ISSUE 12 DECEMBER
I'M F REE!
WELL, IT IS THE SEASON OF GIVING (AND GETTING!)
HIGH-KICKING HOLIDAY TRADITIONS; SHOWS TO GET YOU IN THE SPIRIT; GIFTS TO MAKE YOU GLOW; BEER BARS THAT NEVER CLOSE; UPSIDE-DOWN FITNESS; FORAGING FOR FOOD; REAL ESTATE NEWS ... AND CATS!
SOME HOLIDAY TRUTHS Jaci bursts the Christmas bauble … almost
rowing up in the UK, my fantasies about Christmas were fuelled by movies set in New York City. Everyone was always smiling, snow was falling romantically, the trees had more lights, and the world seemed a joyous place, even if it was in black and white. As an adult living the actuality here, the fantasy Christmas bubble has not burst, although it has become a little tainted. So, while I still sing along to the Pogues’ Fairytale of New York, I don’t believe in fairies in quite the way I once did. Here’s why. There is not one woman in a fur coat
IMAGE: WALTER VAN DYK
“Your belief that this will be the year you don’t cry watching ET is misguided. You will always cry.” bearing three empty hatboxes in the Macy’s elevator. There are 23 overweight ones with strollers bearing three screaming children asking how many more sleeps there are until Christmas. You don’t stand a chance of seeing the tree at Rockefeller Centre up close until January 4. Better start getting in line now. It is unwise to kiss any stranger with a beard, irrespective of his red suit and providing paperwork that appears to confirm his name is Kris Kringle. He isn’t. He’s a drunk you wouldn’t look at were you not tanked up on a bottle of Bailey’s.
Thank you to the wonderful local NYPD, who took the time to Google directions for me when I became impossibly lost (again). Cops have a lot of bad publicity, but let’s not forget there are a lot of really great guys ’n’ gals who put their lives on the line to make the world a better place for the rest of us. Every day. For a coward like me, I really appreciate it.
Sometimes, I think I over-order.
Above: Still smiling ... until that bit where ET’s in the incubator ... oh no, she’s off!
Bailey’s is not a drink. It’s a flavored barium meal. The smiles with which you greeted the iPhone6 Santa delivered on Christmas morning will be wiped off your face at 4pm when you hear the iPhone7 is being launched on January 1. Your belief that this will be the year you don’t cry watching ET is misguided. You will always cry, especially at the bit when ET is in the incubator and ... no, I’m off ... If you haven’t pulled a guy or girl by Christmas Eve, you really have no chance of having a date for New Year’s Eve. You’re already looking at Windows 2016. A hangover is not just for Christmas, it’s for life. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
Ooh la la!
Hurray! La Carafe (653 9th Ave) is finally under new management with the return of the lovely Luisa. My favorite servers are still there, and it’s definitely shot back up the list as a place to go. Terrific atmosphere, great value brunch at weekends, and live music some nights. There are no Frenchmen on the menu yet, but I’ve asked them to work on it. Santé!
I INK, THEREFORE I AM I’ve been thinking of getting a tattoo. I don’t really know why. I have pierced ears and once had my belly button pierced. The latter didn’t last long, as it was permanently sore, especially when I went swimming. There is, however, something rather
satisfying about making a mark on our bodies, claiming ourselves in rituals. So the recently opened Hell’s Kitchen Ink (695 10th Ave) looks very inviting. I just can’t decide what I should have. If I go for the name of a man I like, I’ll have to
get him removed when he upsets me (which he will). Then there’s the problem of where I have it. I think I’ll go for my right upper arm. Anything to detract from the drapes of sagging flesh that have now gathered there.
Welcome to Crystal Symphony liner, which docked in the area last month. I once did a Get Fit cruise with them. Loved it. I lost a bit of weight and looked great, although at the end of ten days, my bank balance was the unhealthiest it had ever been.
MY HELL’S KITCHEN
MY HELL’S KITCHEN
Know someone cool who’d make a great subject for My Hell’s Kitchen? Put us in touch, we’ll do the rest. Email email@example.com
I REST MY CASE Fighting talk from lawyer, broadcaster, vegan Lionel Image: Nacho Guevara How long have you lived in Hell’s Kitchen? I’ve lived here since the late 19th century and the days of Dutch Fred the Cop but my official story is that I arrived here in 1993. And I’m sticking to it. What brought you here? I’m a native New Yorker, born elsewhere. Specifically, a second generation Tampeño, born in Ybor City, the Hell’s Kitchen of Tampa, Florida, affectionately known as the Big Guava. Tom Wolfe famously remarked that “one belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” Verity. Hell’s Kitchen is my center, my locus. And I immediately felt a part of it and knew that I belonged in New York my entire life. As a kid, I watched movies and TV shows and felt – and I’m not a past lives, reincarnation believer per se – but I always felt that I lived here before. What has your experience of the neighborhood been? Love at first taste. And I’ve been through the appellation transitions from the West Side to Clinton and now it’s proudly back to Hell’s Kitchen where it belongs. You can still inspire great barstool arguments over the etymology of the name. I love fashionable grit, chic freak, delicious dodginess, and reasonable dangerousness. If you can stand the heat, stay in the Kitchen. And I have. How has it changed since you came here? There’s a resurgence of new businesses and young people in particular. “New oldfashioned” barbershops, wine, and small plate bars, noodle joints, trendy clothiers. There’s an insurgence and infusion of new and exciting and rejuvenated reinvention. What do you eat in the area? I’m a plant-based vegan and my selection spectrum is endless. Ninth Avenue is the world; the variety is nonpareil. Where else
“I love fashionable grit, chic freak, delicious dodginess, and reasonable dangerousness. If you can stand the heat, stay in the Kitchen. And I have.” can you sample Afghani, Italian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern? Feeling like Druze? “I know this little out-of-theway place that serves great Viking food.” (Name the movie.) And here’s a gem as far as pizza: Justino’s. Nondescript real estate but a pie that will astound you and reacquaint you with the beauty of simplicity. Order the old-fashioned. (And cheese may be waived as the vegan is wont to do.) What bars or cafes do you recommend? As part of my cosmic-holistic healthy vegan regimen I don’t imbibe anything stronger than coffee, go-juice, and 40W, but the bars of yore were the inspiration for Star Wars. You should have been here for the glory days of the neighborhood Irish bar. Local dives and public houses with a veritable who’s who of the greatest characters straight out of TJ English’s wildest imagination. Westies, bookies, cops, and gangsters. Rogues with brogues. Neighborhood mainstays of institutions who’ve been in their fair share of institutions. Hannah’s, Shandon Star, Druid’s, Kennedy’s. All gone now but The Landmark still stands tall. They were the altar of altered states. What’s your favorite place? Westerly Natural Market is a daily visit. It
has no equal in terms of organic and vegan fare. I would know the place blindfolded by its wonderful smell. Need a pair of snazzy sleeve bracelets? Fine and Dandy is a sui generis hipster haberdasher that fits beautifully into the Kitchen mosaic. And the Irish Arts Center is a treasure. What’s the best thing about HK? The location. Its centrality and access. The Hudson River Park and promenade. The vibrancy, the nerve, the verve, the pulse. Watching the scenic metamorphosis while its history remains intact and in place. Bus lines aplenty. Central Park’s propinquity. It kisses the Theater District. You couldn’t have planned its geography more perfectly. And the worst thing? There is no worst thing. How does it compare to the rest of Manhattan? It has character and identity. And how can you improve on “Hell’s Kitchen”? The name enjoys that same bohemian starkness that the Meatpacking District has. I’m sorry, but what sounds scarier? Hell’s Kitchen ... or the Village? Who do you admire? The lifers. Those who’ve lived here from day one and stay. They give this place the flavor, the texture. They are its living history. The growth rings. They’re the Kitchen’s DNA, its connective tissue. Do you have an HK secret? You can trust us ... we won’t tell a soul. 57th Street Greenmarket at Balsley Park. Wednesdays and Saturdays from May through December. Head to the Morgiewicz Produce display, family farmers from the black dirt of Orange County, New York. These ‘maters are vine-ripened flavor bombs that will make you drop to your knees and chant paeans to lycopene.
LIONEL (né Michael Wm Lebron) is an Emmy-winning, practicing trial lawyer, former prosecutor, legal analyst and news decoder, talk radio veteran, author, essayist, pioneer podcaster, (out) spoken word performer, and bluegrass musician (www. lionelmedia.com). Lionel’s HK The Landmark Tavern, W46th St 11th Ave Westerly Natural Market, W54th St 8th Ave Fine and Dandy, W49th St 9th/10th Ave 57th Street Greenmarket, 9th Ave - 56th/57th St Irish Arts Center, W51st St 10th/11th Ave Justino’s, 10th Ave - 57th/58th St Hudson River Park, Westside Highway
OUT & ABOUT
If it’s happening in Hell’s Kitchen, we’ve got it covered W42ST 1ST BIRTHDAY
e’re still reeling from all the birthday love you gave us last month. Don’t stop now! Seriously, thanks to you all. By way of celebration, we threw a bash at Urbo in Times Square – the venue for our launch party – where friends, supporters, readers, contributors, and some of those who have been featured over the last year, gathered to eat, drink, and make merry. Now, roll on our 2nd birthday!
IMAGES: DAVY MACK
Opposite: Our publisher Phil Oâ€™Brien. Clockwise from above: Our covercake was the centerpiece; Elizabeth Foster and Jonathan Nosan; Vanessa Gonzalez-Bunster and Jessica Chen; conversations at the bar; Brooke Blocker and Diana Kusko; Rick Stockwell and Ira Denmark; Carla Duval and Geert DeBecker.
COMMUNITY ALL STAR BOWLING BENEFIT
ucky Strike hosted this annual starstudded bowling benefit, hosted by former Friends star Paul Rudd, in aid of the Stuttering Association for the Young SAY). The event was specifically raising money for Camp SAY, a summer camp where young people who stutter can develop the skills they need to communicate more effectively, build self-confidence, and forge friendships. “This camp is such an amazing place where kids can go and feel completely free,” says Paul Rudd. “You talk to all of the kids who go and they say it’s the best time they’ve ever had.”
IMAGES: NACHO GUEVARA
Clockwise from bottom left: Sidney Lucas and James Monroe; Paul Rudd; Everett Bradley; Jeremy Hays and partner; Phil Sullivan; Brandon Victor Dixon, Geneva Carr and Michael Oberholzer; Alysia Reiner; Richard Kind.
5 Every family, every culture, has different ways of marking the holidays. For others, it’s simply another work day …
Samantha Berger Rockette
Right: The Rockettes have been performing their Christmas Spectacular since 1933.
VINTAGE ROCKET IMAGE: MCNY
hatever you’re doing these holidays – whether it’s spent with family or friends; stuffing your face with glazed ham or latkes; or lighting your home with fairy lights or candles – spare a thought for Samantha Berger, who will be high-kicking her way through the festive season as part of the Rockettes’ Radio City Christmas Spectacular, without a single day off. Fortunately, she’s not bitter. “Dancing on the great stage of Radio City Music Hall is celebration enough for me,” says the girl from Hell’s Kitchen. The energy we feel from the lights, the music,
the sets, the performers, the choreography, the audience, and especially seeing the excitement on the faces of children – there’s nothing like it.” In fact, since she’s been celebrating Santa, reindeer, and toy soldiers since the middle of November, she feels every day is like Christmas Day. Isn’t it lucky, then, that she absolutely, resolutely LOVES Christmas. “I even listen to Christmas music and watch my holiday film favorites, White Christmas and Elf, in July. During the holiday season, picking out and decorating the tree is my absolute favorite thing to do. “Growing up, my mom would place the most beautiful ornaments on our tree. Throughout the years she has sent me dozens of unique and personalized ones to place on my own. With the scent of pine and Christmas candles filling my apartment, I open my laptop, play some holiday tunes and let the decorating commence. “My favorite Christmas memory has to be of my little brother Nathan and the infamous Charlie Brown Tree. That year we had a spectacular seven-foot tree, covered with miniature lights, magnolias, poinsettias, pine cones, and red berries. He loved that tree and would play with his toy cars underneath it for hours. However, even though it was routinely watered, there was a leak in the tree stand. It wasn’t discovered until three days before Christmas, when some of the needles were turning brown and dropping from the tree. My mom contemplated keeping it up, but knew Nathan would insist on turning the lights on; so rather than having a fire hazard in the house, all the decorations were removed and the tree was placed on the curb on the side of our street. “When Nathan came home from preschool that afternoon and saw his beloved tree outside, he ran to the curb and began dragging it down the sidewalk and up the front porch steps, all the while screaming: ‘Don’t take my Christmas tree! Don’t take my Christmas tree!’ It was our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree that year. I think we even sang a verse of Hark, the Herald Angels Sing around it, just like in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. “Come to think of it, I don’t think we’ve had a real tree since then.” The Rockettes themselves are a favorite festive tradition of New York City, and the Christmas Spectacular has been running since 1933. Original numbers including Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and Living Nativity still feature. “We perform
Above: Samantha (far right) in the dressing room with her festive family of Rockettes.
“We do up to 300 eye-high kicks per show, so that equals many ice baths each season!” the original choreography and wear the original costume design by Vincente Minelli,” says Samantha. “What a beautiful tradition to be able carry on, performing numbers that every single Rockette has danced on the great stage.” However, for her, the celebrations can’t start until New Year’s Eve, when those toy soldiers have been packed away for another season. “Surrounded by a few close friends, I reminisce on the year, the season, and the gift of being a Rockette.” This is her 11th season as part of the famous dancing troupe, in their annual festive extravaganza. “Before that, I had only seen the Rockettes perform on television in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” she says. “I remember watching and thinking that they made their movements seem so effortless and in sync, when they were actually extremely difficult. When I got the job, I realized just how athletic this job is and I am still in disbelief that this is what I do for a living. What an honor!” The training schedule, is rigorous,
she says. And that’s putting it mildly. “We keep in shape all year long, even before rehearsals begin, by taking dance, barre, yoga, and pilates classes, as well as strength and weight training at the gym. Many of the Rockettes are fitness instructors as well. “The Rockettes rehearse six days a week for six hours a day for six weeks prior to opening night on November 13. We do up to 300 eye-high kicks per show, so that equals many ice baths each season!” All that training means they have to consume – wait for it! – up to 4,000 calories per day just to provide enough energy to keep up. “Generally, we burn between 700 and 1,000 calories per show, and there are up to four shows per day. “That being said, we always leave a little room for some holiday goodies.” Of course, not seeing her family during the season can be tough, but the women she works with every day become her surrogate sisters. “On those days when I’m missing family, they are the people I lean on for support. Together we are stronger. The Rockettes are a sisterhood, and will forever be my family, even when I am no longer a Rockette.” And when the show finally finishes this year? “I hope to take a week-long nap on the beach of a tropical island.” www.radiocitychristmas.com INTERVIEW BY RUTH WALKER
Walter Blanding and Audrey Shakir
Big Band Holidays Jazz at Lincoln Center
e usually do a tour around the holidays,” says acclaimed jazz saxophonist Walter Blanding. “But the most unusual thing about it this year is that my mother is doing it with us.” “This tour is one of the longest times I’ve spent with my son for …” Audrey Shakir considers the time period … “a long time!” So it’ll be a double celebration, then, as mother and son tour right up to Christmas with the Big Band Holidays show, performing festive numbers such as Count Basie’s Jingle Bells, White Christmas, and Zat You Santa Claus? More important to the family than holidays, though, is the music. It’s always been the music. “That’s been an essential part of my whole life,” says Walter. “In fact, my grandmother was the director of our church choir and she was teaching music history and music theory at the Cleveland Institute of Music in the late 1960s. As a black woman, that’s incredible. “The funny thing is that she thought jazz was the devil’s music when she was growing up in the 1920s. She was strictly classical and gospel. Then came along my parents with this jazz stuff …” The family moved to New York when Walter was just ten years old and performed as the Blanding Family Trio. Dad played bass, Mom sang and played
the piano, and Walter played the sax. “We played at the famous Village Gate Monday nights. And Monday night was also salsa meets jazz, so what I would do, I would sneak down there after our show and dance. And the people were nice. They’d say: ‘Here’s that boy with the saxophone,’ and they’d let me play.” “We started out performing together when he was very young,” says Audrey, “and, frankly, he became a better musician than I am. Faster, more technically adept. For the past couple of decades or so we’ve just popped together every now and then, and that’s been it. So one of the blessings of that is I can see his growth. Man! Where he is in his career, the things he can play, they make me think, gee whizz, that was fabulous!” Their Christmas traditions were the usual tree, gifts, that sort of thing. “But as you get older those things fade away,” says Walter, “and the real gift is just the joy of spending time together and being with people you love.” “We’ve been in various places for a very long time. Right now we’re spread out everywhere, so,” agrees Audrey, “the times we spend together are special times for us. We just have to cut right through to the good times.” Walter and Audrey perform at Dizzy’s December 17-19 before taking the show on tour (www.jazz.org) INTERVIEW BY RUTH WALKER
ob volunteers at the Clubhouse, an institution for recovering alcoholics. It runs AA meetings throughout Christmas Day and provides a sober haven for people in all stages of recovery, from serial relapsers to those in their first few hours and days. Bob says: “We get everyone – high functioners to down-and-outs. They’re all welcome.” Only people who are disruptive (which isn’t often) are asked to leave. So what about the old cliche of Christmas being the hardest time of year for many people? “Not here. We’re the antidote to that. If your family situation isn’t great or you stay home and isolate, sure, Christmas can be tough. But you can spend all day here if you want and that won’t be an issue.” Most attendees at meetings are sober (some for a long time), but reaching out to active alcoholics is still the most important function, explains Bob. “The newcomer is the most important person in the room. We’re not interested in names, where you’re from, how much money you have or don’t; just how we can help you get sober.” I ask another recovering alcoholic, Stephen, why he’ll be coming to the Clubhouse on Christmas Day. “I need to – this keeps me sane. I love my family but without this I’d go crazy.” For others, family relations are too damaged for a turkey dinner and Christmas tree, and for many more, they are simply a long way from home and the clubhouse represents a surrogate family. “Officially, AA doesn’t celebrate Christmas,” says Bill. “But, for sure, you’ll find a lot of love and laughter in here on Christmas Day.” www.nyintergroup.org INTERVIEW BY ANDREW STRANG
The Clubhouse is a safe space for recovering alcoholics.
5 Lili Fable
Poseidon Bakery 9th Ave - 44th/45th Ave
ourth generation bakers Lili and Paul Fable have been serving Greek desserts and their world-famous phyllo for longer than most of us have been alive. They’ve been in the HK neighborhood since 1923 – originally by the Port Authority, moving to their current spot on 9th Avenue in 1952. And they’re not going anywhere, they say, insisting they’ll be a staple in the HK community for as long as the yeast rises. Demetrios Anagnostou arrived in New York from the island of Corfu and with the help of his son, Michael, the Poseidon Bakery was founded in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. Their secret recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, to Anthony, who sadly passed in 2013, and his wife Lili, and to their son, Paul, who continue to run the family business from the same spot.
“The tradition is in honor of St Basil, who would commission a woman to bake a cake with gold coins so they would not only be nourished but pleasantly surprised with the leftovers!” Lili has lived in Hell’s Kitchen her entire life, growing up on 42nd St and met Anthony, the love of her life, on the playground at 43rd St. The first Christmas gift she can remember receiving was a princess doll. She wasn’t even sure she’d get it. That doll and the symbol of it still brings a smile to her face. These days, it’s the pleasure of giving to her grandchildren that brings her most pleasure. She has three sons, Anthony, Mark, and Paul, and the next generation seems destined to take over the family ovens. We may see Paul’s son Jordan behind that 9th Ave counter before too long.
Above (clockwise from top): Behind the counter in the old days; Lili and Anthony’s wedding day; Lili and her son Paul run the bakery today.
Come the holidays this year, they’ll bringing out their traditional Christopsomo cake, with its symbolic cross on the top. Made with yeast, eggs, butter, mastica and maclepi, more than 500 of them are shipped throughout the US and beyond during the festive season. The vasilopita is the New Year cake, baked with a coin to bestow prosperity and good luck to the receiver. However, they never place a penny on top; usually it’s baked with a nickel, dime or quarter instead. Some customers even bring in their own trinket or golden dollar to add the personal touch.
This tradition is in honor of the great Greek St Basil, who was known for giving to the poor. But, to preserve their dignity, he would commission a woman to bake the cake with gold coins so they would not only be nourished but pleasantly surprised with the leftovers! The first piece is cut in remembrance of Christ, the second for the Virgin Mary, the third St Basil, and the other pieces are for the rest of the family. The eldest gets first dibs. INTERVIEW BY CHRIS AMBROSIO
what’s going on in
Every day’s a play day with our guide to events in Hell’s Kitchen and – since it’s the holidays – some of the best stuff a little further afield.
Until December 20 Hir Playwrights Horizons
Extended by popular demand, this is your last opportunity to catch Taylor Mac’s play centered around a suburban household in revolt. www.playwrightshorizons.org
December 6 A John Waters Christmas Until December 13 Incident at Vichy Signature Theatre
Another extended run for the Arthur Miller classic, billed as one of the most important plays of our time. www.signaturetheatre.org
Until January 3 The Long Christmas Dinner Theatre at St Clements
Tracing 90 years in the life of one American family as they gather around the holiday table.
City Winery Subtitled “Holier and Dirtier”, this one-man show from the creator of Hairspray and Pink Flamingoes will be full of mischief. Expect plenty of adult humor that puts the X into Xmas. Ho ho ho! www.citywinery.com
December 6-14 Hannukah All over the world
The Festival of Lights, this eightday Jewish celebration sees the lighting of the menorah to celebrate the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY OR EVENT HERE
December 6 Paws in the City SPOT at Silver Towers
Raffles, pet adoptions, contests and a doggy fashion show to support rescue animals. Bring your pup and join in the fun. www.celebritycatwalk.com
Exclusive Party Packages Available IMAGES: ILONA LIEBERMAN; DUSTIN COHEN
We Can Cater To All Your Needs
Call Karen or Sarah For More Details
508 9th Ave, (Bet. 38th & 39th Street) (646) 490 4803 scallywagsnyc.com
December 6 Ballet intensive Alvin Ailey
Finis Jhung returns with his popular class for beginners. Learn to passé par terre, piqué, chassé, and waltz, plus basic jump steps. www.alvinailey.org
Not Mondays School of Rock Winter Garden Theatre
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical based on the Jack Black movie. For those about to rock, we salute you! www.schoolofrockthemusical.com
December 10-12 Who Left This Fork Here
Until December 20 Gigantic
Baryshnikov Arts Center
St Luke’s Theatre
An interdisciplinary work inspired by the psychological and emotional themes of aging and mortality in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters.
Recounting the growing pains of misfit teens at a Pennsylvania fat camp, all set to a chunky pop/rock score.
Mondays Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
Not Mondays Dames At Sea
Helen Hayes Theater
Broadway stars and wannabes share a stage at the best open mic night in town, thanks to the charming hosting of Jim Caruso.
Following a dancer’s ups and downs; a journey from kickline to A Chorus Line to Hollywood and back.
December 18, 19, 20 DIVA Jazz Orchestra
A tap-happy show celebrating the golden era of movie musicals with dance routines, songs … and dames. Naturally!
December 13 Sleater-Kinney Terminal 5
The newly reunited riot grrrl combo bring their No Cities to Love tour to Terminal 5 tonight. Get ready to rooooooooock! www.terminal5nyc.com
Not Mondays Allegiance
Jazz at Lincoln Center
Vocalists Camille Thurman, Christine Fawson, and Sue Giles celebrate Ella Fitzgerald’s swinging Christmas.
George Takei’s musical tells his family’s true story – one of loyalty, resistance and, ultimately, redemption.
Until January 2 Real Men: The Musical
Until December 30 Misery
New World Stages
To quote: “Old, young; straight, gay, bridge, tunnel – ultimately, all men are schmucks.” This is a show about what it means to be a man.
Bruce Willis makes his Broadway debut alongside Laurie Metcalf in the chilling Steven King classic. Who’s your number one fan?
Until January 31 Colin Quinn: The New York Story Cherry Lane Theatre A bit more of a schlep, this one. But it’s worth it. The recent W42ST interviewee returns with his irreverent, fast-paced take on the history of our favorite city. If you need further persuasion, it’s directed by Jerry Seinfeld www.ColinQuinnTheNewYorkStory.com
Until January 31 China Doll Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
Al Pacino, David Mamet, big money, fast planes, a beautiful woman, objects of desire. Seriously, what more do we need to say? www.chinadollbroadway.com
January 4 Next W42ST out All around Hell’s Kitchen
Happy new year, one and all. Feel no guilt about December’s excesses, January is all about health. If you’d like to be featured, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The weather outside is
FRIGHTFUL... But the festive entertainment is so delightful. Hillary Reeves rounds up the very best of the city’s seasonal servings RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR
Radio City Music Hall Until January 3 I worked in the theater for a number of years alongside people who have seen every single Broadway show, touring circus, international dance company and world-renowned symphony that you can think of. The kind of people who grumbled at having to sit through the Tony Awards for another year. In the live audience. In orchestra seats. It drags on forever, they’d say. And those commercial breaks! And yet the one production that still made their eyes light up – more than the flipping Shaolin acrobats or a prancing Baryshnikov – was the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Roll your eyes all you want, but when you sit in that theater for the first time, you truly feel like a kid again, pardon the cliche. Hundreds of dancing Santas, reindeer on stage, and Rockettes in the most exceptional unison will give you that sense of Christmas wonder you’ve wanted to reclaim ever since cousin Tommy (spoiler alert) ruined the magic and mystery for you. Seriously, this stuff impresses. Try to do anything perfectly in sync with even the most Type A person you know; then watch 36 women flutter their eyelashes at precisely the same moment. It feels like a Christmas miracle. Oh, and keep an eye out for Hell’s Kitchen resident and real-life Rockette Samantha Berger, repping the ‘hood! There’s an interview with her on page 14. www.radiocitychristmas.com
Above: Fill your boots at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
“Roll your eyes all you want, but when you sit in that theater for the first time, you truly feel like a kid again.”
ELF THE MUSICAL
Madison Square Garden December 9-27 Arguably the second most quoted film by Millenials next to Mean Girls, Elf commands a loyal following of 20-somethings who feel like they’ve grown up with North Pole-ified Will Ferrell, plus youngins discovering the film anew every year. Could you ask for a better crowd pleaser, then, than this musical version of the nouveau classic? The show started on Broadway a few years back, but moved to Madison Square
PREVIEWS Garden in subsequent holiday seasons to handle the crowds. As a kid, I went innumerable times to see A Christmas Carol at this theater and can still remember the thrill of walking through Dickensiandecorated hallways then being shown to my seat by ushers wearing bonnets and aprons in the hugest room I’d ever seen. I still have one of my Playbills, actually. If you want to make that kind of imprint on your little one, stop by for this spectacle, then get a hot chocolate and look at the Macy’s window displays. If you ask eightyear-old me, there’s nothing like it. www.theateratmsg.com
showstopping costume ensemble makes it unmissable. You can get hot dogs at Gray’s Papaya afterwards. www.beacontheatre.com
NEW YORK CITY BALLET PERFORMS THE NUTCRACKER
Lincoln Center Until January 3 If you want to class up the Christmas selection this year, but aren’t ready to treat the family to a Handel oratorio, The Nutcracker is a respectable and delightful choice. Every year it plays to packed houses at Lincoln Center and for good reason. What The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is to dazzling grown women high-kicking, The Nutcracker is to young ballerinas performing in the role of their lives. The excitement coming off this stage, and from thrilled parents in the audience, will make you well up with emotion in no time. Beyond the experience of attending there is, of course a Tchaikovsky score and Balanchine choreography to look forward to. Unlike that same Christmas movie on repeat for 24 hours, this masterpiece never gets old. The production includes larger-than-life dancing rats, a Christmas party on stage, and the most important Christmas tree in the city. If you ask me (sorry Rockefeller!), this one might be my personal favorite. www.nycballet.com
Lincoln Center December 15-19 Don’t think you know classical music? You absolutely, unequivocally, definitely know Handel’s Messiah. Next lesson: an oratorio. This is a large choral and orchestral work that tells a story through song, including solos sung by characters. It’s different from an opera, though, in that it’s not a full-scale stage production. So, all of the gorgeous music without the Wagner viking helmet dramatics. The Messiah walks the
audience through the story of Jesus of Nazareth from birth to death. While the Hallelujah Chorus is often sung around Christmastime, it’s actually a song better suited for Easter, a post-Resurrection celebration. (That said, if you want to really look like you know what you’re doing, stand for this song when it comes up. There’s a whole legend about a king – anyway, just trust me.) If you want to hear the real Christmassy bits, For Unto Us A Child Is Born is the money. www.lincolncenter.org
Beacon Theatre December 8-17 This show is subtitled “All I Want For Christmas Is You: A Night of Joy & Festivity.” I’m tempted to just write “Mariah Carey: ‘Nuff Said” for this one, but I fear my editor might come at me asking for more words. Do I really need to convince you of the perfection that will be Mariah Carey at the Beacon Theater? She is the R&B/pop crossover queen who delivered hit after hit, from Butterfly, to Fantasy, to Always Be My Baby. The fact that she’s single-handedly delivered the one (in my humble opinion) American Christmas classic since Bing Crosby should be reason enough to go see her. Her signature riffing finger wave is another. The form-fitting red velvet gown and white fur boa that will be a most certain
Top: Toy soldiers come tumbling down at Radio City. Above left: Feel the magic at The Nutcracker. Above right: All we want for Christmas is ... who?
New Victory Theatre December 4 - January 3 Looking for a more secular winter outing? The New Vic on W42nd Street offers reliably fantastic programming – shows from around the world that are kid-friendly, but never childish; approachable, yet challenging. Their holiday selection this year, Pedal Punk, hails from Las Vegas and features players from Cirque Mechanics. Like, picture someone riding a bike … on a trampoline. It’s that kind of thing that makes this show just as spectacular as the more Christmas-focused must-sees. Plus, visiting the theater itself is a joy. The New Vic is the oldest operating theater in New York City. Built in 1900 by Oscar Hammerstein I, it’s seen 42nd Street through every 20th century up and down. It was a burlesque theater for a long time and showed pornographic films through the 1970s and 1980s. There was even a dairy farm on the roof back in the day when Houdini performed; I’m not making this up! Today, it’s a revitalized, vibrant space for families – or theater-lovers of any age, really. Climb the outside steps for a perfect photo op, especially if there’s snow falling. www.newvictory.org
54 Below Throughout December Want some major cheese? 54 Below, Broadway’s favorite spot for after-hours fun, has holiday programming all month long. For something slightly more intimate, this is the space to be. I’m particularly excited for Michael Feinstein’s Christmas show, December 20-30. The New York Times called this annual event “as much a Christmas season ritual as catching the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall or visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.” Maybe. If you’re looking to avoid the madness of 6th Avenue in December. (Which, let’s face it, most of us are.) The Grammy and Emmy-nominated crooner will sing holiday jazz standards with a voice as velvety as Mariah Carey’s dress. Plus, at this spot, there’s food and drink. www.54below.com
MUSIC & THEATER
She steals the show as saucy Trish. But when Matt d’Silva meets Kinky Boots stalwart Jen Perry, she’s on her best behavior
ou instantly recognize the face as she pushes a trolley on the stage. She has some scenestealing moments, including telling the audience her taste in men runs into “biting” and “big hands”. Jen Perry is currently performing as Trish in Kinky Boots, but you may remember her from Mamma Mia! or as the voice of a troll from the Disney favorite Frozen. Like many performers on Broadway, fame is not something she has sought out. All she asks for is continuous employment. She’s been working tirelessly, studying in college, doing the dinner theater circuit, cabaret shows, off-Broadway, Broadway, movies, and finding the time to work with Broadway Cares. Jen Perry is one hard-working actor who deserves all the success that has come her way.
That’s Jen on the far right. Her character’s tastes in ‘kinky’ are revealed in the show
“Fame is not something she has sought out. All she asks for is continuous employment.” “I started out very young, singing,” she says, “then I auditioned for drama class in grade school. They had a really good drama program. “I remember very early on seeing Bernadette Peters and realized I wanted to be like her. She was – and still is – my idol. Funnily enough, when Kinky Boots won it’s Best Musical Tony, Bernadette was there to present the award and I was
MUSIC & THEATER Review KINKY BOOTS
so overwhelmed to meet her. There’s a photo of me crying hugging her.” Studying theatre in Michigan and moving to New York, Jen’s big break happened with Mamma Mia! “I auditioned for the Las Vegas show. It was my original break. Prior to that I’d worked Off Broadway and cabaret shows for years,” she says. “This industry is all about reputation and having the skills to back it up,” she adds. “I’m very fortunate with the opportunities that have come my way and will be grateful for the work as long as I can get it.” One thing that is especially dear to her heart is Broadway Cares. She started collecting for the HIV/AIDS fundraising group during Mamma Mia! but gradually got more involved. “I helped write sketches, work on the board for grants and make sure every production I work on is involved in one way or another. Tom Viola [its executive director] is an icon and I would do anything for him. The Broadway Cares people are so lovely they make you want to help anyway you can.” She’s been working on Kinky Boots since its opening at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, in 2013. One of her favorite things about the neighborhood, she says, is Don’t Tell Mama. “I love to go to the place to see a friend perform. “In-between shows on a Wednesday I like to go to another old institution of Hell’s Kitchen, Sardi’s. It has a great deal for all performers on Broadway on a Wednesday – a discount, which is always nice. But these places need to be supported as their history is important.” Kinky Boots is at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, W45th St (www. kinkybootsthemusical.com)
Above: Remember those trolls from Frozen? That was Jen too.
AL HIRSCHFELD THEATRE You’ve heard the hype, everyone you know has seen it, it won a couple of Tonys (including Best Musical) and is still running on Broadway to packed houses. Kinky Boots is one of those shows that’s worth seeing time and again, just because it is so much fun and such a feel good story. And, since Billy Porter, who won the Tony for his portrayal of drag queen Lola, took his final curtain call in the role last month, now’s the chance to catch Wayne Brady step into those thigh-high red boots. Set in a factory town in the UK, Charlie (Andy Kelso) has recently inherited a shoe making firm. It produces traditional, practical, reliable men’s shoes. But times are a changing, and they are forced to diversify to ensure the livelihood of the factory and its employees. Lola comes on board to spice things up around the dull old building, and achieves it in fantastic, flamboyant style. In doing so, he challenges the factory workers to accept people for who they are. Harvey Fierstein created the book that is based around the film written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth. The story is endearing and still relevant, examining changing the minds of society and how
companies are looking at other areas to make a buck to survive. Directed by Jerry Mitchell, this is a musical that has the audience up and dancing. It is slightly different to the film, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable. Music and lyrics are by Cyndi Lauper and they compliment this production beautifully. Andy Kelso as Charlie is timid and shy, as you’d expect the son of a small-town businessman to be, but the character and portrayal grows on you as the show processes and by the end you realize he is ideal for the role. Porter is fabulous. In your face. And he catches your eye every time he’s on stage. The night we saw this production he was a little listless, but still enjoyable to watch. However, the highlight of the show is watching Jennifer Perry as Trish. There’s an energy she brings the moment she steps on stage. She’s warm and funny. Apparently she likes “big hands” and “biting”! Kinky Boots is not your everyday musical. Yes, it features all the singing and dancing you’d expect, but also has a great story about tolerance. You can understand why people keep on coming back. TWITTER: @MATTDSILVA
Write YOUR OWN FUTURE
Four years ago Mark Gerrard was a struggling actor. Now his play has Cynthia Nixon, Mario Cantone, the New Group, and Signature Center on board. Matt d’Silva wants to know how the heck he managed it
IMAGES: MONIQUE CARBONI / SERGE NIVELLE
magine you want to change careers and pursue the idea of writing for a living. Then you have your first play picked up and developed by The New Group theater company. Then Cynthia Nixon – two-time Emmywinning actress, Tony and Grammy holder, acclaimed director – decides she wants to direct it. Oh, and Mario Cantone – comedian, actor, and also a SATC alumnus – decides he wants to act in it. Sounds too good to be true? This is exactly what has happened to Mark Gerrard, whose play Steve is currently on stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center. Four years ago Mark picked up a coupon to receive 50% off a writing course. He’d been living in Hell’s Kitchen, playing around with the idea of writing, but had never followed it through. Most of his life he’d spent trying to get a break as an actor but something made him realize it was time to try writing. Four years later, he’s on the cusp of something incredibly exciting. “I’m proud I took the class and stopped making excuses for myself not to do it,” he says. “It’s been a magical experience and I’ve been very fortunate to work with some amazing actors and an incredible director who has encouraged me along the way. “The inspiration for this play came around when gay marriage was legalized in this state. It was a festive and happy time, but also suddenly we as a community had to get our heads around the fact that here was an opportunity for acceptance of our love. And for some, they never thought that opportunity would be available to them,” he says. Steve centers around the story of a failed Broadway ensemble member who has become a stay-at-home dad,
“I’m proud I took the class and stopped making excuses for myself not to do it.” while his partner of 14 years, Stephen, is maintaining a career. As with many a stay-at-home parent, doubt sets in and Steven starts to wonder if Stephen is having an affair at work. It’s an interesting concept. The stereotype in art has been to watch heterosexual couples going through the same experience. But now, as samesex equality is in full swing, it’s great to see a play turn the tables and feature a
Top: Malcolm Gets, Jerry Dixon, Mario Cantone, and Matt McGrath on stage in Steve. Top: Mark Gerrard.
gay couple having the same dilemma. “One of my biggest fears was people not finding my play funny,” says Mark, “but at the first company run, hearing people laugh, I was like ‘Thank God it’s funny! “The biggest influences for me as a writer are Sarah Ruhl and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins,” he adds. “I love their work and I will go out of my way to see a show written by them.” As advice to anyone thinking of changing their career and taking a new direction, he says: “Take the leap! It’s scary and daunting but worth it in the end.” Steve is playing until December 27 at the Pershing Square Signature Center (www.thenewgroup.org)
nsurprising, perhaps, to anyone who has ever visited or lived in London, Erik Larson started taking his puddle-reflection photographs while living in the UK capital, back in 2011. “It was always raining,” he says, “so there were lots of puddles to work with.” The project now numbers in the hundreds – “I’ve never counted and they’re not even arranged together in my files” – and continues to grow, as there’s always a new way to see the world as it’s reflected at our feet. “We all pass by puddles all the time without noticing,” says Erik, “and they’re all potential works of art. I like to think my images show how a subject, whether it’s a building or a tree or whatever, can be seen in many different ways.” They form part of his Instagram feed – he has more than 50k followers – and he takes new ones wherever he goes, whether that’s around his home in Hell’s Kitchen, on his walk to work at Bloomberg, or further afield. “Even though I walk the same route across Midtown every day, I still look for new puddles that can give a different view of a favorite street or building that I haven’t seen before, since the image changes a lot based on the clarity of the water and the lighting. “Lots of people on Instagram have asked if I bring a bottle of water with me wherever I go, which I always ‘lol’ at. There’s no need to do that. There are always puddles, even in the summer in the middle of a searing hot week, because street cleaners leave big puddles, as do shopkeepers who spray off their sidewalks every morning. There’s always a way.” His personal favorite in the series is one of the first photographs he took of the Hearst Building. “A big leaf was floating in the puddle, so in the picture it looked like it was floating next to the building. I have it framed in our kitchen. “I do take a lot of pics of the Hearst Building,” he adds. “I really like the architecture, and it’s on my way to work so I pass it twice a day. My favorite spot, though, is probably 9th Avenue, where all the HK action is. I like to get long shots of the street reflected, with taxis or people passing by. It’s a beautiful street, and very New York.”
Clockwise from top left: Worldwidwe Plaza; blue skies provide the perfect puddle conditions; a large leaf brings new perspective; Worldwide Plaza again, this time from 9th Ave; Erikâ€™s favorite shot, of Hearst and a floating leaf. Previous page: 54th St- 8th Ave.
Clockwise from above: Silver Towers; a Hell’s Kitchen side street; Erik’s husband on 9th Ave; Worldwide Plaza reflects the sunset.
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Life on the veg Climb aboard the foraging bike with Meghan Boledovich, grower, cook, dreamer … Photograph by Nacho Guevara You’re a forager. What exactly does that involve? Going to the greenmarket to purchase produce directly from farms, working on menu development with the kitchen at Print, implementing our Farm to Glass cocktail program with both Print and Press Lounge bars, taking care of the rooftop garden, and taking photos of ingredients and dishes for social media outlets. You have a rooftop garden? Cool … I’ve tried to get a lot of diversity into a small space. We grow an array of herbs that are tolerant to wind: sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, summer savory, chives, etc. Also various vegetables that are visually attractive and good for the soil: leeks, asparagus, sun chokes, Asian celery, fennel, and we have a small Alpine strawberry patch. Also, I brought in some native varieties like wild bergamot, which is a medicinal herb and has pretty purple flowers. Anise hyssop has pretty purple flowers, so we let it do its thing and use it in sorbets and syrups. Lastly, I planted wormwood and mugwort, which are both ingredients in bitters and vermouth, that we dry and use in our house-made versions. Who are some of the local suppliers you work with? We purchase directly from several farmers like Rise & Root Farm in the black dirt region of Sullivan County. They’re a group of female farmers and farm activists growing incredible vegetables and flowers while also working on an array of social issues that intersect with farming and nutrition. Another amazing farm we purchase directly from is Straight Out of the Ground, run by Madalyn Warren up in the Catskills. She has the most pristine product that comes direct from the field the same day. She invited us to not only come visit the
A veg bike? We want one of them! George from Hudson Urban Bicycle built it and it rides really great. I try to stay on the West Side Highway but getting across town can be tricky between cars etc. Lots of people like to ask me what I’m hauling in the back and I just laugh and yell: “Vegetables!”
“Anise hyssop has pretty purple flowers, so we let it do its thing and use it in sorbets and syrups.”
Above: Meghan samples the fare at the greenmarket.
What’s your favorite thing on the menu at Print? The pork chop is incredible. We get it from this farm, Raven & Boar, up in East Chatham. They’re a family farm that raises their pigs in a similar way to the pigs of Parma. They let them forage in the woods and feed them whey from a local cheese maker, so the result is really flavorful and succulent meat. Right now we’re putting grilled torpedo cabbage with it, which I love, along with roasted concord grapes. Where else do you eat/drink in HK? I love Gotham West Market, and going to Veritas Studio Wines, because Jeremy alway busts out a really weird wine for us to taste and we chat about wine nerd stuff.
farm but also to stay in her farm house and interact first hand with the work they do. There were several other chefs and restaurant industry people up there that same weekend, and we all cooked a big harvest feast together. It was a really unique experience.
Do you cook and eat at home? I’m a big home cook, and I make foods from a wide array of cuisines, from Trinidad to Peubla, but my comfort food is Eastern European. I’m part Hungarian and Slovakian, so I love a good goulash this time of year. And stuffed cabbage.
So, what’s an average day like? It starts out at the greenmarket talking with farmers and schlepping back produce to the restaurant either in an Uber or on my veg bike. Then I show the kitchen any new or interesting heirloom varieties, work on any online orders with our various distributors or farms that deliver, then I’ll check on things in the garden and do some maintenance, and do education on any new product, beer, wine, farm etc.
If you could be doing anything else ...? I think it would be great to move upstate and run an eco retreat where people can come work on farms, sweat in a sauna, swim in swimming holes, hike, etc, all while enjoying local food and drink.
PRINT (212) 757-2224 www.printrestaurant.com 11TH AVE - 47TH/48TH ST
FINE ITALIAN DINING AND WOOD-FIRED PIZZA
LA VELA DINING & BAR 558 11TH AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY 10036 (212) 695-2112 WWW.VELADININGNY.COM
EATING & DRINKING
What are you in THE MARKET FOR?
Hillary Reeves rounds up the Christmas markets, so you don’t have to waste your time fighting through the crowds again this year
PHOTOGRAPHS: MALCOLM BROWN
oing to NYC’s holiday markets: an essential part of the snowy December days in this city. But are they serving their purpose? Do people actually get their gifts from these vendors-upon-vendors that set up shop the day the Thanksgiving parade bleachers come down (some even earlier)? While many of the sellers feel familiar, appearing at all multiple markets across the city, or on repeat from the prior year, you can still find some great goods if you know how to play it. We’re here to bring you a guide to these markets. As long as your expectations are set, you will have lots of fun and might even cross some folks off your list. MARKET: Holiday Shops at Bryant Park’s Winter Village Location: Bryant Park Who you’d shop for: Coworkers, cousins, cockapoo walker. Why you’d go: The Bryant Park Market functions less as a gift emporium and more as the market where you make a day of it. Shops feel less crowded than at other markets, offer trinkets or small goods like cozy socks for Uncle Larry, and some spots on the east end (closer to the library) are known to give out free samples of their special truffles or peppermint bark. After you’ve made your rounds, pose for some selfies in front of the frozen fountain and go for a skate on the ice rink. Admission is free, skate and locker rentals will cost ya. Festive cheer rating: Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! MARKET: Grand Central Holiday Fair Location: Grand Central Terminal Who you’d shop for: Your boyfriend’s rich mom who lives in Greenwich.
quality. Don’t feel self-conscious at the swanky Secret Santa. Oh, and this market has walls and a roof, should it be a particularly blustery day outside! Festive cheer rating: Ho! Ho!
Clockwise from top: Columbus Circle; Bryant Park; essential holiday snackage at Union Square. Below: Natural OliveWood salad servers, a HK business selling at Bryant Park, Union Square, and Columbus Circle.
“After you’ve made your rounds, pose for some selfies in front of the frozen fountain and go for a skate on the ice rink.” Why you’d go: It’s only in the most gorgeous architectural structure in the city that also contains a Shake Shack. The Grand Central Market offers different shops than the other outdoor markets, which is a nice change of pace. Scarves and home goods are of good
MARKET: Union Square Holiday Market Location: Union Square Who you’d shop for: The hippie college kid in your life; your own belly Why you’d go: For the snacks! Doughnuttery. The German stand with the gluehwein. Arancini Bros … you’ll have lots to choose, from grab-and-go goodies to take-home treats like fancy cheeses from Bedford Cheese Shop. Once you have your appetite out of the way, browse the aisles for handmade jewelry or ethically sourced bath salts, perfect gifts for your yogi sister who requested fair trade gifts only this year. That said, this one gets pretty crowded, especially when it shares the space with the usual Greenmarket. Festive cheer rating: Ho! MARKET: Columbus Circle Holiday Market Location: Columbus Circle Who you’d shop for: Everyone else Why you’d go: Alright, this market can get pretty bonkers on the weekends, but on evenings after work, it’s positively winter wonderful. And it gets real points for its shopping capabilities. You have awesome vendors that offer fun, oneof-a-kind goodies for loved ones. Then, when you’re all holiday market-ed out, go across the circle to the Time Warner Center to fill in the blanks gift-wise at shops like J Crew, Coach, and Sephora. The dazzling choreographed lights are fun to watch too. Festive cheer rating: Ho! Ho! Ho!
EATING & DRINKING
SOME BOTTLE Everyone loves wine, right? But go the extra mile and your gift will keep on giving, says Jeremy Kaplan
ecisions, decisions... It’s that time of year again. Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza – whatever you celebrate, and even if you don’t celebrate anything, it’s more than likely you’ll buy someone a present. Whether your spouse, parent, sibling, or workmate, wine always is a nice gesture. But how do you make it special and memorable? There’s always that dilemma of what sort of wine to purchase. What does the person like? How much do they know? Will they appreciate that expensive bottle I am thinking about? All legitimate questions. There are ways around this problem by perhaps going a little further with your purchase, and the recipient will be reminded of you again and again. I’m talking about wine accessories. For the wine portion of this process, I suggest you go in one of several directions. Champagne is always special, and more than likely will be saved for a special occasion. Even the least expensive Champagne is pretty good – but splurge a little. Consider packaging, as champagne bottles can get pretty elaborate. Port is another option. From Portugal, as the name implies, it’s a fortified wine that is a great accompaniment at the end of a meal, by itself, or with cheese and nuts. The nice thing about port is that it lasts a bit. Like a bottle of whisky or brandy, port will be around for a while. Large format. Not unlike the Champagne option, large format bottles are festive all by themselves. These bottles start as twice the size of a standard bottle (two bottles), but also go to four bottles (Jeroboam), eight bottles
Above: Push the boat out with a vintage crystal decanter. You know they want you to!
“There’s always that dilemma of what sort of wine to purchase. What does the person like? How much do they know? Will they appreciate that expensive bottle?”
(Methuselah), and the the grand daddy of em all, the Nebuchadnezzar, 20 bottles large! For the accessories, glassware is a nice place to start. It’s highly appreciated, and you’ll be remembered again and again. People love glassware and Williams-Sonoma in the Time Warner Center (www.williams-sonoma. com) has a great selection and you won’t have to break the bank. You can grab a four-pack of the Riedel “O” Series for less than $8 a glass and you’ll be loved for ever. Getting a little quirky, how about a wine-scented candle to accompany your gift? Like glassware, most people love candles, yet not many of us buy for themselves. Delphinium Home (W47th St - 8th/9th Ave, www.delphiniumhome. com), right here in Hell’s Kitchen, offers a line of Rewined (geddit?) candles, made from recycled wine bottles and inspired by our favorite tipples, that will brighten up pretty much any mood. Especially if it’s accompanied by a glass of the real thing. If you’re interested in going a little deeper in your pocket and giving something truly special, get thee to Fine and Dandy (W49th St - 9th/10th Ave, www.fineanddandyshop.com) where the gents will guide you through a number of wine options. Stylish wine keys, a silver plated wine coaster or crystal decanters – all vintage and maybe one of a kind. No matter what you chose – the wine, the accessory, or both – the combination of a wine and a gift will keep you in someone’s mind far beyond the holiday season. Happy holidays and cheers.
EATING & DRINKING
THE GOSPEL OF BEER
And lo, it came to pass that the people of Hell’s Kitchen left the hood in search of a bar on Christmas Day, with Ciera Coyan as their guide
y personal motto for New York is this: New York giveth and New York taketh away. The perfect example is the holiday season. December is a charming month, making people feel generous and spirited. But being stuck here on Christmas Day can be incredibly depressing. I remember one year spent in a cramped Bed-Stuy apartment with two Brits I barely knew and a game of Trivial Pursuit we were all three terrible at. No fun.
IMAGE: ADRIEN POTIER
“Just as I was cursing the city I remembered this important fact: some bar is always open in Manhattan. And thus, New York gaveth.”
Right: Ciera – what a blessed angel!
Just as I was cursing the city (and my windowless apartment) I remembered this important fact: some bar is always open in Manhattan. And thus, New York gaveth. If you’re here without your family, with family you need to escape from, or you don’t celebrate Christmas and just want a drink, the few bars that open on the 25th are a haven of joy where you can find the oldest holiday tradition of them all: alcohol. To satisfy your beer cravings, one of NYC’s oldest and arguably most fiercely loved craft beer bars keeps the West Village a happening place even on Christmas. The Blind Tiger Ale House has been in business since 1995, easily a decade before the craft beer boom really began. With a cozy fireplace, and a draft list that’s impressive every day of the year, this spot is perfect for off-hours drinking. The kitchen, so good it would be a reason
to check out the bar even without the killer tap list, is closed on the 25th, but that just means you can come back the next day to feed your hangover. If you need a game or two to keep your spirits from plummeting on this potentially depressing day, check out Ace Bar in the East Village. Ace is another 1990s hold-out that’s seen the neighborhood experience some major changes and hasn’t felt the need to conform. If you want to tuck yourself into a corner and drink to forget, that’s easily accomplished. If a game with friends or strangers is more your style, Ace has skee ball, pool, darts, and plenty more. Just keep your competitive nature in check. Drunkenly punching someone over a game on Christmas is for those stuck in suburbia. If you don’t need craft beer and you don’t need games, you just want a classic neighborhood dive bar, look no further than Doc Holliday’s on Avenue A. Open 365 days a year, this bar is stocked with the most charming bartenders (all women, of course), the most old-school New York regulars (they’ll insult you to your face, buy you a drink, then tell you the best stories you’ve ever heard), and a whole lot of whiskey. No frills here, just good, oldfashioned camaraderie: a place to walk into as an unknown and walk out knowing you spent the day with friends. And by friends I obviously mean strangers and booze.
INTO THE FIFTH
DIMENSION Nancy Packes came to the real estate game after a career as a trial lawyer, a full-time mom, and a sabbatical writing philosophy and painting. That’s why she’s so damn good at planning our future homes
ost of us get just one shot at that “what will I be when I grow up?” thing. Qualify for a career. Get in at the bottom. Work our way up. Retire. Not Nancy Packes. She’s currently on her fourth incarnation – each one more successful than the last. The real estate guru’s latest project is the love-it-or-hate-it VIA tetrahedron on W57th St, designed by wunderarchitect Bjarke Ingels for the Durst Organization (and described by him as “the lovechild between a courtyard building and a skyscraper”). It’s the latest in a long list of high-profile projects she’s helped develop, including Trump Tower, Douglaston Developments’ Ohm in Chelsea, and the Frank Gehry-designed 8 Spruce Street. But, incredibly, she only came to the industry when, as the single mother of a five-year-old son (a son who, incidentally, now works side-by-side with his mother in her eponymous property firm), she needed to make a buck. And find an outlet for her fearsome creativity. “I was a trial lawyer,” she explains. “It’s extremely creative, from the point of view that it’s living theater. But the creativity is used, more often than not, to subvert the truth rather than bring it out. And after a while I got very tired of using all my creativity to subvert the truth rather than promote it. So I began to write philosophy and, as I did, I knew the law was really getting to me because I was having to rationalize my existence!” She took a couple of years off to regroup. She drew. She wrote. She raised her son and, in the process, used up all
Portrait: Adrien Potier her money, so there was a fairly pressing imperative to do something. “Someone suggested I do some other kind of law and I said, ‘No, you don’t get it, I don’t want to do law at all!” A profoundly spiritual human being, she believes that what happened next was a kind of divine intervention. “I was born a Catholic, and I now deeply believe in a God but do not believe in organized religion,” she says. “And at exactly that moment, the deus ex machina came and two people said to me: ‘You have a broker’s license because you’re an attorney.’” She was asked to start a rental company. Someone else would supply the money; all she needed to bring to the table was that valuable license. “I said OK. So I studied the market for six weeks and found three fundamental propositions about the rental market that I felt I could revolutionize. I vowed I’d build a company of 75 people and sell it. And I did exactly that.” However, after just six weeks into the new career, her business partners came to her with a complaint. “I was at that time commuting five hours a day and working seven days a week and they told me I was working them too hard. I said: ‘Well, it’s time to part ways.’ I took the profit from the first six weeks, bought out their investment, and changed the name of the company to Feathered Nest, which I then ran for 20 years.” By the time she sold it, the firm was one of the biggest names in residential real estate. But success is not what drives her, and she was ready for a fresh challenge.
She now presides over Nancy Packes Inc, consulting on new residential developments from the acquisition of a site to the design of the building, to the marketing, leasing and selling. Start to finish. And to do so effectively, she brings her detailed knowledge of where the market is now, and where it’s headed. “You might say there are two kinds of renters or buyers,” she says, “value and lifestyle. The value customer’s priority is staying within a very specified, relatively inflexible budget; and the lifestyle customer has a larger budget flexibility and is choosing primarily for attributes of location, beauty of the building, and other things that connote a high-level lifestyle.” In the case of VIA, she had to consider the way the Manhattan real estate market is moving exclusively towards the lifestyle customer. “We’re in an epical time in the residential market, with the beginning of the buildout of Brooklyn and Queens in their entirety. It’s self-evident that the further you get from the center of Manhattan, the less you can charge for a residential unit. There could be exceptions, but pretty much that gradient of distance is the determinant of value. “If you realize the implication – that the value rent is going to be addressed as the primary target for the outer outer boroughs – then you come to a further understanding that if you’re gong to build a rental property in Manhattan, it has to be built to continue to address the lifestyle customer; the person who MUST live in Manhattan; who chooses to live in Manhattan; who can afford to.”
PHOTOGRAPH: RYAN DONALDSON
REAL ESTATE And the killer attraction at VIA? It’s all about those views, baby. “It was fundamentally a case of capturing views towards the water and towards the south,” says Nancy. “A denser building, a building with more units, could have been built, but it would have sacrificed the elegance of the shape that not only optimized grace but optimized views and light. So the Durst Organization did not use every last foot they could have; they did the design that was most suited to encompassing an extremely luxurious lifestyle.” Number two on that luxury shopping list: space. Ceiling height. Room proportions. Storage. “So the standard one-bedroom unit at VIA is unbelievably spacious given contemporary standards in rental construction, in terms of the size of the bedroom, the size of the living room, storage in the kitchen, walk-in closets in the bedroom, larger bathrooms. “In the larger units, every three bedroom faces directly on to the water and has huge private terraces running the length of the apartment. No one’s ever built a product like this. It’s built to a level of elegance that is quite costly but it’s the recognition of what this customer is looking for not only today but in future years, as the Manhattan market becomes more and more directed toward a lifestyle customer.” She talks with passion and warmth about her projects. They are so much more than bricks and mortar. They’re like her children. “They live longer than we do,” she says. “They occupy space the way we do and they create the environment we live in in much the same way as our personalities do. I mean, they are extremely important in our civilization and it’s a privilege to work on them.” As for her REAL child – her son Seth Rosner, who is managing director of Nancy Packes Inc: “I have the great, great good fortune that my son is really a very evolved human being. He was born that way – it has nothing to do with my parenting. He’s practical and grounded and patient and he absorbs everything that is happening. I’m much more in my own head planning the next move, the next thought, my reaction, my creation – I’m much more active in that way. We’re perfect compliments to each other in terms of our working relationship. It’s some kind of an amazing blessing to have this thing in life.” When she’s not working crazy hours, she “plays tennis like a maniac” and likes to surround herself with beautiful things. “I owned an art gallery at one point in the
Above (top and left): The latest renderings for VIA. Right: How it’s looking from the ground.
East Village,” she says. “And I used to take Seth on the weekends to Sotheby’s or Christie’s and say to him: ‘OK, look at the painting, figure out how it makes you feel. Then figure out how it did that.’ I would teach him to synthesize and then analyze. Get the big picture and then figure out why. It’s a left and right brain exercise and I think that really is what beauty is. It’s a synthesis, and it never stops being beautiful. It’s eternal and immortal. If a thing is beautiful to you, you could look at it three million times – it is always beautiful. It achieves integrity in a way. And that’s what creation is.” Nancy continues to create. She has, she says, “huge stuff” in the pipeline. “Three years ago I decided to work on data products for the real estate industry. There’s a thing people say all the time, that real estate is analog in a digital world, and that is not too far from the truth. The nature of brokerage really hasn’t changed.” She she started developing data
products: one outlining all the properties in the pipeline that have not yet come to market, and another to help both developers and potential renters/buyers understand and analyse the market as it stands. Both, she hopes, will be ready to launch by the end of this year. “It’s another way of expressing creativity,” she says. “This is sort of the story of my life: I do things, then there’s kind of a dramatic arc, then I say: ‘Well, I’ve done that.’ So I’ve been designing and consulting and doing what I do now for a long time, since the 1990s, and I want to do something new. Not that I don’t want to design buildings – I love that part of what we do. But I want to do these data things; I want to bring life to the industry so that people – both buyers and sellers and renters of real estate, and developers and brokers – can have really, really good tools to help them with their work. I can’t think of anything that would advance the industry more than that right now.”
THE Condo QUANDARY Ian TD Smith guides prospective buyers through the question of property possibilities
he holiday season seems to be a time of year when people start thinking about purchasing a property for one reason or another. One of the most frequent questions I’m asked as a real estate agent is what kind of apartment a client should consider buying. Moving from being a renter to an owner in NYC is a scary proposition. With so many different types of buildings and high upfront costs, it’s no wonder most New Yorkers are renters. In NYC we are the reverse of the national trend: nationally around 70% of housing is owner-occupied; in NYC 69% is renter occupied. Let’s talk a little more about some basic facts so you can get a better understanding of what you really are looking for. And the first thing to wrap your head around is the different kinds of ownership structures in NYC.
They are more expensive and typically accrue value faster.
The law refers to these as restrictive covenants, aptly named as they restrict many things.
The most popular in the market (almost all new construction is this type).
Easily transferrable (little to no board approval). You own your property outright and can modify the premises with little issue. You can also easily rent these units to earn income as a landlord.
Cash is king. Condos take more money to buy since they sell based on who has the most money to purchase them. You will typically not know your neighbors, as most owners don’t live on the premises. Construction is a constant in most of these, so bring your earplugs!
To buy or not to buy?
Most have restrictive rental policies (you can rent two or three out of every five years). All construction must be approved by the board. When buying you must go through an exhaustive examination of your life, and they can reject your purchase without telling you why. Your apartment is not your own. Instead, you own shares in a corporation specifically tied to your square footage.
To buy or not to buy?
There are two other types of ownership: a townhouse (which most of us will never purchase), and a condoop (which is a condo building with commercial tenants).
You’ll know your neighbors, the board, as it’s a community building. Co-ops are typically older buildings so you’ll yield more sq ft and the walls are typically much thicker. The price of co-ops is generally lower so you’ll save more money.
If you want to be part of a community and put down roots, this could be for you. Also, consider this option if you’re an established professional who is a homebody or wants some peace from the craziness of the Big Apple.
Whatever type is right for you, seek out a qualified and knowledgeable agent. We get paid by the seller not the buyer. Ian TD Smith is a licensed real estate broker. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian’s top buying and rental options in the neighborhood this month
Location: 55th St - 8th/9th Ave Price: $699,000 Maintenance: $1,200 Ian says: “I recommend this for its rarely-available, gorgeously manicured private back garden. This beautifully renovated one-bed in a co-op is a perfect first-time buy. It’s on my favorite block in NYC, and new to the market so the price may drop.”
MAIN IMAGE: NACHO GUEVARA
If you’re looking to generate rental income, condos are popular with younger people who have cash but not much of a credit/employment history. If you don’t plan on holding the asset for a long time this is a sensible purchase as well.
Right: There are pros and cons to condos and co-ops – Ian’s the man with the plan.
Location: 53rd St - 8th/9th Ave Price: $1,195,000 Monthly Charges: $1,644 Ian says: “This wonderful condo building has some great pre-war elements with renovated finishes and is a nicely sized unit. The price dropped $55K after listing so there should be a little more wiggle room in the price.”
“Construction is a constant in most condos, so bring your earplugs!”
Type: One-bedroom Location: 45th St Rent: $1,500 a month Ian says: “This is a gorgeous unit in one of my favorite buildings in the neighborhood. I almost moved into it myself when I was looking a few months back. The landlord is one of the best in the business – he takes great care in renovating the units to top finishes. If you want to convert it to a two-bedroom you can even make it a great share.”
Type: Two-bedroom Location: 10th Ave - 51st St Rent: $4,500 a month Ian says: “What a steal! This two-bedroom can be flexed to a three-bed but, beyond that, it has a balcony and dining room and measures over 1,000 square feet. There’s a gym and full-time doorman, and the electricity bill is included in the rent. My sister lives in this building so I obviously recommend it to all my clients looking for a large apartment at a great price.”
Email Ian to see these and any other listings for rent or sale
DESIRES A working fireplace is the holy grail in New York real estate … but once you have it, what do you do with it? Bright Idea
ll bundles “Many bodegas se We hate ce. pie a 0 $1 at od of wo real thing. the fer pre d an duralogs, to Ice ma Ar m fro er We also ord ey’re on Upper Th ). 42 17 37 2-7 (21 y deliver. Best East Side, and the dling too.” kin ll se y the of all,
ooking forward to winter? Nope, us neither. But for Isaac Halpern, it’s his absolute favorite season in Hell’s Kitchen. No contest. “After a freezing day, I look forward to coming home and making a fire and warming up,” he says. “The sounds of the wood popping and the smell of the wood burning are wonderful.” The real estate broker is one of the lucky ones. Working fires are a rare luxury in New York City – no new ones have been built, by law, since last year. But his walk-up on W47th St benefits from a fireplace that was built into the parking lot conversion in the 1980s. He lights it every day during winter without fail. “On cold nights you don’t want to go out. So making a fire at home is like instant entertainment. We either cook or order in. We often invite friends over for a meal and wine. In fact, we find most of our entertaining happens in winter – friends and family want to come over and experience the fireplace. “If you’re single, there’s nothing better than bringing someone home to a fireplace, and when you’re a family, it’s so cosy, just sitting around enjoying the light and warmth.” True, it’s considered one of real estate’s holy grails. But let’s face it, when it comes to that tick list, a washer dryer or walk-in closet is probably more desirable in the long run (for the record, Isaac has those too!). “A lot of people don’t care,” says Isaac.
“On cold nights you don’t want to go out. So making a fire at home is like instant entertainment.” “I remember showing an apartment in the West Village – a small studio, square shape – and Philip Seymour Hoffmann liked it, all these different people liked it. And I showed it to this one woman who said, ‘You know, there are much more modern ways to heat a home!’” So, for the record, you don’t really have a working fireplace for the heat (though that’s nice too). It’s more about the romance. The sense of the exotic; of “old” New York. The social opportunity to toast marshmallows or cosy in with friends on a snowy night. When Isaac bought the apartment, however, it all looked very different. Sure, it had the fireplace. But it also had low ceilings, walls covered in sheetrock, a tiny bedroom, enclosed kitchen. He opened it all up, raised the ceilings, exposed the brickwork, played around with the layout … The result took six months, and is now a light-filled, open plan space. All he needs now, he jokes, is a “virtual doorman” and his life will be complete. “In today’s market, buyers and
Opposite page: The working fireplace is lit every day during winter. Above: Once a cramped bedroom; now a walk-in closet. Jealous much?
REAL ESTATE Grate and the good At the time of going to press time there were around 12 Hell’s Kitchen apartments for sale with wood burning fireplaces. Here’s our pick of the bunch.
Penthouse apartment, Stella Tower, 425 W50th St - 9th/10th Ave Price: $13,995,000 Type: Condo Says Isaac: This is an elegant prewar condo conversion fourbedroom penthouse.” 315 W36th St - 8th/9th Ave Price: $3,199,000 Type: Condo Isaac says: “This is a classic twobedroom, huge loft.”
renters are obsessed with ‘amenities’. The prices are so high that many people feel that without a doorman, gym, children’s playroom, etc it doesn’t seem reasonable. This is particularly true for people moving to NYC. “These traditional high-end amenities, which typically don’t exist in the suburbs, help buyers and renters feel comfortable paying the premium to live in the city. Developers have picked up on this, so you see in Hell’s Kitchen relatively small apartments and huge amenities. It’s a winwin for developers. “But as another broker once asked me: ‘What is an amenity anyway?’ Her response: it’s an aspect of the property
Above: The fire is lit, the marshmallows are toasting ... now, anyone for a cocktail?
“What is an amenity anyway?’ It’s an aspect of the property that makes the home more desirable.” that makes the home more desirable and more livable.’ If we think of ‘amenity’ in this sense, then the best amenity of all for many is square footage, followed by washer dryer, windows, ceiling height, light, views, and, yes, fireplace.”
Isaac Halpern is a native New Yorker who practices residential real estate at Halstead Property. He bounced around the city including long stints in Chelsea, the Bronx, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and finally back to Manhattan to Hell’s Kitchen, where he feels happiest. When not working, he enjoys sailing and tennis, and sitting by the fire with a cocktail of course! email@example.com
521 W47th St - 10th/11th Ave (Bakery Building) Price: $1,795,000 Type: Coop Isaac says: “A great fourthfloor walk-up duplex loft with terraces.” 305 W55th St - 8th/9th Ave Price: $695,000 Type: Coop Isaac says: “A charming prewar onebedroom walk-up.” 529 W42nd St - 10th/11th Ave (The Armory) Price: $664,000 Type: Coop Isaac says: “A top-floor studio duplex loft with roofdeck.”
Oh CHRISTMAS TREE This incredible collection harks back to a more innocent … and hazardous … era. Photographs: Nacho Guevara
y grandmother was huge on Christmas,” says Harry Heissmann. Yet he can’t quite explain how he came to be the owner of an almost 250-strong collection of ornate, antique Christmas tree stands. The interior decorator began collecting while at university in Germany, but sold almost all of them to fund his journey to New York. The collection began again in earnest once he was settled in the city, and has grown steadily ever since. Now just a few of them line the walls of his Hell’s Kitchen studio. “Most are cast iron but I have some one-offs – a terra-cotta one, a ceramic one, a couple of wooden ones. I know so much about them now. I know which ones I’m still hunting. There’s a few holy grail pieces I’m missing, but of course I’m not going to say what they are because then the price goes up. “What’s interesting about them,” he says, “and it’s what I find charming, is that back then Christmas trees were table trees. So the whole thing people do today where trees are about 20 feet tall and go over several floors – that didn’t really exist. It was a much more humble affair.” Not only were the trees smaller, they were lit by candles – almost unthinkable these days. “When I was a kid, there was always a bucket of water in the corner for emergencies! “But it was an event to light all the candles. You sat down, you looked at the tree … that to me is like looking at a fireplace. It’s soothing, it’s relaxing. Put your cellphone away, don’t sit at the computer, sit at the tree – that’s what it’s all about.” This year he’ll be using two trees, mixing European and American traditions. He’ll have a real one and a 1960s aluminum one with “shining bright ornaments”. And his tips for the rest of us when it comes to decorating? “Keep it simple, or go all the way over the top. Anything in between can look a little bit weird.” www.harryheissmanninc.com
Clockwise from top: Just a few of the stands in his collection, decorated with angels, berries, or ornately carved. Above: Harry with his Frenchie Samson.
“Back then Christmas trees were table trees. So the whole thing people do today where trees are about 20 feet tall – that didn’t really exist. It was a much more humble affair.”
Buying for your loved ones is a wrap – the holidays officially start here
MOUSE IN THE HOUSE
We couldn’t resist this little mouse tree decoration … $15, www.domusnewyork.com
BROADWAY DIVAS TREE ORNAMENTS
There will be no raining on your parade this holiday season, when you dress your tree with these Broadway Cares ornaments. Choose from legends such as Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, or Julie Andrews. Or, heck, get ‘em all! It’s for charity, people! From $55 each, www. delphiniumhome.com
Bring a touch of the exotic to your home with these one-of-a-kind pillows, featuring old photographs of Berber women, vintage Moroccan textiles, and silk-screened, henna tattoo-inspired prints. $165, www.domusnewyork.com
for the home HAND-MADE POTTERY
Make sure your tree is one of a kind this year, with these handmade pottery ornaments made locally. Naturally. $19, www. mudsweat-tears. com
THE PHONE BOOK
Street photography has never been more democratic, but it still takes an artist’s eye to create a thing of beauty. In one of the first photography books to be published featuring images taken on an iPhone using the Hipstamatic app, Robert Herman captures the scenes from cities (including his home town of NYC) in vibrant color. $30, www.robertherman.com
SLED COFFEE TABLE AND SNOW RUG
PRINT ON ALUMINUM
A glossy photographic print by local artist Rick Campanella, measuring 24”x36”. Only one available, so snap it up while you can. Snap. Get it? $500, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring back childhood memories of whizzing down snowy hills and transplant them right into your grown-up living room. This “sled’s” runners fit neatly into the grooves of the snow-white rug. Made from beautiful walnut and ash with a deep pile rug. OK, so it’s pricey. But … wheeeeee! $3,850, www.fancy.com
for the home
FROST PATTERNED PAINT ROLLER
Get your craft on this Christmas and create beautiful winter scenes on walls, wood, furniture, fabric – heck, you can decorate anything with this patterned paint roller. We like the idea of creating some original wrapping paper. The set includes roller, applicator, and foam applicator pad. All you need is the paint. $37, www.fancy.com
HELL’S KITCHEN PENNANTS
A result of Fine and Dandy’s collaboration with Buffalobased Oxford Pennant. Support your local hood! $29, www.fineanddandyshop.com
DECK THE HALLS …
Fly the flag with these Rockette and NYC tree baubles. We heart the holidays! From $18.95, www.delphiniumhome.com
REAL ESTATE SILK BANDANA
Designer Jeffrey Goldstein’s Hell’s Kitchen apartment doubles as his work studio, where he hand-dyes, silk screens and paints on T-shirts, scarves, pocket squares etc, so every item is one of a kind. This bandana is hand-painted on habotai silk and measures approx 21″x21″. (His pocket squares are also available in store at Fine & Dandy.) $60, www.labelnewyork. com
TAKE A BOW
Why don’t more of us wear bow ties? Fine and Dandy, our resident dapper chaps, can help put that right, with these elegant yet contemporary bow ties, handmade in NYC. $55, www.fineanddandyshop.com
Made in the Garment District and created by Hell’s Kitchen designer Jess Johnston, there’s a lot to love about these soft leather purses, sparkly on one side; smooth on the other. Some are even reversible. $70-$270, www. thistleclover.com
JEWEL OF A GIFT
New York winter weather, do your worst! These mukluk boots keep the cold and wet out when you’re around and about. And let’s just mention how cool they look … $260, www.nepenthesny.com
This pendant magnifier is one of a whole stash of goodies. Just drag yourself out of bed on a Saturday or Sunday to browse the flea market for more bargains. From $25, Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market
This brass collar with three spikes looks fierce, but it’s lined in black faux for you Hell’s Kittens. Made to order in the neighborhood, so allow two weeks for delivery. $150, www.madlymade.com
FUR AT THE FLEA
Never underestimate the value of a good rummage at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market. We discovered this fabulous fur hat and scarf - cozy, cozy, cozy! Hat $75, scarf $50, Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market
REAL ESTATE DILL-ICIOUS SALSA VERDE
Taking salsa to a whole new level, Casa Maya has added fresh, tangy dill to its salsa verde to make your tastebuds think they are on vacation. Creamy, smooth … it’s a bona fide taste of Hell’s Kitchen. $10, www.casamayasalsa.com
for food BOURBON MARSHMALLOWS
At first it might seem an odd combination, but then when we really think about it, it sounds like the greatest idea we’ve ever heard! Wondermade also sells a variety of other awesomely unusual marshmallow flavors if bourbon isn’t to your liking (champagne … beer … lavender …). $7.95, www.wondermade.com
HOLIDAY SWEATER FORK SET
The ugly festive sweater is now de rigueur these days. But you can up the ante this season with these delightfully cheesy forks. Designed for one-time-only use. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for that sweater. $7.20 for 20, www.pinkolive.com
We all know there are two surefire ways to get a snow day. 1) wear your pajamas inside out and 2) place a spoon under your pillow. Help your kids (or yourself) achieve an unscheduled day of fun with this handstamped vintage spoon. After the ritual is complete, you can use the spoon for some yummy hot cocoa. Win-win. $18, www.etsy.com
This vintage doll in a blue dress may not stand up to much in the way of hardcore childsplay, but is a beautiful piece to keep and treasure. $25, Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market
LOW-CARB COOKIE MIX
Created in her Hell’s Kitchen kitchen by Deana Karim, this grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, and wheat free cookie mix is a healthy treat almost anyone can eat. She came up with the idea after starting the ketogenic diet, as diabetes runs in her family and she wanted something sweet that was still good for her lifestyle. $11.99 (10% off with code W42), www.gooddees.com
for kids PATCHWORK TEDDY
This bear may be a little pricey, but all the proceeds go towards providing water wells in West Africa. Making it a chariteddy. Ahem. $70, www.nepenthesny.com
MY STORY, MY DANCE
When Robert Battle was a little boy with leg braces, he never dreamed he’d grow up to become an acclaimed choreographer, and lead Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. His story has now been turned into an inspiring children’s picture book, following Battle’s journey as he prepares for his next chapter, the debut of Awakening, his first world premiere since becoming artistic director $17.99, www.amazon.com
Delight the kids – of all ages – with a dinosaur glove puppet that makes a cool stocking stuffer. $8, www.domusnewyork.com
A PIECE OF HUDSON RIVER PARK
From $50, you can give a loved one a friendship gift, which not only supports our local park along the Hudson River, but buys special “friendship” perks, ranging from invitations to events, special discounts, private golf cart tours and more. $50-$2,500, www. hudson riverpark. org/friends
#W42ST Hashtag your Instagram pics and they could star in the mag! The lights have gone out at the Market Diner – a moment’s respectful silence please – but our Instagram family continues to inspire with their photographs ranging from the colorful to the dizzying to the ... hang on, is that a squirrel? Remember, anyone can get involved -- just tag your pics #W42ST and they just might end up in the next issue of the magazine.
HEALTH & FITNESS
Look at the upside A 75-minute class devoted entirely to handstands? Brooke Blocker is up for the challenge
ancy flipping upside-down or striking a yoga pose while suspended in silk? It’s your lucky day. It just so happens there’s a whimsical fitness venue that could fulfill your every adventurous, circus-themed desire. In quest of my latest fitness fix, I stumbled upon Om Factory’s eyecatching flag on W37th St - 8th Ave. However, choosing a class wasn’t quite so simple. The vast list includes such intriguing classes as aerial yoga, acro-yoga (partner yoga), and lyra (aerial hoop). After much consideration, I settled on ‘Handstands.’ Yes, a 75-minute class devoted solely to standing on my hands. Handstands are practiced widely in the world of fitness (gymnastics, yoga, dance, Crossfit, etc). The pose requires engagement and precision from the whole body and, hence, builds strength and balance. An inverted pose with blood flowing towards the brain, it can also boost mood, energy levels, and circulation – so it’s a great way to wake up in the morning or perk up in the afternoon sans caffeine. I was up for the challenge because I currently have an “it’s complicated” relationship status with handstands. As a yogi and a former gymnast, handstanding has long been a part of my life as it makes its way into my practices. And just when I think I have it in my grasp, the fleeting pose decides to disappear unexpectedly, leaving me confused and bitter, crashing down to Earth (sometimes on my face). So, naturally, I yearned for any pointers to solve the elusive posture once and for all. Nestled on the 18th floor, Om Factory’s vibrant orange walls and light aroma of incense welcome
Above and opposite: Brightly colored hammocks and silks come into play during aerial yoga and circus skills classes
“I currently have an “it’s complicated” relationship status with handstands.”
HEALTH & FITNESS “Perhaps the most imperative skill in learning handstands, not only for safety, but also to dispel fear, is knowing how to fall ... and I learn new approaches to the art of falling” students seeking an urban oasis and colorful experience. The room is bright and spacious, the class surprisingly full, and everyone expresses differing ability levels. Class starts with jogging around the room in a disorderly fashion. Specific instructions are to run in an unpredictable, multi-directional manner without bumping into fellow classmates. The erratic technique leads to an onset of laughter, relaxing inhibitions (commonplace with standing on unfamiliar legs), but most importantly teaches body-awareness, a fundamental handstand tool used to perceive where the body is in space, where it’s going, and how it’s getting there. The next phase consists of various stretching and strengthening techniques, specifically targeting the wrists and the core. The class uses crash mats to roll out of attempted handstands, partnered for conditioning, uses the wall as a prop, and inspects the structure of the desired pose. In one drill, my partner holds my feet while I stand on my hands, adjusting until my body makes an L-shape, or 90-degree angle. The drill is designed to build core strength and I’m instructed to lift my feet from the partner’s hands until my body is straight upside-down, in full handstand. This technique is called press or, in this case, a half press (full press starts from the ground). I’m unable to do it; the core strength required is astonishing. As my body shakes, my partner says: “I can feel you trying, but …” But.
What Om says: “Conquer your fears of being upside-down in this class, which focuses on building core strength, and understanding the many aspects of proper handstand technique. Whether you have never attempted a handstand, are working your way up from a steady headstand practice, or have been walking on your hands for years, you will gain insight into how to improve your handstands. Exercises are made safe for all levels using crash mats, partner spotting, and the wall. Each class offers new methods to boost confidence in bearing bodyweight, tumbling out of a handstand, and engaging the core to gain stability. This class is beneficial for intermediate to advanced yogis, AcroYoga enthusiasts, and acrobats of all shapes and sizes.” Handstand classes take place every Friday through December at Om Union Square, 4.30pm
Years of gymnastics and yoga have prepared me for handstands, but the drills at Om Factory are unfamiliar as they were derived from German gymnastics and circus training. I attempt them all but, admittedly, the alien and less comfortable ones bring out an unexpected fear. I see this fear in many of my own students and, according to most gymnastics and yoga instructors, fear is the most common deterrent keeping us from reaching a pose or goal. Handstands are largely a mental game and fear can cloud judgment, the learning process, and inevitably the capacity to perform. So I try to remember why I’m there: to learn something new and face my fears so that I can help my students and myself. Perhaps the most imperative skill in learning handstands, not only for safety, but also to dispel fear, is knowing how to fall. And yes, there is a proper form. I learn new approaches to the art of falling, guided through a graceful decline instead of a crumbling collapse. Each technique builds on the last as students become more comfortable with body movements, controlling the center of gravity, and ultimately gaining confidence upside-down. www.omfactorynyc.com
TALES FROM THE SHALLOW END
Mary Geneva’s Manhattan dating adventures continue … this month things take a turn for the crazy
recently had a (not OK) OkCupid date with a real charmer. I agreed to meet ABL at a Hell’s Kitchen sports bar. I guess I was getting lazy and broke my own online dating rule by not asking my potential suitor to give me a quick call on the phone prior to meeting. Bonus points if a guy calls without you asking! In the days leading up to our date, ABL’s text messages didn’t send up any red flags and his pictures were decent; in fact, he sort of resembled a young Alec Baldwin, which is how he got his nickname. I was walking a mere four blocks from my apartment so I knew I could bail and go home if things started to get wacky. ABL was working at a construction site just down the block from the bar. Convenient for the both of us. He was seated all the way in the back of the bar. There were like a hundred seats up front and it was a beautiful night. Why would he choose such an awkward seating location? Was he hiding from someone? The answer is YES! When I arrived ABL said he didn’t want his boss to see him because he was technically on the clock. Oh, and get this: ABL’s title was “Safety Manager” for the construction site. I wondered who the hell was supervising if he was in the bar eating a Caesar salad and drinking a beer? I ordered my usual martini with olives. Perhaps due to the martini high making my head all fuzzy I became thoroughly entertained by everything streaming out of ABL’s mouth. But then I began berating myself (in my head of course) that I shouldn’t have broken my phone call rule. Dear reader, I repeat: please, please, please, don’t go on an online date without a quick phone chat. I can’t tell you how many prospective serial killers and weirdoes I’m sure I met by not doing my
“I had a sneaky suspicion that ABL was recently released from prison.” due diligence and this “date” with ABL fell under the crazies category in my plethora of horrific online dates. You can learn a lot with a quick call: 1: Whether he speaks English. 2: Whether conversation will flow during your date and you’re not just playing a game of stare to see who will blink first. 3: Whether you actually want to continue the conversation in the flesh. 4: Sense any hint of crazy or pervert.
Now back to the story: I had a sneaky suspicion ABL was recently released from prison, probably for a driving offense judging from the fact that he lived in Newark, NJ, and didn’t own a car. He also felt the need to air all his dirty laundry to the first unassuming woman he met — me. Who tells someone on a first date that they: 1: Have been fired from four different jobs. 2: Have been engaged three times. 3: Created a phony Facebook profile under a hot classical musician’s name to assume a different identity so he could mess with his Hungarian ex-girlfriend who lives in Hungary. 4: Drove his car into a subway station and ran from the police because that’s what you do. According to ABL, you always run from the cops. 5: Oh, and he goes to mass every Sunday at 7:30am because he’s a good Irish Catholic boy. Going back to #3 above, ABL told me how he moved to Hungary to live with his beautiful girlfriend and was thrown out like three days later for punching a hole in her wall and threatening her male friend. All his belongings were left on the streets of Budapest and he returned to the States. This was the fifth red flag alert in under an hour. I know you’re wondering why I didn’t run away. I just had to order a second martini because I couldn’t believe what he was saying. It kept getting better and better. Finally, it was time for me to make my escape. ABL texted me FIVE minutes after we parted and apologized for his behavior. He said that who I met was not the real him. He was just very tired and said I was beautiful. Well, thank you, I am, but I’m just not into you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mary Geneva is a sales professional by day and semi-reformedhopelessromantic serial dater by night. Married at 21, divorced at 26, she and her rescued pets, pup Valentino and kitty Diva, were left to learn how to balance their checkbook. In her book Nicknames, Mary tiptoes back into the dating pool accumulating many late-night, drunken scraps of paper and text messages outlining unbelievable – yet totally true – events. Knowing she couldn’t make this shit up, she stored the memories away to finally share with you. Undaunted, Mary lives, works, and plays in New York City, and calls Hell’s Kitchen home. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @marygeneva nyc. You can buy Nicknames on www. nicknamesnyc. com. Stay tuned for Mary’s next Nickname in the February issue of W42ST.
blocker yoga Brooke Blocker is a certified yoga instructor who teaches classes in Hellâ€™s Kitchen and Chelsea. Her classes, dubbed the YogaLab, are a wholistic experience challenging the mind and body. With a background in research and psychology, Brooke teaches from a level of exploration with intent to expand studentsâ€™ beings mentally, physically, and spiritually. A typical class includes flowing through vinyasa, experimenting with bold poses, and delving into heavy meditation. The purpose of the YogaLab is to provide a platform, or baseline, for self-analysis with the goal of ongoing progression and eventual equanimity within. Brooke teaches group and private sessions as well as corporate yoga. She also has experience planning and leading yoga retreats.
Reach out at: email@example.com Check out current schedule: www.blockeryoga.com Follow for updates (Instagram): @vbblocker
The gift of grief For those who have lost a loved one, the holidays can be filled with pain – and potential for healing, says Dr Tama Lane
ILLUSTRATION: ALISA KRUTOVSKY
he prerequisites of the holiday season include ample doses of cheer, a generous helping of fun, and stuff-focused frenzy. Imprinted in our psyche, the expectations are abundant. Holidays mark the passage of time. They are milestones that frame each year and bring meaning to significant moments we have shared with others. We are bombarded with portraits of love, happiness, togetherness, and family unity. But in many cases, this bustle of unfiltered joy contrasts markedly with the B side of the holiday season – the emptiness and despair of grief. In the unspoken contract, there is no such thing as love and relationships without the anticipation of loss, grief, and that specter of despair. Even before we have experienced it, many have a glimpse and understand the process through metaphors. Grief is like a moving river. Tears are the silent language of grief. In reality, however, grief is a hot, emotional mess. We are often ambushed and blindsided by intense reminders that leave us breathless. Grief lurks in well-hidden places, and often jumps out unexpectedly to scare the bejeezus out of us, triggering a tidal wave of feelings. None the less, grief is a conduit to feel. To navigate through its stages is a heroic journey, unique for each individual. For a brief period, feeling “comfortably” numb protects us from pain. But grief rarely walks in a linear or sequential fashion. It can step diagonally, sideways or, like a tantrum child, stop and refuse to move at
all. No worries though, because grief is clever and unrelenting. It either gently taps you on the shoulder or jolts you back into reality with a booming roar. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, New Years are the biggest and usually most challenging of all. Since grief does not take off for the holidays, how can one cope or celebrate togetherness when the world looses its celebratory vibe? There is holiday magic within the mess of grief. Rather than avoiding those
Above: Grief can hit you unexpectedly; but to deny it is also to deny your feelings.
feelings, lean into them. Grief is not what you are attempting to avoid; rather, it’s the pain. When we shut ourselves off from our core emotions, we distance ourselves from the experiences that move us forward in our lives and work. When we numb the dark, we also numb the light. Emotional exposure defines what it means to be vulnerable. In the darkness of despair, we sometimes turn away from our team of allies to conceal our suffering. If we reveal the magnitude of our loss to those close to us, we fear the pain will somehow be transferred. But pretending we don’t hurt is not living our truth – it invalidates our reality. A supportive presence that keeps showing up and loving us, not judging our vulnerabilities, can be our greatest source of healing. Unexpected endings leave us with a sense of incompleteness, of having an unfulfilled relationship. Thoughts, experiences, and feelings we never fully shared with the deceased fill us with what ifs, if onlys, and all the other questions and scenarios that keep us awake at night. Although there is no finish line or specific grief expiration date, coping by writing letters to the person who has died, journaling, creating a memory box, or talking directly to the lost loved one can help resolve unexpressed feelings or that sense of unfinished business, which can be so prominent following a sudden death. The mirror of grief reflects back our loss – don’t look away. In learning to live with loss, we “gift” ourselves the ability to feel good again, smile again, reexamine and rediscover ourselves, and begin anew.
Dr Tama Lane
is a clinical psychologist who has her private practice of the UWS (www.nypng.com) and is an activist for survivors of trauma and torture. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter @DrTamaLane, Facebook Dr Tama Lane.
Poodle power Meet Hell’s Kitchen’s first canine CEO
K, we’ll say it. Winter in Manhattan is a beast. Relentless. The snow, the rain, and the wind send most of us scurrying from subway to office to subway to apartment most days, barely pausing to pull on and off gloves, scarves, and other related winter clothing essentials. But spare a thought for our pups. Sure, they have a built-in fur coat. But winter is kind of a bitch for them too. So when Joey, a miniature poodle shared between Hell’s Kitchen cousins Christy Kolar and Tess Soltau, started
“We started out using whatever materials we had available. We took apart an old ski glove once and attached it to a baby sock.” refusing to go outside for his wintertime walkies, the born entrepreneurs decided to take affirmative action. “Between the freezing sidewalks and the street salt, he was miserable,” they say. “The winter was unending, and having a pup in NYC who refused to walk outside was a bit of an issue. So we called around and tried different products but nothing seemed to meet all the needs we were looking for.” Tess is an actress, who has just ended her run with Wicked on Broadway as Glinda and is now in rehearsal for a new show, Diner. Christy is a designer who does freelance work in interior design. But the entrepreneurial blood runs thick in their family.
Above: Tess and Christy with their beloved pooches and, right, cute cousins.
PETS “Our grandfather started several business ventures. All his children had their own businesses. Our parents have run several successful businesses together down in south Florida. Needless to say, we inherited that gene.” So why wouldn’t they decide to create their own boots? The process, however, wasn’t always successful. “It was hilarious,” they say. “We started out using whatever materials we had available. We took apart an old ski glove once and attached it to a baby sock. But Joey was always a patient model.” Eventually, through trial and error, they created a prototype that actually worked. Result! “When we first put them on Joey he was totally confused. He walked funny for about ten seconds and then realized he could move naturally in them. After wearing them outside it took him only two walks to realize exactly what they were for. He waits by the door and raises his paws to help you put them on. I think any dog would prefer to go without boots naturally, but when they realize that it helps in the winter conditions, they quickly get used to it.” Needless to say, he was a hit at the dog park. They created their first line of Joey Boots and since then have been enjoying working with their favorite clientele: dogs. They now have customers nationwide, and recently started getting requests from Canada and Europe. “We even have a client in Florida who re-carpeted her whole house then found out the dog was allergic to some of the carpeting.” Now, we know what you’re thinking: there are already plenty of doggy boots on the market. But, say Christy and Tess: “Our Joey Boots have an attached legging and is fleece-lined throughout, keeping the paws and legs toasty. The bottom is waterproof and has a flexible material that allows the dog to walk more naturally in them. They also come in four fashion-forward patterns giving the owner, and their pup, the opportunity to put a personal stamp on their style.” The result not only keeps the dog’s paws warm and keeps out the dirt from our city streets, it also stops our pets ingesting all kinds of grime from the sidewalks. “The salt they use to clear the sidewalks is toxic,” say the girls. “It is spread in small pellets that can get embedded into the paws and cause sores and burns that are painful. The dogs then lick their irritated
We even have a client in Florida who re-carpeted her whole house then found out the dog was allergic to some of the carpeting.”
Above: Bandanas and boots – essential parts of your pup’s winter wardrobe, right?
paws and ingest the salt, which is very harmful and usually ends up with them getting sick.” The boots have been so successful, they’ve branched out into bandanas, and created some very special Broadwaythemed ones for the Broadway Barks charity. “We had several Broadway shows generously donate costume fabric remnants. We then made one-of-a-kind dog bandanas that represented each show. They were a hit! The Wicked Elphaba ribbon bandana was a hot seller, as well as the Phantom of the Opera bandana.” Next on the design list is dog jackets – “something that people can pair with the boots. “We love working together. It just seemed like a natural process for us,” they say. “We never thought we would be in this particular business but honestly couldn’t be anymore grateful for life’s surprises.” www.houndandtail.com
r e k l a w dog The secret diary of a
When the weather turns bad, Dina’s job description is all about the sleepover
ILLUSTRATION AND WORDS: CORY CANNATARO
NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT
ood thing I can’t catch a steady boyfriend. With all my clients going on vacation, the “love of my life” would be frightened by my zoo of an apartment. It was the winter of 2011 that actually caused me to start boarding dogs. Late January, the snow was showering down, and before I knew it, I was home, waiting out the blizzard with Bentley. The weather channel predicted cold winds with possible snow showers, but left out that a blizzard would change its course, hitting New York City. As winds became stronger, whipping my face like a frozen back hand, inches of snow grew higher, and I found that I spent the majority of the day sliding down the sleeted sidewalks of Hell’s Kitchen to see my pups home safely. Bentley was the last drop off. After ringing the buzzer and calling his owner Emma multiple times, I had no choice. I had to bring the little stud to my place. Bentley is an awfully handsome weimaraner who is like a celebrity making appearances, always posing for strangers at the park, which seriously happens at least once a walk. It’s entertaining to watch: Bentley spots the camera, immediately sits, tilts his head whichever way is giving the best light, and readies himself for his shoot. His casual swag has me waiting for him to pull out a smoke and light it up. Before I knew it, my little bundle of brindle Boston terrier, Olive, was cuddled up with Bentley and we were all sitting on my pleather couch, watching Christmas Vacation. With Chevy Chase. It’s my favorite holiday movie. It was near 8pm and still no word from Emma. Olive was sprawled across my bed snoring, but Bentley was up, and
Above: Bentley: “Paint me like one of your French girls.”
“Before I knew it, my little bundle of brindle Boston terrier, Olive, was cuddled up with Bentley and we were all sitting on my pleather couch, watching Christmas Vacation.”
we were both sitting side-by-side staring out the window. I knew the snow might be a hassle, but once you’re in for the night, the view can be quite spectacular. With the dimly lit clouds in the night sky, city lights shining through the falling flakes, strangers trekking to get home, and an occasional yellow taxi skidding down West 46th, me and Bentley were really taking in the bliss of the blizzard. Lost in my thoughts, I felt Bentley kick me in the shoulder as he went to leap back on the couch. Quickly, he crawled under the throw cover, came half way out the other end, stared at me, and looked like he was holding the cover up with one paw. I went and grabbed my sketch book and started to draw him. He looked like Kate Winslet in Titanic, and I was Leonardo. Weird, I know, but Bentley stayed put the whole time – it was like he knew! I still have the drawing up in my apartment. I woke up the next morning on the couch with Bentley. A loud garbage truck was plowing the street. I had a voicemail from Emma explaining how she’d got stuck at work in Connecticut, train was shut down, her phone died. She had no charger, but was finally home, ready to see her Bentley. Emma is a busy woman, president of a very successful reinsurance company, so I know how much her time with Bentley means to her. It was a cute little Hallmark-worthy moment when they reunited. So after a day of navigating the snowy city, watching my favorite holiday movie, appreciating nature and the city for its simple beauty, and a late-night art session with Bentley, I picked up the extra title of Dina the dog boarder. Happy holidays everyone!
Human’s name: Justin Age: 19 Most endearing quality: I like to snuggle when it gets cold (usually on my human’s feet). Most annoying quality: I trick my owner into buying expensive cat food, then end up hating it after the third can (leaving him with a case of the stuff). Superpower: Mind control – the ability to make my daddy leave the bar early just to come home and feed me. That, and I used to be able to open the refrigerator, until Daddy put a latch on it.
Fiona Human’s name: Sarah Age: 11 Most endearing quality: I think my humans can’t see me when my face is covered. I’ll even wag my tail with pride when I find a good “hiding” spot. Yes, I know, I’m too cute! Most annoying quality: My female human hates how in love I am with her husband. He got me for her before they even lived together so, technically, I belong to her. Superpower: I’m the cleanest cat in the world. I groom myself so much that when I was at the vet when I was young to get my skin checked, he said I was “obsessive.”
Felix Human’s name: Patty Age: I think I’m six. I’m a rescue and lived wild for around two years. Most endearing quality: I’m always happy to see my human, even if she’s being a jerk. She’ll walk in the door and I jog down the hallway, meowing at her. Unconditional love. Most annoying quality: I like to wake my human up in the morning. If she’s really out, I’ll lay on her chest. I’m about 20lb so she usually wakes up shortly after that. Superpower: I have hair coming out of my paws. Magical paw hair!
tales hill Sir Winston Churc
Cupid Human’s name: Deb Age: 12 Most endearing quality: I’m like a dog, and follow my human around from room to room, lying at her feet. Most annoying quality: No one has ever met me. I’m a total scaredy cat with strangers. Superpower: I’m quite Pavlovian and have created my own routines. For instance, when I want to be brushed, I come to my human and wait for her to drop the combs twice, and only twice, to hear the metal hitting the surface. I’ll then jump up on the bed to be brushed.
Human’s name: Alexis Age: One and a half. I’m half feral and half rescue kitty, which means I’m wild and cuddly. Most endearing quality: I snuggle in your lap or on your chest and purr, and give little kitty kisses on the cheek and under your chin. Most annoying quality: Sometimes late at night, I’ll stop at nothing to find my toy mice, which includes pulling all the baskets out of the shelves, throwing all my human’s books on the floor, and basically rearranging the bedroom so it looks like it was ransacked by the cast of a Scorsese film. Superpower: I fetch my toy mice. Throw. Fetch. Repeat. I can jump six feet in the air. I fear not fire nor water as I oftentimes try to hop in the shower, no matter who’s in there.
PETS We’ve taken a break from Hell’s hounds this month and bring you ... Hell’s kittens!
o many of you have contacted us, asking how your own happy hound can be included in Wagging Tales. Well, we’ve heard your pleas, duly considered them, and thought, hey, what the heck, why not? (We must have been barking mad not to have thought of it sooner!) This all means, of course, that you can now send us the finest photograph you can find of your furry best friend, answer the questions below, then cross your paws you’ll be included in our monthly column of local canine celebrities. Your name: Dog’s name: Breed: How old? What makes your dog bark? Three words that describe them best: Naughty confessions (dish the dirt – not literally, of course!): And are you an Instadog? Send it to email@example.com and we’ll do the rest.
Don’t miss out the furriest member of the family these holidays
SWEET HOUND OF MINE
LIGHT OF YOUR LIFE
$9.95 ($2 off with promo code LUVHK2), www.shinedoggy.com
TIME FOR LAUNCH
SWIM, LITTLE FISHY!
Cleaning up your pup after a walk on the dirty streets of the city is just an occupational hazard of living in NYC. These pre-moistened mitts – created in Hell’s Kitchen – make the job a whole lot simpler.
Make like you’re at the big game and fire your pooch’s treats from this fun launcher. Just fill it up and watch your best friend go. It even gets some exercise into the bargain.
When did those evening walks become so freaking dark? Stay safe with this illuminated dog leash – visible from a quarter-mile away in the darkest of nights.
Seriously, who knew you could TRAIN FISH? This kit has everything you need to teach them tricks. Using food rewards, they’ll soon be playing fetch, shooting hoops, swimming the slalom, limbo dancing and more.
FOR THE BIRDS
FOR A RAINY DAY
GIVE THE DOG A BUCKET
DOWNWARD FACING CAT
We don’t see much in the way of birdlife in the city. But do your best to encourage them with this cafe-style feeder. It has a removable lid for top loading with seed, which then flows out into tray for birds to feed.
At one stage it seemed summer might never end. But when the rain hits NYC, man does it rain! Make sure your doggy is prepared with one of these bright rain slickers – lightweight, waterproof, and stylish.
Hamsters, mice and gerbils are not always the most interesting pets. But get them in one of these and suddenly the entertainment level doubles, as you watch them race across any flat surface in this chopper exercise wheel.
Containing a Statue of Liberty toy, pennant bone, tug and toss rope, and a ball, your pup will have a blast on Christmas morning when it finds these goodies under the tree. And it can be personalized at no extra cost.
Your kitty will be sitting pretty in this cool cardboard cat tepee, and you’ll be pretty happy too, since it’s made with fibers that absorb any undesirable scents emanating form the interior.
Combining cat scratcher, bed, and feeding station, this yoga mat brings some zen into your kitty’s world. The rope and ball toy come with catnip, and the mat is a great surface for scratching, sharpening claws, and stretching.
Directory Animal Care Coco and Toto
730 11th Ave - 51st/52nd St (212) 956-5822 www.cocoandtoto.com
The Spot Experience
600 W42nd St - 11th/12th Ave (646) 767- 4199
Westside Animal Hospital 453 W46th St - 9th/10th Ave (212) 247-8600
Molloy’s Irish Pub
Beauty & Well-being
Beer, Wine & Spirits
570 9th Ave - 41st/42nd St (212) 256-1065
460 W34th St - 9th/10th Ave (212) 564-6830
Mr. Biggs Bar & Grill
9th Avenue Barbershop
737 9th Ave - 49th/50th St (212) 247-3400
596 10th Ave - 43rd/44th St (212) 246-2030
New York Beer Company 321 W44th St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 245-2337
Pacha New York
54th Street Auto Center
618 W46th St - 11th/12th Ave (212) 209-7500
Scallywag’s Irish Pub
415 W54th St - 9th/10th Ave (212) 265-3120
Cybert Tire and Car Care
508 9th Ave - 38th/39th St (646) 490-4803
Social Bar & Lounge
726 11th Ave - 51st/52nd St (212) 265-1177
Bars & Clubs
795 8th Ave - 48th St (212) 459-1323
302 W51st St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 541-7080
The Pony Bar
House of Brews
713 8th Ave - 45th/46th St (212) 961-7507 www.ironbarnyc.com
944 8th Ave - 56th St (212) 459 9444
237 W35th St - 8th Ave (212) 967-2511
Latitude Bar & Lounge 783 8th Ave - 47th/48th St (212) 245-3034 www.latitudebarnyc.com
637 10th Ave - 45th/46th St (212) 586-2707 www.theponybar.com
42nd Nails & Spa
495 9th Ave - 37th/38th St
450 9th Ave - 35th/36th St (212) 967-4726
Tir Na Nog
315 W39th St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 760-0072 www.tirnanognyc.com
White Oak Oyster Bar
818 10th Ave - 54th/55th St (646) 692 9347 www.whiteoaknyc.com
736 10th Ave - 50th/51st St (212) 265-0010 www.TheWaylon.com
42nd Street Wine Loft
507 W42nd St - 10th/11th Ave (212) 736-1375
Grand Cru Wine & Spirits 570 11th Ave - 43rd/44th St (646) 682-9278 www.grandcruny.com
Ninth Avenue Vintner – Liquor Store
David Ryan Salon
429 W46th St - 9th/10th Ave (212) 956-1830 www.davidryansalon.com
660 10th Ave - 46th/47th St (212) 459-2884
Hell’s Kitchen Barbers
410 W56th St - 9th/10th Ave (212) 470-5027
519 8th Ave - 35th/36th St (212) 9716100
701 9th Ave - 48th St (646) 657-0080
694 10th Ave - W48th/49th St (646) 791-0560
Luxe Den Salon & Spa
The Jolly Monk
34th Street Wine & Spirits
525 W42nd St - 10th/11th Ave (212) 473-3689 www.massagenvy.com
446 W38th St - 9th/10th Ave (646) 706-7747
West Vibe Hair Salon
451 W46th St - 9th/10th Ave (212) 265-6794 www.westvibe.com
669 9th Ave - 46th/47th St (212) 664-9463
Veritas Studio Wines
527 W45th St - 10th/11th Ave (212) 581-3163
Al’s Cycle Solutions
693 10th Ave - 47th/48th St (212) 247-3300
Enoch’s Bike Shop
480 10th Ave - 36th/37th St (212) 582-0620 www.enochsbikes.com
846 9th Ave - 55th/56th St (212) 757-2418 www.libertybikesny.com
Metro Bicycles – Hell’s Kitchen 653 10th Ave - 46th/47th St (212) 581-4500 www.metrobicycles.com
600 11th Ave - 45th St (212) 582-7949 www.nycvelo.com
Delis, Food & Drink Bis.Co.Latte
Bread & Honey
Keep Your Home Clean
Bourbon Street Bar & Grille
444 W43rd St - 10th/11th Ave (646) 473-0274
941 8th Ave - 56th/57th St (212) 245-0007
Empire Coffee & Tea Company 568 9th Ave - 41st/42nd St (212) 268-1220
Garden City Deli
607 9th Ave - 43rd/44th St (212) 974-0573
International Grocery 543 9th Ave - 43rd/44th St (212) 279-1000
Fresh Cut Flowers, Inc. www.freshcut444.com
Health & Fitness
826 9th Ave - 54th/55th St (212) 954-7417
Manhattan Plaza Health Club
Prudence Design & Events
315 W36th St - 8th/9th Ave (646) 234-8425
482 W43rd St - 9th/10th Ave (212) 563-7001 www.mphc.com
681 8th Ave - 43rd/44th St (212) 245-2362
Poseidon Greek Bakery 362 W45th St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 757-6173
Sea Breeze Fish Market 541 9th Ave - 40th St (212) 563-7537
Stiles Farmers’ Market 352 W52nd St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 582-3088
Tehuitzingo Deli & Grocery 695 10th Ave - 47th/48th St (212) 397-5956 www.tehuitzingo.net
330 W42nd St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 695-4444
345 W42nd St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 757-0850 www.midcitygym.com
347 W36th St - 8th/9th Ave
362 W36th St - 8th/9th Ave
Restaurants, Diners & Cafes
785 9th Ave - 52nd/53rd St (212) 767-0077 www.brickyardnyc.com
The Cafe Grind
477 10th Ave - 36th/37th St (212) 279-4100 www.thecafegrind.com
42nd Street Pizza
609 9th Ave - 43rd/44th St (212) 586-8655
647 W42nd St - 11th/12th Ave (212) 594-4312
545 9th Ave - 40th/41st St (212) 465-1530
Dafni Greek Taverna
939 8th Ave - 55th/56th St (212) 247-9603
Professional Services Epstein’s Paint Center
562 W52nd St - 10th/11th Ave 212-265-3960 www.epsteinpaint.com
410 W43rd St - 9th/10th Ave (212) 273-0737
Afghan Kebab House 764 9th Ave - 37th/38th St (212) 303-1612
325 W42nd St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 315-1010 www.dafnitaverna.com
326 W47th St - 8th/9th Ave (646) 850-3928
Gotham Mini Storage
510 W52nd St - 10th/11th Ave (212) 247-9191
600 11th Ave - 44th St (212) 582-7941
Gotham West Market
501 10th Ave - 38th/39th St (212) 931-5731
465 W51st St - 9th/10th Ave (212) 262-2920
Better Being 940
600 11th Ave - 44th/45th St (212) 582-7940
Green Nature Coffee House
413 W46th St - 9th/10th Ave (212) 246-9885
578 9th Ave - 41st/42nd St (646) 707-3916
Jadite Picture Framing
Westerly Natural Market
911 8th Ave - 54th/55th St (212) 586-5262
M2 Organic Cleaners
Ninth Avenue Vintner – Beer & Cheese
365 W36th St - 8th/9th Ave
304 W56th St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 245-7160
346 W46th St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 245 2030
CrossFit Hell’s Kitchen NYC
671 9th Ave - 46th/47th St (212) 957-7500
353 W48th St - 9th/10th Ave (646) 238-5924
662 10th Ave - 46th/47th St (212) 977-6190
537 9th Ave - 40th/41st St (212) 353-1986
Blue Bottle Coffee 600 11th Ave - 45th St
555 W42nd St - 10th/11th Ave (917) 916-9408 www.ohmygoshcoffee.com
TO GET YOUR HELL’S KITCHEN BUSINESS LISTING IN OUR DIRECTORY
AVEN IT’S HE KITCHEN HELL’S
Get one of these in your window
#Yourbiz nachoguevara.com nachoguevara73
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Restaurants, Diners & Cafes (cont.)
604 10th Ave - 43rd/44th St (212) 459-2929
Quinn’s NYC Bar and Grill
641 10th Ave - 45th/46th St (212) 757-1120
713 8th Ave - 45th/46th St (212) 247-1978 www.ilfornonyc.com
356 W44th St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 445-0131 www.quinnsnyc.com
Uncle Vanya Cafe
W39th St - 9th/10th Ave Saturday and Sunday only
West End Bar & Grill
813 8th Ave - 49th St (212) 707-8986
Morning Star News
412 W43rd St - 9th/10th Ave
Route 66 Cafe
Popular Carpet Distributors
462 9th Ave - 35th/36th St (212) 971-8530
The Jolly Goat
858 9th Ave - 55th/56th St (212) 977-7600 www.route66nyc.com
760 10th Ave - 51st/52nd St
517 W47th St - 10th/11th Ave (646) 509-8957
Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market (Annex)
315 W54th St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 262-0542
432 W38th St - 9th/10th Ave www.popularcarpet.com
Adam 99 Cents Plus
Thrift & New Shop
602 9th Ave - 43rd/44th St (212) 265-3087
338 W46th St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 581-8482
590 9th Ave - 42nd/43rd St (212) 765-7356
Columbus Hardware Inc.
439 9th Ave - 9th/10th Ave (646) 484-5733
470 W42nd St - 10th/11th Ave (212) 239-4442 www.kavanyc.com
774 9th Ave - 51st/52nd St (212) 256-0207 www.kahvenyc.com
626 11th Ave - 46th/47th St (212) 247-2562
Lucky’s Famous Burgers 370 W52nd St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 247-6717
Nano Ecuadorian Kitchen 691 10th Ave - 47th/48th St www.nanobarnyc.com
362 W45th St - 8th/9th Ave
Crystal Art & Craft Design
456 9th Ave - 35th/36th St (212) 967-4212
493 9th Ave - 37th/38th St
641 10th Ave - 45th/46th St (212) 245-4601 www.sirithainyc.com
F & D Pawnbrokers
359 W54th St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 586-3707
To advertise in W42ST Call (929) 428-0767 Or email email@example.com
315 W36th St - 8th/9th Ave (212) 239-4390
653 9th Ave - 45th/46th St (646) 590-0577
Locksmith Hardware Paints Plumbing Hardware
Mon-Fri: 8.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m. Sat: 9.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.
Troy Turkish Grill
Tulcingo Del Valle
496 9th Ave - 37th/38th St (212) 967-3892
If you are based in Hell’s Kitchen there only is one choice:
GET YOUR MESSAGE TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
852 9th Ave - 55th/56th St (212) 265-2425
539 9th Ave - 40th St (212) 465-0888
830 9th Ave - 54th/55th St (646) 669-7828
American Home Hardware & More
We offer Merchant and Contractor Discounts
665 10th Ave - 46th/47th St (212) 262-5510
852 9th ave - W55/W56 Call 212-265-2425 Fax 212-265-7588 www.columbushardwareinc.com
Join at www.climbingfish.com
PHOTO FINISH Tenth Avenue Angel, 1948
hen the reruns of our favorite holiday movies start rolling in – Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life – Tenth Avenue Angel is often forgotten. Starring the great Angela Lansbury and a young Margaret O’Brien who, four years previously, had won a Juvenile Oscar for her role in Meet Me In St Louis, it is set during the Great Depression. Eight-year-old Flavia lives in a Hell’s Kitchen tenement with mom Helen, pop Joe, and Aunt Susan. Susan’s sweetheart Steve is returning after a year of “traveling” but the truth is, the rogue is just out of prison. He wants to go straight, but his former gangster boss has given him an offer he can’t refuse.
“Only a miracle can save the day. Happily, Christmas is just the time that miracles seem to happen. Unhappily, the movie was a flop” Everybody’s desperate for a buck. Helen’s pregnant. Steve can’t find a job. And when Flavia learns she’s been deceived about her favorite “uncle’s” shady past, she loses all faith in her family. Only a miracle can save the day. Happily, Christmas is just the time that miracles seem to happen. Unhappily for everyone, however, the movie was an almighty, expensive flop at the box office. It earned $725,000 in the whole of the US and Canada, and just $75,000 everywhere else, resulting in a loss of $1,227,000. So, we’ll probably be watching The Grinch again this year after all …
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