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L-Pocalypse When?

L train

When the MTA announced that the L train would be shutting down in the near future, it seemed that all of New York City was terrified.  For those who live in Manhattan, the L served as the only way to get into the hip and happening Brooklyn.  While it isn’t the only way to get into Brooklyn, its role in making Brooklyn what it is today is undeniable.  During the turn of the millennium, the L train helped transform Williamsburg from an eyesore of urban decay into a hipster mecca.  It’s no coincidence that Bushwick, the next neighborhood in Brooklyn to attract the hipsters, is also off the L.  The L was what gave young Manhattanites a chance to explore another side of New York just a couple subway stops from Union Square.  These same people were terrified of what damage this shutdown will do to their nightlife, but luckily they have a lot of time to brace themselves.

Earlier this week, a group of elected officials met with the MTA to discuss the various options for repairing the Canarsie tubes, which were seriously damaged by flood waters during Hurricane Sandy, that help the L travel between Manhattan and Brooklyn.  So far, it looks like repairs on the tubes won’t start until two or three years from now, with work most likely not starting until 2018.  The MTA is still weighing a number of options for the project, including closing just one of the tubes at a time, a project that would take three years, or only closing the tubes on nights and weekends, which will make it a five-year project.  Yet if the Canarsie tubes were completely shut down, the process would be cut down to just eighteen months.

While Manhattan is dreading the “L-pocalypse”, imagining how inconvenient it will be to make it to their favorite Williamsburg brunch spot, without a doubt those people who live, work and spend most of their time in Brooklyn (particularly off the L line) will welcome the shutdown of the L train.  Now, the only way for Manhattanites to make it to Bedford Avenue, the heart of Williamsburg, will be to take an out-of-the-way voyage that relies on the notoriously unreliable G train, or take the equally unreliable J/M/Z trains.  Such inconveniences will help to hinder the gentrification that has already taken place in this neighborhood.  Yet it will also mean that Manhattanites will look to other, more-easily-accessible Brooklyn neighborhoods, such as Park Slope or Crown Heights, dramatically expediting the process of gentrification there.  Yet for those locals of Williamsburg, such a location will be beyond their concern.

Announcement About Second Avenue Explosion

explosion on second avenue

Workers take away the rubble from the explosion that occurred on Second Avenue last March.

Late last March, nearly a full year ago, a deadly explosion caused by faulty pipes hit the East Village on Second Avenue.  It destroyed two buildings, displaced dozens and took the lives of two people, Nicholas Figueroa and Moises Ismael Locón Yac.  The block it hit, right next to Saint Mark’s Place, is part of the very heart of the East Village.  Where three buildings once stood, there’s now nothing but dirt, surrounded by a chain link fence that’s covered with decorations in memory of those who died.  What will be done to those buildings remains to be seen.

CBS 2 has reported that officials are set to “make a major announcement” this morning regarding the explosion.  It’s been scheduled for 11am at the Manhattan DA’s office.  To date, the city has yet to file charges against anybody who has been connected with the explosion.  Last April, the Post reported that investigators have “six prime suspects”: landlady Maria Hrynenko, her son Michael, contractor Dilber Kukic, an unidentified subcontractor and two workers.

Less than an hour ago, it’s been reported that five people are facing criminal charges in connection with the gas explosion.  Among those suspects brought to the Manhattan DA’s office included Maria, her son and contractor Kukic.  As authorities brought her in, Hrynenko told authorities that she’s a “good person”.

The area that was hit by the explosion was the true center of the East Village, near the mecca of St. Mark’s and just walks away from some of the most well-recognized institutions of the neighborhood, including Paul’s Burger Joint, Veselka and craft beer guru Jimmy’s No 43.  One of the buildings that was destroyed housed Pommes Frites, the Belgian-style french fry bar whose potatoes and special sauces made it a must-visit for any nighttime revelers in the neighborhood to get their deep fried fix.  Even if a duplicate restaurant opened around the corner, many remain upset at the loss of Pommes Frites, especially as the second location on Macdougal Street doesn’t show signs of opening any time soon, its previous release date for the Fall of 2015 is long gone.

NYC and Wine

NYC is, among many things, the cultural hub of the United States. As a hotbed of artistic and creative energy, it’s no wonder that New York’s culinary achievements follow suit. But what enabled The City That Never Sleeps to become the wine capital of the Country? With sommeliers flown in from the world over, The Big Apple is the destination for an enterprising wine enthusiast.

Before the recession hit Las Vegas’ restaurant scene in 2008, it was the top spot for the discerning diner. Rivaling Manhattan for those looking for four-star cuisine, Vegas had been hit hard by the economy, and forced to shift their focus away from fine dining. With no competition to draw sommeliers away, New York reclaimed their position at the top of the list for dining destinations. Now, experts are turning down work overseas in London and Asia, once considered the opportunity of a lifetime, to stay in New York.

The expanded size of NYC restaurants, allowing for 150 seats as opposed to the traditional 50, was initially viewed as a recipe for failure. The increase in size was Ari Kellenprimarily considered a negative because it would detract from the personal, close-quarters dining experience expected of a four-star restaurant. However, the larger floor space allowed for room to be used more efficiently, and the employ of several wine stewards thanks to the ample resources afforded by the increase in guest capacity. The more wine enthusiasts enjoying a night out, the more opportunities for trained professionals to ensure their needs are met.

While wine is considered to be the cornerstone of a good meal, it can often lead to rather high prices when acquiring quality bottles en mass. The NYC sommeliers have taken this into account, and oftentimes vary their selection to run the gamut from top shelf brands to more affordable, but still quality bottles. While a sommeliers services are still valuable to the private collector looking to bolster their own collection, you can still enjoy a quality night out in New York that meets your refined taste.

Too Brave and Too Young

It’s rare that we find ourselves in the company of heroes. This year, freshly turned, has already witnessed an act of bravery. Last Thursday, in New York’s Lower East Side, an elevator malfunctioned. Swinging perilously above ground, dozens of floors in the air, 25-year-old Stephen Hewett-Brown made a choice to think of others rather than himself. Along his journey through 25 short years of life, Stephen found something many of us will go our whole lives without.

The problem made itself known late at night. Stephen, along with several other tenants were using the elevator as usual. Among them, Manuel Coronado, 23, was home visiting his grandmother. He, along with Erude Sanchez were waiting placidly until the car halted. Freezing along the cable, the doors opened and the car stuttered. There was little time, and the span between the occupied car and the rapidly closing exit seemed like an impassable gulf. Stephen Hewett-Brown’s reaction, made within the span of moments, showed just how caring this man was.

“Happy New Year, he said” Manuel Coronado translated for Erude Sanchez between sobs “Happy New Year, and pushed me out of the car.” The weight came down, crushing Stephen between the car and elevator shaft. Unable to move, unable to breath, Stephen plead with Manual to take Erude away, she didn’t need to watch him die. Though resistant at first, attempting several times to pull him free, Manuel was just one man.

Ari KellenWhen reached for comment, Stephen’s family was understandably distraught. Though his actions were heroic, his family is still left with an empty seat at the dinner table, and we can only hope that the lives he saved offer some solace. Stephen Hewett-Brown chose be a hero late one night, and sadly, paid the hero’s price.

A Cut Above: The Best Steak in NYC

A well-known and successful steakhouse is about to attempt its east coast debut in the biggest city in the east, New York. Mastro’s, a chain that started in Scottsdale, Arizona has enjoyed success in sunny California and is ready to expand to hungry parts of the country. With their sites set on one of the most competitive markets in the world, Mastro’s will have to compete with a number of other institutions. Steak staples like Morton’s, Del Friscos, Bobby Van’s, and Shula’s make up a fraction of the Michelin-rated competitioAri kellenn waiting for Mastro’s in NYC.

With unique interiors that differ from city to city, you can expect a new experience in each Mastro’s. New York’s decadent restaurant is filled with dark wood furniture and low lighting. Echoing the image of a 50’s New York City steakhouse, the calm and dark demeanor sets this location apart; proving Mastro’s understands how to feed the Big Apple. With a stylistic flair to set itself above the competition, how does Mastro’s meat measure up to the test? Are they serious business, or more sizzle than steak?

Each strip of beautifully cut steak comes from naturally raised, grass fed cows. Though this place is sure to cost a pretty penny, each bite is well worth the hit to your wallet and waistline. Starting at just over $50 and ending around $150, these steaks are for those who know what they want. Additionally, to keep your gorgeous steak company on the plate are sides cooked to perfection. Whether you prefer mashed potatoes with just the right amount of garlic or steamed vegetables, Mastro’s has you covered. For steak connoisseurs looking to taste some of the best in New York City, look no further than the charming Mastro’s for your next meal.

For more information, follow the link! 

The Hidden Bars of NYC

Everyone enjoys a good meal and something to drink. In the capital of what some would consider the greatest food city in the United States, you have more choice in the Big Apple than most. But what if you wanted something a little different from your average restaurant? What if you were looking for a piece of adventure with your meal? Below are some of the best places to get a drink that are hidden from the public eye. So the next time you’re in New York, look up one of these locations and you’ll surely enjoy yourself.

Lantern’s Keep: Dating back to the turn of the century, the Lantern’s Keep is the place to be for those looking to dive into times past. Tucked in the heart of the Iroquois hotel, this quaint cocktail bar is known to only the initiated. A small lantern on the facade of the building is all that marks its, and when the lantern is burning the bar is open. With over 40 unique cocktails designed for the discerning businessmen or businesswoman, anyone looking for a calm night on the town should surely follow the lantern.

No Name Bar: In keeping with its namesake, the No Name Bar is well-hidden behind a wall of burnt-wood. Nothing, not a sign nor a signal, denotes the location of this mysterious bar. If you’re looking for a drink, first you must find the door knocker in the shape of a dragon, and push. Inside you’ll be greeted by a thin, almost traincar like appearance. Small benches and tables line the walls of one of the few bars left in NYC to remain open until 4 am.

Sakagura: In the basement of a seemingly ordinary Midtown office building, Sakagura is waiting for you to come find it. Stepping into this bar willAri Kellen feel like going back into a Japanese village. The main body of the bar is meant to feel like you are sitting outside in an ancient Japanese village. Traditional food and drinks echoing the taste of the Edo period are available for any weary traveler looking to hang up their sword and relax.


UberRush and New York City

New York is a city defined by its personality. Bustling streets are filled with people, each going about their busy lives amidst towering skyscrapers. Whether your New York is the beautiful parks, busy sidewalks or shouting hot-dog vendors, images are immediately conjured when thinking of The Big Apple. Among these images, a sea of yellow cabs is easily among the most common that leaps to mind. However, a company has single handedly started to shift that fact. Uber, an innovative transportation service, has loosened the grip yellow cabs have had on the roads for decades. But Uber has more in-store for the people of New York.

Ari KellenDubbed “UberRush,” this new service is looking to add yet another benefit to Uber’s ever-growing list of benefits. An on-demand delivery service, UberRush is being launched across the United States in all major cities for testing. Chicago, San Francisco and New York will each have access to UberRush, and the ability to order anything within their city and have it delivered same-day. Branching out to even more forms of transportation, bike messengers and hand-delivered packages will also be included in UberRush’s services.

Unlike similar services that deliver from select stores, UberRush is capable of fitting into any merchants’ business models. Opening a world of delivery for companies that otherwise would never have access, the ability to deliver products is beneficial for both business and consumer. Partnered with Shopify, e-commerce software has been developed that analyzes an order, and will list whether or not UberRush can deliver the package before the transaction is even completed.

As Uber made splashes in the transportation industry, so too will they impact the on-demand delivery business. Proving that they have the determination and drive to introduce real change where before none could be seen, what will this mean for New Yorkers? Will the days of yellow cabs and bike messengers be replaced with the Uber logo?


NYC’s Newest Subway Line

Rarely do I talk about the latest news outside of fun things to do in New York City, but this story is worth covering. The nearly-century long project of constructing the 2nd avenue subway is actually coming together and is set to be completed by December of 2016. The subway system has become a bit of a punch line over the years, being compared to things that will never happen. The line is expected to see traffic ranging up to 200,000 people per day. For reference, that is about the same amount as the entire subway traffic of Los Angeles.

Two miles worth of track have been laid, along with three enormous stations to bring the project up to 85% completion. With engineering crews eyeing the final 15%, they are saying this is the most challenging portion to complete. This final stretch will be troublesome due to the coupling of a brand new line to one that is nearly 100 years old.

Despite its century long delay, this project is unlike other cities’ engineering blunders like the Big Dig and the New Bay Bridge. This project is expected to come in under its budget, albeit a little late.

Currently, the East Side of NY has about 650,000 inhabitants which equates to the population of San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston combined, has only one subway line. The 4,5,6. Those working on the newest line are excited to be able to help leave their mark on NYC and help some of those half million people commute in a bit more comfort.

This section of the subway line is only phase 1 of the project. Extending from 96-63 will be completed on time with Phase 2 reaching from 125th to 96th, phase 3 from 63rd to Houston, and phase 4 from Houston to Hanover.

It surely is exciting to see the MTA extending their lines. This is the largest extension in nearly a half century!

To read the original article please click here.

What To Do In NYC This Fall

Fall is nearly upon New York City and with it comes a whole new world. Once the streets cool off from the sweltering summer heat, people around town can turn into much more friendly, relaxed citizens. Along with better moods, come different activities. Below you will find a list of things that are fall specific in the greatest city in the world. Enjoy!


Over the last 3 years drag queens have flocked to this mini-festival that warms up at Lovegun on Friday the 11th. After the primary show, you can follow the party to Onderdonk House for the remainder of the weekend where over 150 performers will be featured!

Vendy AwardsUnknown-2

The hottest trend in food “on the go” street vendor food trucks. Luckily for anyone with some cash and an appetite, the Vendys is where NYC’s top 25 food truck pull up to duke it out for the top spot in town. Head over to Governors Island to get unlimited tastings and cast your vote for your favorite treat!

New York Film Festival

At the Lincoln Center Film Society is the 53rd installment of this film festival for the common man. This type of event is usually reserved for high-brow film critics but this festival only costs $20-$25. Head over to get an advanced screening of Oscar hopefuls like carol and The Walk.

Atlantic Antic

This huge street fair in Brooklyn brings over 500 street vendors together along with 16 stages with live music. This year, you will be graced by the youth group Brooklyn Ballet along with Mark Morris Dance Group, and Wicked. Head over to BK on September 27 from noon-6.

Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park

For the history buffs or Game of Thrones enthusiasts, head over to Washington Heights for a day in the park and entertainments from the best middle-ages DIYers the city has to offer. There will be time period food available such as potato pancakes, bratwurst and pork shank, along with knight sword action!

To read the full list and original article, click here.

Activities With Kids In NYC

Everyone knows that in New York City, there is never a short supply of things to do, if you’re an adult that is. Kids can be a little trickier, if you don’t know where to look. The bars, concerts, and Picture of the high linerestaurants you frequent on your own may not be as kid friendly as you are. Whether you’re a new parent, have your nieces/nephews visiting, or your friends are starting to pop them out faster than you can keep up, it’s time to find some activities that will please the kids as much as it will entertain the adults. Here are eight great ideas to get you started.

  1. See a Broadway show. The Lion King, Matilda, School of Rock, Aladin, Hamilton; there’s a ton of kid friendly shows to choose from that adults will be equally entertained by. Keep an eye out for discount tickets, so the whole family can go.
  2. Take a Disney themed walking tour. Walks of New York, in partnership with Disney Theatrical Group, offers Disney on Broadway: Behind the Walking Tour. It’s a two-hour tour that takes guests through the history of Disney on Broadway. It’s ends with a chance for kids to play with props and costumes featured in several Broadway musicals including Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King.
  3. Spend the day at Coney Island. This three-acre amusement park features 19 kid-friendly rides in addition to more extreme thrills like the infamous Cyclone. Afterwards, grab lunch at the legendary Nathan’s Famous before heading over to the nearby New York Aquarium, Coney Island Circus Sideshow, or just hang out on Brighton Beach.
  4. See your favorite celebrities, in wax. Madame Tussaud’s in Times Square has nearly 200 lifelike wax figures. You’ll see Woody Allen, Bette Midler, Nicolas Cage, Hugh Grant, Oprah Winfrey, and many more. For the kids there is Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and a ton of other pop stars.
  5. Walk along The High Line.The High Line is a two-mile park built on an old train track above the streets of Manhattan, complete with gardens, lounge chairs, dance performances, art installations, and amazing views. Local vendors sell light fare and souvenirs while musicians perform whenever the weather is allows. Depending on the season, you can also find art classes, lawn parties with storytelling and musicians, nature lessons, and construction classes.
  6. Explore Riverside Park. Alongside the Hudson River is Riverside Park, a path filled with beautiful skyline views of New Jersey, picnic areas, kayaking rentals, and playgrounds. The path can be walked or biked with ease.
  7. Take the Roosevelt Island Tram. Kids and adults might remember the scene that took place on the Roosevelt Island Tram in the movie Spiderman, where the passengers get saved by the hero. Your ride will be far less death defying. The tram departs every 15 minutes from Second Avenue and 59th Street, and rides high above the East River for the price of a subway ride. The ride is short, but once across you can take a stroll around Roosevelt Island before heading back over on the Tram once more to capture a few great photographs.
  8. Get a CityPASS for great savings and plenty more fun ideas. CityPASS gives you reduced admission to some of the city’s best attractions including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, American Museum of Natural History, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Ellis Island, Guggenheim, and the 9/11 Memorial Museum. You’ll save 41 percent compared to combined regular box office prices, and passes are valid for nine consecutive days.

There’s a ton more for kids to enjoy in the city, but this is more than enough to keep you and the kids entertained for a few long weekends. There are always new shows, fairs, and seasonal classes taking place, so keep up with new things to do as they pop up. New York City can be a great place for everyone, young and old, you just have to know where to look.