Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dumbo showered in Light

The first ever New York Festival of Light began shortly after sundown Thursday Nov 6th and is set to run through Saturday Nov 8th, so it is not too late if you want to go today!

The festival which originated in London and Berlin features a collection of installations created by local and international lighting designers, performance artists and technologists.  It is so cool and festive, a great way to kick-start the holiday season.
The spectacle takes place after dark in DUMBO, Brooklyn in the Archway under the Manhattan Bridge - Pearl Street Triangle (Pearl & Water St). 
It is free and appropriate for all ages, 
So don't miss it! 

~ Happy winter season ~

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Great Roadside Trip: Phoenicia Diner

© Doug Koh
At last we've arrived at the long weekend and just in time to enjoy the fall foliage. The city is always late to show its bright autumn colors but Upstate NY never fails to amaze around this time. If you have the chance to drive up this weekend, you'll surely see sights of gold and red just as the leaves slowly start to fall and fade. And don't forget to take advantage of the season flavors - pumpkin sugar donuts and apple cider are available at nearby markets and grocery stores. 

But if you are really craving for a fuller meal, we highly recommend this popular roadside joint. Off of Route 28, Phoenicia Diner is just the kind of place you'd imagine to find on a good 'ol fashioned American road trip. What we love is the creative mix of the nostalgic American diner atmosphere and new, thoughtful design. The menu has a  wide selection of breakfast favorites, sandwiches, greens, and more! All ingredients are from local farms and gardens. 

Make sure to come with an empty belly!

© Doug Koh
© Doug Koh
© Doug Koh 
© Doug Koh
Directions from New York City:
NYS Thruway 87 to exit 19 Kingston and first turn off the traffic
circle to RT 28W for approximately 22 miles. Phoenicia Diner will
be on your left  after the shopping plaza. Look for their logo on the
sign in front.

Other local food stop recommendations:

Adams Fairacre Farms
1560 Ulster Ave, Lake Katrine, NY 12449

Wallkill View Farm Market
15 New York 299, New Paltz, NY 12561

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rendez-vous with the Sun

This is not really a seasons-specific post, because you can enjoy the beauty of a sunset every evening of the year but lately (especially during season changes) we have had quite spectacular sunsets here on the right bank of the East River. For those of us who can make it outside on time for sunset we have made this modest "Brooklyn at sunset" strolling guide . Enjoy the last few weeks of warmth in the city New Yorkers and witness sunsets at these great locations. 

Sun sets around 6.56pm these days  

Brooklyn Heights Promenade: The promenade leads you from DUMBO to Brooklyn Heights, ending at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.  It is situated high above water and gives a spectacular view of the South- East tip of Manhattan.

Grand Street River Park (this one is on our Street!): located at the very end of Grand Street in South Williamsburg, it is a great spot to take pictures of the Williamsburg Bridge at sunset with the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges at a distance. Iconic little spot at the tip of out fingers ;-)

Williamsburg waterfront: located at North 5th Street. Gentrification of the neighborhood came with a great deal of urban planning and lovely walkable piers. This one offers a beautiful global view of the city, overlooking Midtown Manhattan and the Empire State building.

Greenpoint Waterfront: Nice little community Park located at the end of Manhattan Avenue.

Please note: Some of these parks close at dusk so first make sure to check for open hours here

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Renewal Spaces, Pop Up Coffee Stand in Tokyo

Take the neighborhood road behind the busy streets of Omotesando and you might catch the lingering scent of roasted coffee. It's certainly hard to miss, Omotesando Koffee gives little indication of its location. What used to be an old Japanese house is now home to a coffee stand, a minimalist cube structure plants itself in the entrance space. Having gained a lot of popularity through Instragram posts and magazine articles, a single barista works in a lightening speed fashion to accommodate the long line of curious coffee seekers. If you can find a space on the bench nearby, bask in the zen atmosphere of the small garden in front while you enjoy a delicious blend of espresso coffee.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Art and Music in the city

Some are already talking about summer being over.  Nonsense! there are still plenty of summer days ahead of us. One of the great remaining weekend activity for music loving New Yorkers is the Highly anticipated MoMa Warm Up series.
From June to September,  the PS1 Museum is hosting an outdoor music series taking place every Saturday (this year through September 6th see link above for details)

For 17 years now,  Warm Up is introducing us to experimental live music, sound, and DJs—both local and international. The Project supports both established and emerging artists and provides a space for collaboration to them.
It is a fun, high energy place to be and if you are into the music and dance scene, definitely a summer destination to mark on your calendars before the end of this summer. And because It is at MoMa, there is of course a great art installation each year to rave about. Awesome backdrop for visitors.

Art, dance, music and culture mix. This is new York!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Japanese Kakigori Summer

Summer in Japan is hot, but it's the humidity that makes the heat unbearable. People cool themselves off with fans or make their own shade by carrying parasols, however, for some real refreshment, everyone looks forward to a colder, tastier treat. Kakigori, or shaved ice, is a little bit of snow heaven amidst the relentless blazing sun. The store front will usually have a hanging sign that simply says "ice" in Japanese, and with recent scorching temperatures, it's like looking at a magical oasis.

TV shows and magazines rank kakigori shops during the summer, which makes everyone flock to the popular locations. Though the buzz adds to the long wait in line, it's worth it. The delicate fluffiness and delicious topping sauce are simply not to be missed. Flavors range from fruity to traditional tastes like green tea or soy bean (kinako). Unlike ice cream it doesn't fill up your stomach, so you might finish wanting seconds! Why don't they have this in New York?

Kinako kakigori

Kiwi kakigori

Kinmokusei (Fragrant olive) kakigori

Blueberry kakigori

Strawberry milk kakigori

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Japanese Face: Cool Facial Masks!

The variety and multitude of Japanese beauty care products can be a bit overwhelming. Anti-aging, skin whitening, skin brightening... Women pursue great lengths to avoid skin damage, especially during the summer. "UV rays" is the running key phrase during the season and one can't help but take note on how to maintain beautiful skin.

But skin regiments don't always have to be serious!
Japanese company Isshin Do Honpo has proved it can be fun as well!

 Their new line of facial sheet masks since last year have struck a huge craze and it's clear to see why.
 Unfortunately they're not sold internationally, so make sure to pick one up during your next visit to Tokyo!

"Kabuki Face Pack"
Skincare addicts and traditional Japanese art fans alike can both appreciate this fun way to cleanse the skin while looking like a Kabuki theatre actor! Sold at the famous Kabukiza theatre.

"Animal Face Pack"

Animal lovers won't be left behind during this trend either! Available at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo, Animal Face Packs are on sale to not only to turn yourself into a ferocious tiger, but part of the profits go to maintaining the zoo's upkeep and animal habitats! 

Learn more about these cool masks on their website!