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Opening: Eco-Friendly InterContinental Times Square

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Yesterday Times Square welcomed the InterContinental to the neighborhood. On the corner of 44th Street and 8th Avenue, this is the newest hotel to be built from the ground up in Manhattan in the past eight years. The eco-friendly hotel, which had a "vine-cutting" ceremony at the grand opening ceremony, is currently seeking silver LEED certification, and if granted, it will be the largest new-build hotel on the East Coast to attain this environmental badge of honor due to green initiatives such as low-flow toilets, local and recycled construction materials, and two green roofs on the seventh and second floors.

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Opening: SPRING-time in Paris

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Daniel Rose’s excellent Paris adventure has all the ingredients of the best-selling expat tale it may someday become: smart kid from Chicago thinks he might be an art dealer or maybe an architect, studies classical Greek in Santa Fe, winds up in Europe, becomes a cooking school rebel and a clandestine cook, spends time in Italy and Japan, gets kicked out of a three-star kitchen, cooks for royalty, finds the internship of a lifetime in Brittany, opens a restaurant in Paris to instant acclaim, becomes the hardest table in town to book, gets dumped by his wife, closes the restaurant at the peak of its popularity, finds true love and— fast forward to this week—opens a new rendition of Spring. It’s the most anticipated opening of the year—and it shows all the signs of enjoying similar success.

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Philly to Debut 360-Degree History in 3-D

Forget your Imax 3-D and your 3-D TV. I have seen the future, and it’s called Liberty 360. Philadelphia’s soon-to-be newest attraction, scheduled to open in July, will be a mind-blower: the first 360-degree 3-D experience ever devised. Audiences will stand on a cantilevered platform in the center of a cinematic cylinder, 50-feet in diameter and 8 feet high, and find themselves entirely surrounded by a three-dimensional movie that begins with Benjamin Franklin and a mysterious box in his workshop then takes viewers on a “journey of discovery” of America’s most beloved symbols.

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D.C. Travel: Dangerously Delicious Pies

As a child, many a muggy, summer evening was spent on the porch of my upstate New York home, sharing a piece of warm cherry pie with my dad while watching bright zigzags of heat lightening flicker across the sky.

It’s no surprise, then, that on a recent trip to Washington D.C., I found myself sliding onto a barstool at Dangerously Delicious Pies D.C., the second outpost of the Baltimore-based creation by pie man/rocker Rodney Henry.

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The shop, which opened on H-Street in early April, is a worthwhile addition to a casual weekend getaway or a serious, food-focused road trip—look for the bright red rocking chair outside the unassuming DDPDC and rock n’ roll photos on the two-toned red and black walls, and two tall pie safes stand like sentries flanking the counter, inside.

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Bienvenue Chez Ralph’s

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The new Ralph Lauren boutique in Paris is awe-inspiring by any measure: its combination of French artistocratic setting and American marketing savvy makes it a must-see. Not least of its accomplishments is the unveiling of a restaurant, right in the shadow of the Lipp, Flore and Deux Magots, that manages the dual feat of raising the bar on American cuisine in Paris and blossoming as a quintessentially French place to be—not unlike Harry’s Bar on the rue Daunou, or Joe Allen’s near the rue Montorgueil, but on a distinctly more fashionable plane.

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Donald Trump Jr. on the New Trump SoHo

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I confess: I’m a fan of The Donald. The swagger, the money, the hair, the catch phrase. My interest in The Apprentice, however, has waned, and I missed the TV show’s introduction of Donald Trump Jr. So, when the opportunity arose to chat up Donald 2.0 about the new hotel he’s overseeing (with his sister and brother)—the Trump SoHo, which opened Friday in New York—I couldn’t resist.

We met in the hotel’s library, a masculinely decked out space with deep chairs, thick tables, and books no one will ever read. Besides being well-coiffed and well-clad, DT Jr. is:
•    Confident. (“People said, ‘Isn’t it horrible they changed zoning code because of what you did?’ That’s the dumbest question I’ve ever heard.”)
•    Affable. (“What drives me? My father calling at 5 a.m. asking why I’m not in the office!”)
•    Self-deprecating. (“I’m probably the only graduate of the Wharton School of Finance to move to Colorado to work in a bar.”) Ok, kind of self-deprecating.

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First Luxury Hotel Opens in Peru's Sacred Valley

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Tambo del Inka
, the first luxury hotel to break ground in Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas (and Luxury Collection's second property in Peru), opened its doors today. Its location, smack in between the historic ruins of Machu Picchu and the modern city of Cusco, seems to be echoed in the hotel’s ethos—its 128 floor-to-ceiling-windowed rooms are decorated in keeping with ancient Peruvian tradition, while its bright, contemporary architecture (from Miami-based firm Arquitectonica) leaves no modern luxury to be desired.

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NYC’s New Eventi Hotel is Located in…

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In a city that seems to have a catchy nickname for every neighborhood (NoLita, TriBeCa, the Flatiron, et al), no one seems to know exactly what to call that part of Manhattan around Sixth Avenue and 29th Street. A few blocks southeast of Madison Square Garden and a few blocks southwest of the Empire State Building, the neighborhood tenants are nondescript costume jewelers, button-sellers to the trade, and wholesale import companies, interspersed with mom-and-pop markets and the occasional martial-arts supply store.

“It’s an area that you pass through to get somewhere else, but I think we’re going to change all that,” says Thomas Mathes, general manager of Eventi, a new 54-story hotel managed by Kimpton Hotels and set to open on May 15. “We call the area North Chelsea.” Which may be stretching the map coordinates a bit, but in any event it’s more attractive than, say, Garment Center South.

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Paris Dispatch: Eiffel Tower News, Cool Apps, Exhibits, More...

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You can now buy tickets for the Eiffel Tower online at www.tour-eiffel.fr (English section); it’s also possible to reserve online at both the 58 and the Jules Verne. Van Cleef & Arpels took home the Best iPhone Application award at the Stratégies / Firstluxe.com 2009 Awards. “A Day in Paris”, was inspired by the brand’s site: unejourneeaparis.com. The app traces seven romantic, interactive circuits in Paris with poetic stops along the way.

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You Slay Me: RBC Coffee

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RBC Coffee, which opened last month in Tribeca, is quickly becoming one of New York's favorite coffee spots (it's barely been open for a month and it's already nominated for a 2010 Time Out NY EatOut Award!).

And with good reason: these people are serious about coffee. The passionate baristas here pull awe-inducing shots of espresso from their super hi-tech Slayer machine. While many focus on the $18,000 price tag of this machine (this is the only one on the East Coast), it's what comes out of the machine that makes it so incredible. The Slayer's variable pressure brewing, or "pressure profiling" allows baristas complete control over every aspect of the brewing process in order to create impeccable texture and flavor.

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