About Kai Burkhardt

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Omurice Obsessives Get Another Place to Scramble To

Bar Moga (Photo: Kuo-Heng Huang)

Omurice (a Japanese mix of the words “omelette” and “rice”) has been around for years, but viral videos have made it increasingly popular among New Yorkers. The clips show a sharp blade swiftly cutting through a wobbling bulge of scrambled egg, which releases into a cascade of runny omelette. Several Japanese cafes in New York serve omurice dishes; they vary in taste and execution, but they all start with a childhood love for the eggy plate of rice. More →

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A New Breed of Climbing Dirtbag Has Parked in NYC

Nathan Staiger in his Mercedes Sprinter. (Photo: Kai Burkhardt)

Parked under a bridge in Queens is a white Mercedes Sprinter van. On the outside it looks like any other car; maybe you notice the solar panels on top, or the windows blocked with insulation. But on the inside is Nathan Staiger’s entire life. Staiger, 30, goes to school, rock climbs and sleeps in his van. Some may think he’s homeless, climbers may think he’s awesome, but Staiger and a small community of other vandwellers in the city are carrying a torch that has a deep history in climbing and other outdoor sports.  More →

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What to Eat at the Market Line, Now Open at Essex Crossing

(Photo credit: QuallsBenson)

The long-awaited Market Line has officially opened, adding 31 new vendors to Essex Market for a total of 71. With new booths from LES legends like Nom Wah, The Pickle Guys and Essex Pearl, this is now the largest market in New York, on par with enormous ones around the world. What’s more, about 50 percent of the vendors come from the Lower East Side, and only two are from outside New York. There aren’t any chains, and just under 80 percent of the stores are immigrant-, woman- or minority-owned businesses.  More →

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You Can Now Buy Artisan Axes in Williamsburg, But What Can You Do With One in NYC?

On any given day in gentrified Williamsburg you can grab a trendy breakfast, stop by Supreme for your streetwear needs and even get your waste-free shopping done. And now, for the outdoorsy types who’ve been champing at the bit, Williamsburg finally has an axe shop. 

Best Made Co, a luxury adventure brand currently celebrating its tenth year in business, recently opened its latest outpost in Williamsburg. The Grand Street shop is stocked with artisanal outdoor products like a $1,795 shearling coat approved by legendary Argentine chef Francis Mallmann (who will be having a cookout in McCarren Park on Sunday, Nov. 17, in honor of their collaboration).  And then there’s the Best Made Axe, an object of such simplicity, beauty and utility that it has struck a nerve with celebrities and the art world alike. David Lynch owns one and they’ve even been displayed in the Saatchi Gallery in London. The design-focused tool goes for around $350 and testing them in person is a big draw to Best Made’s shops. But if you decide to buy one, what exactly can you do with it in New York City? 

In case you’re on the fence about purchasing one of the famed fellers, we’ve compiled some of the big no-nos when it comes to being an urban lumberjack. 

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Can Pretty Ricky’s Work With the City’s New Plan to Make Nightlife Less Ugly?

(Photo: Casey Kelbaugh)

The Lower East Side is notorious for its bars, noise and rising crime rates, and the 24-block section known as Hell Square has one of the highest densities of liquor licenses in New York City. Neighborhood activists have been pushing back against the rise of nightlife for years, and adding another watering hole hasn’t been at the top of their to-do list. But a new beer-centric bar, Pretty Ricky’s, has entered the fray right as the City enacts a new plan to improve the quality of life in the area, and it promises to be an interesting indicator of whether nightlife and neighbors can coexist.  More →

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Take the ‘A’ Stairs: New Entrance Extends First Ave L Station to Alphabet City

Monday morning at 9am, a shiny new entrance to the First Avenue stop on the L train opened to the public. What’s been years of seemingly little progress on the L is finally showing some results. The entrance is located at 14th Street and Avenue A, giving easier access to residents of Stuy-Town and other areas east of the First Avenue stop.  

The new opening is for Brooklyn-bound L trains, and the entrance has two sets of stairs, clean white tiles and an abundance of bright lights. It’s the first of many improvements on the docket for the First Avenue stop, including sidewalk restoration and two elevators to increase accessibility. 

“For years we’ve been thinking, ‘Wow, it’d be such a great idea to have an entrance here,’” said Tim Cramer, who lives on 12th Street and Avenue A. He rides the L train about three times a week. “I think it’s a really amazing thing. Out of all the stuff they can be doing in the subway they did something here and I think it’s fantastic.”

The new entrance will alleviate some congestion at the stop and save a lot of riders that long block of walking. “It’s very good for me,” said Bestabe Marin, who works as a home helper in the East Village and uses the 1st Avenue station a lot. “I used to take the bus, but now I can have the train close and easy. I’m so glad.”

(Photos and video: Kai Burkhardt)

The new improvement to the station is a welcome addition to what will soon be a bustling hub. After some initial controversy, congestion on 14th Street has been eased by a well-received new busway that bans cars during rush hour. And now, a Target that opened in 2018 and a Trader Joe’s currently under construction are sure to bring more shoppers to the L stop. 

With the Avenue A entryway up and running, the staircases on First Avenue will close in about a week for repairs, according to EV Grieve. But maybe this opening marks the beginning of the end. Though there’s still a lot to accomplish before the project’s summer 2020 deadline (such as elevators at 1st Avenue and other stations), it’s looking hopeful. The L train project is set to finish three months ahead of schedule. After countless headaches and delays, could the L train finally be on the right track?

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R.L. Stine Gave Everyone Goosebumps at Brooklyn’s Creepiest Puppet Store

R.L. Stine (Photos: Kai Burkhardt)

One dark and not-so-stormy night under a waning crescent moon, the streets of Park Slope were quiet. Decorated brownstones lined Sixth Avenue like a Halloween expo, and tucked away on the corner of Fourth Street stood a puppet store full of horror fans. They sat in costumes, popped open a few beers and tried to ignore the lifeless puppet eyes staring at them from the walls as they waited for the brain behind their childhood nightmares, R.L. Stine.
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Mapping the Michelin Guide’s Newest Starred Restaurants and Bib Gourmands

The Michelin Guide released its list of Bib Gourmands last Monday and just released this year’s long-awaited list of starred restaurants for New York City and Westchester. The 76 restaurants that received coveted Michelin stars are identified as “establishments serving exceptional cuisine rich in flavor and infused with the personality of a talented chef,” according to the Michelin website. The 133 Bib Gourmands, on the other hand, offer “an affordable and remarkable dining experience.” This year, New York got 29 new additions to the Bib Gourmand list and 10 shiny new stars. We’ve narrowed down the newly recommended spots to the ones in the Bedford + Bowery domain, with notable stars going to James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem’s Williamsburg wine bar and an undersung East Village spot. Click around our map, above, to read more about the eight new Bib Gourmands and the five new Michelin-star restaurants near you.