New York City: Seeing the City by Bike…
Posted in guest quarters March 30th, 2012 by pia

All photographs and words in this guest post by Ashley & Aron Bruhn of Hither Thither

Having grown up in a small town which proudly claims the most bicycles per capita in the country, I am pretty comfortable on a bike–but did not think that biking in New York was a reasonable option. It’s no Amsterdam, after all. But fortunately we happened to move to the city during a wave of change that meant more–and better–bike lanes all over the city. And there are so many wonderful places to bike to, within a matter of minutes. With a little confidence (and a helmet), you can really get almost anywhere on two wheels. The city publishes maps specifically for cyclists, and of course Google maps has a bike-route option that will highlight the easiest and safest routes, whether you are headed to Central Park or out to Brighton beach.

In fact, Central park becomes quite small when you tour it on a bike. You have to stay on the main roads, but you can hop off and head into the heart of the park for a picnic or to watch the baseball leagues practice.

When we first moved to New York, you could still drive all the way down Broadway–but they did have a bike lane. Cars have since been banned through key sections in Times Square and Herald Square, but the bike path still exists. Biking down Broadway, with massive buildings and billboards on every side, and crowds converging on every corner, is an unforgettable feeling (if a little unnerving at times)!

For a tamer experience, there’s “Summer Streets”: for a few days each year, in the summer, bikers, walkers, and rollerbladers are given free reign over Park and Lafayette Avenues (and given access to ride right up to and around Grand Central Station). It throws traffic on surrounding streets into chaos, but it should not be missed if you happen to be visiting then.

However, the bike route around the island of Manhattan is perhaps one of the prettiest rides one can take. Our favorite parts are lower Manhattan and the West Side parkway. You can bike up the west side to the George Washington Bridge (and across if so moved). If you do make it that far, you’ll find a little red lighthouse–the last lighthouse on Manhattan Island!

Of course there is so much more to New York than Manhattan, and if you are willing to brave the crowds, the ride over the Brooklyn Bridge is amazing–especially near sunrise or sunset. But really, wherever you go–whether it be a day-long affair or a few hours around the streets of the West Village, riding around New York City will afford you a completely different (and exciting) perspective.

Thank you so much, Pia, for having us! It has been been so lovely sharing this space with you.

Ashley & Aron Bruhn, Hither & Thither

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note from Pia: thank you both for sharing your beautiful photographs and stories about living in NYC, you’re welcome back to the (blog)house guest quarters anytime x

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New York City: Roof Garden at the Met…
Posted in guest quarters February 22nd, 2012 by pia

All photographs and words in this guest post by Ashley & Aron Bruhn of Hither Thither

New York, like most great cities, is a place many seek to see from above: the views from the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock, looking south to Lady Liberty or north to the expanse of Central Park are legendary.

The roof of the Met brings you nowhere near as high–the view is nowhere near as dramatic–but the setting is magical! Never mind the fact that you must first pass through the Met and its gorgeous collections, but then you emerge onto the roof and find yourself smack-dab in the middle of the park, in the middle of the city.

The past two years’ rooftop exhibits (a new exhibit debuts each Spring and runs through the fall) have been particularly dramatic, filling the space so as to force interaction. Doug & Mike Starn’s Big Bambu–an evolving bamboo structure, lashed together with climbing rope, that seemed to glow in the afternoon sun–even invited visitors to climb up into the piece.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the Met stays open until 9pm (though access to the roof garden is generally cut off slightly earlier), and the space feels like a beautiful happy-hour. On those evenings, you can go late enough to watch the sky change colors and see buildings that fringe the park begin to light up for the night.

It’s one of those places that has been well publicized, yet still tends to be slightly off radar: it’s tops on our list of places to wow houseguests.

Ashley & Aron Bruhn, Hither & Thither

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New York City: To Greenmarket We Go…
Posted in guest quarters February 7th, 2012 by pia

All photographs and words in this guest post by Ashley & Aron Bruhn of Hither Thither

One of the culinary scenes you will find in full force here in New York–and, thankfully, around the country–is the farm-to-table movement. At the heart of this is the city’s Greenmarket network, the largest outdoor urban farmer’s market network in the country.

We are particularly partial to our local Greenmarket, which also happens to be the city’s flagship market, in Union Square. Open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, it makes eating locally and seasonally a reasonable and exciting (if still expensive) part of our lives. And even when we aren’t stocking our fridge from the market’s stalls, it’s nice to know that many of the area’s restaurants are (we’ve even spotted some celebrity chefs trolling for goods).

It’s wonderful to watch the seasons changing from the vantage point of produce–and to sense excitement mounting for prizes like strawberries, ramps, or those very first concord grapes. There’s literally a celebration when asparagus arrives. And then one has to act fast and indulge plenty before the scene changes again. (We did our best to make sure we got our fill of crisp, almost sweet asparagus before it started to disappear: we had it almost every night for two weeks!)

A farmer’s market isn’t an obvious destination for a visitor to the city, for someone unlikely to have a kitchen or an occasion to cook, but the Greenmarket at Union Square is not only a beautiful sight (especially when the flowers start to appear in the spring) but a revealing look at how the city actually lives.

Ashley & Aron Bruhn, Hither & Thither

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New York City: Shopping the Fleas…
Posted in guest quarters January 31st, 2012 by pia

All photographs and words in this guest post by Ashley & Aron Bruhn of Hither Thither

The shopping opportunities in New York are staggering! Many visitors crowd Fifth Avenue’s grand department stores, and SoHo is a must for any serious shopper, but there’s also a wealth of unique wares to be found at any one of the amazing markets being held around the city on any given weekend.

Look out for the New Amsterdam Market under the Brooklyn Bridge near South Street Seaport, the relatively new Hester street fair on the Lower East Side, and–perhaps the most well-known, and a personal favorite–the Brooklyn Flea. The highly catered market, full of new and vintage treasures, is held in some of the most stunning locales around the city.

The flea food vendors are as much a part of the market as anyone else–maybe even our favorite part–and there’s now a food-only market called Smorgasbord, held on Saturdays in Williamsburg, in full view of the Manhattan skyline.

Whether you’re angling for independent crafts or just in the mood for some good style-spotting while people-watching, we highly recommend taking in one of the unique markets around the city.

Ashley & Aron Bruhn, Hither & Thither

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Posted in guest quarters January 30th, 2012 by pia

All photographs and words in this guest post by Ashley & Aron Bruhn of Hither Thither

People often ask us what they should see or do in New York. There are so many iconic sights–it is hard to know where to begin–and so we usually leave destinations like Ellis Island or Times Square to the guidebooks. And we travel, for better or worse, we have a tendency to sacrifice some of those big-ticket items on the chance that we might inhabit a place as a local for a time: have a drink in a hip neighborhood, or shop at the local markets.

With those things in mind, here is a New York that might appeal as much to tourists as to locals. These are a few of the things we love best about the city; this is how we would visit the city we live in. Over the next month, I hope that we can see it together…

Ashley & Aron Bruhn, Hither & Thither

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