April 2014 City Smart

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What’s more beautiful than a single orchid? Thousands of orchids. And what’s better than being in NYC? Being in NYC and Key West at the same time. You can have it all at The Orchid Show: Key West Contemporary at the New York Botanical Garden’s 12th annual show—this year, inspired by a modernist Key West estate garden originally designed by award-winning landscape architect Raymond Jungles. Take a walk through the conservatory’s glasshouse gallery and see for yourself why the orchid is widely recognized as the world’s most coveted of ornamental plants. In conjunction with the exhibit, enjoy a Key West poetry reading, orchid care demonstration, Jimmy Buffett-style concert or a magical ‘Orchid Evening’ cocktail party. http://www.nybg.org

If you are among the fortunate foodies who had the pleasure of dining at Le Bec Fin before it closed in June, you may be squeamish when it comes to trying out Avance, a new progressive American restaurant that recently opened on the hallowed ground that was once home to Philadelphia’s finest French restaurant. But don’t be. Avance has already garnered outstanding reviews from people who were just as squeamish as you were. Start with the cauliflower chawanmushi appetizer; then move on to the dry aged duck and try the coffee mousse for dessert. Or better yet, order from chef Justin Bogle’s tasting menu. And if a terrific meal isn’t enough to justify the drive to Philly, sightseeing in historic Rittenhouse Square should help you build up a great big appetite. http://www.avancerestaurant.com

According to Webster’s, the definition of cool is “fashionably attractive or impressive.” But a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery aims to dig deeper. Curated by Frank Goodyear III and Joel Dinerstein, American Cool comprises photographic portraits of 100 of the ‘coolest’ individuals in modern memory. We’re talking Marlon Brando and Madonna, James Dean and Jay-Z—even entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, activists like Angela Davis and jazz saxophonist Lester Young, who introduced America to the concept of “being cool” in the 1940s. Photographers Annie Leibovitz, Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon are among the iconic artists whose work is featured in the show. Through Sept. 7. http://www.npg.si.edu

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