Tag Archive | Saturday Night Live

Dine and Dream at NYC’s Row Hotel!

Row Hotel District M
District M Image Courtesy of Row Hotel. Food Images By Anne Raso. Other Interior Shots By Gail. (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail).

Just mention the name Milford Plaza to anyone who’s lived in or visited New York City (or ever watched an original cast episode of Saturday Night Live) and they’ll likely offer an enthusiastic and nostalgia-tinged memory of that hotel’s Iconic TV Commercial featuring the popular tune “The Lullabye of Broadway.” I know this, because that is exactly what happened to me this past week when I started telling friends about my visit to the new Row Hotel, formerly the Milford Plaza, which reopened on March 1st following a years-long renovation to the tune of $140 million dollars. To call the transformation wildly impressive is an understatement.

We started off our visit with dinner at The Row’s hip and chic Restaurant and Lounge, District M, where the limited menu is simple but highly satisfying. We started off the evening with one of The Row’s seven signature cocktails, “I’m Walking Here,” made with the can’t-miss combination of vodka and Elderflower liqueur plus white grape juice and lime ($13). This refreshing elixir is as delicious as it potent! I had two of them.

District M Cheese Plate

We wanted to sample a good cross section of the menu, so ordered way more than we could comfortably eat, starting with the Cheese Plate ($15), featuring selections procured from Murray’s cheese shop in Greenwich Village. This is an excellent choice as a snack with evening cocktails before heading out to a Broadway show!

District M Charcuterie Plate

The hearty Charcuterie Platter ($16) also provides a generous portion of gourmet cured meats for sharing with one or more companions.

District M Croque Monseur

We couldn’t resist indulging in the absolutely gorgeous Croque Monsieur sandwich (grilled Gruyere and thinly sliced ham with béchamel sauce, $16), accompanied by a small field greens salad and a creamy herb sauce for dipping. It tastes even better than it looks.

District M M is for Musroom Pizza

A specialty of District M is a selection of Neapolitan-style, hand-stretched pizzas, so we had to add one of those to our order. On our waitress’s recommendation, we chose the M is for Mushroom ($16), a thin crust white pie loaded with Fontina cheese and generously topped with fresh cremini mushrooms and “melted” leeks. I was expecting a smaller “Personal” sized pizza, but this one was huge – more than enough for two people to share. We could only eat one slice each after our meat and cheese fest, so most of this pie came home with me, where it fed me for two additional meals!

While you’re drinking, dining and relaxing in cool comfort, you can also enjoy the digital art gallery projected on District M’s rear wall featuring famed paparazzo Ron Gallela’s most infamous shots. For additional dining options, The Row will open City Kitchen, a food market similar to the popular Chelsea Market, in the Fall of 2014.

Animated Light Sculpture by video artist Yorgo Alexopolus

These two Animated Light Sculptures by Video Artist Yorgo Alexopolus are located on the wall behind the concierge desk and directly across the check in area on the opposite wall. The images change continuously.

Animated Light Sculpture by video artist Yorgo Alexopolus

After our extremely satisfying dinner, the hotel’s super friendly and accommodating Guest Relations Manager took us on a fun tour of select guest room. All I can say is, Wow, what a cool hotel! If you are planning a trip to NYC and want a comfortable and modern hotel that has an ideal location and terrific rates, look no further than The Row.

NYC Slogan
Assorted Clever Sayings Adorn the Walls Behind Most of the Beds

Conceived and executed by architectural and interior design firm Gabellini Sheppard Associates, The Row Hotel’s 28 floors feature 1,331 rooms and suites of various sizes that maintain a contemporary, “Boutique” feel while offering a generous amount of space at surprisingly reasonable rates. All rooms feature Complimentary Wi-Fi, iPod Docking Station, Flat screen LCD TVs, Cable and HBO and a Desk with Ergonomic chair.

Tortilla Flats Mural
Tortilla Flats Restaurant in the Meat Packing District

While the hotel is located “In The Center of It All,” the idea is to inspire guests to explore Manhattan’s many compelling downtown neighborhoods through streetscape photographic murals showcasing images of Soho, Greenwich Village and Lower East Side hot spots painted directly on the walls of guestroom floor corridors.

Balthazar Mural
Balthazar Restaurant, Greenwich Village

Yellow RoomBright Red Room
Bold Room Colors Match those of the City’s Subway Lines

Times Square View

It goes without saying, but you can see I am about to, that the higher floor rooms have an unbeatable view of Times Square!

Rates on standard room can start as low as $150 per night or even lower (what a bargain!) so be sure to consult travel sites like Priceline to see if they are running any specials before booking.

King Room

The Row Hotel, Featuring District M Restaurant and Lounge, is Located at 700 Eighth Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets in Times Square, NYC. More cool photos and lots of additional information is available at Row NYC Dot Com. Email reservations@rownyc.com, or call Toll Free in the U.S. and Canada: 888-352-3650 or 212-869-3600 for Reservations.

Executive Suite Livigg Area

Executive Suite Living Area (Above) and Bedroom (Below).

Row Hotel Suite Bedroom

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DVD Review: Darnell Dawkins, Mouth Guitar Legend

Darnell Dawkins DVD Cover
Ross Patterson Stars As Darnell Dawkins

If the cast of Saturday Night Live set out to make a feature-length skit that aspired to be the This is Spinal Tap of the Woodstock generation, they might come up with something similar to Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend. This fairly clever and rather historically accurate (as satires go) ultra-indie Mocumentary traces the remarkable story of “mouth-guitar” legend Darnell Dawkins (played by Ross Patterson, who also wrote the script).

The story goes that Dawkins was a childhood friend of Jimi Hendrix (played by comedian R. Ernie Silva), who ended up filling in for the legendary guitarist at Woodstock after Hendrix missed his flight. Sadly, Dawkins’ disapproving father suppressed much of the filmed footage of Darnell’s performance career from public release – until now. The confusing thing is that, while Dawkins is described as a “Mouth Guitar” legend, he does not actually play the instrument with his mouth (as Hendrix famously did) but, rather, he made the sounds of the guitar with his mouth. So, no guitar playing is actually involved, and “mouth guitar” is somewhat like air guitar, in a way. While it’s probably funnier to not be entirely clear on this until you see the film, I think I am okay with this degree of a spoiler, since it’s easy to figure out pretty early on, and it makes the film’s tagline, “He only spoke with his mouth” seem worth a few extra laughs.

Considering the slim budget on which the film appears to have been made, the filmmakers pulled together a cast with a remarkable number of recognizable faces, including Ray Wise (Laura Palmer’s Dad from Twin Peaks) as Darnell’s Dad, Christine Lakin as Wilhemina, Darnell’s muse, William R. Mapother (Lost, who is also Tom Cruise’s Cousin!), Michael Raymond-James (Rene from True Blood), Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of The Nerds) and Veteran B Movie Actor Richard Riehle.

Darnell Dawkins Jimi Hendrix
Darnell Dawkins with Jimi Hendrix

Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend, which could be compared to a bare bones budget version Walk Hard, is not a genius film or anything, but it’s pretty funny (funnier than Walk Hard, to be honest) and especially endearing if you’ve seen the Woodstock concert film and know your stuff when it comes to classic sixties acts such as Hendrix, The Jefferson Airplane and other bands of that time. It’s a film that would be fun to watch with a small group of like-minded friends at a house party where you are perhaps drinking and smoking a bit too much and just want to be silly. I enjoyed it.

The disc can be purchased for under $12 on Amazon.com and it’s worth that price just to have it around the house so you can whip it out when your friends who like this kind of film are over and say, “Hey, check out this crazy thing!” Also there’s lots of nudity (read: naked chicks) in it, if that’s something that interests you. Run Time: 87 Minutes.

The Worley Gig Gives Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend 3 out of 5 Stars

RIP Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch

Ed Koch in Manhattan
Image Source

Early this morning (February 1st, 2013), a true icon of New York City passed away when former Mayor Ed Koch succumbed to congestive heart failure at the age of 88. More than any other politician or public figure, Koch personified the New York spirit. Koch was Mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989 and, prior to that, served in the House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977.

Ed Koch’s entertainment ties included a stint as a judge on The People’s Court and as a film critic via his Web show Mayor At The Movies. He also appeared in more than 60 Hollywood films and TV shows as himself, including The First Wives Club, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Sex And The City, Spin City and Saturday Night Live.

The New York Times has a lengthy but utterly fascinating obituary detailing Koch’s impressive life and career at This Link. RIP, Ed!

Remembering John Belushi

John Belushi Laurel Wreath and Toga

On This Date, March 5th in 1982: Actor / Comedian John Belushi died of an accidental drug overdose in the Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood, California. He was 33 years old. He’s been gone so long now that it’s easy to forget just how gifted and funny John Belushi was, and many people reading this may be too young to remember much at all about John. But you can remember some of his achievements and read about projects he never lived to see completed, at This Link. RIP, John.

Top Of The Rock: A Fun Touristy Thing to Do!

I think it’s safe to say that most people who live in Manhattan don’t do very many traditionally touristy things when they are out on their own. At least that’s true for me. I’ve lived in NYC for over twenty years and, after hitting all of the famous, must-see attractions at least once (RIP The Top Of The World), the most touristy thing I do these days is go to museums. But last night I met up with a former high school classmate of mine and her family, who were enjoying their very first visit to NYC, and when they expressed a desire to hit the “Top Of The Rock” – the observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center – so they could cross it off their list, I was in just the right mood to go along. I’m really glad I did, because it was a lot of fun!

Adult admission, at $21, is a little pricey if you’re on a budget, but wasn’t a big deal to me. While that meant that my friend and her family had to part with almost $100 (their 12 year-old saved them $7 off the adult admission), I felt like the experience was well worth 21 bucks. We visited at around 10:00 PM, when the temperature (which has been so relentlessly punishing and brutal this summer) had dipped to a merciful 75 degrees. Magnificent views aside, the steady breeze on the building’s roof deck, 70 stories above the street, provided me with first opportunity to possibly even think about wearing a sweater in nearly 3 months – it was wonderful! The deck has three levels you can visit and we spent time on all three. The top most, with its radio towers, has partially obstructed views to the east (Queens) and west (Jersey), but the only slightly less elevated levels give you full 360 degree views of a city that, after dark and with it’s innumerable lights all shining, is surely among the most beautiful in the world. The Empire State Building, lit up in red and green on this night, was simply stunning to behold, and it was hilarious to look down upon the neon billboards and Jumbotron of Times Square, having no problem identifying that area.


“Disco Room” – Not Sure What This is About But It’s Pretty Cool!

For me, my time on the deck was very centering at the end of long and busy week at my office, and it felt like an almost spiritual experience to take in the city that I love so much from a rare vantage point. On the Top of the Rock, I realized how lucky I am to live in what is really a magical place. Even if you aren’t into doing typically touristy things, I recommend you check it out while we still have the warm weather.

Top of The Rock is located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza with an entrance on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues (it’s the same building that is home to NBC’s Studio 8H, where they tape Saturday Night Live). The last elevator to the top leaves at 11:00 PM, so if you get there shortly before 10:00 PM you’ll have lots of time to enjoy your visit. Visit Top of the Rock’s website at This Link for more information.

September 25th Rock Music News, Trivia and History

John Bonham Symbol

On This Date in 1980: Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham was found dead as a result of asphyxiation from vomiting after excessive vodka consumption the previous night. He was 32 years old. 

Queen 2 Cover

On September 25, 1982: Queen were the musical guest on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, performing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Under Pressure.” This was their only live performance on a television program.

Dave Grohl

On September 25, 1990: Dave Grohl, former drummer for Washington DC based band Scream auditioned to be Nirvana’s new drummer and was offered the job immediately.

Jimmy Page Sells Out for SNL

On This Day in 1998: Jimmy Page appeared on Saturday Night Live with Sean “Puffy” Combs to perform “Come With Me,” which sampled the guitar riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” I remember it was a mortifying horrorshow during which I plugged my ears and hid my eyes with a pillow until it was over. How Page could willingly enable P-Doodle-Dandy to ruin a great Led Zeppelin song still mystifies me. Surely he did not need the money.

Al Franken Emerges Victorious, Impersonates Mick Jagger

After an arduous recount procedure, it looks like Democrat Al Franken will finally be declared the winner of the tight U.S. Senate contest in Minnesota, thank god. Some of you youngsters out there might not know that Franken is also a well-known satirist who wrote for and starred on NBC’s Saturday Night Live back in the eighties (“The Al Franken Decade”). To celebrate Al’s exciting victory, here’s a hilarious clip from the TV show Solid Gold of Franken and his comedic partner, Tom Davis, performing The Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, respectively.

Thanks to Boing Boing Dot Net for the tip!