Category Archives: (web)site seeing

Virtual Sightseeing: Museums on Pinterest

Perhaps you’ve noticed – there’s WEATHER happening. Lots of it. Quite a lot of it is the kind that can mess up flight schedules and none of it the kind of weather you really want to go out into. This means some considerable down time indoors at home. Which is great. For a while. But if you’re like me, cabin fever can start setting in after a few days and the weather doesn’t seem to care. The (insert either rain | snow | polar vortex ) continues. But never fear, I’ve got another great round up of links designed to help you make a virtual visit to the Big Apple.

This time around it’s museums. I know we’ve touched on museums before (see below) but that was some time ago and since then, quite of few of the greatest Gotham museums have made excellent use of Pinterest and that’s what I’ve got for you today. You can really explore so much – all without putting on 10 layers of clothes and risking frozen / soggy limbs.

But it’s not only New York City Museums making a splash on Pinterest. No, museums all over the world and specializing in an incredible number of fields have got boards worth browsing. Check out some of the ones I’ve listed below – or hop on over to Pinterest and peruse the search results for “museums”

  • Don’t we all feel better that we live in a world that HAS a Button Art Museum?
  • San Diego Air and Space Museum – which frankly I’d never heard of. This might be because I grew up in Houston and all we heard about was the Johnson Space Center (which was fab).
  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum – just one of the many museums that make up the Smithsonian as a whole
  • J. Paul Getty Museum – which I confess I visited one and found less than thrilling. The Pinterest boards however are really compelling. Maybe it’s just because I’m not being blinded by white stone everytime I turn around. Or – maybe it’s because the collection is organized better on this platform than in person. Just my personal opinion. Your mileage may vary. Lots of people love the Getty.
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Cars are not necessarily my thing (what I don’t know about engines, horsepower, torque etc could fill VOLUMES) but I know what I like and it’s usually based on comfort and style – the latter on magnificent display on the Pinterest boards of the Mercedes-Benz Museum
  • I could (and probably should) do an entire round up of the media channels for the Smithsonian Museum as a whole. The breadth and scale of it is amazing – 19 separate museums, some with multiple locations. This main Smithsonian Pinterest account highlights specific events, collections and exhibits across the Institute. One of my favorite specific ones is the Pinterest boards from the Archives of American Art section.

 


 

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Picture Perfect Gotham

I’ll be in NYC ever so briefly later this month but not for long enough to properly get a Gotham fix. So, once again, I turn to virtual sight seeing and I found a real winner this time.  Via the ever interesting Brainpickings (ad frequent “site seeing” stop of mine), I offer An Illustrated Tour of All the Buildings in New York.  Isn’t that fab?  Speaking of New York and illustrations, how amazing is this Ace Hotel mural by Timothy Goodman? 

I wish I had more time in to spend in the city next time I am there but it’s really just an overnight connection so there will be a mad dash to see friends and no time to take a leisurely stroll through old haunts. But by golly, I will be back from a relaxed visit in 2014 if it is the last thing I do. There WILL be more sight bites!

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New York as Art

There are two amazing artists that have turned their detailed and talented eyes toward Gotham and produced two of the most beautiful illustrations of New York City I have ever seen.

First Jenni Sparks. She has created a beautiful NYC map – somehow chaotic and balanced at the same time with all the details and accuracy you could want combined with a sense of quirky fun. Can’t say enough. Except that I want it and I want the London one as well. I know JUST where I’d put the pair of them.

Secondly, a time lapse video that made the rounds some time ago of illustrator Patrick Vale creating a view of Manhattan from midtown down to the Battery. He has also done a London in the same style and – again – I can totally see putting the pair in pride of place in my office. Good thing I have a lot of walls 🙂

Gotham Grub Goes Virtual

As I said yesterday, I sometimes get a bit homesick for Manhattan but that when actual visits weren’t possible virtual visits helped a lot. With all the social media material places like the Guggenheim and High Line were posting online – it was easier and easier to keep up, in real time, even when on the other side of the Atlantic. But I didn’t realize – until I went looking – that so many of my favorite Gotham eateries had gone equally full throttle with their online presence. And while a virtual visit to Shake Shack or Katz’s can’t possibly match the joy of going in person, it still brings a certain something to my overall virtual visit to NYC on those days when I want to spend a bit of time there. Here are some of the yummier socially savvy spots I keep up with between actual visits.

Shake Shack:  Now, Shake Shack is a global treat – with locations across the US and around the world, so their social media isn’t specific to New York but the ones I frequented most often were the Upper East Side and the Madison Square Park locations. So how to get my local Shake Shack fix online? One thing that Shake Shack DOES do on a more local online level – and that I think is very smart indeed – is the location specific community page. If you go to the page for the Madison Square Park location – where it all started for these delicious burgers – you’ll see the Shake cam, the featured specials for that location for that day, a peek at how that location fares in the overall Foursquare check-ins, the local weather for that spot and information on the staff, etc.

New York wouldn’t be New York without the Carnegie Deli so no virtual visit to the Big Apple is complete without a quick check of their Twitter and Facebook pages. What is really interesting to me on the Facebook page is reading the reactions to so many different types of people to the Carnegie. It’s NOT your usual restaurant. These are long, communal tables and the wait staff isn’t made up of the chipper young things waiting for their big break (hey, some cliches exist for a reason). It’s an old( 1937) NYC deli and the wait staff are who they are. You want someone to care deeply about your day? You’ve come to the wrong place. This is for GIANT sandwiches of perfectly cooked cold cuts, Dr. Browns sodas and matzo ball soup. One of the Carnegie’s best known and best-loved menu items is their cheesecake – and with good reason. it is EXCELLENT. But for me, the Carnegie is always a savoury trip rather than sweet. If I am in the mood for sweets, I check the next two places.

Crumbs – like Shake Shack – is national and not just New York but it quickly became very much part of my New York when it opened up near me. So many cupcakes are merely a delivery system for icing (and the icing at Crumbs is nothing to sneeze at) but at Crumbs, the cake part of the cupcake is the star of the show for me. Especially the red velvet – OMG! I keep hoping that if I haunt the Crumbs facebook page or the Crumbs twitter feed long enough, I’ll see them announce they are opening in Banbury, UK. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Another Gotham Sweet Spot that defined much of my time on the Upper East Side is Serendipity 3. Now, deciding when to go to Serendipity 3 was often a strategic decision, made after careful consideration of day, time, whether school was in session or not, if it was or wasn’t holiday season. Why? Because while they have a very nice full menu (the foot long hot dog with cheese is a particular favorite of mine), it is an ice cream parlour. An ice cream parlour DRIPPING with girly decor, butterfly shaped mirrors, chandeliers lighting nooks and crannies. An ice cream parlour that has more tourists than the Empire State Building (especially tourists with kids who have just poppped over from Dylan’s Candy Bar and are already on a sugar high). An ice cream parlour where a wait of over an hour is NOT unheard of if you haven’t made a reservation (and making a reservation isn’t all that easy). So why – you might wonder – would anyone put themselves THROUGH that. I can tell you in three words. Frozen Hot Chocolate.  A virtual visit to Serendipity – via their facebook page or twitter feed – might not be as yummy as a real visit but by golly it is quieter and easier to get in. 🙂

Finally – nothing says social media savvy like the famous food trucks of New York City. Their use of Twitter alone is a case study in smart marketing but they are using every channel they have to keep their customers involved,  updated and “in the know.”  And when I say they keep customers involved, I must use the example of Big Gay Ice Cream. Big GayIce Cream doesn’t have customers as much as it seems to have a GINORMOUS extended family which includes relatives that visit from out of town just to see them. They have a storefront now but that is a recent thing – until that point, it was truck 100% and the way to find them (and trust me, the ice cream is so good you WANT to make sure and find them, not leave it up to luck) was to check their truck’s Twitter feed to see where they planned to be, how long they would be there and if they’ve had to move. I will keep up with the feed – despite being too far to get there – because a) they are as entertaining as all get out and b) because they are using this communication tool SO effectively, it’s a joy to watch. Also – did I mention how entertaining they are? Twitter means I know when they might be appearing on TV so I can catch them that way as well.

There are so many food trucks worth checking out if you are in NYC or if you are planning on being in NYC, that they need a post all on their own. But in the meantime, check out the Street Vendor Vendy Awards site (or their twitter feed or facebook page ) and see what catches your eye. The whole street feed scene in NYC is so plugged in, you’d almost think social media was made for them. I’m already planning my food truck tour next time I get back to town and all this access is making it incredibly easy.

 

Reading the Landscape. Again.

People sometimes complain that no one has any new ideas these days – movies are all remakes, all the pop songs sound the same, TV shows are all part of either Law and Order or CSI franchises (Honestly, I can’t help but feel we’re heading for Law and Order: The Donut Shop or CSI: Akron very soon). Anyway, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose; nothing new under the sun, etc…

Only there are occasions where variations on a theme work for me and I’ve found just such an occasion today.

Six years ago, the New York Times published the Literary Map of Manhattan, illustrating where books and stories that take place in Manhattan – well, took place. I loved it. I loved how Manhattan and some of my favorite works fit together. I even enjoyed seeing how it fit with stuff that was not one of my favorites (for I confess, I am NOT a Melville fan). And now, I see that the British Library has done something similar – called Writing Britain – for the whole of Britain. It’s a crowd sourced supplement to their exhibit of the same name. As I said – it’s a similar idea but with a key difference. It’s not just the geographic breadth that is different however – it’s the breadth of entries themselves. The people at the BL have asked people to select and submit works that personally represent or have been shaped by a place – and have asked them to explain why. The Manhattan map was simply factual. This is a series of mini-stories in and of themselves. Fabulous!

The exhibit at the BL closes on Sept 25th (see the video preview below) but this site will carry on afterwards. Which is great because as I continue exploring my new home from coast to coast, I may want to “read along” with the locals.

Watching NYC from the UK

Greetings all – and happy thanksgiving! I haven’t been posting much lately and while I don’t see the point in making excuses, I do feel I should offer some sort of explanation. My fellow New Yorkers (and those who are virtual new yorkers), I am moving. Yes, I am moving from NYC. But wait – not just moving but moving overseas to the UK. Never fear however. I shall not abandon Gotham entirely. Regular trips back are scheduled and thanks to the joys of lightning fast internet speeds, I can keep up with everything going with my city.

For instance, I was away when the blasting at 72nd and 2nd began so I missed the blissful moment when it stopped. I’m in the middle of buying a house over here so I don’t know if I’ll be back in time for Blast Two: It Comes from Below. But I’m following it with interest.

I promise now that things are settling (not settled but getting there), I’ll be back regularly posting on New York and the experiences of a New Yorker abroad. In the meantime, have a great holiday and enjoy this tidbit of Gotham.

More than 700,000 people pass through Grand Central Terminal in New York City every day. Thanks to WNYC for sharing this quick VIP tour – and for showing some secrets and little-known facts about this iconic train station.

NYC Museum Twitters

it’s follow a museum day on Twitter and so my recommendations are as follows: @metmuseum @atAMNH @tenementmuseum @TheJewishMuseum and just to prove I do know there’s more to the museum landscape than NYC – @britishmuseum. Of course there are soooooo many great institutions doing all sorts of interesting things with their twitter feed (or feeds in some cases). Check out the #followamuseum hash tag for more

Mid-Day, Mid-Week Linkage

City Council banned the sale of flavored tobacco products Wednesday. And to that I say, “eeeeeew. I didn’t even know there was flavored tobacco.”

Holding a small pink cigarillo in her hand, Quinn said, “That looks like a lip gloss. Don’t tell me that’s not targeted for a young girl.”

OMG! Peach flavored? Grape? But . . . but. Oh gross.

Bye Bye Birdie Mishap Upstaged by Don Rickles: Rickles maintains Heckler of the Year championship – even in his downtime. I don’t recall ever feeling sorry for John Stamos before. And I don’t really now either but this is the closest I’ve ever gotten.

NYC related twitters I follow and which you might find interesting too: