By Taylor Smith 

Located at 179 East Houston Street in Manhattan, Russ & Daughters was founded in 1907 by Joel Russ, who had recently immigrated from Poland. He began his life in New York City by selling herring out of a barrel on the Lower East Side to crowds of hungry and homesick Eastern European Jews. Over the course of seven years, Russ graduated from a barrel to a pushcart. Soon, the popular pushcart became a horse and wagon operation, and in 1914 Russ had saved enough money to open a physical store. While the original business was located on Orchard Street, Russ moved the store to nearby 179 East Houston Street in 1920, where it has remained ever since.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Iconic American Girl characters come to life on Monday, February 18

Sleepover camp is in session at American Girl Live, a 90-minute musical at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, perfect for kids ages 5 and up. Five spunky campers will face various feats of growing pains and bravery as they turn to their favorite American Girl characters for advice. Each character —inspired by a different period of history — will share stories of conviction, demonstrating the strength of friendship.  more

By Taylor Smith

CAP Beauty is an unusual beauty store.

Beyond makeup, lotions, and potions, CAP Beauty prides itself on holistic beauty with the philosophy that what you put into and onto your body can actually improve the quality of your thought and life. more

By Taylor Smith

The Museum of Modern Art recently announced that it will open its expanded campus on October 21, 2019, with a reimagined presentation of modern art. more

By Taylor Smith

With a wide array of fitness trackers available, Fitbit is probably the best-known name in terms of high-quality trackers. The user-friendly devices come in many style options and can suit everyone, no matter their fitness level. The trackers will monitor everything from basic daily movements to running, walking, swimming, cycling workouts, and sleeping. more

Photo Credit: Rhode Island School of Design 

By Taylor Smith

Want to develop your creative craft or pen that novel that’s been living inside you? Do you have a passion for painting, drawing, sculpture, or film? Are you considering a teaching career in the arts? We’ve rounded up top Master of Fine Arts programs in the Northeast that can add an extra spark to your resume and potentially help you to make that career change or land the job you’ve been dreaming about. more

Why schools like NJIT are on the cutting-edge

By Taylor Smith

Governor Phil Murphy recently announced two initiatives — the STEM Loan Forgiveness Program and the NJ Career Accelerator Internship Program — to encourage individuals in STEM fields to make a long-term commitment to build and maintain a career within New Jersey. The initiatives were part of the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget message. more

Mutcherson will serve as Rutgers Law co-dean in Camden and will work collaboratively with fellow co-dean David Lopez at Rutgers in Newark

Rutgers University–Camden recently announced the appointment of Kimberly Mutcherson, a well-known bioethics and health law scholar, as co-dean of the Rutgers Law School in Camden.

With her appointment in early 2019, Mutcherson became the first woman, the first African American, and the first LGBT law dean at Rutgers University. more

By Taylor Smith 

New to the market in the Short Hills-Millburn area is this home, located at 36 Stewart Road in Millburn, NJ. Priced at $4,995,000, the 7 bedroom, 7 bathroom home (and 2 half baths) was built in 1904 and features a chef’s kitchen, reception hall, first floor office, media room, pool with pool house and built-in generator.  more

The Frick Collection Presents the Works of Painter Giovanni Battista Moroni

By Taylor Smith 

Though Giovanni Battista Moroni never achieved significant fame during his lifetime, he had a noteworthy impact on the study and execution of portraiture during later years, particularly that seen in Dutch-style paintings. Beginning February 21, The Frick Collection in Manhattan will present the first major exhibition in North America solely devoted to the painter’s work. The masterful paintings will be shown alongside complementary objects from the period during which Moroni was painting, such as Renaissance-era jewelry, arms, armor, textiles, and luxury items. The exhibit was organized by Aimee Ng, associate curator, The Frick Collection; along with Simone Facchinetti, curator, Museo Bernareggi, Bergamo; and Arturo Galansino, director general, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence. The works will be on view in the Frick’s main floor Oval Room and East Gallery through June 2, 2019.  more

Spin your way to better fitness and feel like a rock star 

By Taylor Smith 

Indoor cycling has long been an appealing option for those looking for all the benefits of vigorous cardio and strength routines without the high-impact aftermath that can come from pounding miles on the pavement, such as in distance running activities. Enter CycleBar, the latest concierge-style indoor cycling studio to make waves in the Garden State.  more

At only 2.4 square miles, the borough of Chatham, New Jersey, is highly walkable and suggestive of a less-hurried time

By Taylor Smith 

The quality of Chatham’s public school district, which serves both the borough and Chatham Township, both in Morris County, is frequently mentioned by new residents and real estate agents as a draw to the area.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The Maxwell House Coffee Plant opened in Hoboken, N.J., in Hudson County in 1939. Owned by General Foods Corporation, the production facility extended from 11th to 12th Streets along the Hudson River overlooking Manhattan and Sinatra Drive. According to the New York Times, the Maxwell House Coffee Plant was a thriving facility through the late 1980s. In fact, it was the largest employer in Hoboken, and the famous “Good to the Last Drop” sign and slogan dominated the town’s skyline.  more

By Taylor Smith 

With locations in Basking Ridge, Chester, Ocean Township, and Shrewsbury, Dean’s Natural Food Market is making an impact on the quality of food and produce available to New Jersey residents. 

At Dean’s, all produce is 100 percent organic. “With our non-GMO policy, we don’t bring in any items unless they’re non-GMO product verified or free of the top 10 GMO crops. People know that about us now, they’re coming here for that,” says founder Dean Nelson.  more

By Taylor Smith

The Monmouth Museum (http://monmouthmuseum.org) in Lincroft, N.J., has announced that its board of trustees has appointed Donna R. Kessinger of Atlantic Highlands to be the Museum’s next executive director.

Kessinger comes to the Museum from ChaShaMa, International Center of Photography, and MoMA PS1, bringing with her a connection to the artist community that thrives along the New York and New Jersey corridor. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art from Kent State University, and a Masters in Arts Administration from the University of Kentucky. Kessinger has produced several independent curatorial projects in New York and New Jersey since 1999, including those at the Guggenheim Museum and the emerging artists residency programs and related exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. more

The Jersey Shore’s original acai shop now has more than 50 locations nationwide

By Taylor Smith 

With multiple locations in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Morris, Union, and Essex counties, Playa Bowls (https://playabowls.com) is now a big part of the New Jersey food scene. 

If you’ve visited towns like Belmar, Red Bank, Asbury Park, Seaside, or Toms River during the summer months, chances are you’ve known about Playa Bowls for a long time. What originally started out as a food truck is now a popular staple in New York City, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, with 20 more locations planned in the near future.  more

Urban Conveniences in a Small-Town Setting 

By Taylor Smith 

Located in Northern New Jersey’s Union County, Westfield has earned increasing attention in recent years, not only for its convenient public transportation to Manhattan, but also as a place that many New York City transplants call home.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The quality and design principles that have made Stance socks a favorite of NBA players are now backed by some of the leading names in sports and entertainment. With the philosophy of embracing “the uncommon thread,” this five-year-old company has sold more than 50 million pairs of socks. Using technology that is akin to rocket science (literally), Stance Socks is hoping to define the future of knitwear.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Located at 122 Main Street, 2nd floor, in Madison, NJ, The Bar Method is a great option for building muscles, confidence, and long lines in the New Year.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Available at running stores and REI locations across the country, Bend, Oregon-based Picky Bars is the latest nutritional bar to make a splash on the outdoors scene.  more

By Taylor Smith 

On view through February 10, “Mickey: The True Original Exhibition” is at 60 10th Avenue in New York City. The 16,000-square-foot space in Chelsea, very close to The High Line, features both nostalgic and modern works from international artists, all of whom are inspired by classic images of the graphic, black-and-white mouse.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Sleep is vital for overall health, but elusive for many. Whether you’re a parent under stress or you’ve become reliant on prescription sleep aids like Lunesta or Ambien, here are some non-habit forming methods for improving overall sleep quality and duration.  more

By Taylor Smith 

It’s the start of 2019 which means one thing — you’re probably assessing your New Year’s resolutions. While a gym membership and a trip to Whole Foods may help you to exercise and eat better, real change begins with a fresh perspective and more all-encompassing lifestyle habits. Here are a just a few books that might help guide the way to a new and improved you.  more

What U.K.-based health care company Virtue is doing to help people age well

By Taylor Smith

According to the World Health Organization, “an estimated 47 million people currently suffer from dementia and that number is expected to increase to 75 million by 2030. It is projected that the number will triple by 2050.” To put these numbers into perspective, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that “the cost to care for an Alzheimer’s patient in a private room in a nursing home is around $97,455 per year.” This is where U.K.-based health care start-up Virtue steps in (https://www.virtue.io). With the goal to “empower the silver generation,” Virtue aims to “develop transformative solutions for aging well.” more

Urban Agenda Magazine is currently accepting submissions for its Winter 2019 Photo Contest, “WILDLIFE AND NATURE.”

We are looking for images of wildlife and nature photographed in New Jersey or anywhere else in 2018. Each photographer may submit up to five images via email to charles.plohn@witherspoonmediagroup.com. Please include photo titles, descriptions, and contact information. 

The winner(s) will have their photo printed in the February/March 2019 issue of Urban Agenda Magazine, which will arrive in homes in mid-February 2019.

Urban Agenda Magazine is read by more than 35,000 New Jersey residents.

Deadline for submission: January 30, 2019

By Taylor Smith

Sweating as medical treatment and ritual can be traced back to the Romans, Ancient Greeks, and Russians, along with Native American sweat lodges. It seems that for all of human history, the benefits of sweating have been known to mankind. For example, a fever is our body’s natural way of encouraging the immune system to perform better, since sweat is one of the major elimination channels for toxins. Even more significant, there are multiple clinics in Germany that create hyperthermia conditions during chemotherapy to reduce the dose of medications needed to target, and hopefully eliminate, cancer cells. The same process happens on a less extreme level when people experience a sauna. Different than your typical sauna, infrared heat has been shown to boost mood, increase endorphins, reduce symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, increase blood flow, burn significant calories, encourage metal detoxification, and promote the immune system’s cell activity.

 more

By Taylor Smith

Nearly two decades after Magnolia Bakery became a New York sensation, the company recently announced that it has plans to open 200 additional franchises across the United States over the next five years. The bakery, which opened its doors in Greenwich Village in 1996, has since grown to six stores in New York alone, plus locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. The purveyor of all things pastry currently has an international franchising program with 17 international stores in seven countries.

Thanks to its role in the hit HBO series Sex and the City, the company has expanded beyond cupcakes to offer cakes and the popular banana pudding (an Instagram favorite).

 more

By Taylor Smith |Photos courtesy of @warbyparker

Trend setting eyeglass company Warby Parker is making its debut in the Garden State. Customers can now have fun trying on the company’s affordable and stylish frames at 126 Central Avenue in downtown Westfield. The bright, airy, and spacious store is adorned with book-centric murals designed by Keith Negly. 

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By Taylor Smith 

From stocking stuffers to wedding favors, try Whimsy & Spice for a memorable holiday treat.

Husband and wife duo Mark Sopchak and Jenna Park began their baking company Whimsy & Spice at the launch of the Brooklyn Flea in the spring of 2008. In the years since, Whimsy & Spice has grown, thrived, and expanded. A trained pastry chef influenced by the flavors of international travel, Sopchak handles the baking-side of the company’s operation, while Park manages the graphic design and marketing end, shooting much of the photography for the brand. Viewers will be struck by the New York design sensibility combined with unusual flavors. more

By Taylor Smith 

Companies like One Peloton (www.onepeloton.com) have engineered some of the most attractive and effective workout machines in recent years. Equipment like the Peloton Cycle and Peloton Tread enable users all over the world to get a boutique indoor cycling and running studio experience from the convenience of their own homes, day or night. For a lot of working people and parents, the opportunity to get a solid sweat session at any time of day (and no car travel required) is a huge relief. more