Tag Archives: New York

The Manhattan skyline

New generation of skinny skyscrapers alters NY skyline

The Manhattan skyline

A new generation of New York skyscrapers, some taller than the Empire State building, are altering the world’s most famous skyline.

And it’s not just the masonry that’s soaring to new heights. The prices have also gone stratospheric: three apartments sold recently for more than $100 million a piece.

Half a dozen buildings are planned or under construction in Central Park south, affording views across the park. Others are concentrated around Madison Square Park, or still further south.

“There really is a new type in skyscraper history that is just beginning to appear,” said Carol Willis, historian, founder, director and curator of The Skyscraper Museum.

They “will proliferate in the next five to 10 years and really change the character of the Manhattan skyline,” she added.

The buildings are between 50 and 90 storeys high. Their architects are sometimes international celebrities. Those who buy are multi-millionaires from across the world who consider a “trophy apartment” in the sky an investment or chic pied a terre.

skinny skyscrapers

0ne57 at 157 West 57th Street, known as Billionaires Row just south of Central Park, is one of the prime examples.

Completed in 2014, it stands at 1,000 feet (306 meters) tall, has 75 storeys and 92 apartments in the clouds.

It was fleetingly the highest residential building in New York until it was dethroned by the nearly finished 432 Park, an ultra-thin cuboid of 104 apartments at 1,396 feet.

It is higher than the Empire State Building, minus its antenna — 1,250 feet without, 1,454 feet with.


Another is 217 West 57th Street projected to rise to 1,500 feet and 111 West 57th Street, due for completion in 2018, will be particularly slender at 1,428 feet, and at its widest, 60 feet (18.28 meters) by 80 feet (24.38 meters).

Several other projects have already been approved around Central Park, according to the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), the author of a report called the Accidental Skyline.

But it’s not as much the height, which has always defined New York, but the delicacy of the buildings that is striking.

This is explained by the cost of land and New York zoning regulations, which since 1961 have restricted the square feet of land on which property can be built, but not how high.

Developers can buy “air rights” from neighboring, smaller buildings, allowing them to build higher and afford their clients unrestricted views.

217 West 57th Street

Panoramic views come with hefty price tags so air rights are increasingly expensive in a frenetic New York real estate market.

But these skinny towers, made possible by progress in technology and building materials, in particular on how to withstand strong winds, don’t make everyone happy.

The first ones to be built have already cast long shadows over Central Park, sports grounds, the zoo and a children’s carousel, according to MAS.

“We believe that public access to light, air and green space cannot be sacrified,” it said in the report, which has studied in minute detail the shadows expected to be cast.

“Protecting these qualities is critical to the economic health of New York City and the well being of New Yorkers,” it said.

107 West 57th Street

MAS says nearly all the skyscrapers are built without proper public review, so there is no assessment of their impact.

The zoning regulations, dating back 50 years, are out of date, she says and calls for a re-look at urban planning.

According to Willis, these ultra-slender towers will remain unique to New York given their eye watering cost.

“Until the market in New York was able to achieve $3,000 per square foot for construction, you didn’t have any of those towers, because the high price of construction was not repaid in the high selling price,” she said.


Diner en Blanc New York

New York’s fifth “Diner en blanc” draws 5,000 riverside

Diner en Blanc New York

Some 5,000 foodies gathered late Tuesday on the banks of the Hudson River in New York for the fifth edition of the Dinner in White.

Organizers of the pop-up picnic where attendees dress to the nines entirely in white chose the huge Pier 26 structure this time in the hip Tribeca neighborhood.

In accordance with tradition, organizers kept the location secret until the last minute. Participants, all signed up ahead of time, brought their own food, along with tables, chairs, dishes, a white tablecloth, roses and hydrangeas — all white, of course.

The uber-trendy picnic had a waiting list of 35,000 people who never made it to the event.

Under an open sky in blistering heat of 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 Celsius), the crowd by kicked off the evening twirling their white napkins.

In retro style, men and women dressed with extravagant hats, mantillas, feathers and lace dresses.

Guests delighted in their picnic contributions — sushi, garden salads, salmon, deli meats, cheese and red fruit accompanied by champagne or wine provided by the organizers.

For those who are not avid cooks, American chef Todd English provided several options, including garlic and rosemary lamb, chicken Milanese with arugula and poached salmon with wild mushrooms and zucchini slivers.

The yearly tradition dates back to an event 27 years ago in Paris at which organizers invited guests to all wear white so they could be easily spotted in a park.

This year, about 70 cities in more than 35 countries have or will see a Diner en blanc, from Paris to Johnannesburg and from Montreal to Tokyo.

About a hundred cities are on the waiting list, according to organizers.

Last year, the New York event took place at Nelson Rockefeller Park in southern Manhattan with a beautiful view on the Hudson.

In 2013, white chairs and tables were set at Bryant Park, a year after the event took place at the Lincoln Center. For its first edition in 2011, 1,200 people met in Battery Park.

The Dead Rabbit in New York named world’s best bar

Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry

Irish-American tavern The Dead Rabbit, where cocktails hearken “the golden age of American drinking” when the streets of New York were overrun by riotous Irish gangs, has been named the world’s best bar at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans over the weekend.

Since opening in 2013, the accolades have been pouring in fast and furious for the Water Street bar in New York, where cocktails like Scarlet Lady and Gold Digger — developed after meticulously researching 19th century recipes — allow tipplers to time travel via combinations of Irish whiskey, bitters, sherry and bitters.

The Dead Rabbit

Helmed by a pair of Irish men, Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, the bar is divided into two spaces: the Taproom, an informal pub on the ground floor that serves craft beer, bottled punch and whiskey; and the Parlor, where mixologists tell the story of 19th century clergyman and reformer Lewis Pease through a narrative of 64 different cocktails.

Because at The Dead Rabbit, recipes are developed to center around a story and protagonist, not just a combination of ingredients.

The Dead Rabbit bar

The same could be said of The Artesian at The Langham hotel in London, which was named best international cocktail bar at Tales of the Cocktail.

Like the Dead Rabbit, drinks menus change seasonally under new themes. Earlier this month, The Artesian launched “Surrealism,” a menu inspired by Salvador Dali’s “Les Diners de Gala” in which cocktails are served in giant copper ant structures; lit aflame; and spritzed with perfume.


For instance, ‘Heaven is for Sinners’ is a fermented drink made with Zacapa 23, Furikake, pineapple, mango, tonka and Saison and is served  in hot, molten stone to represent volcanoes in Guatemala.

Winners are voted on by a panel of 100 international experts.

Winners from the 9th edition of Tales of the Cocktail:

World’s Best Cocktail Menu: Dead Rabbit, New York
World’s Best Bar: Dead Rabbit, New York
Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient: Amaro di Angostura
Best International Bar Team: 28 Hong Kong Street, Singapore
International Bartender of the Year: Ryan Chetiyawardana, London
Best International Cocktail Bar: The Artesian, London
Best International Hotel Bar: Beaufort Bar, The Savoy, London
Best International Restaurant Bar: Blind Pig at Social Eating House, London
Best New International Cocktail Bar: Dandelyan, London

Vivienne Westwood NYC Boutique Rendering

Vivienne Westwood setting up shop in New York

Vivienne Westwood NYC Boutique Rendering

There’s good news for American fans of Vivienne Westwood: the house has announced the opening of its first flagship boutique in New York.

The new location, set to open in the fall, will offer the brand’s ready-to-wear lines Gold Label, Red Label, Anglomania and MAN, as well as all accessory lines, alongside a bridal and Gold Label Capsule collection eveningwear salon dedicated to showcasing and fitting demi-couture gowns.

The space will stock a special selection of original Worlds End collection pieces, otherwise only available from Westwood’s London boutique.

Spanning six stories of a French Beaux-Arts building, Vivienne Westwood New York will be the brand’s largest retail location to date. Located in the heart of Manhattan on East 55th Street, the pre-war townhouse will feature a new design concept combining modern and classic elements with Vivienne Westwood’s unique British style. New York will mark Westwood’s third retail location in the US, following Los Angeles and Honolulu.

Long considered a symbol of the British avant-garde, Vivienne Westwood is one of the last independent global fashion companies in the world.

Anne-Sophie Pic,

French chefs on the New York dining scene

Anne-Sophie Pic, the only female French chef to achieve a three-star Michelin rating, plans to open a new restaurant in New York in 2015.

Anne-Sophie Pic,

She is far from the first French chef to pursue the American dream in the Big Apple, and many of her predecessors have seen their efforts pay off in star ratings and high praise from critics. Here is a round-up of some of the top French chefs on the New York gastronomy scene.

Daniel Boulud

daniel boulud

Though the latest Michelin New York guide took away his restaurant’s third star, earned in 2009, Boulud remains among the leading representatives of French cuisine in the city. In addition to coordinating the cuisine at his flagship restaurant, Daniel, he owns 7 other establishments in New York, including Café Boulud and Epicerie Boulud, an eat-in and take-out market.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Jean-Georges Vongerichten

The Alsatian chef oversees a true gastronomic empire, including no less than 11 eateries in New York. The most prestigious among them, Jean-Georges, boasts a three-star Michelin rating.

Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert

Another three-star restaurant in the Michelin guide is the Bernardin, headed by Ripert. A native of Antibes, the chef cut his teeth at the famous Parisian restaurant La Tour d’Argent and has worked with Joël Robuchon, among others.


Alain Ducasse

French chef Alain Ducasse

In New York, the “godfather of French gastronomy” owns the Benoit, a sister restaurant to the Parisian eatery of the same name. The menu offers high-end French bistrot cuisine.


Laurent Tourondel

Chef Laurent Tourondel

Named Restaurateur of the Year by Bon Appétit magazine in October 2007, Tourondel heads up four eateries in New York, including the Brasserie Ruhlmann on Rockefeller Plaza.

Gabriel Kreuther

Gabriel Kreuther

A native of Alsace, Kreuther was the lead chef at The Modern, listed with two stars in the Michelin guide, before leaving at the start of this year. According to Ny.eater.com, he will soon open a new restaurant in the Big Apple near Bryant Park.

Dinner in White NYC

Dinner in White tradition sparkles again in New York

Dinner in White NYC

With the setting sun glittering on the Hudson, nearly 5,000 people turned out Monday for the fourth edition of “Dinner in White”, dressed to the nines.

In what amounts to a flashmob sunset picnic, diners get details of the event with virtually no notice, and turn up all in white — even bringing chairs.

This year, the surprise locale was Nelson Rockefeller Park, in Manhattan, with its enviable river view. As it is every year, the location was kept secret until minutes before organizers announced it.

Guests turned out with tables, chairs, tableware — all in white. The tradition dates back to an original event 26 years ago in Paris at which the organizer invited guests to all wear white so they would be easily spotted in a park.

The weather was more than cooperative. The music was more than a soupcon French, with tunes from Edith Piaf, to Michel Fugain and Joe Dassin. Guests often get a little whimsical in their dress, with massive hats, masks, feathers and the odd huge string of pearls.

This year, there was sushi, charcuterie, salads, salmon, a cheese plate and champagne before dancing. “It is a challenge to organize but it is worth it,” said a radiant Sandy Safi, co-founder of Diner en blanc international.

At midnight, the park must return to its original state. Guests even collect their own trash and cart it off.

Boutique hotel London NYC

The London NYC’s Runway Package Returns!

Boutique hotel London NYC

Boutique hotel the London NYC has launched a ‘Runway Package’ that aims to put guests in the thick of things, with the heady experience of pulsing flashbulbs, shoulder-rubbing with some of the most beautiful people in the world, and champagne clinking.

Included in the package are two tickets to a runway show at the New York Fashion Week, a night’s stay in the “London Suite”, a manicure by butter London’s Katie Jane Hughes and champagne cocktails at the bar.

Guests can choose from shows like Trina Turk, Libertine, Lela Rose and Milly. Rates start at $2,999. For more info visit thelondonnyc.com.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York runs September 4 to 11.

New York Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel Has Its Own Monopoly Game!

New York Plaza Hotel

For hotel lovers and loyal guests with fond, sentimental memories tied to the New York institution, The Plaza Hotel has created a Monopoly-inspired game aptly called Plaza-opoly.

Instead of Atlantic Avenue and Park Place, players try to acquire properties like The Champagne Bar, The Fitzgerald Suite or The Grand Ballroom.

Another cool feature of the game are the “Now and Then” cards which tell players of the historic moments and locations of the hotel.



If you draw a “Now” card, you can advance to the Palm Court for afternoon tea. If you draw a “Then” card, you could be sent to the Terrace room where Marilyn Monroe once broke a shoulder strap.

Perhaps one of the most fun details: Instead of going to jail, unruly players will be sent to hotel security.

Grand Ballroom


The Plaza first opened its doors in 1907, and it’s currently the only hotel in New York City designated a National Historic Landmark.

Rupert Murdoch to Buy $57 Million Manhattan Penthouse

Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch has snapped up four floors of a Madison Square Park condominium tower in Manhattan for $57.3 million.

Manhattan condo building One Madison

The 82-year old tycoon’s apartment is actually a combination of a triplex penthouse, which originally was on the market for $50 million, and the 57th-floor unit below, which was asking $16.5 million.

The penthouse has five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, and a spiral staircase with views of the World Trade Center site and the Hudson River.

Manhattan Triplex penthouse

The purchase comes just months after the divorce of Murdoch and his wife Wendy Deng Murdoch, who is retaining their Fifth Avenue penthouse as per the divorce deal.

One Madison, a 60-unit tower being developed by Related, is located at the southeast corner of Madison Square Park, with an entrance on 22nd Street.

One madison  triplex penthouse

Residents of One Madison will receive exclusive special services by trained staff as well as access to amenities such as a screening room, a parlor, a dining area, a spa, a yoga room, a fitness center and a children’s playroom.

One Madison

Upper East Side townhouse

Qatar Government to Buy $100 Million Building

The state of Qatar has agreed to purchase a townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for approximately $100 million.

Upper East Side townhouse

Qatar has signed a contract to buy the townhouse at 19 E. 64th St., a 20,500-square-foot property owned by the Wildenstein family, and plans to use the space as its New York consulate.

“This is the perfect choice for our consulate, given its location, size, layout and infrastructure,” Ahmed Yousef Al-Rumaihi, the consul general, said.

The sellers were the Wildenstein family of international art dealers, which used the buildings as its headquarters and art gallery.

The deal, if it closes in April as is reportedly expected, would be the most expensive residential transaction that New York has ever seen.

That designation is currently held by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who paid Citigroup Inc. $88 million in 2011 for a 6,744-square-foot penthouse for his daughter at 15 Central Park West in Manhattan.

Walker Tower

Chelsea penthouse sells for $50.9 million

A full-floor penthouse at the top of Walker Tower, a newly converted luxury condominium in Chelsea, sold for more than $50 million, setting a new record for the most expensive home ever sold in Downtown Manhattan.

Walker Tower

The 5,955-square-foot, five-bedroom apartment takes up the entire 24th floor of Walker Tower, an Art Deco office building converted to condos.

The luxury apartment has a private south-facing terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows on all four sides, allowing views of the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. The unit also has nearly 13-foot-high coffered ceilings and three wood-burning fireplaces.

Walker Tower Penthouse

Walker Tower was originally designed by architect Ralph Walker and converted into 47 luxury apartments by JDS Development Group.

tropical bus shelter

Florida beaches come to the streets of New York

A tropical bus shelter has been installed in New York City in an attempt to entice chilly commuters to sunny Florida.

tropical bus shelter

Featuring seats designed to look like sun loungers, the heated bus shelter is located outside the city’s landmark Grand Central Station and is part of a Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) “The beach looks good on you” initiative to promote tourism in Southern Florida.

On January 28 the campaign will spread to Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, transforming the space into a tropical oasis complete with palm trees, live music, beach cabanas and huge ‘beach cams’ streaming live images of the Sunshine State’s stretches of sandy coastline.

On January 29 the oasis will move to John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 5, where it will stay until the following Monday.

tropical bus shelter NYC

The campaign also includes a “Beach-on-Wheels” truck, cruising the streets of New York, filled with the sand of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s beaches and free beach-themed pedi-cab rickshaw rides around the city on January 28.

After the NYC event, the promotional tour will travel to Chicago on February 19, to Washington D.C. on March 18, and to São Paulo, Brazil, on April 29.

New York Palace lobby

Martin Katz Jewel Suite at New York Palace Hotel

In lieu of a complimentary fruit basket or bottle of bubbly, a luxury hotel in New York City is giving away diamond rings with your reservation. The catch? A one-night’s stay costs $25,000.

New York Palace lobby

Guests of The New York Palace’s Jewel Suite, designed by jeweler to the stars Martin Katz, stay in a 5,000-square foot, three-level apartment bedecked in gemstones and rich, plush fabrics on the building’s 53rd floor.

New York Palace room

The suite, complete with its own private roof-top deck and garden with an elevated spa, offers an unparalleled view of the NYC skyline.

New York Palace suite dining room

Guests of the Martin Katz Jewel Suite are treated to exclusive amenities including a complimentary, original Martin Katz Diamond Microband Ring, valued at $2,500, a rare private consultation with Katz himself, champagne, white roses, Michel Richard white chocolate diamond truffles, a Maybach house car service, and Maître d’étage service to fulfill guest’s every whim.

Jewel Suite Living RoomJewel Suite Jewel Suite Viewing RoomJewel Suite Stair caseNew York Palace suiteJewel Suite Hot TubJewel Suite Terrace

hudson studio

Beyoncé Filmed One of Her Videos at This Hotel

The New York hotel where Beyonce shot the video “Rocket” is set to profit from the exposure, after it helped play a role in an album that shattered records just a few days after its release.

hudson studio

Beyonce’s eponymously-named fifth album sold one million copies just six days after being released without promotion, breaking iTunes records.

hudson studio bathtub

In her black and white video “Rocket,” Queen Bey is captured alternately writhing on Italian bedsheets, gazing out of the floor-to-ceiling windows towards the Manhattan skyline, and hovering Exorcist-like over the bed in the Hudson Studio at The Standard High Line.

Shot in the 400-square foot (37-square meter) apartment,  the seductive video shows the studio’s signature feature, a freestanding bathtub. Located in the heart of the trendy Meatpacking district, the 18-storey tower offers sweeping views of the Hudson River.

The Longest Flight in the World

Say goodbye to the world’s longest flight

The world’s longest nonstop commercial flight ended without fanfare Monday after Singapore Airlines (SIA) flew its last nearly 19-hour service from New York.

Flight SQ 21 landed early Monday in Changi Airport, bringing an end to a nine-year run. A direct service to Los Angeles has also been cancelled as part of a fleet renewal.

The Longest Flight in the World

Analysts said the rise in fuel prices since 2004, when the 15,335-kilometre (9,529-mile)service was launched to cater to business travellers, made it economically unsustainable.

The cancellation of the service was first announced a year ago. Five Airbus A340-500s used by SIA for the service to New York — through neighbouring Newark — are being swapped for Airbus A380 superjumbos, a larger but more fuel-efficient model that is not designed for such distances.

The 100-seat, all business-class service to New York was pricey but passengers flew in comfort and saved hours of travel time by not having to make stopovers. A Singapore travel agency said the last list price for the New York direct service was Sg$14,000 ($11,180).

Ultra long-range routes have proven to be uneconomical, making it unlikely there will be a return of flights over 17 hours, which can only be flown by the niche A340-500 or (Boeing) 777-200LR.

Airbus A340-500

Three routes now share the distinction of being the longest in terms of duration — Dubai-Houston, Dubai-Los Angeles and Johannesburg-Atlanta — at 16 hours and 20 minutes.

In terms of distance, a Qantas flight from Sydney to Dallas will be the longest, but tailwinds enable it to be completed in 15 hours and 20 minutes.

Banksy sells art for $60 in New York

Graffiti by Banksy

World-famous British street artist Banksy flogged original canvases for just $60 in Central Park over the weekend as part of a month-long residency in New York.

While his work can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, his website announced that minimal interest and sluggish sales resulted in takings of just $420.

The stall was set up on day 13 of his pop-up exhibition in New York, announced each day on the website www.banksyny.com and posted to his instagram account.

The England-based graffiti maestro, who has never been formally identified, has promised to unveil a new piece of art on each day of the month somewhere in the city.

Banksy said the stall was a one-off that would not open again, likely to disappoint fans crushed at missing the chance to snap up an affordable original.

The white canvases with black spray-painted images were advertised for $60 each with another sign that said: “this is not a photo opportunity.”

A short video showed the vendor — wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap — yawning, then munching on his lunch to pass the time before the first sale at 3:30 pm.

A woman who bought two small canvases for her children, but only after negotiating a 50 percent discount. Half an hour later, a woman from New Zealand bought two. A man from Chicago then bought four to decorate his new house. By 6:00 pm, total takings for the day were $420.

Banksy’s stencilled designs, known for their irreverent humor and political activism, have propelled him from a graffiti rebel to reluctant star. He has spoken out against the exorbitant sums paid for his art and invites people to download photographs of his work for free from his website.

Hermès launches Silk Bar pop-up space in NYC

Hermes Silk Bar Pop-Up

French luxury house Hermès is opening a pop-up ‘Silk Bar’ in New York City to celebrate the release of its new Silk Knots app, which launched in September on iOS devices.

The concept store, which the brand has previously deployed in Taipei, London and Hong Kong, sees Hermès sell a series of scarves, ties and other accessories.

The Silk Bar is located within the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle, Manhattan. The NYC location comes with a retro ‘Diner’ theme and big neon Hermès signs, including a ‘daily silk specials’ board.

Also available is the new Maxi Twilly line which launched last week (scarves available for $290), but the main aim of the pop-up is to drive customers to the label’s main stores.

Visitors to the pop-up are also encouraged to use the Silk Knots app, which teaches users about the history of the famous carré, provides fun tutorials explaining different knotting techniques, and lets you upload photos of yourself in your new Hermès looks.

Hermes Silk Pop-Up