Tag: New York City (page 2 of 2)

New York Bars For History Buffs

INew York Bars for history buffs by Ari kellenn the past 400 years, New York has gone from a remote wilderness at the corner of the world, to a remote Dutch trading post at the corner of the world, to a major city in the 13 Colonies, to a bustling port in a fledgeling United States, to one of the most important and recognizable cities in the entire world.  There are plenty of places where you can get in touch with New York’s history; you could visit a museum or go to the New York Public Library.  But one of the best ways to enjoy history is with a good meal or a few rounds of drinks.  I recently came across an article that shares some of the best historic bars and restaurants in the city.  They had some great options here, but in my opinion the author missed a couple key ones.  Here’s what they had to say, with some additions from me:

Fraunces Tavern: Over 250 years old, Fraunces Tavern also operates as a museum and is registered as a national historic landmark.  It’s arguably the most historically significant place on the list; it briefly served as George Washington’s headquarters during the American Revolution and was where peace negotiations with the British took place at the end of the war.  Today you can enjoy colonial-inspired pub fare alongside 200+ varieties of whiskeys, cocktails, ciders and craft beers in the same setting that the founding fathers did.

McSorley’s: When McSorley’s adopted the slogan “we were here before you were born”, they weren’t lying.  Established in 1854, this is one of the oldest continuously-running bars in all of New York City.  Covered with sawdust and mementos from its 160+ years of operation (none of which have been removed since 1910), McSorley’s prides itself on sticking to tradition and doing things the way they always did (they didn’t even let women in until the 1970s).  Staffed by surly Irish bartenders, it’s a cash-only establishment with an unabashedly simple and limited number of options: the food menu fits onto a small chalkboard, and your alcohol options are limited to either “light” or “dark” beer (according to legend, they also served whiskey for a brief period in the late 19th century, although it didn’t go well).  While it might not be everybody’s cup of tea, McSorley’s is an institution and an essential experience, particularly for those people interested in New York’s history.

One if by Land, Two if by Sea: Although it’s just around 43 years old, this place is situated within a carriage house built in 1767.  For those who can afford the pricey menu, it’s one of the romantic date spots in New York, with numerous engagements happening here every year.  That’s not too hard to understand; the ambience here perfectly channels history and old-world charm to appeal to just about everybody.

21 Club: First opened in 1922 at the height of Prohibition, 21 Club started its life out as a speakeasy and survived several raids by Prohibition agents. It moved around locations before finally settling at 21 West 52nd Street, where it’s remained since 1929.  Since then it’s been frequented by countless celebrities and film and TV characters.  It serves up traditional American cuisine and delicious signature cocktails, reminiscent of its days as a speakeasy.

Apotheke: Apotheke isn’t exactly an old business, but that’s not to discredit its historical significance.  This speakeasy is located in Chinatown on a bend of Doyers Street known as the “Bloody Angle”, which in the early 20th century was a popular spot for fights between Chinese gangs.  Apotheke itself is housed in a building that during that era served as an opium den.  Although it was established fairly recently, Apotheke relishes in the history that comes with being a speakeasy in such an historic neighborhood, and regularly features “Prohibition nights” with live jazz music.

Katz’s Deli: In the 1940s, there were over 2,000 Jewish delis around New York City proudly slinging pastrami and matzoh ball soup.  Now that number has dwindled to about 20, so those who have survived need to be very good at what they’re doing.  One of the oldest and best of these is Katz’s in the Lower East Side; since it was first founded in 1888, it has outlasted countless other restaurants and delis around the city.  It might be a tourist trap, but that’s only because it’s delicious, and a sandwich from them piled high with pastrami and corned beef is well worth the hectic lines.

Keens Steakhouse: Since it was first established in 1885 (just two years before the New York’s other well-known steakhouse, Peter Luger’s), this has served as the go-to hangout for famous actors, producers, playwrights and other big names in show business.  They’re known for their mutton chops here, and the ceiling plays hosts to over 50,000 smoking pipes.  Notable patrons here include Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Will Rogers and Albert Einstein.  Like McSorley’s, it started out as a “men’s only” establishment, although that was overturned in 1905 after being sued by actress Lillie Langtry.

Barbetta: This upscale Italian restaurant was first founded in 1906.  Grand chandeliers and antiques dating from the 18th century fill the dining room.  This was the first New York restaurant to “elegantly” approach Italian cuisine in an era when such food was considered “rustic”.  If it’s warm out, you can dine outside in the garden, which is filled with flowers, statues and a fountain to give the feel of a European country estate.

Summer Activities In NYC

Summer is here, as indicated by the sweltering heat that seems to be inescapable within the city limits. Along with high temperatures comes much to do in the greatest city in the world. For those who live in or near NYC you should never utter the words “I am bored”, especially after reading this article! Below we have a snapshot of 101 things to do in the 5 boros this year. Enjoy.

Alphabet City Beer Co.

A homey and dark bar in the East Village has incredible beers on tap as well as in a bottle cooler for patrons to drink on site or at home. There are board games for the bar dwellers, but if you are looking for more of a view, every summer they schedule a tour on a Ventura yacht equipped with beer, food and views of NYC from the water.

The Museum of Natural History

Made even more famous than it already was, the setting of “Night at the Museum” is a portal to the past as well as the present. Home to historical figures and species, as well as giants of the sea and the african plains, this attraction will have you leaving filled with new knowledge about something, I promise.

The Bronx Zoo

Head north to the Bronx to see over 6,000 species near one of the most urban areas in the continent. A great way to connect with some wildlife that might be absent in your daily urban life, The Bronx Zoo is near and dear to this blogger’s heart. Tip: Wednesdays are “pay what you wish” days so I would recommend taking a mid week trip!

Chelsea Piers Field House

Rainy day? Never fear, the Piers are here. 80,000 square feet of fun includes foam pits, trampolines, rock climbing, a golf driving range, and other fun activities!

Comedy Cellar

Ever catch a minute or two of Louis C.K.’s tv show? You are likely to have seen him performing stand up or talking to someone outside of the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village. This place has been frequented by some of the funniest people in the business like Louis, Jerry Seinfeld, Judd Apatow, etc.

To read the original and full 101 things to do, please click here.


Best Bar Names In NYC

A name can make or break a bar in the greatest city in the world. NYC streets are packed with bars and restaurants, many of which look the same to the untrained eye on the sidewalk. A great name can help you stand out and pull patrons in the door. The Siegel+Gale branding team took a look at NYC’s bar names and put together a list of the best names they could find. What to look for in a bar name? “Be different, but not cheesy or crazy”,”Don’t take yourself too seriously” says naming group Director Christian Turner.ottos-shrunken-head

The Double Windsor- Windsor Terrace

Triple meaning bar name= great bar name.

Otto’s Shrunken Head- East Village

Thats a name that grabs attention. Who can walk by a place with a sign like that and not want to see what is inside?

The Stumble Inn- UES

A very New York style pun appeals to the locals and their tendency to stumble upon new places to fix their vices.

PDT (Please Don’t Tell)- East Village

Whenever a tale becomes a secret, humans have to spread the word. It is a strange automatic reaction to spill the beans, exactly what the owners want patrons to do about their bar!

Kettle of Fish- West Village

A name that is made to stick in one’s head.

Therapy- Hell’s Kitchen

Playing on a long used destination that the bar can serve for customers. Therapy offers all sorts of therapy.

Jake’s Dilemma- UWS

Playing on the classic proclamation we have all made the morning after a long night, “I’m never drinking again.”

No Fun – LES

A name that is sarcastic in nature, challenges it’s customers to put it’s name to the test.

Burp Castle- East Village

A name equally hilarious and disgusting, perfect for a bar.

Supercollider- Park Slope

Supercolliders in physics makes amazing things happen. I assume amazing things happen in this bar every time their doors open.

To view the original and full article, click here.


Mastro’s Steak House on The East Coast

A well known and successful steak house is about to attempt 6a00d83422265a53ef010535e49ae7970bit’s east coast debut in the biggest city in the east, New York. Mastro’s, a chain that started in Scottsdale, Arizona has recently expanded and found success in California. With their next entry into a new market, Mastro’s will have to compete with a number of other, well established institutions like Morton’s, Del Friscos, Bobby Van’s, Shula’s, and many more. Their twelfth link in the chain opened in midtown last November and will add a thirteenth to their portfolio this month in Washington D.C.

Each interior of the restaurant varies in decor from city to city, but the NYC branch has a swanky feel about it. Dark wood stains and a low light-ambiance gives restaurant-goers a feeling of fancy dining, as if out of a movie. Many insist that the tendency for noise in the eatery is on the loud side with music a few decibels too high which cause conversations to turn into small yelling matches.

Mastro’s like many NYC steak houses is not a place for those light in the pockets as most of the selection on the menu can break the bank. Food is delicious but it is charged by selection leaving items like crab cocktail, crab legs, and lobster cocktail all lingering at or over $30 a pop.

Moving to the grassfed meats, prices start over $50 and end somewhere around $150 for a single piece of meat!(8 ounce Japanese wagyu strip) Sides for the main dishes did not disappoint as all of them were perfectly cooked as they should be for starting around $14.

All in all, the experience is worth a night on the town if you have the coin to fit the bill. Not much can top a great dining experience with a well cooked, well cut piece of meat, and of course great company.

To view the original article, please click here.


Cheap Eats | NYC

New York City is not known for its cheap eating. So when an inexpensive place to eat is found, word spreads fast about the deal! Thanks to NY Eater there are plenty more decently priced food eateries that the average person can afford! See the list below.

Banh Mi Saigonsaigon-bakery ari kellen

Pivoting from a jewelry store with a sandwich counter, it then switched focuses as their food caught fire (figuratively) in popularity. What sets them apart from the competition besides their price is the in-shop baked baguettes that house their Vietnamese sandwiches. Traditional snacks from Vietnam are also available for purchase to go along with this inexpensive and hearty meal.

Bennies Thai Cafe

Located near Wall Street, below Fulton Street, this Thai restaurant served up ground pork or chicken salads. These choices are great for some freshness in the summertime, but can also have some heat added to it.

First Oasis

A modern Syrian restaurant that has roots dating back to 1974, Oasis is in Bay Ridge close to the R. If you happen by this delicious joint, try out their Fattoush, a lamb pie called ouzi and their raw kibbeh.

Hornado Ecuatoriana

A great and lively ambiance insight this eatery is surpassed in quality only by its food. A must have when sitting down there is their roast pig, which come with salad and potato patties. You get this enormous platter of meat and deliciousness for around $13, almost equivalent to stealing.


A somewhat well known hidden gem, this Crown Heights Panama cooking joint brings some great food to your table. What to eat when you’re there? Ojalda (fritter), jerk oxtails, curried liver and onions, escovitch fish and spaghetti and meatballs. Why spaghetti and meatballs you ask? Well, every place has at least one italian dish in this area.

To view the original article, please click here.


Collapsed Building in NYC East Village

Many around the country have heard about the tragic gas explosion that caused fires, as well as two buildings to collapsed. Many buildings were damaged in the historic East Village neighborhood including the residency of a New York City Mayor, as well as a vintage clothing store from a popular 1985 film called Desperately Seeking Susan. The affected buildings were given landmark status in October of 2012, along with an umbrella coverage of the East Village and Lower East Side Historic District.east-village-building-collapse-1-3262015_lg

The buildings within the neighborhood can be dated back to the mid 1850’s when New Yorkers with more money were selling property downtown to move up town. The ensuing properties were then turned into tenant living quarters. The community has seen a vast array of cultures and ethnicities. Immigrants began to pour into the city limits and the East Village in particular during the late 1800’s. I was considered for a time to be “Little Germany”.

The site of the explosion once had a house belonging to Mayor Fernando Wood. In a New York Times article there was a collection of musicians in front of the plot “serenading” near the mayor’s residence, this occurring in 1855.

To read the original article, click here.


Celebrities Pour Into NYC

Celebrities converged on New York City this weekend as there were many events taking place across the five boroughs. It was the NBA’s All-Star weekend the past three days as tributes to the game’s greats popped up all over the city. From the celebrity game to the skills competition NBA Stars took part in the festivities with smiles. Coinciding with fashion week in New York, the NBA put on its own fashion show with some of the games best current players at the center of the runway. Players could also be seen supporting their sponsors stores across town, driving a frenzy into the retailers’ spacesLeBron+James+Celebrity+Sightings+New+York+xrpOZa3t2sul.

Also this weekend was the SNL40 reunion, celebrating the 40 years that Saturday Night Live has been on the air. Comedic, musical, and acting royalty were seen flying into town in preparation for the big night. Names such as Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Kevin Hart, Paul Simon, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, and Justin Timberlake among others graced the stage at studio 8h.

Of most celebrities that were present in the city limits over the weekend, Kanye West seemed to be the most active throughout the festivities. On Thursday night Kanye released his clothing line, looking similar to the Dereliqued campaign from Zoolander. Along with the clothing line, a major shoe release took place as well. Limiting his first 1,500 pair of Yeezy Boosts to the New York city faithful, Kanye opened reservation on Thursday night to those who wanted to grab hold of the big sneakers. He later held a free concert in the Flatiron District for all the faithful who wished to brave the cold. Come Saturday Kanye was seen handing out sneakers to his fans at the Adidas store in Soho. Sunday Mr. West was present in the audience for SNL40 where he also performed.

Yes there were many famous faces to be seen in the city this weekend, far more than usual. Now that the holiday break is winding down many will leave to go back to their home cities, but you never know who will pop up in NYC when you are walking down the street so keep your head up when in the mecca.

Hidden Gems of NYC – Restaurant Style

Mulberry ProjectNew York is home to millions of restaurants situated between bright lights and skyscrapers, under bridges and near famous landmarks, but there are also those restaurants that not many people know about. They are the hidden gems that offer an escape from the big city life that comes to us when we think of New York. These hidden restaurants are usually deceiving from their outer-appearances, which are sometimes just doors with no sign, or even down small, uninviting alley ways you wouldn’t normally think to approach.  Sound enticing? Well, here’s a list of some of New York City’s hidden restaurants that’ll astonish you (if you can find them):


First comes Freemans, located between Bowery and Chrystie right off of Rivington Street.  Here, you’ll find a sign for “Freeman Alley,” which at first glance looks a bit deserted.  But, at the end of this alley way you’ll find this cozy American-style restaurant, interiorly decorated like an old hunting lodge.  While the taxidermy on the walls may be somewhat intimidating to hear about, don’t be scared – it goes with the whole environment of the restaurant (whose food, by the way, is sure to make you drool).

The next hidden restaurant that should be on your list to find is Bohemian, which is arguably the most coveted restaurant to find in all of New York City.  Located on Great Jones Street in NoHo, this restaurant is kept tightly hidden behind a Japanese butcher shop.  But once you find it, you’ll feel you’ve discovered buried treasure, with a $55 dollar six-course tasting menu, the Japanese cuisine that Bohemian is known for is truly out of this world.

Another Japanese restaurant on this list of hidden gems is Sakagura, which serves authentic Tokyo-inspired meals, including soba noodles (handmade) and artistically displayed salmon roe.  Sakagura is located on 211 E 43rd Street underneath an office building, where you’ll definitely be seeing some high-class business folk.

Last on this list is Mulberry Project, located at 149 Mulberry Street in Little Italy, well-equipped with an invigorating list of mixed drinks.  You may second guess the location of Mulberry Project, as it is situated beneath a small souvenir shop for those touring through Little Italy.  But don’t be shy, because once you’ve had their signature Project Burger, you’ll think of every souvenir shop you pass in a whole different demeanor.

If this list just isn’t enough to fulfill your quest to find delicious, hidden restaurants in New York City, check out Guest of a Guest’s reveal of ten secret restaurants in New York City.  Bon appetite (and bon chance)!

Things to do in NYC for the Holidays

Holiday time is here in New York City and yours truly, Ari Kellen is home for the holidays having just finished finals. I got a chance to visit the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center as well as the one at Bryant Park and it was just as magical as it was last year. The Rockefeller tree is easily the most visited in the city, it attracts millions each year to take pictures, ice Ari kellenskate below it, and to share in the holiday spirit no matter religious denomination. I managed to take some pictures of the tree while passing through and attempted to try out a time lapse, check it out below!

Besides the tree, here are some other activities to explore in the greatest city in the world during the holiday season.

Holiday market at Chelsea Market and Bryant Park:
Its chilly outside but Bryant Park fills you with holiday warmth and it offers great opportunities to pick up some straggling holiday gifts at their outdoor market. Remember, theres great hot chocolate and coffee there too! Chelsea Market offers the popup holiday sale inside for those less inclined to brave the elements this December. Both of these markets will remain open until December 24, 2014

Macy’s Holiday Windows:
An amazing light show will be projected onto the Broadway side of the super-department store from December 10th to 31st to keep boyfriends attentions while their ladies shop till they drop inside.

Prospect Park Fireworks:
On New Years Eve if you are looking for a reprieve from the drinking festivities, talk a walk down to Prospect Park for fireworks. They will be serving hot beverages and have live music all night in nearby Grand Army Plaza.

Christmas Lights and Cannoli Tour:
My personal favorite is the Xmas lights and cannolis that takes place one of the tourist busses. It runs through Brooklyn, NY and bring the patrons on a tour that takes them by the most decorated neighborhoods in the city. The Brooklynites show off their lighting prowess and stops at Bella Luna Pizza for hot chocolate and cannolis to cap the night off.

To see more, click here.


Check out my picture of the tree as well as a hyper lapse of my walk through Rockefeller, don’t blink or you might miss it!

Click here for the video–Ari Kellen

Ari Kellen Xmas Tree