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

‘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.

 

5 Reasons To Spend Memorial Day In NYC

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1. Fleet Week is back. Last year the event was called off due to the government sequester. This celebration of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps includes military demonstrations and tours of the visiting ships. It’s particularly fun to watch our service women and men explore the city in their military-issued finest.

2. It’s the 19th annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts. This event highlights the rich artistry and culturally diversity of the area.  Highlights include a street fair on Saturday afternoon, poetry readings, films, music and performance art.

3. You can attend a concert in a graveyard. The Green-Wood Cemetary in Brooklyn holds a Memorial Day concert from 2:30-5:00 pm by the student-manned ISO Symphonic Band, a wind, brass and percussion ensemble. Works penned by permanent cemetary residents Leonard Bernstein, Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Fred Ebb are featured. Just bring a blanket; admission is free and food is available for purchase. Zombies are most welcome.

4. Opening day for Governor’s Island is on Saturday, the 24th. A Family Festival will kick off the season from noon to 4 pm. Music, face painting, compost lessons, carnival games and a chicken tractor (?) will be just some of the activities offered. (I looked it up–it’s a movable chicken coop.)

5. And lastly, New Yorkers love Memorial Day weekend, because all those people flocking to the Hamptons clear out tables for us at in-demand restaurants, shorten lines at museums and other attractions and gives us much-needed personal space on the subways. That, in turn, entitles us to feel smug and in-the-know. And you can, too!

 

 

 

 

Five Reasons To Visit New York City In April

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April brings a little something for everyone. Here’s why you should come and stay with us next month:

1. In just a few weeks, the cherry blossoms will be in bloom. Central Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are key viewing spots, but our own Washington Square Park has its fair share of the springtime-announcing buds.

2. The Tribeca Film Festival. This year it runs from April 16th through the 27th and includes free community events like the Tribeca Drive-In, which screens family-friendly movies like Mary Poppins and Splash outdoor at Waterfront Plaza.

3. It’s opening season for baseball fans! The Yankees toss out the first ball on April 1, while the Mets get a head start on March 31st.

4. Car lovers can check out the New York International Auto Show from the 18th through the 27th. Visitors can drool over the fancy cars with no alternate side of the street parking issues to worry about.

5. The average daily temperature is about 60 degrees….oh-so-perfect for exploring the city.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

I Hate Football. So What Now?

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Not a football fan? Frankly, neither am I. So I’m going to avoid the Super Bowl hooplah and do something (anything) that doesn’t involve watching large men hugging oval-shaped balls and tackling each other. Here are a few of my choices:

The Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival starts at 1 p.m. in Little Italy and makes its way through the streets of lower Manhattan and Chinatown. The hub of the whole party is at Sara Roosevelt Park at Grand and Forsyte Streets; there will be plenty of vendors, food and otherwise, catering to people of all ages.

The Morgan has an exhibit dedicated to The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s beautiful and philosophical story in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The Little Prince: A New York Story examines the relationship between this charming book and our fair city, where much of it was written. The display also features the author’s only surviving handwritten draft.

Sunday is the final day to catch the Harlem Fine Arts Show at Riverside Church. (The exhibition runs all weekend.) This year’s show focuses on Martha’s Vineyard and features over 100 emerging and established artists from the island.

It’s Ground Hog Day! If you’re an early riser, head to the Staten Island Zoo at 7:30 a.m. and catch Chuck the Groundhog’s winter prediction. You can stay and have breakfast with him too if you’re so inclined. Or you can do what I would do and sleep in, then catch a screening of the movie Groundhog Day at noon at the Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg’s brunch screening.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Take A Stroll Down Thompson Street

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Thompson Street runs from Washington Square South through the Village and Soho and is a lovely and active route to amble down on a sunny day. Previous residents include the late Frank Zappa at #180, plus various Bonnano and Genovese family members. (I’d tell you where they lived, but…)

Start at Kee’s Chocolates at #80. Their incredible handmade chocolates and macaroons will give you energy for your journey.

INA, at #101, is a designer consignment store. Drop in and see if you’re interested in someone else’s hand-me-downs, or bring our own older designer duds. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. (Isn’t that the saying?) But the trash here is high-class trash, got it? Plus INA recently produced its own line of women and men’s clothing.

The Hat Shop at #120 sells chapeaus both fancy and functional.

ZZ’s Clam Bar, at #169, is for all things seafood: a raw bar, ceviches, carpaccio… think of a way you like your fish prepared and I’m sure they do it.

Beer fans will love The Malt House gastropub at #206. They’ll help you pair their extensive brands of micro-brews on tap with their yummy comfort food.

Generations Records at #210 sells…records. (Remember them?) They have an extensive metal and punk collection and frequent live in-store performances.

The Chess Forum at #219 sells beautiful chess sets at all price points, plus chess-related items, like clocks and tournament supplies.

Speaking of games,The Uncommons at #230, describes itself as, “Manhattan’s first and only play cafe.” Sip a warm cup of coffee or tea while you obliterate your opponent at Checkers, Clue, Backgammon, Monopoly, Pictionary or practically any other game you can think of.

And for the kids? Vesuvio Playground, formerly known as Thompson Playground (the new moniker was taken from the popular Italian bakery on nearby Prince Street) is between Spring and Prince.

Happy strolling!

 

 

 

Pants? We Don’t Need No Stinking Pants!

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Attention, folks! The 2014 NYC No Pants Subway ride is happening next Sunday (1/12). The title says it all: a bunch of people will discard their slacks and hop a ride aboard our lovely metro. Why? Because they can.

Participants must congregate at 3 p.m. sharp at various designated meet-up points throughout the city. Improv Everywhere, the pranks-collective that is organizing the event, is emphatic that everyone be on time. They may not wear pants, but you can’t accuse them of being tardy, people.

So who are these chinos-shucking jokesters? Improv Everywhere describes itself as a group that, “causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.” The No Pants Subway Ride could be either chaos and/or joy, depending upon who doffs their slacks. (Nudity is not for everyone, people. Please be clear on that.)

The group names a mere two requirements for participation:

1) Willing to take pants off on subway. (This is evident. And clearly non-negotiable.)
2) Able to keep a straight face about it. (This is to be admired.)

Denim-ditchers are to meet at seven meeting points across New York City. They’re given instructions on which subway line they should shed their trousers and on which station to cut off their ride. It seems to be crazy organized, so non-participants will almost be sure to witness the fun if they ride the rails Sunday afternoon.

And all this stripping is not for naught. There will be an after-party beginning at 4:30 for those 21 and above at The Greenwich Village Country Club, on University between 12th and 13th. There’s a $10 cover, but there are drink specials for the pantless (as well there should be).

FYI New Yorkers aren’t the only people crazy enough to unzip and ride.  About 50 cities all over the world (Adelaide, Australia, anyone?) will also join in on the fun.

So if you enjoy taking of your pants in public, or simply love watching others do so, be sure to ride the subway next Sunday. Here’s a video of last year’s event: