Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

We’ve Moved to a New Site!

Hey all!

In celebration of the upcoming school year, The Observatory is turning over another leaf. Visit our new location at for all our old posts, plus a dazzling new design and the promise of fresh, fancy posts in the upcoming school year. We’re headed for big things, y’all. The Observatory is about to change. Your. Life.

So, head on over to the new digs and update your bookmarks. Here’s to a bright, shiny school year!


Get Your FREE Cone Today until 8 p.m.!

Cristina Romano

Image courtesy of

Happy Ben and Jerry’s Free cone day! From now until 8 p.m. Ben and Jerry’s will be scooping out their delicious ice cream for free (yes, FREE!) While this offer is good at all Ben and Jerry’s locations, the two Scoop Shops closest to FCLC are the 104th and Broadway location or the 30 Rockefeller Plaza location.

Maybe you’ll use this opportunity to try a new, interesting flavor. According to Ben and Jerry’s, all Scoop Shop locations are now offering:

  • “Late Night Snack” (Inspired by Jimmy Fallon) – Vanilla ice cream with a salty caramel swirl and fudge-covered potato chips.
  • Bonnaroo Buzz – Light coffee and malt flavored ice creams with a Whiskey caramel swirl and English Toffee Pieces
  • Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream – Vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl.
  • Clusterfluff – Peanut butter ice cream with caramel cluster pieces and peanut butter and marshmallow swirls.

However, if you are not feeling brave or adventurous, you could always just go for the classic vanilla or chocolate. So, what are you waiting for? Brave the gloomy weather and go get yourself a cone! After all, everything tastes better when it’s free, right?

Categories: Food, Lifestyle

A Single Crane Can Make a Difference

Cristina Romano, staff blogger

On March 11th, the entire world was devastated by the news of the massive earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan. Even though we are a half a world away at FCLC, we can still help raise money for those who were affected by this unspeakable tragedy.

From 11:30 a.m- 2:30 p.m. today on the Plaza, the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) will be sponsoring Paper Cranes and Fundraiser for Japan For every paper crane that is constructed, will donate $2 towards reconstruction efforts. Don’t know how to make paper cranes? Have no fear – members of APAC will be there to teach you! Or, you can watch the video above for some practice.

FCLC’s event is part of a worldwide effort with Students Rebuild and Their goal? To receive over 100,000 cranes, so a donation of $200,000 can be made to help rebuild Japan. However, if you can’t make the event on the Plaza today, you can also show your support by visiting the Paper Cranes for Japan Facebook page Once you visit the page, you can upload a picture of the crane that you made along with a message of support. It may sound like a simple task, but a single crane can really make a difference in helping everyone who was affected by this horrible tragedy.

Categories: Lifestyle

Spring Break! The Manhattan Edition

Cristina Romano, staff blogger

Has exam week left you completely exhausted? Well, have no fear; spring break is officially three days away! However, if your spring break plans do not involve islands with warm, tropical beaches and palm trees but instead involve the island of Manhattan, here are some ideas on how to spend your week (besides sleeping, of course!)

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (Even if you are not Irish!): Head over to the East Side on Thursday, March 17th to be a part of a New York tradition that has been taking place since 1762. The parade, which starts at 11 a.m. on 44th St., heads uptown on 5th Avenue and ends at 86th St around 5 p.m. According to the official parade website, the best viewing spots are above 66th St, in order to avoid the crowds, or on the steps of the Met to see the marchers disband at the end of the day.

See a live talk show taping (without leaving the neighborhood!): One of the beauties of FCLC is that you can walk out the doors of McMahon, and be within a short walking distance to the set of three talk shows. Why not take advantage of not having an 8:30 class and be a part of a live studio audience?

  • The Wendy Williams Show (tapes M-F at 10 a.m.): Head down to 433 W. 53rd St (between 9th and 10th) no later than 8:30 a.m. to be considered for standby tickets to see Wendy Williams! Even though it is still early in the morning, the energy on the Wendy Williams set will be sure to wake you up!
  • Live with Regis and Kelly (tapes M-F at 9 a.m.): Head to the corner of 67th and Columbus Ave. as early as 7:30 a.m. to receive a standby number. While admission is not guaranteed, the earlier you arrive to the studio, the better your chances are of being a part of the studio audience!
  • The View (tapes M-R at 11 a.m.): Head behind Lincoln Center to 320 W. 66th St (at West End Ave.) between 8-9 a.m. to receive a standby number from a View Audience Associate who knows, you may be lucky and get to be a part of the studio audience!

Yes, you can still go ice skating! Even though it is March, Trump-Wollman Rink (located near 59th and 6th ave.) is still open until the end of the month! Beat the crowds, and head over there on a weekday during the daytime hours, while everyone else is still in school. The rink is open Mon – Tues from 10 a.m.- 2:30 p.m., Wed-Thu from 10 a.m- 10 p.m. as well as Fri-Sat 10 a.m- 11 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m-9 p.m. For more information about hours or skate rentals, visit the Central Park website.

Categories: Entertainment, Lifestyle

“Where there is woman, there is magic.” Ntozake Shange at Brooklyn Museum

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Monique John

Blogger Monique John poses with Micaela Angela Davis, Ntozake Shange's interviewer.

Walking in the biting cold on the evening of Feb. 10, I sped down the Eastern Parkway and across the expansive courtyard entrance to the Brooklyn Museum’s Thursday @ 7 series, on my way to see Ntozake Shange, the award-winning playwright and author of the choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. She spoke about her writings and read from her latest work, Some Sing, Some Cry.

Shange’s For Colored Girls is a profound piece of literature, as its collection of monologues describing black women’s experiences of abortion, domestic violence, relationships, and self-love has inspired countless figures in the theatre world, and touched the minds and hearts of generations of black women since it was written in 1975. I was curious to meet the woman who so beautifully intertwined pain and hope for the future of colored girls in America and eluded the spotlight when the film version of her play created a media craze last fall.

As she entered the stage, I could see why her interviewer, Michaela Angela Davis, a renowned cultural critic and writer, had dubbed Shange “the priestess of the feminist movement.” Her dress had swirls of colors like tangerine, mustard, and olive dragged with a small trail across the floor and her emerald green eye shadow glimmered across her amber-colored skin. Each piece of jewelry she wore looked like it came from a different part of the world. As Shange began to speak, I was shocked by the drawl in her voice; I later learned that her voice became deep and slow after she suffered a series of strokes since 2004. But Shange soon told the crowd that she doesn’t let her sickness keep her from her work, and her warmth and energy still filled the hall.

The dialogue between Shange and Davis was rich and insightful. They started by discussing Some Sing, Some Cry, a book Shange wrote with her sister, Ifa Bayeza, that chronicles the lives of seven generations of black women connected to one another by music. In addition to talking about Shange’s literary works, she and Davis discussed urgent issues for black women today in unemployment, the need for blacks to partake in the feminist movement, and their thoughts on the political protests in Egypt. Their conversation was one that should have been heard by more than the ninety people sitting in the hall of the museum, as it was a frank exchange of ideas on how black women can improve themselves and their status in society.

Interested in checking out the Brooklyn Museum’s Thursdays @ 7 series yourself? Go to next month’s meeting; Lorna Simpson, artist and photographer, will be talking about her latest book, Gathered, and the history of women’s strive for beauty and desirability in the media with Deborah “Deb” Willis of the Tisch School at New York University. Find out more at:

Categories: Entertainment, Lifestyle

“Carbon Nation” Offers Solutions, But Fails to Captivate a Nation

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Katie Lockhart, assistant arts editor

The filmmakers behind “Carbon Nation,” a self-titled “climate change solutions movie,” don’t even care whether audiences believe humans are at fault for climate change. They’re more interested in the people working to stem the effects. Yet, while director Peter Byck offers good ideas on how to cut carbon emissions, he doesn’t offer much in terms of cinematic quality, entertainment value or a level of inspiration that would drive people to change their energy consumptions habits.

The film focuses on the idea that we must rid Earth of 16 terra-watts of carbon dioxide and “promote cleaner energy in the U.S.” For 82 minutes, Byck jumps between interesting individuals who are doing their part to reduce carbon emissions. Cliff Etheridge is a quirky, one-armed rancher who is making a fortune off wind farms in Texas. Van Jones is not only empowering residents of low-income California
neighborhoods by helping to create jobs installing residential solar panels, but also helping them reduce their carbon footprint. The green
go-getters highlighted in the film are quite remarkable, but the film in general is not. The picture quality of the on-camera interviews and
computer-animated videos may remind viewers of a health class video shot in the early 1990s.

Regardless, the underlying message is what’s most important. As the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman eloquently puts it in the
film, “Green baby, is the new red white and blue!”

“Carbon Nation” is playing at Cinema Village in New York City beginning Feb. 11. Click here for more info.

Categories: Entertainment, Lifestyle

It’s Time to Celebrate World Nutella Day!

February 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Cristina Romano

Eating a Nutella Bomboloni is one of the many ways you can celebrate World Nutella Day on February 5th. (Photo by Cristina Romano)

It’s time to forget that other February holiday, and celebrate one that is a little more meaningful – World Nutella Day. In its fifth year, World Nutella Day takes place on Saturday, February 5th, and what better way to celebrate than to take a spoon and dig straight into the jar of chocolate-hazelnut goodness. However, if you want to try something a little different, there are a few places in the neighborhood that can provide you with your Nutella fix.


Head to 187 Columbus Ave (between 68th and 69th) to Bomboloni and you will find yourself in a Nutella-lovers paradise. Bomboloni, which is the name for an Italian donut, offers over twenty flavors of these crème filled Italian treats – and you guessed it, Nutella is one of the flavors (pictured above). Each Bomboloni is only $1.50, but I dare you to eat only one (I tried, It’s not possible…)

If you head a little further uptown to to 176 W. 72nd (at Amsterdam Ave.) you will find yourself at Grandaisy Bakery where you can pick up a few Nutella cookie sandwiches. Sounds simple, but how could you possibly go wrong with a thin layer of Nutella sandwiched in between delicious sugar cookies? As if the thought of Nutella cookie sandwiches could not get any better, they are then topped off with a layer of powdered sugar – talk about delicious!

Once you come back from Bomboloni and Granddaisy (that is, if you aren’t paralyzed by a food coma) visit Grom on 1796 Broadway (right by Columbus Circle) and warm up with a cup of cioccolata calda al “Bacio” This is not your average Swiss Miss hot chocolate. The “cioccolate calda al Bacio” tastes like hot, melted Nutella in a cup. You will never go back to regular hot chocolate again…trust me.

Have a happy and delicious World Nutella Day!

Categories: Food, Lifestyle