In this week's Around Town column, learn about the student who is creating bite-sized audio tours of Palo Alto's history, see a new garden retreat in Palo Alto, and hear about the ideas youth pitched to Rep. Anna Eshoo.
NOBU NATURE RETREAT ... Nobu Hotel Palo Alto, known for its Japanese food with Peruvian accents, unveiled its newest addition this month: a Japanese-inspired garden and dining space featuring natural elements and a minimalist aesthetic, according to publicist Meghan Breen. The space serves as an overflow dining area for the existing restaurant, as well as an event venue with room for up to 54 people. During colder weather, guests can sit in the warmth of the new dining room while enjoying views of nature through the glass doors and ceiling. “The design was driven by ideas of composition and warmth of materiality – thinking about how we consider air, water, light, nourishment, comfort and tranquility of mind when seeking a retreat in an urban setting,” said David Montalba, whose company Montalba Architects collaborated with landscape gardener Shigeru Namba to design the extension. The garden is located behind a decorative gate on the Emerson Avenue side of the downtown Palo Alto hotel, which is at 180 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto.
STUDENTS SCHOOL CONGRESS ... A group of over 150 local high school students presented 26 legislative proposals relating to energy and commerce to Rep. Anna Eshoo in a virtual event on Saturday. As members of Eshoo’s 30th Student Advisory Board, the students met in groups over a period of four months to shape policy recommendations. Chair Julia Zeitlin, a junior at Castilleja School, introduced the board’s findings. “We want to see the expansion of electric vehicle fleets, increased green job training and the improvement of air quality through the reduction of urban sprawl,” Zeitlin said. She also highlighted their concerns about climate change, health care inequalities and the misuse of technology. Eshoo addressed the students and thanked them for their hard work. “You have developed an understanding of how our national legislature works. Yes, it’s the power center of the world. But how do we use our power for the benefit of the people of our country?” she said.
PODCASTING THE PAST ... A Henry M. Gunn High School sophomore is sharing his love for history in a new podcast series called Palo Alto in 60 Seconds. Abhivir Iyer is collaborating with the Palo Alto City Library to research and produce bimonthly episodes about the history and culture of Palo Alto, with the first two episodes of the show focusing on how the city got its name and the story behind Stanford University. “I started this podcast to encourage other middle schoolers and high schoolers to learn about history and to learn about the culture of this great city,” Iyer said. His local librarian first suggested the idea to him on one of his frequent trips to the library, and she was able to help him find podcasting equipment and to market the show. As a history olympiad champion, Iyer takes care of the research himself, although he said that the Palo Alto Historical Association has helped him conduct archival searches. He plans to finish publishing the first season of the show by mid-June. So far, in spite of the catchy "...in 60 seconds" podcast title, boiling down the city's history has been a tall order: Each episode has been closer to 3 minutes in length. The podcast is available on Spotify.