Daily Archives: August 9, 2019

New York Travel: Roosevelt Island Tram

The entrance to Roosevelt tram is at 2nd Avenue and 60th Street. The aerial tramway resembles a ski gondola. Walk up and pay with your subway pass. If you have an Unlimited MetroCard, you pay nothing extra. The gondola / tram takes you to Roosevelt Island in four minutes. Roosevelt Island is a small island in the East River. It is a place where 16,000 people work and live. On Roosevelt Island you can take a wonderful (and quiet) walk. If you want to do this, then walk to the river and then left. There are many benches and a nice view of Manhattan. Perfect for relaxation. You can use the tram again on the way back, but there is also a subway station just behind the tram between the first apartment buildings. Another option is to take NYC Ferry. You can board on the east side of the island. It first stops at Long Island City and then continues to Manhattan.


New York Travel: The Museum at FIT presents “Minimalism/Maximalism” (May 28, 2019 – November 16, 2019)


Fashion & Textile History Gallery
May 28, 2019 – November 16, 2019
Share using #MinimalismMaximalism on Twitter and Instagram.

Sir Issac Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Similarly, every fashion movement is a response to what came before it, perpetuating a design cycle that alternates between exuberant and restrained. Sartorial expression ranges from minimalist to maximalist, with some designers identifying almost exclusively with one aesthetic over the other. Calvin Klein, for instance, was known for fashion minimalism, while Christian Lacroix was famous for his elaborate maximalist fashions.

Minimalism/Maximalism is the first exhibition devoted to the historical interplay of minimalist and maximalist aesthetics as expressed through high fashion. The exhibition begins with the eighteenth century and proceeds through the history of fashion, examining relationships between the two aesthetics that have moved fashion forward.
Minimalist and maximalist fashions represent extremes on a design continuum. Both, however, seek to challenge perception and, as mediums of cultural expression, are linked to the times in which they occur. Minimalism and maximalism differ in their design approaches, but connect to broader movements of sociocultural, economic, and technological change. As they adapt to new eras, each stimulates and defines the other.

Minimalism — the aesthetic of “less is more” — celebrates purity and restraint, promoting qualities such as truth, order, and harmony. Calvin Klein explained minimalism as “a philosophy that involves an overall sense of balance, knowing when to take away, subtract.” Minimalist fashions prioritize reduction and function, using clean lines and silhouettes to accentuate the relationship between body and garment. As Donald Judd aptly described it, minimalism is the “simple expression of a complex thought.” Minimalist designs do not eschew ornamentation outright, but often employ it to enhance structure and construction. Gilbert Adrian, known for broad-shouldered suits based on the austere lines of menswear, manipulated pattern to render garments that stimulate the viewer’s interest.

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Adrian suit, circa 1945, USA. The Museum at FIT, Gift of Jeannette Swift, 66.110.1
Maximalism revels in spectacle. Its beauty lies in excess and eclecticism. “I believe in Maximalism,” proclaimed Lacroix. “Minimalism has never had a place for couture clients.” Throughout history, maximalist fashion has been associated with extravagance, artifice, and non-functional style. Eighteenth-century Rococo fashion, for example, projected an ethos of “more is best.” As a journalistic term, “maximalism” is often used in reference to audacious, intricate aesthetics or exaggerated silhouettes. However, maximalist fashions may also embrace varied visual references to synthesize new meaning. Composer David Jaffe explained maximalism as “embrac[ing] heterogeneity and allow[ing] for complex systems of juxtaposition and collusion.” While it is not associated with a definitive art movement, “maximalism” was used by art critic Robert Pincus-Witten to characterize a reaction to minimalist and post- minimalist art.

Examining the history of fashion, we discern alternating periods of excess and restraint. During the early twentieth century, the minimalist aesthetic of streamlined wartime fashions and Coco Chanel’s modernist jersey knitwear were reactions to the extreme silhouettes and ornamentation of Belle Époque fashion. Similarly, the ostentatious glamour and self-confidence that took hold in the 1980s — realized in a variety of extravagant looks by designers such as Thierry Mugler and Gianni Versace — was countered during the 1990s by the austerity of designs by Helmut Lang and Martin Margiela, and by the “invisible luxury” of Prada.
The line between fashions we consider minimal or those we think of as maximal can be quite fine. Inspired by the grandeur of the couture, Raf Simons’s spring 2011 collection for Jil Sander explored the boundaries between minimalism and maximalism. “It almost challenged me to the opposite, to do the idea of maximalism,” he admitted to Women’s Wear Daily.

As the exhibition progresses into the second half of the 20th century, it turns to the emergence of minimalism as an art movement across media. Designer Michael Mott echoed the reductive approach of Minimalist art with a 1960s black-and-white mini-dress created for the boutique Paraphernalia. Andre Courrèges’s white Space Age dress alludes to youth culture and optimism for the future; it is characterized by a streamlined silhouette and monochromatic palate typically associated with minimalist fashion. By the end of the decade, the psychedelic movement was promoting a maximalist sensory experience — often through the use of mind-altering drugs — that found expression in fashion, as seen in a maxi-dress by Thea Porter.

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Céline, ensemble, fall 2015, France. The Museum at FIT, Gift of Céline. 2018.42.1
Today, fashion is in the midst of a maximalist revival, after years of a decidedly minimalist movement championed by the likes of Phoebe Philo, formerly of Céline. Modern designers such as Richard Quinn are experimenting with pattern, volume, and proportion. The popularity of Balenciaga’s supersize “Triple S” sneaker is a sign that fashion is having a maximalist, “bigger equals better” moment. Yet even now, fashion trendsetters predict the imminent resurgence of minimalism.
Minimalist and maximalist aesthetics appeal to fashion designers throughout the globe. Fashion cycles are accelerating as trends are driven by a multitude of sources, from social media platforms to celebrity “influencers,” fashion editors, and bloggers. Irrespective of design aesthetic, recent collections have shown that this is not a time for quiet clothes. In 2018, journalist Alexander Fury described the spring collections as “hysterical, scatterbrained, and lunging toward extreme opposites . . . just as global political parties have become more polarized themselves. The collections telegraph post- national, post-history, and post-internet ideas.” As designers continue to redefine minimalist and maximalist fashion, this exhibition invites visitors to explore the history of these shifting aesthetics, so that the past may illuminate the present.


New York Travel: Shake Shack Innovation Kitchen (New York)


Have you heard of the Shake Shack Innovation Kitchen in the West Village?
Its design is inspired by the neighborhood and has a rotating menu of new items which allows customers to give feedback on their favorite dishes.
The Innovation Kitchen in Manhattan’s West Village allows tests chef-driven items on the menu before rolling them out nationwide.
I tweeted Shake Shack to bring the black sesame shake to New York when I was visiting from June – July, 2019. Low and behold on July 1st, 2019 they tweeted out that the black sesame shack was going to be their July Shake of the month. I had my share of shakes after that announcement. The last time I had the shake I was in Japan and it tasted slightly different; far more sesame in flavour. But I was still happy to devour it in New York.


New York Travel: The Vessel (Public Square and Gardens)

The extraordinary centerpiece of Hudson Yards is its spiral staircase, a soaring new landmark meant to be climbed. This interactive artwork was imagined by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio as a focal point where people can enjoy new perspectives of the city and one another from different heights, angles and vantage points.
Comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs — almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings — the vertical climb offers remarkable views of the city, the river and beyond.

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How to get tickets:
For FREE same day time-specific tickets, please visit us onsite beginning at 9:30am. Same day tickets are available on all of the interactive kiosks in the Shops and Restaurants at 20 Hudson Yards and the interactive kiosks on the Public Square and Gardens. All FREE tickets are issued on a first come, first served basis. Tickets are distributed for the next available timeslot and allow for a one-time entrance during your assigned timeslot.

Future Dates:
Limited quantities of tickets are also available for future reservations in a 14-day window. These tickets can only be reserved online.
Hot tip:
Try to check out the Vessel early in the day before the sun is at its peak. Climbing up those stairs can be a bit intense in the heat.
I was able to get my tickets pretty easily when I arrived on the day. Again it helped that I was there right when the Vessel opened.

Take lots of breaks and walk around the structure for different views that you can photograph for instagram.
Take the elevator down just to have the experience.
Grab a Circle Line Cruise after your visit. It is a short trip from the structure along the waterfront.

New York Travel: Zabars


I’ve been meaning to go to Zabar’s for years. I finally got a chance after my visit to the American Museum of Natural History and boy was it worth it!
Zabar’s opened in 1934, with a 22-foot-wide shop along NYC’s Broadway at West 80th Street. The business has grown and now occupies the entire block front. Think hand-sliced meltingly delicious smoked fish, artisanal cheeses, fresh-baked batches of rugelach and special coffee blends.

On my trip to Zabar’s I picked up a tongue sandwich on rye from the deli. The young man behind the counter gave me some mustard and pickles in small containers for the road. I also grabbed a black and white cookie from their café, some potato latkes from their fridge and a Nova Salmon on a bagel also from their fridge. I would suggest having one sandwich prepared by the deli. If you can grab some other items from their fridge then it leaves cash for bakery items and maybe a Zabars shopping bag or two to take your boring lunch to and from work when you get home. 

New York CityPASS: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

When I travel to New York, I try to do as much as possible without killing my credit card. I bet you feel the same! I always grab a New York CityPASS which covers my art, history and culture needs in one pass. The New York CityPASS is for the traveller who wants a beautifully curated trip that they can instagram about and also experience NYC at its finest.
Let’s talk about the New York CityPASS:
• One simple purchase.
• Nine consecutive days of validity, including the first day of use.
• Expedited entry at many attractions.
• Instant delivery with convenient mobile or printable ticket options.
• Adult C$ 183.42
• Child C$ 150.07


Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
• One regularly scheduled Landmark Cruise, Harbor Lights Cruise or Liberty Cruise, or a ride on the BEAST (available May-September)
• (Substitute another cruise of greater value for $5.)
• $37.00
• $37.00
• Ages 3-12, $31; Ages 2 & under, free

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What did I love? I took the Liberty Cruise which would have cost $31 without a CityPASS. This express cruise takes you to the Statue of Liberty from their midtown pier. Plus shows off some spectacular views of the NYC skyline and dozens of landmarks along the way. It is one hour in length and a perfect fit into your busy schedule.
I had no plans to catch a Circle Line cruise but figured because I was close to the Vessel, I would grab a ticket. I am glad I did! It forced me to slow down and enjoy New York through a different lens. There’s nothing like experiencing New York on the water with some summer rays and a drink in hand.

Hot Tip: Go early in the morning to avoid people who sleep in and want to get onto the later cruises. I grabbed the 10:30 a.m. cruise on July 4th. I booked my ticket at their booth on Pier 83 a few days before. Good thing I did, it was sold out when I arrived for the cruise on July 4th. Make sure you bring a jacket or a hat with you especially on sunny summer days. Even with the breeze off the water you can get a wicked sun burn.

New York CityPASS: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum


When I travel to New York, I try to do as much as possible without killing my credit card. I bet you feel the same! I always grab a New York CityPASS which covers my art, history and culture needs in one pass. The New York CityPASS is for the traveller who wants a beautifully curated trip that they can instagram about and also experience NYC at its finest.

Let’s talk about the New York CityPASS:
• One simple purchase.
• Nine consecutive days of validity, including the first day of use.
• Expedited entry at many attractions.
• Instant delivery with convenient mobile or printable ticket options.
• Adult C$ 183.42
• Child C$ 150.07

Guggenheim Museum
• General admission to the Guggenheim’s collection, plus special exhibits
• $25.00
• $18.00
• Ages 11 & under, free (admission prices may be lower during exhibition changeover periods)

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, often referred to as The Guggenheim, is an art museum located at 1071 Fifth Avenue on the corner of East 89th Street in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It is the permanent home of a continuously expanding collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions throughout the year. The museum was established by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1939 as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, under the guidance of its first director, the artist Hill von Rebay. It adopted its current name after the death of its founder, Solomon R. Guggenheim, in 1952.

What did I love? I loved that I just happened to bump into Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story” on the day I visited the Guggenheim. The line was super short since I visited early in the day and I was able to take my time taking photos for my instgram and sat down a few times to take his work in.
This exhibition takes as its starting point the painting The Death of Michael Stewart, informally known as Defacement, created by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) in 1983. The work commemorates the fate of the young, black artist Michael Stewart at the hands of New York City Transit Police after allegedly tagging a wall in an East Village subway station. Originally painted on the wall of Keith Haring’s studio within a week of Stewart’s death, Basquiat’s painting was a deeply personal lamentation that has rarely been exhibited in a public context. With The Death of Michael Stewart as its centerpiece, this exhibition examines Basquiat’s exploration of black identity, his protest against police brutality, and his attempts to craft a singular aesthetic language of empowerment. Several of the works on view by Basquiat illustrate his sustained engagement with the subject of state authority in the paintings depicting police figures. Other works explore his canonization of historical black figures, especially the jazz legend Charlie Parker, who was perhaps Basquiat’s favorite hero to depict on canvas. An early self-portrait, created the same year as The Death of Michael Stewart, suggests Basquiat’s keen self-awareness as a black artist navigating a predominantly white and often hostile art world. It is being shown until January 2020.

Hot Tip: Go early in the morning to avoid people who sleep in and want to get into the Guggenheim late in the day. Plus you have more time to walk around and take breaks. Make sure you take a lot of photos of this iconic Frank Lloyd Wright building. I have visited it many times thanks to CityPASS and it never gets old!
Lastly, try to do the Guggenheim first, and then walk down south the shady party of the street to The Met and then the Met Breuer. If you feel adventurous, walk north before heading to Met and grab a delicious lunch care of Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum first.  🙂

The Guggenheim Museums and Foundation