Magic hour on the East River
Nurturing an abiding love for Latin America, I've traded big city lights for sunshine and grapes in Mendoza, Argentina. A perennial traveler and writer, I'm inspired by locals, culture and creativity. This is my patchwork.
Kinfolk Studios is a creative space in Brooklyn that is a coffee shop and workspace by day, which transforms into a bar turned dance party by night.
Two high points: a mini herb garden growing on the bar used to flavor cocktails and the complimentary self-serve water pitchers.
Cool Hunting.com: Housed in a renovated factory building on the Williamsburg waterfront, the Wythe Hotel marks the long-due maturation of the booming Brooklyn neighborhood. The place embraces local flavor by blending grungy industrial looks with luxe hospitality, and there’s plenty of buzz around the involvement of restaurateur Andrew Tarlow of Marlow & Sons and Diner fame. “It’s a grown-up version of what’s happening in Brooklyn,” says Tarlow of the Wythe. At present, it stands as a beacon for the direction of Williamsburg, a place to stay and feel at home in one of the hippest corners of NYC.
80 Wythe Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249
Oh baby, it’s the first summer weekend with access to all public pools in New York City and I am feeling excited, especially because this weekend’s going to be a heat wave!
*Photo: AM NY
I am really looking forward to taking a dip in Williamsburg’s once defunct McCarren Pool that found a second-life as a popular Brooklyn concert venue, and had since gotten lucky with a $50 million dollar injection of funds to transform itself yet again, becoming one of New York’s most anticipated summer hotspots. (Open 11am-7pm, free admission)
I also want to check out the new 1,500 square foot "pop-up" pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 2, which has a stretching view of the Manhattan skyline. (Open 10am-6pm, free admission)
Another spot that’s on my list is Central Park’s Lasker Pool, located mid-park between 106th and 108th Streets and overlooks Harlem Meer. (Open 11am-7pm, free admission)
*Photo: Corey Wise/Lonely Planet
If there was an award for New York’s biggest cupcake fan, I have no doubt in my mind that Mariana would be a frontrunner. She is highly critical and extremely loyal, willing to risk the possibility of not getting her rental bike back on time so she could pay a visit to one of her favorite bakers.
Here she is at Baked savoring her favorite flavor: red velvet cupcake with vanilla icing.
From Red Hook we had to book it back to Manhattan in 40-minutes max to return the bike to Chari & Co in the Lower East Side.
Graffiti near Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn
As we raced over the Williamsburg Bridge and were ripping through traffic at dangerous speeds, I realized my reckless behavior could be construed by some as tell-tale signs of a cupcake addict enabler. (I have, more than once, seen her scoop and savor the remnants of a smushed melted cupcake from the side of a plastic bag with more enthusiasm than a chain smoker puffing her first cigarette after a long intercontinental flight.)
When we pulled up to Chari & Co. they were rolling down the metal door to close the shop, which prompted us both to scream “Wait!”
I could not believe we made it.
With beading sweat and burning muscles I sat on the stoop and waited for Mariana to pay the $40.00 rental fee. Next door there were two women picking at a gourmet spread.
"That’s a nice picnic you got there," I complimented.
"That is the idea. It was put together by the founder of PerfectPicnicNYC.com,” she responded.
That was a timely discovery to inspire our next summer outing.
This weekend I dusted off my bike for its first summer spin. My friend Mariana and I wanted to enjoy the summer weather splashing around in Red Hook’s public pool. We biked the four miles from the East Village to Red Hook in about 45-minutes.
Over the last four years, New York City has added more than 250 miles of bike lanes, including expanded lanes on First and Second Avenue that make bicycling downtown much quicker and safer. We used the Google Maps app on the iPhone to get us across Brooklyn to Red Hook.
Lower Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Smith Street, Brooklyn
Smith Street, Brooklyn
When we finally arrived to the Red Hook Rec Center, we learned that the pool was closed until the following weekend. I wasn’t too surprised because I had read that all public pools in New York City wouldn’t open until June 28, 2012, but I had also found another website for Red Hook Pool that provided contrary information. Since no one answered the phone when I called the numbers listed, we took our chances and rolled the dice.
We of course lost that bet, but as Ralph liked to quip, “life is a journey, not a destination,” so we cut our losses and plopped ourselves down under a shady tree in a quiet park across the street.
(To follow the Red Hook biking journey back to the Lower East Side, read Part II tomorrow.)
On May 19th & 20th, 2012, Brooklyn’s historic Prospect Park will transform into an amusement park of food and drink, The Great GoogaMooga. Approximately 75 food vendors, 35 brewers, 30 winemakers and 20 live music performances will be on hand to help relish some of life’s greatest pleasures—gathering with friends and neighbors to eat, drink, talk, laugh, dance, linger and just … be together.
Anthony Bourdain (author and host of No Reservations), David Rockwell (founder & CEO of the Rockwell Group), Tom Colicchio (chef & judge of Top Chef), Garrett Oliver (brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery), Paul Grieco (sommelier/co-owner of Terroir & Hearth), Eddie Huang (chef/owner of Baohaus) and several others.
Baohaus • Big Gay Ice Cream • Blue Ribbon • Brindle Room • Char No. 4 • Co. • Cookin’ With Coolio • Colicchio & Sons • DBGB Kitchen and Bar • Dirty Bird To Go • Do or Dine • Frankies 457 Spuntino • Hill Country Barbecue Market • Joseph Leonard • The Lobster Place • Luke’s Lobster • M. Wells • The Meat Hook
Saturday, May 19
Sunday, May 20
Free general admission tickets for The Great GoogaMooga are all spoken for but you can still purchase an all inclusive “Extra Mooga” tickets are still on sale.
A $250 ticket buys you:
Last night on the subway platform we were serenaded by the mellow folk duo Bird Courage.
It is the type of music I would switch on after a long day to suck the stress out of my body. I really liked the lead singer’s voice, but their harmony is what made me turn around and check out who they were.
They are playing a free concert at Spike Hill this Saturday from 8-9pm.
Ryan Angulo’s Buttermilk Channel is all about comfort food. His American bistro menu includes both grass-fed beefsteak, house-made pickles, maple-and-bacon-roasted almonds and buttermilk batter–fried chicken.
The spot is homey, too, with a butcher-block bar and a communal table made out of ceiling beams from an old Red Hook warehouse. It’s loud and interactive, not an intimate spot for privacy and quiet chats. ~unacoolhunternuevayork