Q: I want to visit New York City during March Break. I haven’t visited before and would like to see some historic spots. Any tips will be appreciated.
— G. Ang, Markham
A: For a good introduction to the city, hang out with a local guide through the Big Apple Greeter program. It’s free and you get to pick the neighbourhood you would like to explore (neighbourhood profiles are posted on their website).
The Woolworth Building is marking its centennial this year. In addition to being one of New York’s oldest skyscrapers, the Woolworth Building was the world’s tallest building when it opened. President Woodrow Wilson pressed a button from the White House to light up the marvel of engineering on April 24, 1913. It housed fancy social and health clubs, a barber shop, restaurant, a shopping arcade and observatory.
In mid-2013, the 100-year-old Bronx Opera House building will reopen as the Bronx Opera House Hotel. Over the years, the Beaux Arts building has undergone many transformations but the latest development by the Empire Hotel Group will certainly be the finest since its original incarnation.
For a change in scenery, the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden is marking its 10th season. The show runs March 3-April 22 in the beautiful Victorian Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
For more on travel to New York City, visit nycgo.com.
Q: Do you have any details on Palm Springs and its architecture? Are there walking tours?
— L. Donovan, Etobicoke
A: The area’s desert landscape inspired many architects to create stunning mid-century modern homes, many of which were owned by celebrities. Tours are popular and the Palm Springs Historical Society has several lasting from one to two hours. In addition to seeing some beautiful buildings, you’ll hear some fantastic stories. Reservations are required. Price is $15 US. Contact 760-323-8297 or pshistoricalsociety.org.
From Feb. 14-24, Palm Springs will celebrate its glamorous past during Modernism Week. Events include home tours, cocktail parties, films, lectures and a vintage fashion show. The exclusive opening-night party will take place at Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate. Designed by by E. Stewart Williams for Sinatra and his first wife Nancy, the 1947 mansion has been completely restored right down to the piano-shaped swimming pool. For information on other events, visit modernismweek.com and pspreservationfoundation.org.