First blog post

Hi there!

Welcome! This blog was created by two cousins who set out on a mission to change the dating world as we know it. Lets admit it, as fun as it is to go on a spontaneous night out, its equally as fun and way less stressful to have your plans set out before you. Today, its hard to make plans in advance, and finding the latest activity on a whim leads to a lot of frustration and online searching. Thats where we come in, WHO WENT WHERE was designed to update you on the latest events listed all in one place. With our user friendly system,  you won’t have to sit for hours trying to plan.

Heres to many stress free date nights!

– Daniella and Batya

Discovering Columbus

 

Columbus discovered America but we discovered Columbus Circle.

The other day D and I set out to explore Columbus Circle. We came across another amazing kosher ice cream place: 16HandlesxMochiDoki! ( hashgacha under Rabbi Mehlmen) It is a little food vendor part of TurnStyle, an underground market, located beneath 8th ave between 57th and 58th St at the Southern tip of the Columbus Circle subway station, no metrocard necessary to enter. The place sells various flavors consistent with other 16 handles locations but what is unique is the rainbow display of mochi! Mochi is a ball of ice cream wrapped in a Japanese rice dough. This treat is popular in Japan and the U.S and this is the first kosher place I know to sell Mochi! It is a soft delicious treat that I will most definitely have me returning to TurnStyle!

 

As I said we were exploring the area of Columbus Circle, and it is so fun! During the day it is a beautiful point to enter Central Park and have a walk. The nearby Museum of Art and Design offers free admission Thursday nights and often has hands on exhibits.  But one of my favorite spots is the Ascent Lounge, this is a quiet lounge on the 4th floor in the shopping mall and has beautiful view of the fountains below! There are a couple of bars and lounges in the area but this one was my favorite. You can use the escalators to climb all the way up and make a pit stop in the new Amazon book store.

 

We finished off the night getting dinner at Cafe Classico on 57th st although we did have a hard time choosing between that and the Great American Health Bar just downstairs. (under OK hasgacha)

 

Other Lounges in the area:

Library Bar at Hudson and Rooftop terrace: a cozy bar in the Hudson Hotel with leather sofas, an antique pool table and lots of books that continues onto a rooftop deck with lots of seating. The Hudson hotel is located on 58th and has a very easy to miss entrance. Its located on the left side of the block coming from 8th ave and one flight up the swanky yellow escalators.

The Empire Rooftop & Lounge: (for fans of Chuck Bass) a swanky sports bar with a retractable roof for all weather lounging. The Empire Hotel is one of NYC’s most iconic located on 63rd

Lobby Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental: the name can be deceiving because this lounge is located on the 35th floor but it has a wonderful view of the area. It often gets full and is best to make a reservation.

Dizzy’s Club Coco-Cola: a Jazz Club that offers cheap and discounted tickets to some of the best music in NYC it is located on the 60th entrance to the shops at columbus. There is $10 minimum for drinks. I recommend getting a table seating because often the bar seating is just a chair against the wall. However you will most likely share your table with other groups.

Pop into PopBar

My cousin and I may have our differences, but we both love the color yellow and we both love ice cream! And although we have already posted about a few fab ice cream places in Manhattan but honestly can there be too many?? I have even written a poem about ice cream to underline my absolute adoration of this frozen treat:

Ice Cream is sweet
It is my very favorite treat
Vanilla, Strawberry or Chocolate Fudge
No matter how you eat it I won’t judge
But the very best is topped with sprinkles
Almost as if the whole dessert twinkles!

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Now that I have your attention, I would like to tell you about Pop Bar in the West Village [Hasgacha under Rabbi Mehlman]. Pop Bar is a tiny storefront that offers popsicles that are so very delicious! When you walk in you have a display of popsicles of either sorbet or gelato to choose from and then you choose a dipping and some toppings. My current favorite is pistachio popsicle dipped in dark chocolate with chocolate sprinkles and hazelnut crunch ( are you drooling yet?!)

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The other night when we went I had the opportunity to try the luxurious hot chocolate. Don’t worry I also had a popsicle, but we stayed late talking and the weather was cold and rainy so I figured it was the perfect opportunity. You choose a chunk of chocolate from multiple flavors and they place the chocolate cube in steamed milk for you! The flavors include caramel, peppermint, dark chocolate etc.

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There are a handful of stools to sit on by the window in the shop but, if the weather is nice take your popsicle and your date out for a walk. Just across Carmine is a nice park with a fountain, we found a good spot in the shade and enjoyed our popsicles. A couple blocks away is Washington Square park which is always a great place for people watching.

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I got to the West Village a little early so I had a walk around and came across a neighborhood bookstore called BookBook, it is stocked with a variety of books and is a great place for conversation starters.

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We have been here many times that the area is already comforting. There is a Starbucks nearby that we have gone to for hot drinks if we find we have more to discuss and catch up about after the ice cream has been consumed.

Hope you enjoy this fab Ice cream shop, tell us about your time there!

– B

Meet the Arlo

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The Arlo Soho

I know I am writing this a bit late but truthfully, it is never to late to discover the Arlo Hotels of NYC. There are two hotels, one in Soho and one in Nomad and both are worth a visit. We first visited the Arlo Soho Hotel on a cold February night because we read about their winter tents but we stayed because of the cool lobby ambiance. Don’t get me wrong, the tents located in the back garden of the main level are very hip and fully furnished in camping vibe rocking chairs and wool throws. The tents are so hip that they were all occupied with the front zipper down for privacy ( which didn’t stop me from knocking on the canvas to sneak a peak inside).

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The Arlo Soho

There are two more tents located on the roof but sadly those did not have heaters and as I mentioned above it was a cold night. Even with the tents all taken we ended up staying at the Arlo for hours in a lounge on the second floor with some games we found in the lobby shelves.

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Camp Arlo 

The public area includes a bar just beyond the entrance the garden with “camp Arlo” open all year, a lobby with many seating options and some games and books along the shelves and second floor lounge with a sort of office meeting chill vibe. Just to the left beyond the entrance is a posh 24 hr bodega that carries some packaged kosher snacks and drinks.

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The Bodega + Candy

Although I visited in the winter this place is worth a visit any season. In fact, Camp Arlo Spring Fest starts April 21. If you need more convincing, in the warmer weather the rooftop bar would actually be a viable option and offer great views of downtown.

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The Heights at Arlo NoMad

If however you want views of midtown (specifically the empire state building ) head to The Heights rooftop bar in Arlo NoMad. The rooftop has comfortable seating and is a great place to hang out, talk and grab a drink. There is even a glass bottom floor!! We loved the view and guessing why the Empire state building was all pink! The NoMad location also has some swanky urban indoor lounge areas including the Barlo, an inviting space on the 2nd floor featuring cozy seating and a full bar.

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Both locations feature live music, movie nights and game nights check the Affairs tab on the website arlohotels.com.

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The Barlo 

Island Hopping: Roosevelt Island During Cherry Blossom Season

 

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Ok so I may be a bit bias because I work on Roosevelt Island but I think it is a great place to come explore and I keep telling people to visit (and bring food because the Island is lacking in the food department). Roosevelt Island is reachable by car  from Queens and by the F subway train or Ferry from Queens or Manhattan. However, the tram from Manhattan is the best way to visit if you’re in it for the experience. The Roosevelt Island tram leaves from 2nd ave and 59th – one block away from Bloomingdales one of my favorite NYC landmarks!! The riding the tram is basically like on a ferris wheel in an amusement park, except NYC is the amusement park!

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The southern park is closest to the tram station, just exit the tram and make a left when you are facing the Manhattan skyline. You will walk underneath the Queensborough bridge [ FYI, interesting fact, the bridge use to have a car elevator as transportation to the island before the welfare bridge, tram or train]. The buildings you will pass on the left are part of the new Cornell Tech campus that was just featured on the cover of Architectural Digest and catches beautiful reflections of sunset. The Cornell Tech Café in the Bloomberg building is open to visitors and has some Cornell Ithaca made kosher ice cream!

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Continuing past Cornell Tech along the water you will get to the entrance of Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. The park contains the creepy remnants of the small pox hospital as well as a dedication to President Roosevelt and his speech about the Four Freedoms. The park offers great views of both Manhattan and Queens. I love coming to this park on my lunch breaks, it almost feels like my own secret garden with only a handful of tourist and the occasional school trips. Starting April 21st the park is hosting the Cheery Blossom Festival of 2018 and I think there is no better time to come visit! ( I mean look at these beautiful trees!!)

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As I mentioned before, food is not Roosevelt Islands strong point. Just one block north of the tram station along the water is Starbucks and Duane Reade – my two main sources of nourishment when I forget my lunch at home. Also note, because Roosevelt Island has become mainly residential Starbucks may close earlier than other NYC locations so check times before your visit.

A little known fact, the Island has its own transportation that happens to be free! The red bus with the logo RIOC loops around the Island and is the easiest way to get from the tram to the north park and the old lunatic asylum. In my opinion the north park is not as fantastic as its southern counterpart. The north park does have a 50 foot stone lighthouse that stands at the northern most tip of the island hence, it is often called the Lighthouse park. If you want to avoid the tourists visit the Lighthouse park, but if honestly the  Four Freedoms Park should not be missed.

Feel free to venture down main street in these absurdly quaint NYC neighborhood and then come visit me at work! I hope you enjoy!

Gustav Klimt:

Gustav Klimt, is known to be Vienna’s most renown  artist of the twentieth century.  His work manifested the era of Austrian beauty and splendor.  The Exhibit “Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900-1918″ is now on display at the Neue Galerie in New York. Here, you will see one of Klimt’s  most recognized pieces, “Adele Bloch Bauer I” which made headlines due to its role in one of the most notorious cases of Natzi art theft.

A little background History:

The book “Stolen Beauty”  depicts  the story of Adele Bloch Bauer, who grew up in Pre WWII Vienna.  The book portrays the beauty of the Jewish heritage pre Holocaust, and the elegant life Austrian Jewry once lived. The famous Ringstrasse street in Vienna (where the story takes place)  is known for  it’s beautiful architecture and opulent homes, was the center of elegant society and Jewish grandeur.

Much of what you’ll see at the museum are artifacts that remain from this era of Jewish life in Vienna, such as pieces of silver and fine art.

You may be familiar with this painting as it was the subject of the movie “Woman in Gold” (with hunky star  Ryan Reynolds) which discusses the exact details of how the painting was taken from it’s rightful Jewish owner during the war, and later put on display at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna.

 

The painting is rich in history and exemplifies an era of great difficulty for the Jews. It hung in their grand home until the war broke out when it was wrongfully taken by the Nazis and hung in their museum. When the rightful Jewish owners claimed it after the war, the nazis refused to return it . The question of ownership of the painting was brought before the United States Supreme Court In Republic of Austria v. Altmann. After a fierce battle it was returned to the descendants of its Jewish owners.

Up-close, the painting will literally STUN- you with its richness. Klimt used many Jewish subjects for his paintings. He painted using the richest materials such as real gold and silver leaf and his subjects often wore beautiful jewels further hinting at the level of splendor which Jews enjoyed in pre war Austria. This particular painting was  commissioned by Jewish businessman, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, to portray his wife wearing a jeweled chocker he had gifted to her. Up close, you can see her initials “A” and “B” across her gown.

This Small but classic collection is just a small glimpse into the grand life of Austrian culture Jews lived not that long ago. You and your date can walk around to see the latest exhibit or head downstairs to the Cafe (which had a line out the door).

 

Halava Good Time

Chelsea market, nestled in the meatpacking district on 9th Avenue (Between 15th and 16 Streets) is an enclosed urban food court and shopping mall. The building itself is full of history and charm in fact, the market is in the former National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) factory complex where the Oreo cookie was invented and produced! The urban vibe mixed with history and good A.C creates a good place to sit and enjoy the environment ( and your company).

Located about midway through the complex and facing 15th Street (which means you can’t really see it from the market’s central corridor), you will find Seed + Mill. Seed + Mill, Hechsher under United Kosher Supervision, is a cute little kiosk dedicated almost entirely to artisanal, flavored cakes of halava, reminiscent of those in Israel. I did you all a favor and tested quite a few flavors – pistachio chocolate is my favorite followed by nutella. Grab a slice of halava and either have a seat in one of the nooks of the market or head outside to the highline.

The highline is another urbanized piece of history in the Chelsea area. The old elevated train tracks now converted into a garden is a wonderful place to take a walk and enjoy the views of the city and the Hudson. One of the lesser known gems of the highline is the ability to feel closer to the stars with the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. Every Tuesday from dusk until closing large high power telescopes are set out on the highline near 14th for stargazing.

 

Kosher in the area:

Sushi Tokyo just opened up a location in Chelsea on 19th St. You can choose to eat at one of the bar stools in the shop or take your sushi to go and enjoy it in either the market or the highline. Hechsher under the OK certification

Skip the dinner reservation


Going out to eat is sooo passé. Why order in when you can spice things up by actually learning how to prepare and cook the food you eat, together. The Kosher Culinary Center is the perfect place for you to sharpen your skills in the kitchen. The Culinary center offers interactive cooking classes in their professional kitchen, where several couples come together to receive instruction and supplies to cook a most avant gard menu.

 

What was so unique was the Mexican theme menu for the evening. It was cool to learn a little about the Mexican culture and the different foods they eat. We used a variety of unusual foods we’d never eaten before, like cactus and banana leaf. Growing up in a Hungarian home, this was VERY different from the chicken paprikash and Linzer torte we’re used-too (served on Herend, of course) and we absolutely loved every second of it.

As Chef Weissman put it “I could teach you all how to make chicken soup, but then you’d leave and never come back” which is so true. This class gave us the opportunity to learn something totally out there and different.

Upon arrival we were given cocktails at the open bar featuring frozen and fruity drinks for the ladies and wine for the gentlemen, and aprons as we watched a short demo of what we would be preparing together that evening. We then spent the next few hours chopping, mixing, stirring and grilling. Once everything was finished, we all sat down and enjoyed the meal together.

Tips we learned:

How to perfectly bake a tortia in the oven, not too crispy, and not too raw… just right

How to dice an onion, into perfect cubes.

This hands on, and intimate class is really the perfect place no matter what cooking level you’re at. In addition to their date night classes, we would definitely come back for their French macaroon making, steak night, and hamburger wars.

Game on Wall St

If you think Wall street folks only know how to work hard come down to wall street on a Wednesday this summer for a block party and you can witness wall street folks playing hard – you can even join in on the fun. On Wednesdays July 26 and August 2 at the corner of Coenties and Water in the Financial district are free games from 12-8 and a live DJ & drinks from 5-8. Lunchtime is crowded but fun to watch we got a nice spot in a coffee shop, Ground Central, overlooking the fun while sitting in the shade. Once the crowd dissipated we were able to try our hands at some games: arcade style basketball, foosball, cornhole, giant connect four, and shuffle board.

We walked a couple blocks west to grab a slice at Bravo Kosher pizza which offers a whole menu besides pizza ( but I personally always want pizza). This Bravo location is spacious and offers outdoor seating. Bravo Pizza is open until 7:30 pm

Other food option in the area include:

Bravo Burger and Deli , just next door to Bravo Pizza open until 8:45.

Milk and Honey that just reopened in a large café however, this location closes at 5.

Reserve Cut has a $29 lunch special from 11:30-2:30

Café 11 is a to-go take out counter in the lobby of an office building selling sandwiches, salads and sushi until 5. You can take the sandwiches to eat across the street in the Bowling Green Park along side the iconic Charging Bull

After lunch we walked to the Oculus. The Oculus is the center of the World trade Center Transportation Hub designed by internationally acclaimed architect Santiago Calatrava and is the third largest transportation center in NYC . The Building is magnificent to look at and the A.C was welcoming after spending time in today’s heat. The atrium of the oculus is line with shops and boutiques and at the center is a rotating art exhibit – the current exhibit was on the Michelangelo. If you want to see another marvelous indoor structure You can continue to walk west while staying indoors and head to the Winter Gardens. The Winter Garden Atrium is a 10-story glass-vaulted pavilion on Vesey Street in New York City’s Brookfield Place office complex a good place to just sit and relax.

I would like to give a special shout out to my dad for being my date today! Thank you for teaching me how to play corn hole and giving me a grand tour of Wall St.

 

Strand(ed) at the Bookstore

They say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but lets face it, we’re all guilty.  But then again, there’s also something kind of cool about picking up a used book that’s cover is almost ripped off, with pages that are bent over  in a million places. It’s proof that the reader was so drawn in that they couldn’t put it down, and destiny found its way into your hands.  While walking in the streets of Manhattan, we found ourselves suddenly in the midst of Strand, a bookstore that advertises “18 miles of books.” While its pretty impossible that the store takes up 18 miles, being it is a corner store of a city block, if you lined up all the (2.5 million) books in the store, it would span for about 18 miles. Each book you pick up feels like a tiny piece of treasure, since many of them are rare collectables and signed editions. They were even selling the first edition ever of Tom Sawyer.

The rustic vibe gives this location the perfect opportunity for adventure. Whats so awesome about this date is that books themselves contain literally thousands of built in conversation topics, like checking out cookbooks from different countries to reading famous old poetry (cue; ever mine, ever thine, ever ours) or even looking up books on travel.  You can also take the time to reminisce together about your all-time favorite read, and find mutually interesting topics. You can sit down and find that book that you always wanted to read, (like the one from Reese Witherspoon’s book-club that you’ve been dying to try) and get lost together in this thrift shop bookstore.

Dō your thing

Let’s Dough the Village: The west village has always been a cool place to visit but it has just gotten cooler.  Dō  a whimsical café that mixes up ice cream and safe-to-eat raw cookie dough just received it’s kosher certification last week and is now under the supervision of Rabbi Aaron D. Mehlman. Although the line fluctuates from 5 minutes to 35 minutes long it is worth the wait. We waited on line across the street (no joke – the line is across the street to avoid blocking other store fronts) for 25 minutes and used the time catch up and talk. The shop itself is set up like an ice cream parlor with lots of charm. There are 16 flavors to choose from along with 2 vegan/ pareve options. I got confetti dough with vanilla ice cream but would defiantly go back to try other flavors. It is important to note that the serving sizes are large and one scoop would have been sufficient, however, I got 3 scoops which meant I had more than enough to bring some home and bake in the oven.

Just two doors down from Dō is the Center for Architecture that is open to the public free of charge. The exhibit is small but interesting. The most fascinating part is that you can watch a class in action from a balcony above. In an honest opinion unless you have a prior interest in architecture this is not a must see place.

Three blocks north is Washington Square park, a vibrant center to the village with many places to sit. If you’re on a day date, I recommend finding a place near the fountain so you can cool off in the mist. We had the good fortune of sitting near a group of brass musicians.

Other ideas of places in the Village:

The Chess Forum on Thompson Street: a chess parlor where you can pick up a game of chess for $5 an hour. The parlor also offers other board games like Backgammon, Checkers,Dominoes, Go, Chinese Chess, Chinese Checkers, Mahjong, Cribbage, Mancala, Poker and Playing Cards. This place is quieter and nicer than the more popular Uncommons game café across the street.

Stray Boots Scavenger Hunt: This super cool App (available on iphone and android) will transform Greenwich Village into a super fun hunt filled with challenges, trivia and photos. You’ll be able to experience the neighborhood like never before, at your own pace, taking as many breaks as you like. While I have used this app before, I have never done the hunt in this exact location.