NYU Alumni 

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Best of New York

NYU faculty, staff, and alumni Offer up their Favorites

by Renée Alfuso / CAS ’06

Whether you’ve got a green thumb or just want to see the leaves change, there are plenty of ways to enjoy fall in the Big Apple

Horsing Around

Brooklyn’s last native forest lies in Prospect Park, where perhaps the best way to experience autumn’s vibrant hues is on horseback along the 3.5-mile bridle path. Riders of all levels can trot to Kensington Stables for classes, pony rides, and guided tours of the 150-year-old park. The riding trail begins at the Park Circle entrance and travels along the edge of a lake, past the iconic Nethermead Arches, and through the peaceful Midwood, filled with mossy logs and towering trees—the tallest being a 127-foot pin oak. “There are few things better than a meandering ride through the woods,” says Katie Young (GAL ’12), who’s been saddling up since age 8. As captain of the NYU Equestrian Club, which competes in Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competitions, she led her team to victory in regionals last year. “Riding is a thrill like nothing else, so you immediately feel an extreme gratitude for your horse, even if it’s your first ride together,” she says. Before heading to the park, Young suggests wearing long pants, boots with a sturdy heel, and a certified riding helmet for safety. And she advises city slickers: “If your first [time] isn’t as great as you’d hoped, find another barn, another horse, and give it another try!”

51 Caton Place in Brooklyn, 718-972-4588; www.kensingtonstables.com

Multimedia Mecca

In a city filled with exhibits and galleries, the Museum of the Moving Image still manages to be one of a kind, with the nation’s largest collection of artifacts—130,000 in all—showcasing the history, technology, and artistry behind the moving image. “It’s not a stuffy old museum—it’s much more fun,” promises Ben Moskowitz (TSOA ’08), the preservation media unit lab supervisor for NYU Libraries. The museum has been a pioneer in collecting video arcade and console games, and visitors can play classics like Space Invaders and Donkey Kong. Interactive computer stations allow guests to create their own stop-motion animations, view themselves dressed in famous movie costumes, or record their own movements to print out as a flipbook. The core exhibition in the recently expanded museum is “Behind the Screen,” which spans the evolution of the moving image, from 19th-century optical toys and Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope through film cameras, television sets, and digital editing tools. The educational side is balanced with pure entertainment: movie posters, vintage lunch boxes, Star Wars figurines, and a TV lounge that re-creates a 1960s living room. Moskowitz especially enjoyed the collection of Cosby Show sweaters and the exhibit on Jim Henson’s Muppets. “[The museum] brings back that sense of wonderment from your childhood,” he says.

36-01 35th Avenue in Astoria, Queens, 718-777-6888; www.movingimage.us

Stop and Smell the Roses

“The great landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx said that plants bring dignity to an urban space,” explains landscaping supervisor George Reis (CAS ’10), who’s worked at NYU for 17 years. He admits that gardening in the big city can be difficult, “but the rewards are also really great because people gush with gratitude when they see some greenery in the concrete jungle.” So when Reis needs a few last-minute toad lilies or hothouse hydrangeas, NYC’s flower district offers a horticultural haven. The area has survived more than a century of change; today, the shops still overflow with tropical plants and giant palm trees, transporting passersby to a lush forest, if only for a few blocks. The flower mongers offer accessories for outdoor and container gardening, and even apartment dwellers can find decorative accents, such as potted topiaries, sea glass, and rainbow-colored bamboo bundles—plus holiday garlands, ornaments, and wreaths starting in autumn. Reis says that it’s a great place to discover exotic flowers and plant life that come into the city first thing each morning: “The best way to describe it is eclectic—you’ll just see a little bit of everything there and you never really know what to expect.”

Manhattan’s flower district is primarily located on West 28th Street between Seventh Avenue and Broadway

Editors’ Pick: Dinner and a Movie

Food and film are two of our favorite things here at NYU Alumni Magazine, and luckily the like-minded staff at Nitehawk Cinema serves them up side by side. The independent gastro-theater opened last summer in Williamsburg and screens both digital and 35mm films with table service during the show. While the VHS Vault in the lobby bar offers free “guilty pleasure” movies, new releases play upstairs, alongside curated classics with monthly themes such as the “Late Night Lynch” and “Monsters of Summer” series, featuring 1980s throwbacks Predator and Poltergeist. “There’s a huge difference in attitude—we’re not just there to take your ticket,” says Nitehawk server Aiden Arata (CAS ’13) of the theater’s passion for celluloid. “We’re all really into making this an experience, not just a movie.” Seated viewers can order specialty cocktails inspired by the screenings, such as the Girl on Fire with house-infused jalapeño tequila, which pays homage to The Hunger Games. The Facehugger, named for the extraterrestrial baddie in the sci-fi blockbuster Prometheus, is a mix of Baileys Irish Cream with green streaks of crème de menthe and looks both alien and irresistible at once. There’s a full menu of entrées, desserts, and elevated movie concessions, such as mushroom croquettes, fried pickles, and popcorn with lime, cotija cheese, and cilantro. They even serve brunch on weekends: The $14 Breakfast Club prix fixe menu comes with either a mimosa or a Carrie—Nitehawk’s wicked version of a Bloody Mary. Anyone who gets that reference is sure to feel right at home.

136 Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn, 718-384-3980; www.nitehawkcinema.com

photos from top: © Marie Viljoen; copy; Peter Aaron/Esto, courtesy museum of the moving image; © Opto Design; &courtesy nitehawk cinema