Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Holidays 2009-2010 -- Going on Hiatus for a Week

Thank you, Matt, for this international journey -- it makes a perfect Holiday Card for all my friends and followers around the world. Happy Travels everyone and wishes for a safe, healthy, peaceful and love-filled year to all.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Marea Ups the Formal Quotient in Dining... Wonderfully

I loved my meal at Marea, Chef Michael White's stellar vision of Italian seafood on Central Park South in the old San Domenico space now sleekly done with clubby touches and a crudo bar. No misses here -- from the ricci starter of sea urchin spread with lardo to the pastas, lobster with burrata, Hawaiian swordfish with fruit and the sublime affogato dessert drink. Can't wait to go back to try Marea's Le Collezione menu at the Crudo Bar, offering six crudi, five small portions of pasta, and dessert for $125. 240 Central Park South, 212-582-5100.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Deal a Week: A Great Luxury Hotel Deal in NYC – Pay for 2 nights, Stay for 3 and Get a VIP Shopping Package

Surround yourself in luxury in NYC when you visit this January and February. With NYC & Company’s Signature Collection Third Night ™ promotion, you’ll take Manhattan in style.

Have you ever dreamed of living like Eloise at The Plaza or sipping on a “Red Snapper” in its home at the King Cole Bar in The St. Regis? Now you can without breaking the bank, even if you already live in Manhattan! This promotion includes accommodations at 15 of the city’s most prestigious hotels for three nights (for the price of two!) and a VIP shopping package at Saks Fifth Avenue consisting of an exclusive personal-shopping experience in the Fifth Avenue Club, special savings, and complimentary coffee and dessert at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Café SFA overlooking Rockefeller Center and the Channel Gardens.

The promotion is valid from January 4 – February 28 at these Signature Collection hotels: The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel; Hotel Plaza Athénée; Jumeirah Essex House; Loews Regency Hotel; The London NYC; Mandarin Oriental, New York; The New York Palace; The Peninsula New York Hotel; The Pierre New York; The Plaza Hotel; The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park; The Sherry Netherland; The St. Regis New York; The Surrey; Trump International Hotel & Tower; and The Waldorf Towers.

For more information, contact NYC & Company by clicking here. Photo credit: Mandarin Oriental, New York

Monday, December 14, 2009

Take Your Kid to Broadway FREE in February on "Kids' Night on Broadway"

Tickets to Kids Night on Broadway are ON SALE NOW for Feb. 2, 3, and 7. Kids 6-18 go free with a full-paying parent.

Participating shows (subject to change):


Billy Elliot the Musical
Finian’s Rainbow
In the Heights
The Lion King
Mamma Mia!
Mary Poppins
Next to Normal
The Phantom of the Opera
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific
West Side Story

Off Broadway
Avenue Q

Click here to buy tickets

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fancations and Baseball Vacations: Baltimore for VIPs

All the talk today about baseball trades is making me yearn for Spring Training. Camden Yards is the magnet for me when it comes to Baltimore, but there’s so much to do when it’s not baseball season. (Watch for my upcoming "Fancations" series). Harbor Magic Hotels has teamed up with The National Aquarium to provide an experience that's both fun and for a great cause. This package combines a stay at one of Harbor Magic Hotel’s three hotels with VIP entry into one of the best aquariums in the world—all while supporting the aquarium’s conservation initiatives. See the amazing jellies exhibit, or just sit back and take in the new 4-D Immersion Theater or dolphin show.

A couple of other suggestions: if you have time, take a quick walk from the Aquarium to two of Baltimore’s distinctive museums, The American Visionary Art Museum (for something new and completely different) and Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, just across from Camden Yards and filled with the curator's personal collection of "culture." To stoke the hunger from your Baltimore blast, ask for the crabs at two of the city's best seafood restaurants: Obrycki's near Fells Point and Phillips Seafood around the bend from the Aquarium.

The "Harbor Magic" package includes overnight accommodations and breakfast at Pier 5 Hotel, Admiral Fell Inn (my personal favorite) or Brookshire Suites plus VIP immediate entry and all-inclusive access for 2 to the Aquarium. For more information or to book, visit

Friday, December 4, 2009

Want a Piece of NYC Restaurant History?

If you've gotten one of those increasingly rare holiday bonus checks recently, you may want to splurge on some of the goodies at auction from two of Manhattan's closed and soon-to-close icons, Cafe des Artistes and Tavern on the Grill. Items from the first are already being sold (except for the famous murals). Tavern's goodies, including some from Maxwell's Plum and the original Russian Tea Room, go on sale January 13. There's even discussion, as of today, of offering up the Tavern on the Green name for sale. Such sad endings to such beautiful restaurants (no comment on the food, however).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Get Thee to an Off-Broadway Show This Month

Although Broadway ticket prices can be gotten at discount of late, there are lots of innovative off-Broadway plays to consider as well. Among my favorites, The Toxic Avenger shows that the life as a green superhero is definitely the way to go. Based on the cult 1985 film, with music by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan and some amazingly camp performances by the ultra-talented Nancy Opel and the clueless Sara Chase, Toxie is a hoot and should not be missed. Hurry! It closes January 3. New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St..

If you saw the Vagina Monologues, you'll love Nora and Delia Ephron's hilarious and touching Love, Loss and What I Wore which features a rotating cast of readers, each acting out a vignette that touches the core of a woman's fashion sensibilities and life entanglements. Ending on January 31, the current cast includes Kristin Chenoweth, Lucy DeVito, Capathia Jenkins, Rhea Perlman and Rita Wilson. Westside Theatre Downstairs, 407 West 43rd Street (Between 9th and 10th Avenues).

Drink and Eat Responsibly on December 4 -- Chef Michael Psilakis Feeds You Free

Planning to be in the Meatpacking District tonight? If you're a night owl with the munchies, the food genius behind Kefi, Anthos, and Mia Dona, will be serving free chicken shish kebabs, lamb burgers and vegetables with couscous from a food cart at the corner of Gansevoort Street and Ninth Avenue from midnight until 2am.

Part of a project to promote responsible drinking (so you can sop up all those martinis and mojitos), the cart will also provide free bottled water.

And, if you're really in need of support, there will be free rides on standby to help get you to a taxi, a train, or even your apartment.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Casual is the New Black Tie

I broke my own rule last week: I wore jeans to theater. And restaurants known for fine dining now accept jacketless diners and women in flip flops. Is this a product of the economy? Or global warming? Or a combination of the two? It's an interesting time, albeit a dressed down one. My birthday is in a week, tho, and I sure as heck will be celebrating in style. If you want to join me for a drink, leave me a comment, and I'll tell you where to meet me and what to wear.

Fancations Off-Season: No Worries about Losing the Olympics, Chicago -- You’ve Got The Addams Family!

Halloween may be long gone, but Chicago keeps the spooky spirit alive with the world premiere of The Addams Family Musical, now through January 10, 2010 at the Oriental Theater. From the team behind the ultra-succesful Jersey Boys, the creepy-kooky musical stars Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia in this "mysteriously ooky"comedy based on the TV series from the mid-60s. Tickets range from $28-$105 and can be ordered at

The historic and recently restored Palmer House Hilton makes it even easier to score tickets to the show with their new "Addams Family" package. Stay overnight and you'll get two adult tickets to select Saturday night performances (December: 5, 12, 19; January: 2, 9) in the Dress Circle section. To book this package, call reservations at 866-581-5466. While you're there, be sure to grab a seat in the opulent lobby and enjoy a cocktail before dining at the hotel’s Lockwood Restaurant. Voted One of 10 Best Restaurants To Open in 2008 by The Chicago Tribune and a 2009 Open Table Diners’ Choice winner, Lockwood’s Executive Chef, Phillip Foss, presents a menu that is truly to die for (Addams Family pun intended).

New Yorkers, don't despair. The play moves to Broadway on March 4 to the Lunt-Fontaine theater, but tickets are already a hot commodity. And watch for more Chicago news in my upcoming "Fancations" series.

A Deal a Week: Sedona's Enchantment Resort Wants You to Share and Shop... and Get 2 Free Nights

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the holidays are in full swing! As an early gift to guests, Enchantment Resort in Sedona has a new "Season for Sharing" package that gives you 2 free nights if you book 3 consecutive nights. After you've explored the beautiful Arizona outdoors and the mystical red rock formations of Boynton Canyon, you can indulge your shopping instincts at Tlaquepaque Village, a gorgeous village of specialty boutiques and art galleries. Like its Mexican artisan namesake, this village has more than 40 specialty boutiques and art galleries so you can shop 'til you drop. The package includes free transportation from the resort to the shop.

Afterwards, relax and refresh with a Native American or Ayurvedic treatment at one of the top spas in the U.S., Enchantment's Mii Amo. (Spa add-ons are priced separately).

To book, click here or call 800-826-4180. The package lasts just until Christmas, exactly when you'll be able to give out all those fabulous gifts you've just bought.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Highline Ballroom -- A Great Venue for Great Music

The High Line - Meatpacking District is really jumping. Just saw this amazing band, Forro in the Dark, with Pistolera as the opener. Another wonderful addition to the NYC nightscape.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Contest Extended -- Enter to Win a Copy of Fodor's Family: New York City with Kids

Happy Thanksgiving! Travel Mamas has extended the contest, so you can still enter and win a book.

Click here for info about what to do in New York City and for details on how to enter.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Deal a Week: Remembering JFK at the Fairmont Copley

In remembrance of the tragedy on November 22, 1963 and, on a more positive note, in the spirit of LIFE’s new book, The Kennedys: End of a Dynasty, the Fairmont Copley in Boston has introduced a package that celebrates the life of another one of my favorite Kennedys: JFK. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, and the JFK: To The Moon Package commemorates one of President Kennedy’s most notable achievements: putting the first man on the moon.

The JFK: To The Moon Package
starts at $269/night and includes overnight accommodations and two tickets to the JFK Library and Museum where you can see the new Moonshot: JFK and Space Exploration, a thought-provoking exhibit featuring original documents, photographs and artifacts from the Mercury Atlas-9 Mission, the Friendship 7 space capsule and the Saturn 1 Rocket.

The Fairmont Copley has also created a unique experience for the true JFK devotee: the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum Suite. This suite, developed with the assistance of the JFK Library’s curators and archivists, serves as a mini-museum spotlighting the life of our 35th president. (The suite is available for an additional charge of $200/night).

This package is valid through March 31, 2010. For more information and reservations, click here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Win a Free Book! Vacationing with the Kids in NYC? Grab a Guide for the Holidays with Fodor's Family: New York City with Kids

I'm honored -- Colleen Lanin from Travel Mamas featured my book and my recommendations about things I love about New York City, both secret and not-so-secret, plus other tidbits for readers to discover, all filled with NYC passion. Best of all, they included a photo of my husband and me in our full Yankees-Red Sox dueling finery taken at the old Yankee Stadium.

Read here and enter to win a copy of Fodor's Family: New York City with Kids.

A “Dream” Come True – Disney Launches a New Ship That Tops Them All

Disney Cruise Lines has just started taking bookings for their newest ship, Disney Dream, set to sail on January 26, 2011. This incredible addition to the fleet of magical ships will be the biggest yet—with a capacity of more than five thousand passengers. Disney has implemented some innovative and distinctive features that the whole family will love. My favorite? Being a roller coaster junkie, I can’t wait to try the AquaDuck, a 765-foot-long water coaster that goes around four decks and even extends out over the ocean. You sit in a tube (see photo above) and off you splash! Then, there are the virtual portholes so every interior room feels like it has an outside deck. These virtual portholes use HD TVs to create projections of the sea and will even have the occasional Disney character “swim” by. (Hey, Nemo!) Check it out:

Of course, if you can drag yourself away from your fabulous stateroom or get off the AquaDuck, you’ll never go hungry on this amazing ship. Guests on Disney’s Magic and Wonder ships will recognize their favorite Animator’s Palate, where the room changes color throughout your meal. There’s also the Royal Palace, an elegant restaurant inspired by Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and The Beast, and Sleeping Beauty; and the Enchanted Garden, a more casual spot inspired by the gardens of Versailles, which changes from day to night as you dine. You can also go more upscale at the reservations-only Italian restaurant, Palo.

Post-dinner entertainment finds kids at the “Chill-Out Zones” filled with hi-tech entertainment such as postcard creators and video karaoke. Parents have their own after-dark, kids-free entertainment area, The District, with five distinct venues: The District Lounge, Metro Pub, Pink (an upscale cocktail lounge), Evolution (nightclub), and Skyline (a metropolitan “sky bar” with changing views of city skylines on LCD screens).

And, because this is Disney after all, nightly entertainment for the whole family includes first-run Disney movies at the Buena Vista Theater and major stage productions at the Walt Disney Theater.

Disney Dream will alternate three- and four-night sailings to Nassau for most of 2011. Book now on or or by calling 888-325-2500.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Post-Fancation Holiday: Thanksgiving in Boston Wouldn’t Be Thanksgiving without a Fireplace, a Turkey or a Room Overlooking the Public Garden

If you’re planning to visit your family or your college student for Thanksgiving, instead of hosting the meal at home this year, the luxurious Taj Boston doesn’t want you to miss out on that warm “turkey day” feeling. On November 26, The Café at the Taj is offering a special three-course dinner menu for $75 per person and a special room rate of $75 per person per night (based on double occupancy, and if you have dinner at the hotel). Call (617) 598-5255 to book your turkey (or beef or halibut) dinner. Book your Thanksgiving Dinner Weekend room at (877) 482-5267 -- ask for a room with a wood-burning fireplace (it comes with a menu of firewood to select from, and a Fireplace Butler to set it up). For more info click here .

Only four months until Fenway opens -- watch for more Boston and Fancation news.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Give Up -- Time to Think about Christmas in NYC.... Barney's Has Convinced Me, too

Earlier today, I chastised Lord & Taylor for speeding up Christmas in the city. Barney's is doing an even better job of it at this early junction as well.

So, I guess I can't fight it.

Here are my top recommendations for "can't-miss" NYC holiday activities from early December through January.

* Definitely head over to Rockefeller Center to watch the skating and festivities – it’s magical. Of course, you should go to Barney's to see the windows (for camp) and other department stores for more traditional displays.

* I always suggest going to a Broadway show, regardless of whether it’s Christmas or not. There are lots of good ones – look at and ask me any questions after you review the list. The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall are always great as well, and there's no other place that you can see them.

* If there’s snow, bundle up and take a carriage ride through Central Park. It will be beautiful.

* And, if you have time, there’s the great Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour that goes to famous Dyker Heights (you have to see it to believe it) and includes a warm-up stop for Italian pastries and cappuccino – -- tell Tony I sent you. Click here to see video of this awesome tour.

Send me your own personal favorites -- I'll add them to the list.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's Begining to Look a Lot Like Christmas.... NOT!

Apologies for the reflections coming off the glass here, but Lord & Taylor, do you have to start the Christmas season BEFORE Thanksgiving? It's still a balmy 50 degrees with a hurricane watch.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maybe She's Related to Me? Gotta Go Ukraine!

I mentioned this video in my post below about Pilobolus. If you haven't seen this video from "Ukraine's Got Talent," stop what you're doing and take a deep breath. This is 8 minutes of pure ecstasy. Click here to watch something truly amazing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

People Get Ready -- Totonno's is Back!

I was one of the few fortunates who got to enjoy the simplest of pleasures: a perfect Totonno pizza in Coney Island last January, just 2 months before a disastrous fire closed the pizzeria for what could have been forever. The good news is that's back.... just about. The gorgeous pizza oven has been restored, although the historic photos are still in storage, but not for long. And the recipes are ready to launch into full gear. We wish Louise Ciminieri and the "longest running pizzeria in the NYC area" only the best. We can't wait to tuck into one of those sensational pies. Save us a booth, Louise.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Deal a Week: Experience a Parisian Holiday, Boston Style

As a native Bostonian and a French major in college, I am captivated by this package from the European-style Eliot Hotel.

The Eliot’s new "Touch of Paris" package invites you to experience the glamour and allure of Paris without leaving the US. For $395 based on double occupancy, you’ll stay one night in a deluxe suite, enjoy a fabulous French dinner at Chef Ken Oringer’s award-winning Clio restaurant, and enjoy a buffet breakfast at Clio's The Bake Shop. The hotel overlooks Commonwealth Avenue near Newbury Street, two boulevards reminiscent of Paris’s Champs Elysées and famed shopping areas.

Available through April 6, 2010. For more information, call, 617-536-7200, or visit

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Atlantic Avenue (Brooklyn) Tunnel Tours -- Sunday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23

Open House New York
and the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association will offer special guided tours of the world's oldest subway tunnel, built in 1844 and constructed in seven months using only hand tools and primitive equipment.

Bob Diamond, who rediscovered the tunnel in 1980 will lead two tours through the half-mile long underground space. Entry is through a manhole cover (!) at Atlantic Avenue and Court St. It's an experience you won't forget.

Tours conclude with a Happy Hour at the Brazen Head, with complimentary Checker Cab Blonde Ale from the Chelsea Brewing Company.

To buy tickets and for additional information, click here.

Happy Hour at the Fatty Crab -- Perfect before Beacon Theater or Symphony Space

Next time I go to a concert at the Beacon Theater (as I did last night to see larger-than-life Lyle Lovett and His Large Band), I know where I'll munch before. Fatty Crab Uptown has introduced a happy hour on weekdays from 4-7, with my favorite finger foods: spicy chicken wings, steamed buns, and Fatty Sliders, all $5 or less. Check out my review on Love this place -- ask for Adam; he's an amazingly knowledgeable server.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pilobolus Dances New York City -- A Must-Watch

Last week I was blown away by Kseniya Simonova and her exquisite Sand Art in "Ukraine's Got Talent." This week, it's Pilobolus's appearance on Conan that knocked me out. Take a look at this 3-minute video -- it's gorgeous and incredible.

2 Jazz Legends Return to Symphony Space Thursday and Friday

This is one concert you don't want to miss, and tickets are only $35. At Symphony Space, on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Thursday and Friday nights' shows feature a retrospective of Arturo O'Farrill's Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra since its inception seven years ago, including the world premiere of a new piece commissioned by Symphony Space, The Bronx Museum, and RD Rice Construction that celebrates the life of Sonia Sotomayor. Also on the marquee is legendary pianist Randy Weston performing his African Sunrise Suite and the rarely heard Soul and Culture Suite by Bob Franceschini. Guest performers include students from the Afro Latin Jazz Academy. For ticket information, click here. To hear, a sample of the music, click here. Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway @ 95th St.

New York Skyride Teams up to Feed the Hungry for the Holiday Season

From November 1 - December 31, the motion simulator "experience" in the Empire State Building will be joining with Food Bank for New York City to collect canned goods for hungry New Yorkers. Buy a ticket for only $15 (a savings of $21) when you bring a can of food to donate, and the Empire State Building will also donate $1 to the cause. You must bring a copy of the downloadable certificate from the Web site as well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Food Truck Watch: End of the Season for the Red Hook Vendors

As the Food Truck Watch column goes on vacation for the next few cold months -- it's really a snowbird, you know? -- I wanted to remind you that this is the last weekend for you to sample the authentic tacos, quesadillas and other Mexican delectables at the Red Hook Ballfields. After spending nearly 2 weeks in Mexico with SATW traveling around Guadalajara, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, and, of course, Tequila, I feel like I qualify as an expert in this area. Vaya! One of NYC's inexpensive food pleasures is about to vanish. Click here for directions to the trucks.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Empire State Building Does it Again....for Finland

Last night the Empire State Building wasn't looking like a Jerry Garcia shrine. Instead, it was a blue and white beacon against a misty sky in honor of the various Scandinavian, and especially the Finnish activities, scheduled throughout the week. From our location at Scandinavia House at 37th and Park Ave., the view was amazing. Thanks to my friend Juha-Pekka Laakio for this gorgeous shot.

Edgar Allan Poe's Ghostly Tour in Manhattan - Friday Oct. 30 @ 9:30pm

A few weeks ago I told you about the spooky Poe happenings in Baltimore. I do hope you got it together to mingle with Poe's creepy ancestors in the city of Poe's demise. New York City maintains, however, that they can do it better for Halloween. Do you agree? Here's how:

"Edgar Allan Poe and His Ghostly Neighbors" Tour of Greenwich Village Fire Patrol Station No 2 (New York City, NY)

Search out the spirits of Eleanor Roosevelt, her pet dog Fala and Aaron Burr; the ghosts of the New York University Library and of Washington Square Arch; and several Edgar Allan Poe sites. You'll also visit "ghost central," the most haunted area in America: Washington Square Park. (Did you know there's a graveyard underneath?)

Let me know who tops the creepster meter: is it Baltimore or New York City?
Book it at

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Deal a Week: Extended thru November 3: This Amazing California Getaway at 50% Discount

Fall is starting to behave like fall, and I’m already California dreamin’.

Leaf-Peeping on the River

For years, I've joined the mobs of cars heading up to Vermont to catch a glimpse of the yellows, reds, greens and browns of the fall trees. Beautiful to look at, right? But the traffic is killer. This year, I did it right. Classic Harbor Line offers a four-hour Fall Foliage Cruise up the Hudson River. Departing from Chelsea Piers, Pier 62, the retro schooner Adirondark travels north until the George Washington Bridge where you can view the Palisades on the left and Morningside Heights on the right, all bedecked in fall's finest. Thanksgiving/Halloween snacks and lunch are included, plus beverages like Pumpkin and Blueberry beer, or hot apple cider (with or without rum). Bundle up -- the breeze off the water can be quite intense -- even through the fleece blankets that you're given to help. Last two cruises are Saturday October 31 and Sunday November 1.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Deal A Week: New Age Health Spa, Neversink, NY

When I think of fall I obsess over foliage, new boots or a new jacket, and Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. And, to escape NYC, a fall getaway to the beautiful Catskills sounds just about perfect. Especially when it’s to a spa that’s only two hours away.

I love the New Age Health Spa –- it’s a funky, down-to-business, all-inclusive destination spa that immerses you in outdoor hikes, dawn-to-dusk yoga, exercise programs, sleep analysis, juicing and spa pampering in any combination that appeals. I love their Ayurvedic treatments –- you can have oil dripped on your forehead and massaged into your hair and then absorb the benefits of its unctuousness for the duration of your stay (no need to wash your hair, really – this is NOT a dress-up spa). Or you can explore movement programs with Nia and Ballroom Dance, or learn about the healing properties of Reiki in a laid-back setting where you just might run into the Next Great Model Winner.

I’m happy to see that they continue to offer these ever-popular packages:

“Bring a Friend for Free”pay for 2 nights and 4 treatments OR pay for 3 nights and 6treatments and bring a friend for free! (Available through December 31, 2009)

Mini Week Package—Check in on Sunday and out on Friday and enjoy 2 qualifying spa treatments—a $200 value. (Available throughout the year)

Week Package—Stay 7 consecutive nights and enjoy 3 qualifying spa treatments—a $300 value. (Available throughout the year)

Visit or call 1-800-682-4348.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Calling All Dead Heads to Manhattan: What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

The Empire State Building was certainly truckin’ two nights ago in tie dye finery. A beacon for all Dead Heads, the top glowed purple, orange, and yellow on the north side; green, purple, and red on the west side; yellow, red, and blue on the south side; and orange, blue, and green on the east side in honor of the New-York Historical Society’s benefit for the Dead’s upcoming exhibition, The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New York Historical Society, and the Grateful Dead archive. The celebration of the Dead, covering 1965-1995, opens in March with a psychedelic array of memorabilia, posters, original artwork, banners and stage props, coming to the Big Apple by way of the Grateful Dead Archive at the University of California Santa Cruz.
The benefit will take place tonight at 7PM where Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead will be guests of honor. Tickets are $300 each (tax-deductible) and support both the exhibition and the archive. For more information, visit or email

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Now Who Will Keep the Boston Brahmin Accent Alive?

August 25, 2009 was a day that marked the end of an era. As I reflected on my years in Massachusetts and the time I spent working on Ted Kennedy’s presidential campaign, I couldn't quite grasp what had happened. I had already been stunned by Michael Jackson's and Farah Fawcett's recent passing, but now Ted? Someone I had a personal connection with?

As the third longest-serving member of the United States Senate, Ted Kennedy showed a commitment to both the citizens of Massachusetts and the United States that was unmatched. As President Obama said, “For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health, and economic well-being of the American people bore Ted Kennedy's name and resulted from his efforts.” I was naturally happy to hear that LIFE Magazine had prepared a commemorative book that chronicled his life, The Kennedys: End of a Dynasty.

The book beautifully celebrates the Kennedys' journey from Irish immigrants stricken by poverty to national icons reaching the highest ranks of American society. The editors reveal both the glamour and drama associated with the family’s position on the public stage. Intimate family photographs make the story even more lucid and riveting. Jackie, Bobby, Jack, Teddy.... they're all here in black & white and color splendor.

Robert Sullivan, LIFE Books’ editorial director, is an authority on the Kennedy family and it shows. The Kennedys: End of a Dynasty is available at bookstores, newsstands and online.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Michelin Star News and R.I.P. Gourmet, Elegant Bride, Modern Bride and Cookie

It's been an up-and-down day in the food and travel world. Four Conde Nast titles lost: Coookie, Elegant Bride, Modern Bride and Gourmet.

And some shake-ups among Michelin-star winners and losers.

Without any further editorial commentary, here's the Michelin list. Do you agree with the "professional" ratings? Let me know via a comment.

Three Michelin stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.

Daniel - New
Jean Georges
Le Bernardin
Per Se

Two Michelin stars mean excellent cuisine, worth a detour. Skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality.

Alto - New
Corton - New
Gordon Ramsay at The London
Momofuku Ko

One Michelin star means a very good restaurant in its category. A place offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard.

A Voce - New
Blue Hill
Bouley - New
Café Boulud
Casa Mono - New
Convivio - New
Del Posto
eighty one
Eleven Madison Park - New
Gotham Bar and Grill
Gramercy Tavern
Jewel Bako
Kajitsu - New
Kyo Ya
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Marc Forgione - New
Marea - New
Minetta Tavern - New
Modern (The)
Perry Street
Peter Luger
Rhong-Tiam - New
River Café - New
Rouge Tomate - New
Seäsonal - New
Shalizar - New
SHO Shaun Hergatt - New
Soto - New
Spotted Pig
Sushi Azabu - New
Sushi of Gari

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fancation in Baltimore: HAPPY 200th BIRTHDAY EDGAR ALLAN POE

I guess I visited Baltimore a bit too early this summer when I focused on baseball for my "Fancations" story. I stayed at the lovely Admiral Fell Inn, a member of Historic Hotels of America, and communed with the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe at Fells Point’s The Horse You Came In On Saloon next door, reputed to be one of his last living haunts. But I missed a ton of events happening this fall to commemorate the bicentennial milestone. Don’t wait until Halloween to be spooked! Get thee to Baltimore in a heartbeat so you can check out these celebratory (?) events sponsored by the City of Baltimore:

October 7th – Date of Poe’s Death – VIEWING OF POE’S BODY
Poe House and Museum
203 North Amity Street
Private viewing, family only - 9am until noon
Public viewing, noon to 11pm
This will be the public’s only opportunity to view Poe’s body before internment alongside his grandfather, grandmother and brother Henry in Westminster Graveyard on Sunday, October 11.

Westminster Graveyard
Midnight to 7am
Beginning at Midnight, join hundreds of people at the Poe Monument as a candlelight vigil is held remembering Poe. During timed intervals, people will be allowed to present their own tribute to Poe in verse, song or a simple spoken tribute. Actors will be invited to present his poems and stories during the vigil. WCBM will air live from the Poe Grave with American writer and poet Walt Whitman. Gris Grimly, artist and storyteller, will also attend the funeral.

October 11th – POE’S FUNERAL
Westminster Hall
12:30pm and 4:30pm
An antique horse-drawn funeral hearse will bring Poe’s body from his Amity Street home to the Westminster Hall for burial services. A drum and fife marching unit will lead the procession. The funeral services will include choral music and a number of speakers including people who knew Poe, his business associates, relatives, writers who were inspired by Poe including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Baudelaire, Jules Verne, Alfred Hitchcock, as well as “living people.” Famed actor John Astin will officiate over the services. Monte Maxwell, organist for the US Naval Academy Chapel, will play Westminster’s 1889 Johnson pipe organ. Click here for updates.

For more information and all year-long Poe Bicentennial events (including some with Baltimore’s unique National Museum of Dentistry) check out

Sunday is Pickle Day!

This is one of my absolute favorite things to do during the fall in Manhattan. The Ninth Annual New York City International Pickle Day is where you can try lots of types of pickles FREE, buy pickled goodies (ever had pickle ice cream?), and nosh among the various restaurants of the Lower East Side. The address is the corner parking lot on Broome Street between Essex and Ludlow, and the gluttony lasts from 11-4:30.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Everyone Wins at the Vendys

... well, not really. But all the vendors who competed deserved to win or at least get honorable mentions. The actual prize winners, however, were the Country Boys and their awesome tacos (of Red Hook ballfield fame), owned by husband-and-wife team Fernando and Yolanda Martinez; Meru Sikder's Biryani Cart (for the second year in a row); Wafels & Dinges for best dessert (definitely the liege with spekuloos spread), and Schnitzel & Things (ever have eggplant schnitzel? Yum!) for Rookie Vendor of the Year. Other standouts, IMHO (in my humble opinion) were the jerk chicken from The Jamaican Dutchy, the BBQ pork from Picnick, the Elvis cupcake with real bacon from Cupcake Stop and the Affogayto Mexicano sundae - Mexican hot chocolate brewed with cinnamon sticks, honey, and a spice blend, served over ice cream with chocolate, cinammon, spices -- from the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September and October NYC Street Fairs

You've missed the Vendys but all's not lost.

Here's where you can still find a host of cool street vendors, food and otherwise this month and next in NYC:

Friday, September 25, 2009
Downtown Visiting Neighbors Festival
Murray Street between Broadway and Church Street

Friday, September 25, 2009
N.Y.C. Police Museum Festival
Old Slip between Water and South Streets

Saturday, September 26, 2009
Congress for Racial Equality Fest
Broadway from Waverly Place to 14th Street

Saturday, September 26, 2009
Stone Street Oyster Fest (10AM-6PM)
Stone Street between Hanover Square and Coenties Alley

Saturday, September 26, 2009
Stonewall Veteran's Association
Greenwich Avenue between 6th and 7th Avenues

Sunday, September 27, 2009
Lexington Avenue Fall Festival
Lexington Avenue from 34th to 42nd Streets

Sunday, September 27, 2009
Columbus Avenue Festival
Columbus Avenue from 66th to 86th Streets

Thursday, October 1st through Sunday, October 4th, 2009
Our Lady of Sorrows Church Pitt Street Festival
Pitt Street between Rivington and Stanton Streets

Friday, October 2nd, 2009
United Nations Community Festival
47th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues

October 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18, 2009
Autumn Crafts on Columbus
Columbus Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
Union Square Autumn Fair
Broadway between 17th and 23rd Streets

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
Gramercy Park Block Association Festival
Park Avenue South between 17th and 23rd Streets

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
St. Joseph's Church Fest
Washington Place between Sixth Avenue and Grove Street

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
Stone Street “Oktoberfest”
Stone Street between Hanover Square and Coenties Alley

Sunday, October 4th, 2009
NYC Oktoberfest
Lexington Avenue from 42nd to 57th Streets

Sunday, October 4th, 2009
Cathedral High School Street Fair
Lexington Avenue from 42nd to 57th Streets

Sunday, October 4th, 2009
Association of Indians in America Festival
South Street Seaport

Sunday, October 4th,
General Pulaski Memorial Parade
Fifth Avenue between 26th and 51st Streets

Sunday, October 5th, 2009
Upper Broadway Harvest Festival
Broadway between 106th and 110th Streets

Friday, October 9th, 2009
Christopher Columbus Block Party
Murray Street between Broadway and Church Street

Saturday, October 10th and Sunday, October 11th, 2009
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
12th Avenue and 48th Street to various locations

Saturday, October 10th, 2009
Avenue of the Americas Family Expo
Avenue of the Americas between 42nd and 57th Streets

Saturday, October 10th, 2009
Broadway Street Festival
Broadway between 110th and 116th Streets

Saturday, October 10th, 2009
West 4th Street Festival
West 4th Street between 6th Avenue and Washington Square East

Sunday, October 11th, 2009
8th Avenue Autumn Festival
8th Avenue from 42nd to 57th Streets

Sunday, October 11th, 2009
Broadway Festival
Broadway between 86th to 90th Streets

Sunday, October 11th, 2009
Symphony Space Broadway Festival
Broadway between 90th to 96th Streets

Monday, October 12th, 2009
Bowling Green Festival
Broadway between Battery Place and Liberty Street, Whitehall Street between Stone and Water Streets

Monday, October 12th, 2009 -- Columbus Day
Columbus Day Parade
Fifth Avenue from 44th to 86th Streets

Monday, October 12th, 2009 -- Columbus Day
Columbus Day Festival
Broadway between Liberty Street and Battery Place, Whitehall Street between Stone and Water Streets

Thursday, October 15th, 2009
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society "Light the Night" Walk
South Street Seaport

Friday, October 16th, 2009
Fulton Street Festival
Fulton Street between Water and Gold Streets

Saturday, October 17th, 2009
Waverly Place Street Festival
Waverly Place between Broadway and 5th Avenue

Saturday, October 17th, 2009
Village Independent Democrats Fest
Greenwich Avenue between 6th and 7th Avenues

Sunday, October 18th, 2009
Dog Day Masquerade
Military Island in Times Square

Sunday, October 18th, 2009
The Great Third Avenue Fair
Third Avenue from 23rd to 34th Streets

Sunday, October 18th, 2009
92nd Street Y Festival
Lexington Avenue between 79th to 96th Streets

Sunday, October 18th, 2009
National Kidney Foundation Annual Kidney Walk
South Street Seaport

Sunday, October 18th, 2009
Bleecker Street Festival
Bleecker Street between LaGuardia Place and Mercer Street

Saturday, October 24th, 2009
Park Avenue South Autumn Fair
Park Avenue South from 17th to 23rd Streets

Saturday, October 24th, 2009
Encore Community Services Street Fair
52nd Street between 5th and 7th Aves.

Saturday, October 24th, 2009
Park Avenue Street Fair
Park Avenue South between 17th and 23rd Streets

Saturday, October 24th, 2009
Astor Place Street Fair
Astor Place between Broadway and Lafayette Streets

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
The Times Square Autumn Carnival
Broadway from 47th to 57th Streets

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
Step Out to Fight Diabetes Walk
South Street Seaport

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
Seventh Avenue Street Festival
Seventh Avenue between 47th and 57th Streets

Saturday, October 31st, 2009
Village Halloween Parade
Sixth Avenue from Spring to 22nd Streets

Saturday, October 31st, 2009
A.D.A.’s World’s Larget Block Party
Madison Avenue from 42nd to 57th Streets

Saturday, October 31st, 2009
West 4th Street Festival
4th Street between Washington Square East and Broadway

For more info, check

The Vendys are Tomorrow!

I've been telling you for weeks to go buy tix and now they're sold out. You'll have to wait for my review of tomorrow's five-hour food frenzy at the Queens Museum of Art. Several of my faves -- the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, Wafels and Dinges, and the Cupcake Stop -- are finalists.

Here's a bit more info on tomorrow's competition:

What are the Vendy Awards (aka The Vendys)?

The Vendys are:

•An intense cook-off between the best sidewalks chefs in New York City for the Vendy Award trophy and the title of Vendy Award winner.

•One of New York City’s most beloved and widely anticipated food events, and its premier street food showcase.

•A festival of respect and gratitude for all vendors and everything they provide us-from your morning coffee (half-and-half, two sugars) to the $2 umbrella when you get caught in the thunderstorm.

•A fundraiser for the Street Vendor Project, a membership-based non-profit organization that stands up for vendors’ rights.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Deal A Week: Small Luxury Hotels of the World Gives You One Night Free -- with American Express

There's one aspect of taking a vacation that I absolutely hate: having to leave. What if there were a way to not only continue your hotel stay for one more night but to also get that night free? Now you can! Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) and American Express have partnered together to create “One More Night,” a special promotion which invites travelers to extend their stays at one of the 100-plus SLH properties in over 30 countries. Use your American Express card to receive 3 nights for the price of 2, 4 nights for the price of 3, or 7 nights for the price of 5!

Count me in for this one -- an extra night in Milan? or Barcelona? I'm there!

You have 9 weeks to take advantage of this deal -- it ends November 30. For more info, visit or call 1-800-525-4800.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bad Restaurant Service and Stress Relief

I had another inexcusable bad-service experience this evening. Without mentioning names (although if you leave me a comment, I'll be happy to share), a local cafe I frequent when the weather is nice because of their outdoor seating yet again treated me like dirt. They didn't wipe off the table from the previous guests, my appetizer (a salad) took an astonishing 30 minutes to arrive and was only served by a "secondary" waiter after I used sign language to indicate that something was still missing. No one asked whether I wanted to order anything else, whether the salad was fine, whether I might want another glass of water or wine, and so on and so on. I know the economy "seems" to taking an upturn, but not yet. And this restaurant was certainly not "fully committed" nor is it on anyone's hard-to-score resy list. I'd love to hear your reactions.

I DO, however, have a remedy and it has nothing to do with the resto in question. Bach Rescue Remedy Spray for Natural Stress Relief is an instant calm-me-down kind of fix. You spray two quick pumps on your tongue, and voila, you're happy, energized, and ready to ignore all of the nonsense that you've just experienced. Restaurant rage be gone! It's made in England it's "discreet and easy-to-use." Gotta love it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Deal a Week: An Unforgettable Norwegian Cruise

Two-For-One Norwegian Cruise – Trolls? Norway? Fjords? Here’s a spectacular deal to get you there…. in adventurous coastal style. A Hurtigruten adventure cruise offers a temping upgrade free to the best available ocean view cabin when booking any category "L" cabin and above (no suites). Rates start at $770 per person, based on double occupancy, after discount –normally twice that amount. But you’ve got to hurry: this is good on most of the line’s sailing between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, and, amazingly, the deal applies to Christmas and New Year’s as well (how rare is that?). Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The High Line is Now an Elevated Art Musem and Taqueria, Too

The long-awaited High Line, New York City's newest public park space and our favorite passiagiata and runway locale, is about to turn into a museum (and high-style taqueria) as well.

High Line Art will debut today with Specials, a collaboration between artists Lisa Sigal and Paul Ramirez Jonas. For this ongoing, roving art project, the artists have constructed a mobile unit composed of vendor carts and a 10 x 4 foot wall. On one side of the wall, they hang artwork by a wide range of artists; on the flip side, they serve homemade tacos, free of charge.

Each time Specials is presented, the artwork and the type of taco change, in the manner of restaurants' daily menu specials or art galleries' changing exhibition schedules. This project deliberately blurs the boundaries between visual art, performance, social gathering space, and festive event.

Specials will be presented in the 14th Street Passage, just south of the 14th Street stair to the High Line, as follows (subject to change):

Thursday, September 17, 4:00 - 8:00 PM
Featuring works by Fiona Tan and Regina Silveira, and a potato and corn croquette with red cabbage and avocado taco.

Thursday, October 1, 4:00 - 8:00 PM
Featuring artists who participated in the 1993 Whitney Biennial, including Janine Antoni, Byron Kim, Simon Leung, Glenn Ligon, Suzanne McClelland, Kiki Smith and Fred Wilson, and a squash, mushroom, and homemade hot sauce taco.

Trekaroo -- I Was Just Voted "Suggestion of the Week"

I'm honored -- I was just interviewed on Adriane Berg's Radio Show, I'll be on "Traveling with Francoise" next month, and Trekaroo readers ranked my suggestions #1 among Parent Visitors to NYC. Thank you all for you the great support -- it's my great pleasure to share my discoveries with you.

This is from Trekaroo's KidsMobile program -- September 15

Meryl-in-gold-jacket2Meryl Pearlstein, the author of Fodor’s Families: New York City with Kids Guidebook tells us Where Families Should Go in NYC when the Weather’s Bad. Check out her blog – Travel and Food Notes. That’s where I found out about a new food truck in New York that’s selling my favorite… Cupcakes!

Next, if you’re looking for tips on traveling to NYC, Tony Chen’s got you covered with 13 Things I Learned Visiting NYC with 2 Young Kids. Tony’s a blogging dad extraordinaire at SavvyDaddy, a content-rich website and online community for dads. His mantra… my kids rock my world.

Lastly, local mommy expert Carol Cain, writer of the blog NYCityMama shares her Must-See New York City attractions and reviews of various places around town with Trekaroo.

More Resources for New York City
134 activities for kids in New York City.

Kid-friendly hotels in New York City

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Staying Healthy while Traveling

Please click here to read this important article from today's New York Times. The doctors have said that you must have a regular flu shot prior to getting a swine flu shot, due out some time on October. Happy, healthy and safe travels.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Literary Holidays

I have a thing about literary tours. Each time I read a book or see a movie I like, I start to fantasize about visiting the locales shown. After seeing Sideways, I loved the Wayfarers' tour to California. Gorgeous scenery, wine, hiking, but no bubble gum ("Is that gum you're chewing?") Magnificent. The Bronte sisters' books inspired me to visit England. And now there's a Jane Austen walk throughout the areas where she lived, also through The Wayfarers. But I'm even more fascinated by a tour that I haven't taken yet, one I can only begin to imagine: Transylvania. I LOVED Dracula and the vividness of Bram Stoker's descriptions draws me to this dark and misty sojourn through the Carpathian Mountains to the Count's castle. I've already packed my garlic.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tracing my Hometown Roots

I've just found a list of famous residents (past and present) from my tiny hometown in Boston -- Swampscott (population 14,000). If anyone knows of any others, could you please send them to me?

Famous residents
Elihu Thomson, founder of General Electric
David Lee Roth, lead singer of the rock group Van Halen
Dick Jauron, head coach of NFL's Buffalo Bills
Todd McShay, ESPN NFL draft prospect analyst
Mark Shasha, Artist, author Night of the Moonjellies
Leslie Stahl, CBS 60 Minutes correspondent
Carol Brady (fictional), Brady Bunch mother[4]
Mike Lynch, principal sports anchor at WCVB-TV Channel 5
Barry Goudreau, original guitarist of the rock group Boston, and the Lisa Guyer Band
Fran Sheehan, original bass player of the rock group Boston
Jackson Katz, anti-domestic violence advocate
Johnny Pesky, pro baseball coach, former Red Sox third baseman
Bill Adams, retired player for the Buffalo Bills football team
Ken Linseman, former professional hockey player (Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers)
Gerhard Neumann, (former resident)"Herman the German," German born aviation engineer and innovator. Former Vice President of General Electric.
Walter Brennan, multiple Academy Award winning actor
Harold Alfond, founder of Dexter Shoes
Michael Kelly, (deceased) editor, columnist, and reporter, whose work was featured in 75 newspapers or magazines, and the book Things Worth Fighting For, a collection of his work.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Free Dress Rehearsal at New York Philharmonic -- September 16

The New York Philharmonic is letting us get a sneak peak at the upcoming season with a free dress rehearsal on Wednesday September 16. You can watch how soprano Renée Fleming, Music Director Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic prepare for the show that evening. Seating for the 9:45 rehearsal starts at 8am and is on a first-come, first-served basis, Avery Fisher Hall, 132 W 65th Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves., New York City.

9.11 -- Anniversary of the Horror

Lest we forget.... it continues to amaze me that our country was so violently attacked eight years ago today. I lived through it here. I was on my way to the airport when the towers were hit. By the time I returned home after my aborted taxi ride to Queens, the Pentagon had been hit as well. The silence of the city, the shared mourning, and the unity that resulted are all memories that will never fade away. This morning's ceremony at Ground Zero was just as heart-wrenching as the first one in 2002.

Morimoto Sushi & Sake Sunset Sail – A Foodie’s Nirvana on the Hudson River

Classic Harbor Line Cruises has teamed up with one of the finest restaurants in the city for an amazing culinary cruise experience. Led by lovely Captain Sarah Greer, the “lively” 80-foot schooner Imagine sails the lower part of New York Harbor past the iconic sites of the city (The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Wall Street, Battery Park) while you are served sushi and sake pairings of a quality that you’d expect from Iron Chef Morimoto. Morimoto in the Meatpacking District knows sushi and sake, and Classic Harbor Line knows sailing and service. Together, the evening is unforgettable. We enjoyed some most unusual sakes, too -- sparkling sake, an organic Junmai Ginjo sake, and several others -- while feasting on anything-but-usual sushi selections. The schooner, built in New York State to replicate a historic vessel with gorgeous teak and brass, leaves from Chelsea Piers (Pier 62) on Monday nights. For a two-hour sail, the price is $105 per person, with their last summer sushi sailings on September 14 and 21. For those of you who prefer beer to sake, on Wednesdays, Classic Harbor Line offers an Autumnal Beer Pairing Cruise. They also have a Sunday Afternoon Tea Cruise, Wine Tasting Cruises, and more. And you thought the Circle Line was the only way to see Manhattan by water? Personally, we can’t wait to go on their Fall Foliage Sail this October up the Hudson River Valley.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Magnolia Bakery May Have Started It… but Cupcake Stop Does it Much Better

The newest entrant among the “sweet” trucks cruising NYC, and a finalist in the 2009 Vendy Awards (ceremony – September 26), the Cupcake Stop is Lev Ekster’s brainchild and we thank him for bringing it to us. Another professional-turned-street vendor, Lev is a lawyer who has yet to practice. Instead, he practices offering the best in these delectable treats -- in mini and full sizes -- with changing flavors that include crowd favorites like Cookie Dough and Red Velvet plus suggestions from his fans. Send in your own inspiration at and you might have the next success. Cupcake Stop offers five flavors each day, seven days a week, with three gluten-free flavors on Tuesdays. Click here for the truck’s menu, schedule, and daily location. On Sundays, Cupcake Stop joins the street vendor face-off at 87th Street and Lexington Avenue.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Go Dutch in New York City -- September 8-13, 2009

Experience everything Dutch—cuisine, culture, architecture, arts and more—during NY400 Week. Commemorating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's arrival in New York Harbor, NY400 Week is the weeklong, citywide celebration of 400 years of friendship between New York City and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Visit a Dutch village, rent a bike for free, take in a sailing race, dance against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline and more. The week culminates on Sunday, September 13, with NY Harbor Day, which promises even more celebrations on land and water, along six scenic waterfront sites easily accessible by bike, subway, foot, ferry and water taxi.

Below are some of the week's highlights.

New Amsterdam Village
(Friday, September 4–Sunday, September 13, 11am–7pm)
Bowling Green (Broadway at Beaver St.)
Amid traditional Dutch canal houses, a windmill and an outdoor podium, learn about and experience Dutch crafts, such as making wooden shoes, Delft blue painting and glassblowing. In addition, sample traditional foods like cheese, beer, herring and "dollar" pancakes, and purchase Dutch flower bulbs and cut flowers.

NY400 Welcoming Ceremony
(Tuesday, September 8, 8:30am)
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Join the kick-off event for NY400 Week at 9:15am on the Hudson River. Expect a parade of US and Dutch frigates, NATO ally fleets, Flying Dutchman racers and replicas of historic Dutch ships to fill the harbor in honor of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage to New York. A 21-gun salute and the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy will provide on-shore accompaniment to the official ceremony from the USS Intrepid. All are welcome to enjoy this free event.

Bike NYC on a Free Dutch Bike
(Tuesday, September 8–Saturday, September 12, 11am–7pm)
Bowling Green (Broadway at Beaver St.)
Remember the bikes you saw during Summer Streets in August? Those bright orange NY400 bicycles will be available free to the public on a limited basis during the course of NY400 Week. Get around town the typical Dutch way, and be sure to ride your Dutch bike to NY400 Week events.

Flying Dutchman Sailing Races
(Tuesday, September 8, 11am–5pm; Wednesday, September 9–Thursday, September 10, 10am–5pm; Saturday, September 12, 10am–2pm & 3–4pm)
New York Harbor
Fifty-six Flying Dutchman–class sailboats representing 10 countries will compete in championship races. The New Amsterdam Championships will be held Tuesday through Thursday and the Centennial World Championships on Saturday and Sunday.

Replica of the Half Moon

(Wednesday, September 9, 11am–3pm)
The Battery
Every year, this replica of Henry Hudson's Halve Maen retraces the ship's original 1609 voyage—which laid the foundation for the New Netherland colony and modern-day New York City. Come see the ship's exterior and meet its captain and crew.

Replica of the Onrust
(Wednesday, September 9–Sunday, September 13, 10am–5pm)
Pier 84, Hudson River Park
The Onrust was the first trading and exploration vessel the Dutch built in America, constructed in 1614 by Captain Adriaen Block and his crew after their original ship burned. Volunteers will demonstrate how the crew survived by using local resources, shipbuilding skills and productive working relationships with Native Americans.

Arrival of the Fleet of Traditional Dutch Barges
(Thursday, September 10–Sunday, September 13)
Yankee Pier, Governors Island
Seventeen leeboard vessels—not much different from the ones Henry Hudson and his crew used to explore New York Harbor—arrive at Yankee Pier on Governors Island. Be on hand for the welcome ceremony, set to begin in the late afternoon (visit for more details). Captains and crew are on hand to answer your questions about these historic ships. The boats will be at the pier through Harbor Day.

Vermeer's Masterpiece: "The Milkmaid"
(Thursday, September 10–Sunday, November 29; closed Mondays except October 12)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
In honor of NY400, Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum has loaned Vermeer's most admired work—The Milkmaid—to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is the first time the painting has been in the United States since the 1939 New York World's Fair. Several other paintings by Vermeer and fellow Dutch masters round out the exhibition.

New Island Festival
(Thursday, September 10, 4–11pm; Friday, September 11–Sunday, September 13, 11am–11pm; Thursday, September 17, 4–11pm; Friday, September 18–Sunday, September 20, 11am–11pm)
Governors Island
Direct from Holland, the New Island Festival sets up stakes on Governors Island September 10–13 and again September 17–20. The festival kicks off the fall with provocative theatre, stunning site-specific performances and dazzling visual arts performed by world-class Dutch artists. Visit for a complete schedule.

Open House: Royal Netherlands Navy and NATO Ships
(Saturday, September 12, 10am–3pm)
Brooklyn Marine Terminal, Piers 7 and 8
Explore royal Netherlands naval frigates and NATO ships—including the Dutch mine sweeper HNLMS Urk—and enjoy live music from the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy at this "open decks open house."

NY Harbor Day
(Sunday, September 13)
Festivities span six major waterfront sites—The Battery, Battery Park City, Hudson River Park, Governors Island, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Snug Harbor—all linked by free rental bikes and hop-on/hop-off boat service. At each site, food, drink, entertainment and activities will commemorate this special moment in New York City history. Highlights include: a flotilla of modern and historic Dutch and American yachts and sailing vessels, an oyster festival, Harmony on the Hudson (a children's music festival), children's bike clinics at Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, the Brooklyn Flea under the Manhattan Bridge Archway, kayaking, paddleboating and much more.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Central Park Needs Your Support

Central Park smelled odd to me this week. It smelled like autumn instead of summer because of the piles of dead leaves scattered everywhere, the unbelievably sad number of downed trees, and the soggy tree roots newly exposed to the air. Last week’s lightning storm was dramatic in its fury, and the northern part of Central Park took a serious hit, one that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to reverse. More than 200 trees were uprooted or destroyed, and the “lung of New York City,” Central Park, needs your help to restore its beautiful landscapes and precious ecosystems.

Please click here to make a donation to the Central Park Conservancy’s clean-up efforts or call 212-310-6607.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Food Truck Watch: Wafels & Dinges

And the fabulous street-food offerings continue! New York City has welcomed yet another food truck offering delicious treats. Wafels & Dinges, the brainchild of Thomas DeGeest, brings a favorite Belgian street food to New Yorkers: homemade Belgian waffles with dinges (Belgian for “stuff”, or, in this case, toppings). Just look for the bright yellow truck!

The truck sells Brussels and Liège wafels, each $5. The Brussels will seem very familiar; it’s the waffle that we’re accustomed to finding at every coffee shop in Manhattan, more or less. Personally, I recommend the Liège. It’s smaller and sweeter. Turn it into a brochette, or top it with the amazing spekuloos spread which tastes kind of like Graham Crackers mushed up with butter, and you have a dessert that’s worth risking your diet for. There are lots of other yummy dinges, too: Nutella, bananas, strawberries and ice cream. Or ask for a bacon wafel and you can justify having a waffle for dinner. If you really want to waffle out, pay $7 and you get an unlimited pile of dinges creating a WMD, a Wafel of Massive Deliciousness. (Take that, George Bush!)

Sweetly, the truck sells beverages to wash down these concoctions including hot Belgian cocoa and iced coffee.

To find the truck, click here or follow them on twitter, the trendiest way to find the city’s evanescent street vendors. If you call W&D, you’ll get a special word of the day which leads to an extra treat. One step ahead of the other street vendors so far, the truck lets you satisfy your waffle craving even at midnight. Fairway, Food Emporium and Garden of Eden sell the waffles pre-packaged in their frozen food sections.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Deal A Week: Vermont Two Ways -- with kids and without

The end-of-the summer is a great time to head to Vermont. During the first week of September, from September 5-12, two resorts are offering enticing deals to help minimize the back-to-school blues.

With the kids, go to Tyler Place Family Resort in Highgate Springs. Just shy of the Canadian border on gorgeous Lake Champlain, this all-inclusive sprawling resort has it all for families: age-grouped kid activities, babysitters, adult activities all-day and all-night, sports, three amazing meals daily, excursions, entertainment, bikes and helmets (for the week) and much more. For this week, prices are reduced 33%, and vary by type of accommodations plus age and number of children. Now’s the time to book your trip to this resort that’s almost impossible to secure a booking at during the summer.

If the kids have gone back to school and YOU need to escape, why not grab a few friends and try the historic Red Clover Inn near Mt. Pico? Set in another one of Vermont’s beautiful areas (BTW, is there any part of Vermont that ISN’T beautiful in summer, fall or winter?), the “farm” offers great dining, hiking, excursions, spa treatments, and fresh country air for catching up on your non-BlackBerry reading , sleeping, exercising and relaxing. Rates start at just $150 per night per couple and include lodging (all rooms have Jacuzzi and fireplace), full Vermont breakfast, afternoon tea, and personalized concierge services.