Michael in the City

My cousin Michael is a lover of the arts, fine food and has a keen ear for timeless music that transcends boundaries and categories.  He has developed, at a young age, an even keener eye for the City That Never Sleeps and here is his homage to her.

Contents :  Aammans-Copenhagen | Beekman Tower | Brooklyn’s Enduring Self | Central Park | De Gournay, Paris | Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park | Fulton Center Station | Gallery I | Gallery II | The Grand Concourse & Strolling Through the Bronx | The High Line & Chelsea Market | Hotel Americano | Hudson Yards | La Dolce Vita | Maison Premier | Museum of Modern Art | The NoMad Hotel & Restaurant | Passage de la Fleur | Oculus | On the Waterfront | The Trinity Church Series | West 28th Street

“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald

© commons.wikipedia.org

The Danes’ love of their smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich usually made from a medium to dark bread which is buttered and topped with fish, meats, or spreads, has jumped the proverbial pond.  Adam Aamann’s homage to the Danish specialty, Aamanns-Copenhagen, is located off lower Manhattan’s Canal Street.  The authentic menu is reasonably priced and has all the hallmarks of fine Nordic cuisine, i.e., fresh, local ingredients, seasonal foods, purity of flavor, and contemporary food prep techniques.  NOMA’s Rene Redzepi and his peers in Scandinavia have now succeeded in conquering the world.

© New York Times
© The NY Times Co.

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, admired for the sensuous curves of titanium which form the outer skin of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, has consistently managed to surprise and impress over his storied career.  One of his most recent creations is Beekman Tower, the tallest residential tower in the world.  From a distance, the building’s surface appears as if something has gone horribly wrong.  It’s only as you get closer you realize Gehry has introduced his trademark curved metal as the tower’s exterior.  Upon closer inspection still do you fully realize and appreciate the enormous complexity of engineering involved, that of undulating water being poured from an unseen source above.  It’s a building so exquisite, in fact, the first reaction you have will be that of shivers down your spine.

© The NY Times Co.

Brooklyn’s Enduring Self :

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Central Park :

Known for its hand-painted wallpapers, porcelain and furniture collections, the French design house De Gournay has a showroom in New York City on East 59th Street.  It’s as impressive as their flagship store on Rue des Saints-Pères in Paris.  Since its only a couple of blocks from the Lexington Avenue / 59th Street station, it’s far easier to visit than heading to JFK for an overseas flight.

De Gourney
© De Gourney

The city’s waterways and waterfronts, still untapped in many ways, have been transformed with the opening of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park.  Located at the tip of Roosevelt Island on the East River, architect Louis I. Kahn’s vision features an open air plaza and stunning views of Manhattan.  It’s also a fitting tribute to the president which bears its name.

Four Freedoms
© The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park

Freedoms Park

While the efficiency of Manhattan’s Fulton Center Station will be appreciated by New Yorkers, it’s the station itself which has art and architecture fans salivating.  Designed by James Carpenter, the station’s signature architectural element is the soaring “Sky Reflector Net” which allows natural light to pour into the station and with its reflective surface literally fill the various corridors and levels with ambient light.

Fulton Station-02

“Architecture appears for the first time when the sunlight hits a wall.
The sunlight did not know what it was before it hit a wall.” ― Louis Kahn


Gallery I :

Gallery II :

The Grand Concourse & Strolling Through the Bronx :

“One belongs to New York instantly…one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” ― Tom Wolfe

The High Line & Chelsea Market :

Mexico’s Grupo Habita has brought some genuine swagger to Chelsea with the opening of  HÔTEL AMERICANO, a metal-clad building at 518 West 27th Street.  The rooftop deck, bar and pool features unparalleled views, but it’s the way you get there that’s impressive―an exterior elevator takes you to the top in seconds.

© Hotel Americano
© Hotel Americano

An unsightly area along the City’s West Side is being transformed, making the most recognizable skyline in the world even more unique.  The Hudson Yards redevelopment will create a brand new neighborhood, to be known not only for the glass prisms marking its boundaries but also for its noteworthy green initiatives :  there is an onsite generator, a car and pedestrian traffic efficiency system, and trash recycling center to be completed underneath.

Hudson Yards

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” ― Cassandra Clare

La Dolce Vita :

Maison Premier, located on 298 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, pulls back the curtain of the ever mysterious and elusive Absinthe, long considered during the (previous) turn-of-the-century period as psycho active as it was the drink of choice for the artist and scientific communities.  Nothing of course could be further from the truth.  The spirit is derived from botanicals, fennel, and green anise.  Maison recreates Parisian parlors frequented by the City of Light’s artists, intelligentsia and poets and features over 2 dozen kinds of the delicious green elixir in addition to a full menu devoted to brunch and dinner.

© Maison Premier
© Maison Premier

The Museum of Modern Art, aka The Modern, had well-deserved bragging rights to “American Modern :  Hopper to O’Keefe,” intended to highlight American art created from 1915 through 1950.

Christinas World
Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World.” © The Museum of Modern Art

A collaboration between noted Chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara, the NoMad Hotel is located in a neighborhood newly named, i.e., North of Madison Square Park, because it borders both the Flatiron district and Gramercy Park.  They could not have picked a better location.  The hotel’s jewel in the crown is their rooftop restaurant, openly seasonally, which offers unparalleled views of Manhattan’s iconic buildings while simultaneously offering respite from the street below.  The hotel’s restaurant features a menu which some may find pricey but is certainly in line with similar places in Manhattan.

© The NoMad Hotel
© The NoMad Hotel

© The NoMad Hotel
© The NoMad Hotel

When it comes to visual poetry, famed Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava’s arguably greatest and most ambitious project was unveiled with much-deserved fanfare at New York City’s reimagined World Trader Center.  His gorgeous transportation hub, Oculus, reminiscent of a bird’s wings, is less about stunning architecture and daring design and rises to something even greater―that of art.

On the Waterfront :

Philippe Essome, the wine buyer for Manhattan’s own Ten Bells Wine Bar, has opened up Passage de la Fleur on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn.  Although the space is small, it’s filled with a commendable and noteworthy collection of natural and organic wines.

Passage de la Fleur
© Passage de la Fleur

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” ― Victor Hugo

Shopping for Vinyl in Williamsburg :

The Trinity Church Series :

Pritzer Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid has unveiled her first project in New York City, a condominium at West 28th Street near the city’s High Line pedestrian park.

© Fastcode Design
© Fastcode Design

Her characteristic materials, which bend into sensuous curves much like Frank Gehry’s titanium designs for the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, are showcased spectacularly.  The High Line’s Standard Hotel, which sits atop the park, has been that urban project’s focus for some time.  It now has competition.

Standard Hotel, July 2009, Location: Manhattan, New York Architect: Polshek Partnership
Standard Hotel