New York’s Harry Pasta

New York's Harry pasta by ari kellenWhat’s there not to love about Harry Potter?  A story about friendship, the triumph of good over evil, and of course a healthy dose of magic.  It’s one of the most influential book series of the past 20 years, with a fanbase as loyal as it is large.  And as the kids who grew up reading Harry Potter are now young adults with spending money living in major cities, a fast-casual Harry Potter-themed pasta restaurant has opened up in Williamsburg, called “Pasta Wiz”.  This conveniently comes 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was released.

The restaurant is decorated in a Harry Potter theme, with the “magic” coming from the pasta being made “so fast, and so good”.  The owner, Alex Dimitrov, has been trying to open a restaurant in the space for nearly six years.  Locals were scared that Dimitrov would build something similar to Mehanata, his Lower East Side club described as a “Balkan disco dive bar extravaganza”.  And yes, Mehanata is a great time, but nobody wants to live in a neighborhood where there’s a club like that.  Every time Dimitrov tried to get a liquor license, he faced opposition; when he said he was trying to open a pasta place, nobody believed him.  Yet he’s finally been able to bring both Spaghetti and Slytherins to the neighborhood.  

The restaurant is decked out with Hogwarts-esque chandeliers, a baby grand piano, candles and even a Sorting Hat.  And the speed is the best part: the restaurant promises that dishes will arrive between three and five minutes.  Like many other fast-casual restaurants where you order off the tablet and pick it up at the counter, there isn’t any table service.  In addition to tested and approved combos, there’s a mix-and-match DIY method, with various sauces and toppings you can add.  
If you’d like to learn more, you can click here!

from Ari Kellen | New York City Exploration


Visiting Coney Island This Winter

Visiting Coney Island this winter by ari kellenWhen people think about visiting Coney Island, they typically think of coming out on a warm summer day, to soak up some sun and ride on the rides.  They don’t often think of visiting in the winter.  True, you can’t really go to the beach (unless it’s the polar plunge!) or ride on the ferris wheel, but visiting on the off-season offers a unique perspective on New York’s history.  It’s the perfect day trip for New Yorkers who want peace and quiet away from the typical New York bustle.  I recently read an article about things to do in Coney Island this winter, and although it’s a year-old article, it has a lot of great things you can do:

New York Aquarium: The New York Aquarium in Coney Island has great exhibits and fish-feeding shows year-round.  It’s great for both dates and just good old-fashioned family fun.  There are all sorts of sea creatures in both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Stroll the boardwalk: It might be cold, but the famous Coney Island boardwalk offers stellar views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and the amusement parks of Coney Island on the other.  I’d recommend walking down the boardwalk to one of the Russian restaurants in Brighton Beach for a bowl of borscht.  

Eat at Nathan’s: You can find Nathan hot dogs across the country.  But if you want to know what made them so famous, you have to visit their original hot dog stand on Coney Island.  And they taste much better here than anywhere else.

Visit Totonno’s: If you’d prefer pizza over hot dogs, you can visit the Coney Island institution Totonno’s, considered to be one of New York City’s very best pizza spots.  A thin crust and fresh sauce made on the premises ensures that you get an A+ pizza every time, and Totonno’s remains a no-frills joint that just happens to serve amazing pizza.

Visit the Coney Island Museum: For a long time, Coney Island was New York City’s playground, a wildly popular and bustling spot.  The Coney Island Museum pays homage to this legacy, and the entrance fee is just 99 cents!  This admission offers you free admission into the zany side of Coney Island’s early days, with circuses and sideshows.  Check the website, and you might just be able to catch a special exhibit.  

from Ari Kellen | New York City Exploration

No Tebow This Spring

When Tim Tebow signed on with the Mets for a minor league contract late last year, it was hard to understand.  Was it a whimper from a football has-been to regain relevance?  Were the Mets trying to generate publicity?  Either way, here’s how it went: Mets fans spent a day laughing about it on Facebook, then apart from the occasional amused head-shake everybody stopped caring.  

While many have questioned Tebow’s decision to move from being a football has-been to a baseball nobody, he’s defended his decision, saying that it was something he wanted to do, since it would be a fun challenge.  But he went on to play for a minor league Mets team, and it wasn’t terribly bad, but it wasn’t great.  With spring training coming up soon, people were wondering if Tebow would receive an invite, even if they knew deep down in their heart that it wasn’t going to happen.  He didn’t.  Instead, he’ll be starting in the minor league camp, as was expected.  Nonetheless, this is probably a disappointment to Terry Collins, who has said before that he wanted to see Tebow at spring training.  

Although Tebow didn’t get an invitation, the Mets did invite RHP Chase Bradford, catcher Xorge Carrillo, LHP PJ Conlon, infielder Phillip Evans, infielder Luis Guilllorme, RHP Kevin McGowan, LHP David Roseboom, RHP Paul Sewald, infielder Dominic Smith, outfielder Champ Stuart, outfielder Travis Taijeron, RHP Corey Taylor and RHP Logan Taylor.  

If you’d like to learn more, you can click here!

from Ari Kellen | Sports