Grand Central Oyster Bar, Grand Central Terminal, lower level, 212-490-6650
Russ & Daughters, 179 East Houston St., 127 Orchard St., Jewish Museum, 212-475-4880
Restaurant Aquavit, 65 East 55th St., 212-307-7311
The new herring is here! The new herring is here! After being sampled by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the Hollandse Nieuwe Haring from Scheveningen has been air-expressed to New York City, where it is available at several prime locations through around the middle of July. For years we’ve been singing the praises of the new herring at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, which serves the Silver of the Sea from its special cart (marked De Haringkoning — the Herring King) in a cozy nook by the bar, accompanied by chopped egg, diced raw onion, and seeded flatbread, along with genever (Dutch gin) as desired. Each bite is a delectable taste sensation that should be slowly savored, never rushed. But we very well might now have a new favorite, the special herring menu at Russ & Daughters Cafe on Orchard St. We adore the herring board, which comes with four luscious tail-on herrings, four hot-dog-shaped challah rolls, and chopped onions and capers. You can also delight in the new catch at the Russ & Daughters shop on East Houston, where the marvelous matjes herring, two fillets attached at the tail, is available for takeout at the counter, although you should strongly consider ordering in advance; there’s a reason why their latest book is called Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built. There will also be kosher herring at the Russ & Daughters restaurant downstairs at the Jewish Museum. In addition, tickets are still available for the annual Russ & Daughters Herring Pairing at Astor Center on July 11 ($79), with chef Gerardo Gonzalez and guests preparing special herring dishes accompanied by sparkling wines, spirits, and other cocktails, along with live music by bandleader and saxophonist Paul Shapiro. And Aquavit’s annual Herring Festival runs June 19 through July 14, with a three-course $58 prix-fixe herring menu for lunch, consisting of the new catch with chives, red onion, cheese, and löjrom, seared salted herring with potatoes, peas, and horseradish, and strawberry and rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream. As Sholom Aleichem once said, “A kind word is no substitute for a piece of herring or a bag of oats.” We’re not sure about the bag of oats, but we have no problem choosing herring over a kind word every year at this time.
June 16-25, free - $625
Showing one’s pride is more than just using a rainbow flag emoji on Facebook. You can wave the flag much higher by attending any of these special pride events, the first Pride Week held under President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence; as always, the ticketed events are selling out fast, so you better act quickly if you want to shake it up at some pretty crazy parties.
Friday, June 16
The Rally, Foley Square, free, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Sunday, June 18
Pride Luminaries Brunch, with special guests, the Garden at David Burke, 23 Grand St., $60, 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Monday, June 19
OutCinema, screening of Cherry Pop (Assaad Yacoub, 2016) and open-bar after-party, with Bob the Drag Queen, Detox, and Tempest DuJour in person, SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd St., $30, 7:30 pm
Tuesday, June 20
Family Movie Night: The Lion King (Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff, 1994), hosted by Miss Richfield 1981, Pier 45, Hudson River Park at Christopher St., free (reserved seating $50), 8:30 pm
Wednesday, June 21
Village Voice Pride Awards, hosted by Alan Cumming, Capitale, 130 Bowery, 6:00 pm
Friday, June 23
Moxie, with Mary Lambert and DJs Mary Mac and Susan Levine, Taj II Lounge, 48 West 21st St., $25-$48, 4:00 – 11:00 pm
Fantasy, with DJs Ralphi Rosario and Eddie Martinez and special secret performances, Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th St., $39-$79, 11:00 pm - 5:00 am
Friday, June 23
Sunday, June 25
Pride Island, with Deborah Cox, DJ Lina, and Patti Labelle on Friday, Tegan and Sara, Years & Years, Roisin Murphy, Gallant, Dimitri from Paris, and Occupy the Disco on Saturday, and DJ Scott Martin, DJ Cindel, Chus & Ceballos, and Nelly Furtado on Sunday, Pier 26, Hudson River Park at Laight St., $35-$180
Saturday, June 24
Youth Pride, with interactive games, activities, and live entertainment, free with advance registration, 14th St. Park, 12 noon – 6:00 pm
VIP Rooftop Party, with DJs Alex Acosta, GSP, and Hannah and secret acts all night long, Hudson Terrace, 621 West 46th St., $69-$85, 2:00 - 10:00 pm
Teaze (formerly known as Rapture on the River), exclusive party for women only, with DJs Taryn Manning and Tatiana, the DL, 95 Delancey St., $48-$80, 4:00 – 10:00 pm
Masterbeat: Game Show, Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th St., $120-$140, 10:00 pm – 6:00 am
Sunday, June 25
PrideFest, twenty-fourth annual street fair with music, food, merchandise, and live performances by LeAnn Rimes and many others, Hudson St. between Abingdon Sq. & West 14th St., free (special packages $10-$625), 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
The March, with grand marshals the American Civil Liberties Union, Brooke Guinan, Krishna Stone, and Geng Le, Lavender Line from 36th St. & Fifth Ave. to Christopher & Greenwich Sts., free, 12 noon
Femme Fatale, women’s rooftop party with DJs Nikki Lions, Mary Mac, and Tatiana, Hudson Terrace, 621 West 46th St., $25-$60, 4:00 - 10:00 pm
Madison Square Park
23rd to 26th Sts. between Fifth & Madison Aves.
Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11, pay per plate, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Fast Pass: $150; Big Rig VIP Pass: $275
The immensely popular and ridiculously crowded Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is upon us, as pitmasters from around the country gather in Madison Square Park and serve up some damn fine BBQ. The fifteenth annual event, being held June 10-11, features some old favorites as well as some up-and-comers: Ash Fulk of Hill Country BBQ in California (Brisket with House Pickle), Bill Durney of Hometown Bar-b-que in Brooklyn (Smoked Beef Short Ribs with Pickles & Onions), Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Alabama (Pulled Pork Sandwich with Spicy Mustard Coleslaw), Garry Roark and Leslie Roark Scott of Ubon’s Barbeque in Mississippi (Mississippi Chicken Wings & Sausage with Bloody Mary Cucumber Salad), Jean-Paul Bourgeois of Blue Smoke in Manhattan (Brisket Burnt Ends with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce & Summer Corn Salad), Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth of Root & Bone in Manhattan (Corn3, Watermelon3), Joe Duncan of Baker’s Ribs in Dallas (St. Louis Ribs with Jalapeño Coleslaw), John Stage of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Manhattan (St. Louis Ribs with Beans), John Wheeler of Memphis Barbecue Co. in Mississippi (Baby Back Ribs with Beans), Jonathan Fox and Justin Fox of Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q in Atlanta (Brisket, Jalapeño-Cheddar Sausage & Potato Salad), Mike Mills and Amy Mills of 17th St. BBQ in Murphysboro (Baby Back Ribs with Tangy Pit Beans), Nick Pihakis of Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q in Birmingham (Smoked Pork Hot Links with Pimento Cheese), Pat Martin of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville (West Tennessee Whole Hog with Coleslaw), Scott Roberts of Salt Lick Bar-B-Que in Texas (Brisket with Sausage and Sesame Coleslaw), Rodney Scott of Rodney Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Charleston (St. Louis Ribs with Coleslaw), and Sam Jones of Skylight Inn/Sam Jones BBQ in North Carolina (Eastern North Carolina Whole Hog Sandwich with Sweet Slaw), with desserts ($6) from the Original Fried Pie Shop and Sugaree’s Bakery.
The lines can get extremely long, so the best way to enjoy the event is to go with a bunch of friends, get on different lines, and then gather somewhere in the park to devour your meal. (Last year, each plate of ’cue was ten bucks.) The FastPass is back, where for $150 you get access for you and one guest to the express lanes and $125 worth of food, drink, and merchandise; the Big Rig VIP Package grants you that in addition to access to the VIP tent and private VIP area with open bar and snacks, for $275. Saturday’s music lineup consists of National Reserve at 12 noon, Dead Horses at 1:30, Adam Ezra Group at 3:00, Antibalas at 4:30, and DJ Amira Nader all day, while Sunday’s roster boasts Walker Lukens at 12 noon, Emily Wolfe at 1:30, Cris Jacobs at 3:00, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes at 4:30, and DJ Vinyl Ranch all day.
Union Square Park North
Sunday, May 28, free, 12 noon - 5:00 pm
Held in conjunction with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the sixteenth annual Passport to Taiwan festival will take place Sunday, May 28, in Union Square Park. The afternoon will feature live performances by Spintop Snipers, Chai Found, Journey to Broadway, Alvin Ailey Dancers, Formosa Melody, Music Center, and Hello Taiwan Tour; such Taiwanese delights as pan-fried dumplings and noodles, intestine vermicelli, Taiwanese tempura, rice dumplings, red sticky rice cakes, lobabeng, steamed crystal meatballs, mango and red bean shaved ice, oyster pancakes, grilled sausage, taro cake, guabao, smoked duck, and crispy giant squid; exhibits from Notable Taiwanese American Project, Bike Tour with Steven Huang, Compassionate Taiwan with Tzu-Chi Foundation, Famous Taiwan Cuisine Connoisseur — Amazing Gourmet Demonstrations, Hakka Culture Experience, and Shiisu Old Street Cultural Mart of Tainan; and children’s games, calligraphy masters, arts & crafts, and more.
99 Margaret Corbin Dr., Fort Tryon Park
Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, free with museum admission of $12-$25 (children under twelve free with an adult), 12 noon - 4:00
The Met Cloisters is hosting a family festival this weekend, featuring workshops, a self-guided art hunt, craft projects, and more. Children will be able to make a medieval spice box or goblet in the Pontaut Chapter House, begin an art hunt in Cuxa Cloister, searching for food-related items in paintings and sculptures (with a certificate of achievement available for those who find all the items), and learn about many of the ingredients and utensils used in medieval cooking for feasts and special occasions — and see some of them in the Bonnefont Herb Garden. The events are recommended for children ages four to twelve and will not include any food tastings, although participants will be able to see, touch, and smell certain ingredients (and even take home a sprig of fresh herbs). Visitors are encouraged to come in medieval costume but it is not a requirement.
62 Bayard St., Brooklyn
Thursday, May 25, $30, 6:30
The Spring Spirits series at the Museum of Food and Drink continues May 25 with “The Vodka Contract: Rediscovering Vodka in the Heart of Polish Brooklyn,” in which curator and artist Elizabeth Koszarski-Skrabonja tells how her father, Kazimierz Koszarski, brought the vodka brands Zubrówka, Wisniówka, and Wyborowa to America in August 1939, distributing them through the Austin-Nichols building in Williamsburg. Promising “a dramatic story of love, herbs, and vodka,” the evening, which is copresented by the Polish Cultural Institute of New York, will also feature Polish bites from Karolina Gumpert, live entertainment (the tango!) from Azuz Ensemble, and the introduction of the new cocktail the Kosciuszko Bridge, designed by Joel Lee Kulp. After the event, attendees will be able to get drink specials around the corner at Pete’s Candy Store, including the vodka-based Greener Pastures.