Toasted with the Children 2014

Tonight was a good night. Spent some good money on charity for the Children of Bellevue, a non-profit organization that is devoted to “leveling the playing field for New York City’s vulnerable youths” as they say but I see it as an opportunity to just spend some time (and money) with children that just don’t have the parental or monetary support in the NYC community.

Tonight was the Toast to the Children 2014 event at the Riverpark Restaurant, all the way out on the FDR, but where no normal cab knows how to get to….

It was a smaller venue than the previous location I’ve been to, which was Mandarin Oriental NYC hotel. Riverpark is more intimate but this year had definitely less people in attendance; and I’ve noticed a much “cheaper” clientele…

Venue was modern but a sort of functional labyrinth for the event, however, no one seamed to mind. The wine and food were great as usual (thank you Tom Colicchio and Staff for putting this together!). My favorites were Jonathan Waxman’s contribution of grilled shrimp with beans and grains (Barbuto), the octopus from Frankies Spuntino, the Rappahannock River Oysters, Peasant’s take on razor clams, and Colicchio & Sons (or maybe it was Craft’s) tapioca pudding… Honorable mention to Fairway market for their cheese, charcuterie, oils and spreads table which of all the tables besides Pearl Oyster Bar’s lobster roll table, had the lines.

Wine was on point this year (I wish I had a list as the french table wines were excellent) and I’m happy they had a mix of hard liquor (I took on the bourbon, skipped the vodka and gin) and beers for the event.

I was a little disappointed in the turn out for the silent auction… this year they did a digital display “silent auction” which everyone could log into via their smart phones and bid, however, response was lack luster. My recommendation of the developers, is that you need to post ALL the bidders (as if you’re looking at a clip board of who’s voted) and you can gauge if 1 person has bid or 30, but at least it gives a bit of competitive nature to the process…

I won tickets to The Killer play that I had never known about until today… I hope its good, however, even if it’s not, happy my donation goes to the Kids.

I say that the response was lack luster this year because there wasn’t the crowds I had been used to, there wasn’t demand at the live auction (Tom had to bid on his own item to get the price up! fuck you guys!), and man of the people I met had made it through donated tickets and thus those that paid didn’t show or were given access.

I hope the event continues for many years of success and look forward to several more. If you are in NY (or even if you’re not) please spend some time looking into supporting this very beneficial charity:


Rocco Ristorante

Italian food and culture is rooted everywhere in New York. Rocco Ristorante is one such traditional Italian joint, operating in the Greenwich Village since 1922 that not only has years of history still worn on their unchanged walls but was also a starter kitchen for the Mario Batali. An establishment of this age and character usually caters to die-hard regulars, neighborhood locals and a few well-researched tourists as a walk by doesn’t sell the uninitiated on the traditional style. Fortunately the family style decor and friendly service are still as much a priority as the quality southern Italian food typical 90 years ago today.

Legend has it Anthony “Tony Bender” Strollo operator of several illegal gambling parlors and nightclubs in Greenwich, ordered a hit here back in 1952. While dining in old restaurants such as this in New York, you can’t help wonder what illicit activities and patrons frequented their front and backrooms. Dean Martin and the Rat Pack crew may have graced Rocco’s doors, taken a card game in their backroom or indulged in a traditional meal at the very table you’re eating your Penne Arrabiata and Veal Piccata.

“Nel blu dipinto di blu” (“In the Blue Painted Blue”), popularly known as “Volare” (Italian for the infinitive form of the verb “to fly”) was originally sung by Domenico Modugno, and is the only non-English language song that has reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in America. Modugno became the first Grammy winner for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1958 for this recording. Here’s Dean Martin’s version, probably sung in one of Tony’s clubs in the Village.

Dean Martin – Volare (Nel blu dipinto di blu)

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Get Noticed

With the Superbowl approaching, I hear more discussion around New York about the advertising than the actual game this Sunday. With the Jets out and both teams equally distant from the city, the Advertising is the only game people will be attentive too. So with that I’d highlight some cool outdoor ads from


Veins on the Roof

This summer there was a Roxy Paine exhibit on the roof of the MET called: Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom I’ll go to the MET about once a month and check out the latest exhibits and photography shows, however, during the summer it might be more often. Usually the extra trips are excuses to use the bathroom and grab a cocktail or beer on the roof over looking Central Park. Besides Columbus Circle (which is completely indoors) I don’t know of any public spots you can get to for free (donation) to enjoy the outdoor view of the park on a summer day.

Day 27: Veins in the Sky

I’ve loosely been trying to keep up with “what’s next” in house music. It was tough enough as a buyer of music when I worked at a record store in college, but being way on the outside of the music edge it’s just a mountainous task to keep up with what’s hot. What I’ve been reading and hearing though is Tech House, minimal, some funk, and dub step will be coming up big in 2010. I don’t know trends but I do know Lady Packa. She’s an award winning breaks DJ from Spain and easy on the eyes as well (which I’ve written on here before, may partially explain the awards). Check out some of her tracks and mixes on Sound Cloud and here’s a Maelstrom mix to match my post:

Lady Packa – Sara’s Night (Maelstrom Dubstep Remix)

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Celebrate MLK and Continuing to Move Forward

“Ben, make sure you play “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”

Those were Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last words after falling to the ground from a shot through his right cheek. King had many enemies fighting for civil rights in the 60’s and because of that fight we can have proper social dialect like this from Wanda Sykes.

Poirier – Enemies feat. Face T (Dub I.D. Remix)



I Keep Trying to Use my Whitney Tickets

I was on my way to the Whitney to check out the end of the Georgia O Keefe exhibit at the Whitney. The Law and I got a late start on the day but we made it up to the museum around 2 pm. Unfortunately many tourists and locals as well had the same idea and the museum was holding crowds at the door to keep the halls from becoming too crowded. It was cold and we weren’t willing to wait but didn’t want to waste our time with the trip upstate to UES and walked west to the MET.

As we walked up up 75th, I saw in the distance a man quarter bent between a tree and the parked truck at the curb. His pants were down to his knees and I caught a glimpse of stained tighty whities. As we approached we could see he was cleaning himself with hot dog cart napkins while his wife yelled at him in French. I could only hope it was what we were thinking –

“DUDE! Get to a public bathroom to clean your shorts man!”

The show had caught the attention of just about every door man on the row and had successfully ruined my appetite for an afternoon cafe I had been planning at the MET.

Fortunately the Art of the Samurai: Japanese Arms and Armor caught my attention. The sword craftsmanship was amazing and was impressed with the kabutos they had on display.

Fortunately we caught the tail end of the show, which ended on the 10th of this month, however, our free tickets to the Whitney go back home under the fridge magnets, until the next time we decide to travel uptown for a museum day.

Other notes: I’m still digging this Holy Ghost remix of The Deep end and the foto I took at the flower garden in Central Park, just up the street from the MET:

Curses! The Deep End (Holy Ghost Remix)

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Army of One

The original photo of this boy holding a toy grenade was taken in Central Park New York in 1962 by Diane Arbus. The original print of this photo sold for $408,000 in April 2005, New York. My photo is a wall stencil weathered by time, originally thrown up by JC2 on Lafayette between Prince and Spring st.

Nostalgia 77 ft. Alice Russell – Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes Cover)

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The Joy of Wine Drinking

While in California we went to Napa and Sonoma for some great French Bistro food and wine tasting. One of the unique spots in the valley is Castello di Amorosa, a castle on the other side of the hill from Sterling Vineyards. Although Sterling was having a 50% off sale and all their wine was excellently priced, this bottle of rose (Gioia), a grape I rarely like or drink, was excellent.

Although I help run a pubcrawl group, I’m not the drinker I once was in college – and even then I tended to take more care than most of my friends. In a pursuit to be healthier for 2010, I’ve vowed to drink less, concentrate on more craft beer and wine than hard liquor. This I hope helps two fold: assist my liver’s extended life and reduce my over whelming expense of inebriation in this city.

The Replacements – Red Red Wine

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Halloween Pumpkins 2009

We were able to produce 2 pumpkins in our small pumpkin party. Unfortunately neither one of us were winners (robbed by SK!) – but here are the end results (Law’s is the double sided R.I.P. pumpkin with the alien carved in the back for projection on the wall):