Tag Archives: Union Square

The Way We Shop

All around the country people are rushing to find the perfect holiday gifts for their friends and family; they are running through the aisles of Walmarts and department stores and shopping online at Amazon. Here in The Big Apple we have a better way to buy gifts. The way we shop? Craft fairs my darlings, craft fairs. Our fine city is a treasure trove of artists and artisans who can provide you with everything from scratch ‘n sniff holiday cards to one-of-a-kind jewelry, not to mention all the best munchies imaginable!

If you missed Craftacular last week I apologize; I should have given you a heads up. Luckily most of the vendors also sell in select stores and on Etsy so you still have a chance to pick up my favorites: beautiful purses by Shara Porter, heavenly bath products by Lee-lai and stunning dresses by Les Enfants Sauvages.

Purse by Shara Porter

Purse by Shara Porter

The Brooklyn Flea’s Gifted is still running so you can experience the madness of all those wonderful vendors in one place. My picks are scratch ‘n sniff holiday cards from Mélangerie Inc., fancy cards from Moontree Letterpress and snarky t-shirts from Paste.

Scratch n' Sniff Holiday Cards from Melangerie Inc.

Scratch n' Sniff Holiday Cards from Melangerie Inc.

This weekend you can give to charity while shopping for great gifts at Brooklyn Indie Market; indie designers donate 10-15% of sales to benefit Brooklyn Community Housing. With a hat from Rocks and Salt you’ll be ready for your next night out in hipsterville.

3rd Ward’s Handmade Holiday Craft Fair this Saturday is likely to be one of the biggest hits of the season. Even if you don’t find gifts you’ll get to enjoy live music from Raya Brass Band. On top of all the vendors and the music there will be free demos and workshops including:

Handmade Skincare, Wire Wrapping: Making Old Jewelery New, DIY Printing Methods, Heat Printing on Fabrics, How to Make your own Textiles with Textile Arts Center and more!

The holiday season is also the time for pop-up shops! New York Magazine has compiled an excellent list of the temporary shops that you’ll want to check out before they disappear! I am particularly excited about anything that has anything to do with Papabubble; their candy is truly “too pretty to eat” (Carnival- I know I’m a dork).

Candy by Papabubble

Candy by Papabubble

If you need to get your unique hand-made gifts on the run there are tent cities set up at a few major crossroads. The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park contain all manner of goodies, though they tend towards the pricier end of things. The Grand Central Holiday Fair is a madhouse but holds some hidden gems. The Columbus Circle Holiday Market offers the added bonus of an information booth with a helpful concierge to guide your shopping, plus since it’s located right on Central Park you can stroll through our very own Winter Wonderland post-shopping. Finally the Union Sq. Holiday Market offers a range of goodies, from Belgian liege waffles to bath products shaped like cupcakes!

If you’re truly at a loss for what to give, this weekend at 303 Grand you can have a psychic chose a wrapped mystery gift for you. I kid you not, this is New York kids.

Finally, mark your calendars- next weekend is the Brooklyn Lyceum Craft Market. If you go be sure to check out the jewelry by Kimlast, whoever you buy it for will appreciate its extra special flare.

Golden Reef Handcarved Pendant by Kimlast

Golden Reef Handcarved Pendant by Kimlast

Happy shopping! Stay tuned for news of upcoming events and follow me on twitter for the very latest!

May 29 – June 7 (extended forecast)

The next week leading up to the LSAT is going to be a bit hectic (read: traumatic) for me so I’m going to unload a whole bunch of upcoming events on you- brace for impact!

First, some additions for this weekend. Tonight is the first night of the Raspberry Brothers’ new show at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas! This month they will be making fun of the original Terminator! I have actually seen their Terminator routine at Union Hall and I can guarantee that you will have an excellent time!

terminators-having-sex

On Saturday the NYC Lab School presents TASTES: from the meatpacking district to chelsea. TASTES is…

an exciting new culinary festival that will benefit arts and enrichment programs for public school children at the NYC Lab School on 333 West 17th Street. Patrons will sample a broad array of specialty dishes from fine restaurants in The Meatpacking District and Chelsea.

Also on Saturday head to Union Square to experience the Silent Rave! The idea is that everyone gathers at a given place and time (the south end of Union Sq. at 6:30pm) and begins simultaneously dancing to whatever music is playing on their individual iPods/MP3 players. It’s something you have to experience to understand but believe me, it’s amazing! Check out this picture from a Silent Rave I attended last summer:

silent rave union sq 2008

An exhibit worth swooning over will be opening at the Open House Gallery this weekend; to celebrate 60 years of damsels in distress Harlequin is putting on a show of their cover art. Here is a prime example:

harlequin

Starting this weekend and continuing every weekend through Labor Day you can party all day on top of the Gansevoort Hotel. The Get Up Get Down party will involve brunch by the pool, lounging around, and dancing once the sun goes down; you may not be in St. Tropez but you will feel almost as chic.

rooftop

On Monday at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Félix Lajkó will perform with violist Antal Brasnyo as part of the River to River Festival:

Hungarian violinist Félix Lajkó fuses folk, jazz, Gypsy, and Jewish klezmer music to create a unique and energetic musical style. Known for his charismatic performances, Lajkó has collaborated with everyone from Japanese Butoh dancer Min Tanaka to the French rock band Noir Désir. Here he will perform with violist Antal Brasnyo as part of Extremely Hungary, a yearlong festival celebrating Hungarian arts and culture in New York and D.C. (extremelyhungary.org).

Monday is also the start of Sake Week! More than 100 restaurants will be offering menu pairings, cocktails and other “sakecentric” events.

 

Wednesday is the premier of the Ninth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival:

The Media That Matters Film Festival, one of the world’s first and largest online film festivals, kicks off its ninth year with an offline world premiere tonight. This year’s festival showcases twelve jury-selected shorts tackling a broad range of social issues, including climate change, urban planning, and immigration, with humor, humanity, and honesty.

On Thursday, in celebration of Internet Week, Thrillist is hosting a crazy bash at M2 Ultra Lounge. There will be free booze, trapeze artists, a dj battle and visuals by ValuJet Visuals (aka my talented friend W).

Thursday is also opening night for two great shows. First, the Gallery Players present The 12th Annual Black Box New Play Festival, which begins with ‘Father Mike,’ “a nostalgic comedy that takes place in 1955 in the home of a proud Catholic family.”

poster

Also on Thursday the Hudson Warehouse starts their summer season with Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

On Friday you can finish off Internet Week properly at the Webutante Ball! This classy coming out event is happening on the roof of the Empire Hotel; there will be free vodka cocktails from 6-7 and a ceremonial crowning of a Webutante King and Queen!

webutante ball flier

Next Friday and Saturday you can see the results of the New York 48 Hour Film Project:

The 48 Hour Film Project’s mission is to advance filmmaking and promote filmmakers. Through its festival/competition, the Project encourages filmmakers and would-be filmmakers to get out there and make movies. The tight deadline of 48 hours puts the focus squarely on the filmmakers—emphasizing creativity and teamwork skills. While the time limit places an unusual restriction on the filmmakers, it is also liberating by putting an emphasis on “doing” instead of “talking.”

Click here to see some of the films from previous years and from other locations around the world!

Next Saturday Gemini and Scorpio will be screening Serenity on a private rooftop:

A rooftop screening of Joss Whedon’s (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse) space-western “Serenity,” to benefit Equality Now, an international women’s rights advocacy group and Whedon’s favorite charity. Also featuring “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” Whedon’s musical-romp internet series created during the WGA writer’s strike. The screening is a prelude to a bigger CSTS shindig on June 28 hosted by The Browncoats of NYC, and to a series of semi-private rooftop “Firefly” screenings starting June 11, info on which will be available via the G&S mailing list. Look for The Browncoats at the event offering June 28 CSTS tickets and merch.

On Sunday my favorite fitness guru will be performing along with her dance company- Skin, at Symphony Space. Tina Thompson is a force of nature, as you may recall from my past ravings, and you won’t want to miss this performance!

skin dance

Finally, next weekend is also the start of two exciting theater festivals! The first is the Antidepressant Festival at the Brick Theater:

This summer’s fiesta is meant as a diversion at a time of plummeting stocks and rising unemployment. Nineteen productions are planned, including “Exit, Pursued by Bears,” about the fictional vice president of a Chicago sanitation union who leads a double life as Tickle Bear, the center of an anonymous online furry sex community; and “Schaden, Freude and You: A 3 Clown Seminar,” which provides the audience with a chance to laugh at others as a means of fighting depression. In this case the “others” are clowns, so they’re used to it. For more extroverted types, the Brick is including “Suspicious Package: Rx,” a sequel to last year’s “Suspicious Package,” an interactive theater piece that put audience members, each wearing a Zune media player, into the middle of a film-noir-type mystery. This year a trip to the future is in store.

The second is the Muslim Voices Festival, which will involve events at various locations:

The Asia Society, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the New York University Center for Dialogues will present a festival and conference that explore and celebrate the arts of the Muslim world. Offerings encompass visual arts, crafts, documentary film, standup comedy and theater, including “Richard III: An Arab Tragedy,” a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare’s play that examines the Arab world’s relationship with the West, from Sulayman Al-Bassam, a Kuwaiti director. The production, commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, will be presented at the BAM Harvey Theater.

Enjoy and stay tuned; I will try to post additional events as my schedule allows! Oh, and wish me luck!

Poetry, Delicious Eats, Orchids, Films, Burlesque and Chekhov

The last five days have been so full that I can hardly believe it has only been five days. I will chronicle my adventures and leave it to you to decide which you would like to try for yourselves.

On Wednesday I attended the InDigest Reading Series at Le Poisson Rouge, which I wrote about in an earlier post. I like the space for the most part and while the bartender was a bit clueless there was free absinthe, which was an excellent way to start the evening. Paul Dickinson read first; I found his list-style poem about the various kinds of poets (the poets who write in their cabins, the poets who write about flowers, etc.) amusing but it was the second reader, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, who the four of us found truly compelling. F and G were especially interested in him and on an impulse I bought them both copies of his book, ’19 Names For Our Band.’ The cover of the book is fantastic and probably was at least partially responsible for the impulse.

19 Names For Our Band by Jibade-Khalil Huffman

19 Names For Our Band by Jibade-Khalil Huffman

Our minds full of poetry G and I went over to Rhong Tiam to fill our stomachs with Thai chicken soup, which was fantastic.

On Thursday evening I treated myself to even more poetry at the St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series at Solas, which I also mentioned in an earlier post. Tom Raworth read first. His poetry wasn’t really to my taste, though to be fair I think it was probably more about the reading style. Peter Richards had a more dynamic style; he engaged me more and I was less likely to drift into my own thoughts. There was one line of Peter Richards’ I particularly liked:

There is no extra charge for this extra charge.

I apologize that I have no idea which poem it is from; if anyone does know please tell me and I will credit it properly. Post-poetry we had a drink at my favorite secret bar, Angel’s Share, before walking over to Polonia for authentic Polish food. There were pierogi and potato pancakes and Polish beer and finally slow painful walking to the train.

Friday, my sleep-deficit already at a dangerous level, I opted out of most more elaborate plans and limited myself to the aforementioned free whiskey tasting followed by dinner at one of my favorite Italian restaurants. The whiskey tasting was held at Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit .

Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit

Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit

We were tasting bourbon, vodka and whiskey made by the only New York State distiller- Tuthilltown Spirits. All of the products we tasted were single-ingredient products, which means that there’s no recipe per say; it’s all in the quality of the ingredients and the methods by which they’re processed. I enjoyed the whiskey, though generally it’s not my beverage of choice, (I’m a gin girl), and Kate1 liked the bourbon. However, I adored the tiny squat glass bottles.

Tuthilltown Whiskey

Tuthilltown Whiskey

Warmed by liquor we walked deep into the W. Village to one of the best Italian restaurants in the city- Malatesta. I first discovered this restaurant through an ex and while it was at first an emotional feat to go back there following the break-up (he met my parents there among other things), it was well worth it and I have now thoroughly reclaimed it for myself and my friends. Their cheese ravioli and gnocchi are most definitely the best I’ve ever tasted and where it lacks comfort (cramped, shaky wooden tables, etc.) it makes up for it in superb quality. Go. Eat. Be glad I never let men get between me and amazing restaurants.

Saturday was quite the day. It began with brunch at Jane, which I know I’ve told you in the past is one of my favorite brunch spots. It was delicious as always. I then meandered around Union Sq. for a bit and witnessed this classic Union Sq. tableau:

Classic Union Sq. Tableau

Classic Union Sq. Tableau

In the foreground we see a man with an alarming number of tattoos and a vintage-looking bike. In the background on the left is a man who is informing the general public about god, and the devil, and the likelihood that we will all go to hell (apparently quite high) and what hell will be like (apparently not pleasant). In the background on the right are a group of teenagers advertising free hugs. I post this only to lead up to the following statement- I LOVE NEW YORK.

On that note… I went up to Grand Central and G and I took the Metro North train to the New York Botanical Garden for the annual Orchid Show. The Orchid Show will be ongoing until April 12th and I would highly recommend that you head up there sometime before then; the conservatory is simply stunning.

Orchids

Conservatory

After strolling through the grounds and watching the sunset behind the conservatory, we took the train back into the city and dared to walk through Times Sq. in search of a secret bar I had recently heard tell of… It is called Bar Centrale and I suggest that you seek it out as well. The entrance is satisfyingly hidden and the bartender is snooty (he reminded me faintly of Truman Capote for some reason) and the jazz is soothing and the carafes of extra martini are exciting.

Once I was properly giggly we hurried downtown to a screening of short films being considered for the Downtown Short Film Festival; I wrote about the audience choice screenings in an earlier post. I found out about this series through one of my bosses, SW, and we were supposed to go together but she was called away. In this case I can’t say she missed anything too exciting, however, I look forward to seeing the actual series in April as I suspect only the better films will make it in. This screening consisted of the following films:

  • Tunnelrat: Soldiers from opposite sides trapped in a tunnel. They get out and then one ironically gets killed by his own side. Predictable and unpleasant to watch.
  • Der Pfandlaie: This involves a pawn shop and a dominatrix; there was a lot of wasted potential.
  • Reach: A tiny robot is given life but is confined by the length of his power cord; he dies seeking to reach a mysterious bird. Sad and beautiful. Maybe WallE has conditioned me to find robots adorable.
  • The Last Leaf: Illness, melodrama, survival, hope, sacrifice. Too much to contain in a not particularly well put together piece.
  • An Angel Stops By: The Angel of Death tells a porn director he must make his film into a biblical tale to avoid death. There is death. With a small twist.

All that rating made us hungry and we were lucky enough to find space at Persimmon, a marvelous Korean restaurant in the E. Village.

Persimmon

Persimmon

To finish up the day (yes- this is still Saturday, astounding as that may seem) I attended the aforementioned Jackson-themed burlesque show at Joe’s Pub- ‘Beat It Burlesque.’ I had a burlesque-virgin with me and I am pleased to say this was a perfect first show; Tigger did slightly disturbing things on stage, Anita Cookie was as bubbly as can be and GiGi La Femme was the hottest pussycat out there.

Today my grandmother and I saw the final performance of Uncle Vanya at the Classic Stage Company. If you missed it I highly recommend that you look into their upcoming productions. The theater is tiny and intimate and if this show is any indication this is a company worth watching. Maggie Gyllenhaal was just as superb as I expected her to be and I got an extra special thrill because Meryl Streep happened to be seeing the show as well (she bumped into my grandmother in the lobby but was very nice about it).

I am exhausted but I promise to post this week’s events as soon as possible!