Archive for the ‘Places We Go’ Category
POSTED: Monday, March 19, 2012 6:08 am
Written and photographed by Rachel
When it comes to out of Manhattan borough excursions, there’s none more celebrated and rewarding than a visit to Brooklyn’s Dumbo via the historic Brooklyn Bridge. Just a hop on the A, C, or F train to the first stop in Brooklyn puts you out in Dumbo (which is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). With cobble stone streets and breathtaking views, Dumbo classifies as a must see for locals and tourists alike.
The area is located just underneath and between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge and has become a mecca for art galleries as well as culinary gems like the River Cafe (located on a floating barge below the Brooklyn Bridge and offering panoramic city skyline dining), the famous Grimaldi’s Pizza (recently expanding to this new building and still sporting equally long lines. Worth the wait? You tell us!) and don’t forget about dessert at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.
Follow up your feasting witha stroll through Brooklyn Bridge Park. During winter months it can be a lovely place for quiet walks and photo ops, but come summertime this park is hopping with live music on the barge, movie screenings against the Manhattan skyline backdrop, and a soon-to-launch outdoor swimming pool on Pier 2 (with man-made beach and food vendors to follow).
Once you are ready to head back to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan life, your journey has just begun. Find the staircase on Dumbo’s Washington Street that leads up to the Brooklyn Bridge walkway to access a pedestrian crossing all the way over the East River and into the City Hall area of Manhattan.
We hope you enjoy just another one of the countless, wonderful neighborhood splendors that Brooklyn has to offer…and be sure to bring a camera!
POSTED: Monday, March 5, 2012 6:36 pm
Spending a night out in New York City doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune (unless you can afford it… then go for it). I, Anna, along with two other Distrikt girls, Kayte and Rachel, on a budget of $200 for all, decided to see if we can have an entertaining night out in the East Village neighborhood in downtown Manhattan. Conclusion: ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE!
6:00PM: We arrive at Northern Spy Food Co., a two-year-old New American cuisine eatery on Avenue A and 12th Street. They focus on locally grown products and recycled items for their decor and furnishings, and have gained a strong fan base. Though I’ve lived a few blocks away since its opening, I have never had the chance to try this popular spot.
The decor reminded me of an old elementary school with a heavy touch of Americana.
6:15PM: We started off with cocktails. Due to the happy hour, our drinks came $2 off each. The Spy Cup, Alfonso, and East River Defense (below) were all unique and fantastic. Check our their cocktail menu to see their fun ingredients: http://www.northernspyfoodco.com/menus/cocktails/
6:25PM: There were so many delectable items on the menu, so we decided to share a bunch. The flat breads came with caramelized red onion, and the kale salad, which our lovely server recommended, was extremely tasty. Didn’t know kale could taste so good! And, the crispy potato gnocchi was deeeee-vine!!
7:00PM: We were so busy indulging in these yummy plates, that we looked up and didn’t even notice the place was packed at this point. Very busy on a Monday night! That’s a good sign. It also occurred to me that this candle-lit venue is very romantic, in a casual manner. This might be the perfect place to bring your loved one while you’re in New York City without spending a lot.
Look at how romantic!
Kayte and Rachel were having a lot of fun too (those cocktails were GREAT).
7:20PM: We knew we had to run out soon to go see a show (more about that below), but our lovely server recommended a few more things we couldn’t resist! We ordered the cod fish special, which was just the right amount of salty for me, and the duck fat fries, which is deep-fried in, well, you guessed it, duck fat.
As you can see here, we decided to return all of the food to the kitchen. All of it.
Even the bathroom seemed to be constructed from reclaimed and restored wood. It was definitely one of the more adorable restrooms I’ve seen! Rachel managed to include herself in the photo; why didn’t I think of that!? Upon returning to our booth, we noticed the back of our seats were filled with pinecones. Very cute, detailed touches all around.
So here was our dinner:
2x Spy Cup – $9 each (-$2 each for happy hour): $14
1x Alfonso – $7 (-$2 for happy hour): $5
1x East River Defense – $9 (-$2 for happy hour): $7
1x Glass of red wine: $9
1x Flat Bread: $2
1x Crispy Potato Gnocchi: $14
1x Cod Fish Special: $20
1x Duck Fat Fries: $6
Total: $77 (before tax + tip)
7:55PM: We power-walked to Performance Space 122, a non-profit arts center on 9th Street and 1st Avenue. This is one of my most favorite theaters in the City; once an abandoned public school, the space has been completed renovated and revitalized, now rebirthed into and established over the last two decades as a leading arts organization. Here we went to see Silence! The Musical: an Unofficial Parody of Silence of the Lambs. As a theather buff I had been eyeing this Off-Broadway hit show for a while, so was ecstatic to finally attend. A poster outside the theater has a great New York Times critic quote… There are multiple murals outside the theater as well that depict the musical.
7:58PM: We walk up to the third floor, where a humble bar (which is to say, a quaint plastic table with sodas and beers) and a merchindise table are manned by very friendly staff. As you can see, the interior still boasts and maintains the former public school ambiance.
…9:40PM: Silence! The Musical was a hilarious adaptation. It also helped that I watched the film (for the first time) the previous night, so the scenes and lines were fresh in my memory. Some scenes in the musical were almost verbatim with a comedic twist. Hannibal Lecter is played by David Garrison, best known as Steve in “Married With Children.” Jenn Harris’ Clarice Starling is an excellent homage to Jodie Foster and her thick West Virginian accent. Rumor has it when they first shot that scene in the film, Anthony Hopkins improvised the part where he mocks Jodie’s accent to extract a genuine reaction from her. Fun fact!
FYI: We at Distrikt love www.broadwaybox.com
It’s a GREAT website for discount theater tickets. Unless it is a sold out show (i.e. Wicked, Lion King, Jersey Boys, etc.) they generally have great deals on this website. We purchased these Silence! tickets at just $39 each through Broadway Box. You simply purchase on the site, and print out the tickets here at the hotel. If you are getting tickets to a Broadway show, which most of them are about a 5-10 minute walk away from the hotel, you can avoid the online “service fee” by directly presenting the discount page at the Box Office.
3x Silence! The Musical tickets: $39
3x $5 online service fee: $15
In conclusion, $77 at dinner + $132 for the show = $209 for the three of us!
(OKAY, this excludes tip. Don’t forget to tip your server, which is “mandatory” here in the U.S. You generally want to tip 20% of the total bill.)
The cost was worth every penny for the fantastic evening I shared with my friends. Can’t wait to go out on a budget again!
POSTED: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 11:05 am
Death of a Salesman
Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Mike Nichols
Willy Loman….Philip Seymour Hoffman
Linda Loman….Linda Emond
Biff Loman ……Andrew Garfield
Reviewed by Jennifer Rota and Paul Austin
We like plays more than musicals so there was little hesitation when we heard that Philip Seymour Hoffman would be starring in the classic Death of a Salesman on Broadway. Not only would Arthur Miller’s tale be brought back to life by an Academy Award-winning actor but at the helm it would have Mike Nichols directing the ensemble in the iconic Barrymore Theater.
This is no sweet or lighthearted story; indeed, Death deals with a family’s troubles both past and present and their feckless pursuit of the American dream, culminating with the growing dementia of the patriarch – Willy Loman. First premiered in 1949 at the Morosco Theater (since torn down and replaced by the Marquis), the play has been a staple of American storytelling and requisite reading for many a high school youth. The plot itself is a simple and oft repeated one and it would have been quite easy for the set and script to be updated to a modern time. Instead, Mr. Nichols chose to replicate the play to the exact word and nail, giving us a glimpse into the Loman’s home as it was 70 years ago.
We were privileged to be in the audience for the first performance, and we were not disappointed. The cast swept us in from the first scene with acting so intimate I felt like a voyeur at times, willing myself to not look away at this family’s self destruction and pain. After, I could not help but marvel at the ability of these players to portray tormented characters night after night, giving everything of themselves to the audience to do so.
Tip: We buy our tickets from www.telecharge.com If you have an American Express Card, you can choose American Express seating…it is discounted and better than general or even Premier Seating. For this performance we snagged front row center tickets.
For the budget-conscious:
1) www.broadwaybox.com is a fantastic website for discount tickets!!
2) Here’s a wonderful RUSH TICKETS policy: “$30.00 – Available at the Box Office only on the day of the performance for students 30 years and younger – Photo ID is required – Limit 2 per valid ID – Subject to availability.”
POSTED: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 7:22 am
Our own Rachel (you can meet her at the front desk!) here shares with us some beautiful photos from Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn Heights is perhaps the most expensive neighborhood to live in in all of the outer boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island) and is a very historic district. The neighborhood boasts countless townhouses and mansions, and is very popular for its location. (It’s a mere five-minute subway ride to the Financial District in Manhattan, and is under a twenty-minute ride to Times Square.) A little know fact: the Huxtable family from the Cosby Show lived in Brooklyn Heights!
Here’s a popular, well, cafe (self-explanatory, yes)! Located on 84 Montague St (between Pierrepont Pl & Hicks St), it is right by the East River that separates Manhattan and Brooklyn. They offer great outdoor seating during the warm weathers as well.
Brooklyn Heights, as of 2011, has over 2100 TREES! This is a typical tree-lined street.
Here’s a beautiful view of Lower Manhattan/Financial District from the famous Brooklyn Heights Promenade! Looks at how close we are to Manhattan. (Yes, those are Rachel’s hands.)
Sunset from The Promenade!
You can see the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan.
POSTED: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 6:20 pm
A couple weeks ago I took advantage of my New York Pass and had me a tourist day in the Big apple! Even on my day off, I forced myself to wake up by 8:00am and get going. I figured if I got to Battery Park around 10am with my NY Pass to go enjoy Ellis Island and Lady Liberty that I would be able to catch the ferry within the hour. This did not go as planned! By the time we got there (We being me and my boyfriend, Yesid) there was a line for the ferry going around the block…literally. My advice is the earlier arrival the better! Battery Park is beautiful enough on its own to visit, that we enjoyed just walking around and taking pictures. I even saw a stray turkey walking around – gotta love NYC! So, we recalculated our itinerary and decided to go to Top of the Rock and just go from there.
We could not have picked a more stunning day to visit Top of the Rock. The sun was shining, the sky bright blue, and the crispy cool Fall weather was refreshing at these great heights. 30 Rockefeller Center is so mesmerizing from the outside and within. Walking down the stairs to the Observatory ticket area you are greeted with a breathtaking cascade of crystals and reflecting light. This is the Joie chandelier all made of Swarovski crystals. Being a Saturday there were lines for everything everywhere, but our NY Passes let us skip the ticket line and go straight to security. Besides the Swarovski work, architecture and murals – my favorite part of Top of the Rock is always the light show elevator. The ceiling to the elevator is transparent so you can see blue lights zooming by as you ascend up 67 floors, and an array of lights and patterns dance within the elevator walls as reflections. Always a fun ride. I actually prefer Top of the Rock over Empire State Building because you can see the Empire State Building in view and it makes this NYC landscape that much better. Even though I have lived in NYC for 8 years, there are still so many buildings and parks and sights that I am not familiar with and are new to me. I love that there is always something new to learn about the Big Apple!
So, we originally planned to attend a walking tour in the afternoon but this changed as well. Instead of heading back down to Battery Park to take the Underground Railroad Tour, we decided to go across town to see the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. This place is huge, for lack of a better word. The Intrepid is this very impressive ship that houses the museum and an air craft hangar. We started our adventure in the Growler, a docked submarine from the cold war era. Note to those who are easily claustrophobic - this tour has extremely narrow passageways and entranceways you have to duck into. It was fascinating to see how huge this submarine is and yet how compressed the living quarters, social quarters, offices, and command stations are. My favorite was that within the small kitchen unit there is a huge old fashioned blender more than half my size, bolted to the counter. After crawling out of the Growler, we walked into the museum section and enjoyed the array of photos, models, planes, games, flight simulators and so much more. Note: for those who love roller-coasters and adrenaline pumping rides, try the G-Force Encounter flight simulator which straps two people into a small pod that can twist, turn, and drop. Not for those with weak stomachs! At the top of the Intrepid is the air craft hangar which was really impressive! From jet models to helicopters, the Intrepid exhibits aircrafts from the earlier wars to modern models. I thought the A-12 (Lockheed SR-71) was the coolest plane there.
Right after the Intrepid we hopped onto the NY Water Taxi at pier 83 right there and headed to South Street Seaport. The Water Taxi is another NY Pass attraction, and allowed us to see the sights of Manhattan by water. Although really windy, the ride was great. Our tour guide speaking on the mic was very personable and friendly, explaining some historical and fun facts of Manhattan and New Jersey.
Once we pulled into South Street Seaport we headed to the Bodies Exhibit. South Street Seaport is one of my favorite places in Manhattan. The views, the ships, the history – I recommend everyone stop by this pier when visiting Manhattan. The Bodies Exhibit was very unique. This museum exhibits the human body in a variety of perspectives and models. The thing is. The models are really human muscles, tissue, bone, organs, etc. Yup, this museum exhibits real human body parts stripped and displayed so you can really see what we look like within. Again…not for the weaker stomach due to some graphic displays.
After the long night we ended up going to a movie and were going to call it a night when we walked by the Empire State Building and decided to finish with a nice night view of NYC from one of the most popular destinations in Manhattan. Even though we went at 11:00pm, it was still very crowded! The cool thing about ESB is that it is open until 2:00am. This is perfect for those who want to live out their own scene from Sleepless in Seattle, or for those late-nighters who prefer to see Manhattan in all of its nocturnal glory.
What a day….What a city! After a very long fulfilled day, I got to know my city that much better and loved it. Minus the lines and congested crowds, New York City still has a magic that will always be incomparable and fascinating!
VIDEO of Lauren and Yesid out and about as October tourists: http://youtube/x-X2Wh00eXE on DISTRIKT’S video page: www.youtube.com/distrikthoteltv
POSTED: Thursday, November 10, 2011 1:43 pm
The Distrikt Staff took full advantage of the beautiful NYC fall weather this past Tuesday. The amazing soiree hosted by Concierge Sales Network and Bateaux New York cruise involved a decadent 4-course meal, open bar, and wonderful live jazz music.
Bateaux New York cruised along the Hudson River for three hours, while the staff danced, sang, and ate all while gazing at one of the best skylines in the world. The boat is made mostly of glass window, which means magnificent views from any seat. Guests can also go outside for fresh air, and take breathtaking pictures near the world-famous Statue of Liberty.
We highly recommend Bateaux New York for a special night out!
Check out pictures of the staff enjoying their night on the Hudson:
Sara and Paola opened up the dance floor...
For more information about the cruise, please visit:http://www.bateauxnewyork.com/
The front desk can also assist with reservations.
POSTED: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 8:17 am
Theatre Bar located on Franklin Street in Tribeca joins my list of favorite bars in New York City. When I heard that the bar was opened by noted mixoligist, Albert Trummer, I should have known. It’s undeniably true that I have a strong affection for cocktail bars, but I try to be very selective since the experience is always pricey, and the ambiance can either be too stuffy and pretentious. This one does not only deliver on the cocktail-making front, but the stunning décor and cozy atmosphere are what captured my attention.
We walked through plush couches and cocktail tables lining both sides of the room to make it to the bar all the way in the back. The high ceilings were decorated by chandeliers, and silk ribbons in the form of thin, elegant waves. The brick walls embraced enormous paintings, one of them displaying a little dancer standing on planet earth. Just precious. We went up a couple of stairs to where the crowd was standing, watching the show.
When we made it to the bar, bartenders performed as they’re expected to, leading the show in front of a live band performing right behind them. That is right, not only is the bar elevated, as if part of a stage, there is a stage behind the bar for live bands and other performances.
My friend greeted us, and we were taken to a side door, where we went through a long corridor, and up some stairs. We were welcomed by deep red candles burning and more velvety furniture. We sat down and as I glanced down over the stage, it felt as if I were seating right in the theatre in a box seat. Cucumber cocktails were brought up, and they were just fantastic. The private seats can be reserved in advance for a more intimate night with friends.
Later in the night, we even had the opportunity of going backstage (behind the bar), where the real action was. The back was also decorated nicely and artistically pleasing. We were able to speak to one of the very nice bartenders.
Theater Bar really stands out from the many cocktail bars New York City has to offer. With prices like $12-$18 for a typical good cocktail, everyone deserves terrific service, and a fun and creative atmosphere.
Photos and words by: Paola Mathe
POSTED: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 8:22 am
New York City is full of museums and galleries. From “Museum Mile” on 5th avenue to the Chelsea galleries, art has always been a part of the New York culture. Not many people are aware, but Times Square has a museum/gallery right there for everyone to enjoy. The International Center of Photography (ICP) on 6th avenue is a wonderful museum that exhibits photographs and features talented photographers from all over the world.
I had the pleasure of viewing the newest exhibit called Remembering 9/11, a captivating display of photographs and video portraying the tragic events of 9/11. Apparently the ICP collaborated with the National September 11 Memorial Museum to create this impressive exhibit, and I must say that it was truly impressing. There are a few different rooms and hallways with a variety of framed and unframed photographs showing the different faces, reactions and imagery of the attacks and aftermath. One of the rooms showed a series of film negatives and large aerial photographs above Ground Zero days after the attacks, where another smaller room displayed a series of organic and stunning photographs others had contributed to the museum. These photos of firemen, children, storefronts, candle-light vigils from an aerial view, and more are suspended on wire in a laundry-line style display. Around the corner and down the hall there is one large room with huge screens playing different images of the 9/11 aftermath. In the same room there are displays of the iron works and scraps from the towers that were kept in Hangar 17 called Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts at Hangar 17. These are just a few of the many displays within the Remembering 9/11 exhibit. To me, it’s really impressive that so many images were captured and available for such an exhibit.
Up the stairs on the main floor there are two exhibits that are just as amazing; Harper’s Bazaar: A Decade of Style, and Signs of Life: Photographs by Peter Sekaer. Because of this visit, I have personally found a new favorite photographer, and that is Peter Sekaer. Dutch-born photographer, his series portray a rural setting in the South – from New Orleans to Mississippi – Sekaer shows the economic turmoil of the 1930’s and 1940’s in his images. Not only the style of his photographs are breathtaking, but the content; the people, the faces, the worlds in which Sekaer has captured in time shows the economic dismay that once was within these places. I find it striking to witness images of families in the south during the 1930’s … a world that is unfamiliar to me. Their faces and the clothing and the mood that Sekaer created is just inspiring.
The third exhibit continues behind the Sekaer exhibit, and that is the Harper’s Bazaar exhibit; a variety of photographers capturing glamour and beauty. From Naomi Campbell to Marc Jacobs, these images capture the modern, abstract, flashy and bold images of supermodels and celebrities throughout the years. Definitely a colorful and fun exhibit to see if you like fashion and edgy photos.
ICP is also a school, offering a variety of classes as a continuing education program. You can take a couple classes per semester to fit your schedule, or indulge and study full-time if this is what you want to pursue. Located on 43rd and 6th avenue, I highly recommend stopping by the ICP – maybe on your way to Bryant Park for lunch, or even to kill some time before a Broadway show. Go culturfy yourself! You may go to www.icp.org to get ticket information, hours, classes and more.
-Blog written by Lauren Macé
POSTED: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 12:56 pm
Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors festival opened last Wednesday, July 27, 2011. This two-week summer festival promotes music through a variety of genres including, Soul, Funk, R&B, Jazz, Blues and Rock.
Out of Doors started in 1971 as a small festival of street theater. Over the years, it expanded to include both music and dance performances. Presently, the festival is considered one of the largest free performance festivals in the US.
Last Thursday, we were able to catch a snippet of one of the night’s performances. At the Josie Robertson Plaza, a talented and promising tap dancer, Maurice of the Maurice Chestnut’s Above Ground Project, entertained a small group. He led his band, consisting of a drummer, keyboardist and violinist in his signature style of “playing tap” as the leading instrument.
We hope you get to walk to Lincoln Center to enjoy one of these free performances before the summer series ends!
For more information and full schedule, visit this link: http://www.lincolncenter.org/press_release/PR_LCOOD11_Announcement_FINAL_4-25-11.pdf