The Ins And Outs Of The Open

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The U.S. Open kicks off in Queens this Monday, August 25th, and runs through September 8th. Here’s what you need to know if you’re eager to see powerhouse Serena Williams defend her 2013 Singles title:

  • You can purchase tickets at the US Open online, via Ticketmaster or at the box office at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
  • It’s easy as pie to get there–a short subway ride from Manhattan (#7 train to the Mets-Point Willet Station).
  • The biggest grandstand, Arthur Ashe, is reserved seating only. Portions of the Louis Armstrong stadium and all of the twenty smaller outdoor courts are first come, first served.
  • Probably the best ticket to get is the daily Grounds Pass (about $67) which is sold through September 1st. It provides access to all of the courts (except Ashe) all day long. There’s nothing like strolling around and spotting a Top 20 player or happening upon the Next Big Thing in action.
  • And don’t worry, you won’t starve. There are plenty of choices for food, like Hill Country Barbecue, Carnegie Deli, Pat LaFrieda Meat Co. and Morris Grilled Cheese Truck. Oh–and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Because ice cream is important, right?

So bring a bottle of sunscreen, comfy shoes and a good hat and enjoy the day!

Quick tip: Time Out New York offers 40% off tickets to select sessions. Click here to find out more.

Image via Yann Caradec/Flickr

 

Remembering Bird

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Jazz lovers will be happy to know that the Charlie Parker Jazz festival takes place this weekend!

Parker lived in Alphabet City, on the Lower East Side, during the 50s. The actual block he lived on, Avenue B between 7th and 10th Streets–right alongside of Tompkins Square Park–was renamed Charlier Parker Place in 1992. Ever since 1993, the jazz festival, which celebrates Bird’s birthday, is an annual event in the park and in other locations around the city.

This year’s festival highlights include a show on Saturday uptown in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, in the same neighborhood as Minton’s, the legendary jazz club where Parker and other greats sowed the seeds of the beginnings of be-bop. The show features the Wallace Roney Orchestra, guitarist and vocalist Lionel Loueke, pianist Kris Bowers and saxophonist Melissa Aldana, with a guest turn by soul singer Chris Turner.

Sunday’s show in Tompkins Square Park features incredible pianist Kenny Barron, drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, saxophonist Craig Handy and vocalist Brianna Thomas.

That’s a lot of talent packed into two days. And did I mention that the entire festival is free? The magic word, F-R-E-E?

For info and complete schedule, click here.

Image via Scarlatti 2004/Flickr

 

 

And Now For Something Completely Different…

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Did you know that there is a Houdini museum here in the city?

Harry Houdini was the famous escape artist that performed around the turn of the last century. He wriggled out of handcuffs, crawled out of crates and slithered out of straitjackets. In between these feats of daring, he set out to expose fake mediums, produced and acted in films and flew airplanes. Busy guy.

The museum, located under the Fantasma Magic store on 33rd St. and 7th Ave., contains hundreds of artifacts from the life and career of probably the most famous magician of them all. Kids will go crazy over it. And it’s free!

We all need a little magic in our life, don’t we? So, check it out!

Featured image via wikimedia

 

 

Don’t Take The Brown Acid!

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It’s been 45 years since Woodstock, which brings up a few thoughts:

  • Hippies are getting old(ish). Who’da thunk that would have happened?
  • Rock and roll has never died–it’s just evolved.
  • But the music from that era still holds up to the test of time, right? (Dylan, Richie Havens, Janis Joplin, The Who….)

A good song is forever. For a sample of what past hotel guest, John Sebastian, played at the festival, click here:

What a beautiful tune. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Image via Tais Melillo/Flickr

 

 

5 Reasons To Visit Us in September

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Here’s a list of things that our fair city can offer you next month:

We have sports! Tennis fans can attend the US Open! The tournament runs from August 25th through September 8th. Nadal! Federer! Williams!

We have movies! The Harlem International Film Festival runs from the 10th through the 14th. A film on Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Children of The Light, narrated by his daughter Naomi, opens the festivities.

We have inexpensive art! You can buy some low-cost goodies at the Affordable Art Fair in Chelsea from the 25th through the 29th. Browse thousands of paintings, prints, sculptures and photographs in prices ranging from $100 – $10,000. (Most pieces are priced under $5,000.)

We have freebies! Saturday, the 27th is Free Museum Day. Head to the Smithsonian magazine website to download free tickets for participating museums in the city.

We have beer! Quaff ale and help animals at the same time at Beer for Beasts benefit at the Bell House in Brooklyn. $45 will get you samplings of suds plus noshes from some of the city’s best food vendors. All proceeds will go toward the Humane Society of New York City.

Okay–one more reason. It’s still warm, but with a very slight chill in the air…a light sweater is all you need. Perfect people-watching, outdoor-eating, city-strolling weather! So come see us next month!

Image via Sean Bryon/Flickr

 

Tick…Tick…Tick…Tick…

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Time is winding down on Restaurant Week. It ends on Friday, people, so chop chop! It’s your last chance to sample Chef Cruz’s yummy creations at $25 for a three-course lunch and $38 for dinner. And if you’ve already been, remember that our talented chef mixes it up every few days, so come back and try something different!

Some of this week’s specials:

Moroccan Spiced Cod with sauteed vegetables and shoe string potatoes, in an herb fennel sauce.

Grilled Shrimp and Calamari Salad with fennel, mango and frisee in a miso ginger vinaigrette.

Roasted Pekin Duck Breast with snap peas, carrots, pappardelle with an orange ginger sauce.

A Blood Orange Panna Cotta with pineapple mint compote and margarita sorbet.

Yum. Yum. Yum. Make your reservations to come and chow down with us here.

Have a great week, everyone!

 

 

Movies Under The Stars

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It’s almost time for the annual Central Park Film Festival, where movies are screened nightly outside in the park for a whole week. Outdoor flicks! And it’s free!

This year’s theme is Scenes from our City, focusing on films where New York is one of the stars of the movie. Here’s a lineup of the dates and offerings:

Monday, August 18th: Big (1988, PG)
Tuesday, August 19th: The Royal Tennenbaums (2001, R)
Wednesday, August 20th: The Way We Were (1973, PG)
Thursday, August 21st: Coming to America (1988, R)
Friday, August 22nd: Rear Window (1954, PG)

Seems that they were able to pluck one terrific movie from almost every decade over the past 50 years, doesn’t it?

The festival takes place just north of the Sheep Meadow, between Sheep Meadow and the 72nd St. Cross Drive. (Best way to reach it is to enter mid-Park at 69th St.) Gates open at 6:30 pm and the movie starts at 8:00 pm.)

Bring a blanket and snacks!

Image via Facebook

 

 

 

Let’s Go Roller Skating!

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Attention roller skating fanatics! On Saturday or Sunday in the warmer months, hundreds of skaters gather in The Skate Circle, located in the middle of Central Park by 70th St. The Skate Circle is an area cordoned off specifically for skate dancers to roll around, enjoy music and have a blast.

According to the Central Park Dance Skaters Association (CPDSA), which organizes the fun, skating has always integral to the city and they want to keep the tradition alive. As they explain in their website, photographs from the 1890′s show people ice skating on the Lake and the Boat Basin, and roller skating came into vogue in the 1930s.

These days, skating begins on designated days at 2:45 and winds down at 6:45. A DJ will provide beats, of course, because how can you possibly dance skate without them? And you don’t have to even wear blades to join the circle; non-skating dancers are welcome too.

Check it out!

Image via cpdsa.org

Battle of the Burgers

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Here’s a cool thing to do on Thursday night: the Battle of the Burgers. Time Out magazine took a survey of both their readers’ and food critics’ favorite burgers and came up with what they feel is the ultimate list. Check out the Top 25 finalists here. The lineup looks promising–and I already have a favorite. (Being a woman of simple tastes, I do love Shake Shack…but damn I hate standing on line!)

On Thursday, $40 will get you samples from over a dozen of the finalists, plus beer. Yes, beer is included. Lots and lots of beer…nectar of the gods. But be aware that if you’d like to attend, tickets must be purchased by midnight on the 6th.

If you can’t make it on Thursday, you can conduct your own taste battle right here in the lounge at North Square. We’re proud of the fact that there’s a burger for everyone. The sirloin burger with cheddar cheese (seen above) is for the purist. Lamburginis, or lamb sliders, with rosemary lemon aioli is for the more adventurous palate. And we don’t discriminate against vegetarians. The lentil and vegetable burger is great for them (and carnivores won’t turn their noses up at them too).

Oh–and we have beer. Lots and lots of beer…

Do We Know How To Pick ‘Em Or What?

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll be very much aware that we’re quite proud of our history, especially our guests that hail from the various arts.

In 1999, a lovely young waitress working at North Square (then called C3), handed us her demo CD and wondered whether she could play it at our weekly Sunday Jazz Brunch.

We had a listen and said, “Wow! Of course you can!” It was fantastic. And so she did, to the crowd’s complete enjoyment.

Sadly for us, our talented waitress quit soon thereafter. Her name was Norah Jones. Here’s a sample of what we were lucky to hear early on:

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Image via Facebook