Friday, May 30, 2014

Taste of the Upper West Side --Food, Drink and Music under the Tent, May 30-31

Be sure not to eat lunch this weekend, because you'll want to save room for this weekend's Upper West Side Comfort Classic food event.  Sponsored by Celebrity Cruises and others, this is a don't-miss if you love to graze and sample. Travel Channel's Adam Richman returns for the fourth consecutive year, along with Food Network star and Iron Chef, Alex Guarnaschelli of NYC's Butter Restaurant. The duo will oversee 40 restaurants from the Upper West Side showcasing their most innovative comfort dishes, and competing to win this year's "Best Comfort Food Dish". There will be new restaurants as well as neighborhood favorites. The high-energy excitement of the evening will be amplified with renowned wines, creative cocktails, and the returning beats of NYC's DJ PHRESH.

Some of my favorites that'll be there are Luke's Lobster, Parm, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and Serafina Upper West Side.   To buy tickets, visit here. Under the tent at Columbus Avenue, between West 76th and 77th streets, New York City.

Baseball Biking and Street Art Tours Come to Brooklyn and Manhattan This Summer

Those of you who have been following my writings over the years know that four of my travel-related loves are: street art, biking, baseball ("fancations"), and touring. At the recent NY TravFest, I met up with the creator of two tours, one in Brooklyn and one in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, who seems to have developed these tours just for me.  I hope to meet you on one of them -- I'm planning to do them ALL.

Collage artist and founder of Gotham SideWalks tours, Rich Garr, spent this winter refining two tours that blend specific cultural history with the fabric of rapidly evolving neighborhoods. These mash-ups of art, history and architecture utilize local characters and props that are both new and old. The tours are similar to his art process: a visual representation of surroundings. But while his studio art is two-dimensional, the tours offer something for all senses. Sights, sounds, and smells of New York City mix with music (yes, there’s music on these tours) and voices from past and present. The results are extraordinary, and on display this through July. For more details or to book, call 718-938-1400.

BIKE BROOKLYN BASEBALL: a History of Baseball and Brooklyn

Sunday June 8 and Saturday July 12
11:30am-2:30pm, $40

Brooklyn Baseball
This tour covers 100 years of baseball in 10 miles and 3 hours of biking. Whether you're from Brooklyn or not, you've probably heard about the great local ball clubs of the 1950s. The Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants battled in New York to rule the major leagues. In fact, 14 of the 20 pennants from the 50's belonged to a NYC team. But there's so much more! Brooklyn alone holds an unprecedented place in baseball history. Far beyond Jackie Robinson and the color barrier, the quirks of Ebbets Field, or the meteoric rise of Brooklyn's own Sandy Koufax lie the roots of our nation's pastime. The tour trips back in time into the mid-1800s and gentleman club "base ball" and moves into the modern era and the exodus of the Dodgers in 1957... all while traversing one of the finest circuits of urban bike paths in the country. Neighborhoods visited include Park Slope, Flatbush, Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Cobble Hill, and Brooklyn Heights. The rolling greenery of Prospect Park is also in the mix.

STREET / ART: Lower East Side

Saturday May 31, Saturday June 21, Friday June 27, Sunday June 29, Sunday July 13
1-3 pm, $30

Discover how the chaos of the Lower East Side has shape and continues to shape the destiny of the art world. There’s an amazing amount of street art in New York City whether Banksy (English) or Invader (French) have “residencies” here or not. See and learn who and what inspired today’s fascinating mix of paste-ups, stencils, memorials, tags and throws. Get the context behind Banksy’s October street art blitz right here in the streets where hip hop and graffiti began. In addition to the latest street art, the tour will also explore earlier art in and about the streets by talking early photography and painting. The tour stops into a half dozen art galleries along the way, comparing and contrasting street art and graffiti techniques with art on the gallery walls. In the areas visited, historic tenements mix with bold architectural innovation in this eclectic and ever-evolving neighborhood. This amazing morning ends at the edge of the East Village between two of NYC's most famous street art sites. No tour is ever the same. In addition to the aforementioned street artists and samplings from contemporary art stars, Shepard Fairey, Stikman, LEE, Kenny Scharf, Nick Walker, Hanksy, and COPE pieces are also found along the route.

Street Art on Lower East Side

Friday, May 16, 2014

Calling All Theater Lovers: Free Broadway Concert in NYC on May 21

Here’s another great reason to visit New York City: a free Broadway concert on May 21 with stars performing songs from approximately 25 shows, including many of this year’s Tony nominees. Plus appearances from another half dozen non-musicals. What could be better? Watching the Tonys on June 8 on your TV, or getting up close and personal with the shows themselves, free in Times Square. Rain or shine.

STARS IN THE ALLEY, presented by United Airlines and produced by The Broadway League , will take place on Wednesday, May 21 from 11am-12:30pm in Shubert Alley, between Broadway and 8th Avenue, Manhattan. Entrance to the concert is on 44th Street.

2014 Tony-nominated actors/actresses scheduled to appear include Adriane Lenox (After Midnight),Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder), Kelli O’Hara (The Bridges of Madison County),Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Andy Karl (Rocky), Joshua Henry (Violet), and Tyne Daly(Mothers and Sons) as well as performances from all 2014 Tony Award-nominated musicals now in performance on Broadway including After Midnight, Aladdin, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, The Bridges of Madison County,  Bullets Over Broadway, Cabaret, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, If/Then, Les Misérables, Rocky and Violet.

The show will be hosted by star of stage and screen Norm Lewis, who has just taken over the legendary title role in Broadway’s record-breaking The Phantom of the Opera.

After Midnight
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
The Bridges of Madison County
Bullets Over Broadway
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
If / Then
Kinky Boots
Les Misérables
The Lion King
Mamma Mia!
Motown The Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Rock of Ages
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Act One
All the Way
Casa Valentina
Holler if Ya Hear Me
Mothers and Sons
Of Mice and Men
On the Town

And if you're hungry, do what hordes of Broadway-goers have been doing for years, duck into Sardi's, Gallaghers, Victor's or Carmine's for a traditional post-show lunch.