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Conversation with Lloyd Kaufman about movies, authentic New York and more April 11 2016

Mariagrazia De Luca

deluca.marymary@gmail.com

Isn’t it incredible? Troma Entertainment, the oldest film company in the United States, which specialized in horror movies, has been producing and distributing independent movies for over 40 years, and its fans are scattered all around the planet.

This week had a tour of the Troma Building, and we interviewed Lloyd Kaufman, the President and cofounder along with Michael Hertz of Troma. Llyod Kaufman sat down to speak about experiencing the “authentic” New York….

The team of Troma is super friendly. They offer us coffee and show us all around the building, which seems a museum. There are many props from the films such as monster’s masks, tools to make special effects, original posters, shelves full of DVDs, CDs, old films, material used during the production of movies. One that particularly caught my interest,  and is also iconic of Troma’s movies, is the one of Toxie, from the movies about The Toxic Avenger.

Next time you are going to plan a trip to New York City, consider going on the Troma Building Tour. Contact them in advance (tours@troma.com), since the tours are arranged by appointment. The Troma Studios is in Long Island City (36-40 11th Street). Take the Q, N or F train and get off at the first stop of Queens.

First of all, congratulations! For over 40 years Troma Entertainment has been producing and distributing independent movies, without compromising with any “Hollywood”.

Lloyd: We would love to make compromises, but nobody wants to do it with us (laughs). In fact the artistic freedom is the most important thing, and we have been so fortunate to have it for all these years. It’s our fans who really are the engine of our company. We have volunteers from all around the world who help us to make and distribute the movies. In Return to Nuke’ Em High, Volume II some of the post-production money were donated by our fans through Kickstarter. The movie is almost finished: we are almost there! Besides supporting us financially, fans filmed all over the world some scenes with professional cameras: in Australia, France, Spain, Japan, Africa, China, etc. All these scenes will be in the final movie.

Troma has so many loyal fans all around the world: this is amazing! I am Italian and I have always been your fan.

Lloyd: Thank you! Yes, Troma has many fans in Italy. When I was in Rome giving the Master Class, the fans made it very successful: it was sold out. Every time we go to Rome to Troma’s Retrospective the fans are always there. Unfortunately, we don’t get money, but it is a “ego” trip. We also know that there are a lot of bootleg DVDs in Italy and we are proud of our fans who take the trouble to make the bootleg. Anyway, it is a pity that we don’t have a real distribution and can make a little bit of money. It’s a political issue…

Is it about politics?

When you have Berlusconi running the country… what can you expect? It is almost bad as Hilary Clinton… (laughs) not as bad as Hilary Clinton, but almost with his make-up, he looks better. I would prefer Berlusconi as President of the United States. Actually, I would prefer Berlusconi as a woman to be President of the United States rather than Hilary. We don’t like her.

Fortunately, Italy is not just politics.

Yes, and I studied four years of Latin and I am quite knowledgeable about the history and  the Romans. By the way, who is your favorite Emperor? Mine is Octavian, a visionary. He was great! He was good for the people.

Emperor? Perhaps Caligula, a bad guy, but intriguing. What about Caesar?

Caesar was a sort of Kurt Cobain. It would be interesting seeing where he would be gone. Although Caesar didn’t kill himself like Kurt Cobain. I would love to kill myself too, but unfortunately I don’t have the guts.

Lloyd, would you love to shoot a movie in Italy? Which would be a nice set?

Yes, that would be great. We should first find someone with money in Italy, that’s the problem. Rome is a beautiful set, even though I know it is difficult to make movies there.

What is your favorite director and movie?

Rossellini. Fellini is ok, but not as much as Rossellini. My favorite movie is Open City (1945). It’s the most Troma’s movie. They used wheelchairs, since they didn’t have the equipment. About horror movies, Dario Argento is a genius. Troma distributes his film, The Syndrome of Standhal (1996), starring his daughter Asia Argento. I also interviewed her, she gets raped very well in the movie.

Making independent movies in the 70s and making independent movies today. What did it change?

Lloyd: I studied Chinese history and culture at Yale University and I read a lot about Taism: Yin and Yang, good and bad, the beauty and the ugly, you cannot have one without the other. The positive thing is that the digital revolution caused a democratization of making movies and everybody can make a movie today. The problem today is that we cannot eat or paying our rent making our art. 30 years ago, we needed money to make movies, such The Toxic Avenger or Class of Nuke’Em High, but then we could have distribution all over the world. There were many distribution companies around the world and a lot of competition among them.

To be an “Independent” artist today seems to be more difficult…

Today, it’s impossible for an independent artist to make money, especially since the media is controlled by a few and it’s impossible to “break the hymen” of mainstream. However, some talents who started with Troma, are today doing very well in the mainstream. There are great people who have the control of their art. James Gunn, who wrote Tromeo and Juliet, directed by me, wrote and also directed Guardians of Galaxy, movie which made billion of dollars. He is a great guy. He knows how to get his way with the shitted Hollywood. I don’t know how to do it, unfortunately. Very few people who are very gifted can make it. So many talents are kept outside the “Vitrine”.

Many of your movies have been shot in New York City. In Toxic Avenger we watch a decadent New York City of the 80s, which landscapes have today disappeared. The most iconic, the Twin Towers which are often in the background of the scenes. How much has New York City changed? Is it still a good set for independent directors?

Lloyd: New York has changed as much as our society has changed. Unfortunately, the city is controlled by a bureaucrat elite that has no interested in supporting the arts. Bureaucrats make a lot of money at the expense of those who work hard, destroying what make America great, which is originality, engineering and creativity.

Was there more creativity in the 80s?

Lloyd: There was a more genuine interest and more open-mindedness toward creative people. No one can really afford to live in New York anymore. It is not a matter of the rent being high, it is a matter of bureaucrats raising the real estate taxes, and put the money in their pockets. A real conspiracy! The little people of Tromaville need the Toxie Avenger to save them.

Lloyd you are also an actor. Is it true that you starred also in Rocky?

Lloyd: Yes. I played the Drinking Boom, a game where you drink if you lose, in Rocky and I am pretty good in this game. In fact, since then I had a lot of experience being drunk. If you go to my IMBD, you can see that I am in about 200 underground movies and in many of them I play Drinking Boom or I play the doctor. I am a terrible actor but if I make a movie the Troma’s fans would buy the DVD. Plus, my participation might attract other “celebrities” to participate. I usually don’t get pay, but I learn so much and it is a lot of fun.

Which advice would you give to the readers who are planning a trip in New York City, to really “experience” the authentic New York?

In terms of museums, the Metropolitan, around 5 in the evening in the weekend it is an interesting place to visit. After looking some art, do not feel guilty, you should go to have a drink at the nice bar of the museum, where usually they put Mozart or other classic music and you are surrounded by Chinese potteries. And, in the meantime considering suicide…

If instead you like Shakespeare, musicals and are little gay (as I am), you should go to see Something Rotten, a lot of fun for the entire family. Brooklyn is a lot of fun, yippish, young. In Manhattan everybody is old and looks as Vienna. In Brooklyn, you have a lot of people roaming around the street, lots of clubs, bar with movie theater in the back where you can watch movies undergroundish as Troma, not boring… except for Troma’s maybe…

Walking is the best way to experience the city from downtown to uptown: there are so many buildings, some old and well preserved, other modern. Central Park is nice, but Prospect Park is more dangerous, so it’s more exciting. At night, you can be mugged: it’s a pretty authentic New York experience, isn’t it?

Take the subway! This is also a very New York experience. Fellini’s movies are nothing compared to the experience of taking the subway. Take the M train. Anyway, the top of the authentic New York experience are The Tombs. The Tombs are the prisons, in a Victorian style, where they put you once you get arrested. Is it exciting, isn’t it?

And what about Times Square?

Lloyd: Times Square’s shops such as Mc Donald’s, M&M, the restaurants, are the same one you find in Ohio. The good news is that we become almost a 3th world country: the dollar is still so weak that for Europeans is still convenient to travel to the United States. More than everything… you should come to visit us, The Troma Building. We have lots of tourists visiting Troma. Sometime young girls and boys drags their parents here, without they having any idea of what Troma is. Kids sometime don’t want to see the Empire State Building, but find exciting Troma’s Tour.

 

 


St. Marks Is Dead and the Gentrification February 07 2016

St. Marks Is Dead

Mariagrazia de Luca

Ada Calhoun, in her book St. Marks Is Dead tells the readers about St. Marks Place, a street of just 3 blocks (from 3rd Ave to Ave A, from Avenue B to Avenue D), in the heart of the East Village, where many things happened over the years and centuries.

Ada Calhoun is a young writer from New York who has just published a book, St. Marks Is Dead, which had a great success among critics and readers (newyorkers and not). Ada, despite her young age, has many years of experience as writer.

Besides working for The New York Times, The Republic, The New York Magazine, she has been a “crime reporter” for the New York Post. Her experience as “detective” helped her dealing with the huge amount of research, which is behind her extraordinary book. The first chapter of her book talks about St. Marks even before it was named St. Marks, and Manhattan was a forest inhabited by Native Americans. Ada Calhoun then tells the readers about the first colonists, the migration waves of Germans into the neighborhood (St. Marks was at that time the Little Germany!), about the anarchists who lived there (and the street’s nickname was Hail Marx Place), about the Mafia’s wars, when gangsters dug “underground tunnels” (and the Italian Mafia was of the most threatening). Then she talks about the hippies, the punk rockers, the skinheads. Can you imagine Patti Smith and the Ramones hanging out at St. Marks? Finally, Ada describes St. Marks today: a Living Museum, with Japanese restaurants, Chase bank, Starbucks, super expensive rents and the legendary clubs which are now closed. In St. Marks there are still vintage stores, like the famous “Search & Destroy”, but the energy of that glorious époque is becoming weaker and weaker. Despite that, Ada Calhoun concludes by saying that St. Marks Place is still the beating heart of the Big Apple.

St. Marks Place

Mariagrazia: Ada, you were born and grew up in St. Marks Place. Despite that, in your book, you don’t talk about your personal memories, instead you give space to the “History” and about the myriad of “stories” which happened on this special street in New York. How did you get to know about all of it, and what does it mean to grow up in a place as St. Marks?

Ada: It’s funny, because when I was growing, and since I started researching I didn’t know any of the stories of St. Marks. I wish I’ve known earlier, when I was younger, because when you know the history and you walk down the street, I would look at each building and see the past layers of it. I would have thought, ‘these or those famous people used to live there!’  I would have felt myself in the continuous of the history of St. Marks, part of the past and the future at same time.

Mariagrazia: Did it feel “normal” to you to grow up in St. Marks?

Ada: Yes. St. Marks was a place like many others. It felt normal to me to live there. The first time I went to the suburb was when I was 11 years old, to visit a cousin of mine in Ohio, in a very small town. Once I got there, I didn’t know how everything worked. I didn’t know the rules for the football, I didn’t know what a drive-in was. I thought that everything was amazing and it was so fun, and the city looked to me instead awful. I wished to live in the countryside. Now, of course, I appreciate where I grew up, and all the stories of St. Marks Place.

St. Marks Place 

Mariagrazia: I read in your book that you wished to become a farmer?

Ada: Yes, but soon after I found that the countryside was boring. It ruins a little to grow up in the city.

Mariagrazia: In Italy we all grow up “eating” a lot of American culture. I think about the “people” who usually hung out in St. Marks, like Andy Warhol, the Ramones… these people influenced enormously the Italian rock music and the Italian artistic scenario in general. I am wondering if it does exist a “Roman” street very similar to St. Marks Place? Perhaps there are some Italian “copies” of St. Marks Place in which you can have a similar cultural environment than here in the East Village (I am thinking about San Lorenzo, the university neighborhood)...

Ada: That’s funny. I’ve been in Rome for my honeymoon… I honestly don’t know. Someone told me that a street similar to St. Marks in Paris is Saint- Germain-des-Prés.

Mariagrazia: In your book you mention St. Marks’ “golden age”. You said that there wasn’t just one golden age for St. Marks Place, instead there were many. Is it true?

Ada: Right. My golden age was when I was a teenager, during the ‘90. When I was doing the interview for the book, I noticed that everybody was saying that there was a specific year that was a wonderful year. Someone said it was the 1954, someone the 1997 and so on. I started doing math, and thinking how old people were in these years, and I found out mostly they were exactly in their nineteen, their “golden age”

Mariagrazia: being 19 today in St. Marks Place or being 19 during the ‘70 or ‘80, when all the rockers used to play around in the legendary East Village’s clubs? How is it different? Is still “authentic” St. Marks today?

Ada: I don’t really know what’s happening today in St. Marks. We don’t know until later. Nobody knew about the Ramones when they started. They were just 4 kids from Queens, they played loud and were considered annoying, and only later people realized they were some of the best musicians ever. There are things happening in the city now that only kids know about it and we don’t know.

Mariagrazia: Is there a neighborhood in New York, which is more a “hot spot” than other, since St. Marks became kind of touristic? I thought about Bushwich, where there are so many artists, rock concerts, disco, etc.

St. Marks Place

Ada: Yes. In Bushwick people is very free, young people can effort to live better, cheaper. There are new galleries, indie concerts….

Mariagrazia: I was thinking about St. Marks place as an “extreme mirror”, where things happen earlier than everywhere and are often so extreme and relevant for New York and the whole world….

Ada: I like the metaphor of the “extreme mirror”. St. Marks is “more New York” than other part of the city. During the big immigration, there were more immigrants here, during the ‘70, when New York was decrepit and broken down, St. Marks was more decrepit and broken down than the rest of the city. Today is, instead, richer than other areas. Here there have been riots, union organizers, a lot of energy. Still today there is so much energy and you can see teenagers hanging out in the street at 2 a.m…

Mariagrazia: in one of my explorations of New York, looking for this specific ‘70 and ‘80 rock atmosphere, I ended up in the legendary rock club CBGB, which today is just a very expensive clothes store. Anyway, you can see inside some “evidence” of the old CBGB’s wall, with the old concert’s flyers on…

Ada: Right. I used to go to the CBGB when I was teenager. You had a lot of bands playing there, some were ok, some really bad. Rockers, rappers, hardcore musicians, etc. There were less people going there in the ‘90s: there wasn’t anymore the same energy.

Mariagrazia: there are so many characters in your book: Mr. Zero, Skateborders, Mafia guys, philanthropists… how did you collect all these stories?

Ada: I just did so many interviews, more than 250. I talked to people on the street, each person directed me to five more people: I had a list of 700 people at a certain point. I asked them to tell me their favorite story or memory of the street, just things that happened on the street. When they started talking about uptown I told them, no, no, I don’t care. For the research, I spent a lot of time in the library, and I tried to research through all different keywords. I looked for every single book about St. Marks, hundreds of books. I look into archives, I went to museums. People let me look into their basement or gave me old magazines. I also bought old pictures from the ‘60 and ‘70 in e-bay for a few bucks.

Mariagrazia: Has your job as a “crime reporter” for the New York Post helped in writing your book?

Ada: Yes. I tracked people, found them and interviewed them for my book.

Mariagrazia: How long did it take you to complete your book?


Ada: four, five years.

Mariagrazia: Are you planning to translate it into Italian?  In your book there are so many stories which might interest Italian readers.

Ada: I would love to.  

Mariagrazia: Was the Italian Mafia really so powerful in St. Marks Place?

Ada: yes, it was. During the ‘20 the Jewish Mafia and the Italian Mafia were so powerful and they hated each other… There was a dramatic shooting on St. Marks Place between the two gangs. The Italian Mafia, the Black Hands, were so cruel and threatening. Italian Mafia guys used to give black lollipops to the kid in the school of the East Village, to menace the parents: you see? We can get to your kids!

Mariagrazia: How you invision St. Marks in 10 years?

Ada: I think St. Marks will be always a special destination. There are so many Europeans here in the East Village today, you can listen to so many accents walking down the street. I don’t know what people would be wearing, probably something that would look ridiculous to us. There is also a nice promenade from the subway to the park. I also believe, eventually, it would stop to be so expensive.

Mariagrazia: And maybe you will be able to come back in St. Marks?

Ada: why not?


Timelapse of Central Park being covered by snow January 24 2016

From the first flakes to a two-foot blanketing, Central Park was transformed. 

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000004165152

By RICHARD PERRY and AINARA TIEFENTHÄLER, NYTIMES.COM

Snowflakes started falling at Central Park on Friday night, forming a smooth white blanket that by Sunday would wrap the area in the pristine quiet of winter.

 

 


THE BIG PARADE November 25 2015

Kung Fu Panda Balloon
For millions of Americans, watching a gigantic floating Snoopy, plus other character balloons, marching bands, clowns, performers and more, make its way down Central Park West and Sixth Avenue in New York City is an annual ritual that kicks off the holiday season.
When the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924, about 250,000 people attended. Today, 3.5 million spectators typically line the event route, with another 50 million tuning in from home. It all ends with the guest of honor, Santa Claus, who's been a party of every parade to date. 
1927, Year of the first balloon character, Felix the Cat, joined the parade. This Year, expect to see stars such as Hello Kitty, Paddington and perennial favorite Snoopy, who has made the most appearances at 38.
$100 reward for finding a giant balloon in 1928 (about $1,400 in today's dollars). After the parade, the balloons floated over NYC while slowly deflating via safety valves. Each one was equipped with a return address label.
650 pounds of scrap rubber Macy's donated to the U.S. government in lieu of hosting a parade during the WW II years of 1942-44. When the parade started up again in 1945, more than 2 million people attended.
400,000 Approximate cubic of total helium needed to fill this year's giant character balloon heads and trycaloons (a balloon character riding on the back of a tandem tricycle.)

1000s gather to make human peace sign for John Lennon’s 75th birthday October 07 2015

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Thousands of people gathered in Central Park’s East Meadow today as Yoko Ono led an attempt to create the largest-ever human peace sign in celebration of what would have been John Lennon’s 75th birthday, which is Oct. 9. Ono tweeted a call to action after announcing the event last month, shortly after the end of her exhibition “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971″ at the Museum of Modern Art.
About 2,000 people participated, ABC News reported. More than 5,000 people would have needed to gather to break the current record of 5,814, which the Ithaca Festival set in 2009.
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Ono hosted the event, which was free and open to people of all ages, with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a mobile recording studio that works with students to create music and video projects. People posted pictures and video on Twitter and Instagram of the crowd as it began to gather this morning.
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Posted by Hans Von Rittern
"2,000+ John Lennon fans AND Yoko Ono (my third time this year with her!) singing "Give Peace A Chance" as our photo was taken from a helicopter above, forming a large human peace sign in honor of Lennon's 75th birthday.
It is truly one my top New York lifetime experiences. All you need is heart emoticon . . .
The most touching thing of all was to see the hundreds of kindergarten and grade school kids in attendance, and just to the left of me, the youngest participant - an eight day old baby!
(Yoko tried to break the record of 5,800+, but it was a Tuesday morning - what was she thinking? She should have done it this past Saturday ~ oh well - that's wacky Yoko smile emoticon ! )"
Celebrating John Lennon's 75th Birthday

2,000+ John Lennon fans AND Yoko Ono (my third time this year with her!) singing "Give Peace A Chance" as our photo was taken from a helicopter above, forming a large human peace sign in honor of Lennon's 75th birthday. It is truly one my top New York lifetime experiences. All you need is <3 the="" most="" touching="" thing="" of="" all="" was="" to="" see="" hundreds="" kindergarten="" and="" grade="" school="" kids="" in="" attendance="" just="" left="" me="" youngest="" participant="" -="" an="" eight="" day="" old="" baby="" yoko="" tried="" break="" record="" 5="" 800="" but="" it="" a="" tuesday="" morning="" what="" she="" thinking="" should="" have="" done="" this="" past="" saturday="" oh="" well="" that="" s="" wacky="" :="" p=""> Posted by Hans Von Rittern on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

 

 

 


HOUSE OF ROB September 17 2015

The House of Rob Celebration took place just five days after September 11 and New York’s nightlife "family" and DJs far and wide demonstrated how quickly people respond to a call for help.

Much-loved club promoter Rob Fernandez died suddenly in July, Eddie Dean — owner of Pacha, where Fernandez was director of promotions and booking for the past ten years — and other members of the nightlife community and friends tried to figure out how they could help his family. Aware that Fernandez was most concerned that his young son, Rian, receives a good education they decided to immediately set up a GoFundMe account.

Soon coming to realize that they’d have to take it a step further.

“Everybody was in shock,” said Dean. “Almost immediately after that, everybody that Rob had touched over the years felt they wanted to do something.”

What did Rob loved the most? Party! But, it could not just be a party, it had to be one that would mirror the great personality and influence of a man known all over the world as the “King of New York.”

“We had the idea it had to be massive, Madison Square Garden, the biggest thing ever,” recalled Kevin McHugh, a close friend whose association began when he was managing Danny Tenaglia, whose career took off with Fernandez’s Be Yourself parties at Vinyl.

“Pacha made the most sense,” he added. “They were donating everything.” After three months of wrangling, the city even agreed to close down the entire block fronting the Hell’s Kitchen nightclub on September 16 for a twelve-hour extravaganza DJ Johnny Dynell calls “the Woodstock of DJs.”

  

67 DJs were booked. If Guinness ever adds a “Most DJs Spinning in One Night" category to its World Records, this would be the winner, hands down.

The list includes those who’ve known Fernandez from the early days, like Dynell, who met him when he was a doorman at Sound Factory Bar, as well as the fresh faces he was mentoring when he died unexpectedly. In between are all of those whose careers Fernandez helped launch, like EDM superstar Kaskade. Several of the DJs who will be spinning are New York icons (Jellybean Benitez, Danny Krivit, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez, Hector Romero, Hex Hector, et al.), producer-composers (e.g., Junior Sanchez), and newer scene-makers (Basic NYC’s Sleepy & Boo).

Of course, Pacha was heavily represented at the celebration, between the headliners (Jonathan Peters, Boris, Miss Jennifer) and veterans from the early years (Richie Santana and Peter Bailey). Fernandez may be best known for promoting big clubs like Twilo, Limelight, and Palladium, and giant venues like the Barclays Center and Central Park. But he was also instrumental in fostering the city’s underground club scene with parties like the Subliminal Sessions at Centro-Fly. 

Many people also don’t realize how deeply embedded Fernandez was in the city’s gay club scene, where he produced the wild Asseteria parties. Gay DJs paid their tribute. 

Most DJs were limited to 30 minutes, 45 max. 

Kaskade, who normally plays the giant Hudson River pier spaces, spinned at the low-level basement or Pachita, the loungy attic space.

 

Schedules were set in stone which made finding a suitable date that could accommodate everyone who wanted to participate impossible. “If it was one week, half couldn’t make it,” Dean said. “If the next week, the other half couldn’t. We finally chose Fashion Week.” Wednesday was chosen because it cut least into weekend travel.

What’s truly remarkable is that every single DJ is donating his or her expenses. DJs like Avicii who couldn’t juggle their schedules donated money. 

“It’s amazing that so many are flying in for this,” said former Pacha publicist Betty Kang, now of Plexi PR. “A lot of these DJs owe their career to Rob. He saw what was needed on the scene and gave people a chance.”

And not only DJs: everybody involved, from the producer of a laser-light show to security guards.

As the London-based Moudaber points out, “This is a very special celebration, and I am so honored to be part of it. I feel at home in New York City, and Rob Fernandez has a lot to do with that. Rob was the very best of promoters. He championed me and gave me my first gig here.”

For those familiar with the underbelly of the nightlife industry, however, what really blows the mind is the generous response of other clubs and event producers.

Provocateur and Marquee are sent out the word to their bottle-service clientele. And Electric Zoo, McHugh said, “usually [doesn't] allow DJs to perform for 60 or 90 days in a market. They changed their contracts — and put the benefit in their promotional material.” 

Sharon Fernandez is blown away by “the outpouring of support from Rob’s nightlife family. We knew he had a big heart but we literally had no idea how beloved and respected he was across the globe by so many people.”

In the spirit of Fernandez, who, Dean recalled, “was a creative, fun guy who loved coming up with offbeat ideas,” Pacha’s personnel went to work on the city for an unprecedented permit that will allow West 46th Street between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues to become an inner-city outdoor dance-music festival for five hours. 

“We want this to reflect Rob’s over-the-top personality,” McHugh added. “It’s finally time we get to celebrate and have some laughs.”

 

Picture and Video Material, Pacha-NYC Instagram

Source: Village Voice


Endangered Species Projected on Empire State Building July 30 2015

According to the New York Times on the coming Saturday "Travis Threlkel and Louie Psihoyos (director of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove) will project digital light images of endangered species onto the building in an art event meant to draw attention to the creatures’ plight and possibly provide footage for a coming documentary".

From 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. a snow leopard, a golden lion tamarin and manta rays, along with snakes, birds and various mammals and sea creatures will be covering 33 floors or the iconic building. 

"Using 40 stacked, 20,000-lumen projectors on the roof of a building on West 31st Street" the images will be displayed with the clarity of "5K resolution".

After the renovation in 2009 the Empire State Building became know as one of the most sustainable buildings in NYC which is one among the main reasons for its choice. 

"The production’s costs total more than $1 million so far and are being covered in part by the philanthropic foundation created by the Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, said Mr. Psihoyos". 

They hope to stream the production live on the Internet, details and updates can be found at racingextinction.com.


No More Waldorf Astoria for Mr. President July 16 2015

obama

President Barack Obama will not stay at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel today amid fears the place could be bugged after it was sold to a Chinese company.

The Department of State changed a tradition of putting up US officials at the Waldorf — where every president since Herbert Hoover resided — after Hilton Worldwide announced it was selling the hotel to Anbang Insurance Group.

Reports say there are fears the Chinese might set up a bugging system.

Officials said Wednesday the department would base its U.N. operations at the New York Palace Hotel instead of the famed Waldorf.

The head of U.S. is getting away from the nation’s capital Friday for a trip to the Big Apple.

Mr. president will attend a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser and see Broadway show. He will spend time with his daughters, Malia and Sasha, the White House said. 

If you are staying at Waldorf Astoria be aware in case you have something to hide.


A Walk Above the City June 18 2015

by Mariana Palacios Vega

The sun is out and streets are crowded. Time to think about outdoor activities to enjoy in this season. New York city has a range of options spread around the 5 boroughs. But today we are going to suggest a delightful choice in the West Lower Manhattan. The High Line, a unique path above the city next to the Hudson river, that runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street. Here you can stroll and relax, walk down this particular structure, while enjoying different propositions along the way (art, music, green areas among others.) 

Friends of High Line, a non-profit organization responsible not only for the construction of this linear park, but for the improvements it has had along the years. They say “we seek to engage the vibrant and diverse community on and around the High Line, and to raise the essential private funding to help complete the High Line’s construction and create an endowment for its future operations

Looking back The High Line is an extraordinary rehabilitation and an example of hard work, creativity and willingness to make NYC what it is, not just a concrete jungle. In 1934 the High Line was originally founded as a railroad to carry good along the industrial districts. By 1980 trains stop operating and what was left is a residual space. In 1999 Friends of the High Line was founded by Joshua Davis and Robert Hammond, whom saw the potential of this structure as a public space. From 2002 to 2003, through different collaborations and planning strategies the project became economically viable. Following, a design competition in 2004 took place and James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf, planting designer were assigned to make this project a reality. The first section was finished in 2009, the second one in 2011. And  finally in 2014 the third section was finished and Friends of the High Line pride on 15 years of successful operation. 

The operation hours of this public park are as follow: 

  • Dec 1 to Mar 31: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Apr 1 to May 31: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • June 1 to Sept 30: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Oct 1 to Nov 30: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM

You can access the High Line trough staircases on: Gan Gansevoort and Washington Street (elevator access), 14th Street (elevator access) ,16th Street (elevator access),18th Street ,20th Street ,23rd Street (elevator access) ,26th Street ,28th Street ,30th Street (elevator access), and 30th Street and 11th Avenue.

For these season there are range of events plan, so cease the moment. Here are some, on Wednesday June 17 from 6pm to 7:15pm you can join Walk & Talk: City Dreams & “Epic Fails” a guided talk that will inform you of different failed urban plans for NYC. On Thursday June 18 from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm enjoy “There will be pie!” Storytelling & Comedy. On Sunday June 21 join talented performers on Make Music Summer: Honk 210Hz. Join Arriba!: Latino Dance Party with Orlando Marin, The last Mambo King on Wednesday June 24 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. This are just some examples go to www.thehighline.org/activities for more information and an extended list of events.  

 

Furthermore while walking down the elevated path you can see unique pieces of art spread along the way. Olafur Eliasson, a collective project until september 30; Yto Barrada films every day until 7:00 pm, Rashid Johnson’s Blocks until March 2016, Panorama also until March 2016. And Adrián Villar Rojas’s The Evolution of God until July 31. For more information about each of this exhibits go to art.thehighline.org.

Personally I go to this park on weekends to walk above the chaos of the city and enjoy the amazing view, which will lead you to reflect and enjoy a singular walk. I stop now and then to observe the newest exhibits, or to lay down in the lawn. Don’t miss out on this experience, is soul warming and worth your time.


Let Light Heal You and Brighten Your Soul June 12 2015

 

By Mariana Palacios Vega 

 

New York City is known around the world for being the city that never sleeps; a congested, fast-paced city, where you have to keep up with the dynamic if you want to thrive. But with the 21st of June upon us and the Solstice nearing we have a chance to rethink our priorities and dedicate a day to clearing our minds, renewing our spirits and calming our souls. Who would have thought that, Time Square, located at the heart of New York’s frenzy could, for at least one day, become a quiet soothing place welcoming hundreds to join in the world’s biggest yoga session? And, why the 21st of June? For centuries around the globe this day, the longest of the year, in has been celebrated in different ways, by different cultures, with diverse traditions and joyful expectation. Despite variations, however, the celebrations always have positive connotations and frame the day as an opportunity reinvention and self-improvement. In Astronomy this is the day when the sun is in it’s highest position for the longest period of time. It happens on June 20/June 21/June 22 in the northern hemisphere and on December 21/December 22 in the southern hemisphere, at this moment the sun reaches its celestial longitude, 90 degrees. But no matter the cultural background it is undeniable that it is a magical moment, a gift from nature, and it would be shameful not to acknowledge it for everything it represents: the “ability to extend, like any plant or tree, to the Light” (Douglass Stewart)

 

 

 

The Time Square Alliance realized this 13 years ago and initiated the yoga practice as a fitting tradition, where partitioners lay their mats in the middle of the streets of Time Square offering a color-patched-ground filled with people from all around the world uniting their physical forms with their spiritual being, guided by expert Yogis. This year the event is even more special, since the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st the “International Day of Yoga”, which is why the 2015 celebration will play host to dignitaries from the UN and from the government of India. The organizers affirm that this is a “renewal of mind, body and spirit and a celebration of creative expression - of art, music and the sense of joyfulness and fun that the sunshine evokes in all of us   

 

 

Mind over Madness Yoga is a free event, you just need to register on the Times Square official website. Unfortunately, all spots have currently been reserved, but you can check for openings that come up from cancellations and put your name down on the First-To-Know list. This way you will be informed of any opening. If regretfully no spots open up you can always participate in this spiritual journey via the free live webcasting that will be provided by MindBody Connect. Just go to TimeSquareNYC.org and be part of the Solstice celebration from anywhere in the world.

 

 

 

The Itinerary, which can be subject to change, is as follows:

 

9:00 am - 10:00 am

Lauren Imparato

11:15 am - 12:30 pm

Douglass Stewart

 

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Rajashree Choudhury, Donna Rubin, and Jennifer Lobo

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Mary Dana Abbott

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee

 

Regardless of your attendance we strongly suggest that you search your soul and seize this opportunity to renew yourself with all the power of the sun.

 

“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside”

Mr. Yoga

 

Namaste.


The Science Behind Cocktails June 07 2015

 

by Mariana Palacios Vega

New York City offers so many bars and late night spots that it can be hard to keep track of them. But every now and then you discover a truly unique space, where you least expect it; one that truly stands out and asks to be revisited.

 

We found such a place behind a black door in the middle of a small street in Chinatown (9 Doyer St.) that will enchant you from the moment you arrive. Here at APOTHÉKE, Heather Tierney, with her wide experience in the culinary world, and her brother Christopher Tierney, who specializes in design, have joined their expertise to create a “speakeasy.”

 

 

 

The word “speakeasy” comes from the Prohibition Era, when alcohol was banned and you could only drink in hidden bars. APOTHÉKE emulates this style, and takes it name from the german word, that translates in English to Pharmacy, a perfect fit for the philosophy and ambience of bar that aims to go undetected. Inspired by 19th century apothecaries in Europe, the bar recreates the experience of mixing a potion, an elixir, a well crafted mix of unique ingredients, as an pharmacist would have done centuries ago. Each drink at APOTHÉKE is made by expert mixologists who prepare “the prescription,” as they call their drinks, according the tastes of the clientele. Needless to say the Bar is the protagonist of the show, it's back shelves are full of antique medicine bottles from around the world and the carrara marble bar is fully equipped for the performance of each drink preparation.

 

 

 

 

From the moment you order you are in for a treat, a spectacle that ends with the pouring of your drink, which falls perfectly in a glass specially selected for each recipe. In this chemistry lab every ingredient is kept in laboratory crystal glasses or cases and each mixologist wears a lab coat. One of the factors that makes this unique laboratory a success is their firm belief in their lema “Farm-to-Bar”; each of the ingredients come from organic green markets and their own rooftop herb garden. So when you approach the bar and look at the “prescription list” rest assured you will be getting a high quality, carefully crafted beverage. The ambiance is welcoming and soothing, the patterned wallpaper, the dark red sofas and the designer lamps take you back a to the 19ths and offers you a place to relax, listen to good music and dance if you feel like it. Although each detail of this bar is carefully thought out, this is not a pretentious place. Here you can lay back and discover the art of mixology, as well as enjoying a great night out.

 

 

 

 

But this is not all, APOTHÉKE offers live music (jazz sessions) every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. Monday you can enjoy the melodic Cole Ramstad from 10:00 pm to 12:00 am and DJ Devon Johnson raps up until the club closes. Tuesdays be delighted by High & Mighty Brass Band and New Orleans inspired cocktails and absinthe, from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Wednesdays chill to the music of Broadway Brassy and the Brass Knuckles accompanied by live Burlesque performances from 9:00 pm to midnight. Finally end the week with some live footage from 10:30 pm to 2:30 am. For Wednesday you need a secret password to get in, but I will let you into a little secret, you can get it by contacting the bar via social media or their web page.

 

 

 

Also on tap, is the “Apotheke Academy”,  a hands-on mixology class, after which you can get the mixology Kit, which come with everything you need to recreate the experience in the comfort of your home. You can choose from a variety of courses; the “Market Fresh Mixology” offered Saturdays at 2:00 pm and costs $125; the “Prohibition Era”, classes are offered also on Saturdays at the same hour and at the same price; or the “Absinthe Minded” experience and coming soon the “Agave Master” course.

 

 

To top it all off these experts mixologists can curate your bars for off premise events, offering custom cocktails. These service have been solicited by brands like Prada, Phillip Lim, Milk Studio among others.

To wrap it all up I will tell you, from my personal experience, that everything that you have read lives up to the expectations, the cocktails are original and delicious, I had “La Dolce Vita”, a vodka based cocktail, which was refreshing and perfectly balanced. But read well before you order, some of the prescriptions are spicy and surprising, so if you are not sure on what to order ask your mixologist, he will guide you.

 


MORE THAN THE BEST VIEW OF THE CITY May 29 2015

by Mariana Palacios Vega

 

Today, May 29th the “One World Observatory” at One World Trade Center (285 Fulton Street) opened its doors and welcomes visitors to an outstanding experience that has been been under development over the past years. The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere has chosen the renowned enterprise Legends Hospitality, LLC to run the new observation deck, will give viewers the opportunity to see an incomparable and breathtaking sight of one of the most vibrant cities in the world from approximately 1,250 feet above street level.

 

But the observation deck is not the only attraction. It all begins from the moment you enter one of the five cutting edge elevators that take you up 102 floors in approximately 60 seconds. LED lights embedded in the walls of each one of this capsules, recreate the development of the skyline of New York City from 1600 until today. Once you reach the peak of this grand structure, between the 100 and 102 floor (120,000 square foot) you will find; The Global Welcome Center, which will greet you in a variety of languages. The Voices and Foundations Program will tell you the story of the people that built the OWTC and the history of the ground where it is standing. The See Forever Theater, features a video that captures the dynamic life of NYC. The Sky Portal, a 14 foot wide circular disc that allows you to see in real time and in high definition what is happening on the streets beneath you and The City Pulse, an interactive software that takes you to a virtual reality that lets you merge with the images you are witnessing provides sweetens this amazing experience. In addition to all of this you can have a great meal at the top of NYC in a fully equipped restaurant.  

 

For this Summer season, May 29 to September 7, the operation hours will be from 9am until midnight and it is open 7 days a week, the box office will start selling tickets at 8:30am every day.

A New Space for Art in Lower Manhattan May 25 2015

whitney museum

By Mariana Palacios Vega 

The Whitney Museum returns to its first home, West Lower Manhattan. Located at 99 Gansevoort Street, the new building imposes it presence in a neighborhood that vibrates with life and fosters a growing community of artists and aficionados. Before migrating to a bigger and cutting edge building the Whitney Museum collection grew from 700 to over 21,000 works. You can find each one of these pieces displayed in the museum’s brand new building in meatpacking district, designed specially for this purpose by Renzo Piano. According to the Italian Architect “The design for the new museum emerges equally from a close study of the Whitney’s needs and from a response to this remarkable site. We wanted to draw on its vitality and at the same time enhance its rich character

 

 

The asymmetrical building faces the high line and features the largest column-free museum gallery in New York City. Besides the indoors and outdoors galleries, the institution features a cafe, a complete restaurant and a shop. The inauguration ceremony was held on April, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and since May 1 the museum opened its door to the general public. You can visit this remarkable icon Monday and Wednesday from 10:30am to 6pm, Thursday through Saturday from 10:30am to 10pm and on Sunday from 10:30am to 6pm. Currently you can enjoy the exhibition “America is hard to see”, which will be displayed until June 17, the museum offers free tours with the museum admission fee each day.

 

whitney museum, michelle obama

 

The Breuer building (corner of Madison and 75th Street) former house of the Whitney Museum; considered a heavy and brutal piece of architecture will now be administered by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and will present exhibitions and educational programs.

 


Shake Shack Madison Square Park Reopens! Big Line in the first day! May 20 2015

One week ago Shake Shack reported stellar first-quarter results, the burger chain has something else to celebrate. In the morning reopened its flagship Madison Square Park restaurant in New York City. People were lining up as early as 10 AM, to get their hands on the first burgers . In addition to the regular lineup, the spot was offering a special ParkBurger with cave-aged Jasper Hill Farm raw cow's milk cheese sauce and Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon. So deliciuos.


Is CNN shutting down? May 18 2015

 

 

One of the most famous weather, temperature and time billboards in NYC advertising the news giant CNN was removed from the 3 Columbus Circle, the former Newsweek, building at Broadway and 58th Street.

No statement or press release was published by the channel.

 

 

 

We are sad seeing it going and we hope it will return in a bigger and better form but internet seems to be a game-changer even when it comes to the big powerhouses.

 

Are we mistaken by assuming that many of those reading this lines are hoping FOX news ticker is next? 


F. A. O. Schwarz to Close on Fifth Avenue May 16 2015

F. A. O. Schwarz, the toy store on Fifth Avenue, will close its doors July 15, a victim of rising rents and ultraluxury retailing in New York City’s hottest shopping district. It’s the last remaining location of the iconic toy brand. While the company seeks another location, a line of toys bearing the FAO Schwarz name will be sold in Toys “R” Us . 

FAO Schwarz started in 1862 and has moved several times since then, including a stop in Manhattan’s Union Square. Toys “R” Us purchased FAO Schwarz in 2009. At the time, it had a store in Las Vegas that was in the process of closing when Toys “R” Us made the acquisition.

 


One World Observatory Announces Opening Date April 08 2015

 

It's official. New York's highly anticipated One World Observatory will open to the public on May 29, 2015.
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Sitting on levels 100-102 of the One World Trade Center -- the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere -- it's vying to become the city's hottest new tourist attraction.
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TAKE THE TOUR from One World Observatory on Vimeo.

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The visit will start on the ground floor at the Global Welcome Center, which will feature greetings in dozens of languages and a world map highlighting the hometowns of what’s expected to be millions of visitors.

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Visitors get to the observatory via one of five "Sky Pod" elevators that shoot up to the 102nd floor in fewer than 60 seconds. 

The Main Observatory space on the 100th floor will include an interactive skyline "concierge" known as City Pulse.

It's made up of a ring of HD video monitors that use gesture recognition technology to bring imagery to the screens, allowing guests to find out more about the landmarks and neighborhoods they are viewing at from above.

Admission for adults ages 13-64 will be $32. Children ages 6-12 pay $26 and seniors over 65 can get in for $30. Guests five and under will be admitted at no charge.

Tickets to the One World Observatory are on sale from today on Wednesday, April 8, and are available on the official website www.OneWorldObservatory.com.


The Word "Art" Is Oversaturated March 27 2015

A young Brooklyn artist Alex Smetsky is telling us about New York, his view of Art, the way of life in "Big Apple" and what should be printed on toilet paper rolls.

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Where should we start, maybe what inspired you to become an artist, going back to childhood, when did you first become interested in art?

I was always doodling, painting and creating something. I've only recently started taking it professionally. Both of my grandparents were amazing artists. They were heavy influences to me.

Especially my grandfather from my fathers' side. He was in museums and all. Absolutely amazing artist and a war hero. His art was heavily influenced by WW2. Weirdly enough, after he passed, I got super heavy into art. I kind of feel like his soul lives in me. That's when I got heavy into graffiti too. That eventually became life to me. Day and night that was all I would do. 

A lot of my influences come from my upbringing in the Russian culture and of course a lot of the influences that were around me in Brooklyn. I grew up in Bensonhurst, back when it was still manly Italian. It was an amazing time. There was so much energy in the streets back then.

 

What was one of the first artists you saw or pieces that really stood out to you?

I honestly don't remember, but Salvador Dali was probably the first artists I've ever acknowledged as a true genius.

 

What about it caught your attention?

How he just said "f.... it all" and did what he wanted. It was so rebellious. As all art should be.

How is New York fitting in this picture, artist leak recognition and money in the time of gentrification. Some would say true artist have to suffer for their art. How do you see it does it inspire and influence your art, maybe in a commercial way? 

I was blessed to have a survival mentality, and even more so- Blessed to have learned my value and the value of my happiness. I understand that my art might not sell right away. Thats fine with me. It's about the process so I'm just enjoying the ride. New York gives you a million ways to work on any end you'd like to. Because of NY, I'm not limited to experiences, connections and my choices of what I choose to do for a living while my art starts to take off.

It's amazing to love what you do in all aspects. Plus my position allows me to network and meet some amazing connections, artists and be on the frontline of all new trends. It's truly a gift.

 

 

5. What do you want to express with your art, how do you want to influence people. In which way will your art change or influence New York, USA or even the world?

Honestly, I don't even like to call myself an artist or my work art. Just like everything in the world nowadays, the word "Art" is oversaturated and there are a lot of people misusing this term for things that I personally think should be the new decorations on toilet paper rolls. I bring my visions to life. I see myself as an engineer or a craftsman. I'd like it to express positivity, beauty, happiness....only positive messages overall. I'd like it to inspire freedom.

When my family came here, we didn't have much. We built from ground up. And I too worked from a young age and worked for my own. I've failed tons of times but got up a lot more times. Taking a dive into the art world and instilling my faith into it is something that many will be scared to do at my age (29). It's not practical to pursue this when most people are focusing on stability and starting families. So I want to send that message of trusting yourself, having value in yourself and just going for the leap. F... it!

Now, I'm more influenced by the classic artists- so you'll see what's in store soon.

 

 

6. You recently had an exhibition. How was the feeling showing your art for the first time to a broader audience?

I was blessed to be part of several gallery exhibits my first year doing this professionally. It's beautiful and rewarding all at the same time. To see people coming out to see your work, support you, purchase it and ... overall it's just an amazing experience.

I'm trying to do more works now so I can have a solo exhibit soon. Not trying to rush it- but I just want to experience it all. Also, starting Mixed Medium was ultra rewarding. Seeing so many believe in the cause and seeing so many artists collaborating with me on the project. It was surreal. So many more projects to come! Ultimately I want to give back as much as I can. Spoil the fans.

 

 

 

View more of Alex's art and details


The Annual Pillow Fight Day March 25 2015

pillow fight
Let's get ready to rumble!
On April 4th at 3 p.m. in Washington Square Park is your chance to show thousands of other New Yorkers how skilled you use your pillow.
The 10th annual NYC Pillow Fight is scheduled  for International Pillow Fight Day. In previous years the event brought out over 5,000 participants.
The best part, after the fun is over, you can choose to deposit your pillow in a donation truck where it will go to a person in need.
May the Force be with you!

Column: Hot Bars in NYC, Part II March 23 2015

hot bars in NYC

 

You can say what you want about NYC's clubs, bars and lounges, but the fact remains: The City That Never Sleeps is still the nightlife epicenter of America and probably the world.

The nightlife capital has a game-changing bar scene that is diverse and unique, impossible to conquer. Considering the fact that Paris is the size of "The Bronx" you will understand why this is a mission impossible. However we will introduce some hot spots in our series "Hot Bars in NYC".

Enjoy Part Two!

 

THE NOMAD BAR

 

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A handsome bi-level, a convivial, warm and classic New York City tavern located inside the NOMAD HOTEL.  

The bar is accessible from West 28th Street or from within the hotel through The Library Bar. 

There’s the vaulted, windowless ­double-height space, which can feel a little confined even if you’re sitting at one of the balcony tables and enjoying food and fancy cocktails. It’s elegant, it’s dark, and it’s the kind of place that makes you feel awesome.

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A spot that offers a full, expensive, menu with "casual food" – that is really fantastic. NoMad offers 30 of their own cocktail inventions as well as a selection of 8 classics. 

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NoMad Bar isn't really just a bar this is also a pretty grand two-story restaurant with some fantastic dishes. A place that you want to visit only once in a while, best saved for those times you want to impress someone, or maybe just impress yourself a little bit. 

 


Artist Turns Brooklyn Night Club Into Enormous Home March 21 2015

In 2010, the artist Matthew Day Jackson bought a two-story warehouse in Greenpoint. Previously from 2006 to 2009 a night club called  Studio B on Banker Street in Greenpoint. In 2009 neighbors were fed up with the noise and it had to shut down.
Jackson bought the two-story warehouse for $2 million and after an extensive renovation that converted the ground floor into a studio and workroom and the upper floor into an airy apartment, all 15,000 square feet are now for sale.
The ask? $11,000,000.
There is an elevator, indoor parking, and a retractable roof, along with a separate guest suite and a view of Manhattan.
A funny little detail: it has a massive playroom/yoga studio that's plastered with skylights.

Column: Hot Bars in NYC, Part One March 01 2015



 

You can say what you want about NYC's clubs, bars and lounges, but the fact remains: The City That Never Sleeps is still the nightlife epicenter of America and probably the world.

The nightlife capital has a game-changing bar scene that is diverse and unique, impossible to conquer. Considering the fact that Paris is the size of "The Bronx" you will understand why this is a mission impossible. However we will introduce some hot spots in our series "Hot Bars in NYC".

Enjoy Part One!

 

The Raines Law Room 

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Imagine a world without dirty martinis and other beautiful cocktails  If you lived in America between 1920’s and 1930's, this would have been your devastating reality. During the prohibition era, different laws were passed that either prohibited or heavily taxed establishments on the sale and transportation of liquor to restrict the consumption of alcohol in the United States. But as during many dark times the human imagination works its miracles. 
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People created joints that were called “Speakeasies” or "Prohibition Bars". Found in secret rooms at the back of theaters or a secret door in an alleyway at which you would need a secret password, knock or handshake to enter. To make it more  inconspicuously, they would sometimes serve drinks in coffee mugs and tea cups in case of a raid. Many Speakeasies quickly became a booming enterprise for organized crime.  Some gangsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano even turned them into their homes and offices.
The Raines Law Room is reconstructed after this past dark times. Located in the Flatiron district behind an unmarked black door hides one of New York's Hot Bars. 
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To enter a doorbell has to be rang, a host/ess will ask for a reservation. The Raines Law Room doesn't take reservations for every day!
All tables in the bar are usually taken, the host/ess will mark down the name and phone number. 
Next to the table is a drink ordering bell. After pulling the string a waitress will discreetly arrive at the table and take an order.
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Raines Law Room is a perfect spot to experience a little exclusivity and a little mystery where besides the fantastic atmosphere some tasty gourmet cocktails are being served.  The rest we leave to your fantasy. 
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Celebrities at the Fashion Week February 18 2015

Fashion Week is all about checking out the new collections as they come down the runway, but let's be real—there's a lot to see sitting in the first row, too.

The start of New York Fashion Week comes with it the arrival of plenty of well-known stars to Big Apple. The runway turns into a red carpet for many of the biggest designer names, with celebrities of all walks - from sport stars to actresses and singers - turning out to support their favorites.

 

Kate Hudson at Michael Kors show

By: Alex Apatoff, Brittany Talarico and Sarah Kinonen

 

Kim Kardashian at Alexander Wang runway show

By: CRAIG BARRITT/GETTY IMAGES

 

Rihanna with Zac Posen

By: Leah Melby

 

Naomi Campbell & Zac Posen

By: Alex Apatoff, Brittany Talarico and Sarah Kinonen

 

Beyonce at Kanye West x Adidas Originals collection

 

By: GETTY IMAGES

 

Ashley Benson attended Reem Acra's presentation

 

Odell Beckham JR. and Anna Wintour

By: Alex Apatoff, Brittany Talarico and Sarah Kinonen

 

David Beckham at his wife's, Victoria, front row

By: Alex Apatoff, Brittany Talarico and Sarah Kinonen

 

Nicki Minaj at Alexander Wang

By: Alex Apatoff, Brittany Talarico and Sarah Kinonen

 

KESHA at the Edie Parker presentation

By: Alex Apatoff, Brittany Talarico and Sarah Kinonen

 

Katie Holmes at the newCinderella line for JCPenney

By: Alex Apatoff, Brittany Talarico and Sarah Kinonen