Tag Archive | Broadway

Happy New Year, 2015!

New Years Eve in Times Square Aftermath

Happy New Year, Dear Readers! May all of your messes be manageable ones!

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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 as the Plymouth Building firm puts it. The renovation took so long because their foundation wasn’t well built, so they took that time to renovate each room to add more style. They hired plumbers from https://www.plumbers4realatl.com to make sure their new water system was working well, they also called over tons of electricians to make sure their buildings were all running in perfect condition.

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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Herb Alpert’s Spirit Totem Monuments at Dante Park, Lincoln Center

Herb Alpert Spirit Totems

Hey, remember back in January when I met music industry legend Herb Alpert? That was cool. In addition to his exhibit at ACA Galleries, Herb also has this public installation of three of his monumental, 16-foot Bronze Spirit Totem Statues installed at Dante Park, a triangular lot at the intersection of Broadway, Amsterdam and 65th Street, just in front of Lincoln Center.

Herb Alpert Spirit Totems Close Up

Hers a close up on one of the sculptures which I managed to crop most of the foot traffic out of.

Herb Alpert Spirit Totems Signage

Many passersby stopped to admire, pose with and photograph the sculptures, but I’d bet that most of them had no idea that Alpert is the talented artist behind this work, because the above identifying sign is mounted very high up on a pole, not really in the sight lines of a person just walking by on the street. Geoffrey and I just happened to recognize them as we walked to the 1 Train after checking out the Beatles Exhibit, because they looked just like the sculptures that we saw at his ACA Galleries exhibit earlier in the year.

The sculptures will be on display until April 15th, 2014.

Restaurant Review: Coming Full Circle at Circolo45

Circolo 45 Exterior Shot
This and Interior Photo By Gail. All Food Photos By Anne Raso

Ask a random sampling of Manhattanites if they can tell you the location of Bond Street and most will likely either scratch their heads or offer that it must be somewhere in the Financial District. Because Bond Street is an enchanting enigma of NYC real estate, a kind of Urban Shangri-La, if you will. Stretching for just two short blocks above Houston, nestled between Broadway and Bowery — and still paved with cobblestones from the days when New York City was in its youth – Bond Street offers a mix of unique public art, both definitively modern and gorgeous historic architecture, and best-kept-secret foodie destinations. It’s appropriate then that 45 Bond Street is the address of Circolo45, an intimate Italian Trattoria featuring fresh takes on traditional favorites and exceptional, old world service.

Circolo 45 Interior Shot

Recently renovated just nine months after its initial opening, accents such as pastel-painted walls in the bar area and white-painted brick in the rear dining space, minimalist, line drawn portraits hung  throughout the restaurant, and the variable candlelit “mood lighting” all fit right in with Executive Chef and General Manager Daniele Sicuranza’s vision of Circolo45 as an Italian Retreat with a “simple, yet vibrant” atmosphere. The varied menu’s emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and an extensive offering of homemade pastas echo the themes of simplicity and comfort in a setting that elevates the dining experience.

Tizi Cocktail

We started off our evening with one of Circolo’s specialty cocktails, the Tizi; a rose-colored elixir similar to a Cosmopolitan but with Elderflower syrup added. Delicious! I like my cocktails fruity and potent, and this delivered on both counts.

Eggplant Parmigiana
Eggplant Parmigiana with Tomato Sauce and Basil

Our cocktails put us in a nice, relaxed mood to peruse the impressive menu, which seems to offer a taste of the various regions of Italy to please every palate. The Appetizer section alone was overflowing with dishes I felt excited to try just from reading their descriptions. Agreeing to go with the classics, we chose to split the Meatballs Florentine Style and the Eggplant Parmigiana (both priced at $12.00). The Eggplant Parm, a perfect size for sharing which arrives with a golden cheesy top, is extremely rich and creamy, more so than I’ve tasted with this dish when ordered at other restaurants. I’m told that the mousse-like texture is owed to additional baking time. If you want the taste of eggplant to really stand out rather than be hidden by the flavors of other ingredients, this is the dish for you.

Meatballs
Meatballs Florentine Style with Tomato Sauce

The Meatballs, served in a ramekin with tomato sauce, sliced bread for dipping, and fresh rosemary, have very little binder added, so they are meaty and satisfying. These are also a good sharing size, especially if you want to sample several items from the menu without getting too full before your main course arrives!

Two starter dishes I’d definitely like to try on a future visit are the Arancini (Fried Rice Balls with Ragu, $10) — which are always a comfort-food favorite – and the Vitello Tonnato ($13), featuring cold, sliced Veal served in a Tuna Sauce. I had this dish once before, at Da Silvano on Sixth Avenue back in the nineties, and I’ll never forget it. It would be interesting to discover if Circolo45’s offering could compare with my fond memories.

Spaghetti with Black Truffles
Spaghetti Alla Chitarra Con Tartufo Nero Estivo

From Circolo’s extensive selection of fresh, house made pastas we chose a signature dish of the house, the Spaghetti Alla Chitarra Con Tartufo Nero Estivo: Fresh Egg Spaghetti with Black Summer Truffle ($20). The thick, al-dente cooked noodles are similar in size to Japanese Udon noodles for a hearty bite. This dish is perfectly seasoned and fragrant with truffle oil as well as a generous addition of sliced Black Truffle. We  reflexively asked our server for grated cheese but were advised to just try the dish sans cheese and let the truffle richness prove itself to be flavor perfection on its own. She was right; no cheese was needed.

Other delectable pasta choices include one of my favorites, Traditional Lasagna Alla Bolognese ($13), and the Paccheri Alla Genovese; Pasta served in a Veal Shoulder Ragu, cooked slowly in the oven ($15). I can imagine that the Veal Shoulder Ragu is exceptional, based on the next dish we tried.

Beef Shoulder

Another specialty is the Spezzatino Alla Toscana, Beef Shoulder oven-baked at low temperature served with tender, golden Potatoes, Tomato and Basil ($24). This wonderful dish is comparable to a pot roast or rustic beef stew. The meat is fork-tender and the large chunks of potatoes are cooked perfectly. If you are not sharing this, you will have enough to take home for a second meal (as I did, and it was even more delicious the second time)!

Steak and fish lovers will also find lots of tempting selections on Circolo45’s menu– from an oven-baked, Salt Crusted Branzino for Two ($54) to a reasonably-priced selection of steaks which we understand are prime cuts!

Brussels Sprouts

A generous side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts (all sides are just $5) could easily serve three people. The tender sprouts are roasted using very little olive oil, in case you are counting calories!

Chocolate Souffle

Circolo45’s dessert selections change daily and we let our excellent server surprise us. Giving us enough time for our food to settle a bit, she returned from the kitchen with a gorgeous and feather light Chocolate Souffle ($9.00). Light and crispy on top and just oozing with a rich Valhrona Chocolate center, this souffle is a few cuts above the ubiquitous warm /molten chocolate cake you see on every menu in town. A perfect ending to a rich and satisfying dining experience. We look forward to a return visit!

Circolo45 is located at 45 Bond Street Between Lafayette and Bowery. Hours are Monday to Sunday, 5:30 – 10:30 PM. Please Call 212-375-0323 for Reservations. Visit their Website at Circolo 45 Dot Com.

Will Ryman’s Bird at the Flatiron Plaza

Will Ryman Bird 1
Photos By Gail

Bird (2012), is a 12-foot high, 12-foot wide, and 14-foot long sculpture, made with fifty-five hundred actual and fabricated nails in the shape of a bird. The work weighs five tons, and rests upon a nest of ninety thousand nails. Through this sculpture, Ryman changes the meaning of the nail, which is traditionally used to connect materials and build structures. By dramatically altering its scale and using it in excessive quantities, Ryman blurs the relationship between abstraction and realism. As the viewer rotates around the sculpture, Bird transitions from the shape of a bird to a nonrepresentational sculpture.

Bird will be on Display through April 21st, 2013
Flatiron Plaza  Intersection of 23rd Street, 5th Avenue and Broadway,  New York

Will Ryman Bird 2

Will Wyman Bird Rear View