Thursday, June 30, 2011

Skyscrapers Galore!

**Just want to give a shout out to my friend A who spotted me on my afternoon excursion today. Hope you enjoyed your outing this afternoon!

This afternoon, I checked out the Skyscraper Museum, located across the street from The Museum of Jewish Heritage by Battery Park. Its a cute little museum that takes about 45 minutes to see in its entirety.

The museum is exactly as it sounds. All about skyscrapers. Given my crazy fear of heights and the fact that just looking at super tall buildings gives me the shivers, it was an odd choice museum for me to visit. But I loved all the cool pictures and videos they had on exhibit (although I did cringe in fear at the height of some of the buildings!).

The design of the museum is really cool! They have mirrors on the ceiling, so it looks like the room is much larger than it actually is.

This is a New York Times article from Sunday, January 19, 1964.
The caption under the picture of the twin towers reads as follows: "New look at skyscrapers: Model of the proposed trade center demonstrates how twin 110-story towers will soar above their satellite buildings, to be 70 feet high."

They also showed a 15 minute long video about the construction of the Twin Towers. It was extremely interesting, but also very sad at the same time. All the work that went into building the Twin Towers just crashed to the ground (in addition to the tragedy of all the lives lost) on 9/11.

On my way home, I passed through the recently built South Ferry Subway station.

Credit: Wikipedia

The South Ferry station has some fantastic artwork! The station was designed by Doug and Mike Starn, and art on display is called See it Split, See it Change (don't ask me why, I haven't thought about it deep enough yet).

Check out the trees (I love trees) entitled "Silhouetted Images of Trees," and the intricate stainless steel fence!

The beautiful leaf on the left is made out of fused glass panels, and the map on the right is mosaic.
The map is actually a skillful combination of a topographic map from 1640 with a street plan from The Battery to 155th street.

I enjoy traveling on the subway and noticing all the great little details that decorate the Subway stations. Next time you're traveling on the Subway, take notice of these details - the moldings, the mosaics, the tiles, etc. You may be surprised at how much you can find!

More information about the artwork of South Ferry Station can be found at

For information about the Skyscraper Museum, visit:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tap Dancing in NYC!

My mother and I went to see Savion Glover at the Joyce Theater in Chelsea tonight! He was amazing!!!

Who is Savion Glover, you ask?

Savion Glover is one of the best tap dancers in the world. I took tap dancing lessons for a few years (yes, I have my tap shoes to prove it!), and I have a deep appreciation of the intricacies that go into creating a great tap dance performance. Savion Glover is such a master tap dancer, his performance tonight seemed so natural - as if anyone could just get up and move the way he does (which is the sign of a very skilled tap dancer)! He danced with such passion and energy, it was absolutely incredible.

In the middle of the performance, my mother leaned over and whispered into my ear: "This show is like watching a mad, talented, possessed, creative genius!"

Take a look at this video, and you'll understand what she means:

Savion Glover is performing through July 9th at the Joyce Theater @ 175 8th Avenue.
Tickets can be purchased here:

Exploring the Garment District

**I will be posting frequently over the next few days to document the adventures I've taken thus far in the season. After that, I will be posting at least once or twice a week (depending on the frequency of my adventures)**

Today, my mother and I went down to the Garment District to do some shopping.

Credit: Wikipedia
Men pulling racks of clothing in the Garment District 1955

The Garment District, also known as the Fashion District, stretches from West 34th Street to West 42nd Street. Along the side streets, you will find stores selling fabric, trimmings, and clothes at wholesale prices.

Jews were notoriously part of the "shmata business," especially at the turn on of the 20th Century when thousands of Jewish immigrants landed on American shores looking for work.

Unfortunately, the garment industry has declined in America over the last few decades because of cheaper labor overseas. However, the district is still packed with fashion designers and showrooms tucked away in buildings all down the busy city streets.

 7th Avenue is called Fashion Avenue!

We had special arrangements to visit a showroom in the Fashion District which specializes in fashionable modest clothing. It was a lot of fun to check out a showroom and see items without jacked up retail prices!

As we walked down the streets in the Garment District, we noticed that many wholesale stores were having sample sales. In the Fall, I always like to attend the Portolano Sample Sale in the Garment District (where you don't have to be a size 0-2 to fit into the sample sizes). In a small showroom on an upper floor of a building, they sell high quality cashmere and leather goods at very discounted prices.

I love to buy their beautiful colorful leather gloves which retail at well over $70, but I can purchase at the sale for around $20 (or more depending on the style). I've worn a lovely pair of orange leather gloves lined with cashmere for the past few winters which I purchased for only $20.

If you are in search of some fabric, be sure to check out Mood Fabrics (, made famous by the television show Project Runway. You can literally get lost in the rows and rows of fabulous fabrics in all designs and colors.

If you are an amateur clothing designer, or if you are in need of some fabric to add onto an outfit or something, this is the store for you!

photo credit:

You may also want to just walk down the streets and check out some of the little family-owned fabric stores. A few years ago, I was search of some black chiffon to make a sash for a dress, and I walked into a small store and managed to haggle down the price to something more reasonable.


Go with some friends down the Garment District and just choose any block to walk down and explore. Make yourselves a scavenger hunt and or play I Spy... you will have plenty to see!

When you're done, head over to Macy's (34th and 7th) and buy some real clothes at jacked up retail prices.


Hudson River Park

On Tuesday night, my sister and I ventured down to the Hudson River Park, a stretch of greenery along the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan. Old piers have been skillfully reconstructed into modern parks with interesting water fountains (many of you know that I absolutely love fountains), landscaping, and architectural design. 

We went to listen to some fabulous classical music performed by students of the Mannes College/The New School for Music.

As you can see (sort of), the audience sat on the grass opposite the musicians.
The weather was magnificent and there was a welcome breeze from the river which made the experience all the more enjoyable.

This little girl was soo cute! She got up and danced directly in front of the performers! She completely stole the show!

There are all sorts of different interesting things happening at the Hudson River Park all summer long. Check out the website for more information!

If you've already been to the Hudson River Park, I'd love to know your thoughts. I've only been to Pier 45, so please recommend any additional sights you think I'd like to explore!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Free in NYC: Monday Adventures

On Monday, I decided to check out The Center for Jewish History on 16th Street near Union Square.

The Center houses archives from five different organizations: The American Jewish Historical Society, The American Sephardi Federation, The Leo Baeck Institute, the Yeshiva University Museum, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

The Yeshiva University Museum is the main reason why the general public would visit. The Center is generally used for research, private tours and classes. The YU Museum was closed when I went, but you can visit it for free! Check out the website ( for more information.

I headed over to the Union Square Farmers Market after the Center for Jewish History, and had fun watching all the trendy (and also regular) Manhattanites shopping for local and organic produce. The market was established in 1976 by the Council on the Environment of NYC (GrowNYC) and is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8am-6pm.

I made my way down to the Subway, and emerged at Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street and Park Avenue. I was in desperate need of air conditioning, and I remembered that I once discovered a beautiful air-conditioned atrium across the street from Grand Central at 92 E. 42nd Street. I'm not sure what the building is called (if anyone knows, please post in the comments), but it is open to the public and has awesome air conditioning with great seating space.

Here is a Google Maps capture of the building:

My favorite part of the day was on my walk from Grand Central to Times Square passing through Bryant Park. On Monday nights during the summer, a free outdoor movie is shown on the Lawn starting at sunset. People from all over NY bring their blankets and make themselves comfortable on the grass.
Flcikr/Digiart2001 I jason.kuffer

I got there at 4:50pm and noticed hundreds of people in a "ready, set, go!" position around the lawn, and then heard an announcement that the lawn only opens at 5:00pm. I had to see this. At 5:00pm on the dot, hundreds of people literally FLEW onto the grass to set up their blankets to get the best positions possible. All I could see were people and blankets flying. It was hysterical. For those of you in NY on Monday evenings, be sure to check this out. It'll keep you laughing for at least 5 minutes, guaranteed.

I finally made it to the Subway in Times Square and headed home.

All in a day's work!

The High Line

A few weeks ago, I decided to take the Subway downtown to a unique urban retreat called The High Line.
The High Line was built in the 1930's and ran through the heaviest industrial sections in Manhattan. Originally, freight trains ran on street level, but after many horrific accidents with pedestrian casualties, the trains were lifted 30 feet into the air and thus became The High Line.

The last train to run on the High Line was in 1980 on the day before Thanksgiving, with three boxcars transporting frozen turkeys from the Meatpacking district in NYC to other locations around the country.
After the last train ran, the High Line fell into disrepair. Nature began to take over and the High Line became a jungle of weeds and wildflowers, which many different kinds of birds and animals made their home.

In the late 1990's, with the High Line about to be demolished, Joshua David and Robert Hammond created The Friends of the High Line organization to advocate the High Line's preservation and use as a public space.

(I'm skipping a lot here, so if you're interested in a more detailed history, check out:

Fast forward 10 years, the High Line section 1 opened for the public as a unique elevated park.
Three years later, this past June 8th, the High Line section 2 opened for the public.


My thoughts now:

All I can say is WOW! Why did it take me 3 years to finally visit this place? For those of you who know me, I love discovering the quiet oases in the middle of the big city. This place is just my cup of tea! It is smack in the middle of the trendy Chelsea and Meatpacking districts in NYC, runs above a busy NYC avenue, and overlooks the West Side Highway and the Hudson River. Yet it still maintains a very peaceful atmosphere despite its surroundings.

The entire park is one big art exhibit. Every single aspect has been carefully designed - from the landscaping, the lighting, the water fountains, the observation decks, the stairs, and even the benches.
They even have real art installations. You know, the ones that are art because you really don't understand them. Like this one:
I love how they intertwine the tracks with the flowers to keep the original "overgrown" look.
Overlooking 10th Avenue:
The High Line at night:

I would HIGHLY recommend anyone who comes to NY to check out The High Line. The best time to visit the park is close to nightfall so you can experience the magnificent sunset over the Hudson River.