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Mustard Day untapped cities afinelyne

It is said that mustard is the second most used spice in the United States today, brought here by immigrants from all over the world and sold in tins and glass jars. For National Mustard Day on August 1st, we are staying close to home by honoring the old and the new companies that operate here in New York City, as well as around the country.

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6sqft punta cana bodega gentrification-NYC-Untapped CitiesImages via Doug Cameron

Have you ever been struck by a food craving so powerful you couldn’t think about anything else? Chocolate, french fries, maybe a fresh skimmed pond scum smoothie.

Involuntary gag aside, pond scum smoothies, Oxacan sea salt taco rubs, and Barnyard Scent country deodorant are just the kinds of exciting new products that marketing experts Doug Cameron and Tommy Noonan think will revitalize their newest client, the lunch counter Punta Cana in Washington Heights. The bodega, touted as a popular eating joint on the corner of Broadway and 162nd Street for the past 30 years, has fallen hard due to spiking rents. Cameron and Noonan’s posters, advertising unsightly new products for ridiculous prices as part of their ‘Artisanal Landlord Price Hike Sale,’ are meant to raise awareness of rising rents threatening smaller businesses in the area.

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Lady Mendl's Tea Salon-Untapped Cities-AFineLyneLady Mendl’s Tea Salon in the Inn at Irving Place   Image via Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon

Afternoon tea emerged sometime between the 1830’s and 1840’s. So says the book “A Social History of Tea” by Jane Pettigrew, the well–known tea historian. Since lunch was light, and dinner no earlier than 7:30 pm, it was that pleasant bit of sustenance in mid–day. Called “Low Tea” because of the low chairs and tables, the offerings have not changed much over time, consisting of crustless finger sandwiches, scones, cakes, and other nibbles, in addition to a full complement of teas. It was very much a part of the fabric of the time, and has lasted, in various forms and in many Countries, through today.

Generally beginning sometime after 3 pm, Afternoon Tea in New York City runs the gamut, from the formal to the funky. Some with a bit of an ethnic twist and some designed specifically for kids. Some require sophisticated casual attire and others are just plain casual. Held in hotels and restaurants, they conjure up images of days gone by. But in fact, it is a wonderful break in our modern-day life, when friends can meet without the time and commitment of dinner, or without the noise you might find having a drink in a bar. It is a time and place where the frenetic urban air is left at the door. We’ve picked out twenty–five places, in no particular order, for you to have your Afternoon Tea, and hope you will add to our list with your favorites.

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midsummer night swing-NYC-Untapped CitiesLincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing. Image via glenwoodnyc.com

This Saturday, America will set the skies ablaze in honor of its 239th birthday. Admittedly, fireworks never look quite as spectacular as they do on the 4th of July, especially over New York City’s iconic skyline. But we feel for some New Yorkers who might have grown tired, over the years, of watching the same old show over the Hudson River (now East River, thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s firm stance on New York fireworks strictly for New York). Here are a few ways we found to enjoy the holiday with a new twist.

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William Wall Clubhouse-Manhattan Yacht Club-Sailing Club-Ellis Island-Jersey City-Surf City-Statue of LIberty-004

The Honorable William Wall (aka the “Willy Wall”) is the floating clubhouse of the Manhattan Yacht Club, anchored in the New York harbor just near Ellis Island. The open air bar has incredible views of downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty (and neighboring Brooklyn and New Jersey, of course). Indeed, the clubhouse was designed specifically for taking in the sailboat races and you’ll notice it is more of a viewing platform and barge rather than a sleek yacht. (We admit it was a bit cloudy yesterday, but we’ll be back to get more photos soon).

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Pneumatic Coffee Shop Roasting Plant-NYC-Untapped Cities-Jinwoo Chong-5

Mike Caswell, founder of NYC’s Roasting Plant coffee shops, has an engineering degree. To be completely honest, there isn’t any away he couldn’t have an engineering degree, judging from the system of vacuum-aided pneumatic tubes that automatically sort, roast, and transport a variety of coffee beans around the space of his two Manhattan stores. He calls the whole setup Javabot, the roasting component of which is visible through the store’s window and is frequently Instagram-ed by passersby.

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