Tag Archives: New York

Time to buy property in America

imageAmerican property prices are finally on the way back up. Move now to bag the best bargains, says Graham Norwood

Say it softly. But after years of misery, it looks as if the housing market across the pond is at long last making a comeback. If you’ve ever dreamt of owning a Florida holiday villa, or a chic Sex and the City-style New York apartment, it might be wise to buy it soon.

The latest figures show the first green shoots for the wider economy and a housing recovery. In the past six months, 1.9 million American jobs have been created, and unemployment is down from 10.4 per cent to 8.3 per cent. Economic growth is running at an annual 2.8 per cent. The car industry, often seen as a good barometer, is booming – General Motors sold 640,000 more vehicles last year than in 2010.

This is beginning to translate into optimism in the housing market. One builder, MDC Holdings, has reported a 32 per cent rise in orders for new houses. Another, Beazer Homes, predicts more orders in 2012 than in 2011.

When Guernica Came to Town

imageIn 1938, one of Picasso’s most famous paintings was rolled up and taken to places previously untouched by art – even car showrooms

Every day, 11,000 people make the trip to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid to see Picasso’s Guernica. The invisible infra-red wire around the painting is hyper-vigilant — the tiniest of leans (and I speak from experience) has alarms ringing, and guards to their feet, within seconds. Understandable, but a pity since all but the most eagle-eyed will miss the clues to an extraordinary story.

Over its 75-year history, it has been rolled and unrolled, stretched, nailed up, pulled down, driven, shipped and flown, all in the service of a cause. Creases and cracks mark its surface; its four corners are littered with puncture marks tracing the life it’s led.

Frieze Art Fair in America: Armory fights British invasion

imageFrieze Week stands a good chance of replacing the Armory Show as America’s biggest art fair when it arrives in New York. Colin Gleadell reports.

Which is the greatest contemporary art fair in America? Is it the Armory Show, the biggest home-grown fair in New York? Is it Art Basel/Miami Beach, the American off-shoot of Europe’s mighty Art Basel, which launched in Florida in 2002? Or will it be Frieze, the London fair, now 10 years old and another foreign brand? Frieze’s announcement that it will launch its first New York edition in May has been sending shivers down the backbones of its competitors.

Going, going, gone for a song

imageThe salerooms are booming and new records are being set – no wonder Lord Coleridge was aggrieved that his Tudor chain of office was sold for a fraction of its worth.

Two years ago, a couple from Pinner found a Chinese vase in a dusty recess of their parents’ house and took it to an auctioneer in Ruislip. Everyone was astounded when it was knocked down for £53 million. It was, as headline writers noted at the time, the ultimate cash in the attic.

Statue of Liberty – NYCStatue of Liberty, New York City.

imageLocated at the mouth of Hudson River, New York City became America’s main immigration entry point in the 18th century. The city was named the first capital of the United States in 1785. The first Congress met in Federal Hall on Wall Street and drafted the first Bill of Rights, as well as the Northwest Ordinance that same year.

The Northwest Ordinance was the first step in expanding the United States. George Washington was inaugurated in New York in 1789. A new street grid system was put in place in the early 1820s, which mapped all the streets on the island of Manhattan. The street grid divided the city in sections in order to accommodate the immigrants that were moving into the city in large numbers.

Lady Gaga Takes Over Barneys New York

imageIf you’re in New York or planning to go to a visit soon, make sure you drop by Barneys to visit the Gaga Workshop everyone’s rambling about. The pop icon launched the opening of the Gaga workshop just yesterday in a custom Chanel ivory poufy dress, designed by Karl Lagerfeld specially for the occasion.

Barneys 5th floor (which is around 5,500 square feet) is entirely dedicated to Gaga fans until January 2nd, 2012, beautifully decorated with chocolate Alexander McQueen armadillo shoes, Gaga-ish diamond studded stick on nails, and Gaga candles that are made to look like her head and cry when lit.

Lowry dominates British sales landscape

imageWill the Tate Britain finally give Lowry the exhibition he so richly deserves, asks Colin Gleadell.

Paintings and drawings by L S Lowry dominated last week’s sales of Modern British art. Of the 485 lots offered, only 33 were by Lowry, but they contributed precisely half of the total £40 million generated by the sales. As whispers begin to circulate that Tate Britain is finally to give Lowry the exhibition he so richly deserves, 14 works from the collection of the late Lord Forte at Christie’s sold for more than £18 million, with a painting of Piccadilly Circus equalling the record for Lowry at £5.6 million. Forte bought most of his Lowrys in the 1960s and 1970s, but added this to his collection in 1983 when the swashbuckling art dealer Roy Miles persuaded him he should have it because he had launched his first “milk bar” within a stone’s throw in Regent Street. Lord Forte, as he became in 1982, also owned the Café Royale in Regent Street, and the Criterion building and Lillywhite’s, from where Lowry’s view may have been painted.

Frank Stella interview: the bigger picture

imageFrank Stella has been at the forefront of abstract art for half a century. Ahead of an extensive retrospective in Britain, he talks about his work

If you are looking for clues to the character of Frank Stella, the Formula One racing car parked inside his vast studio in upstate New York is a giveaway. ‘Ferrari gave that to me,’ the American abstract artist tells me nonchalantly, hooking a Cuban cigar from an ashtray beside him. ‘It did race, but it doesn’t have a motor now, so it’s just for show.’

Stella has been probing the limits of painting for more than five decades. His love of fast cars, though, dates from the mid-1970s, when BMW gave him one in exchange for decorating a racing model that competed at Le Mans. Six years later, in 1982, he was arrested for hurtling at 105mph along a highway in New York State. But the supercar inside his studio in Rock Tavern is testament not only to the artist’s love of speed. Once driven by Michael Schumacher, it also represents the competitive streak that has blazed through Stella’s life.

Take tennis. When he was younger – before, he says, his hip and knees ‘gave way’ – he used to play for hours, several times a week. After a while, though, his friends stopped playing with him. The gallery director Lawrence Rubin, who gave Stella his second solo show, in Paris in 1961, once said, ‘He doesn’t play for the fun of playing. He plays to win. And that’s the way he plays art.’

Where to Stay for the Best City Views in the World

imageMost people decide on a travel destination based on its restaurants, culture, weather, or sometimes price; but the hotel is often something generally overlooked, with most people concluding that they won’t be spending much time there. However, where you stay can make or break your trip, and if you’re in the market for treating yourself; check out these fabulously indulgent hotels with the most spectacular city views.

city views hotelsHong Kong is speedily becoming one of the most desirable tourist destinations with its high-fashion shops and growing business reputation, and it has some fantastic hotels to match.

City Base Apartments offer a luxurious stay in the heart of Hong Kong’s sights and attractions; but this is definitely a city which needs to be seen from above.

John Martin: Apocalypse, at Tate Britain, Seven magazine review

imageJohn Martin exposed the Victorians’ darkest fears – with devastating effect

To say the art of John Martin divided 19th-century critical opinion would be an understatement. Edward Bulwer Lytton declared him to be “the greatest, the most lofty, the most original genius of the age”. But Samuel Taylor Coleridge thought he was “a poor creature” who “looked at Nature through bits of stained glass, and was never satisfied with any appearance that was not prodigious”.

John Martin: Apocalypse, the most extensive exhibition of the painter’s work since his death in 1854, is an opportunity to see what all the fuss was about. On this evidence, his genius is open to question but he was certainly a thunderously entertaining painter of death, destruction and doom.

Joe Cornish on E.T.

imageThe director of Attack the Block and co-writer of the forthcoming Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn explains his devotion to Steven Spielberg’s science-fiction classic.

I saw ET for the first time in New York when I was 12. I had never been to America before, and I basically got off the plane, got on the subway and went straight to the cinema to watch it. I knew who Spielberg was because I’d seen Jaws: it had been given an A certificate [the equivalent of today’s PG], so lots of kids had.

The build-up to when you first see the alien in ET is done so beautifully – it’s just suggested by a light in the tall grass; you see its hand; you hear a noise or a shudder. Spielberg’s brilliant at the slow build, and it was both scary and entrancing. When I was a teenager, it seemed like the best thing that could ever happen – a little, friendly alien jumping out of your garden shed.

New York voted world’s best cruise port

imageNew York City has been voted the world’s best cruise port in a poll of British passengers.

According to the survey, the majority (57 per cent) of holidaymakers who favour cruises do so because of “the opportunity to visit a number of destinations in one trip”. The “all-inclusive nature of cruises” was an important factor to 36 per cent of respondents, and 17 per cent chose to take cruise holidays because of the on-board entertainment on offer.

The poll also asked British passengers which celebrities they would most like to see “walk the plank” during a cruise holiday. Katie Price, the glamour model, received the most votes, followed by coiffured pop twins Jedward, James Murdoch, Gordon Brown, Simon Cowell and Boris Johnson.

Is Damien Hirst trying to influence the art market?

imageDespite his huge wealth, Damien Hirst is still obsessed with making his paintings pay.There is an old joke that the clue to contemporary art is in the name: it is a con, and it is temporary. Even those inured to the industry’s excesses, however, might have been surprised by a report at the weekend about Damien Hirst. Not apparently content with his £215 million fortune, the original Young British Artist has allegedly taken to “bullying” auction houses into refusing to sell prints individually, insisting that they should be sold only as a complete package.

The work in question was In a Spin, the Action of the World on Things, a 4ft by 3ft box covered in one of Hirst’s iconic spin paintings, which are created by a machine pouring paint on to a canvas. Inside each box (Hirst made 68 of them) are 23 signed prints of spin images.

Rothko in Britain: a timeline



A new show at the Whitechapel Gallery celebrates a landmark exhibition which would seal a special bond between the American painter Mark Rothko and his British contemporaries.


• Rothko sailed to Britain – he never flew – for a holiday with his wife and daughter Kate. It was his third time in Europe.

• He stayed with his close friend and painter William Scott – whom he had met in New York in 1953 – and his family in their cottage in Somerset.

• At lunch with British abstract painters Peter Lanyon and Terry Frost, Rothko expressed his frustration with his work being misunderstood. He said: “You think my paintings are calm, like windows in some cathedral? You should look again. I’m the most violent of all the American painters. Behind those colours there hides the final cataclysm.”

Bono says he’ll be a proud American on 9/11

U2 singer Bono will be in New York on tenth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.


Bono, appearing for the gala opening of the Toronto International Film Festival, declared that he’s “a very proud American on 9/11”.

A documentary on Irish rock band U2’s rise to stardom opened the Canadian event and comes two day’s before the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. Bono said: “It’s just too big a moment in all our lives. Even if you’re not American, everyone became an American that day.”

The Irish-born singer will be in New York on Sunday with his wife Ali Hewson for a fashion event promoting a men’s collection for their EDUN line. The couple launched the not-for-profit fashion company in 2005 to raise awareness for business opportunities in Africa.

Ben Nicholson’s northern period serves up a Middlesbrough treat

The Northerner’s art supremo, Alan Sykes, inspects mima’s latest exhibition with a learned Cumbrian eye


Ben Nicholson one of the pioneers of modernist painting in the UK, is generally associated with London and the St Ives School which he and his friend Kit Wood effectively founded.

However, Nicholson spent a significant part of his early development living with his first wife Winifred Nicholson at a family farm of her’s right on Hadrian’s Wall, not far from Carlisle, where they were visited by many other artists from their circle, including Paul Nash, Ivon Hitchens and Jean Hugo.

Transatlantic cruises: The Queen and I

Even after more than 150 crossings, Douglas Ward feels a thrill of anticipation as he boards the Queen Mary 2 for a voyage to New York. But can the largest ocean liner ever built match the style and glamour of its majestic predecessor?


It was July 1965 when I boarded the original Queen Elizabeth as the fresh-faced leader of a jazz band for my first transatlantic crossing. Some 46 years may have passed, but as my wife and I drove to Southampton’s Ocean Terminal last month for my 157th crossing, I still felt the same thrill at the prospect of embarking on an ocean liner – and sailing in grand style. The journey may now be a more leisurely seven nights rather than the five of yesteryear to save on fuel, but the voyage from the Old World to the New remains special.

The best travel apps

A good smartphone app can be a traveller’s best friend. Francisca Kellett looks at some of the best travel apps on the market.


Smartphones have been to the Noughties what the internet was to the Nineties – nothing short of revolutionary. If you don’t already have one, you soon will. And with a smartphone comes its innovative add-ons – apps, or applications.

Ten billion apps have been downloaded in the past three years. There are 17,000 travel apps on the market, and 160 million app-compatible devices are owned worldwide – iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys and tablet devices such as the iPad.

Cruising on Seabourn Odyssey

Graham Boynton thought cruising wasn’t for him. That was until he took a trip with his family on Seabourn Odyssey from Istanbul to Athens.

There are some things in life that one should avoid confessing to when in serious company. For example, in the mid-Seventies it was social suicide to admit liking Abba’s music, as it is today with Sir Cliff Richard’s canon; equally, to claim a secret fondness for the novels of Barbara Cartland or the paintings of Vladimir Tretchikoff remains cultural death.

Business traveller’s diary

When burnout hits, even the most robust business traveller needs an emergency pitstop. Frequent flyer Max Levene shares tips on his favourite city for beating the blues, Chicago


There comes a moment in every frequent traveller’s year when tiredness, introspection and self-doubt sneak through one’s usually powerful armour.
Your humble diarist hit the tiredness wall at the end of last week.

The sun may have been shining outside the office, but inside I was suffering from a cold shiver. Could I cope with yet another trip to Heathrow the next day? Did I have the heart to produce yet another thought-filled PowerPoint presentation? Could I muster any excitement for yet another lonely hotel room (however beautiful the décor)? And was I in any fit mental state for yet another corporate dinner?

This Arthur remake is one too many


No one has been asking for a remake of Arthur. The 1981 screwball comedy that starred Dudley Moore as a drunken English heir falling for a working-class New Yorker is fondly remembered – and is worth delaying going to bed for when it shows up on late-night television – but it’s hardly a comedy classic that demands revision or reinterpretation. Still! Russell Brand needs a vehicle to break America!



Arthur preens and yammers away like a spivvier Jim Carrey – it’s not at all charming. Rating:

12A cert, 109 min; Dir: Jason Winer; starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner.

Jennifer Lopez Biography


Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born July 24, 1969[1]), also known by her nickname J.Lo, is an American actress, singer, record producer, dancer, television personality, fashion designer and television producer. Lopez began her career as a dancer on the television comedy program

Gisele Bundchen Biography


Gisele Caroline Bündchen[1] (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒiˈzɛli ˈbĩtʃẽ]; born 20 July 1980[2]) is a Brazilian model, occasional film actress and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme.

Mariah Carey Biography


Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970[2] or 1969;[3] sources vary) is an American R&B/pop singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. She made her recording debut in 1990 under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, and became the first recording artist to have her first five singles top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Aerosmith Steven Tyler biography


Steven Tyler (born Steven Victor Tallarico; March 26, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, and the frontman and lead singer of the Boston-based rock band Aerosmith, in which he also plays the harmonica, and occasional piano and percussion.

Have we got mews for you?


The rear quarters, once just for servants and horses, are enjoying a revival by offering a taste of village life in the heart of London, says Graham Norwood

Lords and ladies might still rule in Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, but in the property world the servants are taking their revenge. Mews houses – staff quarters and stables once owned by Britain’s grandest families – are back in fashion.

50 Cent launches comedy website and show


This is 50 comedy.com will stream show of the same name US rapper 50 Cent will launch a new website to coincide with the debut of his new entertainment vehicle, This Is 50 Comedy Show, due to be filmed in New York and streamed live online.

According to the beta version of the website, which is already live, the new venture will “expose the world-wide web subscribers to the cutting-edge humour of the nations funniest comedians”.

Art market news


A ceramic stripy cat was the surprise sale of the David Hockney auction last week.

The big surprise of Bonhams’ David Hockney sale last week was the discovery of an early ceramic of a well-fed, stripy cat, dated 1955, when the artist was an 18-year-old student in Bradford (see below). Paintings by Hockney from this period are rare; ceramics are virtually unheard of. So how does this cat add to our understanding of Hockney’s development as an artist? Is it evidence of a brief flirtation with craft over fine art studies? A remnant of his schoolboy facility for cartoons? Perhaps an early example of his fondness for decorative stripes? Bonhams offered no information about it apart from a tentative £5,000 to £7,000 estimate, which was duly hammered as it fetched a goodly £33,600 – enough to tempt more Hockney ceramics out of the woodwork, if there are any.

Today’s radio highlights


The best radio programmes on BBC, commercial and digital stations chosen by Gillian Reynolds, the UK’s top radio critic.
Gillian Reynolds, the UK’s top radio critic.
Stephen Hird
By Gillian Reynolds 5:00PM BST 15 Apr 2011

Full TV and radio listings

Vivian Maier: the nanny with a flair for photography


To those who knew her, Vivian Maier was a loving if eccentric nanny. But now this mysterious Mary Poppins figure has been exposed as a photographic great
Vivain Maier self portrait
Image 1 of 8

Gerard Smith dies at the age of 34


TV on the Radio musician Gerard Smith dies after battle with lung cancer.

Gerard Smith, who has died of lung cancer at the age of 36, is performing here at T In The Park Festival in Scotland in 2009

Gerard Smith, the bass player with alternative rock band TV on the Radio, has died at the age of 34 after a battle with lung cancer.

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