The third day of our vacation was more of a transition day than anything else. The day started early, very early. We woke up at around 6am and then left the hotel at around 7:30 am and caught the subway to the airport. The nearly 1.5 hour subway ride, really cut into our 9:35 am board time, especially since the trains had to be rerouted. In fact, after all the customs work, we just made it to our terminal with a few minutes to spare before the gate was closed. Whww, disaster averted!
The one hour flight was faster than it would take for us to catch the shuttle from JFK International Airport to our hotel in the Theater District. The shuttle ride was nearly 3 hours long, and at times, it felt like we were going in circles. When we reached Hotel Mela, I was pleasantly surprised to find that we were situated right in the heart of Times Square on 44th street. Times Square is literally a few steps away from our boutique hotel. Awesome!
Having missed breakfast, both me and Michelle were starved. On the recommendation of a few of my Twitter followers, we stopped at the Shake Shack on 44th street (how convenient!). The place was packed to the max. They say that this is the closest thing the East Coast has to In-N-Out. I had the ShakeShack Burger and Michelle had the ‘Shroom Burger. Both were out of this world good. They were both really, really, really good burgers. But at the end of the day, I still have to say that Hodad’s in San Diego is still my favorite burger destination on Earth. Still, a very good burger.
After that we ventured around Times Square for a little bit and did some shopping. Michelle found a Sanrio Luxe store and she was engaged for a good 30 minutes. Sanrio, she loves to buy that stuff for her friends.
Bryant Park was filled to the brim with New Yorkers and tourists alike. Every nook and cranny of the park was being utilized for something, from the ping pong table to the carrousel to the petangue area. If I lived in New York, I could absolutely see myself copping a chair, coffee in hand Â and reading a book for hours at a time.
Once we had our fill of Bryant Park, we walked to both the Chrysler Building and then the Empire State Building. There’s something about the art deco design of The Empire State Building that draws me to it. I love the architecture of that building – it’s stunning, much like NYC.
Before we headed back to Hotel Mela, we stopped by the flagship Macy’s store on 34th Street in Herald’s Square. This is the world’s largest department store, and with 10 extensive floors, I believe it. In fact, the first floor was so large that it alone was overwhelming for the two of us. In fact, overwhelming might be an understatement.
NYC Neighborhoods Visited: Upper West Side, Central Park, Midtown West, Midtown East, Upper East Side, Theater District
We kicked off our morning by stopping at the famed Barney Greengrass for breakfast. This spot came highly recommend by Anthony Bourdain so it was a must visit. Located on the Lower West Side, Barney Greengrass is famous for their sturgeon and salmon, so you know what I had to get for breakfast – sturgeon and salmon! The dish that I ordered featured nice portions of both sturgeon and Nova Scotia salmon as well as big serving of scrambled eggs and a perfectly toasted bagel on the side. Both the sturgeon and the salmon are served cold. I’ve never eaten salmon with eggs for breakfast before, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Coupled with the bagel covered in cream cheese, this unique New York breakfast made for a pleasant surprise. After eating my meal I proclaimed that I could eat this dish every day for breakfast for the rest of my life and be happy.
After the amazing breakfast at Barney Greengrass, we ventured off to explore Central Park. Explore might be an overstatement because Central Park is so large that it is almost impossible to explore its entirety in one visit. So we staked out 5 areas of Central Park that we had to see, including Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare Garden, Graywacke Arch, Bethesda Fountain, and Strawberry Fields. We spent about 3 hours inside of Central Park, but, we were able to see everything we wanted to see, and then some. My favorite area of the park by far was Bethesda Fountain – the size of this Central Park attraction is incredible.
While walking along the Lower West Side we spotted this awesome bus of kindness.
That’s me at the top of Belvedere Castle and overlooking Central Park and the Lower East Side.
While exploring Central Park, we went from West to East, and by the end of the park we had reached the busiest area of 5th Avenue. Apple’s flagship glass cube store had an outrageous line outside. For what you ask? The iPhone 4. Yep, nearly a month after its release, people are still standing in crazy lines to get their hands on one. Nuts.
The big piano in FAO Schwartz was another must visit destination, but alas, there were just too many kids clamoring to jump on those giant piano keys. It’s okay though, I had a chance to play chopsticks ala Tom Hanks from Big, the last time I was there.
Leaving 5ht avenue, we made a stop at Dylan’s Candy Box. I’ve never been here before so when I stepped inside this over-the-top candy store, I was blown away. They seriously have every candy you could ever want. And that was just the first floor. I was dumbfounded when I found out that they had two more floors of candy loving goodness. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Dylan’s Candy Box is a must visit destination in New York City.
Just a block from Dylan’s Candy Box was a restaurant that I had been wanting to visit for quite some time, Serendipity 3. Now, I’ve experienced the Serendipity magic once before in Las Vegas, but, there’s nothing like visiting the original. All I wanted was the Frozen Hot Chocolate but we ended up ordering some lunch as well. The Frozen Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate (I changed my mind and went with Peanut Butter instead of straight up chocolate) was amazing. The only thing about Serendipity 3 is the ridiculous wait time. If you do decide to make a stop at Serendipity 3 I recommend that you check in and then venture off to Dylan’s Candy Box to burn some time. But whatever you do, order the Frozen Hot Chocolate.
Before I had my Frozen Hot Chocolate, I had a Ftatateetaâ€™s Toast. It was pretty awesome.
By the time we finished up at Serendipity 3, it was about 4 pm. We decided to catch a taxi to Rockefeller Center to purchase tickets to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, especially since it was raining and we had done a lot of walking already during the day. We chose the Top of the Rock over the Empire State Building because both me and Michelle checked out the Empire the last time we were each here. After we grabbed our tickets, we headed back to our hotel to rest for a bit and freshen up for the evening.
At this point of the day, my feet were killing me! I can’t tell you how good it feels to kick off my shoes after a long day of walking and trekking. Needless to say, the two hour rest was much needed. Much needed! But there was still a few hours left in the day so we decided to make the best of it. Unfortunately, it started to rain so out came the umbrellas. The first stop was the Top of the Rock. For $20 you get a nice, 360 degree view of New York City, from three different levels. The brightly lit city is definitely something to gawk at. Ironically, the most obvious structure noticeable at the Top of the Rock is the Empire State Building.
Carmine’s was our dinner destination. It’s a family style Italian restaurant with very large portions. Michelle and I ordered the chicken marsala. For dessert, we headed back to the Shake Shack on 44th for the chocolate custard and chocolate shake. Decadence is our middle name.
After dinner we again explored Times Square. At night, Times Square is such a busy beast. Navigating the waves of people and yellow taxis is all part of the experience. And what an experience it has been so far!
New York based art design firm, MyORB, recently released their Stop Honking tee in hopes of reducing the daily noise pollution caused by irate (and some not so irate) drivers. I visited New York three summers ago and I can tell you first hand that honking is part of the culture there. All of the honking initially came to me as quite a shock, considering that I am from Hawaii and honking is basically taboo here. If you honk in Hawaii you get labelled as the ass. Having said that, I rather enjoy honking here on the islands because I feel that, frankly, more people should honk when honking is necessary.
The Stop Honking T-Shirts from MyORB is “meant to be worn as an active call for car drivers to stop honking.” However, I’m pretty sure that this tee will have an inverse effect. I guarantee that every lunatic driver that sees this shirt will do one thing, and that one thing is honk their horn. They’ll honk their horn with such vivid enthusiasm that the shirt will be relegated to the cultural bin of ineffective products. Still, cool concept and in the end, if you want to annoy honkers then this is the shirt to get. Stop Honking is available now from MyORB for $15.
Looking for an alternative to those I Heart NY tees? Look no further than the Manhattan based indie clotihng brand, Only NY. This NYC streetwear brand has been around since 1997 and heavily feature the Empire State in their designs. Below you’ll find a few of their typographic tees, but they also do graphic illustration designs as well. The tees range from in price from $25 to $32.
“ONLY NY INC. is an independent brand based out of the West side of Manhattan that offers quality goods, released in limited quantity. By combining innovative design with quality apparel, ONLY NY strives to create classic, timeless clothing. Since 1997 we have been heavily involved with NYC’s underground street culture. From years of skateboarding & writing graffiti, to sporting old school Polo and North Face, ONLY NY Embodies our roots and has been 10 years in the making. Our brand represents the hood to Park Ave. and everything in between. If you’re down with New York, your down with ONLY NY.”
Our favorite custom leather belt designer and purveyor of fanciful T-Shirts, Jon Wye, has released a new line of tees and has opened up shop in what some argue to be the greatest city in the world, New York City. Â The new line features some wonderful and witty illustrations featuring everything from ants and robots to squirrels and the ever wonderful weasel. He also has expanded his Pirate Chef line, which is a welcome surprise (i’ve always been a fan of it). Raise your hand if your think Jon should turn Wonder Weasel into the next great animated series.
The new tees can be had at prices starting from $25 but you can save some cash this TODAY (Tuesday) if you use the code “CyberMon” at checkout (you get 20% off your entire order). The money saving deals last all week long too:
Cyber Tuesday: 20% off
Cyber Wednesday: reduced to 15% off
Cyber Thursday: reduced to 10% off until Saturday Dec 5th at midnight
In other news, Jon Wye, is now available in a brick and mortar shop in the heart of NYC at Bryant Park. “Weâ€™ve built an entire store that looks just like a classic library, complete with FAKE deer head, real working fireplace, bar, red leather high wing back chair, and custom built furniture in a classic library style.” If I was in NYC I’d definitely stop by and say hi! I have to say that the set-up looks totally amazing and luxurious to boot! And that wall of belts is pure awesomeness.
I usually try and keep pen tips away from my shirts as much as possible to prevent ugly pen streak marks. But this shirt from Markertees are all about bringing the pen tip to the cotton. So your t-shirts can transform into whatever mood you’re feeling for any particular day. A marker is included with every shirt and the drawing disappears after every wash. Pick up a Markertee now for $28.90.
The second episode of the scheduled five this is week is here and it features an up-and-coming brand based out of New York, New York, Skilla Fashion. I review Power of Peace, a limited edition shirt, from Skilla Fashion. And if you’re wondering what the heck “Skilla” means, well, you’ll have to watch on to find out!
How many of you think I’ll survive to finish all five episodes of Co-Tee TV this week? I honestly don’t know how I will manage – but as they say (who is THEY anyway) – we’ll see!
You can also watch this episode on Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube, blip.tv and download and sync all episodes to your iPod or iPhone by subscribing for free to Co-Tee TV in the iTunes Store.
Power of Peace by Skilla Fashion.Pros: Excellent custom packaging, shirts come wrapped in tissue paper. Package included extra goodies like Skilla Fashion buttons and stickers. Shirt is screen printed in three different areas: front, back and inner neck. Shirts are tagless for itch free comfort. Not sure what brand blank was used but the shirt fit well and felt great. Comes with a hangtag for a professional touch. Nice, large multi-colored print. If you are into streetwear/urbanwear than Skilla Fashion will probably appeal to you.Â Cons: Nothing really, I was really impressed by the product that Skilla Fashion sent me, from the packing to the shirt itself. If you dig this style of clothing then you’ll probably want to check out the rest of the Skilla Fashion line.Â Price: $20.00
I definitely have to pick up this tee for my sister because she absolutely insists on collecting as many “I Heart X” tees as cities I can visit. Her collection is growing at a rapid pace so much so that maybe a quarter of her closet is filled with this tourist staple. The Go Heart Your Own City tee was made for her! It’s printed on a 100% cotton tee and is an exclusive re-release by Reason Clothing. These are extremely limited and are numbered 1 to 48. The cost? Definitely not the standard tourist street price. A I Heart NY tee will set you back 5 bucks, this limited print will cost you $36.Â
I spotted this tee over at Direct Daily, a blog about direct marketing and engaging advertising. It was a T-Shirt that was passed out to interns at the prestigious New York based advertising agency JWT. The shirt featured silkscreened sweet stains and dirt and were given out at the beginning of the internship. It served as an eye opener to the interns as to how hard they were expected to work. It kind of reminds me of college hazing, but hey, I like it!
“JWT New York had a grueling 10-week summer internship for creatives. They were given daily projects and made to work long hours and weekends. To prepare them for the intense experience, they were given t-shirts with silkscreen-printed sweat stains and rips that resembled whip marks. “No interns were actualy harmed. Honest.”
This week’s Indie Tee Spotlight is a treat! I had the opportunity to chat with the ladies (and fellas as I learned) that run 410 BC. It’s such an awesome milestone since this marks the first time I’ve actually got to interview women for Indie Tee Spotlight and actually get the female perspective on the t-shirt business. Mike from 410 BC also gets to add in his two cents here and there!
If you’re not familiar with 410 BC then you should be. This indie brand based out of New York is a clothing brand that is truly an artist collective, having collaborated with many talented artists and sponsored some amazing musicians.
Interestingly, the 410 BC brand name refers to monumental date in which Democracy was restored in Athens. 410 BC strives to stray from the norm and produce quality garments with ethical consumerism in mind. For more information on 410 BC, be sure to check out this video review I did of Skate Wolf, a tee from one of 410 BC’s older lines.Â
Coty: What’s the story behind 410 BC, when and how did you ladies hook up? What prompted you to start your own clothing brand?
Nicole: We started 410 BC in our first year of college, but initially we were just designing and screen printing shirts by hand. It was something we did completely for fun, just to make unique clothes for our friends and ourselves. A lot of people loved what we were doing and that’s when the business really took root.
Victoria: What prompted me to get involved with the brand was that I really loved the fact that 410 BC is an artist collective. I saw right away what a unique opportunity it was. I think that 410 BC is very different from a lot of what is out there and that’s why it couldn’t just stay a hobby.
Coty: 410 BC seems to be a dominating force in the primarily male driven indie clothing industry. What were some of the earlier challenges that you all encountered during the early days of 410BC?
Nicole: The biggest challenge we faced was definitely being in college full time and running a business. When 410 BC started to grow and a lot of people showed an interest in what we were doing, it got really tough balancing everything. I’d have a 30-page paper due and Rachel would be studying for some crazy econ exam and then we’d get all these orders. Luckily we had other people to help out, people who are an integral part of 410 BC today.
Rachel: Just what Nicole said, that was definitely the hardest obstacle we faced in the beginning. Without the help from our friend Jillian, Victoria, Nicole’s brother Mike, my sister, and all our friends who helped 410 BC grow and make it what it is, I don’t know where we’d be. But that’s one of my favorite things, is that we are a group. There’s nothing better than working with your family and friends. I do want to add though that in a lot of ways being in college helped 410 BC more than anything, especially in terms of networking. In terms of being a brand that was started by women, that has only helped us as well. Women have a great deal of influence in the economy as consumers, especially in retail. We have a large female customer base that appreciates the fact that 410 BC isn’t completely run by men. I think we’re very balanced because we work with an equal amount of men and women and we’re not just catering to one gender.
Coty: You’ve just released the new 410 BC Spring 2009 Collection. What is it about this new collection that has got you excited?
Mike: I like this collection because it’s very cohesive and I just dig all the designs in general.
Nicole: I like how these designs are more simple and classic. We kind of went back to our roots with this. Also having more color options!
Coty: What’s your favorite piece from the new collection?
Nicole: Either the Loose Lips Sink Ships tee or the mythical beast Unicorn tee.
Mike: Save Me From Technology and all the script logo tees.
Rachel: I really like everything, but I’m mostly excited for the “Polis” line that’s coming out on April 10th.