There are intriguing spaces sprinkled throughout the city that invite corporations to utilize their facilities, but stepping inside Offsite is a unique experience designed specifically for the business meeting clientele. The brainchild of Patrick Everett and Shawn Kessler, they have created a stunning turnkey facility where all day conferences can be held. Companies are invited to bring their employees together for a productive 9am-5pm meeting in the three levels of fully equipped space, which can then be flipped effortlessly into an appropriate venue for an evening event. The rooms are configured so that some forty people are able to sit around one gigantic table or be rearranged into smaller units. Attendees never have to feel confined to one space, as they can move around freely on each floor, dividing up into smaller breakout sessions, when necessary. The rooms are versatile and technology oriented, fully outfitted with AV equipment - as Patrick referred to it, "plug and play. " Endless pens and pads, drinks and snacks, including large jars of enticing candy, are provided throughout the day. The partners have paid attention to every detail, taking into consideration exactly what they believe their clients will require, including a small executive office that allows for a private phone conversation and a myriad of white walls that are actually whiteboards. Offsite works with some of the terrific catering facilities in the area to provide top lunches and dinners for groups, and everything is served on their attractive dishes. While being given a tour, Patrick told me that he had been an event planner. When he discovered that there was something important missing in the corporate world, he found his niche. As he began to imagine the possibilities, he worked diligently on his concept with Shawn. Basically all one has to do is book the space, and the rock star team at Offsite will handle the rest.
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana fills a very important role in Manhattan: It is not only one of the few flamenco schools and companies in the city, but it also provides studios for those who tend to make a lot of noise and roughen up the floors while dancing. In 2007, Flamenco Vivo moved to its current space in a building reserved strictly for non-profits (including many other arts organizations). As Hanaah Frechette, the Managing Director, quipped, “We are a non-profit in the middle of Midtown madness. ” She explained that before 2007, many flamenco groups would meet at what she called “the Mecca of flamenco” down the street. When that building was demolished, Flamenco Vivo realized that they had to step up to the plate and find another place where flamenco dancers could exuberantly stomp and stamp. “We are catering to the percussive crowd, ” Hanaah said with a smile. Flamenco Vivo started out solely as a dance company. It was founded in 1983 by Carlota Santana and Roberto Lorca. Though Roberto passed away in the late eighties, Carlota still acts as the Artistic Director for the company, spending most of the year in North Carolina, where she teaches at Duke University and runs a second location of Flamenco Vivo in Durham. Carlota has been honored by the Government of Spain with "La Cruz de la Orden al Merito Civil" for promoting, teaching, and performing flamenco throughout the world, and she has been called “The Keeper of Flamenco” by Dance Magazine. Hanaah proudly told us, “As a founder, she’s very involved. She’s spearheaded everything from the beginning. ”The company is composed of both local artists and guest artists from Spain, and the dancers train both in the United States and Europe. In addition to touring, they do a lot of work here in New York, thanks to the Flamenco in the Boros program, which has been offering free shows in libraries, schools, and museums. “We offer high quality performances in unusual spaces. ” Hanaah went on to emphasize that the company also does arts education outreach, which includes a lot of work with English as a Second Language students, to help them feel more engaged in their communities. In addition, they have a choreographic residency each year in conjunction with a competition in Madrid. Hanaah was excited to tell us that it is her turn, this year, to travel to Madrid and present the prize to the winner. The residency allows Flamenco Vivo to support a new generation of dancers and choreographers. The studio recently started hosting a New York State Choreography Competition, hoping to foster the same growth and spirit. Offering classes is a more recent development. Most of Flamenco Vivo’s classes are geared towards beginners, but the studios are also rented out to other programs and independent teachers. I met Juana Cala who, in addition to being an instructor for Flamenco Vivo, also holds her own classes here. I witnessed one composed of a diverse group of women. “Flamenco lends itself to all abilities, ” Hanaah pointed out. She added that dancers do not need to have a specific body type in order to become a master of the form, and that participants often range in age from eighteen to seventy-five. Flamenco Vivo’s other programs reach an even broader age range: For example, Hanaah told me about the studio’s fun family-friendly holiday program, Navidad Flamenca, which explores the traditions of the Spanish-speaking world. “I love how robust and accessible our programming is, ” Hanaah gushed. The breadth and openness of Flamenco Vivo’s work echoes the art form itself. Hanaah admitted that before she came in contact with flamenco, she thought the dance form was “a complex mysterious being. ” It was not until she started coming in contact with flamenco that she realized “there are lots of points of entry. ” Not only does flamenco rely on many different types of artists (singers, dancer, musicians, etc. ), but it also relies on many different cultures, including Sephardic Jewish, Islamic, and, of course, Spanish. Hanaah stated, “It’s an art form born of the people. ”
New York has more than its fair share of yakitori houses and sushi bars, but this Japanese transplant is concerned with presenting Teishoku, or home-style cooking, to its American diners. Since 1958, Japan has been fortunate enough to have access to this chain's nourishing, traditional fare, where a "healthy body and mind" are top priority. Throughout Asia, there are over three hundred Ootoya restaurants, and as of 2012, New Yorkers can dine in the light, airy interior of their elegant US flagship restaurant on 18th Street or their latest addition on 41st.
When I mentioned to a friend that I was up to 33rd Street, she reacted immediately, "You know that this is the street that Wolfgang's is on, don't you? " I loved the description that she and her husband shared with me. "It is an old world man-cave that has incredible charm and certainly appeals to the serious eater. " Situated in the former historic Vanderbilt Hotel with magnificently tiled low vaulted ceilings, my husband and I agree that this is a splendid restaurant to dine. Wolfgang's, located in the sleek New York Times building on West 41st Street, is equally pleasant, but offers an entirely different ambiance. During the daytime, the sunlight streams in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing the steaks to glisten even more as they are being brought to the tables. The businessmen in their suits still dominate during the lunch hour; however, theatergoers and tourists fill the restaurant in the evening. Wolfgang Zwiener spent some forty years digesting the world of steak by working in the iconic restaurant, Peter Luger's. Think of it this way, Wolfgang received a veritable master's degree in meats in Brooklyn, and now has earned his doctorate in his own restaurant, where he has written a top-notch thesis. When others might have chosen to slow down a bit or even to retire, he began opening his own restaurants. Over the years, I have been to the four in Manhattan, with the 33rd Street flagship location being the one where we have chosen to celebrate many special occasions. As noted, it is a favorite of friends of ours, and when I asked them to speak to me further about Wolfgang's, the immediate response was, "Personally, of all the steak houses in New York, this is the one to go to. " They went on to describe the menu as not only having excellent steaks, but they also always look forward to ordering seafood, and then brace themselves as the kitchen presents them with a seafood platter appetizer that is "utterly outrageous. " There are jumbo shrimp (my number one oxymoron) and lobster with huge pieces to devour, and thrown in for good measure, some oysters and clams. "Even if you leave the steak out of the equation, it makes for an incredible meal. " But, who can leave the steak out? According to my husband, a man who is passionate about his meat, Wolfgang gets it right every time whether he decides on a filet or a porterhouse. And I, of course, am all about the side dishes and salads, which Wolfgang continues to deliver.
Notorious bikini bar Tobacco Road will finally get a new lease of life as a four-story venue for the Queer community when Red Eye NYC opens on W41st Street. The once-gritty dive bar at 355 W41st Street between 8th and 9th Avenue was shuttered in 2017 for failing to pay its rent, but five years on, a round-the-clock space offering coffee, bagels, shared workspaces and rehearsal rooms by day and high-end entertainment and cocktails at night is to rise from Tobacco Road's ashes in spectacular style. Red Eye NYC is the brainchild of Taylor Shubert, Daniel Nardicio, Samuel Benedict and Adam Klesh, who were determined to bring a "whole new concept" to Hell's Kitchen for the Queer community. Their work is nearing completion and they hope to have permissions from the city in place within weeks, allowing them to open by the end of the year. The venue has a long history — including as a concert venue that played host to luminaries including Thelonius Monk and Etta James — and that history has inspired the Red Eye NYC team. By day, the theater will offer rehearsal space, with Queer performers a priority. When not rented, it will be open for everything from piano playing to ballet practice. Red Eye NYC will also host streamed events, and plans to have its own podcast, recording on-site. By night it will be a raucous venue for burlesque and boylesque personalities, DJs, drag royalty and stars of Broadway and television. They will have a happy hour and promise to have some sort of event every night somewhere between 7 and 9pm. The four founders have spent the past few months on a massive program of renovations, detailing their work on the Red Eye NYC Instagram feed, including stripping the building back to the studs, pouring concrete and installing up-to-date appliances. They even helped out with the caulking. The team has deep Hell's Kitchen roots. Klesh opened W52nd Street's Industry Bar and Shubert has been a bartender at 9th Avenue's Flaming Saddles for almost eight years. He has also represented Hell’s Kitchen as a Democratic Party judicial delegate and a member of its New York county committee. The foursome say they want the "pink dollar" to stay in the gay community, and plan to champion Queer-owned suppliers for every part of the business, including wine-makers and other drink suppliers. This story originally appeared on W42ST. nyc in October, 2022 as "Red Eye NYC will Revive Bikini Bar Site with a Coffee-to-Cocktails Queer Venue. "
In a city where cultural fads and neighborhoods change frequently, one necessity has remained the same - men continue to be in need of a haircut. That simple fact has kept Olde Tyme Barbers in business since 1929. Or at least that is how Joe “the Boss” Magnetico explains being successful, despite the way midtown has changed since his grandfather opened his doors. Joe is the third generation of barbers, and his daughter Anne-Marie is the fourth and first female barber in the family. Joe’s grandfather, the original “Joe the Barber, ” first opened his shop at the Statler Hilton Hotel. In 1945, his son, Frank Magnetico, moved the barbershop to the current location on 41st Street underneath the Chanin building, a New York City national landmark. This makes Olde Tyme Barbers the oldest retail establishment currently in business on 41st from the East River to the New York Public Library. It is easy to tell that Joe, his family, and his staff take pride in the work that they do and the history they have created. Joe still uses the original chairs from the barbershop his grandfather opened. Sitting behind the cash register, Joe stated, “We’re not a business you can do on the internet. ” By this he means that despite the way business and the neighborhood has changed in the past years, Joe and his family have survived for so long by remaining true to their trade. He charges what is fair and treats everyone who comes in with respect. Joe told me, “you have to be able to make relationships in business: it’s how you survive. ” This is why Joe’s regulars are so loyal. Generations of men in the same family continue to come from all over the Metropolitan area to get their hair cut by his staff. They have been able to do something special in midtown - to create a neighborhood environment in an area of Manhattan that is not considered a neighborhood anymore. Joe ended our conversation by mentioning that he does not believe that he could open a barber shop in today’s market for the price that he charges on this block. "We are a dying breed in the sense that there is not much room in midtown for small owned businesses. " In his opinion, all the chains in midtown do not bring the same sense of community or character to the area like the businesses that use to be there.