For June's cover story, I examined all of the ways to enjoy Westchester County in the summer. This includes biking, archery, going to a driving range, exercising outdoors, kayaking, joining adult-centered leagues for childhood games like kickballl and frisbee, charity walks and swims, aqua zumba, mega yoga, troubleshooting sunburns and mosquito bites, eating seasonal food, sampling ethnic barbecue, drinking fresh fruit-infused cocktails, eating ice-cream floats, going on picnics, finding cold-brewed coffee, taking one-off bartending classes, geoaching, finding the best arts events, playing in an all-inclusive orchestra, visiting a new arts venue, volunteering at local farms, gardening, finding free events, taking day trips, shopping sidewalk sales, wearing stylish sunglasses and flip-flops, and visiting the Summertime Hall of Fame. Phew!
Click through to read the story, or download the PDF above.
The Commuter's Guide to Grand Central Terminal
Where to eat, shop, marvel, have a cocktail, play a round of tennis, and shoot a film—all while rushing to make the 6:12.
Grand Central Terminal may be in New York City, but it really is our domain. City residents never pay much mind to the beautiful Beaux-Arts building unless they have to take a trip to the northern suburbs. We Westchester commuters scuff our shoes daily on the terminal’s Tennessee marble floors.
Still, we don’t always take the time to appreciate the smart design, the impressive engineering, the meticulous planning that goes into keeping the transportation hub humming. Often, because we’re running for a train. But, before we pop our earbuds in and sit on a comfy Metro-North seat, we should take a moment to soak it all in. After all, it’s one of the greatest buildings in New York—at least according to New York magazine, which gathered a panel of experts in early 2011 to name the best New York City buildings of all time. “Grand Central creates a new type,” Barry Bergdoll, chief curator in the department of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, told the magazine. “It’s really an indoor urban room that’s absolutely stunning.”
If that wasn’t enough, within its walls there are retail stores brimming with worthy last-minute gifts, gourmet goodies at every turn, a cocktail lounge that looks like it was transported from the piazzas of Florence, and even a tennis court. Here, we present our commuter’s guide to getting the most out of Grand Central. At the very least, it’ll give you another reason to feel superior to those Long Islanders, who have to come into the City via the hellish subterranean maze that is the current Penn Station.
To read the rest of the article, either click through or download the PDF above.
The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Ice-skating before winter officially arrives may seem silly, but there is a benefit to heading out early: This iconic rink offers lower prices until November 3, and the ice—which accommodates only 150 people at a time—is slightly less crowded. Thus, you’ll have a wider berth while attempting your best shoot-the-duck spin. 30 Rockefeller Plaza between 49th and 50th Sts (therinkatrockcenter.com). Times vary; visit website for details. Through Nov 3: $10–$14, seniors and children under 11 $8–$8.50; skate rental $8. Nov 4–17 $15.50–$19, seniors and children under 11 $9.50–$10.50. Nov 18–Jan 6: $15.50–$21, seniors and children under11 $9.50–$12.50; skate rental $10.
Click through to read the rest of the article at Time Out New York.
Photograph: Courtesy the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park
Westchester vs. The City
For the September cover story, I wrote and edited a meaty package comparing Westchester County to New York City. The intro explains it this way:
"At some point, you made a choice between urban living and suburban living. For some of you, the debate between the two ended the second you put down roots in Westchester. Maybe you never had doubts to begin with. For others, the struggle continues within. Every time you pay your tax bill, you think that you may have been better off with a cute little condo in Brooklyn Heights. (But would you have had to give up your washer/dryer for the indignity of the coin-op machine in the basement?) Then again, when you notice that you inadvertently left the house unlocked—again—and return to find your possessions untouched, you might revel in suburbia’s relative safety, and congratulate yourself for making such a smart choice.
It’s time to put the debate to rest. We may wonder about it every day, but how does life in New York City really compare to our suburban Westchester existences? We pit urban and suburban living head-to-head, piling in as many of the pertinent stats and facts as we could, to put the arguing to rest once and for all. Here, our (completely unbiased) findings."
The rest of the package includes
...a comparison of housing costs in the two areas.
...a head-to-head match-up of amusement parks, public parks, music halls, historic houses, and art museums.
...a look at demographics and statistics.
...words from a chef about why he chose Westchester as the spot to open his restaurant (and a restaurant comparability chart).
...a comparison of crime statistics.
...a list of rejoinders to win Westchester vs. City cocktail-party spats.
...a side-by-side check of incidental costs, such as library fees or movie tickets.
...a Q&A with Westchester-to-City transplant Sloane Crosley.
...a look at the differences in commuting.
...a comparison of the retail landscape, with a list of which chain stores excel in each area.
...thoughts on how the NYC nightlife mostly trounces Westchester's, but how Westchester has more green space.
...three different first-person essays from writers who have lived in both areas.
Read the entire package by clicking through the links, or downlaod the PDF above.
'It’s very similar to Brooklyn’s artsy markets in Fort Greene, Williamsburg, and DUMBO,' says Eric Woodlin of Incoming Tide Entertainment, which also put on a music series and a comedy series at the site. (Performing artists will also provide a soundtrack to your shopping.) The Wildcliff Art Market will run through September 10."
Click through to read the rest of the article.
A few Time Out New York articles:Places You Can Get to Without a Car
Ten destinations you can get to by train, bus, and Metro-North Island Retreats Right in the NY Area
Including my favorite: Bannerman's Castle! Free Classes in New York City
Comedy, crafting, boating, and yogaBest Indie Shots: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The best boutiques for clothes, housewares, and comics NYC's Therapy Addiction, By the Numbers
Stats on therapy in the City
We started 2010 with lots of service, and I put together some great packages for the beginning of the year.
How to Do Just About Anything
A huge package full of tips on picking up any skills, from beer pong strategies to nuclear-meltdown preparedness. "Look back on your New Year’s resolutions. Did you vow to become a smarter, handier, more well-rounded person? That’s all well and good, but did you come up with a game plan for how to do it, too? No? Lucky for you, we did. Westchester’s packed with experts ready to teach you everything from the art of faking conversations with wine snobs to shedding those holiday pounds (while at work)."Read This and Save a Bundle
Another service-packed feature, this time about saving money in the county: "How smart you are, you will think as you gaze at the best buy in your closet, that you were able to find that of-the-moment hot-ticket item for half price while your neighbors had to pay top dollar. And that’s what the best shoppers do: they don’t buy cheap items—they hunt, scour, and hustle until they can find great items at lower prices. And, believe us, it takes a lot of work. Lucky for you, we’ve done a lot of that work for you. We asked the pros, expert shoppers, and proud cheapskates (meet some of them here) to tell us how to find the best bargains in the county. Put down those coupon-clipping scissors and read on."The Producer: Emily Gerson Saines
A profile of the executive producer of Temple Grandin: "When Cynthia Nixon accepted the Best Actress Tony Award for her performance in Rabbit Hole, there were only three people she mentioned by name: the playwright, the director, and Emily Gerson Saines."Theater Review: 42nd Street
A review of a local production of the classic musical: "The characters in 42nd Street are excited to be cast in a new Broadway musical, not just for the sake of their showbiz careers, but because the economy is bad and they’re grateful for the jobs—sound familiar at all? Luckily, even if you haven’t been touched by the recession, the Westchester Broadway Theater’s 42nd Street gives you a lot of show for your money."Five Places to Propose
Where to pop the question: "With Valentine’s Day in the air, and thoughts turning to romance, are you feeling inspired to buy a ring and ask for your true love’s hand? Finding someone to marry is the hard part—proposing should be easy. And, now, it’s even easier with our helpful list of five perfect places to pop the question. Take your pick from our à la carte menu of proposals."January Highlights
Marianne Faithfull, Gregg Allman, and more.January Home Theater
The Simpsons, Moon, and more.
Mardi Gras galore!February Home Theater
A Serious Man, The Wolf Man, and more.March Highlights
Henry Rollins, Ronnie Spector, and more.March Home Theater
Kids' movies: Ponyo, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and more.
It's been busy, so I'm catching up now on the February and March issues.34 Sensational New Stores
A round-up of the new shops that have opened in the past years: "So many wind chimes and doodads hang from the ceiling and so many picture frames and plaques hang on the walls that you probably can find a gift for your next occasion without even looking on the shelves (which are also full of items)."Factory Master
An article about two concurrent Andy Warhol exhibitions: "'Andy Warhol is often talked about as if he has no explicit content,' says Thom Collins, the museum’s director. 'He’s known for his riffs on American commodity culture, and he plays with the idea of celebrity, but mostly he’s talked about as being very superficial. They say you don’t see any of his interests, his concerns, or himself in his work. These two exhibitions tell a new story about Warhol and attempt to reintroduce him as more substantive than was previously thought.'”Culture, Etc. (February)
Loudon Wainwright, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and more.Culture, Etc. (March)
Roy Lichtenstein, Art Garfunkel, Lesley Gore, and more.Home Theater (February)
Snow Angels, Reprise, and Frozen River.Home Theater (March)
Quantum of Solace, Rachel Getting Married, Let the Right One In, and Andy Richter Controls the Universe.And a couple articles I've assigned:Homemade Jams
Local blues jams in the area.Straight Shooting
An unusual hobby described as "golf with guns."