Category Archives: entertainments and events

June “What’s On in NYC” Round Up

Big doings in Banbury this weekend – it’s the Banbury & District Show in Spiceball Park. Never been and don’t quite know what to expect but as a new(ish)resident, I feel I ought to go and check it out. Meanwhile, back in Gotham this weekend (June 11-12) is the 11th edition of the Big Apple BBQ Block Party. Now that I’ve been to (quite a few times) and I can highly recommend going if you are a BBQ fan (as I am).

bbq

Also happening this weekend – the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival (hosted by the Museum at Eldridge Street which is housed in the former Eldridge Street Synagogue). The Festival, a colorful block party, is “a cross-cultural celebration of the Jewish and Chinese communities of our Lower East Side/Chinatown neighborhood.”

egg

Later in the month – grab your inner Gatsby and get out to Governors Island for the next Jazz Age Lawn Party (June 15-16). I’m a fan of the music and era (not the recent movie, it must be said but then I am clearly not alone as almost any of the reviews reveal). And of course, I adore Governors Island. It’s one of the best things about summer in New York City – one my favorite quick “still in the city but get out of the city” day trips and one I made (and make) whenever the chance presents itself. Even the ferry terminal is gorgeous.

ferry_terminal

Gov Island Ferry Terminal (Manhattan water side)

ferry2

Gov Island Ferry Terminal (interior water side)

ferry_views

View of Manhattan from the Ferry heading to Gov Island

On June 18 (2016), head towards the water again but this time to Coney Island for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

So, there’s no excuse for sitting around the house. Lots going on. I’ll report in from the Banbury Show next week but I want a FULL report on the BBQ and egg creams from folks on the other side. Deal?

February New York City Style

Things to note about New York City in February:

snow

  • It snows. Obviously it snows in other months as well but it’s the February snow that always seems to come down in BUCKETS. This is great for making snowmen and finding relative bargains on flights and hotel rooms. It doesn’t do much for flight arrival schedules.
  • February is when City Bakery holds it’s annual Hot Chocolate festival – which I have touched on previously
  • February is also when more dog breeds than you can imagine descend upon Madison Square Garden for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Today in NYC history:

  • 70 years ago today: Yankees slugger Joe Dimaggio waives deferment and joins the Army. 3 years later, he returns to baseball.
  • 60 years ago today: New York federal court delays the executions of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg in order to give them time for a Supreme Court appeal. Four months later – their appeal having failed – the couple was put to death.

This Month in NYC History:

  • 1653 New Amsterdam becomes a city (later renamed New York City)
  • 1790: Supreme Court convenes in NYC for it’s very first session
  • 1870: First NYC subway line opens (pneumatic powered) and almost 40 years later (1909 to be exact), NYC is also where the first subway car with side doors goes into service
  • 1872: Metropolitan Museum of Art opens (NYC) – and by the way, there’s a fantastic book about the history of the Met called Rogue’s Gallery. Highly recommended.
  • 1901: The New York City Library is established. While I may not care for some of the current renovation ideas, it is a central and vital NYC institution of which the city can be deeply proud.
  • 1913: Grand Central Terminal opens – glorious space and I did manage (belatedly) to wish the old gal Happy Birthday
  • 1930: New York City is the sight of the first red & green traffic lights being installed. Also where the color-blind first fail to see what all the fuss is about.
  • 1985: “New York, New York” became NYC’s official anthem
  • 1993: A car bomb terrorises explodes underneath the World Trade Center, killing seven people and injuring scores more.

Is It Spring Yet? Let’s Pretend!

I should, I suppose, be thankful there isn’t any new snow on the ground. But you know what? It’s 18°F out (that’s -8° for you Celsius folks out there) with a wind chill that makes it feel like 4° (or -14°C) so I’m too cold to be grateful.

When one is this cold, the only thing to do is go into denial and that is what I intend to do. Who’s with me? Right – so, let’s say winter is over. It’s Spring. Go on, work with me.

Imagine birds chirping, the smell of new mowed grass in Central Park, a Central Park full of people (not smoking thanks though how such a ban will be enforced no one has yet to sufficiently explain.

So, a park full of non-smoking people, blinking repeatedly in the sun after a long hibernation. Blinking at the sight of flowers. In flowerbeds and not just in buckets outside delis. Are you imagining it? Great – so am I.

Now, what are we going to do on this lovely Spring day? We have so much to choose from.

We could go on a walking tour. Goodness knows there are plenty to  choose from and – let’s face it – we could use the exercise after sitting in the apartment all winter starting at the white out conditions. We knew we shouldn’t have ordered all that take out but they delivered and it meant we could stay inside. Well, we’ll walk it all off during the Spring and by summer, we’ll be back in our favorite jeans.

Not quite ready to hit the sidewalks after being snowbound all winter? I understand. After all, we just got out of the house. We might need to build up to something as active as walking. So why not go indoors and enjoy a nice show instead?

Best of all – no need to spend a fortune or plan too far in advance if you go the TKS way. Go to the booths ( info on locations – there are 3 -and hours at the Theatre Development Fund website ) and see what they’ve got that day. You won’t find everything but you’ll find a lot.

I’m not so much interested in the standard, been-here-for-year productions. We’ve seen those. We’re sure you have too. if not, pop over to TKS and grab some tickets or – if you need to plan in advance, pop over to Broadway.com and get your tickets to well-established, nay entrenched shows, there.

I’m going for some new, maybe shorter run stuff this time around. Stuff like:

  • New revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying anyone? A revival staring Daniel Radcliffe and  John Larroquette? Yes, please!
  • Speaking of revivals – Anything Goes is back – this time with Sutton Foster and  Joel Grey. Another one I might have to see.
  • War Horse. Go. Go see it. Go see it before the movie opens (not that there’s anything bad about the movie that I can tell so far – and besides, it has Benedict Cumberbatch in it. How can anything with Benedict in it be bad?).

For other upcoming shows (such as John Leguizamo’s new solo show, Edie Falco in House of Blue Leaves, new interpretations of Alice in Wonderland) the dates and details, check out the upcoming shows page on Playbill.com. And – don’t forget upcoming off-Broadway options. Some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen has been off-Broadway and you won’t find it in the Broadway houses.

Well there ya go. Some nice Spring things to think about while we wait for the wind to stop howling, the temperatures to stop dropping and for some one to have a serious sit down with that damned groundhog. Now, if you’ll excuse me – I’m going to put on a few more layers and conserve some body heat now. See y’all when the roof garden at the Met opens in May!

Feeling Festive? Check These Out

As I point out over on Boris Johnson’s blog, festival season is upon us.

NYC has the River to River Festival while London has the City of London Festival. We have films al fresco in Bryant Park and they have them at Somerset House (which reminds me – I have a story about visiting Somerset House that I must tell you all one day but this is neither the time nor the place).  But that being Boris’ space and Boris being mayor of London, NYC is not really the point over there. But here, here it is ALL about NYC and so I present some of the my choices for festivals, fair and summer fun you should check out:

  • First and foremost: it is Fleet Week. When? Now. Check it out! Parade of ships, pier demonstrations, the Intrepid Summer Movie Series, and more
  • This upcoming weekend, a great choice is Family Festival at The Cloisters – and this year’s theme (medieval castles) is sure to be an attention grabber, especially when you consider the setting. If you haven’t been to the Cloisters, go. You won’t be sorry. It is one of the city’s most spectacular spots and one a lot of people miss.  Speaking of museums (because the Cloisters IS part of the Met after all), don’t forget that June 8 is the Museum Mile Festival from 6 to 9 p.m.
  • June 2- 6 is the World Science Festival. Now stop that. Don’t squinch up your face like that. This isn’t science class. There won’t be a test after wards. This is FUN. Science can be, you know. Actually this festival really does have something for everyone – and that’s part of its mission: ” . . . to cultivate and sustain a general public informed by the content of science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.” To that end they have everything from a gala opening night honoring Stephen Hawking to discussion panels to family events like demonstrations of the James Webb Telescope and scientific street fairs.
  • Brooklyn is playing host to the largest the largest Native American gathering in New York City June 4-6 in the shape of the Native American Festival at Aviator Sports and Events Center. The Center also hosts other festivals during the summer including the 2nd Annual Brooklyn Irish Festival June 26-27

A summer in the city fixture is the film festival and don’t we have a lot to chose from. Of course, you know about the Bryant Park film series but did you know that you could also do the outdoor movie thing on the deck of the Intrepid? Doesn’t that sounds AWESOME? It does to me which is why you’ll see me at the Intrepid Summer Movie Series.  But that’s not even the half of the film festival scene in NYC

  • Movies with a View is on its 11th year in Brooklyn Bridge Park and there are not a lot of better views in the city. The waterfront, the bridge AND great movies? You can see why the series gets more and more popular each year.
  • On the Upper West Side and prefer your outdoor movies closer to home? There’s River Flicks for Grownups and River Flicks for Kids.
  • The Staten Island Film festival (June 2-6) – yes, yes I know but if you haven’t BEEN to Staten Island how will you know if you like it or not. And you know what? There’s quite a few things to see and do on Staten Island. (Note to self – do a Staten Island post ASAP)
  • For those who like to mix the culinary with the cinematic, there is the NYC Food Film Festival (June 23-27).

There’s tons more – July, August and September are as full of fun as the earlier part of the summer but we’ll cover them closer to that time. And of course, no single post on Greater Gotham could find every festival, fair or fun thing. Here are some great online resources for finding the right event for you and your family.

New York Food and Dining Twitterverse

I actually have a robust post ready to go but my holiday season “to do” list is kicking my butt so I give you this annotated link round up as an appetizer.

Greater Gotham tells us about a new website that lets New Yorkers talk back to the State Senate – all well and good but do they really want to hear what New Yorkers have to say? Call me a cynic but I don’t think they do

I’ve been spending more time lately on Twitter (both for my own purposes and for researching purposes.  If you find New York a bit to much to wrap your head around or difficult to keep up – Twitter might help (in an information overload kind of way).  So I decided I’d collect groups of  NY-related Twitter feeds you might want to check out. The first group – New York Food and Dining:

NY food truck twitters:
@biggayicecream
@waffletruck
@RickshawTruck
@nyccravings
@schnitzeltruck
@LCBBurgerTruck

NY food-related twitters
@seriouseatsny
@grubstreetny
@eaterny
@MidtownLunch
@CarnegieDeli

The ORT New York Autumn Cocktail Reception was held Tuesday and with the exception of my hair (which I always complain about), everything was fab. It was a great success and this was entirely due to the great crowd that showed up to meet, mingle and make a difference.

Cocktails, Crudités and Causes

Oh it’s been a while my friends but while I might have been out of sight, I hope I was not out of mind. I was working hard, honest. I wasn’t just slacking on a beach somewhere or lounging about on a cruise ship verandah. If I had been – I assume you, I would have been here and being smug about it.

save4No, I was working, working, working. And now I need a drink. I’m going to get one too on Tuesday when I go to the ORT New York Autumn Cocktail Reception. It’s a networking event (isn’t everything these days?) but networking is not required. As far as I know, the requirements are shirts and shoes.

Come, drink, eat and you just may get to see me engaged in my least favorite activity – public speaking. Oy.

Events Abound in New York

It’s my favorite time of year in NYC. The weather starts to change (not that summer was more than a few weeks), opening of eateries and exhibits, events and happenings all over town. Lots to do. Like what, you ask? Like this!

ellis islandI vaguely knew there was something called National Park Week but I didn’t actually pay attention but now I am. Why? Hello – the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island at night? FABULOUS and a bargain to boot. $29 per person per night covers round-trip ferry access as well as dinner on the island. The Ellis Island trip is 9/24 and the Statue of Liberty trip is 9/25. Looks as if reservations are required so go now!

Which reminds me – has anyone booked tickets for the statue’s crown since it reopened? Just curious. I wouldn’t because I find the idea of paying like that absurd. But someone might?

But you don’t have to wait that long for fun. Coming up this weekend you can see Broadway on Broadway (9/13).  Singing, dancing, and Times Square. All for free. What more could you want. Well, you might want good weather since – remember – it’s outdoors!

If you are in more an uptown mood than a Times Square frame of mind, grab a seat on this special Monday edition of the Gossip Girl Tour from On Location Tours. Actually, this would be a great week to go – just in time for the Season 3 premiere. As I may have mentioned, I don’t watch the show but the cast and crew are always around here filming so they have become very much part of my reality (as have the hordes of teenage girls who seem to follow them from location to location.)

You can attend any number of NY400 events. Did you forget it was NYC’s 400th birthday? shame on you and you didn’t even bring flowers. Still, NY does not hold a grudge (much) and invites you to

Speaking of New York and 400, the Museum of the City of New York has compiled a list of 400 movers and shakers who have made a difference in the 400 years since Hudson arrived in 1609. It’s their much more democratic take on the Gilded Age’s movers and shakers known as “the Four Hundred” (because that’s how many people would fit in Mrs. Astor’s ballroom – Caroline, not Brooke). Oh there are still Astors ON the list. New York would hardly be New York without them but they are rubbing side by side with Miles Davis, Joe DiMaggio and Betty Friedan. As usual with lists like this, it’s subjective. I don’t feel Seinfeld has made a difference in New York particularly. I mean, presumably they mean his show which wasn’t like any New York I’m familiar with. But *shrug* no one asked me.

Well, there’s tons more going on but these were a few things I wanted to point out before throwing myself into my massive To-do list. More to come….

Free and Frugal Fun in Gotham

I don’t know about the rest of you but things here at Greater Gotham are a touch tight these days. Oh, I’m not on the verge of setting up shop on the sidewalk. But there is a slightly more pronounced sinking feeling while reading the news and the wallet is considerably lighter. Still, one can’t be doom and gloom all the time. One must look at the bright side or find a silver lining or something. If for no other reason than all that scowling at bank statements is causing frown lines to appear.

So to cheer myself up on a budget, I went off to find the best stuff to do in New York for the least amount of money. And you know what? As expensive as this burg is – and no mistake, it IS – there’s a TON of stuff to do for nothing or next to nothing. Here’s some places you can go and choose the ones that will turn YOUR frown upside down. You’ll even have enough dosh left over to buy yourself a snack!

  • the skint: a daily listing of free and cheap things to buy, see, do and eat in new york.
  • I found out about the skint from NewYorkology, one of my favorite NY sites and which has a great Cheap NYC section of its own.
  • Of course, New York magazine has their cheap guide to nyc: not sure how many people define the pieces at the Affordable Art Fair affordable but the budget decorating guide IS chock full of good info for cheap decorating items and sources. For some reason, they seem to have two cheap guides. One must be a previous version – but hey, if the places are still going – they may be worth checking out so I provide both links – here’s the other
  • FreeNYC is what it says on the tin.
  • So is, Club Free Time where you can find free and cheap ways to let “New York City surprise, stimulate, entertain and excite you.”
  • New York City for Free: Favorite Freebies from travel powerhouse Fodor’s.
  • Another travel site, Budget Travel has featured NYC in the Cities on Sale as recently as May 2009.
  • Not everything on the Craigslist’s Calendar is free but a goodly portion of events listed here are so it’s worth a look. Especially for last minute “I’ve got to get out of the apartment!” attacks.
  • Another regular site to check is Time Out New York’s Free Today Feature. Changes all the time and you never know what will show up there.

And now if you will excuse me, I’m off to indulge in the greatest of free New York entertainments – a walk. Got to go now and take advantage of the fact that today is slightly cooler than the last few days. Who knows when the heat will come roaring back. Have fun, all!

Living in a Tourism Hot Spot

Ah New York. Where all the world is – indeed – a stage.

Don’t believe me? Well, it’s true and the reason I know that is because I was just out running an a very important errand (two thumbs up to TD Bank for their Penny Arcade machine – $58 in change, thank you very much) when I saw the On Location Tour bus toodling by. I’ve seen them in other parts of town before. After all, you can hardly move in NYC for all the tv shows and movies locales (both real and replicated). Parks and Buildings, interiors and exteriors, street and subway scenes from The Devil Wears Prada, The Interpreter, Gossip Girl, I am Legend, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Enchanted, When Harry Met Sally, Friends, Ghostbusters, Will & Grace, Men in Black, Sex & The City, Serendipity, Seinfeld, Ugly Betty, etc. etc…

Still, this latest encounter was a surprise. Why? Because I live on the Upper East Side which isn’t – by and large – as awash with pop culture locations as neighborhoods such as the Village or the West Side. Or wasn’t until recently. Thanks to Gossip Girl (*) – the UES is the place to be. To see and be seen.

And doesn’t On Location Tours know it. Their latest tour offering is the Gossip Girl Sites Tour and that – or the general tour – is what I must have seen. I’ve been meaning to go on one of their tours for ages now. I love going on tours of my home town. Literary and historical walking tours, haunted New York tours, the Circle Line (which never ever gets old) – years ago I went on a FANTASTIC “mob tour” of the city. I never see it mentioned anywhere anymore. Gosh – I hope nothing “happened” to those guys. But in all this time, I’ve never gone on a TV/Movie tour of the city. Which is sort of weird when you consider how much enjoyment I get out of playing “spot the spot” while WATCHING these programs and films.

What are your favorite tours of New York? What tours have you always wanted to go on? Have you been on a TV tour?

(*) which I confess I do not watch and wouldn’t recognize if I fell over it. But all sorts of people ask about it now – or do once they realize I live in the area. I suppose I shall have to catch up on the Gossip Girl details if I want to continue to blog knowledgably. Hmmm… Maybe the tour could be a business expense 🙂

On the Verge of New York Summer

My apologies to all. I was taking this economic meltdown by the horns (on a personal level) and wrestling it to the ground. This took more resources and a bit more time than I thought it would. But I’ve returned! Battered and bruised by the battle but victorious. And I bring news! I am seriously considering a train journey. Amtrak has cut their fares across the Northeast for the summer. Let the planning and pondering begin!

Closer to home – at long last – a nice sized chunk of the American Wing has reopened at Metropolitan Museum of Art. While I was never much interested in the majority of the pieces in the American Wing (I’m still not) , it was very often my inter-museum destination thanks to the Tiffany garden. I would bring a snack and a book and spend hours there. Then they closed the wing so they could revamp it. Apparently, long after I noticed the place was a badly lit rabbit warren, someone in authority finally reached the same conclusion. They decided it was so convoluted and hard to navigate that most people never saw the majority of the collection. Bravo to them for fixing it but damn! It took ages and I was denied my garden escape. Sadly, it looks like I will continue to be denied by habitual escape since they have replaced my beautiful jewel-like atrium with one of their cold, marble courts. Grrrrrrrr.

And when I tire of the museum, I can wander out into the park to catch a classic flick. What’s that? Yes the Central Park Film Festival has returned! And even better 0 the first film on the schedule is SHAFT!