The Rolling Stones At Washington Square?

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The Rolling Stones landed on our shores in 1964 for their first US tour and our hotel was their home base. Can you imagine Keith Richards hanging in the lobby bar? Charlie Watts getting hot sauce advice from Ronnie? Ooh, what I would give to see Mick busting out his Tina Turner-like moves in the lobby. It was 50 years ago that they played two shows at Carnegie Hall before coming home and crashing with us.

The Rolling Stones: England’s Newest Hitmakers was released in May. The single, Not Fade Away introduced American kids to the band that their parents would hate.

Let’s take a minute to watch The Boys when they played their hit on the Dean Martin show:

Image via Klaus Hiltscher/Flickr

 

 

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


 

 


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

 

 

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

 

Hester Street Fair Is Back

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As comes spring, so do the street fairs. This weekend marks the seasonal opening of one of my favorites: the Hester Street Fair, on the Lower East Side.

It’s clearly in a fitting location, since historically this area was smack dab in the middle of the pushcart market at the turn of the century. The pickle vendors from the days of yore have been updated with the times: Luke’s Lobster, Deviant Chef (serving up Asian and Latin-inspired burgers) and Little Muenster (fancy grilled cheese are just a few of the food stalls.

You can also scout vintage clothing and jewelry, Filthy Farmgirl handmade soaps, ceramics by Dana Riseberg and Tilit Chef, which sells kitchen duds like aprons, pants, hats and bandanas.

The fair takes place on Saturdays and Sundays 11 am – 6 pm at the corner of Hester and Essex. Take the F, J, M or Z to Delancey.

Check it out!

 

9/11 Memorial Museum: What You Need To Know

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Opening day: May 21st.

Cost: $24 for adults, $18 for seniors, veterans and college students, $15 for kids 7 through 17. Small children and victim’s families pay nothing. Free admission for all on Tuesday evenings between 5 and 8 pm. FYI, the tickets will also give you access to the Memorial.

What You’ll See: Artifacts associated with the events of 9/11, plus individual stories of loss and recovery; personal effects, recorded remembrances, photographs. All in all, a collective telling of the 9/11 story by all those who remember it.

Remember that everyone experienced this tragedy in their own way. Whether you were physically there or not, you can add your own story here.

Tickets are on sale now.

 

 

 

 

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!

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!

 

A Step Back In Time

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Every visitor to New York automatically has the Metropolitan Museum, MOMA and the Guggenheim on their to-do list. But there are plenty of interesting smaller museums that they should look into as well.

Merchant’s House Museum allows its guests to take a giant step back in time for a peek at life in 19th-century New York City.

In 1835, Seabury Tredwell, his wife Eliza and their six children moved into the mansion on East 4th Street. The family remained there for almost a century until the youngest of the children, Gertrude, died at age ninety-three in1933. The perfectly-preserved original furnishings and personal possessions of the Tredwell family paint a vibrant picture of life at that time for the wealthy merchant class.

One thing to remember for those who are easily spooked: the house is reportedly haunted. It earned the title of the Most Haunted House in Manhattan. (Dunno from whom, but obviously somebody was freaked out enough to crown it.) So if you do go, and come across the most frequent spirit–a woman in a brown dress–do as I would: bid them hello and get the hell out of there as fast as your feet will take you.

Cost is $10, $5 for Students and Seniors; free for kids under 12. Guided tours are available as well.

 

It Was 50 Years Ago Today…

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Unless you live under a rock, you’ll know that today marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ coming to America. (Just look at them…aren’t they adorable?) Our city is celebrating that fact with NYC Fab 50, a music festival featuring both tributes to the Beatles and tribute bands at several venues around the city:

Three Across The Universe Music Festival events take place at the Hudson Theater. The first will feature The Spin Doctors plus tribute bands Clube Big Beatles from Brazil, The Norwegian Beatles Band from Norway, HELP! from Mexico, Blurred Vision from Canada and Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra from Williamsburg.

Event 2 includes Lucy from Germany, Genetic Control from The Bronx, School of Rock from Manhattan and Two of Us from Italy.

The third show takes place tomorrow and is co-hosted by John Lennon’s sister Julia Baird from Liverpool. (“Juu-lee-aa…”), The Cavern Club Beatles from Liverpool, Morsa from Mexico, Dress to KISS from Italy, The Oh-Nos from New England, The Clover from Japan and Hal Bruce from Halifax.

The America Celebrates the Beatles: All Star Concert takes place tomorrow at Town Hall. Performers include Tommy James, Melanie, Chuck Negron, Marshall Crenshaw, Fred Schneider, Gene Cornish, Greg Hawkes, Ron Dante, Randy Jackson, Ian Lloyd, Larry Kirwan and Aztec Two-Step.

An added plus? All concert proceeds will benefit the Food Bank for New York City, Autism Think Tank and Children’s Music Fund…all worthy charites.

A few other events also commemorating the Fab Four are happening around town:

The Fest For Beatles Fans is the oldest Beatles convention and is held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel this weekend. This year will feature Donovan, Peter Asher, Billy J. Kramer, Chad & Jeremy, Freda Kelly and Larry Kane. Click here for more info and tickets.

Plus, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center is presenting Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles, a free multi-media exhibition this Sunday that includes memorabilia, recordings, video, photos and more. You can even leave your own impressions of The Beatles in an oral history booth. You’ve got plenty of time to catch this, as it’s on until May 5th.