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


lifes a picnic

Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal
89 East 42nd St. at Vanderbilt Ave.
August 24-28, free, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm & 4:00 - 7:00

For the second August in a row, Grand Central Terminal’s classy Vanderbilt Hall is getting a makeover, being transformed into an indoor public picnic space August 24-28, with tables covered in gingham cloth, an AstroTurf floor, prizes and giveaways, and food from many of the restaurants that are located throughout GCT. “Life’s a Picnic in Grand Central” will also feature free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and live performances. You can bring your own lunch or pick up specials from a rotating lineup of GCT eateries, including Café Spice, Ceriello Fine Foods, Café Grumpy, Jacques Torres Ice Cream, Financier Patisserie, Junior’s Bakery, Magnolia Bakery, Neuhaus Belgian Chocolate, Zaro’s Bakery, Manhattan Chili Co., Li-Lac Chocolates, Manhattan Chili Co., Shiro of Japan, and Murray’s Cheese. Below is the lineup of special events.

Monday, August 24
Live Food Demonstrations: The Bar Burger by Chef Cenobio Canalizo of Michael Jordan’s, sushi rolling by Chef Hiro Isikawa of Shiro of Japan, mozzarella making with Dan Belmont of Murray’s Cheese, and cupcake decorating by Amy Tamulonis from Magnolia Bakery, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater presents “Echoes of Etta: A Tribute to Etta James,” featuring William Blake & Michael Thomas Murray, 4:30 - 6:30

Tuesday, August 25
Broadway Hour featuring live performance and more from the Broadway musical Wicked, 12:30

Music Under New York: Robert Anderson Jazz Trio, 4:00 - 7:00

Wednesday, August 26
Big Apple Circus presents Peety the Clown’s Yo-Yos & Stuff Show, 12 noon – 2:00 pm

Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater presents Danny Lipsitz and His Brass Tacks, 4:00 – 7:00

Thursday, August 27
Broadway Hour featuring musical performances from the Broadway musicals On the Town and Finding Neverland, 12:30 – 1:30

Music Under New York: Receta Secreta, 4:00 – 7:00

Friday, August 28
Broadway Hour: musical performances from Chicago, Something Rotten! and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, 12:30 – 1:30


Kenny Lattimore will be performing at Harlem Week Summer in the City festivities

Kenny Lattimore will be performing at Harlem Week Summer in the City festivities

West 135th St. between Malcolm X Blvd. & Frederick Douglass Blvd.
Saturday, August 15, and Sunday, August 16, free, 12 noon – 6:00 pm

The annual Harlem Week festival continues August 15 with Summer in the City and August 16 with Harlem Day, two afternoons of special events along West 135th St. that honor the theme “Celebrating the Journey: Embracing the Future.” Saturday’s festivities include the Historic Black College Fair & Expo, the Peace in Our Community Conference, New Yorkers Are “Dancing in the Street” (with Alvin Ailey instructors and dancers), the Fabulous Fashion Flava Show, the first day of the NYC Children’s Festival (with a parade, sports clinics, health testing, arts & crafts, and more), Harlem Honeys & Bears swimming activities in the Hansborough Recreation Center, an International Vendors Village, the Uptown Saturday Concert with Kenny Lattimore, the Jeff Foxx Band, and Deborah Cox, an Our Lives Matter program, and a screening in St. Nicholas Park of Damani Baker and Alex Vlack’s 2010 documentary, Still Bill, about newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bill Withers. Sunday’s Harlem Day celebration features the Upper Manhattan Auto Show, tennis clinics, a health village, the second day of the NYC Children’s Festival (with a Back to School theme), the Upper Manhattan Small Business Expo & Fair, live music, dance, and spoken-word performances, another fashion show, and a musical tribute to Malcolm X with Doug E. Fresh, Vivian Green, and others.


flavor of the open

Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal
Wednesday, August 12, free, 12:30

Once upon a time, the quality and price of the food at the U.S. Open were the deserved subjects of long-running jokes about the tennis tournament, first held in Forest Hills before moving to Flushing Meadows. But over the last several years, things have improved dramatically, as will be shown at the pop-up event Flavor of the Open, being held August 12 in Grand Central Terminal. There will be free samples of the lobster roll, Maya chopped salad, Tony Mantuano’s tomato bread, and Hill Country’s brisket slider, in addition to free Lavazza iced coffee and bottles of Evian.



Who: More than fifty restaurants, bars, breweries, and wineries in Williamsburg and Greenpoint
What: Sixth annual culinary festival Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint
Where: Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center in the former Engine 212 Firehouse, 134 Wythe Ave.
When: Sunday, September 13, $35, $55, $85, 1:00 - 5:00
Why: It wasn’t so long ago that the thought of “tasting” Williamsburg and Greenpoint was not the most appetizing of possibilities. But the culinary revolution in Brooklyn keeps spreading, and on Sunday, September 13, you can sample food and drink from more than fifty purveyors of edibles and potent potables from the neighborhood at the sixth annual Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint. Among those establishments that will be dishing out delights in East River State Park are Delaware and Hudson, Café Moto, Hope Garage, Juliette, Le Fond, Lilia, the Meatball Shop, MP Taverna, Pies ‘N’ Thighs, Randolph, St. Mazie, Sweetwater, and Zona Rosa. There are three ticket packages: The Bedford ($35) gets you four tastes and two drinks, the Roebling ($55) eight tastes and four drinks, and the Kent ($85) ten tastes, five drinks, a VIP gift, and access to the VIP area. There will be live music as well. All proceeds benefit the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center on Wythe Ave., which seeks to “provide a permanent home to neighborhood social justice organizations for continued advocacy and direct services to Williamsburg and Greenpoint [and to foster] civic and cultural engagement with original arts programming and community gatherings.”


Slide the City will be coming to Park Ave. as part of Summer Streets celebration

Slide the City will be coming to Park Ave. as part of Summer Streets celebration

Park Ave. & 72nd St. to Foley Square
Saturday, August 1, 8, 15, free, 7:00 am – 1:00 pm

Now in its sixth year, Summer Streets takes place the next three Saturday mornings, as Park Ave. will be closed to vehicular traffic from 72nd St. to Foley Square and the Brooklyn Bridge from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm, encouraging people to walk, run, jog, blade, skate, slide, and bike down the famous thoroughfare, getting exercise and enjoying the great outdoors without car exhaust, speeding taxis, and slow-moving buses. There are five rest stops along the route (Uptown at 52nd St., Midtown at 25th, Astor Pl. at Lafayette St., SoHo at Spring & Lafayette, and Foley Square at Duane & Centre), where people can stop for some food and drink, live performances, fitness classes, site-specific art installations, dog walks, bicycle workshops, and other activities, all of which are free. Below are some of the highlights.

Foley Square Rest Stop
Slide the City (advance preregistration required,) “ICY SIGNS” by Steve ESPO Powers, Free Style Soccer with NYC Flo, Historical Reenactors with Ben Franklin, and The Mantises Are Flipping W.3 by Bodystories: Teresa Fellion Dance + John Yannelli with members of the SLC Experimental Music Ensemble, 10:00 – 10:35, 10:55 – 11:35, 12 noon – 1:00 (August 15 only, 26 Federal Plaza)

SoHo Rest Stop
Fitness Classes, Free Bike Repair by Bicycle Habitat, Bike & Roll Bike Rental, Honest Tea, Waterfront Alliance Table

Astor Place Rest Stop
American Kennel Club Dog Park, Department of Design and Construction Arts & Crafts Workshop, Therapeutic Arts by Wheeling Forward, Guided and Self-Guided Walking Tours

Midtown Rest Stop
Whole Foods Market Summer Camp, CitiBike Information & Education, live music and dance performances, juggling, and tai chi demonstrations

Uptown Rest Stop
DOT Safety Zone, “The Postcard Project” by Connie Perry, Parkour Fitness Demonstrations, Serious Fun Children’s Network Workshop, Central Park Sightseeing Bike Rental, Bronx Museum of the Arts: Arts & Crafts with Artist Educators, live music, dance, and comedy performances


grove alley silent disco

Grove Alley
Grove Pl. & Hanover Pl., parallel to Fulton & Livingston Sts.
Friday, July 31, free with advance RSVP ($5 for headphones), 5:00 – 11:00

Following in the tradition of Grove Alley Makers Nite, Grove Alley Paint Nite, and Grove Alley Game Nite, Grove Alley Silent Disco promises one wild and crazy evening in downtown Brooklyn. Admission is free with advance RSVP; once you’re in, you lay down five bucks for a pair of headphones and get to choose among three channels with which to get your groove on, with live spinning by Talib Kweli, DJ Beto, DJ Chela, and DJ Joro Boro. The four interactive DJ booths will feature multimedia installations by Taezoo Park and animation from Sticky Monger. Brooklyn Brewery will be supplying some tasty beverages, while such food trucks as Kimchi Taco, Sweet Chili, Morris Grilled Cheese, and Coolhaus will be on hand as well.


parkside empire street festival

Who: Vivid Dreams, Kamutshima Dance Troupe, Lyrikal, the Bright Smoke, Alegba & Friends, Highyaziya, Camila Meza, Homegrown
What: First annual Parkside Empire Street Festival
Where: Flatbush Ave. between Beekman Pl. & Westbury Ct.
When: Sunday, free, 12 noon - 6:00 pm
Why: The Parkside Empire Flatbush Avenue Merchants Association and Hudson Companies Inc. have teamed up for a brand-new street festival on the southeast side of Prospect Park, with live music and dance, local vendors, raffles, a chicken recipe competition, a fashion show, arts and crafts, and more.