Things to Do in New York City: Live the Fashionista's Dream at the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology September 13 2017

There is no wonder why the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is considered to be the most fashionable museum in New York City, because they are all about amazing clothes, textiles, shoes and accessories from the past (as far back as the 18th century), present and sometimes even the future.  This NYC treasure is one of the best things to do in New York City, especially for anyone who loves clothes.  Even people who don’t really care about clothes can find something interesting among these well-styled permanent and special exhibitions. You may even find something from the past that you want to incorporate into your present wardrobe!

The permanent collection features fashion from a collection of more than 50,000 items representing some of the best and most famous designers in the world including Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga and more.  They do have a habit of featuring some interesting contemporary avant-garde fashion.

The museum has three levels of galleries.  The lower level is devoted to special exhibitions, the main floor has a living history of fashion and the next level features the Gallery FIT, which features work from students and faculty.  It is a great place to see work from new and upcoming designers before everyone else. 

The Museum at FIT is located at Seventh Avenue at 27 Street in New York City 10001-5992. It is open Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 8 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM to 5 PM.  They are closed Sundays, Mondays and on July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Fun facts about the Museum at FIT

Entrance to Museum FIT

  • About 100,000 people visit per year
  • There are only a handful of museums dedicated to fashion in the world including: Muse de la Mode, the Mode Museum, and the Museo de la Moda.
  • Some of their most controversial exhibits were:  The Corset: Fashioning the Body, Gothic: Dark Glamour and A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk.
  • The museum was founded in 1969, but landed in its current location in 1974.  Official exhibitions began in 1970.
  • True fashionistas will want to check out FIT's Online Collections here.
  • The main floor of the gallery is completely changed every six months, however it always depicts 250 years of fashion

  • The Museum  at FIT offers many lectures, panel discussions, special guided tours and they are celebrated for annual Fashion Symposium which features some of the greatest fashion minds in the world. Learn more about upcoming events here.
  • There is no coat or bag check, so travel light to this museum

The team at New York Nightlife hopes that you enjoy learning all about clothes during your trip to the museum at FIT.

[Featured Image Fernando Leon/FIT]

Eat Like a New Yorker: Great French Fries at Pommes Frites September 11 2017

Best French Fries in New York Pommes Frietes

French Fries, or to be more specific for some purists, Belgian Frites, are one of life’s perfect guilty pleasures.  Most people have their favorite places to indulge in these salty bits of fried potato perfection.  Some like their fries thin, while others prefer them thick—but there are multiple options, so French Fry lovers should make a plan to try as many varieties as they can, as there are always new places to try.  There are about a dozen places with amazing French Fries in New York City, but one place that consistently makes the list of the best French Fries in New York is Pommes Frites, an East Village destination for lovers of fried potatoes from all over the world. Here you will have Frites that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  Yummy! 

Now, it isn’t just the process of cooking the Belgian Fries twice that makes this a go-to place for amazing fries—it is also about the more than 25 dipping sauces and toppings.  These sauces include familiar and exotic options including Aioli, Vietnamese Pineapple, TLC—Tequila, Lime, Chipolte, Parmesan & Fresh Herbs, Curry Ketchup, a slightly more expensive Organic Black Truffle and more. 

Best French Fries in New York Pommes Frites Dipping Sauce

Pommes Frites is located at 128 Macdougal Street, New York, NY 10012 and you will notice that there is almost always a line.  The good news is that it moves pretty quickly.  The prices are reasonable at Pommes Frites: $5.25 for regular; $7 for large; and a double order is $8.75.  The special sauces are $1.50 each with three sauces for $3.75.  You can choose to sit and enjoy the fries in the bustling rustic, semi-communal environment with rich dark wood tables, benches, stools and chairs or take the fries to-go as you embark on other NYC adventures.


A few tips:

  • Customers at Pommes Frites are encouraged to sample fries and taste any and all sauces, so don’t be afraid to ask for samples.
  • Some of the sauces and garnishes are free at Pommes Frites including:  Mayonnaise," Especial"—Frite sauce of ketchup & raw onion, Yellow Mustard, Ketchup, Tabasco Sauce, Malt Vinegar, raw onion and Jalapeño.
  • Try the Poutine--Frites with Canadian Cheddar Cheese Curd & Gravy

The team at New York Nightlife wishes you well on your culinary adventures when you visit New York City.

Things to Do in New York City: Feast of San Genarro Steet Festival September 08 2017

One of the best things to do in New York City is enjoying the simple fun and bustling excitement of a street fair.  If you will be in NYC in mid-September, then you may be in luck and you have to go down to historic Little Italy and relish in the joy that is the 91st Annual Feast of San Gennaro.  This year, this festival will take place from September  14-24 and it opens every day at 11:30 AM and closes at 11 PM Sundays through Thursday's and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Enjoy free music entertainment each night from 7:30 to 9:30 PM (unless otherwise noted), in addition to free music and/or food demonstrations and lectures every afternoon between 2:00 and 5:00 PM on the FESTIVAL STAGE located at the corner of Grand and Mott Streets in Manhattan. 

This event is the annual salute to the Patron Saint of Naples.  While it has been taking place for 91 years, it has been hosted since 1996 by Figli di San Gennaro, Inc. (Children of San Gennaro), a nonprofit community organization committed to keeping alive the spirit and faith of the early Italian immigrants who lived in worked in this neighborhood in the early 20th century. While there are some religious components, everyone is welcome to attend and enjoy all things Italian, or more specifically all things Italian American in New York City. 

There are many things to experience at the Feast of San Gennaro including delicious Italian food, traditional street treats, exciting entertainment, unique vendors and the opportunity to see interesting people while participating in a time-honored, beloved NYC event. 

Things to do in New York San Genarro Festival


There are so many delicious options both familiar and brand new.  While the majority of items are culturally Italian, there are plenty of other options worth exploring too.  Pace your self so you can try as many as you would like.  

  • Wide variety of Italian meats including sausages, braciole, charcuterie, meatballs, roasted meat on a stick, prosciutto and more
  • Cannolis and other Italian pastries
  • Chicken, Veal and Eggplant Parmigiana
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Italian Doughnuts called Zeppolis
  • Arancini
  • Fried Ravioli
  • Soft Shell Crab
  • Shrimp Scampi on sticks
  • South American Arepas
  • Authentic New York Bagels with traditional flavors, spreads and toppings
  • Fair food like funnel cakes, cotton candy, fried Oreos, etc.
  • Torrone nougat and other candy from Piccola Casa Dolce
  • Gelato
  • Stromboli 
  • Fried and fresh oysters and clams
  • All sorts of delicious pizza



Things to Do in NYC San Gennaro Festival


There is an abundance of music, street performers, eating contests, traditional carnival games, and so much more, but just being there makes you feel part of something unique and incredibly entertaining.  There are some scheduled events, but there are plenty of things to see at any time you join the festivities. 

  • Ferris wheel
  • The Grand Procession with Chazz Palminteri serving as Grand Marshall takes place at 2 PM on Saturday, September 16. 

  • Opera Night on Monday, September 18
  • Annual Meatball Eating Contest hosted by Tony Danza at 1 PM on Saturday, September 23

  • In addition to the nightly free performances, there are many music, comedy and variety show acts present throughout the entire 11 day event


Tip:  Bring your own bottled water.  Save your money for the good eats at the Feast of San Gennaro.  

Check out a video of the history of it below:

Visiting the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy in September is one of the best things to do in New York.  The team at the New York Nightlife encourages you to enjoy and embrace Italian American culture at this fabulous, unforgettable street fair. 

What to Pack for an Autumn/Winter Trip to New York City September 06 2017

Now that September is here, it is only a matter of time before temperatures start to drop.  While there weather tends to be mild until mid-October, it is a good idea to pack accordingly should you be planning a trip to New York City from mid-September to as late as April, you will want to make sure you pack some specific items.  It tends to be the coldest in December, January and February, but the temperatures can sometimes bite you in early fall.  One of the main tips to being comfortable is to pack plenty of layers.  While it may be frigid outside, many indoor places can be uncomfortably warm.  And, just because it is chilly outside, it doesn't mean you can't rock a daring ensemble for a night on the town, you just need to plan ahead.

What everyone should pack for fall/winter?

 What to pack for fall or winter trip to NYC

Many of these items are specific to colder months, but most people could stand to have a reminder to bring chargers and power adapters.  

  • Long scarf
  • Wool Hat or Beanie
  • Gloves
  • Sweater
  • Insulated coat
  • Lightweight jacket 
  • T-shirts or tank tops for layering
  • Jeans
  • Non-slip shoes
  • Extra socks
  • Thermal underwear (if you get cold easily)
  • An easily packed or fold-able tote bag 
  • Extra underwear 
  • Sunglasses are still helpful almost all year round
  • Phone/laptop charger
  • External battery for phone charging
  • Add some of your favorite cold medication to your toiletry bag, just in case
  • Hand sanitizer--germs about in the small spaces, so better safe than sorry
  • Extra zip top bags in case you need to repack extra toiletries on your way back
  • Small flashlight

Specific to Women

Pack Stylish Winter Boots for Winter in New York

 Whether you are just planning a casual visit, it is always worthwhile to bring an outfit suited for a nice evening out. In the colder months, plan on having shoe options that you can bring with you )and change upon arrival at your destination) so you won't slip in transit.

  • Extra bra (a sports bra is a good option for cold and wet weather)
  • Scarf for your hair or an insulated hood for your coat
  • Waterproof boots for walking around the city
  • Long skirts can be lovely, but be sure they are not so long as to drag on the ground or they can get dirty quickly
  • Lightweight spare bag to hold casual shoes so you can change into dress shoes when you get to your destination
  • Lounge wear in the form of yoga pants and comfortable shirt or two piece pajamas

Specific to Men

What to pack when visiting New York City in fall/winter sports coats

Men have it a little easier in the colder months when it comes to packing, but having the right jacket that will keep you warm, but won't be unbearable in a crowded room.  And, if you are lucky, it looks great with slacks or jeans.  

  • Sports Jacket
  • Dress Pants
  • Button Down Shirt
  • Comfortable Pajamas
  • Waterproof Shoes


What to leave at home?

Leave your Umbrella at home when visiting New York City

While there are plenty of items that a traveler never needs to bring while on a trip of less than a couple of weeks such as full-sized bottles of shampoo, irons, any unnecessary electronics, expensive jewelry and bottled water, there is one item that is tempting to bring with you, but it is usually easier to buy one upon arrival.

Umbrellas--It is easy to purchase a decent umbrella for under $10 at a variety of convenient places.  If you insist, bring an inexpensive one that you can leave behind or donate on your way out of town.

Now if cold weather sneaks up on you, there is no reason to worry.  You can buy all of these items and more.  Heck, you may even choose to replace all of your items anyhow, but by packing these items, you will be prepared for any weather the fall or winter throws at you in New York.

Note:  If you know you will be enjoying tourist activities and may be battling the elements, you may want to bring a couple of disposable rain ponchos with you. You can buy them in New York, but it is cheaper and easier to bring them with you.  Yes, they aren't the most fashionable item out there, but they are convenience and can keep you dry on that double decker bus tour in the rain.  


Things to do in New York: Catch the Views from Top of the Rock September 04 2017

Things to do in NYC at Sunset Top of the Rock

One important thing that many people want to do in New York City is to go up a tall building and take in the beautiful views of this beautiful city.  There are multiple options, but one of the most popular is Top of The Rock located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.  These 360 degree panoramic views from the 70th Floor are some of the best in the city.  Many people regard this is the best place to enjoy the skyline of New York.  Whether you want to enjoy a sunny day, a winter wonderland or nighttime light show, you will be mesmerized by the view, though going at sunset seems to be a preferred time.  Going to the Top of the Rock is a favorite activity for people who enjoy the tours and passes available from New York Nightlife.

Hours of operation

  • Daily from 8 AM to midnight seven days a week, with the last elevator going up at 11:15 PM.
  • Some holidays have special hours: Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

What to expect

  • When you purchase a ticket, or redeem your pass you are encouraged to select the specific times and dates for your visit. Some unscheduled tickets are available, but immediate entry is not guaranteed without advance tickets.
  • Enter the building on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues
  • All guests are required to go through a security checkpoint
  • The experience includes a beautiful Swarovski crystal chandelier, a multimedia exhibit and glass ceiling sky shuttles that take gusts to the Top
  • There are three levels of the observation decks:
    • Deck one features The Radiance Wall—the history of the Top of the Rock and New York City
    • Deck two is called The Breezeway—an entirely outdoor area
    • Deck three is on the 70th Floor and is outdoors, does not have a glass enclosure and is a favorite spot for photos

  • Top of the Rock is open rain or shine, however guests are advised in advance of inclement weather, note there are no refunds provided for bad weather, however they will offer to reissue a ticket for a future date and time.
  • There is no time limit for staying on the deck, but most guests stay for around 45 minutes
  • There are bathrooms available on the 66th
  • There isn’t a restaurant up there, but there are places to get snacks on the way up
  • The Rockefeller Center Tree and Skating Rink are not visible from the observation deck, but they are easily accessible from the concourse level.

  • Top of the Rock often features some of the photos an videos taken by their guests. In order to be considered, use the following hashtags #TopoftheRock, #RockCenter, #RockShops and RockEats.


Check and see if Top of the Rock is included in your tour package.  If not,

Regular Entry Price: Adult $34.00

Regular Entry Price: Child $28.00

Top of the Rock remains one of the favorite things to do in New York. Savor the view!

[Image 3, Cory Schloss Images, View from Top of the Rock]

Drink Like a New Yorker: Try Vodka at Russian Vodka Room and Russian Samovar September 01 2017


Whether you live in New York City or if you are just visiting and you love vodka, then there are two places that you have to try:  Russian Vodka Room and Russian Samovar.  These two restaurant bars are situated across the street from each other, located on 52nd St. between 8th Avenue and Broadway and both serve up delicious food and drinks and have live jazz, blues and standards music (fantastic pianists), but both may be most known for their wide selection of vodkas, especially their tempting, homemade infused vodkas in flavors such as cranberry, ginger, pineapple, garlic dill, horseradish, peach and more. And, you if vodka isn’t your thing, they both have full bars, but really, vodka is really at the heart of these New York staples.  They are similar, but not the same and both have special advantages.  The ambiance differs, but the friendly welcome is present for both.  While you can choose one and park there for as little or until closing if you like, but as they are so close together, why not try both and discover a favorite for yourself? 

The Drinks

Infused Vodka at Russian Samovar

Both restaurant bars have a wide selection of bar staples and tasty international beers, but most people try it out for the vodka.  Both feature at least ten flavors of house infused vodka. These are available in 2 oz. shots, carafes of various sizes and flights of six different flavors are available for those who wish to taste many flavors.  Specialty cocktails adorn the menus of each for those who like to mix it up a bit.  Also, both venues feature a variety of popular and exclusive brands of vodka such as Absolut, Ketel One, Stoly, Cristal and many more. These places are known for being generous with their pours.  

The Food

Food at Russian Samovar

Many people come to these establishments for the drinks, but once you see the food walk by you will be tempted to try some—and you should, especially to help soak up some of the vodka.  Russian Samovar and Russian Vodka Room serve traditional Russian dishes such as smoked fish, charcuterie platters, caviar, borsht, pierogies, Pelmini veal and pork dumplings (both fried and steamed) with sour cream and hot mustard, and assorted pickled vegetables that are equally good, but there are a few must try items that are a worth trying at each establishment. 

Must Try Food at Russian Samovar

  • Mushroom Vol-Au-Vent “Windblown”—porcini mushrooms with cream sauce topped with a cheesy puffed pastry
  • Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad—with goat cheese and walnuts
  • “A Tribute to Perestroika” 22 oz Ribeye Steak—this dish serves two and is cooked in a red wine reduction with mushrooms
  • Chicken Kiev Entrée—Breaded chicken rolled in an herbed dill butter with mashed potatoes
  • Roasted Duck Entrée—pan seared duck breast with brae burn apple
  • Medovik—Layered Honey Cake

One additional item to consider is the black tea that is sweetened with black cherries. It tastes great, but the presentation is lovely and extra memorable.

Things to Drink in NYC Tea Russian Samovar

Must Try Food at Russian Vodka Room

  • Duck Liver Pate—This pate is perfectly seasoned and served with toasted bread
  • Mushroom Julienne En Cocotte—This baked mushroom dish is almost to pretty to eat…Almost…
  • Chicken Schnitzel—breaded chicken with truffle dill butter and roasted potatoes
  • Beef Stroganoff—This traditional Russian beef dish is made with a cream sauce and served with Kasha instead of noodles, delicious!

Beef Stroganoff at Russian Vodka Room

  • Short Ribs—These braised short ribs are tender and served with Kasha


Happy Hour

Happy Hour Bar at Russian Samovar

Russian Samovar and Russian Vodka Room both offer similar deals drink specials for Happy Hour.  Both have full bars with great selections. 


Happy Hour Duration

Cost of Martini

Cost of Shots

Cost of House Wine

Cost of Beer

Russian Samovar

Every Day 5-7





Russian Vodka Room

Every Day 4-7







One extra tip, these infused vodka shots are incredibly smooth, so know that you can easily over indulge if you don’t pay attention, so know your limits and pace yourself. 

The team at wants you to have fun and try new things, but please drink responsibly and stay safe.

Things to do in New York City: The Staten Island Ferry August 30 2017

Staten Island Ferry Sign

While taking one of the amazing boat tours offered by New York Nightlife could be the highlight of your trip to NYC, a visit isn’t quite complete without a short ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  This free ride operates 24/7, 365 days per year and goes between the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan to the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island and lasts about 30 minutes each way.  It has great views of New York City and the Statue of Liberty, not to mention people-watching. The team at New York Nightlife is here to help you get the most out of this ride.

How to get to the Staten Island Ferry

  • You can take a cab or car to the Whitehall Station at 4 Southstreet
  • If you prefer public transportation like subways or buses, you will need a Metrocard (which you may by at any subway station or at one of the kiosks on the street). Check out MTA Trip Planner to find the best way for you get there.

Note:  Most subways require you to be in the first five cars in order to get off at the Whitehall Station, so plan to be in the front of the subway before getting there.

What to do once you arrive at the Ferry Terminal

  • Follow the crowds and the signs and you will soon be at the terminal
  • Get in line and get on the ferry
  • Find a place where you like the view and enjoy the ride


New York Skyline From Staten Island Ferry

Tips for taking the Staten Island Ferry

  • Avoid riding during rush hours between 6-9 AM and 3:30-8 PM on weekdays to enjoy a less crowded trip
  • Bicycles are allowed on, but they must be walked onto the ferry and they must be loaded in the bicycle loading area
  • Rollerblades and skateboards may be brought onto the ferry, but not used while on-board or in the terminal
  • Snacks, drinks and beer are sold at a concession stand on every boat
  • Taking pictures or video is fine for personal use
  • Smoking is not permitted in the ferry and in most areas of the terminal
  • Make a backup plan on where to reunite with your group in case you get separated
  • The decks can get slippery in wet or snowy weather, so please be cautious in those situations
  • Be sure to take all of your belongings with you when you get off the Ferry


View of Statue of Liberty from Staten Island Ferry

Fun Facts about the Staten Island Ferry

  • The distance traveled each way is 5.2 miles (8.4 km)
  • It is operated by New York City Department of Transportation
  • It has been in service since 1905
  • The Staten Island Ferry carries 23 million passengers per year
  • Vehicles have not been allowed on the ferry since the September 11 attacks
  • The Whitehall Terminal was designed to hold more than 100,000 people
  •  The eight vessels used to make the trip are: Spirit of America, Senator John J. Marchi, Guy V. Molinari, Samuel I. Newhouse, Andrew J. Barberi, John F. Kennedy, John Nobel, Alice Austen and Micheal Cosgrove

The Staten Island Ferry in Movies and TV

Staten Island Ferry has been a staple in pop culture.  It has been featured in the following movies and TV shows, just to name a few:

I Love Lucy—Season 5, Episode 12 “Staten Island Ferry”

Multiple episodes of Law & Order

Friends—“The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy”

The Staten Island Ferry was an important part of 1988 Melanie Griffith, Harrison ford and Sigourney Weaver in  Mike Nichols new classic Working Girl.

Amy Schumer rode it in the 2015 film Trainwreck

In the 2017 film Spider-man: Homecoming, Spider-man and Iron Man work together to save one of the Staten Island Ferry boats in a key action scene.  

 Happy riding!

Things to Do in New York City: Experience “Sleep No More” August 28 2017

Catching a show is a fun and popular way to spend some time while in New York City.  Of course, there are Broadway, Off Broadway and even Off Off Broadway options and those who love to watch a good play, musical, comedy show or other kind of live entertainment event.  Those can be amazing.  Even a bad show can present a good storytelling option.  However, these shows are just things you watch, Sleep No More, is an interactive theater encounter, called “promenade theater” where you don a mask and interact with actors and are immersed into a dynamic once-in-a-lifetime experience.  This experience also has optional rooftop restaurant and bar options called Gallow Green that are not included with the purchase of a ticket to a performance, but worth considering. 



What is Sleep No More?

Sleep No More is a mostly non-spoken film noir inspired adaptation of Macbeth with a little witch trials thrown in the mix, that takes place in the McKittrick Hotel (actually a restored warehouse that has been converted into a performance space in the Chelsea neighborhood area of New York City). The audience walks at their own pace through a series of appropriately designed rooms and environmental theater through a six-floor fully immersive experience.  The audience can freely walk through the sets and touch items and find clues to the story.  The McKittrick Hotel isn’t a typical hotel.  It includes is six floors of indoor/outdoor sets that include typical hotel features like a lobby, but it also has a sanitarium, streets of the fictitious Scottish town Gallow Green, a speakeasy, grand bedrooms, courtyards, a forest, a crypt, a fantastic ballroom and more.  In fact, the hotel has a 1930s hotel jazz bar called the Manderley where the audience can enjoy the live music and have a drink after the theatrical experience is done.  While you explore at your own pace, following performers around is part of the fun so be prepared to move around.

When does Sleep No More run?

Tickets are sold for months in advance, with multiple time slots available each day from 5PM through midnight, depending on the day of the week, with a 4 PM start time on most Saturdays.

Do you have to get tickets in advance?

Yes, it is advisable because the tickets often sell out weeks in advance. 

How do you get tickets?

While most NYC theater ticket sites have options for Sleep No More, there are two options that are better than most.  Go directly to the Sleep No More website here, or Google “discount tickets Sleep No More” to see what kinds of deals are available. 

How much do tickets cost?

The average cost is $75 per ticket.  While there are discounts available, the cost is usually upwards of $100 as drinks are expensive, but they do make the experience a little more interesting.

Is there an option for last minute ticket options?

People interested in attending a sold out time slot or date are encouraged to contact

Sleep No More

How many people experience it with you?

The audience is admitted during staggered times, so there are never too many people in one place at once.  You might experience something totally on your own, or there may be close to 100 people watching a specific scene. 

How long does it take?

Guests may stay as long as they want as long as it is still open, however, most people spend about three hours savoring this interactive experience. 

What to expect?

  • You will be wearing a mask—identical to ever other member of the audience
  • About the mask, it can fit over glasses, but if you have the option to wear contact lenses for this experience, do it!
  • Bags and coats are required to be checked in. The cost of this is $4 per person.
  • It is hard to recognize people, so plan on either enjoying the experience alone or holding hands the entire time
  • Like any theater experience, talking is not appreciated
  • While not a “haunted house,” there are elements that may be disturbing to some. There is blood, murder, nudity, strobe lights, creepy music and other elements that are meant to make people uncomfortable, yet intrigued.
  • While there is no official dress code, it is fun to get dressed up, but comfortable shoes are advised as you will be walking, sometimes running around a lot.
  • All sales are final. Tickets may not be exchanged for another date or time.  However, it has been reported that if you are running a bit late and they are not overbooked, they will do their best to accommodate you.

Sleep No More

Is Sleep No More suitable for kids?

Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, but the many themes of this experience are adult in nature and not suitable for young children.  There is nudity, violence and complicated concepts in Sleep No More.

What is the history of the show?

Sleep No More was created by British Theatre company Punchdrunk in 2003.  In 2009, they joined forces with Emersive in 2011 and started New York productions.  That same year, it won the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience.  It also earned special Obie Awards for design and choreography.


 [Featured Image by Jim James "Sleep No More."]



Eat Like a New Yorker: Gray’s Papaya—Arguably the Best Hot Dogs in New York City August 25 2017

When people plan a trip to New York, having a traditional NYC hot dog is on most people’s bucket list. When it comes to hot dogs, everyone has their favorites.  Some will tell you that Nathan’s in Coney Island is the best.  Others may say that you need to be on the lookout for Sabrett hot dog carts. Still, most hot dogs on the street, even Sabretts are made in boiling water, and lack something yummy that is present when a frankfurter is grilled to perfection.  However, if you want a truly delicious hot dog that is a tradition for many New Yorkers, especially ones one a budget or who had too much to drink earlier in the evening, then you have to go to Gray’s Papaya flagship on 72nd and Broadway or their newest location at 612 Eighth Ave., between West 39th and 40th Streets in Manhattan. The snap of these delicious grilled, well-seasoned hot dogs is worth the flight to New York City.

Note:  There are many restaurants with the word “papaya” in it, such as Papaya King and they are similar and will do in a pinch, but they are not quite the same.  If you are Uptown, make a plan to visit one of these stand-up only or take out eateries--you won’t be disappointed.

What makes Gray’s Papaya so special?

Gray's Papaya

So many things!

  • The quality: The 100 percent all-beef franks come from a proprietary recipe from a manufacturer in New Jersey, called Marathon, actually the same place that makes Sabrett franks. The buns are fresh and the toppings are traditional.
  • The specialty drinks: The name of the business itself comes from the original owner and the papaya drink they make.  Gray’s Papaya has huge vats of special drinks in flavors such Papaya, Piña Colada, Banana Daiquiri, Coconut Champagne, Mango, Strawberry Supreme.  And don’t let the names fool you--there is no alcohol in any of these drinks.  Purists enjoy their Pineapple Juice and Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice.  They also have sodas, coffee and water too, but give their specialties a try on your first visit. 
  • The price: A hot dog runs you just $2.50. The “Recession Special” includes two hot dogs and one 14 oz. drink for $4.45, but may change sometime soon. Ketchup, mustard, onions and sauerkraut are free.  Chili, relish and cheese are only $0.50 each.  This is the one of the best, delicious deals in town.

Even though the lines can be long, customers are served very quickly and will have their hot dog and drink in hand within a reasonable time frame.

Gray’s Papaya is a fixture in New York City pop culture.  Celebrities mention it regularly on talk shows and in memoirs.  In fact, Samuel L. Jackson recently mentioned how he, Denzel Washington and others would save up for Gray's Papaya before they became successful actors. 

It was mentioned in the novels William Gibson’s Spook County and Francine Pascal’s Fearless and it was a prominent component of issue #32 of comic book series The Avengers when Spider-man suggests that the team swings in for some hot dogs.    It has been used in the background for many projects filmed in New York, but it was more than a location and almost a character in a few notable films and TV shows including:

In film:

  • 2001 Down to Earth with Regina King and Chris Rock
  • 1997 Fools Rush In with Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek

  • 2008 Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist with Michael Cera and Kat Dennings
  • 1998 You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
  • 2010 The Back-up Plan with Jennifer Lopez and Alex O’Loughlin
  • 1995 Die Hard with a Vengeance with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson


  • A box of Gray’s Papaya were shipped to Joel Fleishman in Northern Exposure
  • Carrie Bradshaw celebrated the publishing of her first book by visiting Gray’s Papaya in 2002 episode of Sex and the City “Plus One is the Loneliest Number.
  • Gray’s Papaya was featured a couple of times in How I Met Your Mother

  • Richard Castle tried to cheer up his daughter with the possibility of Gray’s Papaya on an episode of Castle
  • Glee showed Rachel and Kurt enjoying the hot dogs and drinks from Gray’s Papaya
  • Anthony Bourdain featured Gray’s Papaya in Season 3, episode 9 of No Reservations
  • Gray’s papaya got a good mention in Season 1, episode 3 in the HBO series Vinyl

The Gray’s Papaya was founded in 1973 by a former partner in the Papaya King chain Paul Gray.  It has frequently been listed as the best hot dog in New York from foodie sites and a recent issue of Time Out New York

This chain also has good breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and their coffee is inexpensive and quite good.

So when you are in NYC, skip the over-priced, not-delicious, and not-always the freshest dirty water hot dogs you can find on any corner, and plan a trip to Gray’s Papaya.  It is a special place for anyone who loves a good hot dog, or for people who want a true New York experience.  And, for those who don’t particularly like franks, then there is always the Papaya Drink or their especially yummy pineapple juice.  The team at won't let you down. Enjoy!

How to Get Around New York City: Exploring Taxi Cab and Car Service Options August 23 2017

NYC Taxi

When visiting New York City, many people find joy in walking slightly into the street, raising their hand and hailing an iconic Yellow Cab.  Once in the car, they tell the driver where they want to go and then they are off to their destination.  Then the cabbie is paid and the next adventure begins.  While that method still works in New York City, there are other ways of getting around that might be more convenient for travelers, especially those who do not wish to worry about having to fumble with credit cards or cash at the end of their ride.  There are many methods, including ones using traditional Yellow or Green Cabs that make getting around New York very easy.  The team at has made this easy for you.  We are going to tell you about some of the services available including New York Yellow cab apps, Arro and Curb, as well as popular options Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via so you can plan make car trips easier. 

Note:  there are many other private car companies in New York City, but for the sake of this blog, we will just be covering the options listed above.

General tips for all car service apps in NYC

surcharge pricing uber

All of these methods of transportation involve downloading free apps. Here are a few tips that work for all of them.  First, you go to the app store and chose the car service or services you wish to use while visiting New York City. Downloading the app is just the first step.  You must add in your contact and payment information for it to be fully set up prior to using. Something to note is that GPS location access is often requested prior to joining and can present some challenges to people before they arrive in the city.  All of these apps show you where a driver is on GPS, so you can determine whether or not this is your best option. Unless you are in no hurry, seeing a ten minute wait time may be reason enough for you to explore a different option. After downloading the app, add in your preferred payment information and you are ready to go. Formal destination addresses are not always required as most apps will recognize the name of popular NYC sites and restaurants by name. 

Note: these apps are upgraded regularly, so check on them before you use them to make sure you will not experience any delays due to having to wait for an upgrade.

Here is more information on some great car services available in NYC:


Arro and Curb Taxi Apps

The Arro and Curb apps are virtually the same. These services are different than the other car services as they are connected to the official city cabs of the area. With these apps you can do two different things: first you can find an empty local cab and have it go directly to you and have the payment arranged or you find any yellow or green cab on the street, enter a special code featured on the screen and you will be paired to the app so you can pay while you are already in a cab, so you will not need to worry about paying at the end of your ride. Curb serves 65 cities and Arro services NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Houston, however the passcodes and the rates are the same for both.  These apps are constantly praised for having the fastest arrival times.  Customers appreciate that there are no hidden fees or expenses associated with these apps.  The rate is the standard rate of the city and it is displayed on the cabs ticker.  After you download the app, you can add in your payment information, enter your preferred tip amount, between 15 and 25 percent is customary, and you are ready to go. Something different about these is that you do not have to add in your destination.  That can be good a good thing if you have multiple stops or you know your final destination may change while you are en route.  While these apps may not be the most economical, they are the most reliable, and as they are associated with the city in question, the rates are transparent.  Many people find these options to be the safest as all drivers connected to these apps are fully licensed and insured, as well as fingerprinted and tested.  Note that coupons or promo codes are generally not available for these services as their rates are set by the city.

Tips for other popular car services


Now, all the rest of the apps have coupons and sales promotions available.  First time riders can get credits for at least one free or a significantly discounted ride.  If you choose to share your experience about them on social media, you may be eligible for additional discounts.  Each riding option has its own deals that are subject to change, so be sure to check out their websites prior to your trip to see if any information has changed or if there is any deal that you may wish to use.

In fact, if you are looking to save money, you can do a little research on the current promotions available and use the discounts presented at many of these companies so you can enjoy less expensive rides and try out the different options for your trip to NYC.

One thing that can be potentially irritating about all car services is the possibility that they will cancel.  While there are no guarantees, if a car is less than five minutes away, the less likely it will cancel.  Tips are not immediately included in the remaining car services we have reviewed, so be prepared to either have a little cash on hand for extraordinary service or upon completion of your trip, when you are asked to rate the driver, you may be asked if you want to add a tip.  That is up to you, but tips of good service usually are between 15-25 percent. Some drivers are all about the customer experience so you may find some who supply water, candy or phone chargers to use along the ride.  If you know you that it is your preference to take a car rather than public transportation such as the subway or buses, you may want to be sure to download more than one of these apps, enter your information and have them at the ready.


uber app

Uber is one of the most popular and far reaching car service apps around.  It operates in more than 630 cities worldwide and can be accessed from a smartphone app or the mobile website.  With Uber, there is usually a car available, but it may not be the kind of ride you are seeking.  In New York City, there are six options:  UberX: economy cars and a baseline fare of $2.55 with $0.35 per minute after that; UberXL: bigger cars and a base of $3.85 with $0.50 per minute; UberBlack for luxury sedans have a baseline of $7 with $0.65 per minute; UberSUV has a base of $14 and with $0.80 per minute; UberTaxi (not the most economical option) flags down a local cab for you; and UberPool which connects a few riders going the same direction with a $2.55 baseline and $0.35 per minute that is split between the riders.  The latter has a special offer from 7-10am and 5-8pm on Mondays through Fridays $5 flat fee per person in Manhattan below 125 Street.  

Uber also does something called Dynamic or Surge pricing which means that the higher the demand for the cars, the higher the rate will be.  This higher rate could be multiplied to more than 10 times the original price of the ride.  While you are forced to confirm the extra pricing before they will send the car, it can get very expensive.

While Uber is the most common and convenient car service app, it often is not the favored one as their prices can vary due to surge pricing and not every kind of car is available when it is needed.  However, for those who travel frequently, Uber is almost everywhere and once you have the app downloaded, you can use it anywhere in the world where there is Uber service. 

Uber drivers tend to have good reputations for being polite and efficient, and all utilize GPS.  That is both a blessing and a curse as some drivers may not know the city, especially the outer boroughs as much as a trained New York City cab driver.


lyft new york

Lyft has been growing in popularity with both drivers and passengers and is a formidable competitor with Uber.  The baseline charge is $2.50 with $0.35 per minute or $1.79 per mile.  They do have a minimum fare of $8 and they sometimes have extra charges at high demand. Lyft does not have as big a fleet of available cars as does Uber, but cars are usually available in Manhattan.  It is not as likely to find available cars in the outer boroughs or some northern areas of the city, but it tends to be reliable and customer satisfaction is typically rated very high. Lyft is especially good at enticing customers with coupons or pre-purchased saving options. 


juno rideshare app

Juno is relatively new in NYC.  It just absorbed Gett, a popular car service that had been known for $10 trips anywhere in Manhattan below 125 Street, in a merger and has really good deals to get people to try the site.  As Juno is new, it seems like it has fewer cars available than their competition, thus the wait time can be longer than the rest.  However, there is no surge pricing and unlike the other options, they have a 24-hour help hotline.  The rates are comparable to Uber and Lyft.  Drivers seem to like Juno as they take a lower percentage of their money and have stock buying options for employees to keep them interested in staying with them.  While Juno is in its infancy the outlook looks promising.  Happy employees usually translates to happy customers.  This is a good option for people who not only want to get somewhere efficiently for a reasonable price, but it also makes customers feel good to give Juno a try because it is building a reputation for treating their employees with respect.


via rideshare app

The ride share Via is less like a taxi and more like an almost personal bus.  These economy cars pick up a max of two people per ride and at a flat prepaid fee.  In order to use Via you must purchase credits in $25 increments.  If you are a regular user, the credits are automatically reloaded when you drop below $10.  Via is not 24-7.  It operates from 6am-midnight during the week, 10am-midnight on Saturdays and Sundays 10am-9pm in Manhattan below 125th Street.  This is not door to door service.  It will pick you up at a local corner and drop you off within a couple of blocks.  This service is good for people who generally know there way around the city and do not like public transportation.


When you decide which car services work best for your needs, download the app or bookmark the page, check it soon upon arrival in New York City, but know that by preparing in advance you have multiple options.  Also, make sure you have important addresses and phone numbers written down or on you just in case.  Happy travels from the team at New York Nightlife.



Things to Eat in NYC: Top Five Dessert Trucks in New York City August 21 2017

food truck nyc

One of the best things about traveling to New York City is being able to experience the wonderful food. Restaurants and cafes are great, but there is something joyful about enjoying common street food from a food truck or cart.  It is even better when you visit a food truck specializing in desserts and sweet treats that are sure to put a smile on your face. When looking for something fun to do in New York, be sure to indulge your sweet tooth at one of these five fantastic food trucks.


Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream

ice cream truck nyc

If you are craving ice cream, you don’t need to walk more than a block or two to find a Mister Softee, but if you are in New York, then you should treat yourself to some of the best ice cream the world has ever known courtesy of Van Leeuwen. While they have four actual stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the yellow trucks serve their hand crafted classic and vegan ice creams are easy to find by checking them out on Twitter



This ice cream is special because it is handcrafted with only the best ingredients.  The Van Leeuwen team sources their ingredients from local and international farmers and all of their ice creams are handcrafted in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The classic ice creams come in traditional and new flavors, such as:  Honeycomb, Salted Caramel, Sicilian Pistachio, Strawberry, Coffee, Mint Chip, Candied Ginger and more. And, there are always special flavors that vary depending on the season.  Vegans are not left out either. Your hunt for the tastiest vegan ice cream truck in nyc ends here: Van Leeuwen makes their vegan desserts with homemade cashew milk, organic coconut milk, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic cane sugar, pure cocoa butter, and organic carob bean. So, whatever your ice cream pleasure, Van Leeuwen has what you need to have a perfect frozen treat experience while exploring New York City.

Wafles and Dinges  


sweets in nyc, waffles

Since 2007, New Yorkers and tourists have been able to enjoy the wonderful Belgian or Liege waffles at Wafels & Dinges in stores and trucks around the city.  These perfectly made delicacies are crisp on the outside, and so tender on the inside.  And, this is just the waffle.  The extra joy comes in the form of the toppings.  The range of toppings include decadent sauces like dulce de leche or hot fudge, fresh strawberries, Spekuloos, Nutella, bananas, ice cream and more.  You can design your own or try one of the delicious options on the menu like the “de WMD” a.k.a. “The Wafel of Massive Deliciousness,” which is made with strawberries, bananas, whipped cream and Belgian chocolate fudge. It is just so good.  They also have pastries, ice creams and coffee drinks that perfectly accompany these delicious waffles.

waffles nyc 

Sweetery NYC 

sweetery food truck nyc

Sweetery is a unique mobile bake shot that sells a wide variety of cakes, pies, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream sandwiches, chocolate dipped marshmallows on a stick and other confections.  They are known for a few signature items such as their Macarella (two coconut macaroon cookies sandwiched around Nutella spread), black and white cookies and whoopie pies.  They have a seasonal menu which is updated regularly.  Sweetery prides itself on using the best ingredients from environmentally friendly sources. You can try their special Pecan Sand Tart or Candied Ginger Shortbread Cookies individually, or you can get a bag of ten to share.  They are so good that you may not want to share them. Follow them on Twitter to find out where they are and make a special trip to taste some truly special treats.

Carpe Donut NYC  

doghnuts truck nyc

Carpe Donut makes the best small batch donuts in the city. The team at Carpe Donut uses terrific local ingredients and they are so incredibly fresh and delicious. The menu changes from time to time, but they are most known for their Apple Cider Donuts and their FroDo—an ice cream sandwich, made with a donut and hand packed with organic vanilla Blue Marble ice cream. The also offer organic coffee, cioccollata (Italian style hot chocolate), fresh mulled hot cider and a refreshing Hibiscus Lemonade. Find out where they are today by following them on Twitter and taste the world’s best donut for yourself.


The Good Batch 

While sweet treats from The Good Batch are available year-round at their physical bakery in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, at 936 Fulton Street, tourists, travelers and New Yorkers can enjoy these incredible handcrafted cookies, cakes, brownies and frozen desserts at Smorgasburg, Celebrate Brooklyn!, and Central Park’s SummerStage from April through October. Some of their most popular cookie flavors include: Oat Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Double Fudge Cookies, Brown Butter Salty Cookies, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Sweet & Spicy Nuts. Yum! 

The Good Batch also has some seasonal offerings that are worth experiencing at least once like the ice cream Pretzel Bar that has layers of peanut butter pretzel nougat, vanilla ice cream and chocolate fudge. Then, the bar is dipped in chocolate and is sprinkled with pretzels, peanut brittle and sea salt. Or you may want to try “The Crispy,” a crispy rice cereal marshmallow cookie with caramel and vanilla ice cream.  Now this is the stuff dreams are made of!



New Year's Eve Cruise 2017 January 12 2017

Conversation with Lloyd Kaufman about movies, authentic New York and more April 11 2016

Mariagrazia De Luca

Isn’t it incredible? Troma Entertainment, the oldest film company in the United States, which specialized in horror movies, has been producing and distributing independent movies for over 40 years, and its fans are scattered all around the planet.

This week had a tour of the Troma Building, and we interviewed Lloyd Kaufman, the President and cofounder along with Michael Hertz of Troma. Llyod Kaufman sat down to speak about experiencing the “authentic” New York….

The team of Troma is super friendly. They offer us coffee and show us all around the building, which seems a museum. There are many props from the films such as monster’s masks, tools to make special effects, original posters, shelves full of DVDs, CDs, old films, material used during the production of movies. One that particularly caught my interest,  and is also iconic of Troma’s movies, is the one of Toxie, from the movies about The Toxic Avenger.

Next time you are going to plan a trip to New York City, consider going on the Troma Building Tour. Contact them in advance (, since the tours are arranged by appointment. The Troma Studios is in Long Island City (36-40 11th Street). Take the Q, N or F train and get off at the first stop of Queens.

First of all, congratulations! For over 40 years Troma Entertainment has been producing and distributing independent movies, without compromising with any “Hollywood”.

Lloyd: We would love to make compromises, but nobody wants to do it with us (laughs). In fact the artistic freedom is the most important thing, and we have been so fortunate to have it for all these years. It’s our fans who really are the engine of our company. We have volunteers from all around the world who help us to make and distribute the movies. In Return to Nuke’ Em High, Volume II some of the post-production money were donated by our fans through Kickstarter. The movie is almost finished: we are almost there! Besides supporting us financially, fans filmed all over the world some scenes with professional cameras: in Australia, France, Spain, Japan, Africa, China, etc. All these scenes will be in the final movie.

Troma has so many loyal fans all around the world: this is amazing! I am Italian and I have always been your fan.

Lloyd: Thank you! Yes, Troma has many fans in Italy. When I was in Rome giving the Master Class, the fans made it very successful: it was sold out. Every time we go to Rome to Troma’s Retrospective the fans are always there. Unfortunately, we don’t get money, but it is a “ego” trip. We also know that there are a lot of bootleg DVDs in Italy and we are proud of our fans who take the trouble to make the bootleg. Anyway, it is a pity that we don’t have a real distribution and can make a little bit of money. It’s a political issue…

Is it about politics?

When you have Berlusconi running the country… what can you expect? It is almost bad as Hilary Clinton… (laughs) not as bad as Hilary Clinton, but almost with his make-up, he looks better. I would prefer Berlusconi as President of the United States. Actually, I would prefer Berlusconi as a woman to be President of the United States rather than Hilary. We don’t like her.

Fortunately, Italy is not just politics.

Yes, and I studied four years of Latin and I am quite knowledgeable about the history and  the Romans. By the way, who is your favorite Emperor? Mine is Octavian, a visionary. He was great! He was good for the people.

Emperor? Perhaps Caligula, a bad guy, but intriguing. What about Caesar?

Caesar was a sort of Kurt Cobain. It would be interesting seeing where he would be gone. Although Caesar didn’t kill himself like Kurt Cobain. I would love to kill myself too, but unfortunately I don’t have the guts.

Lloyd, would you love to shoot a movie in Italy? Which would be a nice set?

Yes, that would be great. We should first find someone with money in Italy, that’s the problem. Rome is a beautiful set, even though I know it is difficult to make movies there.

What is your favorite director and movie?

Rossellini. Fellini is ok, but not as much as Rossellini. My favorite movie is Open City (1945). It’s the most Troma’s movie. They used wheelchairs, since they didn’t have the equipment. About horror movies, Dario Argento is a genius. Troma distributes his film, The Syndrome of Standhal (1996), starring his daughter Asia Argento. I also interviewed her, she gets raped very well in the movie.

Making independent movies in the 70s and making independent movies today. What did it change?

Lloyd: I studied Chinese history and culture at Yale University and I read a lot about Taism: Yin and Yang, good and bad, the beauty and the ugly, you cannot have one without the other. The positive thing is that the digital revolution caused a democratization of making movies and everybody can make a movie today. The problem today is that we cannot eat or paying our rent making our art. 30 years ago, we needed money to make movies, such The Toxic Avenger or Class of Nuke’Em High, but then we could have distribution all over the world. There were many distribution companies around the world and a lot of competition among them.

To be an “Independent” artist today seems to be more difficult…

Today, it’s impossible for an independent artist to make money, especially since the media is controlled by a few and it’s impossible to “break the hymen” of mainstream. However, some talents who started with Troma, are today doing very well in the mainstream. There are great people who have the control of their art. James Gunn, who wrote Tromeo and Juliet, directed by me, wrote and also directed Guardians of Galaxy, movie which made billion of dollars. He is a great guy. He knows how to get his way with the shitted Hollywood. I don’t know how to do it, unfortunately. Very few people who are very gifted can make it. So many talents are kept outside the “Vitrine”.

Many of your movies have been shot in New York City. In Toxic Avenger we watch a decadent New York City of the 80s, which landscapes have today disappeared. The most iconic, the Twin Towers which are often in the background of the scenes. How much has New York City changed? Is it still a good set for independent directors?

Lloyd: New York has changed as much as our society has changed. Unfortunately, the city is controlled by a bureaucrat elite that has no interested in supporting the arts. Bureaucrats make a lot of money at the expense of those who work hard, destroying what make America great, which is originality, engineering and creativity.

Was there more creativity in the 80s?

Lloyd: There was a more genuine interest and more open-mindedness toward creative people. No one can really afford to live in New York anymore. It is not a matter of the rent being high, it is a matter of bureaucrats raising the real estate taxes, and put the money in their pockets. A real conspiracy! The little people of Tromaville need the Toxie Avenger to save them.

Lloyd you are also an actor. Is it true that you starred also in Rocky?

Lloyd: Yes. I played the Drinking Boom, a game where you drink if you lose, in Rocky and I am pretty good in this game. In fact, since then I had a lot of experience being drunk. If you go to my IMBD, you can see that I am in about 200 underground movies and in many of them I play Drinking Boom or I play the doctor. I am a terrible actor but if I make a movie the Troma’s fans would buy the DVD. Plus, my participation might attract other “celebrities” to participate. I usually don’t get pay, but I learn so much and it is a lot of fun.

Which advice would you give to the readers who are planning a trip in New York City, to really “experience” the authentic New York?

In terms of museums, the Metropolitan, around 5 in the evening in the weekend it is an interesting place to visit. After looking some art, do not feel guilty, you should go to have a drink at the nice bar of the museum, where usually they put Mozart or other classic music and you are surrounded by Chinese potteries. And, in the meantime considering suicide…

If instead you like Shakespeare, musicals and are little gay (as I am), you should go to see Something Rotten, a lot of fun for the entire family. Brooklyn is a lot of fun, yippish, young. In Manhattan everybody is old and looks as Vienna. In Brooklyn, you have a lot of people roaming around the street, lots of clubs, bar with movie theater in the back where you can watch movies undergroundish as Troma, not boring… except for Troma’s maybe…

Walking is the best way to experience the city from downtown to uptown: there are so many buildings, some old and well preserved, other modern. Central Park is nice, but Prospect Park is more dangerous, so it’s more exciting. At night, you can be mugged: it’s a pretty authentic New York experience, isn’t it?

Take the subway! This is also a very New York experience. Fellini’s movies are nothing compared to the experience of taking the subway. Take the M train. Anyway, the top of the authentic New York experience are The Tombs. The Tombs are the prisons, in a Victorian style, where they put you once you get arrested. Is it exciting, isn’t it?

And what about Times Square?

Lloyd: Times Square’s shops such as Mc Donald’s, M&M, the restaurants, are the same one you find in Ohio. The good news is that we become almost a 3th world country: the dollar is still so weak that for Europeans is still convenient to travel to the United States. More than everything… you should come to visit us, The Troma Building. We have lots of tourists visiting Troma. Sometime young girls and boys drags their parents here, without they having any idea of what Troma is. Kids sometime don’t want to see the Empire State Building, but find exciting Troma’s Tour.



St. Marks Is Dead and the Gentrification February 07 2016

St. Marks Is Dead

Mariagrazia de Luca

Ada Calhoun, in her book St. Marks Is Dead tells the readers about St. Marks Place, a street of just 3 blocks (from 3rd Ave to Ave A, from Avenue B to Avenue D), in the heart of the East Village, where many things happened over the years and centuries.

Ada Calhoun is a young writer from New York who has just published a book, St. Marks Is Dead, which had a great success among critics and readers (newyorkers and not). Ada, despite her young age, has many years of experience as writer.

Besides working for The New York Times, The Republic, The New York Magazine, she has been a “crime reporter” for the New York Post. Her experience as “detective” helped her dealing with the huge amount of research, which is behind her extraordinary book. The first chapter of her book talks about St. Marks even before it was named St. Marks, and Manhattan was a forest inhabited by Native Americans. Ada Calhoun then tells the readers about the first colonists, the migration waves of Germans into the neighborhood (St. Marks was at that time the Little Germany!), about the anarchists who lived there (and the street’s nickname was Hail Marx Place), about the Mafia’s wars, when gangsters dug “underground tunnels” (and the Italian Mafia was of the most threatening). Then she talks about the hippies, the punk rockers, the skinheads. Can you imagine Patti Smith and the Ramones hanging out at St. Marks? Finally, Ada describes St. Marks today: a Living Museum, with Japanese restaurants, Chase bank, Starbucks, super expensive rents and the legendary clubs which are now closed. In St. Marks there are still vintage stores, like the famous “Search & Destroy”, but the energy of that glorious époque is becoming weaker and weaker. Despite that, Ada Calhoun concludes by saying that St. Marks Place is still the beating heart of the Big Apple.

St. Marks Place

Mariagrazia: Ada, you were born and grew up in St. Marks Place. Despite that, in your book, you don’t talk about your personal memories, instead you give space to the “History” and about the myriad of “stories” which happened on this special street in New York. How did you get to know about all of it, and what does it mean to grow up in a place as St. Marks?

Ada: It’s funny, because when I was growing, and since I started researching I didn’t know any of the stories of St. Marks. I wish I’ve known earlier, when I was younger, because when you know the history and you walk down the street, I would look at each building and see the past layers of it. I would have thought, ‘these or those famous people used to live there!’  I would have felt myself in the continuous of the history of St. Marks, part of the past and the future at same time.

Mariagrazia: Did it feel “normal” to you to grow up in St. Marks?

Ada: Yes. St. Marks was a place like many others. It felt normal to me to live there. The first time I went to the suburb was when I was 11 years old, to visit a cousin of mine in Ohio, in a very small town. Once I got there, I didn’t know how everything worked. I didn’t know the rules for the football, I didn’t know what a drive-in was. I thought that everything was amazing and it was so fun, and the city looked to me instead awful. I wished to live in the countryside. Now, of course, I appreciate where I grew up, and all the stories of St. Marks Place.

St. Marks Place 

Mariagrazia: I read in your book that you wished to become a farmer?

Ada: Yes, but soon after I found that the countryside was boring. It ruins a little to grow up in the city.

Mariagrazia: In Italy we all grow up “eating” a lot of American culture. I think about the “people” who usually hung out in St. Marks, like Andy Warhol, the Ramones… these people influenced enormously the Italian rock music and the Italian artistic scenario in general. I am wondering if it does exist a “Roman” street very similar to St. Marks Place? Perhaps there are some Italian “copies” of St. Marks Place in which you can have a similar cultural environment than here in the East Village (I am thinking about San Lorenzo, the university neighborhood)...

Ada: That’s funny. I’ve been in Rome for my honeymoon… I honestly don’t know. Someone told me that a street similar to St. Marks in Paris is Saint- Germain-des-Prés.

Mariagrazia: In your book you mention St. Marks’ “golden age”. You said that there wasn’t just one golden age for St. Marks Place, instead there were many. Is it true?

Ada: Right. My golden age was when I was a teenager, during the ‘90. When I was doing the interview for the book, I noticed that everybody was saying that there was a specific year that was a wonderful year. Someone said it was the 1954, someone the 1997 and so on. I started doing math, and thinking how old people were in these years, and I found out mostly they were exactly in their nineteen, their “golden age”

Mariagrazia: being 19 today in St. Marks Place or being 19 during the ‘70 or ‘80, when all the rockers used to play around in the legendary East Village’s clubs? How is it different? Is still “authentic” St. Marks today?

Ada: I don’t really know what’s happening today in St. Marks. We don’t know until later. Nobody knew about the Ramones when they started. They were just 4 kids from Queens, they played loud and were considered annoying, and only later people realized they were some of the best musicians ever. There are things happening in the city now that only kids know about it and we don’t know.

Mariagrazia: Is there a neighborhood in New York, which is more a “hot spot” than other, since St. Marks became kind of touristic? I thought about Bushwich, where there are so many artists, rock concerts, disco, etc.

St. Marks Place

Ada: Yes. In Bushwick people is very free, young people can effort to live better, cheaper. There are new galleries, indie concerts….

Mariagrazia: I was thinking about St. Marks place as an “extreme mirror”, where things happen earlier than everywhere and are often so extreme and relevant for New York and the whole world….

Ada: I like the metaphor of the “extreme mirror”. St. Marks is “more New York” than other part of the city. During the big immigration, there were more immigrants here, during the ‘70, when New York was decrepit and broken down, St. Marks was more decrepit and broken down than the rest of the city. Today is, instead, richer than other areas. Here there have been riots, union organizers, a lot of energy. Still today there is so much energy and you can see teenagers hanging out in the street at 2 a.m…

Mariagrazia: in one of my explorations of New York, looking for this specific ‘70 and ‘80 rock atmosphere, I ended up in the legendary rock club CBGB, which today is just a very expensive clothes store. Anyway, you can see inside some “evidence” of the old CBGB’s wall, with the old concert’s flyers on…

Ada: Right. I used to go to the CBGB when I was teenager. You had a lot of bands playing there, some were ok, some really bad. Rockers, rappers, hardcore musicians, etc. There were less people going there in the ‘90s: there wasn’t anymore the same energy.

Mariagrazia: there are so many characters in your book: Mr. Zero, Skateborders, Mafia guys, philanthropists… how did you collect all these stories?

Ada: I just did so many interviews, more than 250. I talked to people on the street, each person directed me to five more people: I had a list of 700 people at a certain point. I asked them to tell me their favorite story or memory of the street, just things that happened on the street. When they started talking about uptown I told them, no, no, I don’t care. For the research, I spent a lot of time in the library, and I tried to research through all different keywords. I looked for every single book about St. Marks, hundreds of books. I look into archives, I went to museums. People let me look into their basement or gave me old magazines. I also bought old pictures from the ‘60 and ‘70 in e-bay for a few bucks.

Mariagrazia: Has your job as a “crime reporter” for the New York Post helped in writing your book?

Ada: Yes. I tracked people, found them and interviewed them for my book.

Mariagrazia: How long did it take you to complete your book?

Ada: four, five years.

Mariagrazia: Are you planning to translate it into Italian?  In your book there are so many stories which might interest Italian readers.

Ada: I would love to.  

Mariagrazia: Was the Italian Mafia really so powerful in St. Marks Place?

Ada: yes, it was. During the ‘20 the Jewish Mafia and the Italian Mafia were so powerful and they hated each other… There was a dramatic shooting on St. Marks Place between the two gangs. The Italian Mafia, the Black Hands, were so cruel and threatening. Italian Mafia guys used to give black lollipops to the kid in the school of the East Village, to menace the parents: you see? We can get to your kids!

Mariagrazia: How you invision St. Marks in 10 years?

Ada: I think St. Marks will be always a special destination. There are so many Europeans here in the East Village today, you can listen to so many accents walking down the street. I don’t know what people would be wearing, probably something that would look ridiculous to us. There is also a nice promenade from the subway to the park. I also believe, eventually, it would stop to be so expensive.

Mariagrazia: And maybe you will be able to come back in St. Marks?

Ada: why not?

Timelapse of Central Park being covered by snow January 24 2016

From the first flakes to a two-foot blanketing, Central Park was transformed.


Snowflakes started falling at Central Park on Friday night, forming a smooth white blanket that by Sunday would wrap the area in the pristine quiet of winter.



THE BIG PARADE November 25 2015

Kung Fu Panda Balloon
For millions of Americans, watching a gigantic floating Snoopy, plus other character balloons, marching bands, clowns, performers and more, make its way down Central Park West and Sixth Avenue in New York City is an annual ritual that kicks off the holiday season.
When the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924, about 250,000 people attended. Today, 3.5 million spectators typically line the event route, with another 50 million tuning in from home. It all ends with the guest of honor, Santa Claus, who's been a party of every parade to date. 
1927, Year of the first balloon character, Felix the Cat, joined the parade. This Year, expect to see stars such as Hello Kitty, Paddington and perennial favorite Snoopy, who has made the most appearances at 38.
$100 reward for finding a giant balloon in 1928 (about $1,400 in today's dollars). After the parade, the balloons floated over NYC while slowly deflating via safety valves. Each one was equipped with a return address label.
650 pounds of scrap rubber Macy's donated to the U.S. government in lieu of hosting a parade during the WW II years of 1942-44. When the parade started up again in 1945, more than 2 million people attended.
400,000 Approximate cubic of total helium needed to fill this year's giant character balloon heads and trycaloons (a balloon character riding on the back of a tandem tricycle.)

1000s gather to make human peace sign for John Lennon’s 75th birthday October 07 2015

Thousands of people gathered in Central Park’s East Meadow today as Yoko Ono led an attempt to create the largest-ever human peace sign in celebration of what would have been John Lennon’s 75th birthday, which is Oct. 9. Ono tweeted a call to action after announcing the event last month, shortly after the end of her exhibition “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971″ at the Museum of Modern Art.
About 2,000 people participated, ABC News reported. More than 5,000 people would have needed to gather to break the current record of 5,814, which the Ithaca Festival set in 2009.
Ono hosted the event, which was free and open to people of all ages, with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a mobile recording studio that works with students to create music and video projects. People posted pictures and video on Twitter and Instagram of the crowd as it began to gather this morning.
Posted by Hans Von Rittern
"2,000+ John Lennon fans AND Yoko Ono (my third time this year with her!) singing "Give Peace A Chance" as our photo was taken from a helicopter above, forming a large human peace sign in honor of Lennon's 75th birthday.
It is truly one my top New York lifetime experiences. All you need is heart emoticon . . .
The most touching thing of all was to see the hundreds of kindergarten and grade school kids in attendance, and just to the left of me, the youngest participant - an eight day old baby!
(Yoko tried to break the record of 5,800+, but it was a Tuesday morning - what was she thinking? She should have done it this past Saturday ~ oh well - that's wacky Yoko smile emoticon ! )"
Celebrating John Lennon's 75th Birthday

2,000+ John Lennon fans AND Yoko Ono (my third time this year with her!) singing "Give Peace A Chance" as our photo was taken from a helicopter above, forming a large human peace sign in honor of Lennon's 75th birthday. It is truly one my top New York lifetime experiences. All you need is <3 the="" most="" touching="" thing="" of="" all="" was="" to="" see="" hundreds="" kindergarten="" and="" grade="" school="" kids="" in="" attendance="" just="" left="" me="" youngest="" participant="" -="" an="" eight="" day="" old="" baby="" yoko="" tried="" break="" record="" 5="" 800="" but="" it="" a="" tuesday="" morning="" what="" she="" thinking="" should="" have="" done="" this="" past="" saturday="" oh="" well="" that="" s="" wacky="" :="" p=""> Posted by Hans Von Rittern on Tuesday, October 6, 2015




HOUSE OF ROB September 17 2015

The House of Rob Celebration took place just five days after September 11 and New York’s nightlife "family" and DJs far and wide demonstrated how quickly people respond to a call for help.

Much-loved club promoter Rob Fernandez died suddenly in July, Eddie Dean — owner of Pacha, where Fernandez was director of promotions and booking for the past ten years — and other members of the nightlife community and friends tried to figure out how they could help his family. Aware that Fernandez was most concerned that his young son, Rian, receives a good education they decided to immediately set up a GoFundMe account.

Soon coming to realize that they’d have to take it a step further.

“Everybody was in shock,” said Dean. “Almost immediately after that, everybody that Rob had touched over the years felt they wanted to do something.”

What did Rob loved the most? Party! But, it could not just be a party, it had to be one that would mirror the great personality and influence of a man known all over the world as the “King of New York.”

“We had the idea it had to be massive, Madison Square Garden, the biggest thing ever,” recalled Kevin McHugh, a close friend whose association began when he was managing Danny Tenaglia, whose career took off with Fernandez’s Be Yourself parties at Vinyl.

“Pacha made the most sense,” he added. “They were donating everything.” After three months of wrangling, the city even agreed to close down the entire block fronting the Hell’s Kitchen nightclub on September 16 for a twelve-hour extravaganza DJ Johnny Dynell calls “the Woodstock of DJs.”


67 DJs were booked. If Guinness ever adds a “Most DJs Spinning in One Night" category to its World Records, this would be the winner, hands down.

The list includes those who’ve known Fernandez from the early days, like Dynell, who met him when he was a doorman at Sound Factory Bar, as well as the fresh faces he was mentoring when he died unexpectedly. In between are all of those whose careers Fernandez helped launch, like EDM superstar Kaskade. Several of the DJs who will be spinning are New York icons (Jellybean Benitez, Danny Krivit, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez, Hector Romero, Hex Hector, et al.), producer-composers (e.g., Junior Sanchez), and newer scene-makers (Basic NYC’s Sleepy & Boo).

Of course, Pacha was heavily represented at the celebration, between the headliners (Jonathan Peters, Boris, Miss Jennifer) and veterans from the early years (Richie Santana and Peter Bailey). Fernandez may be best known for promoting big clubs like Twilo, Limelight, and Palladium, and giant venues like the Barclays Center and Central Park. But he was also instrumental in fostering the city’s underground club scene with parties like the Subliminal Sessions at Centro-Fly. 

Many people also don’t realize how deeply embedded Fernandez was in the city’s gay club scene, where he produced the wild Asseteria parties. Gay DJs paid their tribute. 

Most DJs were limited to 30 minutes, 45 max. 

Kaskade, who normally plays the giant Hudson River pier spaces, spinned at the low-level basement or Pachita, the loungy attic space.


Schedules were set in stone which made finding a suitable date that could accommodate everyone who wanted to participate impossible. “If it was one week, half couldn’t make it,” Dean said. “If the next week, the other half couldn’t. We finally chose Fashion Week.” Wednesday was chosen because it cut least into weekend travel.

What’s truly remarkable is that every single DJ is donating his or her expenses. DJs like Avicii who couldn’t juggle their schedules donated money. 

“It’s amazing that so many are flying in for this,” said former Pacha publicist Betty Kang, now of Plexi PR. “A lot of these DJs owe their career to Rob. He saw what was needed on the scene and gave people a chance.”

And not only DJs: everybody involved, from the producer of a laser-light show to security guards.

As the London-based Moudaber points out, “This is a very special celebration, and I am so honored to be part of it. I feel at home in New York City, and Rob Fernandez has a lot to do with that. Rob was the very best of promoters. He championed me and gave me my first gig here.”

For those familiar with the underbelly of the nightlife industry, however, what really blows the mind is the generous response of other clubs and event producers.

Provocateur and Marquee are sent out the word to their bottle-service clientele. And Electric Zoo, McHugh said, “usually [doesn't] allow DJs to perform for 60 or 90 days in a market. They changed their contracts — and put the benefit in their promotional material.” 

Sharon Fernandez is blown away by “the outpouring of support from Rob’s nightlife family. We knew he had a big heart but we literally had no idea how beloved and respected he was across the globe by so many people.”

In the spirit of Fernandez, who, Dean recalled, “was a creative, fun guy who loved coming up with offbeat ideas,” Pacha’s personnel went to work on the city for an unprecedented permit that will allow West 46th Street between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues to become an inner-city outdoor dance-music festival for five hours. 

“We want this to reflect Rob’s over-the-top personality,” McHugh added. “It’s finally time we get to celebrate and have some laughs.”


Picture and Video Material, Pacha-NYC Instagram

Source: Village Voice

Endangered Species Projected on Empire State Building July 30 2015

According to the New York Times on the coming Saturday "Travis Threlkel and Louie Psihoyos (director of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove) will project digital light images of endangered species onto the building in an art event meant to draw attention to the creatures’ plight and possibly provide footage for a coming documentary".

From 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. a snow leopard, a golden lion tamarin and manta rays, along with snakes, birds and various mammals and sea creatures will be covering 33 floors or the iconic building. 

"Using 40 stacked, 20,000-lumen projectors on the roof of a building on West 31st Street" the images will be displayed with the clarity of "5K resolution".

After the renovation in 2009 the Empire State Building became know as one of the most sustainable buildings in NYC which is one among the main reasons for its choice. 

"The production’s costs total more than $1 million so far and are being covered in part by the philanthropic foundation created by the Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, said Mr. Psihoyos". 

They hope to stream the production live on the Internet, details and updates can be found at

No More Waldorf Astoria for Mr. President July 16 2015


President Barack Obama will not stay at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel today amid fears the place could be bugged after it was sold to a Chinese company.

The Department of State changed a tradition of putting up US officials at the Waldorf — where every president since Herbert Hoover resided — after Hilton Worldwide announced it was selling the hotel to Anbang Insurance Group.

Reports say there are fears the Chinese might set up a bugging system.

Officials said Wednesday the department would base its U.N. operations at the New York Palace Hotel instead of the famed Waldorf.

The head of U.S. is getting away from the nation’s capital Friday for a trip to the Big Apple.

Mr. president will attend a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser and see Broadway show. He will spend time with his daughters, Malia and Sasha, the White House said. 

If you are staying at Waldorf Astoria be aware in case you have something to hide.

A Walk Above the City June 18 2015

by Mariana Palacios Vega

The sun is out and streets are crowded. Time to think about outdoor activities to enjoy in this season. New York city has a range of options spread around the 5 boroughs. But today we are going to suggest a delightful choice in the West Lower Manhattan. The High Line, a unique path above the city next to the Hudson river, that runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street. Here you can stroll and relax, walk down this particular structure, while enjoying different propositions along the way (art, music, green areas among others.) 

Friends of High Line, a non-profit organization responsible not only for the construction of this linear park, but for the improvements it has had along the years. They say “we seek to engage the vibrant and diverse community on and around the High Line, and to raise the essential private funding to help complete the High Line’s construction and create an endowment for its future operations

Looking back The High Line is an extraordinary rehabilitation and an example of hard work, creativity and willingness to make NYC what it is, not just a concrete jungle. In 1934 the High Line was originally founded as a railroad to carry good along the industrial districts. By 1980 trains stop operating and what was left is a residual space. In 1999 Friends of the High Line was founded by Joshua Davis and Robert Hammond, whom saw the potential of this structure as a public space. From 2002 to 2003, through different collaborations and planning strategies the project became economically viable. Following, a design competition in 2004 took place and James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf, planting designer were assigned to make this project a reality. The first section was finished in 2009, the second one in 2011. And  finally in 2014 the third section was finished and Friends of the High Line pride on 15 years of successful operation. 

The operation hours of this public park are as follow: 

  • Dec 1 to Mar 31: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Apr 1 to May 31: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • June 1 to Sept 30: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Oct 1 to Nov 30: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM

You can access the High Line trough staircases on: Gan Gansevoort and Washington Street (elevator access), 14th Street (elevator access) ,16th Street (elevator access),18th Street ,20th Street ,23rd Street (elevator access) ,26th Street ,28th Street ,30th Street (elevator access), and 30th Street and 11th Avenue.

For these season there are range of events plan, so cease the moment. Here are some, on Wednesday June 17 from 6pm to 7:15pm you can join Walk & Talk: City Dreams & “Epic Fails” a guided talk that will inform you of different failed urban plans for NYC. On Thursday June 18 from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm enjoy “There will be pie!” Storytelling & Comedy. On Sunday June 21 join talented performers on Make Music Summer: Honk 210Hz. Join Arriba!: Latino Dance Party with Orlando Marin, The last Mambo King on Wednesday June 24 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. This are just some examples go to for more information and an extended list of events.  


Furthermore while walking down the elevated path you can see unique pieces of art spread along the way. Olafur Eliasson, a collective project until september 30; Yto Barrada films every day until 7:00 pm, Rashid Johnson’s Blocks until March 2016, Panorama also until March 2016. And Adrián Villar Rojas’s The Evolution of God until July 31. For more information about each of this exhibits go to

Personally I go to this park on weekends to walk above the chaos of the city and enjoy the amazing view, which will lead you to reflect and enjoy a singular walk. I stop now and then to observe the newest exhibits, or to lay down in the lawn. Don’t miss out on this experience, is soul warming and worth your time.

Let Light Heal You and Brighten Your Soul June 12 2015


By Mariana Palacios Vega 


New York City is known around the world for being the city that never sleeps; a congested, fast-paced city, where you have to keep up with the dynamic if you want to thrive. But with the 21st of June upon us and the Solstice nearing we have a chance to rethink our priorities and dedicate a day to clearing our minds, renewing our spirits and calming our souls. Who would have thought that, Time Square, located at the heart of New York’s frenzy could, for at least one day, become a quiet soothing place welcoming hundreds to join in the world’s biggest yoga session? And, why the 21st of June? For centuries around the globe this day, the longest of the year, in has been celebrated in different ways, by different cultures, with diverse traditions and joyful expectation. Despite variations, however, the celebrations always have positive connotations and frame the day as an opportunity reinvention and self-improvement. In Astronomy this is the day when the sun is in it’s highest position for the longest period of time. It happens on June 20/June 21/June 22 in the northern hemisphere and on December 21/December 22 in the southern hemisphere, at this moment the sun reaches its celestial longitude, 90 degrees. But no matter the cultural background it is undeniable that it is a magical moment, a gift from nature, and it would be shameful not to acknowledge it for everything it represents: the “ability to extend, like any plant or tree, to the Light” (Douglass Stewart)




The Time Square Alliance realized this 13 years ago and initiated the yoga practice as a fitting tradition, where partitioners lay their mats in the middle of the streets of Time Square offering a color-patched-ground filled with people from all around the world uniting their physical forms with their spiritual being, guided by expert Yogis. This year the event is even more special, since the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st the “International Day of Yoga”, which is why the 2015 celebration will play host to dignitaries from the UN and from the government of India. The organizers affirm that this is a “renewal of mind, body and spirit and a celebration of creative expression - of art, music and the sense of joyfulness and fun that the sunshine evokes in all of us   



Mind over Madness Yoga is a free event, you just need to register on the Times Square official website. Unfortunately, all spots have currently been reserved, but you can check for openings that come up from cancellations and put your name down on the First-To-Know list. This way you will be informed of any opening. If regretfully no spots open up you can always participate in this spiritual journey via the free live webcasting that will be provided by MindBody Connect. Just go to and be part of the Solstice celebration from anywhere in the world.




The Itinerary, which can be subject to change, is as follows:


9:00 am - 10:00 am

Lauren Imparato

11:15 am - 12:30 pm

Douglass Stewart


2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Rajashree Choudhury, Donna Rubin, and Jennifer Lobo

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Mary Dana Abbott

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee


Regardless of your attendance we strongly suggest that you search your soul and seize this opportunity to renew yourself with all the power of the sun.


“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside”

Mr. Yoga



The Science Behind Cocktails June 07 2015


by Mariana Palacios Vega

New York City offers so many bars and late night spots that it can be hard to keep track of them. But every now and then you discover a truly unique space, where you least expect it; one that truly stands out and asks to be revisited.


We found such a place behind a black door in the middle of a small street in Chinatown (9 Doyer St.) that will enchant you from the moment you arrive. Here at APOTHÉKE, Heather Tierney, with her wide experience in the culinary world, and her brother Christopher Tierney, who specializes in design, have joined their expertise to create a “speakeasy.”




The word “speakeasy” comes from the Prohibition Era, when alcohol was banned and you could only drink in hidden bars. APOTHÉKE emulates this style, and takes it name from the german word, that translates in English to Pharmacy, a perfect fit for the philosophy and ambience of bar that aims to go undetected. Inspired by 19th century apothecaries in Europe, the bar recreates the experience of mixing a potion, an elixir, a well crafted mix of unique ingredients, as an pharmacist would have done centuries ago. Each drink at APOTHÉKE is made by expert mixologists who prepare “the prescription,” as they call their drinks, according the tastes of the clientele. Needless to say the Bar is the protagonist of the show, it's back shelves are full of antique medicine bottles from around the world and the carrara marble bar is fully equipped for the performance of each drink preparation.





From the moment you order you are in for a treat, a spectacle that ends with the pouring of your drink, which falls perfectly in a glass specially selected for each recipe. In this chemistry lab every ingredient is kept in laboratory crystal glasses or cases and each mixologist wears a lab coat. One of the factors that makes this unique laboratory a success is their firm belief in their lema “Farm-to-Bar”; each of the ingredients come from organic green markets and their own rooftop herb garden. So when you approach the bar and look at the “prescription list” rest assured you will be getting a high quality, carefully crafted beverage. The ambiance is welcoming and soothing, the patterned wallpaper, the dark red sofas and the designer lamps take you back a to the 19ths and offers you a place to relax, listen to good music and dance if you feel like it. Although each detail of this bar is carefully thought out, this is not a pretentious place. Here you can lay back and discover the art of mixology, as well as enjoying a great night out.





But this is not all, APOTHÉKE offers live music (jazz sessions) every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. Monday you can enjoy the melodic Cole Ramstad from 10:00 pm to 12:00 am and DJ Devon Johnson raps up until the club closes. Tuesdays be delighted by High & Mighty Brass Band and New Orleans inspired cocktails and absinthe, from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Wednesdays chill to the music of Broadway Brassy and the Brass Knuckles accompanied by live Burlesque performances from 9:00 pm to midnight. Finally end the week with some live footage from 10:30 pm to 2:30 am. For Wednesday you need a secret password to get in, but I will let you into a little secret, you can get it by contacting the bar via social media or their web page.




Also on tap, is the “Apotheke Academy”,  a hands-on mixology class, after which you can get the mixology Kit, which come with everything you need to recreate the experience in the comfort of your home. You can choose from a variety of courses; the “Market Fresh Mixology” offered Saturdays at 2:00 pm and costs $125; the “Prohibition Era”, classes are offered also on Saturdays at the same hour and at the same price; or the “Absinthe Minded” experience and coming soon the “Agave Master” course.



To top it all off these experts mixologists can curate your bars for off premise events, offering custom cocktails. These service have been solicited by brands like Prada, Phillip Lim, Milk Studio among others.

To wrap it all up I will tell you, from my personal experience, that everything that you have read lives up to the expectations, the cocktails are original and delicious, I had “La Dolce Vita”, a vodka based cocktail, which was refreshing and perfectly balanced. But read well before you order, some of the prescriptions are spicy and surprising, so if you are not sure on what to order ask your mixologist, he will guide you.



by Mariana Palacios Vega


Today, May 29th the “One World Observatory” at One World Trade Center (285 Fulton Street) opened its doors and welcomes visitors to an outstanding experience that has been been under development over the past years. The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere has chosen the renowned enterprise Legends Hospitality, LLC to run the new observation deck, will give viewers the opportunity to see an incomparable and breathtaking sight of one of the most vibrant cities in the world from approximately 1,250 feet above street level.


But the observation deck is not the only attraction. It all begins from the moment you enter one of the five cutting edge elevators that take you up 102 floors in approximately 60 seconds. LED lights embedded in the walls of each one of this capsules, recreate the development of the skyline of New York City from 1600 until today. Once you reach the peak of this grand structure, between the 100 and 102 floor (120,000 square foot) you will find; The Global Welcome Center, which will greet you in a variety of languages. The Voices and Foundations Program will tell you the story of the people that built the OWTC and the history of the ground where it is standing. The See Forever Theater, features a video that captures the dynamic life of NYC. The Sky Portal, a 14 foot wide circular disc that allows you to see in real time and in high definition what is happening on the streets beneath you and The City Pulse, an interactive software that takes you to a virtual reality that lets you merge with the images you are witnessing provides sweetens this amazing experience. In addition to all of this you can have a great meal at the top of NYC in a fully equipped restaurant.  


For this Summer season, May 29 to September 7, the operation hours will be from 9am until midnight and it is open 7 days a week, the box office will start selling tickets at 8:30am every day.