Tag Archives: East Village

HOWL! FESTIVAL 2011

June 3, 4 & 5

Tompkins Square Park

The East Village, NYC

FREE

Two Stages ~ Three Days

Poetry! Music! Dance! Art Around the Park!

Brought to you by HOWL! Arts and the East Village/Lower East Side community renowned for its sense of adventure, creative excellence, and cutting edge performance!

This will be a live action, participatory weekend-long event involving 140 artists of all ages. An 8-foot high, 900-foot long blank canvas encircling the exterior of Tompkins Square Park will transform into an explosion of color and creativity! There will also be music and dance performances, poetry readings, a kids’ arts carnival, and more!

For more than a century, the East Village has been home to poets, jazz musicians, Vaudeville and Yiddish theatre, artists represented by blue chip galleries and those painting in the subways, rock stars, and performance artists. Building on this tradition and inspired by long time East Village resident, Allen Ginsberg‘s epic poem, the HOWL! Festival was founded in 2003. The mission of HOWL! Festival is to honor, develop, create and produce. With an estimated 100,000 visitors last year, the many performances celebrate local cultural icons and lionize, preserve, and advance the art, history, culture, and counterculture unique to the East Village and Lower East Side.

Late poet–philosopher, Allen Ginsberg, was a lifelong spokesperson for peace, justice, and freedom of expression. HOWL! Arts Inc., the umbrella for all things HOWL!, exemplifies the uninhibited, spirited, iconoclastic, and irreverent embrace of Ginsberg’s artistic invention. HOWL! Arts claims this legacy – as home to “the best minds” of successive generations – to inspire and galvanize new artists and audiences.

HOWL! Arts aspires to give the public, both young and old, the tools to join in the creative process and to experience first hand the high value of a creative life, the heritage of social history and the quality of contemporary culture which are the signatures of this vital community. HOWL! Arts Project embraces the entire downtown community whose original perspectives have altered the landscape of fashion, art, music, theater, poetry and dance worldwide.

So, come participate and experience this colorful community for yourself, all weekend long! What do YOU want to say and create?

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Best Cheap Eats in the East Village

Sure, the economy sucks, but that’s no excuse for not eating well, especially in the East Village, where starving artists co-mingle with a thriving Latino population, and even the most jaded Upper East Siders will “slum it” for evening to partake in the hipster fabulousness of the non-stop, late night cocktail/party scene that is synonymous with the LES.  Hard times or not, everyone loves a good bargain, and these haunts won’t disappoint – your taste buds or wallet. And for those of you who, come the wee hours are stumbling aimlessly in uncharted territory, begging for something tasty to soak up all that you’ve just imbibed, I’ve made it easy for you. Print this Top 10 list and the complete Eye For Style map before you head out. You can thank me later…

1. Artichoke Pizza328 E 14th St @ 1st – 2nd Ave

Hands down, the best slice in the ‘hood. They only fire up 4 types of pizza – classic margherita, artichoke (with a cheesy, creamy sauce), crab, and Sicilian – and they’re all freaking delicious. Don’t let the long line and erratic hours keep you away. It’s worth it. Grab your slice, cop a squat on a nearby stoop and enjoy the bustling scene on 14th Street, as seating at this joint is highly coveted and minimal at best.  Better yet, head southeast to nearby Tompkins Square Park for an alfresco pizza picnic – a perfect, cheap summer date on your way for drinks at one of the many cool watering holes on Avenue B and C.

2. Snack Dragon Taco Shack199 E 3rd St @ Ave B

Amazingly delicious tacos for only $5! I love the carne asada and the fish tacos remind me of being in California, where good and plentiful Mexican food abounds. It’s a lot more difficult to find it here in Manhattan, but these tacos fit the bill nicely when my cravings stir. These tacos are full of flavor, very simply prepared with that winning combo of onion, cilantro, and salsa. The place is really small and quirky. I honestly have no idea when it’s open and they don’t have a phone. You just have to take a gamble and walk over there. If they are open, you’re in for a tasty treat. Get one of each to really fill you up and some of their fresh berry lemonade to wash it all down.

3. Mama’s Food Shop200 E 3rd St @ Ave B

This place is down home, comfort food done right – huge platters of mac & cheese, fried chicken, collard greens and salads – all made with fresh, local ingredients. You can get a heaping plate of food for $13, practically enough for 2 meals. Pick your protein and add a couple of lovely side salads, or opt for an all veggie salad medley.  Stay and enjoy the eclectic décor, a mish-mash of retro furniture that makes you feel like your hangin’ out on Mama’s back porch in the South somewhere, chillin’ with your neighbors, shootin’ the breeze. And make sure you say yes please to a piece of cobbler.

4. Paul’s Da Burger Joint131 2nd Ave @ St. Mark’s Place

Wow, what a freaking good burger! So far, the best one I’ve had in NYC. So huge and juicy, once you pick it up and start eating it, it’s hard to put down. The bun will get soggy from all the drippings quickly, so I suggest you dive in with full abandon and power through until you finally surrender. If you manage to finish one of these monsters, and still have room, I suggest you head down the block to my next pick, for the best french fries at:

5. Pomme Frites123 2nd Ave @ St. Mark’s Place

These Belgium, thick cut fries are absolutely outstanding. Even a “small” here is a huge pile of golden crispy potato magic, all wrapped up in a white paper cone. And what’s even better than the fries? The 40+ mayo and mustard based sauces that you can pick from to accompany them! Do ask for the sauce on the side though. They do tend to be a little too liberal with it, which can be overkill and potentially make the fries soggy. They’re a great snack to share with a friend and goes great with a Paul’s Burger, if you’ve got the stomach for both. I double-dog dare ya.

6. Dumpling Man100 St. Mark’s Place @ 1st Ave

Between the hours of 3 – 5 pm, you can get a 6 piece seared dumpling plate and a drink for a mere $3.50. That’s cheap – and filling! When I’ve gone to Dumpling Man during other hours of the day, I’ve opted for the “Mix It Up”, whereby you can choose a combination of their dumpling offerings: chicken, pork, veggie, shrimp, “surprise”, or sweet. I probably like the pork best, which is somewhat curious because I’m not a big pork fan and typically don’t eat it a lot, but they do have the most flavor. The chicken ones are great too and have been voted “best chicken dumplings” according to various local foodie rags. The “surprise” dumplings of the day are usually especially yummy, often with stuffed with combinations of ingredients like ginger and scallions, yam or spinach, lemongrass and chestnuts. They also have daily soup specials, like corn & quinoa or traditional miso.

7. Mamoun’s Falafel22 St. Mark’s Place @ 2nd – 3rd

I’m a big fan of the chicken or lamb shish kebob sandwich, for a whopping $5. It comes with a lot of juicy, flavorful meat stuffed in a pita with iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato, parsley, onion, and a delicious spoonful of tahini sauce.  The falafel, hummus, and baba ganouj are also all very good in their own right and only $2 – 3 a pop. Put ‘em in a sandwich or go for the plate, which is even more food for just a couple bucks extra. This is good, delicious, filling food, right in the thick of the St. Mark’s punk and street vending madness.

8.  S’mac345 E 12th St @ 1st Ave

Mac and cheese made 10 different ways and served in a skillet. What’s not to love? Choose from old school versions like the all-american or 4-cheese, or something with a bit of a twist like the nepoletana pizza. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, try the parisienne (with figs and shitake mushrooms), spicy cajun or masala-style varieties. Whether you want just a nosh or are hungrier for a major munch, S’mac delivers a variety of sizes and some unique flavor combinations that really satisfy.

9. Café Orlin41 St. Mark’s Place @ 2nd Ave

This place has some of the best everyday brunch in the city for super reasonable prices. I’m a creature of habit when it comes to what I usually order – pumpkin pancakes slathered in cinammon vanilla yogurt and/or their mushroom shallot scramble with toast. Everything on the menu sounds delightful though and the portions are substantial. Try and get a spot on their sidewalk patio. It’s a bit of a squeeze, but you’re in prime position to watch all the activity bustling along St. Mark’s Place. I haven’t been here for dinner yet, but I have visited their sister restaurant, Café Mogador, located just a few doors down for one hell of a memorable meal with friends. Both these places serve up sophisicated, Middle Eastern and Meditterranean fare, without breaking the bank.

10. Westville East173 Ave A @ E 11th St

This place has spectacular food, for carnivores and vegetarians alike. One of my favorite things on the menu is their veggie plate – a mound of your choice of the latest seasonal farmers market vegetables. Eggs and burgers are also not to be missed. The space is beautiful, airy and open. Floor to ceiling windows line both facades of the building, providing lots of opportunity for hipster watching along Avenue A. It’s cheap AND healthy, which is a major plus in my opinion, and often not easy to find around these parts.

Want to know my favorite Cheap Eats in the West Village? Click here for the latest Eye For Style map.

For Time Out New York’s picks for Best Cheap Eats in NYC, check out this week’s cover story.

What are your favorite cheap eats? Comment below with your personal picks. All recommendations welcome!

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Afternoon Delight at Dumpling Man

My new mid-afternoon not-so-guilty pleasure is Dumpling Man on St. Mark’s Place, where between the hours of 3 – 5 pm, you can get a 6 piece seared dumpling plate and a soda or water for a mere $3.50. That’s cheap – and filling! When I’ve gone to Dumpling Man during other hours of the day, I’ve opted for the “Mix It Up”, whereby you can choose a combination of their offerings: chicken, pork, veggie, shrimp, “surprise” (the dumpling of the day), and sweet (a desserty type pumpkin or banana) dumpling. It’s a great way to try them all, play a game of which is which, and determine which you like best. A small catch about the $3.50 special is – no mixin’ it up. You can only choose one type of dumpling and they must be seared (not steamed). No biggie. I probably like the pork best, which is somewhat curious because I’m not a big pork fan in general and I typically don’t eat it a lot, but they do have the most flavor. The chicken are great too and have been voted “best chicken dumplings” according to various local foodie rags. The shrimp and veggie hold their own, and the special “surprise” dumplings of the day are especially yummy, often with stuffed with combinations of fresh ingredients like ginger and scallions, yam or spinach, lemongrass and chestnuts. They also have daily soup specials, like corn & quinoa or traditional miso. I always love being able to taste a bit of everything, so I say bring a friend and share a couple orders. Create your own mix up! For $3.50 you can’t go wrong.

And be sure you get the whole experience at least once by eating in at the counter and watching as the dumpling ladies fold these delicious bundles of yumminess right before your eyes. After that, you’ll probably start fantasizing about them come 3 pm everyday, and luckily Dumpling Man rewards such behavior, bringing people back for more and more by providing a frequent eaters card which earns you a free order of dumplings after you’ve purchased 10.  Just don’t forget the dumpling sauce – or the sriracha for that super spicy KICK!

Dumpling Man, 100 St. Marks Place, between 1st Ave and Ave A, East Village, NYC

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Best iPhone photos of 2009

I’m not a huge gadget person, but my 3 year old cellphone was literally dying recently, so after much hemming & hawing I decided to take the plunge and purchase an iPhone. Immediate love! No longer am I trying to remember where this or that is, I can just use the maps app and find out its exact location. Just brilliant, especially in such a walking town as New York. I’ve also become one of those people with the little white cords hanging out of their ears, as I navigate the city streets to my own personal soundtrack. All the while being mindful that is important to pull them out every now and again so as not to miss out on all those great spontaneous conversations that you have with strangers, which is such a pivotal part of life in this city. Sometimes one little moment I have with someone, a brief connection with another human sharing this experience, that brings a smile to my face and makes my day. I love picking an album that suits my mood and walking down the street like I’ve got a juicy little secret in my head, but I equally love the cacophony of traffic, honking horns, people yelling – all the hustle bustle that makes New York so unique. It’s all about striking a balance, you know?

My favorite thing about the iPhone is probably the camera. As a photographer, it’s been a life-changing tool. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out in the world, sans my rather large Nikon SLR, when I see something that I want to capture and I’m not able to. Doh! No more, “I gotta come back and get that later”. I love that I always have a camera with me now, and a pretty good one at that. Though you need to shoot mostly in decent daylight (there’s no flash capability) and have super steady hands to focus, it’s great to feel as though there won’t be any more missed opportunities.

My favorite thing to photograph with my iPhone at the moment is New York City “street art” – graffiti, posters, murals, quotes, found objects, etc – mostly in and around my East Village neighborhood. Art that exists for everyone’s eyes, by artists for the masses, for public contemplation and enjoyment, a la Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and De La Vega. It’s raw, it’s temporary, it’s often there one day and gone the next. It evolves, as people come by and add to it, until it’s inevitably papered over with some new advertisement, or painted over completely, forever. Hence, I love the immediate accessibility of my iPhone camera, and all the joy I experience capturing these fleeting works of artistry, where I live right now, in the present moment, so long as it lasts.

So, here’s my gallery of “The Best my iPhone Photos 2009″. To view more of my street art photography, please visit my website, www.eyeforstyle.net.

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