W42ST Issue 63 - The Open Mic Issue

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FA MFA M AGMR A M ILYIALY A R G O O C C ES C CSESPSR P R A freeA program free program for children for children with with learning learning and and developmental developmental disabilities disabilities takestakes families families on anoninteractive an interactive tour tour of theofMuseum the Museum as well as as wellart-making as art-making activities. activities. Register Register at at intrepidmuseum.org/education/access-family-programs intrepidmuseum.org/education/access-family-programs

7, 17, 1 MARMCAHRCH 3, 134, 14

O P EO P E ER ER R ATRIAOTNI OSNL USM L UBMB Get exclusive Get exclusive access access to thetoship the ship and Space and Space Shuttle Shuttle Pavilion, Pavilion, and sleep and sleep among among the aircraft the aircraft just like just like enlisted enlisted sailors sailors onceonce did. Includes did. Includes guided guided tourstours and hands-on and hands-on educational educational activities. activities. Register Register at intrepidmuseum.org/Overnight at intrepidmuseum.org/Overnight

SAVE SAVE THE THE DATE DATEFREE FREE FRIDAYS FRIDAYS BEGIN BEGIN SOON! SOON! FreeFree Museum Museum admission admission fromfrom 5:00-8:00vpm 5:00-8:00vpm on the on last the last Friday Friday of April of April through through September. September. Explore Explore the Museum the Museum andand be abe part a part of our of summer our summer movie movie series series on on the Flight the Flight Deck. Deck.














Celebrate women and girls in STEM with handson experiences and exciting demonstrations provided by science-based organizations and New York City public school students. Register at intrepidmuseum.org/education/teen-events

Stay in the know. Visit IntrepidMuseum.org for a full schedule of events.

C A MP IN T R E P ID Camp Intrepid is our full-day school break program where children dive into exciting projects related to the aircraft carrier Intrepid, historical artifacts and more! Register at intrepidmuseum.org/education/camp-intrepid

PIER 86, WEST 46TH ST & 12TH AVE intrepidmuseum.org

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PUBLISHER PHIL O’BRIEN phil@w42st.com (646) 267-9028 EDITOR RUTH WALKER ruth@w42st.com (646) 847-9645 PARTNERSHIP DIRECTOR DREW DARGIS drew@w42st.com (646) 896-9562 SENIOR ART EDITOR LEE CAPLE lee@w42st.com SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR SANDRA MANGAN sandra@w42st.com EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT GRACE OLSONDAVIDSON grace@w42st.com

CONTENTS March Edition





All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher ©2020. 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.



The youngest ever Pulitzer winner has just won a Grammy!



That time Travis Moser met his cabaret idol.



Our pick of the events you MUST see.

Getting into stand up the unconventional way.



Spying on our neighbors.

A photographic essay of a little girl with a big dream.



Being cast in the comedy, and what happens next.

Three tips to making your podcast happen.


Inside the Youth Orchestra of St Luke’s (plus where to sing karaoke).

24 TELL ME A STORY Don’t be scared ...


36 THE BEST OF 2020

Revealed: the finalists in our survey of the best bars, restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, and retail stores in Hell’s Kitchen. Plus, we’re holding out for a hero!


Their commitment keeps W42ST free for everyone else to enjoy. Please support them with your love and your business 34th St Partnership Chez Josephine Frank M Burke HYHK Alliance Ainsworth Social Compass Gotham Mini Intrepid Sea, Air, and AKA Ensemble Studio Storage Space Museum Amas Musical Theatre Grand Central Jadite Picture Theatre Fine & Dandy Partnership Framing Barcade Fountain House Hafetz & Associates Mark Fisher Better Being Gallery Hell’s Creative Fitness

MCC Theater New Victory Theater November 19 OrganizeNY Ousia Perdition

PRINT The Marshal P.S. Kitchen Title Boxing Scruffy Duffy’s Upright Citizens The Artist Co-op Brigade The Dyksterhouse Wells Fargo Team Financial Services The Press Lounge WNET



It’s the internet – in print!


The joy of a good bagel, as told by Miriam Maisel.



Back to school at the Freestyle Love Supreme Academy.



A blogger’s day in the life.

42 THE KITCHEN GAILY Mikey will eat anything!


A crooner’s favorites in Hell’s Kitchen.


50 ART IMITATING LIFE The art of Sundance Clairance comes home.


Learning the hard way about rentals in New York City.

56 HAPPY HOUR Anyone for a cocktail?


50 56



Life secrets from a Kinky Boots star.



Have a laugh. Please.


Erik Jacobsen


is a paper artist

Two pages of Hell’s Kitchen’s most handsome pets.

living in Brooklyn. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, his art has allowed him to express his frustrations and personal reactions


to the political landscape in America. The paper medium allows


him to simplify the overly complicated world we live in. @ErikJacobsen



Caroline Shaw became the youngest recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for ‘Partita for 8 Voices’. The prize ensured she was suddenly in demand to collaborate with names like Kanye West, Nas, and Arcade Fire, and she describes one of her career highlights as singing in three-part harmony with Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds at the Kennedy Center. She won a 2019 Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Her favorite color is yellow. carolineshaw.com CAROLINE’S HK Manhattan Plaza Health Club, W43rd St - 9th Ave Frisson Espresso, W47th St - 8th/9th Ave Pocket Bar, W48th St - 9th/10th Ave Amy’s Bread, 9th Ave - 46th/47th St Kahve, 10th Ave 47th St Clinton Community Garden, W48th St 9th/10th Ave (it’s my favorite place in New York, maybe top five places in the world – it’s that perfect)




Award-winning artist Caroline Shaw on where she keeps that little Tiffany glass prize … and why she no longer speaks to Kanye Interview Ruth Walker Photograph Kris Connor

I picked up a violin at the age of two My mother taught violin and I think I was maybe an experiment. She teaches the Suzuki Method – it’s this idea that all children can learn to play the violin, if you give it to them early on. I joke that everyone else was listening to Nirvana and Lisa Loeb Which I sort of missed in high school and middle school. I started playing with my string quartet and was like: “This is all I want to do.” I discovered more music in college and, really in the last 10 years, my world has opened up a lot, especially with hip hop and pop. My biggest influence? Around age five or six, I started having lessons with Joanne Bach, who was a student teacher. I was with her Wednesday afternoons every week until I was 18. She’s such a beautiful person. I think the best thing she taught us was that it’s not about the competition, it’s not about being the best, it’s about loving what you do, finding colors in the music. I’ve lived in the same Hell’s Kitchen apartment for six years I’d been living in Princeton for a while, and in a friend’s apartment in Chelsea, then I got kicked out of there and wanted to move to a place where I could walk to concerts and Broadway theaters. I moved to Hell’s Kitchen in August 2013 and I never left.

I like the energy of the place – it’s kind of the opposite of myself I’m a very private person and I absolutely have to have quiet. So why did I choose to live here? Well, if I’m going to live in New York, I want to live right in the middle of it. And every day, the people who are coming to New York for the first time – it reminds you that it’s really exciting to be here. 2013 was kind of significant, because I won that big ... prize (she means the Pulitzer!) It’s this little Tiffany glass object, and when I had a fish, it was in my fish bowl. I wasn’t supposed to win! That was not supposed to happen. I certainly didn’t expect it. No one else did either. A lot of people said: ‘’I didn’t know you wrote music.’’ But it suddenly created opportunities where people that I really admired were asking me to write pieces for them. I made Kanye West wait a while There was an album called 808s & Heartbreak and they were going to do a big orchestral version of it. A producer said: “Hey, Kanye West wants to know if you would write something with any of the songs … anything you feel.” And I waited for a long time … maybe two weeks. I think I was a little depressed. I knew this was a thing that I was supposed to jump on to, and people


Opposite: Caroline now needs to find apartment space for her Grammy too.

would kill to do, and I was supposed to put all of myself into because Kanye had asked me, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Then I was at MidCity Gym, and I remember being like: “OK, I’m going to listen to this.” And the first track is called ‘Say you Will’. You have an idea of Kanye having this big personality, but there was something very private, very tragic in it. So that was my way in. And then I made this new version of it, which he liked, and it sort of took off from there. We’re not really in touch now because I really disagree with his politics and he has a very difficult personality, but I liked working with him at that time. And then I won a Grammy … This was with the Attacca Quartet, who are an amazing group of people. A couple of years ago, they said: “What if we record a whole album with your music?” And we did. But the thing is, I never intended to win a Grammy – that’s not why you start to make music. We found out about the nomination last December. We were all in London together for a concert, it was so exciting. They were out in LA for the Grammys but I wasn’t able to go – I was driving back from Massachusetts, and was in a Five Guys when it happened. I had a hamburger though, so I guess that counts.

Visit the Shop

*home and lifestyle goods *curated gifts *accessories *apothecary *vintage







STORYTELLING SHOW Hear true life stories from your fellow NYers! @ Ainsworth Social 645 9th Ave (corner of 45th) TUES MAR 10 7:00PM

Visit the Shop

*home and lifestyle goods *curated gifts *accessories *apothecary *vintage






Shows on

W42ST every night from $7 a ticket

Hosted by: Edith Gonzalez

555 W 42ND STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10036 (212) 366-9176 NO COVER Put your name in the hat for a chance to tell your own 5-minute story

Presented by


What’s On Company

Nollywood Dreams


A romantic comedy set in the Nigerian film industry of the 1990s, and the ingenue who dreams of making it big. Opens March 19. mcctheater.org

As all eyes are, again, on the British Royal Family, this new musical looks back at the life and legacy of “the People’s Princess.” Previews begin March 2. thedianamusical.com

The Art of Light

The work of British stained glass artist Brian Clarke comes to MAD museum from March 21. madmuseum.org

Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

Nearly 60 years after its Broadway premiere, Edward Albee’s play returns, with Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett in the lead roles. Previews begin March 3. virginiawoolfonbroadway.com The star of Taxi talks and sings her way through a career filled with Broadway shows, movies, sitcoms, and three husbands, on March 4. 54below.com

Dara O’Briain

The star of British TV goes back to his stand-up roots, with a set at the Town Hall on March 6. thetownhall.org


The Lehman Trilogy

The Sam Mendes-directed epic, following 163 years that led to one of the world’s worst financial crises, comes to Broadway from March 7. thelehmantrilogy.com

Flying Over Sunset

Carmen Cusack stars as the Clare Boothe Luce, Harry Hadden-Paton is Aldous Huxley, and Tony Yazbek is Cary Grant in this musical

March 2020 shake a shamrock. It’s St Paddy’s Day on March 17. The Saturday before (March 14) the Irish Arts Center hosts its annual open day of music, dance, films, tea, and soda bread. It’s all day, and it’s free. irishartscenter.org

Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone star in this gender-flipping of a Stephen Sondheim musical about being single, being married, and being alive in 21st-century NYC. Previews begin March 2. companymusical.com

Marilu Henner


American Buffalo

Mrs Doubtfire

Rob McClure takes the lead role (played by Robin Williams in the movie), in this tale about a down-on-his-luck actor who decides to disguise himself as a nanny to spend more time with his kids. The brilliant Jenn Gambatese plays his estranged wife, Miranda. Previews begin March 9 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre mrsdoubtfirebroadway.com that follows the three as they experiment with LSD in the 1950s. Previews begin March 12. lct.org

Maurice Hines

The tap supremo is joined by the Diva Jazz Orchestra as he sings and dances his way through the songs that have inspired his 70year career, on March 13 and 14. 54below.com

Caroline or Change

Sharon D Clarke brings her Olivier Award-winning performance to


this Roundabout musical, starring as an African-American maid working for a Jewish family in 1963 Louisiana. Opens March 13. roundabouttheatre.org

Plaza Suite

Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker star opposite each other in this revival of the Neil Simon marriage comedy. Previews begin March 13. plazasuitebroadway.com

St Patrick’s Day

Wear green, drink Guinness, and

Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell, and Darren Criss star in this revival of a David Mamet play about a trio of hustlers looking for a bigger slice of the American dream. Previews begin March 24. americanbuffalonyc.com

Curtis Stigers

The singer/saxophonist/songwriter begins a five-night run at Birdland on March 24 to celebrate the release of his new album, Gentleman. birdlandjazz.com

Sing Street

A tale – set in 1980s Dublin – in which a boy tries to impress a girl by starting a band. Previews begin March 26. singstreet.com

How I Learned to Drive

Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse reprise their roles, as Li’l Bit tries to make sense of years of abuse at the hands of her uncle. Previews begin March 27. manhattantheatreclub.com

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The things you see when people don’t realize they have an audience. Ruth Walker has a ringside seat

f all the world was a stage in Elizabethan England, Shakespeare could hardly have imagined the entrances, exits, and wordless dramas being performed in contemporary New York City every single day. When I first moved into my apartment on W47th St, I glanced across the road to see a couple having such athletic sex, they were like a circus act. Those bodies were bouncing so high and for so long, there had to be a trampoline involved somewhere. Or one of those stability balls. I couldn’t look away – I was entranced. On and on they went. Up and down. Bouncing and bouncing. Where did they get their energy?! In the end, their stamina outlasted my patience, I lost interest, and I’ve never seen their acrobatics since. Which makes me a little sad for all of us. There’s another window across from my living room that intrigues me. In two years living in this apartment, I’d never seen a soul in there. Just a blank wall. Then, last summer, we had a party on our roof and – stop everything! – neighbor dude showed up. Let’s just say I saw more of him that night than I expected. Remember Ugly Naked Guy on Friends? He has nothing on the neighbor of a friend, Matt, who lives on W51st St. This man does everything in the buff. On any given day, my mate can look out the window and, oh look, there’s nude dude watching the TV, or doing his laundry, or making his bed. Oh, nice, now he’s bending over. Seriously? I can see your

internal organs. Get some shades, man. Or at least a pair of pants! Don – who works from home so sees EVERYTHING (we’ll call him Peeping Don – has watched as an angry homeless man, brandishing a cudgel and pushing a grocery cart – parted the rush hour traffic on W47th St like Moses parting the Red Sea. Then there was an attempt to squeeze a hybrid sedan into a parking spot two inches bigger than the car. It took – no kidding – 45 minutes of pinballing and the help of several passers by. But he made it! The entire street cheered in solidarity. In a city where we are all literally living on top of each other, we are never far from another New Yorker’s private drama (or comedy). Meth addicts on W46th St performing an impromptu caroling service at 5am. Drug deals. Lovers’ tiffs so bad they stop traffic. And hot and heavy make-out sessions. No one really needs Netflix in this city. Even the most prosaic of events can become an intriguing story when viewed, Rear Window style, from our apartments. Who’s that woman who walks her fat pug every morning in workout gear, then leaves for work later, all power suit and attitude? The hot guy across the street, sunbathing on the tar roof, with a member so large it can be seen from space? And it occurs to me, as I consider all these urban Shakespearan dramas, that, in all probability, I’m being watched too. Guess I’d better put some clothes on.



open mic



open mic


MARVELOUS LIFE From her own beginnings on the stand up circuit, Emmy Harrington is offering Mrs Maisel some sound advice Interview Ruth Walker


e’ve all seen the third season of Mrs Maisel, yes? The one where (SPOILER ALERT!) Midge finally divorces Joel (then drunk-marries him again in Vegas)? There’s a scene in the final episode. Midge is in a diner with a group of friends when Sally, a brash, outspoken radio producer, offers our heroine a piece of timely advice, woman to woman. “Go out there and show them how it’s done,” she says. “Because if you fail, no one will ever let you forget it.” “I call her Brash Sally,” laughs Emmy Harrington. Her introduction marks not

just an exciting moment in the character development of Midge Maisel, but in the career of Emmy, who had already auditioned five times for the hit Amazon series before she finally got the part. “I had this itching, this really crazy feeling that I was going to land this show,” she says. “It was the third time that I’d been in for it this season, and it felt really good.” The week after the audition, she got a call. She had just 90 minutes to get to Cindy Tolan’s casting office on W20th St. “I was at my freelance work job,” she says, “and I was not wearing the appropriate clothing. But I told my agent, ‘Yes, I can be there, I’ll turn this around.’”


Take the

Cast Party, Birdland This wildly eclectic open mic night has been happening every Monday since 2003, featuring anything from Broadway royalty doing something different on their day off to a talented newbie on the road to stardom. Just bring your voice, a dream, and some sheet music – host Jim Caruso, pianist

Opposite: Emmy’s crushing it!

and arranger Billy Stritch, and bassist Steve Doyle will do the rest. Note: keep your song upbeat. Weepy ballads are no fun for anyone except Edith Piaf, and she rarely attends.



Open Mic at Under St Mark’s A special mention for this


Fortunately, she works for a fashion company – which means a press closet full of sample sizes. She borrowed a dress and heels, dropped by a Chelsea gym she’d once taken a class at to freshen up in the restrooms, then walked across the street to casting with time to spare. “I was only in the casting office for five minutes,” she says. Two days later, the part was hers. Shooting took place over one 16-hour day. And, fun fact coming up. “They shot in this little diner on the Upper East Side. It really does look like it was from that time period. It turns out they’d been shooting there, renting from the owner and constantly updating it with their art department. Then the building

downtown night where anything goes. On any given night, there could be dancers, mime, or dramatic monologues. Tickets are $5 at the door, and sign-ups get seven minutes to try whatever it is they do in a safe, supportive space.

frigid.nyc/events The Improv Jam

Everyone who turns up

will have a chance to perform on the UCB stage. Just put your name in the Bucket of Truth, then jam with students, performers, and faculty. The show isn’t over until everyone’s done their thing. All experience levels are welcome. Then, once a month, there’s The Lady Jam, open to female and non-binary improvisers of all levels. Guys – you can


went up for sale, so they bought it – just to preserve the diner so they could shoot in it.” That’s what happens when you have an epic budget, people (Rachel Brosnahan, who plays Mrs Maisel, reportedly earns $300k per episode). “Sally has seen it all,” says Emmy of her character. “And as a female producer at that time, she has a certain amount of insight, in terms of what really happens in the business. So when she says to Midge, ‘Go out there and show them how it’s done, otherwise they’ll never forget it,’ she truly means it. She’s not messing around. “The nice thing is this circle of friends that I’m placed with,” she adds. “One of the individuals is already a recurring character, so they’re building this community within which Midge has a career. It’s not just about her manager or the people she’s performing with; she’s developing a secondary family that, in an ideal world, would be more prominent in the next season.” Her dream is to come back next season and further that dialogue with Midge – two women working in a man’s world, “to talk about her personal experiences in the business, what it’s like to be on the other side, and to be given the keys but not really be heard.”


orn and raised in Southern California, Emmy settled in LA, center of the TV and film industry and thew herself into the comedy circuit. “I was really into comedy,” she says. “It

watch and dance from your seats – just don’t be a creep about it, OK?

hellskitchen.ucbtheatre. com


Liquid Courage UCB again, folks! Open to all, this late-night, once-amonth sketch night kicks off at midnight, with sign-up starting at 10.30pm. Pick up


seemed to be something that came really easily to me, so when someone sort of pushed me that direction saying, ‘You should start taking classes at Upright Citizens Brigade,’ and, ‘You should start doing open mics,’ I just chomped at the bit and took it all the way. I was doing comedy all the time.” She arrived in New York eight years ago, and has been continually developing her art since, performing, and landing small roles in shows like Blue Bloods, Jessica Jones, and High Maintenance. She also wrote, directed, and starred in the movie Two Little Bitches. “I really call myself a storyteller at this point,” she says. “Stand up – I absolutely love it, but it’s not what I want to do every evening of my life. And that’s the lifestyle of a stand up comedian, that’s what you’re doing, that’s how you grow. But I’m much more concerned with writing comedic content that really depicts women authentically, and myself authentically. “I’m still producing my monthly show, Score [follow @theemmyharrington on Instagram for the next dates] and I’m writing a screenplay called China River,

a form from the box office, fill it out, and get ready for your moment in the spotlight. This is not for stand-up, and all sketches should be memorized – that means no scripts! It’s free for everyone – performers and audience.

hellskitchen.ucbtheatre. com Late Night Packet Jam The rules go like this:

send a script of your bit (or monologue jokes) to ucbpacketjam@gmail. com by midnight one week before the show. No improv is allowed, and it must run at under five minutes. This one is free too.

hellskitchen.ucbtheatre. com


We Love Songwriters


Above: Sally tells Midge how it is.

which is based on a letter I wrote myself as an 11-year-old. We had an assignment in class, to write a letter to your best friend at the time from your future self. “I opened up with, ‘I’m living my best life in Los Angeles. I’m occupying this little cottage with my friend, Dominic …’ The details in this letter are hilarious. ‘I’ve just been nominated for an Academy Award for my film, China River, and everything is going as fast as it possibly could and I just can’t wait till you get a chance to come out and see my beautiful life. And I hope I get a chance someday to work with Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s a dream.’ “This fabulous, unbelievably ambitious, joy-filled version of my future is so instilled in the letter. I started thinking about that, and about daydreaming as a concept. I’ve become so rational, and I have a really hard time daydreaming –yet that was what brought me into acting to begin with, I had no problem imagining myself as the star of so many stories. “So that’s what that film is about – the power of daydreaming.” emmyharrington.com

Bar Nine, home of Dueling Pianos hosts a weekly open format, open mic/jam session. Sign up is 6.30pm, showtime is at 7pm.

bar9ny.com The Salon

Host Mark Janas tinkles the ivories at Don’t Tell Mama, while singers, writers, and musicians share their talents in four-minute slots.

Doors open at 6.30pm for sign up – if you want to perform, just fill out a card with your song selection. Each evening has a theme, which you can perform to or not. March 15 is Morning, Evening, Noon & Night; March 29 is Both Sides Now. There’s a $10 cash cover at the door and a two drink minimum.



open mic

open mic

“Stand up – I absolutely love it, but it’s not what I want to do every evening of my life. And that’s the lifestyle of a stand up comedian.”


open mic


Inside the program that is helping to build better humans Interview Ruth Walker Photographs Ilona Lieberman


hen we lose music instruction in our schools, we lose so much more than just the uncomfortable screeching of violins in the corridors. We lose key life lessons, often at a crucial time in our children’s development. “It’s just ... human,” says Liz Fryer. “We’re just trying to create good societal beings.” Liz manages the youth program at Orchestra of St Luke’s – which has grown from just 12 students practicing after school at the Police Athletic League five years ago, to incorporating 150 students from three schools (PS 51, PS 111, and PS 212 Midtown West), teaching violin, viola, and cello. “These students come in, and a lot of times they’re coming into classes where they don’t know the other kids. So all of a sudden there’s a new grouping, and they’re learning how to work together, how to learn together, and talk with each other. “So not only do you learn the confidence to try something new and be OK failing, but you’re also learning how to be supportive of others when they fail.” That’s not even the half of it. “Then you get into the muscle aspect,” she says. “We’re teaching students how to have

really good posture, how to sit up tall, how to take deep breaths, how to use their full body. That goes a long way when you have kids that are carrying 12-pound book bags, you know? “Then there’s the educational aspect. There are so many different connections that you’re making in music. You’re making a math connection. You’re making a historical connection. But you’re also learning this emotional connection as well. Kids these days are just bombarded with so much information. They’ll say it’s just nice to have something to go practice that doesn’t use electronics. There is this wonderful moment for a student – and they talk about this – when they just get to play the instrument and ignore everything else in the world.” All three schools involved in the program are public schools in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood that don’t have an instrumental music education, “which for me is just astounding,” says Liz. “We’re living in such a metropolitan area, surrounded by so many great musicians, yet we can’t supply this very basic thing. “They’re also Title 1 schools. So that means around 90% are under the poverty line. Ninety five percent of students get free breakfast and free lunches. So a lot of


open mic

these parents are very open about the fact that they would not be able to afford this program. “But then we have other parents who are affluent,” she adds. “They’re very proactive, and they come in and help, and they go the extra mile. They’re at every family workshop, providing snacks, providing water. Some of them provide transportation.” A few students have been in the program since the beginning, and are now taking their musical education to the next level. “Akira and Sikora are brother and sister – they’re little smart alecks. Akira’s a phenomenal cello player now – he’s joining another program. “And we had another middle-school student who we adored, who just got into the Carnegie Hall Orchestra.

“Our purpose is to provide the beginning, elementary-level education, and we want to continue to support our middle-school students,” says Liz. “But we have to let them go and set them free. We get so excited when we see them going off and still doing music. “Then we have kids that join for a year, realize it might not be for them, and they leave. But we still see them. Every now and then they might come to a concert, and they might show their support in other ways. We’re just trying to make the next generation of musical citizens – concertgoers or people on the stage, people working behind the scenes. There are so many things that we can be facilitating. They don’t just have to play their instrument for life.” oslmusic.org



Eight years old Violin “I picked the violin because I saw a commercial with violinists playing and it sounded so good I really wanted to play it. “I think it’s important for someone to learn an instrument so they can play music, because music is very passionate.”

Eight years old Violin “I picked the violin because on the train I saw a guy playing the violin and it was pretty good and I wanted to see if I could get that good. “Music means to me something you can be appreciated for and something you can love. “My favorite part of YOSL is when I get to perform and get to watch everyone else perform. “




open mic


17 years old Pianist and YOSL accompanist


Nine years old Vioin “I picked the violin because I like to stand and be able to move, and I liked how it felt to hold the violin. “When I’m not in the mood to do something, music can inspire me to


do what I need to do. Sometimes I like to listen to classical music to help me focus. “Playing violin means to me I can achieve a goal. I can achieve many things that are worth doing in life. “My favorite part about YOSL is the concerts, because I can hear everyone in the program play. And I can see them get better over time, just like our class gets better.”

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12 years old Cello “The whole reason music was created was for joy. Sometimes it brings me joy, sometimes, when it’s challenging, it doesn’t. But I never feel sadness or anger. It always makes me feel calm or focused. “When I started out I didn’t want to keep going because it was frustrating. But now that I’ve gotten better and I can learn harder songs and create my own music, it’s really kept me going.”


Nine years old Violin “Playing music to me means a lot. Sometimes, when I videotape myself, I hear how I play and I am really happy that I can do that, and that I know how to play violin and how to get better and better.”


Ten years old Clarinet “Music to me means having fun and making new sounds. “It makes me happy that I have this talent because, when I first came, I thought this was going to be hard. Like, how am I supposed to set it up and blow hard air? But then I kept trying my best and now I am getting good at it. And that makes me feel really happy.”


Seven years old Clarinet “My mom knew I loved music and helped me join. My favorite part about YOSL is to make noise! And play instrument! Playing music, and making good noise is so much fun.”



11 years old Violin “Music means emotions. It’s a really passionate thing. Even if you don’t play it correctly, it can still be an emotional connection. “It’s really fun to create music, and to play music is really exciting.”


13 years old Violin “To me, music helps you show emotion. You can react to it, music can make you happy. “I’ve learned it’s a lot of work to do music, to work on a piece for a concert, that the amount of work and effort you have to put in to making it sound good, but that it’s rewarding to reach that point and know you’ve accomplished that.”

NILAH BERRY (RIGHT) Eight years old Violin



11 years old Viola “I wanted to try something new, and it was exciting to have something other than violin. “Music brings joy into people’s lives, and makes me feel good when I play it. “I got confidence from my mom to stay in the program, and the longer I’ve stayed, the more I like it. I really like the music we’ve learned, and I enjoy performing it.”


13 years old Violin “I always wanted to play an instrument. Then my brother showed me a video of Lindsey Stirling and that made me really want to play violin. Then we found YOSL, so it all worked out. “The first thing that comes to mind when I think of music is emotions, because you can express yourself when you play music. “Music can be challenging but can it feel so good. Right now I’m learning vibrato, and that’s so exciting because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Don’t schlep to K Town when you can KARAOKE closer to home BOXERS Karaoke Battle is on every Wednesday at this 9th Ave gay bar, from 8.30pm. There’s a free shot if you sing. boxersnyc.com DALTON’S Every Thursday, from 10pm until late, this 9th Ave sports bar is the ONLY place to be. daltonsbarnyc.com FRAMES The Lyric Lounge at the Port Authority bowling spot has a 50,000-strong song list. You’ll need a minimum of 20 guests, room rate is $300 an hour. framesnyc.com JASPERS It’s karaoke night on Wednesdays from 10pm at this neighborhood bar. jaspersnyc.com KARAOKE DUET 53 A chain of karaoke bars with private rooms (this one’s on 8th Ave 53rd/54th St), open until 3am (5am on Friday/Saturday). Room rates start at $5 per person per hour. karaokeduet.com NEW YORK BEER COMPANY Song night is Tuesday night at this W44th St - 8th/9th Ave bar. Arrive early – the performances start at 8.30pm. nybeercompany.com RISE BAR Cut Throat Karaoke happens on Tuesdays at 10.30pm at this 9th Ave gay bar. And the DJ has auto tune, should your voice not hit the high notes. risebarnyc.com RPM UNDERGROUND There are 18 private karaoke rooms that host up to 40 people, costings from $50 per hour for four singers. rpmunderground.us



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Could baring your soul to a roomful of strangers be the cure for our disconnected lives? Edith Gonzalez worked up the courage to give it a try


found myself attending what I thought was a writing workshop. When the organizer informed me that it was actually a workshop about telling a personal narrative, where the teller is emotionally vulnerable and creates a deep connection with the audience, I tried to back out. I don’t even like being emotionally vulnerable with myself. (Note to self: don’t sign up for things online, using an iPhone 5, without wearing your reading glasses.) The stories were supposed to be on the theme of divorce and I was going through a doozy. She convinced me to give it a try, making the reasonable argument that I am a scientist and professor, so should have no problem delivering a talk in front of people. She forgot to mention there is a “no notes” aspect to this kind of storytelling. There I was, without presentation slides or lecture notes, talking about my feelings about my recent heartbreak to a room full of strangers. I was so clearly uncomfortable with my emotions that one of the workshop participants, Lauren, started calling me the “Puerto Rican Mr Spock.” Lauren and I had bonded over our shared love of Star Trek at the break. Despite my resistance, I found standing there in front of an audience, about to reveal something true and heartfelt, exhilarating. Like the deep breath you take at the top of a roller coaster, just before the plunge.


EDITH Dr Edith Gonzalez is a native Nuyorican with four graduate degrees in various sub-fields of anthropology. She has a “slight” obsession with Lord of the Rings and you can catch her as the host of W42ST’s Public Display of Affection Storytelling Show at Ainsworth Social on the second Tuesday of the month. As a two-time Smut Slam champion, she enjoys telling dirty stories to a room full of strangers.

After that, I made a few attempts to get tickets to see a live Moth Story Slam. I wanted to see people in action; see how they went about being vulnerable. But the Moth was always sold out. Then I heard about a show called Smut Slam – same rules (live, no notes, true story, first person, five minutes, no hate speech, on theme) – except all the stories had to be about sex. I convinced an introverted, voyeuristic friend to come with me, and as we walked down the dingy staircase to the Under St Marks Theater, the door warden said: “Are you signing up to tell a story tonight? If yes, you get in free.” My friend said: “Never in a million years,” and paid the entrance fee. I like to get in free, so put my name in the bucket, not expecting to be called. But, sure enough, I was. I told a story about giving my first blow job, and I won! As we walked out, my friend looked at me as if he’d never seen me before and said: “You were really good.” I tried to brush it off and he insisted: “I mean really good. You should keep going with this.” In 2019, I committed to storytelling. I started by performing at random open mics, but found if the open mic wasn’t specifically for storytelling, the audience wouldn’t quite know how to react. If I told a sad story, they’d think: “Are you supposed to be a comedian and just not that funny?” But at story-specific shows,


the audience leans in and says: “Tell me a story,” rather than sitting back and saying: “Make me laugh.” They want to go on the journey with you. I learned that it isn’t as easy as it seems to tell a good story. It usually starts with an event that is tantalizing or engaging, but anecdotes can be exciting too. A story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A good one also has an arc in which the teller undergoes a change. A well-told story needs the performer to really go there, to bare their soul and expose their humanity, their grief, joy, embarrassment, triumph, heartbreak, or long-lost love – whatever is driving the change. I’ve told stories about really personal things – about sacrificing a virgin, leaving my second husband with a police escort, driving my mother across the country when she was diagnosed with cancer, attempting to give a lap dance after learning how on YouTube, and my most heartbreaking rebound relationship. I am constantly working on a story in my head. As the story development process moves forward, I discover the emotional thread that connects me with others – something that is hard for me in my everyday life; something that I think is difficult to do in New York City at large. If you are feeling disconnected from your feelings, go to an open mic and give it a try. You might discover your own emotional depth and a new community.

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Second Tuesday of the month, 7pm

@Ainsworth Social


(Frequented by storytellers trying out new material) Monday nights, 7pm

@ The Duplex


(Raw and crass – people just unload at this show) Tuesday nights, 7.30pm

@ The Creek and the Cave


(Sexy and fun) First Wednesday of the month, 9pm

@ Under St Marks Theater DIGITAL EDITION

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Travis Moser thought living in New York was all tuxedos, cocktails at The Carlyle, and sharing a dressing room with your idol. Turns out at least one of those things is (almost) true!


’ve always been fascinated by the world of cabaret. It seemed like a form of entertainment from another era and something you could only experience in New York City. As a boy growing up on the border of Pennsylvania and Ohio (near Pittsburgh), I thought life in NYC was akin to a Barbara Stanwyck film from the 1930s. You’d leave work around 4pm, jauntily make your way to your apartment on 5th Ave, slip on your tux and head to the Cafe Carlyle to see Bobby Short perform, while sipping a bourbon old fashioned. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the only access I had to cabaret performance was the easy listening section of the Barnes and Noble music department in Boardman, OH. The first albums I bought were Bobby Short Live at the Cafe Carlyle and All That Jazz: The Best of Ute Lemper. I was so inspired by the eclectic nature of their song selections. In cabaret, it seemed, you were celebrated for being yourself, and you could share stories through songs that resonated with you, no matter the genre. Many years later, I performed my solo show, This Can’t Be Love: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart, at Feinstein’s/54 Below. I had the 7pm spot and at the 9:30pm spot was … Ute Lemper. I started crying when I saw her name on the dressing room door across from mine. She hadn’t arrived yet, so I left a note telling her how much of an inspiration she’d been and that, without knowing it, she’d helped introduce me to cabaret. The anticipation took over and I started preparing for my show. I threw back a couple of bourbon old fashioneds (see, people in NYC do live like this) and hit the stage. At the end of the show, I came back on to perform the encore. At the very back of the club, standing near the bar, was an unmistakeable, statuesque blonde. It was Ute Lemper. We caught eyes, she was clapping and blew me a kiss. I have no idea how long she’d been standing there. As I exited through the audience, she touched my arm and whispered: “Great job, kid.”


The live album of Travis Moser’s Just One Look: The

Songs of Linda Rondstadt is available at travismoser. hearnow.com. He’ll be performing at The Lineup at Birdland on March 31, and you can catch him at Club Cumming most Wednesday nights.

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made me do it Jenn Lederer was never going to do stand up … until a wise voice showed her the way


’ve been drawn to comedy for as long as I can remember, but always told myself the one artform I’d never do was stand up (proof that the Universe/God/ Source is the original comedian). Liar Liar and The Mask are two of my all-time favorite movies that can always turn my frown upside down. (Jim Carrey was my #1 growing up). But the moment I decided to intentionally integrate comedy into my career wasn’t until I attended an “intuitive painting class” in February 2018. (Yes, this is a true story.) We were given “curiosity” as our prompt. That was it as far as directions. I started painting and the next thing I knew, I was staring at a painting of what I saw as a wise owl wearing John Lennon-style glasses, who looked like he’d just returned from some sort of psychedelic trip. When I felt The Owl was complete, I signed the bottom corner of the painting

and immediately heard a voice say: “You must start doing stand up comedy. NOW. Just DO it.” I turned around to see a “fake” brick wall behind me. I happened to know the woman who managed the space and committed to reaching out the next day to explore the possibility of producing a comedy show in that same space. I did follow up and she said yes. I went on to produce a three-month residency at that space from March through May 2018 and I haven’t been able to kick the comedy bug since. I’ve come to realize that comedy is simply my latest spiritual practice. It’s the next thing on my journey towards helping me crack the shell that I’ve built up over years of fearing being judged, wanting to be perfect, and basically just buying into the belief that I’m not enough. Comedy doesn’t let me be anyone but myself. If I want to


About JENN

Jenn Lederer is known as THE Motivational Comedian. She believes that learning to be our truest self is our main job on this planet, and that’s what she strives to bring to the stage every time. jennlederer.com

be funny, I first have to be honest. That’s why I get on stage: to challenge myself to let the audience into my world a little more each time; to remember that I don’t have to “try to be funny.” All an audience really wants is my truth, because THAT is the part they will relate to the most, and more than likely find humor in, because humans are innately funny beings. Comedy forces me to stop striving and start BEING. You don’t get much more spiritual than that. So, yeah, I really encourage artists and creatives and all humans to trust their intuition … which sometimes shows up in the form of a painted owl in John Lennon glasses. Just go with it. I’m grateful every day that I was brave enough to trust that message. The Owl painting now hangs in my office, watching over my creations and offering ideas and inspirations when necessary.


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From the age of 10, Annalisa Plumb knew she wanted to be an actress. This is her journey – in words and pictures


have studied over 200 children from childhood to their mid-20s, some starting when they were newborns, and others when they were about six or seven, making annual studio portraits and asking them, once they learned to read and write, to write answers to a series of questions, a kind of diary about their lives, their feelings, their hopes, their regrets. Some of this work has appeared in museum exhibitions, magazines, and two largescale monographs. Permission was signed by the parents of each and every child every year, and by the participants themselves once they turned 18. We have now sent copies of all of their writings and edited photographs to the participants, for whom I have finished all my editing and have received full permission from that group to publish and post. I have been asked: “Why bathing suits?” I am interested in everything about human development, fascinated by maturation, growth, emotional, educational, and physical development. This is 17 years in the life of Annalisa Plumb, a young girl who, over the course of my project, has become an educated, mindful young woman and actress. See more images in the series on Howard Schatz’s blog On Seeing (howardschatz.com)


Text and photographs Howard Schatz



open mic years





From the Tony®-winning Playwright and Director of August: Osage County

“Nothing in this explosive 90-minute play is as it seems.” Chicago Tribune

Steppenwolf ’s production of The Minutes a play by Tracy Letts directed by Anna D. Shapiro Ian Barford Blair Brown Cliff Chamberlain K. Todd Freeman Armie Hammer Tracy Letts Danny McCarthy Jessie Mueller Sally Murphy Austin Pendleton Jeff Still

Now On Broadway Telecharge.com O Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St. TheMinutesBroadway.com

Visit w42st.com/theminutes and enter to win a pair of tickets to The Minutes

open mic years




open mic years



open mic years

ANNALISA Annalisa Plumb is a New York City native and graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. She has trained at acting schools around the city including The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, The Barrow Street School, HB Studios, and Upright Citizens Brigade. She has also studied psychology and journalism, and spent some time studying alongside inmates at a maximum security women’s prison. As she pursues her acting career, Annalisa hopes to explore ways of bringing the arts to the prison population in the US. annalisaplumb.com @annalisaplumb



Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen’s only upscale plant-based restaurant and craft-cocktail bar. Brunch, Lunch, Dinner and Late Night menu available Daily happy hours from 3pm-6:30pm, and 10pm till close

246 West 48th 212-651-7247 ps-kitchen.com

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Theater people are EVERYWHERE We always meant for this podcast to include lots of theater guests, but just as many other cool people doing mindblowing things – like celebrity caterer Mary Giuliani and Wine Access’s Vanessa Conlin from Off-Broadway’s Sideways the Experience. Spoiler alert: they were all theater people. Or still are. Except for Joon Lee. He’s an insanely inspiring Asian-American sports journalist for ESPN. I’ll forgive him for not being a theater nerd, I guess.

PODCASTING #2 Born blabbermouth Jessica Ryan knows a thing or two about making a pod work


was always accused of talking too much as a kid. It’s no wonder I ended up spending my life in the theater, and even less of a wonder that I created a successful podcast. See, when you make it your job, there’s no having to write: “I will not speak unless spoken to” 100 times when all you wanted to do was make your parents UNDERSTAND the merits of Joey McIntyre vs Donnie Wahlberg … and there you go, I’ve already gone off the rails and used up 100 of my words. Which is exactly why I talk for a living. Take Me To Coffee is a mentorship podcast for the digital age. My co-host, Andrew Call (of Hamilton fame), and I have always been baffled at the lack of

mentors in the theater, particularly for actors. And we’re the kind of people who are always looking to learn from folks doing amazing things that inspire us, even though they may not play in the same sandbox. So I made it my job to have Joey McIntyre on my podcast (please, Joey McIntyre, come on our podcast) and suddenly being chatty isn’t a character flaw, someone finally listens to your opinion on JMc v DWahl, AND you learn a little something along the way. Speaking of which, in honor of our little mentorship podcast, here are the top three things I’ve learned building a podcast from scratch (in case you too feel like your stuffed animal collection isn’t really listening and you deserve a more rapt audience).

Above: Jessica with her podcast co-host Andrew Call, who has just finished his run as King George in Chicago’s Hamilton.

Consistency is key The internet is like being surrounded by a nightmare herd of chihuahuas biting the shit out of your leg instead of the dog they’re mad at. If we’ve learned anything from our social influencer guests AyseDeniz, That Viola Kid, and Ken Kubota, make a thing. And keep making it on a regular schedule. If, for example, you want to teach people How to Save the World, like our guest Meghan Offtermatt, people have to know they can depend on you.


Do me OK, wait. That doesn’t sound right. Although I’m pretty sure we’re the only #explicitmentorship podcast on the market so, honestly, it’s par for the course. (All joking aside, this is our official hashtag.) But I #DoMe. You do you. Fully and with feeling, even if everyone tells you you’re “too much.” It’s the only way to truly connect with folks in a digital medium. It’s also the only way you get asked to write an article that ends up as a thinly veiled attempt to be mentored by your childhood idol and reclaim your insecurities about yakking people’s ears off.

JESSICA Jessica Ryan is a creator, and founder at the intersection of the arts and entrepreneurship. She has written for companies including Amazon and GE, directed digital content with Tituss Burgess (Kimmy Schmidt) and Kirstin Maldonado (Pentatonix), voiced spots for Starbucks and Old Navy, and once sang a jingle for an adult superstore in North Dakota (true story, Annabelle’s if you want to look it up). She’s also the founder of Broadway Unlocked, a startup creating innovation for any stage, a member of the Zuckerberg Institute, and creator of the #Giveback Concert, which has raised a quarter of a million dollars for survivors of violence. Follow her @JessicaRyanNYLA and see @tm2cpodcast for more of her podcasting adventures.



@Nine | 44 & X | 5 Napkin Burger | Adella | Alfie’s | Alvin Ailey Extension American Home Hardware | Amish Market | Amy’s Bread | Añejo | Ardesia Wine Bar | Aria | Arriba Arriba | B Side | B Squared | Back Pocket Bar | Badshah Bareburger | BEA | Becco | Bettibar | Bibble & Sip | Big Apple Meat Market Birch Coffee | Bird & Branch | Blue | Bocca di Bacco | Briciola | Brooklyn Fare Cafe Grumpy | Capizzi | Casellula | Cellar 53 | Chai Thai | Chez Josephine Chimichurri Grill | CitiBike | Club Pilates | Coffee Pot | Corvo | Crunch | Cyc 45 | Danji | Dell’anima | Delphinium Home | Der Krung | Distillery | Domus Don Giovanni | El Centro | Empanada Mama | Empire Coffee & Tea | Equinox Esca | Etcetera Etcetera | Fine & Dandy | Flaming Saddles | Fresh From Hell Friedman’s | Frisson Espresso | Galaxy Diner | Giardino 54 | Gossip Gotham West Market | Gregory’s | Ground Central | Gyu-Kaku | Hell’s Chicken Hell’s Kitchen | Hibernia | Hold Fast | Hourglass Tavern | Housing Works Hudson River Park | Il Baretto | Il Melograno | Ippudo | Joe Allen | K Rico Steakhouse | Kahve | Kashkaval Garden | Kilo | Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns La Bergamote | La Vela | Landmark Tavern | Lansdowne Road | Le Prive Lifetime Sky | Little Pie Company | Madman Espresso | Mama Mia | SW 44 Manhattan Plaza Health Club | Mark Fisher Fitness | Marseille | Masseria Meatball Shop | Medi | Meme | Mercedes Club | Meske Ethiopian | Method Japanese Kitchen | Mid City Gym | Mom’s Kitchen and Bar | Mont Blanc 52 Ñaño | New York Health And Racquets Club | New York Sports Club | Nizza November 19 | Obao | Orangetheory | Oslo coffee shop | Ousia | Pam’s Real Thai Food | Patzeria Family and Friends | Pio Pio | Planet Fitness | Pocket Bar PS Kitchen | Pure Ktchn | Pure Thai Cookhouse | Qi Thai | Queen of Sheba | Rex Rise | Rolates Pilates | Romeo & Juliet | Room Service | Row House | Rudy’s | Rustic Table Schmackary’s | Sonic Yoga | SoulCycle | Spoiled Brats | St Kilda Coffee | Stiles Sullivan Street Bakery | Sunac | Taboon | Tacuba | Taladwat | Taqueria Diana Tavola | The Coffee Pot | The Harrow | The Jolly Goat | The Marshal | Theater Row Diner Tim Ho Wan | Title Boxing | Totto Ramen | Tulcingo Del Valle | Turco | Turkish Cuisine UT47 | Vanilla Gorilla | Veritas Studio Wines | Vice Versa | Viv Thai | West Bank Cafe Westerly Market | Westside Steakhouse | Westville | Westway Diner | Wondee Siam DIGITAL EDITION

The votes are in – are you ready to discover the Best of Hell’s Kitchen 2020?


he Oscars have nothing on this! We asked you to vote for your favorite places in Hell’s Kitchen and you did. With bells on. More than 140 bars, 280 places to eat, 80 different places to work out, 90 coffee shops, and 130+ retail stores all got a mention. OK, so Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts proved super popular (you said: “Don’t judge me,” but we do – we really do!). Big brands like Nordstrom, Macy’s, Kiehl’s, H&M, TJ Maxx, Target, Zara, and Amazon also featured heavily in the retail votes. But independents came out strong and fighting. And, speaking of strong, when it came to working out, perhaps surprisingly, most of you voted for in-home fitness or your building gym. Central Park, cycling, and walking also scored big. All the votes have been counted, checked, and checked again, and these are the finalists (right), in alphabetical order. You’ll be able to spot over 200 nominated places thanks to a bright yellow sticker in their window. The winners will be announced in April’s Best of 2020 issue. We asked you why you love W42ST, and you gave us the love we so desperately needed (we’re only human, after all). “How many neighborhoods have their own high-quality, beautiful magazine that’s chock full of resources?” said Leslie Woodruff. “W42ST is an integral part of what makes HK so special. It enhances our lives and makes this crazy city feel like a tight-knit community.” “It brings our community together in such a fabulous way,” said Sarah Stevens, from MCC Theater. “Our partnership with them has been instrumental to our move to the neighborhood.” “I love being a part of the Hell’s Kitchen community,” said Nico Leeper, “and it makes me feel closer to that community.” And Aaron Hock, from Ensemble Studio Theatre said: “It gives me a true sense of community in this wild,

enormous city. It makes NYC feel like home, and it makes Hell’s Kitchen feel like my cul-de-sac.” We also asked why you love Hell’s Kitchen, and your answers just confirmed how lucky we are to live in this incredible neighborhood. Christopher Mullen loves “walking past Botanica on W54th St, chatting with other dog owners on the street, seeing diversity and hearing a million different languages, eating up and down 9th Ave, enjoying a great foreign flick at Landmark 57, and getting dog tips from AKC.” “I love the bodega cat, Tiger, on W56th St,” said Jacquelyn Walsh, “and all the doggies in the hood. Shoutout to the lady at the laundromat, Washland, who jiggles a knife in the coin slot to get my laundry moving (and risks electrocution for my clean clothes).” Alexandra Castellano is all about the local color, including “the Hell’s kitchen ninja practicing his balancing act, swinging nunchucks, and selling wares on 10th Ave – a true gem that reminds me of the old neighborhood.” And shout out to the gayborhood from Steven Avila, who said: “As a gay man, I love that I not only have community here in HK, but I see it all around me. Returning from the holidays was refreshing in that I was gone for a week and did not interact with another gay person, and upon my arrival to HK, I saw couples everywhere holding hands. It makes a world of difference.” There will be even more special mentions next month. But before then, we have one more category we’d like you to vote for: your Hell’s Hero – someone who deserves a shout out. Maybe they’re your dog walker, or your bodega server; a bartender, dry cleaner, teacher, or friend. Nominate them, and tell us why they’re your hero. The best entries will have a chance to come to our red carpet awards ceremony. w42st.com/hellshero


FINALISTS BARS • Ardesia Wine Bar • As Is • Back Pocket Bar • Bettibar • Flaming Saddles

• Hibernia • Hold Fast • Pocket Bar • Rise • Rudy’s

PLACES TO EAT • 44 & X • Añejo • Arriba Arriba • B Squared • El Centro

• Empanada Mama • Hell’s Kitchen • Hourglass Tavern

• Hold Fast • Marseille • Meme • Taboon • The Harrow

PLACES TO WORK OUT • Crunch • Equinox • Hudson River Park • Lifetime Sky

• Manhattan Plaza Health Club • Mark Fisher Fitness

• Mercedes Club • New York Sports Club • Planet Fitness

COFFEE SHOPS • Amy’s Bread • Bird & Branch • Empire Coffee & Tea • Kahve

• Rex • Romeo & Juliet • The Jolly Goat • UT47

RETAIL STORES • Delphinium Home • Domus • Fine & Dandy • Housing Works

• November 19 • Veritas Studio Wines • Westerly Market




Inside the magical, rhythmic world of the Freestyle Love Supreme Academy Words Elizabeth Durand Streisand Illustration Victoria Black 38



an you remember life before Hamilton? Would you even want to? ICYMI, Freestyle Love Supreme is a hip hop, improv, comedy musical co-created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Anthony Veneziale. The show, which predated both In the Heights and Hamilton, recently completed a Broadway run (which required audience members to surrender their cell phones during performances – the ultimate sacrifice). But more importantly, since 2018, Freestyle Love Supreme Academy has been giving people from all walks of life the opportunity to take their passion for storytelling to a whole new level. The academy began as a series of workshops, co-founder Andrew Bancroft (who is also a member of FLS proper) reveals. “In recent years, I facilitated a number of freestyle workshops with the other co-founders, Anthony Veneziale and Chris Sullivan. The experiences continued to get deeper and more enlightening for both us and the participants. Whether the students were high schoolers, teachers, performers, or people who had never been on stage, we were always benefiting from creating a safe space to do something fun and vulnerable. The learning moments were so rich that we said, ‘Heyyy, we should do this all the time.’ And the FLS Academy was born.” So how does it work exactly? “In our introductory eight-week class, Foundations of Freestyle, we dive into a different topic each week. We cover subjects such as beatboxing, improv skills, and rhyming, and the majority of every class is hands-on activity. Most importantly, we work every week on building trust and creating a supportive environment,” Bancroft says.

OUT And it seems they succeed. Student Shamarah Hernandez says: “Have you ever noticed how popcorn pops? It’s a gradual building of energy. At first, one kernel pops up at a time. Then two at a time, then four or six kernels. Then all you can hear is a chorus of pops with no pauses. I feel like our classes are like this, too. First, a couple of students, a couple of lines or jokes, will ‘pop’ in class and they make everyone smile. Then those pops lead to more and more pops, until our whole class is brimming with bravery, energy, and bold, truthful comedy. But – and this is important – instead of heat or pressure, the constant forces that encourage those first pops are support and acceptance. We start off saying, ‘You’re already great at this, we only get better. We’re better because you’re a part of the group. You never have to rhyme even once in this class to be a success.’ And this inspires us. This creates the ideal environment for our talent, creativity, and group support to pop.” Bancroft adds that no two students are alike, and range in age from 18-75 (11 if you include the youth camp). They’ve seen “people from all walks of life. We teach improv performers, musicians, and hip hop heads, but also people who have never performed on stage, including teachers, dentists, rabbis, and neuroscientists. Diverse classes are

“Have you ever noticed how popcorn pops? It’s a gradual building of energy. At first, one kernel pops ... then all you can hear is a chorus of pops.”

much stronger and more interesting, allowing us to share a unique blend of stories and sounds. Hip hop and improv are also often male-dominated spaces, so we strive to make every class at least 50% female-identifying.” Hernandez also notes that the lessons she’s learned apply far beyond the stage. Pressed to name her biggest lesson, she says there is one she will carry with her the closest. “We can aspire to be more than vibrant performers, but encouragers of performers. More than strong employees, but encouragers of our colleagues. Not just stellar on our own, but we make the team stronger by encouraging our team. That way, we’re all vibrant.” Speaking of vibrant, Hernandez shares her ultimate career goal: “My goal is to be a multi-platform speaker, writer, performer, and businesswoman á la Oprah. FLS Academy provided the confidence to say that sentence aloud without apologizing or rationalizing.” Teaching women to stop apologizing for … um … everything?! Please sign us up! “We’re exploring a vulnerable and often scary art form, so a huge part of our adventure is figuring out how to deal with discomfort,” Bancroft explains. “If we can take some of that fear of the unknown and turn it into excitement for the unknown, we’re doing our job.” freestylelovesupreme.com


Elizabeth Durand Streisand is the CEO of Broadway Roulette, the fun and easy way to see Broadway shows. Pick a date and number of tickets, give some info about what you like (and don’t!), and spin the wheel for a surprise show matching your criteria – all for just $49/ ticket weekdays and $59/ ticket weekends. And now you can add a brunch or dinner reservation to your spin! broadwayroulette.com



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A Pineapple’s

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Manhattan Plaza Health Club, W43rd St - 8th/9th Ave This is the perfect place to relieve our stress #acouplethatworksouttogetherstaystogether. My husband and I recently signed up for the membership and we’re loving all the amenities, especially the new turfed training zone. I have yet to try the rock climbing gym.


Nam’s Nail Spa, W46th St -9th/10th Ave A mani/pedi with a glass of red wine and good company. What I love about Nam’s is that the work culture she’s created resonates with the quality of service for us customers. I always have a great time chatting with other customers and staff. Don’t be surprised if you get a Christmas gift from Nam herself.


Thai Noodle House, 9th Ave - 52nd/53rd St Everything on the menu is delicious. My go-to is tofu pad thai, chicken massaman curry, and pad kra pow chicken Thai style. My all-time favorite appetizer is the cat fish with mango salad on top, to die for. I’m salivating as I write this.


Pio Pio, 10th Ave -43rd/44th St You know you go to a restaurant too much when the waiters and bar tenders call you Pina! When friends heard that I was moving to HK, Pio Pio was on top of the list of must-try’s. They have a reputation for having one of the best (the best in my opinion) sangrias in NYC. It’s perfect for a date night, with delicious Peruvian food. It’s all about their lomo saltado and matador combo.


Schmackary’s, W45th St - 9th Ave You haven’t truly experienced HK without having a cookie from Schmackary’s. My husband is a cookie monster (he calls himself a connoisseur), it’s a mandatory pit stop, no matter what time of the day. They might as well just take all my money. Every month they feature a different flavor of cookie and, when I’m not in the mood for a cookie, I get their Rice Krispies treats. Mary Jane Livingston is a registered dental hygienist, educator, and humanitarian by day and content creator/ influencer by night. Born and raised in Hawaii, MJ moved to NYC four years ago … hence Pineapple in the Big Apple. Hell’s Kitchen was always her favorite neighborhood to visit when she and her husband were living uptown. So when they had the chance to move downtown, HK was a no brainer. They love the food and bar scene – and especially their neighbors. @pineappleinthebigapple



GIVE IT TO MIKEY! Our relationship with food is a joke, says Michael Muñoz – and delivers his first stand up routine to prove it Photograph Kristin Camping





ver hear that joke that goes: “Why did Eve eat the forbidden apple? Because it tasted better than Adam’s banana!” Or how about the one that goes: “Two potatoes are standing on the corner. How do you tell which one is the prostitute? The one that says IDAHO!” My relationship with food – much like these so-bad-they’re-good jokes – has always been funny. From fad diets to living off dollar pizza for a couple of weeks, and even stress eating – let me tell you, I’ve run the gamut! Why do we do it to ourselves? My name is Michael, but my dad wanted me to be named Mark Anthony. When you have an older brother named Cesar, that’s not an option for obvious reasons, so my mom chose to name me after the kid in the Life commercial. You remember? “Give it to Mikey! Mikey will eat it … he’ll eat anything!” Boy, if we only knew then how that statement would become a life mantra, maybe we would’ve thought it through a bit more. When I was growing up, there used to be a commercial “1-800-BE-A-STAR!” My mom loves to tell this story because young, husky, unknowingly very gay Michael wanted to be a star. I mean REALLY wanted it! I’d run around wearing a blanket as a cape and singing Paula Abdul’s ‘Rush Rush’ with a grand level of intensity. The commercial came on one afternoon and I made my final plea, sobbing to my mother to please call. Her response was that she would call, but child stars are on special diets and exercise. There I was thinking to myself, is that all? I got this. Not two hours later, little “Mikey will

“Did you know cornflakes were invented as a healthy, bland diet to stop us masturbating?”

eat it” was begging for Oreos. When my mom asked about my new diet, I replied with my best ALF imitation: “I’ll start my diet tomorrow!” It’s a thing within certain cultures – one of them being Latin – that speaking candidly about people’s weight is not inappropriate. “You need to eat, you’re too skinny!” ”Your clothes are looking a little tight.” Nothing is off-limits. Don’t ask me why, but if I had to guess, I think there’s a certain level of comfort when you’re around “your people.” We’re all just family joking around. My paternal grandmother used to say to chubby little me, in Spanish, that if I kept eating the way I was, I’d get so fat I wouldn’t be able to find my penis! First of all, what did she know about my penis? And secondly, want to get a boy/ man to really think about weight loss? Mention never seeing their penis again and see how fast they’re buying Slim Fast by the case! Don’t fret. I found it funny then and I still find it funny now. But if you think


Above: Little Mikey will eat anything!

about the larger picture (pun intended), society’s obsession with weight gain and loss really messes with our heads. Did you know cornflakes were invented as a healthy, bland diet to stop us masturbating? Or how about the diet pill from the early 1980s that was named Ayds? Yes, AYDS … not to be confused with Acquired-Immune Deficiency, which was taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the same time. If this doesn’t clue you in to how f****d up we are when it comes to our relationship with food, I don’t know what will. What is wrong with us, people? I never really thought about my weight or exercise until I was a young adult and came out of the closet. Gay men can be vicious when it comes to vanity, honey – you learn that really quick. I was working at Old Navy and thought it was time I acquired some abs. With no knowledge of how to diet, or what that even meant, I went on an all-fruit diet. I was convinced I’d get snatched just by eating fruit all day long. I’ll tell you, I barely lasted a day before I had a slice of pizza in my hand. Since then I’ve been gluten-free, Paleo, on Weight Watchers, and vegan. I’ve tried intermittent fasting and juicing (but not all at the same time). Most recently, a friend and I were discussing the Keto diet on my podcast and he admitted that he was once on Olestra pills. Remember Olestra? It came, most memorably, in the form of potato chips, and if you ate a bag and were nowhere near a bathroom, you were going to poop your pants. It was almost guaranteed. The takeaway from this little attempt at stand-up is that, if we can’t find the humor in our crazy relationship with food, how are we going to cope with society’s pressure to look a certain way. It’s like that joke: “What did the hurricane say to the coconut tree? Hold on to your nuts, this is no ordinary blow job!”


A home-trained cook and university trained performer, Michael makes food fun and accessible through his blog, The Kitchen Gaily. And things get downright saucy in his podcast In Yo Mouth.


Hey neighbor! Join the W42ST community and unlock news, events, the best happy hours in the hood, and weekly giveaways Celebrating 11 Years In Business! Celebrating 11 Years In Business!

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Curated by Joyce Siegel & Jonathan Rider


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An crooner’s



Chez Josephine W42nd St - 9th/Dyer Ave

I love this restaurant because it really feels like you’re stepping out of Manhattan and into a European bistro. It has a beautiful ambience, celebrating the great Josephine Baker, great food, and features live music every night and at Sunday brunch. It may be just steps from Times Square, but you’ll feel like you’ve crossed the Atlantic.

The Landmark at 57 West W57th St - 12th Ave

If you haven’t made the journey west to this movie theater, which opened in 2017, you should. It is the most civil moviegoing experience I’ve ever had, with eight beautiful theaters of varying sizes, a warm and attentive staff, plenty of delicious concessions, and a lovely bar. Programming usually includes one or two mainstream films alongside a great selection of indie and foreign titles.

Joe Allen W46th St - 8th/9th Ave

Entering Joe Allen is like stepping into Broadway history. It opened 55 years ago and has seen every Broadway legend walk through its door since. The walls are lined with fabulous window cards from many of Broadway’s famous flop shows, both old and new. Great staff, great food, and the ghosts of Broadway – who could ask for anything more?

Schmackary’s 45th St and 9th Ave

For a post-show sweet treat, this is always my go-to spot. My usual favorite is the classic funfetti cookie, but I also love to try new flavors, which they rotate all the time. If you want something other than a cookie (I guess that’s a thing?) they also have dessert bars, coffees, milkshakes, and more.

The Green Room 42 10th Ave - 41st/42nd St

This is my club. I made my solo nightclub debut here in 2018 and have not left. The roster of talent that plays here is incredible, from Donna McKechnie to Leslie Jordan, and Adam Pascal to Kathleen Turner. Plus, there’s no food and drink minimum (but you’ll want to eat anyway because the food is great, especially the flatbreads).



Steve Lawrence - Portrait of My Love Beth Leavel - The Lady’s Improving (from The Prom) Peter Allen - I Couldn’t Have Done It Without You Angela Lansbury - If He Walked Into My Life (from Mame) Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are Mark William won the BroadwayWorld Award for Best Debut Show and Best Independent Recording for Come Croon With Me, and Broadway Radio called it “Album of the Year.” He has performed across NYC and around the world with stars including Robyn Hurder, Susan Anton, and Leslie Uggams. Following five sold-out engagements at The Green Room 42, he will return to their stage on March 6. Follow him at @markwilliamnyc.


Being on stage as a kid at The Washington Ballet, I watched professional dancers speaking different languages, kissing 2 or 3 times on the cheeks, smoking cigarettes and complaining...they were fabulous. I wanted that life.� GAREN SCRIBNER





EAT extraordinarily delicious, while the crust is just OK. But, oh gosh, the lemon meringue is fresh, fresh, fresh – always! If you don't have time to make one or get one at a local pie shop, it’s a good, solid, dependable back-up. (I believe these same pies are available on Peapod.) There are other tasty bakery department options too, including challah bread and brownies.

Fly-By pie As his national pie tour continues, Clayton Howe finds a busy schedule calls for a back-up plan


his has been a whirlwind of a tour. I can’t believe we’re already in March and, given our current hectic schedule, there is little time to explore anything more than the local grocery stores for necessities. Since last month, I’ve been to Ottawa, Kitchner, Burlington, Portland, Roanoke, Daytona, Lakeland, Sarasota, Pensacola, Athens, and Norfolk. However, pies can’t be neglected. So here’s my top three (from my favorite grocery stores).

Publix is primarily an east coast supermarket, from Virginia to Florida, where I sampled the pecan pie. Its flavor was adequate and the crust is nothing to write home about. However, the cakes are next level delicious! There’s a terrific variety of product options – not to mention the Pub Sub, a must-try if you ever visit. Stop and Shop is a staple of the north-east, found in New England, New York, and New Jersey. The pecan pie is




Clayton Howe is the creator and host of Entertainment(x) and currently on tour as Earl through the US and Canada in Waitress.

While on the topic of grocery stores in the metropolitan area, I have to lament the recent news about Fairway's potential closing and, by publication date, it may have already shuttered its doors. Fairway's closing would be a huge loss. Its meat and seafood departments are extraordinary, its bakery options second to none, and the cheesecake is da-bomb – delicious, creamy, dense, and fresh. To me, the flavor is slightly better when slicing the whole thing, but if that’s too much cake for you, go for the prepacked slices. What is a cheesecake anyway? Yes, I’m revisiting a centuries-old debate. Some chefs classify it as a cake; others say it's a pie. And, in certain discussions, it's classified as a tart. It has a crust, a custard filling, and can have fruit on top. Pie, by definition, typically has a crust on top and bottom, but that then eliminates banana cream and chocolate cream, among many others. And, where does Boston cream pie fall? Clearly, it's a cake by any definition. You decide the cheesecake debate for yourself – for a limited time only at Fairway. Luckily, at our sit-down in Norfolk, Virginia, I had a chance to stop by The Rustic Tart, to indulge in the flourless PieCasso (half pie/half cake) – and was in love! With almond and meringue crust, dense flourless chocolate cake, Julia Child (whom we all adore) inspired chocolate mousse and marshmallow butter cream, I was in heaven. I highly recommend this place to anyone passing through Norfolk.



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The rain may fall, but that never stops the lights of Times Square from shining (or the tourists from coming). PHOTOGRAPHS NATE BOZEMAN





LIVING The art of Sundance Clairance tells a story about where he’s been – and where he’s going Interview Ruth Walker Photographs Cid Roberts


hen Sundance Clairance graduated college and got his first job with the fashion brand Burberry, he celebrated by buying a Louis Vuitton monogram duffel bag. A classic. That bag went everywhere with him. Ibiza, Paris, Berlin. Man, if it could talk, he jokes … Look carefully at his latest work – large and small-scale pieces that combine elements of graffiti, collage, stencils, and iconography – and you’ll spot those tell-tale LV initials incorporated into the art; that old bag and its colorful history have been carefully cut up and repurposed – to make a larger-than-life statement about where he’s been … and where he’s going. Born in Harlem, Sundance spent much of his childhood skateboarding around Hell’s Kitchen and the Garment District (his mother worked in the sewing factories; his father was a naval engineer, who was also an expert and taking things apart and putting them together again). He describes the neighborhood then as “deconstructed construction.” “It was like inside out of what we see now,” he says. “It was grungy. There was a lot of drugs and alcohol, a lot of violence, but it had an element of surprise. It’s like you didn’t know when you went out whether you were going to get robbed or have a great night! You could go out with five cents in your pocket and not come home for days.”



LIVING Previous page: The downstairs games room/den. This page (from top): Sundance with a familiar face; the upstairs openplan living space.

But hang on – how did a kid, skateboarding around Hell’s Kitchen and selling art on pizza boxes, know about the famous art college whose alumni include John Galliano, Stella McCartney, and Alexander McQueen? “It came from my mother and my aunts working in the fashion industry,” he explains, “all these English and Australian and European designers walking in there and talking to them. They were like, ‘You need to come to London. You need to come to Spain. You need to develop your art.’” And he adored Europe. In fact, his retirement plan includes going back to London to open up a fish and chip shop somewhere near Savile Row. His secret ingredient? Old Bay seasoning. “They don’t season their fish!” he says, outraged. “I want to open up a little shop. It’s going to be cod – top cod – seasoned in Old Bay and deep fried.” While in London, he’d use every opportunity he could to travel. “I’d leave for the weekend. Instead of coming back to New York, I’d go to Paris or Spain.




He was a sharp-dressed man, even back then. Put together. “I was always in my uniform, which was khakis, polo, hair wild. There was no pants sagging. At all. My style has always been proper. “You could not leave the house looking a wreck,” he says. “We were representing the family. I also think my father wanted to minimize what he saw as police brutality.” Meaning, if Sundance was dressed properly – particularly late at night (but not too late – curfew was midnight. “My grandmother said, ‘Nothing good happens after 2am’) – he was less likely to be stopped by the police. He and his friends would make art from found objects – “cardboard, pizza boxes ... it wasn’t art store canvas, it was found canvases, thrown out chairs, pieces of wood” – and sell them down on Prince Street. They’d use the money they made to buy more art materials and be back the next week, and the next … “Then when I got accepted to Central St Martins in London, it changed the whole perspective.”


London was my portal to the rest of the world. Summers in Ibiza. Oh, Berlin, Paris, Lyon, Nice, Prague. I mean, I’m on my third passport! Australia, New Zealand, Copenhagen, Aarhus, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Argentina. I went all over.” After graduating, he worked as a pattern maker for brands like Burberry, DVF, Tory Burch. “My whole thing was progressing, learning more; getting closer to presidents and CEOs and billionaires; listening to the way they talk; seeing how they vacation. Because

Above: A large-scale Keith Haring-inspired piece in the bedroom.

that’s where the color and where the creativity come from. It does not come from going in the office every day and running a team and doing all that. It comes from the relaxation and where you’ve been for that weekend or that week or that month.” His goal? To be the best. But he soon realized that, no matter how good he was, no one was going to let him run their company. If he wanted ultimate creative freedom, he had to be his own boss. “I was getting checks that I wasn’t even able to spend – that’s how hard I was working. But it’s complacent. It’s ridiculous – and it doesn’t make you creative. I wanted to paint.” Which is what he now does. But with a twist. He treats his art much like fashion, with spring, summer, fall, and winter collections, each with a distinct feel, and vibe, and color palette. Spring summer 2020 is “surfboards, boats, yachts, private jet, beach comfort – like a lifeguard stand with waves in the background. And it’s regal. Gold. Baby blues. Mauve. Light purples. Sunsets. Palm trees. That’s what 2020 is about.” And, always present, that hint of designer opulence. Studs. Swarovski crystals. That unmistakable Louis Vuitton canvas. And a background wallpaper of other designer names. Fendi. Gucci. Prada. “Growing up in New York,” he says, “my mother used to send me to the city to get her Chanel No 5 powder and perfume. She trusted me with 200 bucks. I think I was like seven, eight years old. “The funny thing was bringing it back home. No one would mess with me or think it was expensive because none of them knew what Chanel was. Me carrying the Chanel bag was like, ‘What the hell is this Sha-Nell shit?’” His work – in fashion and art – has brought him into the orbit of people like Cher and Lady Gaga, Liza Minnelli, Mel Torme, Jay Z, J Cole, and Kanye. But there’s an edge to his version of luxury. “I still had to get on a dirty ass train and go through rude people in a confined environment to get this beauty, this Chanel perfume. It was like


Lord of the Rings or something,” he laughs. In street style, he doesn’t sign the front of his paintings, but tags them instead, with the tally number five. “If you were secluded on an island and you were counting down the days – one, two, three, four, and cross it out, that’s five days. Five. That’s how many people were in my family. Five has always been my favorite number. “I think it’s extremely arrogant at times where people sign their names in the front of the painting. I sign the back. I tag the front. It’s like street art.” He still indulges in a spot of street art himself, though he’s concerned about the effect of aerosols on the environment. “I want to transition a little bit more into air brushing. That’s a lot more environmentally friendly. But I’m never going to give up my spray paint. I’ll go and put on a mask and a hoodie and go tag something tonight if I wanted to.” And, following a chance encounter on W37th St, he’s been collaborating with neighbors from The Dyksterhouse Team. Last month, a luxury apartment on W46th St - 10th/11th served as a gallery space for his latest work. In the end, he says, we all return to where we come from. For him, he’s back in Hell’s Kitchen – living on the streets where a wild-haired, sharp-dressed skater kid used to paint and play. But this time, he doesn’t need to rely on pizza boxes. @sundanceclairance

THE SPECS 517 W46th St #106 Large duplex - 1,220 sq ft Two bedrooms Two bathrooms Doorman Private outdoor patio (276 sq ft) Laundry room in unit $1.495m The Dyksterhouse Team 917-757-1142 thedyksterhouseteam.com




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LIVING My budget: I wanted to keep it under $4k, but was able to keep it under $3k, so that was a bonus.


neighbor! With three weeks to find an apartment, David learned the hard way: be fast, and be prepared

David Drachman

Profession: Director of trade marketing for L’Oreal Professionnel. I’ve worked in the field for L’Oreal for the past five years, so I jumped at the chance to move to NYC and work from Hudson Yards.


Moving from: I moved here from Chicago, but before that I’ve lived in LA, Seattle, Denver, Charlotte, and my hometown of Philly. To: An apartment on W47th St - 10th Ave – close enough to absolutely everywhere, but still on a pretty quiet street. I f**king love it! It has my two favorite qualities in an apartment: lots of closets and lots of brick. It’s a shot-gun style, pre-war, onebedroom, second-floor walkup, with large,

Above: Brick walls, closet space ... and about 1,000 bars. Welcome to Hell’s Kitchen, David.

seated windows that face Hell’s Kitchen Park and provide lots of natural light. The apartment has a wall length of closets in the main room, and the bedroom has a set of white French doors that I love. Why Hell’s Kitchen: Being new to the city, and not knowing a lot of people (and with just three weeks to find a place), it was important to me that I lived somewhere I could meet friends, and where I would have no excuse to not go out. I also wanted to be able to walk to work. I briefly looked at apartments in Hudson Yards and Chelsea, but that changed as soon as I started to look in HK. There’s an energy here that is 100% New York. There’s a great scene here, and about 1,000 good bars and restaurants. My goal is to hit them all, one drink at a time.


Lessons I learned along the way: Come prepared. My first weekend, I brought my checkbook and figured I’d pounce on something if I loved it. I went to open houses and searched online, then show up, look at an apartment with 30 other people, only to find out that the apartment was already rented. When I left empty handed, New York had officially kicked my ass. When I came back, I had a broker and about ten folders with letters, bank statements, tax returns, etc. I was determined this time. After two days, I found this place on StreetEasy – it had only been listed for 12 minutes. As soon as I walked in, I knew I wanted it. The broker for the building gave me the whole spiel about “I’ll take it off the market for the first person to Venmo a deposit.” He hadn’t even finished his sentence and I’d sent him money. I wasn’t going to lose this one. I’d learned the hard way! On my check list: Location was number one. Closet space was number two. I also wanted something that had character. What sealed the deal: The brick wall and the closet wall made this a no-brainer. My favorite thing about living in Hell’s Kitchen: Lots and lots of options, from classy to depraved. I love Broadway Mondays at Hardware, brunch at Taboon, and just being able to walk anywhere. Everyone I’ve met has been fabulous. This really feels like a community – a crazy community, but a close community.

VITAL STATS Where: W47th St - 10th Ave # stories: Five # units: 15 Built: 1901 Amenities: Absolutely none – but I love it anyway. Pet-friendly? Only for those grandfathered in.


LIVING An excellent vintage

Shine bright

Ikea glasses might be cheap, but they don’t look as classy on your bar cart as these beauties. Inspired by vintage designs, each glass has been hand blown and hand engraved with a classic oval design. $122 (for a set of six), wolfandbadger.com

Dutch designer Lara van der Lugt intended the angles on this carafe to resemble the cut of a diamond. Made from mouth-blown crystal, it works with rare Bordeaux wine, ice tea … or that bunch of $10 blooms from the bodega. $45, store.moma.org


Cart happy

No self-respecting home should be without a bar cart. Seriously. This one – with two oval, mirrored shelves and geometric detail – is just the right side of chic. And the removable wheels mean you can park it right by the sofa when you never want to be too far from your next martini. $187.99, allmodern.com

PARTY STARTED Dry January is far behind us, spring is in sight … could be time for a cocktail Get jigger with it

We all love an open pour. But the subtlety of your cocktail is lost when you get lazy with the measurements. Drink sensibly, friends, with one ounce or two of the liquor of choice. $7.95, cb2.com

Purple reign

One word: gorgeous. This vintage, amethyst glass water pitcher was made by Blenko in the 1980s, and looks just as good (possibly better) than it did back in the day. $150, thehourshop.com



LIVING Get busy with the fizzy Amber nectar One for the designated driver? You can imagine this is an old fashioned. Just add ice and a slice of orange rind. $18, abchome.com

Sadly, these babies no longer dispense sparking water. But they look exceptionally beautiful perched on your bar cart. Original seltzer bottles from pre-1940s Argentina (the neck of each bottle is stamped with the date), they’ll be a conversation starter, even if you have to go get your fizz from the fridge. From $188, food52.com

We’re not mad

If cocktail shakers were men, this one would be Don Draper (in a Century 21 suit). That’s because, while that crosshatch cut glass LOOKS like real crystal, the price point hits the spot. Who’s for a Manhattan? $19.95, crateandbarrel. com

The whole kit and caboodle

It’s all here. Shaker, jigger, muddler, mixing spoon, strainer, two pourers, ice tongs, bottle opener, and corkscrew – everything you need to get the party started. $67.99, mixologyandcraft.com

Don’t be bitter

Every mixologist knows that bitters will take your cocktails to nextlevel greatness (they may also tell you that they can help with your hangover - BONUS!). This magnificent set features eight flavors, including celery, habanero, grapefruit, and mole. $144.99, kegworks.com


It’s magic

When your cocktails call for a little smokiness, make an impression with this stylishly smart kit. Inclues carafe, stopper, and 10 wood smoking pellets to create a fabulously sexy little something in seconds. $79.99, truebrands.com



#W42ST Hashtag your Instagram pics and they could star in the mag!

The future's so bright, even the dogs are wearing shades. And, hold on a sec ... is that ... Jimmy Fallon at The Gaf with our favorite Jeopardy champ? Just an average day in Hell's Kitchen, friends. And did you know that anyone can be featured on these pages? Just tag your images #W42ST and you could be the one whose photograph ends up in the next issue.












Three game-changing life secrets Kyle Post learned on his way to Broadway drag realness Photograph Cid Roberts

efore we start, I need you of three, I pop the gum in my mouth and to get a very clear mental start chomping for the gods. I happily picture of the life coach chomp through the first section, creating who is writing this. I’m a fun, ditzy character on the spot. a grown man, make-up When it comes to the pirouettecovering my face, shirtless, in a pair of cartwheel-splits trifecta from hell … I flesh-toned tights, looking like a strange stand in the dead center of the room, pull version of a naked Barbie doll. the gum out of my mouth and twist it So how did I get here, and why the around my fingers squawking: “Wooooork hell am I writing in this state? Very giiiiirl,” as I watch the other two dancers good questions, friend. The answer is: successfully nail the bit I couldn’t dream I discovered some secrets of life in my of doing. journey to this place and I’m here to share I finish the audition and turn to my them with you. friend with a grin and say: “I’m either First, let’s back up a few years. going to book this, or never work in this There I am, a very non-dancer, in an town again.” audition room full of Broadway’s best Little did I know, that decision not to male dancers, all vying for six coveted quit and decide to have fun would land roles in a highly hyped show coming me a role as an original Angel in Kinky to Broadway. The Tony Boots on Broadway. Award-winning director/ The moment I realized I choreographer shows us had a choice which voice “I finish the the dance combination. to empower is what audition and turn to The first bit I can inspired me to become my friend with a grin totally do. “Whew, I a trained life coach. My and say: ‘I’m either going got this. Maybe I won’t goal is to help people to book this, or never blow it like I do most quiet the vampire work in this town dance calls.” voices, empower again.’” Then … then comes their inner badass, and a double pirouette (which chomp their proverbial gum I can’t do) into a cartwheel towards living a life they adore. (which I can’t do) into the splits (which I So let’s unpack the three life secrets I DEFINITELY can’t do). learned from that audition, shall we? A lump forms in my throat, a knot grows in my stomach, and an all too HAVE FUN IN THE FACE OF FEAR familiar voice whispers in my ear: “You We show up when we grant ourselves can’t do this. You’re gonna look so stupid. permission to play. Wait. Pause the TiVo. You should just grab your bag, duck out Rewind. of the room, and go home right now.” This is a big one. Playing, having fun, I instinctively feel my hands reach for and acting like a little kid releases our my bag as my eyes search for an escape need to get it right. It opens up a new route when, out of nowhere, another voice space in our minds and bodies to explore, dials in. “Hey Kyle, you are not quitting. and that’s a big fucking deal. You can either finish this dance call, not It’s not just about physically showing look like everyone else, and HATE every up: to work, auditions, first dates, the second of it. Or you can finish this dance gym. It’s about showing up as our call, not look like everyone else, and find authentic, vulnerable, quirky, colorful, a way to have FUN.” funky, perfectly imperfect selves. I quickly grab a piece of gum. When The bigger the fear we face, the more we get called to do the dance in groups we instinctively want to shrink away


from it. But what I learned in that gumchomp moment was that finding a way to have fun in the face of fear allows us to access all the things we love about ourselves. And that shit is infectious. The confidence in showing up as your playful, authentic self is like a magnet for what you want. And it’s visible to everyone around you. Imagine something you’re facing right now that sounds daunting. What would it be like to grant yourself permission to play?




Kyle Post is the membership advisor/ unicorn’s midwife at Mark Fisher Fitness, helping to birth new baby ninjas to life at the Clubhouse (markfisherfitness.com). He’s also a certified life coach with a program called The Weirdo’s Way (kylepostcoaching.com).

One tells us we suck. Call it what you want: a saboteur, gremlin, vampire, inner critic. Mine told me I was going to look dumb so I should quit. That voice’s purpose is to keep us from rocking the boat and it will be with us until we die. The closer we get to what we really want, the louder that voice gets. The good news is – there’s another voice. Some call it their inner leader, higher voice, captain, or superhero. It’s a voice of wisdom, clarity, courage, and compassion. This voice told me: “You’re not quitting, take a risk, and show them who you really are.”

YOU CHANGE THE WORLD WHEN YOU CHANGE YOUR VOICE Choosing which voice to empower makes all the difference. We are not the voices in our heads, and the voices are not the absolute truth. They’re just voices. But when we’re aware of what they are, we have a choice which voice to listen to. The more conscious of each voice we become, the more of a weekly, daily, hourly – on a moment’s notice – choice we have over which voice to give power to. What do you want in life? What are the voices in your head saying about that desire? Which voice will empower you the most? And what difference would it make to add some fun and play along the way?


Wearable Art at The Matasso Store

The Matasso collection for purchase now at redbubble.com https://tinyurl.com/matasso






If laughter is the best medicine, says Kristen Jongen, perhaps it can help heal our world

hat guy really smoked my banana,” 85-yearold Gladys lamented. I looked at the receiver of my phone, startled. Had I misheard her? Gladys had a fantastic Cajun accent. We met in recovery. She asked me to help her, and had been cracking me up since. “He smoked your banana, eh, Gladys?” I asked, snickering. “Yer dang right,” my protege said. Gladys is a lady who is so loopy that one might assume she is insane ... that is, until she circles back to make her point and blows your feeble mind. “I know, Ms Kristen, that my ego is whackadilly because I haven’t been a-meditatin.” The profundity of her self-awareness leaves me speechless. It is her sense of humor, however, that binds us. I love a good laugh. I come from a family of wily cacklers. When my mother is on a roll, she has me gasping for air. My dad is the dryest, comedic CPA in the Midwest. I love giggling so much that (aside from requiring a modicum of integrity), most of my friendships are predicated upon it.

The English comedian John Cleese said: “I’m struck by how laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any distance, any sense of social hierarchy, when you are just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy.” A shocking discovery to many people attempting to sober up is the raucous laughter found in 12 step meetings. Since addiction is so destructive, most suffering addicts haven’t felt joy in years. The witty, self-deprecating guffaws are not relatable to someone who’s life is a blazing dumpster fire. Funny enough (see how I just did that?), recovering addicts have a salty and delicious love of levity. Laughter is like an, erm … drink in the parched desert. Research shows that it helps us to heal. According to the Mayo Clinics website, laughter can:


“I read an article years ago about a woman who claimed laughter cured her stage four cancer. I believe her.”

Stimulate your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increase the endorphins that are released by your brain. Activate and relieve your stress response.




An internationally recognized author, artist, and motivational speaker, Kristen has written and published two books. She is the voice behind

Soothe tension, stimulate circulation, and aid muscle relaxation. Improve your immune system, help fight stress, and potentially more serious illnesses. Relieve pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Increase personal satisfaction by making it easier to cope with difficult situations. Improve your mood by lessening your depression and anxiety.

Soul Soup Inc, inspirational books, prints, and greeting cards. Follow Kristen on Instagram @KristenJongen, If you’re having difficulty with drugs and alcohol, find support meetings at nyintergroup.org

I read an article years ago about a woman who claimed laughter cured her stage four cancer. I believe her. I know that things are tenuous in the world. Maybe world peace begins by stitching together one relationship at a time. Perhaps that relationship can be bridged by sharing a chuckle? I thanked Gladys for keeping it real before hanging up. She responded by saying: “Even a blind pig can stumble on an ear of corn once in a while.” I don’t know what that means, but I love her for saying it. In 2020 let’s not take ourselves so dang seriously. Keep joshing, Your friend

Kristen 63


Wagging Leopold Scout

Humans’ names: Charlie and Fiona. Age: One. Breed: Smooth Collie. What makes me bark: Michael, our doorman. Three words that describe me best: WHAT. THE. HECK. Confession: I try to eat bees.


Human’s name: Caitlin. Age: Eight years young. Breed: BoChi (Boston Terrier/Chihuahua mix). What makes me bark: The doorbell, company, and when the dog walker comes to pick me up with my posse. Three words that describe me best: Napdog, snuggle-butt, foodie. Confession: When the ‘snowpocalypse’ happens, I poop in the lobby directly in front of the building manager’s office.


Peanut Human’s name: Mark. Age: I’m six and a half years old and five pounds of pure thunder. Breed: I’m a pure bred tiny Yorkie. What makes me bark: When I need to be on the couch or the bed, both of which I can’t reach without barking to let my human know. Three words that describe me best: Adorable, clever, stylish. Confession: I love everyone and every dog I can kiss, and I have a better social life than my human.


PETS These camera-happy cuties took a time out for a quick Q&A with W42ST

Logan Dimsum Humans’ names: Matt and Johnny. Age: Three. Breed: French bulldog. What makes me bark: Being ignored. Three words that describe me best: Bouncy, attention-seeking, curious. Confession: I have horrible fear farts.

Humans’ names: Josh and Mark. Age: Seven months. Breed: Jindo and Jack Russell mix. What makes me bark: I bark when I see people in the mirror. I also howl whenever I hear sirens. Three words that describe me best: Playful, curious, and absolutely adorable. Confession: I like to sneak into the bedroom to chew on my daddies’ shoes.


Take a


So many of you have contacted us, asking how your own happy hound or cute kitty can be included in Wagging Tales. Well, we’ve heard your pleas, duly considered them, and thought, hey, what the heck, why not? (We must have been barking mad not to have thought of it sooner!) This all means, of course, that you can now send us the finest photograph you can find of your furry best friend, answer the questions below, then cross your paws you’ll be included in our monthly column of local canine (and kitty) celebrities. Your name: Pet’s name: Breed: How old? What makes your pet bark or purr? Three words that describe them best: Naughty confessions (dish the dirt – not literally, of course!): And are you an Insta-animal? Send it to waggingtales@w42st.com and we’ll do the rest.



“I’m really glad to be back in New York City, my home. Where I have so many friends, who hate me. So much family, who are disappointed in me. Where my children live, until they abandon me. That’s why New York is so great, though. Everyone you care about can despise you and you can still find a bagel so good, nothing else matters. Who needs love when you’ve got lox? They both stink, but only one tastes good.”


Midge Maisel

my Sherman-Palladino’s wildly successful period comedy drama, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, arrived on our screens exactly three years ago, in March 2017. From the opening scene, we were introduced to the impeccably dressed, wise-cracking Miriam “Midge” Maisel (played by Rachel Brosnahan). A 1950s housewife by day, she finds she has a talent for stand-up comedy, and enters the seedy world of New York’s comedy clubs by night.


The series has racked up 16 Emmys, three Golden Globes, and ShermanPalladino, who also created Gilmore Girls, is the first woman in history to win in both the comedy writing and directing categories at the Primetime Emmys. Her own father – Don Sherman – was a comedian and she has admitted basing Midge on him. “I made him a very attractive, young, 28-year-old woman — you’re welcome, Dad.” And while she originally trained as a dancer, she turned down a callback for a tour of Cats to, instead, join the


writing team on Roseanne. She says: “I write like a mental patient. I’m getting it all out. I have literally no business being in this business. I can’t spell or do grammar to save my life. I did not go to college. I thought I was going to be a dancer. I’m completely ill-equipped for this. So when I write, it’s like a furious, bulimia binge.” Whatever she’s doing, it’s working. In December, just as the third season hit our screens, Amazon announced it had commissioned a fourth. Stand by your TV sets.

Love thy neighbor...hood.

Hell’s Kitchen

Buying | Selling | Renting

Jeffrey Dyksterhouse Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker jeffreyd@compass.com 917.757.1142 TheDyksterhouseTeam



Work Here. Live Here. Play Here.

The Dyksterhouse Team is a team of real estate agents afďŹ liated with Compass. Compass is a licensed real estate broker and abides by equal housing opportunity laws.

February 28 – March 15

The drum is talking. The music is calling.

Photo: Holly Tomlin


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