Reimagining Times Square

This week’s New York Magazine В contains a really interesting piece about a $45 million plan to overhaul Times Square. According to writer Justin Davidson, the project will begin next fall with the goal of making the area a safer, cleaner, less congested place where New Yorkers may actually want to spend time:

Curbs will vanish. Pedestrian areas will be leveled and clad in tweedy concrete tiles that run lengthwise down Broadway and the Seventh Avenue sidewalks, meeting in an angled confluence of patterns. Nickel-size steel discs set into the pavement will catch the light and toss it back into the brilliant air. Instead of perching on metal chairs, loiterers will be able to sit, lean, sprawl, jump, and stand on ten massive black granite benches up to 50 feet long and five feet wide…the square will be de-В­cluttered of the traffic signs, bollards, cones, and boxes that cause foot traffic to seize up. With any luck, crowds will gather and mingle only in the center plain between the benches, leaving free-flowing channels on either side for the rest of us,В who have somewhere to be, people!

Like most New Yorkers, I try to skirt Times Square at all costs. Due to unavoidable day-to-day circumstances, though–working in an office right in the middle of it, needing to cut from east side to west–I’ve found myself there more than I’d have liked, over the years. My typical M.O. is to weave around gaping tourists and get out as soon as possible. But I’ll admit that I’ve had surprising moments when I could see the appeal in the whole gaudy, flashy, over-commercialized, crowded sensory overload.В During a particularly long, cold winter, I was shocked to find comfort in the brightness and buzzy energy as I’d rush across the southern end of the square, several times a week. And when you think of how tourists must feel when they first step into Times Square, surrounded by all those lights and people, you can imagine that it must be exhilarating. (Or, at least I can. I remember how wowed I was the first time I saw the Hong Kong skyline which, like Times Square, is just a slew of neon signs set against a dramatic backdrop of buildings, when it comes down to it.)

Tourist empathy aside, I don’t know if I’d ever intentionally spend time in the area. Even with the planned changes, I don’t think it’ll appeal to me. There’ll still be the massive chain restaurants, over-the-top signs, blatant commercialism, crowds. But if, like the NY Mag article hopes, the new design eases congestion, contains the masses and opens up thoroughfares for us locals, then I’ll gladly welcome it. I’m fine handing over the bulk of Times Square to tourists–as long as I have somewhere to walk.

(Image via NYMag)

A Happy Saturday (and Sunday)

happy saturday

I’ve been spoiled. My two favorite people have made the trip from Maryland to NYC two weekends in a row. And this weekend, I had the added bonus of having our friend, Doug, in town, as well. So to celebrate our converging in NYC, we spent the entire weekend doing what we do best: Eating.

Saturday was the kind of day I’ve been craving for so long: Warm, sunny, gorgeous and perfect for whiling away hours outside. (As in, it FINALLY felt like summer–which I’ve been counting down to before winter even began.) We headed across the river toВ Smorgasburg.

Not surprisingly, tons of people had the same idea. The lot was crowded, but we didn’t have to wait very long for food. Between the four of us, we amassed quite a spread: a gigantic carnitas sandwich from Cemita’s, a chicken schnitzel on a pretzel roll from Schnitz NYC, loroco and pork papusas from Solber PapusasВ (my personal favorites) and a pizza from Pizza MotoВ (which had, to my delight, a runny egg on top). Everything was reeeeeeeeally delicious.

schnitzel, cemita, papusas


After eating…

mal with schnitzel

…we just hung out enjoying the sun and view of the Manhattan skyline.

mal and peter

We’d planned to hit Brooklyn Brewery next, but a crazy line outside discouraged us from even bothering with it. Instead, we made our way to Berry Park‘s roof deck–and that ended up being way nicer. (Brooklyn Brewery, you need an outside space!) The place was packed, but we amazingly managed to score seats.


Yay! We got seats!

mal and me

mal and peter

A couple hours (and beers and girly huckleberry lemonades, on my part) later, we moseyed back across the river for shopping and Korean BBQ.

On Sunday, we all headed out to Long Island to celebrate Peter’s father’s bday. His mom–always the amazing cook–put together an awesome spread of cheeses, meats, bread and veggies, plus hardboiled eggs from last week’s Easter celebration. (How gorgeous are these? Mariana explained that she just places herb leaves flat against the eggs, carefully wraps them in stockings and then boils them with onion skin.)

easter eggs

I was sad when we all headed off in our own directions, but glad to squeeze in a 5 mile run to work off the weekend’s calories. (And I’m already looking forward to heading down to Maryland next weekend–after my trip to Chicago this weekend!)

(Second photo via Smorgasburg)

NYC’s Best Wedding Videographers: 15 Minutes of Frame

I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical when Mal and Peter booked a videographer for their wedding. I figured that their photos would be amazing enough–would they really need a video, too? Plus, all the wedding videos I’d seen in the past were pretty lame with cheesy effects and stilted well-wishes from guests forced to speak into a microphone shoved in their face.

My opinion completely changed this weekend when Mal and Peter showed me their full-length wedding video by 15 Minutes of Frame. The company (coincidentally run by a fellow BU grad) provides each couple with a 20-minute full-length video, as well as a shorter highlights clip. The full-length video totally blew me away. It perfectly captured the emotion of the wedding ceremony (which left me sniffling and reaching for tissues), the fun of the reception and just how wonderful the day was for Mal, Peter and everyone involved (which had me laughing and grinning)–without being the slightest bit cheesy or cliche. I didn’t even cringe too much watching parts of my maid-of-honor speech!

Here’s the shorter highlights clip which is just as great as the full-length:

mallory + peter (highlights) from 15 Minutes of Frame on Vimeo.

So Ready for Spring

Park Avenue Roses ..and the long weekend, too. I’m hoping the weather stays as warm as it’s been the past few days!

I’d been hoping to see Will Ryman‘s “Roses” along Park Avenue for the past few weeks, but it was always too cold to walk uptown, out of my way. I finally ran into them, by chance, the other day, when I was on the UES for another bridal appointment. I’m very happy I glimpsed them on a nice(ish) afternoon when there weren’t piles of ice and dirty snow around!

Washington Heights = Skating Rink

When I got home at 10 p.m. last night, the streets were dry and there was nothing falling from the sky. That’s why–despite all the dire weather predictions–I was shocked to find my neighborhood like this, this morning. An inch of ice covers the streets and sidewalks and all the trees and shrubs are drooping under the weight of frozen water. Watching people clinging together for support and taking shaky baby steps as they “walked” to the train would have been more amusing if I weren’t doing the same thing, nearly wiping out several times in the process.

…It’s hard to believe that just a week ago, I was sipping coconut water and sunbathing in Negril!

Summer Snapshots: Citifield

I was lucky enough to go to Citifield several times this summer, thanks to my lovely parents who were more than willing to share their half-season ticket package. I’m not a sports fan at all, but the Mets are my hometown team and I’ve been to Shea more times than any other stadium: As a kid growing up in Queens, I often went to Mets games on summer camp trips or on weekend outings with the fam.

That said, I don’t miss Shea at all! It always felt gross and dated, heavy and claustrophobic. Citi, on the otherhand, is open and airy with lots of spaces where you can hang out and watch the game. We spent one game spectating from various points around the stadium without going to our last-row bleacher seats.

The Mets won that game and one other that I went to — which were prob the only games they won all season.