Posts Tagged ‘Central Park’

You Still Have Time to See the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden

You have just one more week to see The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, and this year you can get closer to it than ever because of the show’s layout in a new space while the Palm Dome is undergoing restoration. The 28th version of the Holiday Train Show® at The New York Botanical Garden showcases Central Park, the most popular urban park in America, along with some of the city’s favorite landmarks. The beloved holiday event continues through January 26 and is a don’t-miss for architecture fans, city fans and train fans of all ages.

Central Park, designed in 1858 by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, occupies not only the middle of Manhattan but also a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers and in the American imagination. Visited by more people than any other urban park in the United States, it has been featured in hundreds of movies. Perhaps even more important, Olmsted and Vaux’s “Greensward Plan” inspired cities across the country to set aside large open spaces as public parks. A striking feature of their design was the wide variety of buildings and architectural elements they included to complement the natural setting.

The miniature Central Park wonderland at the Holiday Train Show is made of natural materials including birch bark, lotus ponds, twigs, stems, fruit, seeds, fungus, pine cones, acorns and cinnamon sticks with mind-boggling creations of buildings, bridges, landscapes and train tracks, artistically crafted by founding visionary Paul Busse’s team at Applied Imagination. Model trains zip through an enchanting display of more than 175 New York landmarks.

New replicas of Central Park’s iconic architectural features include Belvedere Castle, the Dairy, the Old Bandstand, the Angel of the Waters sculpture atop the Bethesda Fountain, and two graceful pedestrian bridges. You’ll also see famous New York buildings that are either adjacent to the park or just inside it including the Plaza Hotel, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Rose Center for Earth and Space, part of the American Museum of Natural History.

In addition to the Central Park area, emphasis this year is on representing buildings that haven’t been highlighted in previous displays or in other ways in the city. Painstakingly recreated from old photos and records, many buildings long gone from the city’s landscape are presented. It warrants considerable time to ruminate on New York past and the architectural wonders that have been replaced by today’s skyscrapers and you’ll have a chance to view them virtually side-by-side with the city’s newest icons like The Oculus, looking almost like a mini-bug with its winged architecture. Plan on spending at least two hours to thoroughly enjoy the displays of each borough, the iconic city buildings, and watch the trains meandering throughout the exhibit.

Train lovers will enjoy more than 25 G-scale model trains and trolleys that hum along nearly a half-mile of track past re-creations of iconic sites from all five boroughs of New York City, the Hudson River Valley, and other locations in New York State. American steam engines, streetcars from the late 1800s, and modern freight and passenger trains travel underneath overhead trestles, through tunnels, across rustic bridges, and past waterfalls that cascade into flowing creeks. Thomas the Tank Engine™ and other beloved trains disguised as large colorful insects add additional fun to the displays.

The New York Botanical Garden is a museum of plants located in the Bronx. The Holiday Train Show is very busy, so buy your timed tickets in advance at www.nybg.org .  The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York.

Enjoy the Last Weeks of Patio Dining and Drinks in Brooklyn and Manhattan

Now that Hurricane Florence has finally passed and glorious weather is upon us, it’s time to dine outdoors again while the temperatures are still lovely. Here are some wonderful restaurants and bars with patios perfect for people-watching and soaking up the rays in these last few months before fall hits.

Brooklyn

Pig Beach, 480 Union St. Gowanus; www.pigbeachnyc.com

Pig Beach is the critically acclaimed outdoor barbecue restaurant located in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn from Chef Matt Abdoo (Del Posto) and award-winning barbecue teams, Salty Rinse and Ribdiculous Bar-B-Krewe. The all-star team here brings an eclectic barbecue-focused menu to the Gowanus waterfront showcasing barbecue varieties from around the United States. If you’re chilly, there’s also a large indoor space, now open year-round. Come here, first, for a canoe trip on the Gowanus – it’s an experience you’re unlikely to forget.

Gran Electrica, 5 Front St. DUMBO; http://granelectrica.com

Another Brooklyn favorite, Gran Electrica is the Bib Gourmand Mexican restaurant located underneath the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO. Gran Electric offers an authentic and market-driven Mexican menu inspired by traditional Mexican street fare. From hand-pressed heirloom corn tortillas made daily stuffed with lengua, cilantro, onion and radish, to day boat scallops marinated in aguachile, the cooking shows diversity of the many regions of Mexico. The beverage program incorporates Mexican flavors with seasonal ingredients and also features an expansive agave list with more than 50 types of tequila, mezcal, racilla and sotol. The large outdoor area has a breathtaking view of the Brooklyn Bridge. To get here, rent a Citi Bike from Chinatown and bike over the Manhattan Bridge.

Sauvage, 905 Lorimer St, Greenpoint; www.sauvageny.com

Sauvage, meaning wild in French, is a neighborhood restaurant in Greenpoint, founded by the team behind James Beard Award-winning oyster bar and cocktail den Maison Premiere. The decor, cocktails, and wine all add to the restaurant’s distinct dining experience, creating an outdoor “natural” environment with a lush profusion of planted herbs and botanicals filling the restaurant. Facing nearby McCarren Park, the sun-filled restaurant has a lovely outdoor seating

Manhattan

The Smith Restaurant & Bar, Lincoln Square, Upper West Side; https://thesmithrestaurant.com

The Smith offers a wonderful choice for patio dining after an evening at any of the ballet, music and theater venues at Lincoln Center or Jazz at Lincoln Center on Columbus Circle. Under the direction of Executive Chef Brian Ellis, The Smith’s menu features bistro classics and seasonal fare from local farmers and purveyors. The restaurant has a popular craft cocktail program with house-made ingredients featured and an extensive wine selection which includes more than 20 wines by the glass or carafe.

Bowery Road & Library of Distilled Spirits, Union Square;

www.boweryroad.comwww.libraryofdistilledspirits.com

Taking its inspiration as well as ingredients from the nearby Union Square Greenmarket, Bowery Road is an all-day restaurant serving market-driven fare from Chef Ron Rosselli.  Some of the seasonal appetizers include pinto bean hummus with mole spice, seeds and flatbread; roasted carrots with pine nut cream and garlic-honey vinaigrette; marinated beet salad with avocado cream, pomelo, hearts of palm, and almond dukkah. Main courses mix vegetarian with meat-centric choices such as the Union Square Market grain bowl with farro, quinoa, lentils, avocado, broccoli, mushrooms, and sunflower; or Niman pork adobo with mango, radish, onion and corn crepes.

Together with adjacent craft-cocktail destination Library of Distilled Spirits, where more than 1200 different spirits are offered, Bowery Road gives a Manhattan sidewalk-patio dining experience that’s unusual in its spaciousness. Happy hour is popular here as a stop en route to the nearby subway hub, serving up a menu of well-priced cocktails, wines , beer and a shareable bucket and beer filled with fried chicken, two draught beers and snacks.

Vinatería, 2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd., Harlem; www.vinaterianyc.com

At this beloved Harlem neighborhood restaurant, market-driven and vibrant dishes celebrate the rich culinary traditions of Italy and Spain. Cult favorites like spicy veal meatballs with creamy parmigiano polenta, or fresh rosemary pappardelle with lamb ragu attract a clientele of both locals and visitors. Vinateria’s expansive wine list is chosen from small producers and is full of surprising yet accessible finds, while the artisan cocktail program uses house-made tinctures, seasonal produce and fresh-grown herbs from the restaurant’s own garden. A large outside patio wraps around the restaurant (a corner building), seating 40.

Tavern on the Green, Outdoor Courtyard, Upper West Side; www.tavernonthegreen.com

Tavern on the Green’s outdoor courtyard is the perfect Central Park location for brunch, lunch, and dinner under the soft glow of string lights. Seasonal dishes from Chef Bill Peet include seared yellowfin tuna nicoise salad, miso marinated glazed marrow bone, wild mushroom toast on brioche, and smoked salmon tartine, with trout caviar. The bar at the top of the courtyard offers a separate setting for beer, wine, and cocktails such as white peach sangria, and the refreshing Hot as a Cucumber craft cocktail made with vodka, jalapeño, fennel, and cucumber. Enjoy a wonderful walk in the park to get here – the restaurant is located off Central Park West at West 67th Street or via the interior roadway encircling the park.

SummerStage Brings Free Concerts to New York City

SummerStage is a largely free outdoor concert and performing arts series scheduled in 18 parks throughout New York City during the five summer months (through September).

The end of August shows are particularly exciting and will have you on your feet with rhythms, dance, and music befitting the hot “dog days” of summer.

The week of August 21 scheduling includes a screening of “Mr. Gaga,” the story of choreographer Ohad Naharin and his signature movement language developed during his tenure as artistic director of contemporary dance powerhouse Batsheva Dance Company. Starting this film-oriented evening on August 22 will be a performance by GALLIM, whose artistic director, Andrea Miller, was a Batsheva company member and is now forging her own path with her Brooklyn-based company. The program begins at 6pm and is free. Central Park, Rumsey Playfield, enter at 72nd Street.  For more information, visit https://cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage/.

Eddie Palmieri

On Sunday night, August 26, the tempo kicks up salsa-style with a free concert from salsero Tony Vega and Grammy Award-winning Latin jazz band leader Eddie Palmieri, who will be performing with his band La Perfecta. While bleacher seating is available at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park (enter on 72nd Street, off Fifth Avenue), you’ll want to be on your feet closer to the stage to dance to the rhythms of this amazing musical group. The show starts at 6pm. Refreshments are available.

One of the most anticipated events in New York City also happens this week, the 26th edition of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, which runs from August 24 through August 26, with free concerts, panel discussions and workshops. There will be live performances in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, near where Parker worked, and in Tompkins Square Park, near where Parker lived. (Note the house near East 10th Street with the Charlie Parker plaque on it). This year’s highlights include a celebration of Charles Tolliver’s Paper Man with Jack DeJohnetteGary BartzBuster WilliamsMonty Alexander and the Harlem Kingston Express; and a special commission with trumpeter Adam O’FarrillImmanuel Wilkins, and Joel Ross.  Shows in Marcus Garvey Park are scheduled for Friday August 24 at 7pm, Saturday August 25 at 3pm, and Sunday August 26 at 3pm.  All concerts are free.

Many of the shows are benefits and the City Parks Foundation depends on contributions to keep this wonderful free series alive for all to enjoy.

https://cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage/

Say Goodbye to 2016 at Good Riddance Day on December 28

I’ve only done the “watch the ball drop” thing once in person, and I’ll never be that crazy again (although I do love the fireworks celebration in Central Park and the Midnight Run which leaves from Rumsey Playfield). But, if you’re determined to include Times Square in your New Year’s itinerary and you’re not just thinking about going to a Broadway show, Good Riddance Day and the Times Square Wishing Wall are two unique celebrations to consider.

On December 28, it will be out with the old, in with the new in Times Square as visitors shred their worst memories from 2016 by disposing of them in a giant shredder. After letting go of 2016 and the less-than-jolly news of this year, guests can record a wish for 2017 on a piece of paper that will be added to the confetti that accompanies the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. Think Wishfetti!  Just stop by Duffy Square (47th Street and 7th Avenue, Manhattan) between 11am and 8pm to post your wish on the wall. You can also contribute online to the Virtual Wishing Wall. All online wishes will be turned into confetti as well.  Use the hashtag #confettiwish if you’re writing your wishes on Twitter or Instagram.

Feel free to toast early with a nice glass of bubbly or a hot apple cider (spiked with rum)!

October Events for a Good Cause: Peace, Music, and Parks

The city kicks off its October event schedule with three programs for good causes: peace, music, and parks.

On October 6, Yoko Ono, founder of Imagine Peace, invites you to help her create the world’s largest human peace sign in honor of John Lennon’s birthday on October 9 (he would have been 75). Near Strawberry Fields in Central Park, the attempt at the Guinness world record will happen in the East Meadow. Expect anywhere from 6000 to 10,000 people and wear your best rock ‘n roll colors. Be there by 12 Noon (you can register onsite, too) as the photo will be shot overhead at 12:30pm. The event is free, but donations will go to the John Lennon Education Tour Bus, a non-profit mobile Pro Audio and HD video recording facility that provides hands-on experiences for students. You can sign up online at Eventbrite.

Also, on October 6, the Bulgarian Concert Evenings program in New York has its Opening Night Gala at 7:30pm at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Tickets are $40, $30, and $20 and support the development of young and upcoming musicians as well as fund the ongoing free concert program at the library of the Bulgarian Consulate General. This year’s gala features a program of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Dobrinka Tabakova, and Franz Schubert played on violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano.  For information and tickets, visit www.bceny.org.

Two days later, you can show your support for the city’s parks at a benefit supporting the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s miraculous transformation of the abandoned Dumbo waterfront into a beautiful park. It’s a Brooklyn-style “black tie” affair taking place on Pier 2, called, not surprisingly, the Brooklyn Black Tie Ball and After Party. The October 8 event is filled with great food, dancing, and music, all with an amazing view of Manhattan’s skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. I can’t think of a more wonderful way to thank these folks for all they do like bringing us the Movies with a View series, Pilates classes in the park, and Kayak Camp. The honoree at the event is former mayor Michael Bloomberg who was the driving force in the creation of the park. Cocktails and dinners are 6-9, with the After Party from 9-11. Separate tickets are required for each. Information at http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/events/bkblacktie .

Quiet New York City: Where to Go to Get Your Zen

We’ve had the Pope, the GA, Coldplay and Beyonce and their fans in Central Park. Road closures, subway shutdowns, and incessant helicopters.  Sometimes you just want some peace and quiet. Here’s where you can go to find some serenity in the city.

Arthur Ross Pinetum in Central Park

Immerse yourself in nature at the Arthur Ross Pinetum in Central Park. Located between 84th and 86th streets, this area of Central Park has 400 pine trees of 15 various species worldwide. Clear your mind at the Contemplation Circle and do some bird watching while gazing at the buds on the trees. Long-eared and northern saw-whet owls are known to sleep in the surrounding pines during the day, making the Pinetum a prime location for bird watchers.

(212) 310-6600, centralparknyc.org

Jacques-Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

To truly take a step away from New York City, hop on the Staten Island Ferry for free and get a breath of fresh air as you sail away to the serenity of the Jacques-Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art. Admire the largest collection of Tibetan art in the West, located inside of the only Himalayan-temple-style building in the United States. Afterwards, take some time to wander around the beautiful meditation gardens outside. If you fall in love with the Tibetan culture by the end of your visit, then make sure to venture back to the museum in October for the annual Tibetan festival.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear the monks ring the bells to break your silent reverie.

The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 1pm-5pm.

Admission:

Adults- $6

Seniors/Students- $4

(718) 987-3500,  338 Lighthouse Ave., Staten Island,   http://www.tibetanmuseum.org/index.htm

YeloSpa

For the ultimate power nap, visit YeloSpain Manhattan and try out a YeloCabTM. After a nap in one of these cocoon-like cabins, you will feel rejuvenated and ready to get back to work in no time. Choose from a traditional massage while napping or a reclining YeloChair TM to sleep in for a weightless feeling. Customize the lighting and music in the YeloCab to your liking, and fill the cabin with your favorite aromatherapy scent. Snuggle up with a soft cashmere blanket and sleep that stress away at YeloSpa.

(212) 245.8235,  315 West 57th St., http://www.yelonyc.com/spa/

Zen Buddhist Temple

Awaken your heart and mind with a public meditation service at the Zen Buddhist Temple on the Upper East Side. Join other people looking to find their Zen and learn techniques that will help you let go of the stresses of living in New York City. The temple’s public meditation service is a great way to prepare for the work week ahead, as it is offered on Sundays at 10:30 am. The session lasts one and a half hours and is completely donation-based. The suggested contribution is $10 per visit.

(212) 888-6262,  206 East 63rd St.,  http://zenbuddhisttemple.org/locations/newyork/index.html

Planning a trip to NYC?