Saturday, March 21, 2009

Take a Bite Out of The Big Apple

At risk of sounding like an Apple computer evangelist, today I am posting about the great FREE classes offered at the Apple stores. With its latest addition of the West 14th street location (fittingly in the tragically hip Meatpacking District), Manhattan now holds a total of three Apple stores. Which means there is a free computer class going on just about every hour of the day. People, take advantage of free learning!

Obviously this post is somewhat limited to those of you with Macs (the rest of you. . . your next computer should be a Mac. . . again, not to proselytize or anything). But for those of you who do use Macs, or want to, the Apple classes are a great opportunity to learn everything about your computer and its programs. They are the missing classes you always wish you had when you wonder how other people seem to know all those little computer secrets.

The classes range from 'Getting Started on a Mac Computer' to Adobe CS4 classes such as using Illustrator and Photoshop. There are classes covering all the Apple programs - iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, etc. There are various classes covering the operating system (Mac OS X Leopard), teaching you all the new features, tips and tricks. They offer in depth two-hour classes covering programs like Final Cut Pro and digital photography using Aperture. They also have classes on iPhone, iPods, wireless networking and all the peripherals. Besides the extended in-depth sessions and the hands-on sessions most of the classes are an hour long.

The Soho store hold the classes in a comfortable upstairs auditorium (as compared to the Fifth Ave store, which just holds the classes in a more informal setting around a large table). I've always felt comfortable asking questions and the teachers are happy to show you everything. In addition to the classes, keep an eye out for special free events they hold - business networking events, music performances, lectures, etc.

So for whether you just want to get up and running on a new Mac computer or whether you want to learn something about a particular program, take a look at all that's offered and start learning.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How Did the Elephant Cross the Road?

Q. How do you transport a troupe of circus elephants onto the island of Manhattan (when they are too big for a truck and all the trains into NYC are just passenger trains)?

A. They walk.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the circus! Each March the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey big top comes to the Big Apple, but the most unusual site to see is not one of the circus acts, but the informal "Elephant March". They lead the elephants through the Queens Midtown Tunnel and across 34th street to Madison Square Gardens the midnight before the opening night. The last time I gathered along 34th for the Elephant March was in 2007. It was an extremely unusual and surreal site to see a line of pachyderms walking down the streets of Manhattan!

This year the Elephant March is rumored to happen the night of March 23 (Monday night/Tuesday AM). Crowds will begin gathering along 34th street around 11pm. Often the elephants are late, slightly after midnight, but once they enter Manhattan they're surprisingly fast and you don't want to miss them.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

One Food Wonders

One Food Wonders (OFWs): I'm talking about those trendy food joints that have popped up just in the last few years all around Manhattan that offer only one type of food (usually simple, perhaps even retro foods, but with new marked up prices). OFW joints must also have a long line of people out the door, excited to pay those high prices for a bowl of say, rice pudding.

So here's a short run down of a few of Manhattan's singular pleasures:

Yes, good old mac n' cheese, but now in 12 haute flavors - from Swiss Alpine to Masala. (My favorite is the buffalo chicken). Very tasty. Where: 345 East 12th Street (btwn 1st and 2nd).

Pommes Frites
Not to be out done, Pommes Frites serves up Belgian fries with 25 different dipping sauces. I've tried several, but I think I might have to go with the Dill Lemon Mayo as my top choice. I have yet to try some of the more exotic sauces like the Vietnamese Pineapple Mayo or the Sambal Olek Hot Chili Paste. This is another East Village find (yes, do you notice a trend here? The East Village seems to attract OFW joints like skinny jeans and fedoras). Where: 123 2nd Ave (btwn 7th and St. Marks).

Rice to Riches
Probably the most well known place on the list, (as well as one the tastiest, if you are of the sweet-tooth variety), this place offers a daily rotating menu of about 20 different flavors of rice pudding. French toast, cappuccino, cream-cicle, honey graham, chocolate rocky road . . . you'd think we were at Baskin Robbins with this variety! They'll offer one or two samples before you pick your poison, so be sure to take them up on this and try some of the wilder flavors. Where: 37 Spring Street (btwn Mott and Mulberry streets).

There are of course the many creperies, gelato bars, cupcake bakeries and arepas, hot dog, empanadas, and dumpling joints that come close to making this list by focusing on one food type, but technically they do offer other foods as well. Crif Dogs, Caracas Arepa Bar, The Dumpling Man, Empanada Mama and Grom (gelato) are a few of these pseudo-OFWs.

I will be sure to update you with more true OFWs as soon as I find them.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bollywood Bhangra

Today's the first Thursday of the month . . . which means . . . BASEMENT BHANGRA at S.O.B.s tonight!!! Get over to the Sounds of Brazil at Varick and Houston tonight after 9pm for some seriously funky South Asian rhythm.

Though more and more people are discovering Bollywood film, music and dance and American pop singers are infusing their songs with dance-inducing eastern undercurrents, still it's hard to find a dance club that outright uses the label bhangra. S.O.B.s is one of the few places in town I've found that devotes a night entirely to this dance style. Music is mixed by DJ Rekha, who seems to be somewhat of the national DJ for Indian dance music.

Here's the details: Doors open at 7pm, with free mojitos from 7-8pm. It's $5 before 8pm and $16 after 8pm (although with this printed web flyer you can get in for $13 after 8pm). I strongly recommend paying the extra money (though use the flyer), and come later in the evening when the dance floor is pulsing. There is a free bhangra dance lesson at 9pm, which is worthwhile if you want to brush up on your shoulder shimmying.

S.O.B.s is located at 200 Varick Street, on the corner of Houston. Closest subway is the 1 train to Houston. S.O.B.'s phone is 212-252-2392.