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The UWS has restaurant rows on Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus.

The UWS has restaurant rows on Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus.

The food desert that characterized the Upper West Side restaurant scene for much of its history has been replanted over the last few years with with an amazing array of options. These days you can find most any cuisine and at almost any price level. One result is that restaurants are often packed—on a beautiful evening it’s possible to walk the length of Amsterdam Avenue, for example, coming back up Broadway or Columbus Avenue while spotting nary a single empty table.

We lay out a few of our favorites here, even as we mourn the many that have closed since the last time we did this, with our guide to Eating Well on the Upper West Side of Manhattan: 10 Moderately Priced Restaurants. But know that there are many more. If you get turned away from one, just head next door. We start at the northern fringe at Manhattanville, head through Morningside Heights and down to Columbus Circle, taking an expansive definition of the Upper West Side.

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Academy Award director Steven Spielberg, the man who gave birth to the summer blockbuster and has given us Jaws, Indiana Jones, E.T, Jurassic Park, and many more classic characters and films started production on his 28th feature film in Dumbo this past weekend. Instead of trendy coffee shops and unique boutiques, we saw vintage street signs and advertisements. While we don’t know if Spielberg showed up to block and direct actors, or this was the work of a second unit, seeing the production team remove video cameras and paste advertisements that resembled the time period was a little glimpse at how the magic of movies are made.

The film, a cold war drama (provided with a script co-written by none other than the Coen Brothers) is based on a 1960 U-2 incident when an American spy plane was shot down over Soviet soil two weeks before a summit was to be held in Paris. The U.S tried to cover up their intentions to the Reds but the plot was soon out in the open when the plane and its pilot, CIA Agent Francis Gary Powers was found with photos of Soviet military bases.

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Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading in the HQ today:

NYC-Camouflage-Trina-Merry-bodypaint-series-UntappedCities-Central Park-001  Central Park, image via Trina Merry

Trina Merry, a painter and photographer from New York, just released a striking series of photographs that feature female subjects painted and positioned to camouflage seamlessly into iconic New York City backdrops. As featured on Refinery 29the artist has the following motive in “New York City Camouflage”:

“My series is an homage, and a challenge, to Big Apple women who feel the need to blend in with everyone else in Gotham. I think many women move here hoping to live ‘Sex and the City’ lives when the reality is most women have to ditch their fancy designer heels on the subway for more practical sneakers.”

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Twice a year, Fashion Week descends upon New York like a swarm of well-dressed bees. There are clothes! There are models! There are famous people! There is media attention! Here’s my brief brush with fame for the week: on my way to sketch night on Tuesday I was annoyed to find my path blocked by a herd of excited people staring at the door of the Belstaff store on Madison Ave. Uggghhh, I thought, get out of the waaaay. A small army of photographers were laying in wait with cameras at the ready, each of them dressed in black. Which celebrity was about to grace us with their anointed and highly-paid presence? And out sauntered a grinning David Beckham in a leather jacket, followed by a trail of lesser-known models, also in leather. It was a really nice jacket.

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There is something magical about finding a place in Central Park where you can look all around you and not see any buildings poking above the treetops. It’s as if you’ve found a portal in the middle of the country’s biggest city. Such spots are surprisingly rare because of how narrow Central Park is and the height of its surrounding buildings, but they can definitely be found. We’ve listed seven of our favorites below. If you know of any others, feel free to add them to the interactive map above or leave a comment on the post!

1. The Loch

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Just below the Pool is a charming little manmade waterfall that flows into the Loch, which winds its way northward through a ravine. The Lochs course presents multiple opportunities for building-less spots because of its low elevation and overhead vegetation. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the scenery; you can make out a man painting the landscape on the far right of the above panorama.

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