Treat Yourself To Some Personal Spring Cleaning at Spa Castle Premier 57

Manhattan's Spa Castle Premier 57

Get started with some personal Spring Cleaning. Give yourself a fresh start, pamper yourself, to cleanse and purify, to spend quality time with special friends or that special someone with a trip to the still-spanking-new Spa Castle Premier 57. Located in the heart of Midtown at 57th and Park, this ultra-luxe offshoot of the original Spa Castle in College Point, Queens offers a crazy amount of physical pleasures and deep relaxation opportunities, all in super-sleek, counterintuitively almost psychedelic environment. And although the outdoor bade pool (basically a shallow pool with intense massaging jets of water coming at you from all angles) won't open until the summer, everything else at Spa Castle Premiere 57 is up and running and waiting for you and your crew.

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Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, Now At The Brooklyn Museum

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, Now At The Brooklyn Museum

Los Angeles-born artist Kehinde Wiley had a really great idea back in the early aughts, fresh off his MFA from Yale, and he has executed it in dozens (hundreds?) of surprising, sensual, powerful, and provocative ways ever since. Basically, the signature Wiley painting (or, occasionally, sculpture or stained-glass work) takes contemporary black men and women and realistically renders them within the context of European "old master" settings, scenes, and poses. These usually-enormous pieces are at once beautifully intimate and attention-grabbing spectacular, and though they may not be everyone's cup of tea, they are most definitely mine. If you know and like his work, or are intrigued by the photos here, you should definitely head out to the Brooklyn Museum this spring for the gorgeous, expansive retrospective, Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic.    

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Rossopomodoro’s Great Pizza Now Available Outside of Italy (and Eataly)

Rosspomodoro in the West Village

They may have some 120 restaurants all over the world–mostly in Italy, though–but up until recently the Naples-based, pizza chain Rossopomodoro had only a single outpost in New York City, and that was inside Mario Batali's food mall Eataly. Not that there's anything wrong Eataly, far from it–I still pop in for a pound of their fresh agnoletti and a ball of mozzarella every now and then–but given the non-stop rush of tourists there it's hardly the most relaxing place to enjoy a meal. Ah, but now there's a NEW Rossopomodoro, slinging its first-rate pies in a pretty, rambling space on Greenwich Avenue in the West Village. And even though it definitely gets festive in here during prime time, at least you don't have to wade through a thousand out-of-towners gawking at salami to get to your table.

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The Original “Mad Man” Paul Rand At The Museum of The City of New York

The Original "Mad Man" Paul Rand At The Museum of The City of New York

The accomplishments of legendary art director and ad man Paul Rand are legion. In addition to creating some of the most recognizable (and longest-lasting) corporate logos of the 20th century–from IBM to ABC to Enron to UPS to Westinghouse–Rand has been inducted into the New York Art Directors Hall of Fame, and the Museum of Modern Art named him one the Top Ten Best Art Directors of all time. In honor of the Brooklyn-born-and-raised Rand's legacy–his works and words continue to educate and inspire–plus, in all likelihood, to capitalize a bit on all the hype surrounding the final season of Mad Man, the Museum of the City of New York recently opened a terrific retrospective of Rand's six-decade career.  

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Earth Day Special! 8 Great Eco-Friendly Restaurants

 

8 Eco-Friendly Restaurants for Earth Day: Roberta's

I'm always on board with anything that promotes awareness about the ecological disasters facing our planet–and, so, facing us, because this is where we live–unless we change our ways, and in a hurry. So when Earth Day rolls around again on April 22, I'll be grateful for whatever extra attention these issues receive, whether in schools, in the media, and in all of our collective thoughts. But until then (and after then, and then), one of the easiest ways to make a tiny difference as you go about your daily routine is to patronize eco-friendly NYC restaurants, those places committed, to varying degrees, to sustainable farming practices, organic products, repurposed materials, renewable energy, waste composting… anything that lessens their ecological footprint on our well-trod home. Here, then, are some of my favorite NYC eco-friendly restaurants; please add yours in the comments.  

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Coffeed: Strong Brews & First-Rate Food Arrive In Chelsea

Coffeed: Strong Brews & First-Rate Food Arrive In Chelsea

There are a lot of reasons to be happy about the opening (finally!) of Coffeed, a welcoming coffee-and-sandwich/salad/cookie spot near Union Square on the eastern edge of Chelsea. For one, it's always a win when prime Manhattan storefront space gets occupied by a locally-owned business–Coffeed is based in Long Island City–instead of some huge national chain. Second: yay for good, strong coffee! Thirdly, the super-appealing food menu at the new Coffeed was created by Corey Cova, who used to run the kitchens up at the great Earl's Beer and Cheese and ABV. And finally (and this is a big one), Coffeed is extremely socially, community conscious, and donates between 3% and 10% of its GROSS revenues to local charities and non-profit organizations.     

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A Terrific, Career-Spanning Isamu Noguchi Show At Pace In Chelsea

Isamu Noguchi: Variations at Chelsea's Pace Gallery

It's still a little too unpleasant out, weather-wise, to make the trek over to the Noguchi Museum near the East River in Long Island City, Queens, though you should definitely get there this spring or summer if you've never been, because it's one of the city's great undersung treasures, and you can really make a day out of it by having a picnic or whatever at the nearby Socrates Sculpture Park. Anyway, until then, the Chelsea art gallery powerhouse Pace has all of your Noguchi desires covered with a terrific, career-spanning retrospective of the renowned Japanese-American sculptor and designer's works across all mediums.  

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NYC’s Best Flower Shows for Spring 2015

Cherry blossom trees in full pink bloom during the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's festival

Weird (and amazing!) how it went from biting freezingness and driving snowstorm to glorious warmth and hope and comfort over the course of, like, 48 hours this week. But we'll take it! Because even though it will likely be another few weeks before some of these grime-coated ice mounds actually disappear, it right now seems certain that, once again, spring and sunshine and naps on the grass will all actually happen. In celebration of this inevitable and yet always-so-wonderfully-surprising change of seasons, the city's great gardens have just opened, or are preparing to open, the best New York City flower shows for 2015, so here's a sneak peek at everything you can expect from the blooming delights. 

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The Great Xi’an Famous Foods – Now on The Upper East Side!

Lamb noodles from Xi'an Famous Foods

Xi'an Famous Foods first became, um, famous back in the mid aughts, with the original, tiny stall in Flushing's Golden Shopping Mall standing out even among all the other wondrous street-food-ish stands for its ragged, hand-ripped noodles and, in addition to other meaty delights, its intense cumin-seasoned lamb. Then came another, even smaller, storefront in Manhattan's Chinatown, where I first encountered Xi'an (and, much to my shame, I wasn't an immediate convert, though I think that had something yo do with bringing the food home, rather than eating it right away), and then… well, let's just say that is has been a busy few years for this crew, with shops opening up on the Upper East and Upper West Sides, Midtown East and West, as well as two in Brooklyn, in East Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Question is, has this rapid expansion effected the quality of the food, or is Xi'an Famous still one of the best cheap eats spots in all of NYC? 

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For Rustic Italian On A Cold Winter’s Night, There’s No Better New Spot Than Via Carato

Sodi & Williams' Via Carota

The best NYC restaurants, of course, are the best NYC restaurants no matter what time of year you eat there, whether it's miserably hot and humid out and you want something refreshing and rejuvenating, or fall-ish and festive and you're looking for a party, or when we all get deep into winter, and warmth and conviviality seem to matter most. The West Village, often impossibly adorable whatever the season, seems to have cornered the market on the city's best cozy spots for those long wintertime meals of hearty food and plenty of wine, thanks to the likes of Jody Williams, whose tiny Buvette is as beloved for its fantastic French classics (the dense Coq au Vin, the fluffy Chocolate Mousse) as it is for its haphazard charm; and Rita Sodi, who's been killing it on Christopher Street for nearly six years with her Tuscan fare at I Sodi (get all of the pastas). And now Williams and Sodi, partners in real life, have teamed up in the kitchen to give us one of my favorite spots of all the new openings this season, Via Carota. 

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