Taiwanese Bakeries Popping Up in New York

So this is interesting, if not a bit weird. Three celebrities from Taiwan have opened bakery chains in New York. Bake Culture, located at 160-06 Northern Blvd and at 48 Bowery Street, offer pineapple cake, egg tarts and croissants are hope to appeal to Asian millennials. Chun Wu, Vanness Wu and Calvin Chen also plan to open a spot in Midtown.

They already have locations in China, Taiwan and Brunei and are hoping to gain interest from those in New York who remember these boy band members who also acting in a number of movies.

Gilda Radner at the Tribeca Film Festival

If you live in Tribeca and loved Gilda Radner, you’ll want to be sure to make it to the Tribeca Film Festival this year. They are showing a feature-length documentary about her life entitled “Love, Gilda” which features interviews with Saturday Night Live stars who worked with Radner. The movie is directed by Lisa D’Apolito and includes many of Radner’s own words from audiotapes, diary entries and more.

The documentary will premiere on April 18th at the Beacon Theater and the festival runs until April 29.

Go Now to Learn the Art of Playing Go!

Old fashioned games are a great way to pass the time. They keep people engaged and they require thought and strategy that many activities today don’t require. They can also be a social outlet for those looking to engage with others and to interact more. For all of these reasons, some people might be interested to know that the China Institute at 100 Washington Street is offering two five-session courses in an amazingly interesting and complex game called Go.

This game is more than 4000 years old and originates in China. It requires the use of both analytics (left brain skills) and creativity (right brain skills). The classes will be on Fridays from 10-12:30 on:  Jan. 12, Jan. 19, Jan. 26,  Feb. 2 and  Feb 9. For those who prefer a weekend activity, they can take the class on Saturday mornings on  Jan. 13, Jan. 20, Jan. 2, Jan. 3 and Jan. 10.

Go and you’ll have a blast doing so!

RA MA New York: A Great Experience

If you haven’t heard of RA MA New York, you may want to listen up. This is a Kundalini yoga studio led by Guru Jagat. So what is Kundalini? It’s a yoga style that focuses on mantra-based meditations and percussive breathwork. She started her flagship Venice location a number of years ago and only recently opened in New York.

The New York space includes morning and evening classes and she is currently piloting an idea called yogic coworking. Between 12 and 5pm, members can pull up a cushion to a low-Japanese style table and enjoy various opportunities. While people work they can enjoy a 7 minute hypnotherapy session or a quick brain-refresh.

And, of course, in addition to enjoying yoga in this space, people can enjoy shopping. You’ll find Moon Juice snacks by Amanda Chantal Bacon, skin care by Inne and Shiva Rose, clothing by Myrah Penaloza and so much more.


If you live in New York, or want to relax and decompress while visiting, this is the place to be:

RA MA New York, 125 Stanton Street; ramayogainstitute.com

6th Annual LUNGS Harvest Arts Festival

If you’ve never been part of the LUNGS Harvest Arts Festival, now is your chance. This is a great weekend of local entertainment and craftsmanship that is spread out across Lower Manhattan at more than 50 community gardens. There will be fairy tale puppetry by the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, the viewing of the film “FILM TOMORROW” by Cyril Dion and Melanie Laurent, dance performances, poetry readings and more.

It’s a lovely opportunity to see the area and to engage with your fellow New Yorkers. It takes place this weekend, September 23 and 24th and the full schedule of events is here.

 

London’s Bluebird Coming to Manhattan

Bluebird, a D&D London restaurant, is coming to Manhattan next spring. The NYC venue will be the brand’s first international branch, finding its home in the prime Time Warner Centre in Columbus Circle. Expected to open in 2018, NYC’s Bluebird will be joined by a second D&D London restaurant in the Hudson Yards development in 2019.

Des Gunewardena, CEO and chairman of the brand, explained that the new Manhattan location is part of the company’s plans to “expand the Bluebird brand and further strengthen D&D’s overseas presence.”

“I am incredibly excited about us opening Bluebird in New York- we could not have picked a more prime location. The Time Warner Centre at Columbus Circle, with its views over Central Park, is about as good as it gets for a Midtown Manhattan restaurant venue. We think that Bluebird encapsulates much of the buzz and glamour of the London restaurant scene today and will also bring to New York the quintessential style of London’s Chelsea. We hope New Yorkers like it!”

The New York chef has not yet been announced, but Yannis Stanisiere will head the business efforts in the US as the new D&D USA operations director.

 

Marble Art Exhibition Open in NYC

Summer is the time to explore local exhibits, and art and antiquities have been taking center stage this year. Phoenix Ancient Art’s Marble Mania exhibition is currently open in the collector’s NYC gallery, and features a range of fascinating pieces from Rome and Greece as well as from the Early Bronze Age.

Hicham Aboutaam, co-founder of Phoenix Ancient Art, explains: “The supremacy of marble is fabulously evidenced throughout ancient history, from the Sarcophagus of Alexander in Istanbul, to the Venus of Milos at the Louvre, to the statue of Augustus Prima Porta at the Vatican.”

From July 5th through August 25th, the exhibition will showcase 60 marble pieces including depictions of Zeus, Aphrodite, Commodus and other Roman figures.

Ali Aboutaam, co-founder of Phoenix Ancient Art, shared some previews of marble art on Twitter:

Marble Mania will be open to the public from July 5 th – August 25th at 47 East 66th street, NYC.

Putting a Cute Face on Financial Markets

Tamogotchi by Tomasz Sienicki

Opened in 2012 in Montreal, Canada by art collectors Pierre and Anne-Marie Trahan, Arsenal Contemporary now has a branch in the Bowery.

Not a gallery, Arsenal is more correctly understood as a showcase for the Trahan’s private collection. The couple does also run a commercial gallery plus an artist residence program, as well as an additional Arsenal space in Toronto which they opened in 2014. Loreta Lamargese and Isabelle Kowal are co-directors of the Bowery branch, which opened in February 2017.

“Arsenal is not a gallery, so it gets to be a bit more experimental,” Lamargese said. She stated her wish to a collaborate with curators and local galleries on future programming. “We really want it to be an arts center where there’s always something happening.”

What’s happening now is a display of the latest art project from Ed Fornieles, digital creatures reminiscent of the cute Tamogotchi entities children were crazy for in the 90’s and beyond. At the Bowery’s Arsenal visitors will see three LED screens showing off the cute, blobby cartoon creatures Fornieles has dubbed Finiliar. The creatures change their expressions in concert with the rise and fall of a particular currency. For instance, when the British pound goes up, its very own Finiliar, whose name is Dunop, exudes happiness: he celebrates the pound’s success by raising up a champagne flute in pure joy. But if the pound should putter, as it mostly has since Brexit, we see little Dunop shaking and looking like he is about to burst into tears.

An interesting way to keep track of your favorite currencies.

What might seem a bit trivial, and even silly at first glance is actually an interesting social experiment to see if people might respond more empathetically to the troubles or successes of large financial systems if the fate of the currencies are portrayed by cute cartoons. The crash of a currency could actually lead to the death of a Finiliar. If that would happen, would be people care more?

Fornieles wants to see if giving this abstract financial concept a face in the form of a cute, round animated creature in the style of Japanese anime, will create an added incentive for the world to stand up and take notice of the continued health of things like currencies or companies.

Intrigued? Go check it out at the Bowery’s Arsenal Contemporary, from February 22 to April 23, 2017.

Weegee’s Bowery on Display in Jersey City

Rubber stamp used by the photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig) for signing his pictures.

Rubber stamp used by the photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig) for signing his pictures.

If you hurry you can still catch an exhibit well worth your time. Until August 5th Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary will be showing the work of Usher Fellig, better known as Weegee, depicting the Bowery when it was deep in its “Skid Row” phase.

Usher Fellig, born in what is now Ukraine in 1899, was an ‘infamous’ New York City press photographer. Usher was changed to Arthur upon his arrival to US shores, but he became Weegee somewhere along the way because of his uncanny ability to arrive at crime scenes within minutes of their occurrence. (Weegee is a misspelling of Ouija, as in the board that connects this world to the “other world.”)

His black and white renderings of urban life are shocking statements about the harsh realities of life in New York during the 30s and 40s of the 20th century.

The exhibit, Weegee’s New York,  focus on the down and out population that gathered in the Bowery, living in the shadow of the Third Avenue El, on the street, in flea-bag hotels, and flop houses which could be had for only 25 cents/night.

The International Center for Photography in New York City was given Weegee’s estate in 1997. In 2015 ICP opened a branch at Mana in Jersey City in 2015 as an expansion of it Manhattan campus. The exhibit, which closes on August 5th, was organized by ICP in honor of the opening of a new branch in the Bowery.

ICP at Mana is open only by advanced appointment. To make an appointment contact: [email protected]
Hours Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Admission is free.

A Café Idea Which May Cat(ch) On!

This coming weekend, from Thursday, April 24 to Sunday, April 27, cat lovers can share a latte with their feline friends. Be sure to bring your favorite cat on over to 168 Bowery where the country’s first ever cat coffee shop will be open for business. Sponsored by Purina

Purina sponsoring cat cafe on the Bowery this weekend

Purina sponsoring cat cafe on the Bowery this weekend

, a giant US pet food manufacturer, the café will be of the ‘pop-up’ variety.

The ambiance takes its cue from a phenomenon that is common in Japan. Due to the Japanese cultural love of cats combined with strict bans on owning them in apartment buildings, or simply because of the lack of space in crowded Japanese cities, a compromise developed in which customers can enjoy the cats which are allowed to wander freely in an otherwise ordinary a coffee shop.

Cat lovers can enjoy a great cup of coffee or tea while spending time with their favorite domesticated breed, without the cumbersome burden of actually owning a cat. Here in the US however, where if someone wants to own a cat he/she usually simply does, Purina’s cat café has a distinctly different purpose.

The shop will be full of cats enjoying themselves wandering around the shop, but they will be up for adoption. The staff of the café will be available to answer questions about pet care, and as experts can correctly inform prospective owners about how best to care for a cat.

“We hope our cat cafe is one small step toward a greater focus on cat health,” said Purina brand manager Brian Williams. “Our goal for the Cat Cafe is to create a rich, interactive environment that empowers cat owners to learn more about their cat’s health and nutritional needs.”