New York Lifestyles Magazine - January 2024 - Aaron T. Harper - New Year's Issue

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Vol. 10 #1 | January 2024








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10 From The Publisher / Heaven’s Door Bourbon 15 Aaron T. Harper: How To Successfully Scale Your Business 20 Profile: Broadway’s Legends Of Tomorrow

STYLE 23 Life & Style: Winter Wellness To Manifest Those Resolutions

TRAVEL 26 29 33 35 37


Ski East: The Best Slopes To Hit This Season Canada’s Wonderlands: Banff, Jasper & The Icefields Parkway Bear Mountain Inn: A Rustic & Relaxing Getaway Hill Farm Inn: Cozy Days & Nights In Vermont Time For Napa: Off-Season In Wine Valley


225 West 86th Street: Truly Magnificent 210 West 77th Street: Sheer Modern Elegance 171 West 71st Street: Like Brand New 575 Grand Concourse: A Miami Shores Gem



48 Mindie’s Musings: A New Year’s Resolution

FOOD & DRINK 49 50 52 54

Magic Mocktails: Favorite Finds For A Dry January La Grande Boucherie: Escape to 20th-Century France Paros: Authentic Aegean Fare In Tribeca Great Bites: Sloppy Joes/Tony Dragon’s Grille

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 55 On The Big Screen 56 On The Small Screen 57 BroadwayHD: Chase Away The Winter Blues



NEW YORK, NY 67 69 71 72

Entrepreneur’s Corner: Jillian Michaels My New York Story: Dovid Kanarfogel Time Out With…Sonia Satra Sean Patrick M. Hillman: The Final Word


© Don Flood

60 Greyhound Crusader: A Dog’s Best Friend 63 Family Ties: Canine Sisters Re-Unite 65 Canines For Cardio: Dogs Are Your Exercise Alternative



ISSN 2474-770X


Vol. 10 #1 | January 2024 President / Publisher BILL MASON Editor-in-Chief Patricia Canole

Art Director Scott Cuollo

Features Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

Entertainment Jenny Peters

Health & Wellness Anne Akers

Theater Bonnie Comley

Chief Photographer Neil J Tandy

Special Projects Norah Bradford

Contributors Sherry Amatenstein, Alexandra Anastasios, Mindie Barnett, Melanie Carden, AP Connolly, Christine Dorchuk, Jenna Guarneri, Stewart F. Lane, Irvina Lew, Anne Raso, Pippa Roberts. Jeff & Stephanie Sylva, Annie Watt, Pamela Smythe Woods.

Last year, we brought back our beloved Pet Lifestyles Magazine. I have to confess, re-launching this magazine was a labor of love. One I would not trade for all the lamb lung treats on the planet. I could not be more proud of what we were able to achieve. This year will mark our greatest achievement to date…helping to stem the growing tide of euthanization at shelters across the country. Our friends at Best Friends Animal Society have set a nokill nation goal for 2025, and we are going to help them to achieve this as much as we can. In 2024, you can look forward to a lot more fun, PAWESOME content in the magazine, online and through a series of events and promotions we are doing. This includes a 10-city experiential tour designed to increase adoption rates at shelters, as well as the return of one of New York’s most beloved animal adoption fairs, Adoptapalooza NYC! In other words, 2024 looks to be a Pawfect year! And we can’t wait for you to join us on this amazing journey. To see what we are up to, head over to: Sean-Patrick M. Hillman Editor-in-Chief & Co-Publisher Pet Lifestyles Magazine


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Editorial/Sales Fax (212) 202-4888

For advertising inquiries, subscriptions, address changes or back issues, call: (646) 259-2651 Facebook: /NYLifestylesMag Twitter: @NYLifestylesMag Instagram: @NYLifestylesMag All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue is expressly forbidden without written permission of this publisher. Printed in the USA. New York Lifestyles is published 10 times a year. ©2024 New York Lifestyles Magazine.

COVER CREDITS AARON T. HARPER Photograph Ctsy: Aaron T. Harper

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s we close the chapter on 2023, we can reflect on everything we are grateful for, what we have accomplished, and what we look forward to in 2024. For this issue, we chose Aaron T. Harper, the CEO of Rolling Suds Power Washing. His energy and expertise have made him one of America’s leading franchise owners. Don’t miss his wise words on dealing with today’s volatile economy and what he sees for the future. Another well-known entrepreneur is Jillian Michaels, who has made fitness her middle name. We caught up with her and shared news of her new app, which can revolutionize any fitness program. No excuses here. Losing a few pounds is easy, too. We also spotlight bright stars from Broadway who will someday be known as legends. It’s a fun read and explores how these talented young actors arrived at where they are today. New and popular favorites are here, too. For those who want a skiing holiday, then look no further. Our coverage of Ski East slopes will make you want to visit each one. All this and our regular features will make January the perfect beginning to a better year. It feels like yesterday when I embarked on the launch of New York Lifestyles. That was eight years ago, and I had no idea how the magazine would be received. Today, I can look back in awe and with deep gratitude. You are the ones who have helped us make this magazine what it is today. Thank you! You have continually emailed us your likes (and dislikes) that inspire, entertain, and inform. Our mission is—and always will be—to be the record for those who want to love and enjoy our beautiful city. As we look ahead to this new year, I must say that I’m excited about what 2024 has in store. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. May we continue to connect and learn from one another in the coming year.

Folks in the Bluegrass State will find new meaning in rock icon Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door this year. The whiskey brand known as Heaven’s Door, founded in 2015 by the legendary rock poet, is opening a new bourbon distillery in Pleasureville, Kentucky. At the same time, a new and unique Heaven’s Door brand experience center will open in Downtown Louisville. “This is a momentous occasion for Heaven’s Door,” said Marc Bushala, co-founder and CEO of Heaven’s Door Spirits. “We selected this location for its remarkable natural beauty and unique ecosystem that has enabled us to make exceptional bourbon and create an unrivaled visitor experience,” added Bushala. “We are committed to the art of craft whiskey and honor the legacy of the many pioneers who have helped make Kentucky bourbon what it is today. We are thrilled to have Heaven’s Door be part of this storied tradition.”

Heaven’s Door Brand Experience on Urban Bourbon Trail In addition to its Pleasureville distillery, Heaven’s Door is opening a unique brand experience in a former church in Downtown Louisville. The brand experience will house a small live music venue, a private event space and a restaurant and bar featuring one of the largest selections of American whiskeys in the country. The Heaven’s Door brand center includes plans to construct a new 15,000 square foot immersive art experience adjacent to the church which will feature a collection of critically acclaimed paintings and metalworks by music’s “Shakespeare,” as well as curated exhibitions of other artists.

-Bill Mason


This year, over one million tourists will descend on Kentucky’s “Bourbon Trail” and can look forward to experiencing what many tastemakers have called one of the “best bourbons of the century…so far.” Heaven’s Door has earned both countless awards and critical acclaim in its short history, making Bob Dylan’s first and only consumer brand a massive success. To learn more, please visit




By Patricia Canole | Photos Courtesy of Aaron T. Harper

here is an old saying, “Never trust a skinny chef.” While there are plenty of great chefs of all sizes, it offers some caution. In other words, you might not want to be so quick to trust one who doesn’t sample their own recipes.

The same can be true of a franchisor: Beware of one who has never scaled a successful franchise. In other words, the franchisor puts their money where their mouth is and backs up their model. Aaron Harper, CEO of Rolling Suds Power Washing, is an expert in building relationships and developing brands through franchising. He learned management skills and how to build strong relationships while working in Hollywood’s film and television industry. Harper achieved his franchising career as Senior Director of Franchise Development for Belfor Franchise Group. In that role, he was integral in rebuilding the infrastructure for training, marketing, and ongoing support for franchisees. While at Belfor, he sold and helped open over 400 territories across two brands in a few short years—an incredible feat—but it was not without its challenges and lessons learned. Successfully scaling a franchise quickly can be a double-edged sword, as rapid expansion can outpace the ability to fully support franchisees. Harper felt that to execute franchising the right way, he needed to build the system from scratch. Recognizing the importance of ongoing franchisee support from beginning through massive scaling prompted his decision to venture independently and franchise Rolling Suds, a successful family-owned power washing company, with a renewed commitment to responsible practices and unwavering focus on the franchisees. In just ten months, Harper will finish his first calendar year at Rolling Suds with more than 80 units sold across 22 states and is dedicated to educating people all over the world on responsible franchising.


We met with Aaron T. Harper to learn more about his journey in franchising and his plans in 2024. I know our readers would love to learn more about you. How did you get to where you are today? It’s been quite a journey! My background started in film and television in California. While it was an exciting ride, I felt a calling for something more—a passion to empower others and simplify the path to business ownership. My transition into franchising began at Belfor Franchise Group, where I sold and opened over 400 territories across two brands in just a few years. This experience taught me a lot and fueled my desire to create something of my own, so I took a risk and set my sights on transforming Rolling Suds, a family-owned power-washing business, into a thriving franchise. My approach to franchising is deeply rooted in Responsible Franchising—emphasizing transparent communication, ongoing comprehensive training and support, and tailored systems for our franchisees. I say it all the time: we are a Franchisee company. I’m also focused on adaptability and a solution-driven mindset in crucial areas like technology, scaling, and marketing support to keep Rolling Suds agile and responsive to the evolving needs of our franchisees. I am also very selective about our franchisee partnerships—I have turned down more than 35 prospective franchisees in 2023. Saying ‘no’ to potential partners who don’t fit our business model or culture is key. Franchising is only successful if everyone works within the parameters of the same system and comes together to make the system work and be profitable. By focusing on Responsible Franchising, we’ve seen incredible success. In just ten months, we will finish our first calendar year with 84 units sold across 22 states, and I believe we’re changing the landscape of business ownership in the world of franchising.


What experiences, failures, setbacks/challenges have been most instrumental in your growth? Growth often comes from a mix of experiences, failures, and challenges. In the film and TV days, I learned the ropes of a cutthroat industry where everyone was in it for themselves. I wanted to be in an industry and role that helped other people. Moving into franchising, my time at Belfor taught me about scaling quickly, but it also came with its fair share of challenges. We hit the gas on opening territories, thinking faster was better, but opening too many too quickly meant we couldn’t support our franchisees the way they needed, and that hit me hard. But it was also the best kind of wake-up call. That setback was the catalyst for my deep dive into Responsible Franchising. Transparent communication became my north star, and always putting the franchisee first became the backbone of our strategy. Launching Rolling Suds into a franchise wasn’t all smooth sailing either. There were many times I had to pivot, adapt, and face the reality that only some ideas worked as planned. But each stumble taught me something crucial, and now I am thrilled to be able to share that knowledge with other emerging franchise brands around the world. In your experience, what are the critical steps to growing and scaling your business? Navigating the business growth journey has been quite an adventure. Starting with the basics—mission, values, a solid business model— that is just the groundwork. Crafting a blueprint to hit those goals is the strategic roadmap. And let’s face it, none of this happens without a powerhouse team—the real rockstars of any successful business. Flexibility is also essential. Things change, and being able to roll with the punches is crucial. Tech is another vital aspect, making everything run smoother while putting systems in place that allow us to work smarter while maximizing profits. We will find another solution if something is challenging for our team, franchisees, or customers. »

Teaming up with the right investment partners has been another game-changer, such as franchising veteran David Barr (we recently announced a second round of investment from Barr in November 2023). And responsible scaling is not just about getting bigger; it’s about doing it correctly. What are the qualities of an effective leader? Effective leadership is more than having all the answers but the skills to navigate uncertainty confidently and inspire collective success. Firstly, a leader must possess a visionary outlook and be able to articulate a clear path forward for the team. An effective leader must also be decisive and make tough calls even when all the facts aren’t known. Empathy, an often-underestimated quality, plays a crucial role in understanding and connecting with team members while fostering a positive work culture. Resilience is another non-negotiable, as leadership invariably encounters challenges that demand a steadfast response. Strategic thinking is another critical component involving anticipating challenges and capitalizing on opportunities while playing the long game. Accountability is integral, with influential leaders taking responsibility for decisions, whether they lead to success or setbacks. True leaders inspire, creating a shared sense of purpose and motivation among team members. Lastly, a commitment to continuous learning ensures leaders remain adaptable and informed in an ever-evolving landscape.

What is your best advice on building and leading teams? In my experience, referrals from mentors and peers within the industry are where I have met rockstar employees. Leveraging relationships, I already have is much more time efficient, and the results are better. Once the team is built, optimization is paramount, ensuring transparency, clarity, and minimization of misunderstandings. We utilize the EOS Traction system, including L10 meetings, rocks, scorecards, etc., to ensure we all work towards the same goals together. Fostering a positive work culture is also crucial. Encouraging collaboration, celebrating achievements, and creating an environment where team members feel valued contribute to a thriving workplace. Leading by example is non-negotiable; embodying the values and work ethic expected from the team sets the tone. It is acknowledging and learning from mistakes, celebrating successes, and maintaining genuine connections with the team round out the principles. Building and leading teams is a dynamic journey, and these principles have helped me foster a collaborative, high-performing environment. This team not only works well together but thrives individually. What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs and business leaders?

· Build Your Network: Attending industry conferences, establishing mentoring

relationships, and engaging in social group chats are all active ways to grow your network and will serve you well as you encounter challenges and have questions. · Cultivate Resilience in the Face of Setbacks: Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster with inevitable highs and lows. Building Resilience to navigate setbacks is critical. Embrace failures as learning opportunities, bounce back quickly, and maintain a forward-looking perspective. Resilience helps you get through difficult times and fosters a culture of perseverance within your team. · Foster a Culture of Innovation: Innovation is a survival tool in a rapidly changing business landscape. Foster an environment where team members feel empowered to share and implement innovative ideas. Staying ahead often involves thinking beyond the conventional and embracing calculated risks. · Share content across as many social channels as possible. You will meet amazing people who will impact your professional journey and vice versa.


What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received? The most impactful advice I’ve received, a guiding principle in my journey, is this: “Surround yourself with the right people.” This has been true at every career stage and even outside my professional life. The “right people” challenge me to do better, do more, and try harder, and they are there when I have questions or encounter challenges. We can lean on each other and learn from one another. I would pass this advice on to anyone. How has your life experience made you the leader you are today? My life’s journey has been a series of diverse experiences that have significantly influenced my leadership style. The demands of film/ TV and franchise industries taught me to navigate uncertainties with creativity and composure—a skill set that later defined my leadership approach. The transition to the franchising arena, particularly during my tenure at Patch Boys, was a transformative period. While successfully opening over 400 territories highlighted growth potential, it also unveiled the importance of responsible practices. In leading the transformation of Rolling Suds into a thriving franchise, my commitment to Responsible Franchising took center stage. Beyond being a strategic choice, it became a core belief that shaping a successful franchise involves selecting the right partners and prioritizing their individual growth and wellbeing. How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure as CEO? My previous employment experiences have played a pivotal role in shaping my tenure as CEO of Rolling Suds. The challenges and fast-paced nature of the film/TV and franchise industries instilled in me a deep sense of Resilience and adaptability—qualities essential in the leadership role I now occupy. The ability to navigate the uncertainties of those environments has proven invaluable in the dynamic landscape of business ownership. Furthermore, my time at Belfor, where I opened over 400 territories quickly, provided hands-on experience in scaling operations and managing an extensive network. However, it also taught me crucial lessons, notably the importance of responsible growth. The setback of opening territories too quickly without adequate support became a guiding principle, leading me to champion Responsible Franchising with a focus on tailored solutions and transparent communication.


How do you maintain a work/life balance? Maintaining a work-life balance is paramount for me. Spending quality time with my family, including my wife and two children, is nonnegotiable. At 6 pm daily, I shut down the computer, and my team knows I am unavailable until my kids are asleep. We have a quality family dinner, do baths, read stories, and ensure uninterrupted family time every day. I’ve also found rejuvenation in activities like triathlons. It’s not just about physical health but also mental well-being. Running provides a space for introspection and a welcome break from the demands of a CEO role. Attending industry conferences is another dimension of this balance. While it involves professional engagement, these events often offer opportunities to combine work and leisure. Exploring new places and meeting like-minded professionals not only enriches my business perspective but also serves to unwind with peers. The key is conscious prioritization and effective time management. Balancing the demands of a CEO position with personal and family life requires intentionality. By cherishing family moments, incorporating wellness activities, and infusing a bit of leisure into work-related travels, I strive to lead a successful business and cultivate a fulfilling personal life. It’s an ongoing journey; finding that balance is as much an art as a commitment. What do you want Rolling Suds Power Washing to accomplish in 2024? In 2024, I envision Rolling Suds achieving significant milestones that align with our commitment to responsible growth and exceptional franchise support and extending into a broader role as a top franchising educator (both online via social media and offline at crucial industry conferences). Here are some of my fundamental aspirations:

· We are continuing our measured and sustainable expansion, focusing on quality over quantity. This involves strategically entering new markets while ensuring existing franchisees receive the necessary support for ongoing success. · Building on our foundation of Responsible Franchising, I intend to introduce and refine support programs that cater to the evolving needs of our franchisees. This includes training, marketing support, technological solutions, and a robust educational component to empower our franchisees with unique knowledge and insights. · Strengthening our connection with the communities we serve is a priority. I envision Rolling Suds actively participating in local initiatives, fostering a positive impact, and reinforcing our commitment to being more than just a business but a valued community partner. This will also be shared in real-time through our online presence. · Staying at the forefront of industry trends, I plan to explore and implement innovative power-washing techniques and technologies, ensuring that Rolling Suds remains a leader.

How do you spend your days off? Having two energetic kids under three years old is a blessing and a time-grabber. Any time I have off is spent with my amazing wife, who I’d be nothing without, my kids, and the occasional triathlon! For more information on Aaron T. Harper and Rolling Suds Power Washing, visit






By Sherry Amatenstein

n the delicious hush, before the lights dim and the orchestra conductor raises his baton, the anticipation of seeing your favorite above-the-marquee name in the flesh is off the charts. Don’t let that joy close your eyes to the possibility of also discovering someone destined to become he next Barbra Streisand or Lea Michele—the only one since Babs to win acclaim as Fanny Brice.

AMELIA FEI How To Dance In Ohio Achieving What Felt Impossible From the age of 12, Amelia Fei knew she wanted to be a performer. Never an easy goal. But for this Taiwan-born performer currently winning raves for her portrayal of Caroline, one of seven autistic performers at a group counseling center preparing for a spring dance, taking this role involved ‘coming out’ about her deepest secret. What was it like to get your big break with a big string attached – admitting publicly something you have spent years trying to hide? When I first submitted for the role, I thought, “That’s new - casting autistic people for autistic characters.” It didn’t hit me until I made the final callback, “Now everyone will know!” It was scary, but the casting director said: “You are good. You deserve to be here.” What is it like performing with six other performers who are also neurodivergent? It’s very therapeutic, which is wonderful considering we play therapy group members. The play’s first line is: If you meet one autistic person you meet one autistic person. We are seven very different individuals. What were your emotions seeing your face on the marquee for the first time? Like I got punched in the face – but in a pleasant way! Being in a Broadway show is already surreal, but seeing your face on a marquee is crazy! In your fantasy, what might this role lead to? Casting directors will think of me for shows I wouldn’t otherwise be considered for, roles that Caucasian individuals traditionally play. 20 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024


Out From Lea Michele’s Shadow Julie Benko’s tenure as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl involved numerous juicy twists and turns. First as understudy for the illcast Beanie Feldstein, who could never escape Barbra Streisand’s long shadow. Then accruing jubilant reviews during her five-week stint as Brice between Feldstein’s departure and Lea Michele’s triumphant takeover cast Benko back to the shadows. Now, Benko is making the most of her headline turn in Harmony, co-created by Barry Manilow. She plays Ruth Stern, the Jewish wife of a nonJewish member of a real-life singing group in pre-war Germany. What’s the significant difference between being the lead and understudy? As an understudy, you have no say in the blocking and how the scene is structured. In all the emotional moments, the humor is set on someone else, and it’s your job to step in and serve their performance but bring it truthfully and authentically. You don’t get a lot of rehearsal with the regular cast. My rehearsals were onstage before the audience. How does it feel when the audience sees the little white slip in their playbill that says Lea won’t be performing that night? Sometimes I could hear people yelling at the front of the house staff. But I could feel a shift happening when I sang, “I’m the Greatest Star.” The audience would suddenly be on the bandwagon: “I got to discover someone new!” What is it like to be the person originating the role? I get to be creative and collaborative, express ideas, and make suggestions. Instead of having something charted for me, I get the joy and burden of being an explorer on an uncharted path. It’s scary but so much fun to be in the room!

JUSTIN DAVID SULLIVAN & Juliet “I Still Have to Pinch Myself ” This joyous musical is built on the premise of what might have happened if, instead of killing herself for love, Juliet had hit the road. In this voyage of discovery, Juliet is accompanied by her nurse and trans nonbinary best friend, May. The latter is portrayed in a scene-stealing performance by nonbinary Justin David Sullivan. What was it like to not just make your Broadway debut but do it in a role that parallels your ‘coming out’ journey? The hardest part was not having a role model who looked or sounded like me. I was such a huge Broadway fanatic I’d have been happy to be an usher. This feels cosmically aligned. You said you were born with a passion to color the world with every color in the box. How many crayons are you using with May? It’s a metaphor for bringing my entire self to everything I do. Even if you’re not queer or nonbinary, there are aspects to this character people can relate to. I use every shade I’ve got – even the white crayon! Is there anything you want to add? I am so, so lucky to be here. I’ll never take it for granted. I want to encourage anyone who has a big dream that seems impossible. KATIE ROSE CLARKE Merrily We Roll Along Winning Her Dream Role While Pregnant Theater lovers are scrambling for tough-to-get tickets to the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s 1981 musical to see headliners Daniel Radcliffe, Lindsay Mendez, and Johnathan Groff in action. The trio deserves all the acclaim. Which makes it even more remarkable that when Katie Rose Clarke, as Beth, the divorced wife of Franklin Shepherd (Groff), enters late in Act 1, the collective spines of audience members instantly tingle with the awareness: this is a star! Can you share your unique audition story? I was nine months pregnant with my third child and experiencing early labor. Awareness of the discomfort level helped me feel even more grounded in my body. I was grateful the producers could see beyond my huge, pregnant belly. What is it like to stand in the wings for an hour watching three heavyweights mesmerize the audience, and enter singing an iconic song? The focus has been on the three of them. It’s tricky to spring out of the gate and sing “Not a Day Goes By.” Sondheim is the highest of the high for a performer. I get to make my mark right away. Do you think you might be nominated for a Tony? It would be a huge deal for the show.






By Melanie Carden

y heart is full of love from all the family time this holiday season, and I’m looking ahead to the new year. That said, I’m tired, folks. Whether you set New Year’s resolutions or not, January is a wonderful time to slow down a bit and refocus. Get your schedule back into a groove, try a new style of workout, or make time to explore self-care. No matter what the busy calendar says, prioritize wellness. APRES SKI Remember: you don’t have to be a big-time Barbie fan to rock a bright pink sweater. This cute Alpaca Blend Pullover from Krimson Klover is perfect for après ski. Pair it with leggings and curl it up with hot cocoa and an enjoyable book. Info:

PLANT POWER I’ve been reading The Plant Medicine Protocol each morning while I have my coffee. The author, William Siff, is an acupuncturist, and he makes the body critical system and the benefits of plants and herbs easy to understand. It’s loaded with easy ways to improve your well-being. Info:

POST-SHOVELING COMFORT Inches of the wintery magic known as snow has fallen from the sky. Whether you shovel a few steps or a whole driveway, it’s always nice to warm up afterwards with this men’s burly shawl cardigan from Duluth Trading. Your workout for the day is done, after all! Better yet, dash off to a woodland cabin somewhere. Info:

RACCOON RACE Sometimes, in the winter, you need to find an indoor track for exercise. The upside is, you can walk in these fabulous Saucony kicks, named for nature’s cutest thieves—trash pandas (a.k.a. raccoons). Go straight from the track to the coffee shop in these beauties. Info:


RESOLUTION-READY If your New Year’s resolution is to increase well-being by reducing inflammation, you’re in luck. One easy step is Yonder Food’s Organic Mushroom Coffee. It’s real coffee, with an added boost of focus and health benefits from Lion’s Mane & Chaga. Awesome coffee with no mushroom flavor. Info:

UNCOMPLICATED WORKOUTS The Luxe Resistant Bands from Alta Fitness boost your at-home workout. The three bands make getting those quick and uncomplicated full-body workouts effortless—something we all want and need in our lives. The bands—used separately or combined—provide workouts with up to 60 lbs. of resistance. The ScrunchyKnit fabric design feels super soft against the skin, while plush handles are comfortable and solid. Info:

NEW YEAR RALLY Maybe you let your game slip a bit during the holidays. Now that things have settled, it’s time to refresh your tennis accessories. Wilson’s Leather Racket Cover has a guitar strap-style strap, so you’ll be serving up style and a killer backhand. Info:

WINTER WONDER SHOES Skip the workout gadgets and skip right to the good stuff—snowshoeing. It’s a sport that can be done anywhere from a city park to the grandeur of the Adirondacks. MSR Gear has a range of snowshoes—for beginners and those out on the gnarliest of terrain. Info:

POCKETS! Sure, this is an elegant representation of yoga, but I’m more excited about the best feature of these leggings—pockets. If you’re lucky, there’s a larger pocket on workout tights. The folks at Greatness Wins designed these with larger pockets on both sides—finally. Info:

MULTITASKING WARMTH Among Overland’s near-perfect winter boots, these are the multitaskers you need most. Pop them on and head to Pilates class, then zip along to that meeting. These shearling-lined, waterproof boots keep you warm and dry. That little block heel is low enough to be cute yet surefooted. Info: SEASONAL SAFETY If you’re one of the hearty winter runners out there, no matter what, we applaud you. We also want you to be safe, especially since it’s likely you’re running in the dark of the morning. Grab this visibility-friendly (and waterproof!) REI Co-op Swiftland H2O Running Jacket. It’s a stellar top-layer. Info:

CUPPA WELLNESS One effortless way to incorporate a little mindfulness is to have a cup of tea. That’s it. Do just that one thing, without scrolling on your phone, multitasking, or creating a to-do list. The Smart SelfWarming Mug from Uncommon Goods ensures your sip stays hot during your new practice. Info: 24 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024





By Patricia Canole

kiing and snowboarding on the East Coast is decidedly different than out West. Although elevations may be lower, there are plenty of challenging trails to be found East of the Rocky Mountains that boast challenging and fun terrain and a lot more of it than you may think. If you’re East Coast-faithful and looking to stack up the mileage this season, we have your winter hit list right here. NEW YORK New York has its distinctive style. Rather than sleepy New England towns, you’ll find a lively crowd on—and off—the slopes. Reigning supreme here is Whiteface Mountain and Gore Mountain, both set in Adirondack State Park. The park is big and steep (if not more significant and precipitous) than many mountains in Vermont or the rest of New England. Few East Coast resorts can match Whiteface’s big-mountain challenge and none can match its tradition: Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympics twice—in 1932 and 1980. For more information on Ski New York State, visit LAKE PLACID Vertical Rise: 3,430 feet In Lake Placid, you’ll find the towering Whiteface Mountain with the highest drop in the East. The terrain is expert. However, less experienced skiers can access Runner Up and Silver, closer to the base. Families can also try out their skills at bobsledding in the town of Lake Placid. Whiteface will please all skiers looking for long trails and gorgeous views of the Adirondacks. After a run, head to where the downhill champions were crowned! GORE MOUNTAIN Vertical Rise: 2,537 feet This small ski area has a loyal following of families who return year after year— probably because it’s uncrowded. Besides, the comfortable layout, with all trails leading back to a medium-sized base lodge, is suitable for parents worrying about losing their kids. The area encompasses four different mountains in the Adirondacks: Gore, Little Gore, Burnt Ridge, and Bear Mountain. Half the trails are suitable for beginners. In addition to alpine skiing, Gore Mountain also offers cross-country and snowshoe trails at North Creek Ski Bowl. HUNTER Vertical Rise: 3,200 feet Gorgeous scenery and stunning peaks make the Catskill Mountains prime terrain for skiers. Hunter Mountain is in New York City’s backyard and studded with trails ranging from easy-breezy to challenging. The 240-acres are also home to North America’s highest zip-line canopy tour located 600 feet above the ground.

PENNSYLVANIA It’s time to shift your winter into high gear and plan your incredible Pennsylvania ski vacation to where else but the Poconos. With a history dating back to 1946, when the mountains welcomed the first commercial ski area in Pennsylvania and perfected the art of snowmaking, the Poconos have become a bona fide ski destination. Today, the Poconos have it all—beginner slopes to the double black diamonds and terrain parks to test your skills. So, get out and experience the exhilaration when your skis start sliding down a Pocono slope. For more information on the Pocono Mountains, visit CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN Vertical Rise, 2,133 feet If you ski just one place in Pennsylvania, Camelback Mountain must be it. Along this gentle mountain range in Northeastern Pennsylvania describe runs as perfect for beginners and familyfriendly. But Camelback is indeed that, but it also has trails that appeal to expert skiers. It can even make a high volume of snow and has two terrain parks and two half-pipes. For non-skiers, the sizeable snow-tubing park is a pleasing alternative. For more information on Camelback Mountain, visit; for information on Camelback Mountain Resort, visit

VERMONT It’s the king of New England skiing, with more major ski resorts than any other Eastern state. There are a few ways to make the most of a ski getaway here. For starters, with so many resorts in such a small state, it’s effortless to ski more than one in a single trip. And nearby resorts offer interchangeable lift tickets. Also, to get the most bang for your buck, go where the skiing best suits your ability. Southern Vermont areas (Okemo) lean toward intermediate cruising terrain, while northern resorts (Stowe) offer more advanced and expert skiers. In the middle is Killington, the biggest of all, with plenty to interest skiers of every ability. For more information on Ski Vermont, visit KILLINGTON Vertical Rise: 3,050 feet This sprawling property offers snow-packed trails that weave around the Green Mountains and promise the most thrilling downhill skiing on this side of the Mississippi. The “Beast of the East” lives up to its name: It’s the biggest resort covering seven mountains and an excellent variety of terrain. That is a good reason Killington attracts large numbers of devoted skiers who keep it as lively after hours as they do during the day. It also demonstrates that the beast is still the natural beauty of a mountain. Beginners can trail off on Pico Peak and Rams Head Mountain while speed demons rip down Killington Peak.

STOWE Vertical Rise: 2,360 feet Located on the face of Vermont’s highest summit, Mount Mansfield, Stowe has some of the most challenging runs on the East Coast. While the most famous trails are the legendary Front Four—National, Liftline, Goat, and Starr—Stowe also has access to the best-unmarked tree skiing in the East. Stowe is as close to a traditional European resort as it gets.

OKEMO Vertical Rise: 2,200 feet Well-traveled skiers will enjoy the excellent grooming and quality of the white stuff, which has made this south-central a favorite. High-powered snow guns cover 96 percent of trails that span the resort’s five mountains—with terrain equally divided among novice, intermediate, and advanced levels. So, there’s something for everyone. Those looking for more of a workout should include a few hours on the sweatinducing trails, manicured especially for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.



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By Jenny Peters

hile we all know that there are stunning landscapes to discover in virtually every country on the planet, there’s one part of the world that is truly incredible, both in winter and during less chilly times of the year.

That’s the stretch of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta that begins in Banff and ends in Jasper—better known as The Incredibles—rolling through Banff National Park and points north, through picturesque places with names like White Goat, Marmot Mountain, and Weeping Wall. BEGIN IN BANFF We’ll take a winter trip to The Incredibles by flying into Calgary, then catch the Sundog Tours Mountain Connector shuttle bus for the 1.5-hour drive to Banff. Watch closely as the Great Plains that extend into Canada begin to morph into the vast Rocky Mountain range, which starts in New Mexico and stretches to northern British Columbia and Alberta. Just one look around in scenic Banff reveals why this is one of Western Canada’s most popular destinations. Perched inside Banff National Park, this picturesque town has everything, including three nearby ski/snowboard/tubing resorts in winter, with plenty of snow on the mountains. Be sure to pack your warm clothes, waterproof boots, and cute toques (woolen caps), or shop the chic boutiques that line the main blocks, like SmartWool, for socks and more that won’t let you down on this snowy adventure. Don’t be surprised to see a herd of elk wandering by; after all, you’re already in the wilderness. You might even spot a moose down the Bow River nearby, but most of the region’s bears have gone off to hibernate as the snow falls. Spend a few days here to soak in the sights, including taking the Banff Gondola up Sulfur Mountain for spectacular 360-degree views of the national park. Stay at the historic Mount Royal Hotel, built in 1908, for a comfortable and central spot, with a cozy mountain-fare-inspired restaurant called Brazen (try the buffalo skewers), and you’ll have a perfect jumping-off spot. Or go high-end and a bit out of town up to Lake Louise to sleep in the legendary five-star Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Get up before sunrise to watch the lake and mountains change color as the sun comes up, as that’s a magical experience. JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 29

THE ICEFIELDS PARKWAY Now, the truly magical part of this winter wonderland adventure begins as you roll up the Icefields Parkway. Again, depend on the comfy Sundog Tours small motorcoach to get you there in winter, as the four-hour ride that wends along this breathtaking wilderness route is without any cell service (but the driver has radio phone communications), so going it alone in a car can be dicey. Snowy mountains, icy waterfalls, and the jewel of the trip, the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier, await. Keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep, elk, and even foxes along the way, as they don’t seem to mind the snow and cold. Stop and have a snowball fight, take photos, and marvel at landscapes whose beauty is unmatched, but don’t try to climb up the icefields onto the glacier, for conditions are extreme in the winter months. THE JEWEL THAT IS JASPER Reaching Jasper means you’ve made it well into the northern Rockies to the small town with a big heart. In Jasper, you’ll see the whole Milky Way in the clear, dark sky, and on a perfect night, the Northern Lights will put on a fantastic show. By day, get geared up warmly and head out to Maligne Canyon, the magical limestone canyon carved out by the Maligne River in Jasper National Park. In wintertime, it is a jewel-like place that glistens and glitters with ice, so much so that you’ll get boots and cleats to make your way on the guided tour. Over bridges, down ravines, past frozen waterfalls, and into an ice cave, this is an unforgettable adventure. Add elk sightings right in front of your hotel and ice skating on the naturally frozen Pyramid Lake, complete with hot chocolate and s’mores over a warm fire pit, and you might be satisfied. But then strap on cross-country skis to glide across frozen Summit, Lorraine, or Maligne lakes, and try snowshoeing through snowy meadows, glades, and even on the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge golf course. You’ll get the total outdoor winter vibe of Jasper. Stay at the newly expanded and comfortably rustic Forest Park Hotel, a leisurely walk to the fine dining spots in downtown Jasper, where Terra restaurant leads the way, serving locally sourced (and foraged!) dishes centered on meats and forest mushrooms, winter greens, and root vegetables. It’s the perfect place to refuel and prepare for another day in this winter jewel of the Canadian Rockies. When your adventure ends, return the way you came and fly from Calgary or drive east from Jasper back onto the never-ending Great Plains to Edmonton, where there is another international airport. Whichever way you choose, you’ll be sad to say goodbye to the Canadian Rockies, so plan to return for a completely different summer visit next time. These places are just as incredible when the weather is warm. For more information on visiting Banff, the Icefields Parkway, and Jasper, visit,, 30 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024


iscover the best kept secret in Saint Lucia and immerse yourself in true Caribbean luxury. East Winds is a breath taking tropical garden by the sea, set on a sandy, secluded storybook beach. Our Caribbean hideaway is the island’s original boutique resort, featuring 30 cottage style suites and an ocean front beach house, tucked away amongst

lush plants, trees, and a kaleidoscope of colourful bird life. East Winds is home to what many consider the island’s finest beach shared only by a small number of like-minded travellers. Guests at East Winds can expect personalized care, exclusive adventures, and an all-inclusive service, as well as the most authentic of Caribbean experiences.

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nterested in a lovely country escape to one of “the finest examples of rustic Adirondack architecture”? Just hop on the Palisades Interstate Parkway at the George Washington Bridge, and in 40 minutes, you will arrive at Bear Mountain Inn in Tomkins Cove, NY. The Inn is the centerpiece of the unique park system stretching from the edge of New York City into Hudson Valley. This year-round playground in the mountains offers a variety of outdoor activities, comfortable accommodations, and an excellent restaurant Construction of Bear Mountain Inn began in 1914. Nine months later, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission unveiled one of the earliest examples of the rustic outdoor architecture that would soon define the buildings created throughout most of America’s national and state parks. The stone used in the Inn’s foundations, wall facades, and the two massive fireplaces was obtained from old walls on properties acquired for Bear Mountain State Park. Chestnut timber harvested from local parklands and milled on-site was used for framing, specific trim, siding, and floor coverings. By the height of the Roaring Twenties, the Bear Mountain Inn had become the most exclusive holiday destination in Hudson Valley. The business never relinquished that distinction, hosting countless luminaries from across the nation over the next few decades. The Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, and New York Knickerbockers made the Inn and adjacent athletic facilities their training headquarters in the 1930s. For an interesting side note, ask about the “Jackie Robinson table” when visiting the restaurant. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, Bear Mountain Inn hosted notable dignitaries such as Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Inn is listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 33

STAY Situated on the shores of scenic Hessian Lake, the Inn has 15 deluxe guestrooms and suites that combine rustic mountainside elegance with all the creature comforts. Plush bedding and linens, an in-room micro-fridge and microwave, and a Keurig coffee maker in every room are some of the amenities offered. Located on the opposite side of the lake from the Inn, the Overlook Lodge offers 24 guestrooms with a more traditional hotel style. A comfortable living room-styled lobby has a warming fireplace (seasonal) and incredible panoramic views of the Hudson River and Hessian Lake. These rooms offer the same amenities as the Inn’s guestrooms. Bear Mountain Inn also provides an authentic, rustic mountain cabin experience. The four Stone Cottages have a front porch and an everyday living area with a wood-burning fireplace. The communal area connects six private guest rooms (each rentable under separate reservations) – with one queen-size bed, private bath, small refrigerator, and 32" television. You can reserve one bedroom or the entire cottage. The Inn offers a variety of packages, including the Winter Getaway, a Bed and Breakfast Package, a Spa & Stay Package, and An Evening of Romance package. EAT Located on the second floor of the historic Inn, Restaurant 1915 offers the unique cuisine of the Hudson Valley and New York area using the freshest locally sourced, native ingredients. The hospitality and service are gracious and effortless. The room’s historic Adirondack aesthetic is enhanced by the soaring ceiling, the extraordinary woodwork, the multitude of large windows offering beautiful views, and, at the center of it all, the massive stone fireplace. The menu is an eclectic mix of global cuisine with items such as Grilled Merguez Sausage, Whole Branzino with mixed Olive Vinaigrette, Citrus and Fregola, and prime cuts from the Cast Iron Skillet. Although we didn’t try one, the Angus Burger garnered high praise from many other diners in the restaurant. The restaurant’s Blue Roof Tapas Bar offers a bar menu of light bites, hand-crafted cocktails, and a selection of wines by the glass and draft beers. Located just inside the east entrance of the Inn, the Hiker’s Café offers a variety of grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, breakfast items, baked goods, and coffee drinks PLAY Hiking is a favorite of many guests, and there are many trail options if you include the adjacent Harriman State Park. The Appalachian Trail runs through Bear Mountain Park. For an easy-rated walk, take the scenic path around Hessian Lake. We also enjoyed the hike across the Bear Mountain Bridge, taking in some magnificent views. Another spot for incredible sights is the top of Bear Mountain and the Perkins Tower. You can take the rather strenuous hike or drive Perkins Memorial Drive to the top. Other activities include the Trailside Museum & Zoo, a classic indoor Merry-GoRound, paddleboat rentals, an outdoor ice-skating rink, cross-country ski trails, river fishing, and a swimming pool (open to ALL visitors to the State Park). Within a short drive of the Inn, there is much to do and see. Attractions include Storm King Sculpture Park, the contemporary art museum Dia Beacon, and the Walkway over the Hudson in Highland. After all is done, why not treat yourself to a relaxing or full—day treatment at The Spa at Bear Mountain? An independently owned and operated facility on the Inn’s third floor, the Spa offers a full array of massages, facials, body treatments, and salon services. For more information on the Bear Mountain Inn,; for The Spa at Bear Mountain, 34 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024




By Melanie Carden

n abundance of hospitality and cozy farmhouse amenities awaits travelers in Manchester, Vermont. Tucked away in the Equinox Mountain Valley is Hill Farm—a stunning inn offering a 200-year legacy of farm life and just the right sprinkle of modern-day niceties. Toss a special-occasion winter sweater in your weekend tote and plan your pack list around some casual snowshoeing and long nights by the inn’s spectacular fireplace. What once was a working dairy, now welcomes travelers to indulge in the serenity of sweeping views and misty mornings that make the barn look like a movie set. The main farmhouse has guest rooms and standalone cottages as well. The décor and amenities are beautiful little love letters to the surrounding region. Take, for instance, the sumptuous Vermont Heritage Wool Co. blanket at the foot of the bed in my room, which was the first thing I noticed when I opened the door. In short, the room is precisely what I hope for at a farm stay—a mindful approach to honoring the inn’s heritage, local makers, and absolute contentment. HOME-STYLE ELEGANCE Take advantage of the innkeeper’s keen eye for functional elegance; the public areas of the main farmhouse are incredibly welcoming, especially the grand fireplace. The soft seating begs you to curl up with a book and sip a hot toddy. There’s a small wood bar area, and the innkeeper—or staff—is happy to pour from their well-stocked offerings. Or grab a special bottle of wine while exploring the area and retreat to the inn for a lingering nightcap. If you’re lucky, the resident cat will meander in for a fireside snooze after a long day of mousing and farm work. Be sure to stop by the front desk to ask if the Alpacas are in the mood for a treat, but even if they’re set for the day, it’s always nice to stop by and say hello. I enjoyed grabbing a mug of coffee and wandering over to see them in the morning before breakfast. Their cartoonish appearance is as if the Universe gifted us a wooly riff on the giraffe, and they’re utterly fabulous. I could watch them all day, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the specialness of Hill Farm. Your stay includes a tour of the farm, which not only helps you get your bearings but also gives insight into their sustainable and regenerative practices— from the vegetable farm to the restaurant and beyond. Those looking to deepen their experience further can enroll in workshops of varying price points, exploring skills such as preserving food, butchery, and even wine tastings. JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 35

FARM-TO-TABLE EXPERIENCES It’s no surprise, of course, that one of the highlights of a Farm Hill stay is dinner at its farm-to-table restaurant—a lofted barn with mammoth wood-fired ovens, handcrafted cocktails, and meals that will lift your spirits for the entire winter season. The seasonal menu begins with what the chef and farmer are plucking from the gardens onsite and includes regional farms and makers. You might find pork belly and cranberry beans, puffed beef tendon, blackened celery root salad, and perfectly charred fish. The restaurant—open Thursday through Sunday—also houses an idyllic little market where you can score s’mores kits, local handicrafts, snacks, and souvenirs. The breakfast portion of your B&B experience is served in the dining room in the main farmhouse. Innkeeper Maria presents a new pre-fixe menu each day—all made in-house and often featuring Hill Farm eggs alongside other local offerings. Always drawing inspiration from what is in season, each breakfast feels like food of love—because it is, quite frankly. When she heard I have gluten intolerance, Innkeeper Maria prepared gluten-free muffins, and I still see the butter melting off the sides (heaven!). I was also delighted by her quinoa breakfast bake—a slab of goodness, combining a hearty quinoa crust topped with a creamy egg and cheese bake. In perfect farm fashion, it was served with lightly dressed salad greens, edible flowers, and two small but proper slabs of local bacon. OUTDOOR ADVENTURES The inn has snowshoes and sleds on hand for guests, so pack a pair of base layers for some outdoor time. There are ohso-many fire pits scattered across the property, so enjoying the crisp winter air is entirely laid back and enjoyable. Those looking for something with an adrenaline kick can ski Bromley, Stratton, or Magic Mountains, but walking or snowshoeing on the property’s Battenkill River trail is just the thing for those looking to escape the hectic to-do lists of day-to-day life. Just a half mile or so down the road, you can choose west or east on Route 7A. Heading east will take you to a lovely menagerie of shopping options—from antiques to luxe boutiques—and all things Orvis. The brand, founded in 1856 and known for its love of the outdoors, has its flagship store, fly fishing school, and colossal outlet just six miles from Hill Farm. After shopping, stop by The Crooked Ram for a comfortable yet unforgettable meal. Again, this is a locally minded restaurant, and these folks are layering unfathomable gastronomic detail. The plates are visually sublime, and every bite delivers on that unspoken promise. Oh, and they also make the best gluten-free focaccia I’ve had so far in my extensive travels. On the other hand, if you go west on 7A, you’ll find an eclectic mix of small mom-and-pop-style shops, including an imposing tartan store, Rablogan Castle of Scotland. Not only does this shop sell authentic, gorgeous Scottish tartan and wool goods, but the shop owners also design tartans, which are then added to the official registry of tartans. They even designed the tartan for the New York State Homeland Security & Emergency Services Fire Prevention & Control Pipe Band. Keep driving, and you might find yourself at another of Sagra’s farm properties, Studio Hill. Call ahead, and the family can also show you their accommodations, including a large house and a cozy woodland yurt. Look for small fudge shops, general stores, and the area’s many maple sugar houses, like Glastenview Maple Farm. For more information on Hill Farm Inn, visit 36 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024




f visiting California’s Napa Valley has always been a dream for you and your favorite winedrinking squad, consider booking your trip in the winter months. While the grape vines will be bare of grapes in their time of rest and regeneration, the incredible landscapes and light (the valley’s light is unforgettable) are still spectacular—and everything is less.

Less crowded, less expensive (particularly hotel rooms), and less traffic means an experience that hearkens back to the good old days of Napa, back in the 80s and 90s when the valley was still building its stellar reputation in the global wine world. And the weather is usually perfect: sunny days with temperatures around 60F, unlike the summer/fall toohot days of over 100F, and cool, but not cold, evenings. Here are our favorite new and classic places to sleep, sip, and sup in Napa Valley in 2024. NEW HOTELS & OLD FAVORITES The most significant recent hotel opening in the Napa Valley is the Four Seasons Resort and Residences, found at the north end of the Silverado Trail just outside of Calistoga. This posh new hotel has only 85 rooms and overlooks the resort’s vineyards (Elusa is the brand made on-site; try it by the pool). It is a worthy replacement for the Calistoga Ranch, the legendary resort burned in the 2020 fire. For a wellness-oriented stay, check into Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, also in Calistoga. Opened in 1952 with mud baths and slightly sulfur-tinged mineral springs, “The Doc” has been a Napa fixture forever. Now renovated and super cool (yes to Instagram-worthy), winter rates here are incredibly reasonable, so book a cute cottage and squish into the mud after a day of wine tasting. Other favorite places to stay in Napa are the Andaz Hotel or the Milliken Creek Inn; Yountville’s The Estate at Yountville; and Meadowood, the elegant resort tucked into the woods east of St. Helena. 38 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024

WONDERFUL EXPERIENCES Saving money on hotel prices means you can elevate your winery experiences to an extraordinary level. With Napa’s best available without insane summer and harvest crowds, plan to book at places like Brion, where (by appointment only, like most Napa wineries) a gorgeous art-filled tasting room and gardens in the Mayacamas foothills near Yountville. Taste their beautiful Sleeping Lady Cabernet Sauvignon and other Cabs that retail for well over $200, and you’ll be hooked. Don’t miss Odette Estate Winery, one of the newest players in our favorite Napa AVA, the Stags Leap District. Joining the best-in-the-world wineries like Shafer, Chimney Rock, Clos du Val, and Hartwell, Odette is part of the Plumpjack Wine Family, owned by California’s current governor Gavin Newson, Gordon Getty, and John Conover. Despite being a young player in the district, Odette’s two Cabernets are luscious, fruit-forward big reds worthy of the appellation. Book a tasting with cheese and chocolate truffles for a beautiful pairing experience. The Prisoner Winery is slightly overwhelming in the heart of Napa, right on Highway 29 near St. Helena. Once the Franciscan Winery, the property was completely revamped in 2018 and seriously has it all. With a kitchen helmed by Chef Brett Young, who creates fascinating food pairings with the winery’s flagship wines (think their namesake red Cabernet blend, The Prisoner, as well as a smoothly delicate Pinot Noir and a toasty Chardonnay, this is a place to settle in and enjoy. We loved their unique Dim Sum Experience that paired Asian flavors with a wide selection of their wines. Other wineries with beautiful tasting rooms and excellent wines are Quilt & Co Tasting Room and Lounge in downtown Napa, Black Stallion Winery on Silverado Trail near Oak Knoll, and Heston Vineyards in Yountville.

DINING DELIGHTS You can spend a week’s salary on a single meal in Napa Valley, and sometimes it is worth it. The top restaurants like The French Laundry require months-ahead reservations and deep pockets, but in winter, you might get a coveted reservation. For fabulous food at classic eateries in the Napa Valley, check out Brix, Mustards, and Don Giovanni, all found on Highway 29. Newcomers like Ciccio’s may take some finagling to get in, as that’s the place where Meadowood’s 3-star Michelin chef Christopher Kostow recently began a new culinary chapter after his Meadowood mainstay burned down. And if money truly is no object, put Thomas Keller’s Regiis Ova Caviar & Champagne Lounge on your list, as it is his newest Yountville outpost, with jazz bands on selected evenings. You’ll need a reservation there, and we’d advise you to bring your Black card. For more information on visiting California’s Napa Valley, go to JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 39


225 WEST 86





By AP Connolly

pread over approximately 2,300 square feet, Residence #416 is a custom-designed fourbedroom, three-and-one-half bath home that perfectly blends over 100 years of rich architectural history with stunning all-new interiors by illustrious architect Robert A.M. Stern.

THE RESIDENCE The great room with 10-foot ceilings provides the perfect setting for living and dining. The adjacent open chef’s kitchen with an island has white lacquer cabinets designed by Molteni and Calacatta, Gold countertops, an island, and a backsplash. There is a 5-burner cooktop, extra-large oven, and refrigerator/freezer from Gaggenau. The expansive primary suite ideally has a unique bay window overlooking the tranquil, planted courtyard. There are two custom walk-in closets and a lavish en-suite bathroom adorned with Siberian white slab marble, a custom vanity with double sinks by Molteni, radiant heat, and fittings by Kohler, Dornbracht, and Kallista. Two generously proportioned secondary bedrooms also face the beautiful courtyard and share a full bathroom with Grigio Nicola stone, radiant heated floors, and a vanity by Molteni. A fourth bedroom overlooks Broadway and has a similarly furnished ensuite bathroom. A powder room is appointed with polished Nero Marquina marble and a white marble carved sink. The apartment has new gorgeous white oak floors with chevron and plank patterns throughout and restored oversized mahogany windows. There is a laundry room with a side-by-side whirlpool washer and dryer, a high-performance VRF dedicated HVAC system, automated shades, and Intrahome Systems integrated technology infrastructure.

THE AMENITIES Initially constructed in 1908, The Belnord is one of the Upper West Side’s most iconic entire block buildings. The attended gate leads to a porte-cochere and beautifully landscaped 22,000 square-foot courtyard centered around an elegant marble fountain. Residents can park their cars while loading and unloading, and taxis and Ubers may bring you to your door. Amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, a double-height sports court with a basketball hoop, separate playrooms for children and teens, plus a Club Lounge with a separate dining room. The building is fully staffed with gate attendants, a concierge, a resident manager, and porters. Info: Rental for $17,500. For more information on 225 West 86th Street, visit Brown Harris Stevens at JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 41


210 WEST 77





By AP Connolly

elcome to 210 West 77th Street! A seamless intersection of modern and urban living with the traditional charm of the Upper West Side, makes Residence 12W an opportunity that is impossible to pass up. Consisting of 4-bedrooms and 4.5-bathrooms, this favorable layout is opportune for the best of both worlds—entertaining and privacy.

Right off your private elevator controlled by a keypad, one is immediately immersed in the elegance of the spacious living/dining room. The floor to ceiling mahogany and glass French doors with Juliette balconies, paired with custom millwork and Phillip Jefferies lush wallcoverings, create a warm and inviting atmosphere that is hard to resist. The elegant chandeliers designed by Ochre and Shakuff. North-facing light fills the space at all points of the day, making this room the heart of the home with an open plan directly to the kitchen. THE RESIDENCE The sophisticated open gourmet kitchen is carefully designed with top-of-the-line Miele appliances, including a speed oven, steam oven, warming drawer, externally-vented hood, a separate refrigerator and freezer, two dishwashers, and a wine fridge. A large, eat-in island is amazing for dining, and another island for prep, surrounded by beautiful custom cabinetry. Located in the kitchen is the Control 4 smart home system panel that allows one to oversee the entire apartment’s temperature, lighting and entertainment systems. Control of the system is also accessible through a mobile device for ease. As you make your way down the centralized hallway, you’ll find the beautiful primary bedroom that brings luxury comfort to the next level. Closet space is never-ending with two sweeping walk-in changing areas. To top it off, the en-suite primary bathroom enjoys beautiful detail with a white Dolomite marble bath alongside stone-designed floors. The remaining spacious bedrooms all boast California closets, large windows with amazing natural lighting, and motorized Lutron shades for comfort and privacy. The fourth and final bedroom is tucked away off the living space and enjoys the same floor to ceiling windows that are in the living room and has a full bathroom of its own. Number 12W sits on the highest floor of its kind, offering a great amount of seclusion in a space that emits luxuriant, yet warm, energy. Additional characteristics include Bose speakers throughout the home for top-notch ambiance, an additional half-bath for convenience, impeccable detailing, and a timeless grandeur for all to enjoy. 42 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024

THE AMENTIES A luxury, boutique condominium building exudes the comfort of the Upper West Side combined with a modern, lush, lifestyle that is beyond compare. Designed by the renowned architect, Thomas JuulHansen, the building radiates camaraderie matched with an opulence that is hard to find in the area. With only twenty-five residences among 18 floors, privacy and community are key. Amenities including a 24-hour door attendant, a common roof deck rigged with a fireplace, an equipped gym, a sports court, and a spa with a sauna and steam room which are all offered to residents at the highest level of satisfaction. 210 West 77th Street is nestled just between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, so everything you need is just around the corner without being directly in the hustle and bustle. As if proximity to Central Park wasn’t enough, Riverside Park is just a stone’s throw away to the West. Amid it all, enjoy the endless choices of groceries, dining, cafes, and bars that cater to any preference you may have at any moment. Lincoln Center, the American Museum of Natural History and Beacon Theater are nearby, along with several transportation hubs. You will not find an ensemble of convenience, culture, comfort and charm anywhere else than 210 West 77th. Building storage is available for an additional purchase, as well as three bike spaces, which currently have a waitlist. Info: Asking $6,295.000. For more information on 210 West 77th Street, visit Brown Harris Stevens at JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 43

G ET LLOST OST GET IIN N TTHE HE M EMORIES. MEMORIES. Get lost in the Woods. The Wildwoods. You don’t have to go far to get away from it all. With over 8,000 hotel-motel rooms and 3,000 vacations rentals in the Wildwoods, you’ll discover the best of the Jersey Shore—all on one five-mile island. With everything from FREE white-sand beaches to a 38-block world-famous boardwalk, it’s easy to find something new to discover around every corner. Start planning your stay today and enter to win a free family vacation. Visit or call 800.992.9732





By AP Connolly

ocated in a grand turn-of-the-century Beaux-Arts building, this immaculate duplex has been renovated to the highest standards and is brand new! The Dorilton is landmarked and builtin 1902, with one of the most beautiful and ornate facades and lobbies in New York.

THE RESIDENCE Enter Number 9A, where you will find a dramatic double-wide living room featuring a glamorous decorative fireplace, a new French door, and floor-to-ceiling windows with open city views over Broadway. It is partially open to the library to create an ultragrand entertaining space. This expanse of living space is unrivaled. The stunning new contemporary kitchen has custom cabinetry, a Gaggenau appliances package including a side-by-side refrigerator and freezer, wine cooler, steam oven, wall oven, and a five-burner range with extra wide oven and vented hood. There is also a Miele dishwasher and a separate pantry with an additional sink. The center island is fabulous for cooking and counter dining. The adjacent formal dining room has ample room for large dinner parties and features a beautiful decorative fireplace and a new leaded glass window. It is open to the kitchen for modern living but could be closed off if one prefers. This floor also has a beautifully renovated hall bathroom for guests and two large bedrooms, one with an en-suite bathroom.

UPSTAIRS TO AMAZING The private quarters are up a dramatic new contemporary staircase on the 10th floor. In addition to the bedrooms, there is a huge den/ media room perfect for watching a movie or hanging out. Adorned with floor-to-ceiling French door windows, it is sun-flooded with its open West exposure over Broadway. The primary suite occupies half of the floor, including a sumptuous bedroom with a decorative fireplace and stained-glass window, a large dressing room, which was formally a bedroom, and a showstopping primary bathroom with large, bookended marble floors with radiant heat, double vanity, free-standing tub, and shower. Two additional bedrooms are on this floor, each with new en-suite bathrooms. The unseen details in this renovation make a difference, including stunning hardwood floors, soaring ceilings, and soundproof bedrooms. There is an incredible central air conditioning system throughout. There is also a proper laundry room with a side-by-side washer and dryer, plus room for folding and storage. This full-service cooperative has 24-hour door attendants and staff, a landscaped roof garden, and a courtyard for recreation! Asking price: $13,200,000. For more information on 171 West 71st Street, visit JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 45




By AP Connolly

elcome to sophisticated design in this exclusive address of Miami Shores. This 4 bedroom/3 bath mid-century masterpiece is a refined, modern home. The 3,340-square-foot Miami Shores home comes to market as a piece of art in and of itself.

Masterfully designed by Irvin Korach of the prestigious architecture firm Smith and Korach, 575 Grand Concourse is different from your typical mid-century home. It was thoughtfully designed with comfort, entertainment, and elegance in mind. Owners Brad Schmidt and Raul Arevalo, fashion designers, and Council of Fashion Designers of America members have created the ultimate sanctuary. INSIDE THE HOME Highlights of this home include a stunning foyer that leads to a fabulous great room with 11-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow incredible views of the pool and lush plantings. There is a chef ’s kitchen with a massive island, custom cabinetry, oak floors, and massive walk-in closets throughout. The fashion business now takes a back seat to the owner’s passion for real estate. Buying, decorating, and flipping homes has become their passion. After living in NYC for over 20 years, the pair moved to Miami and started flipping houses there. Brad Schmidt is also a licensed real estate salesperson with FI Real Estate in Miami, the agency that has the exclusive on this listing. Located in Downtown Miami, the real estate firm is owned by Filippo Incorvaia. Miami Shores has quickly become a sought-after locale in Miami with proximity to the Design District and Wynwood and a quaint village with a small-town feel. It has an ideal balance of single-family homes and land yet is still in close enough proximity to restaurants, parties, and retail. 575 Concourse truly offers the best of all Miami worlds. Info: Asking price is $3,295,000. For more information contact Bradley Schmidt, FI Real Estate Brokerage LLC, Richard Santiago, PA, FI Real Estate Brokerage LLC; 46 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024




By Mindie Barnett

ellness coach, author, and speaker Mindie Barnett answers your questions about life, navigating these stressful and uncertain times, and steering you down a more straight forward path. We welcome your questions and invite you to contact Mindie at: Mindie is available for in-person and virtual wellness therapy sessions via her Executive Health by Mindie Barnett wellness coaching practice. Her expertise is in interpersonal relationships, overcoming depression, coping with anxiety and avoiding and overcoming burnout among many other wellness areas. Life coaching and career coaching are also areas she excels in. For more information or to schedule a session visit

© Chris Ruetten

Dear Mindie, I find myself feeling blue! I have two incredible, grown daughters. They are the loves of my life, my husband’s life, too, and our only children. However, since they were children, they have always had a rivalry. I know that is common among siblings, but their rivalry is not the norm. They do not get along and tend to compete professionally, personally, and even amongst their children. It isn’t very comforting for me, and at this point in our lives, I wish we could all just get along and be happy with one another. I just purchased a vacation home in Florida and worry about having them come simultaneously, as I know that will end in disaster. Is there anything I can do to have a peaceful existence with my only children this holiday season? Sincerely, Feeling Blue Dear Feeling Blue, This is a tough one! While I can empathize with you that having your daughters, who are also your only children, get along in harmony, would be ideal and give you an unsurmountable level of happiness. Sometimes our greatest wishes are not feasible, at least for the near future. From what you have shared, your daughters have some deep-seated resentment, anger, and emotional duress that simply asking them to “get along” will not fix. Even tackling and repairing the most recent ruptures will merely equate to putting a band-aid on a wound that needs stitches. The bandage may slow the bleeding for some time, but inevitably, the bleeding will regain its force. SHARING FEELINGS & EMOTIONS The path to yield success is to have your daughters (and you and your husband) attend family therapy sessions. There, they can share their feelings and emotions with a professional mental health expert who will serve as a solid sounding board, collaborator, and someone neutral and unbiased. This will not be an overnight fix, but in time, your core family will be able to function in a more healthful, authentic, and cohesive fashion, leaving you feeling at peace. That’s something every mother (or father) yearns for their children. Family therapy requires deep work and will bring pain to everyone involved. In the end, your quadrant will be much better because of it. 48 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024

Family therapy is indeed an investment of time, in addition to emotions. Results will take time, and they will not be present in time for your holiday family gatherings this year. In the interim, I advise you to focus on the aspects of each daughter which bring you joy. Some families are severed and estranged, and while your girls could possess a much closer relationship, they are still in one another’s lives. If it’s less stressful to celebrate with them individually, perhaps that is the healthiest way to go for now. I would advise that you spend equal time with both daughters and, if possible, capitalize on each other’s personalities when in their company. While we all want what we want regarding our families, flexibility is critical and often the ticket to peace and happiness in all family dynamics. I wish you and your family love and peace for the New Year! Love, Mindie xo




By Pamela Smythe Woods

ry January is known as the non-alcohol world’s holiday. Although the idea began as a break from holiday imbibing, living alcohol-free has become a trend that Hollywood A-listers— and the rest of us—are embracing as part of a commitment to a wellness-focused lifestyle. Curious? We’ve selected the best ready-to-drink mocktails for you to enjoy in 2024.

MIXOLOSHE This non-alcoholic, award-winning cocktail alternative tastes like the real thing. It’s a female-founded cocktailinspired soft seltzer in six flavors: Blueberry Gin & Tonic, Cosmic Bitter Spritz, and Orange Old Fashioned. Each spunky and colorful Mixoloshe 12-ounce can contain only 50 calories, less than nine grams of sugar, and five clean ingredients. I nfo:

SLIDE Are you stuck in a coffee-to-cabernet cycle? Mood-enhancing and stressrelieving, Slide is what you need: a delicious, non-alcoholic, better-foryou sparkling restorative made with Kava to help you banish burnout. It’s caffeine-free, 15 calories a can with only one gram of sugar. Say goodbye to java jitters. Info:

SPILL IT Delightfully alcohol-free, this refreshing craft mocktail has an added energy kick. All natural, it’s canned, carbonated, and caffeinated—and sweetened with just a touch of honey. Spill It is a delicious Hibiscus and Black tea blend true to the Caribbean Roots of this mocktail/mixer’s fabulous founder, Xie Xie Stush. Based on traditional Jamaican punch, Spill It is a way to infuse the sweet and spicy flavors of the Islands. Info:

JENG With mindful sipping in mind, Jeng allnatural sparkling beverages are microdosed with legal hemp-derived THC or CBD; they even offer hemp-free signature alcohol-free cocktails with all the Jeng deliciousness. All conceived to help you ‘start low and go slow’ with four low-sugar flavors inspired by the best mixologists: Spicy Blood Orange Margarita, Rhubarb Cucumber Spritz, Paloma Grapefruit, Moscow Mule. It is a natural way to relax, reconnect, and return to the center. Info:

ISH MOJITO ISH Mojito could not be more delicious! This bright, refreshing experience tastes like a full-strength Mojito—minus the alcohol. Made with ISH Caribbean Spiced Spirit, de-alcoholed Caribbean rum infused with Madagascar vanilla, Indonesian nutmeg, and naturally baked apple flavor plus natural lime and Moroccan spearmint, this non-alcoholic Mojito satisfies. Info:

HIGH RISE High Rise is a cannabis beverage with natural, simple ingredients that everyone can share and enjoy. Based on the dream, beauty, and excitement of coastal living, each smooth and not-too-sweet flavor is created with a natural fruit extract and just a pinch of real sugar. From fresh berries to ripe citrus, there’s a flavor for everyone looking for a balanced life with new and easy vibes. Info:





By Alexandra Anastasio

ituated in the bustling heart of New York City’s Theater District, La Grande Boucherie, the renowned French-inspired restaurant that honors its heritage, is tucked in a semi-private hidden pedestrian pathway that runs from West 51st to West 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenue. The restaurant, one of the most beautiful and unique dining spaces in the city, has truly transformed a section of Sixth-and-half Avenue. Situated at 145 West 53rd Street, this delightful Parisian-inspired restaurant brings a touch of Paris to Manhattan. La Grande Boucherie opened its doors in late November 2020 during a challenging period. The restaurant’s opening challenged the idea that Manhattan was no longer the bustling city it was pre-pandemic and provided patrons and staff with hope that the city that never sleeps was still very much awake. Emil Stefkov, founder and president of The Group Hospitality, which owns the restaurant, along with director Ben Digiacomo, chronicled the architectural resurrection of 6½ Avenue in New York into an authentic French brasserie from the ’20s in the documentary Making La Grande Boucherie. The film gives viewers a behind-thescenes look into what it took to create the restaurant during unprecedented times. RICH HISTORY Cherry blossom trees decorate the grand entrance, an uncommon sight in New York City restaurants, offering patrons a sensation of stepping into Paris. Before making your way inside, take a moment to soak in the beauty surrounding you. Located beneath a distinctive glass-covered passage, the glass itself holds a remarkable story. The ceiling pays homage to classic European culture and has touched almost every staple of French culture before making its way here to New York City. This beautiful artwork is also the most prominent feature at La Grande Boucherie. The outdoor plaza, adorned with a 40-foot glass ceiling and a heated floor, accommodates up to 150 people yearround. Inside, the spacious interior seats over 400 guests, encompassing the dining room, bar, and mezzanine areas. DINING REDEFINED Exemplifying Joie de Vivre, La Grande Boucherie serves as a bastion of authentic French dining. Its menu consists of French classics and beloved bistro favorites, fostering a truly genuine French culinary experience in the heart of the city. The extensive wine selection and expertly crafted cocktails further enrich the dining experience. The restaurant’s dedication to prime cuts of meat is evident, as a section of the interior resembles a traditional meat shop, showcasing an array of meats and cheeses. 50 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024

With many culinary options to choose from, there is something for everyone. The classic French onion soup is an excellent option for enthusiasts of this beloved dish. For the meat-eaters, there are numerous cuts to choose from, such as the ribeye, NY strip, and beef tenderloin. The filet mignon au poivre, a pepper-crusted beef tenderloin, takes the traditional filet up a notch, and the Wagyu burger, served with a side of pommes frites, is a wonderful alternative to the traditional steak. Other dishes include roasted duck, lamb stew, roasted chicken, veal chop, swordfish, and branzino, to name a few. Seafood enthusiasts will fall in love with the lobster and oyster bar, while those seeking a lighter start will find an array of meats and cheeses accompanied by a side of fruit and honey. No meal is complete without something sweet, and La Grande Boucherie’s desserts do not disappoint. The profiteroles, a beloved French classic dessert, consist of light choux pastry filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with a delightful drizzle of chocolate sauce. The presentation is equally as impressive as the dessert itself.

Another equally delicious French dessert is the Paris-Brest. Created in 1910 by chef Louis Durand, the dessert was named after the famous Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race. Made of choux pastry, like a cream puff or profiterole, this sweet dessert is typically filled with praline-flavored cream and topped with caramelized hazelnuts and Yuzu crème anglaise. This particular pastry is more than just a little slice of heaven. It’s also part of French history. In addition to these two desserts, the menu features other beloved options such as crème brûlée, a rich dark chocolate tart available with a 23-karat gold option, mini madeleines, and a selection of ice creams and sorbets, to name a few. Not only does La Grande Boucherie offer a delicious meal, but the staff ’s exceptional service, displayed through a warm and welcoming attitude, enhances the dining experience. Along with the midtown location of Boucherie, there are additional locations in Union Square, the West Village, and one on Christopher Street. For those seeking an authentic Parisian dining experience in the heart of Manhattan, La Grande Boucherie is the ideal destination, seamlessly blending exceptional service with exquisite cuisine. For more information on La Grande Boucherie, visit JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 51





By Anne Raso

ribeca has never had many Greek restaurants, but now it has one of the best! Paros was created by former Top Chef contestant and Kyma Hudson Yards head chef George Pagonis, and brother Nicholas who are both veterans of the restaurant business (Nicholas oversees the day-to-day operations of the restaurant while George takes control of the kitchen).

The handsome brothers’ experience goes all the way back to their dad’s diner in Alexandria, VA where they were fascinated by what was going on in the kitchen. Besides being run by a young brother team who gives their “all” to what they do, Paros offers fish flown in straight from Greece, including species not available at other fine NYC eateries. Interestingly enough, Paros is named for the island 140 miles southeast of Athens where the Pagonis brothers have always vacationed—and enjoyed eating the local fish.. Says George Pagonis, “Our seafood is flown in directly from Greece and this process is something that you need to stay on top of to make sure you don’t run out. Having the right seafood purveyor is especially important and ensures we’re able to deliver fresh seafood to our customers daily.” SIMPLE YET CHIC When you walk into the 3,500-squarefoot Paros, the ultra-high ceilings and numerous white pillars catch your eye. Their space is an entire ground floor of a 1915 building that once held a publishing house with a printing press and it still has some of its industrial details. Extra-large front windows (perfect for people watching), simple wooden tables and numerous flowering plants growing around the upper walls give it a cozy feel. You’ll see supermodels dining right besides artistic types, families with young kids and plenty of those who work in the neighborhood. How did the owners pick this beautiful Tribeca corner location for their eatery? Says George Pagonis, “After endless searching for a location, we were shown this current location and fell in love with the neighborhood. Tribeca is a great neighborhood, where most everyone loves going out to eat. They really support their local restaurants and have welcomed Paros into the neighborhood. We also felt that Tribeca was lacking authentic Greek cuisine.”

BRING A BIG APPETITE Outside of steakhouses, it’s rare that a downtown fine dining establishment serves large portions, but Paros does. Mixing quality and quantity is an equation that guarantees success and Paros reservations have been in high demand since their opening in early October. Octopus dishes are all the rage with NYC foodies now, and Paros’ version is grilled and served with fava beans, roasted peppers, onions and capers. Chef Pagonis says that the dishes that are the most popular besides the Grilled Octopus are “the Fragri, which is a pink snapper from the Aegean with full flavor and firm texture; Lamb Shank Youvetsi, a slow braised lamb shank in tomato sauce, orzo and mizithra, and Lamb Kleftico, which is slow roasted lamb shoulder with shallots and kefalograviera wrapped in filo.” (He admits this is his favorite dish.) FROM SEAFOOD TO SHISH KEBAB When the New York Lifestyles Magazine team visited Paros, we felt the need to put the restaurant to the test since they are already heralded for their ultra-fresh seafood. (Many guests partake of the popular raw bar as their appetizer.) We tried the Shish Kebob, and it turned out to be cubed filet mignon served with crispy roasted potatoes, grilled grape tomatoes, warm homemade harissa pita bread and a chimichurri sauce. The prime-aged meat dripped delicious juice. The Brick Grilled Chicken was a quarter grilled chicken with the same crispy roasted potatoes and was as moist as could be. Generous amounts of locally grown fresh herbs top all the apps and entrees.

The dessert menu features Greek classics like Baklava and Honey Cake, but also has a classic homemade New York Cheesecake that is super creamy and has just the right degree of sweetness. You can tell your waiter that you want the dessert that is “a little bit of everything” and you will get a huge plate of all the desserts—and the portions aren’t little. This is ideal for a table of four to six to share. We asked George Pagonis what the highlights of his career and it was easy to tell that Paros is his whole world at this point in time, He commented, “Participating on Bravo’s Top Chef was definitely a highlight of my career; I was a finalist on Season 12. It opened a lot of doors for me and led me to many more opportunities. Also, the opening of Paros is the defining moment of my career. Opening a restaurant in Manhattan with my brother is a dream come true.” The Pagonis brothers have said that they hope that their resto will “transport each guest to Paros, experiencing the enchantment, beauty and magic of the Mediterranean through the atmosphere and, of course, the food.” No doubt that this is really happening--come see for yourself. For more information on Paros, visit





January always tends to be more complicated when it comes to preparing meals. Folks tend to be more discerning in January, usually tied to some empty New Year’s resolution that gets ignored. So, rather than make empty promises to yourself, enjoy the foods you love in moderation. It usually does the trick for people who can stick to portion control. Winter often leads to heavier, warmer, and more comforting food choices. What could be more satisfying than good old-fashioned Sloppy Joes? Especially when you get down to portion control, which you can maintain by making sliders vs. burgers. Sean-Patrick’s Sloppy Joe Sliders. Ingredients • 1 lb. ground beef (80/20 blend) • 1 teaspoon salt • ½ teaspoon pepper • ½ white onion, diced • 1 clove garlic, minced • ¾ cup ketchup • 2 teaspoons mustard • 3 teaspoons brown sugar • 1 package of Hawaiian Rolls (either King’s Hawaiian or Trader Joe’s version) • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (if desired) • 1 tablespoon melted butter • Sesame seeds Preparation Preheat oven to 350°F. Add the ground beef in a saucepan over medium heat, sprinkling salt and pepper. Break up the meat in the pan using a spoon or spatula. Add the onion and garlic, continuing to cook until the onions are translucent. Combine Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard. Stir the mixture until the beef is fully cooked and the sauce is thoroughly blended. Set it aside. Cut the dinner rolls in half and place the bottom half in a baking pan. Spread each roll with meat (if desired, sprinkle with cheese). Top with remaining rolls. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 10 minutes (if using cheese, it should be melted at this point). Carefully cut into individual sliders. I serve the Sloppy Joes with traditional coleslaw which gives a nice balance to the sliders. Enjoy! TONY DRAGON’S GRILLE The Best Burger Is Not Where You’d Expect Sometimes, you run into the most fantastic fare at the most unusual location. For example, do you know where the best hamburger in the city is? No, it’s not at a 4- or 5-star, or even a Michelin Star, restaurant. It isn’t at a steakhouse. It is at a food truck on 62nd Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan called Tony Dragon’s Grille, which has been serving delicious, fresh fare to the local neighborhood for almost 40 years. Starting with a simple hot dog cart in 1986 at the exact location, Tony expanded into a stainless-steel push wagon and eventually a food truck. I met Tony in 1991 and, for the first time, tried what affectionately became known as the Tony Burger. It blew the doors off my taste buds. This burger was the most amazing one I had ever had, featuring fresh ground beef, fresh produce, and a soft bun. And that’s saying something from a guy who has eaten at the best, most lauded restaurants and hole-in-the-wall joints this planet offers. I have been addicted to the Tony Burger ever since and I have zero shame in admitting this. Even the most discerning chefs from some of the city’s top culinary destinations line up at the Grille to get a Tony Burger. Tony’s son now runs a lot of the operations. So, when I tell you I am looking at this with fresh eyes, I am telling you straight—it is still the best burger in town! But this is not your typical food truck. The amount of Mediterranean-Greek fare offered, as well as other unique dishes, is enormous. It is just as fresh, tasty, authentic, and lovingly made as the original Tony Burger I ate over 30 years ago. Info: 54 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024




R Jeffrey Wright has an Emmy and a Tony, but never an Oscar nomination, despite his acclaimed career in film. With American Fiction, Wright’s Oscar nomination chances are strong, after the comedy won the prestigious Toronto Film Festival’s Audience Award. Cord Jefferson of The Good Place writes and directs this scorching satire about a Black American novelist whose own story becomes a wild ride after he uses a pen name to author a novel that unexpectedly shakes up his life. Tracee Ellis Ross and Sterling K. Brown bring their own award-winning talents to the mix here, too.


R Adam Driver is almost unrecognizable in this biopic of Enzo Ferrari, the famed Italian race car champion who became the world’s most famous automobile manufacturer. With two Oscar nominations under his belt, his intense dramatic turn here is a frontrunner for a Best Actor nomination. He’s working with Oscar winner Penelope Cruz (as his wife Laura) and director Michael Mann, who’s another oftennominated (four times) Oscar contender, making for an explosive group of talented people bringing a fascinating story to the big screen.


Not yet rated He may be 86 years old, but two-time Oscar winner (and six-time nominee) Anthony Hopkins just keeps on going. Playing Sigmund Freud opposite Matthew Goode’s C. S. Lewis in this highbrow fictional exploration of Freud’s personal and professional life means there’s a good chance that Hopkins will add another Oscar notch to his belt—at least as a nominee once again.


PG-13 The first cinematic version of Alice Walker’s blockbuster novel The Color Purple garnered 11 Academy Award nominations in 1986 but didn’t win a single one. This new musical version hopes for as much love as that original made almost 40 years ago, with Fantasia Barrino a contender for Best Actress and plenty of other talented stars in the mix. Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. leads the talent in telling this decades-long tale of a Southern girl’s rise to maturity, which also stars Halle Bailey, Ciara, H.E.R., Jon Batiste, Coleman Domingo and Taraji P. Henson.


Not yet rated Can a wrestling movie get Academy Award traction? Of course, don’t you remember 2008’s The Wrestler? This true story follows the fortunes of the Von Erich brothers, who made their mark on that TV “sport” in the 1980s, combining triumph and tragedy as time went by. With an unexpected cast starring Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White (both almost unrecognizably transformed), The Iron Claw is poised to be the sleeper surprise of the 2024 Oscar season. Maura Tierney, Lily James, Harris Dickinson and Stanley Simons co-star in this family tale that transcends the ring. 56 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024




Apple TV+ We just adore British detectives, especially when they are like chalk and cheese, which is just what this new series is all about. A seasoned white cop, DCI Daniel Hegarty (Peter Capaldi), goes up against a much-younger Black cop, DS June Lenker (Cush Jumbo), as they wrestle with a murder case that’s about much more than it seems on the surface. It’s the newest series from the mind and pen of Paul Rutman, of Vera and Indian Summers, two previously terrific British TV shows.


Hulu In a bid to become the next Hercule Poirot or Benoit Blanc, Mandy Patinkin dives into the role of Rufus Cotesworth in this glitzy series about “the world’s greatest detective.” Set on a luxury cruise ship with plenty of wealthy passengers for suspects, Cotesworth must solve a locked-room murder involving his beautiful young protégé (played by Violett Beane). This ten-part series will keep murder mystery lovers cozy during those cold January nights.


Netflix Griselda is nothing like Gloria, Sofia Vergara’s classic character on Modern Family. Instead, Griselda Blanco is Vergara’s take on the real-life Colombian “Godmother,” the woman who ran a lucrative and very deadly drug cartel in the 1980s. Vergara, a Colombian native herself, also is the brutal show’s executive producer; she’s definitely playing against the lovable character that made her an American TV star in this tough-as-nails tale of murder and mayhem.

THE BROTHERS SUN Netflix What do you do when you finally win an Oscar? If you are Michelle Yeoh, you spearhead a very dark comedy series about a Chinese assassin (Justin Chien), his seriously ruthless mother (Yeoh) and his clueless younger brother (Sam Song Li). It’s an action-packed series that features an all-Asian creative team, marking a seismic change in how Hollywood is doing things these days.


HBO In a total reboot of the award-winning True Detective series last aired in 2019, Issa López takes over the show as writer, director and executive producer and weaves a mystery set in Alaska’s frozen Arctic. She’s enlisted Jodie Foster as the star, who plays the police detective assigned to figure out what happened to all the people working at a research station in the far north. Ably joined by Kali Reis as her partner in the crime solving, both are hoping to follow previous True Detective stars/Emmy nominees Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey and winner Mahershala Ali. JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 57




Need an escape from the cold? Head to BroadwayHD to indulge in light-hearted comedies, breathtaking musicals, and enchanting love stories. Visit to learn more. PETER PAN GOES WRONG The Olivier Award-winning Mischief Theatre brings a riotous spin on a timeless classic with the smash hit Peter Pan Goes Wrong, narrated by David Suchet and filmed in front of a live audience. The madcap farce features Peter Pan (Greg Tannahills) who crashes into walls, Tinkerbell (Nancy Zamit) is electrocuted, and dog Nana (Henry Lewis) gets stuck in a stuck in a door amidst other hilarity.

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZNG TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT Inspired by the record-breaking London Palladium production, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat stars Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman, Richard Attenborough and Joan Collins. A lively and colorful journey through Ancient Egypt, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat follows the rags to riches story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colors. Spectacular visuals and an enchanting score by Andrew Lloyd Webber make this a musical event to enjoy with the whole family. 42ND STREET Young Peggy Sawyer (Clare Halse) is fresh off the bus from small-town America and just another face in the chorus line on Broadway’s newest show. But when the leading lady gets injured, Peggy might just have the shot at stardom she’s always dreamed of. This exquisite West End revival was captured at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London.

THE PORTUGUESE KID In a new comedy starring Jason Alexander and set in Providence, Rhode Island, The Portuguese Kid focuses on the habitually widowed Atalanta, who pays a visit to her second-rate lawyer Barry Dragonetti. Intending to settle her latest husband’s affairs, this larger-than-life Greek tightwad quickly becomes a nightmare for her cheesy, selfaggrandizing attorney. Contains adult themes.

KINKY BOOTS Charlie is a factory owner struggling to save his family business. Lola is a fabulous entertainer with a wildly exciting idea. With a little compassion and a lot of understanding, this unexpected pair learns to embrace their differences and create a line of sturdy stilettos unlike any the world has ever seen.

DADDY LONG LEGS Based on the classic novel which inspired the 1955 movie starring Fred Astaire—a beloved tale in the spirit of Jane Austen, the Brontë Sisters, and Downton Abbey—this heartwarming story about a witty and winsome young woman and her mysterious benefactor has charmed audiences of all ages from Los Angeles to London. Critics are cheer Daddy Long Legs has “echoes of She Loves Me and top-notch performances” and “is one of the most enthralling, entertaining and moving love stories on the American musical theater stage.” 58 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024




By Christine A. Dorchak, President of GREY2K USA Worldwide

eople often ask me how I became an attorney for greyhounds. It’s simple: My love of dogs led me to law school. I have been a problem solver all my life, so when I learned that thousands of greyhounds were suffering and dying at two racetracks in my state, I had to do something about it.

Racing greyhounds are kept in warehousestyle kennels inside small, stacked cages for an average of 23 hours a day. Then, when they are let out to race, they suffer terrible injuries, and many die. They break their necks, their backs, and their legs, suffer heart attacks, and become paralyzed— just so that gamblers can place a $2 bet on them. I knew this was no way to treat a dog and that the law should be changed. “How could such a clear exploitation of man’s best friend be legal,” I wondered. I began taking classes at the New England School of Law in 2001, the same year I co-founded the non-profit greyhound protection group, GREY2K USA, with my partner, Carey Theil. The greyhounds needed a lawyer! But my life course could have been much different. In 1992, I was struck by a speeding Boston trolley while walking my dog, Kelsey. She was a one-year-old Black Russian Terrier I adopted on her last day at a kill shelter. Just as I had saved her life, one year later, she saved mine by pulling me away from the direct path of the train, sparing us both from certain death under its wheels. We suffered terrible injuries and spent years in recovery. I promised that if I could ever walk, talk, and care for myself again, I would spend my life helping dogs. A SURPRISING BENEFACTOR On the eve of law school graduation, I learned that George Carney, a prominent local track owner, had unknowingly funded my four-year scholarship. When I thanked him, he insisted on coming up on stage to hand me my diploma personally. Perhaps he thought I would be out of his hair, toiling away at a big law firm for the near future? Instead, I spent the summer writing the ballot question that would eventually give Massachusetts greyhounds the second chance they deserved. This opened the door for change nationwide, and over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to help close nearly 50 tracks across the country. Today, there are only two in operation, both in West Virginia.


In 2011, my organization took on an international focus and was able to work with government officials to rescind the license of the only legal dog track in China. We airlifted more than 500 dogs to safety, including my sweet hound Brooklyn. There was no adoption program at the track, and before our #CloseTheCanidrome initiative, 400 dogs raced and died there each year. This should have been Brooklyn’s fate, too. We found him underweight, his coat dull and dirty. Thirteen teeth, worn down to the roots after years of chewing on the bars of his cage, had to be removed. A short time later, when he lost one of his legs to cancer, he still pushed on. Brooklyn’s story of survival and how he joyfully greeted each day taught us lessons about forgiveness and strength that we will never forget. HELPING GREYHOUNDS WORLDWIDE Brooklyn Goes Home: The Rise and Fall of American Greyhound Racing and the Dog that Inspired a Movement tells the story of our twenty-five-year campaign to end dog racing, which has helped to save 50,000 greyhounds to date and culminated in the recent filing of the Greyhound Protection Act in Congress. Carey Theil and I describe our state-by-state push to outlaw dog racing and introduce readers to the diverse group of people who came together to help greyhounds along the way. These folks, Democrat and Republican, old and young, were united in the singular belief that dogs are family friends and not racing machines. I hope readers find inspiration in our story and discover new paths to change the world positively. And no law degree is required! For more information on GREY2K USA Worldwide, visit

FROM DR. JANE GOODALL Brooklyn Goes Home is about human love and compassion on the one hand and callousness and cruelty on the other. It’s also an incredible account of how two brave and committed people fought against a shameless yet powerful industry. Christine and Carey had little more than a belief in themselves and a shared love for their greyhound Brooklyn, but their determination has paid off for thousands of other dogs in the United States and worldwide. My greyhound and I recommend you read this stunning memoir! --Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace. For more information on Brooklyn Goes Home, visit JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 61





By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

ew York City takes in a lot of rescue dogs from the South—particularly from Tennessee. Like many other states across the country, the euthanization rate in New York is on the rise again. Therefore, rescues in New York working with counterparts in the South must be vigilant to ensure they have destination homes for their Southern charges, whether they be foster or permanent homes. So, when Social Tees Animal Rescue in Manhattan took in a pack of puppies from the southern state two years ago, they deployed their foster system immediately to ensure these sweet little pups had loving fosters to get them ready for adoption. Brioreo, the spokesdog for our sister magazine, Pet Lifestyles Magazine, was one of the puppies in this pack. Her sister, Masala, named by the rescue (later Beca, after their neighborhood Tribeca, by her adoptive family), was the first out of the rescue to a foster family, who ultimately became a foster failure. What is a foster failure? Essentially, a family takes in a foster and decides within days to adopt rather than foster. About a month later, Brioreo went to a different foster immediately and was transferred to a second foster family. One fateful day, Brioreo was out with her second foster family and met me. My wife Kylie and I adopted her almost immediately. DOWN MEMORY LANE Beca’s family contacted us as they saw posts about Brioreo. We arranged for a sisterly reunion two years after both girls had been in separate, loving homes. If you believe what veterinarians and behaviorists say about canine memory, neither pup should have remembered each other. According to conventional thinking, if two pack mates are separated around five months old and see each other before two years pass, they will remember each other. Well, it had been over two years, and they were separated long before their fifth month on this Earth. Both knew exactly who the other was. The point is not to debunk the medical advice or knowledge of professionals but rather to prove that not every human, dog, cat, or other sentient being on this planet is the same. Despite the differences in upbringing, both Brioreo and Beca have incredibly similar behavioral traits. They are both very sassy, loving, protective, and high-energy dogs. They have identical behaviors regarding playing, comprehension of commands, and animosity toward skateboards, e-bikes, and the like.

TWO OF A KIND Yes, they certainly have their differences as well. The litter’s DNA showed a mix of American Staffordshire and Dachshund. Beca is built more like a Staffy, stout and lower to the ground with a less pronounced snout, while Brioreo is more extended in body and snout length. Both also have distinct levels of anxiety when it comes to triggers like loud construction noises, echoes from buildings, etc. There is no denying these two are sisters when you see them with the same coloring, hair type, and markings. I have always said that dogs are very much like human children around the age of four or five. From their memory capacity to their ability to understand what is happening around them, I have seen many dogs that could give a five-year-old a run for their money. Have you ever been a part of a dog reunion? Whether it is a pair of siblings or a human reconnecting with a canine, we would love to hear your story. Please email it to






By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

s a temperamental teenager, I never wanted to wake up early and take the dogs out. When I did, shamefully looking back, I walked them for the bare minimum. Thankfully, they were Pugs, so elongated walks weren’t their thing to begin with, unlike the dogs my wife and I have had, who are a large breed and need hours of exercise daily. Things got to the point that, in 1992, my Mother saw an ad in New York Magazine that she cut out and taped to my door. It was an ad of a dog holding its leash in its mouth with the headline, Think of Them As An Exercise Machine With Hair. The point of this posting on my door was to remind me that I could kill two birds with one stone. But, being that teenager, I wasn’t going to pay attention to what “the rents” had to say. A LESSON LEARNED I remember one morning using a specific expletive toward my Mother to voice my discontent with being woken up to walk the dogs and went back to sleep. The result was a bucket of ice water dumped on me to wake me up and prove a point. Then again, I’m not sure our cleaning lady appreciated having to clean up the water, let alone dry the mattress out, but the message was received loud and clear. This brings me to my point today—having a dog in New York City is already costly, so why not kill two birds with one stone? Rather than going for that gym membership (which you know you won’t use after the first month anyway), why not adopt a dog? Not only do you get the amazing companionship and love that only a canine can provide, but you also save a life and get to work on your cardio, all at the same time!

SAVING A LIFE Yes, dogs seemingly are that cardio alternative many have sought for years. So many people in our city loathe going to the gym but would be willing to walk their dog, or any dog, for hours. Case in point: I wouldn’t say I like getting on an exercise bike or treadmill, going for a run, etc. However, I walk Brioreo multiple times a day, every day, to total out hours. Do I run with her? No. That doesn’t mean I can’t. The point is that by combining two specific needs that every New Yorker has, companionship and exercise, you save their life and your own. Once you get into a routine with a dog, it is tough to break out of it. Not only will the dog remind you that it’s time to get yourself off the couch, but your scale will also remind you! I only have one request: if you follow my advice in combining the two needs of companionship and exercise, engage a dog trainer. Yes, I am serious. If you intend to go on runs with your dog, make sure you understand the idiosyncrasies of what that means in New York City. No matter how well trained, dogs can be distracted by the simplest things, like a skateboard or a rat running across the sidewalk. That can easily change your situation from a run on the river to an ambulance run to the hospital. A real dog trainer can help you not only maintain your dog’s focus on runs but also help your dog address any behavioral issues related to the distractions mentioned above. Of course, I recommend contacting Pet Lifestyles Magazine’s Official Dog Training Partner, Kate Perry Dog Training ( As you know, Pet Lifestyles Magazine is our sister publication, where Kate writes a column for every issue called Training For Both Ends Of The Leash. JANUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 65

The Giving Back Gala


At The Rainbow Room, Rockefeller Plaza, NYC

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10 MAY





By Jenna Guarneri | Photography by Dan Flood

hen it comes to health and wellness, fitness expert Jillian Michaels is a household name. She has been leading the charge for years with her multi-faceted approach to fitness and overall well-being. Many people may know Michaels from her time on The Biggest Loser, where she transformed the lives of the contestants and millions of viewers looking to jumpstart their fitness journey. Beyond the show, her journey as a fitness icon can only be described as passion in action—from running her show Losing It With Jillian to launching her fitness video membership website, Michael’s is committed to helping people live a healthier lifestyle. Recently, she took her passion for helping people even further with her new app, The Fitness App, which has become one of the most reliable fitness trackers available today. I had the privilege of sitting down with the fitness guru and self-made entrepreneur for an in-depth conversation regarding her work, how she’s touching the lives of others through not one but two podcasts, and her new and exclusive collaboration with iTOUCH Wearables. Her energy and passion for helping people are palpable, and after listening to her speak, you can’t help but feel inspired. REDEFINING VIRTUAL WORKOUTS The Fitness App is a revolutionary platform dominating the health space and is rated number one. With Michaels as the creator, it is no surprise. The virtual workout classes, led by Michaels and her team of experts and her holistic approach to health, set this app apart. One of her reasons for creating an app of this nature was to combine all the various aspects other apps touch upon and house them together. “When you look at the landscape, there are too many apps and they all belong under one umbrella,” says Michaels.” It’s ridiculous. They work synergistically, and you should offer everybody all the tools to succeed on their wellness journey. So that’s what we did.” In helping people live a healthier lifestyle, Michaels understands that removing these barriers will make it more accessible for those who utilize the app to achieve their fitness goals successfully. Michaels has also placed a significant importance on customizability. “It’s a one-stop shop to customize everything. So, it’s easier for people to meet their goals, is affordable, and more accessible,” explains Michaels. “You can show up at the gym, in your living room, or even outdoors, and say, I want an audio-only running workout for beginners. You can go to the gym and say, I’m an advanced athlete, and I want a 45-minute total body strength training workout to build muscle. Anything you want, it can deliver to you dynamically in real-time, and it listens to your feedback,” says Michaels.


CONNECTING WITH HER AUDIENCE As an entrepreneur, Michaels wears a multitude of hats. In addition to the app, she’s created and hosts two podcasts, Keeping It Real and Back in the Saddle, which she hosts with her longtime friend Janice. Lighter in nature, Back in the Saddle explores the relatable occurrences of daily life while sprinkling laughter and some valuable advice along the way. “It’s personal,” explains Michaels. “We talk about her dating struggles, my career struggles, raising teenage kids, what’s going on in the world, and trying to comment on current events in a relatively unbiased, informative, humorous, and honest way. Her long-running podcast, Keeping it Real, features in-depth interviews with world-renowned experts from different medical fields. For Michaels, sharing these medical experts with her followers is essential. “I try to answer every question you might have and what to ask your doctor,” Michaels explains. THE EVOLUTION OF JILLIAN As a child, Michaels herself was bullied for her weight, which played a pivotal role in leading her down the path of health and wellness. It also fostered the development of her empathetic nature toward her audience, making her content on social media a relatable and resonant source for her fans. When asked about the success of her brand, her best advice for others is to be “authentic” and to make sure you are “delivering on the promises you make by being as educated and well-rounded and humble as possible. If you don’t know something, get the answers. If you make a mistake, own that mistake and correct it.”


As a leading expert in the fitness space, Michaels’s dedication to accessible wellness solutions is limitless. Along with her app, she recently partnered with iTouch Wearables, a leading lifestyle brand dedicated to helping people live a happier and healthier lifestyle. THE PERFECT COLLABORATION Consistent with her holistic approach to health and wellness, she’s found iTouch Wearables to be the perfect match for her fitness app, providing users with a clear picture of their health in real-time. “You check your blood oxygen levels, your heart rate, see how many calories you burn, and how well you sleep, “she says. It reminds you to drink water and can even read your texts.” There isn’t much this fitness companion doesn’t do! The fitness tracker covers all the bases, allowing users to take control of their health. As she continues to educate and inspire people to take control of their health and wellness, Michaels is an actual role model for those looking to be the best version of themselves. She has made her mark on the fitness industry and passionately believes, “When you do what you love, the universe conspires on your behalf!” For more information on Jillian Michaels, visit




By Pippa Roberts

ave you ever seen a community join forces and create unshakeable change? One Long Island community became forever changed in August of 2018 when a beloved educator and mother unexpectedly passed away. Dr. Hindi Krinsky can best be described as a woman who put smiles on the faces of thousands of children worldwide by giving them the gift of literacy. Meet Dovid Kanarfogel, who was married to Hindi, now heads Hindi’s Libraries along with business partner Leslie Gang. Dovid remembers the first time he saw Hindi; she had a stack of 30 books sitting on the café table and knew he was impressed from that moment. They married, and as the years passed, so did their family--with five beautiful children. One morning in August 2018, Leslie Gang, then the Director of Communications and Admissions at a local Long Island private school received a devastating email. It was from Dovid, notifying her that his wife had unexpectedly died from a complication of Crohn’s disease. She was 32. Immediately, Gang coordinated meals, helped Dovid, and cultivated a strong friendship. The two spoke about doing something to honor the legacy of this vibrant, beautiful woman and decided to build a freestanding library box to put in the school’s courtyard. The courtyard soon could no longer contain the books. This was the beginning of an organization that would one day provide over 475,000 books and counting. All in Dr. Hindi Krinsky’s name. Each day, they seek to make Hindi proud with their efforts. They can be best described as a unique organization in honor of a remarkable woman doing extraordinary things to change the world: one book at a time. We met up with Dovid to learn more about Hindi’s Libraries. Our readers would love to learn the backstory of the organization. Tell us more. The organization was founded in honor of one beautiful woman: Dr. Hindi Krinsky. Her love was literature and her dream—to build a community of readers. Passionate about continuing Hindi’s legacy, we started one “little free library” in her honor at the school where she taught. We intended to support her students and family but didn’t anticipate the outpouring of books and support we would receive. The books never stopped coming, nor did our dedication to serving students. We are a Today Show Featured, International Literacy Non-Profit that has donated—100 percent free of charge to recipients— throughout all 50 states and internationally. We genuinely believe that handing a child a book can change their life, and we are committed to continuing Hindi’s legacy.


Please share with us the importance of book accessibility. How does handing a child a book change their life? A recent Reading Literacy in the United States: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study noted that 61 percent of low-income families have no suitable books for children in their homes. Here at Hindi’s Libraries are committed to changing those statistics: one child at a time. Some of our recipients may not have been exposed to reading materials. We are highly committed to ensuring all children have age-appropriate and age-relevant books that excite and ignite their imaginations. Explain what you mean by excite and ignite their imaginations. Books offer an escape for children. We seek to provide a place between the pages of books where children can ignite their imagination and lean into dreaming regardless of their current circumstances. Empowering children through a love of literature, as Hindi would have wanted, is our accurate and primary goal. Hindi’s Libraries have had the opportunity to partner with a wide range of organizations. Do you have any fascinating stories to share with us? We’ve had the opportunity to partner and collaborate with many outstanding organizations, including Barnes and Noble, DHL, Disney Worldwide Publishing, and Avery Dennison. However, one collaboration stands out to us. The most fascinating and inspiring moment was being approached by Victoria Isernia, a high school sophomore who had learned of our organization from her aunt—a Hindi’s Libraries book donation recipient. Taking the initiative, Victoria ran a massive book drive in New York, particularly Long Island. Her efforts resulted in a donation of more than 3,000 books. Watching a teenager feel empowered by our story, take the reins, and create such a successful project deeply humbled us. 70 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024

How can our readers support your fantastic cause? There are a multitude of ways to get involved! Our books are 100 percent free of cost to recipients, including shipping, which Hindi’s Libraries subsidize. To help offset this cost, we are always grateful for monetary donations that go directly to shipping more books to children. Additionally, if you have gently used or new children’s books in your home, we are always grateful for donations to help keep our inventory stocked and place books into the hands of children who need them most. Be sure to tell your friends and family about our organization! We would love to connect with you so that you can keep informed on our latest developments and initiatives. For more information on Hindi’s Libraries, visit




By Anne Akers

he has helped countless people find the clarity and courage to reach their goals through her work as an award-winning mind-body coach, motivational speaker, and neurolinguistic programmer. Meet Sonia Satra, a former TV actress, who combines her theory of Moticise, a concept she pioneered combining movement and mindset. Sonia now shares her tips for a pathway to success in a new book, What If It Were Easy: Using Mindset And Movement To Create Success In Life, Love, And Business. We met Sonia recently in NYC. Here’s what we discovered. Your book is based on combining mindset and movement to achieve life goals. How does that process work, and what about people who don’t like exercise? This book includes a 7-step Mindset Reset process designed to help you overcome challenges, find clarity, and manifest your desired life. Each step is paired with an exercise but can also be done while walking, running, riding a bike, or aerobics. Using this methodology, clients have lost weight, started new businesses, sold a business for eight figures, found love, gotten promotions, found their dream job, and conquered debilitating fears. What makes your book different from other motivational books, and can it help people of all ages and backgrounds? The most significant difference is the use of movement to help you achieve meaningful goals. We think of coaching or therapy to work on our mindset and exercise to get fit. Moticise combines the two. The book also includes videos that you can access with a simple QR code, so I will guide you every step of the way. Moticise can help people of all ages and backgrounds if they have a goal and willingness to move. All exercises have modifications to do what is suitable for your body. What skills as an actress helped you become a top motivational speaker? Do you miss acting? When I started, I was terrified to speak. Acting taught me to ignore the audience; now, I needed to speak directly to them. Plus, I couldn’t hide behind someone else’s words. They were mine. However, skills such as vocal training, mind-body work, deep listening, vulnerability, and persisting through many failures helped my speaker journey. I love the excitement of lights, camera, and action and sometimes miss that, but I get much greater fulfillment with the work I do now. I have been lucky to still act in various projects and have the best of both worlds.

During your long and varied career as an actress, wellness coach, and motivational speaker, who inspired you to reach your goals? There are so many, but a few key people include Ms. Patterson, my 7th-grade teacher who pushed me hard but cultivated much-needed confidence; Joseph McClendon III, who coached me out of struggle and into success; my husband, who truly goes for his dreams and inspires me to do the same and my mother who is such a strong and adventurous woman. At 91, she still hikes, dances, and travels. She believes if you exercise your mind as much as your body, you will be very balanced. So, I created Moticise—a balance of mindset and exercise. What message would you like people to take away from your book? My greatest desire is that this book will help people realize that you can achieve remarkable things when you combine your mind, body, and emotions. I share many personal stories and client’s journeys to demonstrate how this is accessible for everyone. You deserve to be happy and healthy and live the life you want, and you can do it! For more information on Sonia Satra, visit





By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

o we live in a lawless city and state? It sure seems like it. Over the last ten years, several “laws” and edicts have passed without any enforcement protocols or balance. And people continue to vote for the “lesser of two evils,” which only results in mediocrity at best while continuing to be soft on crime and grime. How can this be? Here are a couple of examples of how our City and State negatively impact each other, to the detriment of the People. During the pandemic, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio (otherwise known as DeLousyo) and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson approved using e-bikes in the city without any enforcement or fines. That has led to endless delivery folks riding on sidewalks, going the wrong way down one-way streets at excessive speeds. Virtually none have license plates or any way to track them, and now people on motorcycles and mopeds are doing the same thing. There is zero enforcement because there were no protocols in the approval. So, now, endless amounts of residents are being hit, harassed, and scared off the sidewalks by these miscreants, all in the name of “equality” and “fairness” to those making less money. Are we kidding? I’m all for treating everyone the same, but not when it comes to them skirting the law and endangering residents. It should come as no surprise that these corrupt politicians are responsible. Talk about dereliction of duty. FINDING THE VOTES This is no different than former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s behavior who “championed” the legalization of marijuana. At least that is his claim now despite years of stalling and hiding from constituents who wanted it. Then he realized it would get him more votes. Suddenly, there was a rush to open legal dispensaries in the state. Yet, there were no enforcement protocols put into the law that would prevent every Tom, Dick, and Harry from opening an illegal dispensary in the city (to the tune of over 1,500 illegal “head” shops in the five boroughs). So now New York has lost tens of millions in potential revenue, people are getting sick from black market weed (or they aren’t getting high at all), and neighborhoods are being overrun by smoke. I mean, it is everywhere. Then again, let’s not forget Andrew Cuomo is a former New York Attorney General who knows that any new law must have enforcement protocols. So that makes this situation even worse, and more insulting. When are we going to stop electing self-serving socalled politicians who claim to care but, judging by their actions—don’t? When are we going to learn that the empty promises by these folks only continue to drive the city and state into further decay? We all know that Mayor Wannabe Swagger (Eric Adams) and Governor Hokum (Kathy Hochul) only worsen our problems. To the point that over one million residents defected to other states in the last year, according to the latest data.


THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS Speaking of inept and corrupt, this last election leaves me nauseous. I find it disgusting that in the City Council District 4 race, Brian Robinson attempted to use the most revolting way to take out incumbent Keith Powers, citing that Powers supported the attacks by Hamas against Israel. Now, while I deplore Powers tremendously, the hit job that Robinson attempted is precisely what is wrong in politics. There is no evidence that Powers supports Hamas. So, sadly, I abstained from the vote because I refuse to go with “the lesser of two evils,” which seems to be the mindset of the last decade in national and local elections. However, Powers’ approach to his constituents and his record is disgraceful. He has always been a self-ingratiating, unethical windbag who takes credit for other peoples’ work and tries to change laws to benefit himself, not his constituents. Yes, the lesser of two evils approach doesn’t work. Never did. That is why we have people like Powers on the City Council and lawlessness in the city and state—time for a real change. Let’s hope Powers follows through, for once, on his promises of a better tomorrow. My gut tells me we will have more of the same from him, but my faith in humanity gives me a little hope. Who knew New York would have become the Wild West in 2023? It sure did.


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