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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Morimoto-New-Wave-Cuisine

Morimoto: New Wave Cuisine

All aboard! Chef Masaharu Morimoto has signed on to host Classic Harbor Line’s June 1 kickoff of the Chelsea Piers boat line’s weekly sushi dinner cruises along the Hudson. Morimoto is probably best known for his “Iron Chef” showdowns with embattled chef Bobby Flay, in which he declared that Flay “is not a chef.” Classic Harbor Lines is adding trips along the East River this season, and yacht tours out of Brooklyn Bridge Park will run this summer.

Praise for AIANY Architecture Tour

Praise for the AIANY Architecture Tours

As noted by the New York Times, this is the tour that reintroduces New Yorkers to the marvels of their waterfront, or as some now call it, the “Sixth Borough.”

Click here to read what the New York Times said about the NYC Architecture Cruise 2015
Click here to read what the New York Times said about the NYC Architecture Cruise 2012
Click here to read what the New York Times said about the NYC Architecture Cruise 2010

Read what guests have to say about our cruise.
Click here to learn more about our New York AIA Tour Guides!

 

Private Charters Available

All of our AIANY Tour Programming can be booked privately for you and your office, clients, family, guests, school or whomever you’d like to entertain with this spectacular series of tours! Read more about Private Charters.

“A fabulous trip. There are many buildings in NY that are best seen from the water, and of course the boat takes you close to the bridges. The docent was excellent — well informed, his remarks were very well paced, giving us time to both listen and to look at the buildings (and landscape). And he had a lovely voice! The crew members were friendly and attentive, though never obtrusive. They served drinks and snacks that were too tasty. The boat feels quite luxurious, and there is a chance to walk around, go outside or stay inside (from inside the views are very very good). My friends and I had a wonderful time and learned a lot and we plan to ask others to join us when we are all in NY. Very happy passengers, we were.”
~ Kudos from a Chicago architecture tour guide

Summer-and-Spring-Cruises-around-Manhattan

Summer and Spring Cruises around Manhattan Return via Classic Harbor Line

You may not afford a yacht in NYC but Classic Harbor Line can let you spend this spring and summer cruising around the islands of NYC on gorgeous, wooden Gatsby-era motor and sailing yachts, built in Albany, New York  with 100% all made-in-America materials. Classic Harbor Line — designer, builder and operator of classically inspired yachts — offers year-round tours, sails and cruises in New York Harbor. You can make a full day of it, too, starting your evening experience with a day visit to the High Line, a bite at Chelsea Market, or some time at the new Whitney Museum. https://www.sail-nyc.com/

One of my favorites of their cruises is the annual Architecture Tour, a natural in a city with a skyline like New York City’s. This year’s tour will include sneak previews of Staten Island’s Freshkills Park, the world’s largest sustainable park project and the city’s most exciting land reclamation project. Vegetation, wildlife and pristine wandering waterways now fill this once-active landfill area. https://www.nycgovparks.org/park-features/freshkills-park

>A foodie lover cruise, Chef Morimoto’s Sushi and Sake Cruise happens on Monday nights.  Eat and drink with a fantastic menu from the master chef, all with a beautiful backdrop of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, and New Jersey (yes, New Jersey is growing up!).  http://www.morimotonyc.com

For families, the “Around Manhattan” brunch cruises run every Saturday and Sunday morning on the luxury yacht Manhattan. Food options happily include gluten-free choices, complimentary brunch cocktails, and selections for even the youngest guests.

Full-day cruises to Bear Mountain are a great way to escape the city and get physical as well. The program combines a stunning cruise up the Hudson River with hiking and exploring (or relaxing) in beautiful Bear Mountain Park and a cruise back to the city on a luxury yacht.  Breakfast is included on the outbound trip, with a picnic lunch on the return.

Specific dates for all cruises are listed online at  https://www.sail-nyc.com/

NYC--Classic-Harbor-Lines-2015-Itineraries

NYC: Classic Harbor Line’s 2015 Itineraries Include New Tours, Returning Favorites

You may not be able to afford to keep a yacht in New York City, but Classic Harbor Line – an operator of classically inspired yachts offering year round tours – can let you spend this spring and summer cruising around the islands of New York City.

Beginning this season, Classic Harbor Line will be starting new service out of Brooklyn Bridge Park Marina that will feature special Brooklyn waterfront-inspired tours including a special series done in partnership with Turnstile Tours. Check out the Brooklyn Waterfront Tour every Saturday starting June 20 aboard the 1920s style yacht Kingston. The series features a rotation of Brooklyn waterfront themes including: the past & present of Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront; the history and future of Brooklyn’s food production and distribution; and several other rich themes the drape this dynamic edge.

Classic Harbor Line is also debuting a new larger motor yacht, Manhattan II, a 100 foot long luxury yacht that will be especially built to accommodate their most popular cruise – AIANY Architecture boat tour series. The new yacht will also feature a larger galley, a larger bar, more seating and all the fine fishes that the fleet has as a whole. Other high tech features will include high-end audio and video systems.

This year’s featured Architecture Tour will include sneak preview tours of Staten Island’s Freshkills Park, the world’s largest sustainable park project and the cities most exciting land reclamation project of all time. Only with Classic Harbor Line can you travel up into the heart of the Freshkills waterways to get grand sweeping views of the capped mounds of this once active landfill. Vegetation, wildlife and pristine wandering waterways now fill the space.

Private events to impress or propose have been added to the Classic Harbor Line’s event packages. Their new VIP menu for small, special, and last second affairs offers gourmet food options like lobster dinners. To really make an impression to any size private event, book a fireworks display synced to music so you can pop the big question with a bang or just knock the socks off of your guests.

In addition to the new lineup, familiar itineraries are also returning. Classic Harbor Line’s acclaimed New York City AIA Architecture Boat Tours are back with lower Manhattan Tours and full circumnavigation tours around Manhattan offered daily. A date favorite and foodie lover cruise Chef Morimoto Sunset Sushi & Sake Cruise is back on Monday nights. The family favorite Around Manhattan Brunch cruises run every Saturday & Sunday mornings. Wine lovers can rejoice with a full schedule of regions to explore with Wine guru and Cheese Master, Wendy Crispell.

Full day cruises up to Bear Mountain return, combining a stunning cruise up the Hudson River with exploring or relaxing in the beautiful park, then cruise back to the city all in the comfort of one of the luxury yachts. This event is offered on major summer holiday weekends and several other Saturdays & Sundays. This 9-hour cruise includes a full breakfast on the way north and gourmet picnic lunch on the return.

Classic Harbor Line, www.sail-nyc.com

A-3-Hour-(Manhattan-Boat)-Tour

A 3-Hour (Manhattan Boat) Tour

The American Institute of Architects guides you around the city’s diverse coastline.

Though I’ve lived in New York City for almost a decade, like so many New Yorkers, I rarely take the time to learn about my city, and it seemed to me there’s are few better ways to do it than on a boat, floating around the island, the river mist and wind keeping you cool under a summer sun. And I was right. And the Classic Harbor Line’s American Institute of Architect’s boat tour around Manhattan is a great way to see a familiar city from a new perspective.

We departed Chelsea Piers and passed the glass and steel wonders that are Barry Diller’s IAC headquaters, the Standard Hotel and the glitzy Perry Street towers, another recent addition to a Westside skyline once dominated by brick and mortar. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty that remains: Richard Meier embraced the neighborhood’s industrial past when he made the ’60s-era Westbeth building, and the former Federal Archive Building, now filled with apartments, is a burst of red cinder. But the city’s changing face, and the neighborhood’s changed demographics, are in full display for those coming down the river.

The Lenape Indians used to travel these waters, a much cleaner river splashing into their canoes as they traveled from village to village, trading pelts and shells. It was they who called Manhattan island “Manna-hata.” They referred to lower Manhattan as “Sapokanikan” and used it as a base camp for a sprawling, multi-borough territory dubbed Lenapehoking, “in the land of the Lenape.” Now the area is lower Manhattan, an area built up and out by landfill and is home to the world’s seemingly unstoppable financial engine. The new World Trade Center is the steeple of this glittering shrine to economic success, but pockets of history remain. For example, City Pier A, a port first built up for civilian use in the late 1800s and whose tower resembles a Dutch town hall, due in part to the city’s large population of immigrants from that region. This place wasn’t called “New Amsterdam” for nothing.

The Statue of Liberty greeted us with an unremarkable yet welcoming stare as we moved into New York Harbor. The neoclassical beauty was still being repaired from Sandy damage, but stood as tall and proud as she did when France gifted it to the States in 1886. This was when neighboring Governor’s Island was still an army base. Later, in 1966, G.I. would be transferred to the Coast Guard, and it would still be three decades before it became civilian territory. On this day, the daily dose of visitors were being deposited at the landing just north of the new New York Harbor School, a public institution that’s the island’s first permanent inhabitant in over ten years. I glanced toward the cutie up front. I could swear he had been looking over his left shoulder at me, but now his eyes were straight ahead, on the East River.

The Woolworth and Municipal buildings stand tall, as they have since 1913 and 1914, respectively, but then there’s also Frank Gehry’s contrarian residential tower at 8 Spruce Street and, below that, the hideous William Beaver House. The steady, stony Brooklyn Bridge remains a constant, and now stands mightily above the recently renovated, and splendid, Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s there that you’ll find Jane’s Carousel, a 1922 merry-go-round renovated by the eternally fabulous Jane Walenta, wife of developer David, the man who transformed Soho and Dumbo into the neighborhoods they are today.

We pass The Manhattan Bridge, all steel and wires, and to the left there’s East River Park, a space turned “public” when Robert Moses and his crew cleared out the homeless and the riff-raff. To our right, in Brooklyn, new glass towers rise above Williamsburg and the old Domino Sugar Factory first built in 1856. That lot too is being converted into pricey residential towers. Parks, shops and restaurants will also be added to the complex to become what developer’s are describing as “the Highline of Brooklyn.” Luckily, the giant, yellow Domino sign will remain. Kitschiness has its value.

There’s no kitchiness whatsoever at Roosevelt Island. Called Minnehanonck by the Lenape, and once a private estate, the land would go on to house smallpox patients, to house prisoners, and as host to an insane asylum. Many relics from the olden days still exist, like the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, built in 1889, but since 1969 it has been mostly residential and the island is dominated by apartment buildings. At its southern most point, though, there’s a new jewel, Four Freedoms Park.

Erected at the southern most tip of Roosevelt Island, this white granite monument was designed by Louis Kahn in honor of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president. The name “Four Freedoms” comes from Roosevelt’s landmark 1941 State of the Union address, the one in which he outlined the four freedoms every human deserves: freedom of speech and worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Kahn designed the park in 1972, but it wouldn’t be completed and opened until 2012, 38 years after Kahn’s death, and 68 after FDR’s.

I’ll admit, I zoned out a bit as we went by familiar Mid-town and the Upper East Side. I listened only a little when the Chrysler Building and Empire State building were discussed, and I very nearly missed Gracie Mansion, the official home of the mayor, though not the one Michael Bloomberg uses. His penthouse is far nicer than public housing. Speaking of, my ears perk up after we pass Randall’s Island and are in the Harlem River. The landscape, made up of public house, is less inspiring, but no less educational. Riverbend Houses, designed by landmark architects Lew Davis and Sam Brody in the late 1960s, come into view as we approach 138th Street’s riverside.

These were an attempt to lighten up Brutalist architecture with bursts of colorful “skyways” that were meant to be “streets in the sky.” The buildings were supposed to give residents a more airy street scape, but the residents weren’t interested in hanging out in exposed hallways and the grand design was later, after some fan fair, deemed a failure. Or, at the very least, an eyesore, just like so many buildings that line this stretch of Manhattan. River views were not yet en vogue — the city was still all about Central Park — but today developers are sinking their teeth into land abutting the river, eager to take the view from places like Riverbend and the Harlem River Houses, the first public housing to be built for black people and with federal funds.

The landscape reverts back to its pre-colonial days as we approach Manhattan’s northern tip. Rocky, jagged cliffs topped with robust, leafy trees loom large and strong and high, providing a base for generations of daredevils willing to climb back up after a jump. The more cheeky ones, we’re told, spend their time at the top, mooning tour boats like ours. We pass through by Hell Gate, a narrow straight known to take ships and sailors back in the day, and under bridges linking tiny Manhattan Island to the sprawling Bronx, and then we’re back on the Hudson, across from the Cloisters, a museum and complex donated by John D. Rockefeller in 1938, and remains today one of the city’s most beautiful and isolated sights to see.

The island is once again lush. This is where the truly rich used to set up shop, away from downtown and, later, Central Park. If the park was the suburbs, this was the country, and on this summer day the trees are in full plumage, allowing fantasies of the Lenape to reappear as we pass Riverbank State Park and Grant’s Tomb, a 19th Century circular structure containing sarcophagi of the 18th president and his wife. It’s not too long before we’re told about the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, another circular structure completed a few year’s after the Grant memorial, in 1902.

Soon enough the 79th Street Boat Basin is behind us and we are directly west of Roosevelt Island at this point, and Midtown’s glitz steals the show. Trump Place, the Time-Warner and Heart buildings can be seen through slits of steel and glass. The Intrepid, a former air craft carrier, is obviously easier to see, and those fantasies of Lenape Indians are replaced by Seamen as I marvel at the sheer size of this floating city. It’s a city docked next to another city, both ultimately small but daunting all the same.

Then, before I know it, we’re beside Hudson River Park and Chelsea Piers and pulling back into the dock. Could it be over already? Was that a three hour tour? And what happened to that cocky young man? He was gone, lost in the city’s shuffle, between its buildings and historic landmarks. And soon enough so was I.

For more on the AIA Architectural Cruise, check out their website. And don’t fret, they offer tours all year-round, and there’s probably an even better view of Northern Manhattan’s rough terrain in the winter. A version of this story originally appeared on Out.com

New-York--a-harbour-view-of-the-city-and-its-eras

New York: a harbour view of the city and its eras

On a breezy morning in November, the handsome 1920s-style yacht we were aboard came to a brief stop in the choppy waters off Lower Manhattan. It was the perfect moment for our group of 15 or so passengers to jump up from our comfortable seats and criss-cross the glassed-in cabin, cellphone cameras poised.

In every direction, an icon loomed.

Just to the south was the Statue of Liberty.

Not some tiny figure in the distance, but 225 tons of copper, steel and iron outlined against the cloudless sky.

Closer in, Ellis Island basked in the sun.

Its main building is a Beaux-Arts-style wonder of arches and towers and cupolas, “a symbol of the public grandeur that awaited immigrants,” as the architecture critic Paul Goldberger said.

But it was the silvery skyline of Lower Manhattan that held our attention.

We edged in for a closer look, as John Kriskiewicz, an associate member of the American Institute of Architects, spoke into a microphone: “Lower Manhattan is the oldest part of the city, but it is also where some of the newest architecture is.”

The observation made it easy to think of the city as a palimpsest, a place where the old makes way for the new, but never really gives up the ghost.

We had already sailed past a few examples of this: industrial buildings transformed into apartments and offices in West Chelsea; a derelict freight line reimagined as the High Line.

And, now, standing before us was One World Trade Center.

At 1,776 feet, it is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Not some tiny figure in the distance, but 225 tons of copper, steel and iron outlined against the cloudless sky.

Closer in, Ellis Island basked in the sun.

Its main building is a Beaux-Arts-style wonder of arches and towers and cupolas, “a symbol of the public grandeur that awaited immigrants,” as the architecture critic Paul Goldberger said.

But it was the silvery skyline of Lower Manhattan that held our attention.

We edged in for a closer look, as John Kriskiewicz, an associate member of the American Institute of Architects, spoke into a microphone: “Lower Manhattan is the oldest part of the city, but it is also where some of the newest architecture is.”

The observation made it easy to think of the city as a palimpsest, a place where the old makes way for the new, but never really gives up the ghost.

We had already sailed past a few examples of this: industrial buildings transformed into apartments and offices in West Chelsea; a derelict freight line reimagined as the High Line.

And, now, standing before us was One World Trade Center.

At 1,776 feet, it is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Not only is it an homage to what stood there before Sept. 11, 2001, but it was also an indirect reference to a building the Trade Center towers above, the nearby 40 Wall Street, an Art Deco beauty that was itself built to break records as the tallest building in the world some 85 years ago.

The insights offered by Kriskiewicz, who also teaches architectural history at Parsons the New School for Design and Yeshiva University, made this excursion around Lower Manhattan a real lesson.

It is one of several tours organized by Classic Harbor Line and the New York Chapter of the A.I.A. (The newest, a cruise through the waterways of Fresh Kills Landfill, is scheduled to begin in April.) All tours are guided by A.I.A. members, all depart from Chelsea Piers — later this year some cruises will depart from Brooklyn Bridge Park Marina — and all are aboard motorized yachts that offer an experience that is, according to the cruise line’s website, “wrapped in turn-of-the-century tradition.”

Indeed, our 80-foot-long vessel, the Manhattan, does possess a certain nostalgic elegance. If you have an hour and a half and $46 to spare, you, too, can sit back in the climate-controlled cabin, with its teak floors and Oriental-style carpets, and sip a free glass of wine or Champagne as the urban landscape slips by.

Passengers can also venture onto the deck, not an appealing option on a chilly fall day, but inviting when the weather is good. Our group of tourists and New Yorkers chose to stay inside, listening to Kriskiewicz as we sailed from Chelsea Piers up to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, then back down the Hudson River, around the southern tip of Manhattan, and into the bustling East River, with its ferries and sailboats and helicopters buzzing overhead, before turning back the way we came.

Along the way, Kriskiewicz pointed out various enigmas and oddities: The purpose of those towers above the Holland Tunnel? To house the fans that ventilate carbon monoxide so drivers don’t choke when they drive beneath the Hudson.

At 200 11th Ave. in West Chelsea, designed by Annabelle Selldorf’s architectural firm, he said, “you can drive into an elevator and park in your private sky garage.”

At South Street Seaport, the tall-masted ships docked there reminded Kriskiewicz that the word “skyscraper” was once used to describe the masts. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the term was applied in print to buildings.

Making our way back around Lower Manhattan, we again take in the crowd of multi-generational buildings that seem to jostle right up to the edge of Battery Park, as if they are vying to get the best view of us. It was an oddly intimate encounter with the ever-evolving metropolis. And it’s the kind of encounter best experienced from the water, with the insights of an expert delivered as you go.

 

Departing from Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers (West 22nd Street and the Hudson River), the 90-minute Lower Manhattan Architecture tour, offered by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and Classic Harbor Line, is available from April to mid-November. Tickets, $46 for adults, $32 for students. For information on this and other architecture- and infrastructure-themed cruises, visit Classic Harbor Line, sail-nyc.com.

 

The New York Times