Monday, May 18, 2009

Counting Down to the High Line

I have a been a "Friend of the High Line" for quite some time now. I toured this past weekend, met with the architect of the fascinating all-retail and office High Line building, and stood on the roof with a hard hat as I gazed upon what will be the exciting new park space in Manhattan, the High Line Park. It is my hope that everyone will want to participate in this distinctive space in the city: it's above cutting-edge retail, above cobblestone streets that used to welcome meat markets instead of trendsetters, and adjacent to the city's prime Western waterfront with its magnificent views of New Jersey. I am copying verbatim, a request that I received today for participation in this worthy program. I hope you'll take it to heart and contribute whatever you can. Hope to see you in June as the first stretch of the High Line opens in time for the Fourth of July extravaganza.Meryl

Friends of the High Line's Opening Summer Benefit on Monday, June 15, marks the culmination of 10 years of efforts to save, preserve, and open the High Line as a New York City park. This year's benefit will include the First Party on the High Line, presented by Calvin Klein Collection.Dinner tickets, which include admission to the First Party on the High Line, are $1,000 (limited quantity available), $2,500, or $5,000. Tables start at $15,000.Funds raised will help us hire gardeners and staff to maintain the park at the standards we have all imagined.This year also marks the 10th anniversary of Friends of the High Line and the 75th Anniversary of the structure itself.Dinner begins at Pier Sixty at 6:00PM, followed by the First Party on the High Line.Along with celebrating the opening summer of the High Line, we'll honor three dynamic individuals who have helped turn the dream of the High Line into reality: Lisa Maria & Philip Falcone and Edward Norton.For more information, please contact Alicia King at (212) 206-9922 x124, or via email at

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Free Things to Do in New York City with Kids: Save up Later for the Fancations

Kids love baseball, but tickets to Yankee Stadium are sadly very expensive; Citi Field is less pricy but the Mets aren't nearly as exciting. So... I offer an alternative for you as you figure out how to save up for the NYC Fancations that I'll tell you more about later.

If you think everything in New York costs too much, well, you're right—almost. In fact, the city has tons of free attractions and activities; you just need to know where to look for them. Choose from my list of favorite freebies for families.

** Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (or part of it) for a spectacular view of the Financial District, Brooklyn, the seaport, and Manhattan.Ride the Staten Island ferry (and back) to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the southern tip of Manhattan from the water.

** Catch a free outdoor movie screening in Bryant Park (Manhattan) or at the Socrates Sculpture Garden (Queens) in summertime.

** Wander Battery Park City's waterfront promenade; the breeze, fun parks and playgrounds, and passing boats will make you forget you're in the gritty city, though the view of the Statue of Liberty will remind you that you couldn’t be anywhere but New York.

** Watch wannabe trapeze artists swing and soar at the Trapeze School New York along the Hudson River at Pier 40.

** Island Hop to Governors Island by ferry. It’s Manhattan’s newest park setting and you can bike, take a tram ride, and absorb the great views of the city.

** Go catch-and-release fishing at Harlem Meer with free poles and bait to borrow from the Dana Discovery Center.

** Taste the treats at the Union Square greenmarket (Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat.), where farmers offer samples of organically grown produce, hand-pressed ciders, artisanal cheeses, and fresh bread.

** Stroll the Coney Island boardwalk and play on the beach for some old-school kitsch. Annual free events here include the outrageous Mermaid Parade and the Fourth of July hot-dog-eating contest.

** Check out the street performers around New York's parks: break-dancers in Union Square and by Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain, nutty unicyclists in Washington Square, and Statue of Liberty clones in Battery Park Musicians and entertainers in the subway are better than you’d expect—to perform, they must first be vetted by committee.

** Smell the cherry blossoms in spring at the Central Park Conservatory; or visit any other time for gorgeous, gorgeous flowers, and idyllic gardens.

** Attend a storytelling hour at one of the city's kid-friendly bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Borders or Books of Wonder. FAO Schwarz has them, too.

** Visit a Museum for Free – Look online or grab Time Out New York to find your favorites. Many, many, many offer hours, days, or nights when admission is free for all.