The Best of New York in February for Kids

February 6, 2018 in Entertainment | Comments (0)

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The winter can seem long in New York, but there is so much to do to take your mind off how cold and wet you are feeling, that you wont notice. Here is a brief selection of what we think you and your kids should not miss this coming month.

Take your kids to a Broadway show, for free!

On February 27 children 18 years old and under can go to one of several selected Broadway shows for free in the company of an adult with a full-price ticket. The offer is called “Kids Night on Broadway,” and more information is available on the website.

Soap Bubbles Galore

The “Gazillion Bubble Show” has been described as “Enchanting” by the New York Times, and praised by countless others. The performance is a “dazzling display of bubbles” sure to please children and adults thoroughly. Using lasers and an enormous amount of creative artistry, the Yang family members have certainly proven that they are supreme experts in the art of changing simple soap bubbles into something awesome. Go to their website for more details.

How to Get to Sesame Street

From February 9-19 the younger set can be transported to the magical, interactive world of Sesame Street. The audience participates in picking a party theme, and then join in with Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster in some sing-a-long singing, building a snowman with Elmo, flap their wings with Big Bird, and enjoy some fun moments with Super Grover. For more information go to the Sesame Street Live website.


Winter is Wonderful in New York

January 3, 2018 in Entertainment | Comments (0)

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You’ve already missed the Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Swim in Coney Island, but do not fear, there is still plenty left to do this month, and some of it indoors.

Concerts

globalFEST- This truly international music festival celebrates the music of Indian hip-hop, Iranian folk music, Mexican mariachi, and Brazilian Tropicália. BB King Blues Club & Grill, Midtown West January 14, 2018.

OSHUN- Combing new-soul with hip-hop and pop music, this Brooklyn-based group presents two superb vocalists debuting their first album at this performance. Rough Trade NYC, Williamsburg, Friday January 12, 2018.

Carnivals

The City Pond skating rink in Bryant Park, Manhattan, New York City. Photo courtesy of Beyond My Ken.

Bryant Park- Try a bit of curling; drink some sweet hot chocolate and of course ice skating at this amazing midtown Manhattan winter wonderland carnival. Entrance is free. The Winter Village is already up and running, and most of the fun will continue until March 4, 2018.

WinterFest on Long Island- It might be a bit of a drive, but it is well worth it to see the beauty in the winter of the east end of Long Island. This is the 11th annual festival, beginning on February 23 and ending a month later, on March 18. All schedules and venues will be announced on January 15, so stay tuned.

Spas

Aire Ancient Baths- this Spanish import envisions an experience resembling the large and extravagant bathhouses of ancient Rome and Greece. This luxury bathhouse minichain, features three stories of open room baths, with hot, cold, saltwater, and multijet pools. There are also steam and hot-stone rooms for lounging for as long as two hours. The facility offers a lot more and is worth checking out. It is in Tribeca at 88 Franklin Street.

Great Jones Spa- This spa believes that water is the secret to good health. It offers a water lounge with underground pools, saunas, steam rooms and a 40-foot waterfall. You can get a haircut here, as well as a manicure. North of Houston at 29 Great Jones Street at Lafayette.


New York’s Winter Wonderland is Better Than Ever

December 14, 2017 in Entertainment | Comments (0)

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The Radio City Rockettes perform the March of the Wooden Soldier at the Christmas Spectacular in Radio City Music Hall. Photo courtesy Bob Jagendorf.

There is so much to do in New York in December it’s hard to know where to begin with suggestions to make this holiday season the most special possible.

It theater is your thing, you should definitely not miss either the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular or the Nutcracker.

The Spectacular features the beloved Rockettes, a phenomenon at the Music Hall since 1932. In the unlikely event that you are not familiar with the Rockettes, they are a dance troupe most famous for their line kicks, which are almost otherworldly in their synchronicity. This show is a cant miss as far as making the family squeal with delight.

If classic dance is more your speed then The Nutcracker is the show to see. There are a number of shows in the metropolitan area, but probably the most classic would be the incredible 1954 production choreographed by George Balanchine and performed by the full New York City Ballet Company and two casts of School of American Ballet students.

Other versions of the Nutcracker abound. There is a hip-hop version in which rapper Kurtis Blow MC’s the action, which includes digital projections and a score with a contemporary beat. The show takes place at Prudential Hall at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

If you hurry you can still catch the State Ballet Theater of Russia’s version of  Tchaikovsky holiday classic. On Friday, December 15 the one and only New York performance will take place at the Schimmel Center at Pace University at 3 Spruce Street in Manhattan.

No matter what you choose to do this holiday season, you can’t go wrong in New York City.


The Mother of Parades is Full of Surprises

November 19, 2017 in Culture and History | Comments (0)

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Santa Claus at the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo by tweber1.

You have most likely been watching the Macy’s iconic Thanksgiving Day Parade since you were just a wee thing, but methinks there are many facts about the parade you do not know. So just so that your enjoyment level is set to high this coming turkey day, here is a list of fun facts you most likely had no idea about, and didn’t even know that you cared about, until now.

1. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was launched for the first time in 1924, making it the second oldest of them all.
2. The first few parades were called “Christmas Parades” even though they took place on Thanksgiving. Go figure.
3. The first parade featured camels, monkeys, elephants and bears from the Central Park Zoo.
4. From 1928 until 1932 it was easier to just let the giant balloons fly away then to take them down and deflate them, and that is exactly what they did.
5. Today’s parade requires and enormous number of behind-the-scenes workers- to prepare the 4,000 volunteers for the parade requires 230 dressers and 100 make-up artists.
6. Those balloons require huge amounts of helium. Only the US government uses more each year.
7. Handling those balloons is not easy. “Balloon pilots must walk backwards the entire 2.5 mile parade route.
8. Not just people, but balloons can also serve their country. During WWII the gigantic balloons were donated to the government to provide much needed rubber.
9. The scenes of the Thanksgiving Day Parade which are included in the classic movie Miracle on 34th Street were shot of the actual 1946 edition of the parade.


Other Worldly Art Appeal at the Holocenter

October 25, 2017 in Art | Comments (0)

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DNA model projected by Pyramid Hologram. Photo by MagzhanArtykov.

Holographic art is an entirely different type of aesthetically pleasing experience. As a visual art, holography is compared with painting and drawing, but in many ways it is more like sculpture, due to the three dimensional effect it exploits.

If you have never been to an exhibition of holographic art, you are missing something otherworldly and hard to put into words. Although the Holocenter is closed in the winter, you still have a few more days, until October 29, to go to Governor’s Island where the Holocenter has exhibits of this unique art form.

The Holocenter has a number of workshops for those interested in getting more involved in holography. These include a Mapping Place workshop and Pulse Laser Holography workshop. There are also two residencies, one for Pulse Laser Production, and another to learn about Light and Space. The Holocenter also sponsors a workshop to learn about Alternative Realities: Virtual and Augmented experiences.

Visitors have an assortment of things to do and see when they visit the center: Visitors can make their own hologram; play with light in amazing new ways, and attend optics camp.

To get to the center on Governor’s Island, visitors must take a ferry, either from lower Manhattan, or from Brooklyn.


Seaport Music Festival Ready to Roll

September 5, 2017 in Entertainment | Comments (0)

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South Street Seaport, New York City, NY. Photo courtesy Prayitno.

The South Street Seaport Music Festival will celebrate its 15th anniversary this September 7-10, and its sure to be an unforgettable experience.

The festival was founded in 2002 to be a gateway for nascent bands to help them break into the bigger New York music festivals down the road. Some of those ‘newbies’ have gone on to successful music careers, including Sufjan Stevens, Hot Chip and Dr. Dog, Joanna Newsom, and many more.

This year you can be sure the talent is high and excitement will be electric. The festival will be welcoming such newcomers as Jean Grae, Death Valley Girls, Azar Swan, and a huge additional list of groups and individuals.

Music is not the only entertainment on offer. If you are a fan of NPR then you have probably heard of Ophira Eisenberg. She is a host of the radio network’s trivia comedy show “Ask Me Another.”

Eisenberg is a comedian and a writer, and as a host of the popular show she has interviewed and played funny games with a varied group of artists, including, Sir Patrick Stewart, Weird Al, Ethan Hawke, and others.

She has been on Comedy Central, Girls, The Late Late Show, The Today Show, and VH-1. She has performed on The Moth as well as hosted it, and she recently released her second comedy album, “BANGS!”

As you can see, this is a festival not to be missed. See you there!


Pier 54: A Neglected Bit of New York History

August 10, 2017 in Culture and History | Comments (0)

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Arrival of the “ship of sorrow” at New York. Drawing by L.F. Grant (Boston Globe artist)

A sad bit of New York history awaits visitors who would like to see the place where the survivors of the Titanic finally disembarked at the end of their tragic journey from Europe to the United States.

The Titanic, if it had made it until the end of its maiden voyage without sinking in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg, would have docked at Pier 59 on the Hudson River. Instead, the survivors were rescued by the Carpathia and brought back to New York to disembark at Pier 54 just a few blocks south of Pier 59. About 40,000 people were waiting at the dock to great the survivors, or to hear the terrible news that a friend or loved one had not made it home alive.

A mere three years later, in 1915, a ship called the Lusitania departed from the very same Pier 54. It was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland, sinking only 20 minutes later with almost the all 2000 of its passengers and crew on board.

Today the pier is part of Hudson River Park. There are several plans to restore the pier to how it looked in the early 20th century, but so far none have come to anything. Visitors today will find an empty strip of metal and concrete reaching out into the waters of the Hudson River, a dark reminder of the sad history written there.

The story of the Titanic seems to have only grown over the years, but interest in the pier seems to be fading instead.


Summer in the City is Sensational

July 18, 2017 in Entertainment | Comments (0)

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PJ Harvey @ Coachella 2011. Photo courtesy of PJ Harvey.

Free this evening? There are all sorts of events and parties to choose from, every night of the week. Here is what’s going on just this coming Wednesday, July 19, 2017.

  • Cruising has never been so convenient and easy. The fun starts at 6:30pm from Pier 15 at 78 South Street, Pavillion 2, at Fletcher. For a mere $20 you will sail up the great Hudson River on Hornblower’s Sensation. You will get to dance your heart out to live DJ’s music on all of the boats three decks. Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection wines will also be on hand, as will some light snacks and a temporary tatoo bar called Tatty’s.
  • The Hudson River will also be the backdrop for a just-like-the-old-days outdoor movie. Come to Pier 1 at Riverside Park at 7pm for a free showing of the Barbra Streisand comedy “What’s Up, Doc?” Released in 1972, you will probably laugh until you cry while you watch Barbra, Ryan O’Neil and Madeline Kahn go screwy all over the big screen.
  • Do you have some money left in your entertainment budget? The why not spend a mere $49.50 on a ticket to see PJ Harvey in Central Park. This alt-rock icon will be giving a benefit performance at the Rumsey Playfield at 8:30pm in the wake of her recent release of “The Hope Six Demolition Project.”

Choe Completes Latest Mural on Lower East Side Wall

June 8, 2017 in Art | Comments (0)

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Art by David Choe in Facebook HQ main lobby. Photo courtesy of Kelly DeLay

Come down to Bowery and Houston on the Lower East Side and see the latest offering from expert mural artist David Choe, which he completed at 4am on Sunday morning, June 4th.

This wall has been the showcase for a long and impressive cast of artists, beginning in the ‘70s when Keith Haring painted his noteworthy mural there. This particular urban canvas is so intertwined with inner-city that it has become known as the Houston Bowery Graffiti Wall.

Before Choe put up his work a piece by artist duo PichiAvo adorned the wall, which is owned by Goldman Properties.

Choe’s work on this wall began on March 28, taking a bit more than a month to complete. He just finished another artwork in Miami of a similar nature. He is one of the most famous mural artist to work on this wall, getting his start painting murals for Facebook in Silicon Valley in 2005.

The artist is almost more famous for his business acumen than his artwork. When he was hired by Facebook in 2005 he was given the choice of being paid $60,000 for his work, or taking stock in the then-start-up company. Several years later Facebook went public and Choe found himself a millionaire with Facebook stock worth about $200 million. Since his brilliant business decision, he has become a highly sought-after graffiti artist.

Goldman Properties says the mural will be visible until the end of October.


A Look Back at What Artists Were Doing When They Were Just Kids

April 27, 2017 in Art | Comments (0)

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In an interesting and different kind of retrospective, ProjectArt put together 23 pieces from children between the ages of 5 and 17 who later went on to become actual, important artists.

The showing is for one day only, will include a children’s art workshop, and is the inaugural benefit exhibition for ProjectArt. On display will be the childhood works of artists Urs Fischer, Cecily Brown, Katherine Bernhardt, and Raashaad Newsome.

Young visitors to the showing will read statements from the artist themselves, such as “I’ve never liked drawing exactly what I see,” said by Kiki Valdes, who will lead the drip-in drawing and collage workshop between 1 and 3pm.

ProjectArt is a nonprofit organization which offers children’s workshops around the country, in cities such as Detroit, Miami and New York. It is the country’s largest free art school, but does not own even one building.

The exhibit takes place at Red Bull Arts New York at 220 West 18th Street on Saturday, April 29th, from 10am to 7pm. It is free and open to the public.