A Little Summer Romance

How about taking that special someone on a moonlight cruise this summer?Andres Garcia-Pena is now rowing his gondolier for the 12th season around Central Park, leaving from the Boathouse Mon-Fri from 4:30-10 pm and Sat-Sun from 1:30-10 pm now through the last day of October. Mr Garcia will give you tidbits about the park and surrounding buildings and even sing you a couple of songs if you're lucky! The cost is $30 a half hour; call ahead for a reservations (212)517-2233.


Footballer's Wives - Series 4

Hooray! Tanya Turner is back! Following a brief hiatus, series 4 of Footballer's Wives premieres on BBC America on Sunday June 4th @ 10pm! And it's a 90 minute episode! Get in there!


Water Taxi Beach

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Hope everyone is getting out of work early today to enjoy the thunderstorms! Well, tomorrow when it clears up how about a trip to the Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City? Getting there is half the fun. Take the water taxi from the west side (more fun than the east because you get a more scenic trip) at either Chelsea or Christopher St. Pier and make your way around the tip of Manhattan over to Queens ($10 each way). Once there, set up a spot in the sand or at the picnic tables, eat cheap burgers and hot dogs and drink $2 Pabst tall boys (and maybe after all those beers you can ATTEMPT to play a little volleyball) . Water taxi beach is open from noon until midnight and it's a great stop before or after a Saturday session at P.S. 1. The taxi's run hourly (and only until about 7pm) so make sure to check the schedule. After all that Pabst though you'll probably want to take a cab home!


There's Only ONE A.I. & That's Elliott!

Well, A.I. is over and I'm sad Elliot wasn't in the finale 2. But he TOTALLY stole the show anyway with his duet with Ms. Mary J. Blidge and her white Fendi sunglasses and blond ex-ten-sions! Check it out!


Bitchfest NYC

Ok, so my last posting sounded a bit cranky. Actually, I had a great 2 days and I want to give a big shout out to the 2 ladies from L.A. who helped me rock it! Anyway, all the previous bad reviews reminded me that my friend Kimmi K. has launched her own blog, BitchfestNYC. She's using it to help her get out her frustrations. Check it out and bitch along with her!

On a positive note - lunch yesterday at Balthazar. I hadn't been there in years and forgot how great it is. ESPECIALLY at lunch! I'm sure Kelly Ripa and hubby Mark Consuelos would agree - they seemed to be enjoying themselves! I have to admit though, I still like Pastis a tad more - but that's just because they have the best croque monsieur in NY.

2 Days in TriBeCa

There haven't been any postings yet this week since I was out at our national sales meeting. Don't get all excited - there was no travel involved except for the A train to Canal to the Tribeca Grand. Luckily at the last minute one of my co-workers gave up her room to me (us NY'ers are typically penialized at these things for being cool enough to live in the city so we don't get rooms). Did I like it - yes! Room size was decent, bed was exceeding comfortable and the design was visually pleasing. Very minimalist.

But enough about the hotel. I have 2 restaurants to review here.

First up - Sascha. Had dinner there on Sunday night. It's a new bistro in MePa, more casual downstairs in the Gansevoort Room (where we ate) and a formal dining room upstairs. Attached is a bakery where all the bread is made. I have to say I was EXTREMELY disappointed because I've heard good things about this place. I made the stupid mistake of trying to order on a New England route. I started with the New England clam chowda. Funny, I've never seen yellow colored NEW ENGLAND clam chowda. The wasn't a lot of substance too it and the clam bellys were tough. I followed that up with the fried clam roll which TRULY horrified me! The whole roll was just clam necks, which had been cut off from the belly's used in the chowda. Um, WEIRD & BAD. VERY salty too. 2 people at my table had the chicken pot pie and liked it (it did look good) and one person had the penne which just seemed boring. Oh, and we started with a dungeonous crab app that was actually good. I don't think I'd go back here - well, maybe if it was free again.

Next up - a group dinner at City Hall in the Granite Room. LOVED the room - it's in the basement and sort of had that wine-cellar feel. Gorgeous and very atmospherical. Service was really good as wells. The pass-arounds during the cocktail hour were the best part - Vietnamese spring rolls, pigs in a blanket, crab cakes, shrimp. Dinner left a bit more to be desired. The appetizer was a marinated grilled portobello. Not bad. Since it was a prixe-fixe, we had a choice of steak, salmon or chicken on the bone as amin. Eeeww! I went with the chicken which was decent if you don't mind the bone (I do). The steak looked good. Salmon - don't even get me started - it's the most overrated fish and I hate it. There was red velvet cake to finish - I was disappointed in that as well. The room and service were so great though I would definitely recommend this spot for big group dining - just choose the main courses a bit more carefully.

Finally, a karaoke review. After dinner I took the group to BINY - a karaoke place at Thompson & Canal that I had passed a million times and had never been to. Now I know why! This place was pretty dreadful. When we first got there we got a private room. It was super hot in there and stunk of smoke to the point we had to leave it. Oh, and even though it was a private room you had to keep giving the waiter your songs on pieces of paper. No do-it-yourself remote! HORRIFIC! So consquently we ended up in the main bar. There were only like 2 other people in there so we took over and it ended up being fine. I just want to add that their song list needs a LOT of work. Not sure how the prices were as I didn't pay there either. They tout that BINY stands for "Best In New York" - I think they need their heads examined!


The Cupcake

Oh wait - Suz just had one of the blueberry cupcakes with pink icing - she said it was "Amazing".

Burgers & Cupcakes

Just back from lunch at the new Burgers & Cupcakes in lower Hell's Kitchen in the old Mitchell's of London space. The overall impression was decent - our only complaint was the disheveled service - although they've only been open 3 days so we'll let that slide. The burgers were great ($5.95). Real, juicy and cooked just right. Add a topping (cheddar, blue, chili etc - $1 each). And definitely add the homemade fries - they were DELISH! ($2). Ok, so it's a bit pricey for a burger & fries. But we don't have a lot of options in this neighborhood. Didn't try the cupcakes - they didn't look TOO amazing (and I heard someone complain because they didn't have chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing - oh, the humanity!). The good news is they deliver - sitting in the pink room was a bit much for me!

Trinity Place

Finally went last night to check out the new Dublin 6 spin-off Trinity Place in the financial district. The place ROCKS! Located in a former bank vault, the new space keeps much of it's heritage in tact. Enter through the first vault door and there is a long sleek bar with leather booths off to the side. Enter through the second vault door and you're in the restaurant (which was closed for a private party - a GREAT space for it). An old caged elevator shaft holds the extensive wine collection. One of the DJ's from D6 was there spinning the hits. Definitely swing by and check this place out - it's worth the trip!


Weekend In The Catskills

With the onset of summer, it's time to talk weekend getaways. I say give Kate's Lazy Meadow a try! Located in the Catskills in Mt. Tremper (about 20 minutes from Woodstock), Kate's is an old school 8-room motel owned by Kate Pierson of the B-52's. Kate bought and renovated the place a few years ago, giving it that groovy decor you'd expect from a B-52 - very retro, kitchy, funky and fun. 3 of the rooms are 2-bedroom/2-bath suites with full kitchen and living room, 2 are deluxe duplex suites and with kitchen and 2 are more standard hotel rooms.

This season, they have also added 2 airstream trailers that you can rent if you prefer more camping than motel.

Last summer I stayed in room 5 (one of the 2-bedroom suites) I'd totally recommend that one. A river runs along the back of the property with a mini-beach area. There is also a great jacuzzi on-site. Last year when we went they had just bought a brand new grill which we TOTALLY utilized (since most NY-er's never have the chance to grill outside!). Be warned - the Ritz this ain't and the room rates may be a bit high for some (average $250 per suite, with a 2 night minimum on weekends). The accomodations were very clean though and if you like a funky remote retreat, then this place is for you! Kate is there a lot when she isn't touring so be sure and say hi if you see her! Oh, and make sure you stop by Sweet Sue's for breakfast and some of their legendary pancakes before you head back to the concrete jungle!


Big Brother All-Star Edition

Big Brother 7 launches on Thursday July 6 @ 8pm on CBS. The big twist this year is that all of the house guests will be past players that we the viewers get to vote INTO the house! On Wednesday June 21 @ 8pm Julie Chen will reveal the 20 contestants who are eligible to re-enter the house (I think 14 of them will be chosen to return). Immediately following the show, online voting will begin on cbs.com and the polls will be open for a week. The winners will then enter the house in the first episode on July 6th. Will it be Crazy Amy or Campy Marcellas from Season 3? Ex's Jun and Jee from Series 4? Cappy and Ivette from last season? You decide!

Oliver Boberg @ DCKT

Pop over to West Chelsea and catch Oliver Boberg's new exhibit at DCKT Contemporary. In this show, Mr. Boberg has created miniature working models of city streets, forests, bridges etc., and presents them in extremely realistic photographs and video installations. The videos were my favorite and just gorgeous to watch!

Everything Bad & Beautiful

Went with Mark & DEC to see Sandra Bernhard's new off-broadway show "Everything Bad & Beautiful". I have to say I really enjoyed it but it was a bit weird overall (and the others agreed). We went to the Saturday at 10pm show; at that hour you would've expected the crowd to be all geared up, but instead they were a bit comatose (causing Sandra to enlist one of her lines that I love most "there must be dust on this microphone"). I am happy to say that about 95% of the material was new (for me at least, I haven't seen her in like 3 or 4 years). She talked about her daughter, her lover, the Busch daughters and Britney. Oh, and lots about L.A. (therefore, nothing too inspiring). The music was the best part of the show and the band she had with her ROCKED! She opened with X-tina's "Beautiful" and closed with a Prince-inspired medley of "In My House"/"Nasty Girl"/"Glamorous Life" (where Sandra did her own version of a Shiela E. drum solo which was AWESOME!)/"I Would Die 4 U" (thankfully, 3121 was no where to be heard!). If you've never seen Sandra or truely love her, I'd recommend checking this out (just do so with an open mind). Tickets for the 10pm show on Saturdays are only $35 so I'd check out one of those performances. The show was just extended through July 9th so you have time.


A.I. Message

Alright Elliott, now that Chris is gone it's all up to you big guy! Get it done!


Chilewich Sample Sale

Check out the Chilewich sample sale running now through Friday (10a-6p, Thurs. until 7p) at 261 West 36th Street, 2nd Floor (between 7th & 8th). If you're not familliar with them, Chilewich is a modern design company known for products made of woven vinyl such as placemats, rugs and totes (great for the beach!) and small zipper bags. The placemats are used by many hot NYC restaurants such as BLT Fish, 66, Dos Caminos and ONO.

High Line Festival 2007

It was announced today that David Bowie will curate a new music festival in NYC called the High Line Festival in May 2007. The inaugural festival will coincide with the opening of the new High Line public park that will be created on the old train tracks in MePa and Chelsea. Bowie will not only play the festival, but will be in charge of lining up the rest of the performers. Save me a ticket please!


Drink For Free!

Check out MyOpenBar.com. This site lists all of the open bars in NYC and how to take advantage of them!

CNT Hot List

Conde Nast Traveler has released it's "2006 Hot List" for hotels and restaurants. Click the links and check it out!


Bone Lick Park

Went with the Lady and DEC to celebrate Cinquo de Maio on Friday. We basically couldn't get in ANYWHERE Mexican so we went to Bone Lick Park (which I had been wanting to try for like a year). The margaritas (the main reason behind our excursion) where definitely tasty & potent - both frozen and on the rocks. For starter we had the onion rings with blue cheese dipping sauce - definitely some of the best rings I've had - greasy but not too greasy. For a main I had a fried oyster po-boy. Didn't love. It was served on a round roll which was a bit odd and the oysters were a bit fishier than usual, but they were fried quite well. DEC had the whole grilled trout - after getting rid of the head he was good to go and said it was pretty tasty. Sadly, no one tried the BBQ at all. Overall, I would probably go back and try this place again, although it's not on top of my list. It's reasonable prices, great location (7th & Greenwich) and outdoor seating make this definitely a draw though.


R.I.P. Tanya Turner

Today is a sad day. ITV has announced they will not be renewing Footballer's Wives for a 6th Series. For those of us who are watching the series for the first time on BBC America, we still at least have Series 4 & 5 to look forward to, as well as the spin-off Footballer's Wives - Extra Time (which has 2 series so far). Oh well, at least SOMEONE was finally able to off Ms. Tanya Turner!


NYC Helps You Quit

NYC is doing their program again for free quit-smoking patches. All you have to do is call 311 to order it and you get a 4-week supply. Get in there!

NYC Rooftop Bars

The warm weather has me inspired. I found this article from New York magazine listing rooftop bars in the city. Check it out and then head out for drinks!

My Better Half

Went last night with Kimmi K. and DEC to see a local band called My Better Half at the Death Disco party at The Delancey. I was shocked that I actually REALLY liked the music since I usually don't like unsigned garage bands very much. These guys rock - very British indie. They are playing there every Wednesday at 8:15pm for the rest of the month so I highly recommend checking them out! Also of note is the Delancey itself. They have a roof deck that is gorgeous - fountains, palm trees etc. I'm sure it gets packed up there in the summer, but last night around 10pm it wasn't crowded and was comfortable. Add this spot to your summer check list!


Lestat Review

My co-workers Janet went to see Lestat on Broadway the other night. I really liked the review she sent me so I've asked her to guest-blog it today:

It's not as bad as the critics say-- but it's a long, long way from being good.
The first act was dull but not tedious enough to send me to the exits at intermission.
Thankfully the action picked up during Act 2. Still I was grateful the whole thing clocked
in at about 2:15 minutes instead of the three hours someone had told me it lasted.
The cast is very talented, especially Hugh Panaro in the title role. But I can't imagine this show will gain much traction. It's too dislocated for New Yorkers, and tourists from the heartland will
probably not embrace the displays of blasphemy and gay love. Bottom line- don't go unless
someone gives you a ticket. Even then, you might want to try and scalp it outside to an unsuspecting out-of-towner.

Awake & Sing!

Rounding out the busy evening last night, I went to see the revival of Awake And Sing!. I think Julia Roberts needs to go see this - she could learn a thing or two about stage acting from it. Everyone in the ensemble cast including Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, Ben Gazzara (who recently overcame a stroke and was still at his best!) and Zoe Wanamaker proved that they are TRUE actors and masters of their craft. Pablo Schrieber (Liev's brother),making his Broadway debut, held his own with many of these veterans. I was shocked that I actually LOVED this show (and would catagorize it as one of the best I've ever seen), since I typically don't like period pieces. I won't give much away - it's basically the story of the trials and tribulations of a Jewish family living in an apartment together in the Bronx during the Depression. The intensity that each of these actors brought to their character kept me interested in not only the plot but also what each character was doing on the stage at any given time - be it speaking or just observing the action. Of course, Mark Ruffalo was the highlight for me as the sarcastic boarder Moe Axelrod, and was a pro at creating the necessary sexual tension with Ambrose's Hennie character. Excellent job casting director - these two have chemistry together! The story, written by Clifford Odets in 1935, translated well for a present-day audience enlisting lots of comic moments complementing the drama. I'd recommend seeing this show during it's run without a doubt. Check out Theatermania for discounted tickets.

El Centro

Had dinner last night at El Centro, the new offshoot of Hell's Kitchen. Located in the former home of Vynl (the owner moved that one down the street to a larger space) , the menu features Mexican street food in mostly tapas-like portions. As with every Mexican joint, we were brought chips & salsa when we sat down. The chips were long strips and freshly made and the salsa had great flavor. I had the goat cheese and chorizo quesadilla ($6) which was an interesting take on a standard and supplemented it with an order of guacamole (not the best I've had, but not the worst). The quesadilla was a bit small, so I'd recommend ordering about 3 items per person if you go the tapas route (which should run you about $15-$18). Mark had the grilled skirt steak fajitas ($16) which was entree - sized; they were good and had a bit of a firey kick. The only issue with the fajitas was that they served it with only one large tortilla (which was buttered) instead of a bunch of small ones (which made it almost like making one big burrito yourself). The special drink of the night was the pommegranite margarita which was good, but not very strong. At $12 a drink I think they should consider adding a bit more tequilla. Overall, I would say if you are in the neighborhood and looking for a quick relatively expensive bite, check this plate out; it's not bad, I just wouldn't plan a trip to Hell's Kitchen specifically to eat there.

Bubble Boy

Stopped by Lincoln Center yesterday to see David Blaine and his latest stunt "Drowned Alive". He's living in a plastic bubble filled with water for a week (until May 8th) and at the end there will be a live television special where he will try to hold his breathe without the oxygen tube and beat the world record while also trying to except from 150 pounds of locked chains and weights. Whatev! I wish I had that much time on my hands and money in my pocket. Where's the original boy in the plastic bubble John Travolta when we need him!


New Beautiful South

My all-time favorite band, The Beautiful South, will release their new CD "Superbi" on May 15th. This will be preceeded by the new single "Manchester" on May 15. A U.K. tour will take place in May/June. No word yet if or even when there will be a U.S. release/tour. I've got my fingers triple-crossed since they haven't played NY in like 12 years!

Rooftop Drinks

Last night was the opening of the newest (and largest - it's 14,000 square feet) rooftop bar in city - just in time to usher in the warm weather. 230 Fifth (located at 5th & 26th inside a commercial building known as the New York Market Center) offers 360-degree views (including an in-your-face of the Empire State building) with 2 bars, palm trees and wooden benches. Right now the menu is cocktail only, but by the end of the month wooden carts will be traversing the terrace with Malaysian street food supplied by Zak Pelaccio (of Fatty Crab). The floor below the deck contains a velvet & mirrored inside lounge. Currently the space is only open at night but will soon be expanding into daytime hours. I'll be hitting this place ASAP so a review will follow shortly!

Images & Tickets

DEC gave me a few things to blog about today:

1. Check out Wireimage. It's a site that compiles photos from every big events. I'm waiting for my photo at the WHCD red carpet to be posted . . .

2. I had mentioned before about getting free movie screening tickets from Time Out NY. You can also get them now for screenings held by the New York Observer. Check it out!


D.C. Wrap-Up

A few more reviews from the D.C. trip:

First off, I stayed in the St. Regis. This is a 5-star member of the Starwood Hotels group. I won't go on too much about the hotel. I was on a business trip and this hotel was one I NEVER would've even considered on my own (all chintz and colonial - not a speck of modern design anywhere). All I can say is that even if this hotel stays with the same pomp & circumstance decor, they still need a MAJOR renovation. Everything seemed a bit tattered and run-down, not living up to the St. Regis name. I will say on a positive note the staff/service there was great (except for the concierge - see below) and the location (near the White House) couldn't be beat.

Dinner Thursday night was at Charlie Palmer Steak for a group of about 20. We had a small private room in the back. I really liked the decor of both the private room and the main dining room - very modern, light and airy - not your typical dark stuffy steakhouse feel. We ordered off of a prix-fixe - I went for the butter braised 2-pd Maine lobster with citrus segments and baby fennel - DELICIOUS. The other choice was the rib-eye steak, which I heard was a great cut of meat but was a bit bland. The sides at Palmer's are what really count. The homemade shoestring fries and whipped mashed were perfect. The goat cheese mac-n-cheese is a MUST. I had the hazelnut pyramid for desert which definitely could've been passed over, however those who had the trio of creme brulee loved it and finished every last bite. Service at top-notch for a group which can always be a bit difficult to accomplish.

After dinner a bunch of us went searching for karaoke and were directed by our concierge to go to Cafe Japone. I should've known better than to take advice from someone who couldn't answer ANY questions about what the trendy/hip bars were but that's another whole story for a later time. Anway, Cafe Japone was ALMOST the worst karaoke bar I've ever been to. Since the upstairs (where the karaoke is) was full (it only holds about 40 people and there was a table full of college kids that filled up almost the whole place), we were told to wait downstairs (an early-80's style pastel rooms with white curtains everywhere - HIDEOUSLY 80's Miami) with no guarantee of getting in. Finally after a few rounds of Sapporos we were able to bribe our waitress to get us upstairs pass the surly door boy. When my turn to sing finally arrived, I started into my typical Killers "All These Things I've Done" when I realized you could barely hear the music or your own voice. As a karaoke snob I couldn't sing under those horrific conditions so I just gave up mid-song and went and sat back down frustrated. Our server tried to attribute it to "noise issues" with the neighborhood. Whatev. My group had fun and screamed the songs anway. I hope this really isn't the only karaoke place in D.C. (which is what the concierge had told us) - if that's the case I feel for the any karaoke divas that may exist in the Capitol.

Had lunch in Dupont Circle on Friday at Lauriol Plaza who tout themselves as having the best Mexican (and Latin) food in D.C. If that's the case, D.C. needs to import a Mexican chef! The space is large and was PACKED for a Friday lunchtime. I'll attribute it to the weather being the best of the year so far and the fact that the prices are reasonable. The space is great. Very large, 4 floors. We ate on the upstairs roof patio. There are a few different levels inside the restaurant and a sidewalk cafe. For food, we tried the guacamole (don't get excited - it WASN'T prepared tableside) which was nothing to write home about, the picadillo (nowhere near as good as the Lady Spence's), the chicken tacos (virtually flavorless) and chicken fajitas (I didn't try those). The margaritas (both frozen and on the rocks) were week and way too sweet. Oh, and the service was marginal at best. Overall, I'd say this place can definitely be by-passed, unless you are craving very average Mexican food and want to eat outside.

Overall, I hadn't been to D.C. in about 10 years and really liked it a lot. There are lots of places we passed or that I read about that I'd like to go back and try. The quick Acela trip makes it easy for a quick summer weekend getaway.