Love the 'seek and ye shall find' concept of the bar Please Don't Tell in the East Village in New York. Visitors to the bar have a pretty unusual way of finding it. Entering through a neighbouring hotdog place (Crif Dogs) thirsty visitors must then use an inside phonebooth and dial '1' where a door opens to reveal an intimate lounge where a wide range cocktails are served. Love the adventure of it all.
Public art installations are always a great platform for marketing and putting a message across. We loved the idea from architect firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) and fabrication studio, Flat Cut, who created this huge LED Heart Scuplture around Valentine's Day past and planted right in the middle of Times Square. The sculpture which included almost 500 LED-lit tubes responded to touch of a nearby sensor by passer-bys. The more people who touched the sensor the brighter the heart glowed. The Times Square Alliance also donated money to the Hope & Heroes Children's Cancer Fund too when people uploaded pics of the heart to Facebook. A good talking point and an original way of generating funds for charity too.
The global economic recession has brought construction to a halt across the world and NYC is no exception. However innovation often stems from difficult circumstances and this is proving very true in Manhattan where a stalled build project has been radically transformed into a thriving urban garden. The site for the Alexandria Center for Life Science's has seen completion of Phase 1 but delay on Phase 2 of development. The owners of the Riverpark and Wichcraft Restaurants located on the completed part of the development came up with the idea to establish an urban garden on the empty space. They now grow over 100 different crops on the 15,000 square foot lot in milk crates. Customers are thrilled to be eating the freshest of produce possible and no doubt it is a much nicer picture than looking at a derelict site. They are also setting up 'farm tables' on the lot for customers who prefer al fresco dining.
Design houses Family and PlayLab have got together to create a very interesting concept of what New York could look like in a few years time. With the central idea of utilising the city's natural resources the team have created +Pool, a floating pool concept. River water would filter through the pool walls, described like a 'giant strainer', removing bacteria and odours from the river and creating clean, safe water for swimmers. The pool is also being designed with various users in mind with 4 types of pools accessible including a Children's Pool, Sports Pool, Lap Pool and Lounge Pool. Right now the team are working with a team of engineers to design the filtration system. A recent feature on crowdfunding site, Kickstarter has already seen +Pool surpass their funding expectations highlighting the interest and desire to bring this cool idea to life.
Click Boom Pow (CBP), a design company based in NYC have brought their creative vision to reality with their 'New Role Models (NRMs) public seats. David Kim and Mike Seto from CBP collaborated with other local artists including DALVA, Chris Streger, Alexis Liu, Ichao Wang and Fawad Khan to produce these very unique and edgy seats from steel, laminated with vinyl prints of artwork produced by the collaboration. They decided to randomly scatter the seats around the city, often using public spaces typically overlooked. All artists worked for free on the project with the hope of inspiring others to contribute free design towards their city.
The city of NYC has picked its next gen taxi fleet and they will be green at least in eco terms. Nissan won the contract to supply their NV200 vehicle specially designed to almost double fuel efficiency and reduce levels of smog in the city. They are also working on an electric version. With 13,000 taxis in the city covering over 500 million miles each year this is sure to make a positive eco impact on the city.
Mobile food trucks are growing in popularity in New York. A step up from the sidewalk hot dog stands the new breed of food trucks are savvy when it comes to branding and marketing.
Food trucks move around the city, stopping off at popular locations where workers in the city can pop out and grab something tasty.
There are the sweet food trucks selling the likes of waffles, muffins and cupcakes such as Street Sweets, Wafels & Dinges and Cupcake Stop. There are also savoury food trucks such as Jiannettos Pizza, Go Burger and Bian Dang which sells Taiwanese food.
Street Sweets also offer unique marketing opportunities to companies by customising a truck with a partner's brand for promotional campaigns. Companies such as American Express, Lacoste and Lexus have utilised Street Sweets for such purposes. Many food trucks also cater for birthdays, product launch events and other special occasions.
What we also like about the food truck story is the use of Twitter to promote where the truck is going to be at any given point, highlighting how Twitter can actively drive customers to the business. Some bricks and mortar restaurants also have mobile food trucks such as that of Go Burger.
We think food trucks are a great idea for anyone setting up a food business without having the expense of an actual premise and what makes these food trucks successful is the combination of good food, customer convenience and clever branding.
Table Envy is a new online reverse auction site that has joined forces with some of the hottest restaurants in NYC to offer diners the opportunity to participant in a bidding auction where visitors can watch and wait to see the reservation prices drop. Participating restaurants will offer a table booking starting with its highest price, after 24hrs the price will drop and continue to drop allowing diners to either purchase the table at the current price, place an offer bid or take a chance and wait for further reductions. Table Envy also donates proceeds to Food Bank NYC, which distributes food supplies through its network of community partners to 1.5million people in need in the city each year.
Photo: Public Restaurant, NYC
Saturday's Surf is a store based in NYC set up by 3 guys who had a vision to stock products that reflected their live-work-surf-NYC lifestyle. Saturday's stock a range of surf boards, apparel and accessories which they also sell online. The store itself has a chill area for anyone who needs a little downtime in the highpaced city. This fish hook leather bracelet caught our eye!
The Blue Bottle Coffee Company originates from California, established by a musician and self-confessed coffee lunatic. Blue Bottle is a micro-roaster of organic coffee, served from its growing network of cafes, expresso carts and coffee kiosks. What makes Blue Bottle different is its use of vintage roasting equipment and chemisty-set inspired iced coffee apparatus. Blue Bottle opened a new café in Brooklyn, NYC last year and is one of the few places coffee lovers in NYC can get served their coffee straight from the roastery. Blue Bottle also keeps it local - buying its supplies such as chocolate for its pastries from neighbouring businesses.