Top NYC Theaters

I received several comments from friends about my mention of the recently renovated Kings Theatre in my blog entry about Ditmas Park.  They agreed that it’s a majestic theater and that the theater itself is worth a visit, whether you’re going to a concert or not.  The comments prompted me to research and write about other historic and majestic theaters around NYC. Many of these theaters have seen two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Broadway revival, and are still standing today. Here’s a look at some of the historic theaters around NYC:

Photo courtesy of kingstheatre.com
Photo courtesy of kingstheatre.com

Kings Theatre
1027 Flatbush Avenue
Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Originally designed by architectural masters Rapp & Rapp with interior design by Harold W. Rambusch, the Loew’s Kings Theatre was a movie and live performance theatre from its inception in 1929 until it closed in August of 1977. After being shuttered for more than 37 years, it was renamed Kings Theater and slated for renovation by the city of New York. ACE Theatrical Group, LLC was selected and contracted as the developer for the $95 million restoration. Martinez + Johnson Architecture was selected as the architectural firm for this restoration project, which took place from 2013 to early 2015. Original plaster and painting schemes have been restored, vintage carpet and seating have been recreated and historic lighting fixtures have been renovated and re-installed. New building systems and technical improvements include new HVAC, expanded restrooms and concessions facilities, and professional sound and lighting systems.

Photo courtesy of gothamist.com
Photo courtesy of gothamist.com

Beacon Theatre
2124 Broadway
Upper West Side, Manhattan

Designed by Chicago architect Walter Ahlschlager in the Art Deco style, the Beacon Theatre opened in 1929 as a forum for vaudeville acts, musical productions, drama, opera, and movies. In 1979, the historic venue was designated a national landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Now owned by Madison Square Garden Entertainment, the Beacon underwent a seven-month restoration in 2009, which cost about $16 million. The renovation was based on extensive historic research, as well as detailed, on-site examination of original, decorative painting techniques that had been covered by decades-old layers of paint. The Beacon Theatre has won several architectural awards recognizing its outstanding restoration, and is a top-grossing music venue which has hosted artists like the Rolling Stones, Jerry Garcia, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, James Taylor, Radiohead, and Queen.

Photo courtesy of timeout.com
Photo courtesy of timeout.com

Belasco Theatre
111 W 44th St
Midtown, Manhattan

David Belasco opened this theater as the Stuyvesant in October 1907, and changed the name to the Belasco when his eponymous 42nd street playhouse closed in 1910. Belasco conceived the auditorium of the Belasco Theatre as a living room, and commissioned George Keister to design it (Keister later went on to design the Apollo and 11 other theaters). The theater came under ownership of the Shubert Organization in 1948 and was renovated in 2009 under the supervision of architect Francesca Russo. The $14.5 million project involved restoring the original architectural and design details of the theater, including the neo-Georgian dark woods and leaded glass. The project took a little over a year, and The Belasco reopened in the fall of 2010 with the musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Photo courtesy of untappedcities.com
Photo courtesy of untappedcities.com

AMC Empire 25 Theater
234 West 42nd Street
Midtown, Manhattan

Originally located at 240 W. 42nd Street. The Empire Theatre was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb and opened in 1912 as the Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre, named for Julian Eltinge, the top female impersonator of the American stage. The Eltinge Theatre became the setting for decades of theatre and burlesque. It was converted into a movie theater in 1942 and later renamed the Empire Theatre, until it closed in the 1980s. In 1997, AMC bought the theater and converted it into the lobby of its 25-screen theater. To accomplish this, developer Forest City Ratner actually lifted the building from its foundation and moved it 168 feet westward. The cost to move the theatre was $1.2 million. The historic facade has been left largely intact, while a new marquee has been added. Untapped Cities has a list of other historical remnants that can still be found in the building today.

Photo courtesy of kostowgreenwood.com
Photo courtesy of kostowgreenwood.com

Longacre Theater
220 W 48th St
Midtown, Manhattan

The Longacre, named for Longacre Square (now Times Square), was built by producer/manager H.H. Frazee, the Boston Red Sox owner who sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. The theater was designed by architect Henry B. Herts with a French Neo-classical exterior and a Beaux-Arts style interior. Astor Theatre Incorporated bought the theater in 1919 and it is now owned by The Shubert Organization. In 2007 and 2008, architect Michael Kostow oversaw the $12 million restoration of the Longacre, restoring the original architectural detail, expanding patron amenities, and repairing and cleaning the facade.

Photo courtesy of michaelminn.net
Photo courtesy of michaelminn.net

Apollo Theater
253 W 125th St
Harlem, Manhattan

The Apollo was built in 1913-1914 and was originally called Hurtig & Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. It was designed by George Keister in the neo-Classical style. The theater reopened in 1934 as the Apollo, welcoming black patrons for the first time and launching the soon-to-be famous Amateur Night at the Apollo. It quickly became the leading showcase for many new performers such as Ella Fitzgerald, who got her start at the Apollo at 15 and went on to become the Queen of Jazz.  In 1991, the Apollo was purchased by the State of New York, which created the non-profit Apollo Theater Foundation to run it. Architecture firms Beyer Blinder Belle and Davis Brody Bond undertook a major restoration project from 1999-2005, which cost upwards of $65 million and resulted in a complete overhaul of the interior and exterior of the building. Today, the Apollo draws an estimated 1.3 million visitors annually.

Photo courtesy of newyorktheater.me
Photo courtesy of newyorktheater.me

Stephen Sondheim Theatre
124 West 43rd Street
Midtown, Manhattan

Formerly Henry Miller’s Theatre, the Stephen Sondheim was designed in the Neo-classical style by the firms of Paul R. Allen and Ingalls & Hoffman, and opened in 1918. It became a movie theater in 1968, then a discotheque in 1978, and a nightclub in 1985. The space returned to performance use in 1998, when the Roundabout Theatre Company renovated it and opened it as the Kit Kat Club, named for the club featured in Cabaret, the revival it was housing. The Durst Organization demolished and rebuilt the theater underground in 2004, in order to make room for the 57-story Bank of America tower that was being erected above – both the Durst Organization and Roundabout declined to disclose financial details. The theater reopened in 2009 and was renamed in 2010 to honor the American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

Photo courtesy of vipseats.com
Photo courtesy of vipseats.com

Lyceum Theatre
149 West 45th Street
Midtown, Manhattan

The Lyceum is Broadway’s oldest continually operating Broadway theatre. David Frohman built the theater in 1903, and architects Herts and Tallant designed it in the Beaux Arts style. Above the theatre, Frohman built an apartment for himself which included a small door that offers a bird’s eye view of the stage below. The apartment is currently home to the Shubert Archive. The Shuberts took ownership of the theater in 1950 and have operated it ever since. Much of the original structure remains intact, including the gray limestone façade with six ornate Corinthian columns. In 2005, the Shubert Organization undertook a $1 million renovation for a new roof, supervised by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.

Photo courtesy of lunerontheatre.com
Photo courtesy of lunerontheatre.com

Times Square Theater
217 West 42nd Street
Midtown, Manhattan

This theater isn’t open to the public yet, but the New York Post reported in March that the London-based Ambassador Theatre Group is in negotiations to take over ownership. The Times Square Theater was built in 1920 and designed by Eugene DeRosa for Edgar & Arch Selwyn. In 1934, the theater was converted into a movie theater, with the stage being converted into a retail store. In early 2011, it was announced that the theater would become home to a film presentation dedicated to the history of Broadway, and some $80,000 was spent on renovations before the project ran out of money. Now, ATG is looking to take over the lease, complete renovations, and turn the theater back into a Broadway house.

Brooklyn’s Longest-Running Family Restaurants

Though new restaurants are opening up in Brooklyn every day, there’s nothing like dinner at a family-owned restaurant that’s been around for decades.  The food tastes like it’s made with love when a family is cooking and serving it together.  Many of Brooklyn’s oldest restaurants are family-run and have been passed down from generation to generation.  In a city where so many restaurants and stores come and go in a few short years, it’s comforting to have several mainstays to rely on.  Here is a list of some of the longest running family-owned restaurants in Brooklyn.  As always, let me know if there are others I should add to the list.

Photo courtesy of ny.eater.com
Photo courtesy of ny.eater.com

 
Peter Luger Steak House (1887)
178 Broadway
b/t Driggs Ave & 6th St
Williamsburg

When this Williamsburg favorite opened in 1887, it was called Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley. Peter Luger owned the establishment, and his nephew, Carl, ran the kitchen. Sol Forman, who ran a factory across the street with his brothers, frequented the restaurant and was disappointed when it fell into disrepair following the death of Peter Luger. Forman purchased the restaurant at the auction, and Peter Luger’s is still run by the Forman family to this day. The restaurant has since earned a Michelin star and opened a second location in Great Neck, Long Island. I’ve mentioned their burger as one of my favorites in the city, but Peter Luger is of course known for their steaks.

Photo courtesy of robertlantham.com
Photo courtesy of robertlantham.com

 
Bamonte’s (1900)
32 Withers St
b/t Union Ave & I-278
Williamsburg

Bamonte’s opened in 1900 and has remained in the family ever since. Anthony Bamonte, grandson of founder Pasqualte Bamonte, has kept the menu largely unchanged. The massive open kitchen and old photos of Bamonte family and friends give the restaurant an old-school feel, and their claim to fame is their red sauce.

Photo courtesy of whereyoueat.com
Photo courtesy of whereyoueat.com

 
Ferdinando’s Focacceria (1904)
151 Union St
b/t Hicks St & Columbia St
Columbia Street Waterfront District

Paul’s Focacceria opened in 1904, serving traditional Sicilian sandwiches to the local community and longshoremen who worked at the nearby piers. Frank Buffa took over the reigns 40 years ago, when his father-in-law, the third owner of the establishment, passed away suddenly. In the 30 years since, Frank has kept the menu and added dinner service and a few Sicilian dishes. Ferdinando’s famous panelle sandwich, made of a fried chickpea patty with ricotta and caciocavallo, was on the original menu and continues to draw crowds to this day.

Photo courtesy of patch.com
Photo courtesy of patch.com

 
Monte’s (1906) 
451 Carroll St
b/t 3rd Ave & Nevins St
Gowanus

Originally called Angelo’s Tavern, Monte’s was founded in 1906 by husband and wife duo Angelo and Filomena Montemarano. Angelo’s was a speakeasy during Prohibition, and remained one of Brooklyn’s best-kept secrets until the late 1930s, when Angelo and Filomena’s son Nick renovated the place and renamed it Monte’s. Legends like Sammy Davis Jr. and James Caan frequented Monte’s, along with politicians and mobsters. Today, Monte’s is run by Dominik Castelvetre, the great nephew of Nancy Stuto Montemarano. They serve authentic Italian cuisine, and are known for their pizza in particular.

Photo courtesy of nymag.com
Photo courtesy of nymag.com

 
Gargiulo’s (1907) 
2911 W 15th St
b/t Surf Ave & Mermaid Ave
Coney Island

Gargiulo’s, Coney Island’s oldest Italian-American seafood restaurant, opened in 1907. It was run by the Gargiulos until 1965, when brothers Michael, Victor, and Nino Russo acquired the restaurant, keeping the name and adding Neapolitan-based seafood dishes to the menu. The high-ceilings, chandeliers, tuxedo-clad waiters, and linen tablecloths make it easy to forget that Coney Island’s beach is just steps away.

Photo courtesy of eatupnewyork.com
Photo courtesy of eatupnewyork.com

 
Randazzo’s Clam Bar (1916)
2017 Emmons Ave
Sheepshead Bay

Started by fisherman Joe Randazzo in 1916, Randazzo’s Clam Bar is currently run by daughter Helen’s grand- and great-grandchildren. At first, Randazzo’s was a fish market with a small counter for fast food. A clam bar was added in the 1960s, and Helen Randazzo began making her famous Sauce, a red sauce that comes “spicy” or “medium.” Randazzo’s was almost destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, but Rosemary Randazzo reopened within months, much to the delight of Sheepshead Bay locals.

Photo courtesy of Yelp
Photo courtesy of Yelp

 
Defonte’s (1922)
379 Columbia St
b/t Luquer St & Coles St
Red Hook

Nick Defonte bought the Red Hook storefront in 1922, and soon began making sandwiches to feed Brooklyn waterfront workers. Nick’s son, Dan, has since taken over the store and opened a second location in Staten Island. The heroes at Defonte’s are notoriously large, so if you make the trek to Red Hook (or Staten Island), make sure to bring your appetite!

Photo courtesy of tomsbrooklyn.com
Photo courtesy of tomsbrooklyn.com

 
Tom’s (1936) 
782 Washington Ave
b/t Sterling Pl & Lincoln Pl
Prospect Heights

The Vlahavas family opened Tom’s in 1936, serving pancakes and lime rickeys. Gus Vlahavas was a well-known and beloved figure at Tom’s, and ran the diner until 2009, when he passed day-to-day management over to family members. This breakfast-only spot is known for its spicy omelettes and pancakes – there are now five different kinds on the menu.

Photo courtesy of ny.eater.com
Photo courtesy of ny.eater.com

 
Brennan & Carr (1938) 
3432 Nostrand Ave
b/t Avenue V & Gravesend Neck Rd
Sheepshead Bay

Eddie Sullivan started out rolling silverware at Brennan & Carr as a young boy, but now he’s running the place. Sullivan’s father bought the place in 1938, and many of the staff have been working at Brennan & Carr for decades. The most famous item on the menu is the Hot Beef, a roast beef sandwich dripping in broth. However, what was for many years a secret menu item has recently been added to the takeout board: Italian bread from Gargiulo’s, with a roast beef on top of a cheeseburger – dipped in the beef broth, of course. You’ll need a car to get to this South Brooklyn mainstay, but it’s well worth the trip.

Photo courtesy of nydailynews.com
Photo courtesy of nydailynews.com

 
Junior’s (1950) 
386 Flatbush Ave Extension
Downtown Brooklyn

This now-famous chain started with one restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn in 1950. Harry Rosen worked with baker Eigel Peterson to devise what is referred to as “The World’s Most Fabulous Cheesecake.” The restaurant is named after Harry’s two sons, Walter and Marvin, who now run Junior’s. On the menu, you can find standard diner fare (burgers, cheesesteaks, fries), but the cheesecake remains a crowd favorite.

Where to Unwind This Summer: Rockaway Beach

Photo courtesy of surfmeimei.com
Photo courtesy of surfmeimei.com

It’s officially the first weekend of summer and there’s no better relief from the New York City summer heat than a trip to the beach. Recently ranked the top NYC beach by New Yorkers for Parks, Rockaway Beach is a personal favorite. Boasting the largest urban stretch of beach in the United States, Rockaway houses the only two surf beaches in all of New York City. As I wrote in my blog post earlier this year, I prefer to hit the waves during the winter months because I have most of the beach to myself and the waves are better, but you’ll find me at Rockaway Beach all summer as well, and the place offers plenty of food, drinks, and fun in addition to top-notch surfing.

If you’re looking to catch some waves, get off the A train at 67th or 90th Street and head to one of the surf beaches. You can take lessons at the New York Surf School off of the 67th Street stop, or get off at 90th Street to rent a locker and surf board at Boarders. The 90th Street stop is also closer to beaches designated for swimming along with the various concession stands, bars, and restaurants in Rockaway Beach.

After a day of surfing, swimming, and sun, there’s nothing like a great meal and some beers to round off the day. Here are some of the best spots to kick back before heading home:

Photo courtesy of Rippers
Photo courtesy of Rippers

Rippers
86th Street, on the Boardwalk

The folks who brought you Roberta’s and the Meat Hook run this beachside bar and grill. Although they’re famous for their burgers ($6.50) and cheese fries ($5), Rippers also offers a selection of fresh juices, craft beer draughts, and frozen cocktails along with dancing and live music.

Photo courtesy of timeout.com
Photo courtesy of timeout.com

Tacoway Beach
302 Beach 87th Street

After closing the famous Rockaway Taco stand on 96th Street, Andrew Field has moved his operation to the patio of the Rockaway Beach Surf Club. You can still enjoy Field’s much-beloved tacos ($3.50), with the added benefit of ample seating and the ability to wash them down with a drink from the bar.

Photo courtesy of newyork.staticmultimedia.com
Photo courtesy of newyork.staticmultimedia.com

Caracas Rockaway
106-01 Shore Front Parkway, at Beach 105 St

An offshoot of the popular Williamsburg spot, Caracas Rockaway serves arepas ($6-$8) and appetizers with local beers and frozen sangria. Enjoy beachfront views on the patio, but expect a bit of a wait on weekends.

Photo courtesy of gothamist.com
Photo courtesy of gothamist.com

96th Street Concession
96th Street, on the Boardwalk

Here you have a rotating selection of vendors to choose from, but mainstays include Lobster Joint, La Fruiteria for fresh smoothies, and the Low Tide Bar.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest
Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Connolly’s Bar
155 Beach 95th Street

A favorite among Rockaway locals, this pub is hidden in the basement of a converted, seaside-style Victorian home. Connolly’s is famous for its frozen drinks and cheap beer options, and is only open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Photo courtesy of playlandmotel.com
Photo courtesy of playlandmotel.com

Playland Grill
97-20 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, at Beach 98th Street

The newly-revamped Playland Motel has handed their bar and grill over to Daniel Cipriani, who created Lodge, Urban Rustic, and The Cookout at Rockaway Beach Surf Club. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Playland Grill also has a selection of summer cocktails and beers. Try the Rockaway Beach Nachos with shrimp or Baja Fish Tacos to get your seafood fix.

Chicks To Go
97-02 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, at Beach 97th Street

Located just a block from the beach, this spot offers Peruvian rotisserie chicken by the quarter ($4), half ($7), or whole ($12) along with hot sauce or pepper sauce. You can also get empanadas or salchipapas – french fries with spicy hot dogs covered in cheese (trust me, it’s delicious).

New Listing in the Parker Gramercy -1 Bedroom, 10 West 15th Street, #206, $899K

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Set in the highly sought-after Parker Gramercy building, this spacious one-bedroom corner apartment is a luxury haven in the heart of the Flatiron District, perfectly positioned at the crossroads of Manhattan’s most vibrant downtown areas, with Chelsea, Gramercy, Union Square, Greenwich Village, and the West Village all within easy walking distance.

A recently completed full renovation of this modern home saw to every last detail. The enormous 29-by-12-foot open-plan living/dining room features refinished porcelain floors and lending the apartment’s sense of airiness and lightness throughout. The adjacent state-of-the art kitchen features ample cabinet space, granite counter-tops, and stainless steel appliances, including a dishwasher and a built-in wine refrigerator. The home features 3 generous built-out closets and a proper pantry.

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The Parker Gramercy, built in 1964, is a full-service building offering copious amenities, including a doorman, a 24-hour concierge, live-in super, on-site valet, laundry and dry cleaning services, and a garage. This pet-friendly coop allows 75% financing, pieds-à-terre, parental purchasing and co-purchasing. The two entrances, one on 14th and one on 15th Street, allow for quick access to all the magnificent shops and boutiques that line Fifth Avenue. A few blocks east at Union Square is Whole Foods and the wonderful Union Square Farmer’s Market, as well as many fine restaurants and cafes. The abundance of trains at the Union Square station—4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R—makes for easy traveling around the city.

Please click here for more details and contact me at (917) 854-5069 or jdicondina@townrealestate.com if you would like to see this home.
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What 15 Historic New York City Scenes Look Like Today – Now and Then – Curbed NY

Check out this Curbed article that shows photos of what NYC scenes looked like years ago compared to what they look like today.  It includes information about topics I’ve previously discussed on the blog: The Flatiron Building, Oyster stands, and Chinatown.  Check out the full article here: What 15 Historic New York City Scenes Look Like Today – Now and Then – Curbed NY.

The Secret is Out About Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Photo courtesy of brickunderground.com
Photo courtesy of brickunderground.com

Ditmas Park, located in the Flatbush area of south Brooklyn, is a hidden gem that more and more New Yorkers are starting to discover. The neighborhood, south of Park Slope and east of Kensington, is bordered by Dorchester Avenue, Ocean Avenue, Newkirk Avenue and East 16th Street. The tree-lined streets and abundance of single-family homes create a suburban environment conveniently located within New York City. Ditmas Park is serviced by the B and Q subway lines, as well as several local and express MTA buses.

The neighborhood gets its name from the Ban Ditmarsen family, who owned the land in the late 17th century. The area, formerly farmland, remained rural until the early 20th century, when it was transformed into a residential community. The luxury homes, built by developer Lewis H. Pounds, feature various architectural flourishes to show that each was custom-built and unique. The predominant style is Colonial Revival, with some Queen Annes and Crafts bungalows scattered about. Some of the most breathtaking mansions are located on the stretch of Albemarle Road between Marlborough and Stratford Roads.

Ditmas Park is home to the Ditmas Park Association, founded in 1908 and said to be one of the oldest homeowner associations in the country. Following Ditmas Park’s designation as an historic district by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1981, several families purchased many of the larger homes in the area. Recent years have seen an influx of young people and artists hoping to find large spaces for relatively cheap rents. The median sales price for homes in this up-and-coming area is $842,000, up 38.1% over last year. One bedroom apartments can be rented starting around $1,100, while two bedrooms apartments typically start around $1,500-2,000.

Photo courtesy of brownstoner.com
Photo courtesy of brownstoner.com

Cortelyou Road is considered the main strip of Ditmas Park and contains many of the neighborhood’s shops, restaurants, and groceries. Popular spots for dining include Mimi’s Hummus, The Farm on Adderley, and the Oxcart Tavern. For local, sustainable groceries, the Flatbush Food Coop is convenient and open to members and non-members alike. You can enjoy a glass of wine in the open-air garden at The Castello Plan, or pick a custom bouquet at the flowershop/bar hybrid Sycamore. The recently renovated Kings Theatre features concerts and theatrical performances in its restored auditorium, which retains its palatial appearance from the 1920s movie theater that was previously housed there.

Photo courtesy of brooklynpaper.com
Photo courtesy of brooklynpaper.com

Let me know if you’re interested in moving to Ditmas Park – I’m happy to help you find a home in this burgeoning neighborhood.

WIRED’s Inside Story of the Last WTC Tower’s Design

Wired has just published a great article about the final tower in the World Trade Center, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and slated for completion by 2020.  It will be the 3rd tallest building in NYC (unless something taller comes before then) and the renderings have been revealed.  Check out the full article here: Revealed: The Inside Story of the Last WTC Tower’s Design | WIRED.

Renderings courtesy of DBOX
Renderings courtesy of DBOX

The Best of NYC’s Upcoming Art, Design, and Music Events (Summer edition)

Photo courtesy of theculturetrip.com
Photo courtesy of theculturetrip.com

From concerts and outdoor movies to improv marathons and unicycle races, there’s plenty to do this summer in New York City. Here are the best music, art, design, and cultural events taking place over the next few months:

Photo courtesy of moma.org
Photo courtesy of moma.org

Music

Make Music New York
June 21
various locations

Now in its ninth year, Make Music New York takes place simultaneously with similar festivities in more than 700 cities around the world – a global celebration of music making. From 10 in the morning to 10 at night, musicians of all ages, creeds, and musical persuasions – from hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock – perform on streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas,  cemeteries, parks and gardens. The schedule will be posted to the MMNY website later this month.

New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival
June 21 – 28
Abrons Art Center
Lower East Side, Manhattan

The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival is dedicated to showcasing the best electroacoustic music and video art from all over the world.  The festival includes works involving live electronics, works combining musical instruments or voices with recorded or live electronics, video and multimedia works, and audio and video installations. The registration cost of $150 includes a printed program book and admission to all 27 concerts, and individual concerts are $15 at the door. The concert schedule is available on the NYCEMF website.

FarnBorough Country Music Festival
June 26 – 28
Randall’s Island

NYC’s first-ever country music festival will take place on Randall’s Island this June. Headliners include Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, and Brad Paisley. The “Next from Nashville” stage will spotlight undiscovered talent and food and drink will be sold by NYC vendors. 3-day general admission passes are available for $225 on Ticketmaster.

MoMA PS1 Warm Up
Saturdays, June 27 – September 5
MoMA PS1 Courtyard
Long Island City, Queens

A New York summer staple now in its 18th year, MoMA PS1’s highly anticipated Warm Up outdoor music series continues its tradition of introducing audiences to the best in experimental live music, sound, and DJs—both local and international—across a range of genres. Warm Up supports both established and emerging artists by creating a platform that allows for experimentation and providing a space for collaboration, new material, and side projects. The lineup is listed on the MoMA PS1 website, and tickets are $18 in advance or $20 day-of.

Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival
July 6th – 11th
various locations

Established in 2005, The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is New York City’s largest Hip-Hop cultural event that showcases Hip-Hop’s legacy as an agent of artistic progression, community building and social change. In addition to musical performances, the Festival offers a number of activities for its audience, including panel discussions, exhibitions, parties, an award show and a family-friendly block party. Tickets for performances and panel discussions can be purchased on the festival website, and many events will be free and open to the public.

Photo courtesy of timeout.com
Photo courtesy of timeout.com

Film

Free Outdoor Movies
June – September
various locations

Each summer, there are countless movie screenings in NYC’s parks, rooftops, and other venues. Thrillist has compiled a master list here, and will update the list as more information becomes available. Screenings typically start around 8:30pm, and you’ll want to bring a blanket and snacks. This year’s selection includes blockbusters like The Lego Movie and Frozen, as well as cult favorites such as The Labyrinth and Back to the Future.

New York Asian Film Festival
June 28 – July 8 at Film Society of Lincoln Center
July 9 -11 at SVA Theater
Manhattan

The New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), North America’s leading festival of popular Asian Cinema, is back for its 14th edition. The festival will host a slew of North American film premieres, as well as spotlight the works of Korean female directors and honor the memory of Japanese legends Ken Takakura and Bunta Sugawara with a joint tribute. Tickets will go on sale on June 9 for Film Society Members and June 11 for general public, both at the box office and online. Keep up with festival news on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NYAFF or on Twitter at @subwaycinema.

Central Park Conservancy Film Festival
August 25 – 29, 6:30pm
between Sheep Meadow and the 72nd Street Cross Drive
Central Park, Manhattan

The Central Park Conservancy will screen classic films throughout August, to be accompanied by DJ performances beforehand. Films will screen rain or shine, and the lineup includes The Blues Brothers, Airplane!, and Fame. Bring a picnic and a blanket, and celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Central Park Conservancy.

Photo courtesy of nyhabitat.com
Photo courtesy of nyhabitat.com

Art, Design, and Culture
NYC Pride Week
June 23 – 28
various locations

Heritage of Pride hosts New York City’s Pride events in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the beginning of the modern Gay Rights movement. Starting with a Family Night on June 23 and culminating in the world-famous march on July 28, NYC Pride is a celebration of the LGBT community that everyone is welcome to join. A full list of events is available on the NYC Pride Week website.

Del Close Marathon
June 26 – 28
various locations

The 17th annual Del Close Marathon weekend will feature 575 improv shows at nine different stages across the city. Groups from all over the world will perform including teams from NY, Chicago, LA, Boston, DC, Austin, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Alaska, North Carolina, Florida, Iowa City, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, London, Iceland, Poland, Canada, Australia, Amsterdam, Bogota and more. You can buy a weekend wristband pass for $35 – check out the Del Close Marathon website for more information on ticketing.

Rugged Maniac 5k Obstacle Race
June 27 – 28
Aviator Sports and Events Center
Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn

The 5th annual Rugged Maniac features a 3-mile course where you’ll climb towers of shipping containers, rocket down a massive water slide, crawl through underground tunnels, leap over fire and experience other obstacles. Before and after you run you’ll get to party with thousands of other maniacs at a day-long festival where you can ride mechanical bulls, pretend to be a kid in adult bounce houses, and enjoy lots of new games and activities! Registration is $99 for racers or $10 for spectators.

Independence Day at Prospect Park
July 4
12 – 5pm

Join the Prospect Park Alliance on Independence Day for family-friendly activities at the Prospect Park Audubon Center, Lefferts Historic House and the Carousel.  Celebrate with a first ride of the year on the Park’s 1912 carousel, learn how the bald eagle became America’s symbol of independence, and visit the Lefferts Historic House.

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks
July 4
8:00pm

For this mother of all pyrotechnic displays, Macy’s will explode more than 40,000 fireworks choreographed to a 25-minute patriotic score. Fireworks light up the skyline, with musical accompaniment by the New York Pops orchestra and special guest stars, as millions watch in person and on television. Time Out has a list of the best viewing spots in New York City here.

Books Beneath the Bridge
July 6 – August 10
Pier 1 – Granite Prospect
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn

A perfect summer night’s story starts with Books Beneath the Bridge. Nearly 5,000 people have attended the series since 2012 and gathered around Martin Amis, Patti Smith, Colson Whitehead, and Paul Auster to hear them read their words first-hand. Throughout July and August, six Monday nights will feature authors, representing six of Brooklyn’s best independent bookstores. Each evening will include readings, discussions, signings, and much more, as inspired by each author and our program sponsors. Make sure to get there early, as the seating tends to fill up.

The New York City Poetry Festival
July 25 – 26, 11am – 6pm
Governor’s Island

Fostering an open, approachable, diverse, innovative, sharp, and culturally prominent literary community lies at the core of The Poetry Society of New York’s mission. By opening doors to diverse and unique artistic interactions, the New York City Poetry Festival electrifies arts and literature, brings poetry to new light in the public eye, and ultimately, allows New York City to be the center of the poetry world. The complete schedule is available on the festival website, and attendance is free for everyone.

Summer Streets
August 2, 9, and 16, 7am – 1pm
Brooklyn Bridge – Central Park

On three consecutive Saturdays in August, nearly seven miles of NYC’s streets are opened for people to play, run, walk and bike. Summer Streets provides space for healthy recreation and encourages New Yorkers to use more sustainable forms of transportation. The event is part bike tour, part walking tour, part block party.  All activities at Summer Streets are free of charge, and designed for people of all ages and ability levels to share the streets respectfully. For a map and list of activities, check the Summer Streets website.

XPLORE New York City – Urban Adventure Race
August 29, 12pm
Downtown Manhattan

XPLORE is a team-based adventure race through the city for athletes and fun-seekers of all ability levels. Teams can travel on foot or use public transit as they race to various locations around the city, solve clues, and interact with locals to complete wild challenges along the way. Registration is $25/person for teams or $50/person for solo racers. Sign up on Eventbrite up until the day of the race.

NYC Unicycle Festival
September 3 – 6
various locations

The New York City Unicycle Festival brings together recreational riders, world-class performers, mountain and off-road unicycle enthusiasts, mono-wheel vehicle inventors, and thousands of people who have not ridden in umpteen years, along with circus enthusiasts, extreme sports viewers, and anyone seeking an unusual sight. Festivities include a loop around Central Park, a ride to Coney Island, and races on Governor’s Island. For more information, see the NYC Unicycle Festival website.

My Top Pick of Burgers in New York City

You may already know that I am a huge burger aficionado.  I know exactly how I like my burgers done, and I have found quite a few spots that do them just right.  No longer relegated to fast food chains, burgers have been appearing on the menus of some of New York’s most famous restaurants, often with a creative twist. Now that there are so many great options, every New Yorker has a different opinion on where to find the best burger in town. I’ve put together a list of my favorite New York City burger spots and although I prefer my burgers medium rare with American cheese, I’ve included the most popular burgers on their menu. Let me know what you think and tell me if there is another NYC burger I need to check out.

Photo courtesy of seriouseats.com
Photo courtesy of seriouseats.com

Whitmans
406 E 9th St
b/t East 9th St & Avenue A
East Village

My favorite of all, Whitmans is one of the few places in NYC where you can get a “Juicy Lucy,” a Midwestern specialty consisting of two thin beef patties pinched together surrounding a scoop of pimento cheddar cheese. The result is a molten core of cheese oozing with every bite – the burger even comes with a warning that the center may be very hot. This $12 burger, made from a short rib blend and locally sourced ingredients, is topped with caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato, spicy pickles, and a special sauce.

Photo courtesy of seriouseats.com
Photo courtesy of seriouseats.com

Korzo
667 5th Ave
b/t 19th St & 20th St
South Slope, Brooklyn

The Korzo “Fried” burger doesn’t come in a bun – instead, it’s wrapped in  “a fine bread made according to an old Slovak family recipe” and then deep fried. The “Original” is made from a 10-ounce patty and topped with apple-smoked bacon, Emmentaller cheese, and house-made mustard. Variations include beets, gouda, and an assortment of other ingredients, but the Original, at $16, is the most popular burger on the menu.

Photo courtesy of brindleroom.com
Photo courtesy of brindleroom.com

Brindle Room
277 E 10th St
b/t Avenue A & 1st Ave
East Village, Alphabet City

This East Village spot serves a burger made from prime aged beef trimmings and deckle, the second, fattier cut of brisket. The cheese options are cheddar, Gruyère, and blue cheese, but the chef recommends cheddar. This $15 burger is served on a simple white bun, allowing the flavorful patty to be the focus. Topped with caramelized onions and served with a side of fries, Brindle Room’s burger is best cooked medium for maximum juiciness.

Photo courtesy of burgerweekly.com
Photo courtesy of burgerweekly.com

Peter Luger 
178 Broadway
b/t Driggs Ave & 6th St
South Williamsburg

Peter Luger may be a popular spot for dinner, but I highly recommend stopping in for lunch to try their burger. The dry-aged patty is topped with raw onion, melted American cheese, and a ¾-inch-thick slice of bacon. This burger is served daily until 3:45pm and is best enjoyed with minimal toppings.

Photo courtesy of nycgo.com
Photo courtesy of nycgo.com

Minetta Tavern
113 Macdougal St
Greenwich Village

Minetta Tavern’s Black Label Burger is often cited as the best burger in New York. The patty is made from a selection of prime dry-aged beef cuts, and comes with a price tag of $28. While the recipe remains a guarded secret, New Yorkers have been singing the praises of this burger, served on a brioche bun and topped with caramelized onions, since Minetta Tavern opened in 2009.