My English composition class at a CUNY school resembles a Benetton ad minus the posing and singular fashion aesthetic. I could run the numbers, but I don’t need to make like Nate Silver to prove my class is almost entirely of immigrants or first generation Americans from a wide range of backgrounds. This makes things particularly interesting when we study the ‘American Dream’, for it’s far more relevant to my students than it is to, say, me — all snug and secure in my status as a second-generation American not living with the hope for citizenship nor the fear of deportation of myself or my loved ones.
One of the materials I use when teaching the American Dream is an article from September of 2013 in The Times about Marco Saavedra, a young man brought here illegally as a toddler in the early ‘90s by his Mexican parents who own and operate a restaurant in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. Under the auspices of his parents’ emphasis on education, Marco was able to thrive in the public schools’ of NYC and secure full scholarships to Deerfield Academy and then Kenyon College, from where he graduated in 2011. Impressive.
But then it all went south. Literally. More of Andrew’s Story here
It was dinner party cocktail chatter that led long-time pals chef Alexander Smalls and former Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons to launch a set of Harlem restaurants. Last fall, five years after that initial talk, the duo re-opened Minton’s, bringing the legendary jazz club back to its former glory, complete with Sunday jazz suppers.
Around the same time, they also launched a brand new restaurant down the block called the Cecil, which boasts a cross-cultural menu inspired by Africa’s wide-spreading culinary influence.
We sat down with Smalls, an opera-singer-turned chef and longtime Harlem resident, to get his thoughts on the changing neighborhood and what business owners can do to give back.
Read our interview with the culinary legend
I’ve been walking this town for over 20 years. It’s one of my favorite things to do since it inspires my ideas as an author and informs my pride as a denizen. I also hate crowded subways and will do nearly anything to avoid the madness of rush hour (and this was before getting stuck on a packed subway car under the East River during the 2003 blackout).
My connection to New York is most profound when walking the streets, meandering from neighborhood to neighborhood, taking in the show, taking in a bite to eat, all the while making ideas in my little factory of an imagination. I was more active in my walks of New York as a younger man, but even as a family man, I find time to take epic treks on days off or those rare weekend days that are available for leisure.
Cycling Manhattan? Brilliant idea or a lapse of sanity? Andrew’s Story here
One of the saddest things I heard in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was told to me by the wife of an acquaintance. She said, with a smug sense of pride, that her family — in an act of patriotic protest to the recent attacks on America — would be ending their long-standing Thanksgiving tradition of serving assorted meat and vegetable pies from Damascus Bakery on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. It was a heartbreaking statement of staggering stupidity, offensive on so many levels, not the least of which was personal.
I lived next door to Damascus Bakery in my first Brooklyn apartment. This was before Barney’s, Urban Outfitters and Trader Joe’s arrived. It was when that section of Atlantic Avenue was overwhelmingly Arabic, and I frequented the eateries as often as I could, feasting on delicacies from the Middle East, learning some geography and culture and a little Arabic along the way. And, of course, I met many wonderful people, including the family who owned and operated Damascus Bakery.
Read the rest of Andrew’s story here
I mingled as I should at the Lambs Club, meeting potential travel writing advocates at a private party in the back of the room, enjoying the playlist of AndrewAndrew, wondering if there was such a word as “Tripleganger.”
6sqft’s Andrew Cotto — an author of two novels and a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Men’s Journal, and Salon.com — will be sharing his experiences as he makes his way around New York City. Here, he describes his chance encounters with NYC icons AndrewAndrew.
Read about Andrew’s encounter with the Andrews
The city’s most famous plazas straddle Fifth Avenue at 59th Street, and there’s a lot going on.
One of the city’s great entrances is the large marquee facing Fifth Avenue at the Plaza Hotel between 58th Street and Central Park South surmounted by five large ”outrigger” flags, at least one of which is the American flag. This past Sunday, there were two American flags, one Canadian flag, the Fairmount Hotels & Resorts flag, and the Plaza Hotel flag. The two American flags, however, were not standard and the “canton” of white stars against a blue background. These had too much blue background at the edge.
While pointing this out to the two doorman, Jarret Lazar, the manager of bell services, wandered by and expressed surprise at my observation. He said that the flags need to be changed every two or three weeks because they get ripped apart.
Taking in the changes of our great city
Every NYC neighborhood has its archetype, and this infographic by Apartment List perfectly depicts every Manhattan nabe to a tee.
While you’ll of course find the obvious characterizations like the Goldman Sachs associate who galavants around the Upper East Side, hilarious insights like what Chelsea residents do for fun (“People watching at the High Line, eating a popsicle”) will give you a giggle. The infographic also provides useful info like the average cost of one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as how much cash you can save by sharing — all in terms any New Yorker can understand (ex. in Tribeca you can pocket $1,548/month; a.k.a. 19 pairs of Lullemon pants). And though Apartment List’s creation just depicts Manhattan ‘hoods right now, given the easy target that lies just across the East River, we’re keeping our eyes peeled for their take on Brooklyn.
Check out the full-size version here