Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What's Cooking? 10 Festive Thanksgiving Day and Weekend Events.

The holiday season has commenced again. Hooray!! Let the good times begin. So after you've slaved all day and prepared the food, dined and laughed with family and friends, what's there to do next? Well, below is a list of awesome activities to do after the turkey has stuffed you.  

Holiday Lights Show, Bronx, NY

I was driving down Pelham Parkway North in the Baychester, Bronx neighborhood when I happened upon this house covered with amazing Christmas figurines. As soon as I saw it, I instantly remembered learning of this house on TLC's Crazy Christmas show. I pulled the car over immediately to investigate. This spectacular home has been a traffic-stopping must-see for 40 years. The house is known in the area by many names - Pelham Christmas House,  Bronx Christmas House and the Garabedian House. The owner Gary Garabedian and his family members construct this most festive holiday delight which is a true feast for the eyes.  The holiday lights show will begin on Thanksgiving day and runs until January 6.  The house is located on Pelham Parkway North & Westervelt Ave.

George Balachine's The Nutcracker, Manhattan, NY

This beautiful ballet is a holiday favorite. The New York City Ballet will transport the audience to a world of frost fairies, toy soldiers and towering mice. This is a great idea for families and children of all ages.  Performances begin Friday, November 29 and remain until January 4.David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center).

Trust Credit photo: ©Paul Kolnik nyc 212-362-7778 Photograph: Paul Kolnik

 Holiday Train Show, Bronx, NY 

The New York Botanical Garden's hosts its popular Holiday Train Show. This diorama features more than a dozen model railway trains surrounding beautifully detailed New York City landmarks.  Some of these landmark includes  the Empire State Building, Penn Station and Radio City Music Hall. The show runs until January 12. The New York Botanical Garden 

Courtesy of TimeOut and Photograph: Filip Wolak

 Jurassic Park: The Lost World, Queens, NY

On Friday, November 29th, the Museum of the Moving Image pays tribute to actress Julianne Moore through the screening of Jurassic Park: The Lost World. In the movie Moore plays a behavioral paleontologist stranded on an island with dinosaurs. All you dinosaurs fanatics out there,  this is a special treat!  
Museum of the Moving Image

Restaurant Thanksgiving Day Feast, Queens, NY

There are some of us who can not be bothered with the rigors of  Thanksgiving. Standing for what seems like days on the ever winding market lines to buy holiday groceries, the lengthy prep times, the endless times you've tried to cook and then after numerous burnt items realize "maybe I can't cook." Maybe you prefer to be treated like royalty in a fine restaurant so you can dine quickly to ensure you are amongst the first in line for Black Friday deals. If any of these relate to you, then this list of restaurants serving dinner on Thanksgiving is for you.  Thanksgiving Dinner in Queens

Holiday Jokes, L.I.C, Queens

On Friday, November 29th, the house teams of The Queens Secret Improv Club along with some of NYC's up and coming indie team will perform seven improv comedy sets. Tickets are just $5 for the whole night. So if you're ready for some belly busting comedy, head over to the The Queens Secret Improv Club.

Twelve Birds of Christmas, Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, December 1, experts from the Brooklyn Bird Club is offering a guided walk in Prospect Park to spot some common birds that don't fly South for the winter. This walk is appropriately timed at the busiest birding hour of the day. This is a perfect way to get out, enjoy the weather and walk off some of those holiday pounds.  This is a Free event held at 8am in Prospect Park. This is a great event for children ages 3 and older.  Event Details

After Thanksgiving Day Hike, Staten Island, NY

Feeling stuffed after yesterday’s meal? Head to Greenbelt park for the 10th Annual After Thanksgiving Hike led by Greenbelt educators. This 2-hour hike, which includes a quick stop at the LaTourette house, is suitable for older kids – or parents who are happy toting babies and toddlers on their backs. Registration required. Call 718-351-3450 or email naturecenter@sigreenbelt.orgFri., 10 a.m. Staten Island. Free. Ages 0-2 and 8+.  Event Details (courtesy of

Live Entertainment, Queens

Pa-Nash Restaurant and Lounge will have some excellent live Jazz and R&B entertainment happening during the holiday weekend. 

Friday, November 29 - Pep the Entertainer & The Soul Explosion Band

Saturday, November 30 -  Platinum One Band (Reggae) 

Sunday, December 1 - Yovanna Pierre Trio (Jazz)

All shows run from 9pm - 1am. Pa-Nash is located 144-14 243rd St, Rosedale, NY. For more information call (516) 661-5579 or email

For more ideas of things for do on Thanksgiving day or things to do with the children besides the parade, check out She has awesome ideas. 

Be safe and have a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday.



Saturday, November 23, 2013

'Catching Fire' at AMC Fresh Meadows


This past Friday, November 22, 2013, I went to see 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' at the Fresh Meadows AMC theater in Fresh Meadows, Queens, NY. The theater is the most comfortable theater I have every set foot in. Early this year the theater underwent renovations. The updates include soft, snug, large and reclining leather seats. The seats comfortably recline almost into a laying down position. With such homey accommodations, one could fall into a sweet sleep. There you do not have to contend with the problem of limited leg room. Each screening room seats 75 so you do not have to worry about the room being overcrowd.

Another fantastic attribute is the arm rest of the chairs can be lifted to create a wonderful relaxed love seat. Also, you have the options of purchasing your seat in advance; which is strongly recommended. The theater is in close proximity of Queens College and Saint Johns University as well as a few high schools. So there is always a grand crowd; especially on the weekends.  The atmosphere is so comfortable, you will feel as if you are in your own private home theater. There is ample space to bring a blanket (which many people do), lean back and truly enjoy the show. 

 In addition to the seating, the sound and visual quality is sensational. The movie screen seems to flow from wall to wall. This allows you to really get lost in the movie. The fountain drink machines are also another hot feature. The machines are equipped with a touch screen. There is a plethora of drinks to choose from. You can also mix and match to create your own unique flavor. Most importantly, I found the staff to be friendly and very helpful. From the theater attendants to concession cashiers, everyone offered a pleasant smile.  Overall, your experience at AMC Fresh Meadows should pleasurable and most enjoyable. Happy movie viewing!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Graffiti Haven 5Pointz Will Be Demolished

courtesy of
Long Island City, Queens, NY

My heart is heavy. I just caught wind of the news that the beloved graffiti mecca 5Pointz will be demolished by year end. I turned on my laptop to find an explosion of this information on Facebook. I tell you as an artist I am truly devastated and deeply saddened to hear this horrible news.

5Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin'  was an American outdoor art exhibit space in Long Island City in Queens, New York. It was considered to be the world's premiere "graffiti mecca," where aerosol artists from around the globe painted colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000 square-foot factory building. I had the pleasure of walking the complex in it's entirely two years ago. My friend Perry, a graffiti artist and intern there at the time, gave me the grand tour.  The building was a spectacle of awe-inspiring art work. I mean, the concepts behind each piece was truly amazing. The building was a grand colorful fixture of the L.I.C skyline, dazzling and inspiring the eyes on the 7 train line. For the past 20 years, graffiti artists have been allowed to use the building as a canvas. 5Pointz has been featured in various movies and music videos with the most recent appearance in the film Now You See Me. 

The building will be demolished to make way for luxury condos.  The $400 million redevelopment project will include a new public park, over 50,000 square feet of retail space and a 250 space public parking garage. The Daily News reports the redevelopment plan - spearheaded by the owners of the site Jerry Wolkoff and his son David was approved overwhelming by City Council in October.

courtesy of Daily News
TimeOut New York reported on November 19, 2013 that the 5Pointz building was painted white overnight by the owner.  The owner stated that the whitewashing was not done maliciously.
He said the overnight paint job was done in an effort to avoid confrontation. According to the CBS New York Wolkoff said, “I can just picture the building coming down one piece at a time. It would be torture for me and it would torture for them. It’s like a Band-Aid, I just felt, one shot.”
courtesy of Daily News

 I understand and support what he did. Can you imagine the deep internal pain felt by the artist to witness their hard work being demolished by a wrecking ball. Each brick that was covered with a precise art piece just knocked down and thrown away like garbage. To even write this statement hurts my heart.

I know money needs to be made in life. However, why does money always have to trump the beautiful and the necessaries like art houses, hospitals, schools. 5Pointz fan Christopher Calderhead said. “It’s the death of a real cultural institution in the city and there doesn’t seem to be any room for this kind of art anymore.” (excerpt from CBS New York). I agree with him.

Long Island City is a growing area that is becoming more attractive and trendier each year. L.I.C is notable for its rapid and ongoing gentrification, its waterfront parks and thriving communities. With ample public transportation, the 59 street bridge and the Queens midtown tunnel in close proximity and Manhattan a hop stop away, I suppose it was time to jump on the money train and take the building into a profitable future.

Well, best of luck to the owners. To all the artists around the world who contributed to the majestic 5Pointz I say thank you for your magnificent works. It was a phenomenal ride while it lasted.

courtesy of Daily News

Monday, November 18, 2013

Awesome Brooklyn Events This Week 11/19 - 11/23

Shuga Henry
Howdy everyone! You're roaming reporter here with the Brooklyn events update. New York is so large and festive. There is always something awesome happening every day. Now, I am only one person. Although sometimes I wish I was multiple persons! Then I could be everywhere at one time. Do you know how much I could conquer?? However, I digress. Listed below are event highlights happening this week in the borough currently dubbed the "New Manhattan".

4th Annual Williamsburg Independent Film Festival  November 21-24 at Indiescreen 

The Fourth Annual Williamsburg Film Festival, comprised of 57 films from over 4 continents, will take place at IndieScreen between November 21st and November 24th, 2013. From Jerome Robbins' choreography shining in its natural setting, to the brutality lurking in the shadows of old school Williamsburg, to the soaring inspiration offered by one talented teacher in a Brooklyn Public School, to a chilling eco-thriller from the California coast, the Festival truly has something for everyone. 
( excerpt from

Aladdin & The Wonderful Lamp:  Sat 11/23 -Sun 11/24
 This theatrical event for children will be presented by Puppetworks. The play is accompanied by the music of Aram Khachaturian's Gayane ballet suite. Some of the special effect include a   flying carpet and a vanishing castle.

Stew at BRIC House. Friday, 11/22 @ 7:30pm, 11/23 @7:30pm
 The brilliant and charismatic solo artist, playwright ( "Passing Strange") (I loved this show on stage!!) and the "Negro Problem" presents Stew's "Listening Party" a two evening event devoted to works in progress. The presentation will be drawn from three musicals, a song cycle and video tribute to his Brooklyn neighborhood.  This sounds like a fabulous and eclectic event. I plan to be in attendance for all the festivities!
Price: $10

Kanye West + Kendrick Lamar - Barclays Center: Tuesday, 11/19@ 7:30pm, Wednesday, 11/20 @ 7:30pm
This should be an all out thrill.  West and Lamar will take the stage as part of the "Yeezus" tour.     This should be an amazing concert.

The Jukebox: Union Hall NY - Thursday, 11/21 @ 8pm

This is a jazzy venue seen on "SMASH" before NBC canned it. I'm still in mourning of this. Anyway, the The Jukebox is hosted by Steve(s) Heisler & Jacobs and Margaret Lyons. This is a monthly sing-along comedy show. Each gust performs a piece inspired by a song - (this can be a story, stand-up, sketch or something in-between.) After the story is completed, the guest are invited to karaoke their hearts out. 

Doors: 7:30pm/ Show: 8:00pm
 $7 adv/ $10 Day of Show

 These are my highlights for the week. I look forward to roaming, exploring and reporting more about what the city has to offer. Stay tuned for the "What's Poppen" weekend highlights.

Random Fun Facts of the Day

Photo Credit: Disney Channel
  • Mickey Mouse turns 85  today! Well it was actually yesterday. However, birthdays are for celebrating so here is to you Mickey.  Happy Cake Day... M-I-C-K-E-Y  M-O-U-S-E.
  •  The Oxford Dictionaries has chosen the word "Selfie" as the word of the year. Oh the educational joys Facebook and Twitter has introduced into our lives.

And... The Quote of the Day:

"Successful people are just ordinary people with extraordinary determination. Remember, if you don't know the struggle, you don't know the strength. "

"Guys and Dolls" brings the 50's back to Bayside: REVIEW

This weekend  I saw a delightful production of  Guys and Dolls presented by  Theatre By The Bay, the Community Theater Group of Bay Terrace Jewish Center in Bayside, Queens, New York.This spectacular production with a bubbly ensemble, opened on Saturday, November 2, 2013. The performance ran for three weekends and closed on Sunday, November 17, 2013.

Guys and Dolls, is a musical with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows.  It is based on The Idyll of Sarah Brown and Blood Pressure, two short stories by New York writer, Damon Runyon. The play also borrows characters from Runyon's other short story Pick the Winner. The play was directed by Lawrence F. Bloom, an amazing long standing director with Theatre By The Bay.

The talent crammed onto the stage was spellbinding. Andria Amarosa, playing the character of  Sarah Brown, shined as she dazzled the audience with her stunning operatic voice.  Amarosa performed her musical numbers seamlessly. My favorites for the night were "I'll Know", "I've Never Been in Love Before," and
 " If I Were a Bell" where she incorporated a charming dance.

The lovely Lila Edelkind sparkled as the whimsical Miss Adelaide, performing each musical number with ease. Swathed in beautiful dresses reminiscent of the 50's by costumer Chery Manniello, she displayed excellent vocal interpretation and comedic timing on "Adelaide's Lament" and confident swing as she sashayed through a tastefully done strip tease on "Take Back Your Mink."

Other memorable numbers of the night included "Luck Be A Lady"  performed by Eli Koening as Sky Masterson and ensemble, "Sue Me"  by Edelkind and John Canning as Nathan Detroit, "Marry The Man Today" by Amarosa and Edelkind and "Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat" a profoundly energetic and uplifting performance by Mark Solkoff as Nicely-Nicely Johnson and ensemble.

Overall Guys and Dolls was a crowd-pleaser, filled with excellent performers, comedy, timeless songs and all around great entertainment. I look forward to the next production by Theatre By The Bay which will be Anything Goes, March 2014.

Lila Edelkind as Miss Adelaide
Mark Solkoff as Nicely-Nicely Johnson

John Canning as Nathan Detroit
Eli Koening as Sky Masterson

Andria Amorosa as Sarah Brown