We are pleased to announce the winners of our contest for tickets to Celebrate Madison Square Chefs 2019! Here are the two tenants who were the first to submit the recent accomplishments of their firms.
Doug Jones and John Kureck of Kureck Jones Design won a set of tickets for a very exciting recognition of their work! A home that they designed in Martha’s Vineyard is featured in the cover story in the July/August issue of House Beautiful. Click here to read more.
Susan Rudnick and Robin Kappy were awarded the second set of tickets. Susan is currently on a very successful book tour for her recently published and inspiring memoir, Edna’s Gift: How my Broken Sister Taught Me to Be Whole. Robin has a painting juried into the 41st Annual Open Exhibition in Painting, Sculpture & Graphics at the The Salmagundi Club, which is one of the oldest art organizations in the United States. Look for our upcoming articles on these impressive accomplishments.
Congratulations to our very talented tenants! We hope they had a wonderful time at the event Tuesday night. Don’t forget to send your newsworthy achievements and updates to us here at Kew for an opportunity to be featured on our website.
As we come closer to the midpoint of the summer season, many of us find ourselves hoping that it will never end. Well, if it’s that endless summer feeling that you’re after, look no further than the cover and eight-page spread in the July/August edition of House Beautiful. Featuring a Martha’s Vineyard home that was given a major upgrade by Kew tenant, Kureck Jones, just looking at the pictures will make you feel that bright and joyful summer warmth.
Partners, John Kureck and Doug Jones, founded their design firm in 2004. Since the beginning, they have committed themselves to providing bespoke design services that reflect their clients’ personalities and lifestyles. Moreover, their design process is focused on the individual vision and particular needs of each client. Their mission is visible in the Martha’s Vineyard house, and their ability to achieve their goals is apparent in the trust that their clients place in them. In this case, having previously worked with Kureck Jones, the owners of this particular beach house only visited the property twice during the remaking of their home.
According to House Beautiful, the transformation was enormous. The house was built in the early 2000’s and consisted of a series of small, dark, closed-off rooms. Kureck Jones decided to gut the property in order to open it up and give it an airier feeling. Additionally, the house’s proximity to the beach allowed for panoramic ocean views, augmented by a more open floorplan. They moved the kitchen, added a screened in porch and replaced all 40 of the home’s original windows.
The methods used to brighten up the house include natural ash wood wall paneling and brightly painted floors. Kureck notes that “you can’t paint a room white, and put white furniture in it and automatically have it read as light.” It is the contrast between different colors, light and dark, that create the desired effect, as visible in the beautiful dining room that graces the cover of the magazine.
True to their process, Kureck and Jones were mindful of the specific needs and desires of their clients throughout. Low-maintenance finishes were used on the floors, in the kitchen and on the furniture, all to ensure minimal damage from the wear and tear that comes with frequent entertaining and the sandy return of beach-goers.
Pick up a copy of House Beautiful for a more in-depth look at this newly reinvigorated, joyful summer home. We congratulate Kureck Jones for this recognition, which is undeniably very well deserved
You will not want to miss Fête Home’s summer sale this week. Stop by to view their beautiful collection of tabletop, decorative accessories, pillows, throws and more.
Up to 50% Off
When: June 25th-28th, 2019 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Where: 1133 Broadway, Suite 544
Fête believes that your home should be a sanctuary for celebrations, mood and personality. Your home décor should be reflective of this idea, so Fête designs every product in the hopes of sparking joy, encouraging celebration and telling a story. The products are designed for real life, and their aesthetic is based in elegant and gracious living. This sale is the perfect opportunity to enhance your style, and the best news is that Fête sells only to you, so there are no markups on their effortless prices. It’s time to live, love and celebrate your home! See more at https://fetehome.com.
The newly revitalized art deco building at 1201 Broadway in NoMad will soon have a large new restaurant anchoring its ground-floor retail space. Real Estate Weekly reports that Corner Table Restaurants, the hospitality group behind the success of The Smith, has inked a deal with landlord Williams Equities for 11,000 square feet of street-level and lower-level space to launch what it says will be a “new concept” restaurant.
Corner Table’s decision to open a new venue in NoMad appears to be based on the recent revitalization of the neighborhood as a food-and-drink destination. “It’s been three years since we opened The Smith in NoMad,” says Jeffrey Lefcourt, one of the partners at Corner Table, “and in that time alone, we have seen this area grow considerably as a thriving neighborhood for locals living and working here as well as a central destination in Manhattan.”
Andrew Roos of Williams Equities agrees. “NoMad has become one of the hottest dining and hotel corridors in Midtown South,” he says. “I can’t think of a more exciting addition to 1201 Broadway — and the entire neighborhood — than bringing a new restaurant concept from the creators of The Smith.”
Since The Smith opened its first location in 2007, the brand has grown to four locations across Manhattan, serving more than a million people per year. The NoMad location of The Smith has grown to be a neighborhood “must” for locals and visitors alike. It will be interesting to see what Corner Table has in store for this new concept expected to open in 2020.
Whatever the concept, it is bound to be a success because it will be located between the new Ritz Carlton and the Virgin Hotel under construction on 28th and 29th/30th Streets respectively.
Most people are aware that June is designated “Pride Month”—a celebration of the diversity of the LBGTQ community. Although nowadays most major cities host parades and festivals to commemorate pride, fewer people remember that the seeds of Pride Month were planted in NYC, with the Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village on June 28, 1969. On a hot summer night, the police once again raided a gay bar, a frequent event in the 60s, but that night the patrons of the Stonewall Inn— a bar in the West Village—had had enough. A riot ensued, which marks the turning point for the LGBTQ community and the beginning of a gay movement. Read more on the history of Stonewall here.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, and in honor of the event, NYC is the headquarters for WorldPride2019/Stonewall 50, a month-long series of LGBTQIA+ events throughout the boroughs—all culminating in the largest Pride March in the world on June 30th, which is expected to draw record crowds. It’s a celebration of all the advances the LGBTQ community has seen in the past 50 years and a statement to the world of all that remains to be done, here and abroad.
You can see a full listing of Pride events this month at the WorldPride website, but there are several notable events occurring right here in the NoMad neighborhood.
Love & Lipliner at The James Hotel June 13 at 7:00 p.m.
As an official sponsor of WorldPride 2019, The James New York-NoMad Hotel is offering special WorldPride package rates for the month of June and is celebrating Pride with numerous month-long observances.
In partnership with Stonewall Community Foundation, The James Hotel New York—Nomad will present ICONS — a public exhibit that will feature both people who continue to inspire the LGBTQ movement today and sites of historical significance to the community through boldly colored imagery and wordplay. The featured icons will represent a broad swath of the community and its history organized by the exhibit’s six themes of activism, arts, literature, fashion, nightlife and pop culture, but each will share the common thread of its connection to New York City as a center of LGBTQ influence and a global leader in celebrating sexual and gender diversity.
During Pride, the hotel will feature garments from from FEIGN at 5Phere, the hotel’s retail popup. Created by New York City designers Jon James and Jené Stefaniak, FEIGN is an androgynous collection of gender-neutral clothing in which each piece is conceived around a sentiment instead of a gender.
However, THE can’t-miss event of the month is Love & Lipliner, a celebration of drag featuring performances from top New York City queens Jan Sport, Lagoona Bloo, Jasmine Rice, Rosé, Kizha Carr, Brita Filter, Vix, and RuPaul’s Drag Race season nine contestant Alexis Michelle.
Guests will learn the historic significance of drag while enjoying a mini-drag makeover tutorial. Six select guests will receive full drag makeovers from the queens themselves. Tickets range from $25 to $225, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Stonewall Community Foundation.
The James New York – NoMad
22 East 29th Street
New York, NY 10016
Love & Lipliner
Thu, June 13, 2019
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Drag Brunch at Oscar Wilde with Jasmine Rice Labeija Saturdays and Sundays in June
Named for one of the world’s most colorful gay figures, a renowned author, and a noted part-time resident of NoMad during the Gilded Age, Oscar Wilde will be celebrating Pride all month long with a special Drag Brunch each Saturday and Sunday during June.
Brunch will feature a special menu and performances by renowned New York drag queen Jasmine Rice Labeija. Performances begin at 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.. Reserved seating for $25 includes an entrée and one drink, with the option to upgrade it to an “unlimited boozy brunch” with 90 minutes of “free-flow” for $40. Reserve your seating on the website below.
45 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
Drag Brunch at Oscar Wilde feat. Jasmine Rice Labeija
Saturdays and Sundays through June, 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Shows at 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Pride Shake at Shake Shack
Available through June 30
Okay, we know this isn’t actually an event. It’s a milkshake. But it’s sparkly, it’s got cake batter and rainbow sprinkles, and it is for a great cause. It’s Shake Shack’s way of celebrating Pride. Proceeds from the Pride Shakes will benefit The Trevor Project, an organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LBGTQ youth and young adults. Stop by the original Shake Shack and pick up one . . . or several.
Madison Square Park
Pride March 2019—June 30
Held every year since 1970, the NYC Pride March is the largest and best-attended march of its kind in the world. The parade begins June 30 at noon, with the step-off right here in NoMad, at the northwest corner of Madison Square Park. This year’s grand marshal groups include the Trevor Project, the Gay Liberation Front, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah (a co-founder, trustee and executive director of UK Black Pride, which promotes unity and co-operation among all Black people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent.), transgender activist Monica Helms, and the cast of dance musical POSE. Registration to march in the parade is now closed, but come out to watch and celebrate. Click here to view the parade map.
Pride March 2019
June 30, 2019
Step-off is at noon at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 26th Street
Free and open to the public Parade route here
It sits in an unassuming location on West 28th Street, just upstairs from a wholesale import/export company in the NoMad neighborhood. And yet, its influence on modern theater and the entertainment industry in general can’t be overstated. TADA! Youth Theater has produced such alumni as Kerry Washington (Emmy and Golden Globe winning star of stage screen and television), Josh Peck (of Drake and Josh) and Jordan Peele (one-half of comedy duo Key and Peele, and more recently the Oscar-winning writer/director of the film Get Out).
Offering a wide range of learning opportunities for young talent, TADA! is on a mission to “inspire young people from different backgrounds to be creative and to learn and think differently through high-quality musical theater productions and educational programs.” It accomplishes its mission by hosting several original stage productions per year for children, youth, and family audiences, an array of summer camps, plus an ongoing schedule of workshops, classes, and day camps throughout the year. All of its programs are designed to build creativity, confidence and problem-solving skills in young people, most of whom will take these skills into their daily lives as adults—and a few of which, like Peele, Washington and Peck, will become stars.
The summer of 2019 is shaping up to be a busy one for TADA! Here’s just a sampling of what it has in store, according to its website:
Game Changers—an original musical for family audiences scheduled to run from July 10th – August 1st. (Tickets available here.)
Rising Star Workshops—a series of 1.5-hour intensives for young people to enhance their theatrical skills each Monday evening in June.
Summer Camps 2019—A broad selection of week-long camps for various age groups, held in several locations across NYC.
One-Day Camps—A series of day-long intensives held throughout the month of June.
Open House June 8th, 2019
For parents and children who are interested in learning more about TADA!’s upcoming summer camps and fall classes, the organization invites you to attend a free Open House on Saturday, June 8th. Information for different age groups will be presented as follows:
If you’re looking for a meaningful way to give back to the community, TADA! Youth Theater is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation, and all donations are tax-deductible. Consider supporting our city’s up-and-coming talent with a donation to this dynamic youth theater. Donations can be made online via its website.
TADA! Youth Theater
15 West 28th Street, 2nd and 3rd Floors
New York, NY 10001
March 8, 2019 was International Women’s Day, but since 1987, the entire month of March has been designated National Women’s History Month in the U.S. We take this month to celebrate the achievements of American women, but especially to bring awareness to the challenges that women still face in our nation.
In the workforce, for example, the gender pay gap continues to be an issue, and while the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have made great strides in changing the conversation about sexual harassment. Nevertheless, much work still remains to be done, both in creating safe, co-respectful work environments and leveling the playing field with regard to entrepreneurship.
Nowhere is this felt more acutely than here in New York City, which is home to at least 359,000 women-owned businesses generating $50 billion in annual sales. Even though NYC was recently rated by Fortune as the best city in the world for women entrepreneurs, a recent report reveals that only eight percent of NYC women-owned businesses employ more people than the owner, and more than 70 percent of these women owners say they face challenges when it comes to raising capital,forming business relationships and even hiring staff.
For these reasons, in honor of both International Women’s Day and National Women’s History Month, we’ve compiled the following list of resources to support women-owned businesses in general, but especially those who are Kew tenants.
This sub-initiative of NYC’s Department of Small Businesses is a virtual hub of resources for women entrepreneurs. On this site, you can find informative events, connect with a mentor, discover resources for capital, and more, all for free.
New York City goes out of its way to contract for services from minority and women-owned businesses. This program provides information how to get certified as an M/WBE business in order to quality for city contracts.
This membership organization is dedicated to providing platforms for success to help self-employed women and women-owned businesses. Annual dues are reasonable, and they open up a whole array of opportunities for promotion and connection for your business.
This national organization is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S., offering a wide range of resources and support for women entrepreneurs, including educational resources, networking, grant opportunities, and more.
Ellevate is a dues-based business networking community specifically geared toward women entrepreneurs. The New York City chapter keeps a full schedule of meetups, seminars, panel discussions, and small “squads” for mutual support and promotion.
This organization features both an online community/podcast and offline conferences designed to support, inform, and empower women entrepreneurs. The next NYC conference, slated for May 4, 2019, will feature a large roster of speakers discussing entrepreneurship, branding, social media, and much more.
A non-profit organization for the empowerment of women entrepreneurs, the Tory Burch Foundation helps women business owners by helping them connect to funding as well as offering educational programs for women owners in NYC. The Foundation’s one-year fellowship provides more in-depth education and mentoring for a select group of applicants.
Bonus Section: Funding Resources/Investors for Women-Owned Businesses
A number of individuals and firms specifically provide venture capital for women-led businesses. Here are a few to check out:
In the past few years, women entrepreneurs have made great progress to change the gender bias in the business world, with as many as 1,821 new women-owned businesses launching every day. But while women now own as many as 40 percent of all companies in the U.S., most of these women are still “solopreneurs,” and their companies receive about 45 percent less funding than companies run by their male counterparts. Hopefully, with the help of some the resources listed above, those numbers will increase.
This month, we encourage everyone to identify women-owned businesses near you and give them your business as often as possible.
Arthur Brounet, who painted the mural in the lobby of 1133 Broadway, was a leading “decorator,” as he styled himself, of the Gilded Age.
In 1896 when he painted the St. James mural, he was about 28. Ten years later, in 1899, Brounet moved from 678 Lexington Avenue to the St. James, where he was to remain almost to the end of his life, changing rooms several times. Perhaps it was the mural itself that first brought him to the building.
Brounet had arrived in New York from Le Havre, France in 1888 at the age of 20. He was married with three children, who later helped in his business, and he owned his own home uptown in the Bronx or Yonkers. The New York Times announced his death at 75 on February 28, 1941.
We don’t know much more about his life or have an image of him. Brounet’s life was defined by his work, and luckily there is a lot of information about his creations.
It is important to remember that Brounet wasn’t only a muralist, but a decorator, and he was a “decorator” of choice for major architects. He was particularly in demand for theatres, office and civic buildings, banks, and fine homes, among others. As is true of The St. James mural, his work was sought after because it fit so well with Neo-Classical architecture in vogue at the turn of the 19th/20th Centuries. His projects were as diverse as decorating the Riverside Drive chateau of Charles M. Schwab among other residences, many play and movie theatres, and even a splendid courthouse.
We have copies (not ideal) of two ads Brounet placed for his work. They do show rough outlines of his residential projects and indicate his business as including: mural paintings, furniture and cabinet work, draperies and upholstering.
Brounet Murals in New York
Unfortunately, many of the theatres and homes he designed and provided murals for have disappeared over the past 100 years, but some sterling examples survive.
In New York City, besides the St. James mural, there is the Brounet mural in the lobby of the AMC Movie Theatre on 42nd Street. You may recall this theatre was moved over several lots on 42nd Street on March 1, 1998 during the redevelopment of Time Square (yes, the entire theatre). It is putatively the theatre where Abbott and Costello first met and teamed up. Originally known as the Eltinge Theatre, it was designed by master architect Thomas W. Lamb who hired Brounet to create murals for the lobby and auditorium in the “Egyptian” style, likely as a result of their great success working together on the huge 2,267-seat City Theatre on 14th Street (now lost).
Additionally, right here in New York, Brounet decorated the interiors of the Selwyn and Cort Theaters in Eighteenth Century French style. and he decorated theatres throughout Brooklyn, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Two Fine Examples of Brounet’s Work Outside NYC
Should you ever find yourself in Richmond, Virginia or Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania you might want to see the wonderful examples of Brounet’s work that these small cities still assiduously preserve.
Perhaps the greatest trove of Brounet’s extant work is at the beautiful and recently restored Byrd Theatre in Richmond.
Incredible as it may seem today the Byrd Theatre opened as a movie house in 1928, and the interior decoration was executed by Brounet’s studio in New York. There are eleven paintings by Brounet in the theatre (six within the arches in the side walls, two in the front boxes, and three in the foyer), and all are wondrously preserved.
An article on the Urban Scale Richmond website notes that the color scheme of the theatre was also created by Brounet and the murals “undoubtedly” painted by him on canvas in New York and shipped to the theatre. All of the paintings use classical allegories that reference aspects of the drama and fine arts.
Despite Brounet’s interest in the classics, his work here has moved from the strictly classical forms in the St. James mural of 1896 closer to the Neoclassical models of the early 20th Century, which were gaining in popularity when the theatre opened. In addition to the major murals, there are small cartouches and panels around the auditorium by Brounet’s Studio, continuing the theme of the dance begun in the lobby. The Byrd is a cohesive composition, with the murals, cartouches, relief decorations and fixtures by other artists complimenting each other to create a harmonious whole.
The majestic Luzerne County Court House designed by McCormick & French is found in the relatively small rural town Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania. This jewel, also recently refurbished, is filled with fine decorative art throughout, but “The Diamond City” three-panel foyer ceiling, as well as the schemes for the Commissioner’s office, several other offices, and Courtroom 1 were all by Brounet. All of these design works follow his pattern for high symbolism and Neo-Classical forms.
Many New Yorkers recognize Open House New York for its annual OHNY weekends, opening up some of New York’s richest architectural gems to the public—but fewer people realize this organization holds a number of different programs year-round. Among the most intriguing is its Urban Systems series, a program which takes a year-long look at different aspects of the infrastructure and systems that keep this amazing city functional. The latest in the series, “Spaces of Justice,” explores the architecture and infrastructure of NYC’s justice system and joins the ongoing conversation about the future of this system. In this second installment of our spotlight on OHNY, we talk to Executive Director Gregory Wessner about the details and highlights of this remarkable program.
Your 2018-2019 Urban Systems series is Spaces of Justice – can you tell us more about the program and its importance?
“Open House Weekend is obviously what we’re best known for, but throughout the year we try to use the Open House platform to look at issues in the city that have some kind of critical importance. With Spaces of Justice in particular, there have been a lot of conversations and debates around the future of Riker’s Island and related topics. The crime rate in New York City has dropped dramatically over the past 30 years—by some estimates, upwards of around 80 percent. Considering this drop in crime over the years, along with other factors, the fact is we have a criminal justice infrastructure that was designed and built for a different time. Given the openness to thinking about new ways of handling these kinds of issues, given the debate around Riker’s Island, and given the drop in crime, we thought it was a good opportunity to ask questions about what justice looks like in New York City today, and what it could look like moving forward.
I think that’s what is powerful about OHNY, because it’s taking people into these spaces. Sometimes they’re beautiful buildings that are historic and lovely and wonderful to appreciate. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the architecture, but it has to do with how those spaces function within the city. The Spaces of Justice series takes a look at these spaces that are obviously critically important to the health of the city and say a lot about our values as a community. The series is about getting people in to see what the spaces of justice look like, and at the same time, starting a bigger conversation about what they could be as we go forward. There’s a lot of conversation not only about closing Riker’s Island but also what could replace it, including this network of borough-based jails that the mayor is talking about. Ultimately, to have these kinds of conversations, we need to be informed. That’s what we’re trying to do: to deepen that conversation so we all have a better understanding of what all of this means, what it looks like and how we make choices about the future.”
What have been some of the high points and key takeaways of the series so far?
“Honestly, every single program has been incredibly powerful. It launched in May with a presentation by the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Elizabeth Glazer. She gave a broad overview of where the city is right now. She explained the past three decades’ drop in crime, where we’re at now, and what this means for the future. The drop in crime is why we can even talk about closing Riker’s Island. As bad as Riker’s is, the daily population there is half of what it used to be, so it really opens up possibilities for doing something innovative and more humane.
Every program has been amazing. We did a screening of a documentary by Bill Moyers about Riker’s interspersed with a panel discussion on the topic. Two of the panelists had been incarcerated at Riker’s, so hearing their firsthand experience made this the most powerful program I had been to in my entire life—and I don’t say that lightly. It really opened everyone’s eyes to just how bad things are. We talk about injustice around the world. We think New York is this beacon of liberty, freedom, and openness, but right in the middle of the East River, there’s what is essentially a horrifying penal colony.
Another key part of this series were the places that we went to that are operated by the Center for Court Innovation. There is a lot of really innovative and interesting work being done around issues of social justice and how to address crime, rehabilitation, and restorative justice. It was a sort of back and forth between seeing, at the one end of the spectrum, how bad some of the conditions are, but at the other end, the amazing people in this city that are doing inspiring work. It gave everyone a sense of optimism about the possibilities for the future.”
How much longer will the program run?
“The people who did the Bill Moyers documentary are doing a follow-up documentary which is in production right now. It’s about not just the plans to close Riker’s, but also the plans to replace it with this network of borough-based jails. I’m told that the documentary is supposed to be done by mid-March, so we would screen that documentary with a panel discussion, and that would probably be the last program we do for this series, leaving the public with the question: Where do we go from here?”
What can you tell us about the next Urban Spaces series?
“We are working on it right now. It will deal with the issues of transit and transportation—a topic I think everyone will appreciate. The inspiration had a lot to do with the L train construction plans, but the truth is the entire subway system is a bit of a mess. Remember when they were calling it the summer of hell? When that happened, I think everyone began to realize, ‘Oh, the city can’t really function without a functioning transit system,’ and you begin to realize how it impacts everything.
At the same time, there are so many interesting things happening in the transit world—things like CitiBike, Uber and Lyft, the New York City ferry system and so on. So, the series is going to look at how we move around the city. We have an aging infrastructure, but, at the same time, we have all of this innovative technology coming down the line, so we’re looking at how all these things work together. It should be fun.”
If you’d like to learn more about upcoming OHNY programs, including Urban Spaces, you can receive regular updates by joining their mailing list via their website.
Here in NYC, the dead of winter can be one of the most challenging times of the year when it comes to morale and momentum at work. During the months between the end of the holidays and the start of spring, there’s not a lot to look forward to on the calendar, and the short, cloudy days affect our mood. (The recent bitter cold spell from the polar vortex certainly hasn’t helped either.) You and your teammates may be feeling a decrease in energy coupled with a general feeling of claustrophobia or even mild depression. Long-standing clients can become unsettlingly silent during these months, too.
What can you do to combat the winter doldrums and help get energy levels back up? Let’s explore some ideas on two fronts: boosting employee morale and improving client engagement.
Boosting Employee Morale
You might try one or more of the following ideas to restore staff morale and momentum.
Hold a brainstorming session. Involving members of your team in your company’s creative process is one of the best ways to generate excitement and engagement. Consider having one or more team meetings, in which employees can bring ideas to the table about growing the company, enhancing your brand, or developing an innovative solution for a client, etc. Encourage and support creativity wherever you can. Your team have some great ideas that might actually benefit your company and clients in the process.
Brighten the work space. If you’ve been thinking about updating and redecorating the office, now may be the perfect time to do it. Consider accenting walls or furnishings with cheery colors.
Plan a company outing. Socializing after work is a great way to boost morale and bond with your team. Even planning a simple dinner can go a long way with your team this time of year. If you want to up the ante, try a comedy club, or maybe someone can score cheap tickets to an art installation, a Broadway (or off-Broadway) show or a sports event. (This is NYC, after all.)
Improving Client Engagement
The winter months can affect your clients as well as your employees. You may start to feel distant or disconnected from your customers, and it’s likely not your fault. If you’re concerned that this seasonal apathy might cause your customers to lose interest and look elsewhere, here are some ideas to re-engage them.
Announce a value-adding improvement to your product or service. The best way to maintain client loyalty is never to stop innovating. Always look for new ways to create exceptional value so your clients never feel the need to shop your competition. What inexpensive improvement can you make to your product or service to make it more valuable—without upselling it? Examples: New client portal, newsletter, survey – how can we serve you better? Also, a special e-mail announcing awards or an especially successful case study.
Offer a special promotion. This could be anything from a new loyalty program to a “Valentine’s Day discount” because you love your customers so much. Maybe you can launch a campaign that rewards your clients for referring new business to you. The actual promotion doesn’t matter as much as the idea of having one; it keeps you on your customers’ minds and conveys the idea that things are happening in your company.
Schedule a customer appreciation event. Consider doing a customer social—a no-obligation, no-hard-sell gathering just to thank your customers for their loyalty. Appetizers, wine, door prizes and even a bit of live music may be well worth the investment to keep clients engaged for the coming year. A lunch with the staff in the office is a great way to put a face in the minds of your clients, It helps your clients to know the people you work with everyday and binds customers closer to your staff and company.
Here’s the good news: Spring is coming. It always does. By being proactive with your team and your clientele during the winter doldrums, you can make it to April without missing a beat.
Early in January, we shared the difference between goals and resolutions and encouraged readers to set some reachable goals for 2019. Right about now, chances are you’re either making great progress on those goals or on the verge of abandoning them. If it’s the latter, don’t be too disillusioned with yourself. We’ve all been there at one time or another; it’s part of human nature. Setting goals is the easy part—sticking to them is the challenge. The key to staying on top of your goals is to exercise discipline, remember it’s a matter of developing new good habits, and keep revisiting your goals throughout the year. Let’s explore four tips for helping you stay focused on your 2019 goals.
Remember Why You Set the Goal
Don’t just recall what you want to achieve; think about what prompted you to set the goal in the first place. Your “why” is your motivation, and that’s what we’re looking for here. You know what you want—you just have to reclaim your motivation from time to time. When you’re tempted to slack off, refocus your attention on why you want to reach this goal. It will give you the extra push you need to stay on track.
Track Your Progress
One of our earlier recommendations for goal-setting was to set up “markers” or milestones throughout the year for you to measure your progress. Stop and evaluate where you are on your timeline; have you reached your first milestone yet? If you’re behind, don’t berate yourself and don’t get discouraged. The idea here is to keep the goal top-of-mind, so you keep working toward it and don’t forget about it.
Find an Accountability Partner
If you haven’t already done so, find someone you trust, share your goals with them and ask them to follow up with you. Just verbalizing your goals to someone else helps make you somewhat accountable, but if you ask them to hold you to account, you’ll have an even better support system.
Don’t Give Up – Refresh Your Focus
Most importantly—don’t give up, even if you have already fallen behind your own expectations. The year is still young, so now is the perfect time to remind yourself of your goals and refresh your sense of focus. Keep revisiting your goals throughout the year, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful and productive 2019.
Keep thinking about how rewarding it will be and how great you’ll feel about yourself when you look back on what you’ve accomplished when 2020 is on the horizon.
New York City has a rich, complex history, and the city’s architecture has played a role in creating that history. Urban planners have had unprecedented challenges accommodating the overwhelming numbers of people arriving here to visit, live, study, and work. New York’s architecture is part of the mosaic that tells that story, and that’s why Open House New York (OHNY) is such an intriguing and vital organization for understanding our history. Through year-round programs and the annual Open House New York Weekends, OHNY provides audiences with unparalleled access to New York’s amazing architecture, and to the people who continue to help design, build, and preserve the city.
During the most recent Open House New York Weekend last October, attendees came away with a new appreciation of NYC’s rich, textured history as revealed through some of its most interesting buildings. They also came away with a fresh awareness of the role architecture plays in society in general. We recently spoke with Gregory Wessner, OHNY’s Executive Director, who shared with us some of the best takeaways from the weekend.
Q: What were some of the high points from this past OHNY Weekend?
A: One of the highlights this year was that we expanded the OHNY Weekend to three days. In the past, it has always been Saturday and Sunday, and this year we partnered with the Pratt Center for Community Development to introduce what we call Factory Friday, where we open up about a dozen manufacturing spaces all over the city to give the public a chance to see what new manufacturing looks like. That was an exciting new highlight for this year, and it will be an ongoing feature for future OHNY Weekends.
We also did a series called Works by Women, featuring spaces that had women as their principal designers, to celebrate the contributions that women are making toward shaping the city. Architecture is generally perceived to be a male-dominated profession, but there is a tremendous amount of work throughout all five boroughs being designed by women. This was a way to show and celebrate those contributions.
We were also excited this year to collaborate with the Gotham Center for New York City History, which is based at CUNY. The collaboration was inspired by the book Gotham, written by Mike Wallace and Edwin Burrows, which is an amazing history of New York. The Gotham Center did a whole series of podcasts, about two dozen of them, featuring noted historians who would each talk about specific sites that were participating in OHNY Weekend, sharing interesting stories from that site’s history. This project ended up being a great addition to the weekend.
Q: What were some of the most popular events or spaces featured this year?
A: Some sites are open to the public, and some require reservations. For the sites requiring reservations, this year we booked about 10,500 on the first day! I’d say 80% of them were gone within the first hour. So, the short answer is that everything is popular.
As to the sites that do not require reservations, City Hall is always a big draw, which makes me really happy. I think one of Open House’s important contributions is opening up buildings that otherwise are closed to the public. City Hall is theoretically open to the public, but you really need a purpose in order to go there. So, I think it’s wonderful for us to be able to let the public in, working with the Public Design Commission at City Hall, to let people see what NYC’s center of government looks like.
Also, this year, the Manhattan Borough President displayed the complete set of Randall’s Farm Maps which are maps drawn around 1820 to survey the existing conditions of Manhattan Island before the street grid was introduced. These maps are extremely famous in the city-planning world, but they’ve only ever been displayed in their entirety twice, and both times have been for Open House Weekend.
Another popular site is the Jefferson Market Library in Greenwich Village. During OHNY Weekend only, they open the tower attached to it so people can climb to the top. It’s a once-a-year opportunity, and you get great views of the village.
The final site I’d like to mention was the Dime Savings Bank in downtown Brooklyn – it has been closed since they’re going through a renovation and building an apartment building next door, but people could go inside just for Open House Weekend.
The next OHNY Weekend is already on the calendar, scheduled for October 19th and 20th, 2019. To receive regular updates and other news from this remarkable organization, you can sign up for OHNY’s mailing list on its website.
Stop by Fête Home’s studio at Suite 544 in 1133 Broadway to view their beautiful collection of tabletop, decorative accessories, pillows, throws and more! January 22nd to 25th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fête will be offering many of their exquisite items at 40% off the regular price.
Fête designs home collections with the belief that homes are sanctuaries for celebration, mood, and personality. The founders base their aesthetic in elegance and gracious living and design their products for real life. With five new collections each year, Fête makes certain that every object you place in your home sparks joy and tells a story. And with no one in between Fête Home and you, there are no mark ups. So live, love and celebrate your home effortlessly and affordably…and now at a greater bargain than ever.
One of the many wonderful things about NYC: We’re never at a loss for new food and drink experiences. As of late December, NoMad workers and residents now have yet another unique place to unwind and dine after a long day at work—via a back alley just off Park Avenue South.
Callejón (“alleyway” in Spanish, of course) is a new tapas bar that just opened up behind Cleo, the fine dining establishment in the Mondrian Park Avenue hotel. You can either get to it by walking through Cleo (if you’re daring), or through the alley entrance behind the hotel just off 30th Street. Once inside, you find yourself surrounded by an eclectic array of “Sharpie murals” drawn by artist Sergio Mora depicting flamenco dancers, toreadors, and other images of Spanish life.
Find a private table, sit at the bar, or relax at the large communal table as you enjoy thoughtfully-crafted tapas such as skirt steak toast; shrimp with garlic; lemon and chiles; or serrano ham butter on warm bread. Also, try the daily charcuterie selection, and pair it all with an authentic Spanish wine, sangria, or a build-your-own gin-and-tonic.
2019 has arrived and millions of people will be making their New Year’s resolutions. Most common among these promises we make ourselves are: To lose weight, to get into shape, to save money, to quit smoking…the list goes on. Indeed, the beginning of a new calendar year is a great time to start with fresh intentions, and you might even be inspired to make a resolution or two concerning your business.
But here’s a suggestion: Avoid making resolutions. Set goals instead.
What’s Wrong with New Year’s Resolutions?
There’s nothing inherently bad about making a New Year’s resolution—and yet, if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us view resolutions with a negative connotation. Why? Because the vast majority of us fail to keep them—year after year. In fact, 80 percent of the resolutions made this week will not make it to mid-February, and fewer than 10 percent of us will come to the end of the year feeling we were successful with our resolution.
Why are these numbers so dismal? Simple: A resolution is more of a wish than a goal. It’s an empty promise, something we wish to happen without any game plan for making it happen. When it fails, it becomes one more broken promise—and, quite often, one more blow to our self-esteem. This is why we recommend replacing resolution-making with goal setting. Instead of merely expressing a vague intention with no traction, set a practical goal, then develop a strategy to reach it. You don’t have to stop at one goal, either: Consider setting a number of goals for yourself and your business this year. This practice offers a greater sense of purpose for the year, not to mention a much higher rate of success.
Tips for Setting Successful Goals
Granted, a goal for its own sake doesn’t contain any magic. It won’t come to pass without some effort on your part. Thus, one of the keys of successful goal setting is to set goals you are actually motivated to achieve. Let’s look at a few practical tips for setting goals with a higher success rate.
Set goals that are ambitious but not impossible.
There’s a happy middle ground between goals that are too small and ones that are too large. If you set goals that don’t really challenge you (i.e., “baby steps”), you might reach them, but you’ll feel no sense of growth, because they took no effort. If, on the other hand, you set a goal so lofty that it’s impossible to reach, you’ll probably lose your motivation by February—just like a resolution. Try to aim for a target somewhere between these two extremes. Set a goal that stretches you without utterly discouraging you.
Set up milestones to help you reach your goal.
How do you reach an ambitious goal? You break it down into smaller, more achievable pieces. We can refer to these as milestones—markers along the way that help you stay on track through the year. If you set a goal to double your revenue this year, how much additional revenue should you have by April or by July? If your goal is to increase your client base by 50 percent, what marketing tools will you use to accomplish that goal? How much of that increase do you think will come from referrals? From email lists? From Google Advertising? Don’t just express intention; try to map out how you will get there.
Replace bad habits with better ones.
Bad habits are often obstacles to achieving goals, so here’s a secret to both personal and professional success: You don’t break a bad habit by willpower. You break it by replacing it with a better habit. The reason this is true is that willpower had nothing to do with how you developed the bad habit in the first place. Bad habits are caused by repetition, and good habits are established in exactly the same way. From a business standpoint, you won’t improve your productivity by simply willing it so. You must weed out the non-productive habits and replace them with better routines that become second nature with repetition.
Every new year presents an opportunity for a fresh start—the chance to close one chapter and open a new one. Don’t waste the opportunity by making empty promises for yourself or your business that contain no mechanism for fulfillment. Make the most of this year by writing down some tangible, achievable goals, then purposefully focusing your energy toward reaching those goals. You may or may not reach them all, but even with what you achieve, you’re far more likely to look back on 2019 as a productive and prosperous year.
The end of the year typically presents a wonderful opportunity to “close the books” on the year that was and set the stage for the upcoming year. For many of us (not all), our schedules tend to slow down this time of year as we, along with many of our clients and customers, are taking some “down time” with family and friends. This gives us a little extra time to reflect and plan—time we don’t often get at other times of the year. Before you get completely immersed in next year’s calendar, it’s worth the extra effort to look back on the prior year, to celebrate victories, learn from mistakes, and take a pause before launching into a new year. The following tips are designed to help you hit your own personal “reset” button for 2019.
Take an Inventory of Successes and Failures
This first exercise may be the most challenging for some, but once you’ve gone through it, the next steps become much easier. Here’s where you take an honest look at 2018 to explore your personal and professional victories and defeats, to see what lessons you can take from each of them going into the next year. The goal isn’t to determine whether you had a good or bad year, or to weigh in on our personal or professional worth. It’s simply to see what you can learn from the past year that will help improve your business and/or personal life going forward. Try to be as neutral as possible during the exercise without taking anything too personally. The exercise will work on both a personal or business level, but for our purposes we’ll focus on the business application going forward.
We recommend making two lists: One that enumerates your company’s greatest accomplishments and successes in 2018, and one that itemizes the company’s shortcomings and mistakes.
For your list of successes: Evaluate what you did right that caused the success. Is there a way you can replicate the process that led to the success or, better yet, scale it? How can you leverage that success into greater success for 2019?
For your list of failures: See if you can identify the root cause of the failure. (The “5 Whys”exercise can be particularly helpful here.) Was the failure just bad luck, or is there something you can do to shore up your defenses, so it doesn’t happen again?
Clean and Declutter
This next exercise is far more tangible and practical: Before launching into the new year take a day or two to go through your office and declutter. Organize any accumulating piles of paperwork, junk mail and other “stuff” that might have piled up on your desk. Throw away anything that is irrelevant and file away anything you need for future reference. Try to start your first work day of 2019 with a clean office and desk. There’s something psychologically invigorating about this process, if nothing else.
Get a New Planner
Another place you can declutter is in your daily/weekly planner. If you use a physical, bound planner, you might be able to buy refill pages for the upcoming year, but you might just want to toss the whole thing and start fresh. If you use some sort of online planner, go through and delete irrelevant entries similarly to how you just decluttered your desk. It’s another way to send the message that with a new year comes a new plan and new possibilities.
Take Time for Yourself
Once you’ve reset by taking a professional inventory, cleaning and decluttering, it’s time to reset personally. Try taking at least a couple of days away from the office, away from family and home obligations, to “unplug” yourself from the routine. This might take the form of anything from a mindfulness retreat to a mini-vacation—or just ducking into your favorite nook to read a book. Whatever helps you pause for a couple of days before jumping into the new year—take time for yourself.
Sometimes we dread the New Year out of sheer exhaustion. The practices described above can help clear out the cobwebs and give you a fresh perspective so you can launch into 2019 with a fresh sense of energy, purpose, and optimism.