Tag Archives: New York

Arts Letters & Numbers Residency

This week I am living and working at Arts Letters & Numbers a multidisciplinary artist in residency program in Averill Park, NY, outside of Albany.

sunny eggs apples and flowers

The old mill house where I’m staying with 7 other artists has been repurposed into a retreat for artists from all disciplines, crossing over even into the world of math and science.

After arriving Monday afternoon, we organized our stuff and got straight to the business of having a t party (that would be “t” as in tequila) and “a serious conversation” ~ a salon-style get-together at advisory board members Robert and Diane’s home.

Robert hosting t time

(Robert holding a huge bottle of tequila in the shape of a rifle.)

Read the rest of the story over on my new site. And as I wind down this Next Stop: TBD blog that I’ve so enjoyed writing and sharing with you over the past four (!) years, I’d love to continue the conversation over there.

 

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Turnstyle The Pizza cheese pizza

NYC Pizza Review: Turnstyle

Recently, a new underground shopping mall and food court has opened in the Columbus Circle subway stop. It’s brightly lit, well decorated and has some excellent options for coffee and dining, including Starbucks, FIKA, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Doughnuttery, Pressed Juicery, Casa Toscana and many more.

There are cute handmade jewelry stands down the center aisle, and all manner of shops from a wine store to a shop that has a mishmash of random novelty gifts and home goods (like a giant gummy bear piggy bank).

Inevitably there is a pizza place down there. And it is just called: Turnstyle The Pizza, as in, there is only one pizza place down here, and this is it.

So of course we were going to get pizza from there. It was only a matter of time being that it’s literally on our commute home from work.

One night, Mark stopped and picked up a large cheese pizza for dinner.

Looking good so far in its extra large New York pizza way:

Turnstyle The Pizza cheese pizza
Turnstyle The Pizza cheese pizza

But then I went to pick up a slice:

cheese pizza from Turnstyle The Pizza
bye bye cheese

Ehhhhhh I can maybe even forgive a cheese slide, but I was overall disheartened at the way the cheese was kind of lumpy and crumbly and the sauce was particularly sweet and oversauced and the crust was particularly dry.

I mean, I ate it, duh. And maybe if you were really craving pizza, grabbing a slice down in the subway makes sense. But generally we can do better. That Italian Casa Toscana looks interesting to me, and they have gelato, so that might be the next place to try down in Turnstyle.

Has anyone else tried any of the other food down there?

Dominica Rainforest, acrylic on canvas, 36x48

Pop Up Gallery Show

Last Thursday I was thrilled to be included in the Conception Events Contemporary Art Show at the MI-5 Lounge in Tribeca. Conception Events is a pop up art gallery that features emerging artists. They actually found me on Instagram and said I should consider applying for the show, so I did.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the event, other than there would be about 25 artists, each with a 4ft by 5ft space to show as many pieces as you’d like within that constraint.

I’d done a little bit of stalking of my fellow artists ahead of time and I thought some of their work was great, and others just weren’t my taste. I was excited for the opportunity to show my work in person to friends, family and strangers, but I was also nervous that maybe my art wouldn’t fit in with the rest of the vibe.

I chose 5 new paintings to show that were all based on memories of Caribbean vacations we used to take as an extended family growing up. We tended to steer clear of resorts and instead stayed at small hotels or rented condos. We’ve visited larger islands like Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Aruba, but we also vacationed at less touristy islands (or at least that seemed remote in the late 80s early 90s) like Carriacou, Little Cayman, Grand Turk, Nevis and Dominica…I can’t say what these places are like now, maybe they’re swarming with tourists. But back then, they always seemed pretty quiet.

We would spend our days playing in the ocean, hiking, exploring the local markets, SCUBA diving and building ball rolls in the sand…not sure if anyone else knows what a ball roll is or if our cousins just made that up….but essentially it’s like a sandcastle but where you create a path for a racquetball ball to roll down and around and over bridges and through tunnels all made of sand.

As evening closed in, we’d read, play cards, shower and eat dinner, hopefully followed by a Snickers or Mars bar bought at a roadside stand.

With these paintings, I’m working to evoke the feelings of tranquility, peacefulness and joy I felt on those family vacations, where we didn’t have any cares, except maybe finishing the winter reading list assigned by school.

I showed 3 small acrylics on board, each 8×10 inches:

7 Mile Beach Grand Cayman, acrylic on board, 8x10
7 Mile Beach Grand Cayman
Soft Sunset Grenada, acrylic on board, 8x10
Soft Sunset Grenada
Lush Waters Carriacou, acrylic on board, 8x10
Lush Waters Carriacou

I had one medium-sized acrylic on canvas, 22×28 inches:

Afternoon Rain Montego Bay, acrylic on canvas, 22x28
Afternoon Rain Montego Bay

And one large acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches:

Dominica Rainforest, acrylic on canvas, 36x48
Dominica Rainforest

The show ended up being tiring but fun. I was so grateful to the TWENTY friends and family that showed up to support me. That was really incredible.

in front of my art wall at the June 30 2016 Conception Events Contemporary Art Show
in front of my art wall at the June 30 2016 Conception Events Contemporary Art Show

I didn’t sell anything, but I learned a lot about what sort of paintings and price points I should consider for future shows. I learned I should bring more work than will fit in the space because you can probably squash it in or change some out halfway through the show. I learned I should bring flip flops and not wear heels to set up and tear down.

I also met some other very nice artists with whom I hope to keep in touch.

I haven’t had a chance yet to put these works up on hannahlowecorman.com but soon I promise!

My five pieces and artist's bio
My five pieces and artist’s bio
one strawberry and one blueberry muffin

Red (White) and Blue Muffins ~ Happy 4th of July!

Phew it’s been a while since I’ve whipped up any Martha Stewart treats in the kitchen, but last week I was inspired by the start of berry season, so I turned my Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook open to blueberry muffins.

Have I mentioned that I’ve been working in a bakery for the past 5 months? Mostly helping customers up front, but it’s afforded me the opportunity to sample some delicious cookies, quick breads, brioche and blueberry muffins.

At the bakery, our muffins typically turn out huge with tops that far exceed the size of the rest of the muffin. And that’s pretty much everyone’s favorite part anyway right, so what’s not to love? (My mind is jumping to Seinfeld: “It’s not, ‘Top of the Muffin TO YOU!'” with flamboyant Elaine hand gestures and then later, “I gotta haul some stumps”…such a hilarious episode.)

ANY.WAY.

In pursuit of using up some strawberries from the fridge, I decided to make a batch of mini blueberry muffins and a batch of mini strawberry muffins. PS I only own a mini muffin tin. New York apartment and all that. PPS I’m not sure I’ve ever come across a strawberry muffin before. Have you? I was really quite excited at the prospect!

I’ve never really made muffins before, but I’m not sure why not since it only calls for very standard ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, milk, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract and eggs. I think I’ve always been scared that my muffins will stick to the tin and I’ve been too lazy to purchase those little paper cups, which also seem sort of a waste to the environment.

So with this, I made to sure to super duper butter the muffin tin, not only in the wells but all along the ridges too because I knew I wanted to try to “overstuff” them to create the large muffin tops. Then I dusted the whole tin with flour and scooped in heaping spoonfuls of batter – first up was blueberry.

Since I was using a mini tin, I thought the cook time should be decreased but I wasn’t sure by how much. So I started with 15 minutes, they were clearly not done, so I turned the tray and put them back in for another 10.

They seemed to be slightly browned on top, so I pulled them out of the oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes and then flipped them over and banged the tray a few times (a new trick I learned at work) so that the muffins slide right out. I only had to manually pull a few out and they ended up breaking, mostly because the berries were at the bottom of the well and had melted and stuck to the pan.

blueberry mini muffins
blueberry mini muffins

I rebuttered, refloured and did the same with the strawberry batter, although I had even more batter to use, so I cooked for 27 minutes instead of 25.

folding strawberries into muffin batter
folding strawberries into the batter

The strawberry muffin tops were much wider than the blueberry ones and they had kind of baked into one another so the flip and tap method didn’t work and I had to use a little knife to help pop the muffins out, but none of them broke.

the bottoms of baked strawberry muffins
the bottoms of baked strawberry muffins

Some tips:

  1. Toss the fruit with flour before folding it into the batter to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the tin.
  2. Sprinkle sugar on top of the raw muffins before baking for an extra sweet crunch. I did this on the strawberries but not on the blueberries.

    raw strawberry muffins ready for baking
    raw strawberry muffins ready for baking
  3. Bake the muffin tin on top of a cookie sheet (especially with a mini muffin tin) so that you have a wider tray to handle. It’s hard to grasp narrow edges of a muffin tin with oven mitts on.

These muffins were quite addicting and I ate at least 4 warm ones straight away. The blueberry ones were tart (small blueberries) and the strawberry ones were pretty sweet. I LOVED the way the strawberry ones smelled in the oven – like strawberry shortcake – and just like summer.

one strawberry and one blueberry muffin
one strawberry and one blueberry muffin

How perfect for July 4th to have some summer berry muffins that are red and blue and white (the muffin part?) – yum!

meatball pizza (top) and spinach pizza (bottom) at Co. in Chelsea

Co. (NYC Pizza Review in Chelsea)

I have read so many great reviews of Co. (short for Company), a wood-fired pizza restaurant in Chelsea – from Food & Wine magazine top pizza lists, to Eater must-eats, that I was incredibly excited when a group of friends decided to dine there Friday night.

The chef, Jim Lahey, is a James Beard Award-winning baker, and Co. was founded by Lahey in conjunction with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, one of my all-time favorite chefs. All the more reason to get pumped for pizza!

First of all, I didn’t have a hand in making the reservation, but my friend who did said that they were SUPER accommodating and helpful. When planning a sit-down dinner for 15 or more, working with a restaurant that gets that there will be changes is key. She probably went back and forth with them on the number of people and menu details three or four times, literally right up until 5 minutes before we were served!

We had a prix fixe for $35/person (not including tip, tax, beverages) that consisted of appetizers, pizza and dessert served family-style, which was incredibly reasonable for the amount of DELICIOUS food we consumed.

For apps there were: olive oil flatbread with whipped ricotta, olives, roasted beets, caesar salad, bruschetta with beans and eggplant.

Group favorites: caesar salad, flatbread

For pizzas, we chose 5 varieties, although we ate many more than just 5 pies: margherita, meatball, prosciutto, sausage and mushroom, spinach and pecorino.

meatball pizza (top) and spinach pizza (bottom) at Co. in Chelsea
meatball pizza (top) and spinach pizza (bottom) at Co. in Chelsea

Group favorites: margherita, sausage and mushroom

For dessert, a fudge-like chocolate cake with powerful vanilla bean ice cream. I may have eaten two people’s portions 😀

OMG delicious all around. Wonderful customer service and well-priced. I will have to see if we are on their delivery route.

thin crust slice of cheese pizza from Sacco

NYC Pizza Roll…Just In Time

Eater put out it’s third list of the City’s best pizza parlors, just in time for me to repost it!

(Side note: Eater.com was my former employer in Detroit.)

Love the description of pizza being “carpeted” with cheese. Adding it to the lexicon 🙂

Lots to try, although not a ton here listed in Manhattan so may take me a while to get around. I’ll keep you posted as I do though.

Enjoy the list in the meantime ~ how many of these have you been to?

Big News!

You probably already know…WE’VE MOVED!

Next Stop: NYC!

We’re currently in the throes of moving from Ann Arbor to NYC. Talk about a 180 degree difference. We’re going from small town America, seeking out the [one] best bar, Chinese food, nail place and dry cleaner to frequent…And coming to a massive city where there’s a million of everything at your doorstep. Exciting! [Overwhelming]

Look at that haze!

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And even though I’ve never actually lived in New York City before, it seems incredibly familiar – like a home away from home. My grandmother lived here, and so we were up here almost every month visiting. My aunt, uncle, cousins, college friends, childhood friends and work friends from prior jobs all live here too.

So many people hustling in Rockefeller Center while I was just trying to walk. Instead I took this blurry photo of the tree:

IMG_0249

When we moved to Ann Arbor, we didn’t know anyone. We made friends and settled into our routine and it was lovely. But now there’s something to being close to family and friends you’ve known forever.

So we’re here! New apartment, new life! Next up: new job [TBD]

Cozy apartment (emphasis on cozy):

IMG_0246

I’m ready to explore it all! So send your restaurant, museum, shopping, site-seeing, JOB suggestions along because I know you have them 🙂

IMG_0247LOVE the holiday-festooned buildings!

IMG_0248

NYC Fam, Friends & Food: An Excellent Thanksgiving

Last month when I flew into LaGuardia, it was a crisp fall day, the plane came in low over the Statue of Liberty, up the West Side of Manhattan and banked to the right over to the airport.  From my window seat, the trees looked like burnt siena, fiery red and pumpkin colored cauliflower tops.  This past week when I flew to New York, on a clear Thanksgiving morning, the plane took a southerly approach, and from my left-side seat, I got an eye-level view of the East Side of Manhattan as we crossed over Brooklyn and Queens.  This time, the trees looked like tiny brown matchsticks and the buildings gleamed white as the sun bounced off their unshaded roofs and windows.  As we got lower and lower in the sky, the glaring edifices gave way to a sea of brick, and we quickly touched down in the gentlest landing I’ve experienced in years.

Hailing a cab, we wound our way north, and reached our Upper West Side destination without Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade interference.  We arrived as my sister and her boyfriend were waking up, and I joined them at Starbucks for coffee, while Mark grabbed his first of many weekend slices of pizza from the smells-better-than-it-tastes stand next door.  The day was cold but sunny, and we decided to walk the crowded streets in search of a new winter coat for my sister’s boyfriend.  That was silly of us!  It was Thanksgiving Day – of course everything was closed.  Okay, plan B: let’s go walk in the park.  As we approached Central Park West, we were met by streams of people moving in the opposite direction as the parade route was clearing out, leaving piles of trash in their wake.

trash 1

Again, we weren’t thinking too intently because obviously we couldn’t get across CPW to the park due to the rows of bleachers and police barricades.  We walked down a few blocks until we were able to cut across, stepping over mounds of newspaper and Starbucks cups being swept up by city workers.

trash 2

We wandered through the park, which was jam-packed with like-minded tourists and parade-goers, until we reached Columbus Circle, where we took a warm break inside the mall lobby and watched as these holiday stars changed color beautifully.

columbus circle lights columbus circle lights 2

Thinking it would still be a number of hours before the Thanksgiving meal was served, we thought it best to try to find some authentic New York pizza on our walk home.  Before we got too far up Broadway, I impulsively bought a majorly delicious Nutella crepe (also the the most expensive crepe ever: $5 for plain Nutella!) at a sidewalk cart.  It was hot and gooey and perfectly folded into a triangle for walk-and-eat-ability.  I always appreciate a well-folded crepe.

Not wanting to revisit Mark’s pizza joint from earlier that morning, I quickly Yelped pizza places in the area and picked the best of the bunch: Rigoletto on 72nd street.  The small restaurant was new and clean, with a slate bar and a few beers on tap, and, most importantly, pizzas that looked fresh, not having sat in the case for days and days.  The pepperoni slice I had was a good start to a New York pizza weekend: crunchy crust, but not burnt, hot cheese that didn’t fall off in clumps and just enough sauce to not be overwhelming.  It was my sister’s Texas boyfriend’s first slice of true New York pizza ever!!!  So exciting!

aaaa

Feeling just full enough, we returned to our aunt and uncle’s apartment in time to hang out and watch football with our cousins and welcome the rest of the family when they arrived: my parents, other aunt and uncle, more cousins all the way from LA!  Moving into the living room for the cocktail hour (signature drink = Dark & Stormy made with ginger beer), the only smudge on an otherwise perfect party was that my aunt who was hosting was quarantined in bed with a stomach bug.  We were so sad she couldn’t join us, but luckily she was having the meal catered and served so she didn’t have to worry about getting the food out to the table, and thankfully she recovered the next day in time for us to spend some time together later in the weekend.  I had such a fun time chatting with the adults and playing with the kids.  I love getting together with everyone, and I always feel let down when it’s time to part ways.

After a delicious traditional turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallow and all the other sides, the kids had to get to bed, and the rest of us tucked into the den to watch the Ravens beat the Steelers (woo woo!!!) before turning into bed ourselves, satisfied and happy.

Friday morning before my sister and her boyfriend headed back to Texas, we went to breakfast with my parents at Fairway Market.  This is a grocery store.  I was so confused when we walked in as to why we were eating breakfast in a grocery store, but upstairs is a small cute restaurant.  I had a buckwheat crepe with brie and spinach in what was turning out to be a pizza and crepe weekend.  I love when savory crepes are made with the traditional Breton buckwheat flour.  Savory crepes should obviously be made with a more savory flour, and I hate when restaurants use the same sweet crepe pancakes for both their sweet and savory crepes.

After breakfast, we relaxed back in the apartment before Mark and I set out that evening to visit a college friend and my cousins in NOHO and NOLITA (let’s just call it Lower Manhattan…East Village?).  Not wanting to take my huge puffy sleeping bag coat that would be a nuisance at a bar later, I took my chances with just a sweater and a pair of gloves.  By the time it was dark it was already so cold that Mark and I had to stop at Bahr Che on our ten minute walk from my friend’s to my cousin’s for a warming glass of wine and an antipasto of finocchiona (had to…wanted to…same thing).  The thinly sliced salami flavored with fennel seeds and served with chunks of warm bread hit the spot.  On to our next destination: my cousin’s apartment.

My cousin just moved into a new apartment, so of course we wanted to check it out and meet his roommate.  The two bedroom was a good size by NYC standards and was a good rest stop before moving on via taxi to Serafina in the Meatpacking District, where we met my other cousin for dinner.  I had a bright and peppery arugula salad and an interesting pizza, which was pretty much a regular cheese pizza with a pesto swirl and sprinkled pine nuts on top.  It was yummy with a chewy, super thin crust and good cheese flavor that was augmented by the fresh pesto.  During dinner, my cousin hawk-eyed Malcolm Gladwell, the famous unassuming author of such critically-acclaimed economics/human behavior books as Blink and The Tipping Point.  Cool!

After dinner we made our way across the street to Bar 675, an underground basement bar with nooks and small libraries carved out of the brick wall, where you can lounge with your eight closest friends and play games such as Jenga and Catchphrase.

bar lightsLuckily we arrived early enough to snag one of these coveted spots, and enjoy a few rounds of Catchphrase before more and more of our cousins friends came to join us.

bar 2Being the elder members of the party, Mark and I made our exit earlier than the others, but I think we hung in there pretty well, as evidenced by one lost glove and an 11:30am wake up time the next day.

Oh the next day…..I wasn’t feeling too great when we made the trek back down to Spring Street to meet one of my best friends from growing up for a lunch of, you guessed it, pizza!  At Rubirosa, Mark and I split a classic pie that was more of a margherita with medallions of fresh mozzarella and a very thin layer of sauce on a stiff but not crunchy crust.  I liked the cozy Italian cafe atmosphere and loved seeing a good friend.

We immediately went back home to relax with my aunt, watch college football (oh Michigan, what a nail-biter) and nap before pulling ourselves together for dinner with some ex-Baltimore friends at Jacob’s Pickles on Amsterdam Ave on the UWS.  It was a perfect pick with wonderful friends – cozy comfort food with amazing homemade pickles, big-as-your-face biscuits and Matzo ball soup.  The biscuits were my favorite part of the meal: crumbly and served with all the fixin’s: super salty butter, maple butter, honey and strawberry preserves.  The kosher dills were also delicious…as were the piping hot battered fried pickles…and to top it all off: a root beer float and crunchy hot fried Oreos!  I would highly recommend this spot for a totally unhealthy but deliciously filling meal.

Unfortunately we had to pull ourselves out of bed at 3:30am to catch our early morning flight on Sunday, but we were happy to be back home and in bed napping by 9:30.

On such a fabulously fun Thanksgiving weekend I am grateful to have the most loving friends and family.  I am also reminded to be thankful for all those people that made our Thanksgiving special…We heard a lot this year about the retail workers who are now having to work on Thanksgiving for the first time, and I agree that this should be one day when the stores stay closed, but let’s not forget about all the others that are also working on this holiday: the people at the airport, the pilots and flight attendants, the taxi drivers, policemen and women, the Starbucks servers, and the trash picker-uppers who are cleaning up all those Starbucks cups.  I hope they got a day off along the way to hang out with their friends and families.

trash sbux

Quick weekend tally:

2 crepes

4 pizza meals (including Mark’s extra slice Thursday morning)

5 friends to catch up with

17 family members at Thanksgiving

4 TUMS needed