Disneyfication

Shake Shack began in my local park as a glorified hot dog cart. After seeing the popularity and hundred person lines, Danny Meyer opened his first shack location in Madison Square Park, and unwittingly began turning my neighborhood into a psuedo Disney for tourists- Times Square Light if you will.

Eataly came next, bringing people to my once quietish neighborhood where formerly architecture nuts would come to see the Flatiron building. Now the Flatiron building triangle is the least known thing about my area.

Lego store, whose windows impress me.

Friends Experience, which I freely admit I went to within a month of its opening.

And then the Grand Dame…The Harry Potter Store…which was so popular in the beginning you needed a ticketed number to come in and shop.

Of course, more food chains came to visit 23rd Street: Wendy’s, Dippin’ Dots, Krispy Kream…

Tourists. Tourists. More Tourists…

Which is very good for the very local economy. And not so good if you liked your neighborhood on the quiet side. You see, I’m torn as to whether or not your neighborhood becoming really popular is a good thing or a bad.

My neighborhood has always been a draw for TV and movies- many things have been filmed in my neighborhood, and while I delight in seeing my local haunts on screens both big and small, I don’t know if I want tour busses in here showing the “sights”- after all, this is the place where I live, not a Kodak moment sort of place. Sometimes having to walk Betty three blocks out of my way because they happen to be filming “Billions” could get a tad annoying. And yes, I realize how precious that sounds, my tough life of having to maneuver around film shoots, and have locals wonder if my hat and sunglasses are hiding a famous face (because seriously- the best way to spot a celeb in Manhattan is to look closely at the person in a hat and sunglasses trying to walk by unobserved) but seriously, try walking down the street and having to avoid the line to Friends and then run into a large group taking up the entire sidewalk…when you have fifteen pounds of goods from the Farmer’s Market and your little dog too, it’s not exactly the happiest moment on earth.

And every time something new and marvelous opens up within five square blocks of my little world, I begin to think how Times Square was once just hookers and drugs…and now literal costumed characters walk around, and there’s an M&M store (Ok- I think it’s still open, but I can’t guarantee it’s not a COVID casualty) Is my neighborhood going to morph into that?

I think about how Taxi Driver was filmed literal blocks from my apartment on streets that I wander every day…

And I’m glad crime is down from that era, and my biggest fear is it rising again to those levels…

But do I want it to be because we’ve become some sort of Theme Park attraction…the happiest dirty place on earth?

So I remain unsure as to how I feel about the changes in my neighborhood- first gradual now seemingly all at once. I want my local purveyors to live long and prosper, but I don’t know if I love the cost.

But I do want you to come and see the Flatiron Building, because it is wonderful. And while you’re at it, check out the view of uptown and downtown from that spot, because that is what differentiates us from other cities, other places. And then walk about eight blocks north to find the best Korean places, or northeast for some awesome Indian, south for all sorts of other ethnic cuisine…Get a doughnut from Dough. Ice Cream from Van Leeuwen. And do try the original Shake Shack- it’s clearly the best of the chain. If you want to see New York, you should see New York…as well as all that other stuff.

What Inspired Me: November 28

  • Julia is a fun documentary if you like food, celebrity chefs and Julia
  • Soothr is a Thai restaurant in the East Village, and the feeling is supposed to be one of home and comfort. It totally succeeds. My chicken khao soi was rich and textured and delicious. The cocktails are all named after jewels, and they give the story, but I was so busy looking at all the plates around me that I kinda sorta forgot.
  • French toast filled with marscapone and apples and some candied bacon on the side and yum…
  • Mrs. Doubtfire on Broadway was cute. Cute means wonderful for someone under ten. Which means…don’t bother.
  • I admit that I am normally drawn to the same works of art or antiquities that everyone else is. There are things just universally beautiful or interesting. but occasionally I stumble on something like the shepherd, and its dedication to Pan
  • Gallery 153 at the Met is just a beautifully orchestrated room. It’s one of the galleries that brings me peace. Would be nice if no one else knew about it thought…
  • Gifts From the Fire: American Ceramics from the Collection of Martin Eidelberg Gallery 773 closing 10/16/22
  • I saw Eternals (newest Marvel) in the theater. You will be eternally grateful that I told you to pass this one by.
  • Marks off Madison is by husband’s new favorite neighborhood place. As seen by my delicious French dip sandwich (FYI- that’s a half, and I couldn’t finish that. Portions not only yum, also huge)
  • The Frick has a temporary home on Madison Avenue. They don’t allow you to take pictures, but they did have a postcard of my favorite painting in the collection.
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation. What the balloons look like mid inflation. And How do you not love Baby Yoda!!! And Snoopy!

What Inspired Me- November 7

  • You never know what you are going to see around NYC- a plaque dedicated to writers, a snow globe dedicated to Broadway or a Naked Cowboy
  • Nowon is a amazing restaurant in the East Village. It’s Korean inspired, however they clearly make one of the most delicious burgers in the city. Also, their soju based cocktails are incredibly tasty. Of course, they sent a text to confirm our reservation. When I replied “Y”, the reply text came back “It Gon Be Lit”.
  • Velvet Underground documentary is quite good, though, I did not know much about them save Lou Reed, Andy Warhol and Nico. The director showed people talking, but I had no idea who some of them were or their relation. The closing credits did give a quick bio, but would have been helpful to know during the actual doc.
  • NYPL for the Performing Arts advertised a display of mini broadway sets. Bleh. It was extremely lackluster. Though I am seeing a revival of Company next month, so seeing the original 1970 set design was somewhat interesting
  • 90th anniversary of Frankenstein. Love this movie. However, I realized that in the credits, the author credit was listed as “Mrs. Percy Shelley” Can you imagine?
  • Had the roti breakfast at Miss Lily’s- Caribbean/Jamaican food. Jerk sausage.Yum.
  • Molly’s cupcakes for our Halloween Treat- Mine was bottom left- Apple Pie flavor. SO GOOD. I mean…sooooo good….piece of buttery pie crust on top, apple filling inside, cream on top.
  • Thoughts of a Colored Man is one of the best plays I’ve seen in awhile. Thought provoking, well acted, script just eloquent and beautiful and real. If in NYC try to see. Full Disclosure- I received tickets for this play for free via God’s Love We Deliver, a non profit I volunteer with. I was not given the tickets in exchange for a review either favorable or otherwise
  • Met exhibits- Permanent Collection Egypt. Emperors, Artists & Inventors: Transformative Gifts of Fine Arms and Armor (special exhibit closing 2/21/22)
  • Brooklyn Museum- Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: A Crack in the Hourglass, An Ongoing COVID-19 Memorial (closes 6/26/22) Baseera Khan: I Am an Archive (closes 7/10/22)

I know that I have showed you lots of wonderful images of things that I did this week, but I must add that my heart has been very heavy. Sometimes you can go through the motions, and you can actually laugh and enjoy, but it doesn’t mean that you feel good all the time. This is why I laugh at the whole “Be Positive” movement- I did all the be positive stuff I could muster and it still didn’t make me feel any better- it just distracted me for little chunks of time. While distraction can be good, it shouldn’t be the only tool in your toolbox. I know that I have been angry or sullen in my posts this week- that a byproduct of working through feelings and emotions- sometimes it can’t help but come out in writing. Also why I think journaling is an awesome idea… And here I go again writing a long drawn out thing when I only intended to write one line.

Be well.

What Inspired Me: October 31

  • I saw two Hitchcock movies this week- Yet I can’t decide which Hitchcock is my favorite. I’ve seen Strangers on a Train more times, plus studied it in a film class, so I can’t help but look for certain motif’s when I watch it. Doesn’t matter. All good!!
  • If anyone wants to buy me the Jaguar that was at MOMA….it does bring up a now talked about point- should beautiful cars be considered art? I say a big resounding yes- for beauty and engineering- but some are against that. Can cars be considered art?
  • Kim- couldn’t help but throw in a little surrealism…
  • So I was at the Met- for my weekly gallery by gallery tour, and I was approached by people in the digital media department of the Met who asked if I wanted to share my opinion about the Met. Hmmm…do you think I want to share my opinion about the Met?
  • We did a tourist walk this week: Bowery, SOHO and Little Italy. Once again we went to neighborhoods that we frequent on the regular. However, I did see a statue outside the Basilica that I’d never noticed.
  • I am a huge fan of Schitt’s Creek. Had the opportunity to see Eugene and Dan Levy talk about their new book. They are as warm and charming and hilarious in person as they are on TV. Love them. And the pride and love that Eugene shows for both Dan and Sara is just heart warming. FYI- if you’re a fan of the show or know one- the book is a great holiday gift
  • 886 is a Taiwanese comfort food place in the East Village Manhattan. The chicken sandwich was about the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever eaten! Two words- potato starch. I’ve never used it but they use it ibn the batter- crisp and not greasy chicken. It was soooo good. They dress it with pickled daikon…
  • Korean corn dogs are a thing in NYC right now. We tried Two Hands (SOHO) and the dogs were delicious- had spicy one and one coated in rice crispie treats. Yum…but needed more than two napkins
  • Szechuan Mountain house came recommended to us as authentic szechuan food. It was delicious. I didn’t mark down the dishes we ate, and when I tried to get them from website it wouldn’t let me open menu because they’re not open now. But – everything yummy. The thing with Szechuan food isn’t so much the spice as the tingle of the peppercorns. So good. They also serve delicious green tea, and the place is a little haven of tranquility.
  • I am trying to cut down my mindless TV viewing. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that I am LOVING Ted Lasso (appletv) and Great British Baking Show (Netflix). Also- Dune (HBOMAX) is worth a watch- really well done!!!

Happy Halloween!

What Inspired Me: October 24

  • So- I was in DC visiting my daughter!! We had a wonderful time! Lots of great food. Great museums! Theater!! Hadestown is touring right now- if it comes to a theater near you, go see it!! It was very kitschy to see a play at Ford’s Theater. Of course, we did not see “Our American Cousin”… DC is awesome for trying different cuisines. We decided Jaleo was our best mean, though Das made an incredible cinnamon tea. We were getting back to the hotel from sightseeing and it started to rain, so we needed to make a pit stop at a doughnut place…I mean…it was raining…Loved all the art and such that we saw- oddly on my train down to DC I was reading a book that talked about Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, so that was a cool coincidence. Of course, I think the Hope Diamond was my favorite…
  • There is a Kusama exhibit at the New York Botanic Garden- work was very fun to look at, especially as they had it intermingled with flowers and such. One of the pieces allowed us to add a flower to the work- I’m not quite sure how I feel about interactive art. Expect a post about it.
  • Rick Bayliss finally opened a restaurant in NYC- yay…
  • Bond- James Bond
  • Saw Vertigo on the Big Screen- Hitchcoctober baby…Such a good film…

What Inspired Me: October 3

  • Blog friends meet The Temple of Dendur: This is one of my favorite rooms in the whole world. I just love everything about this room.
  • I love brunch because it’s the best part of sweet and savory. Hello bacon, egg and swiss french toast…
  • The Worst Person in the World is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. I was lucky enough to see it as part of a film festival, so I got to hear (seated) Joaquim Trier (Director), Renate Reinsve (star), Anders Danielsen Lie (star), and NYFF Eugene Hernandez (Director NYFF59). What’s funny watching a subtitled film is acknowledging how fast people read and get the subtitles…the laughter starts at different points. I wonder if the late laughers think it’s funny or just want to be part of the crowd.
  • Most thought provoking movie of the year goes to I’m Your Man– if you like my posts about romance and tech, then this movie should be on your to be watch list
  • When I bought tickets for last Wednesday’s game, the Mets were in a position to make it to the post season. Yeah….there’s always next year…

What Inspired Me: September 26

  • Banksy exhibit was quite interesting. It’s unauthorized, so I didn’t expect anything to disappear before my eyes, yet I was still sort of hoping… Banksy was the author of the quote in Friday’s blog. It’s not his art per se that is important- it’s his reasoning behind what he chooses to do…
  • Flip Sigi is Philippino fast food- and it’s delicious. The burger has a Longanisa sausage patty on it. Don’t know what it is, but it’s delicious…two words: banana ketchup
  • It was fun to go back to San Gennaro. Our goal is always to find something new at one of the stands- this year a huge, meat filled rice ball. We were not there for the parade or cannoli eating contest.
  • The Relative Value: The Cost of Art in the Northern Renaissance exhibit at the Met is interesting because they explain how things were valued- namely by how many cows it would take to purchase something.
  • I’d never seen Breathless before. Should see for anyone who is interested in film…however….if this was an American classic we would be condemning it as opposed to genuflecting before it. If you are easily offended by sexist behavior, probably not for you to watch…
  • We have completed the Thrillist List of best Pizza- My clear winner is Zazzy’s Pizza. Clearly one of best slices of pizza in NYC- if you ever visit and want a traditional NYC slice- this place should be on your list
  • Dior exhibit amazing!!

What Inspired me: September 19

  1. 60 Rivington once housed two synagogues. The building is now owned by an artist who took out some of the bars that made up the Jewish Star, and changed it to look like a camera lens
  2. Our walk was through the Lower East Side. It’s an odd neighborhood- you see lots of buildings that once house Synagogues, which now house other things. The neighborhood, once largely Jewish is now a mix of Chinese immigrants and hipsters (though I loathe to use that word…) We also meandered from neighborhoods where drug deals are done right in front of you, to high end galleries and families playing at parks. This neighborhood kind of gives you everything.
  3. The Alpinist is a decent doc about an alpinist…
  4. Though I did not attend the Met Gala, I did attend the corresponding exhibit. I was underwhelmed…hoping part 2 in May is better
  5. The idea of Biophony was better than the execution- it seemed every time I passed on of the musical groups, they were on a break. While that was a good storyline for Friends, not so good when you are walking around trying to get snippets of music
  6. Wife of a Spy was quite good…good filmmaking

What Inspired Me: August 22

  1. Let me start with this- my daughter went back to college….
  2. Secondly- the best thing about driving home from DC is stopping in Baltimore for Chaps Pit beef. I have no idea what pit beef is, but I know it’s delicious
  3. I love fried green tomatoes (whistlestop optional) – these were pretty good
  4. We did a brief sightseeing jaunt in DC before we headed home-
  5. Had a wonderful in person book club- helped that we all liked the book
  6. Bryant Park has a wonderful “reading room”- outdoor tables and books and magazines. They also sponsor reading/writing events for free. I attended a memoir writing workshop given by Cullen Thomas. He is a wonderful speaker and hope to eventually take a class with him. He also is a cross between James Marsden and Rob Lowe, which in LA speak means he’s quite attractive.
  7. My Tea Society celebrated Coco Chanel’s birthday at Bergdorf Goodman. We had a lovely tea followed by a little quality time at the Chanel counter. There just may be a new lipstick in my collection…every black dress needs a red lipstick every now and then
  8. I saw Aretha. Jennifer Hudson is quite good- however the movie is quite average overall
  9. On my way to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden I experienced subway delays/issues….It was only a track fire and not someone letting their girlfriend drive the train though (true story). As I stood trying to figure out how to get to the garden, all I could think was first subway issue in 18 months- we’re back baby…
  10. Lost Leonardo very interesting if you are an art geek
  11. Obviously- I took time to get in as much self care as possible!!!

What Inspired Me This Week – June 20

If I were to name this week it would be things I never knew:

  1. I’d never heard of Sparks, or there 300 songs or five decade career. I have a lot of catching up to do. Glad I caught the documentary which is great, but their music is better
  2. Walking along the East River we discovered a park with seal sculptures- never saw it before…
  3. I’ve been a member of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for at least ten years. I had never seen there little Brooklyn Walk of fame
  4. Lemon/lychee Thai iced tea- who knew how good Thai Iced Tea could be without condensed milk. This was SOOOOOO good
  5. Immersive Van Gogh was just a new and interesting way to look at the works of Van Gogh- I love when we take technology and use it to bring culture to a wider audience…plus…Starry Night on four walls surrounding you

Can’t wait to see what inspires me this week!!