Don’t Take The Brown Acid!

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It’s been 45 years since Woodstock, which brings up a few thoughts:

  • Hippies are getting old(ish). Who’da thunk that would have happened?
  • Rock and roll has never died–it’s just evolved.
  • But the music from that era still holds up to the test of time, right? (Dylan, Richie Havens, Janis Joplin, The Who….)

A good song is forever. For a sample of what past hotel guest, John Sebastian, played at the festival, click here:

What a beautiful tune. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Image via Tais Melillo/Flickr

 

 

R.I.P. Tommy Ramone

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The last living member of the original lineup of the Ramones has left us. Waaaaah! Tommy was the drummer of one of our city’s favorite bands, one that we’re proud as hell of. The foursome was formed in Queens in 1974, and Tommy, along with Dee Dee (bass), Joey (lead vocals) and Johnny (guitar), became a (the!) major influence in the punk rock movement.

Tommy was born Thomas Erdélyi on Long Island. When the Ramones first came together, he was supposed to be the manager, but was drafted as the band’s drummer when Joey became lead singer after finding that he couldn’t keep up with the band’s increasingly fast tempos.

“Tommy Ramone, who was managing us, finally had to sit down behind the drums, because nobody else wanted to,” Dee Dee later recalled.

I know that I’ve certainly gotten jobs that way.

While we would have liked to play host to the whole band, we know for certain Dee Dee checked into our hotel alone in 1979. But we like to think that maybe Tommy came and visited him, right?

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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


 

 


Shape Up, NYC!

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The NYC Parks Department isn’t only good at one thing keeping our parks beautiful (aren’t they the best?), but they want to help us to get fit to boot with their Shape Up NYC classes.

Tons of free fitness classes are held throughout all five boroughs. In Manhattan alone, you can take zumba, yoga, kickboxing, cardio sculpt, pilates, body toning and Feldenkrais, to name a few. Feldenkrais? It’s a form of physical therapy that promotes healing from movement. (Who knew? Now you do.)

Our own Washington Square Park hosts a free BYOM* yoga class every Wednesday morning from 8:30 to 9:30 through August 13th. So whether you live here or are just visiting, take advantage of this freebie, then stop North Square for a cup of coffee!

Namaste!

*Bring Your Own Mat

Image via B.C. Lorio/Flickr

Mamas and Papas and Alleys

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In 1963, 18-year-old Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas co-wrote California Dreamin’ and Creeque Alley with her then-husband John, while living right here at the Washington Square Hotel. We’ve played host to hundreds of artists of all types over the years…something that we’re quite proud of. Isn’t it nice to think that the atmosphere at our little hotel could maybe possibly hopefully foster some creativity? We like to think so.

We all know California Dreamin’. If you don’t recognize the title right away, you will remember Creeque Alley once you have a listen. It’s an autobiographical song narrating the story of how the group was formed, and describes its early years. (The title references a club in the Virgin Islands.) Here’s a video of the group’s performance of the tune on The Ed Sullivan Show:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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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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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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Five Reasons To Visit New York City In April

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April brings a little something for everyone. Here’s why you should come and stay with us next month:

1. In just a few weeks, the cherry blossoms will be in bloom. Central Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are key viewing spots, but our own Washington Square Park has its fair share of the springtime-announcing buds.

2. The Tribeca Film Festival. This year it runs from April 16th through the 27th and includes free community events like the Tribeca Drive-In, which screens family-friendly movies like Mary Poppins and Splash outdoor at Waterfront Plaza.

3. It’s opening season for baseball fans! The Yankees toss out the first ball on April 1, while the Mets get a head start on March 31st.

4. Car lovers can check out the New York International Auto Show from the 18th through the 27th. Visitors can drool over the fancy cars with no alternate side of the street parking issues to worry about.

5. The average daily temperature is about 60 degrees….oh-so-perfect for exploring the city.