CITYSIGHTS NY BLOG
The Westminster Dog Show can trace its roots all the way back to 1876, when a group of New York sportsmen gathered regularly at the bar of the Westminster Hotel to share stories of their digs’ accomplishments. These informal gatherings quickly evolved into a club, then called the Westminster Breeding Association. A year later, in 1877, the association changed its name to the Westminster Kennel Club and held its first juried competition at the Hippodrome at Gilmore’s Garden (a predecessor of Madison Square Garden). The show was so popular that it was extended to four days, with proceeds from the final day donated to the ASPCA. Since those early days the show has only grown in popularity, featuring the world’s finest examples of both well-known and exotic breeds.
The 2015 Westminster Dog Show promises to carry on its grand 139-year tradition with show events at two locations: Piers 92/94 along the Hudson (at 12th Avenue and 54th Street) for daytime events, and at Madison Square Garden (8th Avenue and 33rd Street) for evening events, including final judging and awarding of the coveted “Best in Show” ribbon. Why not make this legendary event part of your Manhattan tour?
Show highlights include:
Westminster Dog Show Events at the Piers (8am–6pm)
• Monday, February 16 will feature preliminary judging in the hound, toy, non-sporting, and herding breed categories.
• Tuesday, February 17 will feature the sporting, working, and terrier breeds.
Madison Square Garden Events (6pm–11pm)
Gates open at 6pm for best of breed benching area
• Monday, February 16 will feature hound, toy, non-sporting and herding groups (8pm).
• Tuesday, February 17 will feature Junior Showmanship, sporting, working, terrier groups, and “Best in Show” (7:30 pm).
Special Event: Agility Competition (February 14)
In addition, the 2nd Annual Master’s Agility Championship will be held on February 14, two days prior to the show, and will highlight herding and mixed-breed agility champions on a demanding course that will test the focus and skill of the 330 entrants.
This year’s Westminster Dog Show will feature over 2700 entries from 48 U.S. states and 14 other nations. Breeds are organized into groups—Sporting, Hound, Toy, Terrier, Working, Non-Sporting, and Herding. Two breeds are new to the show in 2015: the Wirehaired Vizsla and the Coton de Tulear. Entrants will be evaluated by 33 judges from 14 states plus Canada and Finland. Judging is rigorous and follows the strict standards set by each breed’s parent group.
Tickets for the agility show can be purchased through the Westminster Kennel Club website. Tickets for the Westminster Dog Show events can be purchased through Ticketmaster only.
Weeks before the spring thaw, the world of fashion bursts into bloom during Fashion Week in New York City! One of the fashion industry’s “Big 4” annual events (along with weeks in Paris, London, and Milan), New York Fashion Week gives elite buyers, members of the press, and the general public their first glimpse of new collections from hundreds of the world’s top design houses!
Fashion Week traces its history back to 1943, when World War II raged across Europe and non-military travel was highly restricted. Then called “Press Week,” the event allowed buyers, industry insiders, and the press—who could not travel to Paris—to view the latest designer fashions at home in the U.S. The event was a hit, and transformed the fashion industry by establishing New York as a showcase for generations of designers.
Over the past several years, New York Fashion Week has undergone some venue changes—moving from Bryant Park to Damrosch Park—and some technical upgrades—with faster GPS-assisted seating and live streaming Internet broadcasts of the runway show. But as always, the focus is on high fashion!
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week (February 12-19), which will be held in Damrosch Park as well as at theater and pavilion venues in Lincoln Center, promises a dazzling array of top designers and fashions ranging from the adventurous to the outrageous. Featured designers and fashion houses will include Max Azria, Desigual, Tome, Richard Chai, Todd Snyder, Mongol, Orley, Rebecca Minkoff, Nicole Miller, Venexiana, Vivienne Hiu, Lacoste, DKNY, Custo Barcelona, Tommy Hilfiger, Dennis Basso, Taoray Wang, Georgine, Skingtaft, Oudifu, J. Crew, and many more!
To promote women’s heart health, the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” fundraising and awareness campaign (in partnership with The Heart Truth) will feature an attention-grabbing “Red Dress Collection” runway show. And for fashion world insiders, the party goes on after the runway lights dim, with receptions and off-site parties all over Manhattan.
New York Fashion Week also means special events like Triumph Hotels PRIV Beauty Pop-Ups—a series of mini beauty clinics and makeover, massage, and manicure salons at some of the city’s top hotels (including the Iroquois, Belleclaire, Evelyn, and Cosmopolitan). And look for Happy Hours at some of New York’s top bars, clubs, and restaurants.
So don’t miss any of the excitement! Put Fashion Week on your must-visit list!
The NBA’s midseason All-Star Weekend is more than just the All-Star Game—it’s a full three days jam-packed with events showcasing basketball’s brightest stars, former greats, and rising talent in a 72-hour sporting spectacular! Hoops fans, you won’t want to miss this! Events take place at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan and at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Here’s your highlight reel for the weekend:
Friday, February 13
NBA All-Star Game 2015
7:00 pm at Madison Square Garden
Get your weekend started right as you watch your favorite entertainment and sports celebs take it to the hoop in this crowd-pleaser of a game, sponsored by Sprint.
Friday, February 13
9:00 pm at Barclays Center
BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge
Watch the NBA put the best of its young U.S. talent up against upcoming players from around the globe. These first- and second-year players generate some real excitement when they take to the boards. U.S. starters include Trey Burke (Jazz), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Pistons), and Michael Carter-Williams (76ers). World starters include Giannis Anteokounmpo (Bucks), Bojan Bogdanovic (Nets), and Gorgui Dieng (Timberwolves).
Saturday, February 14
8:30 p.m. at Barclays Center
Degree Shooting Stars
It’s all about accuracy as sharpshooters from the WNBA and NBA (past and present) demonstrate their skills in a timed competition that challenges players’ short- and long-range shooting abilities.
Saturday, February 14
8:30 p.m. at Barclays Center
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Watch the NBA’s premiere guards test their dribbling, passing, and shooting skills in a course designed to put them through their paces.
Saturday, February 14
8:30 p.m. at Barclays Center
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
Watch six of the NBA’s best long-range shooters vie for supremacy in this test from outside the 3-point line.
Saturday, February 14
8:30 p.m. at Barclays Center
Sprite Slam Dunk
This promises to be a truly high-flying event as four of the NBA’s brightest young stars test their slam-dunk skills. Featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Zach LaVine (Timberwolves), Victor Oladipo (Magic) and Mason Plumlee (Nets).
Sunday, February 15
2:30 p.m. at Barclays Center
NBA Development League All-Star Game
Watch the best young NBA prospects in action as these future stars bring their A-game to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Sunday, February 15
64th NBA All-Star Game
8:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden
Watch the best of the East take on the best of the West in an all-out battle of skill, speed, power, and agility! Eastern Conference starters include Carmelo Anthony (Knicks), LeBron James (Cavaliers), Pau Gasol (Bulls), John Wall (Wizards), and Kyle Lowry (Raptors). Western Conference starters include Blake Griffin (Clippers), Marc Gasol (Grizzlies), Kobe Bryant (Lakers), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), and Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors).
It’s the perfect long basketball weekend to visit New York City. Don’t miss a minute of the action!
Here’s an event sure to intrigue birders and delight nature-lovers—and it’s right in the heart of New York City! Each year the Queens Botanical Garden welcomes locals and visitors to participate in what has become a national event—The Great Backyard Bird Count. Sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Bird Studies Canada, and the National Audubon Society, this census of common bird species is conducted in mid-February each year at sites across the nation, including the Queens Botanical Garden. The event takes place on Valentine’s Day—February 14th—from 11 am to 1 pm, so polish your binoculars and get ready!
Why Count Birds in Winter?
You may wonder, why count birds in the middle of winter? Why not wait till spring? Well, mid-winter bird counts are an essential way scientists gather information about bird species populations, migration and feeding patterns, and the effects of winter snowfall and temperatures on bird populations and behaviors. Data collected from amateur birders will be entered into a national database, giving scientists access to key population data and helping them to track migrations. All these factors will later be used to guide choices about natural conservation, and to determine which bird species may be at greatest risk.
How Does the Backyard Bird Count Work?
To have your observations included in the nationwide database, you must register (registration details are provided below) and be willing to count birds for as little as 15 minutes anytime during the weekend. Of course, the real fun comes when you join the Great Backyard Bird Count on the Botanical Garden grounds and learn more about New York City’s native bird species. More than 50 indigenous birds have been spotted and identified on the Botanical Garden grounds—ranging from robins and finches to red-tailed hawks, and even ring-necked pheasants! Garden staffer and experienced birder Shari Romar guides the event, which combines the fun of both a nature walk and a scavenger hunt, and can help with species identification. All results obtains from registered birders will go into the national database.
How Do I Register?
Registering for the event is easy. Simply e-mail Shari Romar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to submit your observations online, and click here to enter the Great Backyard Bird Count photo contest.
Rainy days have a bad reputation. They’re notorious for ruining plans and even changing people’s moods. What happens when you have made dinner plans with your partner or planned a nice picnic in Central Park? Even worse—what if Valentine’s Day gets rained out? Here are a few rainy date ideas to save the day! (And remember, our canopied hop-on buses make for great shelter on the way!)
Bowling almost always guarantees a fun-filled date! Not only do you get to show off your awesome skills, but you get to trash talk and brag. Try your luck at these bowling alleys.
• The Gutter – This is the perfect “grown up” bowling alley; exposed brick and authentic wooden lanes line the interiors. Have a blast and be sure to grab a drink from the Gutter Bar (P.S. They also have happy hour where you can get 2 games or hours for the price of one.) 200 N. 14th St (Brooklyn)
• Bowlmor Chelsea Piers – This alley has a few locations in New York, but this one offers more space and big everything! After bowling a turkey, head into the arcade and have a dance off. 11th Ave. (at 23rd St.)
Rock Wall Climbing
Rock wall climbing is a great way to stay inside and stay dry. Make a bet on who can climb to the top in the fastest time to create some friendly competition! Try Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn. Passes go for $18 for an all-day pass or $10 for two runs. 3159 Flatbush Ave.
Museums are a good way to learn about each other’s interests. Pick an exhibition to view and walk around with your date. If you’re a bit awkward, this is a good option to sort of break up the silence. Plus they’ll be tons of things around to strike a conversation about! Try these:
• Sony Wonder Technology Lab, 56th St. & Madison Ave. : A free technology and entertainment museum that allows visitors to explore technology and creativity in one setting.
• Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St.: One of the most influential museums in the world, MoMA offers modern and contemporary design, architecture, painting and more.
• The Cloisters Museum, 1000 Fifth Ave.: Dive into Medieval European history at this museum that offers medieval works of art.
If you enjoy talking and creating a more intimate environment with your date, try a craft class. Thankfully, New York offers a wide range of choices.
• Any sort of crafts – If you’re in the mood for perfume blending, floral design, or sewing, try 92Y. The cultural institution and community center has been serving the community for over 100 years. Find it at Kaufman Concert Hall or 1395 Lexington Ave.
• Take a pottery class at Painted Pot in Brooklyn. With three locations, you can create your own funky pottery shapes, and then paint them! Bay Ridge, Carroll Garden and Park Slope
• Culinary classes are a fun and easy way to connect with people! Who doesn’t enjoy food? Try Appetite for Seduction (4 East 1st Street) or Natural Gourmet Institute (48 West 21st Street).
Try mixing and matching some of these rainy date ideas to make a gloomy weekend into one you’ll never forget! What venues would you brave any weather for?
New York City is a playground for lovers. Whether you’re on a first date, honeymoon or just a private getaway, the city is not only alive with places to dine, dance, and drink, but also with some surprises you won’t find anywhere else!
Here are just a few of the delights awaiting lovers in New York City on Valentine’s Day. Use these Valentine’s Day ideas to craft the perfect day of romance for your special someone!
Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Times Square
Whether you’re ready to pop the question or just want to share a kiss over a cup of delicious hot chocolate, there's no better place to say "I love you" than Times Square. This Valentine’s Day in NYC, thousands of locals and visitors will declare their love at “the Crossroads of the World.” On the most romantic day of the year, propose to your sweetie on the big screen, marry your love in the heart of the city, or tenderly renew your vows.
The Amazing New York Scavenger Hunt – Valentine’s Edition
Looking for a fun event with your love? Try a scavenger hunt that takes you all over the city! Follow clues to uncover all of the most romantic spots in New York City. Sign up as a team or as an individual (you’ll be paired with other singles or another team). Each member of the winning team receives a special New York City gift package. The hunt takes three hours, so you’ll definitely want to wear comfortable footwear. You’ll also need your smartphone to download the ScanQuest app.
Enjoy an Eco-Friendly Dinner Cruise aboard the Hornblower Hybrid Yacht
Dine, drink, and dance as you cruise the New York Harbor aboard the Hornblower Hybrid, a deluxe environmentally friendly craft that runs on renewable power generated by hydrogen fuel cells, solar panels, and wind turbines. The three-hour cruise includes a four-course seated dinner and a splendid view of the Manhattan skyline.
Get Married Over Manhattan
We’re really living in the future! Couples who want a Valentine’s wedding day to remember can say their vows high above the Manhattan skyline in a personalized ceremony, complete with vows and incredible views of the Statue of Liberty. Remember to bring proper I.D.! Or if you’re not ready to say “I do” but want a high-flying adventure with your sweetie, check out the romantic VIP package and take in stunning aerial views of Manhattan landmarks from the Empire State Building to the Brooklyn Bridge. All departures are from the Manhattan Downtown Heliport.
One of the most hauntingly beautiful and distinctive voices in jazz, or indeed in music generally, is that of Billie Holiday. In many ways the embodiment of the Jazz Age in which she grew up, Holiday’s life was not an easy one—characterized by a childhood disconnected from her parents, poverty, and later alcoholism and heroin addiction. Despite these impediments she was able to create a body of music that gave voice to the 20th century and in many ways embodied the struggles of African American women during that time. This month, you can hear Billie Holiday music like never before at the “Who is Billie Holiday?” concert in the heart of New York City.
During her career, Holiday recorded some of the most widely recognized and celebrated songs in the jazz canon—including “God Bless the Child,” “Lover Man,” “I Can’t Get Started,” and the ever-haunting “Strange Fruit.” During the 1930s, she toured with bandleaders Artie Shaw and Count Basie. In the 1940s she was recording heavily with Decca Records and appeared in the film New Orleans with jazz great Louis Armstrong. In 1948, she played to a sold-out crowd in New York City’s Carnegie Hall. By the 1950s, Holiday moved to Verve Records, and her drug and alcohol use began to take its toll on her voice and career. In 1956, Holiday published her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, along with an accompanying album by the same name—both applauded by critics. Though she continued to tour and returned again to Carnegie Hall for a series of stunning performances, her health began to fail during the late 1950s, when she developed cirrhosis of the liver. Dogged by narcotics arrests and suffering ill health, Holiday checked into a hospital in May of 1959. She passed away in July of that year due to complications of cirrhosis.
Now you can celebrate the legacy of Billie Holiday’s music during a one-time matinee performance at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater. Whether you’re already a lover of Holiday’s music or discovering it for the first time, this jazz concert provides listeners with a unique retrospective on Billie Holiday music. Acclaimed pianist Alan Diehl does the honors as musical director, and vocalist Charenee Wade sings a selection of Holiday’s most historically significant and celebrated tunes. Wade, a singer since age 12, has received a number of prestigious scholarships and awards. She has performed widely, including as an opening performer for jazz great Herbie Hancock at the 2003 Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Her debut CD, Love Walked In, was released in 2010. Wade is joined on stage by premiere musicians Alphonso Horne (trumpet), Dan Block (saxophone), Patrick Bartley (saxophone), Adam Moezinia (guitar), Paul Sikivie (bass), and Lawrence Leathers (drums).
If you go:
February 7, 2015 at 1:00pm
Lincoln Center - Rose Theater
Broadway at 60th Street
Tickets: $10 – $25
The weather may be cold and blustery but there’s still plenty to keep you entertained while you’re in New York City. This month features several exciting New York film festivals to inspire, challenge, and delight movie buffs of all ages! Here’s your quick guide to the New York film festivals coming up all over the city.
New York International Children’s Film Festival
February 5—March 22
For the past 18 years, the New York International Children's Film Festival has showcased
the world’s best in films for young audiences. Highlighting the most engaging and interesting films in the genre, the Festival celebrates the full range of children’s cinema—from obscure short films to Hollywood global releases, from comedy to drama, from live action to animation. The ideal family event, the Festival offers you and your kids the chance to discover together the magic of movies together. This year’s festival features the latest films from Studio Ghibli, Nick Park, and many more of the industry’s finest all-ages storytellers. A complete list of films and venues, as well as ticket sales, can be found at gkids.com.
Film Comment Selects: Unusual Film Festival
February 20 – March 5, 2015
Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center
144 W. 65th Street, Manhattan
Explore more than 20 rare and underrated films as chosen by the Film Society. Each year this New York film festival offers up an intriguing and often mind-blowing array of films that range from the exotic to the utterly unclassifiable. This year’s line-up is sure to impress, and kicks off with Mark Hartley’s Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films—a dizzying tell-all that reveals the exploits of 1980s producers Menahem Golam and Yoram Globus. Three Golan & Globus films follow, including 10 to Midnight, The Last American Virgin, and Ninja III: The Dominion. The Festival also features six films by Danish director Nils Malmros, known for his intensely personal and often heart-wrenching autobiographical films. Other highlights include Belluscone: A Sicilian Story (Franco Maresco, Italy), Bypass (Duane Hopkins, UK), The Golden Era (Ann Hui, Hong Kong), High Society (Julie Lopes Curval, France), Tales (Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Iran), as well as two Japanese films, The World of Kanako and Fires on the Plain. Plus, this NYC film festival also includes an extended screening of Gremlins!
NYU Fusion Film Festival
February 26–28, 2015
Tisch School of the Arts
Presented annually by the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, the NYU Fusion Film Festival celebrates women in film, TV, and new media. Each year’s competition among young women filmmakers highlights the finest in the audio-visual arts. Each film in the Festival is directed or shot by a woman and provides a chance for these emerging artists to show off their works ad build their careers. The Festival also reflects the changing character of the film industry—a field once almost exclusively the realm of male directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, and photo- and videographers. The Festival’s 13 categories include “Docs-in-the-Works,” in which filmmakers share documentaries in progress and receive advice and critiques from leaders in the field. This unique approach allows young filmmakers to be mentored by established artists and to craft their work based on the tips and advice they receive. Prizes include scriptwriting software, photographic equipment, video- and photo-editing software, and more! Along with the screenings, the Festival includes panel discussions, master classes, retrospectives, and student showcases.
When will you be experiencing New York theatre? Book your NYC getaway now to fit these great events into your schedule!
Once a year, the Theater for the New City hosts an event like no other, resplendent with dance, songs, and stories that celebrate Native American culture. The Thunderbird Dancers’ Pow Wow, well known to New Yorkers as well as to members of the indigenous community, is a joyful reunion of Native peoples from across the nation—from the Iroquois of the Northeast to the Yacqui of the Southwest—and a chance for visitors to see firsthand some of the dance, musical, and storytelling traditions that have survived for centuries. As part of the Thunderbird Pow Wow, you’ll experience incredible dance competitions, view thought-provoking exhibitions, and sample delicious traditional foods.
Thunderbird American Indian Pow Wow Highlights
• Matoka Eagle (Santo Domingo, Tewa) will share traditional stories.
• Marie Ponce (Cherokee) will demonstrate the Hoop Dance
• Raymond Two Feathers (Cherokee) will perform the Eagle Dance (Hopi)… and more!
Even the audience will join in at the end of the show, with a Friendship Dance at the conclusion of the evening performances and a Contest Dance at matinee performances!
The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers’ Pow Wow promises to be both entertaining and educational for attendees of all ages. The cultural and symbolic significance of the dancers’ many elaborate costumes and movements will be explained in detail by host and educator Louis Mofsie (a founding member of the dance troupe). You’ll come to understand the history and importance of each of the dances, representative of more than ten distinct tribes.
After the performance, check out the theater lobby for hand-made Native American crafts and jewelry, and a sampling of traditional foods!
About the Thunderbird American Indian Dance Company
The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers can trace their history to 1963, making them the most enduring Native American dance troupe in the New York area. Back then, the group consisted of only ten dancers, representing the Mohawk, Winnebago, Hopi, and San Blas tribes. Many had grown up on reservations and wanted a way to preserve the music and dance traditions passed down from previous generations. The company is a labor of love, as all members are volunteers, taking time out from careers as tree surgeons, teachers, engineers, & other professions to help maintain and celebrate their cultural traditions. Money raised by the group’s performances goes to scholarship funds to provide quality education for Native American students.
The troupe’s partnership with the Theater for the New City began in 1975 as a way to celebrate the winter solstice. It has proved to be an enduring union, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year!
If you go:
40th Annual Thunderbird American Dancers
Dance Concert and Pow Wow
Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue (near 10th Street), Manhattan
Dates: February 1, 6, 7, and 8, 2015.
Admission: $10 for adults. Matinee Days (Feb 1 and 7) are Kids Days (kids under 12 accompanied by a ticketed adult get in for $1).
New York City classical music is performed in some of the world’s premiere concert venues—from chamber music and symphonic performances to opera! This February is a feast for the classical music lover in New York, with a stunning array of performers appearing at the Met, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. There are so many NYC classical music events to attend, you’ll be hard pressed to pick which ones to fit into your schedule!
The Metropolitan Opera
opens February 4, 2015
Mozart’s timeless audience-pleaser returns to the Met for a month-long engagement, in a unique production by the renowned English director/producer Michael Grandage. Grandage has earned awards for his directorial work in Red, Caligula, and King Lear. The Swedish baritone Peter Mattei performs the title role, with Alan Gilbert at the conductor’s podium.
La Donna Del Lago
opens February 16, 2015
The Met premiere of Rossini’s romantic tragedy La Donna Del Lago features Joyce DiDonato in the title role as “the Lady of the Lake,” and Juan Diego Florez as King James V. The opera is based on the poem by Sir Walter Scott and takes place in the Scottish highlands. Michele Mariotti conducts.
New York Philharmonic
February 5¬–7, 2015
Join premiere violinist Lisa Batiashvili for a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony #2, along with works by Barber and Rouse. David Zinman conducts.
Pianist Carlo Grante plays Masters of High Romanticism
February 10, 2015
The final segment in a three-part series—each dedicated to a Romantic Era composer—focuses on the work of Johannes Brahms. Carlo Grante shares his astonishing talent as a master pianist in interpreting Brahms’ work.
The MET Orchestra
February 8, 2015
James Levine conducts a program of Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2.
The Danish National Symphony Orchestra
February 11, 2015
Delight in a program of Sibelius and Nielsen with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
February 23, 2015
Join commanding pianist Leif Ove Andsnes for an evening of the classics!
The Vienna Philharmonic
February 28, 2015
Enjoy an evening of Brahms with the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Daniele Gatti.
Each NYC classical music event is a delight for the ears and the soul. Don’t miss these amazing performers and performances!