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NYC’s New Park Concept: Underground

First there was the High Line, an elevated park that brought new life to a rusty, unused-for-decades elevated subway rail on Manhattan’s west side. Well now there’s an idea floating around that would turn the whole concept upside down, literally. A subterranean park created from the long-abandoned Williamsburg Trolley Terminal, on Delancey Street in NYC’s Lower East Side. The station hasn’t been in service, or even used, since 1948.

The brain child of Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, this park—the Lowline—would be the first of its kind, and one of the very few green spaces on the LES. The first reaction people have, aside from fascination, is the more rational, “But how the heck are you gonna get plants to grow underground, away from the rays of the sun.”

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Call for Entries: 2013 Travel + Leisure Design Awards

Thoughtful design makes travel better, shaping everything from fashion and luggage to hotel rooms and city skylines. Now we want to know what inspires you.

The 2013 Design Awards winners, representing 12 categories, will be chosen by a panel of outstanding experts in their fields. Jury members include architect Deborah Berke; chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson; designer Reed Krakoff; Deyan Sudjic, director of London’s Design Museum; Stephen Burks, design director for Readymade Projects; interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud; and author and style maven Amy Fine Collins.

Last year’s winners included 25hours Hotel HafenCity in Hamburg, Germany (Best Large Hotel); Harpa Reykjavík Concert Hall & Conference Center in Reykjavík, Iceland (Best Performance Space); and Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx and Camélia restaurants at Mandarin Oriental, Paris (Best Restaurant).

If you’re excited about something that we should consider for the 2013 awards, please drop us an email at designawards@aexp.com or fill out an application here. The deadline for nominations is Monday, October 1.

The winning entries will be published in our March 2013 issue.

What to Do in the Host Cities of the Republican and Democratic Conventions

Republican Convention & Democratic Convention
cities

Three things you didn’t know about the host cities of this month’s political confabs.

Tampa, Florida

It’s the birthplace of the Cuban sandwich, invented in the suburb of Ybor City in the 19th century by cigar-factory workers, who stuffed flaky white bread with ham, pork, salami, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles. Try one at the Columbia (2217 E. Seventh Ave.; $), Florida’s oldest restaurant.

Set on the waterfront, Bayshore Boulevard has the world’s longest continuous sidewalk, measuring 4 1/2 miles. It’ll take you by the marina and some of the city’s most historic houses.

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The Kids Will Love: James Turrell's New "Skyspace" Installation

James Turrell's Skyspace

No, a UFO hasn’t landed on Houston’s Rice University campus—it’s the latest Skyspace from artist James Turrell. Named the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion (for a Rice alumna and Turrell’s former assistant), the ethereal installation frames the sky through an aperture in a thin steel roof; at dawn and dusk, colored lights transform the structure, creating a mesmerizing effect. The space also hosts concerts—fitting, since the renowned Shepherd School of Music is next door.

Photo by Casey Dunn for Texas Monthly

A Tribute to Copenhagen’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Far from the frenzied hype of most art-world capitals, contemporary art’s utopian aspirations come to rest 25 miles north of Copenhagen. There, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art strikes that rarest of balances between landscape, architecture, and art. In 1958, visionary Danish manufacturer Knud W. Jensen transformed a 19th-century villa on the Øresund strait into a Modernist oasis, adding low-slung glass pavilions and a surrounding sculpture park (the name is derived from the previous owner’s three successive wives, all called Louise). Today, despite numerous expansions, visitors still arrive through the villa’s modest entrance hall, as if coming to see an eccentric, slightly stodgy country uncle. But the latest in video art and photography await, alongside masterpieces by Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, and Alexander Calder, in dialogue with spectacular light and views, the wind, and the sounds of the sea.

Photo by Jens Frederiksen

Fearsome Faces and "Cuddle on the Tightrope" in Texas

201208-b-lucien-freud-portraitsjpg

One of the cultural highlights in London this spring was the exhibition Lucien Freud: Portraits, which encompassed seven decades of the work of one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, and arguably the greatest postwar portraitist.  Happily for American travelers, the show, organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Modern Art Museum Fort Worth, opened last month in Texas—its only other venue—and is on view through late October.  

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Instagram Phenom Andre Hermann Shows a Different Side of San Francisco

Andre Hermann photo

André Hermann, a 38-year-old photography instructor at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, has a rather interesting pastime: After creating 20 photography booklets filled with street images taken from his iPhone, he hides them all over the city, posting a clue to his blog each time. Why? To get people outside, of course, and to have them experience something new in their own home turf. With over 100,000 followers on Instagram and a huge fan base that covers several continents, the project has evolved into something much bigger, something that Hermann plans on expanding. We sat down to talk with him about how this project came about and where he sees it going in the future.

Q: So did you do this project to get to know the city more?

A: I actually know San Francisco really well. I made it my mission to walk all around. It’s finding the pulse of the city, finding its beat. You connect to it as a photographer and you find places that are overlooked, places that are new and or that you knew of already and had passed it, without ever exploring it. It’s street photography. I like watching people and look for things that catch my eye: similarities, contrast, contradictions. Thing like these moments that are overlooked because we’re too busy with our noses buried in our phones.

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Stresa: Italy's Best Kept Musical Secret

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Just as most summer music festivals are winding down in the United States and abroad, the Stresa Festival at Lake Maggiore, set on the southern banks of the Italian Alps kicks into high gear.  The festival runs a fortnight, August 24-September 8, and although this year marks its 51st season, the Settimane Musicali di Stresa may still be one of the best-kept secrets in the music world. But not for long.

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The Louvre Expands to Lens, France

201207-b-liberte-delacroix-paintingjpg

Beginning December 4, 2012, over 200 of the Louvre’s works will be on display in the museum’s new satellite in Lens, a northern city in the Pas-de-Calais department, Picardie.  The collection will remain in the museum, Galerie des Temps, for several years.

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Psychics! The Newest Trend in Art

The Tate Modern's Undercurrent

No, this isn’t part of a gypsy-laden renaissance fair. London’s The Tate Modern recently opened its doors to six psychics for the opening weekend of Undercurrent, a festival at the new The Tanks gallery running through August 27th. Images of crystal balls and large warts may fill your head, but according The Guardian, the trained fortunetellers' accessories and setting are much less theatrical; they sat in plain wooden booths inviting museum-goers to interact. 

The art exhibit was part of Jon Fawcett’s EIR installation piece, which opened the 11-day-long show. Undercurrent’s remaining exhibits include Touch and Vision, which blasts museum-goers with music and records the effects, and Tweet Me Up!, a spontaneous photography collaboration via proverbial social media outlets. The combination of off-the-wall acts is something no one could foretell. Well, no one but the psychics that is.

Kelsi Maree Borland is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by iStockphoto

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