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SummerStage Jubilee Offers a Virtual All-Star Musical and VIP Line-up – September 17 at 8pm

Don’t miss this one. Be sure to tune in Thursday, September 17 at 8pm for this finale to the SummerStage Concert Series.

The SummerStage Jubilee, a free benefit concert supporting CPF’s programs in parks, is an hour-long digital event via livestream. The line-up is amazing: Sting, Norah Jones, Trey Anastasio, Rufus Wainwright, Leslie Odom Jr., Rosanne Cash, Emily King and PJ Morton. The event highlights the various City Parks Foundation programs and will also showcase notable advocates for CPF’s work including sports icon and champion of equality Billie Jean King, television and radio host Ryan Seacrest, television host and musician Jimmy Fallon, musical artist H.E.R., comedian Lewis Black and performer and Late Show bandleader Paul Shaffer.

This digital benefit can be accessed via SummerStage Instagram, SummerStage YouTube, Facebook page as well as through Bowery Presents, Brooklyn Bowl, The Capitol Theatre, FANS.com, iHeart Media’s Q104.3, Live Nation, Live for Live Music, Relix, Time Out New York, and WFUV. New York City and tri-state area residents can watch encore presentations of SummerStage Jubilee on Saturday, September 19 at 7pm on WLNY-TV 10/55 and on Sunday, September 20 at 2pm. The gala can also be viewed nationally on demand on AXS TV for 30 days.

At a time when public programs have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City’s parks have remained open and park programs have been scheduled virtually. The 2020 SummerStage Jubilee Benefit Concert will help support these program and donations will also help ensure SummerStage, New York City’s largest free music festival, and SummerStage Anywhere, its virtual festival, will remain free and available to all.

In addition to the musical performances, a diverse group of celebrities, many of whom are New Yorkers, will share their stories about New York Cityand the City Parks Foundation. More information on this year’s SummerStage Jubilee can be found at http://summerstagejubilee.org/.

Fall Art Installations in New York City

After a long, hot summer, it’s refreshing to stroll around the city, particularly when the streets are dotted with exciting artwork, some permanent and some temporary. While museums are slowly opening, these exhibits will help you get your art fix.

Harlem presents a new monument celebrating multiple African kings. Titled The Boulevard of African Monarchs, the piece was designed by New York artist Kenseth Armstead and is located at 116th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. A three-dimensional piece standing 10’ x 10’ x 10’, it was unveiled in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Boulevard of African Monarchs

Celebrating women for the first time in Central Park, the new Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument honors three New York women: Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony on Literary Walk at the Southern end of the Mall. The monument was unveiled in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The three women are shown seated around a table with Susan B. Anthony holding a “Votes for Women” pamphlet, Stanton holding a pen and Truth in the midst of speaking.

Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument

Also honoring women, a preview of the IF/THEN She Can exhibit is located at the Central Park Zoo. Starting with six, the exhibit will ultimately have 122 3D printed statues of notable women scientists. The pop-up preview includes Kristine Inman (wildlife biologist), Rae Wynn-Grant (ecologist), Dorothy Tovar (microbiologist), Jess Champ (shark researcher), Earyn McGee (herpetologist), Kristen Lear (bat conservationist). The project is a collaboration between the Central Park Zoo and the IF/THEN organization.

IF/THEN She Can

In Between is a new concept of video art exhibition where continuous artwork is displayed for 15 seconds every two minutes on a large digital billboard in the heart of Times Square. Starting with artist Ben Hagari, the first video is part of his pandemic-inspired “About Face” video series. Filmed in his home in NYC, the image shows a character, constrained by limited expression and space, trying to navigate daily routines. As conceived by Hagari, the faceless protagonist reflects the concealed images of people today wearing masks as they go about their business.

Ben Hagari “About Face” video series

King Kong has met a worthy rival with the new reclining gorilla sculpture by Gillie and Marc Schattner. In partnership with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the artists hope to bring awareness about the diminishing population of gorillas in the world with their sculpture in Hudson Yards. King Nyani is based on the head of a silverback gorilla family and is the largest bronze gorilla statue in the world. Visitors are invited to sit in his hand, socially distanced of course. The sculpture sits in Bella Abzug Park.

King Nyani Photograph: Courtesy Gillie and Marc Schattner

NYC’s community gardens are fast becoming locations for some of the city’s most innovative and colorful art. As part of GreenThumb’s Art in the Gardens – Shed Murals project offering artists a means to display their art, the Flora_Interpretations mural by Rose and Mike DeSiano reflects the beauty of Manhattan’s Clinton Community Garden by two native New Yorkers with input from local residents.

Flora_Interpretations mural by Rose and Mike DeSiano

Also part of the GreenThumb’s Art in the Gardens – Shed Murals project, The Bronx shows off Vincent Parisot’s red, green and yellow wall painting of an agave americana plant, known as Athanatos in Greece, the home of the artist.  The name means without end, an allusion to longevity and to the love shared by the couples whose names and hearts are often inscribed on the leaves of the plant. Together, Athanatos for ever is in Jardin De Las Rosas.

A second mural in the Bronx, at the Jackson Forests Community Garden, Lady K Fever, Celebrations shows a group of people rejoicing over the creation of the garden with other images indicating planned garden features such as a pumpkin patch, a flowerbed and foliage displays.

Brooklyn has its fair share of murals in community gardens as well. Open to the public, Eden’s Community Garden is designed to educate neighborhood children about the benefits of growing your own food through gardening. The ArtisticAfro imagery on the shed shows a person holding a potted plant with a seedling inside supporting the garden’s theme of “Together, we will grow.”

Along the waterfront at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Reverberation is a new large-scale installation by Davina Semo made up of interactive bells. Visitors are encouraged to ring the bells, calling up the city’s maritime history when bells were a key form of communication among ships and sailors.

Reverberation by Davina Semo

Queens has one of the city’s most intriguing art pieces, located at Beach 98 St. at Rockaway Boardwalk. A fascinating Corten steel sculpture standing 35 feet tall, Mother Earth by Kris Perry reflects architectural elements from temples, mosques, churches and Classical Greek buildings. Visitors can stand in the central space of the sculpture and look upward and outward in a moment of contemplation.

Mother Earth by Kris Perry Photo: Angus Mordant

Designed to reflect our changing times, the animated, augmented reality drawing Liberty Bell is being presented in six cities simultaneously, New York, Boston, Charleston, Philadelphia, Selma and Washington DC.  New York’s setting is Beach 108 St. at Rockaway Boardwalk and the Rockaway Ferry Landing. “Liberty Bell” was inspired by Philadelphia’s actual, cracked Liberty Bell and is a soundscape in 360 degrees that sways to the sounds of bells tolling in changing tones and rhythms. The full experience uses Baker Cahill’s free 4th Wall app with the viewer’s smartphone or tablet.

Liberty Bell

Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City is a favorite for cutting-edge outdoor art. Another timely tribute to today’s world, the art park’s MONUMENTS NOW exhibition seeks to address the role of monuments in society and commemorates underrepresented populations, cultures and histories. The exhibit evolves in three phases. Opening with commissions for new monuments by Jeffrey Gibson, Paul Ramírez Jonas, and Xaviera Simmons, the next two parts continue into the fall and winter with sculptures by additional artists as well as high school students.

MONUMENTS NOW

A timely visual nod to the country’s immigrant communities, The Immigrant Journey Past Meets Present in Staten Island also pays homage to New York Harbor. The mural and fence installation are located in Arrochar Playground. Artist Lina Montoya worked together with Sundog Theatre at the adjacent public school focusing on Ellis Island history and cultural immigration to create the yellow and blue design which features waves, mountains and stars.

Lina Montoya The Immigrant Journey Past Meets Present

Countdown to the End of Summer – New York City Beaches Are Still Open

With the 2020 beach season almost over, time is running out to show off your post-quarantine bathing suit and to come together (apart) for some beach social distancing. NYC beaches are still officially open with lifeguards on duty from 10am-6pm. Concessions stands may be closed so you might have to bring your own picnics this time around. Please click on the website for each beach to determine rules, openings and closings. Note, however, that beaches can be visited any time of the year but swimming is prohibited when lifeguards are not present due to the possibility of riptides and strong waves. Subway and bus transportation makes having a car unnecessary, although parking lots are provided. Check the relevant subway and bus lines listed beneath each beach to determine current schedules and any relevant changes.

Coney Island Beach

Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn

For a distinctive beach experience, Coney Island is still New York City’s beach of choice. The beach is three miles long with courts for basketball, handball and beach volleyball as well as multiple playgrounds. There’s also plenty of non-beach fun for those who get antsy sitting on the sand. You’ll likely have to wait until next year to get your thrills on the Cyclone rollercoaster and amusements at Luna Park or watch the quirky Mermaid Parade, but the fishing pier is open along with the Boardwalk. The Coney Island Boardwalk has a variety of food options for a perfect takeout picnic, but beach-goers swear by Nathan’s Famous hot dogs for a delicious, cheap lunch. Stay tuned for the beach’s acclaimed puppet shows coming up in September and October. Puppets Come Home! is a series designed to celebrate Coney Island’s 150-year legacy of puppetry and provide a platform for contemporary cutting-edge puppeteers.

You can keep current with the upcoming Coney Island events at http://www.coneyisland.com/. Free on-street parking is available.  For more beach info, and updates to bus and subway service, visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/coneyisland.

BUS: B36, B64, B68, B74, B82, X28, X29, X38.

SUBWAY: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue; F, Q to West 8th Street-NY Aquarium; Q to Ocean Parkway.

Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn

Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn

For a relaxing afternoon of sun, surf and beach volleyball, go to Manhattan Beach on the southern tip of Brooklyn. It’s a smaller version of Brighton Beach and less crowded than Coney Island with fewer visitors. Nearby Manhattan Beach Park also has two baseball diamonds as well as handball, basketball, tennis and volleyball areas. Concession stands offer reasonable meal choices, and parking is available at Exit 8 off of Belt Parkway. For more information, visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/manhattanbeachpark.

BUS: B1 from Brighton Beach

SUBWAY: Take Q Train to Sheepshead Bay Road. B49 to Cheapside to Oriental and Hastings Street.

Rockaway Beach, Queens

Rockaway Beach, Queens

Rockaway Beach is an ideal outdoorsy retreat for both families and individuals. Its 10-mile long boardwalk is perfect for an afternoon stroll, and kids will enjoy the area’s seven playgrounds. Teens and adults can skate or play volleyball. The beach is the only one near NYC to allow surfing: go to the designated zones between 67-69 streets and between 87-92 Streets (visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/beaches for more information about surf beaches). Rockaway Beach has also become a testament to New York’s resilience and a model for sustainable rebuilding following the extreme damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. The beach offers free street parking, as well as free parking lots at B. 11th-B. 15th St. and B. 95th St. For further information, visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/rockawaybeach.

BUS: Q22 from bus terminal on Archer Avenue.

SUBWAY: A to Broad Channel then shuttle train.

Orchard Beach, the Bronx

Orchard Beach, the Bronx

Located at the end of a long, winding path in an area with lush vegetation, Orchard Beach is harder to get to, meaning that it tends to be less crowded than other New York choices although it is very popular among local residents. The Bronx’s sole public beach, Orchard Beach was proclaimed “The Riviera of New York” when it was created in the 1930s. The 115-acre, 1.1-mile-long beach has a hexagonal-block promenade, a central pavilion, snack bars, food and souvenir carts, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, a large parking lot, and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball. This summer’s Tribeca Drive-in Film Festival at Orchard Beach was a huge hit – we hope it will continue next year as well.

Parking is available. Visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/vt_pelham_bay_park/vt_pelham_08.html for more information.

BUS: Bx12, Bx29, Bx5, Bx52, and Westchester Line number 45 serve the park. During the summer, take Bx5 and Bx12 to Orchard Beach. During the winter, take the Bx29 to the City Island Circle and walk to the beach.

SUBWAY: Take the 6 to Pelham Bay Park. Connect to bus (see above).

Wolfe’s Pond Beach, Staten Island

Wolfe’s Pond Beach, Staten Island

Wolfe’s Pond Beach is an oasis far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city that the only trace of Manhattan is a distant view. Adjacent to Wolfe’s Pond Park, the manicured beach offers several fun attractions for the whole family. Two tennis courts, a roller hockey rink, basketball courts and a playground will keep the kids busy all day long. Wolfe’s Pond Beach also has dog-friendly amenities, including an enclosed dog-only area. If you’ve had enough beach time, Wolfe’s Pond Park is also a plant and wildlife preserve with several trails running through the beach and park. There are BBQ areas as well as a free parking lot on-site. Visit https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/wolfes-pond-park for additional information.

BUS: #78 to Tottenville. Get off at Cornelia and Highland Blvd, walk up Cornelia. SUBWAY: Take Staten Island Transit to Huguenot Avenue, then walk toward Highland Boulevard.

Staying Fit Virtually while Making a Difference

I woke up this morning and forgot what month it was. I had to ask Siri what day is was, as I usually do, but this time I also had to ask her what the date was. As each day blurs into the next, it’s the shimmers of light that make a difference. Like when Siri’s response causes the screen on my sleeping iPhone to brighten, or when I hear the birds in the morning now that the sounds of traffic or planes have pretty much disappeared.

And it’s the efforts of people that add to the glow. People who are going above and beyond to help others in so many ways during our very confusing present.

Dennis Hunter and Adrian Molina of Warrior Flow

One such person is someone that I’ve known for 12 years. A friend and instructor who I met at a Manhattan gym when I was in the midst of another pivot — a time when I had to move out of my apartment — Adrian Molina was a newly minted instructor at Equinox with an exciting form of yoga that he had named Warrior Flow. Warrior Flow yoga led by Adrian in his calming yet motivating manner helped me survive some crazy months of uprooting and was the beginning of a friendship that has survived my move and his relocation from New York to Miami.

Adrian Molina

As Adrian evolved his career, he also found new ways to give back to the communities where he lived, with one such endeavor being the Warrior Flow Foundation. Through the Foundation, Adrian and his colleagues are able to take their yoga, stress management and mindfulness techniques to some of the populations who need it most including those on the front lines of crises and those without resources. Initially, the Warrior Flow Foundation reached out to homeless shelters, women suffering from abuse, and prisons in Miami. With the severe strain on first responders and medical workers at present, the program has expanded to police, fire fighters, EMS workers, doctors and nurses. The Warrior Flow Foundation continues to develop to reach out to new communities with a goal of making a difference and helping. Future plans include outreach to other cities in need as the program develops.

Warrior Flow Foundation in Miami

With this in mind, Adrian curated a weekly program of donation-based online classes for those of us confined to our homes and unable to work out, practice yoga, meditate or even socialize since the shelter-in-place regulations went into effect. In so doing, he has helped people like me stay centered and connected while raising money so needed to support those most stressed around us.

Warrior Flow in Tuscany

You can join the online Warrior Flow community by subscribing on a monthly or annual basis to Warrior Flow TV for unlimited online classes, plus a daily roster of live programs which are archived for viewing at any time. The line-up is impressive, taught by some of the country’s most accomplished instructors, many of whom have worked with Adrian during his tenure at Equinox. A portion of the proceeds goes towards the Warrior Flow Foundation. As a bonus, The Foundation’s newsletter not only includes the full schedule of classes but also adds motivational as well as introspective thoughts, interviews and readings, all very welcome as we try to make sense of the present .

Adrian Molina

The light from this group has helped me stay grounded during the past tumultuous months. Unlike other yoga practices that you might be familiar with, Adrian’s yoga classes are a refreshing, distinctive breath of community punctuated by interactive chat from members around the world. But this is still serious stuff: Adrian’s classes will give you quite a workout and will leave you sweaty and serene. So will the other classes throughout the day. Beyond yoga, I’ve also powered through Abs, Cardio Sculpt, boot camp, barre and Pilates classes, with an end-of-day reward of Dennis Hunter’s soothing and calming sound bath.

Arthur Murray NYC Dance Marathon

I’ve also kept my sanity by adding in my favorite form of cardio: dance. Arthur Murray NYC has a daily Dance Along @arthurmurraynyc on Instagram Live that has refreshed my ballroom experience from years past and brought it into the present with current music and steps. They even have a dance workout session that riffs on a theme such as the 70s or 80s, appropriate music and attire included. All classes are free, too.

Arthur Murray NYC IG Live Class

Keeping us entertained and connected, Arthur Murray NYC hosted an entertaining showcase of students performing along with the pros — you can view it on their YouTube channel. The dance school’s first 24-hour dance marathon raised money for two worthy organizations, Feed Our Superheroes and the Nurses House Campaign with non-stop instruction, films, discussions, interviews and more, all related to dance. I was captivated by the professionalism of the dancers, the sophistication of the video techniques, and the knowledge imparted. And this super community-uniting effort raised more than $6500.

Karma Yoga's Jessica Gershman

After all this working out and actual and vicarious dance, I’m grateful to have someone qualified to put me back together again. Jessica Gershman, who leads yoga and therapeutic classes online with Karma Yoga, offers a weekly myofascial release class. WFH might be productive but it’s definitely hard on the body when you don’t have the best ergonomic set-up. By helping yourself heal, you’re also giving back: Jessica selects organizations in need and donates all proceeds from designated classes to organizations such as Front Line Foods which supports local restaurants helping to feed frontline healthcare workers, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Lori McAlister of LoriYoga

Another yogini who I’ve known for many years from her classes at New York Yoga, Lori McAlister of LoriYoga, has channeled her passion into support for the BLM movement as well via the Black to the Future Action Fund. Lori’s classes are a soothing and invigorating mix of vinyasa yoga styles in a methodology she calls Sequencology.

While there are many free Zoom classes and IG Live classes offered online, as well as subscription-based and fee-based classes, it’s the ones that go beyond to help those in need that resonate with me. And they’re the ones that I encourage you to support.

For more information:

Warrior Flow, www.warriorflowfoundation.org, www.warriorflow.tv

Karma Yoga,  http://karmayogaindy.com/

LoriYoga, https://loriyoga.com/

Arthur Murray NYC, https://nycarthurmurray.com /

Real New York City Foods

There’s nowhere like New York City when it comes to dining options, fast food to fine dining and everything in-between. What makes the city so appealing, however, is how many of these choices are true New York creations, with some pedigreed from the end of the 19th century. These are the foods you shouldn’t miss during a trip to the city with some available for shipment anywhere in the US. Most are presently offering takeout and delivery as well. Call to verify hours and availability.

Katz’s Delicatessen

Often, visitors crave dishes made famous in iconic New York City movies and TV shows. “I’ll have what she’s having,” trills the woman sitting next to Meg Ryan at Katz’s Delicatessen in “When Harry Met Sally.” Everyone’s familiar with that scene, but do they know what to eat? Absolutely not what Meg was eating in the movie, a turkey sandwich. What gets my vote is the oversized hot pastrami sandwich, served on rye bread, perhaps with a little mustard or even Russian dressing. Have a side of pickles with it for the full experience. Don’t love the smoky, peppery hot pastrami? The corned beef is equally ambrosial, and both hearken back to Katz’s opening in 1888. Free shipping nationwide. 205 East Houston Street at Ludlow St., Manhattan, 1.212.254.2246. https://katzsdelicatessen.com/

Junior’s on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn

Another deli with a specialty worth seeking out is Junior’s on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. While Junior’s has locations in Manhattan, it’s the Brooklyn one that causes me to drool. The must-order here is a piece of their phenomenal cheesecake. Junior’s New York style is rich and creamy, made with cream cheese rather than ricotta like the Italian version. Order the strawberry cheesecake with glazed whole strawberries on top. You’ll love this so much, you’ll want to have a whole cake shipped home via Goldbelly. 386 Flatbush Ave. Extension, Downtown Brooklyn, btw DeKalb Ave. and Fleet St., 718.852.5257.

Zabar’s

Delis and their offshoot cafes seem to have a hold on the city. Note Zabar’s on the Upper West Side. A food mecca for anyone who visits New York City, Zabar’s is the king when it comes to what we call “appetizing.” You could start with a tasting at their smoked fish counter, sampling Scotch cured salmon or a piece of smoked whitefish, and then finish with one of their rugelach, a sweet dessert that’s a pastry pinwheel encircling a chocolate or cinnamon center. If you want to use your credit card, be sure not to mix up the checkout lines as Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks did in “You’ve Got Mail.” Zabar’s Café next door gives you a chance to enjoy a bagel with nova and a schmear (of cream cheese) in a sitdown setting. 2245 Broadway btw W. 80th and W. 81st sts, Manhattan, 212.787.2000. Nationwide shipping. https://www.zabars.com/

H & H Bagels

While we’re on the topic of bagels, bagels are a New York City staple and the best in the world are found in the Big Apple. True New York bagels have a crisp outside and chewy inside. Eat them plain or as a sandwich – they’re the perfect on-the-go carb loader. Many varieties are available including some vegan ones, perfect with a vegan tofu spread. H&H has been supplying the city with these gems for nearly 50 years. Homesick New Yorkers avail themselves of their overnight shipping, or you can visit their storefront and choose from 19 varieties of bagels that have just been boiled and baked on burlap-covered boards. Don’t trust any impostors! And, remember, a great bagel doesn’t need to be toasted. 1551 2nd Ave., btw E. 80th and E. 81st sts, Manhattan, 212.734.7441. Nationwide shipping: https://www.hhbagels.nyc/

John’s Pizzeria

Discussion is ongoing among city foodies as to where to get the truest, purest pizza. In my opinion, the prize goes to John’s Pizzeria of Bleecker Street. Baked in a coal-fired brick oven as has been done for 75 years, John’s perfect thin-crust tomato sauce and mozzarella pizza can be further enhanced with toppings like fresh garlic, sausage and basil. No slices. 278 Bleecker St., btw Morton and Jones sts, Manhattan, 212.243.1680. http://www.johnsbrickovenpizza.com/

Nathan’s

Similarly, hot dog mavens debate the merits of Nathan’s original stand in Coney Island (a “Seinfeld” favorite), Gray’s Papaya or Papaya King. Each claims to have hot dogs as good as filet mignon. I’ll let you do the comparison. (In actuality, the first hot dog introduced to Coney Island was Feltman’s in 1867, now found in a variety of kiosks and grocery stores throughout the city. Order them via FeltmansofConeyIsland.com). Dress these all-beef dogs with sauerkraut, cooked tomato-based onions, and mustard. Pair them with the curious papaya drink offered, and you have a quick meal or snack.  Nathan’s, 1310 Surf Ave., btw Stillwell Ave. and Schweikerts Walk, Coney Island, Brooklyn, 718.333.2202; Gray’s Papaya, 2090 Broadway, btw 71st and 72nd sts, Manhattan, 212.799.0243; Papaya King, 179 E. 86th St., at Third Ave., Manhattan, 212.212.369.0648. Nationwide shipping for Gray’s Papaya and Papaya King via Goldbelly https://www.goldbelly.com. Nathan’s hot dogs are available is grocery stores or via Amazon.com.

Delmonico's

But perhaps you’d like a more serious meal before you have a snack or dessert? Consider a visit downtown to one of New York’s most iconic restaurants, Delmonico’s, where dishes like Baked Alaska and Lobster Newberg were invented. Lobster Newberg, dating back to 1876, is shellfish set in a rich sauce of cream, sherry, cognac and pepper. You could sample the signature Delmonico ribeye steak here as well, or head to Brooklyn to another of the city’s iconic restaurants, Peter Luger, for their buttery sliced Porterhouse steak. Sometimes gruff, always crowded and consistently delicious, Peter Luger’s is the real deal, founded in 1887. Be advised that credit cards are not always accepted.

Waldorf Salad

Vegetarians have something to cheer about as well: the Waldorf Salad, created for a private party at the venerable Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue in the 1890s, mixes candied walnuts, apples, and greens with a delightfully light yogurt and crème fraiche dressing. Although the hotel is currently closed for renovations and will likely morph into more of a residence space than a hotel, you can make their classic recipe at home.

Grand Central Oyster Bar

I also suggest a visit to the 101-year-old Grand Central Oyster Bar, located down the ramp in the beautiful Beaux-Arts Grand Central Terminal. Walk to the bar area to the right, where their special oyster pan roast is prepared before you in original steam kettles. A combination of butter, cream, sweet chili sauce and oysters in a soupy concoction, this makes for an indulgent lunch or dinner that pairs beautifully with a Bloody Mary or local brew. Delmonico’s, 56 Beaver St. at South William St., 212.509.1144; Peter Luger, 178 Broadway btw Diggs and Bedford aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718.387.7400; Grand Central Oyster Bar, 89 E 42nd St., btw Park and Vanderbilt aves, Manhattan, 212.490.6650.

King Cole Bar and Salon

Although the Bloody at the Oyster Bar is a worthy selection, you should really pay homage to the “temple” where the cocktail was perfected, the King Cole Bar and Salon at the St. Regis Hotel. Once named the Red Snapper, the Bloody Mary was created 80 years ago by bartender Fernand Petiot and the original recipe of vodka, tomato juice, celery salt, pepper, lemon and Worcestershire Sauce is still served. While you’re there, take in the beauty of the mural that holds a secret only the bartenders can disclose. 2 E. 55th St., btw Madison and Fifth aves, Manhattan, 212.339.6857.

Sigmund’s Pretzels

Two other favorite libations in the Big Apple are the light and dark ales found at McSorley’s Old Ale House, with a heritage dating back to 1854. Revelers order saltines with Cheddar cheese, onions and mustard to accompany. 15 E. 7th Street, btw 2nd and 3rd aves, Manhattan, 212.473.9148. But I prefer to drink my brews in the company of another of the city’s iconic foods, the pretzel. Since you can’t imbibe outdoors in New York City unless at a sidewalk café with a liquor license (and they rarely serve pretzels), grabbing a pretzel from one of the many food carts isn’t a good option for a glam night on the town. However, Sigmund’s Pretzels in Alphabet City has you covered for this favorite. They ship their hand-rolled German pretzels nationwide. Following a recipe dating back more than a century but modernized with six flavor choices, the soft pretzels give you a nice reason to throw back a couple of cold ones as well. Be sure to dip them in some whole grain mustard to enhance their doughy center. 29 Avenue B at E. 3rd Street, Manhattan, 646.410.0333. https://sigmundnyc.com/

Yonah Schimmel’s

As long as you’re downtown, you should really stop by Yonah Schimmel’s for another of New York’s best, the knish. Baked fresh on premises with a variety of fillings, the knish is a potato- or sweet cheese-based pastry-like finger snack. Yonah Schimmel’s has been doling them out to hungry customers for more than 110 years. Ask for a Dr. Brown’s Cel-ray soda to wash them down. Nationwide shipping via Goldbelly East Houston St., btw Forsyth and Eldridge sts, Manhattan, 212.477.2858.

Eisenberg’s

If your sweet tooth has started to rear its fangs, New York is long on treats it can call its own. The 90-years young Eisenberg’s on Lower Fifth Avenue is a luncheonette oozing history and tradition. Try one of their refreshing egg creams made with neither cream nor egg. Choose from chocolate or vanilla – it’s a frothy drink made with Fox’s U-Bet syrup, icy cold milk and fountain seltzer, very much a New York original. 174 Fifth Ave., btw W. 22nd and W. 23rd sts, Manhattan, 212.675.5096.

Benfaremo Lemon Ice King of Corona

Many of you might remember the Italian ices in the opening credits from the TV show, “King of Queens.” Tucked behind Citi Field, Benfaremo Lemon Ice King of Corona scoops out 40 flavors of the slushy dessert that’s both portable and refreshing.  52-96 108th St., btw 52nd and 53rd aves, Corona, Queens, 718.699.5133.

William Greenberg Desserts

At the city’s bakeries, you’ll find a cookie distinctively New York that was made famous in “Seinfeld” when the bobka ran out. Head to William Greenberg Desserts on the Upper East Side for a black & white, a cookie-cake combo that’s made from vanilla cake dough and frosted on one half with soft vanilla fondant and the other with chocolate fondant. For the kids, there are even mini versions. Online shipping is available. https://wmgreenbergdesserts.com/ 1100 Madison Ave., btw E. 83rd and E. 84th sts, Manhattan, 212.861.1340.

Celebrate Stay-at-Home Cinco de Mayo in Style

Cinco de Mayo is an interesting holiday. While it commemorates a battle that was fought in Mexico, Mexico doesn’t celebrate it. And what’s even more perplexing is that outside of Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is often confused with Mexican Independence Day, which is actually on September 16. For those of you interested in the origins of this crazy fiesta day, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Batalla de Puebla fought on May 5, 1862 in which the small town of Puebla defeated invading French troops.

Courtesy: Morton Beebe/CORBIS

So, why is Cinco de Mayo such a big deal north of the border? The origins of its celebration began in California in 1863 as a symbol of solidarity with Mexico against France. And, Americans being Americans, we love having a reason to celebrate.

Since we can’t join our friends at a Mexican restaurant or share a toast at our neighborhood bar this year, we’ll just have to bring the party home.

Spice up Your Space and Your Energy

Prep your home with the red, white and green colors of the Mexican flag using bandanas, towels, streamers or anything you might have on hand. Involve the kids in making a colorful piñata that you can fill with candy or small toys. If you have some balloons, any colors will work!

Set the mood with an all-day Instagram fiesta put on by Solmar Hotels & Resorts @Solmarhotelsandresorts. Through a series of IG stories dubbed “An Ode to the Avocado,” you’ll get the intel for making avocado-inspired facials and typical Mexican recipes and cocktails where avocados are king.

Add an educational dimension to the fiesta with a free online cooking class. TakeLessons TV will show you how to cook a lime chicken taco bowl with sweet corn and avocado salsa. You’ll also mix up a pineapple-mint agua fresca drink.

You’ll need a soundtrack for the evening, and Spotify has some great Cinco de Mayo playlists. I especially like the one put together by sassyshannah — it will keep you rocking into the wee hours —  as well as listanauta’s compilation of traditional Mexican tunes.

Visit Your Favorite Bar Virtually or Bring a Restaurant Home and Support the Hospitality Industry

If a bar date on Cinco de Mayo is more your speed, Virtual Cheers invites you to create your “night in” while also supporting the hospitality industry. By downloading a Zoom background from your favorite watering hole, you “purchase a round,” with all proceeds going to employee relief efforts. In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, Latin-American bar Leyenda offers a paloma, a refreshing tequila cocktail with a grapefruit-flavored soda mixer.

Tanteo Tequila + The Wayland’s “Party in Place” will deliver a margarita party package in NYC in concert with cocktail-caterer Cocktails in Motion, keeping you safe at home while also benefiting hospitality workers via The LEE Initiative.

Show your support to local restaurants offering to bring the fiesta to you. The East End’s Bistro Ete and K Pasa will put together a takeout package covering the entire Cinco de Mayo celebration from margaritas to dessert.

A Stay-at-Home Trip to Margaritaville

No Cinco de Mayo celebration would be complete with some sort of margarita.

There are many traditional margarita recipes using either fresh limes or Rose’s lime juice. I’ve listed some of the ones devised by mixologists at hotels and restaurants that go beyond tradition to inspire you to invent your own new favorites with ingredients that won’t be impossible to find.

You can also opt for a pre-made margarita mix like Lt Blender’s Margarita in a Bag. Just add tequila and Triple Sec or Cointreau and freeze the entire bag to make a slushy margarita.

This video from Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya shows you all the right steps to create the classic version.

PATRON offers a twist using coconut and cucumber:

1.5 oz. PATRÓN Silver

2 oz. coconut water

1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

½  oz. simple syrup

7 thin slices of cucumber, 3 for garnish

Guavarita

For something fruitier, try a Guavarita, a specialty at Hotel Xcaret Mexico:

1.5 oz. guava nectar

3 oz. tequila reposado

garnish with a lime wedge

O'Rita

Mustang Harry’s gives the margarita an Irish spin with the O’Rita:

2 oz. El Tesoro silver tequila

1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice

1 oz. simple syrup

1/2 oz. Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

To garnish, turn half a lime husk inside-out to create a “shot glass,” fill with Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey and carefully set on top

My smoky favorite is a Mezcalita that substitutes mezcal for tequila. Add pineapple juice, muddle a piece of roasted pineapple (if you have it), sprinkle in a bit of Cointreau and rim the glass with Tajin, the classic Mexican chili, salt and lime mix (you can order it on Amazon.)

Mezcal Manhattan

Or make it smoky, sweet and bitter with a Mezcal Manhattan from La Esquina NYC:

2 oz. Doña Vega Espadín mezcal

1 oz. sweet Vermouth

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Garnish with an orange peel, maraschino cherry or brandy cherry

Bring on the Food

You can create a Mexican-inspired meal with these four dishes from chefs in North America:

Guacamole is a must-have starter at any Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Solmar Hotels & Resorts shares this recipe for a version with a kick: one ripe avocado, chili pepper, ¼ cup of onion, half a tablespoon of crushed garlic, chopped cilantro, two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Guacamole

Serious Eats’ Mexican street corn (elote) is the perfect side salad

Mexican street corn

Mexican Fajitas with Red Sauce and Avocado, courtesy of Velas Resorts, are easy to make with ingredients that you likely already have in your cabinet

For non-meat eaters, food writer ChihYu Smith offers this delicious Paleo recipe for Fish Tacos

Teach Me, Please and Feed Me

If staying at home has made you kind of of lazy and you’d rather have someone else do most of the work, sign up for this margarita making class and happy hour. All you’ll need to do is supply your own tacos.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo has that covered for you, too. In the spirit of #TakeoutTuesdays and #TacoTuesday, Jose Cuervo is offering to pick up the tab for thousands of taco orders nationwide on Cinco de Mayo. Just tweet a photo of your receipt with the hashtags #CincotoGo and #CuervoContest to @JoseCuervo to be eligible.

And, finally, since this really is a holiday revolving around tequila, you’ll need to know the proper way to taste and drink the potent spirit. Javier Moreno Gomez, tequila and wine sommelier at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, offers these tips:

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

To taste the subtleties of tequila, drink it in a wine glass.

Similar to the methods used for wine and other spirits, the basic tasting method is swirl, sniff, sip and swallow.

Check the color; there will be noticeable differences in a reposado or añejo. While color doesn’t affect the flavor, the density or hue can suggest the amount of wood in the tequila and hint towards its complexities.

Swirl the tequila. Look for the legs, the tears of the agave. These suggest essential oils in the tequila and the presence of alcohol. If the tears fall quickly they have less alcohol but if the tears fall slowly you have more alcohol. Swirling the liquid also releases some of the molecules into the air.

Tequila has more alcohol than wine. Different parts of the tequila will have different aromas. Tequila is known to have 600 different aromas including citrus, mint, freshly cut grass, floral, honey, oak, almond, vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate, leather and caramel.

Sip a small amount and hold the tequila in your mouth for about 10 seconds while sucking in a bit of air. Move it around to get it over your tongue, and suck in some air over top of the tequila to bring the aromas up to your nose. Breathe out through your nose before swallowing. There are different taste zones on your tongue — four specific areas for salty, sweet, bitter and sour. Have the tequila wash over the entire tongue.

Swallow and savor the finish and aftertaste. Remember that everything you eat before a sip will affect the taste of the tequila.

Salud!

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