New Yorkers Rallying in Solidarity with Their Neighbors

Our new president’s policies towards immigrants has been troubling for many New Yorkers. After all, the United States is a nation of immigrants – and nowhere is that more evident than New York City. In the past month, there have been numerous rallies and marches in the city in protest against those policies. Last weekend, there was a solidarity rally in support of our Muslim neighbors, coworkers, and friends. Called I Am a Muslim Too, the rally brought together people of every race, religion, and background.

There was such a positive spirit at the rally, which took place in the streets near Times Square. I took these photos at the event, and I think they capture some of its rich diversity.

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May I just say that this rally, like the other rallies and marches I’ve attended in New York City, was such a positive, inspiring experience. New York City values its citizens’ First Amendment free speech rights, and officials regularly give out permits for rallies and other forms of protest. The mayor and several city council members actually spoke at the I Am a Muslim Too rally, emphasizing the message that this is a city that welcomes all.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Flushing, Queens

New York City has the largest Asian-American population in the United States (at latest count approximately 12% of the city’s 8 million residents), so it’s unsurprising that the city is host to numerous Lunar New Year events. Most tourists attend Lunar New Year events in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood, but other boroughs also hold Lunar New Year parades and other celebrations. This year, I decided to watch the Lunar New Year parade in Flushing, Queens. Over half of the Asian-American population lives in the borough of Queens, and Flushing is home to a second Chinatown.

The parade may not be quite so grand as the one in Manhattan, but it was a wonderful celebration of the community. My favorite things in the parade were the brightly colored dragons – they always drew cheers from the crowds as well.

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There were also some child-sized dragons. See what I saw inside the dragon’s head?

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Here are some of the marchers in the parade, dressed in various traditional costumes.

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On a serious note, there was also this brightly decorated car, accompanied by people carrying signs about domestic violence. They were marching with a community organization that provides support for victims of domestic violence.

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Finally, there were plenty of people in various stuffed costumes, from a character from a cartoon to buddhas – and let’s not forget the roosters, as this year is the year of the rooster!

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Want to explore Flushing’s Chinatown for yourself? Take the 7 train all the way to the end of the line, to the Flushing-Main Street station. When you come above ground, you will be in the midst of Chinatown.

Dispatch from the Women’s March on NYC

Today was a day of marching and protest across the United States – people in other cities around the world marched in solidarity with us. One of the largest marches was here in New York City, and I was privileged to participate in the march. I don’t normally talk about things like this on the blog, but I think it very much fits with the blog’s overall theme. Today yet again I discovered another aspect of my city’s character, and it made me proud to say that I am a New Yorker.

Today’s march was certainly in opposition to the new President, but it was more. It was a statement by women (and the men who marched with them in support) that they demand to be heard. They demand that their rights be protected and their interests be prioritized by the government. The march was a call to action, and I’m hopeful we’ll see people engage in the future with the issues they marched for today.

I took a lot of photos of the march today, and I think that they give a good glimpse of the diversity of people and issues associated with the march.

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I’ve heard estimates that 250,000 people or more marched in the New York City parade alone, although I haven’t been able to verify that number yet. I do know that the march was peaceful, coordinated with city leaders and the New York Police Department, and lasted all day long.

One Last Look at NYC’s Holiday Windows: Bloomingdale’s

So, I know I’m late posting this, but I really wanted to show everyone some photos I took of Bloomingdale’s department store windows during the 2016 holiday season. The theme for Bloomingdale’s windows this year was “Light,” and artists were invited to create chandeliers embodying that theme. During the exhibition, the chandeliers were auctioned off and the money donated to a children’s charity.

So here are the chandeliers, reflecting the artists’ very different approaches to the common theme. This first one is titled “Sparkle,” by artist Allison Eden.

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The close-up shot shows the three-dimensional details of both the chandelier and the tile mosaic aquatic background.

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This next one is titled “Brilliant,” by artist Susanne Bartsch.

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This mirrored chandelier is titled “Luminescence,” by artist Sean Augustine March.

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Here’s “Moon Glow,” by artist Abby Modell.

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This window was titled “Aura,” a collaboration between artists Erika DeVries and Jonah Meyer.

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In this window, artist Inma Barrero utilized clay, porcelain, metal, glass, and wood to create “Reflections.” And this one really did reflect the light, making it challenging to photograph!

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With that last photo, I’ll officially close the door on the 2016 holiday season – but I can hardly wait to see what the department stores do in 2017!

Reflective Accident: NYC Architecture and Bergdorf Goodman Windows

I hadn’t had the chance to check out Bergdorf Goodman’s holiday windows, so after Christmas dinner we headed off to check them out. I wanted to get photos of the windows to post on the blog, as last year’s Bergdorf Goodman windows were spectacular. (You can see last year’s windows here.) According to David Hoey, Senior Director of Visual Presentation at Bergdorf Goodman, “The windows are like magical realist versions of natural history museum dioramas.”

Unfortunately, there was still too much daylight when I took my photos. As a result of the sunlight, I wasn’t able to capture clear photos of the window displays. But when I later looked at the photos on my computer, I found some unexpected results – reflections of neighboring buildings partially obscuring what is behind the glass. I thought that the results made for some interesting images. You’ll have to tell me what you think!

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Wonder what the windows look like without the reflections? Click here to see Bergdorf Goodman’s reveal of this year’s holiday windows.

Unique Holiday Windows at NYC’s High School of Fashion Industries

I’ve written before about the incredible variety of of department store holiday windows on display across New York City during the month of December (here and here), but I recently found out about a set of windows I had never heard about before – they’re found at the High School of Fashion Industries. Students at the school worked with the creative ambassador for Barneys New York, Simon Doonan, to design and build the window displays.

The students chose not to stick to a holiday theme for their designs, instead focusing each window on an iconic woman musician, artist, or model. There are six windows in all, honoring Joan Jett, Beyonce, Celia Cruz, Madonna, Dolly Parton, and Grace Jones. I think they are imaginative and delightful.

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While I was viewing the windows, I also noticed this set of beautiful mosaics above the school’s entrance.

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Want to see the windows at the High School of Fashion Industries yourself? The school is located at 225 W. 24th Street in Manhattan, between 7th and 8th Avenues. (The closest subway stations are the 23rd Street stations. The 1 train or E and C train stations are very close – it’s a little further walk if you take the F, M, R, or W trains to their 23rd Street stations.) In my research about the school, I discovered that they actually create windows 4 times each year, so it’s not just a holiday thing. And, as a bonus, you are just a short walk up 7th Avenue to the Fashion Institute of Technology’s free museum, a hidden gem I’ve previously written about here.

Lord & Taylor’s Holiday Windows 2016: Enchanted Forest

New York City is a magical place during the holiday season, and those seeking activities to put themselves in the Christmas spirit can find endless activities to enjoy. Of course there are the Christmas trees at locations like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History, which I’ve featured before here and here. But both New York City residents and visitors alike always look forward to the department store holiday windows, wondering what each store’s them will be for the current season. One of my favorites this year is Lord & Taylor’s Enchanted Forest, a delightful set of windows that appeals to both adults and children. Here are some of the photos I took of the Enchanted Forest recently.

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If you are in New York City for the holidays, I encourage you to check the Lord & Taylor windows out. They are even better in person, especially with the animation and moving figures! Lord & Taylor is located on Fifth Avenue between 38th and 39th Streets, just a short distance from Bryant Park and the iconic New York Public Library building. It is easily accessible by subway or bus.

Celebrating Diwali at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tomorrow is Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Each year, there are numerous celebrations of Diwali in New York City. Last year, one of those celebrations took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I stumbled upon it during a visit to the museum. Although the museum is not hosting a Diwali celebration this year (at least, I haven’t been able to find anything about it if it is), I thought that revisiting last year’s festival activities would be a great way to celebrate the holiday this weekend.

To celebrate Diwali, the Met offered numerous activities, including henna painting, lantern-making, and children’s dance activities. I met some visitors who were willing to share their experiences with me, as you can see from these photos.

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In one room, children were being taught some traditional dance steps – guaranteed to burn off some youthful energy, and fun to watch!

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There was also a dance performance, difficult to capture in photographs because of the crowds, dark light, and fast movement, but so beautiful.

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One of the benefits of hosting this event in the Met Museum is the proximity to a wonderful collection of Indian art. I made sure to explore some of it while I was there, and here are photos of a few of my discoveries.

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And don’t forget to look up!

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Although the Met Museum may not be holding Diwali festivities this year, I recommend visiting to see its Indian and Southeast Asian art collections, which are primarily located on the second floor of the museum. There’s also a small special exhibition of Indian art on display at the Met through December 4, 2016: Poetry and Devotion in Indian Painting: Two Decades of Collecting. More information about that exhibition is available here.

Cider Week in NYC

New York City is in the midst of Cider Week at present, and there are numerous opportunities to taste the New York-made ciders throughout the city. Cider is becoming more and more popular in recent years, and New York state cider makers are producing excellent hard cider varieties. Cider Week celebrates the variety of those New York ciders in tastings, dinners, and a variety of other activities.

One of the early events of Cider Week was the second annual Lower East Side Cider Festival, held this past Sunday on Orchard Street. Numerous cider makers offered samples of their delicious ciders, and there was food – both apple-themed, and otherwise – for sale. Wassail, the cider bar I’ve previously discussed here, also offered a variety of ciders on tap. Here are a few photos of my visit to that event.

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There’s still plenty to do before Cider Week ends on October 30. Want to check out some of the events yourself? You can find the schedule here.

Tasting the City at Broadway Bites

There are numerous opportunities to experience the variety of restaurant offerings in New York City, including food halls, flea markets, food trucks, and food carts. Another popular option is any of the markets organized by Urbanspace. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to experience firsthand Broadway Bites, a pop-up food market curated by Urbanspace.

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Broadway Bites is great on so many levels. There are 28 food vendors participating in the fall market, ranging from sweet to savory and spanning the globe with different food styles and cultural influences. Meeting up with friends who all want something different? Broadway Bites is the perfect choice! Everyone can get exactly what they want, or you can get several things to share. There’s plenty of seating scattered around the park as well.

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I was invited to taste some of the delicious food offerings, and I thought I would share some of my favorites. There was this incredible truffle cheesesteak by the Truffleist, with its perfect balance of grilled meat and peppers, cheese sauce, and crusty yet soft bread, crowned with freshly-sliced truffles from Burgundy, France. The Truffleist is known for its handcrafted truffle products, and the company is based in Long Island City, Queens. More recently, they have been participating in pop-up markets and have just opened up a permanent kiosk at Gaansevort Market in Manhattan. All I can say about this is Yum! I plan on having this cheesesteak again sometime soon!

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I love poutine, that delicious Canadian comfort food that usually consists of french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds – and Birds & Curds by MeltKraft offers some creative and flavorful poutine options. The Birds & Curds people suggested that I try the “Nacho Average,” a marriage between nachos and the traditional poutine. The crispy hot fries were covered in a refried bean gravy (yes, it did have that delicious flavor of refried beans) and then topped with cheese, salsa, and pickled jalapeños. Poutine traditionalists might be shocked, but this dish was really good!

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Or how about the fresh, clean taste of Gotham Poke‘s spicy tuna poke? Poke is becoming popular in New York City, with new poke shops springing up across Manhattan on a regular basis. Gotham Poke is among the best, and its spicy tuna poke included Vidalia onion, seaweed, pickled ginger, chili mayo, and gochujang sauce, and was garnished with spring onion and thinly sliced radish.

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I was intrigued by Hai Street Kitchen & Co.’s sushi burrito, which is offered in this box, almost like a present.

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Once the package was opened, I discovered this Instagram-worthy and delicious treat – this one with salmon. The “burrito” form turns the sushi roll into a hand-held street food.

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I’m a fan of Korean food, making Chingdu New Korean’s offerings intriguing. I tried this tender bulgogi, made with ribeye steak and garnished with pickles.

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The man taking orders at Bar Suzette Creperie persuaded me to try the lamb burger, topped with carmelized onions and fried goat cheese and garnished with arugula, grainy mustard, and fig jam. The goat cheese added a tangy, creamy taste to each bite, and the mustard and fig jam balanced sweet and savory.

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What made this stop particularly fun was watching one of the guys make a delicious looking crepe as I waited for my lamb burger to cook. Doesn’t this look tempting? I think it will require a return visit to try it as well!

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Perros y Vainas has one of the most colorful kiosks at Broadway bites, and is the inspiration of the people behind New York City’s very popular Wafels & Dinges, Rossanna Figuera and Thomas DeGeest.

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Perros y Vainas offers Venezuelan street-style hotdogs, which are cooked to create a crispy exterior and then loaded with a variety of toppings. I gave Rossanna free rein to garnish my hotdog as she saw fit, and this was the result – a masterpiece of flavor! My favorite part is the crispy potato sticks (papitas) that offer an unexpected but satisfying crunch with each bite. What also makes Perros y Vainas special is that Rossanna and Thomas are donating part of their sales to organizations that provide food and medical care for children in Venezuela.

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Ending on a sweet note, I stopped by Mochidoki to try some Japanese-style mochi. The ice cream comes in a variety of natural flavors and is covered in the rice-based mochi dough. Ken Gordon, the company’s founder, presented the mochi with well-found pride, and I was excited to try it. In fact, I’ve already been back to try additional flavors since my first visit. So far I’ve tried coconut, double chocolate chip, mandarin orange cream, and salted caramel – and I’ve loved them all. Another bonus for those who can’t have gluten: all but two of Mochidoki’s flavors are gluten-free!

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Want to check out Broadway Bites for yourself? The market is located in Greeley Square on Broadway between 32nd Street and 33rd, only a short distance from the 34th Street – Herald Square subway station. (The N, Q, R, B, D, F, and M trains all stop at this station.) Don’t wait too long though – the fall Broadway Bites market only continues through November 18, 2016.