New York City | A Continuous Lean.

The Art of Eating.

Mar 3rd, 2015 | Categories: Art, History, New York City | by ACL Editors

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Filet Mignon for a buck eighty five, a salad for sixty cents, a baked potato for a quarter, a glass of beer for a dime.

In 1941 you could get a solid meal at the famous Keen’s Steakhouse here in New York for less than three dollars. That in of itself is extraordinary, but what’s even more extraordinary is how the menu looked. Back in the forties, Keen’s menu was a real work of art. The cover of the medieval inspired menu proudly displayed the Keen’s story, each page was bordered by smiling vegetables, and “To-Day’s Selections” were announced by a lute playing minstrel musician. And this was just one menu from one restaurant.

Back in the day, all menus were an art form in their own right. They would often feature hand-drawn figures, ornate scripts, bracketed sections, and frame-worthy covers. These boastful bills of fares were a canvas for creativity, regardless of the quality of the dishes which were listed on their pages. This is somewhat of a flip on today’s culinary trends, as most restaurants today hand out plainspoken menus, yet peddle some truly beautiful dishes. While the menu has become mundane now, we can fortunately still revisit the artistic menus of the past through the New York Public Library’s extensive online archive of menu’s from New York City restaurants. With over seven thousand menus, the archive is a real feast, our only recommendation is that you don’t visit on an empty stomach. Some of our favorites after the jump.





A Signal Through the Noise of NYFW

Feb 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Fashion Week, Jake Gallagher, Menswear, New York City, NYFW | by Jake Gallagher

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J. Crew

You’ve all seen the Instagrams. You’ve all read the tweets. You’ve maybe even looked through a collection or two. That’s right, Fashion Week has blown through New York City like a down-filled, blanket-wrapped, wax coated tornado. For anyone with even a remote interest in men’s clothing (which if you’re reading this site, is probably you) NYFW is an unavoidable cacophony of runway looks, street style images, and blurry Instagram photos. To be quite honest though, most of what goes on during this week has little to no relevance for the average guy. Many of the labels that show here in New York skew toward the avant garde and even those designer whose names you might actually recognize often show conceptual looks which will never make it stores, let alone your closet. So in an effort to skim the fat, we bring you our favorite fits from this year’s New York Fashion Week. And by favorite, we mean the ones which might actually inspire or inform your clothing purchases for the year ahead.  Enjoy our simply presented signal through the NYFW noise.





Kubrick the Kid Captures the City

Feb 19th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, History, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

Kubrick

Long before Stanley Kubrick became the revered auteur responsible for films like A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket, he was just a kid with a camera. And he truly was a kid. Kubrick was just seventeen when was hired as a staff photographer by the now defunct Look Magazine. As a native of the Bronx, Kubrick was a keen observer of the intricacies of the city, and throughout his five year career behind the lens, he portrayed the ins and outs of ordinary life in New York. From clubs to classrooms, from street corners to circuses, from boxing rings to bars, Kubrick shot society at all levels, capturing the collective frenzy of New York City in the late 1940’s. Below are just a smattering of the more than fifteen thousand images which Kubrick amassed from 1945 to 1950, but all of them can be found online at the website of the Museum of the City of New York.

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The Polo Bar | A Fifth Ave Time Capsule

Feb 3rd, 2015 | Categories: Drinking, Food, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

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“There’s no photos allowed, sir.” At first I’m insulted, and then I realize that I’m the one that has crossed the line. Of course, there wouldn’t be photos allowed at The Polo Bar. Not because the restaurant has anything to hide, but because the mere sight of a cell phone might upset the meticulous atmosphere at Ralph Lauren’s time warp in the form of a Fifth Avenue dining room.

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A Campaign to Save the Disappearing Diner.

Jan 28th, 2015 | Categories: Brooklyn, Food, Important Shit, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

GRease

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

It’s been forty-five years since Joni Mitchell first sang that fateful line on her hit track Big Yellow Taxi, but her words continue to ring out to this day. That line has been repeated, and repeated, and repeated over the years but for as straightforward as her sentiment may be, we’re still struggling to grasp the song’s message. This is especially true here in New York, where more and more so-called institutions of the city seem to be disappearing by the day. And no industry seems to be both more at risk, and more revered than restaurants.

At this point, it seems as if any restaurant that’s been around for more than five years, doesn’t serve some blogger approved, Instagram-ready menu of avant garde delicacies, and/or hasn’t found their niche food fad yet, is endanger of shuttering at a moments notice. And in turn, each “we’re closing” announcement is met by a chorus of complaints, and groans, and claims that New York is over. Inevitably though a week passes, and we all forget about it. We bounce back to whatever “hot new restaurant” is peaking that week, or to our favorite dollar slice spot, depending on our particular palette preferences. And honestly, when was the last time any of us ate at Soup Burg, or Cafe Edison, or El Greco or Odessa?





Engineered Garments | A Club Formed From Cloth

Jan 18th, 2015 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Long Reads, Made in the USA, Menswear, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

Engineered Garments F/W '13

Engineered Garments F/W ’13

I tend to believe that you can’t fully know a person until you meet their friends. The company we choose to keep says a lot, often more than we ever can individually, about who we are as people. On a still, late July evening I found myself considering this as I glanced around Nepenthes, Engineered Garments pseudo-flagship store in Manhattan’s Garment District. The store, despite it’s out of the way location, was teeming with people. A cheery swirl of English and Japanese chatter overpowered the shop’s post-punk soundtrack as pockets of friends conversed beside the racks.

Standing on the second story loft looking down at the gleeful guests below, I realized that this was what has made Engineered Garments such a crucial brand, not only for menswear in America at large, but for me as an individual. The event was organized to celebrate the debut of Engineered Garments Spring/Summer ’15 collection, and fifteen years after the brand’s founding, people of all backgrounds, of all styles, of all occupations, were still gleefully gravitating toward the brand.

EG F/W '14

EG F/W ’14





The ACL Guide to New York Hotels Young & Old

Dec 18th, 2014 | Categories: ACL Advisor, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

The Plaza in 1910

New York City is home to a staggering two-hundred-fifty plus hotels, ranging from five star palaces to hole in the wall hostels. And yet, even with mind-boggling number of options many visitors to the city end up just settling for whatever hotel they’re most familiar with, and that right there is a colossal mistake. New York hotels, old and new, are an attraction in their own right, and each one is as unique as the city’s eight million plus inhabitants. From a stately high-rise on Madison, to a renovated factory in Williamsburg, New York has a bevy of classic and contemporary hotels that are well worth a stay.

The Classics:

The Plaza: Barefoot in the Park, Scent of a Woman, Almost Famous, The Great Gatsby, American Hustle. All these films (and many, many more) have been filmed in and around this one-hundred-seven-year old hotel, because few buildings epitomize classic New York quite like The Plaza.