The Weekend Shortlist July 19 to 21
Friday July 19
Be transported into the enchanting, fantastical world of Monkey: Journey to the West in a vibrant musical retelling of the Chinese classic by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, creators of the wildly popular supergroup Gorillaz. Equal parts epic music theater and stunning animation, this hugely successful production includes a remarkable cast of Chinese acrobats, singers, mind-bending contortionists, martial artists, and transfixing animated displays, all under the inspired direction of Chen Shi-Zheng. Low priced anything near Columbia University is getting harder to find, but at Symposium, you’ll get Greek food that won’t force you to take a mortgage out. The Pastitsio (baked macaroni with ground meat $9.95) is out of this world. Not the kind of dive bar you’re thinking, though Broadway Dive has a single malt scotch and bourbon menu big enough that you won’t even know where you are after a few. A coffee bar that also serves liquor, tapas, and baked goods all in one place? Sip sounds good to me.
Friday July 19
LA band Kisses offers up some sunny and sad dance music filled with 80s freestyle stabs (Lisa Lisa) making them something worth taking a look at as they evolve. The Stanton Social has earned a reputation for being a beautifully designed restaurant/lounge while serving up some delicious multi-ethnic cuisine. For drinks, a favorite of mine is The Magician, this bar’s chill atmosphere just may be the cure for a well-earned night of rocking. A great way to end the night? Stop by The Pink Pony. This boho café has been serving French food and coffee since the 80s and has a relaxing vibe. It’s as punk as that neighborhood gets nowadays.
Saturday July 20
While you may remember Bob Saget as the dad in the 90s sitcom Full House along with the Olsen Twins, what you may not know is that he’s also one of the funniest and dirtiest comedians around, so if you’re in for a shock and plenty of laughs, you want to see this show. What also rocks is finding a decent pizza! Fornino offers just that, wrapped up in an original concept. Serving wood oven burning pizza, the menu is broken up into three generations, the first being your basic pizza ingredients while the second and third go off the gourmet deep end, giving you more than 20 options total. For drinks, the D.O.C. Wine Bar has a homey atmosphere and an excellent wine list of strictly Italian wines and small plates of food. If coffee is your thing, The Verb Café offers not only coffee but sandwiches, desserts, and soup. Chill at a table and write that novel, look for jobs online, or hang with a friend like everyone else there.
Saturday July 20
Relive the best and worst of coming of age in high school at The Awesome 80s Prom. This interactive show is part musical and full-on party as the audience gets to drink, dance and vote for the Prom King and Queen. For eats, check out Thai Me Up Sandwich Bar, a sandwich shop offering Thai sandwiches with 7 Steamed Fried Vegetables and a choice of chicken, veggie, tofu or beef on a baguette with 3 types of sauces for $7. One of the city’s oldest bars, at McSorley’s Old Ale House you can feel the history when you enter as memorabilia, since its beginnings in 1854, are all over the walls. Aside from it being a frat hangout nowadays, it’s worth the trip. You’ve seen that orange Mudd coffee truck parked on Astor Place and on various other streets, but check out their Mudd Cafe on East 9th for coffee and a healthy, vegan, and vegetarian menu.
Sunday July 21
From Grammy Award-winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper and four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein comes the exhilarating new musical Kinky Boots, directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell. Charlie Price (Tony nominee Stark Sands) has suddenly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola (Billy Porter). A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world. Nearby and delicious, Eatery offers a new American menu that’s asian influenced. Try the Red Curry Chicken Breast over roti pancake, with baby carrots and red curry coconut sauce ($16.95). Valhalla’s minimalist space is chill, letting the 24 brands of beer from all over the world on tap be the main attraction at this bar. While its warm out, waste a little time walking through Central Park, relax, and get out of the hustle and bustle of the city. Just watch your step. The working horses tend to leave surprises behind them!