I Hate I love Hudson Yards. Escape from NYC 2019.

Anyone familiar to NYC knows that malls aren’t common-place. You have your infamous shopping districts like soho, or your defunct Manhattan Mall where you can buy knock off Nikes and Hotdogs-on-a-stick, but a high end, fashion forward shopping mall is just something that Manhattan hasn’t supported, until now.

As a native New Yorker I hated Hudson Yards before it was even built. The idea of modern cathedral to illusive brands in the heart of what used to be the grit and grime of a soulful section of town was just footnote to the long diatribe about how Time’s Square used to be cool before Disneyfication. Anyone with proper experience will tell you it is easier to get an airline to wave a baggage fee then to have a New Yorker change their mind, yet here I was, upon first viewing of the glorious Hudson Yards, genuflecting as a complete convert. To my right was a frankly fighting concert hall with a retracting roof that looked like something out of a Michael Bay film. In front of me was a gleaming steel and glass palace to the finest retail humans could waist their hard earned coin on. At the center was, well, the Hive, the Giant Shawarma, the Mothership; a walkable art installation named “The Vessel” whose purpose was simply to amaze, and it does.

Dashing inside the mall you will encounter a shopping district similar to the grand concourses found in Singapore or Jakarta. Extremely exclusive shops, and high end restaurants inhabit the wide marble births of this cavernous 5 story womb to commerce. You can find anything here, from fashion to fragrance, candy to cars, and lots to nibble on in between. While you can opt for the extravagance of Milos, one of the finest restaurants in all of Manhattan, my personal favorite is Belcampo, part butcher part italian nibble shop, who’s hamburger is one of my favorites in the city; somehow light and airy while being extremely rich and lush at the same time. It’s best to grab a bite at one of the dozens of eateries before heading out to conquer The Vessel, and interactive art installation by madman Thomas Heatherwick which is comprised of over 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings offering some of the most unique views and instagrammable moments in the world.

I am the first person to admit I am horribly critical of anything new, especially when it changes the landscape of my beloved home NYC. It took me 40 of the 80 landings before I realized what “The Vessel” really offered; a fresh new perspective on a already well tread city. It is easy to make fun of The Vessel; it stands out sorely, serves no immediate purpose, and is for all intensive purposes a piece of pedestrian commercial art. Once inside however all that falls to the waist side as a unique and new view of the great city of Manhattan unfolds in front of you. The platforms form individual viewpoints, perfect picture frames that put you in heaven’s path above the bustling metropolis below. It is difficult, if not impossible to explain the feeling of being part of a piece of art, and a piece of a city, at the same time. Perhaps “purposeful grace” is about as close as I can come to explaining the calm satisfaction being in The Vessel.

It must be said that those who control the admittance do a fine job not to crowd the experience, giving you a timed ticket that you must procure ahead of time to enter the artpiece. Once inside you are left to your own devices, and while there are a decent amount of photofiends and instagrannys floating around, there seemed to always be enough space to make your digital mark online.

Hudson Yards is a mall. It has shops, restaurants, and corporate artwork. While it may not be the independent, born from strife and passion attraction that New York prides itself on, it is perhaps the best example of what commercial city planning can offer to an otherwise defunct section of a city. If nothing less, it offers some pretty good instagram moments and one hell of a burger.

Rs

 

The Museum of Failure is a win.

The Los Angeles Museum of Failure is a huge success in our books, with an in-depth albeit cheeky look at some of the worlds worst products throughout time. Located in the Hollywood and Highland shopping complex, this pop-up museum was created and curated by Psychologist and innovation researcher Dr. Samuel West, who was tired of success stories and wanted to share with the world the joy of pure failure.

It was an absolute pleasure walking through and laughing at the insane ideas that we’ve come up with as a society to try to make a buck, and you will not believe what takes the prize for “worst idea of all time” …

 

About CineClast:

 

Roberto Serrini is a professional filmmaker who records his adventures in word, photography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine, a senior contributor to Trip Advisor, a drone operator. and runs the travel channel TravelClast on YouTube. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well.

 

JOIN THE CLAST!

 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/travelclast

Instagram: @TravelClast

Twitter: @ClastTravel

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TravelClast

Blog: www.cineclast.com

 

Zip-Lining Lake Sebu, Philippines.

 

The greatest mistake I ever made.

I love adventure. Those who know me or have traveled with me know that I am up for anything. SCUBA, Sky Diving, Spelunking … you name it. So when I was approached with the possibility to go zip-lining in the Lake Sebu region of the Philippines, I said sure.

Dear God what a mistake.

I had never been so afraid in my life. 7 lines, the highest in Asia, 300 meters above sea level, extending over 750 meters, this was absolutely horrifying. The heigh is daunting, the length is daunting, but what is truly frightening is that its basically a rusty ol’ line, strung together by a bamboo platform, and you are being held up by a vest.

Im 220 lbs of Italian beef. That’s what made it real scary. I immediately went on a diet afterwards, and seeing I lost at least 5 lbs in fecal matter and fear-sweat on the ride, I considered it a good jump start.

Read about it in a much more comprehensive way here.

How to get a tattoo in China.

Shanghai! City of the living!

Not too long ago I found myself in this fantastic city on a shoot and after we wrapped our producer was lovely enough to take me and my DP out on the town to savor the delights that Shanghai had to offer. Strangely most of these delights came in liquid form, more specifically in this clear, liquid-lighning-bolt, lighter fluid called Baijui.

It started out friendly enough, but before I realized it it was 3am and we were in a tattoo parlor inside of a bar, and I had drunk something with a snake and starfish marinating in it. Now I have a permanent reminder of that night, and this video to jog my memory if I ever dare to forget it.

WARNING: The following is a true story. This could happen to you.

Drone Racing

As many of you know, I’m an avid Drone pilot. I’ve flown my quad all over, documenting the Arctic Circle, Cambodia, even P Diddy. I’ve focused on the cinematography aspect of flying, even given a few tips along the way, but never really considered racing the little beast before today.

Well lemme tell you… it’s a whole new day.

I got a chance to spend the day with the amazing pilots of the Liberty Cup Drone Race, and my mind was completely blown. This was the last qualifier before the national competition at Governor’s Island, and tensions were super high. I put together this little teaser just to give a taste of how fast these guys fly, and how hard they sometimes crash.

If you haven’t you definitely should.

Rs

Roberto Serrini is a professional traveler who records his adventures in wordphotography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine, a senior contributor to Trip Advisor, as well as a commercial film director and drone pilot. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well.

dear cops. I bought pot.

That’s right fuzz. I bought pot. Lots of it. Pot you can smoke, and some you can even eat. And what’s more… I smoked it. In my face hole. Yup.

So whatchagonnadoboutit?

Nothing. That’s right. Mainly because it was legal, as I bought it in Denver, Colorado; the new pothead’s playground.

bud

This is the first of a series of posts about the adventure I’ve had out mid-west. It was an eye-opening experience, and anything but sobering. I’m going to break it down into a few different chapters:

• The Beer
• The City
• The Food
• The Hotel
• and of course, The Pot.

First, a prelude.

Beyond just going to the mile high city to get stoned (yep, dodged the pun. You’re welcome) it was my yearly boycation with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Mr. Tom Taddeo. Tom and I lived with each other in a slick little Hell’s Kitchen apartment back when you could still smoke in the city. Since then we’ve been married, and some of us divorced, but  every year we set a long weekend aside to check in and check out a place we’ve never been. The choice to go to Denver went something like this:

Tom: “So where do you wanna go this year?”
Me: “Donno. Preferably somewhere with good food and beer. And pot.”
Tom: “So. Denver it is.”

And it was.

sxsw

It’s important, perhaps more than anything, to make the time to take the time in life. The younger version of me would be proud that I do that now, cutting out a few precious days to reconnect with an old friend who’s seen you drink your share, make a decent amount of bad decisions, and has become a ring in the trunk of your existence.

So I crossed the great divide to meet up with ol’ Taddeo and watched the fabric of the country roll out its quilt 30,000 feet below me. 29,000 feet later I was on land, but frankly it could have been the moon.

Denver, I would find out soon enough, is a very strange place.

Rs

plane