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!

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So What Do You Feel Like Doing This Weekend?

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There’s plenty to do here in the city!

The Jazz Age Lawn Party is a prohibition-era inspired gathering on Governor’s Island. Dance lessons, vintage portraits, a 1920′s motor car exhibition and a pie contest are just some of the activities offered. Listen to the various musical performances while you munch on everything from chop suey to grilled bratwurst. Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. General admission is $35. If you miss it, there’s another party planned for August 16th and 17th.

The American Crafts Festival at Lincoln Center is a selective one, with 180 master artisans from every region of the United States chosen on the basis of quality of workmanship and uniqueness and design. Festival hours are 12 pm to 9 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 9 pm on Sunday. Admission is free and the show will go on rain or shine.

Seventh Heaven Festival Brooklyn takes place on Father’s Day every year. Over 500 vendors will be hawking food and crafts along 7th Avenue from Flatbush Avenue to 16th Street in Park Slope.

Special Edition NYC is a two-day comic con convention that focuses solely on comic books. It’s a mini-version of the larger Comic Con that is held in October. Top comic creators, artists and publishers will be attending. Get info and tickets ($30 pre-show) here.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there. It looks like the weather will be nice, so get out and enjoy!

Image via Anna Fischer/Flickr


Music Tuesdays In The Park

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Summer brings a lot of great things: barbecues, flip-flops and picnics. And music…specifically, music under the stars. Even better, free music under the stars. And, lucky us, each year a wonderful festival happens right next door. The Washington Square Park Music Festival runs free concerts on several Tuesday evenings in June and August. This series of chamber orchestra, opera, vocals and jazz performances has been running since 1953, which make it one of the oldest in the city.

First up, on June 17th, is the Harmonica and Harp with the Washington Square Park Festival Orchestra. Guest soloist on the harmonica is Robert Bonfiglio (pictured above) who was been touted as “the Paganini of the harmonica” by the L.A. Times.

Tuesday the 24th brings Vocal Music/Baroque to Modern with the Festival Chamber Ensemble, which features soloists, soprano Lucia Hyunju Song and mezzo-soprano Laila Salins.

The third and final concert will be held on Friday, August 8th: A Partnership Concert with the International Double Reed Society/NYU, which will be hosted by oboist Matthew Sullivan

Shows start at 8 pm and seating is first come, first served. And again, there’s no charge! But while it’s true that these concerts are free and meant to be enjoyed by all, they do cost bucks to put on, and you can definitely give the Washington Square Association Music Fund a leg up for next year by sending them a tax-deductible donation.

Come by the restaurant and grab a drink and a nosh before (or after) the show and let us know what you think!

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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!

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Museum Mile For Free!

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How often do you get to amble up Fifth Avenue when it’s completely cleared of traffic and pop into nine of its incredible museums without paying a dime? Well, you can for three hours on June 10th.

The Guggenheim, El Museo Del Barrio, The Africa Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York, The Jewish Museum, Cooper-Hewitt, Neue Galerie and National Academy Museum and School will all open their doors on that day between 6 and 9 pm for the Museum Mile Festival.

Cars will be banned along the avenue from 82nd to 105th Streets for the duration of the festival, making it feel like a big block party.

Aside from the free museum passes, there will be kids’ entertainment like Silly Billy the Very Funny Clown and face painting. Art-in-the-street demonstrations will be held, like chalk drawing and creating art using letter stamps and color sticks. And there will be several musical performances by string quartets and jazz ensembles along the avenue to boot.

The party will go on, rain or shine!

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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!

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Irish Culture!

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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!

 

Where Can I Go To Hear Great Music?

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New York has what feels like a bazillion music venues, so everyone is certain to find at least one that suits their needs, right? Here are a few suggestions…

For audiophiles: Town Hall

The acoustics are out of this world. And the artists run the gamut: rock, jazz, children’s shows, spoken word, a Jewish music festival and Roseanne Cash are just a few of the upcoming shows.

For cheap rock: Mercury Lounge

Bar, stage, drinks. Great music. It’s not fancy, but you can happily order a PBR and rock on. ‘Nuff said.

For the Baby Boomers: The Beacon Theatre

To sum it up in a few words: the Allman Brothers are the musicians-in-residence every March. Acoustics are great and the audience has sowed their wild oats many moons ago. Upcoming shows include Ringo Starr, Smokey Robinson and Tori Amos.

For people who love history and killer music: Apollo Theater

Years before American Idol or The Voice were even a blip on our country’s radar, the Apollo hosted Amateur Night every Wednesday. Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five, Lauryn Hill and Gladys Night & The Pips all got their start here. (Jimi Hendrix won first place in 1964.) When you walk in take a look around before you find your seat–the history will envelop you.

For jazz buffs with shallow pockets: Smalls

Yes, there’s a $20 cover charge, but your end-of-the-night tab won’t come close to that of an evening at the Blue Note. The name says it all: space is tight. But jazz should be an intimate experience, no? Head here to listen to the up-and-comers.

For, um, seasoned music lovers that want a glass of wine, a comfortable seat and a nosh with their music: City Winery

The food is yummy, wine delish…and you won’t find the latest You Tube star playing here. Upcoming shows include legendary soul man Sam Moore. Los Lonely Boys and a tribute to Paul Simon. I once saw Todd Rundgren perform an acoustic show there that was out of this world.

For the traditionalists: Carnegie Hall

What can I say? It’s every bit as beautiful as you think it will be–probably more. No matter whom you are seeing the acoustics and atmosphere rate an 11.

Music is for everyone, right? You’ve just got to find what’s best for you…and you can in our city!

 

 

 

 

Here It Comes….

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It’s Wednesday. Hump Day. The temperature reads 28 degrees in New York City and another dusting of snow just fell on the ground. Our winter boots are thisclose to wearing out. My favorite hat recently blew away with the wind and my husband just lost his fifth pair of gloves. In short, we need a pick-me-up!

Here’s a little something to get all of us through the next few weeks:

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
It’s all right, it’s all right

Happy Hump Day, everyone!