Posts Tagged ‘theater district’

Celebrate Chinese New Year: Where to Dine for Good Luck and Prosperity during the Year of the Dog

The Year of the Dog celebrates the return of spring and the beginning of the Chinese New Year.  This is a festival of unity, a way for friends and family to come together to enjoy traditions that will bring good fortune for the coming year. 2018 celebrates the dog, a symbol of loyalty and honesty, as we breathe some optimism into the days ahead. Unlike one-night New Year’s celebrations, Chinese New Year is celebrated for two weeks, through March 2 so you have plenty of time to enjoy. Here are some ways you can participate in this important holiday:

The sexiest celebration in New York City happens at Hakkasan in the Theater District. Kicked off by a lion dance on the first evening, the two weeks of the Chinese New Year are filled with special dinners and drinks.  For 2018, there is a $118 prix fixe menu (for a minimum of two guests) featuring the best of Hakkasan’s modern Cantonese signature dishes. Dishes have been selected for the cultural significance of their ingredients and their ability to portend good fortune. Baked Chilean sea bass with kumquat glaze will bring prosperity as eating fish at the New Year is said to increase wealth. Similarly, oysters, traditionally symbolizing fortune and good luck, are included in Szechuan oyster with lotus root and crispy rice in mantau.  Fat choy is an ingredient that means “to grow wealth” in Chinese and is found in the abalone fried rice in bean curd wrap with Chinese sausage and shiitake mushroom.

Hakkasan’s dinner also features a special Chinese New Year cocktail, the Good Fortune, made with Grey Goose Orange and fresh blood orange ice (oranges are traditionally given during the new year to symbolize good luck, happiness and abundance); five-spice pomegranate syrup, adding red to the drink, an important color of good luck, and the pomegranates to inspire fertility; satsuma godai; lime juice; and an orange peel rosette to add a touch of floral design, signifying rebirth and luck. Toast away!

A sweet finish is provided with Hakkasan’s reimagined fortune cookie, the macartune, which has 88 (8 represents prosperity in Chinese tradition) New York-centric fortunes written by author Jay McInerney like “Your train will arrive on time and there will be a seat available” (happy) or “A new skyscraper is being built next door to your building and your view is about to disappear” (sad). The writer of “Bright Lights, Big City” and Hakkasan  Executive Pastry Chef Alexander Zecena have imagined the vanilla-flavored cooked as a riff on New York’s beloved black and white, with one half coated in chocolate and then stamped with a red chocolate seal to symbolize good luck for the New Year.

Another tradition continues at Hakkasan, too, the annual wishing tree. Guests receive a red ribbon upon arrival on which they write their wishes. Ribbons are hung around the dining areas, a custom that is said to have begun hundreds of years ago in Hong Kong. In Lam Tsuen, Hong Kong, villagers would arrive to visit the secret Wishing Trees and hang notes on the branches with wishes for the year ahead.  Today, as yesterday, guests are encouraged to write their wishes with the hope that all written down will come true.

Little Tong Noodle Shop in the East Village pays homage to its Yunnanese roots with its first-ever 16-Day Chinese New Year Celebration.  The mixian menu here is enhanced with a special dish at both lunch and dinner such as Day 3’s goubull 18-fold dumplings and Day 16’s Yuan Xiao, a sweet sticky rice ball soup.  Each day represents a different celebration starting with the Celebration of the Chicken on February 16 with shaokao, fire-grilled chicken wings with gingko and the Celebration of the Dog on February 17 and finishing with the Celebration of the Dragon on March 1 when red snapper and dragon fruit slaw will be served. The grand finale happens on March 2, the Lantern Festival.

The Green Room 42 Invites You for Cabaret and More – New in the Theater District

I have a new favorite place to watch cabaret, Broadway tunes, and all manner of musical entertainment. And it’s all in an intimate yet spacious setting in a hotel, at the edge of the Theater District. The Green Room 42 has given New York City a new option when it comes to great entertainment and dining in a cool setting. Brought to you by Broadway lovers who have analyzed how to create a better burger (you’ll see what I mean later), and, in this case, a better cabaret venue, the Green Room 42 shines with a purple glow with a stage and acoustics just right for a night of song.

On any given night the headliner might be Alice Ripley of Next to Normal and Sideshow fame singing her favorite ballads, or Lillias White of Fela!, The Life, Dreamgirls.  Or maybe it’s the entire cast of Natasha and Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 led by Josh Groban, singing their favorite Broadway and non-Broadway chansons.

Sunday’s bottomless brunch has been host to the Skivvies, the duo who saucily perform a tuneful medley wearing nothing but their lingerie and tighty whities. The menu for both tunes and food is equally evocative.  Think “Out of the Boxers,” a falafel waffle with poached egg, tahini and bacon; and “The Package,” with pita-baked beef, egg salad, tomato coulis and pickles.

But here’s the best part. Well, maybe the second best part. There’s actually no food and beverage minimum at The Green Room 42. Come for the show, grab a drink, have a bite. Do it all or do none of it. This is your evening to enjoy a show as you see fit. Show tickets are reasonable, as well, starting at $15.

On the docket are a Tony’s viewing party on June 11, with open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres and entertainment; the music of Nine on May 29; “At This Performance,” a show with Broadway understudies and standbys taking the lead on July 10, and “The New Peggy,” a new musical in concert on July 16 among others. Check the schedule for additions.

But if had my druthers, I’d always come to dine as well.  The Green Room 42 serves dinner nightly (in addition to brunch), helmed by Green Fig’s Chef Gabriel Israel (who is also responsible for the cool graffiti art adorning the walls at the banquettes). Try their offbeat schnitzel burger, with a fried chicken cutlet in place of a traditional hamburger patty, slathered with homemade BBQ sauce and topped with a tangy cranberry-Brussel sprout slaw (now you know what I mean by “a better burger”), shareable items like greenroom mushrooms, falafel bites and tuna tartare; or larger plates including steak frites and Tajin baked beef kebab. A creative cocktail menu is offered along with beer and wine.

You can reserve your tickets at , 570 10th Avenue, 4th floor, Yotel hotel, 646-449-7792.

“Stars in the Alley” Offers Free Broadway Concert on May 21

Do you love live theater? The Tony Awards, honoring the “best of Broadway,” will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on June 8. Tickets are sold out, so you’ll have to resign yourself to watching from your home if you want to see Hugh Jackman host the black-tie event.

However, Broadway fans have an opportunity to enjoy another theatrical event — live  on Broadway —  as only New York City could hold. And it’s free!!  The event will be held rain or shine.

Stars in the AlleySTARS IN THE ALLEY, presented by United Airlines and produced by The Broadway League (, will take place on Wednesday, May 21 from 11am-12:30pm in Shubert Alley, between Broadway and 8th Avenue, Manhattan. Entrance to the concert is on 44th Street. An annual event leading up to the Tony Awards, the FREE Broadway show gives you a tasting menu of what’s hot on the Great White Way this season, in an outdoor setting in the heart of the Theater District.

Stars in the Alley

Courtesy of

The outdoor concert celebrates everything Broadway with star appearances from this year’s Tony nominees and songs from nearly 25 shows, accompanied by a live 12-piece orchestra. Non-musicals will also be included, with performances from a variety of current shows.


Courtesy of

2014 Tony-nominated actors/actresses scheduled to appear include Adriane Lenox (After Midnight), Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder), Kelli O’Hara (The Bridges of Madison County), Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Andy Karl (Rocky), Joshua Henry (Violet), and Tyne Daly (Mothers and Sons) as well as performances from all 2014 Tony Award-nominated musicals now in performance on Broadway including After Midnight, Aladdin, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, The Bridges of Madison County,  Bullets Over Broadway, Cabaret, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, If/Then, Les Misérables, Rocky and Violet.

Norm Lewis

Courtesy of

The show will be hosted by star of stage and screen Norm Lewis, who has just taken over the legendary title role in Broadway’s record-breaking The Phantom of the Opera.


After Midnight

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder


Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

The Bridges of Madison County

Bullets Over Broadway



Hedwig and the Angry Inch

If / Then

Kinky Boots

Les Misérables

The Lion King

Mamma Mia!

Motown The Musical



The Phantom of the Opera


Rock of Ages


Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella




Act One

All the Way

Casa Valentina

Holler if Ya Hear Me

Mothers and Sons

Of Mice and Men

On the Town

Valentine’s Day Dining Choices – Manhattan

Manhattan is teeming with great Valentine’s Day dining options.  My suggestion?  Grab a reservation, pick up some flowers, and consider a great card and small gift as well.  A perfect evening that’s priceless, although not without a price.

For the 14th of February, take a look at 14 of these delicious and varied choices:

Sfoglia — A restaurant that’s a tough reservation to score even on non-holiday evenings, Sfoglia sits across from the 92nd Street Y and offers a “cupid’s arrow” four-course prix fixe celebration for $95.  I love this restaurant on a cold night.  It’s cozy with its white curtains, homey with its convivial vibe, and always pleasing with wonderful cooking from Chef John Carr.  On Valentine’s Day evening they’re only serving couples, no matter whether you’re sitting at a two-top or at the communal table, so you might actually have a better chance at scoring a table.  Both restaurant favorites and specials are on the menu with the likes of Maine uni with brown bread and house-made butter, buckwheat crespelle with celery root cream and caviar, and spaghetti and ruby red shrimp with Meyer lemon.

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New York Neighborhoods: a Traveler’s Guide

New York is a city of neighborhoods in a way that few others are. Wander through Manhattan, and you’re taken on a tour through New York’s colorful and diverse history. Little Italy, Greenwich, East Village: all these are names which trip off the tongue of foreign and domestic visitors alike. However, if you’re not from the city, you may not have much idea of what each district is actually like. That’s why we’ve put together this run-down of the best of each of New York’s most famous neighborhoods. Wealthy visitors arriving in the city on cruises from Southampton, and student backpackers on cheap flights from Canada should both find this guide equally useful. Take it, and use it to devise your own walking tour through the heart of New York.

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