Take A Stroll Down West 4th Street

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Let’s take a walk along West 4th Street, long the center of bohemian culture in the Village. Check it out:

The Washington Square Methodist Church stands at #135, an early Romanesque Revival that was built in1859. Its nickname was the “Peace Church”, as it became a neighborhood base for activist groups such as Vietnam War protesters, Black Panthers and Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Sadly, the building was gutted inside and renovated into apartments, but the facade had attained landmark status and remains untouched.

The Pink Pussycat, at #167, should be able to fulfill all of your sex shop needs.

In an area known for its smoke shops, Shisha International, at #171, seems to have a devoted following. Hookahs, rolling papers, vaporizers…they’ve got it all.

At #184, The Silversmith is touted as the Village’s smallest shop. Tons of beautiful jewelry, with an emphasis on Native American pieces.

Vol de Nuit is a cool Belgian beer bar at #148. Dozens of brews, plus mussels and fries with homemade sauces.

At #169 Music Inn World Instruments sells what seems like any musical instrument from all over the world. In a market for a didgeridoo? A kalimba? They’ve got them plus more.

Make a pit stop for a cannoli: Sant Ambroeus is a lovely Italian pastry cafe at #259.

At #267, check out A.P.C. for the latest in euro-hipster looks. The designs are clean and customers are devoted to their great-fitting jeans.

Designer Marc Jacobs’ store, at #301, hawks his women’s accessories and shoes.

Bookleaves is a small, independent book sore at #304. (Yes, they do still exist.)

The Corner Bistro at #331 is a relic of the past. Great burgers, cheap beer and a soulful jukebox–the three key ingredients of a memorable, inexpensive night out.

And finally, around the corner on 6th Avenue, between West 3rd and West 4th, check out the West 4th Street Courts, also know as “The Cage”, a smaller-than-regulation basketball court that regularly hosts fierce pick-up games.

Have a great day!

 

NYC’s Best Flea Markets

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Well, who knows if they’re the best, but this blogger likes them! Take a look at where you can treasure hunt in the city:

Artists & Fleas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn showcases both vintage and contemporary wear designed by local artists and designers. Aside from clothing, you’ll find jewelry, accessories and even furniture. Open Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 7 pm.

Green Flea, on the Upper West Side, is a favorite for antiques enthusiasts. Vintage clothing, jewelry and furniture are the stars of the market. There are dozens of vendors outdoors, but don’t overlook the many that have a space inside the building. As a bonus, there’s a terrific farmer’s market located right across Columbus Ave. Open Sundays, 10 am to 5:30 pm.

More antiques can be found at the West 25th Street Market. Yeah, it’s a bit disorganized and you’ve definitely got to be in the mood for digging in order to find that deco ashtray that until today you didn’t know you couldn’t live without–but that can be half the fun. Lots of vintage clothing, housewares, jewelry and furniture. Open Saturday and Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm.

The Market NYC, located right next to The Bitter End on Bleecker St., is dedicated to young designers. One-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry and decorative items are the focus. Open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from noon to 8 pm; Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm.

Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Flea & Smorgasburg (get it?) is probably the city’s biggest market with over 120 goods and 60 food vendors. As you stroll through, you’ll find vintage clothing and records, handmade crafts, beauty products and jewelry, plus antique and handmade furniture. Chow down on tacos, ice pops, chocolates or porchetta sandwiches. Open Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Happy First Day Of Spring!

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It’s finally here, and this is–hands down–the best season to visit New York City. The locals are slowly emerging from their apartment caves. You’re not stuffing yourself and that bulky down coat into 10 inches of subway seat. Those boxy wind fortresses are slowly coming down from store fronts; gloves and scarves are being thrown into storage.

It’s going to be 54 degrees today in the city, people. I feel like Mother Nature is wagging a finger at us, saying, “See? I told you it was going to come!”

So shed a few layers and make a beeline out of your apartment or hotel. Here are a few tips on experiencing the best of what the city has to offer at this time of year:

Ride a bike up the Hudson River to the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. The lighthouse was made famous by the 1942 children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, by Hildegarde Swift. Stop at the 79th Street Boat Basin Cafe for a beer and a burger along the way.

Head to a farmer’s market, a flea market or a street fair. Who cares if you buy anything? That’s not the point.

Check out the spring blooms on the High Line. Cherry blossoms, geraniums, tulips, and crocuses, oh my! Grab a Mexican chocolate ice pop from La Newyorkina or a brisket sandwich from Delaney Barbecue’s Smokeline to nosh on during your stroll.

Savor these extra hours of sunlight by sipping a cocktail outdoors at sunset.

Have a picnic!  Really, any park will do. Just grab a sandwich and people-watch, like all New Yorkers do. In fact, North Square can provide handy to-go picnic lunches to nibble across the street in Washington Square Park.

And finally, come visit us! We’re looking forward to seeing you!

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Irish Culture!

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The Irish are a soulful bunch. They’ve touched us through the arts in countless ways.

Like acting: Daniel Day Lewis, Liam Neeson, Kenneth Branagh, Colin Farrell, Peter O’Toole, Stephen Rea, Michael Fassbender and Gabriel Byrne

Or literature in its many forms: James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, Jonathan Swift, Frank McCourt and Samuel Beckett

Or painting: Francis Bacon, John Lavery and Louis le Brocquy

And of course, music: Van Morrison. Elvis Costello, U2, The Corrs, The Pogues, Rory Gallagher, James Galway, The Dubliners and Bob Geldof

Listen to Van and The Chieftains performing Carrickfergus, an Irish folk song named for a town in Northern Ireland:

Wasn’t that lovely? Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

 

St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt

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This event doesn’t actually take place on St, Patrick’s Day, but on Sunday, the 16th. It’s described as, “part scavenger hunt, part obstacle course and ALL NEW YORK.” A series of clues will lead participants to physical, mental and bar-related challenges all across the city.

Participants should meet up at Libation, a bar on Ludlow between Rivington and Stanton at 1 p.m. and should expect to spend three hours on the hunt. Only “musts” to bring are comfy shoes, a Metrocard and a smart phone. You can sign up as a team; however, if you’re solo, the organizers will hook you up with other players.

The cost is $20, but those who cross the finish line will get a free beer and gift basket. That sounds fair, doesn’t it? More importantly, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Have a great weekend!

Spring Is A Comin’

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In eight days, to be exact. We got a little taste of warmer weather yesterday and today. (Currently it’s 55 degrees.) So it’s all uphill from here, folks. A little taste of the good things to come:

Come and stay with us when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. We can’t wait!

 

Where Can I Go To Hear Great Music?

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New York has what feels like a bazillion music venues, so everyone is certain to find at least one that suits their needs, right? Here are a few suggestions…

For audiophiles: Town Hall

The acoustics are out of this world. And the artists run the gamut: rock, jazz, children’s shows, spoken word, a Jewish music festival and Roseanne Cash are just a few of the upcoming shows.

For cheap rock: Mercury Lounge

Bar, stage, drinks. Great music. It’s not fancy, but you can happily order a PBR and rock on. ‘Nuff said.

For the Baby Boomers: The Beacon Theatre

To sum it up in a few words: the Allman Brothers are the musicians-in-residence every March. Acoustics are great and the audience has sowed their wild oats many moons ago. Upcoming shows include Ringo Starr, Smokey Robinson and Tori Amos.

For people who love history and killer music: Apollo Theater

Years before American Idol or The Voice were even a blip on our country’s radar, the Apollo hosted Amateur Night every Wednesday. Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five, Lauryn Hill and Gladys Night & The Pips all got their start here. (Jimi Hendrix won first place in 1964.) When you walk in take a look around before you find your seat–the history will envelop you.

For jazz buffs with shallow pockets: Smalls

Yes, there’s a $20 cover charge, but your end-of-the-night tab won’t come close to that of an evening at the Blue Note. The name says it all: space is tight. But jazz should be an intimate experience, no? Head here to listen to the up-and-comers.

For, um, seasoned music lovers that want a glass of wine, a comfortable seat and a nosh with their music: City Winery

The food is yummy, wine delish…and you won’t find the latest You Tube star playing here. Upcoming shows include legendary soul man Sam Moore. Los Lonely Boys and a tribute to Paul Simon. I once saw Todd Rundgren perform an acoustic show there that was out of this world.

For the traditionalists: Carnegie Hall

What can I say? It’s every bit as beautiful as you think it will be–probably more. No matter whom you are seeing the acoustics and atmosphere rate an 11.

Music is for everyone, right? You’ve just got to find what’s best for you…and you can in our city!

 

 

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Tomorrow is the day that we celebrate our sisters and the economic, political and social achievements of all women past, present and future.

The First International Women’s Day took place in 1911, no doubt fueled by the suffragette struggle to gain the right to vote. (Yep, we’ve certainly come a long way, baby!)

Let’s take a minute and look at a list of female New Yorkers past and present who have shared their academic, scientific or artistic gifts with all of us. Each, in her own way, has made the world a better place.

Here we go:

Maria Callas, Nora Ephron, Eleanor Roosevelt, Edie Falco, Jane Fonda, Lady Gaga, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ann Hathaway, Margaret Mead, Lena Horne, Rita Hayworth, Scarlett Johansson, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Diane Lane, Jacqueline Onassis, Cyndi Lauper, Marie Curie, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Linda McCartney, Bella Abzug, Diane Arbus, Andrea Mitchell, Ethel Merman, Lucille Ball, Lea Michele, Mary Tyler Moore, Janet Napolitano, Diane Sawyer, Patti Smith, Cynthia Nixon, Emma Lazarus, Bernadette Peters Brook Shields, (disability rights activist) Sandra Shnur, Susan Strasberg, Phoebe Snow, Carly Simon, Beverly Sills, Barbra Streisand, Leslie Uggams, Bette Midler, Willa Cather, Ella Fitzgerald, Greta Garbo and Deborah Harry.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Congratulations all of our brilliant and talented sisters!

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

Yesterday Was National Pancake Day

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And I’m just writing about it now. I know, I know…a day late and a flapjack short, as they say. But every day should be Pancake Day, no? I dare you to find one person who doesn’t enjoy them in some form. Here’s a quick rundown of some of my favorite stacks in the city:

Bubby’s has two locations: the original in Tribeca and a newer one by the High Line. You need their sourdough pancakes with fresh Maine blueberries. You really do.

Clinton St. Baking Company serves wild Maine blueberry or banana walnut or chocolate chunk stacks, all with with warm maple butter. Pair it with a side of sugar-cured bacon (yes, sugar and bacon–the two key food groups) and you will immediately go to your happy place.

Shopsins on Essex St. is famous for two things: its cantankerous owner and a menu longer than War & Peace. It looks like there are at least fifty different varieties of pancakes. Local favorites include Slutty Cakes, which consist of peanut butter smothered bacon sandwiched between banana pancakes. And how about Mac ‘n Cheese Cakes? You get the picture; this is the place for those that crave the new and unusual.

Fairway Cafe on the Upper West Side brings you back to the familiar, with killer silver dollar stacks. If you like your cakes thin, this is the place to go. (They have a gluten-free version too.)

And how can we not brag about Chef Cruz’s pumpkin pecan or blueberry wheat pancakes here at North Square? Insanely light and yummy. Come by for breakfast or brunch and check them out!

 

A Step Back In Time

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Every visitor to New York automatically has the Metropolitan Museum, MOMA and the Guggenheim on their to-do list. But there are plenty of interesting smaller museums that they should look into as well.

Merchant’s House Museum allows its guests to take a giant step back in time for a peek at life in 19th-century New York City.

In 1835, Seabury Tredwell, his wife Eliza and their six children moved into the mansion on East 4th Street. The family remained there for almost a century until the youngest of the children, Gertrude, died at age ninety-three in1933. The perfectly-preserved original furnishings and personal possessions of the Tredwell family paint a vibrant picture of life at that time for the wealthy merchant class.

One thing to remember for those who are easily spooked: the house is reportedly haunted. It earned the title of the Most Haunted House in Manhattan. (Dunno from whom, but obviously somebody was freaked out enough to crown it.) So if you do go, and come across the most frequent spirit–a woman in a brown dress–do as I would: bid them hello and get the hell out of there as fast as your feet will take you.

Cost is $10, $5 for Students and Seniors; free for kids under 12. Guided tours are available as well.