Poetry Friday

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Yup, I just declared today Poetry Friday, because, well, I’m the blogger here and what I say goes!

P.G. Wodehouse was a 20th century English humorist whose writing encompassed novels, short stories, plays, song lyrics and journalism. From penning articles in the Saturday Evening Post to working with Cole Porter on the songbook of the show Anything Goes, Wodehouse left his mark in many formats, including poetry.

Here’s one called Greenwich Village, where he lived in 1909:

Way down in Greenwich Village
There’s something, ‘twould appear,
Demoralizing in the atmosphere.
Quite ordinary people,
Who come to live down here,
Get changed to perfect nuts within a year.
They learn to eat spaghetti
(That’s hard enough, as you know)
They leave off frocks
And wear Greek smocks
And study Guido Bruno.
For there’s something in the air
Down here in Greenwich Village
That makes a fellow feel he doesn’t care:
And as soon as he is in it, he
Gets hold of an affinity
Who’s long on modern
Art but short on hair.
Though he may have been a model,
Ever since he learned to toddle,
To his relatives and neighbours everywhere,
When he hits our Latin Quarter
He does things he shouldn’t oughter:
It’s a sort of,
Sort of kind of,
It’s a sort of kind of something in the air.

It is a sort of kind of something in the air around here, don’t you think?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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!

Snow? What Snow?

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Nothing stops an intrepid New Yorker…not even a sloppy pile of the wet, white stuff. This weekend in Washington Square Park almost felt like a spring day (well, almost being the key word). Villagers suffering from cabin fever burst out of their homes to take a stroll:

Or feed the pigeons:

Some were checking out the local music:

Or simply getting a head start on that summer tan:

It’s true that we’re itching for spring, but in the end, the cold weather can’t stop us…because we’re New Yorkers, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Black History All Month Long

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New York is a great place to explore in February, particularly because it’s Black History Month and we’re rich with African-American culture and history.

Some of our most accomplished African-American residents, past and present include: Louis Armstrong, W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, Count Basie, Zora Neal Hurston, Althea Gibson, Jay-Z and Malcolm X.

Billie Holiday first performed the Civil Rights anthem Strange Fruit in 1939 at the now-defunct Greenwich Village Cafe Society (which, by the way, was the city’s first integrated nightclub.) Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to break the color barrier in baseball when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to be elected to Congress in 1969; Marian Anderson was the first to become a member of the Metropolitan opera in 1954. The list goes on and on.

Point being, we are proud of our African-American community and its accomplishments. Here are a few of the best events happening here in the city this Black History Month:

Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery exhibit The March is a collection of works from 17 different artists reflecting on the Civil Rights Movement past, present and future, as well as those individuals who have advanced the cause.

Voices of Freedom, at the Winter Garden downtown, is a lunchtime jazz concert series that take place every Wednesday featuring exciting pairings with a pianist and some of our most revered NYC musicians.

On Thursday, February 20th, the Queens Botanical Gardens celebrates scientist, botanist and inventor George Washington Carver and introduces kids to his contributions to the world of botany. The workshop focuses on the role plants played in Dr. Carver’s life, lets the little ones actually paint with greenery and sends them home with a planted peanut to monitor its growth. Cost is $6 per kid.

And finally, the famed Apollo Theater will transform itself into one of the many Harlem nightclubs in the 30s and 40s for four evenings in February (20th-23rd). Maurice Hines, Boardwalk Empire star Margot B and Kevin Mahogany will perform a 90-minute revue that sounds amazing.

Come celebrate with us!

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Inside Llewyn Davis

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Have you seen the new movie Inside Llewyn Davis yet?  The film chronicles a week in the life of a folk singer in the Greenwich Village folk scene in 1961.

The movie shines a spotlight on the rich musical history of our beloved neighborhood. Take a look at T-Bone Burnett and the Coen Brothers strolling through the Village and talking about its rich musical history in this piece on CBS Sunday Morning:

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

 

Winter Jazz Fest 2014

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If you love jazz, New York City is the place you want to be from January 7th through the 11th. (Frankly, even if you loathe jazz, you want to be with us, just because you love us, right?)

For the tenth year in a row, the Winter Jazz Fest will help be-bop and big band buffs ease into the new year with phenomenal sounds. Over a hundred artists will perform at multiple venues on the main dates: 1/10 and 1/11. $35 gets you a one-day pass and $55 will buy you two days of music. $95 will get you access to the whole shebang from the 7th on (including Blue Note Records anniversary concerts on the 8th and 9th).

Venues are mostly local to Washington Square: Le Poisson Rouge, Judson Church, NYU Lounge, Zinc Bar, Bitter End, Subculture and Bowery Electric. So buy a day pass, wander through Greenwich Village and get a little taste of everything.

Artists include Jason Moran, the (bassist) Chris Morrissey Quartet, the Jazz Passengers, the Antoine Rony Trio (featuring Kojo), NEXT Collective and Don Byron’s Six Musician Group. Click here for the full lineup, and read more about the festival on their Facebook page.

 

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

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Here’s one of our favorite holiday songs….Winter Wonderland performed by Annie Lennox. Enjoy:

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re happy tonight,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He’ll say: Are you married?
We’ll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you’re in town.

Later on, we’ll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we’ve made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he’s a circus clown
We’ll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down.

When it snows, ain’t it thrilling,
Though your nose gets a chilling
We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Walking in a winter wonderland,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Trees Are Being Lit Up All Over!

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Tonight is the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. This 75-year-old, 76-foot spruce from Shelton CT will be illuminated by 45,000 multi-colored LED lights and topped with a 9 ½-foot-wide Swarovski star.

Of course there will be stars of another sort performing–Mary J. Blige (love her!), Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey and Kelly Clarkson, to name a few.

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FYI, the first Christmas tree was set up in 1931 by workers who were building Rockefeller Center. The first tree-lighting ceremony ceremony was held in 1933, 80 years ago.

If you can’t get there–or hate crowds–NBC is broadcasting the event starting at 8 p.m., so be sure to tune in if you don’t want to miss the action.

Never to be outdone, we Village folk are having our own tree lighting here in Washington Square Park on December 11th from 5 to 6 p.m. under the arch. The Rob Susman Brass Quartet will play holiday songs–and children and grown-ups alike are encouraged to raise their voices and join in. (And no, you don’t have to be a good singer. Trust me. I know from experience.)

Oh, and Rock Center may have Kelly Clarkson, but we’ll have Santa Claus, people! (Now tell me who has the bigger star?) So come on down, give Santa your list, and stop by for a drink!

And finally, if you can’t make it to any of the above ceremonies, the Metropolitan Museum of Art conducts a tree lighting ceremony every Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.

So there you have it. We hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season so far!

 

 

 

Think Small

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Hey folks! Today is Small Business Saturday! If you’re spending the day shopping, please try to visit the independent stores of the city. The Village’s Mom & Pop stores are the heart and soul of our neighborhood, and we want to keep them alive and kicking.

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FYI, if you’re an American Express card holder, you can register your card to get a one-time $10 statement credit for spending $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction tomorrow at some small businesses in the Village.

Wherever you shop today, please think small for that last-minute Hannukah gift or early Christmas present.

Enjoy your day!