Archive for New York

3D Printing’s Tipping Point Tour: London, New York, Paris

This is a little shorty I wrote up for British Airway’s High Life magazine on the 3D printing revolution. This has been going on for years but only hit the tipping point into mainstream consumption in the past year or so.

The stuff looks outlandish like it’s out of a Luc Besson film or something so I’m not sure how mainstream it will get (after the initial novelty wears off) but I’m sure the tech will advance quickly and we’ll see more wearable stuff come out in the years to come.

My only gripe with it is that so far the rudimentary tech produces garments that look like they’re all cut from the same cloth, so to speak – a kind of uniformity that exists in tech which I abhor (pret-a-porter for the net-a-porter generation).

3D Printing Show London New York Paris

Private Clubs: What’s a Fickle Socialiser to Do?

SoHo House Berlin

For a long time, the idea of joining a private club didn’t make sense to me. Being a bit ADD in my cultural fixations, I couldn’t imagine paying dues at one establishment which would then become my default social arena.

In LA, I visited the Jonathan Club which is lovely in the summer for its perfect positioning alongside the Pacific Ocean but ultimately more of a families-with-kids place (that’s Hell on a hangover on most weekends).

During the last months of my time in Amsterdam I met some colleagues at Baby, a fabulously stylish club on the Keizersgracht canal that was geared towards creatives (and tied to an uber-hip magazine of the same name). Sadly I departed soon after and so did Baby which has long since closed its doors.

In London, clubs are a big, big thing, and you can’t throw a stone without hitting one. Everything from the super-stuffy ones in Mayfair to Paul Allen and Dave Stewart’s ultra-casual, jeans-sporting Valhalla: The Hospital Club.

Initially, the most appealing of the lot to me was Home House. West End-centrally located in Marble Arch, it is housed in a gorgeous 18th century building and the plus (for an Angeleno) is that it has a gym–included in membership. The scene is perfect there too–not too grubby and casual but not too stick-up-the-bum.

I discovered, however, that they charge a trumped-up membership initiation fee of £1800 which I’m guessing is non-refundable. Beyond the fact that it’s the highest initiation fee of any club around here (according to some club survey sites), it’s even more of a killer if you’re a fickle frolicker and want to join a club for a year and then join another the following year.

SoHo House in Manhattan

Ultimately, the tried and true (for media types) SoHo House may well offer the most varied memberships–the ones to all of its properties: London (including SoHo, Notting Hill, Chiswick, Shoreditch and Somerset), Berlin, New York, West Hollywood and Miami. It doesn’t look like any of the London branches have gyms but there is a pool at Shoreditch House.

Besides, if you’re a constant traveller who likes style and taste, and you’re a tad lazy (ahem), there’s probably nothing better.

SoHo House Somerset England

Living Abroad: The Love Affair With Place

Place Vendôme Paris France Sights

By Shana Ting Lipton

I see your hair is burnin’
Hills are filled with fire
If they say I never loved you
You know they are a liar…
LA woman, you’re my woman.

-Jim Morrison and The Doors

Your knees buckle, you feel off-center, yet filled with joy. A sense of the ‘anything is possible’ comes over you. You’re not yourself; nor do you want to be. You’re in love. And, to keep this love affair afloat, you’ll do anything…

Even move to another city or country.

Yet, in this case, it is, in fact, the city that is the culprit, the object of your affections. You are enamored–or at the very least interfacing and engaging on a deeper more intimate level–with a locale.

Without such a passion, one might argue, how else could one take such a bold step as to pack up one’s things and move half-way across the world (or across the country)?

It takes blind faith, the promise of euphoria, and an object of great desire to drown out the voice of fear (that keeps one moored in one’s home terrain) and kill the creature of habit (and safety).

And just like your first love is different from a second marriage, and a second marriage is different from a whirlwind holiday love affair, so ‘city love’ differs from place to place (and person to person). More detailed analogies and some true life experience can be of some help here.

New York…cue George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue…now that’s a riveting, mile-a-minute, exciting metropolis to fall in love with. My love affair with New York was intense from the get-go. There was nothing that could keep us apart. I ate, breathed, slept (and often pulled all-nighters with) Manhattan. This was one fascinating, intellectually profound and culturally savvy partner.

But then, after living in the City That Never Sleeps for a few years, the bloom wore off the rose to reveal a crazy, thorned bitch of a city who like some psycho stalker was hell-bent on destroying me.

Manhattan, for me, was a city of young love–perhaps not first love (not nearly as naive and crushing) but an immature, passionate love with nowhere to go but into the pits of Hell.

So it was that after some time of enduring ‘the Smell’ (hot, humid garbage and pollution in the summertime), the constant noise (a loop of car alarms and ambulances) and weather (my ‘love’s’ extreme mood swings), I said “enough” and ended the tempestuous and unhealthy relationship.

Amsterdam, with its storybook canals, crooked little houses and wood-worm eaten house boats was romantic in a spiritual way for me. Everything ‘he’ did seemed fated, written in some great book in the sky.

Nothing was real. All was mystique and wonder…a great way to exist…for a time. But as I grew up, I wanted something of the everyday and commonplace in my city relationship–a way to mix the simplicity of life (cornflakes) with the ethereal and mystical (ambrosia).

Los Angeles, on the other hand was like the buddy that high-fives you at a barbecue and gets you an ice cold beer on command–predictable, laidback, uncomplicated but a bit vacuous.

Like ‘friends with benefits,’ LA and I spent years (on and off as LA is always my base–even when I have brief stints abroad) in a Hotel California type relationship. I could check out any time I liked, but I never really did leave.

LA would occasionally deliver the 2 a.m. booty call–disrespectful and shallow. But Los Angeles was also always there when I needed the proverbial couch to crash on or someone to grab a coffee with and hang out.

These days, as it turns out, I’m looking for nothing less than ‘the all’ in my city love, a harmonious ‘something of everything’ relationship Holy Grail. My ideal possesses: the romance and magic, the reliable everyday buddy effect, and the riveting sexual attraction and cultural and intellectual stimulation.

I’m ready for a city I can realistically love–for better or worse, for richer or for poorer–that will love me back unconditionally, realistically but also view me as a gem.

As a result, I have been spending some time in London–a place that never intrigued me before (in fact, my birthplace). It wasn’t ever exotic enough. It seemed to be a city of urban tests, grittiness, and depression despite its historic architecture and wit and witticisms.

But today, as an adult, I can finally appreciate a partner like London. Right away, I could see what would drive me nuts about the town: its spread-out nature, difficult public transport, smog and dirtiness, uptight citizens.

I could also see something magical: how the Gothic details on the molding of the townhouses came to life in the grey weather, the exciting driving cultural rhythm of this media capital.

My walks around the funny little mewses and roads–mad wind blowing through my hair, street life on fire, trickles of rain on my cheek–felt like an appreciative and adoring lover’s touch.

London, in short, may be the whole enchilada…a real city, a human city–of heights of ecstasy, depths of despair…and, ‘the laundry’ so to speak. London, may well be ‘The One.’

Proust Questionnaire: New York

By Jacqueline Micucci, Writer/Editor | New York (and Seattle)

New York Travel Info From Locals

What is your idea of a perfectly happy day in your city?

New York is such a walking and eating town, and I love to do both. I love walking around my old neighborhood in the East Village—checking out the wares inSustainable NYC, grabbing a cocktail at local farm-friendly Back Forty and munching on some ridiculously delicious pork buns at Momofuku Noodle Bar. I also love walking through Union Square, perusing the farmer’s market, meeting local artists and rooting on the kids showing off on their skateboards.

Uptown, my favorite spot is the fountain at Lincoln Center. When I was younger we used to just sit there and watch the people all dressed up going to the ballet and the opera house. If I want to escape the city without ever leaving it, I visit the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. The views of the Hudson are just spectacular and the gardens and buildings really make you feel like you’ve been transported into medieval times. The art’s not too shabby either.

Knowing your city and its citizens, what is your greatest fear?

My worst fear is sort of already happening. People are moving out because it’s just too expensive to live here, especially in Manhattan proper. I’ve got more than a few friends who are living in places like Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. They might as well be in the suburbs at that point.

Which historical figure would do best in your city?

Queen Elizabeth I. A strong, single woman who would not let her power be usurped by any man sounds like the perfect Manhattanite to me.

Which do you admire most about your city (something from recent years)?

New Yorkers are a resilient bunch. We give each other space, but when things go wrong we band together. The obvious example is September 11th, but even during the blackout in 2003 people went out of their way to help. There were vendors in Chinatown giving away food to people on the streets and ordinary citizens directing traffic until the police came so chaos wouldn’t ensue.

I’ll never forget walking into Brooklyn and there, at the end of the bridge, was Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz on a megaphone declaring, “You’re in Brooklyn now. You’re safe.”

Which is the trait you deplore most about your city?

It’s overcrowded. It’s very hard to find space to be alone for a little bit unless you’re in your apartment and even then, most people have roommates. Plus whenever anything remotely interesting is going on, whether it’s a concert in the park, a cool art exhibit or even the opening weekend of a new movie, it feels like half the city is already there by the time you show up.

What is the negative trait that others falsely accuse your city of having?

That New Yorkers are rude. We are a guarded bunch, but if you ask us for directions or start up a conversation while waiting in line at the store, we are more than happy to be helpful or chat. In my experience the rudest people tend to be the tourists who think they have to be rude to navigate the city; this is especially true on the subway.

What is the greatest extravagance one can experience in your city?

New York is a place where you can experience many extravagances. Pick your poison: Eat a meal at Masa, which has only 26 seats and no menu, and have an amazing omakese experience; go to Tiffany & Co. and buy a diamond necklace set in platinum for $1 million; or go have something called the microablation and triphasic combination facial for a mere $500 at the Cornelia Day Spa.

What is a positive trait your city is known for that is actually false?

New York is the city that never sleeps, but its inhabitants do. Most of us are not party people who stay up until the wee hours of the morning. A lot of those alleged hip clubs and lounges are the domain of the bridge-and-tunnel crowd (suburbanites from Long Island and New Jersey).

To avoid the onslaught of drunken revelers, many of my friends spend Friday nights at home. We stay in, invite friends and family over, order delivery and have some wine.

What do you dislike most about the architecture, city layout and general appearance of your city?

I love the old art deco architecture of the ’20s, but around the late ’60s/early ’70s they started building those drab, glass monstrosities. Now they just put up buildings willy-nilly without any thought to the personality of the neighborhood. For example, Soho, where I used to work, is characterized by (relatively) dainty buildings with cast-iron facades, but people like Trump are putting up these tall, ugly structures so they can cram as many apartments in as possible.

When was your city’s hey-day?

New York is a place that’s had more than one hey-day. I’d definitely say the ’20s was one period. You had the Harlem jazz age in full swing. All those beautiful art deco structures were being built. The city was also the center of the literary world. It was when the New Yorker magazine was born and, of course, all those boozy lunches at the Algonquin with Dorothy Parker and her vicious circle were taking place too.

The ’90s was another one. Everyone had money. There were tons of great restaurants and nightclubs. The fashion scene was thriving. Mayor Giuliani was ruling with an iron fist (the rumor was that he would have the homeless bused over to Newark). And my beloved New York Yankees were winning the World Series almost every year. Good times.

If you could change one thing about your city what would it be?

How expensive everything is, especially rent.

What do outsiders (or transplants and long-time visitors) to your city generally answer to the last question?

It’s not a place of little niceties. New Yorkers aren’t overly polite or don’t go out of their way to be friendly. It’s more of a live and let live kind of a place.

What do you consider your city’s greatest achievement?

New York takes in enormous numbers of immigrants from every nation, race and creed, and shapes them into bonafide, proud Americans. While life may not be easy for new arrivals, the sheer diversity and promise of New York does more to convince people to make a productive life here than any jingoistic slogan could ever do.

If your city was destroyed and one day its ruins discovered, what do you think they would find and/or learn about it?

Just how tall and dense a place it was. What comes to mind immediately is that scene in the The Planet of the Apes when Charlton Heston finds the top of theStatue of Liberty on the beach. Only, for me, it would be the top of the Chrysler Building. Of course, if Charlton had been able to see his reflection in the Chrysler Building he would have realized how desperately he needed to be manscapped.

What is your city’s greatest artistic or architectural acquisition?

The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building are both iconic structures that make you think “New York” in a nanosecond. If you mean a true acquisition, then the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I mean, my God, they shipped an entire Egyptian temple over. Now they rent it out for cocktail parties.

More Proust Questionnaires:
Amsterdam
Beirut