Tag: New York

The Aviary Coming to New York

New York, for all of its flaws, does do one thing right: its drinking culture.  When it was just a small Dutch trading post that didn’t go north of Wall Street and didn’t have a population of more than 400, there was still roughly one bar for every 20 people.  390 years later, New York’s subway system means you can get home whenever you want without having to get behind the wheel.  No matter what type of alcohol or environment you’re into, whether you like drinking craft beer in a dive or cheap beer in a fancy spot, New York City has got you covered.  

While New York is home to the country’s oldest drinking culture, it’s hardly the only city with awesome bars, although New Yorkers would like to think so.  One of the best cocktail bars in the country is Chicago’s Aviary, filled with innovative drinks whose names are just as clever as the drinks themselves, and that’s not to mention their unique presentation.  One drink is even served in a glass ship in a bottle!  If you’re a particularly jealous New Yorker, who would like to experience these but would rather it be in New York, then you’re in luck, because the Aviary is coming to Gotham!  This summer, it’s getting its second location at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel by Columbus Circle.  

The bar is owned by the same people behind Alinea, a Michelin three-star restaurant in Chicago with a famously innovative approach to cuisine that’s earned plenty of attention.  The menu will be headed up by chef Grant Achatz and bartender Micah Melton.  Drinking at the Aviary is just as much about good-tasting drinks as it is a truly unique experience, much how Alinea isn’t just about eating good food.  Speakeasies throughout the city offer an exciting and unique way to enjoy craft cocktails, but the Aviary brings it to a whole new level.  The bar is set to open up on the 35th floor of the hotel, and will be accompanied by an even posh-er bar, “The Office”.  While it remains to be seen if these Chicago bars will overtake some of New York’s famous establishments, without a doubt they’ll add a new and exciting flair.  

Ancient Arch in New York

Since taking over large swaths of the Middle East, terrorist group ISIS has destroyed various monuments and historic buildings which they consider “idolatrous”.  One of those sites destroyed was what once was the Temple of Baal, an ancient temple that was later converted to a Christian church and then an Islamic mosque.  In August last month, ISIS militants destroyed it and beheaded the archaeologist who had served as its caretaker for 40 years since they viewed its pre-Islamic history as “sacrilegious”.  

Earlier this year, a rumor was circulating that the Temple of Baal would be rebuilt as a house of worship in Times Square.  This ultimately turned out to be false, but only half so: yesterday, a replica of the entrance to the temple, Triumphal Arch of Palmyra, was unveiled in City Hall Park.  A 3D-printed replica of the arch, created shortly after the original was destroyed, is now on display in City Hall Park, where it will stand until the end of the week before being moved to Dubai.  It was previously in London’s Trafalgar Square.  It was created by the Institute for Digital Archaeology as part of a joint venture with UNESCO, which gives 3D cameras to volunteers so they can photograph and preserve threatened sites in conflict zones in the Middle East.  Certain critics have objected to the temple’s reconstructing, saying that it would lead to ritualistic “debauchery”, yet so far that hasn’t happened.  

The 25-foot-tall replica was made of Egyptian marble and weighs nearly 30,000 pounds.  It will be open to the public for a week, with historical interpreters leading tours and workshops on site.  Roger Michel, the IDA’s executive director, has spoken of the arch as a symbol for the world’s resilience against the suffering and tragedy going on around the world.  

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Free Date Ideas in NYC

New York is expensive; it’s a place where $5 for a beer and $1300/month for a shoebox apartment in a crummy neighborhood are considered “cheap”.  Dating can also be pretty expensive, and going out in New York with your significant other can do a number on your wallet.  If cheap date ideas aren’t cutting it, there are all sorts of stellar free date ideas that are just as fun and easy and they are cost-effective.  I recently came across an article that shared some of these, listed below:

Nature Walk: There isn’t a whole lot of wildlife in New York outside of the zoo (except for rats and dirty pigeons, but those hardly make for a romantic date idea).  Yet any bit of green space can help relax you in the concrete jungle that is New York.  Find urban guides, which can teach you how to identify the different species of birds and insects that can be found in New York’s parks.  

Bushwick street art tour: The rows upon rows of warehouses in Bushwick and East Williamsburg are home to some amazing street art, with artists turning the bleak industrial cityscape of Bushwick into something truly beautiful.  Guided tours require a reservation, but you can also take a self-guided walk with your camera.

Outdoor movie night: With the summer upon us, outdoor movie screenings at the various parks make for one heck of a date idea.  All sorts of movies play in the parks, from Jaws to Chocolat.  So grab a blanket, sneak in a flask and get ready for the movie!

Central Park Summerstage: Free outdoor live music is one of the few things that could actually be better than free outdoor movies, which is why Summerstage is such a great place to be.  From now until the end of September, there’s live music for every kind of music lover, from rap to opera.  

UCB comedy night: Although you have to pay for the bigger names here, it’s definitely worth visiting for free weekly events.  It’s a bit inconsistent, but at times can be well worth watching!

River to River Festival: From June 16th to 26th, the parks of lower Manhattan and Governor’s Island are alive with music, dance and visual art.  

Wine tasting at Astor Wines: Not only does this East Village spot have one of the biggest wine selections in New York, they also offer classes and free tastings.  If you want to buy a bottle to bring home, the knowledgeable staff will help you pick a winner from their various offerings.