Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Spotlight On... Bank of America Tower

One Bryant Park at 42nd Street

Projected completion date: 2010

By Nicole Caldwell

Skyscrapers have been called many things; but for the first time, Manhattan’s second-tallest will also be known as the country’s greenest.

The soon-to-be-completed Bank of America Tower, located at One Bryant Park in Midtown, boasts 2.1 million square feet and 52 stories of the greenest architecture in the United States—and possibly, the world. As the first skyscraper to strive for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED “Platinum” designation, the space was designed to reduce potable water and energy consumption by 50 percent; utilize 50 percent recycled material in the construction phase; and to acquire half of all building materials from within 500 miles of the site.

It’s not an easy undertaking, or cheap. The building in 2004 was estimated to cost $1 billion; this June, The Durst Organization developers secured a $1.3 billion loan to allow the construction to be completed. The building is co-owned by Durst and Bank of America, representatives of whom declined to comment for this piece.

Read the rest of this article here.

[Originally published by Clean Edison]

Friday, July 24, 2009

One-Minute Fairy Tale

The battle was over. The princess stood in front of her castle far, far away and smiled an exhausted smile. She brushed her knotty hair away from sunburned cheeks and licked at her wounds. "I'm free," she whispered to no one in particular. "I am finally free."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Walking in a Techie Wonderland

Newly renovated Sony Wonder Technology Lab is a geek's paradise
By Nicole Caldwell

They say New York City has the most of everything; but there still aren’t a whole lot of places where you can practice open-heart surgery, program a robot, research nanotechnology, and animate cartoons under the same roof.

Or, there wasn’t—until the Sony Wonder Technology Lab (SWTL) parked its headquarters at 550 Madison Ave. in 1994. Since then, the interactive, totally free learning center has continued to grow and change to appeal to an ever-shifting market of 8- to 14-year-olds (literally and at heart) with a soft spot for technology.

“Our most popular new exhibits are our Robot Zone, where visitors can learn the basic elements of programming a robot,” said Lisa Davis, senior director of communications and public affairs with Sony Corporation of America, “and our Dance Motion Capture experience, where visitors can see their very own dance moves performed by a Sony-animated character in real-time through the use of markerless, motion-capture technology.”

The lab underwent a year-long renovation, completed this summer, which brought 14 additional interactive exhibits to the facility’s already-daunting repertoire. The construction added two floors, 6,200 square feet, and a host of new experiments and exhibits to tinker with. All renovations were made with green technology in mind; as Sony is now pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification for its building.

“The multi-million dollar investment we’ve made in this facility reflects Sony’s ongoing commitment to education and the communities we serve,” Sony’s CEO, president, and chairman Sir Howard Stringer said in a prepared statement. “The Sony Wonder Technology Lab is a manifestation of ‘Sony United’ in every sense. Bringing our content and technology together in this educational environment has enabled us to create a compelling and engaging experience for visitors of all ages.”

More than 200,000 people pay a visit to SWTL annually. With no price tag to stop in, the lab is a perfect destination for a few minutes before or after the musical you’re in Times Square to see; or a several-hour exploratory adventure for you and your kids.

“My personal favorite installation is our Animation Studio,” Davis said, “which allows visitors to explore basic animation techniques, create and animate a character, or design a computer-generated environment. I think the best part about the lab is that it’s free! It is Sony’s way of giving back to the City of New York.”

The Sony Wonder Technology Lab, located at 550 Madison Ave. at 56th Street, is free and open to the public 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 12-5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit

[Originally published in Times Square Chronicle]

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Office Yoga: De-stress at your desk

Sitting—whether at work, home, a ballgame, the park, subway, or car—is wreaking havoc on your body.

Sitting still slows your circulatory system by pooling blood in your legs and feet; increases pressure on the springy part of your spine that absorbs shock; and slows your metabolism. That, along with ergonomic problems associated with staring at a computer screen for long hours and typing on a keyboard all day, and it becomes clear: A sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health.

A regular massage schedule can help ward off short- and long-term effects of cubicle life. But to give you an extra edge, we tracked down two yoga experts for some easy moves you can do while sitting in your chair.

Read the rest of this article here.

[Originally published on Massage Williamsburg's blog.]

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

1000 Islands Area Hot Spot for Paddlers

Apps, Anyone?

By Nicole Caldwell


iPhone applications offer everything from restaurant reviews to walking directions. But what if there was a Times Square app that offered great ideas for plays, movies, or drinks that were off the beaten path right in this neighborhood?

Michael Quintos, president and CEO of Media-Fuse and a social media expert, has worked on projects with Disney, Warner Brothers, and The Motley Fool, to name a few. We tracked Quintos down to hear about a new idea he has for an iPhone app that could change the face of Times Square tourism.

How has social media affected the way we see things?
Brands used to come up with an ad featuring a catchy jingle. But as technology evolved, individuals shaped the conversation. Facebook, MySpace, and other social media sites allow participants to share their favorite content with friends.

What is a widget? How are widgets relevant to Times Square?
A widget can best be described as a mini Web site. Widgets are especially useful for the launch of albums; or, in the case of Times Square, the opening of a Broadway show. A widget can help show all content—reviews, show times, trailers, ring tones, or songs—in a self-contained box posted on the site. Fans of the show can “grab” the widget and share it with friends by posting it on their Facebook pages.

How do I Phone Applications work?
iPhone apps allow anything that is done in front of your computer to be done via your mobile phone. When you look at what people use their iPhone apps for, it’s mostly for getting relevant content. So if someone misses an important flight out of New York and has several hours to kill in Times Square, they might like to know what there is to do.

Which is where you come in.
What I think is missing is something called a tastemaker. If I’m going to New York, I might call up my friend and ask for the name of a good play. Or if I want to go to one of these trendy places off the beaten path, I might ask about that. You could create an app so that if you’re in that kind of scenario you’re able to look at your phone and immediately find three or four really
great restaurants.

What might a Times Square app feature?
The app would give the community showcasing power. Creating widgets for shows, plays, comedy acts, restaurants, and musicals would be a tremendous opportunity. You would have an app filled with premier theater companies, entertainment, cozy restaurants, and great club ideas. It could also allow you to search for available tickets to shows. This (Times Square) is the most visited zip code; so why not give those visitors a streamlined way to navigate it?

[Originally published in The Times Square Chronicle, July 7, 2009]

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Massage A Day: The benefits of scheduling regular rub-downs

You can stop thinking of that once-a-year trip to the spa as a luxury—experts agree getting massages as often as once a week can be beneficial to your health.

The Touch Research Institute in Miami, the first facility to scientifically study the effects of massage, definitively found massage reduces the stress-associated hormone cortisol in the body; increases serotonin, heals pain (including that from childbirth, chronic fatigue, and burns), and improves flexibility and circulation.

Keep up that sort of treatment on a weekly, monthly, or even a several-times-a-year basis, and you’re looking at improved overall mental and physical health.

Read the rest of this blog here.

[Originally published on Massage Williamsburg's blog.]

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wonderful Water: Are you getting enough?

Drinking water after a massage is a great way to increase the benefits of your treatment after you’ve left the table. You may be thinking: What’s so important about having extra water on a day you’ve done little more than lay still and relax?

You may be surprised to know that a massage has a similar physiological effect on our circulatory system as exercise. The act of kneading a person’s musculature releases water, metabolic toxins, lactic acids, and electrolytes—all of which can be dehydrating. Keeping hydrated on a daily basis, as well as before a massage will make your muscles more pliable, allowing your therapist to give you greater results. And drinking a glass or 2 of water after a massage will help your body sweep out the metabolic toxins you’ve released. Both Deep Tissue Massage and Swedish Massage increase circulation, which helps send nutrients as well as toxins out of your muscles and into your bloodstream.

A simple rule of thumb is to hydrate yourself in the hours leading up to and following a massage, even if you don’t feel thirsty. You’ll get more mileage out of the massage itself, and feel deeper, longer-lasting results. Your body will thank you!

[Originally published on Massage Williamsburg's blog]