Friday, December 25, 2009

Guiding Your Christmas and New Year's

I spent Xmas eve chowing down Brazilian food with friends in Hell's Kitchen. Yep, nothing says Christmas like a big slab of steak and full on girl talk. I called it an orphan's Christmas, but my friend said that didn't fit her style. "We are adult women living in Manhattan and we can do whatever we want." 'Nuff said. 

Still, there may be those out there that want a little more structure to their holiday nightlife. And while the best way to get out and about is with party planning pals, there are a number of good event websites that can guide the inexperienced. A new one I have come across is Joonbug, which focuses on the club scene. There is also New Year's Eve Central, with great tips on New Year's Eve bashes about town. My fav standbys for events are New York Magazine and Time Out New York, both with excellent calendar features. 

As for my holiday plans, you'll see me walking through Central Park on Christmas, and staying as far away from Times Square as humanly possible on New Year's. 

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween in NYC

Oh sure, there are the Haunted House tours, the parade in the Village, the tiny trick-or-treaters traipsing from apartment building to brownstone. But the fact is that in NYC, people dress up like its Halloween on any given day, and freaks and ghouls roam free in a marvelous, all-are-welcome-here kinda way. True scariness can be found in the stories of haunted happenings behind the many, many closed doors of this insanity-inducing island. The New York Times put a few together in this article for our spooky amusement. Read at your own risk. Oh, and hope that your pre-war one bedroom isn't one of the fright-infested. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Urban Meditation in the Bronx

The  poetry of this piece of travelogue theater will leave you lulled out of space and time. But the power of it is in the now. The adventurous Foundry Theater has taken a step out of the conventional in The Provenance of Beauty, a performance piece set on a bus trip 'round the Bronx. This New York Times review captures the essence of this beautiful, haunting urban meditation. Great theater sometimes does expand outside stage. Kudos to The Foundry for expanding traditional notions of performance space, and doing so with such gentle gusto. 

Saturday, August 8, 2009

VMAs Celebrate NYC Talent

Amidst the busy sidewalks and crowded streets, NYC is flooded with musical talents of all kinds. I just learned that MTV2 and Time Warner Cable are searching for the next best thing in the NYC music scene. Apparently, there is a cool contest going on if you (or your band, or duo group, or anything singsong-y) are looking to “make it” in the industry. If so, try out for “The Best Breakout NYC Artist Award” and go head-to-head with other finalists at the 2009 Video Music Awards. On August 14th, MTV will review the top 20 ranked NYC artists and select 3 to battle it out in front of top MTV VMA talent at a Time Warner Cable MTV VMA weekend pre-party. All types of artists are welcome to enter so click here to sign up and showcase your talent (or just sign up as a fan to participate in the process.) Break a leg! 

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New York en Español... and other languages???

This city is a cacophony of multilingual dialogue, with certain sections truly singing like another world. With such a diverse population, it is great to have resources in languages other than New York City American (i.e. Brooklynese, 'Queens' English, etc...) and blogs that cater to those that moved here from elsewhere. After all, that is what New York is about (think Statue of Liberty, ya'll). 

So it was great to be contacted by Mia, who moved here from Argentina in 2002 and started Viva New York, an en Español guide to life in NYC. She covers everything from where to get the best Jimmy Choo's to what is happening on holidays to just plain how to survive here. Its a great resource. 

I'd personally love to add to Newbie NYC a list of other NYC-centric blogs written in other languages, but this regretfully only-English speaking gal can't locate them with a simple Google search. So if you know of any, please comment and share. They'll be added to my blogroll for sure. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rooftop Films NYC

I'll be taking in a unique and festive NYC experience on Friday nite, when I'll attend Rooftop Films' screening of Humpday. While excited about the film, I'm even more jazzed about being outside on an NYC roof for cinema, sights, and film enthusiasts galore. Rooftop Films will screen around 20 films and 150 shorts in 2009, making it a prolific film festival. There is also music and Q&As and free stuff too. Films are held in various locations around town on Friday or Saturday nights, so check the schedule and pick a flick.

Friday, June 12, 2009

World Science Festival 2009-June 10-14

The World Science Festival is an amazing festival held each year at various locations in NYC. So cool, this stuff. Check out the programming and be wowed.

Yeah, so I'm a nerd. So what?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Art in NYC

I've been seeing an abundance of art recently in this city, filled with creatives extraordinaire as it is. New York has always been the mecca for artists of all types, the list is long of those that have lived, thrived and died here. The tradition continues. 

I recently took in the ethereal, otherworldly installation anthropodino by Ernesto Neto at the Park Avenue Armory. Talk about a head trip. The Armory is enormous and about the only place that can tackle Neto's one square city block, 80 feet high visual missive. Glorious to behold, one section of the piece drips with spice-filled gauze, like the stockings of giants. Walking through its ghostly constructed corridors, you at once feel peaceful and then can't catch your breath. See it before it is gone gone gone on June 14.

You can also catch great art evenings in Chelsea. The galleries there have receptions most nights, but Thursdays and Fridays seem most popular. I recently took in Liz Markus' paintings at Zieher Smith Gallery. Later at the Robert Miller Gallery, Patti Smith's photography and Jem Cohen's show were illuminating. The crowd is filled with the ultra-hip, and it is a quintessential New York City experience to walk among them. 

Finally, the public art in NYC is beyond compare. There is not enough room here to list them all, but any block is bound to offer sculpture of the highest order. Perhaps the greatest art masterpiece of them all is Central Park, which grounds all of us - creative wannabe's and artists alike - in nature's wholesome breath.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

First Published Article in NYC!

Well, big milestone. I got published for the first time in NYC. Wrote an essay on the play Exit Cuckoo, which I've covered on this blog but not in quite this delicious a length. I am beyond thrilled.

The piece is in the May 09 issue of the Brooklyn Rail, the respected art, opinion, culture and political magazine. If up for it, read Navigating the Nannyhood: Lisa Ramirez's Exit Cuckoo and better yet, go see the play

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Marie's Crisis: Piano Bar with History

Mon deux, how did this fabulous joint remain a mystery to me for so long? Marie's Crisis Cafe is a piano bar extraordinaire, buried deep in a West Village basement at 59 Grove St. This historical showcase of a late night hangout is home to show tune buffs of varying talents and persuasions. The wooden beamed, low hanging ceiling and tight quarters lend an air of intimacy to this good-time-had-by-all establishment, and you can feel the talents of singers gone by even when the ivories aren't being tickled.

Everyone sings at Marie's Crisis, good bad and ugly, but the chorus created is consistently lively and occasionally longing. Stick around long enough, you'll be treated to a solo or two by some of the city's finest chanteuses. In the meantime, practice your do-ri-me's and get ready to belt one.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Must See Theater: Exit Cuckoo Opens April 17

Get ready. Some of the most thought-provoking theatre you've ever experienced is about to hit Off Broadway. Lisa Ramirez's Exit Cuckoo is playing April 17-May 17 at the Clurman Theater on Theatre Row (410 W 42nd Street). Exit Cuckoo fearlessly explores the often complicated world of nannies, mothers and children with humor and spot-on accuracy.

This production is directed by fellow actor/writer/director Colman Domingo (Passing Strange, Single Black Female) and presented by The Working Theater. I've seen the work in many incarnations, and with each production the poignant, important message of actor/playwright Ramirez's work is even more of a revelation. The writing is sharp and exquisite, and the acting prowess of Ramirez allows for the characters to genuinely enter your heart, and speak with full-on truth.

Read this Theatre Development Fund article if you want info on the play's development. Tix are available here. Please, without fail, go see.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Renting a New York City Apartment: The New NYC Rental Market

Yes, the economic crashfest has had an impact on even the most enduring complaint in all of Manhattan - gutwrenchingly high rents. That is right, that stuff I wrote about all the moo-lah you need to prove you have before anyone will even show you an apartment? Ob-so-lete. Well, sort of. 

These days, you can get away with no broker fees, barely much up front, and even - dareIbreatheit - negotiating. I recently moved in with a roommate (lots of New Yorkers do it to keep costs down, which goodness knows I had to do. This is still one pricey town). We found an extraordinarily beautiful tri-plex (quad-plex, if you count the sleeping loft) two bedroom for reasonable rent in a great location on the UWS. I worked with my stand-by broker Alex at Manhattan Apts. and the management co. for the new pad picked up the broker fee. You can get good no-fee apartments these days in NYC. A miracle, really. Search my list of rental resources for links.

Another good option is subletting, an NYC tradition. Many people are leaving town but don't want to let go of their apartments. NYC will always be a desirable place to be, no matter what the market, so they will likely be back. So look for long-term subletting gigs that will help you get your feet wet if you are moving here, or if you just need a crash pad to save some dough. 

So, you still need good credit, cash up front to cover security/first month's rent, all that good stuff. Some buildings and locations are harder than others to find good deals. There are still unethical rental outfits or management companies out there (um, its still New York). But it is getting easier to rent here, so please don't let financial fear keep you suburban bound like it did to me for far too long. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Must See "Must Read After My Death"

Went to the NYC premiere of Must Read After My Death the other night. Its been a long time since I've been so provoked by a film, so challenged and destroyed by the content, so transfixed by the subject. This documentary peek into the private world of suburban angst is also a riveting commentary on American society in the early 60's.

Filmmaker Morgan Dews found recordings in a shed from his grandmother Allis - evidence of her philandering, overseas traveling husband; her psychiatric sessions; her family's decline. They chronicle an age when independent, spirited women like Allis were told their desires for success and independence were perverse. Artfully made, with home movie images of the happy family juxtaposed with their harrowing, heart wrenching recordings, this real-life psychological thriller has you spellbound and wondering, just what will become of this family?

The film is being released in cinemas in NYC and LA. Simultaneously, it is being made available through Gigantic Releasing for $2.99 online, an effective new model of independent film distribution. Look for more films to reach a wider audience in this fashion, and hats off to Gigantic for the innovation.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama, Welcome to my Old Hometown

Today is perhaps one of the only days I miss Washington, DC just a smidge. I was fortunate to have been part of it all when I lived there - the political process, the international intrigue, seeing the guts of the governmental cogs and wheels. Oh, sure, my old apartment on U St. would be right along some parade route, down the street from an inaugural ball... Drat.

I've found a new home in NYC that I love beyond belief. But today, I feel blessed to have known our Nation's Capital as few have, and say 'Welcome home, Mr. President.'

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And in the 'How Could I Have Missed This' Category: ChikaLicious!

A restaurant that only serves desserts. That is all I have to say.

Well, no, I'll go on a bit more, given this joint dishes up the things I love best, cakes and pastries and ice cream and stuff. At ChikaLicious, A prix fixe menu allows for an amuse, choice of dessert, and petit fours. Located on the lower east side at 203 E. 10th, I'll be heading there as soon as my blood sugar drops after holiday candy overload. Be sure to check out their Dessert Club, too!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Man on Wire Balances the Obsession with Artistry and NYC

Perhaps the best film I've seen on the obsession and sometimes madness required to follow one's dream, Man on Wire artfully explores Philippe Petit's quarter-mile high walk between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in 1974. It is also a love letter to New York City.

Petit began dreaming of stringing a wire between the world's tallest buildings upon reading an article on their construction in a dentist's waiting room. He built some notoriety in the time it took for the Towers to be built by performing high-above balancing acts in notorious locations like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. But upon completion, the Towers were a quarter of a mile high, hundreds of feet apart, built to sway in the wind. It was impossible, ludicrous to think of such a feat. Certain death.

Still, Petit and his cohorts schemed and planned the perfect caper. The film amusingly captures the process of how, amid strict security and impossible odds, a wire could be strung from one tower to another. Petit's love of mischief and sheer chutzpah has him disguised as construction worker, tourist, and even journalist in order to gather the necessary information for the stunt. Even knowing the outcome, the personal accounts and sublime editing leave you on the edge of your seat. When Petit finally steps out on that fateful wire, there is awe. Not only from the great physical achievement, but in witnessing the realization of a persistent and agonizing dream.

Less overtly, Man on Wire lovingly explores New York City and just how this city can get under your skin. The shear lust for the place can drive anyone to madness, as the Towers arguably did to Petit. And while left unsaid, the knowledge that the site of Petit's masterpiece no longer stands adds a gentle poignancy.

For anyone whose life-long dream of this city sweetly haunts and torments them, Man on Wire dares us to believe that following such fancy is as magically possible as walking on thin air.