Tag Archives: Photography

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised…

… but it will be seen all over the streets of New York City!

I’ve been a passionate lover and documentarian of street art for many years now, who is frequently stopped dead in my tracks when a new poster, stencil, or sticker suddenly catches my eye. I love when I see a new work of art on a sidewalk, wall, or lamppost that makes me smile, think, or both. I adore street art for the color and creativity it adds to public space, and admire those ballsy artists who exercise their freedom of expression by utilizing the city streets as their canvas, turning our communities into museums for the masses, under the cover of darkness. Street art is thankfully accessible to everyone and a real reflection of what’s going on in our culture at its deepest roots. In its most elevated forms, street art beautifies and transforms otherwise bland, cookie-clutter urban landscapes with exciting splashes of color, capturing the attention of passersby with wit and whimsy, shock and style.

Over the past several months, I’ve observed a definite change in the tone and topic of  New York City street art, with an increasing slant towards bold, in-your-face, political backlash, and socially conscious commentary. The following slideshow highlights some of the best pieces I’ve stumbled across in my city sojourns lately:

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If you’re interested in seeing more, please visit my street art photography gallery here. I also particularly dig the work featured on Brooklyn Street Art and Street Art Utopia, which provide great eye candy right to your news feed via their Facebook pages.

Street art is an excellent gauge of our social temperature, so it’s not surprising that given recent current events, our city’s streets are mirroring the people’s increasing outrage towards the out of control culture of corporate greed, our plunging economy, the death of the American dream, our government’s dysfunctional paralysis, and its seeming unwillingness to do much of anything about all of the above.

Artists are often the first to speak out on such issues, and born of out of this widespread frustration, outspoken civic-minded street art has become more prevalent. As a sign of the times, this rise has beautifully intersected with the Occupy Wall Street movement, encouraging the other 99% of Americans to take to the streets and speak out about the variety of cultural injustices we’re facing, despite daily opposition from the NYPD and local government agencies.

At first, the mainstream media all but ignored what had been taking shape in Lower Manhattan. As it’s become clear that the protesters are gaining in numbers and clearly not going away, the right-wing media in particular has spun the story to portray an “unfocused hippie circus”, rather than a legitimate, empowered social movement. Nevertheless, the cause continues to gather momentum and support with each passing day. It will be fascinating to see how it evolves as the year draws to a close.

If you’re dissatisfied with the depth or lack of media coverage the movement has been garnering, and interested in learning more about the national Occupy America movement, I suggest tuning into a handful of less well known media outlets that seem to be reporting on the revolution with a more evolved, thoughtful perspective. They include: Occupy Wall Street (on FB); RT TV America; NPR; and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The Nation recently published a great breakdown of FAQ regarding OWS, which also addressed Adbusters involvement in the cause. The Huffington Post has even added a very comprehensive page, dedicated solely to OWS on its website, with the byline “Some News Is So Big It Needs Its Own Page”.

In the meantime, give another listen to Gil Scott-Heron’s 1970 protest song, which feels as timely as ever… though one might adapt it for modern times to say, “The Revolution will not be televised. It will not be tweeted, uploaded to You Tube, or become your friend on Facebook. The Revolution will not be digitized.”

Or will it?



Filed under Art, Culture, Events, New York City, Photography

Good Spirits at Le Poisson Rouge

When: January 25, 2011 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Le Poisson Rouge
Address: 158 Bleecker Street, NYC, 10012
Price: $41.99 USD

Edible Manhattan’s Good Spirits!

At Good Spirits, Edible’s seasonal cocktail pairing event, we match mixology-minded chefs and food artisans with spectacular, storied spirits (plus some beer, wine, and coffee for good measure), asking them to strive for liquid symbiosis.

In our estimation, the resonance between tastes and tipple goes far beyond mutually beneficial flavors.

We believe getting to know craft spirits at your neighborhood speakeasy or dive bar is no less relevant than following your cauliflower back to the farm, or your bagels, lox and cream cheese back to the baker, fishmonger and dairy.

Enjoy dishes and cocktails from the following vendors:

Tuthilltown ~ Prairie Vodka ~ Macao Trading Co

Compass Box Scotch Whiskey ~  Comb Vodka and Gin

Northern Spy ~ Fette Sau ~ St. Germain

Warwick Distillery’s American Fruits ~ Palo Santo ~ McClure’s

Don Q Rum ~ Karma Tequila ~ Tumbador Chocolate

Fonda ~ Nonino ~ San Honesto

Huckleberry Bar ~ Death’s Door ~ Fee Brothers

Clean Plates ~ Wolffer Estate Vineyards

Dallis Coffee ~ SerendipiTea

Verterra ~ and more!

Eye For Style readers can purchase special discount tickets, while quantities last, here.


Filed under Cocktails, Food, New York City

Eye For Style Recommends: GRUB STREET

For one day only, Hester Street Fair will literally transform into “Grub Street, USA” with picket fences, eating parks galore, and over 40 exclusive food vendors selected personally by Grub Street and New York Magazine.

Curated by the folks at Grub Street, the editorial staff has invited their favorite food purveyors and restaurants to participate in their first ever ALL FOOD, all day event. From the best restaurants, to trucks and carts, to neighborhood joints from all across the 5 boroughs, this mouth-watering event will give you a taste of the finest morsels New York has to offer. All in one place!

Plus, to add even a little more spice to the mix, Santos Party House will whip this smorgasbord into even more than your average eating fest, providing the necessary ingredients to dance off some of those extra calories you’ll be packing on. Shake liberally so as to avoid impending food coma!

Just make sure to leave room for dessert, kids. This is surely destined to be the most exciting food festival on the Lower East Side this fall – or I promise to eat my words as well. Gulp.

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To view more of my food photography, please visit my website: eyeforstyle.net.

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Filed under Events, Food, Music, New York City, Photography

Eye For Style Recommends: Food, Wine, & Rejuvenation Getaway

@ Good Commons
Plymouth, Vermont

I really can’t recommend this place enough for anyone in search of a quiet, relaxing East Coast getaway. My first visit to Good Commons was for their Labor Day Food, Wine, and Rejuvenation Retreat which lucky for me, also fell on my birthday. I was in the market for an affordable weekender that didn’t require a ton of planning, but had all the makings for a memorable, pampered adventure. After checking out the Good Commons website upon the recommendation of a good friend, I was confident I’d found exactly what I was looking for. The fact that all I had to do was show up at a convenient Midtown Manhattan location and “get on the bus” was a major selling point. Their retreat packages (typically in the $400 – 700 range depending on your choice of accomodations) are all-inclusive: food, lodging, activities, AND roundtrip transportation from New York City. Can’t beat that! Guests hop aboard the Good Bus, a veggie oil powered jitney, stocked with homemade munchies and various wines chosen by the weekend’s sommelier, for what amounts to a mobile wine tasting drive from the Big Apple to the Green Mountains. A mere 5 hours later, you’re greeted by one of the most amazingly warm and fiercely generous women I’ve ever met in my entire life, Good Commons’ owner and hostess, Tesha Buss. She lights up a room on impact and immediately makes you feel like her casa es su casa. A champagne toast kicks things off right, followed by a light yet hearty dinner, and a welcome circle that encourages all the participants to set their intentions for the days ahead.

They have plenty of activities on tap throughout the weekend: hiking, cheese making and brewery tours, music festivals, picnicing and paddleboating at the lake, exercise and movement classes, and so much more. But one of the things I like best about Good Commons is, you can choose to partake in everything under the sun or absolutely nothing at all. The vibe is so relaxed, you’re under no pressure to do anything other than what your heart prompts. If you’re feeling sendentary, curl up with a good book in the hammock, or in an overstuffed chair in the cozy upstairs living room. Soak in the jacuzzi all day and then schedule a private massage with the on-call therapist in the healing arts loft. Nestle into a bench on the hill and daydream as you overlook the epic, rolling greenery of Vermont or feel free to take off on a solo nature walk. Wi-fi is available if you just can’t tear yourself away from your laptop. If you’re feeling more active and social, jump on board the Good Bus and they’ll whisk you off to the day’s scheduled outings along with the other fabulous guests, who will undoubtedly become a few of your new best friends after the weekend is over.

The best part is, of course, the FOOD and for their F, W, & R getaways in particular, Good Commons pulls out all the stops. A four-course meal with wine pairing is on the agenda for both Saturday and Sunday night. Yes, TWO nights of multi-course gourmet dining. Memorial Day’s getaway will feature an incredible seasonal menu by resident chef, Matthew Wexler, as well as visiting chef, April Stamm (both seasoned culinary school grads who trained under by Bobby Flay at Mesa Grill). These two talented chefs exhibit their own unique approach to weekend’s decadent dinners, utilizing the best of Vermont’s seasonally freshest, local ingredients, emboding the concept of “farm to table” in the truest sense of the term. Since coming to GC, Chef Wexler has been deeply committed building relationships with the local specialty food purveyors and farmers in the area, making each of his menus an experience you’re not likely to find in any other region of the country.

Each menu is never the same twice and carefully crafted to feature the bounty of beautiful Vermont ingredients at their peak of availability. Breakfasts are a mouth-watering buffet of handmade pastry treats, baked egg dishes, local artisanal bacon or sausage, with bottomless pitchers of fresh juices and coffee, served at the long family-style table in the light-filled dining room. Dinners are carefully constructed individual courses, illustrating a particular theme which nicely build from one to the next, and perfectly straddle the fine line between a work of art that’s almost to pretty to eat and accessible comfort food that you can’t wait to tuck into.

As the last course concludes, guests tend to make their way outdoors to the back deck, nightcaps in hand. Smores are roasted around in the fire pit and hilarious storytelling ensues, until the evening slowly winds down into quiet fireside conversations and killer stargazing. Tip-toe through this maze of a house and slip into your pillowy bed, where you’ll peacefully drift off to sleep, feeling like you’re in the comfort of your own home and any memory of urban chaos is a million miles away.

Yep, choosing this place as one sweet little vacation destination is a no-brainer. But don’t be shy, there are only a few coveted spots left for Memorial Day. If you already have plans, check out their calendar of upcoming retreats that abounds with many other opportunities for blissful getaways throughout 2010. Be sure to tell them that Eye For Style sent you (there’s a special offer in it for you) and ENJOY!

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Filed under Cocktails, Events, Food, New York City, Photography, Travel, Workshops

Best Coffee Spots in Greenwich Village and the LES

Starting my day with a good cup of joe is an essential part of my daily routine. One of the first things I do every morning is put on the kettle, pull out my french press, and grind my own beans (stored in the freezer for maximum freshness). I steam my fresh Ronnybrook milk into a perfectly frothy consistency, stirring in a bit of honey for natural sweetness. This is my morning ritual and I love it. Sometimes, I wonder if I love the ritual, almost more than I like drinking the coffee itself.

Every since I’ve discovered this particular coffee-making ritual, I just can’t drink that terrible pre-ground, drip stuff anymore. Wow, can you taste the difference! After one develops their palate for a really good french press or stove-top espresso, going back to automatic drip or percolator coffee is a real last resort.

So, as a lover of really good coffee, I’m delighted to the see the recent trend of coffee connoisseurism sweeping the city. The movement almost seems to rival fine wine tasting as of late. Thus, I decided to embark on some local ‘coffee missions’, on a quest to discover the best coffee offerings in my neighborhood of Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side,  creating a map with my own photographs to boot.

As I sampled many a latte, cappuccino, cortado, and au lait, I found myself pondering, “What really makes a great coffee tasting experience?” The quality and taste of the coffee itself is obviously most important, but ultimately, I feel that the coffee drinking environment plays a vital role in the enjoyment of the overall experience. So, as an architectural photographer and design lover with a sweet tooth, I took the place, space, and vibe created into account when deciding what constituted “best coffee spots”. The beauty of a space, the social interaction and solo sipping meditation that takes place within it, is a crucial aspect of the whole adventure.

1. Abraco Espresso, 86 East 7th Street @ 1st Avenue

This place is a tiny little shoebox of a joint and there is almost always a crowd of people packed like sardines inside and a line out the door, but don’t let that turn you away. The coffee is magnificent, each cup made upon request with love, and their homemade breads and biscotti are the perfect sweet companions, not to be passed up. The owner and his cohorts are always very friendly and chatty. Regulars and newbies alike are greeted with a smile. I will confess this place is a bit of a “scene”, but for some reason, I kind of get a kick out of it. Said shoebox is packed with Village hipsters talking just a little too loudly about their latest industry gig, personal achievement, or friend circle gossip, and for a willing eavesdropper, it’s a delicious, humorous addition to the experience. Just sip your cortado and embrace the chat with a grain of salt. But forget the shake of cinnamon on top ‘cause they don’t have it here. You drink it up the way they serve it, in a variety of mis-matched glass cups and mugs, or one of those quintessential Greek-y “it’s our pleasure to serve you” paper to-go cups, and you’ll enjoy every sip of it, guaranteed.

2. Bluebird Coffee Shop, 72 E 1st Street @ 1st Avenue

This place has only been open since December 2009, but it’s already garnering quite a loyal following, including yours truly. I had a cortado (made with Counter Culture beans) and a brown sugar cookie. The owner herself is one of elements that makes this place so great. She has an obvious passion for what she does and greets everyone with a warm smile and friendly chit- chat. The day I was in, she was talking all about which recipes she was dying to try out next, beaming with a geniune enthusiasm for experimentation. She makes different cookies, cakes and sandwiches daily. They all sound exquisite and are made with fresh, local, and somewhat exotic ingredients. The room is simple, painted in a calm bluebird blue, and nicely designed with beautiful woods and metal accents. Lots of light pours in through the front windows, a long wood bench is built into the brick wall, and cool copper tables dot the room. There are a few tables out front facing First Park at the corner of  1st St and 1st Ave. It’s a relaxed place, inhabited with people in no apparent rush. With all the daily variety happening here, I definitely plan to frequent again and again.

3. MudSpot, 307 E 9th Street @ 2nd Avenue

This coffee isn’t for everyone, but I personally dig the thick, sludgy coffee they serve up here that tastes almost like hot chocolate. You can get espresso here, but I think the original Mud is spot on and a good bang for your buck at $2.25. The Mud Mocha is also good, but the OG coffee has enough rich chocolatey taste for me. They also have several different Mud blends for sale by the pound, with fun New York centric names, if you’d rather make it at home. Good coffee aside, I just love the vibe of this place. It’s everything you’d dream an East Village coffee spot would be – sexy, funky people and a non-stop mix of killer music. I love to sit in the window or the bench in front, reading the latest Dan Savage column in the Village Voice, and watching the all the street action on E 9th (one of the best blocks to window shop in the EV). There’s a great enclosed patio out back where they do table service. A good brunch on the weekends including mimosas and a cup o’ mud will run you $12 cash. The food is terrific, baked goods are made fresh on premises, and they have a decent wine selection as well. Before the Mudspot, there was the Mudtruck, the catering-type painted an eye-catching burnt orange color, parked daily in two convenient locations – next to the 1 subway on Christopher Street in the West Village and the Uptown 6 subway on Lafayette at Astor Place in the East Village.

4. 9th Street Espresso, 700 E 9th Street; 341 E 10th Street; Chelsea Market

These people really know how to make a good espresso. A really good and tasty espresso, adorned with the most skilled latte art. They also carry several different coffee blends, their own varieties and beans from some of the finest fair trade coffee growing countries around the world, for the home coffee connoisseur to buy by the pound. The location on E 10th Street is small, but beautifully warm with lots of light and pine wood details. A few stools and a narrow counter line the east wall, but try to acquire the best spot in the house – perched in the front window. This picture window, or the bench on the sidewalk out front, is ideal for all the people/dog-watching that flows by the outskirts of Tompkins Square Park. I also dig their daily chalkboard art. I’ve generally had positive experiences with the baristas here, but have heard from others that they do sometimes have a bit of an elitist attitude. That hasn’t been my experience though, and they seem to be doing a lot of things right, currently operating in 3 locations, including Chelsea Market.

5. Grey Dog’s Coffee, 33 Carmine Street; 90 University Place

For some reason, I’ve just repeatedly gravitated to their hazelnut café au lait. These cats really know how to steam milk properly into froathy, creamy goodness. Straight up espresso is also at its best here, no question. Grey Dog’s is not just a coffee house, but definitely a great destination for any meal of the day, that won’t break the bank. They have terrific breakfast options, sandwiches that are too big to ever eat in one sitting, cheese and antipasto plates, and out of this world cobblers and cookies. I prefer the Carmine Street location’s vibe and have enjoyed many leisurely meals with friends in their cozy, dark little den. Also like taking my coffee and walking up Bleecker Street, into Father Demo Square or Washington Square Park to sip my joe fountain-side. The University Place location is also cute and conveniently located, but occupied mostly by NYU students, and often gets very loud and crowded. They do have great selection of wine and as the day progresses, the place turns into more of a dimly lit, late night hang out spot.

I’d be remiss not to mention a few other spots in this list, so honorable mentions go to:

The Roasting Plant has an extensive variety of free trade and organic choices, and their method of delivering said choices is the coolest part! You select your bean choice from the daily list displayed on a big LCD monitor, and then your beans are literally sucked from their transparent wall container, through a maze of steel tubes running along the ceiling, into the bean grinder behind the counter. Each cup is individually brewed for freshness and taste. The LES location is rather tiny and only has a few small chairs to sit. There’s bench outside on Orchard Street which is a nice spot to rest, as you work your way through all the fabulous shopping and eateries of the Lower East Side.

Everyman Espresso serves up delicious Counter Culture coffee within a rather colorless, personality-lacking interior. Despite the rather chilly reception and “too cool for school” attitude from the barista behind the counter, my au lait was good. Small and pricey, but good. A relative amount of enthusiasm, a splash of color, and some artwork would go along way towards making this place truly great!

I feel the need to include Think Coffee mostly because I really respect and support their commitment to the environment and sustainable business practices. They use entirely compostable cups and plates, and recycle almost everything within their locations. Their coffee is definitely tasty and they use their own blend of beans, also selling a variety of fair trade and organic coffee by the pound. The Mercer Street location is always packed with NYU students on laptops, thus not my favorite place to linger. The locations on 4th Avenue and Bleecker Street are nice looking, but for some reason, I don’t tend to want to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee inside for very long. Strikes me as more of pit stop or get it to-go place.

Porto Rico Importing Co. is where I get the coffee beans that I brew via french press at home. The smell is unbelievably intoxicating as you walk in the door. I love seeing the rows of open burlap bags of beans. They have a ton of choices, both in regular and organic varieties. I’ve had so much fun sampling different beans from all over the world and I still haven’t exhausted all the options! Porto Rico is more of a coffee purveyor, than a coffee house. They do serve coffee and espresso by the cup and I highly recommend it as a worthy to-go pit stop, but it’s not much of a sit and sip joint.

If you’re interested in exploring the world of gourmet coffee on your own, I enthusiastically support all of the places on this list. If you wish to kick it up a notch, I read about several coffee tasting workshops around the city that school you the fine art of coffee sipping and appreciation. For more information click here.

To view more of my food photography, please visit my website, www.eyeforstyle.net.


Filed under Culture, Food, Maps, New York City, Photography, Workshops

Best iPhone photos of 2009

I’m not a huge gadget person, but my 3 year old cellphone was literally dying recently, so after much hemming & hawing I decided to take the plunge and purchase an iPhone. Immediate love! No longer am I trying to remember where this or that is, I can just use the maps app and find out its exact location. Just brilliant, especially in such a walking town as New York. I’ve also become one of those people with the little white cords hanging out of their ears, as I navigate the city streets to my own personal soundtrack. All the while being mindful that is important to pull them out every now and again so as not to miss out on all those great spontaneous conversations that you have with strangers, which is such a pivotal part of life in this city. Sometimes one little moment I have with someone, a brief connection with another human sharing this experience, that brings a smile to my face and makes my day. I love picking an album that suits my mood and walking down the street like I’ve got a juicy little secret in my head, but I equally love the cacophony of traffic, honking horns, people yelling – all the hustle bustle that makes New York so unique. It’s all about striking a balance, you know?

My favorite thing about the iPhone is probably the camera. As a photographer, it’s been a life-changing tool. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out in the world, sans my rather large Nikon SLR, when I see something that I want to capture and I’m not able to. Doh! No more, “I gotta come back and get that later”. I love that I always have a camera with me now, and a pretty good one at that. Though you need to shoot mostly in decent daylight (there’s no flash capability) and have super steady hands to focus, it’s great to feel as though there won’t be any more missed opportunities.

My favorite thing to photograph with my iPhone at the moment is New York City “street art” – graffiti, posters, murals, quotes, found objects, etc – mostly in and around my East Village neighborhood. Art that exists for everyone’s eyes, by artists for the masses, for public contemplation and enjoyment, a la Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and De La Vega. It’s raw, it’s temporary, it’s often there one day and gone the next. It evolves, as people come by and add to it, until it’s inevitably papered over with some new advertisement, or painted over completely, forever. Hence, I love the immediate accessibility of my iPhone camera, and all the joy I experience capturing these fleeting works of artistry, where I live right now, in the present moment, so long as it lasts.

So, here’s my gallery of “The Best my iPhone Photos 2009”. To view more of my street art photography, please visit my website, www.eyeforstyle.net.

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Filed under Art, Culture, Maps, Music, New York City, Photography

Holiday Windows on 5th Avenue

Taking a stroll along Fifth Avenue to see all the magnificent storefront window displays is a must do holiday tradition in New York City. Nothing gets me more in the holiday spirit. As the windows are completed around November 22 every year, taking a Thanksgiving eve jaunt to see them is a fantastic way to walk off a few calories of your enormous feast. If you’re planning on visiting after December 6, I like to start by taking the subway to Rockefeller Center (@ 47-50th Street) to see the towering Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza, just adjacent to the legendary ice skating ring. Then I work my way north up Fifth Avenue, eventually ending up at my absolutely favorite windows – at Bergdorf Goodman. I don’t think there’s much debate that Bergdorf’s represents the pinnacle of holiday window displays. Standing there on the street, you can’t help but hear the constant gasps of “WOW!”. Amongst the crushing crowd (not a scene for the claustrophobic/faint of heart), mouth after mouth hang agape, as on-lookers stare in disbelief at their utter magnificence. No other store holds a candle, in my opinion.

I give props to Cartier and Fendi for their use of twinkling lights, wrapping their entire buildings’ facades in a red sparkling bow and a “diamond studded” belt. Saks Fifth Avenue is always on the top of my list year-round for the beauty of their window displays, and I was quite impressed with Henri Bendel’s windows this year which had a sort of dominatrix’s New Year’s Eve party complete with a spread of decadent faux edibles and glasses overflowing with rose champagne. They definitely up-ed the ante this year. Despite the recession, all of the stores on Fifth Avenue seemed much more opulent than 2008.

And Bergdorf’s windows, designed for the last 13 years by genius, David Hoey, were no exception. Even though I always think that no year can top the last, my expectations are always exceeded. The east side of the street/men’s windows are dedicated entirely to the actual sets and delightful characters from this year’s hit movie “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” which were incredibly fun and adorable, and a favorite of kids and adults alike. The west side of the street/women’s windows are a “Compendium of Curiosities” featuring an “Alice in Wonderland” Lewis Carroll meets MC Escher theme, and serving as backdrops to the spectacular costumery of Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Monique Lhuillier, Pamela Roland, and more. A triumphant spectacular spectacular!

I HIGHLY recommend you go for a visit, if you’re in the area between now and January 6, 2010. If you aren’t able to make it, plan a trip for next year! In the meantime, here’s a gallery of some of my favorite photographs of this year’s windows. To view last year’s Bergdorf Goodman windows and a sampling of the best window displays of 2009, please visit my website, www.eyeforstyle.net.

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Filed under Art, Design, Dreams, New York City, Photography, Style