Punk Rock Reaches Manhattan

punk-rockIt seems that punk rock is not just for having fun, but also for getting in shape. And it has reached Manhattan vis-à-vis keeping fit. More and more gyms are now offering classes that take a retro back to the eighties and are getting into old-school punk.

And what’s great about it is that it’s not just the hard core aerobics that is using this music, but also soft stuff like yoga! Everyone who is moving is getting into the punk rock beat!

Some examples include the following classes: Haley De Groat offers Blitzkrieg Bod (which takes place in the back of Bushwick’s Cobra Club every Friday night) focuses on High Intensity Interval Training. Tim Haft has a class called Punk Rope and MoshFit which offers classes using alternative music, bringing together rockers and fitness freaks which are aimed at being a mixture of: community oriented, creative and fun all at the same time.

Then there is Michael Macneal who has his MonsterCycle class which is “run by the music” featuring “energy like rock stars with call and response instruction. And then right on the other side of the spectrum Brian Williams has Punk Yoga which is just focusing on being present.

So there really is a sense of punk arrival in the Manhattan fitness scene!

MoMA Exhibition

Between May 7 and August 16, visitors to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will be privy to an exhibition detailing the connection between east and west. China Through the Looking Glass is set to be one of MoMA’s largest exhibitions, and has taken nearly two years to put together. It shows guests the inspiration western designers found in all things Chinese. For example, Imperial Chinese costumes and military dress worn in the Cultural Revolution.

The title of the exhibition is a spin off from the 1871 novel “Through the looking Glass, and What Alice Found There,’ since it is focused on what one feels when they enter another world.

‘Tis the Season for…

Central ParkNew York is a great place for travelers, and during springtime this is even more the case. Indeed, if one can only get to the Big Apple during the winter months, it is a bit of a shame as the cold weather can render the excellent sightseeing opportunities lost. So now that things have brightened up a bit, what is on the menu for both New Yorkers and tourists alike?

First off there is Central Park that simply cannot be missed during the springtime. Boasting an array of stunning colors through its blossoming flowers, it is the perfect place for a lazy Sunday picnic or romantic stroll. For wine lovers the Seneca Lake shores in Finger Lakes Wine Country provides one with a wonderful appreciation of the countryside that is so often missed by New Yorkers.

For those who cannot get enough of the city, shopping in New York is always a must. The springtime will offer the latest fashions for spring but there is also the flea markets that provide something a bit different. Be sure to make a stop there.

Environmentalists will love the outdoors during springtime in New York, with a special emphasis on birding that is a very popular hobby in NYC. And then for those who want to enjoy the aspect of the city that never sleeps, the nightlife is there all year round for their pleasure.

Local Theater Showings

Mary PoppinsFor those in town for a vacation – maybe staying at Shimmie Horn’s The Chandler Hotel located on 12 E 31st Street – the theater is currently offering has some really great shows. For example, Rupert Holmes’ Accomplice is playing at Murphys Creek Theatre. As well, there is the classic and much loved Mary Poppins by Sierra Repertory Theatre at the East Sonora theatre until May 3.

Also playing locally is the Honky Tonk Angels musical at the Fallon House theatre located at Columbia State Historic Park. And then the whole family can enjoy the Play Reading Series held on a weekly basis with features such as the “absurdist Elizabethan comedy by Tom Stoppard dealing with the exploits of two minor characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.”

Tribeca Film Festival

film festivalLast week saw the start of the Tribeca Film Festival. It is not very typical as film festivals go.   It doesn’t feel the need to beg for attention as it were, like international ones such as Berlin, New York, or Cannes do. It is rather, a total celebration of communal life, documenting art movies, indie pop films and more that will likely appeal to a variety of tastes.

Over the years the festival has had more and less items. For example there were 176 movies in 2005 but then that figure was slashed to 85 four years later. This year it is somewhere in between and 100+ movies will be shown at theaters in neighboring areas.

“Good Kill” by Andrew Niccol is getting a lot of attention – very exciting docudrama focusing on drone warfare with Ethan Hawke. For some humor, check out Paul Weitz’s “Grandma.”

So for those in the area who like a bit of culture, the Tribeca Film Festival is well worth a visit.

New Addition for East Village Bar Scene

New York’s east village is getting a new addition to its bar scene – Fifty Paces. Located at 413 E. 12th St. between First Avenue and Avenue A, the bar is quite a trendy get up. Offering a vast wine list and swank menu, it replaces Paul Grieco and Marco Canora’s Terroir – a wine bar franchise who recently parted. Canora took over and rebranded the location, with something completely new.

And what’s with the name? A spin off from the now infamous Fifty Shades of Grey perhaps? According to Canora, no. The name followed the location since he had to keep telling people how to get there – 50 paces up the street from Hearth.

So for those seeking out something a bit different, go get a classy glass of wine, sunflower-seed hummus with crispy toast and an upscale sloppy Joe. It’s a nice place and has two happy hours throughout the evening-night. A true welcome addition to the east village.

Drinking up Manhattan

Of course, there is the traditional Manhattan cocktail; something that is easy enough to DIY…it’s just pretty much a mixture of sweet vermouth, bourbon whiskey, bitters, topped with a maraschino cherry and an umbrella! It’s not all that pricey either.

But for those who want to go a little bit more out of the box, there is now the GG Manhattan. Served up at the Irvington, on Park Avenue, north of Union Square, as well as offering this rather pricey cocktail ($30 a pop), there are some great food options too.

In actuality, the GG Manhattan is not really all that expensive as it is actually designed for two. It is a sharing drink so can also create and build intimacy. It comes with a couple of rocks glasses, brimming with ice and a flask, that comes very cold and labeled GG Manhattan – but the label just uses a magic marker and piece of masking tape!

For those hungry after their drink, enjoy what has been hailed as “New American [cuisine] with Mediterranean influences.”

Beauty in Manhattan

gherkinThere is so much concealed beauty in Manhattan. The city is not necessarily known for this – more4 spoken about is the happenings in the center of New York. But thanks to filmmakers Danny Jacobs and Darren Grodsky – who actually set out to do something quite different – this could be changing.
What the twosome did was walk the entire length of Manhattan from top to bottom, noting their discoveries of pockets of beauty for others to enjoy.
Beginning at 225th Street’s Broadway Bridgek, walking through Inwood, Harlem, Hell’s Kitchen, Gramercy, the West Village and more, the filmmakers completed their journey at Battery Park.
Here is their advice for those looking for beauty in Manhattan: A walk through Fort Tryon Park offers a great escape from busy urban life; United Palace Theatre which has a sign saying “come in, or smile as you pass” was “hopping with an incredibly diverse group of people” the day they arrived there. They feel like it is New York at its truest!
Next up Washington Heights that turns to Harlem that has 30-40 blocks sporting a very “interesting island [with] an elevated train… wide blocks, wide sidewalks and really lovely trees.” Then there is the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue and West 12th Street – one of the world’s largest cathedrals. If you’re getting hungry at this point, Koronet Pizza serves “ridiculously giant slices” and Jacob’s Pickles at West 84th Street is the pickle-lover’s haven.
There are a few other places on their list. But this makes a great start.

See ‘The Nomad’ when in Nomad!


For those who happen to be visiting one of Shimmie Horn’s luxurious hotels – like The Evelyn (located in Nomad, Manhattan) or the Tribeca Grand Hotel, it could be a good time to take in a show that is appropriate for the area.

“The Nomad” is currently showing at Manhattan’s Flea Theater (located in the TriBeCa neighborhood on 41 White Street) and has to date received rave reviews.

The musical – with book and lyrics and Erin Courtney and Elizabeth Swados – is not for the slow-paced. The production is quite quick and has a lot going on. It combines both musical theater tradition and Middle Eastern sounds, telling the tale of Isabelle Eberhardt, a romantic and Swiss writer who meets her premature death before reaching the age of 30.

Check it out. It’s definitely something different.

Bussing Around the City, Via VIA!

busWhile it can be somewhat inefficient and time consuming to use the New York bus system, thanks to a new app called Via, there is now another option.  The user friendly app has been described as “a smarter way to get around New York,” and compared to other transportation services is cheaper, charging the traveler a mere $5 a ride.

When Via first got to New York (from Tel Aviv, Israel, where the app was launched) it was only in operation between the Upper East Side and Midtown between the morning and evening rush hours. Now it has extended its timing and its locations, from 6.45 am to 9 pm and between 32nd and 110th Streets. The first five rides cost a flat rate of $5 if the rides are pre-purchased (when they are not, the fee increases to $7).

While to date it has not been as successful as competitor Uber, this could be because it requires multiple passengers. Still, to date, many people need rides in these neighborhoods and thus the SUVs and vans that are offered through the service is doing quite well.