Posts filed under ‘Inspiration’

“So a biker walks into a hotel…”


Paris. London. Hong Kong. Milwaukee?  Recently Craig, Kat, and I had the pleasure of staying at the Iron Horse Hotel, which we agreed was one of the best hotels we’ve spent a night in. Opened in October last year, the Iron Horse was founded by real estate developer Tim Dixon and is the first upscale hotel geared for business travelers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike, which makes sense given that Milwaukee hosts many conventions and is home to Harley-Davidson. Its name comes from the term Native Americans used for the train as it crossed the prairies, and today the Iron Horse is located alongside a historic yet active railroad.



August 6, 2009 at 10:31 am

3 Years, 3 Months, 8 Days.

highlineopening2That is how long we have gazed out of our window at the High Line, dreaming of the day when we might have morning meetings amidst greenery.

IT’S OPEN. Once forlorn, it is now resplendent, and we had a chance to take a stroll on the park’s opening day yesterday. The pictures speak for themselves, but in a nutshell, we thought it was fabulous and well worth the wait.

Huge congratulations go to Joshua David and Richard Hammond, who conceived the idea and formed Friends of the High Line in 1999. Designed by Field Operations (Jame’s Corner’s landscaping design firm) and Diller Scofidio+Renfro, beautiful renderings of the High Line have graced the pages of NY publications for years. Since then, budgets have been slashed and snazzy features have been sacrificed. Nevertheless, the creative juices kept flowing, and there are many elements (undulating and pronged paving, oversized rolling lounge chairs, water features, plants you have never seen before) that will surprise and delight. We particularly love the re-introduction of wild grasses that were found on the High Line when it was deserted.

Come and see for yourself! –Kat

June 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Milk and Honey’s Invisible Visibility

Picture 1 copyI recently got the chance to peek at the Milk and Honey Service Manual, authored by patron-saint-of-cocktails Sasha Petraske and his staff. A pioneer in the fancy cocktail scene, M&H is especially known for 1. Quality: Extreme attention to detail in every aspect of drink making, especially in regards to ingredients (Bartender Magazine ranks it the #2 bar in the world, below its London location) and 2. Mystery: Hidden behind a door on an otherwise unremarkable stretch of Eldridge St; strict call in advance reservations only policy; and an (until recently) unpublished phone number.

To my surprise and delight, in spite of their venerated position, M&H’s manual describes a Remains of the Day-level dedication to pursuing virtue through humility and service. (more…)

May 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm Leave a comment

High Line Update #5: Blooms!

High Line SpringSpring is in the air and purple patches have blossomed on the High Line. Katie from Friends of the High Line tells us that these are “Rhapsody in Blue” flowers, from the Salvia family. While we’re enjoying our office view, we can’t wait to admire them up close, and eagerly await the official opening, rumored to be some time in June. As always, daily updates are available on the official High Line blog. –Kat

May 12, 2009 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

High Line Update #4: On The Fence


Last week, my colleagues and I noticed the addition of an oddly imposing structure atop the High Line. Upon closer inspection, it appears that workers have installed a security fence on the section directly above 20th Street. While I couldn’t find any information addressing the fence specifically, the High Line’s website informed me that, “the first section of the High Line (Gansevoort Street to 20th Street) is currently on budget, and is projected to open in the spring of 2009.” Using my cunning deductive abilities, I’ve concluded that this is a temporary border fence to keep this spring’s visitors from stumbling onto the construction of the second section.

Other progress since our last update includes new park benches (one is pictured above, covered for winter) and, in the background, the emergent shell of Cary Tamarkin’s 456 West 19th St. building. We’ll be sure to update you with any new progress!


Previous High Line updates: #3 – At Last Grass, #2 – High Line Sunshine, #1 – Our Dependence On Foreign Soil

February 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

The Amazing Year That Was

Obama crowd

2008 was an unforgettable year for us at People Are Amazing. Aside from Kat getting married, and me getting typhus, we launched this very blog and (despite our best efforts), it is still up and running! Since then, we’ve been privileged to interview a number of amazing people from Kalliopi Kohas, owner of Greek pine sap purveyor Mastiha to Tony Dusko, 5th grade teacher by day, whimsical web animator by night. A personal highpoint was hearing the wise words of 90 year-old Dave Crawford on growing up during the Great Depression and how best to navigate a crumbling economy.

But the recession didn’t keep us from visiting some intriguing places. John took a trip to Brooklyn’s own Fine and Raw for a taste of artisanal, dairy/sugar/preservative-free chocolate. He brought back some perishable, refrigerated samples and we made sure they never reached room temperature! Kat found herself in the Mid-West wandering the aisles of Cincinatti’s own supermarket/amusement park Jungle Jim’s. Food, it seems, is a minor obsession at P.A.A.. Kat’s post about local panini-makers S’Wich found its way onto foodie blog Eater in May. I wrote about an awful new bottled tap water I came across at a bodega; in turn, that company curiously linked to our post, “Tap’NY Must Think You’re Stupid,” in their press section.

Surprisingly, our most popular post ended up being about a miscolored canine. In early May, I was experimenting with ways to boost traffic and I noticed that the search term “green puppy” was “volcanic” in popularity on Google Trends. Apparently, a Labrador with a pea-colored coat had been born in New Orleans and really people wanted to see the pictures. I posted the two images available at the time, unaware that moments later the popular site Buzzfeed would link to our post. Within a matter of minutes, we had thousands of viewers visiting our humble little blog. Thus, the “Green Puppy Effect” was born.

Obviously, you never quite know where a year will take you. This time last year, People Are Amazing didn’t even exist. But between blogging about diabetic rappers and Colorado grease thieves, we were thrilled to ride the ups and downs of 2008. Luckily for us, amazing things are always on the horizon and 2009 is sure to provide hearty fodder for the blog. Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

— Johnny

January 12, 2009 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

One Great Life…Two Great Depressions?


Addressing our economy back in April, President Bush refused to utter the term “recession,” opting instead for dopey euphemisms like “tough time,” “slowdown,” and “rough patch.” But as the domino effect of Lehman’s bankruptcy topples bank after bank, week after week, the discussion amongst grown-ups shifts to the plausibility of “depression.” Facing such a bleak outlook, we thought it would benefit our readers to share a personal account of the Great Depression, not necessarily to judge the economic parallels, but for the anecdotal guidance only our elders can provide. Dave Crawford, a 92 year old retired law professor and veteran of WWII was 13 years old when the stock market crashed in the fall of 1929. Earlier this month, he spoke with People Are Amazing:

Johnny Williams: As a 92 year old who lived through the 1930’s, do you think that we’re approaching another depression?

Dave Crawford: Definitely. And I think we may be even worse off than we were then. I think the big difference now is that nobody even dares use the word “depression.” They say “maybe we’re in recession,” but I think the fundamentals are even worse than they were then. I hope I’m wrong. In 1929 it was like falling off the edge of a cliff, people starting jumping out of their offices in Wall Street…it was that bad of a crash. It wasn’t until FDR came along in the early 1930’s that we began to rebound. He did a remarkable job; he was a real savior for our nation. We have no such leadership in evidence at this point. FDR came right in and said, “listen, this gap between the rich and the poor is ridiculous” and he inaugurated plans like the National Recovery Administration that were anathema to the wealthy. But we don’t have anybody like that now to take hold and close the ever-widening gap between the rich and the middle class and the poor.

Johnny: What are your earliest memories of the Depression era?

Dave: What comes to mind more than anything else was the new junior high school in the suburban Philadelphia area where my family lived. They started building in 1928 and they had all the steelwork up in 1929, but at the time of the crash the construction just stopped. I still remember driving by the skeleton framework of the school that I was supposed to be going to that fall. Gradually they got back on track but that skeleton framework is still very vivid in my mind. Also I remember one of the dances at my high school where the charge was “a penny a pound” for your date’s weight. So if she weighed a hundred pounds, it was only a buck for admission.

Johnny: Did they actually make the girls get on scales?

Dave: Yes, they did! So it was best to be with a girl who was very thin!


October 14, 2008 at 10:29 am 1 comment

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