12/14/16 7:31pm
Dyker Heights is the New York City capital of Christmas. Photo:

Dyker Heights is the New York City capital of Christmas.

The holiday season makes us do some pretty dumb things, like spending heaps of cash on crap that our loved ones don’t want or need, eating pannettone, and setting foot inside any NYC post office with the expectation of receiving service and a smile. But I’d argue that the time honored tradition of getting schnockered with colleagues at what feels like a never ending stream of “work holiday drinks” occasions is the worst/stupidest thing that I do with consistency at this time of year. Take last night, for example, when an innocent “team dinner” at a Mexican place in the East Village rapidly devolved into a situation where I was taking a cab home from 7B Horseshoe Bar at 2am, ON A TUESDAY. “Why, why, why would you do this?,” I’ve been asking myself all morning, as memories of various inappropriate things I said to coworkers in my margarita-induced fugue state come flooding back. Today, I feel like I’ve been run over by an Uber XL, I look like a Walking Dead extra, and I am staring down a Gcal of endless meetings one after the other, with no one to blame for any of it but myself! Hopefully you all are smarter with your time, but if not keep in mind that adding more structure to your week might prevent some bad decision making later.

This week, there’s tons to do all over the city, but let’s be honest, most of us will be frantically shopping for holiday gifts. Two great places to find unique presents and support indie artists are the Brooklyn Makers Market, which is at the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building from 11-7pm Saturday and Sunday, and the Renegade Craft Fair, which is at Industry City for the final weekend of its holiday run. You could also brave the polar vortex and check out the world-famous Dyker Lights with some friends (pro tip: head to Tanoreen in Bay Ridge afterwards for some truly incredible Middle Eastern food). Or you could check out one of the many other cool things that are happening during this Ideal Week, which we’ve listed below with links. Whatever you end up doing, stay warm and remember: friends don’t let friends get four hours of sleep on weeknights! See you next week! (more…)

12/08/16 8:48am
Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children's theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children’s theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Part of living in NYC means navigating the holidays precariously toeing the line between time honored traditions and tourist traps. You won’t find many true New Yorkers braving the cold and the crowds at the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. March up Fifth Avenue on a weekend looking for New Yorkers, and you will never find one. (They know to wait for the out-of-towners to go to sleep before they make the pilgrimage.) Any New Yorkers lining up for The Christmas Spectacular? Nope. Tea with Eloise at the Plaza? No way. Where are they all? Over the weekend, my 7-year-old son and I found them…they’re watching Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim.

Isaac Mizrahi is a National Treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Isaac Mizrahi is a national treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

For the past 10 years, Isaac Mizrahi, fashion designer, TV presenter, Project Runway judge, author and a master of quips has been narrating and (since 2013) directing, a production of the beloved fable. The Peter B. Lewis Theater at the Guggenheim is an intimate setting of light and ivory, like being encased in an oyster shell. Instead of the polished pearl of a show you might expect on Broadway, this has a bit more edge. The musicians stroll in slowly, and start warming up their instruments seemingly haphazardly while the audience finds their seats. We sat next to the string section behind the conductor. As new instruments started playing, my son and I swerved our heads around the room for an aural version of “I Spy.” On stage, a giant garbage can, chainlink fence, enormous tree and NYC skyline represented Central Park. An actress playing the bird perched in the tree, and then the wolf took a seat on the park bench to read the newspaper before the show started. (more…)

12/01/16 8:53am
Let the Holiday madness begin. Here's 12 way to keep sane and enjoy the month. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Let the holiday madness begin. Here are 12 way to keep sane and enjoy the month. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

December is finally here. The days of breathtaking performances, dazzling snowfalls, and holiday cheer fill the month with magic. Here are 12 ways to enjoy the winter wonderland of NYC with your family, before the deep freeze of January forces you to hibernate in your home with just the TV remote to warm you. From free events to expensive new holiday traditions, there’s holiday cheer for everyone on this kids calendar.

Receive the ultimate gift from BAX: a free kids theater class. Photo: BAX

Receive the ultimate gift from BAX: a free kids theater class. Photo: BAX

1. Learn: Enjoy the gift of a free class. Many children in the audience of the Nutcracker or Miracle on 34th Street wish they were the ones onstage. Capitalizing on that allure are theater classes, ballet tutors and singing sessions. But if your child is 8 or older, they can attend Youthworks at BAX, a FREE program for kids interested in developing their own play, dance or original song or poetry performance. A mandatory orientation is taking place Saturday, Dec. 3 from 3-4:30pm at BAX. Then there is a six week Sunday rehearsal schedule resulting in a fully staged production with lighting, sound design, costumes and props at the end of January. BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange 421 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope. For children 8 + up. FREE.


Start a new holiday tradition with live theater. Photo: Works & Process/ Guggenheim

 

2. Go: Start a new holiday tradition. There are so many holiday events in NYC that come with a cost: Long lines to visit Santa, crowds at Rockefeller Center, and sold out Lincoln Center matinees. Luckily, there are experiences that are every bit as special that don’t come with as many tourists. Starting Dec. 3, bring the kids to see Peter & The Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi at The Guggenheim. Although you can check back for our longer review on Dec. 5, it’s a safe bet to buy the tickets now. The schedule is as follows: Dec. 3, 4, 10, and 11 at 2:30pm and 4pm, and Dec. 9 at 5pm and 6:30pm.  Peter B. Lewis Theater, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York For ages 5 and up. $40, $35 Guggenheim members. For the littler ones who may not be able to sit through a long performance, The Swedish Marionette Theater in Central Park has the perfect solution. The Three Bears Holiday Bash is a wonderful experience without the headache of a high-priced ticket. We’ve reviewed their shows before, but this holiday-themed fairy tale performance incorporates stories of Hanukkah, The Night Before Christmas, and Kwanzaa, making it a perfect for all your festivities. Swedish Marionette Theater, Central Park, W. 79th and West Drive. Through Dec. 30. Tickets are $7/children and $10/adults.   (more…)

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12/18/15 9:54am
V Neuberg Antes Up

Illustration: Vinnie Neuberg

I got paid today, a lot of money for me, a great feeling. I walked through the holiday market at Union Square, wishing, hoping for anything. I ended up buying an abundance of weird and beautiful beeswax candles from the weird and beautiful honey people and some French lavender, because I believe it is calming.

I like to give money away, and I have my own completely sliding scale list of rules for it. I don’t care what you do with it. I like the honesty of giving money to people standing outside of liquor stores–I go to that liquor store, too.

Then I took the 6 to Canal Street so I could pay a stranger to touch my feet and make them work again without vocalizing grievances. The train was full, not packed, but certainly not empty, and there was definitely a smell in the air.

The first time I got on a bum train I was dazzled at my luck that the car was so empty that I could sit. It was empty for a reason. A homeless person smelled so badly that no one else, save one person, was in that car. I moved onto the next car. I deemed it The Bum Train, and talked about it with some friends, and they discussed their moments on bum trains. Recently there has been another bum train moment, one not completely polarizing, some people stayed on the train, using their scarves and coats to try to mask the smell.

I moved onto the next car again, because I do not want to smell that smell. In the world of what I can control, I can still switch trains, so that smell does not permeate me. But it does, each time, in a way. That is a person, a human being, and we are all fleeing him. And previous to him smelling that way we fled him before. This smell is the indication of a journey, a devolution of life, to reach that smell. It doesn’t happen overnight.

In most cases when you are on a bum train the person is asleep, or under a coat or the like. It’s easier to walk away from a pile of dirty clothes. I should know, I do it pretty much every morning of my life when I leave my bedroom. (more…)

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11/03/15 9:55am
A memorable tablescape will help guests forget the lacklauster food. Photo: Alexandra Ferguson

Liven up the dinner party banter with these cheeky linen placemats. Photo: Alexandra Ferguson

Although the weather has been mild, November is here and that means holiday parties are right around the corner. It’s always fun to entertain at home, but between overly ambitious recipes and the proclivity to start imbibing before dinner is out of the over, it can get tricky, quickly. We’ve all had that “There’s nothing to see here moment,” when smoke is billowing out of the kitchen, the fire alarm is urgently sounding, and your hostess smile is frozen onto your face, desperately urging your guests to relax and have a good time. No? That’s just me? Well, whether or not you’re prone to culinary mishaps, these glittery goods will make your next party extra festive.  (more…)

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