April 10, 2012

Jane's Carousel: JANE WALENTAS

The downtown Brooklyn waterfront has been graced with the addition of a restored historic carousel, perfectly positioned in DUMBO’s Brooklyn Bridge Park beneath the bridge and the famous NYC skyline. The restoration of the carousel was conceived by architect Ben Thompson, who was tasked to design the Brooklyn Bridge park in the early 1980's, but the project was embraced and led by Jane Walentas. Wife of David Walentas, the real estate mogul recognized for developing and establishing the DUMBO neighborhood, Jane left her own, outstanding mark on DUMBO by lending her artistic vision and management experience to the carousel restoration. The original structure was created in 1922, the "heyday of the American carousel," and was situated in Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio. Jane and David purchased the carousel at an auction in 1984, preventing the structure from being sold off piecemeal, and set in the new environs of Brooklyn, New York. Now, Jane’s Carousel hosts 48 stunning horses and 2 chariots, with additional scenic panels, boards, and poles refurbished from the original. The carousel is set in a glass structure designed by Jean Nouvel, providing stunning views of the waterfront, Brooklyn Bridge, NYC skyline, and Brooklyn Bridge Park (again and again and again). It has rightfully earned the distinction as the first carousel in the National Register of Historic Places. Although some lament Brooklyn's transformation into "strollerville" (or a new Upper West Side), the carousel is not just for kids and families. It is an iconic symbol of childhood, captivating kids, parents, and everyone in between.

If you’re one of those New Yorkers who calls himself a New Yorker but has never been to Brooklyn – well, here’s your excuse!


March 30, 2012

Yoke: JEFF REVESZ

Jeff Revesz doesn't mess around. Riding the Silicon Alley wave as a talented programmer, Jeff succeeded in selling his first product, Adaptive Semantics, to the Huffington Post in 2010 at age 25. Jeff's next big hit, the new Facebook dating app, Yoke, has hit the NY tech start up scene by storm, receiving nods from every notable business and tech blog within the past few weeks (check them out for yourself on TechCrunchBusiness Insider, and Mashable). After meeting former QuestionNYaire feature, Rob Fishman, at the Huffington Post, Jeff and Rob combined their skills to cook up a new project: virtual matchmaking. Yoke is designed to mimic the way people "get together," through friends and shared interests. The app requires little effort on the part of the participant - just an active internet identity. Yoke draws from online personality definers such as Netflix, Amazon and Spotify accounts to pinpoint areas of interests and triangulate matches based on fundamental information shared on Facebook (education, age, relationship status) as well as mutual friends. Those in a relationship can also utilize the app to suggest matches for their friends!

Yoke is a brand new, awesome way to lose hours on Facebook. We approve.

January 12, 2012

The Jane Dough: HILLARY REINSBERG

As two women who work in the business world, we're no strangers to the uneven balance of female presence in our office environments. That said, our day jobs afford us the privilege of working among many talented women who transcend these odds to achieve new levels of success. And when we're not experiencing their efforts first-hand, we're reading about them on The Jane Dough, our go-to site for coverage and commentary on women in business. The Jane Dough "celebrates women who have found success, dissects how powerful women are treated in the media and applauds forward-thinking companies," and the site's personal voice and conviction offer a unique edge to the content that is covered, all thanks to the strong team behind it: Publisher and Founder Dan Abrams, Managing Editor Amy Tennery, and Associate Editor (and our Question(NY)aire feature!) Hillary Reinsberg. Hillary has been involved with The Jane Dough since the site's conception, bringing her expert writing skills and extensive background in journalism to the team - her previous experience includes positions at Crushable, Daily Candy, NY1, and New York Magazine.

Male or female, we encourage you to check out The Jane Dough for your daily dose of business intrigue.

December 18, 2011

Pencils of Promise: ADAM BRAUN

Adam Braun has witnessed first hand the transformative power of a pencil. Pencils of Promise (PoP) is founded on the conviction that “education is a basic human right,” and since its inception in 2008, PoP has brought over 40 schools to communities in Laos, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. In addition to providing the physical structure of a school, PoP creates and guides a full educational experience through an all-encompassing approach: Identify, Build, Support, Hire, and Monitor. The success of the organization is inspiring, and it goes without saying that Braun’s personal efforts to execute and sustain his idea is astounding. Oh, and did we mention that PoP has received nods from an extensive celebrity list ranging from Justin Bieber to Desmond Tutu? The Biebs committed $1 for every ticket sold on the second half of his “My World” U.S. Tour to PoP. You do the math.

Learn how to get involved with PoP here. It only takes $25 to educate one child

November 20, 2011

Lerer Ventures: STEVE SCHLAFMAN

New York City’s Silicon Alley has claimed a place among the ranks of top tech-hubs across the country such as Boston, Dallas, Seattle, and of course, its namesake and the “mothership”, Silicon Valley. While each of these start-up communities boasts its own set of advantages, Silicon Alley benefits from New York’s buzz and density people, which, in the past few years, has played into the hands of the social media phenomenon. Yet in many ways, the most important feature of any tech boom-town is the availability of funds. Enter: the venture capital firm. Steve Schlafman is a principal investor at one of these firms, Lerer Ventures, which focuses on funding companies in the “seed-stage”. That is, Lerer trudges through the weeds of all start-up hopefuls to find entrepreneurs with “product vision, consumer insight, focused execution, and unwavering ambition.” Although he is now in the position of the lender, Steve is no stranger to the experience on the other side of the table. His work experience spans from startups such as Stickybits and Turntable.fm, to more traditional environments such as The Kraft Group and Microsoft.
 
And what’s in Lerer’s portfolio these days? Just so happens they were one of the VC’s that took a stake in GroupMe (prior Q-naire feature, recently aquired by Skype), as well as other awesome hits like: Dispatch, Hipster, Yoke, and Venmo. Previous investments that have already made it big include: the Huffington Post, Paperless Post, Thrillist, and Business Insider.

October 18, 2011

Scott's Pizza Tours: SCOTT WIENER

NYC Pizza Expert Scott Wiener embraced his obsession with the popular Italian dish on tour with his rock band, where he kept track of every slice he ate on the road. When his journal of notable slices evolved into several volumes, Scott embarked on a separate quest to track patterns in pizzeria offerings by researching pizza history to better understand the "pizza universe." By "research," we mean filling his car with friends and a goal to visit as many pizzerias as possible. These day trips became so popular that his friends and colleagues wanted pizzeria-hopping to become a regular activity—in an organized fashion, by foot and by bus. With a NYC sightseeing license in tow, Scott's Pizza Tours has been running tours of pizzerias for the last three and a half years, and he has been recognized by NBC, the Daily News, AM New York, Fox News, and the Discovery Channel. 

Call us “cheesy” all you want, but we think that Scott’s Pizza Tours was fated to roam NYC, paying homage to one of the city’s greatest offerings: its pizza. Treat yourself to one of his fun and filling tours—we recommend the Greenwich Village Pizza Walk.

October 5, 2011

Refinery 29: ANNIE GEORGIA GREENBERG

Annie Georgia Greenberg is a name to know in NYC—you heard it here first!  Ok, fine—we’re a bit biased because she’s a good friend of ours, but as the newly on-boarded New York editor of popular fashion editorial-site Refinery29, we expect for her name to be dropped in many a blog, magazine, or line at an exclusive VIP event in the upcoming months. Annie graduated from Barnard this past May with a degree in English & Creative writing (she’s a very skilled poet), and despite her rigorous academic schedule, her extensive experience in the fashion editorial industry is impressive: she’s worked for Nylon Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, Vogue’s Department of Special Events, and Lucky Magazine, and her new role at Refinery 29 really brings her full circle in the industry—after all, Annie used to work as an intern for them when the site first launched a few years ago. Now, with Refinery’s rapidly growing acclaim and audience, Annie’s influence will surely captivate the “fashionista” masses for years to come.

Annie has managed to find a job that highlights both her strengths and her interests—she is gifted with words, has a great sense of humor, and most importantly a keen AND resourceful sense of style. Be sure to check out her posts here.
Photo Credit: Sam James

September 21, 2011

Chef: ANGELO SOSA

We were first introduced to Angelo Sosa on Top Chef Season 7, where episode after episode he was praised for his innovative creativity, impeccable technique, and adventurous flavor combinations. Despite dominating nearly every challenge of the season, Angelo failed to score the championship title because he fell ill (see: "Most embarrassing Top Chef moment?below). However, our disappointment was relieved when he returned months later to compete for the Top Chef: All Stars title. Spoiler alert: he didn’t win, but he still proved himself as one of the top contestants, and his departure from the show left us longing to experience more of his culinary talents. Luckily for us (and for our blog), Angelo’s restaurant Social Eatz launched in NYC this Spring. At Social Eatz, one can indulge in some tasty, high-end, Asian bar food, and lucky visitors can also catch a glimpse of the talented chef himself (we did—it was awesome). Angelo has spent his career working in a diversity of restaurants from his early days at the Ocean Club restaurantDunein the Bahamas, to Jean Georges in New York City, Spice Market in the Meatpacking District, and Yumcha in the West Village. Now Angelo has turned his efforts to building reputation as a restaurant consultant--his client list already includes big names such as Stephen Starr's Buddakan, Morimoto, and Alain Ducasse's Spoon Food & Wine in Paris.

Prepare your forks and knives for the Top Chef extraordinaire, Angelo Sosa; we expect he'll be feeding New Yorkers for years to come.

August 10, 2011

NY1 Sports: PRIYA DESAI

Priya Desai is modest about admitting what sets her apart from her peers in sports journalism, even though she’s a certifiable trailblazer in her industry as the first South Asian female sports broadcaster. From a small town outside of St. Louis called Edwardsville, Priya traces her love of sports, particularly football, to the “very Friday Night Lights” community. She attended Indiana University, one of the Big 10 schools where she became an aspiring sports professional. As a journalism major, Priya worked on the IU newspaper, covering the drama when legendary coach Bobby Knight was fired, and then the excitement the following year when the basketball team went to the championship game. She began her career at the bottom and tenaciously worked her way up, scoring an internship in NYC at College Sports Television (CSTV), where her boss suggested she pursue a position at big-time local news station, NY1, “And the rest,” she jokes, “is sports history.”

Now a sports broadcaster at NY1, Priya contributes to breaking all sorts of glass ceilings in a male-dominated industry, and keeps climbing the ladder by playing to her strengths and by being just plain... awesome.
Photo credit: Chad Heird



July 28, 2011

Comedian: SUE GALLOWAY

"Girls aren't funny." If you've heard it once, you've heard it many times, along with girls "can't drive" and Lawrence Summers' favorite, "don't do math/science." As two females who often crack each other up (and know many outstanding female drivers and mathematician/scientists), we figured we'd do our gender a solid by featuring one of the funniest people we know--rather, watch on TV and then stalked: Sue Galloway. Sue has successfully navigated the NYC comedy scene, and proven repeatedly that women can in fact be funny, if not hilarious. She is a regular at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (UCB), a freelance joke writer for SNL's Weekend Update, and an actress on NBC's comedy sensation, 30 Rock (created by fellow funny-gal Tina Fey, who also stars in the show). Playing the role of the French-Dutch, suspected nymphomaniac Sue LaRoche-Van der Hout, Sue has made a name for herself on TV in addition to the top comedic outposts in NYC. She also writes and stars in her own clever and wacky webseries, Namedroppers, which we encourage you to watch, along with the other videos available on her website, described by Sue as, "The corn kernels spurting out of a giant silo. Delicious. Breathtaking. Unique. Yellowish."

Showing up to settle the gender score is the quirky and awesome Sue Galloway at her finest.
Photo credit: Robyn Von Swank.


July 24, 2011

Sketch Comedy Troupe: HARVARD SAILING TEAM

Despite stormy weather and tumultuous waves, the Harvard sailing team prevailed for the third consecutive year, defeating Princeton and winning the Ivy League championship regatta. Just kidding! That didn’t happen. Or maybe it did—but it doesn’t matter, because we’re profiling  the Harvard Sailing Team, the hilarious and awesome NYC sketch comedy troupe, not to be confused with the prestigious university’s athletic team. We were first introduced to HST when nymag.com featured their satirical viral video duo, Boys Will Be Girls and Girls Will Be Boys, and since then we’ve been hooked on their comedy, showing off their collection of videos as part of our online video repertoire. The group--Jen Curran, Rebecca Delgado Smith, Clayton Early, Faryen Einhorn, Katie Larsen, Adam Lustick, Billy Scafuri, Chris Smith, and Sara Taylor—first met while studying together at NYU, but it was only post-graduation that Chris and Billy (who had started writing together) formed the team, who have since won the 2011 Nightlife Award, the Friars Club Sketch Competition, and the ECNY and INNY awards.  

So if a comedy troupe that bonded through a collective affinity for argyle intrigues you (how could it not?), read on--and be sure to or check out their videos online and their weekly show at the People’s Improv Theater (PIT).

Photo credit: Eric Michael Pearson


July 18, 2011

Fashion Photographer: BEN FINK SHAPIRO

Ben Fink Shapiro perceives the world through the lens of photography. In fact, he jokingly admits that while his memory for names may falter, he never forgets a face in a picture he's taken--proof (we think) that his camera is a natural extension of his mind. Originally from Cincinnati, Ben discovered a talent for photography as a teenager and developed his skills while at Vassar College, where he earned a BA in Media/Film Studies. After interning in and commuting to NYC for shoots throughout his time at Vassar, Ben moved to start his career here in the city post-graduation. Since, Ben’s work has been published in Elle, Vogue Mexico, QUEST, Q Mag, and FutureClaw, among others, and his fashion clients include Alexander Berardi, Alice + Olivia, Brunello Cucinelli, Metalskin NYC, Miguelina, RD International, Tibi, & Reece Hudson Handbags. Furthermore, his portfolio features some of our personal favorite celebrities: Adrian Grenier, Bob Saget, Chloe Sevigny, Rainn Wilson, and Rob Lowe.

Ben’s the real deal: his artistic eye, humor, and genuine appetite for photography set him apart, and as far as we can tell, he’ll be making people look beautiful for many years to come. See for yourself: Ben's Photo Diary.


June 21, 2011

Immaculate Infatuation: CHRIS STANG & ANDREW STEINTHAL

Chris Stang and Andrew Steinthal are of the opinion that, “In a city with so many great choices, is there any reason to eat mediocre food? No dice.” And we couldn’t agree more. Luckily for us—and for other hungry New Yorkers—Chris and Andrew founded the acclaimed foodie-website “Immaculate Infatuation” to air their fresh perspectives on NYC’s culinary world. In addition to capsule reviews and recommended dishes, Immaculate also presents other original content ranging from “Friday Fives” interviews, to “Infatuation TV”, to general features. Despite the site’s wild success and professionalism, Immaculate Infatuation is only an early morning/late-night hobby of Chris and Andrew’s; their days are spent pursuing careers in the music industry--Chris at Atlantic Records and Steinthal at Warner Bros. Records. However, their jobs often require them to entertain clients with a meal before a show, and so they developed a list of go-to’s and misses that they would recommend or warn against to a circle of friends. Now, with Immaculate, that circle of friends has grown to be enormous—and their credibility is hard to beat for diners looking for restaurants with the perfect balance of price, atmosphere, service, and food.

We take our hats off to blogger-professionals extraordinaires, Chris and Andrew, for bringing a hobby to a whole other level. We don’t remember how we ever chose restaurants before Immaculate Infatuation.
 

May 25, 2011

Gramercy Tavern: MICHAEL ANTHONY

Acclaimed chef Michael Anthony has bridged the divide between town and country in both his career and his cooking, innovating traditional “classics” with his contemporary and “New American” approach to the culinary world. Chef Anthony made a name for himself when he served as the executive chef at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns, in Westchester, NY, where he was introduced to the wonders of cooking with locally sourced, farmed ingredients. Now at our personal favorite NYC restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, Chef Anthony brings the freshest of food from local farmers to the chic Manhattan tables in Gramercy. However, it was through an international affair that Chef Anthony first realized his life direction--with degrees in Business, French, and Japanese form Indiana University, Chef Anthony began work in a Tokyo restaurant under chef Shizuyo Shima, where he was ultimately inspired to follow his talent and enroll in the renowned culinary school, Le Ferrandi, in Paris. After learning in some of Paris’ most esteemed kitchens, Chef Anthony returned to New York with stints at Daniel and March, and took over at Blue Hill Stone Barns in 2002.  In 2006, Anthony moved into business with restauranteur Danny Meyer, and took over the helm of Gramercy Tavern from chef Tom Colicchio. And if his windy road of accomplishments isn’t enough, in both 2008 and this year Chef Anthony was nominated for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in New York City chef among  impressive peers such as April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig, Wylie Dufresne of wd~50, Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune and Michael White of Marea. 

So, we are left with two questions: 1. Can we trade lives with Chef Anthony? and 2. When can he cook for us next?

May 4, 2011

New York City Ballet: JONATHAN STAFFORD

Jonathan Stafford knew he wanted to pursue ballet as a career when he was 15 years old during his first time in the audience at the New York City Ballet (NYCB), the renowned dance company where he is now a principal dancer. Originally from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Jonathan started dancing when he was 8 years old, and made the move to New York City when he was 17 to study at the School of American Ballet (SAB). A year later, he was invited to join the NYCB. Now, at 30, Jonathan is still dancing with NYCB, is a faculty member at SAB, and is also pursuing a degree in Organizational Leadership at Fordham University Lincoln Center. It is clear that Jonathan’s career will continue to lead him to new levels of success. And fun fact for all you Center Stage fans out there: Jonathan was in it.

Jonathan’s ambition and talent from a young age allowed him to make the cross over from the audience to the stage--which, if you think about it, is pretty much statistically impossible. Bravo!

Photo credit: Henry Leutwyler (c) 2010.
 

April 19, 2011

Joyride: LEV BRIE

The Joyride enterprise has hit the mark by combining the three things that almost every New Yorker regularly seeks: caffeine, convenience, and guilt-free sweets. Lev Brie, the founder of Joyride, first brought these essentials to the streets via foodtruck, offering highly delicious Stumptown Coffee, organic frozen yogurt,  and...drumroll, please... the world's first caffeinated fro-yo, "Buzzed" (genius, no?). The truck also offers other innovative menu options, such as the “Jeffrey Paul,”  a decadent coffee and espresso combo made with Stumptown's Hairbender roast and Mariebelle chocolate. Joyride has some of the friendliest staff of any food truck we’ve ever seen, and it is thoroughly “green” by diesel truck standards, using the “quietest, most efficient generator on the market,” as well as ice coffee cups that are bio-degradable and made of corn. Raised in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Lev has moved around quite a bit, and is a man of academics and business--he studied undergrad at Stanford and Columbia, earned a Masters in France at 'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, and started a PhD at the University of Chicago. After dabbling in tutoring and web design, Lev is now an owner of Endeavor Tutoring and Test Preparation, in addition to Joyride Trucks and its successful spinoff venture, Joyride Coffee Distributors. Joyride Coffee Distributors is the official supplier of Stumptown Coffee and is the first company to provide “third wave” coffee delivery at almost any location in NYC.

So, if walking to the truck at its daily locations to get your Buzz on is too strenuous, call 917.670.3314 to get Stumptown delivered to your office or next event. And don’t forget to nominate the Joyride truck for the Vendy Awards on streetvendor.org!
 

April 5, 2011

iWould: JON BUDISH

Modern times have brought almost every imaginable type of human interaction to the digital world--with a host of social media devices available, communication has become nearly inextricable from the Internet. After working in customer support and account management at the site most responsible for this digital trend, Facebook, Jon Budish’s inside scoop planted an idea that given the amount of time people spend on the site “Facebook-stalking” the profiles of their romantic interests, users should be able to connect with their crushes. And so, Jon created iWould, bemoaning: “Over and over, we witnessed people not ask someone out because of the risk of embarrassment from possible rejection...So we decided to try to fix this problem. We sought out to create a safe, easy, and most importantly, private, place to help people get past the awkwardness that is finding out if someone they like, likes them back.” iWould isn’t a dating site--it’s a Facebook application, a “complement to your existing life on Facebook,” explains Jon. After all, if you are already checking out the Facebook profiles of people you like, why not find out if they are checking you out, too?
 
So if you’re itching to know if your crush likes you back, give the app a try! You might find yourself pleasantly surprised...


February 15, 2011

Funologist: JESSICA HAMMER

“I’m a professional funologist!” exclaims Jessica Hammer, a PhD candidate in cognitive studies at Columbia University, when describing her career. Jessica develops games that help to change the way people think in order to overcome cognitive challenges and addictions. If you thought quitting smoking, exercising more, or managing anger had to be a painful process, Jessica hopes to prove you wrong. As a member of Columbia University’s Teachers College EGGPLANT Game Research Laboratory, and of the Creativity, Cognition and Learning research group, Jessica has presented her work at academically distinguished meetings in the US and internationally.  Prior to her time at Columbia, Jessica was a consultant and game designer, with a focus on serious games and social software. After graduating from Harvard University with a BA in Computer Science, she went on to earn her masters degree in Interactive Telecommunications from NYU. Jessica has since created the game design course sequence at Teachers College, which has turned out students who have produced award-winning games. If Jessica doesn’t seem busy enough to you already, you should know that in her free time she runs an experimental storytelling group in New York City.

With Jessica’s help, people will be able to change their lives by tackling the hardest issues in the most fun ways possible. Get ready to play the game of LIFE-- literally.

 

February 10, 2011

ALIOMI: CAROLYN PRIDE

It is no wonder that with 5 New Yorker’s at the helm of its success, fashion-site ALIOMI lives and breathes New York style. Carolyn Pride, ALIOMI’s Director of Operations, manages the development, design, operation, and improvement of the systems that create and deliver ALIOMI to the masses. Designed as a “street-couture fashion blog and online boutique that sells vintage, DIY, and resale pieces,” the site was founded a year ago by Carolyn’s high school pal, Naomi Bishop, and her college friend, Allison Sparkhul (“ALI”+”OMI”). The founders sought to incorporate Carolyn into the venture because of her solid background in market research and business development, as well as her enterprising and upbeat attitude. Carolyn is a formidable individual who contributes her wide-breadth of experience to the group; having attended Connecticut College (‘08), she not only played on the Varsity Basketball team, but also majored in Economics and Sociology, and was selected to study Economic Development at Hanoi University of Finance and Accounting. Carolyn has brought her business savvy, sense of humor, and boho-chic style since day 1, and ALIOMI has been on the rise ever since.

ALIOMI is just what every NY fashionite needs--be sure to visit the site to browse through their wonderful selection yourself (and if you're wondering who took this awesome shot, it was Elias Wessel). 

February 5, 2011

New York City Ballet: LYDIA WELLINGTON

It is rare for a childhood activity to become an adult career, but for Lydia Wellington, it was a natural progression. Lydia was born in New York City and began dancing in 1997 at the School of American Ballet at the age of seven, where she gained her stride in the dancing world in children’s roles in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and Serenade, Jerome Robbins’ 2&3 Part Inventions and Fanfare, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Scenes de Ballet--all this while balancing her studies at LaGuardia High School, where she graduated with awards in five subjects. Lydia continued her pursuit of dance to become an apprentice with the New York City Ballet in June 2008, and then succeeded in joining the Company as a member of the Corps de Ballet in October of the same year. Lydia has been recognized as a dancer with enormous potential, and was awarded the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise in 2008 by the School of American Ballet.

Lydia is at once living in a world of sugar plumb fairies and Vivaldi that seems so distant from the lives of most New Yorkers, yet she is fiercely down to earth with a secure sense of her environment.