Thursday, April 24, 2014

Faberge Big Egg Hunt, Broadway, Gauguin, and International Auto Show -- all in NYC Now

There's a slew of wonderful things happening in New York City this time of year. As the flowers bloom and the snow finally disappears, it's time to get outside and enjoy.

If you love cars, this is the time to get into gear. The New York City International Auto Show runs through Sunday April 27. This year’s show has a number of showstoppers with a wide range of electric cars, the 50th anniversary Mustang cars, and the 25th anniversary Miatas. The second generation Rolls Royce Ghost is a stunner as are the new Mercedes-Benz C Class and BMW four-door 4 Series, both due to arrive in the US later this year. You can also take a test drive over an off-road course with Jeep (Camp Jeep Outdoor Off Roading Ride Along), shoot a selfie with Nissan for a chance to win a free car, and enjoy other pop-up contests. The show is an annual favorite and takes place at the Jacob Javits Center, 11th Avenue between 34th and 40th streets, in Manhattan. Show hours are 10am-10pm through Saturday and 10am-7pm on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online at

If you missed the Big Faberge Easter Egg hunt that took place over the past couple of weeks throughout New York City, you still have a chance to see all the eggs in one giant nest this week. Visit Rockefeller Center, with your camera, and you’ll see the 282 eggs that made for a great scavenger hunt high and low in all five boroughs. If you’d like one for your very own, you can bid on the Great Egg auction at, with all proceeds going to charity. Download The Big Egg Hunt app or go online to for more details. Books of all the eggs are sold at Saks Fifth Avenue’s pop-up egg shop.

Easter Egg Hunt
Easter Egg Hunt
Easter Egg Hunt

MOMA’s Gauguin: Metamorphoses exhibit is in full swing, now through June 8. The artist’s paintings from 1889 through his death in 1903 displays rare prints and transfer drawings related to his better-known paintings. Exhibit is located on the sixth floor of the museum. Ticket lines can be long, but the exhibit is worth it. 11 West 53rd Street, Manhattan, 212.708.9400.

And, for those of you who want to be “in the know” about the theater scene before the Tony’s (June 8 this year), there’s a crop of interesting shows worth seeing. Some of my favorite plays are “Of Mice and Men” starring the prolific actor James Franco with his apt sidekick Lennie, played by Chris O’Dowd of Bridesmaids fame. At the Longacre Theater, 220 West 48th Street. Tickets via Telecharge, 212.239.6200. Also, intriguing is "The Realistic Jones," an odd but thought-provoking show with Marisa Tomei, Toni Collette, and Tracy Letts. At the Lyceum Theatre, 149 West 45th Street. Tickets via Telecharge, 212.239.6200. If you prefer musicals, “Cabaret” will give you a hearty Willkomen at the Kit Kat Club at Studio 54. The revival of the revival features one of its previous headliners, Alan Cumming, as Emcee. Studio 42, 254 West 54th Street. Tickets through Roundabout, 212.719.1300. Also designed to envelop you in a musical haze is Audra McDonald’s one-woman depiction of Billie Holiday as Lady Day in her final days at the Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 West 50th Street. Tickets through Telecharge, 212.239.6200. For all listings, visit

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mad Men's Back! I'll Drink to That

Today marks the beginning of the final season of Mad Men. So sad, but so exciting. It’s 1969, a tumultuous year in American history. So what’s an advertising guy or gal to do? Drink, of course! Here are my suggestions for where to go if you’re planning to "party like it's 1969" in some of Don’s, Roger’s or Peggy’s favorite haunts.

Paley Center Mad Men evening
The cast of "Mad Men" at the Paley Center for Media, New York City

King Cole Bar:  Once a bastion of cigar-smoking account types like Ken Cosgrove and Pete Campbell, the King Cole Bar in the elegant St. Regis Hotel is the birthplace of the Bloody Mary, known here as the Red Snapper. This classic bar also is known for its famous mural, “Old King Cole” by Maxfield Parrish. St. Regis Hotel, 2 E. 55th St., 212-753-4500. 

Trouble’s Trust at the New York Palace: The appropriately named bar in the New York Palace Hotel is the modern version of the King Cole Bar. Hidden under the lobby’s grand staircase, the bar entices with “vintage specialty” cocktails that Betty and Henry would have enjoyed on a trip into the city.  My guess is that Betty would have chosen The “Queen of Mean” cocktail if she could have fast-forwarded a few decades, a potent mix of whiskey and gin to be sipped with a mix of hauteur and vulnerability. Henry, being the politician that he is, would have no doubt opted for a turn-of-the-century “Bronx Cocktail.” 455 Madison Ave., 212-888-7000;

Bill’s Food & Drink:  It’s not exactly the original Bill’s Gay Nineties, but it’s pretty close.  Set in a 19th-century townhouse, Bill’s was once the site of a Prohibition Era speakeasy.  Listen to the pianist in the downstairs bar while you knock back a Scotch, just steps away from many of the original Madison Avenue ad agencies.  You can finish the evening upstairs with an oversized ribeye and an aptly named Hanky Panky gin cocktail, a clubby setting for consummating a business deal (or other kind of tryst).  57 East 54th Street, 212-538-2727.

Monkey Bar:  Across the street from Bill’s, the landmark Hotel Elysée (once known as the “easy lay”) has welcomed guests like Joe DiMaggio and Marlon Brandon.  Step inside the bar just off the lobby with its iconic monkey mural.  You can just picture Roger downing a Manhattan or two before heading for a room upstairs.  Hotel Elysée, 50 East 54th Street, 212-753-1066.

Madison Club Lounge:  The historic lounge in the Roosevelt Hotel is classic Mad Men with its mahogany walls, stained glass windows, and leather bar seats.  It’s likely Don began and ended his day here during the time he lived at the hotel, pouring vodka into his orange juice.  45 East 45th Street, 212-66-19600.

Bemelman’s Bar: Some things never go out of style.  Live piano music, enchanting murals of animals by Ludwig Bemelmans of Madeline fame, plus formally dressed waiters make this an Upper East Side landmark.  The perfectly chilled and poured martini comes in a shaker with enough liquor for a potent drink and a half, and the banquettes are perfect for cuddling.  The Carlyle Hotel, 35 East 76th Street, 212-744-1500. www.rosewoodhotels/com/en/the-carlyle-new-york

P.J. Clarke’s:  Nearly 130 years old, P.J. Clarke’s still appeals to the after-work drinking and dining set.  The neighborhoody bar serves up cold beers, oysters on the half, and burgers to a crowd of ad execs and locals.  It’s the perfect spot for mingling, meeting a blind date, or celebrating a copywriting success as Peggy did. 9015 Third Ave., 212-317-1616.

21 Club:  Infamous for its Prohibition-era speakeasy status, this restaurant has attracted every president since FDR (except George W. Bush) to dine or imbibe. Come for a martini just like James Bond in 007 or try a Southside, the rum and mint cocktail invented here. It’s quiet enough, too, that Ted and Peggy could have shared a drink at the 21 without having had to escape to an afternoon Roman Polanski movie.  21 W. 52nd St., 212-582-7200; 

Campbell Apartment: This luxurious lounge in Grand Central Terminal will bring you back to another era. The space, once used as an office for New York financier John Campbell, still exudes the same sleek, refinement with its low lighting, rich woodwork and beamed ceiling.  Take a seat on the balcony for extra privacy.  We’d recommend the Prohibition Punch for aptly named Pete Campbell.  15 Vanderbilt Ave., 212-953-0409

The Blue Bar at the Algonquin: Once the hot spot for the literati, The Blue Bar is filled with Al Hirschfield’s artwork depicting a variety of Broadway shows. The cozy bar with its blue upholstery is known for the Algonquin Cocktail, a mix of whisky, dry vermouth, and pineapple juice.  It’s reputed that the literary ghosts of the likes of Dorothy Parker will even sit with you to provide inspiration and absorb the black-tie service. The Algonquin Hotel, 59 W. 44th St., 212-840-6800; 

Sardi’s: Since 1921, this legendary restaurant with celebrity caricatures adorning its walls has served as the spot for before or after theater. It’s also a favorite rendezvous spot for Don Draper and his lady friends.  To behave like a true “mad man,” book a table on Thursdays and Fridays for jazz and cabaret and skip the cocktail: a bottle of Dom Perignon is more in keeping with the mood. 234 W. 44th St., 212-221-8440;