Saturday, January 29, 2011

The New York City Snowpocalypse of 2011

Hello loyal blog readers,

As you may have heard, New York City had a bold reminder this week that it is still winter. Some areas of the city had around 20 inches of snow fall in 24 hours and we ended up with about 19 inches where I live.
The snow went all the way up to the park benches even after being walked on.

The snow up to the fence in Union Square Park.

To those of you who are in Utah, this doesn't seem like much compared to what we're used to, but NYC rarely gets this much snow at one time, so it's a mighty big deal around here.
Snow covering Union Square Park - 
taken Thursday afternoon from my living room window.

My work event was canceled Wednesday night due to the storm, so I just watched the snowfall from my warm apartment. The snow was pretty much all I could see because my view of the city was blocked out by the clouds and the wind was blowing pretty hard so the snow was creating blizzard-like conditions.
My stormy view Wednesday night.

My usual view (how could anyone not love this city?!)

The storm stopped late Thursday morning and the sun came out for a little bit. I went out to the park by my place (Union Square Park) and took some photos. Schools were closed city-wide, so kids were out enjoying the snow. Most of them had never seen this much snow at one time so they were having a blast.
I loved this little girl all bundled up in her pink coat and boots. This was so me as a kid!

There's just something great about making snow angels and snowmen after a huge storm. Plus, if it's going to snow, I much prefer it to do something like this than just little skiffs of snow that don't amount to much.

This man built up a snow-home. The closest item is a "flat screen TV" and the one in the back
is a chair, complete with leg rest and a drink on the chair arm.  (click on the photo to enlarge)

I hope you enjoy the photos. And just click on "comments" below to leave any feedback you may have. Thanks! :)

All photos copyright Brooke Niemeyer. You may not reuse, republish, or reproduce without photographers written permission.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Former Aide to Tony Blair: GOP Presidential Nominee "Won't Be Expected"

Jonathan Powell, the former aide to Tony Blair.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

America will be surprised by who the Republican Party nominates for the presidential election in 2012, the former chief of staff to Tony Blair predicted last night.

"I have no clue who it will be," Jonathan Powell said at an event at the 92nd Street Y in the Upper East Side. "But it won't be the expected candidate. It will be someone who isn't big yet - not [Sarah] Palin or [Mitt] Romney."

With the upcoming nuptials between Prince William and Kate Middleton, Powell explained what his top concerns as chief of staff would be for a royal wedding.

"First of all, I'd be worried about a terrorist attack," Powell said.

After safety concerns were addressed, Powell said that making the wedding marketable would also be a priority.

"I would try to get popularity on the back of it," Powell said. "But lucky for them, this royal wedding seems to have done that on its own, especially with Americans."

Powell recently released his second book, "The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World," and believes the Italian philosopher would certainly have an opinion about Wikileaks if he were around today.

"Surely he wouldn't approve of it," Powell said.

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ladies-Only Social Club Shows How To Do Hair Right

Last night, I attended the Urban Girl Squad's hair styling event at Aveda where hair stylists gave women tips, hand and back massages, and everyone went away with a gift bag of styling products. I took some photos and created this NBC gallery. Check it out!

Monday, January 24, 2011

NiteTalk: Showbiz Boss Jim Caruso Dishes to Niteside

Showbiz boss Jim Caruso is the host of his own show, Cast Party, the Monday night soiree at Birdland, just steps away from the Broadway lights. But his involvement in the entertainment biz doesn't stop there. He toured with the legendary Liza Minnelli and performed at the President Clinton's first state dinner. He released a new studio album this month, which is currently in the top 100 Vocal Jazz albums on Amazon. Caruso gave a glimpse into his world when he sat down with Niteside this weekend. 

What was your favorite part of creating your latest album, "The Swing Set?"
Having it finished and in my very hands. (laughs) No, the choosing of the music was exciting. I've never done a studio recording before. I've done live CDs, so this was really a whole new experience. I wanted it to certainly have a jazz feel with the great American standards but some quirky songs too because I think that's what people, if they think of me at all, think of me doing. They think of me with kind of unique material and funny things, so we found some of those. ... It's kind of like what we do at Cast Party - it's a lot of friends entertaining each other at the piano and that's kind of the feeling I want on this album.

Let's talk about Cast Party. You've had some legendary guests, but who would you label as your favorite?
There have been some really historic moments there. The lyricist Betty Comden, from Comden and Green, made her last public appearance there I think. She came and she was all in black and diamonds and she still looked fantastic. She motioned to Billy Stritch, who was at the piano that night, and said 'Do you think it would be okay if I sang a song?' And of course we fainted. We got her right up and she sang a song called 'One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man' from a show that she wrote with her partners. She remembered every word and she was hilarious and got every laugh. She died maybe within the next year. That was something I'll never forget. And of course every time Liza comes, it's pandemonium. People freak out and she sings her head off. That's a woman that can stop a room.

Is there anyone you'd like to come perform that hasn't yet?
I do have a short list of people that I'm desperate to get in to Cast Party. I could say that they are my heroes growing up - Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett - I just know they'd love it. I have a feeling that Ricky Martin would really be into it. He has show business in his blood. He gets it and loves it. Kathy Griffin is somebody that I know pretty well. She'd never come in but I know she would think it would be hilarious.

Tell me about working with Liza Minnelli.
Oh Liza Minnelli... I could talk about her forever. I was on the road for three years with Liza in the show that became 'Liza's at the Palace,' which won the Tony. Nobody has been kinder and more supportive of me and my career than that lady. She's extraordinary. If you have her as a friend, you've got a friend.

What's next for you?
We are doing a very special Cast Party at Town Hall on February 17. It's going to be a benefit for Broadway Cares. That's going to be crazy great. Billy Stritch and I are also going to do Cast Party in Los Angeles in March and that's one of my favorite things to do. I love taking Cast Party on the road and celebrating local talent, which can be Carol Channing or it can be a songwriter that you've never heard of that blows you away. That's really exciting to me to be able to celebrate fabulous talent and to get to know these shockingly talented people all over the country. It's like my own Ed Sullivan show.

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Financial Expert: 2011 is the Year For Change

Author Ryan Mack during a discussion in Columbus Circle.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

Financial guru and author Ryan Mack says that even though this country is currently facing a bad economy, this is the year for everyone to take responsibility for their finances and make changes. 

"As far as I'm concerned, 2010 was the year that everybody was waiting on their ship to come in," Mack said during a discussion at the Borders in Columbus Circle last night. "But 2011 is the year we have got to swim out to it."

Mack released his new financial self-help book this month, "Living in the Village: Build Your Financial Future and Strengthen Your Community." He says it provides a road map on ways to have financial well being, but also strongly promotes activism.

"We provide the principles in the book," Mack said. "But a principle is only as good as the person who receives it and is able to implement it."

He adds, "I wrote this because I wanted to make sure that we all understand that we have a responsibility. I don't want to point the finger anymore. I'm tired of looking at other people and seeing what they're not doing. It's time to ask, 'what am I doing?'"

Greed is one of the problems Mack sites for the downward spiral of the economy, but says that if people work together to embrace change, there will be positive results. 

"If you mix greed with capitalism, then you've got some problems," Mack said. "But if you use love in a capitalistic system, you create jobs and a stronger economy."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Want to Learn About NYC? Avoid the Internet.

Kenneth T. Jackson speaking in Union Square.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

New York City is one of the most fascinating and culturally rich cities in the world. With all the details and history of this vibrant metropolis, Kenneth T. Jackson feels it is essential to have a compilation of credible information about the city for people to reference. So he helped create one, "The Encyclopedia of New York City."

Jackson edited the book's second edition, which was released last month.

"The Internet, whether it's Wikipedia or Google, has killed reference books around the country," Jackson said last night at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. "Even the Encyclopedia Britannica is no longer in physical form. But with this, you can turn to any page and learn things you didn't know about New York City and know it's all true. You can't do that with the Internet."

The second edition has over 5,000 entries and 700 illustrations. Jackson says that even though it is called an encyclopedia, it should be on coffee tables in homes, not just on a shelf in a library.

"The idea is to reach a general public with this book," Jackson said. "Not just to reach a specialized library reference audience."

Jackson, who is also a professor at Columbia University, was part of the team that released the original edition of it in 1995. He says the editors saw that New York City has changed in many ways since then, from the World Trade Center no longer being a part of the city skyline to the implementing of the E-Z subway pass, all of which are reflected in the second edition.

"I think there's more information about one city between the two covers of this book than any book on any other city in the history of the world," Jackson said.

With all the information Jackson learned about New York City during his research, he says there was one thing that surprised him the most.

"I was surprised that New York was the oyster capital," Jackson said. "I found out that half of all oysters in the world are brought in from the New York Harbor. I think that's surprising."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

'The New Yorker' Editor: "I Think Obama Will Be Re-Elected"

Editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

David Remnick, the editor of "The New Yorker," revealed his prediction of who will win the presidential election in 2012.

"I think that Obama will be re-elected," Remnick said during an event at the 92nd Street Y in the Upper East Side last night. "Right now, with nine percent unemployment, he still has a popularity rating of now high 40s and I don't see him losing."

He also listed a few candidates for the Republican nomination, but said he doesn't expect any of them to be able to beat Obama.

"I can't see Mitt Romney doing it," Remnick said. "And as many nightmares as I've had in my life, I can't see Sarah Palin either."

Remnick, who wrote the 2010 biography, "The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama," said he doesn't find fault with Obama for not having any CEO's in his first cabinet.

"I have to say that the people who feel underrepresented in the economic policy-making of the United States do not seem, to me, to be investment bankers and CEO's," Remnick said. "I think those interests are pretty well taken care of. Those people were rescued."

"I think the people in America who are underrepresented, who are angry and who are suffering, are the unemployed, the people who are graduating from college and are taking on jobs that they never could have imagined, the people who had their houses foreclosed. I find this so-called rage among the CEO's and business class, who feel somehow ignored and betrayed, to be comical."

Remnick said the constant news cycle changed the media, but that there's no point in reflecting on a time when we didn't have it.

"You can't wish away technology," Remnick said. "There's crap on the Internet and there's very good things on there too. It just is what it is."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fashion Guru Diane von Furstenberg: My Fans Are "Better Than Botox"

Fashion legend Diane von Furstenberg

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, who is best known for the iconic wrap dress she designed in the 1970s, said that her loyal fans and clientele are the ones keeping her young.

"The older I get, the younger my fan base is and that's very flattering," von Furstenberg said at the 92nd Street Y last night. "It's better than Botox."

Von Furstenberg is keeping busy with designing, but has also been working on a new retrospective happening in Beijing this April called "Journey of a Dress."

"It's a retrospective of my work in fashion, but it's also art," von Furstenberg said. "There are four vignettes with clothes, clothes, clothes. They are the four sides of the woman that I've been: one is American Dream, another is Studio 54, the third is Luxe, and the fourth one is Working Girl."

She says she's in her "second career," which started after her re-launch of DVF in the late '90s.

"The first time around I did everything by instinct," von Furstenberg said. "Now I do everything by experience, but I know my instincts were right."

Even though her line has expanded past fashion and into handbags and luggage, don't expect her to branch into creating anything for men's wardrobes any time soon.

"My mission in life is really to empower women," she said, "and to make us confident and sexy with clothes."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Author Brad Meltzer: Bush 41 Helped With New Book

Author Brad Meltzer's new book was released this week.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Presidential tradition dictates that an outgoing Commander-in-Chief leaves a letter for the incoming president, and the letter remains confidential between these leaders. But political author Brad Meltzer revealed last night that during research for his latest book, he received a copy of the message George H.W. Bush wrote to Bill Clinton.

"He sent this letter to me and told me that no one had ever seen this before," Meltzer said during a discussion at the Union Square Barnes & Noble. "I love that he trusted me with it."

The Brooklyn native's latest conspiracy novel, "The Inner Circle," was released yesterday. It's the story of a political archivist discovering secret stories and documents in the White House and solving political mysteries.

His discussion Tuesday night didn't just focus on politics. Meltzer, who also hosts "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" on the History Channel, also discussed how he feels the Facebook phenomenon is changing our culture.

"With Facebook, you are immediately confronted with your past," Meltzer said. "It's like someone is confronted with their own history and it makes you ask that question, which to me is the whole question of what the book is, is 'what has your life become?' I'm fascinated with that."

To answer that question, Meltzer said that even with all of his recognition he's had for his books and TV show, he has a different way of measuring success.

"No one is known in life for the famous things that they did," Meltzer said. "Thomas Jefferson never took credit for writing [The Declaration of Independence] while he was alive. IT wasn't until people read his obituary that they knew he was the author. That kind of humility, I think, is what makes a person. That is how I think you know when you have made it."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Author Rachel Machacek Hopes to Turn New Book Into a Movie

Rachel Machacek reads an excerpt from her new book.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

Author Rachel Machacek released her tome, "The Science of Single: One Woman's Grand Experiment in Modern Dating, Creating Chemistry, and Finding Love," this week and revealed last night that she is open to turning it into a movie.

"I have a friend in Los Angeles who is bugging me to turn this into a screen play," Machacek said last night at the Borders in Murray Hill. "I don't have any immediate plans, but I'd like to."

The book chronicles her dating experiences over a year and says she went on approximately 150 dates with around 60 different men during that time.

Machacek, 37, said her original idea for the book was to tell stories from dates where she implemented tips from romance self-help books, but her plans changed.

"I decided that was too boring," Machacek said. "Instead I decided to write about the science of the dating process" -- and this is where she got the title of her book.

Machacek lives in Washington D.C., a place she considers a "serious city," and says this doesn't make dating for an introvert easy. Because of this, she turned to technology, including online dating. She now says it's one of her preferred dating methods.

"It's the easiest way," Machacek said. "You just go online, click on people, put them in your shopping cart, you wink at them, or you hotlist them, or you flag them. It's just easy."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Former White Zombie Bassist Sean Yseult: "I Just Started a New Band"

Sean Yseult speaking at the Tribeca Barnes & Noble.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

Sean Yseult, the former bassist for the 90’s heavy-metal band White Zombie, revealed last night that she is returning to music, but this time with another group.

“I just started a new band, with some very good friends, called Star and Dagger,” Yseult said last night. “It’s kind of been dubbed Anita Pallenberg fronting Black Sabbath. It’s heavy with these very beautiful vocals.”

Instead of touring with a band right now, Yseult is out promoting her book “I’m in the Band: Backstage Notes From the Chick in White Zombie.” While at the Tribeca Barnes & Noble last night, Yseult said that going through her old boxes of band and touring memorabilia a few years ago is what prompted her to put together the book.

“The photo albums I had were filled with backstage parties and the tour diaries I kept were the biggest surprise,” Yseult said. “These were written diligently each night before I fell asleep, even though half the time I was half-past drunk.

The book is a compilation of photos and ticket stubs, as well as anecdotes from her years with the band.

“Most of the things I do remember play back like a movie in my head,” Yseult said. “Like riding in the Ramones van from gig to gig while we were on tour together or getting busted in a New Orleans graveyard with Lux [Interior] and [Poison] Ivy of The Cramps.”

With all the musicians she’s worked (and partied) with, she says without a doubt her favorite is Pantera.

“Those guys were like my big brothers,” Yseult said. While you’re on stage, just constant pranks and offstage too. They made passing 23 hours a day [on tour] an art form.”

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kevin Spacey: New "Superman" Will be "Very Dark"

Actor and director Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey, well known for his role as Lex Luther in "Superman Returns," revealed details about the next "Superman" film.

"To my knowledge, there is going to be another 'Superman' movie," Spacey said. "I think they have decided to reboot it and they are going very dark, from what I understand."

While he doesn't expect to play a role in that action film, he does have others in the works. An exclusive audience at the 92nd Street Y in the Upper East Side last night was privy to a screening of Spacey's latest film, "Casino Jack."

The drama is based on the alleged fraud scandal of Washington D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff, played by Spacey.

Spacey said that when he went to the prison to meet Abramoff for the first time, he wasn't concerned of being manipulated by the former lobbyist.

"I think he was so bitterly disappointed that Brad Pitt wasn't playing him," Spacey said. "So, seducing me wasn't a priority for him."

With Spacey's film credits ranging from the popular dramas "21" and "American Beauty" to the science-fiction film, "Moon," he says that no matter what role he's playing, he always finds a thrill in developing a character that audiences will become involved with and enjoy watching.

"One of the great pleasures of being an actor is that you're like a detective," Spacey said. "You've got all these clues about who the person is and you try to sift through them and create a film that is entertaining and fun."

This story ran on's NiteSide.