Empire State Realty Trust Announces Winner of Fourth Annual “My Empire State Building” Photo Contest

The Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. has announced the Grand Prize winner of the fourth annual “My Empire State Building” contest. Amateur photographers of all skill levels were invited to participate in the contest that ran from October 1 through November 2, 2015. As one of the most photographed landmarks in the world, the annual contest has become an opportunity for people to present many different perspectives of both the exterior of the building and the view from its world-famous 86th and 102nd floor Observatories.

The winning photo by Gary Hershorn (PRNewsFoto/Empire State Realty Trust, Inc.)

The winning photo by Gary Hershorn (PRNewsFoto/Empire State Realty Trust, Inc.)

The winner, Gary Hershorn, will be awarded a prize of $5,000 for his photo highlighting the beauty of the iconic Empire State Building (ESB), and its central place as the heart of New York City. Additionally, Runner-Up Marissa Durnan, will be awarded a $2,000 prize.

Runner-up Marissa Durnan's photo (PRNewsFoto/Empire State Realty Trust, Inc.)

Runner-up Marissa Durnan’s photo (PRNewsFoto/Empire State Realty Trust, Inc.)

The winning photo will be featured as ESB’s Facebook and Twitter profile pictures through January 11, 2016. Mr. Hershorn’s photo will also be showcased in a display in the Empire State Building’s highly trafficked Fifth Avenue lobby windows along with the photo entries from the Runner-Up, the 24 finalists, and the 4 weekly winners who were chosen during the contests duration.

To photograph the Empire State Building is to join a group of millions of people worldwide who have also captured the essence of New York City in a picture. These contestants stood out for their capture of truly unique moments in moving and emotive compositions. We are continuously impressed by Empire State Building fans and their talents highlighted by the images they capture and share,” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman and CEO of ESRT. “This contest expresses just how much we value our fans and followers.”

Throughout 2016, the finalists will be celebrated by having their photos showcased to ESB’s global online community via the building’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Additionally, the finalists may be featured in future ESB materials.

Entries for the contest were accepted via ESB’s Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/EmpireStateBuilding) or via Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #ESBHeartofNYC.

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Oceanwide Expeditions Announces New Departures To The Ross Sea In Antarctica

After successful exploration runs in 2013 and 2015 the Dutch polar cruise company Oceanwide Expeditions has announced two new expeditions to the Ross Sea in 2017. The ice-strengthened vessel “Ortelius” will be accommodated with helicopters for the two Antarctica cruises, sailing from the South-American continent to the Antarctic Peninsula, crossing the Polar Circle, further west to Peter I Island, sailing in the Bellingshausen sea along the ice-edge of “deep Antarctica” into the Ross Sea. The voyage continues to the uninhabited sub-Antarctic Campbell Island and ends after 32 days in New Zealand. The second cruise offers the same itinerary, but in reverse.

Ortelius in the Ross Sea with helicopter - (c) Toine Hendriks - Oceanwide Expeditions

Ortelius in the Ross Sea with helicopter – (c) Toine Hendriks – Oceanwide Expeditions

British Polar explorer Sir James Clark Ross discovered the Ross Sea region in 1841. It took another 60 years before the true race to the South Pole began when the British Royal Geographic Society sent Robert Falcon Scott on his voyage in 1901, followed by Ernest Shackleton (1907-09), Japanese explorer Nobu Shirase (1910-12), and another attempt of Scott and Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen who reached the pole in 1911. Many of the relics (such as the huts of Scott and Shackleton) of this golden period of exploration still exist, preserved by the cold, ready to be visited by modern-day explorers.

The Ross Sea region of Antarctica has always presented a dream but also a challenge to visit to explorers. The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf in the world with an area of roughly 182,000 square miles (472,000 km²), and is about the size of Spain. This ice topographic landform is one of the 47 named Antarctic Ice Shelves. It is bordered by the Ross Sea to the north, the Transantarctic Mountains to the west and south, and by the King Edward the VII Peninsula to the east.

Facing and overlying much of the coastal zone of the Ross Sea, it presents a nearly vertical ice cliff of between 50 and 200 feet (15 and 60 meters) above the water surface and 500 miles (800 kilometers) long between Ross Island and the King Edward the VII Peninsula. The interior of the Shelf entends from 400 to nearly 600 miles.

Ross Ice Shelf - (c) Michael Wenger - Oceanwide Expeditions

Ross Ice Shelf – (c) Michael Wenger – Oceanwide Expeditions

As such the lack of full access to the Ross Ice Shelf prevents a full seasonal operation and distances are enormous. Apart from the extremes, landing sites are still difficult to reach. “With the advantages of the “Ortelius” in combination with the use of helicopters, our travelers are having some great opportunities exploring Antarctica’s most fascinating sites”, says CEO Michel van Gessel.

Emperor Penguin Couple in the Ross Sea  - Oceanwide Expeditions. Antarctica 15th January - 19th February, 2013 (Rolf Stange)

Emperor Penguin Couple in the Ross Sea – Oceanwide Expeditions. Antarctica 15th January – 19th February, 2013 (Rolf Stange)

Very few expeditions have ever ventured this far south to the Ross Sea. Oceanwide Expeditions tries to land passengers in such areas as the rarely visited volcanic Peter I Island, the afore-mentioned huts of the British explorers Shackleton and Falcon Scott on Ross Island, McMurdo Station, the Dry Valleys – where the conditions are the closest you get to the conditions on Mars – and Campbell Island, home to the Southern Royal Albatrosses.

The Canada Glacier in Taylor Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys. Ross Sea, Antarctica.

The Canada Glacier in Taylor Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys. Ross Sea, Antarctica.

The voyage contains one of the last wildernesses on earth, hardly affected and visited by humans. Passengers will experience the largest ice-formations in Antarctica and will encounter an astonishing diversity of life despite its incredibly harsh conditions. The Ross Sea is home to minke whales, orcas, weddell and crabeater seals, adelie and emperor penguins, petrels and skuas.

Oceanwide Expeditions is also offering everybody the chance to win a free cruise passage on their ship the Ortelius with a Ross Sea contest they are currently running.

Since 1996, Oceanwide Expeditions has offered small-group polar expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica. They own, manage and operate the vessels m/v Plancius (116 pax), m/v Ortelius (116 pax), s/v Rembrandt van Rijn (33 pax) and s/v Noorderlicht (20 pax). The vessels comply with the highest international safety standards for passenger vessels such as SOLAS (Safety-Of-Life-At-Sea) and allow the crew to navigate safely through pack-ice and remote narrow waterways.

Oceanwide is the market leader in the Arctic and is the four-time award winner of the World Travel Awards for being the World’s leading Polar expedition operator. The Dutch “Plancius Foundation” (1981-1996) was the predecessor of Oceanwide Expeditions. Starting in 1983 it was the first cruise operator to organize yearly expeditions to Spitsbergen.

Paul Gauguin Cruises Announces 2017 Voyages

Schedule Features New Itineraries In Fiji And Bali, Plus Popular Favorites In French Polynesia And Collaboration With Wildlife Conservation Society

Paul Gauguin Cruises (www.pgcruises.com), (owned by Pacific Beachcomber S.C., French Polynesia’s leading luxury hotel and cruise operator, and) operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, m/s Paul Gauguin (the the 5+-star cruise ship, 332-guest m/s Paul Gauguin, providing a deluxe cruise experience tailored to the unparalleled wonders of Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacifi)c, announces 2017 voyages that feature popular favorites along with new, exotic 16- and 17-night Fiji & Bali itineraries and a collaborative program with the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The 16-night Fiji to Bali voyage departs April 29, 2017, from Lautoka, Fiji, and visits Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu; Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands; Samarai Island, Papua New Guinea; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Merauke, Indonesia; Dili, Timor-Leste; Komodo Island, Indonesia; Lembar, Lombok Island, Indonesia; and Benoa, Bali, Indonesia. The reverse itinerary, Bali to Fiji, is 17 nights and departs June 7, 2017.NEW_PBC_Logo_cmyk

In 2017, The Gauguin will also be showcasing its most sought-after itineraries: the 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands; 7-night Tahiti, the Society Islands & Tuamotus; 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus; 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands; and 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands. Also in 2017, the popular 12- and 13-night Society Islands, Cook Islands, Tonga & Fiji itineraries return. In addition to sailing to beautiful islands in the South Pacific, and showcasing Polynesian culture and hospitality, these voyages feature complimentary access to Paul Gauguin Cruises’ two exclusive retreats—Motu Mahana, an islet off the coast of Taha’a, and a private beach in Bora Bora. At Motu Mahana, guests enjoy a day of watersports, Polynesian activities, a barbecue feast, and cocktails from full-service and floating bars. In Bora Bora, guests can relax on a white-sand beach and enjoy refreshments, a game of volleyball, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.

On The Gauguin’s July 26, 2017, voyage, Paul Gauguin Cruises will present its third Reunion Cruise, which features a special 10-night Cook Islands & Society Islands itinerary with two visits to the line’s private island paradise of Motu Mahana. Designed as a reunion for past guests of Paul Gauguin Cruises and as a gala welcome for newcomers, it presents a number of unique special events, including a festive dinner, cocktail and block parties, opportunities to mingle with senior staff and crew, and more.

Paul Gauguin Cruises is also pleased to announce a new global collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). WCS has long been committed to saving wildlife and wild places worldwide since 1895. Beginning in 2017, WCS will offer educational programming for adults and families aboard The Gauguin. The series will comprise of lectures about marine science and wildlife conservation in the South Pacific and beyond. Additionally during the summer months and holiday season, WCS will inspire guests to value nature through our experiential family program. WCS aims to protect half of the world’s biodiversity, while ensuring a positive impact on millions of people. (Paul Gauguin Cruises is proud to collaborate with WCS in support of a healthy and sustainable planet.)

To launch its 2017 voyages, Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering savings of 50% off standard cruise fares on all 2017 voyages, plus included airfare from Los Angeles.

For rates or more information on Paul Gauguin Cruises, please contact a Travel Professional, call 800-848-6172, or visit www.pgcruises.com.

Paul Gauguin Cruises accolades include being voted #2 in the category of “Top Small Cruise Lines” in the Conde Nast Traveler 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards and being honored on the publication’s esteemed 2016 Gold List. In addition, the line was voted by Travel + Leisure readers “#1 Small-Ship Cruise Line” and “#1 Small-Ship Cruise Line for Families” in the Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards. Recently, readers voted Paul Gauguin Cruises “#2 Small-Ship Ocean Cruise Line” in the Travel + Leisure 2015 World’s Best Awards.

Harvard University’s The Hasty Pudding Theatricals Announce Kerry Washington as its 2016 Woman of the Year

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the oldest theatrical organization in the United States, announces Golden Globe and Emmy Awards nominated actress, Kerry Washington as the recipient of its 2016 Woman of the Year Award.

The Woman of the Year Award is the Hasty Pudding Theatricals oldest honor, bestowed annually on performers who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment. Established in 1951, the Woman of the Year Award has been given to many notable and talented entertainers, including Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, Elizabeth Taylor, Anne Hathaway, Claire Danes, and most recently, Dame Helen Mirren and Amy Poehler.

The Woman of the Year festivities, presented by Related, will begin at 2:45p.m. on January 28, 2016, when Washington will lead a parade through the streets of Cambridge. Following the parade, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals will host a celebratory roast for the actress. At 4:00 p.m., Washington will be presented with her Pudding Pot at Farkas Hall, the Hasty Pudding’s historic home in the heart of Harvard Square since 1888. A press conference will follow the presentation. Afterward, Hasty Pudding cast members will perform several musical numbers from the group’s 168th production, That 1770s Show.

The Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770’s philanthropic mission is to provide educational and developmental support in all aspects of the performing arts for the underprivileged, to encourage satire and comedy, and to cultivate young talent around the world. The Institute is comprised of The Hasty Pudding Club (the oldest social club in the United States), The Hasty Pudding Theatricals (the third oldest theater group in the world, after the Comedie Francaise and the Oberammergau Passion Players) and the Harvard Krokodiloes (the foremost collegiate a cappella group in the United States). Over the last two centuries, it has grown into a premiere performing arts organization, a patron of the arts and comedy, and an advocate for satire and discourse as tools for change worldwide.

We are so excited to honor Kerry Washington as the Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year and welcome her to Cambridge to celebrate her many achievements. Kerry is an amazing actress with many fans in the company, and the perfect choice for this honor… But we also feel a bit nervous as we set out to coordinate a perfect event for legendary PR whiz Olivia Pope!” said Kennedy Edmonds, Class of 2017, HPT168 Producer. “If Kerry is anything like her on-screen character, she may turn the tables on us during her roast!” added Bobby Fitzpatrick, Class of 2016, President of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals.

Film, stage and television star Kerry Washington broke barriers by becoming the first African American woman to headline a network TV drama since 1974. Her portrayal of crisis-manager Olivia Pope on the hit Shonda Rhimes show Scandal, currently in its 4th season, has earned her numerous accolades including Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG Best Actress nominations as well as an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress.

Washington recently completed production on the HBO TV movie Confirmation, which she stars in and executive produces. The film details the explosive 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings, which brought the country to a standstill and forever changed the way people think about sexual harassment, victim’s rights, and modern-day race relations.

Film credits include Save The Last Dance, Lift (for which she received an Independent Spirit nomination), The Human Stain, Sin, Ray, Mr & Mrs Smith, I Think I Love My Wife, Miracle At St. Anna, Mother And Child, The Last King Of Scotland, Night Catches Us, Lakeview Terrace, The Details, Django Unchained and Peeples.

Washington is active in many social and political causes. In 2009 she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Washington is a strong supporter of President Obama and has campaigned on his behalf; she commanded the national stage on the final night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in a moving address that urged Democrats to get out the vote. In 2013 Washington was honored with the NAACP President’s Award, which recognized her special achievements in furthering the cause of civil rights and public service. In 2014, Time magazine included Washington on its annual Time 100 list of the Most Influential People in the World. Washington received the GLAAD Media Vanguard Award in 2015 and the ACLU Bill of Rights Award in 2016.

Washington currently serves as both a brand ambassador and creative consultant for Neutrogena. She is also a brand ambassador for Movado, creative ambassador for OPI and ambassador for Allstate Foundation Purple Purse.

To purchase tickets to the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’168th production, That 1770s Show contact the HPT Box Office at 617.495.5205, or order online at the Pudding’s website, www.hastypudding.org. It will be performed at Harvard University‘s historic Farkas Hall, located at 12 Holyoke Street, starting February 5th. The show continues in Cambridge until March 6. The company then travels to New York to perform at Hunter College‘s Kaye Playhouse on March 11th and 12th (call 212.772.4448 for tickets). The tour continues to the Hamilton City Hall in Bermuda for performances March 16thv March 18th.

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals will announce their 2016 Man of the Year Honoree at a later date and the recipient will be honored on February 5, 2016.

The Iconic Mr Chow Restaurant Now Open at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

The internationally renowned restaurant, Mr Chow, is now open at Caesars Palace. The Las Vegas location is the seventh of the luxurious Beijing cuisine eatery, joining the ranks of notable hot spots in Miami, Malibu, New York City, Beverly Hills and the original location in London. From the moment guests arrive, MR CHOW will entertain and inspire, from the unparalleled design to the impeccable service to the notable cuisine.

Mr. Chow Main Dining at Caesar's Palace Las Vegas

Mr. Chow Main Dining at Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas

This union between Caesars Palace and MR CHOW is a dream come true,” said founder Michael Chow.

Mr Chow is the newest addition to Caesars Palace’s impressive culinary collection. From starting the celebrity chef trend with Wolfgang Puck in 1992, to housing the sole U.S. restaurant of Michelin-starred chef Guy Savoy, Caesars Palace has been trailblazing the Las Vegas culinary scene for decades with world-renowned talents. Combined with the exclusive and world’s first Nobu Hotel, the Forbes 4-star Laurel Collection and the brand new Julius TowerCaesars Palace remains a leader of innovation and the ultimate luxury destination to stay or play.

We look forward to our guests experiencing MR CHOW as the culinary empire and reputation of Caesars Palace continues to grow,” said Gary Selesner, Caesars Palace regional president. “Mr Chow’s elevated Chinese cuisine and chic atmosphere perfectly complements the impressive culinary collection of celebrity-chef helmed restaurants of Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay, Nobu Matsuhisa, Guy Savoy and more. As we enter our 50th golden anniversary year at Caesars Palace, we continue to strive to delight our guests at the dining table, while contributing to the world renowned dining scene in Las Vegas.

Michael Chow is not only a successful restauranteur, but also a highly regarded artist and designer. In addition to designing all of his Mr Chow restaurants, including the newest Caesars Palace location, Chow has designed Giorgio Armani boutiques and his breathtaking home in Holmby Hills, Calif.

Chow’s credence is to perfect every detail; every detail is a universe. With that understanding, every detail has a truth and focus and there is only ‘one-way, only-way,’ to execute it, for every single element from colors, to scents, to textures, to sound.

Mr. Chow Lobby

Mr. Chow Lobby

The first experience guests have at Mr Chow is before even stepping into the restaurant, with an illuminous champagne lounge entry point on the casino floor of Caesars Palace. Champagne represents celebration and elegance, two attributes at the heart of the Mr Chow philosophy. Guests are welcome to sip on a variety of premium champagnes such as Krug Grande Cuveé or Dom Pérignon from the famous champagne trolley, while taking in the bright space and the Jeff Koons “Balloon Venus” sculpture on display.

Mr. Chow Entrance

Mr. Chow Entrance

From the champagne lounge, guests travel up a set of private elevators to the nearly 1,600 sq. ft., restaurant. Once inside, they will discover a fully stocked wine room with more than 150 selections prominently featured behind a floor to ceiling glass partition. On the other side of the space is the lounge with plush bronze furniture and custom Clive Barker artwork, where guests wait for the maître d’ to escort them to the table. On the journey to the table, guests can appreciate the landscape of the round, white Venetian Plaster and Plexiglas lined dining room with outer banquette seating, the 150 plus Lily floral arrangement in the center, the bold dark wooden bar with shelves extending to the ceiling lined with the finest spirits and the large windows and French doors leading to the terrace overlooking the famous Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis. The nearly 250 seat restaurant includes three private dining rooms, bar seating and four terraces which will have seasonal seating. Continue reading