queens film history

Before heading out to a museum, always read the fine print under the visitors section regarding the hours and entrance fees.  I’m finding that many of the museums either of certain days and times have free admission and or the entrance fees really are “pay what you wish” and that the full price admission ticket is only “suggested”.  

mad men

Friday nights, the Museum of Moving Image in Queens has free admission.  I made my way out there to see the “Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men” exhibit which is on view through December 6th.   This exhibit takes you through the historic events and other influences and the idea generation behind the brilliant minds of the writers and directors.  It gives you a look into wardrobe throughout the decades and some props used in the show.  You can also see inside the room that the writers spent many hours, Betty Draper’s kitchen and other views inside the real Mad Men era of NYC.  The museum (or Weiner) restricted all photos – which leaves me with nothing else to say except that its definitely worth a look.   

kaufmanFinding myself in a neighborhood I rarely visit, of course, I had to find a local place to have dinner.  My partiality for movie studios and NYC history, led me to a restaurant outside the 90 year old Kaufman Astoria Studios which has been the production house of some more recent shows such as Nurse Jackie and Orange is the New Black.  Read up on its history and legacy here  http://www.kaufmanastoria.com/our-legacy/

The restaurant I ate at is located just outside the studio’s doors and is called The Astor Room.  It was back in the 1920’s when the movie studio opened to use as the commissary for the actors and crew who at work in the studios.

commisary

You can see in the above picture, the remnants of what reminds me of a cafeteria from when I was in grade school. Today its a cozy spot with a menu far from the likes of a cafeteria menu.  The restaurant has live music and happy hour specials.

The museum, studios and restaurant together make Astoria a destination for good old fashion fun and another view into a snapshot in time from long ago.

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green-wood cemetery

this is how I spent my memorial day – in a cemetery – in BK – at my own leisure.  A family friend was telling me how much she enjoyed her visit there, and although it sounded odd, I knew I had to check it out.

Green-Wood Cemetery is a 478 acre national historic landmark dating back to 1838 when the first person was buried there and is a Revolutionary War site.  It is huge, so much that we needed a map to make our way through.

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Memorial Day being the day to remember those that died fighting for our country, this cemetery was a good place to do so.  It houses significant and beautiful architecture, specifically one below – a chapel which holds weddings and houses a little museum telling stories of those fallen during the Civil War.  One in particular about 2 brothers, one fighting for the North and one fighting for the South, buried next to each other in the cemetery behind the chapel. The chapel also tells the story of a 12 year old drummer boy who was the first death from Kings County.

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The cemetery isn’t home to only soldiers but to New Yorkers and other Americans, some of them famous like Basquiat which you can see is well visited.

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Although it’s a cemetery where I’m sure many tears were and will continue to be shed, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a cultural learning experience and adventure of something new.   Seeing these catacombs, from the top, the bottom and the inside was example of that.

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And along the same lines of adventure, the cemetery holds events.  Memorial day they had a concert there where people brought lawn chairs and blankets to sit on.  I just heard about this walking night-time performance during the month of June based on Alice in Wonderland.  THIS sounds perfect for a cemetery – just make sure you don’t go peering into any of the mausoleums.

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Most of all, what we all need in our lives before we pass on, is peace.  Ironic as it sounds, this was the place to get it.  With the acres of grass and hills and century old trees, I totally forgot that I was in the middle of Brooklyn; and couldn’t help but want to snuggle up in the shade and take a nap.

The next time you discuss what to do, mention that you want to go to a cemetery, you might receive an odd look but your experience will be worth it.

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that tagged up, abandoned building – or not

you know it, on the corner of Bowery and Spring, or maybe you don’t recall the exact address and only know that its downtown… or maybe you only know it if you saw…. let me jog your memory …

front 190 bowery

you know it now right? but it wasn’t until very recently that the public outside of the real estate business knew it as “190 Bowery”

This building has quite a history and appears to be adding to it in the past week.  It was constructed in 1898 to be a German bank, had a few other owners until photographer Jay Maisel bought it in 1966 to use as his art studio on the first floor and eventually as a home for himself, his wife and daughter on the upper floors of this 6 story building.

Ironically, a few months ago, my husband and I were pondering what the inside of this building must look like, wonder who owned it and who would actually buy it because it must be rat infested and possible house a squatter or 2.

Maisel decided to sell his residence and to the benefit of the public, new owner and developer Aby Rosen has worked with curator Vito Schnabel to open the doors to 190 to display some works of art on the first floor of this bank turned residence.

I had the opportunity to go in, however, we are only privy to the first floor, the studio section of this mansion and was slightly disappointed that we were sanctioned off from seeing Maisel’s multi-room mansion.  You can, however, see the living quarters in this video.  http://www.6sqft.com/new-video-of-190-bowery-gives-us-a-peek-at-how-photographer-jay-maisel-lived/

In the meantime, check out some of the photos I took in the attempt to capture the beauty that was maintained all of these years

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updated 6/16/16

Curbed is reporting that all but one of the infamous graffiti artist Sean Griffin’s tags will be removed from 190 Bowery – his original – his name

http://ny.curbed.com/2016/6/16/11955792/190-bowery-germania-bank-graffiti-removal-nekst

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target first saturdays

It’s an age old lesson in life, you can know something however, its easier to speak to it when you are wise to it. Although I’ve mentioned Target First Saturdays twice before, this month, I became wise to it.

jazz band in lobby

Target First Saturdays takes place at the Brooklyn Museum the first Saturday of every month.  Not only is the museum entrance fee $0 and free to roam and explore all exhibits, they have created a schedule of events around one of their main exhibits with curator talks, films, hands on art activities and pop up gallery talks.  With the sponsorship from Target, the museum hosts a schedule of events curated around one of the exhibits in the museum.

The night begins at 5p with a live band or orchestra in the lobby, while patrons roll in to take in the sounds and to map out their plan for the evening.

BasquiatThe first Saturday of April coincided with the opening of its Basquiat exhibit, which the museum also curated its events around it.  One of the events that evening was a film that offered an intimate look at his career from he started out tagging in the 1970s to his early death in 1988.

Note, this film, although still free, was ticked and they only gave out a certain number of tickets for it.  I recommend you getting there slightly before 5 to get on line should you want to attend something that is ticked.

Looking back, we were smart to check out the exhibit after getting our tickets and before the film started as the exhibit was still fairly manageable and you were able to maneuver around.  After the film we attempted to go back to look closer at a few things and there was a line on the 3rd floor waiting to get in!

Instead we checked out the Kehinde Wiley exhibit, who is known for his “portraits of everyday men and women riff on specific paintings by Old Masters, replacing the European aristocrats depicted in those paintings with contemporary black subjects, drawing attention to the absence of African Americans from historical and cultural narratives”

Kihinde Wiley

Heading back downstairs, now around 9 or so we walked into a scene and a half – the DJ was pumping, drinks were flowing and kids were dancing!

It was a wondering way to spend a FREE Saturday night in Brooklyn.

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nypl

The New York Public Library, specifically the historic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, was on my bucket list of cultural landmarks in NYC that I wanted to explore.  I had the delusive idea that it would be this massive structure filled with many rooms organized by subject and stockpiled with books.  Wow was I wrong.

Although it is still has the elements and purpose of a conventional library, acting as a facility for research and stimulating brilliant ideas, it is more like a museum, housing relics historic photographs, manuscripts, maps, sheet music and videos – even the real stuffed animals that inspired the stories of Winnie The Pooh (one of my favorite childhood characters)

winnie the pool

This “museum” has a lot of history behind as it was built upon what was once the Croton Reservoir which supplied the city with clean water.  I continue to refer this particular building of the library system as a museum because once inside you tend to forget that you are actually in a library.  McGraw Rotunda and Hall Astor are gorgeous and grandiose with its arches and white marble decorate with elaborate murals – are really are magnificent places to hold an special event.

rotunda

All in all, this Schwarzman Building IS a library, host to many reading rooms and “study” halls.  I only wish I had known about them while I was business school.  This is a wonderful place to spend the day reading and writing.  Although I graduated and no longer have a need to study, I plan to check out the football field sized Rose Main Reading Room when re-opens in 2016. (Below is a picture of it after the repairs and maintenance work)

rose reading room

Leave it to New York to be able to house such enormous and incredible structures.  Happy Reading!

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street poets nyc

street poets(photo taken from their FaceBook page) Commuting back and forth to work every day by subway, you gain the ability to create an imaginary bubble around yourself to isolate and block out what is going on and who is around you.  Your bubble blocks out the snoring, the singers and the loud talking passengers.  Within your bubble, you are able to immerse yourself into your email, your Candy Crush and your book.  Your bubble’s shell is so thick that even the peddlers are unable to penetrate it.

Once in a while, something or someone will break through.  It happened to me early in the week.  In my case, it wasn’t immediate.  It took a few seconds of hearing some loud voices for my mind to say, “hey wait, they are saying something worth listening to!”

At first it sounded like another individual preaching and my bubble did its job of blocking her (@HRSHREYALITEE) out.  It wasn’t until a second voice heard on the other side of me began his (@supethedude) “preaching” that I WANTED to listen. It was brilliant.  It reminded me of when Russell Simmons produced Def Poetry Jam on HBO years ago.  These two individuals were rapping about everyday challenges that they have endured in their life.  I was really struck by it.  I was impressed and moved by their talent and their lyrics.

It wasn’t until the end of their performance that they mentioned they are a part of a group called Street Poets NYC and more specifically their “Poetry in the Subway”.  Rushing home, I researched exactly who these folks are.  Hrsh and The Dude perform and work to educate the youth and rebuild their communities.  They use their Open Mic nights as an avenue for emotional release and to connect with others in a peaceful manner.  They travel to schools and community organizations informing the youth that there is another way to open up and discuss their issues.

In my mind, these 2 are truly Little Big Things in NYC.  Don’t wait to run into them on the subway, check out their next show January 30th at 277 Malcolm X Blvd in Brooklyn.  This is a free private underground event for the release of Hrsh’s sophomore project. To RSVP, email rsvp@streetpoetsnyc.com.

I hope to see you there!

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The Library Hotel

Happy New Year!  Its been a LONG while since I’ve written a post and it feels good to sit here typing away again at what I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

As my parents were cleaning out their basement getting ready for yet another move, they found one of my box of goodies that I stored down there after my move from Boston to NYC.  Exiting to go through my life of 8 years in Boston, I found a 13 year old “artifact” that illustrates my love for travel and for NYC.

library hotel

All of these years later, I forgot about this page from the Attache and I forgot about the hotel.  I can’t recall where I was flying to, because at the time, I flew US Airways A LOT. However, I do remember ripping this page out of their magazine and thinking that I loved the concept of the hotel and I’d love to take a look at a few of the different rooms. Ironically, over the 7 years of working near Bryant Park, I had been to Madison & Vine, the restaurant that anchors the hotel, a few times, still not remembering what I had read all of these years earlier.

Finding this page, among other things in that long lost box of treasures, invigorated me to resume writing and exploring NYC – a great way to begin the new year and not let the frigid weather get the best of me.

Happy and a healthy 2015 and stay warm!

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the battle of the pizza

me and patsy

Last year I wrote about my palatial experience at Grimaldi’s and talked about the history of the chain as well as the upcoming opening of the original Grimaldi’s owner new pizza joint next door.

My husband and I took it upon ourselves to subjectively compare the “old” and the “older” creations of the pizza.  This past Labor Day, we walked past the long line, of what I would guess could be a 45 minute wait time, outside of Grimaldi’s to the visit the new restaurant by the original Grimaldi’s pizza maker – Juliana’s.

You might be asking yourself which is which, I wanted the know the same thing.  With the opening of Juliana’s (Grimaldi’s new joint) receiving quite a lot of press, I found a great spread in the New York Magazine that provided the most extensive coverage of the history of the pizza that has made a global presence as well as the Patsy’s / Grimaldi’s / (and now) Juliana’s story.  It’s a great piece of NY history.  You can read it here: http://grubstreet.com/2012/10/pizza-legend-patsy-grimaldi-gets-his-good-name-back.html

the pizza

In the meantime, I will get to the point – skip the long wait and disregard the fact that Grimaldi’s is probably on of the list of places you must eat at and go straight to Juliana’s.  Original always supersedes everything.  Juliana’s was great.  And although, it was a “new” restaurant with newly renovated decor, the interior feels like its been there forever. And they are doing very well at keep it old-school with that family operated feel – you even know the name of the person that made your pizza that night!

wood stove

Thank you for some great pizza Patsy!

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royal palms shuffleboard

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the massive space in Gowanus Brooklyn that is home to 10 shuffleboard courts, 2 large bars and an indoor food truck.  And with the sad news that that summer is more than half over I figured this is a good time to tell how cool Royal Palms is!

anchored by bars

Typically during the summer, I prefer to be outdoors to take advantage of as many daylight hours as I can.  You wouldn’t catch me in dark corridors while the sun is still shining.  Royal Palms is not one of those places.  While you can’t see them in the picture above, Royal Palms has a entire wall of huge windows that let in enough natural light that you won’t forget what time of day it is.  However, with the cold weather fast approaching this could be a place to stay indoors yet feel connected to the outdoors.

Royal Palms is a great place to head to for any reason or no reason at all.  It’s a great place to host a birthday as it has plenty of tables and booths or you can go there to pass the time away with a small party of 2.  It also has a wide array of bevvy’s …

plenty to drink

and a food truck that pulls in court side to keep you satiated  …

food truck

If you’ve never played before, not to worry, it’s extremely easy to pick up.  My only advice, don’t be hesitant to get competitive!

me

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a flip book underground

The days I take the Q train into Manhattan, I see a series of paintings on the wall behind the columns that are supporting the subway tunnel between DeKalb Ave and before heading above ground to go over the Manhattan Bridge.  The series reminds me of a flip book that we used to flip through when we were younger.  As we move faster through the tunnel, the pictures gradually depict an animated movie.  At one point, I attempted to search for the history behind but was unsuccessful.  Apparently I wasn’t using the correct words to describe what I saw – as it’s based on a Zoetrope – and, hey, don’t we all learn something new every day?

I didn’t figure out what it was that I was seeing until ScoutMob posted an article about this “Masstransiscope”.  The article is very interesting with some great NY history.  Hopefully my photos below can help shed some light on what ScoutMob is describing.  Please keep in mind, you really need to be on the moving train to get the full effect. Its a great reason to take a ride into Brooklyn on this rainy day.

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