The Weekend Shortlist June 19 to 21
Friday June 19
Location: Lower East Side, NYC
Bands: Crystal Stilts + The Pains of Being Pure At Heart + Hatcham Social
Show time: 7 PM
Venue: Cake Shop
Drink: Welcome to the Johnsons
Miscellaneous: Economy Candy
With their Velvet Underground wall of minimalist rock sound, the Crystal Stilts last album alight of Night was a fun retro album filled with groundbreaking songs. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart on the other hand write dancey pop rock that truly soars while Hatcham Social makes indie rock with a slight 80s feel. Paladar, whose celebrity chef, Aarón Sanchez is from the Food Network show “Melting Pot,” delivers a Pan-Latino concept taking traditional Spanish fare and adding deliciously executed gourmet twists. Feeling retro? Then Welcome to the Johnsons is the place for you. It’s like being in your uncles wreck room from the 70s. With all wood paneled walls, plastic covered couches, and a Pac Man machine, this bar is out for a good time. Stop by Economy Candy and get a small taste of what it might be like to walk through Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, minus the hijinks, as there’s all sorts of candy everywhere. A real NY landmark, it’s been around since 1937.
Friday June 19
New York indie rockers The Jaguar Club offer plenty of 80s pop music references but with solid musical grooves they carve their own niche with some great songs that rock. With one of the best burgers in Williamsburg, Dumont Burger offers theirs with gourmet toppings, sandwiches, salads, and their amazing mac & cheese. So you consider yourself a beer connoisseur and like to party. You can do all that and eat at Radegast Hall & Biergarten. The Austrian/German menu perfectly compliments the 12 beers on tap and more than 30 German and Austrian bottles at this large beer hall. One of the oldest and best hipster hangout coffee shops, The Verb Cafe offers up excellent coffee and baked goods, a boho vibe, and big windows to watch the days pass while collecting unemployment!
Saturday June 20
Whether or not you’re tired of hearing about how Coney Island is closing and (thankfully) hasn’t for the last several years, be happy that the 2009 Mermaid Parade is still happening. There will be a new parade route but the same hijinx will ensue. Expect floats featuring Harvey Keitel as King Neptune, a performance by They Might Be Giants, and Monster Truck “Blue Thunder.” While you may not be Kobayashi, eating a hot dog, a corn dog, or even cheese fries at Nathan’s Famous goes back several generations. Expect long lines, but it’ll be worth it! Not just a tradition but an institution on the boardwalk, Ruby’s Old Tyme Bar and Grill is a great dive bar for cheap drinks and watching local drunks belt out Rat Pack songs. Even if this minor league Mets team isn’t playing a baseball game, The Brooklyn Cyclones stadium is worth the short walk over on the boardwalk to check out it’s size and beauty.
Saturday June 20
Being the son of the great Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré can be a heavy burden to bear, but Vieux Farka Touré has already stepped into his own, especially on his latest album Fondo (the road) where his own style of guitar playing is just as powerful as his dad’s. Joining him is BLK JKS, an awesome indie psychedelic rock act out of South Africa who rival TV on the Radio with African influences. One of the best Japanese restaurants in the city, Yama, serves up some of the hugest and freshest portions of sushi, while not being as expensive as you think. Close to Irving Plaza, 119 Bar is one dive where you can get cheap drinks, play pool, and hang with friends while not standing out or being bothered when you’re a sweaty mess from dancing after seeing Shadow and Chemist perform, and I mean that in a good way! If you’re bored and early for the show, head over to the four floor Barnes & Noble to look through magazines and get a cup of coffee.
Sunday June 21
One of the biggest singers today makes her way to the stage at MSG as singer and diva Beyoncé embarks on her I AM…tour. Expect the hits as well as some great dance moves. Though small, Supermac packs a hearty punch with it’s gourmet mac & cheese’s like the Mac Cheesesteak with shaved steak, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, cremini/shitake, provolone, and white American ($8.25 mini; $10.95 mega). A great place in NYC to get a full-bodied dark beer is at Stout. With a very detailed beer list with descriptions, I’ve never had a bad pint at this bar and restaurant, plus the food menu is American and quite good. Probably the biggest 99-cent store in NYC, Jack’s is three floors of some of the finest values you can find, especially in an overpriced area like Herald Square.