Tag Archive | "New York"

Eating East: Sotta Sopra

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Sotto Sopra, Amagansett

Sotto Sopra, Amagansett

Shari Hartford

There was a time, in a former millennium, where dining in the Hamptons presented limited options. Sure there were the stalwarts like the Palm, Nick and Toni’s and the late lamented Della Femina, but as you drove further east along 27 the options diminished. That has certainly changed. Now, a plethora of restaurants greet you at every stop light. Even once sleepy Montauk is a growing culinary force. However, Amagansett has not completely jumped on this bandwagon.

In April 2012 a new face joined the neighborhood. Sotto Sopra, best described by managing partner, Rose Evangelista, as not exactly Italian and not exactly Continental, continues to pack in the hip and the well-scrubbed, in a restaurant environment that is as fickle as the summer weather.

Since I was already at my summer vacation haunt in Montauk, I thought I would take a drive west to Amagansett and sample what Sotto Sopra had to offer.

We arrived on a Tuesday night and found the crowd two deep in the front open-air bar and dining room. We were escorted through to our table in the back garden, where just days before Bill Clinton had celebrated his birthday. (I’m always a few days too late to see anyone who is anyone.) It was a lovely evening but there were heat lamps at the ready just in case.

The menu presented options that ranged from pizza made in a wood-burning oven to pastas and full-on entrees. We chose wine over the signature cocktail called the Sotto 75 (gin, Germain, Champagne, blueberry and lime juice). Curiously, the restaurant was out of the wine of the summer, Rosé. I guess the trendy folks got there before us. We began with the ubiquitous fried calamari and it was one of the best…nice and crispy and not a hint of grease. The huge appetizer portion was more than enough for two to share. We chose the arugula, radicchio, endive, pistachio and pomegranate salad with lemon balsamic dressing. The sweet pomegranate was a perfect foil to the tangy arugula. I will certainly try to duplicate this great salad at home.

Sotto Sopra, Amagansett

Sotto Sopra, Amagansett

Next up was the grilled and herb-rubbed salmon that we requested to be cooked through. And it was. We also ordered the risotto with mushrooms, hold the pancetta please. Again, request complied. Since it was summer, the pan roasted fresh corn sounded yummy. This unusual side was straight off the cob and still juicy and flavorful.

As we finished our wine and enjoyed the summer evening, we were anticipating dessert and coffee. Although the lemon tart we ordered was just fine, we expected more extensive and imaginative offerings. I felt sorry for the wait staff that had to tell us the coffee machine had been out of order for two days and therefore there was no coffee available. That omission seems hard to take during busy summer dinner service. Mr. Coffee machine from Costco, anyone?

Fall is a wonderful time of year to take a drive east. Enjoy off-season overnight rates and certainly visit Sotto Sopra. It’s a wonderful dining addition to the East End. While not open all year round, the restaurant stays open later than most (closing in December) and opening again in the spring.

For more information, contact sottosoprahamptons.com.

 

Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.

Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Adventures on Lake George

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The "Mohican" on Lake George, in New York's Adirondacks

The Mohican on Lake George, in New York’s Adirondacks

“Towards you, towards you, pull it towards you,” my father yells to my mom, referring to the tiller that sits on her lap. We’re aboard my dad’s 22-foot Catalina, sailing at a good 10-knot clip across the cobalt waters of Lake George on our way back to his dock. Mom’s steering, dad’s barking orders, and I’m on the bow of the boat, ready to jump onto terra firma, but first I have to listen to my parent’s banter, a routine I’ve witnessed far too many times.

“What the hell are you doing? Aim for the house,” my dad bellows, pointing to a small white house that stands on the hillside above our dock. My father’s voice always seems to rise a notch or two in volume every time he steps foot into his sailboat. That’s usually what happens to former Lieutenants in the Navy. They resign their commission in the military, buy a small boat of their own, and quickly ascend to the rank of Admiral.  Nevertheless, my mom always remains as cool as the water in this lake, easily gliding the boat into the dock without a scratch. Once the lines are tied, she stands up, and ends with the tag line, “not bad for a Bronx girl.” “Yeah, not bad,” my father mutters back, forgetting that Mom also taught him how to drive.

Those two paragraphs are the first words I ever wrote on Lake George, for a magazine called Endless Vacation back in 1996. Both my parents are gone, but I have incredible memories of our family sailing, paddling, and boating this 32-mile gem in the Adirondacks. And I continue to create new memories. This week, I’m traveling with my brother Jim as we kayak around the Sagamore, boat with Ron Miller aboard his 1971 Lyman, and take a paddlewheeler cruise aboard The Mohican.

I’ve been sailing the waters of Lake George before I learned to walk, or so I’m told.  Growing up in these sylvan surroundings, I took its beauty for granted; the verdant mountainside that slopes to the lake’s edge on either side, the pine-studded islands that provide perfect anchorages for boaters, the narrow width that’s easily mistaken for a long rambling river. Working as a travel writer, I’ve had the good fortune to visit many of the world’s most famous lakes—Tahoe, Como in Italy, Taupo in New Zealand, Lucerne in Switzerland, but given the choice, I’ll take Lake George on a weekday (on summer weekends, the influx of motorboats and jet skies makes the lake seem a lot smaller). It’s the reason why “Sailing Lake George” topped my list of “5 Family Adventures Not Soon Forgotten,” my most recent article on the lake in a March issue of The Boston Globe.

Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels

Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels

 

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Adventures on Lake George

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Plying the waters of Lake George in New York's Adirondacks.

Plying the waters of Lake George in New York’s Adirondacks.

“Towards you, towards you, pull it towards you,” my father yells to my mom, referring to the tiller that sits on her lap. We’re aboard my dad’s 22-foot Catalina, sailing at a good 10-knot clip across the cobalt waters of Lake George on our way back to his dock. Mom’s steering, dad’s barking orders, and I’m on the bow of the boat, ready to jump onto terra firma, but first I have to listen to my parent’s banter, a routine I’ve witnessed far too many times.

“What the hell are you doing? Aim for the house,” my dad bellows, pointing to a small white house that stands on the hillside above our dock. My father’s voice always seems to rise a notch or two in volume every time he steps foot into his sailboat. That’s usually what happens to former Lieutenants in the Navy. They resign their commission in the military, buy a small boat of their own, and quickly ascend to the rank of Admiral.  Nevertheless, my mom always remains as cool as the water in this lake, easily gliding the boat into the dock without a scratch. Once the lines are tied, she stands up, and ends with the tag line, “not bad for a Bronx girl.” “Yeah, not bad,” my father mutters back, forgetting that Mom also taught him how to drive.

Those two paragraphs are the first words I ever wrote on Lake George, for a magazine called Endless Vacation back in 1996. Both my parents are gone, but I have incredible memories of our family sailing, paddling, and boating this 32-mile gem in the Adirondacks. And I continue to create new memories. This week, I’m traveling with my brother Jim as we kayak around the Sagamore, boat with Ron Miller aboard his 1971 Lyman, and take a paddlewheeler cruise aboard The Mohican.

I’ve been sailing the waters of Lake George before I learned to walk, or so I’m told.  Growing up in these sylvan surroundings, I took its beauty for granted; the verdant mountainside that slopes to the lake’s edge on either side, the pine-studded islands that provide perfect anchorages for boaters, the narrow width that’s easily mistaken for a long rambling river. Working as a travel writer, I’ve had the good fortune to visit many of the world’s most famous lakes—Tahoe, Como in Italy, Taupo in New Zealand, Lucerne in Switzerland, but given the choice, I’ll take Lake George on a weekday (on summer weekends, the influx of motorboats and jet skies makes the lake seem a lot smaller). It’s the reason why “Sailing Lake George” topped my list of “5 Family Adventures Not Soon Forgotten,” my most recent article on the lake in a March issue of The Boston Globe.

 

steve   Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for OutsideMen’s JournalHealth, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

Visiting The National September 11 Memorial Museum

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By Shari Hartford

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I found myself at the very wrong place, at the very wrong time. At 8:46 a.m. I was walking through the shopping plaza in the World Trade Center on my way to the subway that would take me, as it did every single day, to my office uptown. I lived (and still do) across the street from those massive towers and spent the better part of each day walking through them, around them and gazing up at them.

Fast forward to this past week, when I got to tour the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Not yet open to the public, these were preview days set aside for family members, rescue workers, survivors and community residents (among others). My friend and fellow neighbor, Gale, and I got the passes and, with much trepidation, and pockets full of tissues, walked past the outdoor reflecting pools set in the footprints of the North and South towers and entered the museum.

Nothing could have prepared us for the massive, vast and overwhelming scale of the interior. Upon entering, you descend…first down a ramp which leads to the original foundation level of the Twin Towers and further down long escalators until we were at the level of the slurry wall, built to keep the Hudson River from flooding the original site.

There are so many memorable, and haunting, images and artifacts. For those of us who were there and lived through that fateful day and have been living through the rebuilding, some were extremely difficult to process and others just left us in awe. A piece of the radio and television antenna that stood on the North Tower, an elevator motor, a crushed fire truck left us in awe. I had never seen The Today Show broadcast as they tried, in a live broadcast, to explain what was happening in New York City. There are many tapes of actual broadcasts made that day. I finally saw them at the museum.

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“Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning,” a 40-foot high soaring piece of art by Spencer Finch was devastating. Composed of 2,983 squares of Italian paper, each one hand-painted a different shade of blue and each in memory of an individual soul lost on September 11 and in the 1983 bombing. This, for me, sums up the museum’s experience. In its simplicity, the art speaks to the poignancy of the museum. If you visit and retain only one thing, let it be this. Stand and gaze at this wall and without needing words, the magnitude of the events of both days will crash into your heart and mind and will stay there for a very long time.

For more information, see 911memorial.org.

 

shari-1  Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.

 

The Artful Traveler: What Hitler Hated – and Loved

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Paul Klee (1879-1940) The Angler, 1921 Watercolor, transfer drawing and ink on paper 18 7/8 x 12 3/8 in. (50.5 x 31.8 cm) The Museum of Modern Art, New York. John S. Newberry Collection Digital Image © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/ Art Resource, NY © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Paul Klee (1879-1940)
The Angler, 1921
Watercolor, transfer drawing and ink on paper
18 7/8 x 12 3/8 in. (50.5 x 31.8 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. John S. Newberry Collection; Digital Image © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/ Art Resource, NY
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

By Bobbie Leigh

“Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937” is one of the most compelling and timely presentations the Neue Galerie has mounted since it opened in  2001. It is as much about politics and culture as mid-century art. According to Hitler, modern art demonstrated  the cultural decay threatening the German public.

Just two days after Hitler’s new government was sworn in in February 1933, a Nazi newspaper  published  an article about an “art swamp in Germany.”  Its purpose was to draw attention to the “Jewish domination” of  the Dusseldorf Academy. From then on, the campaign against modernist art  became more widespread.

The chilling story of using art to instill a new political order in Germany culminated in “Entartete Kunst,” or degenerate art, an exhibition the Nazis mounted in Munich in 1937 which after its opening traveled to German and Austrian cities until  1941. Through meticulous research the Neue has managed to borrow about 50 paintings and sculptures, 30 works on paper which were in the original 1937 show.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) A Group of Artists (The Painters of the Brücke), 1925-26 Oil on canvas 66 1/8 x 49 5/8 in. (168 x 126 cm) Museum Ludwig, Cologne Photo: © Rheinisches Bildarchiv Cologne

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
A Group of Artists (The Painters of the Brücke), 1925-26
Oil on canvas 66 1/8 x 49 5/8 in. (168 x 126 cm)
Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Photo: © Rheinisches Bildarchiv Cologne

As  curator Dr. Olaf Peters explains in the must-read catalog: “Modernism… was depicted here as a pathological undertaking that had been strategically pushed through by a small, Jewish clique at the cost of German art.”  Hitler called  modern art “monstrosities of madness.” The art he admired was inspired by the past, by  classical Greece and the Italian Renaissance.  In contrast, Hitler  referred  to the works of   such artists as George Grosz, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka among many others on view at the Neue show  as degenerate, “subhuman” or “insane.”

It is estimated that from  about 1935 the Nazis  purged  German and Austrian museums of  some 20,000 works many of which ended up in the 1937  Munich Degenerate Art show.  Roughly one-third of those works were sold at auction and elsewhere to generate funds for the Nazi government. Others were destroyed in a Berlin bonfire, and the rest have for the moment, disappeared.

Adolf Ziegler (1892-1959) The Four Elements: Fire (left wing), Earth and Water (center panel), Air (right wing), 1937 Oil on canvas; 66 7/8 x 106 ¼ in. (170 x 270 cm); Pinakothek der Moderne, Bayerische Staatsgemaeldesammlungen, Munich Photo credit: bpk, Berlin/Art Resource, NY

Adolf Ziegler (1892-1959) The Four Elements: Fire (left wing), Earth and Water (center panel),
Air (right wing), 1937 Oil on canvas; 66 7/8 x 106 ¼ in. (170 x 270 cm); Pinakothek der Moderne, Bayerische Staatsgemaeldesammlungen, Munich; Photo credit: bpk, Berlin/Art Resource, NY

What exactly did Hitler hate?  Art tainted with Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism, Dadaism, and Constructivism (but not all of the latter) as well as Bauhaus modern architecture and furniture.  (It was  not made of wood from good German forests, but leather and steel.)   And what did he revere?  The best example of Hitler’s taste in art is  in the Neue show in a gallery juxtaposing  so-called good and bad art.  On one wall is a painting that ended up  above the mantelpiece in Hitler’s  apartment. It is  Adolph Ziegler’s triptych,  The Four Elements, featuring four youthful,  classic blond nudes, personifying the four elements, fire, water, earth, and air. Ziegler was one of Hitler’s favorite artists in  the “Greco-Nordic” tradition.

Max Beckmann (1884-1950) Departure, Frankfurt 1932, Berlin 1933-35 Oil on canvas 84 ¾ x 39 ¼ in. (215.3 x 99.7 cm) The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Given anonymously (by exchange) Digital Image © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/ Art Resource, NY © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Max Beckmann (1884-1950)
Departure, Frankfurt 1932, Berlin 1933-35
Oil on canvas 84 ¾ x 39 ¼ in. (215.3 x 99.7 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Given anonymously (by exchange)
Digital Image © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/ Art Resource, NY
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

In the same gallery hangs Max Beckmann mystifying triptych, Departure, depicting a crowned king and queen in a boat  at sea  flanked by  panels of suffering, tortured prisoners. Beckmann, whom the Nazis fired from his professorship at the University of Frankfurt, called the center panel “The Homecoming.”  According to the artist, the queen carries the “greatest treasure –Freedom as a child in her lap.”  After his exile from Germany, Beckmann said…”Freedom is the one thing that matters—it is the departure, the new start.”

Along with Beckmann, the Nazis drove many artists to exile, suicide and  early death.  According to Hitler, “being German meant being clear.” He demonized modern art and orchestrated a state campaign against distorted or primitive forms, muddy colors, complexity, and ambiguity. Aerial shots of  Dresden before and after the war along with two photo murals sum up the show: On one side of a narrow corridor outside of the galleries we see German people lining up to see the  Degenerate Art  traveling  exhibition when it was in Hamburg from November 11-December 30, 1938.  On the other side,  we see  an equally long line of Jews  arriving at the Auschwitz-Birkenau  railroad station.

The Neue Galerie; www.neuegalerie.org  On view through June 30, 2014.

 

bl Bobbie Leigh has written for many national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, and Departures. Currently she is a New York correspondent for Art & Antiques.

5 Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burning

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5Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burning, was a building in Long island City, Queens that was mecca for graffiti artists. In November 2013, the owner whitewashed the building, in anticipation of new condos rising on the site. Julie Maris/Semel shot it before that happened.

Julie Maris/Semel, with camera in hand at age seven, discovered travel photography as a teenager. Following her passions, she worked with Bill Maris, a well-known architectural photographer, and subsequently for editorial clients, that include Traditional Home magazine and Design New England, producing stories about gardens, architecture, and travel. Her sense of adventure turned to the Antarctic, the Arctic, Asia, and Africa while working for Quark Expeditions, TCS Expeditions, and national tourist boards. Her photographs, Images of India, were exhibited at the New India House sponsored by the Consulate General of India. See more photos athttp://www.juliemarissemel.com

Kurt Thometz’s Little Black Bookshop: Film by Oresti Tsonopoulos

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Thanks to filmmaker Oresti Tsonopoulos and Narrative.ly

The Artful Traveler: The Armory Show

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Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968), Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2), 1912. Oil on canvas, 57 7/8 x 35 1/8 in. Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950

Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968), Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2), 1912. Oil on canvas, 57 7/8 x 35 1/8 in. Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950

By Bobbie Leigh

The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution at the New-York Historical Society  has some great masterpieces.  You will recognize  them in a flash —works by Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso as well as the big three precursors to modernism—Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh.  But 100 years ago when these now revered painters  were first shown at the  International Exhibition of Modern Art – dubbed the Armory Show as it took place at the 69th Regiment Armory at Lexington Avenue and  26th Street —  they caused a sensation. Perhaps hoping for another type of sensation, the Historical Society has placed a model  of “Nude Descending a Staircase,”  an aluminum  type composite which represents the original,  at the entrance to the exhibition on Central Park West.

Francis Nauman in a chapter in the show’s beautifully illustrated  catalog writes that “no other single work in the Armory Show was the focus of greater attention or derision”   than Marchel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Former president Theodore Roosevelt  called it  a “picture of a naked man going down stairs.”   One art  critic called Duchamp’s painting “an explosion in a shingle factory.”  Another, J. Nilsen Laurvik,  was more astute. He thoughtfully traced  the Duchamp  work to photographic moving images, “such as the succession of images in moving-picture produce.”

Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), Blue Nude, 1907. Oil on canvas, 36 ¼ x 55 ¼ in. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950

Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), Blue Nude, 1907. Oil on canvas, 36 ¼ x 55 ¼ in. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950

Art critics and visitors alike didn’t know how to relate to the new art  on view  in 1913.  They were more accustomed to the  refined portraits of the Gilded Age and  serene and beautiful  landscapes.  More than 1,350 works were presented in the  original Armory Show. Roughly 600 paintings, sculpture, prints and drawings were by American artists. These  were the most admired by the public, but  the show was not the triumph of American art that the organizers had hoped.  Instead, it was the foreign works that  were discussed, criticized,  and created a buzz that lasted for decades. The objections to the new work  were rooted in the rigid  rules  and standards of  the National Academy of Design. The brightly colored  Cubist  forms of artists like Francis Picabia, were compared to a patchwork quilt.  Brancusi’s Mlle Pogany sparked endless  negative comments  with one critic calling it “an egg and nothing more.” Matisse’s work was considered childlike and primitive.

A landmark event in American art history, the Armory Show is credited with breaking the stranglehold, the strict standards, set by the National Academy.  However  it is generally agreed the show eventually  made modernism  more  acceptable and transformed the art world.  Critic Walter  Lippmann as quoted in the catalog, said” The world was never so young as it is today, so impatient of old crusty things.”  Picasso once commented: “ With me, a picture is a sum of destruction.”  In other words, for new art to appear,  the artist  has to  clear out what came before.

Today the art world continues to struggle with many of the  questions that visitors to  the Armory Show confronted.  The  great  philosopher of art, Arthur C. Danto, a champion of the avant-garde  who died recently, said it best.  He  wrote that art required an educated viewer: “To see something as art requires something the eye cannot descry— an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of the history of art: an artworld.”

Overhead view of Armory installation, 1913. Walt Kuhn, Kuhn family papers, and Armory Show records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Overhead view of Armory installation, 1913. Walt Kuhn, Kuhn family papers, and Armory Show records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

The  centennial at the New York Historical  Society  presents just  100  of the works in the original Armory show. It is a whiff of the past. It gives viewers a chance to see a broad spectrum  of  the art  viewers saw  in 1913,  which paved the way and helped artists to evolve in  the  many different  directions we have now, the art of 2013.

The Armory Show continues through February 23,  2014, at the New- York Historical Society. Buying advance tickets for specific times up to 30 days in advance is advisable: nyhistory.org.

 

bobbiel  Bobbie Leigh has written for many national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, andDepartures. Currently she is a New York correspondent for Art & Antiques.

Sleeping Around: 70 Park Avenue, NYC

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Penthouse at 70 Park in New York.

Penthouse at 70 Park Avenue in New York.

By Shari Hartford

It’s not often that I extol the virtues of chain hotels. But I have never stayed at a Kimpton that didn’t meet my high standards. I love their excellent staff, attention to detail, quirky décor, and yes, those signature animal print robes. Add in free wine in the evening and I’m sold.

70 Park Avenue is a welcome addition to the Kimpton group. Conveniently located on quiet 38th Street, the hotel reaps the benefits of its midtown location, without the hustle and bustle. While there isn’t a restaurant in-house, the neighborhood options are plentiful. And, the recently opened lobby-level Silverleaf Coffee & Tea, offers beverages, baked goods and light fare.

King Deluxe room at 70 Park, a Kimpton Hotel in Manhattan.

King Deluxe room at 70 Park Avenue, a Kimpton Hotel in Manhattan.

My room had everything you would want in a hotel accommodation: very comfy bed and pillows, a sleek bathroom with a shelf for stuff (that seems like a given, but actually in today’s renovations, some hotels are forgetting about practicality and going for a minimalist look), and a wardrobe instead of a closet. There was ample good lighting and an electrical outlet in the nightstand. Hurray! Someone used their head and realized that we want to plug in our devices next to the bed, not across the room.

When I rode the elevator the next morning with a couple of adorable four-legged guests, I realized that 70 Park was pet friendly – no extra fees or size restrictions.

All in all, 70 Park Avenue is a place to put on your short list for the family coming into town for the holidays. It’s cozy, friendly and stylish.

For more information, see 70parkave.com.

 

shari (1)  Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: The Catskills, An Ideal Retreat From Manhattan

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Mohonk Mountain House, New York

Mohonk Mountain House, New York

A mere 90 minutes north of Manhattan is New Paltz, New York, and the Catskill Mountains. Avid adventurers know the area for the Gunks, one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the East. Families venture here in October to take in the fall foliage. Start with a walk around Lake Mohonk and then book a room overlooking that same body of water at one of the finest family resorts in the country, the Mohonk Mountain House. Opened in 1869, this sprawling resort has the perfect vantage point to take in the changing colors. Not to mention, you get to slow down and appreciate the natural splendor on a hike, horseback ride, or paddle. All meals are included in the full American plan.

 

 

steve1   Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

 

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