Monday, March 9, 2015

Karaoke Night at Arlene’s Grocery

Photo from Flikr
Are you a repressed rock star? Do you know someone who is? Then why not take the fantasy to the next level, and show the world what you are really made from? People like you, including lawyers, waitresses and accountants, have been entertaining the folks queuing up at Arlene’s grocery since 1996, and its been a wild ride.

Anyone can take the stage on either Monday or Friday nights to sing their best along with Arlene’s famous karaoke band. Take a chance, what’s the worst that can happen?

On the other hand, if you don’t see yourself has the next Elton John or Barbara Streisand, just take a seat and relax, and let other people’s talents (or lack thereof) wash over you. Guaranteed after a few reasonably priced drinks and some good natured laughs, you will have had yourself a memorable evening. You might even want to come back for more, or even get up there and belt it out with the best of them.

Arlene's Grocery is located at 95 Stanton St.; +1 212 358 1633

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hidden Bars of New York

During the days of Prohibition it was illegal to buy and sell alcoholic beverages; but do you think that stopped anyone from actually drinking? Of course not; it just went underground. Those clandestine bars were known as “speakeasies,” and there are a few of them still around today. Yes, it is legal to get plastered nowadays, as long as you don’t drive afterwards or take off your clothes before you climb aboard a southbound bus, but the special charm of speakeasies has been preserved in a few not-so-well-known “joints.”

Window curtains create a “no-one-is-home” effect at 67 Orange Street, but don’t be fooled. Walk in and discover an intimate lounge with a full range of cocktails and fantastic food standing behind the drinks. Try the fried chicken or lobster, you won’t be disappointed.  2082 Frederick Douglas Blvd., Harlem

To get to this speakeasy you will have to enter a Japanese restaurant first. Then walk through a secret door which looks like the entrance to a storage closet, and discover Angel’s Share
Angel's Share Entrance. Photo by Amy Halverson
.  Only four people at a time can enter, so keep your party small. You will be rewarded for your effort with some imaginative mixed drinks and food made with the best ingredients. 8 Stuyvesant St., East Village

Another establishment boasting a secret door is Bathtub Gin. Enter a coffee shop, find the right door, and you will encounter a small cocktail bar furnished with leather booths and tables. Come on either Sunday or Tuesday night and you will be treated to a burlesque show guaranteed to make you feel lawless.  132 9th Ave., Chelsea

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Best Restaurant in NYC is Hiding in Bloomingdales

French Onion Soup Photo by Ralph Daily
I am about to reveal to you one of New York City’s best kept secrets, so don’t tell anyone, OK? Head on over to Bloomingdales, you know, the upper up-scale department store on the Upper East Side?

Take the elevator up to the sixth floor, and amaze yourself when you enter a French dining car from Paris, circa 1870s. It is hard to imagine a more romantic atmosphere in this tiny corner of bustling Manhattan.

OK, not everyone agrees that the food is quite as awesome as “the best restaurant in NYC” makes it sound, but combined with the unique ambiance, a visit to “Le Train Bleu” is certainly worth your time.

Here is a quote from one customer on Yelp!:

“How have I lived in NYC for 30 years and I never knew this restaurant existed? It is so cool. The food is from another era. It is classic standard traditional French bistro food. It isn't the best or the worst just average.
But the reason to eat here isn't the food but to eat in a train at the top of Bloomingdales. It is just so incredible. ”

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A New “Must-See” New York Site: The 9/11 Memorial

Photo by Anthony Quintano
The sights and sounds of September 11, 2001 will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of all those old enough to have understood the events of that dreadful and fateful day. On that day 2,983 people lost their lives when terrorists with horrifyingly murderous intent smashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York; the Pentagon in Washington DC; and a thwarted third attack which took the lives of all aboard Flight 93.

In honor of their memory and the loved ones they left behind, a memorial has been established on the site where the Twin Towers once stood. In their place are twin memorial pools with the names of the murdered are stencil-cut into the bronze panels surrounding the reflecting pools. Each pool covers almost an acre in area and are the biggest manmade waterfalls in all of North America.

A few steps away from the actual memorial there is also a museum. Unlike the memorial, which is free to visitors, the museum charges an entrance fee.  The museum tells the story of 9/11 using multi-media displays, archives, narratives and an artifact collection. Guided tours are available, and films, lectures and other special events take place at the museum.

If you can visit the museum, it is highly recommended. But if you can’t, there are still many ways to take the event and create something positive. During this holiday season those at the 9/11 Memorial are asking people to become part of their #2983 Campaign. The goal is to have the community at large help to complete at least 2,983 acts of compassion, gratitude and service as a tribute to each one of those lost in the attacks. If you would like to become part of this worthwhile undertaking, visit the 9/11 Memorial website.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New York with Teens Can be a Blast

Teenagers are a special challenge to please on a trip. They are not quite adults and might not find much fun the things their parents find enjoyable. And they are certainly not children, either. At some point in their growing up, they just can no longer tolerate activities that appeal to young children, even though parents are willing to sit through a lot of silly or boring activities for the sake of their toddlers, young children or pre-teens. So what to do?

Luckily, if you have decided to spend your precious vacation time in New York, it won’t be hard to keep your teens entertained, and even happy.

Here are some categories of teens and the activities that will catch their attention:

Sports and Fitness

•    Bike riding at either Bike and Roll and Bike the Big Apple. These outlets rent bikes and provide guided tours through some of the highlights of NYC, such as Central Park, across the Brooklyn Bridge, along the mighty Hudson River, or all over town.
•    How about learning to “fly through the air with the greatest of ease” for something different? Trapeze School New York offers single-class sessions for as young as six-years-old, so any younger brothers and sisters can also join in the fun.
•    Skating fans will love Pier 62 which features a carousel and a California-style concrete skate park.

Tours and Food

Have a couch potato among your number? Try:

•    On Location Tours brings people to sites around the Big Apple which have featured in famous TV shows and movies. If you have a dedicated TV viewer or movie goer in the family, this is sure to thrill.
•    In New York watching television taping is practically a way of life. Before you go make sure your teens meet the age minimum for the show. Saturday Night Live is one of those restricted shows, so be sure to check first.
•    Have a foodie in the family? Go on a culinary adventure such as Scott’s Pizza Tours or A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours. These tours aim to please the teenage palate. And of course their adult care takers that also love fun food.

As you can see, there is no reason to hesitate taking your teen along on an amazing adventure in New York.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Take the Kids to the New York Hall of Science

Since 1964, when it was built as part of the New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science has been enthralling adults and children. When it was first opened it was one of the very few science museums anywhere in the world. After going through a period of severe deterioration and then renovation, it reopened in 1986 to unexpected crowds of visitors, inspiring even more expansion of the facility.

NY Hall of Science
In 2004 the museum’s north wing was opened. This wing is called the “Hall of Light” and differs significantly in design from the rest of the museum. Because of the semi-transparent fiberglass insulating panel system on the slanted roof and walls of the upper floor, sunlight is able to enter, eliminating the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours. This special design has resulted in a LEED certification for the building.

The fifth annual World Maker Faire is coming to the NY Hall of Science on September 20-21. The Faire will host over 700 ‘makers’ exhibiting such amazing examples of modern technology and scientific achievements as personal drones, wearables, 3D printing, humanoid robots, and much, much more.

The Faire will be housed in the northwest corner of Corona Park in Queens. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the Faire. The museum is certainly worth a visit any time of year. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5:45pm. Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 4:45pm. Adults are $11 and children ages 2-17 cost $8. There is free admission in the winter/spring months from September to June on Fridays from 2-5pm and Sundays from 10-11am.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Red Bamboo Replaces Meat with Joy

This vegan restaurant will surprise and please even the most lustful meat eaters, as long as they have an open mind. The broad menu offers first courses, specials, pastas and burgers, salads, sandwiches and more. For instance, try the mouth-watering Soul ‘Chicken’ which is delicately breaded with panko, and seasoned with rosemary. This is a restaurant which will prove that there is much more to eating than “meat and potatoes.”
Red Bamboo between McDougal and 6th Avenue in the West Village

Located at 140 West 4th Street, the atmosphere is warm, cozy and even “homey.” You might even feel like you are eating at mom’s. Lunch is served, and you can easily take a date that is willing to experience something different for a change. Come in time for happy hour. Red Bamboo’s hours are: Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 11:30pm and Monday through Friday from 12:30pm to 11:30pm.