Water Pistol Warriors

The water fountain was the only reprieve. No shooting, water bombs or spraying while waiting to refill. Or at least that was the order than everyone yelled if they were on the receiving end rather than the giving. While tar was melting on tarmacs around the country and the heat wave was baking the Big Apple, dozens of kids in Central Park took to water pistols of every shape and capacity to survive the day. What fun. Welcome to summer!

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Do Dough or Don’t..?

A new bakery in NYC is breaking all records. Since opening in January people have waited up to three hours to get to the front of the queue. The craze is not for a new style of cronut, the deep-fried cream-filled creation of Dominique Ansel, or for the divorce themed cupcakes of Sweet Revenge, this sweet shop has a totally different attraction. Served in cones and cups or blended in milkshakes, choices like Fluffernutter, Gimme S’More and Peanut Butter Snickerdoodle could be classic American ice cream, but instead they are flavours of cookie dough, raw cookie dough.

For the salmonella sensitive, please be assured that the eggs in DO’s recipes are pasturized and the flour heat treated. All 1,200 pounds made every day. The owner herself was apparently in a coma for weeks after a bad reaction to antibiotics, so one imagines the health angle is well covered. So that just leaves the eating. There was no queue when I visited last weekend, which might mean the craze for Do is done, or it could just be that too much dough can do you in…

Photo of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections - New York, NY, United States. Double scoop of salty n sweet & signature chocolate chip!

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Titanic twist

$2.75 will buy you more than you imagine in NYC. You can travel from one world to another, from the Cloisters to Chinatown, from the Bronx to Broadway, and on the way encounter those unexpected moments that make life in this city so addictive. Now there are even more reasons to get hooked. The Mayor has introduced a whole new network of ferry rides, and the longest, from Wall Street to the Rockaways, is a beauty. Even when the weather is not.

Pier 11, just below Brooklyn Bridge, is the kickoff point for a one hour high speed ride that takes in the Statue of Liberty and a killer view of lower Manhattan, before tacking south for a one stop pause in Brooklyn and hitting the open sea. On Monday the fog was so heavy that the ride became a titanic adventure. Towering freighters appeared out of nowhere, bridges suddenly arched overhead, and visibility turned white, while the fog horn blared long and loudly at anything that might be in the way. Fortunately the warning worked – or didn’t need to – but the magic of the mist conjured up the adventure of the unknown, and when the Rockaways finally appeared out of the fog, it was like discovering a new world.

The ferry has a full bar should the idea of icebergs prove too daunting – although clear skies on another day would provide distracting views of Coney Island, Red Hook, and the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. Sandy leaves a legacy on the fringes of the shore and the massive building at Sunset park still strides the railway tracks where trains from all over the country deposited their troops on the way to the Second World War. You may be lucky enough – as we were – to have a fellow cyclist point out the highlights along the way, and unless you do as he did and ride the 3 hour journey from beginning to end, you will need another $2.75 to get back to town…

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Rembrandt had a run for his money this week in NYC. The master was on show at The Frick with a privately owned painting aptly named Entertaining the Angels. But as art lovers flew through the doors in anticipation, there was a more earthly distraction awaiting. The ducks that return to the famous garden every Springtime were having an exhibition of their own. Ducklings! Noses were glued to the windows as these little darlings ducked and dived and paraded around the pool. Imprinting kept them close to their mother, a classic bonding, while downtown a thespian billing staged a totally different but equally endearing story.

Manhattan is a honey comb of stages and theaters tucked away in walk-ups and secret spaces. Open bars and lounge room comfort make more for a club than a playhouse. From the street you would be none the wiser of the talent and performances that bring life to the nooks and crannies of that vast hard earned world of Off Broadway. It’s the place where young talent finds an audience, and on Saturday night as a standout in a short play festival, ‘Quack’ was a fabulous find. Bailey Newman played the cute discovery and then the constant companion of a teaching professor, with the audience as bonded to her gorgeous energy, as we were to her loss when she realised she was a duck.

The Fricklings may not have to endure the heartbreak of their theatrical cousin – Central Park will be a welcome home for their aspirations. But watch for Bailey in the bright lights of Broadway, she won’t be a duckling forever…


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Lunch with Rod

Eataly has never disappointed. And just as well. Doing lunch with Rod Quinn in NYC for the second time in a decade, I only wanted success. And interesting, delicious, fun, and with just the right amount of buzz. No pressure! The Flatiron was an excellent starting point. From there we could do Eisenberg’s, Chanson, City Bakery, Eataly rooftop, Edition Hotel, Maison Kaiser, Beecher’s, Dough, LA Burdick or even Shake Shack in Madison Park. We could have burgers, pastrami on rye, pretzel croissants, homemade pasta, oven baked pizza or something really flash. Like wild Alaskan salmon with lemon scented Spring vegetables… You can only have lunch once. Eataly it was!

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Zen, art and fashion

Dressing for the MET Gala may not have been quite the challenge I would have thought – if I had even been invited in the first place. I could have wrapped myself in red fabric, tripped the line between good and bad taste, worn a Leunig headpiece, or with flounce upon flounce of florals, blurred the lines between form and fabric forever. Such was the licence of the theme, set by the current exhibition at the MET honoring Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo. Rei is recognized as ‘one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years, by inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity’. These creations are not clothes one would wear – in fact Rei said even making this comment shows one has missed the point completely. But if there was anything to be learned by her inspiration, or the draw of fashion, it was the age of the young students at the exhibition yesterday. While the Met continues to be the center of controversy, with financial woes, changing ‘suggested’ to compulsory admittance fees ( for foreign visitors anyway ) and a gaggle of Gala fashionistas exposed with illicit selfies and smokes in the bathroom on party night, this grand old Gotham institution may survive yet. For fashion, or art, or design, to bring a group of young teenage boys to a museum with their sketch books and enthusiasm, there is the greatest chance that we haven’t seen the last of the red carpet and all that it rolls out for…

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A fresh sea breeze has blown in from the north coast of NSW and found a welcome home in the West Village. While good coffee is no longer the illusive pleasure it was in New York, Merriweather adds a little sunshine just by association with that white beach and blue water. Peter the proprietor was unfazed when I said his mum had sent me, but six years working as a lawyer in NYC adds a little cool – and would make the best barrister become a barista. A very successful one at that. The place is busy, there were no pastries left when we swung by, avocado toast was pumping, and the coffee was a real heart starter. While Peter says the cafe is not necessarily promoted as ‘Australian’, that fabulous flat white meant he didn’t have to…

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A Tipple at Tipsy

Adults only are welcome at the newest ice-cream parlor in NYC. When Tipsy opened it’s doors for the first time last weekend, it was reminiscent of the historic five clock reopening of the local pub. Only this place serves a tipple and a treat at the same time. On Sunday the line stretched down the block, with enthusiasts of all ages anticipating a shot of bourbon with their maple bacon, some sangria with strawberry sorbet or a martini on the creamy side. Security carded the crowd as much for the fun as the five percent flavored cocktails as for anyone wanting to eat to forget. According to a happy punter it would take a lot of ice-cream to put her over the limit. But I was on my bike, and who would order a virgin vanilla from the first barlour in the city…

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Talking Turkey

Donald Trump will be in NYC today for the first time since he became president. So will Malcolm Turnbull. A possible exchange is scheduled on the Intrepid. The city is packed with protestors and police, with traffic snarls and a turkey.  Flying between median strips on Park Avenue, the latter has yet to be apprehended.

At this rate you wonder who’s going to turn up next…

May the 4th be with you!

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Institutional Memory

Every day is Earth Day at Materials for the Arts. This unique re-gifting megastore came into being a few decades ago when the Children’s Zoo needed a new fridge. Funding was in short supply, so an enterprising young woman put out a call over the radio and was subsequently swamped with offers. Ah, the power of the radio! Today, Materials for the Arts has a loading dock the size of Macys, unwanted materials of all shapes and sizes are brought in by the truckload, and schools, theatre groups and artists shop the shelves without a penny changing hands. This is the ultimate treasure hunt – you don’t know what you might find, nor what artistry the unexpected may inspire.

The MET recently presented a historic challenge to the artists in residence at the MFTA with the gift of their entire slide library. Five thousand years of art history and decades of evolution of the museum on Fifth Avenue, these transparencies were more than a record, they were art. At least that is what they have become. The resulting exhibition at the Long Island City hub is a dramatic interpretation of the past forming the present, of curators guiding our perspective, and the reassurance that stories can be told richly, regardless of the medium. Nothing is ever lost, and the MFTA means we can find some fun and inspiration along the way…

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