The photographers at Wedding Box Photography capture glamorous images in their Flushing, Queens or Manhattan studios, or on location during the up to two-hour photo shoots. Subjects pose with DIY hairstyle and makeup in their choice of one outfit (either brought from home or rented for an extra fee), from casual to dressy to hot-dog suit. After the session, models review their likenesses online or back in the studio and select 30 or 50 digital images to be saved to CD or an online gallery. Though not included with this deal, clients may purchase prints of any image to use as holiday greetings, headshots, or inefficient screensavers.
Though it has held a prominent location in Chinatown for more than three decades, Jing Fong Restaurant doesn't really exist within New York City. The lights and sounds of the Big Apple fall away as soon as diners pass the marble lions guarding the dim sum restaurant's exterior. Just inside, an escalator travels upwards towards a twinkling crystal chandelier, and by the time it reaches the third-floor dining room, the moving stairs have transported guests thousands of miles away to Hong Kong.
The space is massive. 120 tables fill the dining room, framed by red walls sprinkled with golden Chinese characters. All around, waiters—clad in chic yellow jackets—push rolling carts filled with the things hungry dreams are made of: steaming bamboo baskets bearing more than 100 types of dim sum. Steamed pork buns, fried shrimp balls, almond tofu, or perhaps even mango pudding could all be waiting within the piping hot packages. Follow these bite-sized eats back to the kitchen, and you'll find several skilled Chinese chefs. In addition to dim sum, this culinary army prepares traditional Cantonese recipes for everything from Peking duck to oxtail curry casserole.
Since it's meant to be shared, Jing Fong Restaurant's food makes for a communal dining experience—one that's filled with conversation and laughter between family and friends. In fact, you could celebrate nearly every important life event at the restaurant. An on-site banquet room contains 800 seats, which sit beneath a chandelier even bigger than the one Donald Trump uses as a book light.
It took Joel Russ ten days to travel from Germany to Ellis Island by boat in 1907, and that was the easy part. The 22-year-old Russ had arrived in America to help support his older sister's family, which he began doing by selling strings of Polish mushrooms, carrying them on his shoulders until he had saved up enough money for a pushcart. Next, he upgraded to a horse and wagon, and by 1914, he had enough funds to open a store. Dubbed "Russ's Cut Rate Appetizers", the store specialized in selling the cold appetizers known in Yiddish as "forshpayz": among them salt-cured salmon and herring. In 1920, he moved to East Houston Street, where the shop still stands today. During this period, he also became the father of three daughters who began working in the shop after school and on weekends, and in 1933, the store was renamed Russ & Daughters––widely regarded as the first business to ever use "& Daughters" in its name. Nearly 100 years later, the shop is owned and staffed by fourth-generation Russ family members, and has been recognized by The Smithsonian Institute as "a part of New York's cultural heritage". One of the last traditional appetizing stores on the Lower East Side, the business is considered by most to be much more than a beloved grocery: it's a preserver of the culture of the city's Eastern European Jewish Immigrants. Smoked and cured salmon is still sliced by hand, while bagels are rolled by hand and baked in an old-fashioned revolving oven. When ¬New York Magazine asked world-traveling chef Anthony Bourdain to name the best meal he's ever eaten in New York, the Travel Channel host said simply, "bagel, nova, cream cheese at Russ & Daughters. Not just the best, but 'ours'." Beyond the traditional bagel toppers, today's customers find gourmet delights such as cinnamon or chocolate babka, homemade chopped herring salad with granny smith apples, and handmade macaroons dipped in dark chocolate. Russian-style blini's make the perfect vessel for any of Russ & Daughter's high grade, hand-packed caviars, which are still sourced the old-fashioned way: by waiting patiently next to the fish's nests.
Settle into one of many urbanized nooks in the expansive reaches of Karaoke Boho, where private brick-lined lounge rooms come fully furnished with top-quality speaker boxes and crisp flatscreens. This generously sectioned-off space provides you and your backup singers the freedom to let loose on the mics with the safety of a buffer between you and crooning karaoke strangers. To loosen up the vocal chords, order some courage-boosting liquid concoctions such as melon balls, martinis, Long Islands, and other fine spirits ($7–$12 each).
Cacao Bar and Tea Salon offers refined fare within an elegant, European-style café. The menu flourishes with sweet crêpe ($11), including selections like the exquisite caramelized banana and cinnamon, as well as the simple-but-sweet crêpe au chocolat. Nosh on these sweet treats in order to decadently unwind after saving Gotham from a sinister outbreak of petty misdemeanors and slow-driving grandmas. For a light lunch, breathe in steam from the tomato goat-cheese soup ($7), or try the crêpe version of a country-style turkey wrap ($11), enhanced with melted gruyere cheese. Alternately, peruse the drink menu's vast teascape of guava, jasmine, and Chinese flower teas (all $6). Hot chocolateers can choose their cup of cocoa ($6–$9.50) in European style (with water) or American style (with milk) in varieties like dark chocolate, unsweetened Maya chocolate, or spicy-chipotle chocolate.
Upgrade your vintage ‘do to a couture coif. With today’s Groupon, $50 gets you $125 worth of beautifying services at Sam Brocato, an industrially cool-looking Soho salon specializing in tailored treatments. This Groupon is good for new customers only, so round up a bevy of Brocato-newbies and have a beautiful beautifying party.Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.