Day: September 9th, 2007

Salt peanuts, salt peanuts and pizza pies

Sunday, September 9th, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Eats, Friends

Outdoor dance performances are irresistible, even when they’re slightly weird.

This afternoon, DK, LK, HH, SYB and I met in Battery park for Tap City, the al fresco dance series celebrating all things tap. This all-afternoon event was an extension of the New York City Tap Festival which took place in July; like the main event, it was co-produced by master tap dancer Tony Waag and the American Tap Dance Foundation (ATDF).

By the time we hit the lawn, the “Tap Off” competition had just gotten underway. One by one, contestants (soloists, duets, trios or ensembles, ages 9-19) took the stage to vie for cash prizes and the opportunity to perform with the dance professionals at the “Tap City Down Town” concert that evening.

Amid all the shuffles, clicks, rolls and flaps, we saw several talented young performers, and one black lycra-clad JonBenet-esque moppet in a pink feather boa. (Hmm.) One tenacious teen opted to tap out Dizzy Gillespie’s “Salt Peanutsa capella when there were technical difficulties with her music accompaniment. She was awarded an ADTF scholarship on the spot for being such a good sport, and went on to win second place overall.

Tap City audience

Tap City

Tap City

Tap City

Four out of five of us had little interest in the free tap lessons being offered after the competition, and that fifth person was starving, so instead we went hunting around the park for newly-opened Picnick, the double kiosk project by “rock star pastry chefWill Goldfarb and partner Kevin Pomplun, former chef at Thor. I was surprised to encounter a bespectacled Goldfarb manning the counter himself, but excited for the chance to chat a bit with him about his plans for the new venture – such as adding Room 4 Dessert-type sweets; he mentioned his panna cotta, specifically — and how overwhelmed he had been by the positive reception during Picnick’s first week. Well, not all positive as it turns out, but these things take time. I’ll be back to check up.

As SYB caught up on his daily meals, we plotted our next move by the Weisz + Yoes fountain where HH earned a dollar by taking up SYB’s dare to run through the shooting jets of water.

No, that’s not him.

Battery Park fountain

From the benches it was a brief stroll to Stone Street’s Adrienne’s Pizza Bar, where over a couple of old-fashioned rectangular pies (eggplant/mushroom and sausage/peppers), we watched Roger the Great win his fourth straight U.S. Open title in a dramatic and hard-fought victory over Serb Novak Djokovic. The best part was not having to wait two hours to eat.

Adrienne’s pizzas

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Flags of Honor

Sunday, September 9th, 2007 | All Things, NYC History

The weekend before the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Battery Park was been converted into a NYC 9/11 Memorial Field, seemingly endless rows of nearly 3000 “Flags of Honor”, each bearing the names of those lost on that day.

The Flag of Honor Fund was founded in May 2003 with a mission to donate a framed “Flag of Honor” artist canvas to the next of kin of each victim of 9/11.

Flags representing the 92 nations that lost citizens in the attacks surrounded the Memorial Field.

Flags of Honor

WTC Sphere

New York’s Bravest

I remember eating lunch in front of Fritz Koenig’s bronze sphere on warm, sunny days like this one, back when it was a fixture between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The 25-foot sculpture was recovered from the rubble of the fallen buildings and in March 2002, the heavily scarred piece was relocated to Battery Park and formally rededicated with an eternal flame as a memorial to the victims of 9/11. It will be returned to its original home upon completion of the Freedom Tower project.

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Fall (in line) for Dance

Sunday, September 9th, 2007 | All Things, Arts

Fall for Dance is the annual dance festival presented by New York City Center every autumn since 2004. This year will see 10 evenings of dance and 28 companies, for $10 a seat anywhere in the venue, first come, first served. Approximately 85% of the festival’s cost is subsidized by donation, allowing City Center to sell the tickets that can cost as much as $125 for a full dollar less than the cost of a regular-priced movie ticket at my local cineplex. At those prices, even the dancers themselves can afford to attend.

The festival was established as a means to attract a younger and more diverse audience to dance, and according to City Center President and CEO Arlene Shuler, was modeled after the Delacorte Dance Festival, a free event that was held in Central Park’s open-air Delacorte Theater through the 1960s and 70s, inspiring a generation of dance lovers.

City Center has been increasingly successful in attracting not only unusual and interesting smaller troupes to the festival, but also some of the high-profile names familiar even to non-dance enthusiasts, such as the Paul Taylor Dance Company, St. Petersburg’s Kirov Ballet and The New York City Ballet. The FFD bills typically juxtapose classic ballet alongside modern, ethnic and experimental work.

Is it any wonder the line for tickets stretched for blocks (and blocks and blocks) the Sunday morning the tickets went on sale?

Fall for Dance line

Fall for Dance line

Fall for Dance line

Fall for Dance line

Clearly I had vastly underestimated the appeal of $10 dance tickets. It could be hours before I made it to the box office, during which (I was certain) our desired Friday night program would be sold out. Every other person on line seemed to be on his or her cell phone calling the box office, so I knew that this was not the way to go. Plan C: a pleading call to SYB at home (service fees be damned – it’s still a tremendous bargain) after which he managed finally to access the crawling City Center website to order our tickets online.

The September 28 program will feature five companies, including both the American Ballet Theatre and the French-Algerian troupe Compagnie Käfig, compagnie de danse Hip-Hop. Yes, that means just what you think it means. Should be an interesting night.

And though this has nothing to do with dance: I love weekends in New York.

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