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  noun 1. The act of immersing oneself in other cultures without crossing national borders. 2. Local cultural diversification. 3. Traveling on a budget. 4. A website that will allow you to accomplish all the above from the very seat in which you sit.


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NYC: "Poster boy" makes art with a razor and subway ads

Since January, the 25-year-old has manipulated about 200 underground posters, turning MTA stations into his own public galleries. His pieces are conceived on the spot, and while most subway-poster vandals limit themselves to all-caps obscenities, Poster Boy’s improvised mash-ups recall both the cut-and-paste aesthetic of old punk-show fliers and the fake ads that appeared in circa-seventies Mad magazine: In his hands, AT&T skyscrapers are turned into flaming World Trade Center towers and Heath Ledger becomes a ghostly anti-drug pitchman. Most of his work disappears quickly—MTA employees have even ripped down his work before he’s finished—but you can see it on his sporadically updated Flickr account.

Brian Raftery, "Slice and Dice: How Poster Boy

Turns Subway Ads Into Art," New York Magazine

See also: Poster Boy Speaks (Poster Boy gets busted)

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Veracruz to Queens: Tortilleria Nixtamal

Recent studies analyzing American bodies and the carbon prints of corn within them prove that U.S. citizens consume the most corn in the world. But the title of Corn People will hopefully always be reserved for the originals: the Mexicans & Native Americans - the first people who came into contact with the wild grain. It revolutionized their cuisine.

Have you ever had a tortilla made from scratch? "Made from scratch" can be an ambiguous concept. What I mean is: have you ever had a tortilla made from corn kernels. I'm not sure I had until I visited Tortilleria Nixtamal, a new restaurant and tortilla vendor in Corona, Queens, NYC. The crucial difference between these tortillas and the ones you will ordinarily taste in New York is that they are made with freshly produced masa, or corn dough. And what a difference it makes.

Producing fresh masa requires special corn refining equipment from Mexico that is unfortunately difficult to approve in the States. But the owner of Tortilleria Nixtamal, a Veracruz (Mexico) native named Fernando Ruiz, succeeded, and he is happy to be able to give back to the community in the form of fresh tortillas and tamales. And if the taste and texture of the tortilla isn't convincing enough - soft, light & fluffy - costumers can watch them as they are made by Cecilia in the window front.

The food is intentionally affordable but the atmosphere is lofty, "the SoHo experience in Queens," as the owners describe. Floor-to-ceiling windows, whimsical yellow tables & benches - trendy indeed.

And then our coffee arrived.

Festive mismatched mugs can only begin to describe Fernando and his girlfriend, Shauna, who served us and apologized that the coffee was taking so long, as it was freshly pressed. Apologizing for freshly pressed coffee?! Only in America. Indeed, Tort Nix is like stepping into the atmosphere of a different country, one where only fresh ingredients are consumed and meals are long and leisurely. Plus there is the experience of watching the tortillas as they are made by Cecilia, which we did while waiting for our food to arrive.

First came the tamales, one of each kind.

Tamales are cooked in corn husks, which are then peeled off and discarded.

Inside of the masa dough, the tamale is stuffed with filling. Tort Nix tamales are large and stuffed quite fully. Our favorites were the pleasantly spicy chipotle and the flavorful Italian - with Italian sausage and peppers, onion, and mozzarella.

We also sampled the pozole soup, which involves the nixtamal (dried corn treated with alkali) in soaked form. In the downstairs kitchen at Tort Nix is the machinery that refines the corn into nixtamal (the corn itself comes from Illinois). Most of it is used to create the masa for the tortillas and tamales, and some is soaked in a large vat for the pozole. The steaming bowl of corn and chicken soup comes with onion, radish, cilantro, lettuce and lime on the side for garnish, plus two fried tortillas. It is a crisp and airy soup, full of flavor.

Fernando is still in the middle of renovations and plans to eventually expand the tortilleria into a taqueria with a more expansive menu, including outdoor seating. And I think I heard the words "tiki hut"?

More on the fish tacos later.

Tortilleria Nixtamal
104-05 47th Avenue
Corona, Queens, New York 11368
United States
+1.718.699. 2434
Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 8pm

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New England: The New Puritans, photography by Baldovino Barani

An interesting take on America's Pilgrims...

From West East magazine, Winter 2008

Photographed by Baldovino Barani
Styled by Holly Suan Gray
Makeup by Angie Pasley
Hair by Alexander Chui
Modeling by Arina Glavatska, Stella Lopez

View more >>

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BH.net: a preview

Head to borderhopping.net/photography on March 1st for a plethora of more such stunning photos...

Singapore by Jason Hui

Puerto Rico by Michael Bacchione

New York, New York, United States by Winston Woo

Washington, U.S. by Mikeal Béland

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NYC: the country in the city

Who says you can't have an "outdoorsy" experience in the City? Last October, New York Magazine said you can...

"Kind of Feels Like California, Doesn't It?" by David Colman
5th Avenue in Manhattan:

photos by Reuben Cox

"Drinks in the Living Room, Dinner Under the Trees" by Wendy Goodman
Fort Greene in Brooklyn:

photo by Zach Desart

"Step Onto the Terrace, and Pick Some Grapes, Please" by David Colman
Harlem in Manhattan:

photos by David Allee

[images & text © New York Magazine]

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India: Tigerland

"A male tiger on this side who hears a female over there will swim over to her," Dr. Sanyal said. Tigers can swim five miles, so the two-mile dash to Bangladesh would be a mere jaunt. "Once, I was following a tiger in a motorboat," Dr. Sanyal said, as we continued looking across the river. "And the tiger was swimming faster." A tiger is said to have clocked more than eighteen hundred feet at seven minutes and eighteen seconds—against the tide. Put another way, a tiger’s time for a hundred-metre freestyle would be a respectable one minute and twenty seconds. "Tiger is a very silent, very swift swimmer," Dr. Sanyal said.

Caroline Alexander, "Tiger Land," The New Yorker, April 21 2008

Read the article >>

[image via Vibin]

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