NYC Life Insider’s Guide: Winter Deals, Staten Island Ferry, China Town, Renewal, Restaurants and More

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Need an incentive to leave your home? Valerie Smaldone has the scoop on NYC’s Winter Outing offering awesome entertainment deals and more. Chinese New Year is around the corner and our roving photographer takes us on a tour of Chinatown. NYC & Company recently launched the NYC Asian Experience. If you missed your chance to buy a de-commissioned Staten Island Ferry, you’ll be happy to know its new owners are Saturday Night Live stars, Pete Davidson and Colin Jost. If you’re staying in, our Broadway Babe has some great YouTube finds. And it’s never too early to think about spring, and our RENEWAL SUMMIT returns live.


Anne Akers and Cheryl Benton are excited to announce the return of The Renewal Summit, May 13, 2022, at the beautiful Scandinavia House. This all-day event of speakers, panels and exhibitors will inspire us to LIVE, LOVE, AND BE HAPPY.

The venue is spectacular. Designed by the internationally renowned Architects Scandinavia House opened in October 2000, is the headquarters of The American-Scandinavian Foundation and offers many cultural and educational programming.

Our exciting program of panels and speakers will take place in their beautiful auditorium.

Gabrielle Carlson, and event co-hosts Cheryl Benton, Anne Akers

And our exhibitors, lunch, and wine reception will take place on the second floor overlooking Park Avenue.

And there is also a beautiful garden terrace. LIVE, LOVE, BE HAPPY.

A Wonderful Scandinavian Dining Experience

After our walkthrough of the beautiful event space at the Scandinavia House where our Renewal Summit will take place, Cheryl Benton, Anne Akers, and Gabrielle Carlson enjoyed a delightful early dinner in their restaurant, Smörgås Chef, located on the main floor. The airy, vibrant space features soaring ceilings, a massive birch tree installation in the dining room center, colorful Arne Jacobsen chairs, and a long white bar counter. And the food is amazing.

Specializing in fine Scandinavian cuisine, Smörgås Chef delights guests with a variety of Scandinavian sandwiches, salads, appetizers, entrées, and pastries. The food is fabulous! We dined on Swedish Meatballs, gravlax and herring, roasted chicken, and the most amazing desserts. They offer a very nice wine menu too. WED-SAT—11 AM-9 PM SUN—10 AM-3 PM. Get the details.

Welcome to Miami

We are excited to introduce you to our new Miami Life Insider’s Guide editor, Lois Whitman Hess. The newsletter will be published weekly and whether you live in Miami or visit from time to time it will chock full of fun things to do in this vibrant city. Read more.


Our roving photographer, Nicole Freezer Rubens takes us to Chinatown, one of the most colorful neighborhoods in New York City and especially leading up to Chinese New Year. The celebration also called The Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival, begins on February 1st and lasts for 15 days. 2022 is the year of the tiger.

Color plays a significant role in this celebration and throughout the Chinese culture. Color represents age old concepts still in existence today. Red, fire, yellow earth and green wood dominate. Red is the most important and signifies good fortune. It is worn and used on all special occasions to protect people from the mythical creature Nian.

Nicole says she can’t wait to go back to Chinatown during the holiday celebration and see the dragon and lion dances on the confetti covered streets. It is one of my favorite times in New York City. Happy almost New Year! Nicole is the author of The Long Pause and the Short Breath.  Follow her on Instagram@nfrconsult.

The Asian Experience in NYC

The Asian population in NYC continues to be the fastest growing major race and ethnic group, accounting for approximately 14% of the City’s population. New York is the Asian community’s second largest home in the US. NYC & Company (NYC’s convention and visitors bureau) recently created The Asian Experience to highlight and celebrate the culturally diverse communities throughout the five boroughs.

The new content hub includes neighborhood and culture guides, videos, interviews, articles, roundups of Asian-owned businesses and more, and will be updated on an ongoing basis. Check it out.

Look Who Owns a Staten Island Ferry

“Saturday Night Live” stars and Staten Island natives Pete Davidson (left) and Colin Jost (right) have purchased a decommissioned Staten Island ferry.NBC/ Getty Images

NBC News reports that Pete Davidson and Colin Jost used to ride the Staten Island ferry while growing up. Now they own one. The “Saturday Night Live” stars spent $280,100 at an auction to purchase a decommissioned Staten Island ferry boat, the John F. Kennedy build in 1965. The plan is to turn the boat into a live entertainment space for comedy, music and more.

Now Streaming: Betty White, Follies, Anything Goes, The Hit Parade

The Broadway Babe has some warm and wonderful upbeat things to watch to pass the time this weekend and avoid the freezing cold weather. There’s a 1987 special, “This is Your Life: Betty White”, our favorite golden girl; a 1954 Hit Parade, Follies, and Anything Goes. Watch now.


  • The tomato behind The Three Tomatoes. Cheryl Benton, aka the “head tomato” is founder and publisher of The Three Tomatoes, a digital lifestyle magazine for “women who aren’t kids”. Having lived and worked for many years in New York City, the land of size zero twenty-somethings, she was truly starting to feel like an invisible woman. She created The Three Tomatoes just for the fun of it as the antidote for invisibility and sent it to 60 friends. Today she has thousands of friends and is chief cheerleader for smart, savvy women who want to live their lives fully at every age and every stage. She is the author of the novel, "Can You See Us Now?" and co-author of a humorous books of quips, "Martini Wisdom." Because she's lived a long time, her full bio won't fit here. If you want the "blah, blah, blah", read more.

1 Response

  1. Celeste Champagne says:

    Anxiously await the details on the May 13 summit. Love the venue!

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