The “Taste” of Tribeca

food-festivalFor more than two decades, Tribecans have been privy to sample a wide variety of treats from the Taste of Tribeca Festival.  Tribeca’s top eateries are participating in this program which not only helps people enjoy the fun flavors from around the city, but also raises funds for local public schools’ enrichment programs.

Now in its 22nd year, this “foodie fund-raiser” provides locals with the opportunity to “taste their way” through 65+ top restaurants in the hood.  According to co-chair of the program Claude Arpels, this thus gives everyone a chance “to come and sample the neighborhood – you pay 45 bucks and you get to try food from so many restaurants. It would certainly cost you a lot more to go and eat a full meal at every one.”

This really is financially a great deal – to pay a mere $45 to enjoy 700 “tastes” is phenomenal.  And then to know that you are doing your bit for the community – kids benefiting from food-funded arts programs in the area – really makes it even tastier.  If you think about each item of food costing around $5-10, it doesn’t take a genius to realize how worth it with the Math.

As well as the Taste of Tribeca, locals can enjoy the much newer beer and cider tour that started last year by Arpels which is coming back again this year.

Musical News

musicEast Village’s Third Street Music School Settlement is celebrating 121 years at its yearly Spring Gala.  Having opened in 1894, this makes it the longest-running community music school in the US.   Today, over 5,000 students receive musical instruction and it’s not just restricted to kids.  Indeed, pre-school up to adults aged 93 years old, have been the recipient of musical instruction over the years.   And talking of inclusivity, the school really tries to accept everyone, especially those of disadvantaged financial means, catering to all types of musical loves.  One can even just come in for a singular lesson in the oboe!  With ensembles, the variety runs from rock band to orchestral. According to Brandon Tesh, Department Chair for Wind, Brass and Percussion, this makes it “like being in a toy store. There’s just all these instruments, drum sets, pianos everywhere, it’s filled with music. It’s really a great space.”

Meanwhile for those looking for concerts in the neighborhood check out The Voice for a comprehensive listing in NYC.

Japanese Art in Midtown Manhattan

midtown-manhattanYayaoi Kusama, a Japanese artist, has her first artwork displayed in a permanent public place in midtown Manhattan.  Located at 605 West 42nd Street, close to Shimmie Horn’s Iroquois Hotel which “combines classic design and contemporary amenities to create a quintessentially New York City experience,” the piece is of a bronze pumpkin that is surrounded by the ‘infinity loop motor court,’ at the building’s entrance.

According to CEO of the Moinian Group, Sky developer (which spearheaded the redevelopment of the area), Joseph Moinian, the company is “deeply proud to present New York with its first Yayoi Kusama bronze Pumpkin for all to enjoy.  It is an honor and a privilege to have such an iconic and important work of art by one of the world’s greatest living artists permanently residing in front of Sky. I hope it will become a cherished emblem of culture in the city for generations to come.”

In terms of art, one of Shimmie Horn’s other hotels – the Hotel Chandler – features many architectural elements reminiscent of the Beaux Arts era, designed by Jorge L. Portero.

Designed by Jorge L. Portero, the Hotel Chandler NY shows off numerous architectural elements reminiscent of the Beaux Arts era.

Beetle House Bar

cocktailsThree days ago Tim Burton got his own bar. Well, sort of.  Beetle House took its inspiration from him and opened on May 6 as a gothic eatery on 308 E. Sixth Street. With its witchy interior, featuring medical equipment artwork, straitjackets and more based on Burton classics, it’s sure to be a popular address for diehard Burton fans.

However, punters can rest assured that real beetle juice will not be on the menu – just a cocktail with that name, alongside Alice’s Cup of Tea and The Headless Horseman. Some of the items on the dinner menu are: Chesire Mac and Cheese, Eggs Skellington and Edward Burger Hands.

And then of course there’s the guy (who’s not being paid by the owner) who just keeps coming dressed in a Beetlejuice costume.  They might want to think of giving him a salary though since he seems to have been quite popular with the patrons until now!

Making Meals More Manageable

MealPassLunchtime around New York can get a little crazy.  It can be expensive, busy, and overwhelming.  Perhaps though, MealPass will be the solution.  This start-up is promising a cheaper lunch option and a ton of exciting restaurants.  It’s also a great way to encourage people to eat lunch: if you use it every week day, you could end up paying a really small amount – less than $5 for each meal.

MealPass – that works very much like ClassPass – started business at the beginning of the year in Miami and Boston.  It has completely taken off since then, with customers ordering lunch more than 25,000 times through the site.

Currently New York has around 130 participating restaurants, from which MealPass members can select a meal from the lunch menu from 7pm the night before.  They have to put in their choice by 9.30am the day of delivery as restaurants need time to prepare.  Then, members go to the restaurant to collect meals without having to line up or pay on the spot. While it is true there are other companies like UberEats doing this, the main goal of MealPass is affordability.





Tribeca Film Festival

film-festivalThe Tribeca Film Festival (that run from April 13 until yesterday), in its 15th year comprised 102 features.  These ranged from foreign language, independent movies to documentaries and more, spanning “all-star Hollywood attractions.”

In addition to the more than 100 features, this year’s Film Festival is showing TV events, virtual reality exhibitions and interactive installations.  Being on the newer side of film festivals, this factor is believed to be a good thing.  Indeed, according to Genna Terranova, director of the festival, this plus enables the festival to work differently, giving it the capacity to “change a little bit more easily, evolve a little bit more easily,” as compared to other older, more stagnated festivals.

Part of this is how the festival closed, which “the bomb – a multimedia, immersive project about nuclear weapons.”  This comprised a 55 minute doc-film on how nuclear weapons have evolved, shown on a giant screen by the Acid band, to a live score.  As Terranova pointed out, this truly was: “documentary-meets-concert-meets-immersive experience.”

Become an Acting Pro with Betty Buckley

stageFor those who have ever dreamed of becoming a professional actor and singer, for those in Manhattan it could become a reality. Early next month, Betty Buckley an actress and singer who has performed on both the TV and stage and was also a 1983 Tony award winner for Best Featured Actress in a Musical is going to be giving lessons right here in New York City.


For those in the vicinity from 1 to 5 May, the T. Schreiber Studio will be home to lessons from Buckley via the Song Interpretation & Monologue workshop.  Students preparing for auditions, students who want to improve, and even semi-professionals will be able to benefit from the workshop.


Buckley will be sharing “her expertise, guiding her students through a methodology that facilitates audience connection through songs and monologues. Her emotional connection to songs and audiences is renowned, and that very connection is at the heart of what Ms. Buckley imparts to her students.”

The East Village: Traditions and Changes

bakeryOver the last 40 years, the East Village has changed quite substantially in terms of eateries and shopping options.  According to Bruce Weber however, some things have stayed the same.  One of those is Moishe Perl’s bakery (certified kosher) located on “a block that could be described as dicey,” requiring the owner to move along some of the drunks sleeping on his street corner.

Perl has seen a lot of changes throughout the four decades he has been baking babka for the locals.  He has seen all sorts of different demographics come to the area, such as “hippies, families and yuppies.” But throughout all of this, one thing has remained consistent: the bakery that still only accepts cash as a payment method for the bakery that has received both the “Best of the Borough” and “Best Smell Ever” awards in its time.

But it’s not just the bakery that has remained consistent.  Some of the village’s old timers maintain that the spirit remains the same too. According to manager of Trash and Vaudeville, Jimmy Webb, the spirit of the area – rock ‘n’ roll – is still very much alive. And according to artist Dave Ortiz, “It’s still a neighborhood where there’s a freedom to be who you are,” and for him that means skating in Tompkins Square Park, just like he did back in 1988.

The good news is, therefore, that the East Village – despite any changes it may have undergone over the last four decades or so – remains a place that has upheld its spirit and where people can call home.

Krav Maga Comes to Tribeca

martial-artsShimmie Horn’s hotel in the Tribeca area, The Evelyn, is to be getting a new neighbor.  The 158 Franklin address – that until now has been home to the Steven Alan Home Shop – is to become the address for the first Krav Maga Institute in the district.

While Krav Maga has already had a presence in Tribeca (using space at Tribeca Health & Fitness and Church Street Boxing), it has never formally established its very own presence.

But this month all of that changed and by next month, the Krav Maga Institute will be offering a complete schedule to benefit all those in Tribeca.  Over the next few months this will further develop to offer Combat Cardio classes, yoga, and maybe even  Brazilian jiu jitsu and muy thai but all under the auspices of the Krav Maga Institute.  There will also be programs available for the youngsters: from 6 to 13 years of age, kids will be able to get a head start on their Krav Maga training.

The Krav Maga Institute is opening its first full-time space in Tribeca, downstairs at 158 Franklin, the building where Steven Alan Home Shop used to be. Up till now, KMI has been using fitness studios around the city—including Church Street Boxing and Tribeca Health & Fitness—on a part-time basis KMI will be offering soft-opening classes in April, shooting for a full schedule starting in May. By September it plans on being at capacity, with classes in the Combat Cardio program (fitness-based kickboxing), probably yoga, and possibly muy thai and Brazilian jiu jitsu. And there will be a program for kids age 6 to 13. When it’s fully open I’ll stop by for the full report.

Upper East Side Goes Organic

organicWho eats healthily in New York’s Upper East Side?  Which stores sell the most organic and nutritionally-dense food?  Where can one get a great meal in a restaurant that has health as its focus?

A study recently published attempted to answer some of these questions.  It was conducted by two researchers from the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, from NYU and a third from Clark University’s Department of Economics.  They found that there is a “high concentration of organic food offerings on either side of Central Park and in Morningside Heights,” but that as soon as you move over to Central Park (except for an area by the far west side of Morningside Heights), finding organic food is not so easy.

However, for those living in the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, the story is quite different.  And that might mean that residents in those areas end up eating healthier.  Indeed, according to one of the researchers on this project – Associate Professor of Food Studies at NYU’s Steinhardt School Carolyn Dimitri – the results “support the notion that consumers with greater access to organic food are more likely to buy organic food.”

For those interested in accessing more healthy options in the neighborhood, nutritionist Kristy Rao studied the area and compiled her findings into an article entitled ‘The 10 Healthiest Eats on New York’s Upper East Side.’