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Friday, May 9, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: James Beard Awards, Chic Graffiti Buildings, Caffe Dante Reopens

  • Brooklyn woman transforms roof into garden: Lory Henning turned her 20-by-40-foot roof into a lush green field, which she calls a "green roof." She and her wife, Cindy, transformed their room because they wanted to add more gardening space to their home. "We're giving back to the birds and insects and the city as a whole, frankly, because our house is radiating less heat back into our atmosphere," says Henning.
  • Press, 9 Best Walking Tours in New York City: You can't go wrong with one of these great walking tours. We’re rated #1!

  • The New Must-Have for Luxury Buildings: Graffiti: Historically, property owners and developers have tended to consider graffiti a sign of decay that lowers property values. But that was before people started finding grittiness really cool. Some developers’ earliest forays into aerosol art did not involve actual graffiti. In 2007, Herzog and de Meuron, the architecture firm behind 40 Bond, a luxury residence in Manhattan with units that are currently valued at between ten and twenty-seven million dollars, designed a “graffiti fence” to surround the property. The aluminum-cast fence is constructed to resemble a web of soft, bubbled swirls—like jumbled graffiti. “I wanted to do something that was incredibly special that fit in with the neighborhood and that had the feeling of a downtown-on-the-edge point of view,” the project’s developer, Ian Schrager, told Architect’s Newspaper.
  • How NYC’s gay bars thrived because of the mob: In short, a gay bar like Stonewall, was an illegal business — or at a minimum a business subject to relentless harassment. Yet where most New Yorkers saw deviance, the Mafia saw profit. Same as gambling, prostitution or bootlegging, all it took was the customary payoffs for cops to look the other way.
  • Rainbow Room Will Reopen in October: This landmark on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza will reopen in early October with Jonathan Wright as executive chef. A native of rural Shropshire in England who worked for many years at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons near Oxford, England, he has also been at Raffles in Singapore, the Sandy Lane in Barbados, the Setai in Miami Beach and the Windsor Court in New Orleans. 
  • Struck on the Street: Four Survivors: How Being Hit by a Vehicle Changed Times Colleagues’ Lives: Though it happens fairly frequently, the experiences of those who are in pedestrian accidents and live are rarely told. It is natural and right that the worst (and fatal) cases attract the headlines and public horror. But being hit by a vehicle changes the way a pedestrian experiences the city, even years after recovery.
  • Grilled cheese set to parachute into New York City: The Australian pop-up restaurant Jafflechutes has announced plans to bring its parachute-delivered grilled cheese sandwiches to New York City. The Melbourne group raised funds to bring its whimsical sandwich delivery system to North America -- possibly this month, according to a Facebook post -- but they say they aren't in it for the money. "We do this purely for fun," Adam Grant, one of Jafflechutes' founders, told Fast Company in April.
  • The 10 Best Bagel Shops in NYC: While Italian immigrants were busy making this city great by giving us pizza, their Eastern European counterparts set to pickling cucumbers and tomatoes, smoking fish, and rolling bagels and bialys by hand. Long New York's unofficial breadstuff, an outstanding bagel starts and ends with proper technique and a near-continual cook, ensuring a fresh product throughout the day.

  • Bloomfield, Ansel & Oliver Take Home Gold at the Beards: New York City chefs and restaurateurs did not sweep the James Beard Awards as they have done in years past, but there were still some reasons to celebrate last night. Nine years after her first Beard nomination, April Bloomfield finally won the award for Best Chef New York City. This was her fourth time being nominated in this category. Cronut King Dominique Ansel took home the gold for Outstanding Pastry Chef.
    • James Beard Analysis: By the Numbers: The James Beard Award Winners and Women: The James Beard Foundation announced their annual awards in New York City on Monday, and among the winners were several women. That's six women out of 17 chef/restaurateur winners (there were two ties), or 38%. And it's a lot more women than the Foundation normally recognizes. Compare that number to the percentage of 2014 semifinalists who were women: 20%. Or the precentage of 2014 female finalists: 28%. As the percentage of women increases at each stage of the contest, it seems that woman who make it onto the semifinalists list are likely to advance to the later stages.
  • Where to Find Serious Coffee in New York? Everywhere: It’s not just that the coffee scene is growing; it’s also growing up. In the years since New York first emerged as a serious coffee town, the zealotry behind the counter has softened, while the quality of what’s in the cup has improved. The nerdy shops are busier than ever — the ones that favor lighter roasts (which have more nuanced flavors), exclusively carry beans from the most recent harvest (which are fresher, and therefore taste better), and save their best coffees for the brew bar (where each cup is brewed individually with the focus of a monk raking a rock garden).
  • These Are The Star Wars Doughnuts You're Looking For: We don't know what you're doing to celebrate May the Fourth, but we'll be out in Bushwick gorging on adorable Star Wars-themed doughnuts like Jabba after a weekend bender. The superlative vegan doughnut creators—and, clearly, rabid George Lucas fans— at Dun-Well Doughnuts have resurrected their charming doughnuts for this year's Star Wars day, so prepare, young padawan, to nibble on Yoda's big green ears or chew on Leia's sweet buns.


  • Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: New Tacos, Outdoor Dining, and More: Each week, Grub Street surveys the entire restaurant landscape of New York, crunches the numbers, and comes up with this: a list of the most-talked-about, must-visit places in the city.No matter what, these are the restaurants where you should make a point to eat sooner rather than later. At #17. Baker & Co. (New this week):Word is starting to travel on this Village Italian spot. It's a full-on neighborhood spot, well executed and worth checking out for some burrata, a glass of wine, and a plate of pasta.
  • The New Wave of Oyster Bars: If any one event marked the dawn of this kind of oyster house, it was the 1997 opening of Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village. Rebecca Charles, its founder and chef, had written multiple business plans for white-tablecloth restaurants that failed to materialize. But on a visit to San Francisco she came across Swan Oyster Depot, an 18-seat seafood counter that had opened in 1912. “I thought, ‘Wow, a counter operation would be great,’ ” Ms. Charles said. Pearl was wildly successful, spawning a modest expansion and local imitators, most notably Mary’s Fish Camp, opened in 2001 by Ms. Charles’s former partner, Mary Redding.
  • Manhattan's Bleecker Street Has New Life as Bleecker Sweet: Sweet Spots Continue to Open Along Stretch Between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The stretch on Bleecker between Sixth and Seventh avenues includes a Milanese gelato spot, a shop specializing in sweetened nuggets of filled bagel holes, a British specialty candy shop, a sweets parlor featuring Danish mini-pancakes called ebelskivers, a specialty Japanese chocolate store, a 16 Handles frozen-yogurt chain, a macaroon shop, two pastry shops, and a cupcake shop that replaced a burger spot.
  • The Donut Moves Into the Future: The first branch of what must be a prospective chain has just opened at Sheridan Square in a corner storefront that once held a vitamin shop aimed at body builders, and then a short-lived cupcake bakery. Everything about the new place is different than a traditional donut shop. 

  • Reaching Out to Tech and Creative Tenants, Starting With Lunch: A factory district does not typically spring to mind as a prudent location for retailing, but some of Manhattan’s successful food vendors have chosen the Falchi Building in a spartan part of Long Island City, Queens, for their next retail ventures. The 658,000-square-foot building at 31-00 47th Avenue was bought in 2012 by Jamestown Properties, which also owns Chelsea Market, the popular food marketplace in Manhattan that has become a tourist destination and neighborhood landmark.
  • One NYC Indie Bookstore Survives By Being Small And Specialized: Posman’s Chelsea store is one of three that the small independent chain currently operates in Manhattan. The other two are in Grand Central Station and at Rockefeller Center. Each one, says Mutter, caters to a specific market, and that niche marketing is one reason Posman has succeeded where others have failed. The Grand Central store is aimed at commuters; the Rockefeller Center store caters to tourists and travelers; and the Chelsea Market store is filled with cookbooks.
  • Eataly is Replacing its Wine Store With a Nutella Bar: With Eataly Vino now completely gutted, and the store unable to sell wine until October following a settlement with the SLA over "interlocking interests," Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich needed something else to fill that void. Enter Nutella. Crowds flocked to the one in Chicago (according to GM Alex Saper, there's a 45 minute wait on weekends), and now the New York Eataly is getting a Nutella Bar of its very own.

  • Video: Lox & Neon: This year, Russ & Daughters, the acclaimed appetizing institution on the Lower East Side, turns a hundred years old. To celebrate the occasion, the fourth-generation co-owners, Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper, are giving customers a place to sit. Soon, New Yorkers will be able to enjoy their lox and bagels on plates embellished with the establishment’s signature pattern of little blue fish. The Russ & Daughters Café will open on Orchard Street, just a few blocks away from the original shop. The café’s redesigned—but still classic—neon sign was crafted by the tube benders at one of New York’s oldest neon shops. Slicing salmon and bending glass are, really, quite similar.
  • Bar Primi neon arrives on the Bowery: Slowly but surely, the old Peels space is metamorphosing into a beautiful butterfly called Bar Primi. The forthcoming restaurant from Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard, and Luke Ostrom recently got a fresh coat of paint, and now a bright red neon sign hangs above the door. No word yet on when the pasta and wine will start flowing, but it looks like the restaurant is still on track for an early summer opening.

  • Where Do the Locals Eat in Brooklyn's Chinatown?: Sunset Park is Manhattan's Chinatown through rosier, Brooklyn glasses. The crowds are thinner, the prices lower, and life moves at a patient pace. Though it's not as densely packed as Chinatown or Flushing, Sunset Park commands a strong local following for its mix of noodle shops, bakeries, and dim sum palaces. 


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