A Relaxing Winter Night Viewing the NY Skyline

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Picture from Beekman Tower Hotel website

This city is full of rooftop bars, where people gather at night, have a drink, listen to music, and have a great view of New York. I went to some of these bars in the summer, and it was a great experience, although some of them were very crowded, and there were a couple of times when I felt I was in line to get into a club.

The bad thing about rooftop bars is that you can only go in the summer. During the fall and winter the temperature is too cold to even think about grabbing a drink in an open space. Luckily, I found a great alternative for the winter: a covered rooftop restaurant and bar on Midtown East, called The Top of the Tower, at the Beekman Tower Hotel.

This place is great if you want a relaxing evening with friends, or a romantic dinner. The food and drinks are very good, and the view is amazing (you can pick between looking over the bridges on the East River or the city on the west side of the building). It also offers smokers two small terraces where they can step out and enjoy a cigarette while taking in the lights of the city.

I highly recommend this place. It’s not the trendiest, but whether you go in a group or on a date, you’ll be able to experience the beauty of the city without the big crowds and long lines.

To know more about this restaurant, click here.

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True Art in Black and White

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Las Meninas, after Velazquez. Pablo Picasso. Image from guggenheim.com

Being in one of the major art capitals of the world, of course I’ve taken advantage of the museums and galleries in New York. This month, I didn’t just see -I experienced- one of the best exhibitions ever: Picasso Black and White, at the Guggenheim.

I have always loved Picasso, and I have been to many exhibits of his work around the world, but I think this one has been the best one. It shows 110 works in which the artist explores the power of monochromatic paintings.

The audio guide gave a perfect explanation of the different paintings and sculptures’ meaning and context. Narrated by a curator dedicated to Picasso, one of the artist’s friends and his daughter Maia, it leads the spectator through personal experiences, feelings and anecdotes that help us understand what Picasso was going through in each historic period, and how he projected his feelings on these works.

A complete exhibition, the only thing missing was the Guernica, which is huge and obviously impossible to bring from the Princesa Sofia Museum in Spain. I highly recommend everyone to live this experience, and to share your opinions here.

To know more about Picasso Black and White, visit the Gugenheim website by clicking here.

Finding the Zen in New York

Image taken from Google Images

New York is a city filled with noise, lights and lots of people. It’s full of life, but I sometimes need to get away from it all to relax, to think, or to find inner peace. Looking online, I read about a place that offers yoga classes, lectures and workshops, so I decided to check it out.

When I first walked in the New York Open Center, on 30th street between 5th and Madison Avenues, I immediately felt the tranquility. Wind chimes, incense and books fill the room. I went directly to the books, and they are related to many topics: from yoga and meditation, to massages, herbs, alternative medicine, and aromatherapy.

When I was looking around, a lady came up to me and explained that they also have seminars on all these subjects, on handling diseases and loss, working on self esteem… you name it. She also informed me that they have a free meditation room, open to anyone. Of course, I asked to see it, and a minute later I found myself in a small dim-lit room with cushions, incense and figures. I took off my shoes, sat on one of the cushions and closed my eyes. After what felt like five minutes to me, I got up with a great sense of calm and had forgotten the noise of the city. I was so calm, that it wasn’t after I got out that I realized that I’d been in there 15 minutes, not five.

So, if you’re ever in need of a place to regroup in this crazy city, try out the New York Open Center… Wether you sign up for a class or seminar, or if you just try to meditate for a few minute, you’ll definitely get your Zen on.

To find out more about their activities, visit their website through this link.

An acre of calm

This week, Midtown East has been hectic. With the UN General Assembly, there is security all over the place, streets are closed, and there has been an even greater feeling of hurry. Walking through the neighborhood, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by everything… I needed to unwind.

Suddenly, while I walked through 51st street, I stumbled upon a hidden place called Greenacre Park. Although it isn’t really an acre (more like the width of a town house in the area), when you go inside, it might as well be an acre. There are tables and benches to sit and gaze at all the plants that surround you, and the sounds made by the two-story waterfall and babbling brook drown out all noise from the street.

You can also go during rainy days -such as the today, or the ones to come during Fall. The park offers refuge through a trellis roof.

Upon some research, I found out that Greenacre Park was created in the 1970s by landscape architect Hideo Sasaki, precisely to escape from the “city experience”. And I must say that it really accomplishes its goal. If you ever need to get away, I highly recommend to grab a good book and go to this oasis of tranquility.