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Test-driving the every-day Lamborghini


It’s 80 degrees in Indian Wells, Calif., which makes sense because it’s 9am in March. This is the desert, of course, where everything is hot. And in a minute, or, actually, 3.2 seconds, things are going to get hotter. We’re standing in the brick driveway of the La Quinta Resort & Club, courtesy of Waldorf Hotels and Resorts, surrounded by attractive hacienda-style buildings and a riot of pink, white and red flowers. But all anyone can see is blue. And yellow. And black. Three 2017 Lamborghini Huracán Spyders and one Coupe, each as jagged and edgy as the nearby Santa Rosa mountains, await drivers.

I am one.

Read complete story on Observer.comA Spyder at Coachella

A Corpse Flower Grows in the Bronx

The Corpse Flower at NYBG

The ultimate pop-up happened last week in The Bronx: A giant misshapen phallus bloomed. The spectacle lasted Thursday afternoon to Saturday, and attracted thousands of visitors to the New York Botanical Garden, some seduced by the rarity: The NYBG hasn’t had an erection like this one, growing from 22 inches to more than six feet in 10 days, since 1939.

Some were inspired by the Gilmore Girls trailer: Rory Gilmore searched, and so did they. Most visitors, however, were enticed by the smell. The phallus is part of a titan arum (Amorphophallus titanium), a tropical plant as famous for its gigantism, unpredictability and ephemeral nature as it is for its stench. You probably know it as the corpse flower, so called for its famed malodor, said to mimic that of rotting flesh.

Read complete story at Observer.comThe Big Stink: A Corpse Flower Grows in the Bronx

The Best Part of Pokémon Go Is Not What You Think

Across the street from The Plaza.
The launch of Pokémon Go on July 6 was insignificant for me. I have no connection to the creatures or the trading cards. I do not play video games. Hearing of people walking into highways and bodies of water while playing did nothing to incite my interest. Then my brother began playing with our nephews. They’re six and eight. Watching their amazement was exciting. The digital world made real. Within minutes they’d each caught one.
Three days later I had an appointment across town, requiring significant walking and a bus. It was time. After downloading the app I quickly appreciated how many Pokémon Go users there are, as no variation of my name was available. I consulted a menu, avoiding the most obvious words. Not available: sunchoke, mackerel, tangerine, tagliatelle. Wow. I settled on bitterlettuces, then created my avatar. I was ready to go. I knew none of the rules.
Read complete story at Observer.comThe Best Part of Pokémon Go Is Not What You Think


Rickshaws, Ridesharing and the Return of the Trolley!

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NYC Transit Museum image

Established infrastructure—buses, subways—moves pretty much everyone around this city. Accordingly, big investments in transportation, like the $300 million, 14-mile, Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard north-south bus route, are important. But the city and its residents have long known less traditional, more nimble, gap-filling services are important too, especially as jobs and residences expand to transportation deserts. The last mile, that too-long walk to the closest station, is a problem that could be solved with a variety of alternatives.

The city, according to a staffer, is open to many of them. Slamming the proverbial doors inhibits growth. The money, literally, is in the creation of trips and economic activity that would not happen otherwise. Extra capacity and extra seats are great, but imagine a Soundview, Bronx resident who can work in south Brooklyn and enjoy Rockaway Beach because of a ferry priced like other Metropolitan Transportation Authority alternatives ($2.75). This winter the city issued a request for proposals for a manager of a five-borough ferry system. Expected annual ridership of 4.6 million isn’t quite 2014’s weekday subway transportation of 5.6 million people, but it’s a significant fraction nonetheless. People gotta move.

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You’re Probably Drinking Your Rosé Wrong

Jean-François Ott @ Aldo After Dark

“The glass is as important as the wine itself,” Aldo Sohm, wine director of Le Bernardin (15,000 bottles), told the Observer. It’s 10pm at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar (200 bottles; 40 by the glass), the exquisite, casual spot he opened with chef Eric Ripert last fall. And it’s lively, to say the least. Chef’s here, wine bloggers and writers there, work friends and couples in between, cared for by expert staff, and –tonight only- holding glasses filled by Jean-François Ott. Yes that Ott. Jean-François is a great-grandson of Marcel Ott. He’s circulating a double magnum (four bottles and a giant party in each one) of his family’s 2014 Chateau Romassan Rose ($26 per glass). And everyone’s in.

Read complete story on You’re Probably Drinking Your Rosé Wrong

2,000 Pound Aerial Art Looms Over Boston

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courtesy of Shawmut Design and Construction

Boston-based sculptor Janet Echelman, recipient of the 2014 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts, was selected from a pool of 97 artists to create an installation for her hometown. On display from May to October 2015 in the city's Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway park, “As If It Were Already Here” is a 2,000-pound, half-acre-sized aerial sculpture made of hand-sliced rope and more than half a million knots.

And all it took to install was one 190-ton crane, five 60-ton cranes and 50 people at a time for 20 hours.

Read complete storyand see excellent mini slideshow and installation time-lapse video at InteriorDesign.netJanet Echelman's Massive Aerial Art Looms Over Boston

NYC and Landlords are Going Green

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Spring at The New York Botanical Garden

The word “green” means different things to different people. For many developers and building owners, it’s what fills their pockets. But if you’re an environmentalist, it means something else entirely. However, sustainability is now officially poised to affect everyone in real estate. Last September Mayor Bill de Blasio committed New York City to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. That means it’s time for the industry to reconsider their favorite color.

Continue reading "NYC and Landlords are Going Green" »

The Ever Changing Face of Times Square

image from the clock approached midnight on Dec. 31, 1903, a tradition was born: a New Year’s Eve bash at the intersection of Seventh Avenue, Broadway and 42nd Street, then known as Longacre Square.

The year 1904 began with fireworks from the roof of the in-construction new headquarters of The New York Times: 1475 Broadway (the first ball drop was 1907/1908). At the time, the 25-story 1475 Broadway was among the tallest in the city, and the world. A few months later the city renamed the intersection and the soon-to-open subway station below for the building (and business) above: Times Square.

“This is the Great White Way, theatrical center of America and wonder of the out-of-towner. Here midnight streets are more brilliant than noon, their crowds on ordinary evenings exceeding those of large town carnivals,” reads The WPA Guide to New York City, in 1939.

Last month the city announced a record 56.4 million visitors in 2014.

Read complete story on Get With the Times: The Ever Changing Face of Times Square

Downtown Developers Are Keeping an Eye On the Water

A few days after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 Jonathan Resnick was at 199 Water Street, assessing. “It was the Wild West down there,” he recalled. Eight-million gallons of water; disaster recovery experts randomly handing out cards; building owners and tenants trying to make sense of it all. “There was a real feeling of helplessness. There was nothing to do but stand, arms crossed, watching the water flow.”

New federal flood maps, expected to take effect in 2016, will place some 71,500 New York City buildings—532 million square feet of interior space—in the 1 percent annual chance floodplain, the majority of which are in Zone A, where waves above three feet are not expected.

Read complete story on Downtown Developers Are Keeping an Eye On the Water

You Can Now Build a Multi-Million Dollar Home via Your iPad

HBThere are apps for real estate sales, apps for paint color, apps for arranging furniture, and apps for making the best use of natural light. But until now, there was no app for that most fundamental process of homesteading: creating a new one from scratch. In the coming weeks Al Hamra Real Estate Development will unveil its all-inclusive Home Builder app.
All you need is an iPad and five million UAE Dirham ($1.36 million), to start. Swipe and spend has never been so elite.

Continue reading "You Can Now Build a Multi-Million Dollar Home via Your iPad" »