Hester Street Fair Is Back


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


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


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


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


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…


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.


Celebrating Black History All Month Long


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!



Our Park Then And Now


Washington Square Park is just like a beautiful viagra super active online woman: constantly changing and evolving, looking different at each turn, but nevertheless lovely at every stage of life.

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Here she is in early in the 20th century:

A few of the early chess players, in the 40s:

60s folkies:

The 70s…not the best of times:

But check her out in more recent years:

Isn’t she lovely?



You're kidding? Little-Known Facts About Washington Square


Not sure if all this is absolutely true–read it on the Internets, after all–but here we go:

Those chess players that inhabit the southwest corner of Washington Square have been there a very long time. Apparently, enthusiasts of the game have been capturing rooks and pawns in city parks since the 1940s. World-champion Bobby Fischer played here in WS in the 70s, as did Heath Ledger and Stanley Kubrick (though presumably not against each other.)

Speaking of famous folks, it’s said that in1887, while Robert Louis Stevenson was visiting the U.S. for medical treatment for tuberculosis, he met Mark Twain in the park for a visit. The two had a online viagra uk nice, five-hour sit-down before Stevenson headed upstate to a sanitorium. (Oh, to be a fly on the bench…)

Beware of zombies!  In 1797, Washington Square was converted from farmland to a Potter’s Field–a place to bury the homeless, convicts and unclaimed John Does. An early 19th century epidemic of yellow fever increased the number of non-living inhabitants drastically; patients who succumbed to the deadly disease were buried downtown as a hygienic measure to keep them segregated as much as possible from the general population. (In fact, during the recent park renovations, archaeologists discovered the skeletal remains of four people.) If it ever feels a little crowded around here, remember that an estimated 20,000 people are buried beneath the stones and fountains of Washington Square.

Have a great weekend, everyone. And remember–watch out for the zombies and hold onto that Queen!