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

 

 

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

 

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

Shakespeare In The Park

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One of the perks of living in (or visiting) New York in the summer is Shakespeare In The Park. King Lear, starring John Lithgow and Annette Bening, debuted this week at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and runs through August 17th. Shows begin at 8:00 pm rain or shine.

Here’s how to get tickets:

Line up at the Delacorte the day of the performance at noon for free passes–limit of two to a customer.

Or:

Check in for a virtual lottery. You can sign in between midnight and 12 pm on the day of each performance and request two tickets to that night’s show. If you’ve won, an email will be sent to you around noon and you can pick up the passes at the box office.

The organizers of the Shakespeare in the Park series truly strive to make admission accessible to everyone, regardless of income. (And these nice folks have been doing so for over fifty years.) Yet there is one way to bypass both long lines and Lady Luck.

If you become a supporter of the series and the Public Theater, you can help keep the program free for all New Yorkers while easily scoring tickets for yourself. A $200 donation will get you a pair of reserved seats, plus one ticket per production at the Public Theater on Lafayette St., plus 15% off an additional ticket at the Public. The donation is tax deductible and helps keep the production free for the masses–a win-win situation all around.

Image via publictheatre.org

What Would Summer Be Without (Free) Music And Dance?

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There’s always plenty of music to listen or dance to in our city–especially in the summer. And a chunk of it is free, people! I’ve already given you the schedule for SummerStage, but here are some other worthy events scheduled for the latter half of July.

The Riverside Clay Tennis Association holds free sunset concerts, like Rickie T & his Reggae All-Stars shown above, post-sundown, on last Saturday night. Shows are held in Riverside Park, right by 97th St. next to the tennis courts (‘natch). Reggae, classical, tango and jazz are among the many genres represented. Bring a picnic basket and a bottle of wine and watch the sky above the river turn multiple colors as these seasoned performers close out the day. And be prepared to dance, people! Rickie T. got everyone from two-years-old to 80 up on their feet. Concerts begin at 7 each Saturday night and will run through August 16th.

Pete Seeger fans can mourn his passing together at Seeger Fest, a five-day event honoring the lives and legacies of Pete and Toshi Seeger through music, film and community events. Shows start at 7:30 pm on July 17th on Pier 46 (Charles St. and West St.)

Also on the 17th, the Bronx Raised Hip-Hop Series is on at the Willis Avenue Community Gardens in the Bronx (Willis Ave. and 143rd St.)  Local artists use dance, spoken word, and music to deliver rhythm and rhymes that reflect a Bronx state of mind. If you miss it tomorrow night, there will be another one on August 2nd. Who knows? Maybe you’ll witness the musical birth of the next Afrika Bambaattaa or Grandmaster Flash.

You can finally learn the dance of love…tango…in Stuyvesant Park (around Second Ave. and 16th Street). Argentine tango lessons will be among the around the fountain. Beginner lessons are from 6:00 to 6:45 pm, but the dancing doesn’t end until 9.

Motown will be represented on the Astoria Park Lawn in Queens in the Motor City Revue on July 31st at 7:30. Marvin, Smokey, Diana & The Supremes and The Temptations are just some of the artists that will be covered.

See? There’s something for everyone. Click here for a more comprehensive list.

Yes, It’s Pride Weekend, Folks

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We’ve already told you about the official events, so let’s take a look at a couple of the unofficial (yet no less wonderful) ones:

The fifth annual Harlem Pride Day celebration will be held at Jackie Robinson Park (Bradhurst Ave. and West 148th St.) tomorrow from noon to 6 pm. The festival’s theme this year, There’s No Place Like Home, marks the 40th anniversary of the premiere of The Wiz on Broadway. (I know, can you believe it’s been forty years???) After a day filled with fun, food and family entertainment, head over to St. Nicholas Park for a free outdoor screening of the movie version.

Check out the windows on Christopher Street. To mark the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, Stonewall 45 is a series of images posted on windows along Christopher Street. Everything from newspaper clippings from The Advocate and The New York Times to writings of the Daughters of Bilitis, an anti-lesbian organization, to photographs of early demonstrations against U.S. military policies against homosexuals are featured.

In addition, restaurants and bars all over the city (especially the West Village) will be celebrating equality. Including us! Stop in and have a drink!

Image via Atomische/Tom Giebe/Flickr


 

 


Shape Up, NYC!

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The NYC Parks Department isn’t only good at one thing keeping our parks beautiful (aren’t they the best?), but they want to help us to get fit to boot with their Shape Up NYC classes.

Tons of free fitness classes are held throughout all five boroughs. In Manhattan alone, you can take zumba, yoga, kickboxing, cardio sculpt, pilates, body toning and Feldenkrais, to name a few. Feldenkrais? It’s a form of physical therapy that promotes healing from movement. (Who knew? Now you do.)

Our own Washington Square Park hosts a free BYOM* yoga class every Wednesday morning from 8:30 to 9:30 through August 13th. So whether you live here or are just visiting, take advantage of this freebie, then stop North Square for a cup of coffee!

Namaste!

*Bring Your Own Mat

Image via B.C. Lorio/Flickr

Putt Putt And Away…

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There’s a putting green right in the middle of Midtown Manhattan. Who’da thunk?

Bryant Park has a five-holed green on the southwest corner that’s open to all from 11 am to 7 pm through September. And it’s free! Free golf balls and clubs are also provided, but you’re welcome to bring your own.

The best putters can participate in the Bryant Park Putting Championships. Weekly lunchtime competitions on August 7, 14 and 21 could earn them a stake in the championship round on August 28th.

Find out about the championships here.

Image via Sarah Spaulding/Flickr

 

Pride Week 2014

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It’s almost that time of year again–Pride Week–in which we celebrate our LGBT brothers and sisters and the people who love them. (Which includes us!)

Here are a few highlights:

June 24th is a free Family Night at Hudson Park’s Pier 46. Doors will open at 7:30 for a screening of The Wizard of Oz at dusk. Bring the kids and definitely come early, as seating, blankets and treats will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Ruby slippers optional, although presumably would be very much appreciated.

June 27th brings The Rally, the first of which occurred one month after the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. A police raid that took place in the early morning hours at the Stonewall Inn here in Greenwich Village begat a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community. That year, the rally consisted of about 500 people gathered for a “Gay Power” demonstration in Washington Square Park followed by a Candelight Vigil in Sheridan Square.

The 2014 Rally will be held at Pier 26 in Tribeca and will be a lot lighter. A whole lot. Emcee Michelle Visage (Rupaul’s Drag Race) will host performances by Sharon Needles and Betty Who. Be prepared to party.

Line-up for The March begins on the 29th at 11 am at 37th St. & Fifth Ave. (The parade ends at Christopher and Greenwich Streets, by the Stonewall Inn, which still stands today.) A lavender line down the middle of the street will trace the entire route.

Grand Marshals will be Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black), Rea Carey (Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) and Jonathan Groff (HBO’s Looking). If you want to actually march, you must be part of an official group, but many are welcoming new members. Here’s a list. (A small $4 donation is requested of participants.)

PrideFest, on the afternoon of the 29th, is the annual LGBT street fair that combines vendors, entertainers and activities for a day of fun and celebration in the name of equality. Musical performances run from 12:30 to 5 pm. And it’s also free, people!

And finally, that night there’s the Dance on the Pier, (Pier 26 in Tribeca) which is not free, but all proceeds will benefit New York’s Official Pride Events and LGBT community organizations. Demi Lovato will perform and music will be provided by DJ Pagano and DJ Grind.

Of course, there are other events official and not, associated with Pride Week. Head here to find some of them.

Have a blast at Pride Week. Stop in at North Square and say hi!

Image via Facebook