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



Who: Ed Kranepool, Art Shamsky, Ron Swoboda
What: Fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Mets’ 1969 world championship
Where: Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City, 516-572-4111
When: Wednesday, October 16, $50-$100, 7:00
Why: Something remarkable shocked the world in the summer and fall of 1969. No, I’m not talking about the lunar landing or Woodstock but something even more amazing: The New York Mets made a seemingly impossible run in August and September to capture the National League pennant and go on to the World Series, where, on October 16, they won Game Five to defeat the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles and become world champions. On Wednesday, October 16, three of the Amazin’s improbable stars, Art Shamsky, Ed Kranepool, and Ron Swoboda, will be in the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Dome Theater in Garden City to talk about that unlikely victory by a group of misfits based in Queens. General admission is $50; VIP entry of $100 comes with up-front seating and a photo and autograph session.


(photo by David Gonsier)

Cardboard Kayak Race is a highlight of City of Water Day (photo by David Gonsier)

Saturday, July 13, free

“What water is there for us to clean ourselves?” Nietzsche asked in 1882’s Parable of the Madman. If we’re not careful, we won’t have much clean water to do anything in the future, which is why City of Water Day has become such an important event. The twelfth annual celebration of H2O takes place on July 13, with special water-related activities in all five boroughs, with the South Street Seaport Museum as home base. The ever-popular Con Edison Cardboard Kayak Race is set for Brooklyn Bridge Beach on the Manhattan side at 1:30, but you can watch the kayaks being built at Peck Slip beginning at 10:30. The Waterfront Festival at Piers 16 and 17 features food trucks and booths from such organizations as Animal Haven, Billion Oyster Project, BioBoat, Earth Day Initiative, Hudson River Sea Glass, National Museum of the American Indian, NYC Winter Lantern Festival, Oceana, Shore Walkers, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Untapped Cities, festival host the Waterfront Alliance, and others. Boat tours (free unless otherwise noted) include NYC Sightseeing Cruises at Pier 15; sails at 1:00 and 4:00 ($20) on the South Street Seaport Museum’s 1885 schooner, Pioneer; one-hour sails aboard the schooners Adirondack and America 2.0 from Pier 62; trips on the Fireboat John J. Harvey from Pier 66; a Lower Harbor Cruise from Pier 82 at 11:00 am; and a Landmark Cruise departing from Pier 83.

Boat tours

Numerous boat tours are part of City of Water Day in all five boroughs

The second annual Jamaica Bay Festival, on Beach 108th St. and Beach Channel Dr., features kayaking, fishing, surfing, hiking, bird watching, art, nature, and more. Among the many other events are Boogie Down to the Sound at SUNY Maritime’s Waterfront Open House, a Bronx River Lake Paddle, Community Rowing and Birding at Hunts Point Riverside Park, a Mile Hike and Talk Along the Harlem River in Roberto Clemente State Park, Low-Tide Nature Discovery at Bushwick Inlet Park, Seining the River Wild at Pier 4 Beach, NOAA’s USS Monitor Trail Marker at the Greenpoint Monitor Museum, Shoreline Clean-Up at Sherman Creek Park, the River Project’s Wetlab at Pier 40, Outrigger Paddling from Pier 66 in Hudson River Park, Harlem River Community Rowing at Muscota Marsh Dock, a Sustainability Scavenger Hunt in Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, the Last Harvest Celebration with Solar One in Stuyvesant Cove Park, a Fishing Clinic in Gantry Plaza State Park, Flushing Creek Rising Sea Tours from the Flushing Bay Boat Ramp, a Hunter’s Point South Park Tour, Evening Kayaking at the Alice Austen House Museum, and a Lighthouses in Danger tent outside the National Lighthouse Museum.


Twenty-two drivers and eleven teams will be revving it up in Red Hook for the

Twenty-two drivers and eleven teams will be revving it up in Red Hook for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship this weekend

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
72 Bowne St., Red Hook
Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14, $95-$390

Twenty-two drivers and eleven teams will hit the streets of Red Hook for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship grand finale, taking place July 13 and 14 at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. On Saturday, the gates open at 7:00 in the morning, with practice on the Red Hook Circuit at 7:30 and 10:00, qualifying at 11:45, and racing at 4:00. On Sunday, the gates open again at 7:00, with practice at 9:00, qualifying at 11:45, and the race at 4:00. Tickets begin at $95 for the grandstand and $390 for the podium lounge. The family-friendly Allianz E-Village is open all day both days, with live performances (beatbox flautist Greg Pattillo, King Charles Unicycle Troupe, banjo and bass duo Coyote Crow, Emphasis Entertainment Dance Crew, others), stunts, technological innovations, autograph sessions, virtual reality simulators, Smorgasburg food, and more ($12, kids under twelve free with adults). Team DS Techeetah, with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne and André Lotterer, are currently number one in the standings with 216 points, followed by Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler (Daniel Abt and Lucas Di Grassi) at 173, Envision Virgin Racing (Sam Bird and Robin Frijns) at 150, and the Nissan e.dams team (Sébastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland) at 139. During the races, watch out for Attack Mode, and you can vote to give five drivers a Fanboost.


Joey Chestnut will defend his hot-dog-eating record on July 4 at Nathan’s (photo courtesy Nathan’s Famous)

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut will defend his hot-dog-eating record on July 4 at Nathan’s (photo courtesy Nathan’s Famous)

Sweikert Alley, Nathan’s Famous
1310 Surf Ave. at Stillwell Ave.
Thursday, July 4, free, women’s competition at 10:45 am, men at noon

San Jose’s Joey “Jaws” Chestnut did it again in 2018, devouring a record seventy-four hot dogs in ten minutes to win the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest for the eleventh time in twelve years; his lone defeat during this streak was in 2015 to Matthew Stonie. Miki Sudo, the number six overall Major League Eater in the world — Chestnut, who fasts for two to three days before the frank showdown, is #1 — took home the women’s belt for the fifth straight year by consuming thirty-seven dogs. Chestnut, the man with a tasty food for a last name, currently holds forty-six eating records and is the defending champion in devouring White Hut cheeseburgs, bratwurst, street-style carnitas tacos, poutine, St. Elmo shrimp cocktail, Catalina croquetas, chopped mutton sliders, pepperoni rolls, and canteen sandwiches, while Sudo rules the roost in Fortune Bay wild rice hotdish and Æbleskivers. On July 4, Chestnut will be up against seventeen competitors, including Juan “More Bite” Rodriguez, Adrian “the Rabbit” Morgan, Pablo Martinez, George Chiger, Max Suzuki, Darron Breeden, #2 Geoffrey Esper, and Stonie; Sudo will be battling such hot-dog downers as “The Lovely” Juliet Lee, Holly Titus, Mary Bowers, Dr. René Rovtar, Katherine Wong, and #2-ranked female chomper Michelle Lesco. For a different perspective on the event, with a special focus on the controversy surrounding 2001-6 mustard belt winner Takeru Kobayashi, check out Jeff Cerulli and Barry Rothbart’s documentary Hungry.


(photo © Richard Termine)

Theater Company Kaimaku Pennant Race give a unique twist to Macbeth at Japan Society (photo © Richard Termine)

Japan Society
333 East 47th St. at First Ave.
May 15-18, $28

Theater Company Kaimaku Pennant Race founder Yu Murai’s Ashita no Ma-Joe: Rocky Macbeth is silly fun, a goofy comic mash-up of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the late 1960s manga Ashita no Joe (“Tomorrow’s Joe”). Continuing at Japan Society through May 18, it’s a riotous twist on both stories that creates something fresh and new — and completely wild and unpredictable. The show takes place in and around a light-blue boxing ring onstage, open on two sides, along which the audience of no more than sixty sits. Inside the ring is a second, much smaller ring, with a malleable, flexible mat that occasionally is lifted to reveal various characters, bits of scenery, and video of a koi pond by Kazuki Watanabe. To get you in the mood as you enter the empty theater, audio plays of Steve Albert, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, and former champ Bobby Czyz calling the November 1998 championship bout between Ricardo “Finito” Lopez and Rosendo Alvarez. Beer, wine, and popcorn is available for purchase and can be consumed during the performance, as if you’re in a boxing arena. The three actors, Takuro Takasaki (Macbeth), G. K. Masayuki (Banquo), and Kazuma Takeo (Lady Macbeth), wear absurdly tight head-to-foot costumes that are a mix of wrestling uniforms and the sperm characters from Woody Allen’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex.

(photo © Richard Termine)

Macbeth faces his destiny in Japanese mashup (photo © Richard Termine)

The dialogue can be seen on two monitors — unfortunately placed at angles that make it difficult to read and follow the action onstage simultaneously — but it’s not critical to catch every word, as there is a lot of repetition and exposition. The sixty-minute show features key plot points and quotes from Macbeth, including the witches’ prophecies and Macbeth’s rise to the top — to become both king and yokozuna — as he goes after King Duncan, Banquo, and Macduff; however, in this version, Lady Macbeth is not as central to his quest. There are also elements of Ashita no Joe, with such characters as Woolf and Joe, as well as tips of the hat to legendary sumo wrestler Kitanoumi and boxer Wajima Koichi. Along the way, Macbeth displays his boxing skills with the “back-spinning uppercut,” “triple cross counter,” and other punches and jabs and starts seeing apparitions of the men he has vanquished. “The boxing ring howls and calls for fresh blood,” one declares. There are also anachronistic pop culture references, a shaky-looking scaffold that serves as the castle (and where writer-director Murai runs things), and a battle scene in which six members of the audience need special protection. (We strongly suggest you sit in the seats warning about pebbles.) As with even the best boxers, not everything hits its mark, but more than enough does to score a knockout, a crazy, unusual immersive Shakespeare adaptation from a company that previously brought us Romeo and Toilet and King Lear, Sadaharu. There’s no telling what wonderful nonsense they’ll be up to next, but we’ll be there.


Shakespeare meets manga in Ashita no Ma-Joe: Rocky Macbeth at Japan Society (photo by Takashi Ikemura)

Shakespeare meets manga in the boxing ring in Ashita no Ma-Joe: Rocky Macbeth at Japan Society (photo © Takashi Ikemura)

Japan Society
333 East 47th St. at First Ave.
May 15-18, $28

Theater Company Kaimaku Pennant Race founder Yu Murai transforms Japan Society into a boxing arena in Ashita no Ma-Joe: Rocky Macbeth, running May 15-18. The sixty-minute show is a seriocomic mash-up of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the late 1960s manga Ashita no Joe (“Tomorrow’s Joe”), written by Ikki Kajiwara (Asao Takamori) and illustrated by Tetsuya Chiba and which was turned into several anime series and anime and live-action films. The title translates roughly to “Tomorrow No Witch,” referencing the witches of Macbeth as well as one of the play’s most famous monologues. The protagonist is Joe Yabuki, aka Rocky Macbeth, an ambitious troubled teen who finds success in the ring — and there will be an actual boxing ring onstage, with an audience of only sixty people sitting around it. The boxers wear funky-weird head-to-toe costumes over five rounds of battles as Macbeth seeks the crown, as king and champion.

(photo © Takashi Ikemura)

Ashita no Ma-Joe: Rocky Macbeth moves reimagined Shakespeare tale to a boxing ring (photo © Takashi Ikemura)

“We also have been believing in a false sense of security / that is nothing more than a prophecy. / The Birnam Wood has already started to move. / What will the witches whisper to us, / the people who have been pretending not to notice? / What will we whisper to the future Macbeths to come?” Yu Murai writes, fusing themes of postwar Japan with the 1960s counterculture, one of his specialties. (At the 2009 Fringe Festival, the company had fun with Romeo and Toilet, complete with toilet paper rolls and bathroom humor.) The cast features Takuro Takasaki, G. K. Masayuki, and Kazuma Takeo, with video design and operation by Kazuki Watanabe; opening night will be followed by a Meet-the-Artists reception. The presentation is being held in conjunction with the Japan Society exhibition “Radicalism in the Wilderness: Japanese Artists in the Global 1960s,” which continues through May 31; Ashita no Ma-Joe: Rocky Macbeth tickets get you half off gallery admission.


Top-ranked Raneem El Welily is in the semifinals of annual tournament in Grand Central Terminal

Top-ranked Raneem El Welily is in the semifinals of annual tournament in Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall
42nd St. at Vanderbilt Ave.
January 23-24, women’s semis $45-$200, men’s semis $115-$450

Billed as the “World’s Largest Squash Spectator Event,” the Tournament of Champions is back at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall for the twenty-second year, consisting of squash matches and other related special events held in a specially installed ten-ton, four-walled glass court where you can either buy tickets for one of the coveted five hundred seats or just watch in a standing-room area for free. The women’s semifinals take place today at 5:00, with 2016 GCT champ Raneem El Welily from Egypt playing fourth-ranked New Zealander Joelle King, followed by two more Egyptians, reigning champ #2 Nour El Sherbini (who also won in 2016) battling it out with #3 Nour El Tayeb. The all-Egypt men’s semis begin at 8:00 with top-seeded 2015-16 champ Mohamed ElShorbagy taking on 2017 winner Karim Abdel Gawadat and #2 Ali Farag slugging it out with #4 Tarek Momen. The finals for both are set for Thursday night at 6:30. You need to get there very early if you want to watch without tickets.