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This post contains affiliate links. Today, I am delighted to present a new series of posts: Art of the City. Each post will showcase one of my favourite cities across the globe and provide you with all you need to know for an indulgent getaway of culture, gastronomy, and sightseeing. Enjoy this first post about […]
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This post contains affiliate links.
Today, I am delighted to present a new series of posts: Art of the City. Each post will showcase one of my favourite cities across the globe and provide you with all you need to know for an indulgent getaway of culture, gastronomy, and sightseeing. Enjoy this first post about New York City (specifically Manhattan).
View of Manhattan from Top of the Rock
The Art of Living
Like any big city, NYC has many great hotel options to suit your needs. I personally recommend having a hotel base in Midtown to be within walking distance to everything. Not only does it save you a lot of travel time (that cheap Airbnb in Brooklyn is so not worth it!), but it will also enable you to maximise your cultural experience by being in close proximity with architectural landmarks like the Empire State, Flatiron, and Chrysler buildings.
The Royalton Hotel‘s perfect location in the heart of Midtown makes much of the city accessible by public transportation. It is just a short walk away from Fifth Avenue, the Theatre District, and Times Square.
If you prefer to reside somewhere away from the bustling streets of Midtown, choose an accommodation in the Financial District. I thoroughly enjoyed staying at the Club Quarters Hotel, World Trade Center – it is not far from the New York Stock Exchange and just a few blocks from Battery Park (where you can take a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty). Additionally, there is an excellent view of the Freedom Tower from the North Terrace.
The Art of Gastronomy
There are so many restaurants to choose from in NYC, but these are my favourite places for fine dining because they offer rich cultural history in addition to impeccable service:
The Russian Tea Room
Nestled between Carnegie Hall and Metropolitan Tower is a whimsical escape from the bustling streets of NYC: the Russian Tea Room. It was a favoured gathering place of those in the entertainment industry (including Ayn Rand) and remains a great spot to have brunch or afternoon tea just before you head out to shop on nearby Fifth Avenue.
With wood-paneled steakhouse vibes and equestrian trimmings, the Polo Bar is a must-visit for all fans of Polo Ralph Lauren.
Benihana Midtown West
The original Benihana opened on W 56th Street in 1964 and was the first Japanese teppanyaki restaurant in America. Ever since, their skilled teppanyaki chefs have been delighting customers with their exquisite knife theatrics and intricate food preparation. From sushi to filet mignon, the Benihana culinary experience offers a unique dining atmosphere where you can enjoy delicious food, be entertained, and even make new acquaintances.
App to download: OpenTable/Yelp
With OpenTable (iOS/Android), you can collect Dining Points when you dine at a restaurant you have made a reservation at. These points can be redeemed for Dining Rewards (credit that can be used at many OpenTable restaurants), Amazon Gift Cards, or hotel discount on KAYAK. Even if you do not need a reservation, it can be good to make one for point-accruing purposes
Yelp (iOS/Android) is a handy app to download if you want to read about a restaurant before heading there. In the app, you can take a peek at the menu, see which places are open nearby, read reviews ranging from general summary to in-depth guides, and even order delivery/takeout.
The Art of Sightseeing
If you want a phenomenal view of the city from above without splurging on a helicopter tour, visit these places:
There are many places to see in New York, so go to the One World Observatory first and pick out your favourites
View of Manhattan from One World Observatory
Top of the Rock
You may be wondering: Which is more worthwhile to visit, the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock? While each offers a distinct view of NYC, I prefer Top of the Rock for its easy accessibility. Waiting times are often shorter (and easily endured while browsing the assortment of shops at the Rockefeller Center) and the multi-level observation deck allows for spacious and unobstructed photo opportunities.
After the tour, you can additionally take a stroll around the Rockefeller Plaza
The Art of the Arts
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met Museum is New York’s answer to the British Museum in London, and, like its counterpart, requires at least a day to peruse. From ancient Greek sculptures to American stained glass windows – the Met has art from cultures around the world spanning more than 5000 years and is my absolute favourite destination in Manhattan.
If you need a little fresh air while browsing through the exhibitions, pop up to the Cantor Rooftop Garden Bar for a sandwich/drink and yet another fabulous view of the city
View from the Cantor Rooftop Garden Bar
The Metropolitan Opera
The Metropolitan Opera was founded in 1883 by a group of wealthy industrialists who wanted their own theatre in retaliation to being excluded from the established Academy of Music opera house by the “old money” New York families. Now, it is one of the largest classical music organisations in the world and produces a large repertoire of operas every year, with a roster of internationally-acclaimed artists. When the opera company is on hiatus, the Opera House is home to the spring season of American Ballet Theatre and also hosts visits from other noted opera and ballet companies.
If you can only afford nosebleed seats but still would like to attend a show (after all, nothing compares to hearing music live!), consider investing in a pair of opera glasses.
A fantastic show can set the stage for your NYC experience, and there is nothing as quintessentially New York as Broadway. Watch your favourite movies come to life in hits like My Fair Lady and Anastasia.
App to download: TodayTix
TodayTix (iOS/Android) makes getting theatre tickets a cinch. From last-minute discount Rush tickets to premium orchestra seats up to 30 days in advance, the app lets you skip the line without skipping the show.
The Art of the Outdoors
Manhattan is not about just skyscrapers and museums! Here are a few of my favourite neighbourhood spots to take a stroll, admire outdoor monuments, and inhale the city atmosphere:
Upper Manhattan: Central Park
Central Park is the perfect place to relax (or have a picnic) and gaze up at skyscrapers piercing through the clouds.
Midtown: Times Square
There is nothing that screams capitalism like the dynamic, ever-changing beat of Times Square. As Michael Scott from The Office said, “This is the heart of civilization, right here.” Sit down for a break at the pedestrian plaza and be entertained by costumed panhandlers
Lower Manhattan: Wall Street
The Financial District is a nice area to take a stroll because it is generally less crowded than other neighbourhoods in Manhattan. I recommend starting along Wall Street from the subway station past the Trump Building, the New York Stock Exchange, and Federal Hall, then turn on Broadway either toward Charging Bull or New York City Hall.
Statue of George Washington outside Federal Hall
Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge and is the primary connection between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Stroll to the middle of the bridge around sunset for a romantic view of the New York skyline.
Ferry to Ellis Island
Once the point of entry for millions of immigrants, Ellis Island is now home to the National Museum of Immigration. I find that taking the ferry to here is adequate to get a great view of the Statue of Liberty without having to wait in line or make reservations in advance to go to Liberty Island.
So, “What’s New York City like anyway?” Let the cast of Annie tell you:
Enjoy your trip to the Big Apple and let me know your favourite places in the comments below!
This post contains affiliate links. In honour of her what would have been her 87th birthday yesterday, let us examine the resplendent life of Elizabeth Taylor — actress, author, and business tycoon. From child star to global icon Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born on February 27, 1932 in London, England to American parents. In 1939, […]
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This post contains affiliate links.
In honour of her what would have been her 87th birthday yesterday, let us examine the resplendent life of Elizabeth Taylor — actress, author, and business tycoon.
From child star to global icon
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born on February 27, 1932 in London, England to American parents. In 1939, the Taylor family moved to Beverly Hills, California due to fear of impending war in Europe. Taylor drew much attention for her eyes, which were blue to the extent of appearing violet, and it was not long before she landed her first Hollywood film at age 9. Her dark hair and strong eyebrows made her stand out, and, in contrast to other child actresses (like Judy Garland and Shirley Temple), she made an easy transition to adult roles.
With striking beauty and undeniable talent, Taylor captivated generations of audiences. Her career, spanning almost seven decades, earned her five Oscar nominations and two Best Actress wins, as well as her name becoming synonymous with Hollywood glamour. Her lack of professional training did not stop her from portraying a wide range female characters — from predatory vixens to wounded victims — who embodied strength, integrity, and unapologetic femininity.
After wrapping up BUtterfield 8 (1960), Taylor left MGM to become a freelance actress. Able to choose her own films and negotiate her own salaries and armed with an instinctive sense of her own worth, Taylor negotiated the first million-dollar contract for an actor for her title role in Cleopatra (1963).
In 1946, Taylor—then fourteen and a major star at MGM — published a children’s book titled Nibbles and Me. Duell, Sloan and Pearce paid her $1,000 for her story of her real life adventures with a chipmunk named Nibbles. According to Taylor, “Nibbles and Me sprang from a school assignment. Each week, we had to do an essay on any subject we chose, and Nibbles was my favorite subject. I kept a diary of our experiences together. I think it was the teacher’s suggestion that I write it with a sense of continuity, as if it were a book.”
Nibbles and Me was reissued by Simon & Schuster in 2002 (and as an eBook in 2011) after it was suggested to Taylor that there was a new generation of children who would appreciate her witty tale. “Over the years, animals have remained my sweetest and most cherished friends,” Taylor wrote introducing the new version, which also included drawings by her at age 13.
Though she did not continue to write children’s books, Taylor extended her authorship with three coffee-table memoirs: Elizabeth Taylor: An Informal Memoir (1964), Elizabeth Takes Off: On Weight Gain, Weight Loss, Self-Image & Self-Esteem (1988), and My Love Affair with Jewelry (2002).
In addition to being an author, Taylor put her flair for business into a career that made her more money than her prolific film career ever did: perfume. While she was not the first celebrity to come out with a scent, she was the first to reach monumental success. In 1987, Taylor shrewdly teamed up with Elizabeth Arden to release the first of her “celebrity fragrance” empire, Passion.
By the time of her last release, Violet Eyes, in 2010, her franchise had grown to 11 perfumes. She personally supervised the creation process for the entire collection, even when her health failed, and, unusually, she also always wore her own creation—the bestselling White Diamonds.
Backed by a $20 million media blitz and a tour of high-end department stores in the United States and Canada, White Diamonds was introduced in 1991. Since then, it has remained on the list of top ten selling perfumes and is still the best-selling celebrity fragrance in the world, bringing in $76.9 million globally in 2010.
Quotes to inspire
“An actor is an actor whether it’s in Hollywood, whether it’s in Africa, whether it’s on stage, television or in film. Acting has to be generated from within.”
“I think [perfume] is more than just an accessory for a woman. It’s part of her aura. I wear it even when I’m alone.”
“I’m not fascinated by things. I dive into them. One is fascinated by fire. But when I was a toddler and crawling, I was so fascinated by it that I reached out and touched it. That’s the difference between fascination and passion for me.”
“If they don’t have passion, it means they are incapable of love.”
Elizabeth Taylor died in 2011 at age 79, survived by four children, 10 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Today, her perfumes continue to embody a transcendent legacy that will linger long after they fade.
I often get cravings for Vietnamese food and despite having thought about making my favourite dishes at home several times, I must admit defeat – it is a daunting task to cook many of them and the availability of ingredients in Norway is scarce. Thus, on chilly winter days like these, I visit Lille Saigon […]
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I often get cravings for Vietnamese food and despite having thought about making my favourite dishes at home several times, I must admit defeat – it is a daunting task to cook many of them and the availability of ingredients in Norway is scarce. Thus, on chilly winter days like these, I visit Lille Saigon for a bowl of phở bò (pictured below) to satisfy and warm my belly.
The small, bustling restaurant may not seem very spectacular, but it offers authentic Vietnamese food (along with authentic service). I recommend ordering the fresh or crispy spring rolls (numbers 5 and 4, respectively) for appetiser. Both kinds of spring rolls are juicy on the inside and served with complementary sauces.
The main dishes vary from popular Vietnamese dishes (like phở, numbers 8-11) to more obscure ones (like bún bò Huế, number 14), but also include Westerner-friendly options like beef and broccoli (number 34). By Oslo standards, the portions are quite generous and contain a decent amount of meat and vegetables.
If you are looking for a fancy restaurant experience, try elsewhere. But if you are looking for affordable, authentic Vietnamese food in the heart of Oslo, stop by Lille Saigon for a tasty meal
Hope your new year has been fabulous! 🙂 Today, I am introducing Beauty of Reason, a new section of the blog for the recognition of the phenomenal lives of beauties known not only for their looks, but also their intellectual pursuits. In this profile, let us admire Hedy Lamarr, actress and inventor. Screen siren Hedy […]
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Hope your new year has been fabulous! Today, I am introducing Beauty of Reason, a new section of the blog for the recognition of the phenomenal lives of beauties known not only for their looks, but also their intellectual pursuits. In this profile, let us admire Hedy Lamarr, actress and inventor.
Hedy Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Kiesler on November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria. She starred in her first film at age 17 and worked on German and Czechoslavakian productions until the 1933 German film Exstase (Ecstasy) brought her to the attention of Hollywood producers. She signed a contract with MGM, officially changed her name to Hedy Lamarr, and starred in her first Hollywood film, Algiers (1938), opposite Charles Boyer. Often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Films,” Lamarr’s femme fatale persona and sensual screen presence made her one of the most popular actresses of her day. She starred in films such as White Cargo (1942), Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949), and The Female Animal (1958).
In addition to her illustrious film career, Lamarr had a secret hobby: inventing. She was greatly encouraged to pursue this endeavour by airplane designer Howard Hughes, who once wanted to make his planes the fastest in the world. Lamarr deduced that the wings were too square, then analysed the structures of the fastest fish and birds to arrive at a new kind of wing shape. He thereafter provided her with equipment to run experiments in her trailer in between takes. At home, she had a room set aside for tinkering, complete with tools and a wall of engineering books.
Lamarr also worked with Hollywood composer George Antheil on an idea that is considered an important development in the field of wireless communications. In 1942, they patented what they called the “Secret Communication System” and donated it it to the U.S. Navy to help with World War II efforts. The revolutionary “frequency hopping” technology was designed to solve the problem of enemies detecting and blocking signals from radio-controlled missiles: since multiple radio frequencies were used to broadcast a radio signal, by switching frequencies at split-second intervals in a seemingly random manner, only the sender and intended receiver could hop frequencies at the same time and get a clear signal; anyone else listening would hear mere noise. Lamarr and Antheil never profited from their invention during their lifetime and the enormous significance of their invention was not realised until the patent resurfaced in the late 1950s, while private companies were developing a wireless technology called CDMA. Their method is still in use today in modern wireless communications: mobile networks, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS — a legacy that far surpasses that of her films.
Quotes to inspire
“The world isn’t getting any easier. With all these new inventions, I believe that people are hurried more and pushed more… The hurried way is not the right way; you need time for everything – time to work, time to play, time to rest.”
“A good painting to me has always been like a friend. It keeps me company, comforts and inspires.”
“Men are most virile and attractive between the ages of 35 and 55. Under 35, a man has too much to learn – and I don’t have time to teach him.”
“Perhaps my problem in marriage – and it is the problem of many women – was to want both intimacy and independence. It is a difficult line to walk, yet both needs are important to a marriage.”
As 2018 dwindles to a close, it is time to reflect all the gifts this year has brought: great connections, new lessons, and memorable moments! 1. OCON 2018 in Newport Beach Photos by CarisaK Photography. 2. Summer in London Photos by Si Dang. 3. Weekend in Trysil 4. Tacosgiving 5. Exploring Stavanger 6. Going on […]
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As 2018 dwindles to a close, it is time to reflect all the gifts this year has brought: great connections, new lessons, and memorable moments!
The holiday season is in full swing, with Thanksgiving just gone and streets lighting up in anticipation of Christmas. On Sunday, Eirik and I invited our family over for a Thanksgiving dinner. We opted to skip the turkey this year in favour of tacos to add a little touch of Norwegian tradition to our American […]
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The holiday season is in full swing, with Thanksgiving just gone and streets lighting up in anticipation of Christmas. On Sunday, Eirik and I invited our family over for a Thanksgiving dinner. We opted to skip the turkey this year in favour of tacos to add a little touch of Norwegian tradition to our American celebration. Here are some pictures from our Tacosgiving…
Tomorrow sees the arrival of December and the return of the Month of Beauty! Count down to the new year with me and treat yourself to a curated selection of art every day in December Be sure to like and subscribe to Reason For Beauty on Facebook to not miss anything!