About 25 years ago, the borough of Edgewater, a narrow slice of Bergen County situated along the Hudson River in New Jersey, had little waterfront development but a lot of potential.
"When I moved there [in 1984]…there were still abandoned factories and nobody could see the water from River Road," says Lois Fein, of Prominent Properties-Sotheby's International Realty.
The borough, about three blocks wide and 3½ miles long, has seen major growth over the past decade, as new waterfront condominiums, increased shopping and dining options and a direct ferry offering 13-minute service to Midtown Manhattan have drawn thousands of new residents. According to U.S. Census data, the borough's population grew 50% to 11,513 in 2010 from 7,677 in 2000.
Signs of the borough's growth are plentiful. George Washington School, for students in prekindergarten through second grade, is under construction and expected to open next fall. Enrollment at the borough's only current elementary school, Eleanor Van Gelder, grew by 42% over the past four years, according to state data. A larger borough hall opened earlier this year. And development on the 21-acre site of a former Unilever facility is under way and expected to include residences, restaurants, retail and office space.
Edgewater, which has been linked to Manhattan via ferry service since the mid-1700s, included a resort area in the 19th century before becoming industrialized about 100 years ago. After its factories closed, the borough underwent its most recent transformation, to a lively residential suburb popular with commuters.
Today, real-estate offerings include single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses, with a wide range in pricing. According to Zillow.com, the median sale price for homes in Edgewater was $445,900 in June, compared with a median sale price of $473,000 in June 2010 and $370,000 in June 2009.
Prices for condominiums, which may range from $200,000 for a one-bedroom in a building lacking full services to several million dollars for a waterfront townhome, have dropped in recent years, brokers say.
"There are really great bargains," Ms. Fein says, adding that older buildings tend to have lower prices, even for larger units, because many buyers prefer modern amenities.
Taxes are relatively low, thanks in part to the many businesses that line River Road, the borough's commercial strip. The area's compact size is another appeal, brokers say, with most amenities within walking distance or a short drive.
The borough offers a free shuttle along River Road at prime commuting hours for those running between the Edgewater Ferry Landing Terminal and West 39th Street in Manhattan. The fare is $10.25 one way or $293.75 a month.
"Edgewater has a lot of character—it's a beautiful little town," says April Hartmann of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's Fort Lee office. "It's sort of the happy medium between being in the city and the suburbs."
Parks: The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, a walking path intended to eventually run from the George Washington Bridge to Bayonne, contains some gaps but passes through parts of Edgewater. Veterans Field is a waterfront park with ball fields, playgrounds and a walking track, but has been closed since recent soil testing showed contaminants. The James J. Braddock Park, a 167-acre expanse atop the Palisades, is in nearby North Bergen.
Schools: The Edgewater Borough School District's Eleanor Van Gelder elementary school has an enrollment of 600 students. In the 2009-10 school year, 68.7% of fourth-graders were deemed proficient or advanced in language-arts literacy, according to state data, compared with 75% the previous year. In math, 90% of fourth-graders were proficient or advanced in 2009-10, compared with 87.3% the year before.
Following elementary school, Edgewater students attend the nearby Leonia Middle and High schools in the Leonia Borough School District. At Leonia Middle School, with 489 students, 84.8% of eighth-graders were proficient or advanced in language-arts literacy and 73.2% in math, compared with 88.7% in language-arts literacy and 82.8% in math the previous year.
At Leonia High School, 90.3% of students were proficient or advanced in language-arts literacy, compared with 85.8% the previous year. In math, 80.6% were proficient in 2009-10, compared with 82.1% the year before. The school had a 100% graduation rate in 2010, with 72.9% reporting plans to continue to a four-year institution.
Nearby private schools include Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood with about 900 students in preschool through 12th grade.
Restaurants: Dining options line River Road, including the River Palm Terrace, a steakhouse, and many ethnic eateries such as the Shahrzad Restaurant, which offers Persian cuisine.
Several restaurants offer waterfront seating or views. Baumgart's Cafe, part of the City Place complex, has a menu including sushi and hamburgers.
Shopping: Many large national chains such as Target, Barnes & Noble and Bed Bath & Beyond are in the area. Local grocery stores include Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. The Mitsuwa Marketplace, on River Road, has a large selection of Japanese products.
Entertainment: A multiplex movie theater is on River Road. The Bergen Performing Arts Center, offering an art gallery, theater and performances, is in nearby Englewood.
Key findings show an agricultural landscape in need of infrastructure to support the growth of small and mid-size farmers, and a bright opportunity for innovative, value added products to fuel expanded entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector
Posted:Apr 04, 2011 – 08:00 AM EST
COLD-SPRING, N.Y., Apr. 04 /CSRwire/ - Glynwood, the Cold-Spring, New York based organization that works to save farming, recently released The State of Agriculture in the Hudson Valley, a detailed report on agriculture in the region based primarily on data from the USDA's most recent Census of Agriculture as well as other reputable regional sources.
"As we work to save farming in our region, we regularly seek out good data that make the case that farming is essential to the region's economy, environment, and landscape of our communities," notes Glynwood President Judith LaBelle. "And yet, most often, we are confronted by a scarcity of regional data. This report was compiled to help fill that gap and has proved to be enlightening."
The big picture reveals that the Hudson Valley, historically an agricultural region, but one faced with intense development pressure in recent decades, is a place where farming endures despite a 10 percent loss of farmland in a five year period, with a corresponding 21 percent increase in the cost of production. Perhaps the greatest impediment to small and mid-size farm viability is the absence of processing and distribution infrastructure necessary for farmers to get their products to market.
The report also documents how the industry is changing as farmers adapt to a shifting economy and different market opportunities. And there are some bright lights on the horizon - the diversity of markets in the region and the region’s close proximity to major urban areas offers lucrative niche opportunities for farmers; the region has a higher than national average direct-to-consumer sales, and the growth of greenmarkets demonstrate that consumer demand for fresh, local food exceeds the current supply.
Innovation and value added product production from regional businesses - like Pampered Cow, a service that links local cheese producers to wholesale and retail vendors - the Farm to Table Co-Packers, a new processing center that works with local farmers to produce value added products like tomato sauce, IQF frozen vegetables and pesto - and the Modular Harvest System™ recently launched by Glynwood, the first mobile slaughterhouse in the US for in-unit processing of large animals - have shown successful ventures like these not only set the stage for expanded entrepreneurship, but also help rebuild the much-needed infrastructure as they do so.
The report is replete with statistics and graphs about the Hudson Valley's farmland, land use and agricultural production. Additionally it breaks down statistics by principal crop production and by county for ease of use. "The colorful graphs, tables and charts fuse the very dry topic of Ag statistics with meaning and help the reader understand trends and patterns in agriculture that hopefully can be reversed - or in other cases strengthened to help make local agriculture more profitable and successful in the coming years," says New York State’s Farmland Protection Specialist John Brennan.
Perhaps most importantly, the report shows the power of food dollars in the Hudson Valley and the potential that farming in this rich region has yet to achieve.
The report is available to download from Glynwood's website; a hardcopy is available by request firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information on the State of Agriculture in the Hudson Valley or other Glynwood projects, please contact Geralyn Delaney Graham via email or by telephone at 281-980-6643.
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Get outside and do something
1. Analyze art in Central Park
The trees are budding, the birds are chirping, and the days are getting longer—time to get thee to Central Park. A picnic on Sheep Meadow (midpark, from 66th St to 69th St; enter at Central Park West and 67th St) or a row about the pond (Loeb Boathouse, Fifth Ave at 72nd St; 10am–5:30pm; beginning in April; $12) will allow you to explore iconic destinations (see our essential Central Park guide for more), but for a more original experience, take in some outdoor art. Starting March 1, see Eva Rothschild’s sculptural gateway commissioned by the Public Art Fund (Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park, Fifth Ave at 60th St; 212-980-4575, publicartfund.org), a 20-foot-tall steel structure that will rise over the plaza like a ten-legged spider. Far out.
2. Tour Brooklyn Brewery’s expanded factory and try its new suds
There’s more than ever to love at this Williamsburg beer destination, which just expanded into the warehouse next door. That means 12,000 more barrels of hoppy goodness per year, and a chance to learn about the brewing process amid brand-new German equipment. After your tour, toast the educational process with the newest brew, Brooklyn Main Engine Start, a dry, golden ale perfect for a springy outlook ($4, six for $20). 79 North 11th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave; Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-486-7422,brooklynbrewery.com). Sat, Sun 1–5pm; free.
3. Dine alfresco
The ultimate sign of spring? Having to wait twice as long for an outdoor table. We’re not complaining—we’ll gladly bite that bullet for a chance to eat in the fresh air. Try the garden at Back Forty (190 Ave B between 11th and 12th Sts; 212-388-1990, backfortynyc.com),where you can chow down on seasonal farm-to-table veggies and grass-fed burgers ($11). You’ll find indulgent Italian fare in the courtyard at fellow East Village spot Gnocco Cucina & Tradizione (337 E 10th St between Aves A and B; 212-677-1913, gnocco.com), whileClemente’s Maryland Crabhouse (Venice Marina, 3939 Emmons Ave at Knapp St, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; 718-646-7373, clementescrabhouse.com) serves up all-you-can-eat crabs ($29.95) on a deck overlooking Sheepshead Bay. For more choices, see all of our outdoor dining recommendations.
4. Fly a kite at Socrates Sculpture Park
Remember what it was like to be eight with a day of kite-making and flying, at this riverside park on April 25 (32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens; 718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org; 11am; free), when you can fashion your flying craft out of free recycled materials. A former landfill remade into an outdoor community space, the sculpture park is a fitting environment for a day of repurposed merrymaking, as well as an ideal harbor for kayak trips courtesy of the Long Island City Community Boat House(starting May 22; visit licboathouse.org for more information).
5. Scour seasonal flea markets
Come May 7, the Lower East Side will be bustling with activity at the Hester Street Fair(Hester St at Essex St; hesterstreetfair.com; Sat 10am), where you can score retro jewelry, antique decor and old-fashioned hats, while enjoying thick mint ice-cream sandwiches (peppermint ice cream between two crunchy chocolate cookies, $4) from Melt Bakery. For a concept with a twist, check out the Bedford Village Market (8 Macon St between Arlington Pl and Nostrand Ave, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; 646-247-2437,bedfordvillagemarket.com; Sat, Sun 2pm, select weekends; visit website for details),opening in April (date TBA), which will devote each weekend to a specific theme, like baked goods or indie fashion.
6. Root for the home team
Head to the ballpark for the season’s opening games, where a cold brew and a kosher hot dog will provide a warm welcome. Check out the Yankees’ first match, on March 31 versus the Detroit Tigers (River Ave at 161st St, Bronx; 718-293-4300, yankees.com), or see theMets’ opener, against the Washington Nationals on April 8 (126th St at Roosevelt Ave, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens; 718-507-8499, mets.com). Come June 18, head to Coney Island to cheer for minor-league team the Brooklyn Cyclones as they take on the Staten Island Yankees in their first game (MCU Park, 1904 Surf Ave at 17th St; 718-449-8497, brooklyncyclones.com).
7. Drink on rooftops
Take advantage of New York’s enviable views by getting buzzed at a rooftop bar. The scenery doesn’t get much better than at 230 Fifth (230 Fifth Ave between 26th and 27th Sts; 212-725-4300, 230-fifth.com; 4pm–4am), where an unobscured view of the Empire State Building and a luxurious environment filled with leafy fronds, space heaters and blankets on request (at least until it really warms up) will charm you—as long as you stop by on a weeknight to avoid the throngs of tourists. On the downtown scene, check out LES gem the Delancey (168 Delancey St between Attorney and Clinton Sts; 212-254-9920,thedelancey.com; 5pm–4am), where chaise lounges and palm trees will transport you to a tropical haven. For more, browse our guide to NYC’s best rooftop bars.
8. Stroll the Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Take a cue from Annie Hall and spend an evening strolling along this iconic flower-lined stretch, where the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building are a few of the spots visible. Pause from ogling the skyline and show some neighborhood pride at nearby Jack the Horse Tavern (66 Hicks St at Cranberry St, Brooklyn Heights; 718-852-5084,jackthehorse.com) with a Brooklyn Heights cocktail (Rittenhouse Rye, maraschino liqueur,amaro, dry vermouth, Campari and bitters; $11).
9. Hang out in beer gardens
Biergartens are traditionally Bavarian, but Eataly’s anticipated rooftop suds spot, La Birreria (200 Fifth Ave between 23rd and 24th Sts; 212-229-2560, eataly.com; opening date TBA), is resolutely Italian, with exclusive brews by Birreria del Borgo and Birreria Baladin. For a more classic experience, head to the tree-filled Studio Square (35-33 36th St between 35th and 36th Aves, Long Island City, Queens; 718-383-1001,studiosquarenyc.com), where you can sip German lagers like Hofbrau Dunkel (half liter $7, liter $13) at wooden picnic tables. The concrete lot enclosed by a bard-red fence at Hot Bird (546 Clinton Ave at Atlantic Ave, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; 718-230-5800) is an ideal spot for a casual boozefest, while Park Slope’s Mission Dolores (249 Fourth Ave between Carroll and Presidents Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-399-0099, missiondoloresbar.com)welcomes canines and smokers in the courtyard of a former auto-body shop, with an impressive selection of East Coast brewers (Sly Fox, Dogfish Head, McNeill’s).
10. Hop on a bike
If you prefer getting around on two wheels to two feet, then you’ll want to check out the New Amsterdam Bike Show at Center 548 (548 W 22nd St at Eleventh Ave; 212-284-9737,newambikeshow.com; Apr 30 at 10am; $20, advance $15). The 33,000-square-foot space will display the latest gadgets and bicycles in order to kick off Bike Month NYC this May. For a selection of cheap cycling wares, head to the Brooklyn Bike Jumble flea market(Washington Park, Fifth Ave between 4th and 5th Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn;nybikejumble.com; May 14 at 10am; free). If you’re looking to actually put your bike to use, sign up for the 42-mile Five Boro Bike Tour (regular entry is sold out, but you can still register with charities or as a VIP; visit bikenewyork.org), or you can check out the best parks for biking and spring's best biking events.
11. Have a flashback at a Spring Fling party
Brooklyn Bridge Park is an ideal spot to catch a view of Manhattan and revel in the season’s greenery. Stretch your legs and tap into a deep well of nostalgia at the park’s annual springtime bash, featuring an egg toss, an egg roll and relay races that’ll bring you back to second grade. At the very least, you’ll get to listen to live music and enjoy watching actual minors participate in the aforementioned activities. Enter at Furman St at Old Fulton St, Dumbo, Brooklyn (brooklynbridgeparknyc.org). Apr 23 at 10:30am; free.
12. Experience the Macy’s Flower Show
Immerse yourself in a rainbow-colored, heavily perfumed oasis at this garden expo, where you can see more than 30,000 varieties of flora at Macy’s Herald Square. Covet Martha Stewart’s superior domestic skills at a table-setting display, featuring her housewares line; learn about 18th-century gardens at the Williamsburg Pleasure Garden (that would be Virginia, not Brooklyn) as you meander about on your own; or take a free 20-minute guided tour (every 30 minutes, 11am–4pm). 151 W 34th St at Seventh Ave (212-494-4494,macys.com). Mar 27–Apr 11; free.
13. Lick ice cream
Nothing makes you feel like summer’s just around the corner quite like the season’s consummate frozen treat: ice cream. Ignore any lingering winter chill and kick back with a cone from one of the purveyors in our ice-cream guide, like a vanilla soft-serve covered in Trix cereal from the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.
14. Imbibe atop the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Enjoy a killer view of Central Park from the top of the Met at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, where you can relax with a cocktail (previous libations include the “Sacred Heart,” with pomegranate juice and vodka) and gaze at the green expanse below. While you’re at it, you may as well see some art—although the annual rooftop installation hasn’t yet been announced, you can mosey downstairs to see “Room with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century,” opening April 5, an exploration of the motif of open shutters in European painting. 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). Tue–Thu, Sun 9:30am–5:30pm; Fri, Sat 9:30am–9pm; Suggested donation $20, seniors $15, students $10, members and children under 12 free.
15. See Broadway’s newest attractions
You may have heard about a superhero musical opening this spring, a little something called Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. While it attends to its well-publicized problems, you’ll want to check out Broadway’s newest crop, like Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s The Book of Mormon, taking polygamy jokes to new heights, and Daniel Radcliffe’s latest vehicle, the revival of 1961’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Tony Kushner is back in bold form with a multilayered saga ambitiously titled The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. Read our entire roundup of rookie plays.
16. Have brunch outdoors
Start your weekend off right with a sunny alfresco brunch in the bi-level garden at Perch Café (365 Fifth Ave between 5th and 6th Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-788-2830,theperchcafe.com), where you can get your protein with the bird in a nest (a fried egg set inside a piece of sourdough toast and a side of bacon, $5). Sidewalk seating at Petite Abeille (401 E 20th St at First Ave; 212-727-1505, petiteabeille.com) offers prime people-watching on First Avenue, while at Meatpacking spot Paradou (8 Little West 12th St between Greenwich and Washington Sts; 212-463-8345, paradounyc.com) the outdoor garden is a pleasant place to enjoy unlimited mimosas as part of the brunch prix fixe ($29–$45 per person depending on group size). Browse more options in our outdoor-brunch guide.
17. Experience Gallery Week
Give art its due at New York Gallery Week, in which dozens of art spaces in Chelsea and beyond open their doors for tours, artist discussions and film screenings from May 6 to 8 (newyorkgalleryweek.com). On May 6, see artist Kim Beck talk about her new piece on the Highline, Space Available (Bumble and Bumble Hair Salon, 415 W 13th St between Ninth Ave and Washington St, third floor; R.S.V.P. at 212-206-9922, thehighline.org; 6:30pm; free).
18. Rock out at museum parties
Skip the club and head to a museum, for culturally diverse soirees that will simultaneously expand your mind and let you dance the week away. Alongside favorites like the Brooklyn Museum’s Target First Saturdays (200 Eastern Pkwy between Flatbush and Washington Aves, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; 718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org; first Saturday of each month; free) and the Rubin Museum’s K2 Friday Nights (150 W 17th St at Seventh Ave; 212-620-5000, rmanyc.org; Fri 6pm; gallery admission free, event admissions vary),First Fridays at the Bronx Museum provides an evening of entertainment (like smooth jazz from pianist Valerie Capers’s ensemble on March 4) and a chance to browse exhibits free of charge (1040 Grand Concourse at 165th St, Bronx; 718-681-6000, bronxmuseum.org; first Friday of the month 6pm; free). The New Museum’s Get Weird series (235 Bowery at Prince St; 212-219-1222, newmuseum.org; dates and admission varies, see website for details) lets you do just that—with funky performances by bands like psychedelic Australian rockers Naked on the Vague (April 14). For a comprehensive list, see our museum parties guide.
19. Go thrifting at Brooklyn Flea
Add Williamsburg to the top of your flea-market destination list, as Brooklyn Flea expands to a new location south of East River State Park on April 3. While the usual warm-weather outpost at Fort Greene will open the same month (176 Lafayette Ave between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; Sat 10am), the new spot will feature the fair’s wide breadth of vendors and artisan street food (including Asia Dog and Brooklyn Soda Works)—with the bonus of a skyline view. 27 North 6th St at Kent Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (brooklynflea.com). Sun 10am.
20. Play soccer
Spend a day kicking around a soccer ball or join a pickup league to get in on some sporting action. Long Island City’s Water Taxi Beach provides a perfect sandy spot for a casual match, but if you want to get more serious, set time aside on Sundays for Brooklyn Pickup Soccer’s coed games, or scour all of the best places to play soccer in NYC.
21. Marvel at street art
From Banksy to Shepard Fairey, tiny portraits and splashy murals are all the rage on the streets. Hook up with Graffiti Tour New York’s (grafftours.com) Gabe Schoenberg for a special TONY-designed van tour, a two-hour ride that will take you through Harlem, Soho and Long Island City to scope out works by artists like OverUnder, Dan Witz and White Cocoa—or see our NYC street-art guide to find out where to hunt down the goods yourself.
22. Make a pilgrimage to 5 Pointz
Trek out to graffiti mecca 5 Pointz (45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens; 5ptz.com), an industrial complex covered in street art, which has displayed work by aerosol artists like Stay High 149, Cope2 and Tracy 168. While you’re out there, stop byMoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave, Long Island City, Queens; 718-784-2084,ps1.org; Mon, Thu–Sun noon–6pm; suggested admission $10, seniors and students $5),the contemporary outpost of the midtown museum. For a little LIC love, check out Francis Alÿs’s installation “The Modern Procession,” (on view from May 8) a work that documents a ceremonial procession from MoMA to PS1 in 2002.
23. Shop at Eataly and picnic on the High Line Section 2
Have an outdoor feast by combining the ultimate destination for Italian foodstuffs, Eataly(200 Fifth Ave between 23rd and 24th Sts; 212-229-2560, eataly.com), and the much-anticipated green space at the High Line Section 2 (enter at 14th or 16th St;thehighline.org; opening date TBA), which will feature a lawn, a steel walkway and a wildflower field along Manhattan’s west side. Pick up cheese and charcuterie at Eataly spot La Piazza, or made-to-go sandwiches from Paninotca or Rosticceria (or browse our Eataly guide for more options), and settle in on Sections 2’s built-in seating for an afternoon of gorging and gazing.
24. Visit the Brooklyn Lyceum Spring Craft Market
More than 60 artisans will show their goods at the third annual Spring Marketplace at theBrooklyn Lyceum, on April 30 and May 1 (227 Fourth Ave between President and Union Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-857-4816, brooklynlyceum.com; 11am; free). The craft convention will feature food, drink and performances from musical groups who have played at the historical space over the past ten years, for a weekend of community celebration.
25. Browse outdoor art in Washington Square
Want to people-watch, see weird dog breeds or listen to street musicians? Washington Square Park is your spot. Come May, it also makes an ideal fresh-air art gallery, when countless vendors of acrylic paintings, graphic art, crafts and more set up shop for the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit. Get in a weekend walk and find some flair for your blank walls in one go. Washington Square Park between W 3rd and E 12th Sts (212-982-6255, washingtonsquareoutdoorartexhibit.org). May 28–30, June 4, 5; free.
26. Stimulate the senses at the Museum of the Moving Image
Indulge your love of movies with something slightly more highbrow than the upcoming summer blockbusters at the recently reopened Museum of the Moving Image. The $67 million expansion incorporates sleek amphitheaters and installations, including those in the “Real Virtuality” exhibit, a collection of engineered environments designed to stimulate and confuse the viewer. For something a bit less technical, check out the film series “Dave Kehr: When Movies Mattered” (opening March 26), including picks from the New York Times columnist, like the 1978 thriller The Driver. Film buffs should also check out the complete list of MoMI features. 35th Ave at 37th St, Astoria, Queens (718-777-6888,movingimage.us). Tue–Thu 10:30am–5pm; Fri 10:30am–8pm; Sat, Sun 10:30am–7pm. $10, seniors and students $7.50, children 3–18 $5, members and children under 3 free; Fri 4–8pm free.
27. Browse—and buy—at the Affordable Art Fair
Give your walls a makeover and banish those college concert posters with the Affordable Art Fair, where you can pick up reasonably priced landscapes, abstract gems and more from 80 galleries and art spaces (The 7W New York, 7 W 34th St at Fifth Ave; 212-255-2003, aafnyc.com; May 5–7 11am–8pm, May 8 11am–5pm; $20, students $15, groups of ten or more $10, children under 12 with an adult free. May 5 6–8pm and on Mother’s Day for Moms with an accompanying child free). For something a bit more avant-garde, check out the alternative offerings at Fountain Art Fair (Pier 66, 26th St at Twelfth Ave; 917-650-3760, fountainexhibit.com; Mar 3–6 noon–7pm; $10), or refer to our art-fair guide for more festivals.
28. Fight cancer at the EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women
A scenic 3.1-mile stroll (or, for the more ambitious, jog) from Times Square to Central Parkand a chance to raise money to fight women’s cancers? There’s really no excuse. Round up a group of friends for a day of do-gooding and fresh air at this event, which will benefit cancer research and social services for those suffering from the disease. Apr 30; $40, advance $35 (do.eifoundation.org)
29. March in the Veggie Pride Parade
Bust out your Jolly Green Giant suit and take to the streets to declare your love for plant-based diets at this procession, starting at the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Gansevoort Street and ending in Union Square. Speakers like Bruce Friedrich of PETA will make the case for vegetarianism and against animal cruelty, while more information (and food) will be available from exhibitors at the end of the parade, like the American Vegan Society and healthy-snack-bar brand Raw Revolution. May 15 noon; free (veggieprideparade.org)
30. Celebrate the fashion genius of Vivienne Westwood
Starting March 8, Dame Westwood will be the subject of the Museum at FIT exhibit “Vivienne Westwood: 1980–89,” a look at the designer’s artistic transition throughout the ’80s. Through 1981’s Pirates collection to a more feminine sensibilty seen in the iconic “Rocking Horse” boot at the ’87’s Harris Tweed show, you can see how Westwood reconciled her street-punk aesthetic with high fashion. The best part? This look at high culture doesn’t come with a lofty ticket price—mercifully, admission to the museum is free. For a preview of more mega museum shows, check out our roundup of the season’s essential exhibits. Seventh Ave at 27th St (212-217-4558, fitnyc.edu). Tue–Fri noon–8pm, Sat 10am–5pm; free.
31. Party by the river—for free
The outdoor Pier I Cafe opens on May 1, offering views of the Hudson from Riverside Park South and free events sponsored by the Parks Department, including the GlobeSonic Sound System Dance Party. The setup is nothing fancy—a few dozen tables shaded by umbrellas—but the river views make the $10 Pat LaFrieda burgers and $5 beers that much better. Park entrance 68th St at Riverside Blvd; see nycgovparks.org for a full schedule.
32. Eat farm-fresh produce at Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Just a 40-to-50-minute train ride from the city is the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture (630 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills, NY; 914-366-6200, stonebarnscenter.org).Take the “Insider’s Tour” of the 80-acre farm to get an in-depth view of the livestock and produce (Fri, Sat 11am–12:30pm; $15), or talk to a grower during the monthly “Meet the Farmer” discussions (next event Mar 19 2–3:30pm; $15). In the monthly Farm to Table program, you can even get your hands dirty harvesting vegetables and collecting eggs, and then learn how to turn them into a home-cooked snack (next event Mar 20 11am–1pm, 2–4pm; $20). If mud isn’t your thing, make a beeline for the low-key Blue Hill Café, or splurge on dinner at Dan Barber’s exquisite Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant (914-366-9600; bluehillfarm.com). The locavore eatery features the best of the farm in seasonal preparations: The asparagus you saw on the tour will likely end up on your plate—same with the pig.
33. Ride off into the sunset on horseback
Trade in your MetroCard for a saddle and reins; two Brooklyn stables offer well-priced options for beginners and seasoned equestrians. Kensington Stables (51 Caton Pl at E 8th St, Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn; 718-972-4588, kensingtonstables.com. Group ride: one hour $37; private ride: one hour $57) is great for beginners who want to walk or trot, offering trail rides through Prospect Park, where horses largely keep the same steady pace. For a chance to ride completely off-road, head to Jamaica Bay Riding Academy(7000 Shore Pkwy, Mill Basin, Brooklyn; 718-531-8949, horsebackride.com. Group ride: 40 minutes $37; private ride: 50 minutes $53), located in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. It offers 450 acres of wooded trails and 3.5 miles of beachfront riding—you’ll soon forget you’re in the city.
34. Dock at Fleet Week
Hello, sailors! The ladies will be swooning when mariners roll into town to spotlight the work done by U.S. Naval officers, Coast Guard enlistees and other members of the armed forces. Honor them with a week of nautically themed events, including a tug-of-war competition, band performances and a special Memorial Day celebration, or board a naval vessel for a behind-the-scenes tour. For a full schedule, go to intrepidmuseum.org. Pier 86, W 46th St at the Hudson River (877-957-7447). May 25–June 1.
35. Green out at Habana Outpost
The Fort Greene eco-eatery opens for the season with an all-ages fete: Learn about composting and recycling and shop for eco-friendly products, while brunching on sustainable fare, at April 16’s Earth Day Expo. Dig into homestyle Latin eats like huevos rancheros ($6) or a breakfast burrito with eggs, bacon, tomato, avocado, lettuce and chipotle mayo ($8). Throughout the season, check out the weekend Outpost Market, where DJs provide a shopping soundtrack while you ferret out goods by local designers and artists. 757 Fulton St at South Portland Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-858-9500,habanaoutpost.com). Daily noon–midnight.
36. Perfect your putting
The two leafy 18-hole courses at Randalls Island Golf Center (1 Randalls Island; 212-427-5689, randallsislandgolfcenter.com; first 18 holes $7, replay $4) offer ample opportunities to perfect your minigolf technique. If you’ve got time (or patience) for only one round, choose the links with the waterfall. Hidden away beneath a long, cavelike archway, you’ll find hole nine, where a dark approach provides a straight shot to the cup—the perfect chance to sink that elusive hole in one. For a more unusual round of minigolf, try the New York Hall of Science’s Rocket Park (47-01 111th St between 46th and 47th Aves, Corona, Queens; 718-699-0005, nyscience.org; $6 plus general museum admission [$11], children $5 plus general museum admission [$8])—a sculpture garden filled with rockets from the Cold War era. The nine-hole course is designed to illustrate how the laws of motion are experienced on a journey through space—hit your ball through the “Launch Window” at the wrong moment and it will collide with revolving celestial matter.
37. Ramble through Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
The sprawling green space in Queens features many photoworthy destinations. For a hit of natural beauty, check out the 39 acres of botanical gardens (43-50 Main St between Dahlia and Elder Aves, Flushing, Queens; 718-886-3800, queensbotanical.org), with areas dedicated to herbs, roses, fragrant plants and bees, and don’t miss the views of the New York State Pavilion and the Unisphere, built for the 1964 World’s Fair. Also worth a gander is the skate park (enter at Passerelle Pedestrian Overpass near the Mets–Willets Pt subway station; 718-760-6565, nycgovparks.org), in which obstacles are modeled on famous New York skating spots, like the nine-stair rail from the Brooklyn Bridge Banks and the handicap rail from Union Square. To build the course, designers California Skate Parks consulted with NYC skaters, including Rodney Torres, the skating “mayor” of Flushing, Queens.
38. Visit Madagascar in the Bronx
Explore the Bronx Zoo’s permanent exhibit dedicated to the African nation, the fourth largest island in the world. The indigenous creatures on display include lemurs, mongooses, a pair of Nile crocodiles, geckos and a tree boa constrictor. Weirdest of all is the colony of hissing cockroaches, each one able capable of reaching 90 decibels in volume (that’s the same as a hairdryer). 2300 Southern Blvd at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-220-5100, bronxzoo.org). $15, seniors $13, children 3–12 $11, children under 3 free. Wednesdays pay what you wish.
39. Chow down at Red Hook ball fields
Bypass IKEA’s meatballs and head for the locally renowned Latin-food vendors that set up shop on the Red Hook ball fields from late April through the fall (Red Hook Recreational Area, Clinton St at Bay St, Red Hook, Brooklyn; redhookfoodvendors.com). Sample excellent Salvadoran pupusas, ceviche and other South American delicacies, and watch some serious teams play soccer. On the weekends, extend your culinary adventures down Van Brunt street to Stumptown Brew Bar for an artisanal caffeine kick (219 Van Brunt St at Commerce St, Red Hook, Brooklyn; no phone, stumptowncoffee.com. Sat, Sun 10am–5pm).
40. Hunt for a bargain
Warmer weather equals outdoor markets; take on Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market’s shopping trifecta on this market crawl. Get up early to make a first pass at the secondhand wares at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market (39th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-243-5343,hellskitchenfleamarket.com; Sat, Sun 9am–6pm) before hopping on the $1 Annex Market shuttle to the Antiques Garage (112 W 25th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-243-5343; Sat, Sun 9am–5pm) to add a certain je ne sais quoi to your pad with vintage prints. Finish your shopping odyssey getting dusty fingers: Search for killer vinyl at the West 25th Street Market (W 25th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 212-243-5343; Sat, Sun 9am–6pm).For more digging options, and where to eat afterward, peruse the best markets in NYC.
41. Explore a secret garden in the East Village
The threat of development loomed briefly over New York’s community gardens last September, when the agreement that protected them expired. They’re now safe under a new set of rules, at least until the city administration changes, so move fast before they pave over urban paradise. The East Village in particular is filled with green spaces: Picnic among spring’s first crocuses in 6th BC Botanical Garden (E 6th St between Aves B and C;6bc.org), or check out an art exhibition at Le Petit Versailles (346 E Houston St between Aves B and C; alliedproductions.org/le-petit-versailles). Locate more community gardens via the East Village Park Conservancy’s green-space map at evpcnyc.org.
42. Pig out on Cinco de Mayo
If Mexican troops hadn’t triumphed over their French invaders, we might all be eating onion soup on what would be called Le Cinq de Mai. Doesn’t really sound as fun as a thick Cal-Mex burrito ($7.35) from Dos Toros (137 Fourth Ave between 13th and 14th Sts; 212-677-7300, dostoros.com) or affordable barrio bites from Mesa Coyoacán (372 Graham Ave between Conselyea St and Skillman Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-782-8171,mesacoyoacan.com)—both recipients of TONY Food & Drink Awards last year. Consult our list of ten great Mexican restaurants for further margarita guzzling options.
43. Celebrate Greek Easter, even if you’re not Greek
The moment you stopped believing in the candy-bearing bunny, it became clear: Easter is kind of lame. But Greek Easter is a literal feast. At Pylos (128 E 7th St between First Ave and Ave A; 212-473-0220, pylosrestaurant.com), the Easter midnight menu includes magiritsa (traditional Easter soup), rack of lamb with porcino mushrooms, and pears poached in red wine (Apr 23 midnight; $TBA). If you’re not carcass-shy, reserve a spot at upscale Estiatorio Milos (125 W 55th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-245-7400,milos.ca), where they’ll be roasting lambs right on the sidewalk, and offering a three-course tasting menu that includes a traditional Easter spread ($97). Those who want the real deal should reserve for midnight on April 23, but the party continues during dinner on April 24 (Easter Sunday).
44. Soak up suds and sun at the Frying Pan
This “lightship”—a floating lighthouse once used by the Coast Guard—sank and spent three years underwater before she was salvaged and converted into a floating bar. Now docked near Chelsea Piers, this nautical beer garden attracts formidable weeknight and weekend throngs of would-be revelers. Starting in April (on days the weather is forecast to reach 70 degrees or higher) and officially after May 1, you can drink on deck—that is, if you can find room on the beer-soaked boat, jetty or the prime real estate: the jetty roof. If you’re fortunate enough to nab a seat, order a burger. Pier 66A, West Side Hwy at 26th St (212-989-6363, fryingpan.com)
45. Nurture your green thumb
On April 16, join 5,000 expected volunteers taking part in Hands on New York Day. Now in its 17th year, the New York Cares fund-raising event will assign each participant to a city garden or park, to prepare flower beds, mulch and clear winter debris. Register online athandsonnewyorkday.org. Want to keep gardening throughout the year? Find your nearest community garden or attend a free Green Thumb workshop (greenthumbnyc.org): The spring program includes a seed giveaway (Mar 16; free), pointers on growing fruit trees and berry bushes (Apr 9; free), and tips on attracting butterflies to your garden (May 14; free).
46. Shed some winter padding
No, we aren’t suggesting you clean out your wardrobe. The time has come to lose those five (or is it ten?) pounds you picked up while in hibernation. The good news is you don’t have to be a gym rat to get fit—now that the weather is temperate, you have multiple outdoor activities to choose from, many of them free. Get some fresh air on one of our three after-work runs designed by triathlete Christopher Bergland; en route use everyday objects like benches and crosswalk signs to make the city your gym. Keep your workout interesting and varied by exercising on the water and trying these cycling routes, and your body will be beach-ready come summer.
47. Budge your bulk during the New York City Dance Parade
This annual parade aims to celebrate and showcase dance in all its forms, from the waltz and salsa to ballet and belly dancing. All in all, you’ll see 70 different styles performed by close to 10,000 dancers; file away a few new moves to bust out later in Tompkins Square Park, where the parade ends with the DanceFest party. Parade begins on Broadway at 21st St (danceparade.org). May 21 1–7pm; free.
48. Trek your taste buds through Ninth Avenue International Food Festival
This two-day street fair, now in its 38th year, gives you a chance to try ethnic foods from around the world, as well as shop for crafts, clothes and jewelry. In addition to Spanish, Greek and Polish snacks, check out carts from local Ninth Avenue restos like Little Pie Company (424 W 43rd St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-736-4780,littlepiecompany.com), Delta Grill (700 Ninth Ave at 48th St; 212-956-0934,thedeltagrill.com) and Empire Coffee & Tea (568 Ninth Ave between 41st and 42nd Sts; 800-262-5908). Ninth Ave between 37th to 57th Sts (ninthavenuefoodfestival.com). May 14, 15; free.
49. Meet the next Spielberg
Want to see tomorrow’s Spielbergs and Almodóvars today? Both were once unknown filmmakers whose work appeared in the New Directors/New Films festival, a joint effort of the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Scope out up-and-coming talent from around the globe at the 40th anniversary of the festival this year, with many of the flicks introduced by the filmmakers themselves. MoMA, 11 W 53rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves • The Film Society of Lincoln Center, 165 W 65th St between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave (newdirectors.org). Mar 23–Apr 3, tickets on sale Mar 13.
50. Munch popcorn at Tribeca Film Festival
Sure, the venues are scattered and the selections erratic, but the broad mix of movies at Robert De Niro’s growing Tribeca Film Festival really does translate into something for everyone. Where else are you going to see big Hollywood blockbusters (Mission: Impossible III and Shrek Forever After premiered here) alongside local indie gems, foreign films and music-related documentaries? Various locations, see tribecafilm.com for details. Apr 20–May 1.
51. Watch the season’s most anticipated flicks
This spring offers a bit of everything for moviegoers, including Terrence Malick’s long-awaited existential drama The Tree of Life to The Beaver, wherein mad Mel Gibson plays a dude who talks to others via a puppet (really). And the season wouldn’t be complete without a James Franco vehicle, the medieval stoner comedy Your Highness. See whichfilms we can’t wait to go to, then catch one at one of the city’s best movie theaters.
52. Take the tram to Roosevelt Island
The Roosevelt Island tram from Manhattan (59th St at Second Ave, rioc.ny.gov; $2.25)resumed service last November, but now that it won’t be buffeted by winter winds, you can enjoy the views down Manhattan’s avenues and sweeping vistas of the skyline, and then actually explore the one-road islet without catching a cold. After your three-minute ride in one of new, shiny red cars, which hold up to 109 passengers, grab a bite alongside islanders at the diner Trellis (549 Main St; 212-752-1517) and hit up the other spots in our handy Roosevelt Island guide.
53. Ride the Cyclone
It’s still here, and it’s as rickety as ever. The Cyclone is possibly the least confidence-inspiring roller coaster in the world. (The stripped wooden slats could double as siding in a Manila shantytown, and the seats are pretty tough to squeeze into.) Still, this oldie is a goodie, boasting a surprisingly fast ride, a great view of the ocean and a worn-in charm you can’t get at Six Flags. 834 Surf Ave at 8th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-265-2100). $8. Opens April 16.
54. Sweat out your winter sins
Spring is all about new beginnings, and there’s no better place to reach catharsis than in a communal bathhouse. At the Russian & Turkish Baths (268 E 10th St between First Ave and Ave A; 212-674-9250, russianturkishbaths.com; $30), you can cycle between two steam rooms, two saunas, an ice-cold plunge pool and a sunny roof deck to get rid of those toxins. If you’ve been really bad, you can pay extra to be whipped with a bundle of oak leaves (platza, $35) before being drenched in ice-cold water. For a swankier detox experience, park yourself in the Water Lounge at Great Jones Spa (29 Great Jones St at Lafayette St; 212-505-3185, greatjonesspa.com; $50).
55. Join a sports team (and hook up)
If you can’t summon the nerve for a pickup game in the park, try one of the sports teams organized by Chelsea Piers (23rd St at Hudson River; 212-336-6666, chelseapiers.com) orZogSports.org, where registration is now open for coed spring sports leagues in touch football, dodgeball and other activities you probably hated in high school. Although CEO and founder Robert Herzog stresses that it’s not a dating service, he brags that ZogSports has brought together dozens of engaged couples. We speculate that the rounds of friendly postgame drinks have had something to do with that. Consult this roundup for more social (and occasionally boozy) sports leagues.
56. Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and go to Beacon, New York
When you’ve tired of MoMA’s lines and photo-taking tourists, take an 80-minute Metro-North ride to Dia:Beacon (3 Beekman St at Red Flynn Rd; 845-440-0100, diabeacon.org; $10, students and seniors $7). Founded in 1974 and housed in a former Nabisco factory, the museum has a vast collection of larger-than-life modern art—including Donald Judd’s steely monoliths and Louise Bourgeois’s sinister sculptures—that conventional museums often can’t accommodate for lack of space. Grab lunch in the café, or better yet pack a picnic to enjoy on the sprawling grounds, perched on the edge of the Hudson River. Travel: Metro-North Hudson Line to Beacon (off-peak round trip $28).
57. …or Wassaic, New York
You’ll want your Schwinn for this trip: The Metro-North Harlem Line terminates at Wassaic (visit mta.info for information on the hours when bikes are permitted on trains) and gives way to the leafy Harlem Valley Rail Trail, a biker’s paradise. Pedal to quaint Millerton, where tea at Harney & Sons (13 Main St between Old Rt 22 and N Center St; 518-789-2121, harney.com) and the chance to watch glassblowing by artisans at Gilmor Glass (2 Main St at Old Rt 22; 518-789-8000, gilmorglass.com; call ahead for the blowing schedule)await. A longer journey up a steep, partially paved road to Cascade Mountain Winery (835 Cascade Rd, Amenia, NY; 845-373-9021, cascademt.com) may test just how tipsy you can be without needing training wheels. Find maps and bike tours at hvrt.org or dutchesstourism.com. Travel: Metro-North Harlem Line to Wassaic (off-peak round trip $32.50).
58. Have a high-concept dinner at Park Avenue Spring
Owner Michael Stillman, chef Kevin Lasko and design firm AvroKO have conceived an ode to the legendary Four Seasons, except that here the design, the uniforms and the very name rotate along with the menu. Spring brings a lavender-and-green color scheme, vibrant flowers and a vernal menu that’s still in the works. 100 E 63rd St between Park and Lexington Aves (212-644-1900, parkavenuecafe.com). Starts Mar 22.
59. Walk off Italian eats in Astoria
Some Astorians deem Vesta (21-02 30th Ave at 21st St; 718-545-5550, vestavino.com) the best thing to have happened to the ’hood since the popular seafood joint Elias Corner. (Only it’s Italian.) This perpetually packed trattoria attracts diners nightly with its modern rustic cuisine—and pasta in particular. We can’t say no to the cavatappi with spicy cauliflower and bread crumbs ($11) and hearty three-meat lasagna ($15). Then stroll along Shore Boulevard, which stretches between Astoria Park and the East River, offering unparalleled views of Manhattan. Head to the span between the Robert F. Kennedy and Hell Gate Bridges for some quiet contemplation (although it can get busy on warm, clear nights).
60. Get schooled in cool subjects
It’s time to turn off that rerun of Dancing with the Stars and give your noggin a workout. At Brooklyn Brainery (515 Court St between Huntington and W 9th Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 347-292-7246, brooklynbrainery.com), you can learn about beekeeping, soda making, bookbinding and other activities ($10–$35 per course). For classes of the practical, daily-life variety, check out LifeLabs New York (Location, time and price vary; visitlifelabsnewyork.com for details), where folks can help you examine your fashion sense, improve your time-management and conversational skills, and more.
61. Eyeball the blooms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Stop by this 52-acre garden for the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival (Apr 30–May 1 10am–6pm; $15, students and seniors $10, children under 12 and members free), a Japanese spring celebration featuring authentic ikebana floral arrangements, dance and drumming performances, tea and more. Every Saturday from 10am to noon, you can take in the grounds, as picturesque as any you’ll find in the borough, and their bevy of blooming flowers for free. Before your trip, make sure you consult the garden’s site for the precise location of currently blooming varieties. 900 Washington Ave at Eastern Pkwy, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-623-7200, bbg.org). Through Mar 13 Tue–Sun 8am–4:30pm; Sat, Sun 10am–4:30pm; $10, seniors and students $15. Mar 15–Nov 7 Tue–Sun 8am–6pm; Sat, Sun 10am–6pm; $15, seniors and students $10.
62. …or the Central Park Conservatory Garden
This garden will soon be overrun with brides and their entourages, but for now, it is a flowering paradise that begs to be strolled at a leisurely (dare we say Victorian?) pace. Overexertion is strongly discouraged in this Eden, which is divided into three sections (Italian, English and French) (East side between 104th and 106th Sts; enter at Fifth Ave and 105th St; 212-310-6600, centralparknyc.org). Another romantic option is the Shakespeare garden, featuring blooms from the bard’s poems. For a view overlooking the garden, walk a loved one up to the long, curved Charles B. Stover Bench. Its design conducts sound along the bench’s length, so you can whisper sweet nothings to each other from its far-away ends. (West side between 79th and 80th Sts, enter at Central Park West and 81st St; 212-310-6600, centralparknyc.org)
63. Shake your thang on Governors Island
Anticipate all of this summer’s awesome outdoor concerts by going to the first-ever Governors Ball Music Festival, which goes down at the tail end of spring. Take a free ferry over to see sets by mash-up maestro Girl Talk, prolific Outkast rapper Big Boi, rising electro star Pretty Lights and others who will keep a young, ready-to-party set moving. Tickets are on sale now—nab ’em quickly, as they’ll go fast. For more must-see shows this season, consult our list of the best spring concerts in NYC. Governorsballmusicfestival.com. June 18 noon; $75–$150.
64. View sharks from a safe distance at the New York Aquarium
At this Coney Island staple, you can see eerie moon jellyfish, fierce sharks and adorable black-footed penguins. And don’t miss the ongoing sea lion show: Duke is the scenery-chewing diva of the aquarium’s pinniped spectacular. Surf Ave at W 8th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-265-3474, nyaquarium.com). $13, seniors $10, children $9.
65. Spot birds in Brooklyn
The National Audubon Society classifies Prospect Park as an Important Birding Area for the many species (more than 250 of them, in fact) that migrate through it. This season you may see the American Gold Finch, Baltimore Oriole and Blue Jay. Learn how to find them on these open walks; binoculars are provided. Prospect Park Audubon Center, Ocean Ave at Lincoln Rd, Prospect Park, Brooklyn (718-287-3400, prospectpark.org/audubon)
66. Bet on ponies
Corral your crew and head to the races for a day of equine-inspired revelry at Aqueduct Racetrack (110–00 Rockaway Blvd at 110th St, Jamaica, Queens; 718-641-4700,nyra.com; races Wed–Sun 1–5pm; through Apr 23). Admission to both the grandstand and the clubhouse is free (though you may want to bring some cash to pay your bookie). Starting April 29, the action moves to Belmont Park and the price goes up a whopping three bucks. In planning your race-day wardrobe, keep in mind that there is a “tradition of elegance” at the track. You don’t have to dress to the nines, but an ascot never hurt anyone(2150 Hempstead Tpike between 125th St and Belmont Park Rd, Elmont, NY; 516-488-6000, nyra.com; Wed–Sun 1–5pm; grandstand $3, clubhouse $5; Apr 29–July 17).
67. Join the AIDS Walk New York
You’re good at walking. Deploy your talent for a great cause: This 10K (6.2-mile) walk begins and ends in Central Park. Registration is free, but the more money you raise, the better you’ll feel at the finish line. Enter at Fifth Ave and 59th St (212-807-9255,aidswalk.net). May 15; sign-in 8:30am, opening ceremony 9:15am, walk 10am.
68. Stroll through street fairs on the weekend
It’s that time of year: New York’s craziest microcommunities come out and make a spectacle of themselves on the streets. Celebrate everything from Romania Day(Broadway between Battery Pl and Cedar St; May 1) to the Flatbush Avenue Festival(Flatbush Ave between Cortelyou Rd and Parkside Ave, Flatbush, Brooklyn; May 22).
69. Explore Freshkills Park
Since 2001, the city has worked on transforming a ginormous landfill on Staten Island into a public park more than twice the size of Central Park. While work continues, your only chance to see the wetlands, meadows and birds of Freshkills Park is on a free two-hour tour (by bus and foot). Last year, killdeers, ospreys and even a bald eagle were spotted, so keep your eyes peeled. Register at nycgovparks.org to secure a place. Meet at Eltingville Transit Center, 90 –98 Wainwright Ave at Richmond Ave, Staten Island (212-788-8277). Next tour Mar 27 at 10:30am; free.
70. See Alexander McQueen’s mind-bending dresses at the Met
Fashion-forward folks will marvel at the Costume Institute’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” a tribute to the late fashion designer. Peruse 19 years’ worth of the insanely talented Brit’s creations, spanning from his first postgrad show to his final posthumous one in Paris last year. Not a fashionista? Try one of these other blockbuster museum shows.1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). May 4–July 31. Suggested donation $20, seniors $5, students $10, members and children under 12 free.
71. Find retro furnishings at the Pier Antiques Show
Jonesing for that authentic ’60s lamp you saw on Mad Men? You don’t have to trek to the shops upstate—just nab one during the Pier Antiques Show, when more than 500 dealers descend upon Pier 94. And if you’re wondering if that old painting is worth anything, bring it with you. Gary Sohmers (Antiques Roadshow) will appraise it for five bucks. Twelfth Ave at 55th St (stellashows.com). Mar 12, 13 10am–6pm; $15.
72. Salsa dance at the ¡Si Cuba! Festival
Celebrate Cuban culture with three months’ worth of events at the ¡Si Cuba! Festival starting March 31 (Location and time vary; visit sicuba.org for details). Take in a free screening of Eso Que Anda, a doc on the seminal Cuban band Los Van Van, and then get down to a the sounds of the Pedrito Martinez Project at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse at 165th St, Bronx; 718-681-6000, bronxmuseum.org; Apr 1 6–10pm; free), tap your toes to the rhythms of Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñero at Carnegie Hall (154 W 57th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-247-7800, carnegiehall.org; Apr 16 at 10pm; $38–$46) or view contemporary Cuban art at “Hola Havana” (Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashton Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-636-4100, bam.org; Apr 20–May 20; free).
73. Battle for beads during Mardi Gras
Indulge in some N’awlins-style hedonism at d.b.a. Brooklyn’s bash (113 North 7th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-218-6006,drinkgoodstuff.com; Mar 8 1pm–4am; free), where you might do just about anything for those beads after a few $6 hurricanes. For live tunes, it doesn’t get much better than the Fifth Annual Nolafunk Mardi Gras Ball at (Le) Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker St at Thompson St; 212-505-3474, lepoissonrouge.com; Mar 5 at 7:30pm; $45, advance $40),where Dr. John himself teams up with the likes of the Soul Rebels Brass Band, a seriously fun Frenchmen Street staple. Consult our Mardi Gras in NYC guide for more great soirees, gigs and eats.
74. Smack strangers with a pillow
For the sixth year in a row, New Yorkers can tap into their inner second-grader during a giant, outdoor pillow fight. Organizers beg that you don’t be douches (no insanely strong swings or pillows with feathers, please) and showing up in your pajamas is suggested. For this year’s secret location, e-mail email@example.com. And check out our photos of last year’s epic throwdown in Union Square. Location TBA, visit newmindspace.com for details. Apr 2 at 3pm; free.
75. Listen to groovy tunes along the Hudson
Bid adieu to spring and welcome summer during this two-day fest, held in the scenicCroton Point Park along the Hudson River (an hour-long train ride from the city). Aside from a live performance by the tireless 91-year-old political songsmith Pete Seeger (who created the environmentally conscious music-and-education event), the weekend also boasts sets by Peter Yarrow, Drive-By Truckers, the Low Anthem and many more. 1 Croton Point Ave, Croton-on-Hudson, NY; clearwater.org; June 18, 19; day pass $45–80, weekend pass $75–$125. Travel: Metro-North Hudson Line to Croton Harmon (off-peak round-trip $18).
76. Conquer your fears at Alley Pond Park Adventure Course
Grow a pair and deal with your irrational phobia of precarious heights and outer-borough buses. This huge oasis of nature in Queens boasts the largest high ropes course in the Northeast, and starting this May it opens to the public for two free exhilarating sessions every Sunday. For two hours you’ll get to try a grab bag of activities, so you could scale a bouldering wall, whiz down a zip line, balance on a tightrope, make a leap of faith from a 35-foot-tall platform or become a human pendulum on the Flying Squirrel. Arrive early; each session is limited to 40 people and is first-come, first-served. Union Tpke at Winchester Blvd, Bayside, Queens (718-217-4685, nyc.gov/parks). Sun 10am–12:30pm, 1:30–4pm; free. May–Nov.
77. Ramble around Manhattan
Your shoes were made for walking, so take in the city at a leisurely pace on the Shorewalkers 26th annual Great Saunter, a rewarding, if punishing, 32-mile, 12-hour meander around Manhattan’s waterline. You’ll enjoy views of all four outerboroughs and out-of-the-way spots like the Little Red Lighthouse from the eponymous children’s book, while chatting to fellow wayfarers. You don’t have to walk the whole course to take part (we recommend the final leg leaving Carl Schurz Park at 4pm, so you can sink a cold one at the Heartland Brewery), or go it alone on one of these great NYC walks. Starts at Heartland Brewery, 93 South St at Fulton St (shorewalkers.org). May 7 at 7:30am; $20, advance $15, members free.
78. Stay trendy and in the black
Red is so 2010, at least for your bank balance. This season, big stores have hooked up with lauded designers to keep you looking chic for cheap. Target brings back its Go International series (Locations throughout the city; visit target.com. Available Mar 13–Apr 10), with 34 dresses by 17 in-demand designers, including an Erin Fetherston spaghetti-strapped, bunny-printed chiffon frock ($39.99). British fashion house French Connection debuts a collection for men and women at Sears (2307 Beverley Rd at E 23rd St, Flatbush, Brooklyn; 718-826-5800 • 404 E Fordham Road at Webster Ave, Bronx; 718-817-7300 •sears.com; In stores now), in which everything is under $100. Check out more of the season’s sartorial mash-ups with spring’s hottest designer collaborations.
79. See inside the belly of a beast
The American Museum of Natural History salutes those with greater girth at its new exhibit, “World’s Largest Dinosaurs,” which focuses on the hulking sauropods that plodded the Earth for 140 million years. The centerpiece of the show is a 60-foot-long model of a Mamenchisaurus, with one side sporting a cutaway of its belly to display projections of its working vital organs. Central Park West at 79th St (212-769-5100, amnh.org). Suggested donation $16, seniors and students $12, children 2–12 $9, children under 2 free. Opens Apr 16.
80. Get drunk and save a puppy
Your tendency for making poor decisions after you’ve had a few is legendary, so agree to take someone home who won’t disappear before you wake up and then screen their calls. The Beer for Beasts benefit (beerforbeasts.com) at the Bell House supports the animal-welfare work of the Humane Society of New York, so try one of the 16 new Sixpoint brews debuting at the party and sign up to adopt a fur ball in need—you won’t take an animal home that night, the potential for drunken mishaps is clearly too great. If you can’t provide a permanent home for an animal, contact Sugar Mutts Rescue (646-732-3795,sugarmuttsrescue.com) and volunteer to foster a dog in need before it’s adopted. 149 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn (718-643-6510,thebellhouseny.com). May 26, 1–5pm, 6–10pm; $60.
81. Gawk at pageantry
Sorry, Chinese Lunar New Year parade, but seeing your colorful displays while standing on freezing-cold windswept streets just doesn’t do it for us—call us when you choose a warmer month. In the meantime, we’ll stick to fair-weather parades that march in spring. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade (Fifth Ave from 44th to 86th Sts, nycstpatricksparade.org; Mar 17 11am–5pm; free) is led by the author Mary Higgins Clark, and April brings more Gaelic delights with the marquee event of Tartan Week (Apr 3–10, visit tartanweek.com for details), New York’s National Tartan Day Parade (Sixth Ave from 45th to 55th Sts,tartanweek.com; Apr 9 at 2pm; free). Pray for wind and you could be treated to a flash of a kilt-sporting bagpiper’s thigh. A week later, catch the stylish chapeaus on display at theEaster Parade (Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Sts; nycgo.com; 10am–4pm; free).
82. Get high and watch a film
As if we would encourage partaking in an illegal activity! We’re talking climbing stairs for a live music act and a program of short flicks hosted by Rooftop Films, which fires up the projector for a new season on May 13 at Open Road Rooftop (350 Grand St at Ludlow St;rooftopfilms.com; 8pm; $10). While the lineup of musicians and movies is still to be announced, we’re psyched for the Rooftop Films–funded 14-minute Las Palmas, in which a filmmaker’s baby turns in the performance of a lifetime portraying a drunk woman on holiday. Location, time and price vary; visit rooftopfilms.com for details.
83. Take your mountain man outdoors
Roll up your mat and leave the confines of the studio for the beautiful natural surroundings overlooking the Hudson at Wave Hill (675 W 249th St at Independence Ave, Bronx; 718-549-3200, wavehill.org), which begins yoga classes on May 1 (Sun 10am; $20, members $15; bring your own mat) and Tai Chi Chuan sessions on May 7 (beginners Sat 10am, intermediate Sat 11am; $20, members $15). If you can’t bear to leave the city behind, Open Air Yoga’s morning sessions at Battery Park City (Rockefeller Park, Warren St at River Terr;openairyoganyc.com; Mon, Wed 9:30–10:30am; $12) and evening classes in Central Park(Turtle Pond at W 79th St Transverse; Mon, Wed 6:45–7:45pm; $12) begin in the spring; visit openairyoganyc.com for details.
84. Satisfy your comic cravings
The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art moves its annual festival to springtime, filling theLexington Avenue Armory with the latest mainstream, indie and super-rare comics. A constellation of stars like Frank Miller make up many a stimulating panel, but we’re most excited about the MoCCA Live Strip Show, where actors and comedians Sam Seder (Air America), Sara Benincasa (AGORAFABULOUS!) and Jon Glaser (Delocated) perform live versions of strips by Kim Deitch, Michael Kupperman and more. 68 Lexington Ave at 26th St (moccany.org). Apr 9, 10; Day: $12, advance $10; Weekend: $20, advance $15.
85. Quaff a mint julep
With the approach of the Kentucky Derby (May 7), our minds instantly turn to hats, horses and that intoxicating mix of bourbon, sugar, mint and crushed ice. We recommend the three versions ($13 each) at East Village cocktail den Death & Company (433 E 6th St between First Ave and Ave A; 212-388-0882, deathandcompany.com), of if you prefer to get down and derby, plan on attending the Bell House’s free annual shindig (149 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn; 718-643-6510, thebellhouseny.com; May 7).If you’ve been preparing your finery all year, you’ll want to be seen at Eleven Madison Park’s third annual glitzy party with Esquire (11 Madison Ave at 24th St; 212-889-0905,elevenmadisonpark.com; May 7 3–7pm; $150).
86. Praise the sun god
Early risers got to enjoy a Manhattanhenge sunrise—where the sun aligns exactly and spectacularly with the isle’s cross streets—in January, but on May 30 you’ll be able to lie in and still catch the natural phenomenon at sunset. Set yourself up before 8pm anywhere above 14th Street on the city’s grid and great ready for the light show.
87. Power through the water on the Hudson
The New York Outrigger club offers unlimited, free training sessions for novices every Saturday starting in April, for the four-man Polynesian canoe. The lesson begins on land where you’ll familiarize yourself with the boat and learn stroke work, safety protocol, and calls and commands; then you’ll get an hour of practice on the water with two experts in your boat to steer you in the right direction. Sessions are limited to four people, so e-mail ahead to book your space. The club provides everything you need—boats, paddles and life vests—but it’s up to you to bring drinking water, sunscreen and a grass skirt. Pier 66, W 26th St at the Hudson River (newyorkoutrigger.org). Sat 10:30, 11:15am, noon; April–October. Reservations required, e-mail Keith Tsang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
88. Hoist the mainsail
If the thought of self-propulsion is too much, but you still want to get out on the water learn how to sail with the Manhattan Sailing School and let the wind do the work. The popular weekend course ($390–$490) begins on April 29 and mixes classroom tuition with two days on the water. If you’re not sure the sport’s for you, read up on Food & Drink editorJordana Rothman’s experience, or get a taster with the “Try Me” sail ($150), a chance to work the rigging during a three-hour jaunt. Your ticket also comes with a $50 coupon to put toward the basic sailing class. 385 South End Ave at the Hudson River, No. 7G (212-786-0400, sailmanhattan.com)
89. Bid farewell to the winter of our discontent
BAM salutes the bard with the U.S. premieres of three Shakespeare productions. Edward Hall’s all-male troupe begins with The Comedy of Errors (Mar 16–20, 22–27; $25–$70),then Cheek by Jowl gets its hands dirty with Macbeth (Apr 5–10, 12–16; $25–$70). Finally, Sir Derek Jacobi rages against his children, a tempest and the onset of years in King Lear (Apr 28–June 5; $25–$95). 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-636-4100, bam.org)
90. Roll with your homies
While the hardy bikers of Critical Mass ride throughout the year, the Wednesday Night Skate group begins its free weekly two-hour group skate on April 6. Beginning and ending in Union Square, up to 80 participants embark on a different route each week, finishing with food, drinks and camaraderie at local bistro Mumbles (179 Third Ave at E 17th St; 212-477-6066, mumblesnyc.com). Meet at the south end of Union Square, E 14th St between Broadway and University Pl (meetup.com/Wednesday-Night-Skate-NYC). Wed 7:45pm; free.
91. Give flowers a standing ovation
The New York Botanical Garden is pampering the prima donnas of the plant world to perform in their Broadway–themed Orchid Show. The arrangements are inspired by the Great White Way, and include set pieces like a grand chandelier partially influenced by the Al Hirschfeld Theatre’s Art Deco light fixture, featuring moth, cane and dancing-lady orchids in an exhibit-stealing turn. River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-817-8700,nybg.org). Tue–Sun 10am–6pm; $20, seniors and students $18, children 2–12 $8, children under 2 free. Mar 5–Apr 25.
92. Clear your mind with a gentle stroll
When the throngs of people in the Village gets to be too much, slip off the main drag and amble along the block-and-a-half length of Commerce Street, a teeny tree-lined West Village lane that feels awfully secluded from the rest of the neighborhood, especially since it winds in a way that few city streets do. If you need any further comforting, stop by Milk & Cookies Bakery (19 Commerce St between Seventh Ave and Bedford St; 212-243-1640,milkandcookiesbakery.com) for a chocolate-chip treat ($1.95).
93. Mosh with teenagers
If there’s one place to go this spring that will make you feel old, it’s the teenager-packed emo and hip-hop circus that’s the Bamboozle (thebamboozle.com). Suck it up—you don’t have to deal with acne and curfews—and enjoy a stellar lineup of rappers Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa and Waka Flocka Flame; legendary rockers Mötley Crüe and Grammy winner Bruno Mars. New Meadowlands Stadium, 50 NJ-120, East Rutherford, NJ (201-559-1300,newmeadowlandsstadium.com). Apr 29 at 6pm, Apr 30 at 2pm, May 1 at noon; $30–$130.
94. See some skin
That’s dance, art and performance duo Eiko & Koma’s skin to be exact. The pair will present their work Naked at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, a living installation in which they will be on view, nude, four to six hours a day for two weeks. Stop by for a minute or stay for the whole session, and get familiar with Eiko & Koma’s body of work with an accompanying video retrospective. 450 W 37th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves (646-731-3224,bacnyc.org). Mar 29–Apr 9; free.
95. Dance to Mario music
Artist collective 8bitpeople and multimedia performance-art group the Tank bring back their Blip Festival for its fifth installment of chip music and video art. What the hell is chip music, you ask? It’s dance tunes formed from the 8-bit sounds you used to find on the NES or Sega Genesis. And we only just got the Mario music out of our heads. Eyebeam, 540 W 21st St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves (212-937-6580, eyebeam.org). May 19, 20, 21; $TBA.
96. Splash about on the water
The Downtown Boathouse launches its kayaks onto the Hudson on May 14, offering free 20-minute paddles in safe, roped-off areas of water by their three boathouses, so you don’t need to have any paddling experience. You can often cool off after a long, hot day of work with weekday-evening sessions, in addition to weekends. Pier 40 at W Houston St; Sat, Sun 9am–6pm; select weekdays 5–7pm, see website for details • Pier 96 at 56th St; Sat, Sun 9am–6pm; select weekdays 5–7pm, see website for details • 72nd St at Henry Hudson Pkwy; Sat, Sun 10am–5pm • (646-613-0375, downtownboathouse.org). Free.
97. Scope out an LES gallery…
We all know Chelsea is a go-to spot for gallery-hopping, but the Lower East Side has developed its own vital arts scene. Start with mega gallery Sperone Westwater (257 Bowery between E Houston and Stanton Sts; 212-999-7337, speronewestwater.com; Tue–Sat 10am–6pm), which boasts a Lord Norman Foster–designed building and a blue-chip roster of artists—Evan Penny and Emil Lukes are on display until March 26. For four more places to check out on the LES and its environs, take a look at these cool NYC galleries.
98. …or take in the nabe’s LES history
In addition to its vibrant present-day environs, the ’hood has a rich heritage, which the Lower East Side History Project reveals in its clutch of weekly tours. Guided by born-and-bred New Yorkers, you can explore areas of the greater LES like the Bowery (Sun 11am), Alphabet City (Mon 11am), the East Village (Wed, Sat noon) and Chinatown (Sun 2pm). Those who like their history bloody should take the Mafia (Thu, Sat 2pm) or Jewish Mob (Sun noon) tours, but for those on the side of the Wisconsonians fighting for collective bargaining there’s the Women Movers & Shakers Tour (Mar 23, 24 at noon), which commemorates the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, an important touchstone of the labor movement. Various starting points, visit leshp.org for details. $20.
99. Spend a weekend with photography’s greats
Shutterbugs will be able to cast their eyes on famous vintage photographs at the AIPAD Photography Show New York (aipad.com), an annual expo for 70 of the world’s top fine-art photography galleries. Unless you’re planning on splurging on something for your wall, treat the show like a traveling museum show and feast your irises on works by Diane Arbus, Alfred Stieglitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson and many more. Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Ave between 66th and 67th Sts (212-616-3930, armoryonpark.org). Mar 17, 18, 19 11am–7pm, Mar 20 11am–6pm; $25, students $10, four-day ticket $40.
100. Stage a pickup game in Central Park
If you’ve got energy—but no money—to burn, head to the North Meadow Recreational Center with your crew to pick up a free field-day kit (requires deposit of ID). You’ll find Wiffle balls and bats, as well as Frisbees so you and your brahs can play the ultimate sport.Midpark at 97th St, enter at Central Park West and W 97th St (212-348-4867,centralparknyc.org). Mar: Tue–Sun 10am–5pm, Apr–June: Tue–Fri 10am–6pm; Sat, Sun 10am–5pm.
101. Learn pétanque in Bryant Park
You may think it’s a haughty version of bocce ball, but you’d be wrong. Get the inside track on the game with a free lesson from a member of the La Boule New Yorkaise club (labouleny.com) at the Bryant Park courts. Just stroll up and find the instructor in the club’s T-shirt and they’ll school you on the basic rules in around 15 minutes. You’re free to stay and play with their equipment as long as you like (although it does get busy during lunch) and receive further insights on strategy and tactics. Gravel courts at the corner of Sixth Ave and 42nd St (212-768-4242, bryantpark.org). Starting Apr 18 Mon–Fri 11am–6pm; free
Bedding down uptown has gotten a lot easier, thanks to the first hotel to open in Harlem since the last one closed more than 40 years ago.
Aloft Harlem officially opened last week in the heart of the historic neighborhood at Frederick Douglass Blvd. and W. 124th St.
It's owned by lodging giant Starwood, but the operators are making sure it has local flavor: The front-desk staff, the art on the walls and the flowers in the lobby are all from the Harlem area.
Some of the 124 rooms - which will go for about $250 a night, comparable to similar hotels downtown - offer a view of the world-famous Apollo Theater.
The last major hotel in the neighborhood was the Hotel Theresa, known as "the Waldorf of Harlem," which closed in 1967.
The Aloft is more W than Waldorf, with a loft-inspired design, trendy bar and sleek lounge that is already buzzing with locals and tourists.
"Harlem is a destination. There's been a need for hotel rooms in this area," said Aloft spokeswoman Aleksandra Truglio. "It's time to get off the double-decker buses. It's time to leave money in Harlem, and stay in Harlem."
Hotel workers are steering guests to neighborhood fixtures like the Apollo and Sylvia's Restaurant, plus new hot spots like the Red Rooster restaurant.
Harlem Flo, a local florist, and area artists were tapped to decorate the lobby.
"I'm really overly excited," said Barbara Askins, president and CEO of the 125th Street Business Improvement District, whose paintings are on display in the lounge. "They really got into the community to showcase and find the stuff that we know that is here."
Some area residents were put off by the hotel's hefty $250 rate - and said their families wouldn't be able to afford it.
"Everybody up here don't have that kind of money," said Khadija Ahmad, 54. "My family can't afford this."
Others took a different view.
Laura Nardelli, 50, of upstate Hamilton, said the hotel was "fabulous. We loved it." Nardelli, Colgate University's track coach, said she picked Aloft Harlem "because of the proximity" to their meet at the armory track in Washington Heights.
Colgate runner Elise Deroo, 20, called it "clean-cut. It's got a young feel."
Their only complaint was not being able to control the heat in their room. They were told the controls were broken.
Young area residents have shown up at hotel lounge ordering such specialty drinks as the New York Spritzer or Snook-Tea.
"It's a destination for locals, too," said Raina Bivens, 26, of Harlem, an event planner who was meeting with clients. "It just gives Harlem a new vibe. "I'm going to be one of the regulars."
Keisha Wannamaker, 37, said her family wouldn't stay there but felt the hotel was good for the area. "I think for the tourists, it's great. They shop in Harlem," she said. "I don't think it's bad."
This is huge news for Upstate New Yorkers (including us!): the localTroy, NY newspaper, The Record, is confirming a report that Marvel has shown interest in using the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for several scenes in Iron Man 3.
The location would be used as the secret lab of the villain in the movie.
But, don’t get your hopes up just yet, the location is not set in stone. “These types of location scouting inquiries and negotiations about EMPAC take place all the time,” said Michael Mullaney, a Rensselaer spokesman. “At this point, there is absolutely nothing certain or definitive about Iron Man 3.”
Stay tuned for any updates on Iron Man 3 and the movie’s potential filming locations!
Aloft Harlem, the nabe's first new hotel in over 40 years, is the latest in a string of chic boutiques, restaurants and cocktail lounges on Frederick Douglass Blvd. above 110th St. The area's first beer garden opened in August, and luxury condos are cropping up on every corner. No wonder realtors call this bustling stretch of Eighth Ave. Harlem's Gold Coast.
*The booming boulevard begins at Frederick Douglass Circle (Central Park North & Frederick Douglass Blvd.), where a monument to the abolitionist was completed in June (pictured above). The B and C trains at 110th St.-Central Park North bring visitors to the vibrant corridor running up to 125th St.
*Niche shops like MODSquad Cycles (2119 Frederick Douglass Blvd.; above left), Bebenoir Boutique (2164 Frederick Douglass Blvd.) and the just-opened Bibi Salon (2220 Frederick Douglass Blvd.) are meeting the rising demand of incoming professionals. "We're bringing a service into a neighborhood that really needed it," says Laralyn Mowers, 31, from MODSquad, which rents out bikes and hawks customized wheels for up to $4,500. "Sometimes kids come in with a flat tire, and we'll patch it for no charge."
New eateries are expanding the area's palate, like Patisserie des Ambassades (2200 Frederick Douglass Blvd., above right) and Questan's (2113 Frederick Douglass Blvd.) with its seafood specials. The 5 & Diamond (2072 Frederick Douglass Blvd.) opened in March with organic American fare, and upper West Side favorite Levain Bakery will open at 2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd. next year.
*Harlem was poised to be New York's next It nabe three years ago until the real estate crash halted many projects. Now as more students and young families settle uptown, investors are taking over vacant lots and empty storefronts to build new businesses.
The condo boom, however, has some longtime residents worried about getting priced out. The FDB 2280 (2280 Frederick Douglass Blvd.) luxury complex prides itself as Harlem's "new standard" of living, while the one-bedrooms at the Livmor (301 W. 115th St.) begin selling at $460,000.
*Bier International (2099 Frederick Douglass Blvd.; above), Harlem's first beer garden, opened in August with nine international and domestic drafts, plus scores of bottles. "This is what the neighborhood needed," says co-owner Chris Pollok. "My partner and I have been in business for years, mostly in the East Village, but now everything is happening here!" There's more on tap: Harlem Tavern opens next month at 116th St.
*"The lounge culture has gotten really popular," says Malik Sharif, who works at Moca Lounge (2210 Frederick Douglass Blvd.). Karl Williams at 67 Orange St. (2082 Frederick Douglass Blvd., shown above) is also bringing the cocktail culture of Death & Co. uptown. "This area is really starting to open up, and I love it," says the Harlem resident. "I don't have to go downtown to go shopping or have a good cocktail. We're creating that downtown experience up here."
*Iconic pieces honoring Harlem's history still color the nabe, such as the 30-by-11-foot Spirit of Harlem glass mosaic by Brooklyn native Louis Del Sarte (80 W. 125th St.; above left), or the nearby Swing Low: A Memorial to Harriet Tubman bronze sculpture by Allison Saar (123rd St. & Frederick Douglass Blvd.) celebrating the Underground Railroad leader.
* Plenty of local artisans still sell their wares between the bars and chic boutiques. One vendor from Burkina Faso sells handmade West African-style jewelry for a song, including carved wooden bangles and necklaces for $7 to $10, and glass rings for $5 (above right).
*The Aloft Harlem hotel (2296 Frederick Douglass Blvd.) opened on Thursday with 124 rooms averaging $239 a night, plus a gym, a bar/lounge area and outdoor patio. Says local resident Ashtan Pina, 21, "This area is booming, and yet, those places like the Apollo and Sylvia's that make Harlem Harlem are still here."
JOHN W. BARRY
A historic concert hall in downtown Poughkeepsie is building on a regional approach to presenting the arts by assuming pivotal roles in redevelopment projects in Newburgh and Kingston.
Chris Silva, executive director of the Bardavon 1869 Opera House on Market Street, is hoping to apply what he learned in Poughkeepsie to downtown revitalization projects involving the Ritz theater in Newburgh and the Broadway Theater at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston.
The Bardavon's efforts in Newburgh and Kingston expand the already wide reach of the arts organization, which stretches from western Massachusetts to Sullivan County. The work the opera house has undertaken:
• Illustrates how the arts can affect a community beyond offering entertainment.
• Underscores the regional dynamic that binds Hudson Valley cities together.
• Could attract even more artists to a region whose rich arts history is a cornerstone of its legacy.
Silva argues that the Bardavon, a former vaudeville house that has hosted Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan, was and remains an engine for revitalization.
"I came to the Bardavon in 1994 and much has changed and improved in Poughkeepsie since then," he said. "Back then, Poughkeepsie had a very bad reputation, where prostitution and drug sales surrounded the Bardavon. After 4 p.m., the Main Mall was a scary, empty ghost town. The waterfront was totally undeveloped. But the dramatic increase in activity at the Bardavon over the last 16 years parallels the transformations that have occurred in Poughkeepsie."
Silva said these transformations include:
• The opening of the Main Mall to traffic.
• The Bonura family taking over and renovating the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and developing the waterfront.
• The arrival of The Artist's Palate and other restaurants downtown.
• The development of the Luckey Platt building.
• Metro-North Railroad's parking lot expansion.
• The development of Dooley Square.
• The opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson.
"Crime was skyrocketing," Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik said of 1994. "The Bardavon has definitely enhanced the overall redevelopment efforts of the downtown of the City of Poughkeepsie."
In Newburgh, the Bardavon is working with Safe Harbors of the Hudson, which operates housing for formerly homeless adults, adults with mental health issues, veterans, victims of domestic violence and artists. Safe Harbors has also embarked on a $12 million renovation project involving an 800-seat theater — the Ritz — where Lucille Ball made her stage debut.
Two exits north on the New York State Thruway, the King's Inn Review Committee, a panel of officials and business owners, is trying to figure out what to do with the King's Inn, a former residence for the homeless on Broadway in midtown Kingston. Silva is a member of this committee.
The 40-room King's Inn has been vacant since 2007, when Kingston's Building Safety Division shut it down because of numerous code violations. The building's owner owes $130,000 in taxes and penalties and the City of Kingston officially took possession of the site in June.
"Part of all this is that people who run arts organizations are not risk-averse," said Benjamin Krevolin, chairman of the Dutchess County Arts Council. "I think they are adventurous, they are determined and they can see things where other people don't."
Jonathan Drapkin, president and CEO of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, said the Bardavon's efforts outside of Poughkeepsie could serve as a model for other regional organizations, such as those that provide affordable housing.
Newburgh-based Pattern for Progress, Drapkin said, "promotes regional, balanced and sustainable solutions that enhance the growth and vitality of the Hudson Valley.
"By creating an infrastructure that transcends working in one county or one city, each city doesn't have to come up with a strategy on its own," Drapkin said. "If it's working in one place, it can work in another."
And, he added, the Hudson Valley's major cities — Poughkeepsie, Beacon, Newburgh and Kingston — "they're not so unique, not incredibly different."
The Bardavon, since Silva's arrival 16 years ago, has enjoyed growth that includes an increase from 50,000 patrons annually to 120,000; an annual budget of $800,000 that has increased to $3.7 million; and a staff of eight full-time employees that has grown to 20.
In 2006, the Bardavon took over the Broadway Theater at the Ulster Performing Arts Center, which is just two doors down from King's Inn.
Also in 2006, Silva and Stephen LaMarca, the Bardavon's managing director of theater production, became consultants with the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington, Mass. In 1999, the Bardavon took over the bankrupt Hudson Valley Philharmonic; from 2004 to 2006, the Bardavon served as a consultant to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Sullivan County, on the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.
Silva has been a consultant to the New York State Council on the Arts since 1995. Across the Hudson River, in Ulster County, he is an ad hoc adviser with the Rosendale Theatre.
The situations in Newburgh and Kingston are dramatically different than what Silva found in Great Barrington. And they present all kinds of challenges that don't exist in the cozy, Berkshire Mountain community in western Massachusetts.
While King's Inn was being used to house the homeless, the City of Kingston Police Department received numerous reports of prostitution and drug use.
"The development of both the Ritz theater and the King's Inn could have a profoundly positive effect on two distressed parts of each city," Silva said. "The irony is that in Kingston, UPAC is in full operation, which will only be helped by the progressive development of the King's Inn and vice versa. In Newburgh, Safe Harbors is up and running with 128 tenants, an art gallery, artist work spaces, and the Ritz will benefit from that development, and vice versa."
Silva has been working in Newburgh with Tricia Haggerty Wenz, executive director of Safe Harbors and the Ritz theater, booking acts for Ritz fundraisers. The residence operated by Safe Harbors is called The Cornerstone.
The money raised at the fundraisers held in the Ritz lobby — performances have featured folk singer Pete Seeger and jazz guitarist Larry Coryell; Laurence Juber, guitarist for Paul McCartney & Wings, will perform in April — is being used to pay for renovations to the theater. A renovated theater in downtown Newburgh, Wenz said, can drive the revitalization of that Hudson River city.
Wenz initially called Silva at the suggestion of a staff member of Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley. She had worked with Hinchey's staff while applying for a grant.
"It took me a little while to work up the courage to call him," Wenz said of Silva. "I called him and told him we have a theater we're looking to restore. He said, pretty abruptly, 'Why would I want to do this?' I told him, 'It's not just another theater, it's a really cool project.' "
Opening the Ritz — she is spearheading a $6 million fundraising effort and hopes to secure another $6 million in tax credits — will provide job opportunities for the residents of The Cornerstone, Wenz said. And staging performances in downtown Newburgh could stimulate the local economy by attracting new businesses that are drawn by the crowds that attend performances.
Silva points to Newburgh as an example of success in progress, where the arts are used as a driving force to stabilize and stimulate a community.
Safe Harbors opened The Cornerstone in 2006, after a $21 million renovation and:
• The Ritz's third year of fundraising concerts is under way.
• The Ritz has already raised $1.6 million for renovations.
• Architects have been hired to draw up renovation plans.
• The Newburgh campus of Orange County Community College, set to open in about a year, will use the Ritz as a theater facility.
"I think there is a formula that can work in cities and I think you can't have a vibrant city with the absence of culture," Wenz said. "What brings people to cities is the culture. It's a formula that works."
In another example of how a regional approach to finding solutions could work, Wenz said she is considering getting involved in the redevelopment of the King's Inn property.
"Safe Harbors is a good model," Silva said, "for what could happen at the King's Inn."
Suggestions for redevelopment of King's Inn, proposed at a July meeting, included residential and commercial properties, a pedestrian mall, public garden, outdoor amphitheater and low-income supportive housing for veterans and artists.
Silva would like to see a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, some of which could target artists; possibly a cinema that shows independent films, in the vein of Upstate Films in Rhinebeck and Woodstock; and an anchor commercial tenant, such as a restaurant .
The King's Inn Review Committee put out a call to developers to submit ideas for the property, but received none by the Nov. 17 deadline. Silva said the focus now turns to demolishing King's Inn, and, perhaps, waiting until the economy improves.
"We see them very much as stakeholders," said Patrice Courtney Strong, of Silva and UPAC. Strong is a member of the committee and president of the Business Alliance of Kingston.
"UPAC is the jewel of midtown. It's one of the key institutions here in this two- to three-block area," she said. "Their health is very much related to the street's health."
In addition to Silva serving on the King's Inn Review Committee, Strong said, UPAC helps attract artists to Kingston.
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