Monthly Archives: April 2010

Shaving cream and Le Corbu

It hits you without warning. I’m sitting on the edge of the tub about to shave my legs when I realize the new can of shaving cream is eerily familiar.

Caitlin Kelly is a former reporter and feature writer for the Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette and the New York Daily News. She has published a book and has been a regular author for The New York Times since 1990. All of that qualifies her as a successful New Yorker. Yet, time and again, the Canadian-born writer is hit by pangs of homesickness. In her essay Zut Alors! How A Can Of Shaving Cream Made Me Homesick she muses about bilingual labels on every Canadian product and about the fact that Americans seem so reluctant to anything that’s not broad American. I couldn’t agree more.  Hearing them talk about, for example, Le Corbu instead of Le Corbusier (click here for the correct pronounciation) makes my hair stand on end. I have been told that Americans consider it pretentious to strive for the correct pronounciation of foreign names and words. Considering the fact that the US is such a multicultural country, not even giving it a try is, I think, utterly disrespectful. That’s one point off.


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Did you know that…

… the New York Botanical Garden is home to the largest Japanese cherry tree in the world?

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Filed under Places to know

Greener grass

The grass is always greener beyond the fence. That’s what you’d say in German if you wanted to talk about the fact that things always seem to be more attrective as soon as they are out of reach. Having lived beyond the fence for seven months I know the phenomenon pretty well. Cheese and bread? So much better and cheaper back home. The subway? Actually works, regularly and reliably. Washing machines? Turn laundry really clean. Restaurants? Let you finish your meal and another bottle of wine before slapping down the check at your table. The list goes on, easily. Continue reading

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Filed under Good to be gone, Moving around

The radical beauty of the old

J. & L. Lobmeyr is a traditional Austrian glass manufactory that, in the course of its 175 year old history, has produced the most amazing and beautiful glass objects. 100 years ago, the company worked with the Wiener Werkstätte, more recently they have produced designs by young designers such as London-based Max Lamb, NY-based Ted Muehling and a number of young Austrian and Czech designers. Their work has been featured in dezeen, AD, Wallpaper, etc. Lots of it can be seen at Moss in Soho. Lobmeyr, more than any other producer, has taught me the radical beauty of the old.

On April 23, the Cooper Hewitt will open a solo show on Lobmeyr, guest-curated by Ted Muehling. The exhibition will feature works drawn from the museum’s recent acquisition of 163 rare examples of glass from J. & L. Lobmeyr. The collection dates from 1835 to the present day, spanning virtually the entire history of the firm since its founding. Go and see it. It’s definitely worth it.

Ted Muehling Selects: Lobmeyr Glass from the Permanent Collection. On view April 23, 2010–January 2, 2011 at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

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Filed under Places to know, Things to enjoy

Interview with an expert in homesickness

Homesick Austrian: Astrid, when can I expect to be back to happy?

Expert for homesickness, culture shock and other intercultural matters: That’s hard to say. It’s easier to say when you started to be unhappy: probably three months after your arrival. That’s when the culture shock typically kicks in. At the arrival, everything is new and exciting, but after three months, that thrill wears off and you start to see negative things only.

And how much longer will it last?

Depends on you, on how much you can—and want to—adapt to the country, …


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Filed under Tricks to know

Did you know that…

… 40.6 percent of New York’s inhabitants are not born in the US.  19.2 percent of the New Yorkers come from Latin America, 9.4 percent from Asia and 6.4 percent from Europe. So where ever you come from—you’re not alone!

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Showtime at the subway

This is absolutely amazing. This is New York at its best. I love it. 2 points for making the subway a stage.

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Filed under Moving around, Things to enjoy