Friday, April 30, 2010


Over the last several years, Joe and Jason Denton have perfected the modestly priced, shared-plates Italian restaurant in New York. Their latest is Corsino, a somewhat spare but comfortable place in the West Village. The extensive crostini menu was our first stop, where we chose a refreshing peas-and-pecorino number and the crostini del giorno, topped with peperoncini and slightly too much ricotta.

We followed with one of the other daily specials, a simple, oh-so-yummy plate of lightly fried vegetables. Tossed in the mix were a few fried lemons --- a couple of bites of just lemon were too intense, but they added a very nice zest.

Our final plates continued the straightforward-but-satisfying spirit of the evening. A bowl of brisket meatballs felt like a childhood wish granted, while the charred octopus with potatoes all'amatriciana married sea and smoke to create a pungently appealing dish.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Into the Cold at the Tribeca Film Festival

Angered and disgusted about climate change, environmentalist and photographer Sebastian Copeland decided to do more than switch his bulbs to CFLs and opt for paper instead of plastic: he would commemorate Robert Peary's 1909 expedition to the North Pole by walking 400 miles through one of the harshest, bleakest environments on earth. Using his Canon 5D Mark 2 (he kept spare batteries in his armpit so they wouldn't completely freeze), he shot stills and video, tremendous footage of a landscape most of us will never see, in part because it's likely to be totally gone in the next few years.

Photo: thanks

Oyster Locals: Best Neighborhoods for Street Art

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for Oyster Locals, a web resource for travelers. Periodically we'll feature content on here that we produced there.

For many people, the words “New York” conjure images of a Technicolor riot of graffiti: elaborate murals, eye-popping bubble letters, and subway trains dazzling their way through tunnels like motorized rainbows. Though graffiti styles have changed over time—and the subways have been scrubbed clean—New York remains the essential city for street artists, who journey from around the globe to tag, stencil, paste, and paint on the biggest canvas in the world. While street art can be found all over town, some neighborhoods are especially rewarding for the graffiti connoisseur. Here’s a guide.

North Brooklyn


The center of New York’s booming music scene, North Brooklyn also has great street art. With its critical mass of hipsters and long-time residents, Williamsburg boasts some of the city’s best eating and drinking—it’s a must on the itineraries of all visitors under 40—while Greenpoint presents an intriguing mix of trendsetters and Polish immigrants. Both areas feature paste-ups, stencils, and small wall pieces. Bushwick, with its enormous industrial buildings, has more monumental, block-long murals. It's less gentrified and still like feels a secret. Try to keep it that way.

Visitors staying at the W Union Square, the Hotel Gansevoort, or the Standard have a short walk to the L train, which goes to Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick.

Long Island City 

Black and White 

Long Island City, just over the East River from Midtown in Queens, is home to P.S. 1, the contemporary art complex of the Museum of Modern Art, as well as the Sculpture Center and Socrates Sculpture Park. With all of that art talent around, street art can’t be far behind; in fact, Long Island City is where you can find “Graffiti Mecca,” the legendary 5 Pointz. An enormous warehouse entirely given over, inside and out, to street artists, 5 Pointz must be seen to be believed. Anyone is free to paint here, provided you first present a sketch to Meres One, the space’s curator. The pieces range from demure stencils to intricate, grandiose, 30-feet high scenes depicting battles between aliens and skeletons. An aficionado could happily spend the better part of a day watching and marveling.

Long Island City is a quick subway ride from Midtown on the 7, E, V, or R subway lines. The Grand Hyatt, Millennium UN Plaza, and Affinia 50 are fewer than 10 minutes by train from LIC.

Chelsea and the Meatpacking District 

There is a Crack in the Bubble

In the 1990s, the epicenter of New York’s art scene shifted, from Soho to Chelsea, where there are now more galleries than you can shake a paintbrush at—more than 300 in 10 blocks. Add to that creative concentration the playful spirit of the nightlife-heavy meatpacking district only a short stroll to the south, and you have perfect conditions for street art. Unlike in Bushwick, the streets here are quite developed, so the pieces tend to be smaller. But with so many of the art world’s movers and shakers afoot, street artists jostle for the space that remains, sandwiching their work between doors and windows, unabashedly working atop one another, and no doubt secretly hoping to score a gallery deal of their own. (The wall across the street from Pastis is notorious for its constant pasting-over by new artists.) The huge number of restaurants, bars, and clubs in the area means that you can gallery- and street art–hop all day, and eat, drink, and dance all night, without walking more than 15 minutes in any direction.

The GEM Hotel, Maritime Hotel, and Hotel Indigo are located within easy walking distance from the art and nightlife.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

People's Pops

For those of you keeping score, here's another formally mobile eatery that's gone permanent. People's Pops, best known for selling their organic treats at the Brooklyn Flea, has found a home at the Chelsea Market. And, boy, are we glad they did. Seen here: plum, organic yogurt, and tarragon, and blackberry with lemon verbana. Not pictured, but soon to be sampled: rhubarb, organic cream, and cinnamon, blackberry and jasmine, and a wide variety of shaved ices.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Like the Shepard Fairey mural across the street, which has already been defaced, Pulino's produces strong feelings. To some, Keith McNally can do no wrong on the restaurant scene. He did, after all, mastermind the coed bathroom and, more recently, lure Nate Appleman from San Francisco. To his detractors, he's rehashing the same formula (c.f. the use of porcelain tile here, at Schiller's, at Pastis, etc.). To them, he's all trend and no substance (c.f. the impossible reservation line for dinner here and at Minetta Tavern).

What sold us on a trip south was the opportunity to have pizza for breakfast. (Apparently such an opportunity also sold Nora Ephron and Nicholas Pileggi, who were eating nearby.) As our pizza moved from sunlight to shadow, we too had mixed feelings. The porchetta's salted pork resembled thick cuts of sandwich meat (a plus), which made us long for our coppa from a few weeks ago (a minus), while the salame piccante was better than your average pepperoni (another plus). Nice enough meat, but the crust on both was so thin, so very, very thin (a ginormous minus).

Just when we thought the pies weren't living up to the hype, our dessert arrived. The cannella, topped with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, tasted like a carnival, greasy and fried and meant to be scarfed up quickly, before it was time to turn our table.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shepard Fairey Mural on Houston

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tom Wool's In the Shadow of Everest

Tom Wool's photos of people living around Mount Everest, currently on display at the Rubin Museum, depict a world less glamorous than planting a flag atop the highest peak in the world. A man herds his sheep along a rocky, barren landscape, a woman stands pregnant in her open-air kitchen, two friends pose jauntily --- the wide-angle, black-and-white shots highlighting the bleakness and humanity, emphasizing that the real feat is making a life here.

Photo: thanks

Friday, April 23, 2010

El Paso Taqueria

Our love affair with Mexican brunch continues, this time at El Paso Taqueria. This inexpensive restaurant saves the fireworks for the food (we just ate there and literally can't remember a thing about the decor). First, we sampled plump tamales, stuffed with shredded chicken and topped with salsa verde and a rich mole with hints of cinnamon and chocolate. Each also had a healthy sprinkle of cotija. They were soft and comforting and an easy way to start a Sunday.

And then we had eggs scrambled hard with jalapenos and tomatoes, served with a big tub of tortillas, as well as what can only be described as a feast of pork tacos. There was chorizo and oven-roasted pork and spicy marinated pork and grilled pork with pineapples, everything held into its respective double soft shell with a nice scoop of guacamole. Sounds of pestle on mortar punctuated our conversation.

El Paso already has three locations at 1/2-mile intervals along the Upper East Side. Clearly traditional flavors prepared well is a deservedly bankable formula.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Figure Five in Gold at the Met

What's particularly striking about Charles Demuth's 1928 painting, The Figure Five in Gold, is its use of words, taken from a poem by his friend William Carlos Williams. (Well, the colors, perspective, and depth of field are pretty great too.) Legend has it that WCW wrote The Great Figure after glimpsing a five on a fire truck as it zoomed up Ninth Avenue. In other words, it's a painting about a poem that's about seeing the number five.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Saraghina, in Bed-Stuy, jumped into the spotlight last summer, when New York Magazine picked it as one of the city's 20 best pizzerias after it had only been open a few weeks. Like our beloved Roberta's in Bushwick, Saraghina distills numerous New York restaurant trends --- open in a neighborhood off the foodie grid, emphasize authenticity and local ingredients, decorate with salvaged materials, keep prices low. Appealing as that model may be, restaurants live or die by their food, and Saraghina looks to have a long life ahead.

We had the salsiccia, which comes with sausage and black olives. We didn't love the too-crisp crust, but the pie itself was very good, sweet but not cloying. The pizza that makes us so optimistic about Saraghina's future, however, was the coppa i carciofi, a white pie whose beguiling mix of spice, salt, crunch, and cheese ranks among the best we've had.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

5 Pointz

Across the street from P.S. 1, in Long Island City, is a different kind of art center: 5 Pointz. Taggers and artists must be approved by Meres One, who runs the "graffiti Mecca" with a curator's eye. The result is a beautiful, multihued spectacle.

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