Monday, April 30, 2007

The Gym Project

Last week I took my exercise regimen to the next level by visiting the Physique 57 studio in mid-town Manhattan and experiencing the Lotte Berk-inspired method. The full-body workout lasts 57 minutes but it’s enough to feel exercised and toned up. Each class is structured around fast-paced rounds of free weights for warm-up, the ballet barre and mat work. An abundance of plies, leg extensions, stretching and a lot of pain will accompany you during those 57 minutes together with some music while looking at the studio’s skylit ceiling – the only consolation!

24 West 57th Street, Suite 805

Score card

Facilities: 8/10.

A small-sized studio in mid-town Manhattan does not offer a large space. A nice reception with magazines and green apples will welcome you – if you only you knew what is expected from you! The changing room is tiny with some lockers and only two shower rooms. Towels are provided free of charge but not the bottle of water ($2)

Variety of classes:8/10

It’s a specialized studio therefore there are only Physique 57 classes but of various levels: Beginner, Open, Mixed, Advanced and Intense. There are also two mat pilates classes a week, a Prenatal Physique class and private training sessions.

Rate of difficulty: 10/10

I don’t think I have ever tried a more challenging class than the Physique 57. I chose the Open level which was relatively more advanced compared to Beginners. The warm-up wasn't too bad but after we moved to the ballet barre, I felt the pain in my legs. The alternation of plies and leg work, the push-ups, abdominal work and stretching gave a nice but non the less exhausting and intense pace to the whole workout experience. My body was definitely toned up the following day but the signs of pain kept me company for a couple of days. I now think much higher of ballerinas.

EVENTS in New York

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and The New York Enterprise Report invite you to the 2007 Marketing Expo and Luncheon featuring marketing guru John Jantsch

Wednesday, May 2, 2007, 9:00am - 2:30pm, Grand Prospect Hall, Brooklyn, NY
This highly anticipated event will feature a keynote address by John Jantsch, renowned marketing expert, award winning blogger and author of Duct Tape Marketing - The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide. Find new resources, make contacts and interact with dozens of exhibitors at the Expo.

Cost to attend:
Expo Only: $25, Expo & Luncheon: $50 (Brooklyn Chamber members), Expo & Luncheon: $75 (Non-members)
For more information, visit: lendar/current/338.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Last minute events for New York City

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

The Council’s signature Workspace artist residency has now been expanded into a 9-month program in two locations, serving a diverse group of 30 emerging artists at one time. Starting with a party from 6-10PM on Friday, April 27, the Council will open both studio spaces to the public for only the second time since the session began in September. Artists and writers will show work created while in-residence through open hours at the studios, a Saturday night screening, and a Sunday night “Open Texts” reading and performance.
All events are FREE and OPEN to the public. RSVP is required for all events.

Friday, April 27, 6-10PM Opening receptions @ 120 Broadway, 8th Floor + 200 Hudson Street, 4th Floor

Saturday, April 28, 1-6PM1-6PM – 120 Broadway, 8th Floor + 200 Hudson Street, 4th Floor open to the public.

3-4PM – An Offbeat Walking Tour with Robert Kaufman:Departs from 200 Hudson Street and arrives at 120 Broadway. (Space is limited, RSVP early.)

5PM – Screening @ 120 Broadway, 8th Floor featuring Michelle Handelman, Jillian McDonald, Klaus Schafler and Mary Ellen Strom.

Sunday, April 29, 1-6PM1-6PM – 120 Broadway, 8th Floor + 200 Hudson Street, 4th Floor open to the public.

4-5PM – Open Texts: Poetry, Fiction, and Performance from writers-in-residence Jill Magi (with Jonny Farrow, musician/sound artist) and Ranbir Sidhu @ 200 Hudson Street, 4th Floor.

Upper West Fest kicks off this Saturday!
The second annual Upper West Fest, to be held from April 28-May 20, 2007, is a festival whose purpose is to showcase the Upper West Side as a vital cultural destination. Led by Symphony Space, more than 20 cultural and arts organizations will collaborate to present over 50 performances and exhibitions. Highlights include Symphony Space’s free 12-hour Wall to Wall Opera marathon, the NY Yiddish Film Festival hosted by the Jewish Community Center, renowned musicians performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the 4th Annual Mamapalooza Outdoor Extravaganza in Riverside Park.

Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour
Friday, April 27 to Monday April 30, 1pm-6pm
The TOAST route extends from just above Canal Street to Murray Street, and from Washington Street to Lafayette Street. Before you go on the tour, you will be able to preview the artwork and web sites of participants, and obtain a map, through this website or at some of the venues listed below. While on the tour, you can also enjoy the many art spaces and restaurants in this historic neighborhood, and take advantage of a number of special events and programs.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Grocery Shopping in New York

In New York City, grocery shopping is a challenge. And not a nice one. I don’t know if it’s because of the lack of space and super markers are so tiny, narrow and small. Or because NYC legislation forbids liquor sales in super markets with the exception of beer. And, despite the abundance of delis, small corner stores and organic shops (really trendy all over the world these days), the truth is that grocery shopping in NYC is a bit of a pain. The reason being: not able to find EVERYTHING in one place that is affordable that will also involve wine! That’s impossible.

I miss London (and many other cities worldwide) where I could go to my local super market which was pretty big and had everything: from non-organic tomatoes, milk and turkey to organic options of the same products for the sensitive, health freaks or vegetarians, to wine from New Zealand and Australia. Don’t get me started with New York. If I want to buy wine, I have first to visit the wine store, then drop in to Whole Foods for the plain soy yogurt (a product that only exists in WF to my knowledge) and a few other products I like and I am prepared to pay for. Then, if I opt for fair trade produce and also affordable options, I will move to Trader Joe’s. Here things are nice but nice are the long lines you have to face – always have a book with you to spend the 20-minute line. You can also start chatting to the person in front or behind you – always open and generous to share their secret experiences among the aisles of the store. To finish off my shopping, I would wait until Saturday for a quick visit in the Union Square market for fresh veggies and fruit and yes, I am done for my weekly shopping!

A friend of mine recently asked me: Why you don’t buy everything in Whole Foods that sells your favorite soy yogurt? Well, because even if I think it’s a healthy choice, it’s also overpriced. So, full weekly shopping at WF means thinner bank account at a very fast pace. Grocery shopping is an interesting and challening experience not only for me but for every single New Yorker. Recently my roommate was complaining for the same problem. The good news is that you walk a lot, visit various stores, check prices and chat to unknown New Yorkers while waiting in line. At the end, you end up making new friends or applying for a job in a nice organic store.


New York

Don’t miss Billion Dollar Babes event this coming weekend in New York
CHAMPAGNE AND SUSHI TO CELEBRATE OUR FIRST 3-DAY SALE + SUNDAY SHOPPING, PLUS... Complimentary makeovers from Giorgio Armani Cosmetics, Mini Facials by Peter Thomas Roth and hairstyling by New York’s Cutler Salon. Hachette will be giving away audio books The Debutante Divorcee and Lipstick Jungle to the first 500 babes daily. And… guests can chill out at the hosted open bar courtesy of Pink sparkling wine, Izze sparkling juice and low-cal favorite Amstel Light. New “Deliciously Zen” yushi restaurant will be selling sushi lunch packs onsite to combat those shopping sugar lows as well as samplings from Sanctuary Tea and Dove Chocolates. Fashionistas Alert: merchandise will continually be replenished through the entire three day sale.
RSVP at:

The Altman Building135 West 18th Street (between 6th and 7th Aves)New York, NY 10011

An invitation from the Mayor
Our latest Annual London Survey shows that Londoners are seeing more police in their neighbourhoods this year compared to last. Tackling affordable housing and property prices in the capital are now Londoners' top priorities for improving the city, and concern about climate change and energy conservation is increasing.
The State of London Debate is your chance to discuss with London’s policy makers what you think is best about London and what you think needs improving.
Date: Saturday 12 May 2007Time: 10am to 4.45pmLocation: The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and Central Hall Westminster

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Gym Project

This week I had my first experience with Nia class at the YMCA West Side. I didn't know what that was exactly but after I read the short description on the brochure, I decided to give it a shot. Nia is a body-mind-spirit fitness and lifestyle practice. Through expressive movement, Nia empowers people to achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Although the definition is slightly overrated, it’s definitely a class I recommend trying – or event better experiencing.

YMCA West Side
West Side YMCA, 5 West 63rd Street, New York, NY 10023, (212) 875-4100web:

Score card

Facilities: 8/10. YMCA West side is a big building. After you “clear” security at the reception desk – it might take a while, I just felt I was at the airport - and you are given your day pass, you go to the third floor. Receptionist number 2 will take your card and give you towels. Walk to the changing rooms – they are clean, with numerous showers and plenty of lockers. Bring your own lock though. It’s clean and relatively spacious and quiet.

Variety of classes: 8/10.
There are plenty of classes you can choose from: Power Rowing and Power Sculpt, Spinning, Hatha, Vinyasa and Iyengar yoga, pilates, Salsa and Belly dancing, Core strength, and many, many more! You could even try the vary famous Feldenkrais method and also do some Nia! There is a Nia class on Sundays open to children over 14.

Rate of difficulty: 7/10. Although I don’t have a reference point because this was the very first Nia class, I find it fun, entertaining and easy to follow. The combination of walking, dancing, moving and gesturing seems or sounds easy but at the very end you feel exercised and you sweat a bit. I would say that it is a more “sophisticated” aerobics or dance class applying techniques of yoga and dance both. The teacher was of a kind nature who thanked me for my participation.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I'm not a plastic bag

I was reading with keen interest yesterday the trends monitoring ezine I receive weekly. On March 27th, San Francisco banned plastic shopping bags. The ezine pointed out that the Board of Supervisors voted 10 to 1 to ban petroleum-based plastic shopping bags in the city's supermarkets and drugstore chains. Supermarkets have six months to switch to biodegradable plastic or recycled paper bags before they're cited for violations. Pharmacies get a year to catch up.

On the other side of the Atlantic, London, the designer Anya Hindmarch has launched the “I am not a plastic bag” bag for a major supermarket chain. The bag was a sold-out within hours of hitting the shop floor. Although the city of London hasn’t ruled in favor of a plastic bag ban (at least not yet), I see more of the “I’m not a plastic bag” successful initiatives in the near future. But I wonder: Is this a London trend (another designer’s bag in the closet) or just environmental sensitivity?

New York, once again, is behind. I would even dare to day that New York is the capital of plastic bags. Where else in the (Western) world check-out staff offers you two plastic bags instead of one when you shop? To my knowledge, NO-WHERE. But New Yorkers do not complain. They argue that in a city that people do not drive, having your shopping in a double-plastic bag is actually a good idea. Plus, they say, you recycle. I don’t know exactly how you recycle plastic. The only thing I know is that I accumulated so much plastic in the last six months that I could build a plastic house and piss off Al Gore all at once. But I decided it. And I made my decision practice. I now ask for ONE plastic bag. One small action might help this dirty and polluted city.

Just remind me, where does Al Gore live?


The designers of the SEED collective invite you to come shopping! Thursday, April 12th, 5-9 pm, @ Retreat Lounge, 147 Front Street (btwn Jay & Pearl), Dumbo, Brooklyn

Four Corners’ Filmforum. As part of the East End Film Festival, we will be showcasing work submitted by filmmakers and artists who have been supported by Four Corners recent training and professional development programmes. Filmmakers will include: Sarah Warman, Esther Johnson and Dez Gray plus others from the STEP UP scheme. BFM will also be speaking about the launch of the new BFM Movie Channel.
When: Monday, 23rd April. Time: 7.30 drinks and 8.30pm screening RSVP: Please book in advance by emailing: Venue: Richmix, 35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA

Second Chance Tuesday 17th April 2007. "Tales from the inside" what every entrepreneur needs to know about Venture Capital.

The event starts at 6.30pm at Savoy Place, 2 Savoy Place, London, WC2R OBL. Entry is by guest list only and costs £20 which is payable in advance. A welcome drink will be served.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Gym Project

I have been very quiet with my Gym Project lately. It does not mean that I do not exercise. I am just using the same passes that give me access to the same gym more than once, therefore, I actually go to the gyms I have already rated.

This week I had my first experience with the very famous “hot yoga” class, commonly known as bikram yoga or prana power yoga. Unless you have some experience in yoga, don’t even think about it! You basically practice intermediate level yoga in a heated room. My initial curiosity was easily satisfied but not fulfilled. I entered the super heated room just five minutes before the beginning to get used to it. It wasn’t really fun, I have to say. The promotional copy on their website: an experience that leaves you feeling awake and aware, energized and revitalized, and cleansed and calm, can’t change my mind. After 90 minutes, I felt exercised but also too hot and dehydrated. I was feeling fine the following day with some tight muscles in my stomach.

Prana Power Yoga school. Address: 862 broadway st 2nd floor (at 17th st)new york ny 10003, phone: 212.460.YOGA, 212.460.9642. email:

Score card

: 5/10. The space is small. The reception hall is also a changing room (you can also change in the exercise room). There are only two toilets and NO showers. This is unacceptable. After spending 90 minutes in a room with 20 people and in 95 degrees, you definitely need to take a shower afterwards. Not to mention that you have to pay for the use of the mat, the towel and the bottle of water! The class costs $17 and you add $1 for each of the above. Is that a good deal? No!!!

Variety of classes: 8/10. This is a specialized school so all classes are the same. The only thing that changes is their duration. You can get a 60min, 75min or 90min in the mornings, afternoons or evenings.

Rate of difficulty: 9/10. Although I don’t have a reference point because this was the very first class (and last one), I find it challenging and uncomfortable. I don't see the point of it. Doing power yoga in a heated room (95F), it's a very weird experience. You sweat a lot and feel dehydrated. And you don’t want to go back again. At least, not me.