W42st Issue 38 - Free Love

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wrap yourself up in STORIES OF LOVE LOST, FOUND, and just plain weird. Plus all the usual cool stuff about broadway, booze, eating out ... and dogs!




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One night last month – it was just after the women’s march – I came home to an empty apartment, lay on my bed, and let out a long, loud scream. Contained in that single moment of emotional abandon was a combination of anguish, rage, helplessness, and heartbreak that had built up over months of political turmoil, revelations of power abused, hurts caused, and deep personal pain. Making a magazine about love when you’re in the middle of a break-up, telling people’s stories of commitment and sexual adventures, rejection and recovery, has touched a nerve so raw, at times it felt like I could scream. Then I did. And it felt good. Valentine’s Day is such a nonsense anyway. But wherever you stand on the cynical scale, it serves to throw aloneness into a stark light. So this issue also explores the dark side of relationships, as well as the joy of finally finding The One. And my apologies to the neighbors – next time you hear me screaming, I really will be getting murdered. Call the cops. Ruth Walker Editor, W42ST bit.ly/hellohellskitchen

CONTENTS February Edition PEOPLE

means to truly commit ... and how there is no such thing as free love.



Kasey Adam Spickard left tech for a life of lipstick, powder, and paint.


Our pick of the ten events you MUST see this month.





phil@w42st.com (646) 535-4407


ruth@w42st.com (646) 847-9645




Our at-a-glance guide to all things Broadway and Off-Broadway, including reviews by real people.

Relationships are a many splendored, sometimes painful, messy thing. This month, we explore that, with stories of true love, awkward stalking, numbing emotional pain with meds, what it

drew@w42st.com (646) 896-9562

ron@w42st.com (201) 774-2432

sandra@w42st.com CONTRIBUTORS



All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher ©2018. Please note: Every effort has been made to avoid errors, misspellings, and omissions in this publication. However, if you spot one please accept our sincere apologies.

Mikhail Baryshnikov’s love affair with New York City.





Laughter, tears, meaning, and connection – Vicky is talking women and their parts.



Our Instagram picks of the month. Hashtag your photographs #W42ST to get involved.




Our series on Broadway’s unsung heroes continues with the man who brings the cast albums to life.


“Are you naked?’”







Tyler Mount’s Broadway obsessions in his exclusive column for W42ST. HK’s favorite concierge Stephen Field goes on the town for W42ST.



Stars ranging from Betty Buckley to Weird Al Yankovich spill the beans on their favorite love tunes.



The results are in: what we eat really does affect the way we think.


Kit Pepper has all the answers.




Bar director Eirikur Hallsson on DJing, doodling, and discomfort.

39 WHAT THE BARTENDER SAW Dan Ruth has spent his last Valentine’s alone ... perhaps!

LIVING 40 DOORMAN TELLS ALL On the night shift, anything can happen ...

What will $3,700 get you in the neighborhood? We go digging.


This month’s cover is by award-winning illustrator Eugenia Mello. Originally from Argentina, Eugenia works from her studio in Hell’s Kitchen, and divides her time between editorial illustration and art direction. Her recent work for Hope for the Day Foundation was awarded a Gold Medal by the Society of Illustrators. She dances between the rhythms of straight lines, curvy gestures, and the music of color. www.eugenia mello.com

Interiors inspiration with a bit of a slutty vibe.


Mary Geneva has a curious case of Mistaken Identity.


Did Sarah Funky’s world tour end happily ever after?


Tips for drinking friends, lovers, and bartenders navigating the sober universe.


Insider tips, plus the best of HK, from restaurants to bars, photographers to galleries. Contact drew@w42st.com to be on the list.


Hell’s Kitchen’s most handsome pups. Get involved by emailing waggingtales@w42st.com.



Know someone cool who’d make a great subject for My Hell’s Kitchen? Put us in touch, we’ll do the rest. Email news@w42st.com

Kasey Adam Spickard has gone from the corporate world of tech to the fickle world of fashion, with the help of a business degree and a sideline in drag Photograph Michael Hull Why I’m here I’d been working for Google in San Fransisco for about four years, living in the Castro, coming back and forth to New York every three weeks for work, and I just fell in love with the city. But with all the travel, I was exhausted. I’d been dating a guy for about a year, and he said: “Let’s just move!” So I got a transfer from Google, Darius got a transfer from The Gap, and we’ve been in Hell’s Kitchen now for about five and a half years. We looked at probably 25 apartments up and down the west side. We’d even put a deposit down in Chelsea, and our broker said: “I’m going to show you one more place, it’s just opened up.” It was a brand new one-bed with brick wall, wood floors, totally renovated, and cheaper than the place in Chelsea. We said: “OK, we’re doing this!” It’s a great little Broadway building – one of the girls was in Wicked and the guy who was Pippin lives upstairs.” Why I stay I switched jobs to Pinterest, Darius went to Ross Dress for Less, and we always debated moving. But he does drag (as Jackie Cox) once or twice a week in the neighborhood, at Therapy, Industry, and Hardware, so for him to be able to walk to a gig, it’s super easy. It just makes sense for us to stay in Hell’s Kitchen. Plus, all our friends are here – it’s the gayborhood! We love to go to the 9th Ave Saloon – a good dive bar, we’re there every Friday – and Flaming Saddles (I’m from Idaho, I love country music). For Thai, we go to V{IV) – we call it Aunt Viv. And Frisson, of course. When that opened it was a godsend. The guys who run it are so sweet, and Emeli, the main barista, is a doll.


Opposite: Kasey learned about make-up when he started doing drag.

Me and make-up Growing up, I loved watching my mom put on her blush in the mirror. Then I started doing drag too, so that’s how I got my first taste for doing make-up myself. And when I started at Pinterest, covering all the beauty brands – L’Oreal was one of my biggest clients – I felt drawn towards creating the looks to sell the product. So it was in the back of my mind for some time. Last December I quit Pinterest, took three months off and just hung around the neighborhood – which was actually amazing. Then I went to make-up school. It was brutal, with long days (we spent three days just on eyeliner), but I finished in August. When I was in Pinterest I was in sales, so I kind of just took the same approach with my own business. I wake up in the morning, I have my coffee, and I send emails out. In six months I’ve worked with big brands like Maybelline, Colgate, Nyx, and I’ve created some beautiful work. The five-year plan My boyfriend’s originally from LA, so I want to be traveling to do red carpet and award shows there. I got my first taste of that with a friend of mine, a big beauty influencer called Deepica Mutyala, at L’Oreal’s Women of Worth awards. It’s a performance and high stress but a lot of fun. I’m also fascinated by the “artistry in context” idea: there’s something to be said for being able to understand a client’s deep business challenges and needs, but also being able to actually create something to meet those needs, and there are not many people who can do that.




Kasey Adam Spickard left his job at Pinterest last December to become a professional make-up artist. Since then he’s been a Teen Vogue It Guy, been featured in Allure Magazine, POPSUGAR, and Reader’s Digest, and worked with clients including Origins, Smashbox, and Nyx. His drag name is Grace Papaya. facebykase.com KASEY’S HK 9th Avenue Saloon, 9th Ave -

45th/46th St Flaming Saddles, 9th Ave -

52nd/53rd St Bea, W 43rd St - 9th/10th Ave The Marshal, 10th Ave 44th/45th St V{IV}, 9th Ave - 48th/49th St Frisson Espresso, W47th St 8th/9th Ave Briciola, W51st St - 8th/9th Ave

“Growing up, I loved watching my mom put on her blush in the mirror.” DIGITAL EDITION



Ten events you’re going to LOVE!

Carousel Imperial Theatre


The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical returns to Broadway with Joshua Henry and Jessie Mueller performing such unforgettable songs as ‘If I Loved You,’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ carouselbroadway.com

Previews from February 28

At Home at the Zoo Signature Theatre

Escape to Margaritaville Marquis Theatre

The hotly anticipated new musical finally arrives, with flip-flops, tequila, and the gleefully inebriated music and lyrics of Jimmy Buffett. escapetomargaritavillemusical.com

Previews from February 16

La Boheme Metropolitan Opera


Ah the romance. The desire. The sickness. The tragedy. Franco Zefferelli’s spectacular production of one of the world’s most beloved operas returns to the Met for the third time. *sobs* metopera.org

Feb 16, 21 & 24



Dark humor is at play in Edward Albee’s work about a bourgeois couple whose lives are forever changed after meeting a stranger in Central Park. signaturetheatre.org

Dark Mondays

Angels in America Neil Simon Theatre This revival comes fresh from London, in two parts – Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. Subtitled ‘A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,’ it’s set in the mid-1980s, and stars Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield. angelsbroadway.com

Previews from February 23

Three Tall Women John Golden Theatre More Edward Albee, this one with Glenda Jackson (left) returning to the New York stage after 30 years. The story revolves around three characters, versions of an elderly woman in the last stages of her life. Laurie Metcalf and Allison Pill also star. threetallwomenbroadway.com



Previews from February 27

Lillias White The Green Room 42

My Dad Wrote a Porno The Town Hall


The Tony winner returns for The Green Room’s 1st birthday and a Valentine’s Day special with her show Baby-Makin’ Music. You have been warned! thegreenroom42.com

February 14

Fifty million downloads and Hollywood fans from Elijah Wood to Michael Sheen can’t be wrong. This unexpectedly hilarious podcast features Jamie Morton and friends reading a chapter of his dad’s ludicrous porn novel every week. The live show has been selling out all over the western world. thetownhall.org

February 28

Jerry Springer the Opera Signature Theatre


Currently in previews, this show is all bickering guests and passionate arias. Already an Olivier Award winner, this is its Off-Broadway premiere, brought to you thanks to The New Group and the easy-on-the-eye Will Swenson, fresh from his role as PT Barnum’s father in The Greatest Showman. thenewgroup.org

Opens February 22




St James Theatre

Can Disney’s highest grossing animated movie reach expectations on Broadway? We’re about to find out. Expect to hear the Oscar-winning ‘Let It Go’, along with a bunch of new numbers written specially for the show. frozenthemusical.com

Previews from February 22


HAPPY V-DAY! A lot has happened in the last three months, and Vicky Kuperman talking about vaginas is one of them


was at my friend and fellow comedian Vanessa’s apartment this past August for a writing session when her phone rang. “Hang on,” she said, “it’s about a show I’m doing. The Vagina Monologues.” “No problem, take your time.” I answered. She walked back into the room a few minutes later, still on the phone. “Hey, a cast member dropped out of the production. It’s in five weeks down in Florida. Can you act?” “Yeah.” Within 24 hours, I was cast as the fourth and final actress in the play. Five weeks later, I was on stage in Miami on opening night, alongside three other incredibly profound and giving people, acting my heart out, having memorized three intense and beautiful monologues, hoping I would bring truth and grace to Eve Ensler’s powerful, magnetic words. The week we were there, the news about Harvey Weinstein started to break. Here we were, doing monologues from REAL women, about rape, about mutilation, about shame, about birth, beautiful monologues, heartbreaking monologues, painful monologues, hilarious monologues, monologues that just a few weeks before we thought might be too edgy, might be too graphic, might be too …too … too … too much woman. On the last day of performances, between the matinee and the evening show, we were in the dressing room and our phones started blowing up, all at the same time, all with the same message:

“The news about Harvey Weinstein started to break Here we were, doing monologues from REAL women about rape, mutilation, shame, birth ...” #MeToo. Me too. That’s the only “too” that’s existed since. And now, I sit in my Hell’s Kitchen apartment, poring over these earthshattering, poetic words once more, getting ready for rehearsal … yet again, with the Golden Globes and Oprah’s promise of a “new day” still ringing in my ear. So much has come to light in three short months. On February 13 and 14, we will hit the stage, five of us this time, on the Upper West Side, to be part of the 20th anniversary of V-Day, the yearly global movement of performance, peace, acceptance, and love, to help eliminate violence against women and girls.

Below: See Vicky in a special performance of The Vagina Monologues, raising money to stop violence against women.

to be real. Ninety per cent of net profits go to fight violence against women and girls. Vanessa Hollingshead, Stacey Prussman, Nicky Sunshine, Gina Savage and I will give life to these stories. Thanks to Eve Ensler and the hundreds of women she interviewed two decades ago, we will shine a light on what girls and women face all over the world. There will be laughter, tears, meaning, and connection. #TimesUp #MeToo #VaginaMonologues #StrongerTogether #JoinUs February 13 & 14, West Side Comedy Club, 201 W75th St, 7pm, $25 + two-drink minimum (reservations@ westsidecomedyclub.com)

When I was first cast … I was nervous about the content. No more. I was nervous about the subject matter. No more. I was nervous I wasn’t worthy. No more. I was nervous. No more. This is going to be powerful. It’s going


ABOUT Vicky Vicky Kuperman is a Hell’s Kitchen resident, stand-up comedian, and co-author of the resistance book How to Spy on Your Neighbor: Your Survival Guide for the United States of Russia, which she co-wrote with Isabella Patrick, available at Domus or on Amazon. She hosts trivia every Wednesday night at 7pm at Treehaus Mima, 470 W42nd St.



FREE LOVE and other stories

It happened on

W57TH ST New York led Eljay Aguillo from his first love to the love of his life Words Ruth Walker Photograph Erick Urgiles


hen Eljay Aguillo met the woman of his dreams on W57th St, he was just coming out of the lowest period of his life. He'd been a bad friend. Lived in a horrible apartment. Had a terrible diet. And had just left his job. Indirectly, it was all his first love's fault. “She always loved New York," he says. "She’d only been here once or twice, but she loved it in an instant, always talked about it.”


Below: Some of the posts that have led to Why I Love New York City's 71K followers.

“That was the first night I got to say hi. It made the worst night of my life the best night of my life.”



When they broke up, he was bitter as hell, and the couple lost touch. But when he graduated, he had a cunning plan to win her back. “I told my parents I’d found a job in New York.” He hadn’t. “I thought she’d be here already. I had this movie-type idea that I’d move here and run into her in the street. New York was so close to her heart, I thought I’d come here and feel the same way she did.” He didn’t. “I hated it. I thought it was loud, I lived in a shitty place, I ate really poorly. I took the city for granted

“I had this movietype idea that I’d run into her in the street. New York was so close to her heart, I thought I’d come here and feel the same way she did.”


Above: Eljay came to the city in search of his ex-girlfriend.

continued over

and I took my friends for granted.” Salvation came in the unlikely form of a drug-dealing, bar-owning, lothario roommate who took care of him for a couple of years and helped him see another side of the city. “I started to find my stride,” he says. “I started appreciating the city. And the moment that started, the moment I started feeling good about myself, that was when I saw the girl ...” The girl was Minette. It was February 2008 and Eljay thought she was the prettiest thing he’d ever seen. He didn’t speak to her that night. He didn’t say anything the next couple of times he saw her either.


FREE LOVE and other stories By late spring, he was about to quit his job in Midtown and didn’t have anything else on the horizon. So when he went to a party on W57th St - 7th Ave, he was feeling pretty depressed. “I paid my tab, left the bar, and was driving back to Brooklyn when my friend got a phone call from someone at the party to say one of us had taken their ID by mistake. I looked in my wallet and it was me! “So we had to drive all the way back from the Manhattan Bridge. I remember pulling up outside Carnegie Hall. I saw the guy waiting for me, and next to him was the girl I’d always wanted to talk to but never had the chance. It was serendipity. That was the first night I got to say hi. It made the worst night of my life the best night of my life.” It was the start of his love story. He got a new job, started dating the girl, married her in December 2010, and they had a little boy, Jordan, in May 2014. And the guy with the switched ID? Eljay was best man at his wedding. It all inspired a photo-documentary series called Why I Love New York City, combining quotes with images and other people’s stories. The feed now has 71K followers on Instagram and has inspired a book as well as collaborations with celebrities including Salma Hayek, Meghan Markle, and Sarah Michelle Gellar. “My first love led me to my true love, and New York connected them both," says Eljay. "What a great way to tell my love story. "I wanted to change the perception that there are only the 10 most popular quotes seen on Google," he adds. "People tend to shy away from their own feelings and rely on the most popular quotes to understand what New York really is to them." His feelings range from: “In your heart you feel as if your entire life depends on finding your way to New York,” to “New York is like that beautiful woman in the room you can’t stop staring at.” And Eljay’s favorite? “‘Time doesn’t heal all wounds, New York City does’ … Because that’s my story.” “Have you ever been so happy," he asks, "you don’t know how to explain it?” This project is his way of expressing that. whyilovenewyorkcity.com

The LOVE CODE When you say “I do” or “I love you” what do you really mean?


e’re spiritual … but not religious.” That’s what many of my wedding couples say. I feel like they’re speaking in code. What they really mean is: “We intend no offense to the religion we were told to be a part of when we were kids, nor our parents for bestowing it upon us, but it’s just not for us.” Religion, for many couples, is simply not a part of their lives. But it serves as an olive branch, a solution for a social conundrum, like bringing a bottle of wine to a party. As a celebrant forced by the state to attain the oxymoronic title of “non-denominational minister,” I counsel couples that this is normal, then we discuss ways to assuage their religious family members so they won’t freak out during or after the ceremony. “It’s your wedding,” I remind them. “Yours, not theirs.” I understand the urge to reach out to parents, and indeed aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, anyone who went all-in with their beliefs in whatever religion (or who at least appeared to, in order to assuage their own elders). It’s a prickly thing to undermine a person’s beliefs, or to admit that you believe in other things. Weddings are about love, and couples love their families, so they’ll do what they have to in order to maintain this. I just think it’s sad that, to do this, people have to lie. Couples planning to get married tend to be very much in love, and that’s where the “spiritual” part comes into play. Their spirits are high. They feel lucky. A couple committing their lives to each other believe passionately and completely in their love for the other person. They know, too, that the love they


“Love is the ultimate diplomat, which sounds too hippy-dippy bumper sticker to be taken seriously, but I stand by it.” give comes back to them in equal measure, and so in committing to their relationship, they are committing to generating love. If love was the umbrella religion everyone agreed on, we might be better off. One of the reasons I feel I have one of the best jobs in the world is that I get to see men and women from different countries, religions, political beliefs, and sports affiliations rise above these differences to honor love. Love is the ultimate diplomat, which sounds too hippy-dippy bumper sticker to be taken seriously, but I stand by it. Couples who commit to loving each other commit to a starting point, a really positive starting point. Good things come from love. All of this could be fodder for thesis papers in liberal arts colleges, which is fine with me; those kids need to think about something. In this season of love, tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife that you love them, knowing this is code for: “I want to save the world with you.” Christopher Shelley is a wedding celebrant and writer. Read all about his glamorous life at www.IlluminatingCeremonies.com.

FREE LOVE and other stories

Don't be

SAD ...

Heartbroken and hurting, Minerva sought help … what she got was a cocktail of meds and a date with psychosis


break-up can make you crazy. In my case, it got me diagnosed with a mental condition I didn’t have and medicated with loads of pills I didn’t need. My first-ever visit to a psychiatrist happened a few months after my Jewish boyfriend of five years dumped me before he started graduate school. The rejection tapped into all my insecurities about the relationship – both rational and irrational. He liked strippers – I’d never be stripper skinny. He was younger – I didn’t own a time machine. As a Latina from an evangelical Christian family, I knew I’d never be Jewish enough, no matter how much Seinfeld I watched or bagels and lox I ate. We came from vastly different socio-economic backgrounds. I didn’t blame him for wanting a partner that better aligned with his ambitions, but damn it, it hurt. Depressed and dejected, I turned into a conversation killer at parties. A friend encouraged me to go talk to someone. Not sure who that “someone” should be, I consulted a nurse practitioner who wrote me a referral. In 2002, I walked into a swanky Upper East Side psychiatrist’s office a sad but healthy human being and walked out eight years later, psychotic. During my first visit I filled out patient history forms that asked for my emotional symptoms and sleeping patterns. Was I sad? Yes. Was I sleeping well? No. Did I cry often? Hell yeah, I’d been dumped, I cried all the time. I completed the forms quickly and took a seat. The waiting room was full, none of us making eye-contact. Pamphlets for mental disorders

“I thought something terrible would happen if I stopped taking my meds, yet something terrible was already happening: I was becoming unhinged.”


Above: After eight years on a cocktail of meds, Minerva was paranoid, hallucinating, and had the urge to throw herself in front of a train.

continued over

were displayed in every corner of the office. There were so many illnesses: depression, anxiety, ADD, OCD, postpartum depression, Tourette syndrome, schizophrenia. Each pamphlet came with its own inspirational headline: “Don’t be sad.” OK. “Hope is on the horizon.” Thank God. “I’m ready to experience life.” Me too! The brochures reminded me of cheesy romance novel covers: images of women staring thoughtfully into sunsets, a couple on a rowboat laughing coyly into the camera, another couple riding their bikes through a goddamn prairie. The photos would have worked equally well for Viagra or birth control advertisements, but they got my undivided attention because not only was I sad, but I was single, too. The illnesses varied, but row after row of pamphlets told me the solution did not. Treatment came in the form of brightly colored pills with names like Wellbutrin, Effexor, and Seroquel. I was shuttled into the doctor’s office, which was decorated with impressive looking diplomas, awards, and framed published articles. The doctor and I spoke for 15 minutes. In a blur of questions, paperwork, and tears I was diagnosed bipolar. What I had mistaken for a transient case of break-up depression was far more serious. I was sent home with two prescriptions and a promise that I’d be feeling better in five to ten days. That sounded good to me. My medications never made me feel happy. I was, however, intrigued by what they made me feel less of: anger, sadness, anxiety, empathy, and fear. It was like having a super power. At the time, I worked in sports PR; the medications’ emotional numbing effects


FREE LOVE and other stories made the long hours and stress more manageable. The longer I took meds, the less inconvenienced I was by feelings or external triggers. My focus on work was absolute. I exerted more control in my love life because I could take it or leave it. I was experiencing the world from a cold, even-keel place. I was Teflon and I liked it. Occasionally, I half-heartedly asked about the possibility of weaning off my medications, but my doctor was staunchly against it. It was important to keep my bipolar disorder under control. By 2009 my med cocktail had blossomed into a combination of mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and sleeping pills, all prescribed by the same doctor. I had gained 25 pounds, was losing my hair, had hand tremors, facial twitches, and was experiencing memory loss and panic attacks. I thought something terrible would happen if I stopped taking my meds, yet something terrible was already happening: I was becoming unhinged – hallucinations and paranoia had set in. I’d started to question my reality. In 2010 my doctor raised the dosage of all my medications and added two more to the cocktail. A few days later, at the 63rd Street and Lexington subway station, I had the urge to jump in front of an oncoming F train. Distraught over my deteriorating state of mind and at the urgent request of my primary care physician, I finally went for a second opinion. I don’t know why I waited so long. Why I was so vested in this bipolar story I’d been told. Perhaps I wanted a detour around sadness and the messiness of human emotion; I wanted that happy pill, that quick fix. It took two and a half years to detox, one medication at a time. After helping me taper off all the meds, my new psychiatrist concluded I wasn’t bipolar and said there was no ethical reason to have me medicated. He shook my hand, wished me well and I never saw him again. I’m embarrassed for not taking better care of myself. For not asking questions. For choosing to silence emotions instead of working through them. Now, I research doctors before I see them, as well as any medication they prescribe. I read sideeffect labels in their entirety. To handle the ebbs and flows of life I meditate, I write, I commune with nature. If I’m blue, I talk to a human being. Love and loss are guaranteed, but as far as I know, there’s no such thing as a quick fix.



There’s no such thing

The truth is, says David Porter, someone always ends up paying


ccording to Merriam-Webster, “free love” as a term has been in use since 1705. This means shacking up and sleeping around, at least as ideas, predate the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and 'Revolution #9.' You might think you’re a libertine, but there’s enough bad behavior in The Canterbury Tales to put you to shame, Casanova, with that Trojan Ultra Ribbed in your pocket and Sinatra on your turntable … There’s no such thing as free love: gas, grass, or ass, no one rides for free, or so says a famous bumper sticker from an earlier and far less cynical era. Another far less cynical era than this one was the 90s, which is where I spent my 20s, the decade when the AIDS crisis began to die down and, particularly for heterosexuals, free love was once again in vogue. You could sleep around. I went to San Francisco with flowers in my hair. I’m in that difficult period between sinsemilla and Cialis and I ain’t much to look at these days, but I was a sweet, skinny something back in my 20s. As we look back through the scratched and grimy bifocals of middle age, though, it’s hard to find anyone in his or her 20s who doesn’t fit this description. We could take the adage with which Keats ends ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” and simply change “truth” to the rhyming “youth.” What did you do with yours? I surfed the glorious Pacific, refused to eat meat, drank like a bull wildebeest at a Serengeti watering hole, smoked enough pot to punch a hole in


“I surfed the glorious Pacific, refused to eat meat, drank like a bull wildebeest at a Serengeti watering hole, smoked enough pot to punch a hole in the ozone layer, and spent as many of my waking hours as I could having sex.” the ozone layer, and spent as many of my waking hours as I could having sex. This sounds more fun that it was because I leapt into relationships with a number of women, with too many women, who were more attracted to me than I was to them. There are plenty of men some women want to sleep with once, or a few times, or here and there over a period of time, but my mien was always boyfriend or husband – it seems I hit the spot, like a pipe and slippers by a fireside. Thus many of the women I dated or slept with thought I was going to be around for a good long time, but I was shit through a goose and equally messy. I made a lot of impulsive, libidinous decisions, and I wounded far too many women, a few of whom I loved, and still do.

FREE LOVE and other stories My behavior was manipulative and smacked of a dearth of self-knowledge. And opportunism. As a friend of mine once told me: “This is a game.” It was, but I wasted a lot of time dissembling. I had ridiculous expectations, impossible standards, and a savage intolerance for imperfection, including my own. I wasn’t a gentleman, but isn’t that something free love permits? The ideology, as interpreted by a callow young man, makes bad behavior justifiable. In other words, hit and run means you never have to say you’re sorry. I was the proverbial callous, selfabsorbed, and entirely self-serving boy about town. As the decade put itself to bed I reached the zenith of my free love experience: I slept with two different women over the course of the same weekend, a miracle akin to seeing the face of the Virgin on a billboard alongside 190 between Mexico City and Oaxaca. Of course, my parents found a condom in one of the wastebaskets in their house (I was crashing with them at the time and they had been away for the weekend). In my life, as in Greek Mythology, no

Below: A sexy banana. Just because ...

ecstasy goes unpunished. And then it was finished. I don’t seek exculpation, nor do I disown my bad behavior. What I learned is that sex is transactional and, if the participants aren’t on equal footing, truly, someone ends up shortchanged. I’m just lucky it was rarely my heart that took a punch to the gut. And once you fall in love, free love becomes a mirage – like Keyser Söze, it just disappears. Or, as Morrissey put it in The Smiths’ ‘I Won’t Share You’: I won’t share you. And so I have arrived here, at certitude, endurance, fidelity, and monogamy, perhaps even at sagacity, all the things a marriage requires. I was probably destined to be here, and it doesn’t make me exemplary for my virtue – it’s just who I am. I was a shit lothario, and though I dreamt of a life like Bill Wyman’s, a rather unattractive and ungainly bassist who could summon comely and utterly willing lasses to his hotel room by simply leaning out the window and pointing to them, it is, alas, not to be. But if you can do it, I’m happy to cheer you on. Be advised, however,


that many of the notches on your lipstick case are someone else’s bruises. They certainly were on mine. Would I do it again? The truth is, yes. If you ask me about the past, I’ll only tell you I wish I’d done more – I wish I’d surfed more, traveled more, done more drugs, slept with more women … Is this proof of an unslakeable lust for life or just a run-ofthe-mill addictive personality, one that will ultimately drive me through enough sugar packets and bacon to dispatch me to an early death? I had an adventure, surely, but I injured more than a few women in exchange for the experience I accrued. Perhaps I’m embracing my imperfections, learning to measure my progress from the flawed landscape behind me instead of wringing my hands over how far I am from that gleaming and chimerical perfection in the distance. I’m living incrementally and with ambiguity, with the truth of myself. I’m getting on with it. And whenever my wife asks me for a favor, my response is always the same: gas, grass, or ass, Baby. No one rides for free.


FREE LOVE and other stories

Give my regards to

BROADWAY Donna Bailey was flattered when a prominent actor started wooing her … then things turned crazy


felt so lucky when he chose me. Out of all the women at the party, he chose me. Here I was, basically a hick from Akron, Ohio, and he picked me to talk to, which was very flattering. He was an actor starring on Broadway in a play I had seen a few weeks before. Naturally, I gave him my number. It was the early 1970s and I had only lived here a year or so, and already I had snagged a Broadway actor, so I was pretty impressed with the progress I was making in my quest to become a sophisticated New Yorker, which was very important to me. He gave me a comp ticket to see the show again, and after he took his bow, he blew me a kiss from the stage. Folks turned around to look at me and I felt I was the luckiest woman in the world. I went backstage and met the other actors. He wined and dined me. Then he stopped calling. It was over before it really started. Weeks went by without a call, but I was pretty circumspect about it all because, although I was flattered to be dating an actor starring on Broadway, I wasn't in love with the guy. I chalked it up to an interesting experience I’d had in New York.

“Are you naked?’”

The first call came in around 2:30 in the morning. People don't call at that hour to have a pleasant chat, so I anxiously picked up the receiver. The man's voice sounded familiar. “Are you naked?” It was the Broadway actor! I mumbled



FREE LOVE and other stories something along the lines of “Do you know what time it is?" He then asked over and over if I had a man in bed with me and that he needed to know. It was clear he wasn't listening to my response, so I simply hung up the phone. I assumed he was drunk and didn't know what he was doing, but the phone calls continued into the wee hours of the morning. Night after night. Always the same questions. And he seemed more and more frantic with each call. A week of this crazy behavior went by before I came to realize I had a serious problem. So, what was I going to do?

I made the decision to seek some advice from a former lover, an affable guy from Kansas by the name of LB. I told him about the phone calls and that I was becoming scared. He listened with a great deal of empathy and compassion, asking me questions along the way. Then he announced, with great vigor, that he was going to take care of it all for me. Don't worry, he said. He was gonna give the guy an offer he couldn't refuse. I gave him the actor's phone number and breathed a sigh of relief. The next day, LB called to say he'd told my stalker that I was no longer interested in him and to leave me

Below: The calls came in the wee small hours ... always the same questions.

alone. He said the actor became a little belligerent and challenged him by asking what he was gonna do about it. LB told him he had seen that play, so he knew what he looked like and where he worked. If he didn't knock it off, LB promised to show up one night at the stage door and kick his ass. I was horrified and told him, in no uncertain terms, that violence was not the solution and, after all, my stalker was starring on Broadway and I didn't want him disfigured in any way. LB chuckled and told me he hadn't gotten into a fight since he was 10 years old. He worked on Wall Street and wore a suit and tie every day, so there would be no fighting. He put the fear of God in him, he told me. My problems were over. The Broadway actor called again. This time, he was very angry about LB. Distressed, I decided to change my phone number to an unlisted one. Finally, there were no more calls. The play closed and I forgot about the guy. He didn't know where I lived because I’d always met him somewhere on our dates, so I didn't have to worry about him showing up at my apartment. I went on with my life and never saw him again. Approximately five years later, I was sitting in my apartment with a new friend, a budding playwright. She was sharing some juicy gossip about some actors she knew, so I figured this would be a good time to tell her about the Broadway actor and my experience. I’d kept this a secret for a long time. I’d wanted to protect his reputation, despite the fact I never saw him again. She listened, and when I finished she roared with laughter. EVERYONE knew he was crazy, she said, and he’d been crazy for a long time. So, my efforts to protect his reputation had been unnecessary. And by the time I started my own acting career in 1980, his career had withered on the vine. Thank God I never had to work with him! Donna Bailey was a professional actor for 25 years, working on stage, in film, and television. She is currently writing her first original screenplay, a comedy/drama (donna-bailey.com).



I’ve been working in the theater for 30 years I started as an actor, and in 2002 started Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records. My then-wife Sherie Rene Scott was starring in Aida with Adam Pascal and we had an idea to start an independent record label that was kind of a United Artists for the theater community. From there we worked with Alice Ripley and other Broadway stars. Soon we began getting into cast albums. Our first was The Last Five Years, and years later I was fortunate enough to produce the film with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. We’ve been doing it so long we have it down to a science The trick is to capture the spirit, energy, and emotion of the show and preserve it. It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.


Cast album



In our series on Broadway’s unsung insiders, Carla Duval meets Kurt Deutsch, the man behind recordings for The Band’s Visit, War Paint, A Bronx Tale … and an unfortunate incident of onstage pooping!

My favorites? There are different recordings for different reasons. I loved The Last Five Years because it was my first. I loved In The Heights because Lin-Manuel Miranda was such a discovery. I loved Pippin and Hair because they were such pivotal musicals that were my inspiration, and to be able to produce the revival recordings was thrilling. When things get weird … As an actor I pooped my pants on stage … that was a pretty strange feeling. It turns out I had food poisoning and couldn’t leave the stage. Yikes! My all-time favorite album? Probably Springsteen’s Born to Run.


And my personal hero in the music industry? I have great admiration for the artists who create new original musicals and push the boundaries of what a musical could be. What Rodgers and Hammerstein did led the way to Sondheim, to Michael John LaChiusa, Jason Robert Brown, David Yazbek, and Lin-Manuel Miranda and so many more. We are in a very exciting time! I do this job because I love it And I feel it’s so important to preserve these musicals. Without these recordings of musicals what do the young have to aspire to?

Know anyone who works in theater who’d be great for Behind the Scenes? Don’t keep them a secret, share the love with news@w42st.com




You're getting a Once On This Island double-hitter In the acting category today. Isaac is an incredible break-out star in this production. Equal parts charm, talent, and looks makes you not able to take your eyes off him (even if you wanted to)


#FANGIRL The life and obsessions of Tyler Mount




very month, Broadway’s most brilliant vlogger brings you his favorite things, whether it’s his #1 tune on Spotify repeat, his latest crush, or neighborhood recommends. We’re hanging on his every word …


This girl is everything. Everything, I tell you! Her talent and infectious smile fill the house each night and leave you screaming for more. This is a name I’d write down in your diary if you want to be able to say you “knew her when …”


Oprah’s Golden Globe Speech

There is nothing that gets me more excited than Oprah. Her Golden Globe speech made me fall in love all over again and had me screaming OPRAH 2020!


The Handmaid’s Tale

This is my new obsession. I think about it all day and can’t wait to get home to watch another episode. Who would have thought a series featuring maroon Amish dresses could be so enjoyable?


SONG The Phantom of The Opera

This is an oldie (the oldest to be exact) but a goodie. It’s been on Broadway for over three decades – and for good reason. Who wouldn’t love a musical about a woman and her creepy crush on an organplaying monster?


This is Me – The Greatest Showman

This song has been on “Repeat 1” for a month and I’m not exaggerating. What’s


OUT better than a musical theater anthem about being proud of who you are? This just in: nothing.

Broadway ACTOR




This Thai restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen is quaint and superb. Authentic Thai for an affordable price has me singing to the heavens.



It’s time that a gay bar gets some of the love they deserve. One of the newest gay Meccas in midtown, Rise offers cute men and great drink specials.


Four Loko

Nothing made me forget an entire year of my life faster than a good old 24-ounce can of syrup-flavored caffeine mystery alcohol water in college. Those were the good old days – at least, I think … I can’t remember …

"This is a name I’d write down in your diary if you want to be able to say you 'knew her when ...'"

Above: Charm, talent, and looks – Isaac Powell is in the house!

Hottie of the month



Talk about the thirst trap of the month. Drew got an instant follow after he popped up in explore feed for one reason – or should I say for eight reasons?


I know I’m late to the party, but what celebrity ever arrives on time? I just signed up for this program and literally walked through JFK security like I was Beyoncè waltzing to her private jet at Teterboro.

This is my beauty secret. Why pay a fortune for hair product when you can pay less than three dollars for a can of liquid hair concrete? New York’s winter winds aren’t a match for this bad boy.

ABOUT TYLER Broadway fan girl turned YouTube Star, Tyler Mount, is the creator of the wildly popular web

series “Playbill’s The Tyler Mount Vlog”. Seen by over two million people in 168 countries, former guests include Gloria Estefan, Jerry Mitchell, Anthony Rapp, Todrick Hall, Perez Hilton, Laura Osnes, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, and many more of Broadway’s biggest stars. New episodes every Monday & Thursday at noon - Playbill.com/Tyler | @TylerGMount





Can Uma Thurman cut it on Broadway? The jury is out, says Stephen Field


very season on Broadway has its share of star appearances, and the stage debut of a movie star gets more attention than most. But beware those actors who underestimate how hard stage performers work. New York theatre is probably one medium in which you can’t coast by on looks or personality, and if you don’t have what it takes, you’ll be quickly sent back from whence you came.

Below: Uma Thurman snuggles up with Josh Lucas in The Parisian Woman.


“The play’s not the thing here, Uma is, and in spite of the mediocre material, she succeeds.” And so to Uma Thurman, currently making a very glamorous debut in The Parisian Woman, a topical story reminiscent of living room dramas of yore with up-to-the-minute references to the Trump administration to keep it fresh. But the play’s not the thing here, Uma is, and in spite of the mediocre material, she succeeds. Her instincts as an actress translate fairly well from screen to the stage. As can be the case with some movie actors, her speaking voice can take on an affectation not entirely intended due to the needs of projecting, but her performance made me wonder what she might be like in a better play with a well-written dramatic role. In Farinelli and the King, meanwhile,

Mark Rylance displays how he got those three Tony Awards, and this performance as King Phillipe V seems set to bring him number four. It’s one of those luxurious, sumptuous experiences that brings you into the world of the play and whose sounds and images will linger for a long time after the show has ended. There’s no doubt in my mind that Spoonfed serves up HK’s most delicious Southern cuisine. The story of how the Broadway community rallied to help with the opening of Randy Stricklin-Witherspoon’s downhome eatery has touched the heart of many. On my first visit, I was taken aback by how casual and laid back everything seemed; the hostess and the server seemed to want to stand and have a real conversation, and Randy himself came by the tables personally greeting everyone. I now realize that’s exactly how he wants it – like a hometown restaurant where people congregate and names are remembered. And his food is pure bliss. I’m not very experienced with grits (I’m not even sure what they are!) but one bite of Randy’s mother’s recipe made with wine-tomato sauce had me hooked for life. And the baconwrapped chicken fried meatloaf commanded me to try it. Oh my … so many good things all rolled into one! It’s pure comfort food for those who are willing to throw all dietary guidelines away. The bacon crackles, the crust of the meatloaf adds a wonderful texture, and with a dab of tomato jam, I was joyfully loosening the top button of my pants. Spoonfed is a welcome change from the high-paced, slick, urban establishments found around the city and a great diversion and escape from the norm, especially if you have some caloric intake to spare.

ABOUT Stephen

Stephen Field is concierge at Ink48 Hotel. He’s an acclaimed “Hell’s Kitchen guru” and has been a trending topic on TripAdvisor.




MUSHY pleas

Actors, singers, and musicians from Betty Buckley to Weird Al Yankovic tell Jim Caruso which love songs push their buttons



love a good party. Every Monday, I host Cast Party, an improbable event at which show folk rub elbows with tourists, insiders, and fans. I also have the good fortune of knowing some of the smartest, wittiest, most talented people on the planet, and they often join in the musical fun. To me, a really swell soirée has a guest list that contains a whackedout patchwork of personalities and quirks. The group I’ve assembled for this column would cause more than a few dropped forks at Birdland. And so, with Valentine’s Day coming up, I asked them: what’s your favorite love song?

“I like ‘Song For the Dumped’. That chorus goes: ‘I wish I hadn’t bought you dinner right before you dumped me on your front porch. Give me my money back.’”

Charles Busch

Tony-nominated actor/ playwright/ performer ‘Too Many Mornings’ from Follies. Stephen Sondheim doesn’t need me to add more laurels to his reputation. But he’s able in this song to express regret for time squandered and poignant hope for the possibility of love in the future. Beautiful lyrics bathed in a haunting melody.

Jessica Keenan Wynn

Actress, Beautiful on Broadway and the upcoming film Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! My favorite love songs are usually attached to a specific love affair. When the affair ends, I banish the song from my playlist. One song that has surpassed relationships and 60 years of radio play is ‘Love Is Here To Stay,’ sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. It’s not sad, it’s not mushy, but rather warm, cozy, and perfect. Love truly is sitting in a comfy chair and listening to their duets


Jim Caruso is a MAC award-winning singer, dancer, and nightclub host. Every Monday, he presides over Cast Party at Birdland.



OUT from yesteryear with a special someone … or alone.

Cheryl Bentyne

Grammywinning singer, Manhattan Transfer (in concert March 5 at Birdland) In ‘Loving You,’ from Stephen Sondheim’s musical Passion, there’s a phrase that encompasses total dedication without obsession … to meet, fall in love, and be certain that this is the right one in all in the universe. My dream would be to meet a man who encourages: “Loving you is not a choice, it’s who I am.”

Dave Koz

Platinum-selling saxophonist I love ‘The Very Thought Of You’ by Ray Noble. It’s just the innocence of the lyric combined with that gut-wrenchingly rich melody that sets the tone for romance. Sung by someone with experience, the song can’t miss in communicating that all-important message.

David Zippel

Tony-winning lyricist/director/ producer I’m mad for ‘I Can’t Get Started With You’. It has a gorgeous melody by Vernon Duke (who is so underappreciated), and Ira Gershwin’s witty and playful lyrics are totally delightful.

"Who wants a romance that works? I want rueful musings, regrets, a few tears, too much wine, and torn letters." My favorite unrequited love song is ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me (If You Don’t).’

Linda Lavin

Tony and Golden Globe-winning actress/singer, currently on 9JKL, CBS It depends on which “me” you’re asking. So many different favorite love songs at different points of my life. ‘When I Fall In Love’ was my favorite love song in college. After a few heartbreaks it became ‘In Love In Vain.’ Now I sing ‘I’m In Love Again’ in my act, which seems appropriate as my husband and I are about to celebrate our anniversary.

Julie Halston

Actress, Murder On The Orient Express, Hartford Stage Now that I’m 100 years old, I have become that person I swore I’d never become – one who says: “They don’t write ‘em like they used to.” Don’t get me wrong, I really try to keep up with the music of today … rave music, hip-hop, rap, electronic anime video music, indie rock, garage revival … I get it. But when it

comes to love songs, I’m old-fashioned. I want a story I can follow easily but with some complex adult ideas. In other words, a romance that will not work out. Think Sondheim or Joni Mitchell. A song about people who try, but are too neurotic to make it work. Who wants a romance that works? I want rueful musings, regrets, a few tears, too much wine, and some torn letters. As the song says, what’s love got to do with it?

Weird Al Yankovic

Grammywinning singer/ songwriter/ actor If you’d like me to choose a song from my own ouevre, I’d have to say ‘One More Minute.’ “I’d rather clean all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station with my tongue than spend one more minute with you.” A nice sentiment. I also like ‘Song For the Dumped’ by Ben Folds Five. That chorus goes: “I wish I hadn’t bought you dinner right before you dumped me on your front porch. Give me my money back.”

Betty Buckley

Tony-winning actress/singer, CD Hope released in May, To my experience, ‘You’re Nearer’ by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart is one of the most drop dead gorgeous statements about love that I know. “Time is a healer, but it cannot heal my heart. My mind says I’ve forgotten you and then I feel my heart. The miles lie between us but your fingers touch my own. You’re never far away from me, for you’re too much my own.” I mean, COME ON!! How beautiful is that? I die every time I sing it!

Listen to all these tracks on our made-for-Valentine’s Spotify playlist: http://spoti.fi/WithLovefromW42ST











Whether you embrace Valentine’s Day or rage against it, there will always be theater about the grand topics of love, seduction, and relationships. Perhaps you’re happily coupled, “consciously uncoupled,” or single, one of these shows circling the eternally popular topic should hit the spot.




A young dreamer embarks on a journey to stay beside the man who captured her heart. Member Megan M calls it: “A visually stunning musical ... with amazing singing!”



A baking contest and a new doctor in town may offer a waitress a fresh start in life. Member says Tony7347 thinks: “The songs are wonderful. I saw it twice and would see it again.”



A parody of the erotic myth of Don Juan, in Spanish with English subtitles. Member Dan6098 says: “I can’t recommend this highly enough, and I only speak English!”










Exploring the complexities of polyamory in a gay relationship. Member Ross B thinks: “The three actors do a superb job handling both the physical and emotional aspects of the work."




A jukebox musical based on the sexy ‘90s teen adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Member Michael 6151 writes: “See it if you like a sexy cast and ’90s music. Interesting staging!”







ost of the romantic pairings we see on stage aren’t brought together by Cupid, but by casting directors. But occasionally sparks do fly backstage. Dancer and Tony nominee Charlotte D’Amboise (back in her blockbuster home base Chicago) met her husband Terrence Mann (who you’ll recognize as Whispers from the Netflix series Sense8) when they were both in Cats in the 1980s. They now have teenage daughters and still appear together on stage (most recently in Pippin). They’re not the only ones. Stephanie J Block and Sebastian Arcelus were married after performing together in Wicked. Tony nominees Andy Karl (Groundhog Day) and Orfeh (Legally Blonde) married after working on the musical version of Saturday Night Fever together and have co-starred multiple times since. Young stars Anthony Ramos and Jasmine Cephas Jones (pic 1) also met on an epic show – they were both in the original cast of Hamilton. Other stage couples merely share a profession but what a profession! The Queen of Broadway herself, Audra McDonald, (six Tony awards to date and she’s only 47) is married to Tonynominated Will Swenson (Hair, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) – that's their wedding in pic 2. Alex Finke (Come From Away) and Joe Carroll (Bandstand) just got engaged. Max von Essen (American in Paris) and his actor boyfriend Daniel Rowan recently celebrated their fifth anniversary (pic 4). Nick Cordero (A Bronx Tale) has married his actress girlfriend Amanda Kloots. Leslie Odom Jr (Hamilton) and actress Nicolette Robinson are celebrating the birth of their first child (pic 5). Ricky Ubeda (Cats) and Reed Luplau (Fiddler on the Roof) have an adorable labradoodle baby (pic 3, people!). And we’re surely just scratching the surface of Broadway Valentines. So many beautiful pairings. So much #CoupleGoals.





ome shows are naturally polarizing. Consider the 20th anniversary production of Disco Pigs from playwright Enda Walsh playing through February 18 at the Irish Repertory Theater in Chelsea. The play is about two teenagers, Pig (Colin Campbell) and Runt (Evanna Lynch), who were born at the same time on the same day in the same hospital. They speak in their own language, play by their own rules, and create a world for themselves in which boundaries blur between truth and illusion. On their 17th birthdays, things spiral out of control. Walsh has stated that he always wants to “get close to characters who are on the edge of madness, or have entered it.” But not every theatergoer is inspired by the madness. New Yorkers have opinions and aren’t shy about sharing them. Consider the following takes ...


“An invigorating Irish drama with gorgeous movement, strong acting, and a lyrical language all of its own.” Justinian “Raw, exciting, overwhelming fun dialogue, and high energy.” HeyLiam

“An exhausting endeavor for little payoff. This was work, not leisure.” Gil K “I couldn’t wait for it to end. So hard to understand which made it even harder to engage.” JasonBKLYN



They may not have the marketing muscle of new Broadway attractions, but audiences love these new productions (all on the west side). Even better, you can see almost any of them for under $50!




Member TheaterBuff says: “Impressive acting, staging, set, music, concept, script. Belongs on Broadway.”



A show about the life of Josephine Baker. Member MaryGB says: “Deliciously divine singing and terrific costumes.”




Member BrendonNYC marvels: “The point of view is so modern, it’s hard to believe it was written 100 years ago!”



A drama about an underage teenager seduced by an older man on the internet. Member Alfie 302 says: “Go now! Intelligent, compelling, surprising, suspenseful experience.”



Member Bruce6 says: “A brilliant satire of politically-correct, passive-aggressive social interactions told through hilarious meetings of a committee.”










Uncork your inner theater geek at The Paint Place on the Upper West Side (243 W72nd St to be exact) on February 22. Show-Score will provide the drinks, the art supplies, and the show tunes. A theater-loving facilitator will guide you as you paint an image inspired by a Broadway show. All you have to do is sit down and unwind with a glass (or two!) of wine. No artistic skills required. Bring a group of friends or come by yourself – either way, you’ll leave with a masterpiece. The cost? $39. Just go to show-score.com to sign up.





Show-Score.com is a one-stop guide to NYC theater. All the shows. All the prices. All the reviews. Sign up and start sharing your opinions of shows for chances to win tickets.







Heads up – the food and physical choices we make really do affect the way our minds work, says Samina Kalloo



hen my son started kindergarten, I sought out ways to get involved in the school, and signed up to become a lunchtime volunteer. On my first day in the cafeteria, I was shocked to see how much sugar and processed foods the children were eating. Lunch included a slice of pizza, chocolate chip cookies (which were not even on the menu), fruit ice (instead of whole fruit), a salad doused in dressing, and, for most, a container of chocolate milk instead of water. Having treats alongside the main entrée made it easy for students to get full from empty calories, with most consuming over 20 grams of added sugar. Aside from food, students were only learning about nutrition as part of their 5th grade curriculum. Let’s just say it was a big wake-up call for me as a mother and dietitian. For parents, being told about the dangers of childhood obesity is nothing new but evolving evidence has also shown how poor nutrition can negatively impact school performance. Lessons on the importance of good nutrition (especially early on) can give students the tools needed to make better choices. With research supporting the link between healthy eating, physical activity, and academic achievement, I felt empowered to make change happen inside and outside of school. Healthy students = better learners Research has shown that increased physical activity and access to nutritious food can improve student learning and academic and health outcomes. According to a recent article published by the University of California, Berkley, test score data from some 9,700 elementary, middle, and high schools found that contracting with a healthy meal vendor correlated with increased student performance by between .03 and .04 standard deviations – a statistically significant improvement. These results also support the notion that it’s the quality of the food versus the quantity of food (calories) consumed by students that really makes a positive impact on test scores. Even as adults, we realize that when we eat good food, we feel happier and

“My motto is and always has been ‘never give up’ and I was determined to make a difference for students at my son’s school.” can focus better – so imagine how school-age children must feel when they don’t have access to nutritious foods and are then expected to perform well in school. In 2013, a report released by the GENYOUTH Foundation, National Dairy Council, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the American School Health Association reinforced the “learning connection” – the crucial link between quality nutrition, physical activity, and academic performance. In the study, brain imaging showed that children experience improved cognitive function and higher academic achievement after just 20 minutes of physical activity. Pairing this with good nutrition can really impact a child’s ability to learn. Other findings suggest that breakfast eaters have better attention and memory than breakfast skippers and students who were more active during school performed better on standardized tests for reading, math, and spelling. Let the lessons begin Between an average six-hour day, afterschool programs, and extracurricular activities, children spend a vast majority of their time in or around a classroom. According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, they consume up to 50% of their daily calories and nutrients at school. For this reason, it’s imperative that schools understand their ability to influence healthy choices and build solid lifelong habits. In fact, studies have shown that teachers modeling healthy eating habits have a far greater impact on kids’ behavior around food choices than nutrition information alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, factors in the school environment such as access


Left: Good food makes us happy, gives us better attention and memory, and enables us to perform better at work. Also, this cauliflower looks a little like a brain!

to healthy foods and opportunities to stay physically active can positively influence the health of students and improve academic achievement. For these reasons, in-school wellness policies are crucial as they can help build healthy habits and minds. Making a Difference The benefits of school programs that support and promote student wellness are innumerable. Students deserve a school environment that supports their wellbeing and set a solid foundation for learning, and making time for nutrition and physical activity is an investment in higher academic performance. By understanding how to create and maintain healthy habits in each aspect of their lives, students are better prepared to handle the stressors that come from being a developing adolescent. If you’re interested in supporting school wellness, know that you don’t have to be a nutrition expert to do it. I’ve been very fortunate to have a background in nutrition but my passion for helping children eat better mainly comes from being a parent. My motto is and always has been “never give up” and I was determined to make a difference for students at my son’s school and influence other schools in and around our community. As with any new program, wellness initiatives take time and dedication to develop, but the result of seeing children eating healthier, learning lifelong lessons about nutrition, and getting more physically active will make all of the hard work worth it.

Samina Kalloo RD, CDN @cookingfortots @SaminaKallooRD



Wine dilemmas are almost as complicated as romantic relationships. Kit Pepper plays Cupid Dear Kit, I find when I’m on Tinder I’m always swiping left. Am I too picky? Alone (Again) on V-Day


Dear Alone, Tinder reminds me of a wine shopping phenom that everyone is slightly embarrassed by, but we all do it anyway: shopping by label. We browse the shelves until something appeals — whether color or design or message— and that’s the one. And there are valid reasons for shopping this way. Chances are the design and content of the label say something about how the winery thinks about what’s in the bottle. Consider: a wine for guzzling will often have a playful label design, possibly an animal on it; a wine for contemplation will have a more classic look. Are you still with me? OK, so you’re on Tinder shopping by label, looking for a hookup. Ask yourself though, if nothing appeals to you, is it possible it’s all too similar? Maybe you’re shopping for guzzling when you really want a long evening with a worldclass bottle you’ll never get tired of. Switch to Match — and pick up a bottle of brunello for this Valentine’s Day. Next year you’ll be sharing it! Dear Kit, Help! I want to make Valentine’s Day dinner for this woman I really like, but she’s a sommelier. How can I possibly get the wine right? I’m having serious performance issues here! Foodie, Not Wino Dear Foodie, One of the great things about sommeliers and wine nerds of all stripes is that they love to prowl the aisles of almost any wine

shop, looking for undiscovered gems. Print out an elegant menu for your V-Day dinner and leave it, along with a gift card, in an envelope at a nearby wine shop (go for “fancy,” not “liquor store”). Then tell her there’s a bottle of wine waiting at the shop for your dinner together — would she mind picking it up? Dear Kit, My boyfriend is obsessed with his facial hair. It’s gotten to the point where it takes him more than an hour to get out of the house. He has to trim and wax his moustache and oil his beard with the scented product that best reflects his mood. He leaves bits of hair all over the sink, and his specialized shampoo and conditioner, combs and brushes, and beard styling products have taken over the bathroom. On top of that, he insists on a strictly beardhealthy diet and pops Vitabeard like it’s Xanax. I have pleaded with him to get help, but he says the facial hair is an important facet of his personality. His beard is more important to him than I am! So now that I’m single, what’s the best way to get one bottle of wine to last two or three nights? S(h)aving Face Dear Face, Kudos on your escape from a truly hairy situation! There are a few good solutions to your problem. Look for a wine shop that carries half-bottles (a generous two

Above: Shopping by label? Maybe it’s time you changed your habits.


Kit Pepper began her career in book publishing and soon began to study wine in her spare time. Spare time led to full time, and she now owns Kit’s Underground Wine & Spirits. With both her work and home in HK, she almost never has to leave. kitsunderground. nyc

glasses). You can just stick the cork back in, refrigerate (whether white or red), and it will be fine the next day. If you like more variety, your most affordable solution is a can of wine preservative — basically a can of inert gas that is heavier than air. You spray a little into your open bottle and cork it again, and the gas sits on the surface of the wine, creating a barrier against oxygen in the bottle. You can’t taste or smell it and it’s perfectly safe. Try Private Preserve, available on Amazon. For a more expensive option (but fun to use) look into Coravin, which allows you to sample wine without opening the bottle. In this case a hollow needle punctures the cork and withdraws the wine you want, then injects an inert gas into the bottle. You can go back to that bottle over a month later or longer — a great way to share your collection with your new Valentine. Dear Kit, I have a wonderful boyfriend of seven years — he’s caring, employed, and always looks model-perfect. I love his family and he gets along well with mine. We have lots of interests in common. I have a feeling he’s going to propose on Valentine’s Day, but I’m just not sure I’m ready! What should I do? Mrs ... or Miss? Dear Ms, Your letter doesn’t mention any dislikes or shortcomings in your partner. It sounds like a life of Champagne! Do you like Champagne?

In wine there is truth. Also in wine: SEXINESS More wine truisms from Jason Witcher next month




“It's literally gay Cheers with drag queens and go-go dancers.”




Know anyone who works in Hell’s Kitchen who’d be great for the Staff Survey? Don’t keep them a secret, share the love with news@w42st.com


Meet DJ, doodler, insomniac, bar director, and “tik,” Eirikur Hallsson. But if you order a Tito’s and soda, he may ask you to leave! Photograph Phil O'Brien A day in my life … Typically starts at 8am when my fiancé, Eric (yes, really, Eirikur and Eric), wakes me up with a kiss as he sets off for work. I’ll then laze in bed until 10ish, when I’ll get up, work out in our living room, then take care of whatever projects need doing until 2:30pm or 3pm, when I’ll roll into Gloria and get the party started. I took an indirect route to NYC I moved from Iceland, to Chicago, to New York to help my brother and sister-in-law with their firstborn, and to be closer to the underground house and techno scene, and I have loved every minute of being in this insane city. Pretty much right after I moved here, I met Eric, moved into his apartment in Hell's Kitchen accidentally, and have been here ever since. Also, The Ritz Bar & Lounge is here and I love my Ritz fam. We’ve made so many friends there that the entire place feels like one big family. It's literally gay Cheers with drag queens and go-go dancers. Where else in the neighborhood do I hang? I go to Marseille for brunch and decent cocktails, Bar Centrale for a classier cocktail vibe (and secretly celebrity snooping), Chez Napoleon for authentic French without any stuffy vibes, Tabata Ramen for the most amazing bowl of tan tan men (spicy sesame ramen), Pam Real Thai 49 for the best green and panang curry of your life, Hell's Kitchen for their solid margaritas and outrageously generous ceviche, and DBL in the summer for the outdoor patio sidewalk vibes. When I first moved, I was going to parties every weekend And I spent all of my off-time online scouring for amazing music. Then

in 2012, I met Francis Harris, a huge inspiration and a well known ambient and house music producer who owns the Brooklyn label Scissor and Thread, and accepted an assistant label manager position. It was a huge learning curve, but it has been an amazing five years. When you go online to buy a Scissor and Thread release, the blurbs you’ll read will be my words, so it’s pretty fun to see your work being displayed on a global scale like that. The best part of my job? The freedom to stock whatever I want on my bar, which gives me a wide platform with which to educate and entertain our guests and to get them out of their comfort zone. I love geeking out on liqueurs, spirits, and vermouths with folks and getting people to try new things they otherwise never would. And the worst? It can be disappointing to spend five or ten minutes talking over the cocktail menu, recommending cocktails (on and off the menu), hearing the guest say: “Oh, that sounds great,” then ordering a Tito’s and soda (two limes). My go-to dish on the menu … The rancho gordo beans. I could go on forever about those beans. It is a beautiful bowl that sucks you in with its intense flavors and intoxicating aroma and colors. Washed down with ... Either the Islands In the Stream cocktail (spiced rum, white rum, sesame, lime, orange) off my winter menu, a gin martini (2:1 ratio gin to vermouth, with a lemon twist), or one of the always fun sparkling wine options (Sot de l’Ange’s La Boutanche Pét-Nat immediately springs to mind).


Opposite: Eirikur getting creative behind the bar.

I'm starting to DJ again … I’d put it on the sideline to allow myself time to focus on the restaurant, but am starting to put my feelers back out. It’s pretty easy to transition from behind the bar to behind the decks. DJing also doesn't feel like work. You're pretty much getting paid to play music you love and bop around for hours. By the end, you're exhausted, but it's a good exhausted. I’m an insomniac I usually go home, pick up a can or two of cheap beer (the last thing I want after a shift of tasting cocktails and wine is to taste anything with any sort of complexity; give me a Bud Light and call it a day) and a slice of pizza, and sit on my laptop for an hour. But as soon as my head hits the pillow, that’s when I start thinking about cocktail ideas and spirit combinations, so it always ends up keeping me up. And that’s not all … My fiancé and I are starting a design company with the working title Teak Box Design (which is the pet name we call each other). To clarify: “tík” (pronounced “teak”) is Icelandic for “bitch." I'm a perpetual doodler; I used to be sent to the principal’s office, because I couldn’t stop doodling. I’ve since developed a style of drawing that is very freeform and psychedelic and weird (you can see some examples on my Instagram, @eirikurthetik). We’re going to kick off with specialty greeting cards, and plan on doing buttons, stickers, T-shirts, and more down the line.

GLORIA (212) 956-0709 W53RD ST - 9TH/10TH AVE gloria-nyc.com




What the

No more time for fear and self-loathing … Dan Ruth has asked a guy on a date and February is already looking up


ooks like another Valentine-free February again for me this year. Bartenders are often hailed as “rock stars behind the bar,” leaving one to think that the dating successes and relationship options are much higher than average. And you’d probably be right … for most people. Now take into consideration the extensive list of my queer conundrums: I’m a gay male who’s well over 40, I still listen to heavy metal, goth, and 4AD, I’ve never had a chemical peel, I bartend for a living even though I don’t drink, and I’m more comfortable in a T-shirt and ripped, baggy jeans than I am in a designer outfit, especially when the pant size is reading 30W 34L.


“Before they even part their lips to say: ‘Hi, I’m Bill,’ I’ve already had mediocre sex with them, married them, filed for divorce, taken the dog and escaped to Maine, never to date again.” Even when I’m lucky enough to find the random 34W 30L pant option, I quickly convince myself that it was left there on the shelf just to remind me that I’m fat. I still buy them. In all actuality, I’m not fat. But I don’t have a gym body either, which I remind myself of constantly through good, old-fashioned lapsed Roman Catholic guilt. I hear myself thinking: “Who would date fat me?” That, of course, is the cinematic equivalent of CC Bloom in Beaches thinking: “He hates my hair,”

which would be complete, self-sabotage if I actually had hair, which I do, only in a receding buzz-cut, “who would date balding him?” kind of way. Dating can be scary stuff. The thought of asking someone out for a Valentine’s date hurls me back to fourth grade homeroom. Valentines are being passed around and collected; I’m left with a meager single-digit handful, while everyone else dances with evil glee around my desk, hurling candy hearts at my head. THEY HATE MY HAIR. I guess I’m the guy who likes to be convinced that he’s “too busy” to date. Which probably sounds like I’m too lazy to date. Which essentially means that I, like many others, am simply too terrified to date. My neurotic brain usually has me failing before I even try. Whenever I become interested in someone, even if it’s just a right-swipe, or if someone attractive comes into my bar, I’d never know if they were Mr Right or not because I’ve already set myself up for failure. Before the first “date,” before they even part their lips to say: “Hi, I’m Bill,” I’ve already had mediocre sex with them, bought a ball-gag and had better sex with them, married them, spilled water over their head, filed for divorce, taken

Below: Dating is scary. But will Bill take a chance on Dan? Watch this space ...

the dog and escaped to Maine, where I cower in the corner of a dark house, never to date again. Would you be my Valentine? My phone beeps. It’s Tinder. I freeze. It’s the same guy who said: “Hi, I’m Bill,” last week. They say it again, but this time with a twist. “Hello again, I’m Bill.” He’s hot. Too hot? Maybe he’s a hustler. STOP! I breathe in deep. I pace back and forth, run into my space heater and stub my toe. “Hello again, I’m Bill.” I crack open a fresh Orangina and take a long swig. ANSWER THE MAN. I take my phone in my hand. I wipe it off, adjust my readers, and begin the long journey to “send.” What do I say that won’t sound stupid? “Hey Bill, howz youz?” “Hey there Bill, how’s it hangin?” “Hello Bill, wasssaaaaaaap?” All I know is that, this time, I’m going to answer. I can’t have Valentine-free Februarys every year. I’m going to ask him out on a date and I’m sharing that with all of you, which is the AA equivalent of telling on myself. It’s going to be different this year. I type and send. “Hello Bill, is it me you’re looking for?” Perhaps he has a sense of humor. Stay tuned ...

Actor/writer and bartender Dan Ruth, is the 2016 United Solo Festival winner of Best Autobiographical Show for his solo performance A Life Behind Bars, which has played at Dixon Place, The Gutter Bar, and The Laurie Beechman Theatre. The show was part of the Whitefire Theatre Solofest 2018 in Los Angeles last month (danruthbkny.com).





“The main character was in Hell’s Kitchen New York, on an eight-hour shift, and every hour would be a version of hell.”



tales of the

NIGHT SHIFT The doorman is a building’s keeper of secrets … until now

to finance their doorman’s $35,000 debut. The result is an 83-minute feature, set in Hell’s Kitchen and shot in black and white – in homage to the directors who have inspired Antonio: Frank Capra, Billy Wilder, and Alfred Hitchcock. The tale centers on newbie James (played by Jason Torres). It’s his first night on the job, and he wants to impress. But the last thing his boss says to him acts as an ominous warning: “Don’t let the crazies get to you.” “Night Job was basically Dante’s Inferno,” says Antonio. “The main character was in Hell’s Kitchen New York, on an eight-hour shift, and every hour would be a version of hell.” The job’s unsociable hours have certainly been hellish for Antonio’s romantic life, he admits. “But I was able to pay for school and get through college and figure out my life.” It was his time at John Jay College – where series like The Following, White Collar, and Special Victims Unit are shot –


Above: Punched, seduced, and threatened ... just an average night on the job. Opposite: J Antonio used years of working as a doorman for inspiration.

that fueled his ambitions as a writer. “The whole school is used as a movie studio and for TV shows, and I was in the middle of it all – I got lucky. I got to know people, like Oren Moverman, who was directing Out of Mind with Richard Gere. And now I’m part of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon! “I couldn’t afford to go to the film schools or get in any of the elite clubs,” he says. “I don’t expect Hollywood to come running to me. So I’ll continue to do what I love and make low-budget movies for a smaller audience. “My main thing will always be from the working man’s point of view – it’s all going to be blue collar stories: the cop, the janitor, the security guard. “I have about eight scripts that are ready to go that I want to get fully financed, and I want to do one movie every two years. That’ll keep me busy for the next 20 years.” Night Job is available on Amazon




he drunk guy, stumbling in at the end of a long night. The drunk woman … hotly pursued by the pissed cabbie she omitted to pay. The girl kicking out her boyfriend after a fight. The sex tape salesman. The exorcist. The seductress. The cops. And the doorman witnessing all of this? He’s the confidante. The co-conspirator. The keeper of the secrets. Until now … Because these are just a few of the colorful cast that inhabits J Antonio’s debut movie, Night Job. A doorman himself, he’s been working the night shift at Parc Vendome condos on W57th St since 2006. And the characters are inspired by his own experiences, and those of other New York doormen. “The lady who came in stumbling drunk and didn’t want to pay for her cab? I literally had to lift her off the cab driver. He wanted to call the cops and press charges. It was like she was possessed! “I had a woman who wanted to call an exorcist. She thought everyone was fornicating. She said: ‘Everyone’s having sex! They’re all sex addicts on this floor! We’re going to get holy water and get all these demons out!’ “I had a guy whose shift I took over and he was getting involved with homeless people. I don’t know what he was doing, I’d just hear rumors … but I did get accused by a homeless guy of attempting to rape him.” Fortunately, it wasn’t always quite so surreal. “I had an older resident who was losing her sight who would come down every night, and she and I had this amazing relationship over ten years. She’d talk to me about life and stuff. “The residents,” he says, “become family.” So much so, two of them helped

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Five of


Now could be the time to strike a deal on your rental – we scour the neighborhood to dig up what you can get for around $3,700 a month


This studio apartment is the smallest you can get for your dollars, but what about the views! MiMA is a top-class building with an Equinox fitness club inside.

Hell’s Kitchen

W43rd St - 9th/10th Ave

On the other hand, this second floor walkup gives you great space for your money: two bedrooms, exposed brick, and in-unit washer and dryer.

Hell’s Kitchen


eal Deal is reporting that “the rental glut is only going to get worse.” With Citi Habitats estimating 21,793 new rental units across the three boroughs added in 2017, and another 21,434 expected to be available this year, it could be the perfect time to strike a deal. These units are all around $3,700 a month – but remember there are plenty of offers available. Think rent-free periods, gym memberships, and broker fees paid.

Studio with a view!

Two-bed walk-up

After that, there are plenty of one-beds – just take your pick whether you want to live centrally, uptown, or downtown (but always on the west side, of course!)

Upper West Side


Lincoln Square

One-bed uptown

W48th St - 8th/9th Ave


Hell’s Kitchen

One-bed midtown


One-bed downtown 43


Get lucky If you can’t be a little bit saucy in the ? season of romance, when can you be



No butts about it – you’ll be making a statement with this rug, designed by the cheeky people behind Toiletpaper magazine. Plus, it’s made from 100% recycled materials, so it’s kind to the planet too. $1,050, store.moma.org

Needlepoint enters the 21st century in this hand-embroidered, velvet-backed pillow. And remember – no wire hangers! $150, delphiniumhome.com


Swear alert! There may be the odd cuss in Jen Sincero’s inspiring, pottymouthed book You Are a Badass (subtitled How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life), in the cause of helping you identify then change the selfsabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want. $10.10, barnesandnoble.com


Lie a sheepskin rug by an open fire, light a few candles, put on some soft music and pour the wine … the scene is set. $248, shopburkelman.com



When the situation calls for subtle lighting, switch on this ceramic bedside lamp – it looks like a bunny! #nudgenudge $159, westelm.com




One of you is a wench, the other one’s a bit of a wanker. Fortunately, Fishs Eddy has created this gift set of ceramic mugs for your dream team. $33.95, fishseddy.com


The gays have been doing it for years. Now everyone can dip into their partner’s closet – hurrah! – because every piece of lush Scottish cashmere knit from Cross is unisex. We love the oversized houndstooth print in navy and red, made to order in a historic mill in Hawick. $441.50, crosscashmere.com


You’ll need a lusciously soft, velvet, oversized pillow. This one is made in India and serves as the perfect perch for when visitors come calling. $99.00, urbanoutfitters.com


Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup tins have been turned into a quirky game of chess, thanks to the people at Kidrobot. One for the pop art lover in your life. $575, guggenheimstore. org


Skulls, leopard print, and pop imagery merge in Age of Reason’s love scarf – a piece of wearable art dedicated to love’s mavericks and misfits. Ten per cent of proceeds goes to Womankind Worldwide. $250, maison10.com




#W42ST Hashtag your Instagram pics and they could star in the mag! 'Tis the season of snow, ice, and mist; wrapping yourself up in scarves, making resolutions, and giving up on regrets. We've got it all here, thanks to our family of Instagrammers. Remember, anyone can be on these pages. Just tag your images #W42ST and you could be the one whose photograph ends up in the next issue.







A case of

MISTAKEN IDENTITY Mary Geneva is forced to extract herself from a date with a millionaire dentist


ho wants to be matched to a millionaire? I did, until I paid a visit to millionairematch.com and met this very confused member. It all seemed very straightforward: the matchmakers had connected me with a dentist in his forties. I was excited – I figured that if he was single and in his forties, he’d most likely already been screwed up by a former

“When he opened his mouth to explain his distress, what came out was definitely one for the books. ‘You’re not the girl I was supposed to meet.’” relationship and was ready to settle down with the “the one.” And he was interested in me, or so I thought. We exchanged pictures. We spoke on the phone a few times. No warning signs. We finally agreed to meet at Blue Water Grill, a seafood restaurant in Union Square. We met out front and were immediately seated at a wonderful table. Here’s where things started to get really – how should I put this? – otherworldly. As we sat down, the look on MI’s face was perplexed. But when he opened his mouth to explain his distress, what came out was definitely one for the books.


“You’re not the girl I was supposed to meet.” WTF? He looked just like his picture, as did I. We both arrived at the designated time and place. What could possibly be the problem? My personal, self-preserving assumption is that I looked so good that night it simply freaked him out. As we sat there in utter disbelief (me, especially), the poor waiter made three separate attempts to take our order, while we bantered back and forth about his true identity. I still have no idea exactly what happened or how, but we ultimately agreed that the best solution was for each of us to run as far away from the other as fast as our little legs could carry us. It was raining and windy that night, and by the time I stormed into the subway, my umbrella had blown inside out. I called a friend to relay my unbelievable tale of woe just as an extremely nice gentleman walked over to me and asked what was wrong. I gave him a 30-second synopsis, and he invited me out to dinner then and there. And you know what? We had the BEST time! A truly wonderful evening and a true New York moment. Who says chivalry is dead? I never did hear from the dentist again, but I assume he spends his days inhaling nitric oxide and mixing up his poor patients. I can hear them now: “But doctor, I just came in for a cleaning and you extracted my four front teeth!”

ABOUT MARY Mary Geneva is a sales professional by day and serial dater by night. In her book Nicknames, she tiptoes into the dating pool accumulating late-night, drunken scraps of paper and text messages outlining unbelievable – yet totally true – events. Undaunted, she lives, works, and plays in New York City, and calls Hell’s Kitchen home, along with her rescued pets, pup Valentino and kitty Diva. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @marygeneva nyc, and at thatssomary. com. You can buy Nicknames at nicknamesnyc. com. And you can share your most bizarre dating story with Mary. Email mary genevanyc@ gmail.com.



Journey's end Sarah Funk’s year of travel is over … but did she find her fairytale ending?


traveled the world in search of my paradise, and finally found it on the last stop in my year abroad. Bali is heaven on earth. Indonesia has over 17,000 islands strung like a strand of pearls on a glittering turquoise sea. Yet it was Bali I landed on. By the first morning on the island, I knew I’d found something special. In many ways, it seems too good to be true. Every moment spent on the “Island of the Gods” is radiating with spiritual energy. Several times a day, women dressed in sarongs artfully arrange woven baskets of rice and flowers, then place them outside to protect their homes. On the streets, white and pink plumeria flowers are scattered everywhere like a fragrant snow. Here, exceptional living becomes the norm. Everything is brought to a new level of beauty. Beyond Bali, the less touristic, neighboring island of Lombok is also fascinating. This is where tropical rainforests meet Austronesian savannahs. Over two days, I checked several items off of my romantic bucket list: a bath in flower petals, a sunset dinner in a day bed, and a ride on a traditional Indonesian dragonhead boat. I spent nights dreaming of the tales of The Mahabharata under a silvery moon and a million stars. It was as if time stood still in my own island getaway. And suddenly, in what seems like both a day and an eternity, my year-long trip around the world comes to an end. I’m not sad it’s over; I’m happy it happened. Traveling is the greatest teacher anyone can have, and I hope more people are encouraged to not wait another moment to take their trip of a lifetime. Because if not now, then when will you? I found my paradise. Have you? Thank you for following along on my journey. Until we meet again ...


“Over two days, I checked several items off of my romantic bucket list: a bath in flower petals, a sunset dinner in a day bed, and a ride on a traditional Indonesian dragonhead boat.”

Time for tea Pura Tirta Empul temple


STYLE Eat Ji Terrace, for Indonesian cuisine in a traditional Balinese setting (tuguhotels.com). Dahana, for excellent Japanese cuisine (dahanabali.com).

Drink The Lawn, for Ibiza vibes at a trendy pool bar with beachfront view (thelawncanggu.com). Ku De Ta, for excellent cocktails and an infinity pool (kudeta.com). Sundara, for upscale, outdoor dining inside a five-star restaurant, plus infinity pool and – yup! – beach view (sundarabali.com).

stay Hotel Tugu Lombok, a five-star resort inspired by Indonesian legends (tuguhotels.com/hotels/ lombok). The Bubble Hotel, a chance to spend the night in a remote bubble under the stars (airbnb.com). Hotel Tugu Bali, for traditional Balinese luxury style (tuguhotels. com/hotels/bali). Dwaraka The Royal Villas, a Balinese palace (dwarakavillas. com).

Sarah's progress

Do Snorkel in the Gili Islands. Watch the Kecak dance at Pura Luhur Uluwatu (every day at sunset). See (or feed) wild monkeys at Monkey Forest. Bathe in the sacred springs at Tirta Empul. Take an Indonesian cooking class.

Explore I 'm h e r e!


Nusa Islands, where you can see underwater Buddha statues while snorkeling. Lombok, with its long stretches of white beaches, virgin landscape, and thatched roofed huts.



This one’s for


Should I drink in front of my friend? Ask a date about their recovery? And other awkward questions. Kristen Jongen has your back


ast month I advised newbies trying to create an alcohol-free social life on how to bluster through an awkward night out. But what about the friends, colleagues, bosses, and servers of those bewildered fawns? How are they supposed to behave? As a champion of co-lifestyle relationships, I submit these tips to supportive drinkers willing to bridge the gap between us. Since it is February, and romance is in the air, this may open a road to your heart, your zipper, or whatever … I don’t judge.


Mingling First things first. “Are you an alcoholic?” is not a good opener. Much like: “Do you go to AA?” and “Are you pregnant?” these questions are not chit-chat items. I understand that you might have a cousin in recovery. (I encourage you to press pause on that conversation for now.) Give your pal breathing room, eh? Ask about their ill-placed tattoo or unibrow instead.


Friendships Should I drink in front of my sober friend? Yes! Please! The non-drinker in your life is not counting your drinks,



judging you, or thinking about anything other than himself or herself. Like most people, we are self-absorbed and want to fit in. Do you, boo!


Dating See 2. Additionally, your sober date is secretly hoping you’ll have at least one drink to calm down. Laughs, dirty jokes, and wild sex are still a possibility. It’s all good.


Restaurants But, all the money’s in booze, right? Lies! There is big money to be made from an assortment of lowcalorie and caloriefree options. Word will spread fast and your sales will


Kristen Jongen is the artist, author, and speaker behind Soul Soup. She writes books on grief, healing, and transformation, and is in longterm recovery from alcohol and drug addiction (www.mysoulsoup.com). If you are having a hard time with drugs and alcohol, you can find support meetings at nyintergroup.org

Below: Please drink in front of your sober friend, says Kristen. It’ll help you both relax.

soar. Alternatively, if you are charging eight dollars for a Sprite, your nondrinking clientele will feel insulted, penalized, and likely not return.


Bartenders Be cool! There is no need to yell: “Hey brah, you’re drinking n/a beer, right?” to a patron. A man laying off booze incognito does not want to be busted in front of his crew. A pregnant woman on the down low is in a similar situation. Servers who are discreet are sincerely appreciated.


Consider free fountain drinks At my favorite place, the bartender always comps my soda. He winks and says: “Someone has gotta watch out for these drunks.” Guess who tips him a tidy sum? Guess who brings her drinking friends? Guess who always orders food? I love to feel respected and not treated like a second-class citizen. All this good juju swirls for the low cost of club soda. And as we add West Chelsea to our W42ST community, we open our arms to fascinating new people and kickass places to discover. Please remember that none of us knows what we are doing. At any given time, we are all faking it. The best we can offer is to listen and learn from one another and have a sense of humor while doing it. I see you! Your friend, Kristen




Wagging Whisky

Humans’ names: Heidi and Fred. Breed: Shihtzu. Age: Eight. What makes me bark: The doorbell and other dogs having fun. Three words that describe me best: Fun police, neurotic, very loving. Confession: I used to eat chicken poo when I visited my grandparents’ house. Instadog: @whisky_the_shihtzu



Fritz Humans’ names: Peter and Theo. Breed: French bulldog. Age: Three months. What makes me bark: An empty water bowl. Three words that describe me best: Stubborn, rambunctious, and curious. Confession: That smell is me. I’m constantly passing gas! Instadog: @_fritz_the_frenchie_

Human’s name: Eric. Breed: Hound/lab mix. Age: Eight months old – my humans rescued me from the North Shore Animal League. What makes me bark: I’m super mildmannered and really only bark at pigeons. But then who doesn’t?! Three words that describe me best: Loving, friendly, and doofy. Confession: I love to steal receipts and underwear and hide them under the bed. Instadog: @akela_inthecity

Want to see your pup on this page? DIGITAL EDITION

tales Boston Humans’ names: Antony and Craig. Breed: Boston terrier. Age: Two. What makes me bark: The ironing board – I really am scared of it. Three words that describe me best: Cute, crazy, and spoilt. Confession: I have the ability to tap my humans with my paw until they do what I want and I always get my way. Instadog: I’m heavily featured on @collinsantony

PETS These camera-happy canines took a time out from the morning stroll for a quick Q&A with W42ST

Diva Human’s name: Kaleiah. Breed: Pomeranian/chihuahua. Age: Between three and four. What makes me bark: I think anyone who is nearby has come to see me, especially outside the apartment door. Three words that describe me best: Princess, passionate, heartwarming (I also live up to my name). Confession: If you let me, I’ll lick your face all over for hours – no exaggeration! Instadog: I show up on mom’s @ kaleiahgiselle under the tag #DivaThePomChi

Caesar Human’s name: Yana. Breed: Lhasa apso. Age: 12 years young. What makes me bark: I have a quiet demeanor but I am a guard dog and will bark if I hear any strange noises outside my door OR if I smell any meat or seafood. Three words that describe me best: I love people and attention. Confession: If you give me attention, I will paw you insistently for more. Instadog: Mommy posts my photos all the time on @yanabv

Send it to waggingtales@w42st.com and we’ll do the rest. DIGITAL EDITION


this month



w42 st


Chez Napoleon

9th Ave 53rd/54th St

W 50th Street - 8th/9th Ave

Kiabacca 10th Ave 45th/46th St

10th Ave - 45th St


A neighborhood

Featuring 20

restaurant that invites you to stay for

Hell’s Kitchen landmark French

Rotating local craft beer on tap, easy

specialty brick oven pizzas and a high

a while. The menu features artisan

restaurant open since 1960 and still

drinking lawnmower beers, cocktails,

quality selection of rotating crafts at

pizzas, New American appetizers &

dedicated to serving classic comfort

sandwiches & shareable appetizers.

fantastic prices. Always interesting

entrees & homemade desserts.

food dishes. Leave your diet at home!

Happy hour 3pm-6pm Mon-Fri.

draft cocktails and wine on tap.

www.annabelnyc.com (212) 245-2215

www.cheznapoleon.com (212) 265-6980

www.HellcatAnnies.com (212) 586-2707

www.kiabaccabar.com (212) 649-4675


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Ardesia W52nd St 10th/11th Ave International


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Kit’s Underground

10th Ave 45th/46th St

W53rd St 8th/9th Ave

TurnStyle, Columbus Circle

A wine bar and restaurant in the

Japanese ramen shop serving slow-

heart of Hell’s Kitchen, serving

cooked pork and vegetarian broths,

on a Saturday 2pm-5pm for off-the-

dinner & brunch made from locally

plus dumplings and drinks. From

list wines and menu favorites.

sourced ingredients.

ramen pioneer Hideto Kawahara.

www.ardesia-ny.com (212) 245-2215

www.dianneandelisabeth.com (212) 247-3039

www.hidechanramen.nyc (212) 969-0066

Beer Culture W45th St 8th/9th Ave A huge selection of bottles and cans, and drink from a rotating selection of drafts and cask. Fill up a house growler or bring your own. Knowledgeable staff.

www.beerculture.nyc (646) 590-2139 2


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Chez Josephine

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Surf ’n’ turf, tapas, and cocktails served on a multi-level yacht with a large deck. Short sailings on the Hudson for sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.

www.hudsonsnyc.com (212) 630-8840 10

Modern Israeli

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In HK since 2004, Kashkaval Garden offers a relaxed environment to enjoy

walls and chandeliers lighting up

East, North Africa’s Maghreb region,

good wines, specialty cocktails, and

Josephine Baker portraits.

and southern Europe.

Mediterranean inspired food & fondue.

www.chezjosephine.com (212) 594-1925


www.kashkavalgarden.com (212) 245-1758 11



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Lansdowne Road 10th Ave 43rd/44th St This neighborhood sports bar is a great place to gather for tasty pub food, wings, and a wide selection of beers while watching your favorite team. Back bar for parties.

www.lansdowneroadnyc.com (212) 239-8020 5

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9th Ave 37th/38th St

Influences come from The Middle

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kitsunderground.nyc (212-262-6000)

9th Ave 55th/56th St

cuisine with unique flavor and spices.


Thursday and Friday, 5pm-8pm.

Manganaro’s Hero Boy

Paris, with a blue tin ceiling, red velvet

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online for free delivery. Free tastings

Kashkaval Garden

Return to the joie de vivre of 1920s


factories — all over the world. Order

Pier 83, 12th Ave - 43rd St

10th Ave 41st/42nd St

(646) 449-7790

Wine and spirits from families — not


Green Fig

W42nd St 9th/10th Ave

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Hide Chan Ramen

and cocktails. Come for wine social

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Dianne & Elisabeth

wines, happy hour, cheese boards,



Hellcat Annie’s Tap Room

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Our 60-year anniversary! The original six-foot Hero will feed 30 to 40 people. Large restaurant: eat in, take out, catering. Reasonable prices!

www.heroboy.com (212) 947-7325 14

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10:00 AM

RUSTIC TABLE W42nd St - 10th/

competitive eater, an outspoken member of the NYC polyamory community, and bona fide genius. He launched the Church of Good Deeds following the death of his wife Yan, as a faith based on altruism (churchofgooddeeds.org).

SUNAC 4:00 pM W42nd St - 11th Ave I like grabbing a quick snack at the overpriced but oh-so-convenient Sunac buffet (you can lower your


9th Ave - 44th/45th St The neighborhood sure has changed over the last 15 years, but one of my favorite spots remain: free hot dogs at Rudy’s Bar and Grill! 11:00 pM



LEON FIENGOLD is a former professional baseball player and


YUM YUM BANGKOK 9th Ave - 45th/46th St This is my all-time go-to for lunch. They offer the best lunch special in Hell’s Kitchen bar none: two appetizers and an entree for $8 (everything on the menu is delicious but the beef pad kee mao aka Drunken Noodle is my fave). The service is so fast, you can get in and out with a full stomach within half an hour if you need to. 1:20 pM

BRYANT PARK W42nd St - 5th/6th Ave My favorite happy place is the Monday night movie at Bryant Park. It’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy an afternoon picnic every Monday during the summer with a thousand of your closest friends in the middle of Manhattan, surrounded by majestic skyscrapers and awesome people, playing games and sharing snacks, cuddling or chatting or sunbathing or doing whatever it is that makes you happy, followed by a great movie at sundown. 8:00 pM


11th Ave This is an adorable little place that opened within the last year. The food is delicious, prices reasonable, and the service is so friendly it’s unbelievable.

costs by snacking while waiting in their perpetual line).

Kiss list

W42ST contributors dish the dirt on their favorite locations for unashamed PDAs and other romantic hanky panky Middle Eastern lounge, which was REALLY hot! Also, the rooftop at The Press Lounge (11th Ave - 47th/48th St).”

“My favorite for a date night is Room Service (9th Ave - 47th/48th St) – for the food, the decor, and the infinite and delicate niceness of the servers. The food is mostly date-friendly (small bites, non-chewy, no bits in your smile!) and the back is intimate and far from street eyes.”

Kristen Jongen, artist, author, and speaker “Central Park is #1 for all-weather PDAs (rated PG-13). Ardesia, on W52nd St 10th/11th Ave is nice too, because it’s dark and warm. And I swear Citizen M (W50th St - 7th/8th Ave) is a hook-up place. I’ve seen couples full-on making out on lunch break there. Also, I’ve canoodled a time or two at Taboon (11th Ave - 52nd St).”

Mary Geneva, writer and dating expert “BettiBar on W46th St - 8th/9th Ave. I’ve just discovered it and had two dates there (with the same guy). It has a cozy ambience, no tourists, and you feel like you’re a regular after your first time.”

Ruth Walker, editor

“The Pocket Bar (W48th St - 9th/10th Ave). Because I’ve lost count of the number of proposals to happen there, because one of our friends met his significant other there, and because wine, great music, and fun company are a pretty sexy combination.”

Vicky Kuperman, comedian and writer “I’d go for a booth near the bar at Marseille, on 9th Ave - 44th St. Reunion Surf Bar on W44th - 8th/9th Ave used to be Kemia, a




Greg Salvatori, photographer


w42 st



Eduardo Patino

Greg Salvatori

10th Ave 4th/45th St

10th Ave 48th/49th St


www. gregsalvatori. com

Locally sourced

Somewhere between heaven and

food, wine, and liquor at a restaurant

Hell’s Kitchen. There is room for

where sustainability and support for

everyone in this sleek bar, from the

the community are at the heart of

corporate world of America to the

everything we do.

exhilarating youth of Manhattan.

www.the-marshal.com (212) 582-6300

www.perditionnyc.com (212)-582-5660



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Bringing a multi-cultural New York approach to authentic Japanese cuisine.

www.kitchensakebarmethod.nyc (212) 582-2146 16

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An award-winning photographer,

serving an international clientele

artist, and author of Beards of New

spanning the world of publishing, the

York. His work has been published

performing arts, and the corporate

in international publications, and


exhibited in Europe and the US.

(917) 414-2199

(347) 3990 875



The Press Lounge

NYC’s premier rooftop lounge, with dramatic views, seasonal cocktails, an extensive wine list, seasonally inspired small plates, and welcoming service.

www.thepresslounge.com (212) 757-2224 7

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W49th St 9th/10th Ave

11th Ave 47th/48th St Farm-to-table restaurant dedicated to seasonal, sustainable cuisine, with fresh ingredients featured daily. Located in the Ink48 hotel.

www.printrestaurant.com (212) 757-2224 17

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Ñaño Ecuadorian Kitchen

Handmade accessories for dapper guys. Ties, bow ties, pocket squares, neckerchiefs, tie bars, cufflinks, money clips, and much more.

www.fineanddandyshop.com (212) 247-4847 2

Print Restaurant

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Christian Miles Photography

W39th St 9th/10th Ave An authentic NY experience, one of the city’s oldest flea markets. Year round, each weekend, you can find antiques, vintage clothes, collectibles and more.

info@hellskitchenfleamarket.com www.annexmarkets.com 4

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Jadite Galleries 10th Ave 46th/47th St Custom framing & art, conservation framing, canvas stretching & mirrors a specialty. We exhibit contemporary and international artists.

jaditeart@gmail.com (212) 977-6190 5

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Fountain House Gallery

Massage Envy W42nd St 10th/11th Ave

9th Ave - 48th St

10th Ave -

Our gallery

Massage, facials,

47th/48th St


exhibits and sells original, affordable

and wellness to help you make the

Ecuadorable! Quaint eatery serving

A Hell’s Kitchen- based photographer

art made by local artists living and

best of your body. Everyone deserves

traditional dishes with modern flair.

specializing in actor headshots and

working with mental illness.

a customized massage or facial, so

Family recipes make Ñaño special.

actors photography, model portfolios,

we make your relaxation and comfort

www.nanobarnyc.com (646) 649-4678

children’s photography and New York

www.fountainhousegallery.org ariel@fountaingallerynyc.com



Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market

Fine & Dandy

11th Ave 47th/48th St

Method Japanese Kitchen and Sake Bar 10th Ave - 50th/51st St

A professional photographer for over two decades,

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city events.




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our priority.

www.massageenvy.com (212) 473-3689


Rick McGuire’s plAYLIST

LANSDOWNE ROAD 10th Ave - 43rd/44th St The perfect sports bar for whatever game may be on TV. I’m a Cleveland Indians fan and they put the game on just for me one night.


RICK is the man behind the viral Instagram account Subway

Creatures, which captures New York City’s most colorful and bizarre subterranean characters and has nearly 700k followers.

OBAO 9th Ave - 45th/46th St The pad see ew here is really good,

MÉMÉ MEDITERRANEAN 10th Ave - 44th St Not only does Mémé serve authentic Mediterranean food, it also has a cozy, intimate setting. The specialty cocktails and olive bread stand out.


1 2 3 4 5

Born to Run Bruce Springsteen You Wreck Me Tom Petty Hunger Strike Temple of the Dog Glass Bones Jesus On The Mainline Can’t You Hear Me Knocking The Rolling Stones


PIO PIO If you’re a big fan of Peruvian food, you probably already know about Pio Pio. The place looks tiny from the outside but once you’re inside, it opens up into this huge room. I’ve gone with a large group before and we had a great time.

as well as the pho. You just have to find the right time to go since it can get crowded right before Broadway shows or around dinner time on the weekend. Worth a wait though. STYLE

ADELLA W43rd St - 9th/10th Ave The food is amazing and my favorite part is the outdoor seating when the weather gets warm. Definitely a “go-to” for me.


Biz list

Three ways to make your followers love you (even more than they already do!)



HELL’S CREATIVE is a digital ad agency founded by two millennials at Gotham West Market. Interested in having your business question answered and featured in a future column? Reach out to info@hellscreative.com with your request.

2 Woo them with gifts

t’s February. Which means hearts, flowers, and moping around the apartment depressed at your lack of Valentine’s companionship. But stop right there. You have plenty of followers on social media who actually care about you. Just as we mentioned in our first column, social media is social. So this month, channel that lonely energy into creating personalized content for your followers aka your loved ones.

People love giveaways. Perhaps it’s a product or an experience. Maybe it’s dinner with you or your team. Promote it before Valentine’s Day and be sure to tell everyone who participated who won so they get motivated to participate next year.

something 3 Share personal

A popular trend these days is shareable content. Maybe it’s a series of iPhone wallpapers that can be shared (and screenshotted) from Instagram stories. Maybe it’s a post that says “tag the ones you love” with a giant teddy bear holding its arms open for a hug (of course, the bear will be wearing a shirt with your company’s logo on it …). Get clever and think about an easy piece of content your followers would like to share or pass along to their loved ones on Valentine’s Day.

1 Send them a V-Day DM

Remember in elementary school when you would write Valentine’s Day cards for everyone in your grade? Well, there is a super easy way to do that as a grown up. Take some time to send DMs to your most engaged followers. Whether you write to 10 people or 100, invest the time to write a custom message to each, complimenting their profile or just sharing the love.




w42 st

SHOPPING & SERVICES / OUT / LIVING Nacho Guevara Photography

The Circle Line

Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

Pier 83, 12th Ave - W43rd St

Hillary Davis Sothebys International Realty

Pier 86, 12th

NY’s oldest and largest provider of scheduled and

Ave - 46th St

Expert in the Hamptons sales and


chartered sightseeing and special

Experience the legendary aircraft

rentals. Summer may be over,

I’m a professional portrait and fashion

event cruises. Operating since 1945.

carrier Intrepid, the first space shuttle,

but there are still some beautiful

photographer committed to producing

www.circleline42.com (212) 563-3200

Concorde, and the submarine Growler.

properties out there. Give me a call.

www.intrepidmuseum.org (212) 245-0072

(631) 613-7342 Hillary.Davis@sothebyshomes. com

highly creative pictures with a unique look.

iguedur@gmail.com (773) 441-9455

Rolates Pilates 939 8th Ave, Suite 207 Come enjoy a workout within our historic walls where Pilates began. Join us at the original Joseph Pilates Studio, check our website for class schedule.

www.rolates.com (212) 247-9603


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Irish Arts Center

and exhibitions that tell the evolving

rentals in the neighborhood. Contact

Irish story. Plus classes in Irish

me to find the perfect home for you!

language, history, music, and dance.

(646) 641-0145 ihalpern@halstead.com

www.irishartscenter.org (212) 757-3318 4

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W37th St 9th/10th Ave

W52nd St 10th/11th Ave

W42nd St 7th/8th Ave

authentic plays from the ground up,

experience with you. Empowering.

from readings to workshops to fully-

Exhilarating. Addictive.”

staged production.


www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org (212) 247-4982 2

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I live in Hell’s Kitchen and I specialize in sales and

The New Victory Theatre

again and we can’t wait to share our

Halstead Property

Music, dance, theatre, film, literature,

Ensemble Studio Theatre

Building original, provocative, and

Isaac Halpern

W51st St 10th/11th Ave

Title Boxing Club

“The oldest sport in the world is new

(212) 564-1700

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NYC’s premier non-profit performing arts theater devoted to kids & families. See international theater, dance, circus, opera & music at affordable prices.

www.newvictory.org (646) 223-3010 5

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Yotel 10th Ave 41st/42nd St A new breed of hotel with wow-factor. Stylish and contemporary, with gym, luggage storage robot, flexible rates, and the largest hotel terrace in the city.

www.yotel.com (646) 449-7700 1

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YOUR BUSINESS COULD BE LISTED HERE TOO Just email drew@w42st.com to find out how






“I fell in love with New York. It was like every human being, like any relationship. When I was a young New Yorker, it was one city. When I was a grown man, it was another city.” Mikhail Baryshnikov


onsidered one of the greatest ballet dancers of all time, Mikhail Baryshnikov was born in Latvia in 1948. His father was a soldier and his mother, who introduced him to dance when he was 11, committed suicide a year later. Ballet was his savior. He’s said of that time: “I got lucky. I fell in love with dance.” But little Misha wasn’t quite as statuesque as some of the other male dancers – he stands just 5ft 6in in his slippers – so he tended to be relegated to secondary roles, rather than principals. After his defection to Canada in 1974, however, his career soared. He danced with choreographic giants including


Jerome Robbins, Alvin Ailey, and Twyla Tharp, and worked with George Balanchine at New York City Ballet, where he rose among the ranks to become artistic director. On screen, he was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for his supporting role in the film The Turning Point, appeared opposite Gregory Hines in White Nights, and played Carrie’s narcissistic beau in Sex and the City. Baryshnikov was in a relationship with Jessica Lange for six years (when they met, it’s claimed he spoke very little English; they communicated in French until he eventually learned English by watching the television), and the pair have a daughter, Aleksandra. He became a citizen of the United


States in 1986 and, in 1989, made his Broadway breakthrough performance in Metamorphosis, for which he won a Tony. In 2005 he launched the Baryshnikov Arts Center on W37th St, as a center for artists from around the world to meet, create, and perform. He also co-founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mark Morris to create original work for older dancers. Last April, he returned to Latvia to receive citizenship of his native country. He said: “It was there that my exposure to the arts led me to discover my future destiny as a performer. Riga still serves as a place where I find artistic inspiration.” He turned 70 last month.