Quebec City Idyll


Quebec City looks like an alpine fairy tale to a world weary New Yorker. It’s older and more exclusively French-speaking than Montreal, with the only fortified city wall north of Mexico. (more…)

J'adore Montreal


I took advantage of a 3-day break between jobs to steal away to Montreal, in search of poutine and smoked meat. Schwartz’s did not disappoint, and I recommend getting the cherry soda with your smoked meat sandwich–the combination simply works and I won’t try to explain why. (more…)

Ebbets Field Cocktail


So, I’m facing my fear of making cocktails with egg whites. Here’s a homemade Ebbets Field–don’t even bother with the Complete Cocktail recipe, since it calls for an unreasonable amount of Pernod, and the egg white won’t foam properly without lemon.

2 oz bourbon
1 oz fresh lemon juice
¾ oz grenadine
¼ oz Pernod or absinthe
½ oz egg white

Dry shake until your arms beg for mercy. Add ice and keep shaking for another 30 seconds. Put your feet up and enjoy that hard-earned foam!

Lower East Side Tenement Museum


I’ve lived in four apartments in the East Village, all tenement buildings around a hundred years old. Each had its quirks: slanted floors, musty smells, leaky pipes or crumbling walls, and railroad bedrooms in sizes that I’m told are illegal. I was always curious about the past residents of my homes, but I couldn’t imagine whole families crowded in these rooms. (more…)

Four Days in San Juan


The older I get, the more desperate I get for color come wintertime. So I went a little crazy with my new polarizing filter among the sherbet-hued buildings of Old San Juan. After four days of strong coffee, 16th century fortresses, music in the streets, and hikes through misty El Yunque (the only tropical rainforest in the U.S.) I started to understand Spanish a little better (in my dreams, but still!) (more…)

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

“Shipwreck” is a word that came to mind when visiting Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, but when it opened in 1829 it was the most modern facility in the world. (more…)

Denino's Pizza


Staten Island is too often the forgotten borough on my food adventures, but its pizza game is so strong, I’ll brave the subway, ferry and bus ride out there. First up was Denino’s, a storied pizzeria that goes back to 1937. Our pie had a spot-on crust–thin, doughy, yet crisp and sturdy enough to stand up to generous toppings of cheese and sauce. This crust is what pizza should be.

I think this place would be as popular as DiFara if it were on the Q train–but on the plus side there’s no foodie crowds and the place definitely has a suburban family feel. You can simply grab a seat, order some cheap beer, have some of the best pizza you’ve ever eaten and grab an ice at Ralph’s while you’re waiting for your bus. Not to mention: New York never looks as magical as it does from a ship.


Yes There Are Good Tacos in NYC


I’ve heard people complain that there are no good tacos in New York City–particularly West Coasters who are the worst snobs when it comes to Mexican food. But I’d counter that NYC has really stepped up its taco game in the last few years: witness these carne asada beauties from Los Tacos No. 1 in Chelsea Market. This place is legit. Get the abodada (marinated pork), pile on the free sides and wash it down with an agua fesca. But don’t tangle with the veggie taco – grilled cactus just can not compete with these.

coney island mermaid parade

coney island mermaid parade

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is one of my favorite events in the city: it’s like our own mini version of Mardi Gras with a slightly seedy nautical flavor that’s all Coney Islands’s own. (more…)

Inside the Tent of Tomorrow!


The Tent of Tomorrow in Flushing Meadows is New York City’s most infamous ruin, a decaying modernist carnival of a building ripped from a science fiction novel. While I’d viewed it from close range, it’s been locked to visitors for years–until it opened to the public for just three hours to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair. (more…)