Beginning to See the Light: James Turrell at the Guggenheim

September 19th, 2013


I have heard it said that a mid-day remedy for tired eyes, strained from staring into a computer monitor, strained from days spent in an office aglow with fluorescent light, is to stare instead at a screen of pure color: a tonal palate cleanser. I don’t know. I have tried this only once. I was surrounded by strangers in the atrium of the Guggenheim Museum. It sounds like the beginning of a dream… I was not sure how long I was supposed to stare into the light for, having never actually heard the end of that anecdotal prescription but when I tried it, I didn’t want to stop.

Over the summer on a particularly hot and hazy New York afternoon, I made my way uptown for a much-hyped exhibit by the well-known installation artist, James Turrell. Since the late 1960s James Turrell has practiced art solely through the medium of light. This newest work at the GuggenheimAten Reignis thought specifically for the notorious rotunda of the museum. Visitors will find a completely transformed space, manipulated by both natural and artificial light. It is an invitation to slow their pace, get closer to their senses and perceive the physical experience of light. According to the artist, “…light has the most power without image. My work has no image, no object, no focus. So what do you have left? A lot.”

I found it refreshing; it felt like meditation or the start of hypnosis (I imagine). I focused on my breathing. I still think about it on crowded subway rides, providing just a quick moment of inner calm, a nice memory that feels very quiet. Should you find yourself in the city, eyes bleary, the exhibit closes next week.

James Turrell, Aten Reign at the Guggenheim June 21–September 25, 2013.

~ Jamie


putting problems in perspective

June 14th, 2013

image courtesy of ny daily news

i recently came across a quote by regina brett: “if we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” this really stuck out to me – especially because i am the world’s biggest complainer, always forgetting that there are bigger problems than delayed flights, broken phones, and the entirety of my purse spilling into the rainy streets of the city.

i’ve been living here in new york with my dad’s best friend’s family. it’s been a hassle trying to live around them, and i feel like i’m always in their way even though they tell me i’m not a burden. through all my complaints about it, i forget how fortunate i am. their son suffers from a very rare genetic neurological condition, familial dysautonomia (fd). he has an insensitivity to pain, can’t produce his own tears, has unstable blood pressure and gastrointestinal dysmotility, along with many other setbacks. he was diagnosed at birth and his family has had to revolve their lifestyle around his needs for over seventeen years. they do everything in their power to help him lead as normal a life as possible; and they have done an extraordinary job in doing so. he has surpassed his life expectancy, has done things his doctors told his parents he would never be able to do, and has been accepted into a 5-day college program in boston. however, living with this family has made me realize how much i have to be thankful for and the excess of things i take for granted.

in the wise words of regina brett, “life isn’t tied in a bow, but it’s still a gift.” at the end of a bad day, remind yourself that it could be worse. i’ll admit, this is one of my biggest struggles… but let me tell you, once you realize that, it’s amazing all of the things you begin to appreciate.


making the city smaller: HONY

June 5th, 2013

image courtesy of

with its fast-paced rhythm, it’s almost impossible to feel truly alone in the most populous city in the u.s. it took awhile, but i no longer have shame in eating lunch by myself, hopping from one subway car to another, or whipping out my map in the middle of soho. sure, the noise might keep you up all night or wake you at the break of dawn, but it also provides some solid entertainment when you feel “alone”.

my all-time favorite form of entertainment in new york comes from people watching, and sometimes making up stories about the interesting people i see here. it’s definitely a when-harry-met-sally way to pass time and makes you realize how “usual” it is to be unusual in nyc. i did this with one of my friends at lunch one day and she mentioned the facebook page called “humans of new york”. started in 2010 by brandon stanton, whose inspiration as a photographer led him to an incredible interest in the people who roam the streets of new york city. his story is an interesting one and worth reading; he essentially started from nothing and built his own career in a city that made his dreams attainable. humans of new york (hony) posts daily photos of bizarre or notable people (and sometimes animals) with either a description of the photo or a conversation stanton had with the person in the photo.

on my days filled with extensive people watching, i will sometimes find the people i saw photographed on hony’s website. my friend who lives here even mentioned that she has some friends who have been tagged in hony’s photos on facebook (his facebook page has almost 800,000 likes now). hony not only ties the loose ends of my made-up stories, but it also makes a city of over 8 million seem, well, smaller.

take a look and see if you recognize anyone. or if you ever miss the humans of new york, check out hony and do some new york people watching no matter where you are.


dinner is served: chelsea neighborhood favorite tbsp is now open for dinner!

March 7th, 2013

At long last Melissa Chmelar, founder of tbsp restaurant and spoon catering, will finally ring the dinner bell. tbsp will expand to include dinner service starting this week after killing it at her already successful breakfast and lunch business. With solidly good, casual dining and new sure-fire vintage cocktails, this friendly, local neighborhood joint will soon become part of the family.

Dishing out comforting starters and family-style dishes like Market Table Toast (grilled Balthazar bread smothered with fresh local ricotta and favorite seasonal ingredients), Beer Braised Pork Shoulder (with avocado tomatillo salsa, arroz verde & simmered black beans), Mushroom Papardelle (crisp roasted shitake mushrooms, Tuscan kale, fresh ricotta & chili flakes), Skillet Mac & Four Cheese goodness, the classic tbsp burger and more, accompanied with a sure-to-please kids menu. House-made desserts like gooey skillet cookies served with ice cream end the meal with a sweet moment. Dinner service will also boast full wine and specialty cocktail offerings, slung from behind a beautifully redesigned bar. Cocktail standouts on the new menu include the Corpse Reviver #2 (Gin, lillet, triple sec, absinthe & lemon), and the Garden Greyhound (Vodka, fresh grapefruit, thyme sprig & black peppercorn). Start calling yourself a regular now… tbsp tends to churn ‘em out.

After stopping in ourselves during last week’s Friends & Family service, we cannot wait to make tbsp a weekly staple. Some of our favorites were the skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, the chicken pot pie (pictured) and a brownie dessert topped with melting vanilla ice cream and a sprinkling of caramel popcorn, making for one genius bite. My handsome 19-month old dinner companion dug deep into his bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, grinning ear to ear. He is also very good at sharing and made sure his entire body got in on some of that delicious sauce action. The drink of the night had to be the Corpse Reviver, and boy did I need it (just kidding! But hah, wow, kids are a lot of work!).

With the stormy weather New York is having this week, tonight is the perfect night to stop by and try tbsp’s dinner. Warm up with a bowl of hearty soup (varies daily, made from scratch) and let tbsp feed your cravings. We can’t wait to hear what you think!



Family-owned and operated since 1999, spoon started in a five story walk-up with belief in using hand picked, seasonal organic produce grown in upstate New York sourced by Mountain Dell Farms, From Farm to Chef, and other local purveyors. Fresh and local is the cornerstone upon which spoon and tbsp is built. Delivered daily, all of spoon’s produce, meats and fish are fresh. Desserts, muffins and sweet and savory treats are hot out of the oven. spoon also produces a full line of frozen entrees, baking mixes and home canned sauces, condiments, relishes, rubs and jams. spoon specializes in providing innovative culinary options for photo shoots, corporate meetings and private events. Melissa continues to bring creativity and integrity to the table.

A picturesque, Chelsea neighborhood favorite, tbsp joined the spoon family in 2008 and was founded on the idea that local ingredients and quality recipes make for culinary success. First launching with daily lunch service, eventually launching an ever-popular brunch service, tbsp is now very excited to announce, it’s time for dinner.

tbsp Dinner

Wednesday through Saturday – 5 pm to 10 pm

Sunday – 4pm to 8pm

17 West 20th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

New York, NY 10011