West Village Neighborhood & East Village Neighborhood & LES Manhattan NYC
April 2018 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Buzz NYC.
This section contains information about the neighborhoods of the West & East Village of Manhattan NYC. The Village has some of the finest restaurants, shopping and museums in New York City.
Click here to enter the West Village & East Village Neighborhoods - NYC section of the site.
The Affordable Art Fair NYC
There’s Something for Everybody at the Affordable Art Fair
The Affordable Art Fair returns to New York City this week. It opens on Wednesday, March 21st at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street in Chelsea with a private viewing from 6 to 9 pm [$80 at https://affordableartfair.com]. The Affordable Art Fair runs through this weekend, ending Sunday, March 25th at 5 pm.
The Affordable Art Fair is open from 11 am to 8 pm Friday and Saturday, and Sunday it closes at 5 pm. In addition to the Wednesday Private Preview, on Thursday there’s Art After Dark from 6 to 9 pm, which also includes a complimentary drink, and a free viewing from 6 to 8 pm Friday evening. Tickets are also free for children under 12, and cost $10 for students and seniors, $20 for adults, $30 for Art After Dark (Thursday from 6 – 9 pm) and $80 for the Private Preview (Wednesday from 6 to 8 pm).
I attended the Affordable Art Fair last year at the Metropolitan Pavilion and will include a slide show of some of the items I found at the fair, as well as photos of some of the interesting-looking people who attended. I have begun to see many of the art shows I’ve attended in recent years, to be as much performance … as art.
- CLICK here to view the rest of our story with photos of the Affordable Art Fair NYC in the Chelsea neighborhood near the West Village.
Lil Frankie's in the East Village / Bowery
Frivolous, Fun Fare in the East Village
It was Sunday, August 27th, a week before the school year was about to begin, as I made my way down to the Bowery to meet an out-of-town guest and family members for a farewell dinner. It was a nice end-of-summer evening as I came above ground in SoHo, and I had a little time so I browsed around.
I made my way up to Lil Frankie's at 19 First Avenue, only a couple doors north of Houston Street. Lil Frankies was bustling. It's a cash only restaurant that serves pizza and assorted Italian fare at affordable prices - meaning most of the appetizers and entrees run between $10 - $20 apiece.
The photo at right shows the store front of Lil Frankies on First Avenue north of Houston in the Bowery / East Village.
Thankfully we had a reservation so we didn't have to wait. The restaurant is divided into two sections, one in the open area surrounding the bar and opening out onto the street, and the other in the back room which is made not quite so claustrophobic by the use of mirrors.
We started with a plate of fried calamari which was fresh and tender. This was followed by main entrees including margherita pizza, wood roasted chicken and a pappardelle with veal ragout. I had ordered the pappardelle which was served while still hot, with the pasta cooked al dente, providing a dense, flavorful texture to accommodate the tomato based ragout sauce which surrounded the tender bits of veal.
I was told that the fresh tomatoes and authentic mozzarella, combined with the flavorful dough used in creating the margherita pizza made its out-of-town recipient one happy camper. And that the roasted chicken was moist, tender and deliciously flavored with lemon, capers and sage.
The ambiance was festive, the service was excellent, and it was a bit loud as Lil Frankie's attracts a youthful audience. And since the youthful members of our party were about to return to school, Lil Frankie's turned out to be just the right pick.
Lil Frankies is a fun, casual place to get together with family and friends.
Lower East Side Arts Festival
Theater for the New City Celebrates America's Immigrants
I attended the 22nd annual Lower East Arts Festival in the East Village this weekend. It was held at the Theater for the New City on First Avenue off 10th Street beginning Friday and ending Sunday. As I approached the theater, I could see it was bustling.
Inside there was a long winding hallway, with high ceilings, and art exhbits adorning the walls and crannies along its length. I stopped at the ticket booth [tickets are free] to get a bit of orientation and here's what I learned.
The festival was started by an actress, who was prepping, performing and managing the whole time I was there, so I didn't get a chance to speak to her on this visit. At right you can see the audience attentively watching a musical performance in the lower theater of the Theater for the New City.
The Theater for the New City predates the festival, when it went by another name. The festival itself was first held in the West Village, then moved farther east, and a few years ago opened up at this location.
The festival celebrates the artistic community of the Village, Manhattan, and the greater NYC metropolitan area. There were literally dozens of performances and exhibited artworks, done by and featuring in the neighborhood of well in excess of 100 participants. In the photo at right you can see some of the art exhibited at the 22nd Annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts in the East Village in Manhattan.
Each night the performances run from about 6 pm to about midnight featuring actors, actresses, poets, artists and dancers in a couple of venues at Theater for the New City at 155 First Avenue at 10th Street. It's first come / first serve and the seating handles about 150 and 60 guests per performance in total.
The festival theme this year was 'We are all Immigrants'. All events are free, the festival lasted three days, and the Theater for the New City is, as I was told, in a constant state of movement, so there will be more to come.
Break a leg.
5 Boro Bike Tour Rides On ...
The 5 Boro Bike Ride has Become an NYC Cultural Institution
The 5 Boro Bike Tour pedaled through the five boroughs on Sunday, for its 40th year. I have been covering the event for nearly a decade, enjoying conversations with the riders as they make their way through the streets of New York City, without having to contend with hostile traffic. It's a family-friendly event and helps fund bike safety and repair programs designed to teach children and adults how to enjoying bicycling in an urban environment.
Brief History of the 5 Boro Bike Tour NYC
The following is a summary of the 5 Boro Bike Tour history, gleaned from the Bike New York website at www.bike.nyc.
The event began in 1977, starting with a conversation between Sal Cirami of the American Youth Hostels bicycle committee and Eric Prager of the NYC Board of Education. Sal was interested in creating more bicycle-friendly streets, while Prager had been asked to develop a bicyle safety program for NYC school children.
The program started with bicycle safety and repair, and the 5 Boro Bike Ride was to be the culminating event for the participants. Thus on June 10, 1977 Sal, Eric and 250 entrants - most of which also came from bicycle clubs - made their way from Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, down through Brooklyn, over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Staten Island, ferrying back over to Manhattan, and traversing up through Manhattan to the Bronx, before crossing over the Throggs Neck Bridge back to Queens, terminating at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The streets weren't closed, but the riders were provided with an NYC police escort.
The next year, the newly-elected Mayor Koch, supported the idea of a 5 Boro Bike Tour with city resources. The ride was shortened to 40 miles and the NYPD shut down a moving 40 block long section of streets to pave the way for the cyclists to pass. That year the cyclist count rose to 3,000. Two years later, in 1980, the MTA subway workers went on strike and the 5 Boro Bike Tour participation swelled to 12,000 and then grew to 32,000 before the city capped the ride at that number where it has remained ever since.
5 Boro Bike Tour: Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn & Staten Island
According to Bike New York, this year the 5 Boro Bike Tour attracted 32,000 participants from all 50 states and 65 countries. It was a cool, cloudy day with temperatures in the 50's and 60's. In the mid / late afternoon came a bit of drizzle, but by then I believe most - if not all - had completed the ride. I made my way up to the Astoria rest stop where vast crowds of cyclists converge beginning at between 8 and 9 am and which then continues for a couple of hours, before tapering down by around noon.
I arrived on the tail end of the ride, where I could watch the bicyclists who preferred to take the ride slowly, were streaming along northward along the eastern perimeter of Astoria Park. I made my way down to the rest stop, located in the parking lot just under the RFK / Triborough Bridge, where there were toilets, food and bike repair services available to the riders on their 40 mile journey.
One of the riders I conversed with later that afternoon told me it was exhiliarating to see New York City on bike and to be joined by so many other bicycle enthusiasts from around the city, nation and planet. The entrance fees [$100 for a standard ticket / packet] from the 5 Boro Bike Tour go to Bike New York which is a non-profit dedicated to teaching cyclists about bike repairs and bike safety. Registration generally starts the second week of January and closes out fairly quickly as the 5 Boro Bike Tour is limited to 32,000 cyclists. TD Bank was the sponsor this year as it has been for a number of years.
NYPD Commissioner O'Neill on Safety & Cybercrime
City & State Organizes Informative Program About Public Safety in NYC & Cybercrime
February 6, 2017 / Battery Park NYC / Crime & Safety in Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Buzz NYC.
I attended a City & State program dedicated to exploring the many facets of community safety in New York City. The program started with a half hour speech by the new Police Commissioner, James O'Neill. He discussed his background which includes a long line of successive promotions in law enforcement, starting with the transit police in Brooklyn in 1983.
Background: NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill
O'Neill has held many positions, including taking charge as the commanding officer of the Vice, Narcotics and Fugitive Enforcement Divisions - each for a period of time. His most recent position was as Police Chief, during which time he oversaw the management of the neighborhood policing program. The neighborhood policing program was implemented in 2014, during Mayor de Blasio's first term, with the intent to build relations and trust between the police and the communities they serve. The concept is that if the community works with the police to ferret out and penalize the perpetrators, crime will continue to stay at all time lows.
Neighborhood Policing: Intelligent Approach to Safety That Works?
Part of the problem with past police / community relations is that most of those interactions with the police came with a negative connotation to them, for example as when being ticketed, or picked up for bad behavior.
The idea with neighborhood policing is to develop positive interactions by facilitating interactions between individual officers and individual members of the community, so that if and when the time comes, there's enough trust between the officer and community member to work collaboratively to round up and penalize law breakers.
O'Neill's speech was followed by a forum of four experts who have had some involvement in the governance of law enforcement in NYC. The panel included NYC Councilman Jumaane D. Williams of Brooklyn who is the Chairman of the Committee on Housing & Buildings, Elizabeth Glazer who is the Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, and NYS Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol who is the Chairman of the NYS Assembly Committee on [criminal] Codes. The panel was moderated by City & State Features & Opinions Editor, Nick Powell, who has been covering crime in New York for many years.
Stop 'N Frisk - The Facts vs the NY Tabloid Hype?
The panel explored numerous aspects of public safety in NYC, including a number of the successes NYC has been having with neighborhood policing, which is why the police / community clashes you see on the news are coming from other parts of the country - not NYC.
Needless to say, the job of the police force is never done, and challenges remain, but generally the forum had an upbeat tone due to the progress being made under Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioners Bratton & O'Neill. One of the changes that's been helpful in community relations has been the drastic reduction in stop 'n frisk, which in spite of what the NYC tabloids purport, hasn't resulted in a spike in crime [see charts to right].
I did a bit of research, and found a couple of charts published in an April 11, 2016 report by the Brennan Center for Justice. The Brennan Center is a non-partisan, non profit research center at the NYU Law School. The two charts shown here graph the significant reduction in stop 'n frisk, while also showing no attendant spike in crime. In fact it is believed that over the long haul the reduction in unwarranted stop 'n frisk searches will have a positive impact on law enforcement community relations, as vast swaths of the populace that were searched with no result, will no longer feel that their privacy has been unnecessarily violated.
Cybercrime - Anonymous, Stealthy, Cross-Jurisdictional
The second segment of the forum discussed some of the challenges facing the FBI with regard to reigning in cybercrime. The panel included Joel Stashenko who is the Albany Bureau Chief of the New York Law Journal, Nasir Memon who is a Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at NYU, Timothy Howard who is the Assistant U.S. Attorney and Cybercrime Coordinator for the NYS Southern District Office, and Prashanth Mekala who is the Supervisory Special Agent of the NY Field Office of the FBI.
The challenges facing law enforcement regarding cyber crime are different than most other criminal activity. For example cyber crime is generally anonymous, more insidious and hence more difficult to detect. And oftentimes the break-ins come through multiple legal jurisdictions which makes gaining access for tracking and prosecuting more challenging.
Budapest Convention of 2001 on Cybercrime Helping
But progress is being made. There was a Budapest Convention on Cybercrime which was passed in 2001 and became effective in 2004. More nations are signing on, as the accords enable law enforcement to move more quickly in multiple jurisdictions in response to cybercrime events.
As in community policing, establishing trust between the victims and law enforcement is critical in enabling governments to catch the criminals. Oftentimes companies victimized by cybercrime are concerned the access they provide to law enforcement may be used against them in other regulatory and civil proceedings. One of the panelists told us that the information they seek is soley for the purposes of catching the criminals, not to share with other regulatory agencies or people. And that the less time between the breach of a system, and obtaining access to analyze it, the greater likelihood that law enforcement can track them down, because in cybercrime the 'digital fingerprints' oftentimes disappear.
Speed of Response Helps Law Enforcement Respond
What's happened recently is that company security has increasingly been delegated to the legal department of a firm, because the company is then protected from disclosures because of attorney client privilege.
But what then happens, because the lawyers seek to mitigate legal risk / blame, is that there's a slow response by the company to enabling law enforcement to do their jobs in track down the criminals. One panelist noted that oftentimes what companies are trying to keep secret [their blame / culpability] comes out in the wash anyhow.
One of the panelists noted that oftentimes the biggest threats come from within an organization. Someone is turned to the dark side, or is careless - resulting in the breach of security. Currently the NSA [National Security Agency], the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], the DOD [Department of Defense] and the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] are all working to mitigate the risks associated with cybercrime.
They had a third panel about mitigating disaster risk, like from terrorism or cataclysmic events such as hurricanes, but I didn't stay.
Organized by City & State Magazine, Website & Events
Many thanks to City & State, which is an informative magazine publisher and events organizer. Their work seems to be predominantly in the area of government, politics and social issues. You can visit their website at www.cityandstateny.com.
NYC Village Halloween Parade
A Brief History of the Village Halloween Parade in Manhattan
The Village Halloween Parade is the only nighttime parade in New York City, and according to Wikipedia, the only nighttime parade in the entire country.
The Village Halloween Parade first began in 1974 when a Manhattan puppeteer, Ralph Lee, organized artists, musicians and theater people in a celebration of the arts in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. In the early years the parade was cast as street theater and it was not only wildly reflective of the times, but also outrageously reflective of the gay scene in the West Village in the 1970's.
Within a few years the parade expanded its route out of the West Village into Washington Square, and within ten years the parade had greatly outgrown the Village neighborhood streets and was moved onto Sixth Avenue.
As the Village Halloween Parade grew in size, some of its outrageousness was lost. The ability to break through was lost possibly because over the years the American cultural scene has continually opened up, and thus it has become increasingly difficult to shock the public. And possibly because there are so many theatrical vignettes in the Village Halloween Parade, that it's harder to break through.
Each year it seems puppeteers continue to make their showing, reflective of the Village Halloween Parade origins. And artists, theatrical people and musicians continue to participate in the parade, as do many New Yorkers seeking a spot on the street scene stage.
The parade route begins at Houston and 6th Avenue and heads north to 14th Street, traversing the entire length of the West Village. Every year hundreds of thousands line the streets, seeking to enjoy the visual, musical and theatrical feast. It's a bit like the American version of Mardi Gras, even though Halloween itself originated as an Irish Harvest Festival over a millenium ago.
Céad míle fáilte & have a Happy Halloween.
Free Summer Outdoor Theater in Manhattan 2022
NYC Free Things To Do In Summer in Manhattan - Free Summer Theater On the Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca & Shakespeare in Central Park in NYC
Summer is in full swing. A number of community groups in collaboration with the NYC Parks Department and frequently some measure of government funding, have put together a summer full of free summer theater in the parks. The free theatre events listed below are designed for young and old alike and they're FREE.
Editor's Note - Note that only ASTERISKED LOCATIONS have been updated. Pay attention to the performance dates / years. We will be updating / adding this summer theater report between now and the end of September. So check back periodically for updates which you can note by the date changing above.
Two Manhattan Theater Festivals Closed 2017 - 2019
Please note that it appears that the Fringe Festival - a festival of avante garde original theater for about 20 years - will not return this year 2021. The festival seemed to be losing steam in 2019, and then went on hiatus with the rest of the world in 2020 and 2021. Based on their web presences - the NYC International Fringe Festival appears to have ended. We could not reach Ms. Holy, the executive of the show for confirmation, but it is probably accurate.
Also, for 18 years the Midtown International Theater Festival offerred a series of short, generally modern original works once or twice a year in the Manhattan Theatre District, but in 2017 the Founder, John Chatterton, decided to retire the program. Neither of these were free, but they didn't cost much, and both will be missed this summer.
Foreign Films / Free Movies in the Park Manhattan. Click here to view our report on free movies in the park - summer movies in Manhattan, Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca.
SummerStage Concerts in Manhattan. Click here to view our report showing the paid & free SummerStage concerts in Manhattan.
Music / Concerts in the Park Manhattan. Click here to view our report on free concerts in the parks - summer concerts in Manhattan, Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca this summer.
On the Campaign Trail & 'Feeling the Bern'
Sanders Introduces Socialism to the American People
The Republicans attracted most of the attention early on, thanks mostly to Donald J. Trump's shock jock presidential candidacy. A candidacy that turned presidential debates about public policy into name calling, discussions of poll numbers & penis size, and relentless barrages of vituperative insults.
The Donald has, in his campaign, essentially told us to forgeddabout the ballooning government deficit, a dated and at times crumbling infrastructure, education, the shrinking middle class and global climate change. The Donald has distracted us from an intelligent discussion about these 'loser' subjects, and told us that he's going to rip 12 million people [the equivalent of about 5% of the nation's population] away from their families by deporting them, punishing women for getting abortions, and erecting a wall along the border with Mexico which he tells us the Mexicans are going to pay for.
Does Trump really think this is how to 'make America great again'? But I digress.
Click here to see photos of the Bernie Sanders rally in Washington Square Park, as well as a story about the contest between Sanders and Clinton.
Designing for Quality Retail & Community Use
Design Trust Unveils ‘Laying the Groundwork’ at the Center for Architecture
I had an opportunity to attend the introductory presentation of ‘Laying the Groundwork’, which was heralded as a seminal document put together under the auspices of the Design Trust in Manhattan. The event was held at the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place, just south of Washington Square Park.
The Design Trust was founded in 1995 by Andrea Woodner, the daughter of Ian Woodner who founded the Jonathan Woodner Company, which Ian named after his son Jonathan – Andrea’s brother. The company was renamed Woodner and is a diversified real estate management [2,500 units] and development company in the Washington, D.C. and New York metro markets.
Andrea was first and foremost a sculptor. She later obtained a Masters Degree in Architecture from Columbia University and then went on to found the Design Trust with the intent to fuse the expertise of designers with the use of public space. She defined public space as “anywhere you don’t need a key to get into”. Andrea stepped down earlier this year as the Board President of Design Trust and was replaced by Eric Rothman, President of HR & A Advisors, a consulting firm.
The thrust of Design Trust has been to marry private design work with the development of public space to create win / win situations. The following is a summary of some of their most significant achievements since the organization was founded.
We'll post more at a later date.
American Abstract Artists Exhibit
Visible Histories Exhibit at the Morris-Warren Gallery LES
I attended the opening reception for a new exhibit at the Morris Warren Gallery at 171 Chrystie Street, just east of SoHo on the Lower East Side. The exhibit is entitled Visible Histories and it features 60 artists who are members of the American Abstract Artists group.
In the early part of the 20th century, American abstract artists found it difficult to gain recognition and respect – and hence venues – where they could exhibit their work. It’s important to remind readers that widespread use of television and the internet were many decades away, and that even print publishing was just beginning to emerge as a mass media. Thus art shows and the attendant publicity they generated, were critical to the emergence of new art forms and new artists.
The first notable American abstract art show opened in 1913 at the 69th Infantry Armory at Lexington Avenue & 26th Street. Two decades later in 1936, the American Abstract Artists group was founded by New York City artists seeking to find exhibit venues and recognition for their nascent abstract art form. The American Abstract Artists group went on to survive the remainder of the Great Depression, WWII and today is one of the oldest, continuously operating artist groups in the nation.
Follow us to the next page as we continue our journey into the New York City art world. Our report includes a bit of history about the evolution of American art and modern art in Manhattan as well as a closer look at the Visible Histories exhibit including excerpts from discussions with the curator, gallery owners and one of the artists.
Vintage Subway Trains & Rides in Manhattan & Queens
I decided to take a ride on one of the Vintage Subway Cars that run through Manhattan & Queens on each Sunday in December from 10 am to 5 pm. You can ride the vintage subway cars for the regular fare of $2.75, even though back in the day, the ride only cost 10 cents. It's a fun outing and some of the people dressed up for the occasion, only a bit of which is shown in the video.
Click here to read the rest of our report about riding the Vintage Subway Trains & Rides in Manhattan & Queens over the holidays, including the subway lines and stops to which it pertains, as well as the approximate schedule as they only run about every hour and a half.
In 2015 the last day of this special offer is Sunday, December 27th.
The Tenement Museum Lower East Side NYC
A More Holistic View of 19th & 20th Century Immigrant Life
I had the opportunity to visit the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side at the end of August. What I experienced was the walking through a time warp and into the personal lives of European immigrants between about the mid 19th century until nearly the mid 20th century.
It was a journey through time, as we saw many of the engineering and technological changes that made people's lives more comfortable, while simultaneously witnessing the economic struggles of a few select working class folks - and I might add - in a manner similar to what I can see today in many of the working class immigrants' lives in Queens.
It's a tale of hardship, endurance and ultimately of prevailing in spite of circumstances to improve one's lot in life. Not the American dream, but not the American nightmare either.
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
SummerStage Jazz Festival In The East Village & Harlem
I attended the 23rd annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival at Tompkins Square in the East Village. The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival is shared between Harlem and the East Village – two neighborhoods once frequented by Charlie Parker.
The jazz festival began in 1992 through the efforts of the City Parks Foundation, which, among other things, also organizes the SummerStage concerts at various parks in all five boroughs throughout New York City. SummerStage is the largest free concert organization in the nation.
Charlie Parker, along with Louis Armstrong, is considered one of the top jazz musicians of all time. Louis was a trumpeter who traveled the world, while Charlie was a saxophonist who primarily played in Harlem.
Charlie Parker was born on August 29, 1920 in Kansas. He played sax in Kansas and nearby Missouri towns until leaving the stix to play in Chicago. Eventually he moved to New York and became a regular on the Harlem and New York City jazz and blues scene at a time when it was acoustically flourishing. Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and Charles Mingus were all on the scene.
Charlie spent the latter years of his life as a resident in the East Village. He would frequently go uptown to Harlem to play. Charlie had a heroin and alcohol problem which lead to his early demise at the age of 34.
The picture to your right was created by SirShadow.com whose art I found along the wrought iron frences of Tompkins Square Park during the concert.
Click here to read the rest of our report including photos and a short video of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Tompkins Square in the East Village neighborhood in August of 2015.
NYS Medical Marijuana Law & DPA
Drug Policy Alliance Reports First Deadline For Submissions Passes
I attended a forum on medical marijuana last week. It was sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, a non profit group, whose mission is to promote
"drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights".
During the course of this forum I found that there's a lot going on in this area - not just with regard to implementing the legalized use of marijuana for medical use - but in going signficantly beyond that milestone, to making it available to the general public by regulating it in a manner, of which the options range in similarity to: pharmaceuticals, alcohol or tobacco.
To be sure, as public perceptions and policy change, there are important concerns and issues associated with these changes that must be properly managed, or the results of these changes won't be beneficial to the community as the marijuana legalization advocates suggest - but rather could be just the opposite.
We'll have more on the Drug Policy Alliance forum held last week at ABC Carpets on Broadway.
West Village & East Village Neighborhoods - Page Directory
- West & East Village Things To Do
- West & East Village Restaurants
- West & East Village Shopping
- West & East Village Real Estate
- West & East Village Movie Theaters
- West Village & East Village Neighborhood Histories
On Site Directory
Things To Do In The East Village West Village NYC
West Village & East Village Events, Attractions & Neighborhood
This section provides an overview of the main attractions on the Upper East Side. In this section we provide a look at the main cultural venues, tourist attractions, parks and facilities one can find on the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan in NYC.
Click here for the West Village & East Village history including historical sites in the Village.
Washington Square Art Fair
Artists & Artisans Spend Weekend Selling Wonders
Over the three day Memorial Day Weekend, dozens of artists and artisans congregated along University Place between Washington Square Park and 13th Street in the Village. There, underneath the lily-white tents, they hung their works for the public to view and purchase. The artists come from near and far and provided a mélange of choices for the aesthetically aware.
I began my tour of the Washington Square Art Fair just north of the eastern corner of Washington Square Park. The white tents lined the sidewalks on both sides of the street, as the auto traffic had not been blocked. People were definitely out and about, as NYU had held commencement exercises earlier in the week, and the students were to be found en masse in Washington Square Park. But along University Place it wasn’t just the students who were browsing the Washington Square Art Fair, but also many native New Yorkers looking for objets d’art.
Generally the artists I photographed and interviewed were a bit older, but I plan to include several other exhibitors when I post the slide show to provide some view into the depth and breadth of the Washington Square Art Fair as a whole. The artists I conversed with had generally aged well, and the complexity and textured flavor of their interests and lives emerged in the aesthetics embedded in their works. These artists had stayed constant in their pursuit of aesthetic expression over the years, and their works evoked memories and scenes depicted in skillful portrayals of bygone eras, as well as of enthusiastic passions of the present.
Click here to view our report about the Washington Square Art Fair with photos.
Elizabeth Warren @ Union Square
Capacity Crowd Considers A Fighting Chance
Are Buffett & Investment Bankers Trying To Pre-emptively Define Her As 'Angry' & 'Too Liberal' Before The Rest Of America Hears Her Speak?
In the past few months I have overheard a number of people chatting about Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts. So when I heard that she would be speaking at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in late March of 2015, to promote the paperback release of her book entitled A Fighting Chance, I decided to see for myself what they were talking about.
Up until this time I knew little about Senator Warren except that she had retaken the Massachusetts Senate seat for Democrats - that Scott Brown had won for Republicans - shortly after the death of Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy.
I arrived a bit early to get my bearings, as there has been a growing groundswell of support for Senator Warren to run for President. Like Barack Obama in 2008, she would probably have to beat Hillary Clinton, even though Hillary has not yet formally announced that she's running.
Nonetheless, just like eight years ago, Hillary has already been anointed the Democratic candidate / victor by the mass media political polls and pundits. Queen Hillary's coronation may be premature, as she continues to slip in the polls versus her potential Republican rivals, including Prince Jeb - likely due to the email debacle, and perhaps a growing reminder of the Clinton family public dramas of years gone by.
Many of the seats facing the podium on the fourth floor were filled, while the remainder of them were filling up steadily. I had been told by someone earlier in the day, that most of the folks in the audience would likely be older people. So I was surprised to see that while the audience contained a number of older people [let's say over 50 / 60], a majority of those in attendance were actually younger people [under 40 / 50].
What follows is an account of the Elizabeth Warren speech - or shall I say her Law-School-like lecture - and the crowd's reaction to it. The report also includes a preliminary examination into why those in the investment banking sector, like Warren Buffett, seem uncomfortable with the idea of Elizabeth Warren's rise as a potential or eventual Democratic candidate for president. And at the end of the report we added a brief historical review of the front running Bush and Clinton family performances on the national stage over the past three decades.
Click here to read the rest of our story about Elizabeth Warren in Manhattan NYC.
Village Halloween Parade Photos
Another Entertaining Edition Of Street Theater
I arrived just as the parade was about to begin. There were hundreds of thousands lining the streets to watch the annual Village Halloween Parade. And in the course of the evening we would see thousands march in it.
It was a cool brisk night with temperatures in the high 40's, so not exactly cold, but not warm either. The parade began with a number of policemen on horses marching up the street followed by a few sanitation department employees who would ensure the streets would remain clean of horsey doo.
And then came the spirits of Halloween past, present and future. A lot of creativity went into this holiday parade as you will see in the photo slide show we'll post at a later date.
Story and photo by Michael Wood.
Jackson Heights Revisited
Poignant, Passionate & Personal Window Into Modern American Immigrant Life
I arrived at the New Ohio Theatre in the west village of NYC. The theater is accessible at the ground level of a modern building at 154 Christopher Street near the Hudson River. The actors and production staff were ready to begin one of their last rehearsals before the opening of I Like To Be Here: Jackson Heights Revisited, or, This Is A Mango.
The lights dimmed, the theater darkened … and the show began.
There we were … in the middle of Jackson Heights … late at night.
There was a Latino girl of the streets talking to a cleaning woman of one of the local late night shops. The Latino girl was talking about escaping her current situation with one of the men who ‘loves’ her. She was young and somewhat innocent to the deceptions of the older men who came to see her. The cleaning woman and she talked about relationships and love. The cleaning woman was the target of the affections of an Indian man who seemed to take an interest in her. But they spoke different languages.
Click here to read the rest of our review of a new off Broadway show at the Ohio Theatre in the west village which is part of the theater: village festival.
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival East Village
Thousands Attend Laid Back Jazz Festival
The 22nd annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival took place this weekend. It began on Friday with a lecture at the New School in the Village, moved up to Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem on Saturday and then down to Tompkins Square in the East Village on Sunday.
I headed into the East Village Sunday early evening around closing time for the concert. There had been four jazz performances given beginning at 3 pm and running until a bit after 7 pm. The performers included pianist Kenny Barron, drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, saxaphonist Craig Handy with 2nd Line Smith and singer Brianna Thomas.
There was seating on the lawn, in the plaza in the center of the park and on the benches lining the walks. But for many it was a standing room only event. The weather was nearly perfect, with temperatures in the 70's and cloudy but dry. Thousands attended the free concerts which were sponsored by the City Parks Foundation which also organizes Summer Stage.
The weekend jazz festival commemorates the memory and contributions to jazz made by Charlie Parker. It takes place on the weekend nearest his birthday [August 29, 1920]. Parker was a jazz saxaphonist who was an innovator who experimented with chords, melodies, tempos and transitions, like an artist playing with colors and paints. He is one of the fathers of modern jazz and he died at the very young age of 35 of various health conditions.
Fringe Festival NYC
Step Into The World Of The Newly Created
The three week long Fringe Festival continues through this coming weekend. The Fringe Festival is a curated performing arts festival that includes music, dance and theater performances at various venues throughout various sections of the Village in Manhattan.
I attended one such performance on Norfolk Street this past Sunday where the stage was fastened alongside a large box truck which was parked in a parking / play lot that was furnished with lawn chairs which were placed under a canopy to shelter the audience from the sun or inclement weather.
All of the works are original and the mix provides an adventurous dive into the performing arts. We hear that some of the works should receive accolades while others are said to need a bit of work. But all in all attending the Fringe Festival in NYC makes for a fun afternoon or evening; and the ticket prices range from $0 to $18. For more info about what's playing the rest of this week and weekend, check out FringeNYC.org.
We'll post more info and a photo slide show at a later date.