Destination: New York City

New Travel Book: ‘Save the Deli’

New Travel Book: ‘Save the Deli’ Photo by stevendepolo via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by stevendepolo via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Here’s one for traveling pastrami-lovers everywhere.

“Save the Deli” follows author David Sax around Europe and North America in search of a shrinking number of Jewish delicatessens—and, though the project was driven by fears for a declining institution, the result seems to be a hopeful one.

In a letter to potential readers posted on Amazon, Sax addresses the “heresy” of his search for the deli in such unlikely spots as Salt Lake City or Brussels:

Three years ago, when I began working on this book, I too had fallen prey to the misguided notion that great deli was only confined to New York and Montreal. Anything outside those cities had to be a pale imitation. I, like many Jewish deli lovers, was narrow-minded, could see and imagine no further than the local delicatessen I frequented…a village simpleton who knows nothing beyond his little shtetl and the salamis therein.

But as I hit the road, in search of the story of delicatessen in American and around the world, I tasted revelation after revelation.

Publishers Weekly describes these revelations as “joyful moments in this otherwise elegiac travelogue,” and notes that the book’s “well-crafted portraits don’t string together perfectly, but individual chapters shine.”

Montreal vs. New York City: The Hotdog Showdown

Last year we blogged the great bagel debate. Now, Gadling weighs in on another staple.

Video You Must See: Where Would You Want to Wake Up Tomorrow?

A film crew asks 50 people the same question on a Brooklyn street. (Via The Daily Dish)

Celebrating ‘The Best American Travel Writing’ in NYC

I made it to the launch party for The Best American Travel Writing 2009 last night at Manhattan’s Idlewild Books. Series editor Jason Wilson was there, along with this year’s guest editor, Simon Winchester—who read from what he described as his “preachy” introduction on the importance of teaching geography. (Preachy or not, I think it’s a point worth making.) Contributors Elisabeth Eaves, Matthew Power and Andre Aciman also read from their essays in the anthology, a few bottles of wine were emptied, and—if I can have a preachy moment of my own—it was nice to see, despite the ongoing litany of bad news, that a book of literary travel essays can still draw a crowd.

As for the anthology itself? I haven’t gotten deeply into it yet, but it looks like another good one. Regular World Hum contributors Frank Bures and Eric Weiner both have stories included, while four World Hum stories—from Katie Krueger, Julia Ross, Emily Stone and Jeffrey Tayler—are among this year’s additional notable selections.

Interview with Bonnie Tsui: ‘American Chinatown’

Bonnie Tsui, American Chinatowns Photo by Matthew Elliott

Jenna Schnuer talks to the author of a new book about American Chinatowns and why "broken Chinese is the mark of being Chinese American"

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‘The Best American Travel Writing’ in New York City

The Best American Travel Writing 2009 has landed in stores, and, for anyone in the New York area, there are a couple of upcoming events celebrating the release.

First up, Idlewild Books is hosting a launch party this Thursday, October 8, at 7 p.m. Several contributors to the 2009 edition will be reading, including guest editor Simon Winchester and World Hum contributor Elisabeth Eaves. You can RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Later this month, there will be an installment of the Restless Legs Reading Series devoted to the anthology. It’ll take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21, at Lolita Bar—series editor Jason Wilson will host, and World Hum contributors Elisabeth Eaves, Tony Perrottet and Frank Bures will be reading.

I’ll be attending both and hope to see you there.

Photo You Must See: Surfer in the Fog

Photo You Must See: Surfer in the Fog REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

A surfer walks along New York’s Rockaway Beach as the fog rolls in.

British Airways: Introducing the ‘Son of Concorde’

With BA’s luxury London-New York route launching this week—exactly forty years after the Concorde’s first flight—the Independent’s Simon Calder takes a closer look at the new service, and at the history of luxury and business class-only air travel.

Portraits from the New York Subway

Improv Everywhere is back. (You remember the group that “froze” Grand Central last year?) This time around, they posed as MTA-contracted photographers, taking photos of passengers on the New York subway for an eventual subway yearbook. The result is not just a funny gag, but a pretty cool set of portraits, too. Check it out:

(Via Boing Boing)

What if the Burj Dubai was in Manhattan?

Kottke posts an altered version of the Midtown skyline. Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

Video We Love: David Byrne Cycles Times Square

0:19—“Lady, if I was a truck you wouldn’t be doing that.”
1:31—“Times Square, crossroads of the world.”
2:27—“Sometimes when I tell people I ride around New York they think I’m crazy. That may be.”
3:52—“If this were a bike lane, there would be a truck from New Jersey in it.”

Cycle Killer

Cycle Killer iStockPhoto

In his new book, "Bicycle Diaries," David Byrne reflects on his travels on two wheels. Herewith, an excerpt.

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NYC: 30 Mosques in 30 Days

First came the Ramadan world tour, and now the Ramadan tour of New York. Two Muslim New Yorkers are just wrapping up a very cool project—visiting 30 mosques in the five boroughs over the 30 days of the holy month. They’ve been blogging as they go, and the result is a fascinatingly complex picture of the city’s modern Muslim community.

Here’s a quick sample from day twenty-seven in Astoria: “I looked around and saw people from all over the world coming in cracking jokes among one another. A litmus test I use to see if a mosque is serving the needs of a community, is checking to see if people are smiling.” (Via Ta-Nehisi Coates)

The Voyeurs of New York’s High Line

New York City’s new High Line park looks out at, among other things, the Standard Hotel, which, writes Geraldine Baum, “became New York’s hot attraction this summer after guests were photographed in the buff prancing about, even having sex, in front of floor-to-ceiling windows.” Baum looks at the phenomenon, and puts it into context:

This 21st century urban voyeurism is the next logical step in a society that has been peeping and poking into private lives, with all of us participating, on reality TV, through social networking, and in confessional interviews and memoirs.

At Least One Country Really Cared About the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s Arrival in New York

And it wasn’t the U.S. OK, that might not be fair. Hillary Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did show up at the festivities, and New York City tourism promoted a days-long 400th anniversary celebration.

But, according to the New York Times, the Netherlands went nuts, covering the just-ended festivities by sending “about 50 reporters to New York, with a major television station running nightly half-hour updates on the proceedings during prime time. And thousands of Dutch citizens crossed the Atlantic to take part, including Crown Prince Willem-Alexander.”

All that to celebrate the achievements of a Brit. So why the hubbub? “[H]is financial backer was the Dutch East India Company. (‘Who paid for the voyage,’ the crown prince said, ‘really counts.’)”