It Was A Very Good Year

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Bob Dylan briefly lived in room 305 of our hotel in 1964. (Lucky us, right?) The Times They Are A-Changin’ was released in January of that year. So was Meet The Beatles. The Rolling Stones and The Kinks also shipped their debut albums in 1964.

John F. Kennedy was assassinated the previous November. Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali) beat Sonny Liston in the ring and was crowned the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor married for the first time. Harpo Marx died and Stephen Colbert was born. Jean-Paul Sartre won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The 1964 World’s Fair ran for six months. The Civil Rights Act was signed into law on July 2nd and Sidney Poitier was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in Lilies of the Field.

Yep..the times they were a-changin’ (and still are).

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Image via Facebook

 

Black Seed Bagels

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The latest NYC craze? Black Seed bagels. A small shop in Nolita (North of Little Italy) has introduced bagels baked in a wood-fire oven. Many folks believe that bagels found in NYC of late are way too doughy and the schmear (cream cheese) gets lost in the overly fluffy bread, like these from Murray’s Bagels on 6th Avenue by 13th Street:

Black Seed,  on Elizabeth Street, is a bagel from another mother. The shop hand-rolls its bagels, poaches them, and then bakes them in that hotter-than-hot oven. The result is a little thinner, kind of a cross between a Montreal bagel and NYC bagel:

Me? I like both kinds, not to mention bialys. But just to make sure, I should probably test all the bagels around the city, right?

Images via Facebook.

 

 

Movies In The Park

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The Bryant Park film festival starts this year on June 16th. Every Monday at 5:00 pm, New Yorkers gather with blankets and picnic supplies in the park, located behind the New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. (I’d bet there even earlier–maybe 4:30–to get a prime spot.) Films begin at sunset (figure between 8 and 9). Dramas, comedies, classics..something for everyone will be screened. Best of all? It’s free.

June 16th: Saturday Night Fever
June 23rd: The Mark of Zorro
June 30th: A Soldier’s Story
July 7th: Blazing Saddles
July 14th: Suddenly Last Summer
July 21st: National Lampoon’s Vacation
July 28th: Key Largo
August 4th: The Karate Kid
August 11th: Lover Come Back
August 18th: The Shining

And the New York Public Library that you’ll be sitting next to? That’s the one that was featured in Ghostbusters!

Image via Wikipedia

Museum Mile For Free!

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How often do you get to amble up Fifth Avenue when it’s completely cleared of traffic and pop into nine of its incredible museums without paying a dime? Well, you can for three hours on June 10th.

The Guggenheim, El Museo Del Barrio, The Africa Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York, The Jewish Museum, Cooper-Hewitt, Neue Galerie and National Academy Museum and School will all open their doors on that day between 6 and 9 pm for the Museum Mile Festival.

Cars will be banned along the avenue from 82nd to 105th Streets for the duration of the festival, making it feel like a big block party.

Aside from the free museum passes, there will be kids’ entertainment like Silly Billy the Very Funny Clown and face painting. Art-in-the-street demonstrations will be held, like chalk drawing and creating art using letter stamps and color sticks. And there will be several musical performances by string quartets and jazz ensembles along the avenue to boot.

The party will go on, rain or shine!

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It’s A Big Apple Barbecue Block Party!

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What: Seventeen of the country’s best pitmasters will assemble right her in our fair city. Barbecue pros are traveling from Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and both Carolinas to join our NYC stars for this huge cookout. And yes–of course there will be music! Bands of multiple genres will perform. This ain’t your mama’s weenie roast.

he 12th annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party and 17 of the country’s best pitmasters are coming back to Madison Square Park on Saturday and Sunday, June 7 & 8, from 11:00am to 6:00pm. The Park will be bustling and bursting with guests from all over the country looking to indulge in an amazing assortment of authentic American barbecue.

Event admission is free for this weekend long event – and FastPasses and the new Big Piggin’ Pass are now on sale: get them here! We hope to see you in the park in June for some award-winning barbecue and Southern-inspired fare, and live performances from emerging and established musical artists.

- See more at: http://www.madisonsquarepark.org/things-to-do/calendar/big-apple-barbecue-2014#sthash.nqvdcDJa.dpuf

When: Saturday & Sunday, June 7th and 8th from 11 am to 6 pm.

Where: Madison Square Park, 23rd to 26th Street between Fifth and Madison.

How much: Zero to get in, though the ‘cue will cost you. Various special passes are for sale that enable attendees to skip the lines, sit in a VIP area and/or get unlimited beer, wine, cocktails or non-alcoholic beverages.

Prepare to pig out!

he 12th annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party and 17 of the country’s best pitmasters are coming back to Madison Square Park on Saturday and Sunday, June 7 & 8, from 11:00am to 6:00pm. The Park will be bustling and bursting with guests from all over the country looking to indulge in an amazing assortment of authentic American barbecue.

Event admission is free for this weekend long event – and FastPasses and the new Big Piggin’ Pass are now on sale: get them here! We hope to see you in the park in June for some award-winning barbecue and Southern-inspired fare, and live performances from emerging and established musical artists.

- See more at: http://www.madisonsquarepark.org/things-to-do/calendar/big-apple-barbecue-2014#sthash.nqvdcDJa.dpuf

The 12th annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party and 17 of the country’s best pitmasters are coming back to Madison Square Park on Saturday and Sunday, June 7 & 8, from 11:00am to 6:00pm. The Park will be bustling and bursting with guests from all over the country looking to indulge in an amazing assortment of authentic American barbecue.

Event admission is free for this weekend long event – and FastPasses and the new Big Piggin’ Pass are now on sale: get them here! We hope to see you in the park in June for some award-winning barbecue and Southern-inspired fare, and live performances from emerging and established musical artist

- See more at: http://www.madisonsquarepark.org/things-to-do/calendar/big-apple-barbecue-2014#sthash.nqvdcDJa.dpuf

12th annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party and 17 of the country’s best pitmasters are coming back to Madison Square Park on Saturday and Sunday, June 7 & 8, from 11:00am to 6:00pm. The Park will be bustling and bursting with guests from all over the country looking to indulge in an amazing assortment of authentic American barbecue.

Event admission is free for this weekend long event – and FastPasses and the new Big Piggin’ Pass are now on sale: get them here! We hope to see you in the park in June for some award-winning barbecue and Southern-inspired fare, and live performances from emerging and established musical artists.

- See more at: http://www.madisonsquarepark.org/things-to-do/calendar/big-apple-barbecue-2014#sthash.nqvdcDJa.dpuf

Happy Memorial Day!

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Please enjoy your barbecues and beach parties, but remember the brave service women and men who have died protecting our freedom.

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Monument (pictured above) commemorates Union Army soldiers and sailors who served in the Civil War. You can visit it at 89th Street and Riverside Drive in Riverside Park on the Upper West Side.

Have a great holiday, everyone. Stay safe!

 

Beer Is Proof That God Loves Us And Wants Us To Be Happy

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Or so Benjamin Franklin reportedly said–and I agree. It’s finally Memorial Day weekend, and after throwing on a pair of shorts and flip-flops, the first thing most people do is grab a beer. Luckily, North Square’s beer sommelier, Pamela Amatucci, has just finished lightening and brightening up the restaurant’s draft beer options to fit the season.

The first is Brooklyn Summer Ale, rightfully named for its sunny disposition. As a light dinner ale and a true session beer, Brooklyn Summer has a lower alcohol content (so you can keep drinking all night without making a fool of yourself), plus a clean, crisp flavor that will complement just about any food choice. Pamela suggests pairing it with our lounge’s sirloin burger or the dining room’s filet mignon au poivre. The combination will evoke memories of backyard barbecues and relaxing summer evenings–a great way to ring in the summer.

For a selection with more of a bite that won’t overpower your palate, Pamela suggests Lagunitas India Pale Ale from California. This brew offers a refreshing mouthfeel with a hoppy finish that is a nice accompaniment to the flavors of your meal without overpowering it with bitterness. In the lounge, pair the ale with wild mushroom ravioli, or try it with the sausage plate in the dining room.

For those of you who love a Blue Moon in the summer, we have a creative selection for you: Singlecut White Lagrrr, brewed in Astoria. This is a unique twist on a wheat ale, turning the bottom-fermented lager into a brew reminiscent of a saison (farmhouse ale) by adding matzo to thicken the mouthfeel. Unlike most wheat beers, this has subtle grapefruit notes and a body light enough to keep drinking. Enjoy it with a key lime pie in our lounge, or seared tuna with coconut rice in the dining room.

Have a fun-filled Memorial Day Weekend! Try and stop in and check these beers out!


 


 

Rock Rock Rockaway Beach

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Bronzed bodies sprawled on blankets and shaggy-haired surfers catching a wave aren’t images that automatically pop in your head when you think about New York City. But yes, people, we do have real, honest-to-God mounds of sand and surf right here in the five boroughs. We’re not trying to pretend that we’re in the same league as Malibu or Maui, but New Yorkers have a handful of beaches that do the trick when a summer break is needed and you don’t want to make that trek all the way out to Long Island.

Coney Island is home to the Cyclone roller coaster, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, the New York Aquarium and, most of all, those infamous Nathan’s hotdogs. Surf Avenue is the site of the original Nathan’s stand, which opened almost a hundred years ago.

Right next door to Coney Island is Brighton Beach, known as “Little Odessa” for its Eastern European shops and restaurants. Head a few blocks away from the boardwalk to Brighton Beach Avenue, where you can pick up a picnic of pirozhki (fried-yeast dough pies with cabbage or meat) or khachapuri (Georgian cheese pastries), or minced-meat kebabs and fish cakes at Gastronom Arkadia.

Manhattan Beach is a family-friendly beach a short walk from Coney Island. Smaller and calmer than Coney Island, the sand is surrounded by playgrounds, baseball fields and volleyball, tennis, basketball and handball courts.

Head out to Rockaway Beach in Queens. Aside from local heroes The Ramones, Rockaway is known primarily for two things. One is that it’s the city’s only legal surfing beach. The second? Tacos! The lines at Rockaway Taco put those at Shake Shack to shame, but the fish tacos are well worth the long wait.

Sing it, boys:

 

 

 

 

‘Ello Guvnah!

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In a prior post on Memorial Day happenings, I mentioned that Governors Island will be opening for the season that weekend. Here’s a little whowhatwhenwherewhy on this cool place:

First of all, what is it? GI is a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor, right in between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. For almost two centuries it was a military base. In 2003, the feds sold the bulk of the island to New York and voila, we have yet another big, beautiful park.

It’s open weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm and weekends from 10 to 7. Ferries run from Lower Manhattan daily, and from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 on Saturdays, Sundays, Memorial Day and Labor Day. A mere $2 can get you a round trip; kids under 12 pay zilch and seniors just have to fork over a buck.

Bring your bike! And if you don’t have one, you can rent one there. Free Bike Mornings, a new program this year, allows visitors to borrow a bike for free for up to one hour every weekday between 10 AM and noon.

You can bring your own picnic from the mainland, but frankly, I’d just buy your snacks there because there are plenty of options: picnic food places, Carribean food joints, Philly cheese steaks, ice cream and even a beer garden.

There are special events all summer long, including a Jazz Lawn Party, a badminton competition and musical performances. Check for more info here.

 

Big Gay Ice Cream

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Summer is upon us, which means that it’s time to get ourselves some Big Gay Ice Cream!

You’ve probably heard of The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, which started serving up goodies in Union Square in 2009. It was a huge splash, and was soon followed by two Big Gay Ice Cream Shops, one in the East Village and one here in the West, on Grove St.

The cool thing about this place (other than its name) are the creative flavors. The Salty Pimp is vanilla ice cream with dulce de leche and sea salt dipped in chocolate. The Bea Arthur version replaces the chocolate with crushed vanilla wafers. (It’s about time someone honored Maude in the fashion she so richly deserves, amiright?) The Mexican Affo’gay’to is a spicy hot chocolate with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, cayenne and shaved chocolate.

They also have a bunch of shakes and floats in flavors like chai, ginger curry and chocolate-peanut butter.

Have a great, hopefully ice cream-filled weekend, everyone!