Category: LIFESTYLE

2012 JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION AWARDS

If the arena of fine dining in America has an equivalent to the Academy Awards, the James Beard Foundation Awards surely would be it. Given annually to an array of chefs, restaurateurs, writers, journalists, graphic artists, restaurant designers, broadcasters, and people in broadcast media, the ceremonies on May 4th and May 7th this year will feature presentations to more than 60 honorees in recognition of achievements in all aspects of the industry, representing the highest honor for food and beverage professionals in North America.

TASTE OF THE LOWER EASTSIDE

One of the blessings of the continued development of real estate in lower Manhattan is the concomitant growth in high quality dining options available throughout the area, not only within the ever-growing collection of boutique hotels that appear every year, but also stand-alone establishments which serve a residential population drawn to the increasing number of sleek rental buildings which parallel the hotels. An annual opportunity to sample a wide array of these fine cuisines is Grand Street Settlement’s Taste of the Lower East Side™ charity event, which will once again be held at the 82 Mercer Street event space in Soho, and take place on April 26th this year.

TRADE SHOW: VISION EXPO EAST 2012

The optical industry’s largest trade show, Vision Expo East, held March 23-25 at New York City’s Javits Center, brought out both big names and newcomers as well as a few celebrity endorsers.

SPORTS BEAT: LET HIM BE

Once again, apologies to HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher for borrowing his signature line. New rules: Everyone has to stop obsessively focusing on Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin at least until the NBA playoffs get underway.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: SEDONA, ARIZONA

Located two hours north of Phoenix, Sedona is to that city what the Catskills are to New York City. In the summer, the locals make the two-hour trek up their Route 17 to seek relief from the stifling heat while in the winter Sedona is a gateway to Northern Arizona ski and snowboarding resorts although there are none in the Sedona city limits. Mountain biking, hiking and hot air ballooning are popular throughout the year but more so in the winter when the cool temperatures are easier on the body than the 100 + degree days of Summer.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: GREATER PHOENIX

The Phoenix area has quietly become a rival to South Florida in attracting visitors from the Northeast who are looking for a respite from cold weather. What I found intriguing about Phoenix is how its diverse lodging properties can truly shape a getaway.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD

It is no secret that Hollywood, the Los Angeles neighborhood synonymous with the motion picture industry, has faced tough times in recent years. Hollywood Boulevard, world-famous for the entertainment industry luminaries who are immortalized with stars embossed on its sidewalks, sadly became a haven for runaways, prostitutes and drug dealers over the last 30 years, while its seediness was reinforced by the large number of deserted storefronts. While Hollywood has not enjoyed the complete transformation that Times Square has, there are definite signs of progress.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: PALM SPRINGS

Palm Springs gained its initial fame as a 1930s getaway for the rich and famous of the film world. Among the prominent streets in the area are Bob Hope, Ginger Rogers and Gene Autry Drives. Celebrities who arrived later to the area but have also been honored with major thoroughfares named after them are Frank Sinatra and Gerald Ford.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: LONG BEACH, CA

Long Beach, California has never received the glamor or due which its sister Southern California shore cities have. Because of the Pacific Ocean breaker walls installed by the US Navy in the 1940s which keep big waves from coming onto its shores, it was not immortalized in the Beach Boys’ 1963 tribute hit to Southern California beach paradises, “Surfin’ USA.” Its numerous oil derricks just offshore made its otherwise beautiful pristine sand not as visually appealing as say Santa Monica or Malibu.