NYC and Wine

NYC is, among many things, the cultural hub of the United States. As a hotbed of artistic and creative energy, it’s no wonder that New York’s culinary achievements follow suit. But what enabled The City That Never Sleeps to become the wine capital of the Country? With sommeliers flown in from the world over, The Big Apple is the destination for an enterprising wine enthusiast.

Before the recession hit Las Vegas’ restaurant scene in 2008, it was the top spot for the discerning diner. Rivaling Manhattan for those looking for four-star cuisine, Vegas had been hit hard by the economy, and forced to shift their focus away from fine dining. With no competition to draw sommeliers away, New York reclaimed their position at the top of the list for dining destinations. Now, experts are turning down work overseas in London and Asia, once considered the opportunity of a lifetime, to stay in New York.

The expanded size of NYC restaurants, allowing for 150 seats as opposed to the traditional 50, was initially viewed as a recipe for failure. The increase in size was Ari Kellenprimarily considered a negative because it would detract from the personal, close-quarters dining experience expected of a four-star restaurant. However, the larger floor space allowed for room to be used more efficiently, and the employ of several wine stewards thanks to the ample resources afforded by the increase in guest capacity. The more wine enthusiasts enjoying a night out, the more opportunities for trained professionals to ensure their needs are met.

While wine is considered to be the cornerstone of a good meal, it can often lead to rather high prices when acquiring quality bottles en mass. The NYC sommeliers have taken this into account, and oftentimes vary their selection to run the gamut from top shelf brands to more affordable, but still quality bottles. While a sommeliers services are still valuable to the private collector looking to bolster their own collection, you can still enjoy a quality night out in New York that meets your refined taste.

from Ari Kellen | New York City Exploration


Musical Therapy

Music is a wonderful thing. Beyond tapping our toes and moving our feet, the healing power of a pleasant tune has been known to improve learning, increase cognitive response, and combat the symptoms of some diseases like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. But what are some of the other hidden benefits of music? How can your favorite songs be used to effectively combat pain? A random study conducted in Germany and published in the Deutsches Arzteblatt International holds the answer.

Researchers randomly selected 84 patients undergoing palliative care, or care to manage excessive levels of pain. One group was given music therapy to help treat their pain, whereas the other group conducted verbal relaxation exercises. The music therapy group was treated to two sessions of live music performed on classical wood and string instruments. The discovery the researchers made surpassed even their expectations.

Ari kellenAll the patients that took part in the music therapy reported less pain and discomfort, along with decreased levels of stress. Astonishingly, the effects go deeper than their own responses. The scientists found that the patients exposed to music therapy were showing signs of decreased fatigue, and increased peripheral blood flow. Medical jargon aside, these results mean patients were more alert and in less pain.

Patients that experienced this treatment were not only treated to regular concerts of relaxing music, but relieved of their pain. A result that anyone in their shoes would be happy for, music has proven yet again to be one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. Whether fighting chronic pain or stemming a tide of symptoms brought on by a virulent disease, music can make a difference. For more on the subject, click here.


from Ari Kellen | Musical Minded

Too Brave and Too Young

It’s rare that we find ourselves in the company of heroes. This year, freshly turned, has already witnessed an act of bravery. Last Thursday, in New York’s Lower East Side, an elevator malfunctioned. Swinging perilously above ground, dozens of floors in the air, 25-year-old Stephen Hewett-Brown made a choice to think of others rather than himself. Along his journey through 25 short years of life, Stephen found something many of us will go our whole lives without.

The problem made itself known late at night. Stephen, along with several other tenants were using the elevator as usual. Among them, Manuel Coronado, 23, was home visiting his grandmother. He, along with Erude Sanchez were waiting placidly until the car halted. Freezing along the cable, the doors opened and the car stuttered. There was little time, and the span between the occupied car and the rapidly closing exit seemed like an impassable gulf. Stephen Hewett-Brown’s reaction, made within the span of moments, showed just how caring this man was.

“Happy New Year, he said” Manuel Coronado translated for Erude Sanchez between sobs “Happy New Year, and pushed me out of the car.” The weight came down, crushing Stephen between the car and elevator shaft. Unable to move, unable to breath, Stephen plead with Manual to take Erude away, she didn’t need to watch him die. Though resistant at first, attempting several times to pull him free, Manuel was just one man.

Ari KellenWhen reached for comment, Stephen’s family was understandably distraught. Though his actions were heroic, his family is still left with an empty seat at the dinner table, and we can only hope that the lives he saved offer some solace. Stephen Hewett-Brown chose be a hero late one night, and sadly, paid the hero’s price.

from Ari Kellen | New York City Exploration