Category Archives: Things To Do

East Village Gift Guide now available

The East Village Gift Guide, a guide to the best holiday gifts from East Village merchants, has been released for 2013.

In collaboration with East Village merchants, the East Village Community Coalition (EVCC) have created a guide that showcases 36 unique items found locally that make great gifts for the holiday season.

For a digital copy, click here.

For a print copy, you can visit a shop listed in this guide, EVCC’s office (143 Avenue B) or the FUNKtional Art Fair (La Plaza Cultural Community Garden at the corner of 9th St. and Avenue C).

This gift guide invites East Villagers, New Yorkers and visitors from all over to discover stores in the neighborhood and their one-of-a-kind products, all of which distinguish East Village shops from those throughout the rest of the city.

For more information about the guide and the East Village Independent Merchants Association (EVIMA), contact Amy Parker, the Business Outreach Coordinator at EVCC.

New guide to East Village shops now available

I remember moving in to the East Village shortly after Kmart moved in to Astor Place and many people were still unhappy about it. The East Village has long been known for it’s small shops and businesses. It’s not made up of the chain stores you’ll find throughout much if the U.S.

A new “Guide to East Village Local Shops” has been compiled by the the East Village Community Coalition. It is the seventh edition of the EVCC’s Get Local! Guide to locally owned and operated stores. The EVCC has produced this guide for the purpose of bringing attention to the importance of spending money locally by avoiding franchises, chain stores and the big-box retailers.

The updated guide is now available online and in stores.

Get some holiday cheer — for less!

What’s better than offering guests a little holiday cheer in the form of significant discounts on some holiday-oriented shows and musicals.

Many of these are now available via Goldstar, including Breakfast with Santa & a Play: 27 Santas and an Elf Called Kevin. This show features a host of seasonal stories as well as music highlighting Kevin and the elves as they try to save Christmas from Santa’s evil twin.

Here’s a more extensive list of Goldstar‘s holiday offerings:

Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate!

It’s one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends! Join Mickey and Minnie Mouse as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter, a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with Disney Princesses including Cinderella, Ariel and Tiana and a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch. You’ll also experience a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear, a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains and more in this magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivities from around the globe. Come join the party as Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate! brings its show to IZOD Center.

Breakfast with Santa & a Play: 27 Santas and an Elf Called Kevin

Give your child a unique dose of holiday fun — breakfast with Santa Claus. You’ll enjoy a continental buffet with juices and coffee while Santa sings holiday carols and reads seasonal stories, including “The Night Before Christmas.” After breakfast, Santa and his elves will star in the world premiere of 27 Santas and an Elf Called Kevin. This original story with music about Kevin and the elves as they try to save Santa and Christmas from a gang that includes Santa’s evil twin brother is sure to be a hit with the little ones. After the shows, kids can get their photo taken with Santa and share his or her Christmas list.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker From New York City Ballet

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is the version that made the holiday ballet famous, and each purchase made through Goldstar includes a complimentary souvenir book (an added value of $20), so you can revisit the Christmas memories all year long. Delighting audiences year after year since its premiere in 1954, The Nutcracker continues to be the hottest holiday ticket in town. In the ballet, Tchaikovsky’s beloved melodies transport you to a magical world where mischievous mice besiege a battalion of toy soldiers, and an onstage blizzard leads to an enchanted Land of Sweets where cakes, candies and flowers come to life and dance for young Marie and her Nutcracker Prince.

Holiday Classic A Christmas Carol at The Players Theatre

The Players Theatre presents a lively musical stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved Christmas story. Grumpy old miser Ebenezer Scrooge finds a second chance to become a loving, generous, kind human being through the aid of four ghosts who visit him in turn one Christmas Eve, each teaching him valuable lessons. Will Scrooge catch the holiday spirit and save himself in the process? This tale of redemption and forgiveness captures the spirit and magic of the holiday season for the whole family.

The Nutcracker Comes to Life on Stage Via Gelsey Kirkland Academy

Marching toy soldiers, waltzing snowflakes, mischievous mice and Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score are quintessential hallmarks of the holidays. Celebrate the season with the Gelsey Kirkland Academy’s presentation of The Nutcracker, a holiday ballet for the whole family. Featuring dancers of all ages, The Nutcracker tells the story of young Marie, who receives a gift of a wooden nutcracker doll from her godfather at a Christmas Eve party. She finds the nutcracker ugly, but that night, she dreams that it comes to life. Together, they battle the wicked Mouse King and journey through an enchanted forest of snow, and Marie makes a surprising discovery: love.

See the Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

A highlight of every holiday season, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular stars the Rockettes and features their signature high kicks, precision choreography and exciting, show-stopping numbers. This year’s show includes a breathtaking new number that transforms the stage into a glistening winter wonderland. Take a thrilling 3D ride through the skies of New York with Santa and be whisked up to the North Pole, as state-of-the-art technology transforms Radio City Music Hall into a magical, immersive dreamworld. No matter what your age, you’re sure to be captivated by the dancing, dazzling costumes and special effects of this signature holiday show.

A Christmas Story: The Musical Brings Ralphie & Family

A Christmas Story: The Musical comes to Madison Square Garden. It is a humorous account of one boy’s desperate quest to ensure that the one thing he wants most in the world ends up under his Christmas tree: an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. Based on the beloved 1983 holiday movie, this delightful musical comedy takes a nostalgic look back at the 1940s-era childhood holiday memories of one Ralphie Parker. Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years) leads a cast that also features three other returning cast members from the 2012 Broadway debut, as well as funny and heartfelt songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, with a faithful yet inventive book by Joseph Robinette. Young and old alike will delight in watching Ralphie’s wacky family muddle through the Yuletide with heart, humor — and one incredibly tacky leg lamp.

Let’s Make a Deal!

Bargaining is something that is at the core of many societies. When I was growing up, my friend’s dad was certainly an advocate. I’d often hear of how he would go to the Reedman car dealership in Pennsylvania to negotiate a good price on a car. I’ve sometimes wondered if he just went there for fun — whether he needed a car or not!

Famed Hungarian Psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote in one of his books about a man for whom he’d once worked. That man owned a shop and his greatest pleasure seemed to come from haggling over the price with prospective customers. In fact, if a customer didn’t argue, then the shop owner wouldn’t sell to them.

I’ve known other people who have an avid distaste for bargainers. A good number of farmers I’ve known couldn’t stand attending certain markets because the culture of many in those communities was to bargain prior to purchase. Farmers would set the price and customers would disregard any signs and ask, “How much?” If the farmer didn’t drop the price of the item, the customer would pound the table at the farmer’s stand and say, “Too much!” and walk away. In a few minutes, the same shopper would return, ask how much and then pay that price and leave with their item.

Many people don’t understand and/or welcome the drama, while others can’t do without it. To each his own.

While I have never haggled over the price of a car or produce at a farmers’ market, getting a discount is something that I’ve welcomed. It’s my belief that saving money is the same as making money. Armed with that mantra I’ve always been a big fan of getting a good deal.

The East Village is still a place where deals can be found if you know where to look. Most visitors don’t know where to find these deals, but technology today makes it much easier for even the novice to find good deals.

Some of those Web sites and mobile apps are as follows:

Scoutmob

Scoutmob is a part of the “tech-savvy” coupon trend that has emerged. Studies have stated that coupons have become increasingly popular “among a nontraditional population — those who are urban, well-to-do and tech-savvy”. Scoutmob provides location-aware coupons to users on their mobile phone. Deals offered on Scoutmob are free, so users can decide to get the deal on the platform but will only pay when they redeem it at the venue.

Groupon

Groupon is a deal-of-the-day Web site that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies. The company offers one “Groupon” per day in each of the markets it serves. The Groupon is activated if a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available to all. Groupons include everything from discounts on neighborhood restaurants to massages to products and services.

Amazon Local

Amazon Local offers customers deals so they can enjoy deep discounts not only from local businesses, but also from national chains and online merchants. They deliver savings of up to 75 percent on restaurants, spas, events, travel getaways, hotels and more so you can enjoy familiar favorites and new experiences in NYC’s East Village.

Seamless

Seamless is an online food ordering service that allows users to order food for delivery and takeout from restaurants through their web site. Seamless does not prepare or deliver any food. Once a user submits an order, it is automatically sent to the chosen restaurant. The restaurant confirms the order with Seamless and then prepares and delivers the order. At many restaurants, users also have the option to pick up their meals from the restaurant.

Goldstar

Goldstar sells half-price tickets to leisure activities such as live entertainment, theatre, concerts, dance, film screenings, sporting events, and spa services. The company serves markets in the metro areas like New York and focuses on young people who may not ordinarily choose to go to live events other than movies and creates preference profiles for its members based on post-event surveys.

Unfortunately for some, you won’t get the pleasure that you may find when you bargain on your own. But for shop owners, the large majority likely will appreciate that you don’t.

Happy bargaining!

Citi Bike discount on Groupon

Citi Bike is currently available at up to a 57 percent discount via Groupon. This discount can be a welcome thing for guests visiting the city.

Riders can pick up a bike in the East Village and pop over to Midtown to gaze at Rockefeller Center’s tree or Macy’s holiday window displays.

Citi Bike, operated by NYC Bike Share, is New York City’s new bike share system that was introduced on Memorial Day. Members can enjoy unlimited 30-minute rides between the stations. The bike-share program includes 332 stations scattered every few blocks throughout Manhattan below 59th Street and in Brooklyn neighborhoods including Williamsburg, Clinton Hill and Brooklyn Heights.

Groupon’s discount includes four options:

24-Hour Pass Options
$15 for three 24-hour passes ($29.85 total value)
$45 for ten 24-hour passes ($99.50 total value)

Seven-Day Pass Options
$25 for two 7-day passes ($50 total value)
$64.98 for six 7-day passes ($150 total value)

What makes Bareburger so horror-able?

I always enjoy going to Bareburger,http://www.bareburger.com/restaurant/85-2nd-avenue/. They have great burgers and good beer. I had the pleasure of going back again the other night for some fun with a group of film enthusiasts, http://www.meetup.com/NYCGrindhouse/.

We took over the private room upstairs to view some really horror-ible films and have a few laughs. I mean these films were so bad that it’s unlikely you’d ever catch them even on “Mystery Science Theater.” And speaking of “Mystery Science Theater,” group members wit is at least the equivalent of the television show’s unique hosts. No costumes of course, although all bets are off now that it’s October and Halloween is on the horizon. But being a Raiders’ fan, I would probably feel even more at home with such such a display of individuality (ain’t nothing like the Black Hole, baby!).

So, check out out Bareburger. Don’t come bare, but do grab a beer. Maybe even join NYCGrindhouse, http://www.meetup.com/NYCGrindhouse/. Good times!