Archive for July, 2011

Field Trip Friday: Hae-In’s Berlin Guide

This is Hae-In’s last Field Trip Friday! To mark the occasion, we are switching things up for today and posting the last segment of the Germany trip re-cap in the form of a mini guide to Berlin. If you have been to Berlin recently, hopefully you recognize some of these sites, and if not, go soon. This will come in handy!


Berlin is a cool city, pretty hipster. Lots of sights, beer gardens, and art.

While you can easily walk everywhere, the trains and trams are all amazing: clean, efficient, on time, oh-so-German. If you are there for several days, buy the Berlin CityTourCard, which is valid for all public transport services and available for 48 hours, 72 hours, 5 days, etc.

You have to validate your ticket (with the tour card you do it just once) at the train or on the tram/bus. Actually a plain-clothes officer did ask for our tickets on the train once in three days, and if you don’t have it, it’s a 40 € fine (and they will mail it to NYC…happened to a friend!).

A lot of people bike to get around and there are bike lanes on every street.

It’s also worth noting that building numbers don’t necessarily run in one direction, up or down, and on a lot of streets they are completely different on one side and the other.

Also the Berlin CityTourCard gets you admission to all museums on Museum Island (although it doesn’t include the Gemäldegalerie, which was my favorite…see Sights).

Nice neighborhoods to explore:

Prenzlauerberg: pretty streets, cute cafes and trendy shops, lots of families (think Park Slope)

Mitte: lots of galleries and bars, for design-minded hipsters (think Williamsburg)

Kreuzberg: diverse and mostly Turkish, really good for döner kebab (see Food/Drink)

See & Do

Brandenburger Tor: Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of Berlin, at Unter den Linden / Ebertstraße.

Reichstag: German Parliament building with a glass dome, at Platz der Republik 1.

Museumsinsel: Museum Island, on the Spree river, has the Alte Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum, Bodemuseum, Neues Museum and Pergamonmuseum. The Pergamon was definitely the highlight, with the Pergamon Altar and the Market Gate of Miletus recreated inside.

Gemäldegalerie: a museum dedicated to portraiture, some of the great masterpieces are here. Check out the early German and Italian Renaissance painters, located on Kulturforum.

Tiergarten: Berlin’s Central Park, nice to bike and walk though to get to Café Am Neuen See (see next page).

Potsdamer Platz: an ultra-modern city center, walk around and see.

Frank Gehry’s DG Bank: located next to the Brandenburg Gates, looks ordinary from the outside, but inside it mirrors the shape of a giant whale.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe: Peter Eisenman’s controversial Holocaust memorial with a field of concrete slabs or “stelae” (I liked it), south of the Brandenburg Gate.

Badeschiff: a shipping container dropped into the river in the middle of the city with a makeshift beach and food, in the East Harbour of the Spree.

Food & Drink

Clärchens Ballhaus: an historic dancehall that has old-fashioned dance parties, pizza in the outdoor garden and great beers, at August Strasse 24

Café am Neuen See: a biergarten in Tiergarten (rhymes!) with great food — pizza and German classics — as well as lovely lake where you can rent a rowboat and watch ducks.

Currywurst: a cut-up sausage with ketchup and curry sauce poured on top, to be eaten with fries and a beer, preferably late at night. Curry36 is the famous hot spot, but I went to one in Mitte (simply called CurryMitte) and had a good experience.

Tekbir Döner: this Turkish döner place in Kreuzberg came highly recommended, “it looks like the kind of place that would give you food poisoning, but it won’t, I promise.” Try the Durum döner, which is more of a wrap. The meat is savory and delicious.

Prater Biergarten: the oldest biergarten in Berlin with great beer and classic German food. Try Radler, a mix of beer and lemonade, or a Berliner beer mixed with apple flavoring (it’s green!). Located in Prenzlauer Berg at Kastanienallee 7 – 9

Schwarzwaldstuben: a cute and kitschy restaurant with tasty dishes from the Black Forest region of Swabia, like Maultaschen (German ravioli) and Flammekuche (very thin and crispy pizza), located at Tucholskystrasse 48

Ankerklause: or Anchor Bar, right on the canal that runs through Kreuzberg and appropriately decorated with lots of sailor themed kitsch. Great spot for people watching.

Kimchi Princess: in case you get tired of German food, try this Korean BBQ place in Kreuzberg, with bulgogi and bibimbap, at Skalitzer Strasse 36


FamilyDay@theCenter – Exploring Governors Island

Join the Center for Architecture Foundation and openhousenewyork to explore Governors Island, a fabulous getaway just minutes from Manhattan by ferry. We’ll visit historic forts, Victorian houses and learn about past uses and future plans for the island. Bring a picnic or buy it there and stay for the afternoon to enjoy all the island has to offer: bike rentals, mini golf, beach bar-n-grill and an afternoon Jazz Age Lawn Party (separate tickets required).

When: 10:45 AM – 1:00 PM SATURDAY, AUGUST 20

Where: Governors Island Ferry Terminal
Battery Maritime Building Just up the East River a bit from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal
10 South Street
New York NY

Meet inside the Governors Island Ferry Terminal at 10:45 AM for the 11 AM ferry to Governors Island. Ferries depart promptly on the hour.
Pre-registration require: register your family here!

Raindate: August 21, 2011

Family Day Programs are designed for children ages 5 – 13 years old, accompanied by an adult. Admission is $20/family of 4; $10 for Center for Architecture Foundation Dual/Family Members; additional guests accompanying a Family Admission are $5 each.

Your registration includes acceptance of our photo release and consent policy.

For more information: (212) 358-6135 or

Hidden Harbor Boat Tour

tugboat in the NY Harbor

Hidden Harbor Tour® with the Working Harbor Committee
Tuesday, August 16, 6:15pm

Join OHNY and the Working Harbor Committee on a boat tour to explore the Brooklyn waterfront and New York Harbor – places that are normally hidden from the eyes of most residents and visitors.

The Zephyr will depart Pier 16 at 6:15pm and explore the Brooklyn waterfront down to Sunset Park, over to Kill Van Kull and Howland Hook, back to Military Ocean and Global Marine Terminals and finally, past the Statue of Liberty on this two hour tour.

The world of working maritime vessels and facilities is both fascinating as well as vitally important to our economy. Narrated by Captain John Doswell, the tour will focus on the built environment of the New York harbor and waterways and the maritime industry, both past and present. Purchase tickets here!

The Hidden Harbor Tours® help fulfill the Working Harbor Committee’s mission to strengthen awareness of the working harbor’s history and vitality today, and its opportunities for the future.

(Image courtesy of Bernard Ente.)

Field Trip Friday: Neuschwanstein Castle

Continuing where we left off with Hae-In’s trip to Germany, today we travel to the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle. Commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the castle was built as a retreat and homage to his favorite composer, Richard Wagner. Neuschwanstein means “New Swan Stone” in German, which is inspired by one of Wagner’s operas about the Swan King.

view from the hike up to the castle

The castle has been featured in several movies and was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. From Munich, Füssen is a two-hour train ride followed by a short busride up to Hohenschwangau. But getting to the castle itself involves walk up the hill (with paths of varying steepness) or one can opt for a horse-drawn carriage (not exactly quicker than walking though).

view approaching the castle

King Ludwig II was inspired by many 19th century picturesque castles being constructed at the time, and wanted to create a romantic interpretation of the Middle Ages as well as pay respects to his friend Richard Wagner. Although it was originally designed by Christian Jank, a stage designer, it was actually built with a different architect, Eduard Riedel. The king was very involved with the design, however, insisting on personal approval of each draft, so the palace’s design is really more his personal creation/fantasy than anything else.

limestone towers

The palace’s architecture mixes various styles, a little Romanesque here, Gothic there and Byzantine inspiration inside. Designed with many towers, turrets, gables and balconies, the idea was to provide varying views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Although it appears to be the quintessential fairytale castle, the most important function of any castle is protection and with Neuschwanstein, fortification was not a focus.


Mainly a brick construction, white limestone, sandstone and marble was later added on top and to highlight certain features such as windows, arch ribs, columns and capitals. Neuschwanstein was built as a residence, with the king’s private lodging and servants’ rooms, but did not have space built for the royal court. Although they do not allow interior photography on the tour, you can see some interior photos here. Only 14 rooms were finished before Ludwig’s death, including the Throne Room, his private suite, the Singers’ Hall, and the Grotto. Many others remain unfinished and unfurnished and had the entire castle been completed, there would have been 200+ rooms!

limestone and sandstone interior walls

The interior design alludes to Wagner’s operas, including German folktales like Lohengrin, the Swan Knight. The grotto room is the most unique, as the entire room is designed to look and feel like the inside of a cave complete with stalagmites and hidden doors.As our tour guide pointed out, the room was used as irrefutable evidence of Ludwig’s madness after his eventual arrest. Madness or not, King Ludwig II also made sure that the palace was outfitted with some of the latest technical innovations of the late 19th century including a battery-powered bell system to call for servants, running warm water and toilets that flushed automatically.

view of neighboring castle and lakes

Unfortunately, as the King’s plans grew, so did the expenses, and construction costs of Neuschwanstein in the his lifetime reached 6.2 million marks. Since he could not afford this, he opened new lines of credit and incurred massive debt, but continued to move forward. It was then that the Bavarian government decided to depose the king, who was living at Neuschwanstein. On June 10, 1886 he was forced to leave the castle (after a failed attempt to remove him the day before) and since he was considered mentally ill and unfit to rule, he was put under the supervision of Dr. Bernhard von Gudden, chief of the Munich Asylum. Three days later, both were found dead in Lake Stanberg. This was mysterious because the water was very shallow and Ludwig was a strong swimmer all his life.

view of the castle from Marienbrucke bridge

King Ludwig II only lived at Neuschwanstein for a total of 172 days and when he died, it was still very incomplete. Although he had never intended to make it accessible to the public, six weeks after the his death Neuschwanstein castle was opened to paying visitors in an effort to recover some of the debt. Some of the rooms were finished for this purpose, but most of them remain unfinished and the tour takes you on a very select route. Due to its secluded location, Neuschwanstein survived both World Wars without any damage and has seen over 60 million visitors so far. Although the tour itself is quite short, the castle and the hike up to the castle are really worth seeing, whether it is in the summer or winter months.

Field Trip Friday: Maira Kalman’s Exhibit at the Jewish Museum

Recently, OHNY staffers Renee and Hae-In went to see Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) at The Jewish Museum. It is the last stop of this exhibition, which started last year at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.

visitors at the Maira Kalman exhibit

Kalman’s work is characterized by her whimsical style, bright colors and curiosity, and OHNY fans will remember her 2008 OHNY Weekend event guide cover (below), which highlighted six different OHNY Weekend sites throughout the five boroughs with wonderful details, such as a woman inspecting the cheese in Murray’s Cheese caves, an amorous couple at the Bronx Community College Hall of Fame for Great Americans, and an ostrich in front of Staten Island’s Jacob Crocheron House.

Kalman's cover of OHNY's 2008 event guide

As a well known illustrator, author, and designer, Kalman observes the world around her and highlights contemporary life–often in New York City–with a unique sense of humor and wit. The exhibition features many works on paper, including the original sketch for her now famous “New Yorkistan” map that appeared on the cover of the New Yorker in December 2001.

gallery with objects

However, the show also includes her photography, embroidery and textiles, including a pajama shirt produced by Kate Spade, jacket by Isaac Mizrahi and upholstered ottomans by Maharam. Kalman also furnished the gallery with chairs, ladders, and curios drawn from her collections, many of which are represented in her paintings and drawings. One thing Renee and Hae-In especially enjoyed was a display of fried onion rings, collected by Kalman and her late husband and artistic partner, Tibor Kalman.

Le Corbusier Sink, 2006. Gouache on paper, 7 3/4 x 7 1/2 in.

Born in Israel, Kalman moved to New York at age 4 and has lived here ever since. She is not a formally trained illustrator or painter, but her work contains many cultural and art historical references, from Matisse and Chagall, and also draws from high fashion, travel, politics and design.

Cake detail from The New York City Sub Culinary Map with Rick Meyerowitz

Kalman takes things from the everyday– rubberbands, boxes, a Snickers bar, our commute– and imbues them with honest, quirky, absurd and imaginative qualities, giving them color and personality. As Ingrid Schaffner, Senior Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania states, “Hers is a daily discipline of creativity based on photography, travel, research, walking, talking, and open observation. A serious love of distraction pervades. ”

Crosstown Boogie Woogie, 1995. Gouache on paper, 15 3/8 x 11 1/2 in.

The show is small, but does a great job showcasing Kalman’s various projects, from paintings to watches, and also allows you into her inner world, with the use of personal objects and handwritten labels. The show closes July 31, make sure to check it before then!

The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York, NY

Images courtesy of The Jewish Museum

Evening at Newtown Creek Raffle

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
July 28, 2011
6:30 – 8:30 pm

The largest of New York City’s 14 wastewater treatment plants, Newtown Creek is in the midst of a technological and aesthetic transformation. Its stainless steel digester “eggs” dominate the local skyline to demonstrate that with care, even the most utilitarian infrastructure can be an elegant combination of engineering and art.

With the cooperation of Ennead Architects and OHNY, the Department of Environmental Protection is opening up one of our city’s unexpected architectural gems, offering a tour to the top of Newtown’s digester eggs at dusk, to experience the dramatic lighting design of the Plant and of the New York City skyline on the evening of July 28th.

Enter the Evening at Newtown Creek Raffle with a donation of $20 or more. We will select two winners, who can each bring up to three guests. The Raffle remains open until Thursday, July 21 at 10pm. The winners will be announced on Friday, July 22.

(It has also been featured in the movies Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Salt!)

Field Trip Friday: Nitehawk Cinema

Last weekend, OHNY Program Coodinator Hae-In went to see Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” at the much anticipated Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The independent movie theater opened recently on June 24.

exterior of Nitehawk Cinema

The theater is unique in that it features a full-service restaurant on the first floor, as well as table-side food service inside the theaters. Designed by Stephen Lynch, of Caliper Studio, the Nitehawk Cinema occupies the first two floors of the converted warehouse, and the top three are apartments. The Williamsburg-based architecture and metal fabrication firm kept the original facade of the two-story yellow brick warehouse but clad the upper levels with a pre-weathered zinc and covered it in a pattern of LED lights, which give the building a very distinct and theatrical look in relation to the other buildings on Metropolitan.

sign at the bar

The restaurant opens up onto the street, with large windows, and there is a steel-paneled staircase to the upstairs lobby, which also doubles as a cafe and bar. The interiors have that “old-timey” Brooklyn aesthetic that is so prevalent in the neighborhood and RePOP, a great Wallabout vintage furnishings firm, also collaborated on the interiors.

bar downstairs

Originally referred to as the Cassandra Cinemas and Metropolitan Cinemas, the theater-residential complex was finally built after stalling in 2008 due to financing. The movie theater is actually the second one in Williamsburg, joined by Indiescreen on Kent Avenue, and a new three-story theater being developed by the Cobble Hill Cinema owner, slated to open later this year.

fish tacos and a movie

Chef Saul Bolton, of Saul and the Vanderbilt in Brooklyn, has created an extensive menu (when was the last time you had fish tacos at a movie theater?), and there is also a special menu of food and drink inspired by the movie being screened. Unfortunately, state law prohibits the alcohol consumption inside the theater, so it works best to get there 30 minutes or so before the show, get a drink or two at the bar downstairs before heading upstairs to get seated and place your food order before the movie begins. There is also paper and pencil at each table to write down your order during the show.

lights on the exterior

Even the pre-show experience is a little different. Instead of standard previews, commercials and silly trivia, they feature shorts by local artists and filmmakers as well as clips (such as an old interview with director Woody Allen) related to the feature. It’s nice to be able to stay in the neighborhood instead of having to go into Manhattan for the movies!

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave (between Wythe Ave & Berry St)
Brooklyn, NY 11211