Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Child Friendly Activities for You and Your Kids

Ann Frank Center USA
That long, long winter is finally letting up. Grab the kids and run to some, or all, of these fun-tastic events. It’s a sure cure for cabin fever and, hopefully another way to reconnect with your darling little ones.

Cinco de Mayo: At Kidville ViDi the ninos and ninas can eat some themed snacks, play in the gym, and rock to a Rockin’ Railroad concert. Art projects and a fiesta photobooth will be enjoyed by all. Tuesday May 5, 40 Gold Street, between Fulton and John Streets.

The Helpers of the Secret Annex: The Ann Frank Center USA is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of World War II with family programming. The goal of the center is to help visitors of all ages to better understand the meaning and significance of the events of those days. This particular exhibit will focus on the personal stories of the brave people who brought food, clothing and more to the eight individuals, including Ann Frank, who were forced to hide from the Nazis in the Secret Annex. Recommended for ages 8 and up. The exhibit opens on May 6, and runs until December 30. 44 Park Place at Church Street.

New York Children’s Theater Festival:  This project brings new and creative plays and musicals to children. Two productions have already had their runs, but there are two more shows in May; Help Save the Monkey! (May 8-10); and The Meanest Birthday Girl (May 15-17). Each child receives a free coloring book with crayons, and after the show there is a free crafts project, refreshments, a Magic Wand parade and a chance to meet the members of the cast. For children ages 3 and up. 115 MacDougal Street, at Minetta Lane.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April Means Tribeca Film Festival

One of the world’s most celebrated film festivals, participants in Tribeca can expect to rub elbows with some of the leading cutting edge producers, directors, film critics, and general movie fans to be found anywhere.

The big news this year is that Tribeca will feature the debut of 11 female directors from the New York area. Among them are Erin Lee Carr, whose film “Thought Crimes” examines the story of the alleged “cannibal cop” Gilberto Valle. Natallia Leite will present “Bare,” which takes a look at the story of a waitress who falls in love with and older female customer in what appears to be an almost mystical, drug-filled love affair.
Photo credit:hashi photo

The festival will fun for 11 days beginning on April 15. There will be 40 first-time directorial premiers and more than 100 feature films presented.  The opening night special showing will be Bao Nguyen’s Live from New York! which is a tribute to the television comedy show Saturday Night Live. The closing night event will be a 25th anniversary tribute to the film Goodfellas, where the classic movie’s creators and cast will all come together at the Beacon Theater.

Screening will take place all over New York. Passes can be purchased from $40 to $300, while individual tickets are on sale for $10 to $35.

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.