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Holiday Season, Brooklyn Style

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Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz — the man, the legend, the boat — is known for his elaborate holiday cards. (Well, among other things.) The minds at Brooklyn Papers have analyzed the latest missive from the beep, which finds Marty, two Santas (black and white), and a rabbi in a curiously uneven volleyball match with two bikini beauties. Us? We're more fascinated with the reindeer referee with a parrot perched on its hoof, a reference we can't quite place. A Very Marty Xmas [Brooklyn Papers]

So This Is Christmas, and What Have You Done?

For those wanting to take their holiday giving beyond the doorman's tip, the Morning News has put together a great holiday charity guide with some very unique and deserving organizations who'll be happy to receive your last-minute stab at saving the world. Even if you gave at the office, go over and take a look. Of course, according to an article they're currently running, the Morning News kids also sent their intern to go to the Christmas-tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. Charity begins at home, guys. Morning Edition [Morning News]

No Justice, No Peace, as They Say

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• Several hundreds of people took over Wall Street to protest the police's killing of Sean Bell and what they see as the NYPD's failure to punish the guilty. They were met with almost as many police officers, some undercover; for a march that called for a "war on the NYPD," the protest went without an incident. [amNY] • The State Liquor Authority is cracking down on all-night New Year's Eve parties, nixing dozens of bars' requests to stay open late on December 31. (The permit is usually easily granted.) [NYP] • In a similar crypto-Prohibitionist vein, the proposed alcohol ban on Metro-North and LIRR is about to deny suburban commuters one of their few remaining joys in life. Or is it? Meet Commuters Aligned for Responsible Enjoyment, or CARE, a quickly assembled opposition group. Vive la Resistance! [NYDN] • It's a bit unexpected after all those mayoral pronouncements about the coming population boom, but NYC's birth rate is way down, at a 25-year low, in fact. Officials call it a quality-of-life achievement, however, since the most rapidly declining subset is teenage births. [NYS] • And the Times tut-tuts the "phantasmagoric, Disney-esque experience" sweeping the suburbs: giant inflatable lawn figures causing an "intramural disagreement among the Christmas crazed." [NYT]

Food, Glorious Food!

It may or may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but there is no doubt it is the most well-fed time of the year. Indeed, we're all busy shoveling so much stuff into our mouths this month, we may not give proper consideration to what's coming out of it. Fortunately, New York food critic Adam Platt is here to help. How is ravenous different from famished? Stuffed different from sated? Platt considers twenty terms for degrees of hungriness, and he ranks them all on his Gobbler Scale of Rabid Food Consumption. It's at Grub Street. The Scale of Rabid Food Consumption, From Ravenous to Blacked Out [Grub Street]

The Scale of Rabid Food Consumption, From Ravenous to Blacked Out

Like astronauts spinning in space or marines in battle, restaurant critics don’t often talk about their mortal fear of expiring on the job. The fear is never greater than this time of year, when lavish restaurant openings converge with the usual year-end tsunami of Thanksgiving turkeys, mince pies, and assorted other potentially lethal treats. Recently, the flow of grub has been so relentless and overwhelming that the Gobbler has been moved — before he chokes on a Christmas turkey bone or finds himself being Heimliched by horrified fleets of midget waiters at Gordon Ramsay — to compose a kind of Richter scale for gourmands. It’s a measure, from one to twenty, of how much you’ve eaten, or how little, and it’s designed to be consulted, in the spirit of the holiday season, after a string of large and festive meals. Let’s call it the Gobbler Scale of Rabid Food Consumption (GSRFC).

No Band, Little Booze, But Good Food (for Munchies?) at Wenner Party

There was one last big blowout to catch before Holiday Party Season 2006 wound down: The annual Wenner Media extravaganza. With the bank busted on Rolling Stone's 1,000th-issue celebration in May, this year's holiday gathering was less glitzy in the past, with no big-name musical act slated to perform. But that didn't stop indefatigable party reporter Julia Allison. Her wrap-up — her final wrap-up of the season — is after the jump.

Eating — and Eating! — With the ‘Daily News’; Drinking and Dancing With ‘Star’

With less than a week left till Christmas, company-holiday-party season is nearing its end. But for a last few fabulous nights, it keeps going strong — and naturally crasher extraordinaire Julia Allison is there. Last night she hit the Daily News do at the Copa and the Star shindig at Dirty Disco. Which one had a face-painter? Which one had only caffeinated vodka? Julia's reports await.

Rupert Murdoch Wishes You a Merry ChristmasHappy Holidays

There's a general rule of thumb that work events are always held on Monday through Thursday nights, because Fridays are reserved for real friends or for family. Who could flout that rule? Rupert Murdoch, of course, who held the annual holiday party — and it's called a holiday party, not a Christmas party, Bill O'Reilly — for all New York News Corporation employees Friday night. It's a huge event, for everyone from HarperCollins editors to Fox 5 local-news guys to 20th Century Fox PR people to Fox News ideologues to all their associated sales teams and managerial staffs and all that. Naturally, Julia Allison was there, and after the jump she takes you on a tour of Rupert's world, with stops for frat-party booze and trans-fatty food. Yum!

Eggnog and Latkes With Hearst, ‘Vogue,’ and the Sunshine Flacks

Silver bells, silver bells. That's right, kids: It's Christmas time in the city. And what does that mean? Company holiday parties. Lots of 'em, booze-filled, cheesily themed, and often resulting in embarrassed avoidance at the office for a few weeks. This is the week holiday-party season kicks into high gear, and we're introducing our Office-Party Patrol, in which dedicated partygoer Julia Allison will crash company Christmas parties on your behalf (or just ask question from outside, when security is too tight) and let you know what you're missing. In today's premier installment, we take you to the Hearst party, the Vogue party, and the Ken Sunshine PR party — and we rank each one for food, drink, venue, debauchery, and exclusivity. Which was most exclusive? Vogue, of course. Drunkest? Read on to find out.

Hark! The Herald Angels Burn Energy!

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Amazingly enough, there really is some religious devotion to be found in this godless city. And how is it displayed? With enormous, expensive lighting displays, naturally. The good people at Gowanus Lounge took a trip over the weekend to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, which is apparently the extravagant-Christmas-lights capital of New York City. This picture's our favorite, mostly for the rows of herald angels flanking the entryway, which provide a nice counterpoint to the usual excessive rows of lights and signs. But there's lots more what that came from. And, hey, Merry December 11! Dyker Heights Lights! The Photos [Gowanus Lounge]

Lawyers Lament Lousy Christmas-Party Plans

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In this era of hedge-fund riches, word is, the perks of life at a white-shoe law firm are seeming meager by comparison. And here's some proof: Dewey Ballantine, whose big-name clients include Fortune 500 companies like Walt Disney, Sony, and GE, has previously held its annual holiday party in fancy-pants venues like Lincoln Center and a rented-out Madame Tussauds. This year's fête, on the other hand, will be held in the company cafeteria — and that's leaving some grumbling litigators. "Even my kid's high school has the good sense not to hold the prom in the gymnasium," sniffs one. The big question is where future merger partner Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is having its end-of-the-year shindig — and if this is a bad omen for what's to come. Plus, wonders another disgruntled Dewey worker, "Does this mean the partners are taking their annual trip to Brighton Beach this year instead of Bermuda?"

Everything Is Illuminated

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Last night was the kickoff of Prospect Park in Lights, a holiday public-art thingie in which four of the Brooklyn park's entrances are decorated with seasonably over-the-top lighting displays. (Apparently some 4 million LEDs are involved.) We've been looking at some photos of the event posted by the Gothamist kids — including the above image, by Atomische — and we're thinking it looks kind of cool. We're also thinking we're glad we don't pay the park's Con Ed bill. Light Waves in Brooklyn [Gothamist]

Happy Thanksgiving to All, and to All a Good Night!

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Well, folks, that's about it for us. On Grub Street, Josh Ozersky imparts his hard-earned Four Simple Rules for Having a Pleasant City Thanksgiving. And earlier we let David Rockwell tell you how the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade makes the city feel smaller, literally. That's all we got, and now we have to start prepping for maximum pigs-in-a-blanket intake. Be careful out there, and we'll catch you Monday morning. Your Last-Minute NYC Thanksgiving, and How Not to Blow It [Grub Street]

David Rockwell Loves a Parade

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The New York architect David Rockwell, known for his designs of restaurants (like Nobu), hotels (including several Ws), and, lately, Broadway musicals (his first was Hairspray, with those brilliant moving, dancing posters), has published a coffee-table book called Spectacle. It includes photos, interviews, and information on many of the world's great spectator events — including, naturally, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He spoke to Daily Intel yesterday. What makes the parade so interesting to you? I've always been interested in larger-than-life events, and larger-than-life communal events. At the parade, there's a breaking down of the boundary between viewer and participant. The viewer is as much a part of the parade as the people in it. In your field of vision, you're seeing other people across the street, and you're seeing their reactions — were they surprised? These giant balloons transform our view of the city. They make the city seem smaller, literally, by inhabiting the space up in the air. And it's just an amazing time where New Yorkers get out of their temperature-controlled boxes and have this celebration that spills out into the streets.

When Good PR Stunts Go Bad (Although for Good Causes)

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We received a press release last week from the Salvation Army, promising the world's largest collection of holiday bell-ringers in Bryant Park this morning, and we were vaguely intrigued. It was a stunt, clearly, and a silly one at that, but, still, something about the image of a few hundred guys and girls in Santa suits, all clanging away together, warmed our cold hearts — mostly because we thought it'd be photographically interesting, all that red felt amid the gray and fading green of the park. As it turned out, the Salvation Army could muster only 62 ringers, none were in Santa outfits, and — this is the part that truly mystifies us — we're told they didn't even ring their bells. (You gotta ring them bells!) Bah humbug. Salvation Army [OnlineRedKettle.org]

So You Want to Throw a Parade?

At eleven o'clock this morning, the 77th annual Columbus Day Parade, sponsored by the Columbus Citizen's Foundation, started making its way up Fifth Avenue. Yesterday the Hispanic Day Parade marched the same route. On Saturday, the Korean American Parade took over Broadway. In total, New York will see some 79 parades this year. How do you get permission to put on one of your own?