Month: June, 2007

Everyone’s a winner

Monday, June 11th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Events

Live entertainment, filled 46th Street with music. I’d read that the stars from “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” were to perform at the TOTS food festival, but I must have just missed them.

Taste of Times Square

Taste of Times Square

Taste of Times Square

I did a doubletake as we passed this accordian player, propped up on a cement pillar at the corner of 46th and Eighth. For a brief moment, I thought were were revisiting the wild days of pre-Disney Times Square, but upon closer examination it seems the street performer actually was wearing a tube top underneath her instrument.

Taste of Times Square

An ominously loud clap of thunder followed by a torrent of rain sent crowds scrambling for cover under the large Swing 46 tent on Restaurant Row, where swing band Double Down led by John Kozan entertained with toe-tapping tunes. Some impressive moves were on display on the dance floor, though I suspected most of the participants were ringers from the nearby jazz and supper club.

Taste of Times Square

Taste of Times Square

At the Times Square Alliance booth, festival-goers lined up for a chance to spin for fabulous prizes. When my turn came, I gave the cage a vigorous turn. As a bright blue ball rolled out, I was treated to enthusiastic whoops from the stall workers who bestowed upon me a black “Times Square Alliance”-logoed t-shirt like the one pictured here. It was a tough act to follow, but SYB did: improbably so, winning a white and pink “Taste of Times Square” apron (along with some unsolicited advice.) Sweet!

Taste of Times Square

Our luck did not follow us to the “Broadway Insider” booth where festival attendees were lined up for a chance at free show tickets. My wheel spin “won” me one of the consolation prizes: a “Phantom of the Opera” fridge magnet. No matter: we cashed in our remaining tickets for $1 NYC-partnered Snapples and went home winners anyway.

There are 2 comments

Taste of Times Square 2007

Monday, June 11th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Events

Along West 46th Street between Broadway and Ninth Avenue: the annual Taste of Times Square (TOTS), presented by the Times Square Alliance.

Over 50 Times Square-area eateries participated in the showcase, offering sample-sized dishes in exchange for combinations of $1 “taste tickets.” As with other outdoor food festivals around town, the combination of food samples and live entertainment drew people in droves. Here at the crossroads of the universe, the crowd was made up heavily of tourists, and the offerings represented the restaurants catering to their segment: Applebee’s, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Café, M&M World (free samples, handed out by a giant yellow M&M)… there was even a Papa John’s (yeah, that  Papa John’s) stand, where inexplicably, they seemed to be doing pretty brisk business on their $3 pizza slices, matching DiFara’s in price, but nowhere near in quality. No Olive Garden presence, but nonetheless, there was no shortage of red-sauce pasta variations. The dueling pits of Spanky’s and Virgil’s kept clouds of barbecue smoke wafting through the crowded streets, as the threat of downpour loomed overhead.

Taste of Times Square

Taste of Times Square

Taste of Times Square

As a whole, the prices were somewhat gentler than at Dine Around Downtown – most in the 1-3 ticket range; a few “big ticket” items like Gallagher’s steak sandwiches went for $5 – probably reflecting the less rarified offerings. No foie gras or kobe beef at this festival, but there were still good eats to be had. I steered away from some of the messier, more involved dishes – no utensils please – opting for the more easily manageable bites instead. I had a tasty, if tiny, pepper-seared beef carpaccio on toast with arugula, parmesan and truffle oil from – of all places – the Hawaiian Tropic Zone stall, eye-catchingly flanked by hot pink bikini and tank-topped babes. Classy!

Taste of Times Square

And gorgonzola fondue ladled over bruschetta (to the puzzled man hovering nearby, I explained: cheese on bread) which was a filling bargain for $1.

Taste of Times Square

Taste of Times Square

One block farther west, on historic Restaurant Row, the scene was somewhat prettier and the offerings included crab cakes, paella and cheesecake. We even managed to drum up a little business for the friendly women at Social Bar Grill and Lounge: 2 beef sliders for $2.

There are 3 comments

Richard Serra at the MoMA

Sunday, June 10th, 2007 | All Things, Arts

After fighting our way through the parade crowds, we finally made it to the MoMA for the “Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years” exhibit which opened on June 3. New York media has gone wild over this much-anticipated show, which features 27 of the sculptor’s pieces, including three massive new works from 2006.

No photos allowed inside the museum. On the sixth floor: 22 of Serra’s early works made between 1966 and 1986. The pieces ranged from artfully hung discarded rubber belts (inspired by Jackson Pollock’s “non-compositional all-overness”) to entire room installations of rectangular steel plates. On the cavernous, reinforced second floor galleries, Serra’s three pieces from last year: “Torqued Torus Inversion,” “Band,” and the 65-foot-long “Sequence”. As the artist intended, we walked the length of these fortress-like sculptures, which drew us in through winding, sloping, folding plates of smooth, rust-colored Cor-Ten® steel, altering our perceptions of space, and conflating our sense of interior and exterior.

These three most recent works weigh in at a collective 550 tons, and just getting them into the museum gallery was an impressive feat of engineering.

We finished our tour at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden where the two weathered steel behemoths from the 1990s were installed: “Intersection II” (1992-93) and “Torqued Ellipse IV” (1998).

Serra Intersection II

Serra Intersection II

Serra Intersection II

Serra Intersection II

Serra surface detail

Serra surface detail

In years past, there have been casualties in preparing these pieces for public view: in 1971, a rigger at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis was killed when a 2-ton plate fell on him; in 1988, a worker lost his leg while dismantling a 16-ton Serra sculpture at the Leo Castelli Gallery. Thankfully, there were no such mishaps this time around. YouTube has a fascinating time-lapse video, showing riggers and cranes carefully choreographing the hunks of metal into place on the MoMA sculpture garden’s marble floor.

There are 7 comments