Gabi, a dancer herself, and a 2016 Manhattan Sideways summer intern, had the pleasure of sitting in on one of Triangulo’s advanced tango classes. She told me that she spent some time admiring the studio, which was a small, cozy space unlike other dance studios she had seen before. Lacking the usual harsh lighting and starkness of dance studios, Triangulo had lovely chandeliers that created an intimate atmosphere. There were also ornate mirrors, a wine bar in the corner, and a mural painted along the back wall depicting the owner and founder, Carina Moeller, as well as assorted current and former students of Triangulo. Gabi later learned that the beautiful mural had been a student’s gift to Carina, who explained to me that much of her success has come about thanks to the generosity of people in the tango community who have lent her their support and friendship over the years.
Triangulo first opened in 1997 on 14th Street within a triangular studio that inspired the business’ name, which means “triangle” in Spanish - a clever choice, given that the studio focuses on teaching Argentinian tango to students of all levels, from novices to experienced dancers. Carina said that she opened the studio without much of a plan, having been urged to teach tango by a friend of hers despite her primary focus on modern dance.
Much to Carina’s delight and surprise, the business soon took off, garnering a loyal base of students. In 2007, Carina searched for an alternate location, eventually finding her current studio on 20th Street. The wooden floors, the mural, and even the chandeliers were all able to be installed thanks to the donations and support of Triangulo’s students, a considerably diverse community.
Even though everyone was dressed quite elegantly - and Gabi freely admitted her awe at the women’s superhuman ability to dance so gracefully in stilettos - the ambiance was relaxed and friendly, with everyone cheerfully helping one another as they learned the new steps. Carina shared with Gabi that they are a varied bunch, with students’ ages ranging from twenty to seventy, and nationalities from across the globe. Of the eighteen or so people who were there on this particular night, only one of them was a couple; the rest were people who had previous tango experience, either with Triangulo or elsewhere, and were paired up in class.
Since it was an advanced class, the pairs were already familiar with basic moves and were therefore being guided through more complex steps by Carina and Dante, another instructor. After the evening’s class ended, they had a Milonga, which they hold every Tuesday and Friday. This is not a class, but rather a time for “social tango,” where anyone can join in, pick a partner, and dance some tango while enjoying drinks from the bar. Carina and Dante highlighted the importance of these events, and of tango in general, as they encourage connection and human touch. In this way, they are able to bring a small slice of Latin America, complete with its flamboyance and vigor, to life.
Alessandra and Mario De Benedetti had never been in the restaurant business. She was a law professor and he was in finance - both living in Italy. When a passion burns inside you, however, and a desire to live in NYC is so strong, why not change careers and pursue your dream? This is exactly what the dynamic duo chose to do. Working alongside Elizabeth Roberts, architect extraordinaire, the team created a space built for dramatic floral arrangements and an enchanting atmosphere for dining. Alessandra combined her love of flowers by integrating them into the restaurant's splendid cocktails, specialty dishes and magnificent displays. In 2019, their dream finally became a reality as they opened the doors of Il Florista on West 26th Street.
Crossroads Trading Company now has almost thirty locations around the United States, but even in Manhattan they keep their original relaxed Bay Area vibe. The company began in Berkeley in 1991 and has since become a hub for recycling both men and women's clothing with the goal of helping the environment and working to eliminate waste. Locals are welcome to come in and sell their gently used garments for cash or credit... and while there, hopefully browse for something
If one were to close their eyes and walk into Hill Country, there is no doubt that in an instant they would know what kind of food was being prepared. At Hill Country, they take their barbecue very seriously. The food is prepared in their very own custom meat-smoking room, and everything is done in the style of Central Texas barbecue. The atmosphere is kitschy and relaxed, with live American music most nights of the week.
When Ashley Van Goehring, Hotel Giraffe’s director of sales and marketing, led me up to the rooftop bar as part of a tour of the entire building, I did not expect to find such a quiet nook. Despite being in the middle of the busy Flatiron district, the patio’s height and warm red brick border meant that the sky-high courtyard is reasonably silent. It is also beautiful: every inch appeared to be carefully designed with hanging plants, potted shrubs, and striped deck furniture that hinted at the hotel’s name. There is even a metallic giraffe statue in the corner, named after owner, Henry Kallan's granddaughter, Jesse. The seasonal rooftop does not remain quiet at night. Though the garden is only open to guests during the day, at night it turns into a cocktail bar, run by Bread and Tulips, the restaurant attached to Hotel Giraffe. The tucked-away space is also attached to the hotel’s private event room, which has a little roof terrace of its own. Ashley told us that the room had been used as Big’s apartment in the Sex and the City movie, and pointed out the little details that can be seen in some of the film scenes. The small attached patio shows just as much care and attention to detail as the larger rooftop bar, with potted flowers and warm, giraffe-inspired colors. Staring out at the sunny view, Ashley turned to me and said, “It’s nice to be reminded that this city is not just the place where I live. It’s a magical place. ”
Whenever Rebecca, a member of the Manhattan Sideways team, asked her glamorous college roommate from Arizona where she had bought whatever fabulous item of clothing she was wearing, the answer was always the same... Buffalo Exchange. Founded in 1974 by Kerstin Block in Arizona, it was one of the first used clothing shops to open in the country. The store offers its patrons a place to buy, sell, or trade second-hand garments so that they can find a new life in someone else's wardrobe. Today, Kerstin continues to run her company with the help of her daughter, Rebecca, and they have expanded to forty-seven stores nationwide. The company has maintained its funky, fun vibe and reasonable prices even as it has grown so large.