NYC Free Summer Show Guide

NYC in summer is the place to be. Whether you’re visiting from out-of-town or a local looking for something to do without too much of a commute, free theater and shows offer a unique, New York-themed experience that you’ll never forget! With the added benefits of fresh air, interesting people and of course the lack of expense, these shows are the perfect local activity.

Here’s a brief guide of free shows in the city:

  • Shakespeare in the Park. NY’s most prestigious free summer theater, with shows held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
  • New York Classical Theater. Offering a more interactive experience, these shows generally have the audience follow along for about 3 blocks.
  • Hudson Warehouse. A pay-what-you-can theater specializing in the classics and located at the Bernie Wohl Arts Center on the Upper West Side.
  • Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. An annual affair which will take place at the parking lot behind Clemento Soto on the Lower East Side.
  • Potomac Theater Project. Offers experimental workshops and other works in progress at Atlantic Stage 2.
  • Theater for the New City. This summer, the company is offering a political new musical called “Checks and Balances, or Bottoms Up!” throughout the city.

Cookies and Good Deeds Collide in New NYC Bakery

A tiny new bakery has opened on Wall Street, in a space barely larger than a closet. What’s even more interesting, though, is that this space is actually a significant step up for the Feed Your Soul Café, a boutique cookie shop which grew from infancy in a small studio apartment.

Fast forward 10 years and it’s now a popular online retailer for baked goods and cookie dough with a philanthropic twist: for each order that is placed, a freshly baked cookie is donated to The Coalition of the Homeless. These cookies play a significant role in their everyday milestones and special events like birthday parties.

Owner Mya Zoracki has said that while the brand has big dreams for the future, it will never lose sight of its primary goal: “to inspire and help everyone it can along the way.” The new Manhattan location is the first Feed Your Soul Cafe, and serves babkas, brownies, sticky buns and cookies.

 

Doing Something Different in Outdoor New York

Travel Guide SC shows us what kind of off-the-beaten path attractions are currently hot on the streets of New York City, in particular, the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. One example seen here is the Rhythmic Color mural, featured by NYC’s Department of Transportation Art Program.

Father’s Day in NYC

How did you celebrate Father’s Day last Sunday?  If you’re a dad did someone make a fuss of you and what about all those kids – young and old – did you recognize the amazing role your father has been playing in your life?

NYC certainly knew how to celebrate this most special day.  Featuring top steak restaurants such as Peter Luger (the beer-hall-style-eatery), Quality Meats (industrial theme park featuring meat-hook light fixtures, wooden butcher blocks, white tiles and exposed brick) and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse (offering thick, juicy and flavorful steaks), there was certainly no shortage of options on where to take Dad for the special day.

And then there are father-son/daughter bonding trips in the area too.  Just think about how much fun you could have had if you went camping at Hither Hills State Park (just 2.5 hours by car), Fahnestock State Park (1 ¼ hours by car) and more.

If you didn’t celebrate dad earlier this week, take him out now for an adventure at New Jersey’s Cape May, or New York’s Cold Spring or even Freeport, the latter of where you can bond on the Captain Lou Fleet, the way fathers and kids have traditionally done so – over a fishing rod.

So even if you missed out, remember, make Father’s Day every day for your awesome dad!

The Dead Come Alive at Tompkins Square Park

Well, the Grateful Dead that is anyway.  On June 1, 2017 – marking exactly 50 years ago to the day – the Grateful Dead Tribute Band (Ice Petal Flowers) brought along some speakers and decorated the area with tapestries hung from the fence. It was June 1, 1967 that marked the start of a relationship between NYC and The Grateful Dead.  They played their very first (free) show at Tompkins Square Park.

So at the beginning of this month the music from that time came alive again.  Passersby checked out what was happening and then just stuck around because the band was great.  Official NYC Grateful Dead Family DJ Matt Lilly said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the quality of the music; they knew what they were doing.  They were clearly true fans.

The event lasted around four hours and was thoroughly enjoyed by fans young and old, putting out “good vibes and great music.”

Where New Yorkers were on Memorial Day

Marked as a Federal Holiday since 1971, Memorial Day is historically a very somber occasion throughout America, commemorating the US servicemen and women who were killed.  New York is centrifugal to this so in this article we look at some of the ways in which the day was marked last week.

Perhaps the most quintessential of parades is the one that takes place annually at Bay Ride.  This year marked the Kings County’s 150th anniversary.  Marchers started their route at 11am from Third Avenue and 78th Street and made their way up Fourth Avenue.  They finished at John Paul Jones Park where a ceremony was held.  The goal of the parade is to “educate a diverse audience that includes Veteran groups, civic organizations, business leaders, educational institutions
and the general public on the importance of Memorial Day.”

Then there is the Queens Memorial Day parade.  Viewed as America’s largest parade for the day, it starts at 2pm from North Boulevard and Jayson Avenue (Little Neck).  Marchers make their way to The Divine Wisdom School parking lot.

Additional parades in New York included:

May 28

  1. the Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade (hosted by Forest Hills Kiwanis Club and Continental Post 1424)
  2. 33rd annual Memorial Day Parade in Maspeth (marking the USO’s 7th Anniversary)
  3. College Point (from 26th Avenue and College Point Boulevard, ending at MacNeil Park for a ceremony)

May 29

  1. Laurelton’s 28th annual Memorial Day Parade (starting at Francis Lewis and Merrick Boulevards, heading toward 225th Street and North Conduit Avenue for a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Triangle)
  2. Glendale/Ridgewood Memorial Day Parade (starting at the Myrtle and Cooper avenue intersections Plaza) marching to Glendale Memorial Triangle for a ceremony.
  3. Howard Beach Memorial Day Parade (from Colemans Square, stopping at the Vietnam War Memorial, the World War II Memorial at Assembly of God Church and St. Barnabas Church).
  4. Rosedale Memorial Day Parade (meeting at the corner of 243rd Street and Mayda Road with grand marshals Lee E. Blackmon, a retired sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps, and Samuel Elliott of the Rosedale Civic Association).
  5. Woodside/Sunnyside (at John Vincent Daniels Square, meeting at Roosevelt Avenue and 51st Street, hosted by the John V. Daniels VFW Post 2813).
  6. Whitestone Memorial Day Parade (sponsored by the Whitestone Veterans Memorial Association meeting at Whitestone Memorial Park).
  7. Possibly the country’s largest Memorial Day Parade is the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade (starting at Northern Boulevard and Jayson Avenue and ending at The Divine Wisdom school parking lot with grand marshal Terrance C. Holliday).

Taking a TriBeCan Trek

When staying at Shimmie Horn’s Cosmopolitan Hotel TriBeCa, why not make the most of some of the services offered there?  In conjunction with Streetwise New York Tours, Horn’s Triumph Hotel chain has put together a bunch of informative guided tours in various neighborhoods. As a hotel guest, you can enjoy these tours for free.

Scheduled every day except Monday, the tours all begin at one of the Triumph hotels.  Details are below:

Tuesday-10:00 a.m.
Hotel Edison – Times Square
Discover Art Deco New York, Times Square and Rockefeller Center.

Wednesday-11:00 a.m.
Hotel Bellaclaire – Upper West Side
Take a stroll through the best of the Upper West Side and Central Park, including Strawberry Fields and Bethesda Terrace.

Thursday-9:30 a.m.
Washington Jefferson Hotel – Hell’s Kitchen
Discover the hidden gems of Times Square, its Theater District and the neighboring Hell’s Kitchen

Friday-9:30 a.m.
Cosmopolitan Hotel – TriBeCa
Explore the art and fashion near the Financial District and new Freedom Tower.

Saturday-10:00 a.m.
The Evelyn – NoMad
Hotel Chandler – Flatiron
Shop the Italian market and outdoor Union Square Greenmarket in the Flatiron/NoMad District.

Sunday-10:30 a.m.
Iroquois New York – Midtown
Experience classic Midtown Manhattan at Bryant Park, Grand Central Station, and the New York Public Library.

Kids in New York City

With the summer fast approaching, what is on the calendars now for kids in the Big Apple?

At New York’s Central Park Zoo from May 13-27, the Drawing Center put on Saturday workshops engaging kids with all sorts of art materials to engage in a half hour science and drawing program.  Presented together with the current exhibition, ‘Exploratory Works: Drawings from the Department of Tropical Research Field Expeditions,’ Wildlife Theater Troupe artists guide participants on the program.

Kids can also go to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to enjoy an exhibition featuring Tattfoo Tan’s art.  In an interactive manner, kids are then able to gather up things needed for camping trips, put them in their backpacks, learn to tie knots and tell stories around a fake campfire.  As well, each Saturday different workshops are held, such as the Trail Blazers coming to help the youngsters engage in floral creations, enjoy nature through their senses and partake in an orienteering scavenger hunt. Then there is the map-reading journey leading to Brower Park where the children can get help pitching a tent.

And let’s not forget about all the regular attractions New York holds for kids, such as the Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Matsuri and the Astoria Park Pool to name but a few.

Oodles of Noodles

At least if you’re in the East Village.  Noodle eateries are all becoming increasingly popular these days in the region.  One example is Simone Tong’s Little Tong Noodle Shop at the East Village’s 177 1st Avenue.  Somewhat appropriately named (in the sense that Simone is, well, quite small) but does not represent the size of the servings, which are pretty large.  Using mixian for her dishes (which directly translated from the Chinese means rice threads, but are more commonly known as rice noodles) which have a springy texture and a little tang in taste due to fermentation.  They originally come from the Yunnan Province of China.  They are not seen all that much in America but that will likely change if Tong has anything to do with it.

So large is the noodle explosion in the area that when one eatery closes, another opens in its stead.  After Biang closed its doors at 157 Second Avenue, Jacob Ding took a detour in his career as a financier and use family recipes to open up a Guilin boiled rice noodle and dim sum parlor.  Responding to his wife’s wish that such a place existed, plans to open Yuan Noodle began to form.  And it seems like he has the backing for it, having been raised in Guilin (China) where rice noodles reign. At the restaurant, these will be served dry (unlike the traditional way of being served with soup), as well as classic dim sum dishes.

Then there is the Momofuku Noodle Bar from David Chang, featuring a slatted wood design and an antique credenza displaying the menu. Food options include Berkshire pork belly and deep-pink shredded shoulder as from the long-simmered stock, one can choose from healthier toppings such as chopped scallions, slivered snow peas and  chewy preserved bamboo shoots, as well as somewhat unique Greenmarket corn, briefly sautéed and still crunchy, topping.  Having been awarded the Best Pickle Plate (2006) and Best Pork Tamale (2010) New York Awards, this restaurant is most definitely holding its own in the New York noodle market.

Martin Meets Manhattan

Thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, New York-based artist Martin Roth came back with a new exhibit, entitled, I cultivated a piece of land in Midtown Manhattan nurtured by tweets.

Roth, born in Austria, has provided visitors a Zen sanctuary, enabling them to descend into the subterranean gallery and thereafter emerge into a simulated forest clearing.  He does this through a room that is made to feel like a forest with trees covering all the walls and seven tons of soil supporting 200+ lavender plants under fluorescent light.

But what makes it quite unique is the fact that its sources are none other than…Tweets. The way it works is the grow lights on top of the lavender plants escalate in conjunction with the tweets of powerful public opinion shapers.  While the statements are re-tweeted with greater frequency, the lights become brighter, turning the lavender plants into a kind of index of the political cultural climate.

Martin has definitely bought something quite manifest to Manhattan.