Friday, December 29, 2017

New Year's Eve Creativity Around the World

International events set the stage for excitement on New Year’s Eve.

Who wouldn’t want to be in Florence for New Year’s Eve? At the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, a gala Studio 54 party and buffet dinner befits the palatial setting. Break out those platform shoes and your best Hustle moves as you dance to 70s hits from a live DJ. 

An Italian tradition, the eating of cotechino (a large pork sausage) at midnight is being celebrated at the Grand Hotel Miramare in Santa Margherita Ligure. A special menu will be served in the luxury hotel’s waterview Vistamare restaurant in anticipation of the midnight cotechino with lentils. This, together with New Year’s sweets are said to bring best wishes for the year ahead. The celebration continues after midnight with live music in the lounge.

At the dazzling Hakkasan Shanghai, music sets the tone for the New Year’s Eve. Stroll along the Bund to your table at the restaurant where you’ll enjoy an exclusive menu of Chinese creations including Wagyu beef dumplings, hot and sour soup with foie gras, and stir-fry Australian lobster with truffle sauce, accompanied by a medley of musical styles throughout the evening. Guest singer Redic joins DJ Kadwell along with live pipa and saxophone players. At midnight, step outside to watch the fireworks and laser light show over the Huangpu River. If this whets your appetite for more, the Chinese New Year celebration for the Year of the Dog begins a little over two weeks later. 

Ring in the New Year under the stars on the banks of the River of Kings at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s Riverside Terrace. The black-tie evening kicks off with welcome cocktails at the Author’s Lounge garden and continues with a gala international dinner, dancing, and world-class entertainment by the renowned Sun Band. Just before midnight, guests return outdoors to count down to 2018 and view the fireworks over the Chao Phraya River. 

Everyone thinks of Tokyo’s version of Times Square, Shibuya Crossing, as the place to be when in Japan on New Year’s Eve. But many choose to visit a more spiritual place to avoid the chaos, if not the crowds. Locals observe a tradition of Hatsumōde, the first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year. At the shrine, a talisman with the previous year’s zodiac sign is burned, a ritual called Otakiage, and is replaced with a new one with the zodiac animal of good fortune for the year ahead. Listening to Joya-no-Kane,108 rings of the ōgane great bell at the temple, is part of the visit with each ring “ringing away” an evil passion or desire (bonnou) for a clean start to the year. The Japanese celebration continues with the customary slurping of bowls of toshikoshi or “the end-of-the-year-and-into-the-next” soba noodles, symbolizing the bridge between the “old year” and “new year.” The shape and length of soba are associated with a lean and long life. As soba noodles are easier to cut than other noodles, eating them is said to symbolize “cutting away bad luck.”

Tropically elegant Carmen Cartagena offers a seven-course tasting menu inspired by local ingredients and created especially to celebrate New Year's Eve. The Colombian tradition, or superstition, is to eat 12 grapes, each representing a wish for the new year and good luck throughout the 12 months to come. At the restaurant's midnight toast, servers hand out grapes as diners listen to the pop and crackle of the Cartagena fireworks.

In the Grenadine Islands, the private-island Young Island Resort rings in 2018 with an island-style New Year’s Eve Party. Guests will enjoy a gourmet buffet dinner, steel pan music, DJ, dancing, a bonfire and fireworks at midnight. 

Dubai is known for its mesmerizing New Year's Eve fireworks display that lights up the iconic Burj Khalifa. For New Year's Eve 2018, the celebration will be even more spectacular with a #LightItUp laser show that will attempt to break a Guinness World Record. If you can’t visit Downtown Dubai in person, you can watch a livestream at

How to Ring in the New Year around the USA

The US certainly knows how to celebrate the end of the year!

Take Indianapolis, for example, where the New Year’s Eve celebration is an outdoor event downtown at Georgia Street and Meridian Street, with the big Monument Circle Christmas tree all lit up in the background.  About 100,000 people attend, and it’s all free, with live music throughout the evening and food and drink tents along the way.  No surprise -- at midnight they drop an IndyCar! 

As if Las Vegas wasn’t lit up enough, visitors will be dazzled when the clock strikes midnight and fireworks paint the Las Vegas sky in a spectacular show of vibrant colors known as America’s Party. Creating a breathtaking backdrop for revelers, the pyrotechnic display is coordinated from seven locations along the iconic Strip as well as from the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas.  

Music lovers in Las Vegas need only stop by The Cosmopolitan where a dynamic lineup of chart-topping entertainers will ring in the New Year.  Ranging from Foo Fighters, Duran Duran and Zac Brown Band to hip hop heavyweights French Montana, DJ Mustard and EDM sensation Galantis, the resort welcomes guests to experience a non-stop musical extravaganza. Tickets at

The small town of Bisbee, Arizona invites guests to enter the world of the surreal on New Year’s Eve where the lines between dreams and reality blur. The Bisbee Bizarro New Year's Eve Ball - Surrealist & Dada Party is an evening for dressing up, down, out of control or over the top, with musical acts, underground performers and some odd surprises. Costumes and celebratory attire recommended. Tickets at

New Orleans is turning 300 and that’s even more reason to join the city’s festive countdown to midnight, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Revelers gather in Jackson Square as Ryan Seacrest leads the Central Time Zone countdown to midnight. The celebration features live music performances, celebrity appearances and the city's signature fleur-de-lis drop at midnight. This event is free and open to the public. If you prefer a water view of the fireworks, you can ride the steamboat NATCHEZ on the Mississippi River to glide into 2018, and enjoy holiday foods, open bar and a live dance band as well. Feeling a bit chilly? At NOPSI hotel, the indoor New Year’s House Party Celebration also includes a midnight balloon drop in the hotel’s Grand Lobby.   

A special evening deep in the heart of San Antonio’s newly revitalized Hemisfair, the home to the 1968 World’s Fair (100 years ago!), will feature a free concert and a fireworks display. You’ll eat well, too, as the city was recently designated a city of gastronomy by UNESCO. 

The Restoration Hotel will host The Mansion Ball, Charleston’s largest New Year’s Eve event. The one-of-a-kind roaring 20’s masquerade celebration will be held on the boutique hotel’s rooftop and will include bites and bubbly along with entertainment from Yes Lady, DJB and master violinist, Seth G. Tickets at  

Raise a glass to a famous Memphis  tradition, the Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Annual Guitar Drop.  Now in its 10th year, the 10-foot D’Angelico guitar drops from 100 feet over Beale Street to kick off 2018. And, of course, there will be musical performances all night by artists such as Common Rarity, Carlos Ecos Band, Mandy Vixen Trio, ShotGunBillys, DJ Debonair and American Idol winner, Caleb Johnson. Tickets at a variety of prices including standing room only at 

Ring in the New Year with a Murder Mystery Ride and five-course all-you-can-eat seafood dinner aboard the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. It's New Year’s Eve 1922, and the highest rollers in the country have gathered for the ultimate poker game aboard the train, hosted by eccentric billionaire Fortune Bonaventure.  Diamond Jim King and Jackie Hart are just a couple of the invited players. This is the most prestigious card game in history, and these gamblers would do anything to win it all. The ride starts in Cumberland, Maryland. Tickets at

A Colorado Springs tradition since 1922, AdAmAn Club climbers traverse the icy slopes of Pikes Peak to ignite fireworks for spectators in the Pikes Peak region. As part of a long-standing tradition, these intrepid trekkers will exchange mirror flashes with Colorado Springs from the timberline. The best viewing is from the safety of downtown Colorado Springs.

It's not a New Year’s Eve celebration in Cleveland without rock and roll. The Cleveland Pops Orchestra rocks in the New Year with a spectacular performance at Severance Hall with featured guest artist Connor Bogart O'Brien. After the concert, locals can slip on their dancing shoes to shimmy the night away with the No Name Band and Pops Jazz Ensemble as they count down to midnight. Tickets at  

Detroit really knows how to throw a street party with the Drop at Beach Park, starting at 4pm. Everyone, kids and adults included, gets a free light tube to shine. Motown recording legend Martha Reeves is the featured musical artist for the 8th Annual New Year’s Eve D-Drop. After Martha performs her iconic song, “Dancing in the Street,” followed by a performance of the “Light Up Detroit” theme song, thousands will wave LED light sticks while the giant illuminated “D” begins its descent from a 120-foot tower. 

Too noisy? Then Washington, DC is where you want to be. The Embassy Row Hotel invites guests and locals to ring in 2018 in style and dance the night away with their annual New Year’s Eve Silent Disco Dance Party. Partiers will rock out to jams from three different live DJs on three different music channels using wireless headphones with LED lights that change as dancers toggle between channels.

The 1920s come roaring back at California’s Pebble Beach Resorts this New Year’s Eve. Guests will enjoy a night of gilded glamour at the resort’s Puttin’ on the Ritz party at The Inn at Spanish Bay. Extravagantly decorated rooms will set the tone for a lavish buffet, open bar and night of dancing to live music in the Grand Ballroom, casino action in the Ballroom Gallery, arcade games in St. Andrews Alcoves, psychic readings, caricature artists and more. Roaring Twenties finery suggested. 

Comstock Saloon in San Francisco will host a saloon-style New Year’s celebration, with live jazz followed by burlesque dancers entertaining into the New Year. Special munchies include caviar puffs and champagne oyster shooters. Reservations suggested.

Also in San Francisco, progressive Indian restaurant ROOH is celebrating the New Year with modern Indian music, spirits and food. NYE  kicks off with two seating options for guests to dine prior to midnight and include a ticket to ROOH’s NYE Bollywood Bash where a mash-up of Bollywood and Top 40 music will ring in the New Year. Tickets at 

BANK Café & Bar in The Westin Verasa Napa in California’s wine country is the site of the Red Tie Affair Party, a dancing and dining event decked out in red. Dress to impress in your finest red attire. Tickets at 

Providence is hosting their first-ever New Year’s Eve ball drop to commemorate the new year. Unlike the Ball Drop in New York City, the Rhode Island version of the ball drop will actually be digital, projected against the city’s iconic Industrial Trust Building, also known as the “Superman Building.” Join your friends at Waterplace Park for food trucks, hot chocolate, face painting, live music, a laser light show and midnight fireworks as well. 

Head North to historic Boston Harbor for a final lobster meal of 2017 along the water while enjoying Beantown’s fireworks from State Street Provisions -- certainly a lot warmer than sitting outside at The Esplanade.

When the clock strikes 12 in Philadelphia, guests can toast among the stars by attending the One Liberty Observation Deck’s first-ever black-tie New Year’s Eve party, Midnight from the Top. From the 57th floor, guests will be privy to spectacular Philadelphia skyline views plus the Philadelphia fireworks. Dress to impress. 

How about some international flair in your celebration? Tapa Toro, a Spanish tapas restaurant in Orlando, is hosting a double celebration to ring in Spain's New Year (6pm EST) with a Spanish feast and flamenco performance, followed by more flamenco dancing and a Champagne toast six hours later for the US. 

The new four-level Nashville Underground features the highest, largest and only double-deck rooftop on Music City’s historic Broadway, with a 360° view of the city. New Year’s will rock at the club with 80s music from Skankbanger and an 80s Hair/Party Band on two floors plus a 90s party from DJ Ben Mayo on the rooftop LED dance floor. Tickets at

Think Aspen Food & Wine Classic as you ring in 2018 at The Dom Perignon Party at The Little Nell in Aspen. The exclusive celebration takes place throughout Chair 9, the living room, element 47’s bar and outdoor lounge, as well as the Grand Salon. Access includes bottomless Dom Perignon, Belvedere cocktails, an open bar and food stations replenished throughout the night. Add to that three musical acts and two entertainment groups plus three DJs, a jazz trio, breakdancers from New York City and Samba dancers from Las Vegas, and you have the fête of the year. Step outside to watch the fireworks display over Aspen Mountain at midnight. Tickets at 

The elegant Travelle Kitchen + Bar at the Langham Hotel  in Chicago kicks off the evening with two special four-course dinners and wine pairings, leading to a Great Gatsby-themed party at the bar. Channel your inner Daisy or Nick as you embrace the spirit of the roaring ‘20s and dance the night away to tunes from a live DJ. Reservations at or by calling 312.923.7705. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

15 Ways to Ring in the New Year in New York City – Party Favors Included

Everyone needs some laughs this year and starting off the New Year with a smile sounds like a very good thing.

The place to be in NYC is Caroline’s, where headliners routinely let their comic superpower loose, and on New Year’s Eve, it’s one big laughfest. The late show at 10pm carries into the wee hours after you watch the Ball Drop live on their TVs and 10-foot screen.  It’s close enough to Times Square to let you sense the excitement without being in the middle of the crowds, a nice benefit.  1626 Broadway. 

Near enough to view the light show and the Ball Drop if you choose to head outside, two restaurants offer special evening meals. 

A favorite of the Broadway community, Bond 45 New York Italian Kitchen and Bar -- in its new 46th Street location -- invites guests to ring in 2018 with a seven-course prix fixe menu, live music, Champagne toast and party favors. Or celebrate like a Tony Award winner with a seven-course dinner, a bottle of Champagne and a private escort to view the LIVE Ball Drop from the heart of Times Square.  221 West 46th Street. 

In the mood for a Chinese feast instead? Hakkasan New York also sits to the west of Times Square and is offering  a six-course festive meal with luxurious twists on Cantonese favorites such as scallop shumai, roasted duck with truffle dumpling, braised abalone salad and stir-fry Boston lobster with black pepper and honey. 311 West 43rd Street. 

Tradition and nostalgia rule on New Year’s Eve at several beloved locations.

The Palm Court's Black Tie affair is an annual glamour-fest in the iconic restaurant at The Plaza with dancing, raw bar, dinner buffet and craft cocktails recalling days of Trader Vic’s. Black tie required. Fifth Avenue at Central Park South. 

Perrine at the Taj Pierre is equally glamorous with a balloon drop and a Champagne aerialist highlighting the New Year’s celebration. The restaurant will serve a five-course menu, with a musical trio accompaniment. Dancing follows in The Rotunda into the New Year with the Antonio Ciacca Orchestra playing Big Band standards as well as contemporary favorites. 2 East 61st Street. 

Located in the middle of Times Square, The Edison Ballroom revisits the days of the Fitzgerald's, flappers and the heyday of jazz with a gala night of dinner and dancing. Show off your jitterbug and foxtrot moves surrounded by New York opulence and musical stylings provided by Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band. 240 West 47th Street.     
New York City also offers a choice of parties so you can bring out your inner actor and enjoy some crazy entertainment at a range of prices.

Dinner runs into the party at Bedford & Co in the Renwick Hotel with a special prix fixe menu and a Masquerade Ball. Late night festivities also include passed canapes, specialty cocktails and dancing to DJ tunes. Various packages and prices are available. 118 East 40th Street. Masquerade Ball tickets at

Modern Mediterranean restaurant Green Fig will ring in the New Year with The Brothel Carnivale, a lavish party with a five-course dinner, hors d’oeuvres, dancing and open bar. Entertainment is non-stop with Burlesque performers, sword swallowers and giant boa constrictors. 570 10th Avenue.Tickets at   

Befitting the melting pot that is New York City, several restaurants show off New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world.

Socarrat is offering a special tasting menu for the evening, featuring their acclaimed paella and tapas, with sangria, beer and an open bar. Guests will celebrate New Year’s in the Spanish tradition with a Cava toast and the eating of 12 Lucky Grapes. At midnight, each guest will receive 12 grapes, one for every month. At each clock stroke, celebrants eat the grapes which are said to bring good fortune throughout the new year. 259 West 19th Street, 284 Mulberry Street, 953 Second Avenue.

Greek steakhouse Merakia rings in the New Year with a prix fixe dinner and a Greek ceremony of the cutting of the cake at midnight. On New Year's Eve, families cut the Vasilopita (bread or cake), hoping to find the hidden coin inside to bless the house and bring good luck. If you’re the lucky person who orders the chocolate lava cake and finds the lucky coin, your meal is free. 5 West 21st Street.  

At recently opened Shuka, it’s a Night in Marrakech with a Feast Menu of mezze plates, dips and kebabs. To welcome the New Year, entertainment will be provided a la Mediterranean including Glenda's Gypsy Palm Readings (from Employees Only) and Salit the Belly Dancer. 38 MacDougal Street.  

And what would New Year’s Eve in a city of skyscrapers be if it didn’t offer a view from high above.

Rooftop lounge Bar 54 hosts a New Year's Eve celebration with an exclusive live viewing of the world-famous Ball Drop. Located on the 54th floor of Hyatt Centric Times Square, Bar 54 kicks off the evening with an indoor party with open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, with guests moving outdoors to view the Ball Drop on the bar’s terrace with a Champagne toast in hand. 135 West 45th Street. Tickets at .

Right in the heart of Times Square, the New York Marriott Marquis lets guests take advantage of its premier location with a five-course dinner, unlimited premium open bar and entertainment at The View Restaurant & Lounge on the 47th and 48th floors, with 360-degree views revolving completely every hour and overlooking Times Square.  1535 Broadway. 

How about a view of the Statue of Liberty and the fireworks downtown instead of the Ball Drop at Times Square?

Conrad New York invites you to a downtown celebration with a view. Begin the celebration with open bar and canapes at ATRIO Wine Bar and Restaurant, followed by a four-course prix fixe dinner accompanied by tunes by a live DJ. Just before the end of 2017, guests will head to Loopy Doopy, the 16th-story rooftop bar, for a Champagne toast with views of the Statue of Liberty and fireworks along the Hudson River. 102 North End Avenue. 

Cruise into the New Year on board Hudson’s at Pier 81 for a music-filled, open-bar celebration in the middle of the Manhattan Harbor under the fireworks in the presence of the Statue of Liberty. Pier 81, 12th Avenue and West 41st Street.Tickets at

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

New Year's Day: What to Do in New York City

The evening’s festivities are over; here are some activities to consider for the first day of 2018.

Are you a daredevil?  The weather promises to be freezing on New Year’s Day, but that doesn’t deter these folks from plunging into the icy cold water at Coney Island in Brooklyn. The Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Plunge is free with and begins at 1pm at the Stillwell Avenue boardwalk entrance. Participants get free admission to the New York Aquarium and a post-dip warm up at Coney Island Brewing Company and Steeplechase Beer Garden. A $25 donation is suggested to benefit local Coney Island organizations including the New York Aquarium and the Alliance for Coney Island.

Train lovers still have time to catch the annual Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx where model trains travel through a miniature landscape of 150+ iconic city structures. This year's version spotlights Midtown Manhattan, with a new Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building and more on view through January 15. Advance reservations are strongly recommended as tickets sell out. 
In Queens, the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®—hockey’s highest profile regular-season game—will be held at Citi Field on New Year’s Day.  January 1, 2018 will mark the first time the game is held in New York City. Even if you don’t have a ticket, there will still be fun activities outside of the stadium starting at 9am including a DJ, giveaways, refreshments and more.

If you plan to ice skate at Rockefeller Center, 5th Avenue between 49th and 50th streets, here’s what you need to know to book a reservations through VIP igloo if you’d like to avoid the lines and also get complimentary skate rentals (although general admission does not require a reservation.)  Hours are 8:30am until midnight daily.

Warm up after with Maison du Chocolat’s fabulously, thick and perfectly sweet chocolat at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and also on the Upper East Side at 1018 Madison Avenue.  Or at Jacques Torres, aka Mr. Chocolate, also at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

And no matter where or what the New Year’s celebrations have been, the potato powered FryGuys, will be ready to soothe your hunger or hangover  with their new boat load of OG twice fried frys, topped with scrambled eggs, bacon an cheese, then crowned with a fried egg and fried chicken.  Dubbed the Brunch so Hard, this will satisfy your hunger as you enter the New Year.  FryGuys, 150 2nd Street. 

For more NYC info, check out.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Outdoor New Year's Eve Happenings in New York City - Brooklyn and Manhattan Edition

If you don’t mind being in the cold, New York City’s outdoors New Year’s Eve festivities are pretty cool. Take a look at some of these happening in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  Be prepared for long security check-in lines, dress warmly and leave your large bags at home. A flask filled with your favorite libation should suffice to keep you warm!

Coney Island USA will host its 4th annual NYE celebration in Steeplechase Plaza with a fireworks display from the historic Parachute Jump. Select boardwalk restaurants and attractions will be open, including B&B Carousel, Deno’s Wonder Wheel  (just like in Woody Allen ‘s 2017 movie Wonder Wheel) and the Thunderbolt roller coaster. A digital burst ball drop rings in 2018, followed by a Circus Sideshow Fire Spectacular at 1am.

Celebrating its 20th year, the Time’s Up New Year’s Eve Bike Ride & Afterparty will reverse direction, going downtown instead of uptown, and ending at an indoor dance party. If you’re in Manhattan, start the ride at the park in front of the Plaza Hotel at 59th Street and 5th Avenue at 9:30pm, or join in at Madison Square Park, 23rd Street and Broadway at 10pm. Brooklynites can start their ride at the Brooklyn-side entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge at 9:30pm to ride into Manhattan.  End point is the party at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space in the East Village, 155 Avenue C. Free valet bike parking.

The Empire State Building will ring in 2018 with a festive, multicolored LED confetti lighting on Dec 31, 2017. Five minutes before midnight, the building will switch to its signature white lights, sparkling in the New Year through sunrise on January 1, 2018. For a great view, stand by the Little Church around the Corner, 1 East 29th St. and look up. If you're curious about future Empire State Building lights, view the schedule at view the schedule at

Runners can lace up for the four-mile NYRR Midnight Run in Central Park on NYE. After going through security via entrances at West 72nd Street and Central Park West or East 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue, registered runners and their +1 will gather at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Kicking off at 10pm, the race (to which many wear costumes) will conclude by midnight with a spectacular fireworks display at its completion..

Monday, November 20, 2017

It's Already Christmas in NYC: Holiday Train Show, Store Windows and Santa Claus

It’s almost Christmas in New York City -- well, not really. But Christmas festivities and sales start earlier and earlier each year and decorations are popping up all over the city.

Here are three don’t-miss activities to consider:

This year, you’ll have to do a bit more planning if your children hope to sit on Santa Claus’s lap.  Macy’s wants to make the process more efficient and handle the huge number of people lining up to visit Saint Nick. Santa makes his appearance at “the world’s largest department store” from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, but you’ll need to reserve online to get a spot. Starting just before Thanksgiving, you can book a spot at Macy’s Santa Land at Macy’s Herald Square, 8th floor, at No walk-ins are allowed, so don’t delay. Spots will go quickly, particularly after the ads sure to come during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday. 151 West 34th Street, Manhattan.

Holiday windows are starting to appear all over the city. Now is the perfect time to visit before the mad Christmas rush.  Particularly appealing, Bergdorf Goodman’s “To New York with Love” windows showcase some of New York City’s most iconic places this year, including the New York Botanical Gardens, the Museum of the Moving Image, the New York Historical Society Museum & Library, the American Museum of Natural History, and the New York Philharmonic, 754 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. Look for others at Saks Fifth Avenue (“Once upon a Holiday”), Barney’s New York (“Hass for the Holidays”), Bloomingdale’s (“The Greatest Showman”), Lord  & Taylor (“The Best and the Brightest”), and Macy’s Herald Square (“The Perfect Gift Brings People Together”).

The 16th annual Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal is brought to you by the New York Transit Museum.  A favorite among children of all ages (and their parents), the show includes movement, lights, sound and color and gets increasingly crowded as shoppers throng the major transit hub closer to Christmas. In the exhibit, model trains travel through tunnels, from subway stop to subway stop, and around skyscrapers as they meander through New York City locations. The show is free and runs from 6am-8pm, through February 4, 2018. 89 East 42nd Street, Manhattan.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Here’s a Delicious Reason to Visit Hawaii This Fall: The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival – Start Your Visit with the Lucky 7 Dinner in Maui

The seventh Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, which runs from October 20 - November 5, kicks off with a golf tournament on October 20 in Maui, followed by a Global Street Food event on October 21 and the festival’s piece de resistance, a seven-course gastronomic dinner with wine pairing the following evening. On Sunday, October 22, Hyatt Regency Maui hosts the dinner, dubbed the Lucky 7 and presented by Hawaiian Airlines, on the beautiful Halona Kai lawn with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

A group of six talented chefs from around the US will prepare a seven-course dinner with wine pairings. Expect delicious preparations from: New York City’s Chef Floyd Cardoz, from Paowalla; Gregory Grohowski from the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Niki Nakayama n/naka in Los Angeles, Joachim Splichal from the Patina Restaurant Group also from Los Angeles, Jason Neroni from Rose Café and Restaurant in Venice Beach (California), Stephan Pyles from Dallas’s Flora Street Café, General admission for the Lucky 7 is $250 and includes dinner and reserved seating. VIP admission is $500 and includes a cocktail reception, dinner and reserved VIP seating. Festival attendees receive a special nightly room rate of $249 at the Hyatt Regency Maui (taxes and resort fee additional).For reservations, call 808-661-1234.

For the full schedule of events and tickets for the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, October 20 - November 5 on Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu, visit

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dale Chihuly Outdoor Exhibit Now through October 29 in the Bronx

Glass artist Dale Chihuly has taken over the New York Botanical Garden once again. With his new exhibit designed to complement the Botanical Garden’s landscape and architecture, Chihuly again shows his masterful use of color and material with glass sculptures intermingled among plants, near trees, and adjacent to buildings.

On exhibit outdoors through October 29, the myriad glass sculptures transform into neon spectacles at night. This is Dale Chihuly’s first outdoor exhibit in New York in a decade and one which you shouldn’t miss.  Twenty pieces including a greenish yellow tree ("Sol del Tierra"), tangles of colored neon ("Neon 206"), and red logs ("Red Logs") are scattered among the 250 acres of the gardens, looking perfectly in place against the foliage and flowers. Overhead, hanging chandeliers, a Chihuly signature, fascinate with their twists and curls.

Also displayed (indoors) are sketches from earlier in Chihuly’s career as well as some of his earlier art glass pieces.

For an artist as familiar as Dale Chihuly has become (his pieces are in hotels worldwide, in office buildings, and a permanent part of the NYBG collection), it’s a revelation to see these works sited outdoors, glass that’s impervious to the elements and makes a statement of color and design along the paths of green that fill the gardens.

Before the end of the month, the leaves will begin to turn, undoubtedly creating another feeling and expression of the art.  See the pieces now when everything is pure green, but definitely return by month’s end both to witness the change in environment and to bid a fond farewell to a beautiful exhibit. 

Dining Tip:  Enjoy a diverse and creative menu of paninis, pizzas, salads and desserts among the trees at the Pine Tree Café at the NYBG.  

New York Botanical Garden,, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY, 718-817-8700. Tickets start at $23 for adults and vary by day.  Closed on Monday except for Columbus Day.

All photos by Meryl Pearlstein

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Clockwork Orange: Alex and His Droogs Land Off-Broadway


If you remember seeing the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange and might have possibly read Anthony Burgess’s chilling version of a dystopian society in England, this play should be on your must-view list. You’ll completely understand the plot and be enthralled by the energetic, theatrical treatment given it Off-Broadway at the New World Stages.  If you’re a newbie to the story, you might want to grab a copy of Burgess’s landmark book with its glossary in the back pages and read a bit to prepare you for the play. The experience is somewhat like seeing a Shakespearean play for the first time: it takes you a while to understand what’s being spoken and to follow the story line.

Little Alex and his band of delinquents are committing mayhem throughout England, responsible for a good deal of the “ultra-violence” so prevalent during this time period. In the movie, the establishing shots occur over a much longer time frame than in the play, making it easier to understand the underlying threat to society that this gang poses.  Here, the set-up is quick, and the ensuing events are also fairly quick. The general result is clear, but it will take some paying attention to follow.

Additionally, Burgess has created his own language for droogies Alex, Dim, Georgie and Billy Boy. It’s a mix of Russian and English, morphed into words that Alex frequently uses as verbs, nouns, and situational descriptors. That’s where having some familiarity with the book’s glossary is useful. I speak Russian and could figure out what the words meant, but they will sound like gibberish to most.

The comparisons between the movie and the show are notable, with some exceptions. This version, brought over by director Alexandra Spencer-Jones of London, is even more stylized than the movie (which was already visually arresting and somewhat surreal).  In another creative digression from the movie, the all-male cast takes turns playing various roles, including some female ones, cued by a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes, for instance. Again, concentration is needed to follow these changes and to understand the role of music in the storyline.  

Alex is played by a British actor, Jonno Davies, with a background in Shakespeare at London’s West End. Others in the cast hail from the US and include Broadway veterans Matt Doyle (The Book of Mormon, War Horse, Spring Awakening) and Jordon Bondurant (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Mamma Mia!) as two of Alex’s counterparts in crime. The ensemble is also the most physically fit group of performers that I’ve seen together on a stage, using striking choreography to tell significant parts of the tale.

Brush up on your Burgess and get a ticket for this limited-run show playing, through January 6, 2018. New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, 800-447-7400.

 (All photos by Caitlin McNaney)

Off-Broadway Dining Notes:  

Check out Chez Josephine, 414 West 42nd, a classic of Josephine Baker cool in the heart of the Off-Broadway theater area. 

Or Sushi Ichi Masa, 302 West 50th Street, a cozy, authentic sushi bar next to the theater.