56 posts categorized "Places to Visit"

April 20, 2015

Hotel Henriette in Paris

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What happens when you want to open an affordable chic hotel in Paris but have a small design budget? A lot of DIY and creativity come together for a bohemian and hip boutique hotel. The next time you’re in Paris, search out Hotel Henriette just south of the Seine in the 13th arrondissement near Les Gobelins metro station.

Designed and owned by Vanessa Scoffier, a former fashion editor, she took a 30-year old hotel and transformed it into a new-vintage-y, 32-room boutique using paint to create unusual architectural angles.  Here, color applications, wallpaper and flea market items, including a gym mat fashioned as a headboard mix artfully with plywood surfaces and stand-out light fixtures.

All this visual stimulation is happy distraction from the tiny footprints in which they dwell.  Room sizes range from 118 square feet (single) to 161 square feet (double twins) to 248 square feet (deluxe double). To accommodate the petite rooms, each one is outfitted with space-saving, two-legged desks.

Room rates start at $74/night for a room for a single occupant to $128/night for a junior suite that fits up to three.

Photography by Herve Goluza and Herve Goluza for Glamour France

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August 13, 2014

10 Reasons to Visit the Lower East Side

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{ } Café Katja – Their Emmentaler Sausage dish is accompanied by savoy cabbage and quark dumplings.  I felt certain I wouldn’t have room for dessert.  To my surprise, it was not only the lightest cheese sausage I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming but I had the stamina to finish dessert too! 

{ } Vanessa’s Dumplings – The space here is probably 4x the size of the average dumpling hole-in-the-wall.  And, it’s packed on a daily basis.  Favorites on my list include the cabbage & pork boiled dumplings, noodles with meat & bean sauce and a side of Shanghai bok choy. 

{ } Ivan Ramen – The much talked about ramen house infiltrates the quiet indie street of Clinton, which is also the home of soon-to-shutter, WD-50.  Hands down, I had the best ramen here with its thick, tasty bowls of dashi, a broth made of seaweed and dried bonito.  You will be tempted to order your bowl “Fully Loaded” giving you an egg, extra pork chashu and two roasted tomatoes.  Do it! 

{ } Malt & Mold – A sweet, tiny tailored shop sits on the quiet end of East Broadway specializing in artisanal beers and well-curated cheeses.  You’ll also find all the accoutrements to complete this nosh-fest, such as pickles, chocolates, cured meats and crackers.  I see fare for the perfect picnic emerging, don’t you? 

{ } The Sweet Life – If you’re looking for a candy shop less nostalgic than Economy Candy and less PR-powered than Dylan’s Candy, head to The Sweet Life.  You’ll find sweets that are organic, treats from 10 European countries, and baking ingredients to make your own recipes at home. 

{ } Spitzer’s Corner – Sit communal-style at long tables and benches at this popular American gastropub. During the summer, the windows open, and it’s some of the most relaxing people-watching you can get on the Lower East Side.  Choose from 40+ beers that go splendidly with their Truffle Mac & Cheese or Kobe Sliders. 

{ } Top Hat – You’ll have fun perusing this tiny trinkets and home goods boutique, if you like trinkets with a modern, global edge.  Scope out the shop’s eclectic collection of textiles, quirky calendars and Japanese washi tape.  They don’t have a website but you can find them at 245 Broome Street, 212-677-4240.

{ } The Tenement Museum – New York’s story of immigration is a fascinating one, and you can begin at this museum to learn about life on the Lower East Side in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Check the schedule for neighborhood walks, tenement building tours and free discussions and screenings at the museum. 

{ } Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream – Pastry extraordinaire, Nick Morgenstern opens his first ice cream shop.  He uses a European ice cream machine to whip up his egg-free {yes egg-free} ice cream.  Burnt Honey Vanilla, Vietnamese Coffee, Black Ass Licorice {not a typo} and Green Tea Pistachio are just some of the flavors that will turn you into that very indecisive person yet. 

{ } Russ & Daughters Café – The fourth generation Russ cousins open up an offshoot of the family business serving up kippered salmon, white sturgeon and matjes herring.  The bar serves up wine, old-fashioned egg creams, Bloody Marys and cucumber soda, which pair well with the artisanal rye bread and potato and onion knishes also on the menu. 

{Photo by Alan Gastelum}

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June 30, 2014

Family day in Dumbo

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Dumbo is one of our favorite destinations in Brooklyn.  We spent the day with another family whose daughter is the same age as Zoe.  With two toddlers, things can unravel very quickly if a plan isn’t in place.  This was our itinerary:

{ } Met at 2pm (after naps)

{ } Took the train to York Avenue

{ } Walked to Front Street where we had 3pm lunch reservations in the outdoor garden of Gran Electrica.  This was key to the success of our excursion.  Have you ever strolled aimlessly looking for a restaurant with a toddler??

{ } Walked to Jane’s Carousel for a ride on the historic spin.

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{ } Headed to Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.  You can wait on line to buy your scoop inside their landmark fireboat house or stand on a shorter line and get your flavors from their outdoor ice cream cart.  We opted for the ice cream cart. 

{ } As you wait in line, there’s a fabulous open-air, covered area that serves beer and wine.  Sit at bistro table and chairs, and enjoy the view of downtown Manhattan and the East River.

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{ } The kids kicked around a ball in the plaza, ran among the dozen bride and grooms taking photos, and played with the locks left on river fences by the married couples.  The dads drank beer and watched the World Cup on the television set up in the outdoor seating area.  

{ } We packed up and headed home at 6pm.  Happy parents, happy toddlers: it was a perfect day.

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June 24, 2014

The Best Little Flea Market Guide

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Hand to heart, I found the best little book in the world.  I promise!  Do you love flea markets?  And when you travel, do you research whether there are any antique malls nearby?  {Hello, friend!}  Then you must pick up Pamela Keech’s The Best Flea, Antique, Vintage, and New-Style Markets in America.  She hand-picks the best of the must-see markets spanning from the East Coast to the West.  

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If you’ve ever done a keyword search such as, “antique malls XXState/City/TownXX,” then you know the hodge-podge of information you need to sort through, and that forming an itinerary is painstaking.  Pamela not only gives you an essential organized list of 20 locales across the country but provides advice on what time to arrive, where to park, where to eat and strategies on how to tackle certain overwhelming markets. 

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Here are a few highlights: 

{ } Pamela breaks down how to cover Brimfield (Massachusetts) in a day-by-day itinerary.

{ } In Philadelphia, there's a market which leapfrogs around town intertwining itself with bake sales, neighborhood BBQs and art openings.

{ } There’s an 824-mile yard sale on the oldest highway in America stretching from Maryland to Missouri.

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She goes on to cover other states including North Carolina, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, California and Washington.  Even if you never hit any of these spots in person, a great armchair adventure is to be had!  One other characteristic about her book is that it’s heavy in content, and small in stature.  This tiny little tome is a charming guide with an insider's feel throughout.  It is definitely worthy of your bookshelf.

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{Photo credits: all photos by Pamela Keech; book cover photo by Annie Schlechter}

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May 22, 2014

Cherry Blossom Festival

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We had never been to a cherry blossom festival nor to Randall’s Island, so they were two exciting firsts for us.  At this festival, there was a menagerie of kid-friendly Japanese-related activities.  We had a blossom painted on a hand, names translated into Japanese, made tissue paper flowers, drank cherry blossom tea and made a kite and flew it!  

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Randall’s Island is a tiny island snuggled between East Harlem in Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens.  Most well-known for a large number of public athletic fields and their community farm, Urban Farm, it’s definitely not as familiar as other NYC parks but it could be a nice day-cation.  You can get on the island via ferry, walk/bike over the footbridge, by bus, or how we got on, which was by car.  The island is a lovely expanse of green for picnics.  We found a very interesting and imaginative playground, which happened to be adjacent to the festival.  I was also blown away by Urban Farm, which is an educational program teaching students how our food is grown.  We missed the rice paddies but would love to go back and check those out.  

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April 16, 2014

J. Crew's Liquor Store

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I just love New York!  Next time you are in Tribeca, check out J. Crew’s men’s shop housed in a landmark 1825 townhouse that used to be an old liquor store.  What could be better than stylish fashion surrounded in excellent decor?

{Photos via A Continuous Lean; Remodelista}

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April 2, 2014

Brunch at Schapiro's

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Brunch at Schapiro’s on the Lower East Side was such a great experience.  We sat in one of their large rounded banquettes, and treated ourselves to a well-deserved late lunch and a glass of wine.  This was one of the most comfortable restaurants I’ve been in.  The high ceilings and natural light flooding in was perfect for a Sunday meal.  The interior design was like a candy shop; you can’t stop looking.  Everything you see comes from salvaged scraps and artifacts from historic Lower East Side establishments.  The antique mirrors and patterned wallpaper found tucked in various niches were pretty charming.  

As for the menu, if you have a hankering for French toast, their bananas foster version with ricotta will take care of that, not to mention make a fine dessert substitute.  By the time I took my last bite, I pretty much reached my threshold on the sweet ‘o meter.  I had heard about their spinach and mushroom side, which was simple, and totally hit the spot. 

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March 31, 2014

Smorgasburg & Brooklyn Flea Indoors

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In the winter months, Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg share a space indoors in Williamsburg.  Flea market and food under one roof spells a very good day!  This is the last weekend indoors, and in a few weeks, both will head their separate ways, and find their summer homes outdoors.

Held in an empty warehouse, it offered a microcosm of what you normally experience during the summer months.  At long last, I tried my first Ramen Burger.  I have no idea how this food vendor escaped me all this time but I finally got to see what all the talk was about.  It was hilarious eating a burger with ramen noodles fashioned into round sturdy discs as buns.  I LOVE ramen, so this was super fun.  I was also impressed with the custom paper wrap that was stitched in a curved shape to round seamlessly around the burger and catch the drippings.

Inglorivs Kaburayvs had a very epicurious item on their menu called Brooklyn Tamago, which is a steamed egg in a jar.  The glass jar touch was so well done.   The line to ordering Palenque Homemade Colombian Food’s arepas was fast but the cooking took a little more time.  In the meantime, I had fun snapping some shots of the ladies making them.  While David ate his arepa, I started scouting around for my dessert choice.  I zoomed in on For the Love of Pie pretty quickly.  Chocolate in a pecan and pumpkin mini pie?!  Yes, alright. 

After we ate, we walked into the Brooklyn Flea section but basically spent the rest of our time at Manny’s Collectibles going through crates and crates of used vinyl records.  We walked away with Madonna’s first album, which I had been salivating to find, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ and 2-3 selections of Van Halen, including their first release. 

Looking forward to the first week of April to eat and flea out of doors!

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March 24, 2014

An afternoon at Toys "R" Us in Times Square

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I've discovered that children open up your world.  It's been happening since day one of her little life, and I love it!  In all the years I’ve lived in New York, I’ve never set foot in the flagship Toys "R" Us location in Times Square.  Now, I have a new saying, “Have toddler, will travel…anywhere for entertainment.”

Am I a New York snob?  Maybe.  I could be.  Probably.  I normally shy away from big box retailers in the city.  I mean, we have the best of independent and boutique everything, so why McManse shop?  I can answer this.  It’s because they have everything…under the sun.  When I leave the city for rural parts, I have a field day in their impossibly massive square footage.  You have the car to lug everything home, to boot but I digress.  

Flagships located in New York tend to be the crown jewel location for any large company, and strive to not to disappoint.  Last week it was a stylish playground with a sandbox and a well-designed Italian restaurant in the Financial District.  This weekend was Geoffrey the Giraffe, Barbie and seasonal displays of Easter Peeps.  Can I just express that the store has a Ferris wheel inside the building?   One may also fancy iconic NY structures fashioned from Legos, such as the Hearst Tower pictured, an ice cream stand and arcade.  At the end, all that mattered was that Zoe had a good time, and Toys "R" Us did not disappoint this one afternoon.  Luckily, her father and I had a relaxing meal at one of the most comfortable restaurants ever.  Pictures posted on this soon!

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March 12, 2014

A Stroll to South Street Seaport

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Walking along the East River underneath the highway underpass is a favorite weekend activity when the weather is nice.  The Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges are spectacular so close up.  Head downtown, and the road leads you to the South Street Seaport, which is currently closed for a major revitalization.  In addition to the usual bustling of the Seaport, this particular area located in the Financial District has boutique restaurants, and wine and coffee shops.  This neighborhood has also been hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, and reconstruction continues.  One restaurant reopened under a new name and less one co-owner serving Italian food under the name, Barbalu.  Here’s the menu.  Some of my favorite design details included the horizontal gray driftwood, the skylights, spigots fashioned into light fixtures and nail spikes turned into coat hooks.  

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