 25 cents more now on the subway, but it’s also because we have more people living here now than ever before.

I’ve never found myself defending the MTA before today, but it’s much more than that. Less jobs, less money, less food, less housing, less luxuries.

But the same isn’t true for all. We have talents, ideas and can use them to help the people out as needed. So check out the above link and see if you can stand up and help the city that you love.

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Gay Pride in NYC

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in the Village, which were a seminal turning point in the fight for gay rights. Every year since, the anniversary has been marked by gay pride parades in NYC and around the world. Today’s started at noon, and if you’ve been anywhere in the path of the parade, I’m sure you’ve seen the colorful celebrations that usually accompany the parade. This evening, there will be more events, including Pridefest (on Hudson Street between Abingdon Square and West 14th Street, going on until 7PM tonight) and Dance on the Pier (at Pier 54, 13th Street & West Side Highway, 4-10:30 PM tonight). Lots more info and other events listed at NYC Pride.

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June Sunset After The Storm

Ran to the roof this evening when I saw this out the window. A quick moving thunder storm swept through the region and left this spell binding orange sky in its wake.

sunset


The Halal Tacos Turf Wars in New York City

Last September I wrote about the spurt of Halal carts all over New York city. "Chicken-over-rice” had somehow suddenly become the flavor of the city and these carts were all over the city. And all that for $5 cant be beat !

And in recent months a similar phenomenon is taking place. The halal carts have competition and it is from the Taco trucks.

Just around my office on 6th @ 20th are at least two taco trucks within sight of each other. Taco trucks have never been the common gastronomic presence they are in LA or other cities with larger percentage of Hispanic populations. Here in NYC you would find them in some of the outer boroughs, the most popular ones being the Red Hook Vendors trucks at the Red Hook Ball fields.

Am happy to report that lunch at both these trucks is a tasty affair. They have everything from tacos to tortas, huaracheas to quesedillas; and a good selection of Mexican sodas, juice drinks et al. All most stuff for 5$ or less.

IMG00353 nyc taco truck

These trucks and their clientele is not just a result of the ever-changing palettes of NYCers. I think the slowdown in economic climate has a large hand to play in this. Where else do you get a full meal for $5? And I am not counting fast food joints !

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Sunday Yoga in Times Square

I saw the OM symbol on a few banner ads while at Times Square earlier this week. Curious, I went to learn more about it and it was the summer solstice program.

Yes, people, get your faux bamboo mats ready for free yoga in the heart of the city. Below is a video from the same event in 2007.

The classes will go throughout the day cycling through Bikram, intro, prenatal and postnatal. As of right now, the 6:30 pm spot is the only one open for registration. The 3:30 pm one is open for waiting list. So get your acts together if you plan on yoga’ing it up. Click here for more info.

Om – Yoga in Times Square from hotpotato on Vimeo.

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NBA Dunkers, Have Mercy

If you’ve ever walked by the West 4th street station, you could swear some future NBA’ers are playing basketball. Anytime I witness a dunk at a street park in NYC it’s something that I take with me forever.

This Saturday (20th) there will be an NBA sponsored dunk contest at the South Street Seaport starting at 2 p.m. I won’t be able to go there, but it definitely seems like a good freaking time.

Have Mercy on Animals – Free food and to promote friendliness towards our non-human friends happening @ MooShoes on June 18th, that’s tomorrow, at 6:30 pm.

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Rally for solidarity with people of Iran tonight

Tonight in Union Square at 7 PM there will be a rally for the support of the Iranian people. As you may have seen on the news, since the recent presidential election in Iran, in which incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad purportedly won, there have been protests and riots throughout Iran alleging election fraud. The rioting and subsequent military crackdown on the people of Iran, as well as the attempts at internet censorship that have plagued Iranians trying to get word out about what they are going through, has motivated people throughout the world to support them. Tonight, along with the rally in Union Square, there will be rallies in DC, Philly, Portland, Iowa City, and Irvine, CA.

More info on the protest rally here. If you’re not on Facebook, the info is: tonight, Union Square, 7-9 PM. Flyers for printing can be downloaded here. The organizers are asking that those attending stay on the sidewalks on the south side of Union Square and not in the actual park, and that they bring candles to remember those who have been killed or injured in Iran during the past week.

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Whole Foods Attacks Photographers

My friend Carolyn is a dedicated journalist/blogger.When she turns vegan and does a post on all the non-nasty tasting vegan cheeses, she means business. So what does she do? Goes to Whole Foods to take a bunch of photos.

After a few minutes of snapping away at the non-dairy/dairy aisle, she’s yelled at for taking pickchas.

This is the truth! Union Square Whole Foods – 2 days ago.

Now while I understand that Whole Foods doesn’t want its competitors having photographic evidence of what they do right or wrong, the same can be done via a hidden camera or sharp catlike photographic memory.

So, come on Whole Foods, let a lotus bloom in full! The photos in question are included in her detailed study of vegan cheeses.

The only time I got yelled at while taking a photo was in Paris, France where a bookstore owner literally took me by my arms and threw me onto the sidewalk. She was a mean one.


Art on the Free

Museum Mile is happening tonight. Do not miss it, whatever it is you do.

  • FREE ACCESS 6pm – 9pm
    to all the museums along the mile
  • 23 car-free blocks
    5th Avenue between 82nd & 105th

Click here for more details. Actually all the details you need are right above – click there if you want to browse their Website.


Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

The Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe hosts some really kick ass events. Last week my wife and I went to see writer extraordinaire Neil Gaiman and musician Amanda Palmer read/perform together. Neil, ehem, Mr. Gaiman read a new, yet to be published, short story. Amanda performed vigorously and stared lovingly at Neil as he read. I snapped a few photos, enjoy.

housingworks

housingworks

housing works

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Best Vegan and Jain friendly Spots in NYC

This post courtesy of Yummy Vegan which I contribute to:

The following list contains vegan spots that I have eaten at and recommend strongly. I know that others exist but as of right now, either I’ve not been to them or they are way too pricey or uninteresting for me to honestly suggest them to you folks in these tough economic times.

Please note that *Jain indicates that the food is free of any animal byproducts and it contains no root vegetables in its preparation. Ginger may be an exception in a few of the cases below. Enjoy.

Pukk – Thai cuisine

Request that the food be made without certain ingredients; most commonly used non-Jain ingredients include carrots, shallots, green onions, garlic, ginger and mushrooms.

They will let you know if it’s possible or not. Delicious food.

*note, though it’s a fully vegan menu – they do have options of adding eggs to meals which is weird. avoid them!

Cafe Viva Natural Pizza – Pizza

Their only Jain sauce is their pesto. How ironic. They use Teese cheese on their pies. For major orders, like say probably over 10 pies, they may make a batch of onion/garlic free sauce.

Artichoke Basille Pizzeria – Pizza

Their establishment is not vegan. Though, they may make you a pie without the cheese. Their tomato sauce is 100% Jain and OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Kate’s Joint – Vegan, various

Their only Jain option is their angel hair pasta but you have to specify that it be prepared without onions and garlic. They will oblige. Also, don’t eat their oil they put on table – it is made with garlic. There are no other Jain options on their long menu which is sad because I’d go there a lot more if they did.

Abraco Espresso – Coffee

My friend Jamie owns this place; he’s the nicest espresso scientist on the planet. The infusion of love, knowledge of espresso and an excellent space has made Abraco the most popular espresso joint in NYC. Elizabeth & Jamie both know the Jain + Vegan diet. All the coffee is great and they do offer almond milk upon vegan request. They kind of only save it for true vegans, which is nice.

Teany – Tea, vegan food

Try the teanychino. For food, vegan grilled cheese with tomto. Do not try the ploughmann’s pickle that comes along with it – it is NON-JAIN. Over 100 types of teas. Almond/soy milk and agave nectar. Most of their desserts contain POTATO starch so avoid that.

I may have to continue this list later as I explore more options. The best bet is to always ask what the ingredients are. For great Indian food, try Tiffin Wallah – they do have amazing Jain + Vegan options.

Buddha Bodai – all their hundred plus authentic Chinese food items are vegan and prepared without onions or garlic. Even if their menu states “broccoli with garlic” – even the garlic is FAUX! How hot is that! Just specify no mushrooms and no carrots when ordering.

Tien Garden offers delicious Vietnamese cuisine – all vegan and you can finally find out what Banh-Ma is all about without having to eat animals. They *do* use garlic and onions in some dishes, so make it clear that your dish does not have it, if your’e Jain.

For vegan desserts, I strongly recommend heading over to Earth Matters which creates these amazing ‘sweet loaves’ of breads using amazing flavor combinations like chocolate chip + orange or coconut and chocolate or banana and walnut and a few more. They all are vegan friendly plus don’t use any gross ingredients like potato starch.

Obviously the other vegan dessert choice is Lula’s Sweet Apothecary for a brand new flavor of delicious vegan ice creams and soft serve. Their sundaes are spectacular, their hot chocolate is divine, their understanding of individual palettes is right on target and have everything you or your friends could desire. Follow them on Twitter to get an update of new ice cream flavors.

Several places in NYC offer vegan cheesecakes that are prepared by a company out in Philadelphia. Most of these are non-Jain. Buddha Bodai carries a vegan cheesecake and Whole Foods on Bowery usually has freshly prepared pineapple upside down cakes and other indulgent vegan treats. And the Green Market at Union Square on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will also have a variety of vegan desserts available for you to enjoy.

So that’s the list for now. Do you have any recommendations for vegan + jain food? Let me know!


The Bowery Hotel

Bowery Hotel

Bowery Hotel

I had a meeting tonight at The Bowery Hotel. I was floored at how gorgeous it was inside. Though it’s not my scene (lounge filled with tourists or residents that were quite old) sipping on champagne and wine and beer, the interior decorations were enough to keep me in awe the entire time.

It was as though I had been transported back to an age I only can recall via watching period pieces. A dark and lush New York City from the 50s or even earlier era. Plush sofas and neat tables. A very professional wait staff and the best grapefruit juice I’ve had ever.

And to top it all off, some out of towner decided to smoke in the area which while disturbing only added to the film noir setting.

Photo courtesy: http://www.papermag.com

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Give my regards to Broadway

Starting today, the city has begun closing down several blocks of Broadway in midtown to vehicular traffic. This is part of the mayor’s plan to try and ease midtown traffic congestion. Broadway will be closed to vehicles and open to pedestrians and bicycles only from 42nd-47th Streets and 33rd-35th Streets. Permanently.

As one might imagine, the change has been met with mixed reactions. Honestly, I had no idea about it until a few days ago when I read about the closure at Curbed – and as evidenced by the NY Times article about the closure, apparently some pedicab drivers were unaware as well. I expect cab drivers to be pissy about it, especially the ones I’ve had lately who complain about the traffic (which requires its own blog post entirely), and I expect the tourist masses to embrace it.

It seems as though the city is approaching this cautiously, blocking off the closed blocks of Broadway with orange barrels instead of installing concrete or other more permanent barriers and gauging how the closure will be received by the public. I’d imagine that it will be difficult for some businesses on the closed blocks to get deliveries, but they’re still working all of the kinks out.

What I really want to see is what Broadway, 7th Ave, 47th Street, and 35th Street look like on Tuesday morning, when all the people who are crazy enough to drive to work return from the Memorial Day holiday. Anyone want to volunteer to take photos? Post photo links in the comments. Best angry cab driver photo wins a freakin’ awesome Metroblogging t-shirt.

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Is Brooklyn Industries the Idiot’s Ben Sherman?

I used to go crazy for the Brooklyn Industries logo (since I heart watertowers) and their stylish carry-away bags.

But yesterday after spending a good amount of time at the Ben Sherman flagship store on Spring street, I realized that every piece of clothing that I liked at Ben Sherman was also available at the same price or even a bit higher at Brooklyn Industries.

I know that fashion has trends, but does that mean that each designer will have the same outfits with the only difference being their tag? All I know is that I’m confused.


Weekend roundup

I know it’s already Saturday night and you’re probably just rousing yourself from your hipster party coke binge hangover to get ready for round two, but since I had such a lovely day frolicking around the city with hot tattooed girls finding bargains and checking out local events, I thought I’d give you a little roundup of awesome stuff to do when you come out of your Jager blackout tomorrow.

Photo by Atom Moore

Photo by Atom Moore

– NYC Tattoo Convention: The always awesome, always crowded NYC Tattoo Convention is back again. Be sure to check out the booths of Calypso Tattoo for amazing blackwork, Chris O’Donnell for beautifully detailed Japanese-style work, New York Adorned for my favorite local tattooers, and Pure Body Arts for piercing. It’s open tonight until midnight, so you still have time to head over there and get that tattoo of your girlfriend’s name on your neck in cursive, just like you’ve always wanted. It’s also open tomorrow from 12-8. At Roseland Ballroom, 239 W 52nd Street between Broadway & 8th Ave.

– Decades Two popup: Decades Two is a Los Angeles-based resale shop that is known for having tons of high-end designer stuff at not so high-end pricing. They have a pop-up store above Kiki de Montparnasse just this weekend, and though it was only open to fashion insider types yesterday, it’s open to the public today and tomorrow. We stopped in today and found B. Romanek clutches for a mind-boggling 1/5 retail (and if they’d been carried at all, you couldn’t tell), an entire rack of bargain-priced Chanel (one woman nearly peed herself when she found out the Chanel jacket she tried on was a mere $100), and all the usual designer suspects (Lanvin, Louboutin, Prada, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, some insane McQueen pumps) at really great prices. Rumor has it that the pop-up will be back again soon, but for now the designer treasure trove is limited, so head over. 79 Greene Street at Spring. (You have to go inside Kiki to get to the sale, so pick up some lingerie or high-end bondage gear while you’re at it.)

– International Fluevog Day Sale: John Fluevog is having a sale of 15% off everything in the store in celebration of International Fluevog Day (aka the shoe designer’s birthday, which was yesterday). They also had cupcakes for the customers today from Sugar Sweet Sunshine, my favorite cupcake shop in the city. Don’t know if they’ll have any cupcakes left tomorrow (especially after my husband plowed through their cupcake stash today), but wander in and check out the great shoe selection, and if you’re lucky, meet the shop dog. 250 Mulberry at Prince.

Extreme Mammals Exhibition: The newest exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History opened today and features live sugar gliders, which I am very excited about. I’m a sucker for a nocturnal flying marsupial, what can I say? They also have kid-friendly interactive exhibits, so you can bring your girlfriend’s 3 kids from a previous relationship. And don’t miss the Butterfly Conservatory, which is only open until May 25. You can frolic amongst live butterflies, which terrifies me utterly but does not faze small children in the slightest. Open 10 am – 5:45 pm tomorrow. 79th Street at Central Park West.

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