Thursday, June 2, 2016

Broadway Buzz! “Stars in the Alley” Showcases More Than 30 Shows June 3 in Free Concert in Times Square

Broadway lovers, you don’t want to miss this. From 12:30pm to 2:30pm on June 2, in Shubert Alley on West 45th Street between Broadway and Eighth avenues in New York City, you can enjoy performances and star appearances from more than 30 Broadway shows, accompanied by a live 12-piece orchestra. Free! With the Tony Awards coming up on June 12, this is a great chance to view performances from 2016 Tony Award®- nominated musicals and decide which ones to buy tickets for now. Produced by the Broadway League, this is an annual event that is always packed so arrive early for best seating and viewing.

Hosts for "Stars in the Alley" are Sean Hayes from An Act of God and Mo Rocca of CBS Sunday Morning.  Also featured emcees are Sierra Boggess and Alex Brightman, the two leads in School of Rock the Musical.




All photos by Meryl Pearlstein, Stars in the Alley 2015

 Some of the stars performing are Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Alfie Boe, John Gallagher Jr., Heather Headley, James Monroe Iglehart, Rory O’Malley, Billy Porter, Max von Essen, with Tony nominees Reed Birney, Danny Burstein, Carmen Cusack, Saycon Sengbloh, Michael Shannon, Jennifer Simard

I’ve seen just about all of these musicals and it’s a great opportunity to hear their fabulous songs again. I encourage you to buy tickets now before the Tony Awards so you don't get closed out from the ones you want to see most. The participating musicals are: Aladdin, An American in Paris, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, Bright Star, Chicago, The Color Purple, Disaster!, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland, Fun Home, Jersey Boys, Kinky Boots, Les Misérables, Matilda The Musical, On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan, Paramour, The Phantom of the Opera, She Loves Me, Something Rotten!, Tuck Everlasting, Waitress, and Wicked

There will also be appearances from An Act of God, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Eclipsed, The Father, Fully Committed, Hamilton, The Humans, Long Day's Journey into Night, School of Rock The Musical, and Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
               
Stars in the Alley information can be found at Broadway.org. The event is produced by The Broadway League. United Airlines is the title sponsor of Stars in the Alley®.






Friday, May 13, 2016

Mizrahi Retrospective at the New York City's Jewish Museum -- through August 7



Through August 7, fashionistas and non-fashionistas alike can bask in the colorblock glow of Isaac Mizrahi at the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side.  Designed to admire and explain the inspirations behind the Brooklynite’s provocative and colorful collections, the “Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History” exhibition pieces together sketches, storyboards and fabric swatches from the designer’s 30-year career with footage of models wearing the actual items displayed.  “It’s a rare opportunity to have these two groupings come together in one exhibit. Watching the supermodels strut their stuff in Isaac’s dresses is wondrous enough. But to see the dresses and all on mannequins within inches of you, is truly a rare experience,” explained guest curator Chee Pearlman.



Mizrahi may be most recently known for his performances in the documentary Unzipped and on Project Runway All Stars, or for his QVC and Target collections – especially among younger fans -- but it’s the couture items that really turn heads.  Take, for example, two of his earliest “High and Low” dares: mixing a t-shirt fabric top with a taffeta ball skirt bottom, or creating a gown from elevator padding materials.  Or his “The Real Thing” dress made of paillettes from Coca-Cola cans, laboriously beaded together on a 60s silhouette sheath.  There’s also a room with video showing Mizrahi-designed clothes worn by Sarah Jessica Parker on “Sex in the City” and Sarah Bernhard while doing stand-up comedy, as well as unusual costumes created for the Guggenheim Museum’s annual presentation of Peter and the Wolf and the frog attendants in the 18th-century French opera Platée.

The exhibit has been built to be movable, with a limited run at the Jewish Museum.  So why the fuss about a designer who is still alive? 

Isaac Mizrahi is the real deal when it comes to New York City. He’s a 21st-century Renaissance man who loves life, embraces everything for what it displays, and re-gifts it in ways that break boundaries and challenge the imagination.  From his humble beginnings as a Yeshiva boy in Brooklyn, to his late 1980s entry into the design world, followed by forays into television, film, dance, and theater, Mizrahi displays a talent for imagination and vibrancy.  You may love some of the designs. You may be puzzled by others. But you will be hard-pressed not to leave with a vivid impression of this multi-talented polymath. 

Museum admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $7.50 for students from Sunday-Friday (closed Wednesday).  Admission is free on Saturday, and Thursday from 5-8 are Pay What You Wish nights.  The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, at 92nd Street.  http://thejewishmuseum.org


Note to foodies: The new Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum is a great place for lunch (or dinner on Thursday night) while you're visiting. It's a bit different from the 102-year old Lower East Side appetizing institution -- it's kosher! Time your visit after 2pm to avoid the mobs. Not open on Saturday.


All photos courtesy of the Jewish Museum.







Thursday, March 31, 2016

Love Cars? Check out 1000 at the New York International Auto Show

Schedule your time this weekend to see what’s in store on the automotive horizon.  If you love cars, as I do, you’ll find this year’s selection at the New York International Auto Show filled with technological advances that will make your head spin, as well as some other concept cars and prototypes that seem truly space age. Plan on spending a few hours to see nearly 1000 of the latest new cars and trucks. From now through April 3, this show will wow any car lover.



  
Among the news that was revealed at the show this year:

The 100th anniversary of BMW will be celebrated in the US in the fall. Stay tuned for big happenings countrywide.


Mercedes-Benz’s 2017 C-class line-up will hit the US in a big way this summer along with facelifted and less-pricey CLA models.

Jaguar is poised to take on its BMW and Mercedes counterparts with a new entry-level model, the stylish XE.  Service is included, as is for BMW, in the pricing. 


BMW’s luxe 7 series models include wireless charging stations for your phone, gesture control, and headrest-mounted tablets for back-seat riders.


If your hands are full with bags and groceries, Maserati lets you open the trunk by waving your foot beneath it, provided you have the key in your pocket or bag.

Single-person vehicles designed by Elio Motors (www.eliomotors.com/team) will be manufactured in Shreveport, Louisiana, with a starting price of $6800.  Sunroof extra, of course.  Toyota has a concept car that’s similar.  Both seem very odd to me, and much like a car version of a Vespa. They seat two people, but in tandem.  Projected MPG for the Elio is 84, based on a 3-cylinder version. 


The hand-built Dutch Spyker sport car returns to the show this year with the new C8 Preliator.  Only 50 of these cars will be produced worldwide. The car is sold through its first US dealer, Manhattan Motor Cars.

There’s a kids’ play area that might come in handy as you meander through the two floors of cars, trucks, SUVs, and vintage cars. 

Where to go:  Jacob Javits Center, 11th Avenue between 34th and 40th streets, New York City.  Hours:  10am-7pm.  www.autoshowny.com.  Tickets are $16 for adults and $7 for children under 12, and can be purchased online or at the show. 



Monday, March 28, 2016

Day Trip to the Bronx: Art, History, Eats and More

The Norwood section of the Bronx is not one that readily comes to mind for an outing in the city.  But if you hop the 4 train to the Mosholu Parkway station, the second to last stop on the line, you’ll discover a world filled with all the authenticity that is the Bronx of today and yesterday.

First stop:  Montefiore Hospital

Right now you’re thinking, start my touristic day at a hospital?  Yes, you should.  Montefiore Hospital is an integral part of the community and has created a setting and programs that invite the locals to share their love of the area.


The Montefiore ArtViews gallery at the hospital’s Moses campus in the Bronx is part of the hospital’s curated Fine Art Program and Collection, designed to show off, by theme, all that the Bronx offers.  Consisting of a rotating exhibition space inside the hospital, lined with art, photographs and other hand-crafted pieces, the gallery showcases art by local residents and is designed not only for patients and family members, but for all visitors to enjoy.  The current “Connecting People, Strengthening Communities: The Harlem River Bridges” exhibit by urban chronicler Duane Bailey-Castro is a line-up of 26 photographic masterpieces of the little-known bridges covering the Bronx. 

Some of the bridges, like the iconic High Bridge dating to 1848 which re-opened to pedestrians and bicyclists in 2015, are shown in daytime and evening settings.  Think Monet’s treatment of light over the course of the day with his lily pads or his haystacks.  The quality of the photography is crisp and breathtaking and captures a slice of this up-and-coming borough.  The use of bridges is symbolic as well as thematic.  In their placement along the corridor to the oncology department, one can’t help but think of the bridges that the hospital encourages, from sickness to health. In this case, the photographer’s personal journey from illness to wellness is reflected in his choice of subject matter.  The exhibit closes on April 4 but will be followed by “A Healthy Dose of Rock”, featuring current pediatric oncology patients at Montefiore who have been transformed by makeup and costumes into rock stars.  In June, Bronx photojournalist Marisol Diaz will exhibit from her current portfolio. 111 East 201st Street, Bronx.  Open 8am-5pm, daily.  For more information and scheduling details, visit http://www.montefiore.org/artprogram.


To enhance the experience, there are dining choices within the hospital, a cafeteria or a health-oriented café with sushi, soups, sandwiches and the like to be enjoyed indoors or outdoors in the hospital’s garden area, which is also often decorated as an art gallery, with pieces connected to nature.  The nearby Norwood area shows off its Dominican flair with Latino restaurants tempting with the likes of mofongo, Cuban sandwiches, mamey shakes, and other South of the Border dishes. Try El Presidente II at 4-10 East 208th Street, or for a Middle Eastern twist, Tasty Picks, 89 East Gun Hill Road.


Just down the street, one of the few remaining stone farmhouses that lined the Boston Post Road, the Valentine-Varian House house, built in 1758, currently serves as the Library for the Bronx County Historical Society and is open for visitors on Saturday and Sunday. A standalone home, in a flower-filled park setting, the house is magnificent in its simplicity and construction.  Behind and through a tunnel, a surprising park offers a sanctuary in the middle of urbanity.  The Williamsbridge Oval recalls the simpler pleasures of outdoor sports and playgrounds, with a walking oval fitting perfectly into today’s fitness craze. 


Monday, March 14, 2016

My life in travel or travel is my life

Please enjoy this fabulous video that my son made showing our life in travel over the years.

Meryl


Meryl's 60th birthday from Meryl Pearlstein on Vimeo.

Friday, February 5, 2016

It’s Happy Hour Time in Manhattan and Brooklyn – New Discounted Food and Drink Pairings Will Chase the Cold Away

We sometimes forget how much fun Happy Hour can be.  We work too late.  We begrudgingly meet our friends just in time for dinner, or dinner and a show, or maybe we schedule a late drink.  It’s time to turn back the clock, step out early, and enjoy three new happy hours that will keep you warm this winter.

Brooklyn’s Syndicated, the restaurant/ bar/ independent movie theater in Bushwick, has debuted  hearty, movie-themed food and drink pairings offered during their early-starting happy hour, from 4-7pm, Monday through Friday. Try the Titanic (popcorn fried oysters served with Rockaway Pale Ale); Mary’s Poppins (house-cured corned beef scrumpets, panko-crusted and fried, paired with Kelso Brown Ale); Cloudy with a Chance Of… (bacon-butter meatballs with an Old Fashioned); or the King and Rye (peanut butter-banana sandwich with a shot of rye whiskey).  Pairing prices are $11-16. Happy hour beverages at the bar are discounted as well.  40 Bogart St., Brooklyn, 718-386-3399, www.syndicatedbk.com

 
In the West Village, Michelin-starred Piora tempts with an ambitious Japanese-style cocktail program, the Lucky 7 Happy Hour. From 5:30 – 7pm, Head Bartender Shinya Yamao will offer 7 cocktails for just $7 each, along with $7 glasses of red and white wine selected by Wine Director Victoria James. $6 draft beers are also available. At 6pm, just to confuse you a bit, bar guests will receive a complimentary bar snack such as herb-parmesan cornmeal financiers. Guests at the bar can also play the Lucky 7 card draw – draw a number 7 card to win a free cocktail from the happy hour list, which includes creative libations like the savory Adonis (sherry, sweet vermouth, orange bitters)  or Salary Man (Nikka Japanese whiskey, club soda and lemon, on draft).  Bespoke signature cocktails from Piora’s regular drink list can be enjoyed for a discounted $10 versus the usual $15-18 price. 430 Hudson St., 212-960-3801, www.pioranyc.com

Timna’s new Aperitif Hour is a real bargain, asking only $12 for a drink and food pairing.  At this modern Israeli restaurant, from Tuesday through Friday, 5:30 – 7:30pm, the bar room offers beer and house wines by the glass, paired with a choice of menu selections such as farro and vegetables with warm tahini and dates molasses; Chinatown salad; a mass of glass noodles, green bean tempura, ginger-cilantro pesto and baby radish; or small plates like kubaneh bread accompanied by crushed tomatoes and labaneh cheese or chestnut soup with enoki mushrooms and quail egg yolk. 109 St. Mark’s Place, 646-964-5181, www.timna.nyc

Thursday, December 17, 2015

European Christmas Markets: Six Cities Where You Can Find Them


Now through Christmas is a wonderful time to visit the Advent markets in Europe. Beautifully lit and filled with people in high spirits, the markets, so much a part of the European holiday season, are essentially a block party that lasts into the evening, filled with shopping, food, drinks and holiday merriment. It's also a great time to explore some of Europe's finest hotels and cafes. 


This is an important time to visit Paris, to show our support for the people and to tell the world that nothing will dampen our holiday spirit. Let's all take a cue form U2 who performed a unity concert in Paris this month. Vive la France.

In Paris, the Christmas market stalls along the Champs-Elysee on the Right Bank stretch almost the full length of the boulevard on each side. In addition to food vendors hawking beer tastings, oysters, hot wine, and sausages, you’ll find a bungee jump, a skating rink, and great arts and crafts as you wend your way towards the Arc de Triomphe or the gigantic Ferris wheel, both strikingly lit at night.  If you time it right, you'll be able to duck into the Palais Royal or the Louvre to take advantage of the museums' fabulous exhibits at a time when crowds are at their lowest.









Where to Stay:  After munching on holiday treats, leave the Right Bank and explore the lively Left Bank filled with its many restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. The cozy and charming Hotel le Senat at the corner of the Luxembourg Gardens is a great choice. Its breakfast room and lobby are intimate, and you can get a room with a balcony that overlooks the roofs of the city. Caring service by staff members, an uber-comfortable bed, and thoughtful touches like an honor bar and late-morning breakfast set-up in the lobby complete the experience.The hotel offers a winning location a short walk from Saint Germain des Pres, the literary landmarks like Café Deux Magots and Café de Flor, and high-end shops like Moncler. Feel like a crepe? Try tiny La Crepe rit du Clown on Rue des Canettes.

Salzburg is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sound of Music, and it also has some of the country's most festive Christmas markets. The Salzburger Christkindlmarkt on and around Cathedral Square and Residenzplatz Square is the oldest and largest in Salzburg. Through December 26, you'll hear traces of Mozart tunes along with Christmas carols as you stroll among the booths. Look upward towards illuminated Hohensalzburg Fortress and walk the festively lit lanes and city square -- there's no way not to be taken in by the Christmas feeling in this "City of Mozart." The city's tour guides are among the most knowledgeable on the continent, and this year you can sign up for a walking tour of Christkindlmarkt. Through December 23, these tours will enlighten you with the history of the city, Advent in Salzburg, regional treats and crafts of the markets, the city's famed marionettes, and more. Tours leave from the Christmas tree in front of the Residenz daily at 4pm.





Where to Stay: Just a short walk from the Christmas market, The Hotel Goldener Hirsch is a 15th-century gem with the conveniences of the 21st century. Located on the pedestrian-friendly street where you'll find the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Mozarts Geburtshaus), the hotel embodies service, quirkiness and charm. Staircases lead to various wings and corridors filled with antiques and artifacts, a breakfast room that's as charming as its staff, and a cozy dining room and bar. A view from your room will remind you why Salzburg is continually ranked one of Europe's best small cities. If you need a pick-me-up, grab a Bosna, a local form of hot dog, at the Balkan Grill in the alley next door.

Vienna completes its 150th anniversay of the Ringstrasse this year. In addition to the many special exhibitions about this marvel of urban planning, the city gives you a choice of 21 small to large Advent markets around the city center and off the Ringstrasse. Across from Stephansplatz and near the Austrian National Library, you’ll find two charming markets, each filled with booths of beautiful snow globes (they originated in Austria) and other crafts, as well as Glühwein (spiced red wine), mini donuts, and other goodies. The best, however, is the market on Rathausplatz against the backdrop of City Hall by the Rathaus, which extends for rows and rows with booths and booths and booths of treats. Through December 26 you can try a palatschinke (a rolled up pancake) to go with your Glühwein (you pay a deposit and you can keep the ceramic mug), the perfect snack combo to enjoy as you stroll along with the crowds. Here, too, is Vienna's tallest Christmas tree, standing about 30 meters high. Need another break? There's nothing like a Sacher torte at the acclaimed Cafe Sacher Wien on Philharmoniker Str.









Where to Stay: The best, in my opinion, is the Hotel Imperial on the Ringstrasse. In a great location to experience Vienna's sites, the hotel is five-star when it comes to service, accommodations (gorgeous, gorgeous rooms), and dining and beverage. You’ll pay for the privilege of staying here, but it’s worth every euro. And if you’re a music fan, you’ll love that the hotel sits right next to the Wiener Musikverein where the Vienna Philharmonic play. Also appealing is that the Haus der Musik, an interactive museum explaining music from classical to contemporary, is only a five-minute walk. Book well ahead if you're interested in experiencing a performance by the Vienna Boys' Choir.
 

Budapest offers a chance to experience a lovely Christmas market indoors, out of the cold. At the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, the hotel's Christmas market includes cheery red-and-white striped booths filled with the likes of local porcelain and crystal, Hungarian chimney cakes and more. Set in the lobby of the palace hotel, the market welcomes you at the door with a holiday drink cart that doles out hot mulled wine, apple cider, chocolate, coffee and tea. If you’re still hungry after your shopping, you can walk to the end of the hall and enjoy the hotel’s acclaimed afternoon tea, done with panache on china made expressly for the Gresham Palace. Or, plan ahead, and reserve at the elegant Gresham Restaurant which offers modern takes on Hungarian and international cuisine. 











Where to Stay: Right here. In addition to offering some of the most beautiful accommodations in Budapest, along with top-rated service and dining, the Four Seasons Gresham Palace is located in the best location in Vienna, just across from the lovely Chain Bridge connecting Buda (and its castle district) and Pest (where the hotel is located). You’ll also be near the pedestrian walking area of shops and wine bars, which leads to the massive Central Market Hall and the waterfront. (Don't miss taking a night cruise on the Legenda to see the dramatic cityscape lit up along the Danube River.) From the hotel, it’s a short walk to the Jewish Quarter, the fascinating ruin bars, and Andrassy Avenue, the city’s monumental shopping boulevard. A short taxi ride away, the famous New York Café in the stunning Boscolo Budapest Hotel is a wonderful choice for a meal any time of the day, or for live piano music to accompany a pastry and coffee.

The Old Town in Prague is home to an elaborate Christmas market that attracts visitors from both sides of the Charles Bridge. In Old Town Square near the astronomical clock at City Hall and the city's official Christmas tree, you’ll see booth after enticing booth filled with Bohemian crystal, scarves and gloves, and handcrafted toys. Stop a moment and indulge in one of the Czech Republic’s traditional trdelnik, a churro-like creation that will warm you against the wind coming off the river. It goes especially well with a cup of mulled wine (spiced red wine). Or, grab a traditional pilsner to help you soak up the lively holiday spirit. The Christmas market here and the one at the bottom of Wenceslas Square are both open through January 6, 2015. For the first ime, there's now a market at Prague Castle, too, in the courtyard of St. George's Basilica. You can get detailed information and concert schedules from Czech Tourism, www.czechtourism.com








Where to Stay: The Mandarin Oriental in the historic Mala Strana quarter (lesser town) of Prague is the perfect place to escape the crowds and regroup. The atmospheric setting of this five-star hotel, built in a former Dominican monastery, is quiet and pampering, with each room a different configuration. Food and drink are superb, as is the service. The Mandarin Spa, built in a former Renaissance chapel, defines luxury. From the hotel, you can stroll to the constantly repainted John Lennon peace wall which attracts hippies and rock ‘n rollers of all ages. Also nearby in Kampa Park is the eerie babies monument, a sort of aliens-meet-Jeff Koons sculpture installation set by the river. If this kind of art doesn’t strike your fancy, you can walk up historic Nerudova Street, with its creative house markers and lovely Le Chocolat Cafe, to Prague Castle and enjoy some of the city’s most amazing views. For a fabulous meal, take a five-minute walk from the Mandarin to the charming boutique Aria Hotel, where every floor is themed to a different type of music. Coda Restaurant, just off the lobby, offers two indulgent tasting menus: one a Czech version and the other a more eclectic selection of five-star cuisine from talented chef David Sasek.

Berlin, not surprisingly, is filled with Christmas markets, a serious tradition throughout Germany. Two, in particular, are worth noting. Close to the S-Bahn, the U-Bahn and the designer shopping area of Mitte, the smallish one near Hackescher Market is a great place to get your feet wet when it comes to navigating a Christmas market. It’s personal, manageable, and not overrun with people. Ready for more? Walk to the larger Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt. Here, through December 31, your first stop can be a food break where you’ll feast on currywurst, strudel, and Glühwein, all under a covered tent. You’ll also get a ceramic mug to take home (your deposit covers that). Since the market is set right in front of the Konzerthaus, there’s lively music on-stage to keep your mood festive while you walk among the booths. Enjoy the crystal, holiday clothing, and merriment as you dance your way to the tunes of a traditional band.   










Where to Stay: The elegant five-star Adlon Kempinski next to the Brandenburg Gate and minutes from Groser Tiergarten (public park) defines service and luxury. The magnificent champagne and caviar breakfast is second to none and enjoying tea is the lobby is almost a religious experience. From here it's an easy walk to the museums along Unter den Linden and to Leipziger Platz where you can visit the new Spy Museum Berlin. Trendy, design-oriented Mitte is a little further away. For a strudel and coffee warm-up, try nearby Cafe Einstein.

Merry Christmas!

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