Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why I don't like New York City

I decided it. I don't really like New York. Three months on the ground of the Big Apple, I today declare it that New York sucks. And it's not only that you have rude people on the streets and the polution or the humidity.

There is a full whole list of reasons.

Rude people on the streets
Arrogant fool people on the streets and parties
Low living standards
The subway
The weather
Sublets and housing
Yellow cab drivers
Sales tax and my favorite
Too many dogs!

Subleting is an interesting topic as I am experiencing it myself. It's almost a business. How do you do it? You get a lease and then you sublet the apartment to someone else but you double the price. Isn't that nice? When it actually happens "legally" because the landlord/owner knows pretty much everything.

What can I say about people on the streets? New Yorkers are strange arrogant individuals who really miss space. So, when the opportunity of ownership of a well-defined and needless to say tiny, physical space presents itself whenever that is (super market, deli, bookstore, street...), they take it and they declare it as theirs. Nobody can access it, it's almost illegal. In the deli, you have to face the trolley. "I go down the aisle, I have to do it, I don’t care for anyone else who will interrupt my way", they say pampering their ego. No matter what happens in the super market, New Yorkers will continue driving their trolley down the aisle, even if there is a disaster in front of them. “Who cares, I picked my apples, my pumpernickel bagels and pastrami!” the ego replies.
In a city that geographic space is definitely a matter of discussion or even a PhD, New Yorkers know exactly what to do to claim it. Just show arrogance. Persistence. Be self-centered. Ignore anyone else. I am the only one.

And please, don't get me started on the subway which is falling apart, is dripping, smelling various unpleasant things and does not have electronic timers to announce the next train. What's the difference from a third-world country?

New York is great if you are Donald Trump or Julia Roberts. Because you have the freedom to leave when the weather is not good enough, there are better shows somewhere else and those fantastic shoes can only be bought in Milan or Rome. New York is great only when you are free to leave it at any given time. And ideally, never come back.

Events, events, events:

For New York:

Opening reception, Friday 12/1/2006, 7pm to 10pm
@AG Gallery103 N.3rd Street, Ground Fl.Brooklyn, NY 11211
Please come and check out wide range of Limited and Unlimited Editioned works from Silkscreen, Etching, Woodcut and so on. Affordable artwork can be great Christmas gifts.

Check out the Mobile Monday events at Samsung store in Time and Warner Building.
The last Monday of the month. For the techies and those of you who love cell aka smart phones and mobile technology

For London

For the second year running Go East London, in conjunction with Hidden Art have organised two walking tours around London's design districts, that weave in and out of areas scattered with studios and taking in the sights and sounds of the town.

Blue Badge Guide Rachel Kolsky traces the development of arts and crafts in an area once London's Theatreland and centre of its furniture trade. Now home to artists, designers and galleries you will also hear the history of the local flower and animal markets before ending at the East London Design Show.
How to book: Each tour costs £7 per person and will last approximately 2 hours.
Book online through the Hidden Art E-shop at www.hiddenartshop.com or call 0207 7729 3800 (Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm) to book over the phone with your credit card details. Bookings are limited to four people. You will receive further details with confirmation of your booking.
BOOK NOW and receive a Hidden Art Milano Bag in the post!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wealthy New York

I had the chance to attend the Wealth Expo in NYC this past weekend. It was long and exhausting and controversial and fun. All of those adjectives describe my experience. And that included a 12-hour long Saturday and a 12-hour long Sunday. Actually, on Sunday the first speaker started at 7.30 am!

Yes, it was worth it just for the experience. But let me be straight and honest. It's not the first time that I went to an event with famous and successful, inspirational speakers. No. This time though I saw quite a few of those people simultaneously together with 15,000 other participants. I saw the very famous Antony Robbins who shake the audiences with this energy, the Rich Dad, Poor Dad author and investment expert Robert Kiyosaki with his eccentric but nonetheless truth ideas and the very famous New Yorker who does not need special introductions - Donald Trump. And many other gurus and experts who talked about property and real estate investments, entrepreneurship, stocks and shares, and free money from the government. Yes, it was an amazing event - I continue with my adjective list as you see...Wealth is a hot topic, so hot that attracts 15,000 participants who paid from $99 to $400 to attend for the whole weekend.

But I can't help thinking. How many of those participants, all of us, who spent 24 hours during the last two days are actually wealthy? How many of us have so much money that we can put down money for commercial or residential property, foreclosures, stocks and shares or serious start-up businesses? How many of us learnt the secret of affluence and prosperity within 48 hours that we can become Donald Trump and Antony Robbins?

Some. Many. Few. I don't really know. Donald Trump said it right. The money making process is an art. And it does not belong to everybody.

After 48 hours of intense intellectual work, I have a headache. I go through my notes now and all I can see are words like: wealth, money, millionaires, success, financial freedom, dreams, cruise ships...and others...But I don't think I can find the word happiness in this list. Because nobody taught us how to be happy. How to choose from the heart, not from the brain.

This is where the real wealth is. Making choices from the heart.

In New York

Don't miss the DRINK'N' DRAW sessions at 3rd Ward at 7-10pm on Tuesdays. It's a weekly drawing session that features a live model and plenty of beer. Must be 21 or over to drink (it's USA!!!) and must intent to draw during the session. For directions visit http://www.3rdwardbrooklyn.org/.

In London

Don't miss TIME OUT this week. The front cover says: 101 things to do before you leave London.
I am pretty sure I have done at least 70 before I left this city.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Gyms in NYC

I haven't been exercising regularly since I moved in the Big Apple. Not that I missed it since I walk on average two hours a day. Walking is a good exercise according to many doctors, physicians, personal trainers and the whole of the "health" industry. Lately though I decided that it was about time I visited a gym to exercise and to compare again with London.

I started with a Pilates Studio. I picked the open class and I went in my pilates outfit. The studio was cosy but so small there wasn't enough space to walk around. I asked if there was a changing room and the very polite reception girl pointed the room across. Very tiny indeed but this changing room allowed me luckily enough to change without accidents. When the class started, I couldn't really hear what the trainer was saying because just next to me a personal pilates trainer had a session with her client, and we were all in the same space! On the other side, someone else was training two students in the reforming pilates machine. The class was good but I don't think I will go back. When I pay $15 for an hour, I need a peaceful environment to concentrate on the exercise, not to see my neighbour’s hairy arms!

Today I visited a gym. I have a free week pass so I can use it any day, any time for anything I want to do. Well, I decided to take the recess class with someone called Drew. That was one of my life's biggest mistakes. I know now. This class wasn't just a cool exercise class, it was preparation for the Marathon! This Drew guy asked us to do about 35 lunges with weights, followed by 25 press ups, some jumping on the step, and something else I don't remember because I am so indescribable exhausted. The final request was to stay for two minutes still in the press up position, that was the "stretching". That was the final shooting!

I don't know if I will go back to this gym and use this week's free pass. One thing is certain. I don't want to see or hear the Drew name again.


In New York

Well, that came from a personal emailing list: Kathlin Argiro "STYLE ME CHIC" with Social Diva, this coming Thursday November 16th at 6pm. Visit the site http://www.kathlinargiro.com/main_stylemechic.htm to book but hurry! There are only 200 seats for this event.

In London

I mention the Spread the Word organization a few days ago. The organize another event, this time for novelists to be. NOVEL PITCH - give your writing the X-factor is taking place on December 2nd, at Stratford Circus, London E15 1BX and it costs £5. Visit the site www.spreadtheword.org.uk for more information.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I don't want to lie. I miss London enormously. Since I moved to New York in early September, I can't help thinking about it. Comparing on daily basis. Smiling at little things I accidentally see, think or miss. But yesterday, it was the jackpot on the whole "I miss London" story: I saw the TIME OUT guide for London whose article about the West End Lane made me cry. Yes, I was living not very far from that Lane, the very trendy, with excellent cafes and bars, organic food and flower shops, West End Lane. I spent nearly seven years of my life on that Lane, how is it possible to forget?

And all those emails I receive from my mailing lists every day (I want to stress that I unsubscribed from so many but still get a lot!). Parties, invitations, workshops, seminars, events. I wish I were there. Often I say to myself: what's the big difference: In NY, I use the subway, the L line which replaced the Jubilee, both grey color. You can get Starbucks in NY and also in London. Even the daily freebies remain the same, Metro in London and metro in NY. And TNT magazine gave home to the L-magazine in NY.

But it's not the same. The NY metro is so thin that it's not worth reading it. Nothing compared to our Metro bible of London. The grey L line of NY subway is so old-fashioned, slow and smelly that has nothing to do with the top-notch Julilee line (the line of the Olympic games). And the L-magazine pretends to be trendy and hippy but I wonder how functional it is - not as the TNT.

Yes, I miss London. Enormously. But instead of complaining, I would add some events for all of you below.

Whisperings in London:

If you are free this Thursday, you can go to an event for free, but you have to RSVP it today: party@mayfaircavendish.co.uk. The invitation says: To celebrate the opening of the ICO conference centre you are invited to our launch party on Thursday 9th November 2006, 6-9pm. Lex House, 17 Connaught Place, London, W2 2EL. I wish I were there too!


This is an eight-week evening course for fashion & accessory designers who wish to develop CAD/CAM skills to support their own career development in the sector. The course introduces the software package Kaledo Style, used in the fashion sector to create technical drawings and presentational material for communicating with clients and manufacturers. At Fashion & Textile Museum
Wednesday evenings 6.30pm - 9.00pm
22nd November – 24th January 2007
To book a place, email info@cipsonline.com

SPREAD THE WORD www.spreadtheword.org.uk
Is all writing a political act? A seminar for writers

When? Thursday 9th November 2006, 6-8.45pm, at Stephen Lawrence Lecture Theatre, Greenwich University, SE10 9HY. Tickets: £5-£2

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Foodies in NYC and London

Ah. I couldn't resist. I was in the Martha Stewart show recently as a member of the audience so food and foodies just crossed my mind. Don't get me wrong. I am not a good cook. Actually, I don't cook very often. But I like upscale super markets and grocery stores, small canapé-style portions and high quality chocolate. Ideally, when I don't have to prepare all those things myself.

I discovered Dean and Deluca in NYC. A luxurious food shopping experience in their Soho store. Well presented, with lots of samples of their freshly made bread, appetising Italian cookies, aromas of espressos and classical music, you want to live there for good. Prices hit north but you don't care. You don't go to Dean & Deluca every day. Same counts for Balduccis. In the heart of Chelsea and not far from the Meat Packing area, Balduccis will break your heart and your bank account also with the amazing selection of worldwide chocolates and coffees but also with their smelly cheese. Forget about your low-carb diet, buy those bars of chocolate and keep moving.

On the other side of the Atlantic, in London, the equivalent will be the Harvey Nichols supermarket. HN is a luxury department store such as Bloomingdales or Saks Fifth Avenue, but with a grocery store for the affluent on the sixth floor. And very often this is where you go directly when you enter this store. Everything is clean, tidy and pricey. You might come face-to-face with a celebrity or two. I love their HN brand: if you buy HN coffee, you probably pay twice as much but you keep the nice grey tin box with their brand letters. Or spices and herbs. You don't only shop at these stores. You invest. You keep the tin boxes no matter what.


We have heard that in NYC

Tonight don't miss the First Thursday in Dumbo, 111 Front Street, in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, NY 11201. Various gallery receptions!

The Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting continues to celebrate its 40th anniversary this month. Visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/news/110106_cultural_events_continue.shtml for more information.

And in London

Visit the http://www.claudieplen.com/creativealchemy.htm for networking in the creative industries.