Take A Stroll Down Christopher Street

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Everyone remembers Christopher Street as the center of the gay rights movement in the 60′s and 70′s. Many moons later it’s still a vibrant thoroughfare right in the middle of the Village full of shops and bars for gays and straights alike.

McNulty’s Tea and Coffee Company (#109) buy viagra with discount has been selling rare coffees and teas since 1895. As a matter of fact, it feels just like you’ve been transported back to the 19th century once you walk through the doors. Caffeine junkies regularly flock here for the variety. (You need to try the chocolate covered espresso beans before you die. Really…you do.)

Propel yourself forward into the 21st century with Rag and Bone (#104). If hipster is your thing, this is the place you should go. Hipsters with money, that is. The clothes are cute, but only if you have cash to burn. Thriftier folks will make out if they wait for the sales.

Aedes de Venustas (#9) is heaven for perfume lovers. Another expensive joint, but you can also find lovely scented things for less. The parfums can run up a hefty tab, so try the bath gels and soaps…you can get that luxurious feeling without maxing out your credit card.

Il Cantuccio Bakery: Two Italian bakers opened up an American offshoot of their Tuscan cafe at #91. Pizza, biscotti, sandwiches on schiacciata (a type of foccacia) and cantucci (kind of like a biscotti but softer and made with no butter or oil) are killer.

Of course we can’t forget the Stonewall Inn (#53), the site of the legendary 1969 riots, in which patrons stood up to police that had constantly harassed them for drinking and dancing with same-sex partners. It’s still going strong seven days a week with special shows and parties catering primarily to gay folks.

Another fun joint is The Duplex (#61)–a piano bar and cabaret. Bring your pipes for sing-alongs. Straights are welcome, especially if they can belt one out!

 

Out With The New, In With The Old

One thing I love about the Village is the fact that even though it has always welcomed change and celebrated youth (aah…the beatnik days) there is a deep reverence for the not so new. As many of you know, The Washington Square Hotel turned 110 this year. (Yeah, she’s had a little work done–but just a little. I swear.) But there are other establishments in the neighborhood that have also been around a long, long time.

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C.O. Bigelow Chemists:  Established in 1838, not only is it the oldest apothecary in the neighborhood, but the longest operating pharmacy in the entire country to boot. Located on 6th Avenue, near West 9th, the store sports lots of homeopathic remedies, high-end toiletries, and something I personally cherish–a knowledgeable staff. And hey! The joint has chandeliers! Have you ever seen a chandelier in Duane Reade? Nope. Didn’t think so.

White Horse Tavern: Opened in 1880 on Hudson Ave. at 11th St., the White Horse Tavern is considered to be the second oldest bar in New York. (Top honors goes to McSorley’s Ale House–Abe Lincoln supposedly took a pint at

McSorley’s)  You’ll find evidence of bar regular Welsh poet Dylan Thomas all over the place. Thomas apparently died a few days after consuming eighteen-that’s one eight–straight whiskeys at the White Horse.

Cherry Lane Theater: Originally built as a brewery, a group of theater artists (pals of Edna St. Vincent Millay) got together to convert the building into a theater in 1924. Ever since, the Commerce St. theater has been the home to plays written by everyone from F. Scott Fitzgerald to William Saroyan to Lanford Wilson. It’s now surely presenting works from the next generation of great scribes.

Village Vanguard: A relative youngster at 77 years old, the Vanguard is the place for serious jazz buffs. It’s not fancy, but the room has great acoustics and has hosted–and continues to host–all of the greats. John Coltrane, Art Pepper, Wynton Marsalis…the list goes on an on. And the price ($25) is extremely reasonable for the quality of music you hear.

 

 

 

 

So What Do You Wanna Do This Weekend?

It’s a nice long holiday weekend here in

New York. Here are a few random things that might be fun to do if you’re here with us in town…

The Whitney Museum is featuring a collection of works by 18 early-to-mid-20th-century American artists, installed as a series of mini retrospectives. The lineup includes such names as Georgia O’Keefe, Paul Cadmus, Joseph Cornell. Alexander Calder and Edward Hopper.

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Sandra Bernhard is in the house!  The hilarious comedian and singer is performing with her band, the Rebellious Jezebels at Joe’s Pub.

Check out the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, the improv and sketch comedy theater in Chelsea. It’s incredibly cheap–especially for the caliber of talent they have to offer. Amy Poehler is actively involved with the place and yes, I’ve seen her perform there. What more do you need to know?

Drop in on the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum’s “Ivy Style” exhibit, which celebrates the evolution of preppie-style clothing. (Apparently the Ivy league look was once cutting edge. Really?!?!?) Khakis, penny loafers, Ralph Lauren and Arrow shirts will surely be represented.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to check out the butterfly conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History. It’s beautiful and loads of fun. Butterflies, butterflies everywhere! (Okay, I may be a dweeb, but I love it.)

And finally have a cocktail at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis. The old-time warmth of the place just screams Old New York, fancy beer nuts and all.

Santacon Is Back!

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Coming to NYC this Saturday….Santa Con! The annual blow-out in which otherwise sane folks dress up as St. Nick and engage in a city-wide pub crawl to celebrate the spirit of the big guy and the holidays. By imbibing spirits. A lot of them. In many different places.

The website describes it like this:

Santacon is a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason.

Nice.

People dressed as Santas, elves and even dreidels meet at a location disclosed on nycsantacon.com. You can check out the itinerary on Facebook too. (As of this writing more, than 30,000 revelers have already signed up.)

All they ask is that you dress appropriately. (Red suit, white beard, jiggly tummy–you know the drill.). Bring a metrocard and enough cash for booze, plus two non-perishable food

items for the food drive.

Yep, Santacon isn’t only about having a good time; it’s a charity endeavor to boot. Last year they raised $10,000 for Toys are Tots and donated 6,000 pounds of food to local food banks.

Let’s take a look at pics of Santacons of the past:

It’s cocktail time!

Time to move on.

 

Candy canes and anarchy.

Did the real deal sneak in?

Santas descend upon our hood.

Rest stop.

Whoops.  Wrong holiday. (Now I’m scared.  Somebody make the creepy Bunny Santa go away!)

Happy pub crawling!

Jazz In The City

If you’re a music fan, it’s time to start thinking about heading this way next month. On January 11th and 12th, six bars in the Village will host over 70 groups for the 2013 Winter Jazzfest.

The host venues–The Bitter End, Zinc Bar, Sullivan Hall, (Le) Poisson

Rouge, SubCulture and Bowery Electric–are all within walking distance or a short cab ride from the hotel.  (Honestly, The Bitter End alone is worth the trip…so much history there. It’s been a Village music staple since 1961 and everyone from Stevie Wonder to Curtis Mayfield to Lady Gaga have performed there.)

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Artists include Claudia Acuna, Rich Medina, the James Carter Organ Trio and Don Byron.

And all this music is not crazy expensive:  a one-day pass costs $35 and a two-day pass costs $10 more.  So check it out!

R.I.P. Dave Brubeck (December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012)

Where Do Chefs Like To Drink?

Our friends at Eater.com surveyed eleven celebrated chefs to find out where their favorite places to drink are in the world.  Paris, Madrid, Tokyo and San Francisco were all cited as worthy cocktail towns.  But it came as no surprise that New York City bars had more than its fair share of fans.

Graham Elliot of Graham Elliot, Chicago likes to drink at Empellon Cocina in the East Village.  He cites a drink called “Por Que No”, which consists of Pueblo Viejo Blanco tequila, pineapple, serrano ( let’s assume he means the pepper and not the ham), and cilantro. To Elliot, “It’s whimsical, creative, exciting, and most

importantly, delicious!”

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Paul Qui owns East Side King in Austin and was last season’s Top Chef winner.  (I know this because I’m obsessed with the show.  Yeah, I’m a geek.  So sue me.)  Chef Qui likes the casual Randolph at Broome in Little Italy.  His fave is a mezcal with sangrita that’s laced with Stubbs liquid smoke.  (Sounds like a Top Chef concoction.)

Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy likes early in the morning at The Spotted Pig on 11th Street in the Village.  Apparently, the doors are closed and Mario Batali–he of the orange crocs–fixes up shots of Averna (a Sicilian liqueur) and beer.  Okay, so Mario has rarely–okay, never–invited me to his after hour parties, but I have been to the Spotted Pig and I can vouch that it is a cool place with yummy cocktails.

For the rest of Eater’s list, click here.

Walking (And Drinking) Among Ghosts

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File this one under “Cool Things To Do When You’re Thirsty”:  Every Saturday at 2 p.m., starting at the 133-year-old White Horse Tavern–where Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan once raised glasses–local actors lead groups on a walking tour of several Greenwich Village bars rich with literary history.

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At each stop, you can slug down (or sip, if you’re the dainty sort) a drink while the guide regales you with stories about Allen Ginsberg or Eugene O’Neill or any of the great authors who have slugged (or sipped, if they were the dainty sort) cocktails right on that very spot.

I haven’t taken this tour so I can’t vouch for it, but it certainly sounds like fun.  Beer and books.  What’s not to

like?

Tours are every Saturday at 2pm, beginning at the White Horse Tavern, 567 Hudson Street and 11th Street.

Tickets are $20, $15  for students/seniors. (I’m guessing that the booze is extra.)  To make a reservation call (212) 613-5796.