A visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC

Photos by Aaron Lubarksy

An advertisement for the Whitney on the stairs of the New York City subway

Earlier this year, the Whitney Museum of American Art opened its new location in the Manhattan Meatpacking District. Our contributors visited the museum and liked the building, which they considered a work of art in itself, and its contemporary art collection.


A sculpture on one of the Whitney’s terraces

They saw famous paintings by contemporary artists Edward Hopper, Willem De Kooning, Barbara Kruger, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. They also appreciated the surrounding neighborhood full of markets, restaurants and views, and took advantage of their visit to explore the area near the building.


A site-specific exhibit by Mary Heilmann on the largest outdoor gallery at the museum

Spa indulgence in Nevis

Article and photos by Elena del Valle

One of several outdoor areas at the Four Seasons Spa

One of several outdoor areas at the Four Seasons Spa

Heading to the tiny island of Nevis in the West Indies I was unsure what to expect in the way of spas. I was pleased to discover several options. I tried three facilities, the spa at the island’s largest and best known resort, a family run spa and salon in a residential area, and a small salon in the main town of Charlestown, both locally owned.

 The Compassionate Touch Spa and Salon was in a residential area

The Compassionate Touch Spa and Salon was in a residential area

Valencia Griffin, co-owner and therapist, Compassionate Touch Spa and Salon

Valencia Griffin, co-owner and therapist, Compassionate Touch Spa and Salon

The spotlessly clean 1,848 square foot Compassionate Touch Spa (Nisbet Estate, Saint James Parish, Nevis, +1 869 469 9748, +1 718 594 1712,wwwcompassionatetouchspa.com, tdgriff@sisterisles.kn) in a tranquil village on the north side of the island could accommodate up to five guests at a time. Because we arrived late my Nevis Therapeutic Massage was cut short, although there was time for an owner led walk through the facility before my treatment. Established in 2001, the spa had been renovated in 2007. In addition to owners David and Valencia Griffin there were three staff. Ms. Griffin trained at the Nothern Institute of Massage of the Essex School of Beauty. There was a wet treatment room, a pedicure room, three massage or facial rooms, one manicure room and a waiting area. There were lockers, robes and slippers.

Tip Toes Nail Salon was in the main town of Nevis

Tip Toes Nail Salon was in the main town of Nevis

 Calette James, owner, Tip Toes Nail Salon

Calette James, owner, Tip Toes Nail Salon

I stopped in Charlestown for a massage by Calette James at the Tip Toes Nail Spa and Beauty Haven (Hunkins Plaza, Charlestown, Nevis, +869 762 4500, tiptoesnailsspa869@gmail.com), a facility near the main road. It had a reception area and a treatment room. Guests had access to a locked and clean shared restroom behind the salon.

My smoothie and a bento box with fresh fish and the The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Nevis tasted as good as it looked

My smoothie and a bento box with fresh fish at The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Nevis tasted as good as it looked

 The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Nevis (P.O. Box 565, Pinney’s Beach, Charlestown, +869 469-1111, http://www.fourseasons.com/nevis/spa/spa_overview/, spaConcierge.nev@fourseasons.com) was located within the resort, which in turn was on Pinney’s Beach. Open to hotel guests and the public the spa was popular, though not crowded, while I was there in the low season. A staff of 23 worked at the 12,000 square foot establishment with 12 treatment rooms, six outdoor freestanding cottages and six indoor treatment rooms.

The heated jacuzzi at The Four Seasons Spa

The heated jacuzzi at The Four Seasons Spa was popular

 The manager at the Four Seasons Spa

The manager at the Four Seasons Spa

During several hours of spa indulgence I spent time in the outdoor volcanic stone whirlpool bath, cold plunge sala style pool with viewing deck of Nevis Peak (Mount Nevis) and a golf course, had a Spa Cuisine Bento Box Lunch made fresh at the resort, and received a Nevisian Massage (no longer available) in an outdoor cottage. The spa manager, Bernadette Gonnet, was in the reception area when I arrived and made several helpful suggestions. The staff members I met were friendly and the facilities quiet and pleasant. It was one of the highlights of my Nevis trip.

Bloomington trail offered pedestrians, cyclists space, greenery amid central urban setting

Article and photos by Elena del Valle


Signs along the trail described its history

During a recent stay in Bloomington, Indiana I discovered the B-Line Trail, a 12 food wide asphalt, multi-use 3.1 mile pedestrian and cyclist pathway, when I asked about jogging near my centrally located hotel. Meetings and activities kept me busy the majority of the days and into the early evenings. Taking advantage of the little free time I had at my disposal in the early mornings I set out to explore as much of the trail as I could.


One of five different exercise devices in three fitness stations on the trail, south of First street

It ran from the east side of Adams Street, through downtown, past the switchyard property, to the north side of Country Club Drive. It had well marked ground level street crossings at the intersections. Many of the cars stopped or slowed down when they saw pedestrians at the crosswalks. There were pedestrian bridges over Third Street and Grimes Lane. There were paved plaza areas next to City Hall, at the WonderLab Museum, behind the Convention Center, and at Seminary Square shopping center. There were exercise stations, benches and public art scattered along the trail, especially near the downtown section.


There were signs highlighting spots along the trail

Perhaps because of the summer break it was a bit lonely jogging in the predawn hours. Some of the graffiti peppered under bridges and abandoned buildings spooked me at first. As the sun rose, there were more people cycling, walking, jogging and walking their dogs. Some took advantage of the two foot wide gravel shoulders on each side.


A view down the trail in the early morning from one of the bridges

Every so often there were garbage bins, bags for dog poop, and new looking LED street lamps on the trail. Even in the area furthest from downtown Bloomington it was never dark for very far on the path. Along the green sections, bird song mixed with the background buzz of early morning traffic and the mechanical sounds of nearby construction. Every once in a while I spotted birds. One mornings, I saw a rabbit next to the trail.


One of many signs that marked the trail path

Signs described the project, which was accomplished by the city through land acquisition for the three-mile former rail corridor (most of the costs, 80 percent, were funded by federal grant dollars). Other signs highlighted historical landmarks and public art. There were eight art pieces on the trail. I noticed a weathered steel sculpture titled “Dancing Spirit” near downtown. Some of the buildings I passed had murals made possible by a city grant.

The city had bought 28 acres of land adjacent to the southernmost section of 1.25 miles from Grimes to Countryclub in the abandoned former McDoel Railroad Switchyard.  Administrators planned an addition to be named Switchyard Park and meant to feature outdoor performing arts venues, active recreational sport courts, walking trails, skatepark, splash pad, playground, and large multi-use facility.

Every morning I looked forward to my walks and jogs on the trail. They allowed me to exercise and discover a little of the city and its history, including some brush and greenery. On the path, I came across a convenient grocery store and a small cafe where I bought nutritious and tasty smoothies. The next time I visit Bloomington, I will seek accommodations near the B-line Trail. Perhaps by then the Swityard Park project will be complete.