Stuff to Do

AllNY.com's look at things to do in NYC written by New Yorkers for New Yorkers and serious New York tourists.


Where to Celebrate Day of the Dead in New York City

Día de los Muertos is a celebration of life, actually. As strange as that seems with all of the imagery of skulls, Catrinas (skeleton women) and shrines (ofrendas), the rationale is a positive one: bring back the spirit of the beloved dead to comfort the living and share in the present.  The holiday manifests its significance with decorations of marigolds, candles, candy skulls, pan de Muertos (a special holiday bread) and the ever-present La Catrina. Costumes with elaborate Catrina makeup, parties, parades, and festive meals are all part of the holiday which kicks off at the end of October and runs into early November.

La Catrina by Meryl Pearlstein

In New York, you don’t have to be Latino or Mexican to participate in the celebration.

For two days, on October 26 and 27, the annual Day of the Dead – Día de Muertos celebration in New York City includes a variety of events and workshops set in the churchyard of St. Mark’s in-the-Bowery in the East Village. Visitors are invited to remember their own loved ones and bring copies of photographs, candles, and marigold flowers to adorn the church’s community altar. Workshops, dance, poetry and music are all part of the celebration.

La Catrina by Meryl Pearlstein

As might be expected in New York City, food plays a large role in the celebration of the holiday.

Vida Verde

Mexican Westside fave, Vida Verde holds a weeklong Day of the Dead celebration with a full range of holiday cocktails, programming and food from October 25-November 2. I especially like the aptly named Dessert for the Recently Departed (panna cotta) made with dragonfruit and chipotle raspberry sauce.

Andaz Tipsy ice cream Day of the Dead

Even ice cream gets a Día de los Muertos twist in New York.  In celebration of Día de los Muertos this year, the award-winning Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya has partnered with boozy creamery Tipsy Scoop in Brooklyn to create an exciting and exclusive mezcal-infused ice cream. Not even the dearly departed can resist this creation with a chocolate-cinnamon ice cream base infused with Montelobos Espadin Mezcal Joven and orange bitters.

Dos Caminos Day of the Dead Cocktail

Starting October 31 and continuing throughout the weekend, New York City’s four Dos Caminos restaurants host a Day of The Dead fiesta with special drinks, menu items and DJ music. Try the signature spiced calabaza and smoked bacon guacamole for a special kick – it’s deglazed with Don Julio blanco tequila – paired with a Dos Caminos Garden cocktail made with Don Julio and served in a sugar skull glass.

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“Caesar & Cleopatra” Takes the Throne at Theatre One

Fine acting, a rarely performed play, and a story that moves from period to present are all drawing cards for George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar & Cleopatra at Theatre One -Theatre Row.  With so many Broadway offerings at big-ticket prices and often-limited availability, this show is a dream: the price is right, the actors are in prime form, and the storyline is intriguing. And it’s from the vaults of theatrical history dating from 1898.

In the intimate Theatre One, actors enter from a myriad of directions – from on stage, from above stage, and from the back of house.  You’re surrounded in what is akin to 360 degree staging.

The story is a progression of the development of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, from a child (a kitten) to a true queen (a lioness) through the guidance of Caesar. If the story sounds familiar, it’s one of George Bernard Shaw’s favorites: the tutelage of an ingénue to transform her into a diva.  The recent restaging of My Fair Lady was that story; Shaw’s Pygmalion-My Fair Lady hints at what can be expected  in Caesar and Cleopatra.

Ftatateeta, Cleopatra’s nurse, is the first character onstage in a role that reminds one of Leading Player in Pippin. She explains what will transpire, she invites you the audience to participate, and she fills in the blanks while also acting her role.  “You will help me. You will all help me. We will all dream together,” she cajoles. And thus the show begins.

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg

Next come a mélange of Romans and Egyptians, with a story of supremacy, aid and ultimate learning. Humor is interjected in places with characters like Apollodorus the Sicilian milking his heritage for all it’s worth and Cleopatra’s brother Ptolemy, the rightful ruler of Alexandria, depicted as an Avenue Q-like puppet.

Produced by the Gingold Theatrical Group, Caesar & Cleopatra is a show that offers a peek into dominance, greed and power while also extolling the virtues of clemency and wisdom. The themes resonate today, without a doubt.  Director David Staller sums it up, “Caesar & Cleopatra reminds us of the vital importance of being an active part of our lives, of having the courage to make bold personal choices with the caveat that we take responsibility for those choices, and above all, to always leave our hearts open to discovery and to love.”

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg

Caesar & Cleopatra runs through October 12, Theatre One – Theatre Row, 410 West 42ndStreet.  Tickets are available at https://www.telecharge.com/Off-Broadway/Caesar-and-Cleopatra/Overview?AID=AFF000009900&cm_mmc=Playbill-_-affiliate-_-web-_-AFF00000990.

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Here’s A Delicious Way to Celebrate the End of Summer: Resy Presents Off Menu Week NY, In Partnership with American Express

New York City has its share of restaurant weeks throughout the year, but now there’s a new one that has me quite intrigued.  Resy’s Off Menu Week NY gives you an insidery glimpse into how chefs create their next superstar dish. From September 16-22  Resy and American Express® give you a privileged look at some of your favorite chefs at work. It’s a delicious and exciting way to celebrate the end of summer.

Many of my favorites have extended invitations to experience their inner workings like Wayan, the new French-Indonesian bistro in Nolita from Cédric Vongerichten (Jean-Georges’ son), to Estela, also in Nolita where Mediterranean-influenced plates are popular along with bar seating; Loring Place with its veggie-forward choices; sleek, theatrical Chinese Tuxedo on Doyers Street; and the fiery dishes from Danny Bowien’s Mission Chinese Food in both Chinatown and Bushwick.  Wine lovers will want to reserve at Aldo Sohm’s tony Wine Bar in Midtown West. Master sommelier Sohm’s wine prowess at Le Bernardin is legendary.

Wayan

Mission Chinese Food

Aldo Sohm Wine Bar

I’m intrigued by the chance to try these restaurants’ experimental concepts and off-menu dishes. As usual with most NYC foodie-centric events, seats are very limited, so I suggest jumping on your computer to book now.  Don’t forget to read the fine print regarding cancellations so you won’t get charged if you can’t go.

Here’s the list of participants — click on the name below to make your reservation:

Aldo Sohm Wine Bar • Bar Beau • Tetsu • Grand Army • Celestine • Air’s Champagne Parlor • Loring Place • Estela • Shuko • Cafe Altro Paradiso • Di an Di • Wayan • Charlie Palmer Steak • Aureole • Ferris • Frankies Spuntino at Franks Wine Bar • Wayla • Chefs Club • Mission Chinese Food Chinatown • Mission Chinese Food Bushwick • SUGARCANE raw bar grill • Hanoi House • Chinese Tuxedo • Momofuku Nishi • Fedora • Simon & The Whale • Perry St • Miznon North

https://blog.resy.com/2019/08/resy-off-menu-week-ny-guide/?utm_campaign=Off-Menu-Week-Guide-NY&utm_source=simon&utm_medium=email

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Keep the Summer Vibe with a Hamptons Getaway

You may have missed the summer’s premier foodie events in the Hamptons, Dan’s GrillHampton and Dan’s Taste of Two Forks tasting showcases, but there’s still much to sample as the summer winds down and fall sets in. For many, this is the perfect time for a weekend to the East End of New York’s Long Island.

Starting with Art and the Great Outdoors

Bridge Gardens Photo: Jeff Heatley

The Hamptons have perfected the art of the garden. And while most of the mansion have theirs hidden away behind their unfriendly privets, the Peconic Land Trust has created one that’s open to the public at any time. Bridge Gardens on Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton is the kind of oasis among the Hamptons scene that will make you rethink your plans, even on a sunny beach day. In this decidedly uncrowded setting of multiple flower and vegetable gardens you might feel that you’re in an English garden, one hidden and exclusively yours. In fact, you might have the gardens entirely to yourself, a rarity for New Yorkers. It’s a beautiful place to Zen out and ignore the Hamptons traffic.

Take Me Indoors, It’s Still Too Hot

The Parrish Art Museum

Museums also offer a respite from the heat, traffic and crowds. The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill is one of the country’s finest, with a collection of art from local artists. The permanent collection is enhanced by frequently featured exhibits. You’ll want to check out the colorful collection of watercolors painted by abstract artist Helen Frankenthaler during her summer in Provincetown is on display through October 27. A café and bookstore are welcoming and creative as well. In Southampton, the Southampton Art Center offers changing exhibits as well as other performing arts programming.

So You Must Be Hungry

Shinnecock Lobster Factory

Dining is one of the pleasures of the Hamptons.  Each town has its local favorites, some with outdoor dining.  For a quick lobster fix, the Shinnecock Lobster Factory in Southampton, Ed’s Lobster Bar in Sag Harbor, and Canal Café in Hampton Bays have the best lobster rolls around.  At each, you can choose to enjoy your sandwich outdoors or indoors.

Tutto Il Giorno

If you like Italian food, you can go family-style at La Parmigiana or the casual Paul’s Italian Restaurant in Southampton, where the heroes are large enough to be shared and pizzas by the slice include interesting versions such as Buffalo chicken. Or choose to go a bit more elegant at Tutto Il Giorno in Sag Harbor or Southampton or at Doppio la Spaggia in Sag Harbor and East Hampton, each serving up crudo, pasta, carpaccio and other Italian favorites with a special farm-fresh twist. Note: sit outside if you’re sensitive to noise. The North Fork has two Italian eateries worth traveling for: Grana in Jamesport is a rustic, inventive trattoria which plates whatever vegetables are freshest of the moment. Chef Marco Pellegrini of Caci has brought his Umbrian savvy to Southhold to a setting on a farmstead. Here, Chef has a kitchen entirely devoted to pasta making. His green basil tagliatelle is as close to Italian perfection as I’ve ever eaten. Wines, if not from Italy, are all from the North Fork and menus proudly list the local purveyors of the proteins and produce.

The Hampton Maid

For breakfast, two standouts are Hampton Bay’s The Hampton Maid, an inn with a restaurant that only serves breakfast; nearby Azao Cafe adds a bit of Latin American spice to the dishes at this homey restaurant. Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor is a popular choice for breakfast and lunch as well with Mexican-inflected dishes. Check their schedule as they serve dinner, too, on select evenings. And there are two new kids on the block for a morning feast. Hamptons Standard in Hampton Bays, is a sleek, inviting coffee bar, shop, restaurant, and outdoor dining area with gluten-free as well as vegan choices and fun distractions like an oversized Connect Four board for the kids. And, Silver Lining Diner, newly re-imagined in white and yellow tones and now open in Southampton, comes from the skilled folks at Bay Kitchen Bar and Restaurant in East Hampton.

Le Charlot

For a restaurant experience that’s more sophisticated, lunch at Sant Ambroeus, Le Charlot or Silver’s in Southampton is casually elegant with Italian, French, and American cuisines respectively. A true splurge and for the best water views, Le Bilboquet in Sag Harbor has cuisine that’s just as wonderful. Or, go the opposite super-casual route, at the new Union Burger Bar, adjacent to Union Cantina, also in Southampton.

T-Bar

Among the newest restaurants in the Hamptons, Calissa in Water Mill, Elaia Estiatorio in Bridgehampton and T-Bar in Southampton will keep you satisfied with their Mediterranean and American/steakhouse flavors, respectively. At New York City’s Hamptons T-Bar, the outdoor garden offers choice seating in a setting so lovely you’ll hope the warm weather lasts into November. Save these for a splurge, as the prices are as high as the quality. Book late for Calissa so you can dine to live music.

Wölffer Estate Vineyard

If you love wine, the Hamptons are New York’s answer to the West Coast. The North Fork has 43 vineyards, many of which offer daily tastings. Wölffer Estate Vineyard and Channing Daughters Winery on the South Fork offer two gorgeous settings where you can tour, taste, or enjoy an open-air yoga class.  Pick up a bottle of Wolffer’s acclaimed “Summer in a Bottle Rosé” at their Wine Stand if you’re short on time or plan to spend the afternoon at their vineyard and enjoy a charcuterie and wine lunch. Their newest chilled red from the finca in Mendoza is a blend of Torrontes and Malbec grapes. Wölffer also has two restaurants, Wölffer Kitchen in Sag Harbor and Amagansett, where you can sample their many varietals as well as enjoy their farm-to-table expertise.

The Maidstone Hotel

Don’t feel like driving? Have a taxi bring you to The Maidstone Hotel in East Hampton. The hotel offers a charming Scandinavian-influenced setting on the town’s historic mall. Here, you can spend the night, drink some fabulous wines and Aquavit, and enjoy the cozy hotel restaurant, all without worrying about joining the car parade on Montauk Highway. And where else but there could you enjoy Swedish meatballs next to a fireplace while in the Hamptons? You can bring your puppy, too, as they even have a doggie dining area.

Maidstone Gardens

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A Hot Theater Opening and Plays about to Disappear

Quick!  These are shows that you need to pay attention to:  one has just opened and is hotter than hot. Two others are closing soon or have limited runs. I can only encourage you to jump on your computer and book any or all of these as quickly as you can.

Just Opened and Hot, Hot, Hot

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is the Broadway extravaganza translation of Baz Luhrmann’s enormous film hit which starred Nicole Kidman as Satine.  With a playlist of 71 songs that extend into current music phenoms like Lady Gaga, Pink, Katy Perry as well as perennial faves like Elton John and the Rolling Stones, this show will have you paying attention as you play “name that tune” throughout. The set is gorgeous with the theater transformed into the Moulin Rouge that you’ll recognize from the movie.  As Satine, Karen Oliva wows as do Danny Burstein as Harold Zidler, and Aaron Tveit as the lovestruck playwright Christian. You’ll be covered with confetti before you leave.  Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, www.moulinrougemusical.com

Limited Run

Oklahoma! is the re-imagined Rodgers and Hammerstein favorite, done up in a way that’ll make you look twice at the classics.  The band is on stage, playing a countrified version of singalongs like “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” or “Surrey with the Fringe on the Top.” The costumes are contemporary, and there’s a daring use of light and dark. Plus you’ll be treated to an intermission refreshment of vegetarian chili and cornbread. Ado Annie is played by wheelchair-bound Ali Stroker in a role that won her a Tony award for best featured actress in a musical. For a special experience, try to score a seat at one of the floor tables – you’ll be right in the center of the action. The show closes in January so you have a little time, but not that much.  Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 West 50th Street, 212-239-6200, www.OklahomaBroadway.com.

Closing Soon

The Cher Show is to Broadway what Cher’s Farewell Tour is to Las Vegas – a tribute to one of the greatest music divas of our times. Spanning Cher’s five-decade (or longer) career, The Cher Show has three Chers, each portraying a span of her life. Babe is the young Cher, discovered by Sonny Bono.  Lady is the Cher of Sonny and Cher and the solo Cher. And Star, in a tour de force Tony-winning performance by Stephanie J. Block, is the mature Cher who continues to find and re-invent herself.  Cher fans will know every song, while fashionistas will marvel at the array of Bob Mackie costumes. I wish this one were playing longer, as I’d really love to see it again, and I’ve already seen it twice.  Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street, 877-250-2929, www.TheCherShowBroadway.com.

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Dan’s Taste of Two Forks Guarantees One Hot Evening in the Hamptons This Weekend

Get ready for the Hamptons’ much-anticipated foodie event, Dan’s Taste of Two Forks. This year marks the ninth year of the delicious event which is held at Fairview Farm at Mecox in Bridgehampton, New York on the shore of Mecox Bay.

On Saturday July 20, from 7:30-10pm (VIP entry at 6pm), chefs from more than 40 restaurants and winemakers from more than 15 vineyards in the Hamptons will come together to serve up some of the best food and wine offerings from the East End. Both North Fork and South Fork establishments are represented, feeding hungry (and thirsty) guests who also enjoy music under the direction of DJ Phresh. It’s a chance to try out the creations from restaurants you may not yet have visited as well as from your favorites. I’m especially excited for tastes from some of the Hamptons’ newest venues like T Bar Southampton and Anker (Greenport) and the new team from Claudio’s (Greenport).

Participating restaurants and food purveyors include Anker by Wolfgang Ban, Backyard Brine by Cori Anne and Randy Kopke, Calissa by Dominic Rice, Chocology Unlimited by Linda Johnson, Claudio’s by Franklin Becker, Peter Ambrose of Events by Peter Ambrose, Fairview Farm, First and South by Mynor Ortega, Grace & Grit by Adam Kaufer, Green Hill by Wolfgang Ban, Insatiable EATS Catering & Events by Marco Barrila, Joe & Liza’s Ice Cream by Sean O’Donnell, Kontiki by Cheo Avila, Main Road Biscuit by Marissa Drago, Mirabelle Restaurant by Guy Reuge, North Fork Chocolate Company by Steve Amaral, North Sea Tavern by Michael Basta, Page Restaurant by Cleon Clarke, Paola’s by Stefano Marracino, PORT Waterfront Bar & Grill by Bruce Miller, Saaz by Sameer Mohan, Salt & Loft, Scarpetta Beach by Jorge Espinoza, Shinnecock Lobster Factory by Marco Barrila, Shock Ice Cream by Elyse Richman, Showfish at Gurney’s Star Island by Jeremy Blutstein, Shuckers Lobster & Clam Bar by John Heaney, Smokin’ Wolf BBQ & More! by Arthur Wolf, Southampton Social Club by Scott Kampf, Spiro’s Restaurant & Lounge by Spiro Karachopan, T Bar Southampton by Tony Fortuna, The Clubhouse by Brian Schlitt, The Frisky Oyster by Robby Beaver, The Garden at Water Mill, The Halyard at Sound View Greenport by Stephan Bogardus, The Tackle Box by John Saladacara, Topping Rose House by Drew Hiatt and Union Cantina by Scott Kampf.

Vineyards include Borghese Vineyard and the Montauk Wine Company. Beer and spirits will also be flowing.

Borghese Vineyard

The evening begins at 6:30pm with a VIP reception at the Waterfront VIP Lounge and special treats. General admission starts at 7:30pm. A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit All For The East End (AFTEE) that showcases and provides support to the more than 1,000 charity organizations in the five East End towns. Fairview Farm at Mecox, 18 Horsemill Lane, Bridgehampton, New York. #tasteoftwoforks

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