This post isn’t about any one particular new activity – in fact, our calendar is pretty booked ! – but more of a reminder of all the things that are getting back into gear now that Spring is here. This is a very long post … so just scan it for things you might be interested in.
BOUFFANT BLUES – Just in case you missed it (but probably not) tonight (Sunday April 7th) is the two-hour premiere for the sixth season (the penultimate) of AMC’s MAD MEN at 9pm. As this award-winning show continues to careen through the 1960’s, we can’t wait to see the groovy fashion and hairstyles of late in the decade. You know – sideburns and mustaches on the men, extravagant and architectural up-do’s on the women, Nehru jackets and turtlenecks, lots of eye make-up and God knows what else (some of which we’ve tried to forget – it’s pretty embarrassing!). Tune in – both for the fashion and the drama.
BROOKLYN FLEA – Called the “best reason to cross the river” and “one of the great urban experiences in New York,” the Brooklyn Flea has been in operation only since 2008. ln that short time it has grown into one of New York City’s top attractions as well as an embodiment of its hipsterism and features hundreds of vendors of antique and repurposed furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles and antiques, as well as a jewelry, art, and crafts by local artisans and designers, plus delicious fresh food. It is back outdoors this week-end (and will stay outdoors until the week-end before Thanksgiving). On Saturdays, it is in Fort Greene at 176 Lafayette Avenue at Bishop Loughlin High School (nearest subway stop is the “C” at Lafayette) and on Sundays it is in Williamsburg at East River State Park and North 7th Street (nearest subway stop is the Bedford Ave “L” stop).
SMORGASBURG – This foodie event is an offshoot of the Brooklyn Flea – so many people were going to the Flea just for the food, that it morphed and expanded into its own event. Think Mile End pastrami, or Asia Dogs or artisanal versions of the NY classic Black and White cookies – this is the best of the best of the emerging NY food scene all in one spot. It’s now the place where new food stars, established restaurants and artisanal purveyors test and sell their wares – there are over 100 vendors! It’s a good idea to go with a friend (or two or three) so you can sample as many different items as possible. On Saturdays, the S’Burg is in Williamsburg at East River State Park near 7th St (nearest subway stop is the Bedford Avenue “L” stop) and on Sundays it moves to Dumbo, to the historic Tobacco Warehouse (nearest subways – York Street on the “F” and High Street on the “A” or “C” trains – check for week-end service disruptions). However, it is also great to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, head north and walk by the river – where you’ll see the Warehouse and Jane’s Carousel. If the weather is nice – this is a terrific excursion.
EPHRON-MANIA CONTINUES: The Signature Theater Company is continuing its Nora Ephron Film Festival with a screening this coming Monday night (April 8th) of her classic, “SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE” – yes, the one starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (the second of their three movies together) which is an homage to the 1957 Cary Grant-Deborah Kerr “An Affair to Remember.” Also, just like the later “You’ve Got Mail” this movie is a real Valentine to NYC – particularly appropriate because it ends on Valentine’s Day on the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building (another great place to visit, by the way – have you been?) Anyway, once again – we have been offered free tickets to this event right away and will send you a link for you to make a reservation.
HEADS UP: PAINTED ON 21ST ST – HELEN FRANKENTHALER FROM 1950-1959. We’re mentioning this here because this exhibit is only running for about another week – until April 13th – at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea (522 West 21st St; Tues-Sat 10-6). If you’re at all interested in abstract art you need to see this exhibition. And you also have to ask yourself: how it is possible that the work of this woman – truly one of the great artists of the 20th Century – is being shown in New York for the first time in fifty years? Her work, with its large-scale, vibrant colors and multiple techniques (drawing, impasto and staining) easily stands toe-to-toe (some of us think surpasses) work by her contemporaries Jackson Pollack, Willem deKooning, Arshile Gorky and Morris Louis. So go – run, don’t walk – and given Helen her due because if it takes 50 years to get an exhibition of her work together you might not be around to see the next one !
LIVING THE HEADLINES: White House Tour Update – Some of you may already know that White House tours have been suspended during the current sequestration period. All we can do is wait it out. We have contacted Sen. Gillebrand’s office to say that we just want to hold our place on the list – so we will see how this goes. We were told that depending on when (if?) sequestration ends, we may jump to the head of the line as Spring school groups have pretty much cancelled. So, we’ll keep you posted – if there is any chance that we can add people to our tour – we will send out a notice. Watch this space.
A DAY AT THE RACES: Not with the Marx Brothers, silly, but at Belmont Park, which is located on Long Island just over the city line and starts its season on Friday, April 26th and will be open until late July. (That’s when Saratoga opens). And while any day at the track is a lot of fun, you might want to go to the Belmont Stakes – the third leg of the Triple Crown (after the Derby and the Preakness) on Sunday, June 10th. But speaking of the races, don’t forget that the Kentucky Derby is the first Saturday in May, this year it’s Saturday, May 4th. Have to admit with the demise of Off-Track Betting it’s not as easy to place a bet as it used to be: but try http://www.twinspires.com (run by Churchill Downs, the track where the Derby is) or the popular Canadian gaming site, http://www.bovada.lv. If any of you know of other ways to bet, shoot us an email ! Nonetheless, short of placing an “official” wager, one can always get the Daily Racing Form, make a few mint juleps and have a betting pool among friends. This year’s Derby favorites (almost a month out) are Verrazano, Revolutionary and Shanghai Billy – but the Derby often offers up surprise long shots !
NYC BASEBALL – “FARM” TEAMS – NYC’s very popular farm teams – the Brooklyn Cyclones (the Mets) and the Staten Island Yankees (the Yankees) don’t start their seasons until mid-June, but they both have large followings and the tickets go fast so it’s a good idea to go to their websites and snag some tickets. A truly great evening is (with ticket in hand) to head out to Coney Island for a Nathan’s dog and a boardwalk stroll and then amble over to the Park. While you watch the game you’re cooled by ocean breezes and you hear the rumble of the landmark Cyclone roller-coaster in the distance along with attendant laughter and squeals. Divine.
CENTRAL PARK OVAL AT DUSK– If it’s convenient and you’re close to Central Park around dusk, try to take an early evening stroll around the Oval as darkness is beginning to settle in. In the Spring, on the West side of the Oval near the path is an amazing tree which, when in bloom, has a gorgeous swoop of flowering branches which gently cascades down over much of the path – honestly, it looks like a veil from a bride on the run. On the north side of the Oval, from early to mid-evening, there are often some amateur astronomers with some not-so-amateur telescopes set up and they let you take a peek. We just saw a stripe-y Jupiter (and four of its moons) and a be-ringed Saturn as well. And while you’re on the North side of the Oval looking South you get that only-in-the-movies view of the midtown skyline, with the lights coming up. If you exit the Park on the West Side, stop at the Park road and look south down Seventh Ave to see the sparkle and strobe lights of Times Square in the distance.
SPRING IS A SPECIAL TIME EVERYWHERE: But, hey, we’re the Manhattan Women’s Club and we think it is especially special here. What are your favorite Spring outings, customs, traditions? Respond to this post or send us an email – we’d love for everyone to know.
GRAMERCY AFTERNOON RECAP: This was a ridiculously fabulous afternoon ….maybe a little too jam-packed, but there was nothing we would have left out. From the impassioned and well-informed Parks “ranger” at the Teddy Roosevelt House, to a quick amble through Gramercy Park, to the ultra-soignee but still somehow dear formal tea at Lady Mendl’s to the private tour of The Players Club with an exceedingly amiable host and the too-long, cocktail-laden comraderie in the Grill …. really, come next time.