Sunday, September 28, 2014

A New Type of Pumpkin Patch- Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns

Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns is back this year in Old Westbury Gardens in Long Island. I was fortunate enough to see this pumpkin patch last year. It was definitely a fun and new experience. Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns is not your ordinary pumpkin patch. You don't buy these pumpkins, rather you tour the grounds to see all the carved pumpkins. They are serious works of art!

A car is needed to get to Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns since it is pretty far out. At night, the roads are completely dark. Don't speed. It gets extra spooky around Halloween. There will be a long line but the tickets are a timed entrance so that there is a steady crowd control. Expect to walk around for an hour. Bring a jacket because it gets cold and bring a camera. You won't believe your eyes!
Spooky Nights
Pumpkin Carver
Edward Scissorhands
The Legend of Zelda

Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns
71 Old Westbury Road
Old Westbury, NY 11590

Saturday, September 27, 2014

New York Secret: Film Biz Recycling & Prop Shop

Follow the Arrows
The Film Biz Recycling & Prop Shop in Gowanus has got to be one of New York City's best kept secrets. It's a great reason to venture out to Brooklyn.

If you really want to make the trip worthwhile, follow this itineray:

Brunch at Dinosaur BBQ
Some adventure exploring Film Biz Recycling & Prop Shop
Dessert on a rooftop at Ample Hills Creamery

Getting into the Film Biz Recycling & Prop Shop is like making your way to the Wizard of Oz. Ring the doorbell, have them buzz you in, and then follow the arrows and zig zag through the warehouse maze to Film Biz. Once you open those doors, it's like a land of make believe. Let your imagination run free.

Film Biz is really meant for movie sets and theater. It's where you go when you need period pieces and d├ęcor. Cell phones as big as your face? Fake food? Gurneys and IV fluid? They'd have you ready for your film set in no time.

Dessert Food Props
For people like me (and maybe you) who like to putz around and take goofy pictures, it's like a giant playground. Plastic turkey legs. Baby dolls. Shag carpet. A churro stand. Each corner represents a different scenario.

I recommend visiting a few times. Film Biz decorates for the seasons. For Halloween, it's like a miniature haunted house! They also have all sorts of costumes which you can rent or purchase. Care to be a fireman? Corn? Carmen Miranda? A football player? The options might surprise you. Enjoy!

Scary Skeleton
Halloween Display
Halloween Display
Cake Costume

Film Biz Recycling & Prop Shop
540 President Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Amsterdam- Go for Van Gogh

Street Mural
The Netherlands is proud of Vincent Van Gogh. He was Dutch and throughout the city there are many murals and artwork dedicated to him. Since he was Dutch, it is noteworthy to know that the Dutch pronunciation of Gogh sounds more like "hoff". 

Amsterdam is home to the Van Gogh Museum. The Museum houses the largest collection of Van Gogh's works in the world. Here are some helpful tips in visiting the museum.

Plan Ahead: 

The museum closes at 5 PM. If you arrive at 3 PM, it may be too late! The Van Gogh Museum has high traffic at all hours of the day and they close down admission when the museum reaches full capacity.  Go first thing in the morning or buy tickets online for a reserved visiting hour. The line to get in is long regardless. The average wait time  in line is about 45 minutes.

Friday night boasts extended hours. The museum is open late night and has more of a party atmosphere. There is a dj spinning music until 10 PM.

The Floorplan:

Despite the large and busy crowd, you should have no problem viewing the works of art. The museum is separated by periods of work and divided through a few floors. There is enough space that you could view Van Gogh's self portraits, The Potato Eaters, The Bedroom, and still life paintings in comfort. Make sure not to miss his early work, sketches, and artifacts. His journal, letters to his brother, and easel with paint have also been preserved and are on view.

De aardappeleters, 1885
Writing and Drawing Tools / Materials

The museum is interactive. There are wall sized prints of Van Gogh's work that serve as an excellent backdrop for picture taking. If you want to test your own art skills and paint in the fashion of Van Gogh (grids), there are computers and overhead projections so that you can see your own drawing come to life. The museum is great for children as it is hands on in some areas. See the paintings through a microscope to check out the technique in stroke and materials. There is much to see and do at the museum.

Photography Credits: Roxwriting and Desmond Chow

Van Gogh Museum
Paulus Potterstraat 7
Museum District Amsterdam

Amsterdam- Borough of Noord

One of the best tips we got from our Amsterdam guidebook was a one sentence description about the free ferry system. The NDSM-Werfveer line is a 15 minute ferry ride that runs every 15 minutes on weekdays. As New Yorkers with the Staten Island Ferry, we were confident that getting on the NDSM-Werfveer was a pretty safe gamble to see and experience something new and very local about Amsterdam.

We followed the signs to the ferry behind Centraal Station. It's a short walk and a clear path with little room for error to get lost. Once we got to the pier, we were greeted with an electronic clock that counted down the minutes until the next ferry arrived.

The boat was comfortable and spacious enough to fit everyone from the crowded dock. The ride was smooth and we saw a nice view of the city and the EYE Film Institute Netherlands. Before we knew it, the ferry had landed on NDSM, the largest shipyard in Amsterdam. The borough of Noord is a growing city of residents, bars, art space, and creative markets.

We were clueless and knew nothing about Noord. What we found was a peaceful and desolate area home to some wild graffiti. There were a few people hanging out, taking pictures, and drinking at a local outdoor bar. We wandered into an empty warehouse that is transformed during the weekends into a giant market. The Noord is a great area to explore if you love something edgy and raw.

Netherland Shipbuilding Company Building
Like A Rocket
Post Industrial
Hanging Out
Across the IJ
Photography Credits: Roxwriting, Desmond Chow