This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


pickle day

Orchard St. between Houston & Delancey Sts.
Sunday, October 6, free, 12 noon - 5:00 pm

“My first taste memory is pickle,” Padma Lakshmi told the Guardian in 2004. “Even as a kid, I was really weird. I used to climb up the shelves in my grandmother’s pantry. The pickle jar was kept right at the top. One time, I dropped the jar and it broke. I was totally busted.” You won’t have to worry about getting busted for your pickle obsession at the annual Lower East Side Pickle Day, being held Sunday on Orchard St. between Houston and Delancey. Among those participating in the festivities, which include food, fashion, and family-friendly games and activities, are pickled purveyors Guss’ Pickles, Pickle Me Pete, Backyard Brine, Grillo’s Pickles, Crisp Pickles, the Pickle Guys, Rick’s Picks, Horman’s Best Pickles, Adamah Farm, Brooklyn Brine, MacDonald Farms, Epic Pickles, Brine Brothers, City Saucery, Brooklyn Whatever, Kilhaney’s Pickles, Anomaly Season, Messy Brine, and Farm Ferments in addition to Melt Bakery, Ice & Vice, Que Chevere, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, Heros & Villains, Macaron Parlour, the SKINny Bar & Lounge, DACHA Live Cultured Veggies, Renegade Lemonade, and Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, among others. There will also be live music, the Pickling Poet, and a home pickling contest. Pickles have a long affiliation with the Lower East Side, and the annual Pickle Day only adds to that pickled history.



MOFAD celebrates historic Delmonico’s restaurant with a special program on September 24

62 Bayard St., Brooklyn
Thursday, September 19, $125, 7:00

We have a special affection for Delmonico’s; we got married there and have been back for several milestone anniversaries. Opened in 1837 by the Delmonico brothers, purveyors of fine coffee, chocolate, liquor, and cigars, the historic New York City eatery at the corner of Beaver and William Sts. gained fame for its Delmonico steak and the invention of eggs Benedict, baked Alaska, lobster Newburg, the wedge salad, and chicken a la Keene as well as for its chic and powerful clientele, from celebrities to politicians, including Jenny Lind, Mark Twain, and Lillian Russell to Theodore Roosevelt, Jacob A. Riis, and Nikola Tesla. In what may have been the first restaurant review in the New York Times, on January 1, 1859, an unnamed critic wrote, “Once let Delmonico have your order, and you are safe. You may repose in peace up to the very moment when you sit down with your guests. No nobleman of England — no Marquis of the ancienne nobless — was ever better served or waited on in greater style that you will be in a private room at Delmonico’s. The lights will be brilliant, the waiters will be curled and perfumed and gloved, the dishes will be strictly en règle and the wines will come with precision of clock-work that has been duly wound up. If you ‘pay your money like a gentleman,’ you will be fed like a gentleman, and no mistake.”

On September 24, the Museum of Food and Drink is celebrating the first fine-dining establishment in the nation with its latest DinnerLab presentation, “Delmonico’s — Restaurant History Remixed.” The program is being held at the MOFAD Lab on Bayard St. in Brooklyn and is hosted by radio personality, lifestyle expert, motivational speaker, and author Max Tucci, the grandson of Oscar Tucci, who owned Delmonico’s from 1926 to 1987. Executive chef Billy Oliva, MOFAD executive chef Eric Kwan, and mixologist and cocktail historian David Wondrich will offer tastings and drinks, including samplings of chicken a la Keene chip & dip, crispy eggs Benedict, XO oysters Jim Brady, “Ladies Only” Newberg iceberg, and iced Alaska Kakigōri; there will also be old photographs, menus, and other rare items on view. Fortunately, you won’t have to be as careful as diners were advised back in the day, as the NYT critic also noted, “If you make the ordinary mistakes of a untraveled man, and call for dishes in unusual progression, the waiter will perhaps sneer almost imperceptibly, but he will go no further, if you don’t try his feelings too harshly, or put your knife into your mouth.”


big chocolate

Resorts World Casino
110-00 Rockaway Blvd.
September 20-22, $15 – $188

Chocolate is king in Queens this weekend, as the Big Chocolate Show comes to Resorts World Casino for three days of tastings, demos, workshops, book signings, classes, and more. Among the participants are chef and author Kathryn Gordon, cake designer Kate Sullivan, chef/owner Zach Golper, chef and culinary historian Maricel Prescilla, pastry chefs Alexander Zecena, Samantha Benjamin, Gale Gand, and Lindsey Farr, Hugo Orozcooof La Slowteria, Peter Botros of the Stone House, Jonathan Pogash the Cocktail Guru, Penny Stankiewicz of Sugar Couture, and Michelle Tampakis of Whipped Pastry Boutique. Classes include Coffee & Chocolate – Understanding the Roast, Tequila and Truffles, Bourbon & Bon Bons, and Gluten Free Chocolate Brunch. Admission is $15-$30 for children and $75-$188 for adults and various packages, with part of the proceeds benefiting Cookies for Kids Cancer. The festivities begin Friday night with Legends of Chocolate and Decadent Evening of Chocolate & Cocktails, so come hungry.


(photo © Chad Batka)

Oberon (Ryan Wuestewald) looks down on his kingdom in unique take on Shakespearean dinner theater (photo © Chad Batka)

Café Fae
829 Broadway between Twelfth & Thirteenth Sts.
Monday - Saturday through September 7, $75-$200

To twist a Shakespeare phrase, “If food be the music of life, play on.” The Twelfth Night quote applies to Food of Love Productions, which last year scored a hit with Shake & Bake: Love’s Labor’s Lost, an interactive presentation of the Bard comedy that was first staged in an apartment, then in a repurposed vacant storefront on Gansevoort St., where multiple dishes were served during the show. Food of Love has now teamed up with immersive specialists Third Rail Projects, the company behind such innovative shows as Then She Fell and Ghost Light, on Midsummer: A Banquet, a delicious expansion on the idea of dinner theater, taking place in a reinvented space by Union Square Park that has been turned into the lavishly decorated Café Fae. (The name refers to the fairy world in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as, if you say it fast, a famous twitter word posted by the current president.)

(photo © Chad Batka)

A group of fairies toast Puck (Lauren Walker) in Midsummer: A Banquet (photo © Chad Batka)

The central room evokes an 1890s Paris café, filled with small, round tables, a bar, long banquettes, and tiny half tables that seem to require fairies to hold your food, as they offer almost nowhere to put your feet or plates. (These demi-tables are to be avoided unless being physically uncomfortable for two and a half hours is your thing.) The exuberant cast moves through the narrow space in the middle and on and around white pillars, one transformed into a tree stump. As they relate Shakespeare’s beloved tale of one fantastical summer’s evening, the actors occasionally turn into waitstaff, bringing food to you, including a forest picnic of harvest grains and market vegetables, fairy kebabs of applewood-smoked veggie skewers, and love bundles of fruit. There’s also wine and cheese, Prosecco, crudités, and dessert, but be careful when buying your tickets, because some seats don’t come with everything.

The play has been liberally streamlined by director and choreographer Zach Morris, the co-artistic director of Third Rail, and actress Victoria Rae Sook, the founder of Shake & Bake, focusing on the key moments of love gone wrong amid mistaken identity. “Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth,” Theseus (Ryan Wuestewald) tells the Philostrate (Lauren Walker). Theseus, the duke of Athens, is preparing to marry Hippolyta (Sook), queen of the Amazons. Egeus (Charles Osborne) comes to Theseus, insisting that his daughter, Hermia (Caroline Amos), marry Demetrius (Joshua Gonzales), but she wants to wed only her true love, Lysander (Alex J. Gould). And Helena (Adrienne Paquin) is madly in love with Demetrius, who brutally shuns her.

(photo © Chad Batka)

Theseus (Ryan Wuestewald) and Hippolyta (Victoria Rae Sook) are hunting for love in tasty take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream (photo © Chad Batka)

Hermia and Lysander run away into the forest, where fairy king Oberon (Wuestewald) rules with his queen, Titania (Sook). Messing with the power of love, Oberon asks Robin Goodfellow (Walker), better known as Puck, to use magic to make Demetrius love Helena, but things go awry and soon both Demetrius and Lysander are chasing Hermia, and Titania wakes up next to donkey-faced weaver Nick Bottom (Osborne), part of the Rude Mechanicals theater troupe that is putting on the tragicomic Pyramus and Thisbe with the tinker Snout (Gonzales), the bellows mender Flute (Gould), the joiner Snug (Amos), the tailor Robin Starveling (Walker), and the carpenter Peter Quince (Paquin).

As with Shake & Bake: Love’s Labor’s Lost, there is much merriment to be had, and much good food, curated by Emilie Baltz. The quarters are designed by Jason Simms with an Art Nouveau, Alphonse Mucha flair, while Tyler M. Holland’s costumes are sweet and dainty. There is live music by sound designer Sean Hagerty before and during the show, played by several cast members, most prominently Paquin on guitar. The acting can be hit or miss — Amos, Paquin, Wuestewald, and Walker excel, while Osborne chews up scenery faster than the audience munches away — but Midsummer: A Banquet is more about the experience as a whole, and it’s a tasty one to be savored.


Josephine, Peckham, 1995

Liz Johnson Artur, Josephine, Peckham, chromogenic photograph, 1995 (courtesy of the artist / © Liz Johnson Artur)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, August 3, free (some events require advance tickets), 5:00 - 11:00

The Brooklyn Museum gets ready for the West Indian American Day Carnival on Labor Day in the August edition of its free First Saturday program. There will be live performances by Los Habaneros, DJ I.M., DJ TYGAPAW, and Noise Cans; a hands-on workshop in which participants can make Caribbean carnival masks; a Flag Fête workshop and performance with Haitian choreographer and dance instructor Charnice Charmant and Afrobeat dancers; teen pop-up gallery talks on “Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha”; a screening of Khalik Allah’s Black Mother, followed by a talkback with Allah and curator Drew Sawyer; Likkle Bites with food from Caribbean-owned Brooklyn businesses Greedi Vegan and Island Pops; an artist talk with Liz Johnson Artur; and the discussion “Yoruba in Pop Culture” with Grammy winner Chief Ayanda Clarke, presented by the Fadara Group. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Garry Winogrand: Color,” “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall,” “Eric N. Mack: Lemme walk across the room,” “Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha,” “One: Egúngún,” “Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion,” “Infinite Blue,” “Rembrandt to Picasso: Five Centuries of European Works on Paper,” and more.


Harlem Week kicks off July 29 with A Great Day in Harlem

Harlem Week kicks off July 28 with the annual celebration “A Great Day in Harlem”

U.S. Grant National Memorial Park
Wes 122nd St. & Riverside Dr.
Sunday, July 28, free, 12 noon - 8:30 pm
Festival runs July 28 - August 31

Tens of thousands of people are expected to converge in U.S. Grant National Memorial Park on July 28 for the beloved Great Day in Harlem festival, part of the forty-fifth annual summer Harlem Week celebration. This year’s theme is “Our Local History Creates a Global Impact,” focusing on Harlem’s cultural influence around the world, while the music theme is Bill Withers’s classic “Lovely Day.” A Great Day in Harlem will feature an International Vendors Village from 12 noon to 8:00, the Artz, Rootz, and Rhythm International Cultural Showcase at 1:00, the Regional Gospel Caravan at 3:00 with Bishop Hezekiah Walker, the McDonald’s Gospel Super Choir, Kirk Franklin, and a tribute to Dr. Bobby Jones, a Fashion Fusion Showcase at 4:30 honoring the Black Fashion Museum, and “A Concert under the Stars” at 6:00 with Nicole Bus, Harlem Week music director Ray Chew, and more paying tribute to Spike Lee and the thirtieth anniversary of Do the Right Thing and Robert “Kool” Bell of Kool & the Gang in honor of the group’s fiftieth anniversary. Harlem Week continues through August 31 with such other events as the Youth S.T.E.A.M. Hackathon on August 1, New York City Economic Development Day on August 8, Summer in the City on August 17, Harlem Day on August 18, and Harlem Restaurant Week beginning August 19.


power play

Rubin Museum of Art
West 17th St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.
Sunday, July 21, free (including free museum admission all day), 1:00 - 4:00

The Rubin Museum’s yearlong exploration of “Power: Within and Between Us” is at the center of its sixth annual block party, taking place July 21. From 1:00 to 4:00, there will be live performances by Building Beats, Fogo Azul Brazilian Women’s Drumline, and Power Painting Jam, food from Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, People’s Pops, Yanni’s Coffee, Cafe Serai, Sweetface Snoballs, and the Commons Chelsea, and activities led by Grassroots Movement in Nepal, Siddhartha School, Tibetan Community of NY/NJ, YindaYin Coaching, Nepal Hip Hop Foundation, and others. “Power begins within us and flows between us. How can we tap into this potential?” the museum asks. The block party also features the art workshops Power Down (in which you can create their own stress balls), Power On (make a portable lamp), and Power Objects (inspired by the Tibetan Namkha). In addition, you can participate in Flower Power (a collaborative floral feast), Power Couple (tracing hands), Power Nap (a guided meditation), Power Poles (scientific experiments with magnets and metallic sand), Power Trip (learn about Himalayan constellations), Net Walk (study movement in unison with artist Milcah Bassel), Playgami (an AR experience with origami artist Uttam Grandhi), and Power Forward (create wind-powered messages with artist Kyung-Jin Kim). As an extra bonus, there will be free admission to the museum all day (11:00 am – 6:00 pm), so you can check out the exhibits “Charged with Buddha’s Blessings: Relics from an Ancient Stupa,” “Masterworks of Himalayan Art,” “The Power of Intention,” “Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel,” “The Wheel of Intentions,” “Shrine Room Projects: Wishes and Offerings,” and “The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room.”