Adventure Point: The Cloisters, Met tour

The Cloisters was something I wanted to do from day one. All I heard about it was that it was pretty, had trees, and looked medieval. 

My friend Elliott from High School spent the summer interning for the MET at the Cloisters. The Cloisters is the MET’s medieval department. He spent the summer researching medievil art history and giving tours to school groups. Last Wednesday I came up and visited him at work, where he was able to give me a private tour of the museum. 

The Cloisters holds five Cloisters, which are squared-off courtyards in monasteries where priests would be able to go outside and relax since they were not allowed to leave the grounds. The five at the MET were from Spain and France and extremely old, with beautiful marble surfaces and intense details. The whole museum was filled with religious artwork that reminded me of being in Westminster Abbey. 

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This is my friend Elliott next to one of the Unicorn Hunt Tapestries. The Unicorn Tapestries were my favorite exhibit because nobody knows who made them and it’s a mystery as to what they really mean. Some people believe the unicorn is a symbol for marriage because it is white and pure. Also, when this was made, people thought unicorns were real. 

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The exterior of the MET Cloisters. The garden grows greenery that would have been found in a garden during the medieval times, including flowers that were used to make paint.

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The entire area around the Cloisters was beautiful, with a view of the Hudson and big green trees. It really didn’t feel like I was in New York City anymore.

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Adventure Point: Oysters Oysters Everywhere

So Harriet White approached me one evening about going to the Grand Central Oyster Bar. I had never been to Grand Central Station before nor had I ever had an Oyster, so I couldn’t say no. 

I met here there after work and we walked around Grand Central, me taking pictures of the ceiling and architecture and Harriet hoping I’d hurry up so we could eat. She needed to take photos of the bar for her final project, so we looked extremely touristy. I love looking touristy. 

We decided on the cheapest oyster they had and each ordered one (we’re on diets). Just kidding, we just didn’t feel like getting a meal. We also ordered Calamari because it’s delicious and we’re on vacation so we deserve it.

The oysters came and we both dipped them in ketchup, spritzed them with lemon, and shut our eyes. I must say, oysters are not that bad. However I really only tasted the ketchup. : )

I was surprised I made it so far into the trip before going to Grand Central, and I can’t believe I almost didn’t see it at all. 

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Adventure Point: Coney Island Mermaid Parade

This adventure point has been done by all, but I must say it was quite the adventure. 

Annie, Ashley, and I set off to Coney Island via the A train early one saturday morning. It happened to be the day of the Mermaid Parade so we were immediately greeted with a hefty Coney Island bound crowd. On the train I saw my first Cardinal’s hat wearing fan, a four year old boy who did not seem like he knew what the Cardinals were. I digress, but the train ride took about an hour and we were very eager to see what Coney Island was all about.

Upon arrival, the crowd stormed the boardwalk, where a beautiful Nathan’s hotdog stand stood, serving even more beautiful looking hotdogs. Unfortunately, I did not have a hotdog because we wanted to see the parade.

The Mermaid Parade is exactly what it sounds like: a parade of people dressed like mermaids/mermen.

I’m pretty sure every drag queen in Queen’s was there (sorry for the inappropriate picture). Image 

The Mermaid Parade was a blast, but Annie, Ashley and I couldn’t see very well so we headed to the beach. The crowd on the beach was just as big, but we managed to push our way down to the water. 

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I really wanted to see Coney Island, and I’m glad I chose the Mermaid Parade to do it. I’m not a huge roller-coaster girl, so the draw is lost on me. I would go back for the beach (and for a hotdog), but I value my neck too much to ever ride the Cyclone.

 

Adventure Point: Cape Cod

As anyone knows, New York summers are all about the long weekends. Whether you’re heading upstate, going to the Hamptons or getting some R&R somewhere else on the East Coast, long weekends are the answer to hot, sticky summers in Manhattan. My long weekend of choice was Cape Cod! When my boyfriend suggested getting out New York during one of his visits, I initially jumped on the idea of visiting an elegant seaside town up in Massachusetts. I wanted to go to Nantucket at first, but we finally settled on the 300 year-old-town of Chatham, MA, right on the elbow of Cape Cod. It was the perfect weekend escape from the city!

One of the things I enjoy most about New York is how close it is to other cities on the East Coast. Taking advantage of this fact, Michael and I decided to drive up to Chatham (4.5 hour drive!). Although it was a long drive for after work, the scenery driving though Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts was absolutely breathtaking. Driving on highways completely enclosed by lush green forest and the Long Island Sound was the perfect introduction to the East Coast. Yet, I have to say the adventure part of this trip was getting the rental car and driving out of New York at rush hour! Let me tell you I’ll never own a car in Manhattan; it was miserable. But once we hit the “Welcome to Cape Cod” sign, I realized it was worth it!

As a small, quaint seaside town, Chatham was the perfect getaway. With streets such as Seaside Avenue and Main Street, Chatham is a picture perfect place out of 1950s America. With no chains around except a Bank of America and CVS, this small town was full with beautiful little boutiques, great seafood restaurants and beautiful baby blue hydrangeas lining the streets and white-washed cottages. Here are some of the fun things we did:

1. Seal Tour

Seals inhabit the whole coastline of Chatham. So it was only natural that we go on a boat tour to see these fun sea creatures! It was surprising just how many of them there were just relaxing in great patches of the harbor. Wildlife is a big attraction to Chatham.

2. Bike Tour!

How can you go to Cape Cod without taking a bike tour!? Renting bikes at the Chatham Cycle, we took an absolutely breathtaking 12-mile bike ride through the countryside of Cape Cod. With the ability to be active outside and just take in the scenery, this bike ride was one of my favorite parts of the trip!

3. Lobsta!

You can’t go to Cape Cod without having a lobsta. And lobsta is indeed good in Cape Cod. Having it twice over the weekend, my favorite meal was the lobster roll at a country club along the water. The lobster was fresh, light and delectable, melting perfectly in my mouth with each bite! and of course, in elegant, old Chatham, I accompanied my lobster roll with an Arnold Palmer!

Overall, my long weekend showed me just how necessary it is to get out of the Manhattan once and while during the summer. With the oppressive heat and trash, you almost need sometime away in the middle of nowhere to relax and get out of “city” mode. And Chatham did just that. I needed a couple days to walk around Main Street, go bike riding, be on the water and have a “typical” summer experience. But trust me, driving back into Manhattan, seeing the skyline from Queens, I had never felt so happy to be home in The Big Apple. Let’s just say you can’t take the city out of this girl!

– Harriet White

Final Project

https://vimeo.com/46732535

Adventure Point: NYC Restaurant Week

Last week, I participated in a time-old tradition in New York: the 20th anniversary of Restaurant Week. In a city of beautiful restaurants, fashionable people and high prices, Restaurant Week gave me the opportunity to try some swanky restaurants for a prime price. Let’s just say this foodie was quite happy!

Now before I babble about my experience at trendy restaurants, let me explain what Restaurant Week is. Held twice a year, Restaurant Week is a 20-plus day event where more than 300 restaurants offer fixed-price menus for weekday lunch and dinner, giving New Yorkers an opportunity to try the best of the best of NY’s dining scene at a fraction of the cost. According to nycgo.com, this event is “a dining celebration and a pioneer in the dining industry.” And little did you know, New York was the first city to have hosted Restaurant Week in 1992 as a part of the Democratic National Convention. It wasn’t meant to be an annual event, but NYC residents enjoyed it so much, it became one!

Now, as someone who enjoys to wine and dine, I was anxious to try the variety and deliciousness  the New York dining scene had to offer. Here is where I went:

Gusto Ristorante, West Village

 

 

From the first two weeks of my time in New York, I had to wanted to try Gusto. Located in the West Village (plus), Gusto is a modern Italian restaurant. It’s the perfect place to go if you want a rustic, charming neighborhood feel with a trendy meal. As I love Italian food, for $35.00, I got eggplant cake with smoked mozzarella for an appetizer, steak with parmigiano and arugala and the tiramisu for dessert. Topped with a glass of Pinot Grigio, this meal was amazing! And luckily, because I went with my boyfriend, I got to try his meals too… zucchini risotto, mozzarella appetizer and a chocolate torte cake! Unlike some restaurants in New York, I enjoyed that Gusto actually gave you a sampling of some of their best meals, although the price was knocked off. I am not sure if I would have come here otherwise, so I was thankful for Restaurant Week! It really inspires NYC residents to get out of their neighborhoods and see what New York has to offer gastronomically!

Spice Market, Meatpacking District

 

So I might like the West Side, because I tried yet another restaurant there. But for Restaurant Week, I wanted to try a restaurant I absolutely was dying to go to but couldn’t necessarily afford. This was Spice Market. An Asian-Fusion (Thai, Indonesian, Japanese) restaurant, Spice Market is a staple restaurant in the NYC food scene. Trendy, exclusive and located in the MPD, Spice Market, under chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, was one of my top restaurants to visit this summer. So when I saw this restaurant was on the list, I almost died. It took forever to find a night where reservations weren’t completely taken, but when there is a will, there is a way. And I found my way into Spice Market.

Grabbing a Passion Fruit Sangria, I ordered the salmon sashimi, the Indonesian Fried Rice with coconut and the ginger cookie with condensed milk. Dying to try this meal, I was a bit disappointed in the quality. As you don’t have to order off the Restaurant Week menu, I tried my friend’s meal, and it tasted delicious. It was then that I learned the dark side of this event: some high-end places dumb down their food for those ordering off the Restaurant Week menu. Although it was disappointing, it is New York after all, and it didn’t surprise me that some restaurants wouldn’t care about those who were paying less. But for me, I at least got to go to Spice Market and get a glimpse of what trendy life is like in the MPD. And I learned the valuable lesson that New Yorkers really can be as stuck up as the world portrays them.

So in the battle between Restaurant Week restaurants, I think I’ll have to choose Gusto. Good neighborhood. Great selection on the menu. Charm. And you can tell they really enjoy people coming in and trying their food. And that’s the best part of Restaurant Week. Getting out and trying the versatility of food in New York! So if I have any advice for future interns in the summer, go to Restaurant Week! It is truly a culinary celebration!

-Harriet White

 

Multimedia Project: BATTLE(s) OF THE BIG APPLE

After browsing through magazine from a Delta airplane, I became intrigued by an article that stated how classic New York hotspots we’re less interesting than new, trendy places in town.

I decided to find out for myself if I agreed with the article and went head to head with Delta. They owe me some SkyMiles, so it became my passion to prove them wrong.

The BATTLE(s) OF THE BIG APPLE included:

1.Central Park vs. High Line

2. Shake Shack vs. Little Owl

3. Century 21 vs. Uniqlo

4. Little Italy vs. Eataly

5. Empire State Buiding vs. Top of the Rock

Please enjoy.