So What If It Rains?


The forecast for the Fourth of July, this Friday is…sketchy. If the city does experience the rainy fallout from Tropical Storm Arthur, what do we do if the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest is a washout, fireworks are dampened and our barbecues doused?

Here are a few weather-proof suggestions:

The New York Philharmonic teams up with The Commander’s Own U.S. Marine, Drum and Bugle Corps for a Star-Spangled Celebration, featuring song selections fitting for America’s birthday.

A Fourth of July Endless Barbecue will take place at Yotel in Midtown, rain or shine. There will be two seatings: one afternoon and one evening. $50 will get you unlimited food; $65 unlimited food and beverage. The grub will be holiday-appropriate and includes fried chicken, mac and cheese, corn on the cob and peach cobbler. Get your tickets here.

The New York Historical Society will feature family fare all day long, such as a scavenger hunt, revolutionary hat decorating and stories and musical performances on the American Revolution by the Hudson River Ramblers

And remember that many of our museums will be open on the holiday, including MOMA, the Metropolitan, Museum of Natural History and the Brooklyn Museum.

Whatever you do, have a great holiday!

Image via Holidayextras/Flickr



5 Reasons To Spend Memorial Day In NYC


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!







So this Sunday is Mother’s Day. Of course you’re going to bring yours to North Square so she can stuff her face with yummy food that she didn’t have to lift a finger to cook, right? I thought so.

But what else can you do to make momma feel like #1?

I have three words for you: chocolate, chocolate and chocolate.

Here are some of the best chocolatiers in New York. Be prepared to salivate:

Jacques Torres Chocolate has six locations around the city. (The closest outlet to the hotel is on Hudson Street in Soho.) Champagne truffles, chocolate marshmallows, hot chocolate, cookies and of course those bite-into-them-to-find-out-what-they-are boxes of chocolates are just a few of the offerings. If you really love your mom, and you have the bucks to splurge, you can spring for the 12 Months of Chocolate package, in which mama receives chocolates personally selected by Jacques every month for a year.

Kee’s Chocolates also has several locations, and their chocolates are all hand-made. They’ve got dark chocolate bars, milk chocolate bars and over a dozen varieties of macaroons. (The blood orange with green tea one sounds insane.)

L.A. Burdick, in the Flatiron district, hails from New Hampshire. Bon bons, bars, dipped caramels, truffles…plus tiny chocolate mice and penguins which are even cuter than you’d think they would be.

MarieBelle is right a short walk away from us in Soho. Crunchy bark chocolates with almonds, pistachios or hazelnuts. Small chocolate bars wrapped in 1940′s Vargas pin-up girl packages. Plus their Brown Box, an assortment of fleur de sel, coffee, dark chocolate and milk flavors. Even Joan Crawford would be satisfied.

Enjoy your time with Mom! And if you’re the one being celebrated, have a wonderful day!


Viva, Guacamole!


Cinqo De Mayo will be next Monday, and you know what that means, everyone…guacamole! Here are a couple of places around town that won’t let you down when you order the green stuff:

Tehuitzingo on 10th Avenue and 48th Street is not the fanciest joint, but its traditional guacamole is out of this world.

Toloache, with three locations throughout the city, is more of an upscale place. They actually have a guacamole tasting, with three styles: mild (avocado, onion, tomato, cilantro and serrano), medium (avocado plus pomegranate, vidalia onion, mango, apple, habanero and thai basil) and spicy (with added chipotle and queso fresco).

Rosa Mexicano has two locations: one in Union Square and one by Lincoln Center. They whip up their yummy guac right in front of you.

If you’re looking for a snack right by the hotel, Empellon Taqueria is right on West 4th St. Their version is a neighborhood favorite.

Be Nice To Your Momma This Mother’s Day, OK?


Bring her to North Square for a feast!

At brunch, your beloved matriarch can tuck into Chef Cruz’s specials of the day: shrimp bisque, lobster nicoise salad, penne bolognese, banana and chocolate pancakes or a special Mom’s Omelette, filled with corn, asparagus, piquillo peppers and Manchego cheese.

A three-course dinner for $40 will give the woman who spent 36 hours in labor a choice of three appetizers (shrimp bisque, kale and treviso salad or crab and corn salad), three entrees (chicken poussin, roasted wild boar or pan-seared sea scallops) and–you guessed it–three desserts (pistachio creme brulee, chocolate strawberry mousse cake or a pear and almond galette).

We’ll be nice, tell her she’s pretty and let her order us around. Your job is to give her a big smooch, tell her you love her bunches and pick up the bill.

Here’s to Mom!

Make your reservations here for May 11th!

Come Have Easter Dinner With Us!


It’s Easter weekend, everyone! The weather promises to act nice, so slap on your bonnet and get thee outside and have some fun.

There are still some tables open at the restaurant for dinner here at North Square, so forget about messing up your kitchen by cooking up a ginormous glazed ham and come and hang with us. No cleanup required!

Chef Cruz has created a lovely three-course menu for only 40 bucks. Specials like roasted venison saddle isn’t something you’d usually make at home, right? The chef pairs it with squash risotto, asparagus and juniper au jus. Pan-seared cod is available for fish eaters, plus a grilled rib-eye for steak fans (like me!).

Appetizers include clam chowder, a baby spinach salad and salmon tartare. And dessert? A pear and almond galette, pistachio creme brulee or chocolate tart.

Let us do the work while you catch up with your loved ones. We’ll take care of you. And we promise–no scary Easter Bunnies and for the love of God, no peeps!!!!

Make your reservations here. Happy Easter!

Celebrate Irish Culture!


The Irish are a soulful bunch. They’ve touched us through the arts in countless ways.

Like acting: Daniel Day Lewis, Liam Neeson, Kenneth Branagh, Colin Farrell, Peter O’Toole, Stephen Rea, Michael Fassbender and Gabriel Byrne

Or literature in its many forms: James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, Jonathan Swift, Frank McCourt and Samuel Beckett

Or painting: Francis Bacon, John Lavery and Louis le Brocquy

And of course, music: Van Morrison. Elvis Costello, U2, The Corrs, The Pogues, Rory Gallagher, James Galway, The Dubliners and Bob Geldof

Listen to Van and The Chieftains performing Carrickfergus, an Irish folk song named for a town in Northern Ireland:

Wasn’t that lovely? Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!


St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt


This event doesn’t actually take place on St, Patrick’s Day, but on Sunday, the 16th. It’s described as, “part scavenger hunt, part obstacle course and ALL NEW YORK.” A series of clues will lead participants to physical, mental and bar-related challenges all across the city.

Participants should meet up at Libation, a bar on Ludlow between Rivington and Stanton at 1 p.m. and should expect to spend three hours on the hunt. Only “musts” to bring are comfy shoes, a Metrocard and a smart phone. You can sign up as a team; however, if you’re solo, the organizers will hook you up with other players.

The cost is $20, but those who cross the finish line will get a free beer and gift basket. That sounds fair, doesn’t it? More importantly, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Have a great weekend!

Happy International Women’s Day!


Tomorrow is the day that we celebrate our sisters and the economic, political and social achievements of all women past, present and future.

The First International Women’s Day took place in 1911, no doubt fueled by the suffragette struggle to gain the right to vote. (Yep, we’ve certainly come a long way, baby!)

Let’s take a minute and look at a list of female New Yorkers past and present who have shared their academic, scientific or artistic gifts with all of us. Each, in her own way, has made the world a better place.

Here we go:

Maria Callas, Nora Ephron, Eleanor Roosevelt, Edie Falco, Jane Fonda, Lady Gaga, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ann Hathaway, Margaret Mead, Lena Horne, Rita Hayworth, Scarlett Johansson, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Diane Lane, Jacqueline Onassis, Cyndi Lauper, Marie Curie, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Linda McCartney, Bella Abzug, Diane Arbus, Andrea Mitchell, Ethel Merman, Lucille Ball, Lea Michele, Mary Tyler Moore, Janet Napolitano, Diane Sawyer, Patti Smith, Cynthia Nixon, Emma Lazarus, Bernadette Peters Brook Shields, (disability rights activist) Sandra Shnur, Susan Strasberg, Phoebe Snow, Carly Simon, Beverly Sills, Barbra Streisand, Leslie Uggams, Bette Midler, Willa Cather, Ella Fitzgerald, Greta Garbo and Deborah Harry.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Congratulations all of our brilliant and talented sisters!

Have a wonderful weekend!