Monday, December 16, 2019

THE ARTSY VOYAGER: 101 Artsy & Cool Things To Do in Paris

Great news! My Paris eBook is now available:

THE ARTSY VOYAGER: 101 Artsy & Cool Things To Do in Paris

(You don't need a Kindle; download a free App to read on phone, tablet or computer.)

Whether this is your first or your 20th trip to Paris, there's always something new to discover. These "artsy + cool" suggestions will help you get as much enjoyment out of your visit as possible.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Beyond Art: Great Entertainment at 10 Top New York City Museums

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Breaking the Waves, Works & Process,
The Gugg

In museums all over town, there's lots more happening than the exhibits on the walls: Music, Dance & Family Fun. New York City museums have become de facto performing arts centers with exciting events, often thematically tied into what's on view. Here's a small sampling to get you started:
The Guggenheim
1071 Fifth Ave (at 88th St);
Throughout the year, there are several top-notch, special events, so be sure to check the Performance calendarWorks & Process: In an intimate theater space, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this performing arts series gives you the opportunity to see new works by some of the most acclaimed, international creators and performers in the world.
Peter & the Wolf

For the Holidays: Don't miss the divine Isaac Mizrahi production of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and the Rotunda Holiday Concerts--fun for children and adults!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Fuentidueña Chapel, Cloisters

1000 Firth Ave (at 82nd St);
There is always something cultural happening at the museum from concerts to lectures to site-specific performances. 
MetLiveArts: This series offers interesting performances, commissions, and world premieres in the museum's theater. Site-specific events are set in unique gallery spaces throughout the museum.
The Met Cloisters - Concerts
In the beautiful, medieval Cloisters' museum in Fort Tyron Park, concerts are held in the splendid, 12th-century Fuentidueña Chapel, with wonderful acoustics. (Concert tickets include free, same-day museum admission.)

The Jewish Museum
Don Byron Band, Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Ave (at 92nd St);
The museum offers an amazing range of cultural programs from interesting discussions with artists and curators (AM at the JM), to talks by contemporary authors and thinkers, concerts, and other performances and workshops inspired by exhibitions on view.

Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Ave (at 103rd St);
This museum, devoted to New York City history, presents fascinating events and talks illuminating New York's past and imagining the city's future. Check out the Stories & Events calendar. 
For the Holidays: Learn how to make ornaments & snow globes!

El Museo del Barrio
1230 Fifth Ave (at 104th St);
The museum focuses on Latino arts and culture. Its' bilingual programs, festivals, and special events celebrate the 
rich cultural heritage of the Caribbean and Latin America. Get ready to party! 

Rubin Museum of Art

150 West 17 St;

Jazz, Rubin

The museum, dedicated to the culture of the Himalayas, India, and neighboring regions, is also a wonderful place to see international films, hear great jazz, and be inspired by interesting talks and performances. The museum is open late on Fridays, so in addition to soaking up the culture, be sure to stop by the Café Serai/K2 Lounge; it's a neighborhood hot spot. 
Museum of Jewish Heritage
Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place;
While not as well known as The Jewish Museum, MJH, located downtown by Battery Park, presents a broad tapestry of Jewish life in the 20th and 21st centuries—before, during, and after the Holocaust. Hence, the engrossing programs include discussions, films, plays, and concerts that highlight the richness of Jewish culture and ideas. (There's also an Andy Goldsworthy stone garden really worth seeing and great views of the Statue of Liberty.)

99 Gansevoort St;
Terrace, Whitney
In a downtown area, recently made hip by the fabulous High Line walkway, 20th- and 21st-century American art is celebrated in the museum's new building abuzz with activity. The Whitney Biennial is one of the museum's signature events, along with an exciting, eclectic mix of performances and talks on a regular basis that are tied into current exhibits. Best feature: The "art terraces" on every level with stunning views of New York and the Hudson River. 

American Museum of Natural History
Sleepover, AMNH

Central Park West at 79th St;
The museum is a treasure trove of discoveries for kids as well as adults. While you might know about all the wonderful activities for children, did you know that adults can also do "A Night at the Museum" sleepover, enjoy cocktails and conversation at the after-hours SciCafe evenings, and participate in family-fun cultural events, themed to tie-in with current exhibits? There's a lot more going on here than dinosaur bones!

Brooklyn Museum of Art
The Bang Group, BMA

200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn;
In addition to way-cool exhibits, BMA offers a variety of interesting events for adults, teens, and kids. These include talks, performances, films, and workshops that enhance the museum’s current exhibits and permanent collection. Every month, there's also free First Saturdays which usually feature music, dancing and a film, plus museum admission.

Editor's Note: Some of these wonderful, special museum events are free with admission, others require a separate ticket and/or booking in advance. Be sure to check the museum's website. And, when you enter any museum, be sure to read the signs ("suggested" admission means pay any amount not the $20+ listed). Also, many museums have free or "pay what you wish" evenings starting at around 5pm. The Metropolitan Museum ticket includes same-day admission to The Met Cloisters & The Met Breuer (
it's "pay what you wish" at all times for tri-state area residents).

Monday, November 11, 2019

NYC's New Art Scene: Mini-Guide to Groovy Galleries & More on the Lower East Side

By Jacquelin Carnegie
In the art world, things are constantly shifting. And, New York City's gallery scene, shifts with real estate values. In the 1960s and 70s, as artists moved into the beautiful-but-abandoned industrial buildings in the SoHo neighborhood, galleries followed. As rents skyrocketed, in the late 1990s, the galleries moved to another, under-appreciated
LES 1900s (photo: Jewish Museum)
neighborhood: Chelsea. Now, the gallery scene is shifting to the Lower East Side, an area best known for discount shopping. While the gallery spaces tend to be smaller, this move is terrific because the neighborhood is lively and diverse making it fun to explore.
Lower East Side Visitors Center (54 Orchard St., Tel: 212-226-9010; - Stop in to pick up a map with gallery listings and find out more about the LES neighborhood, home to immigrants from all over the world for generations. Now, trendy boutiques and art galleries are popping up amongst the discount shops and ethnic restaurants, adding to the ambience.
There are now about 100+ galleries on the LES. Here are some good places to start, download a Gallery Guide before you head out.
Westwood Gallery NYC
Warhol (photo: Bob Adelman)

262 Bowery (btw E Houston & Prince), Tel: 212-966-2520; - Exhibits work by a core group of world-famous contemporary artists and photographers, such as: Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Avedon & Bob Adelman. (The gallery is right across the street from the New Museum--see below; visit both for an artsy afternoon!)
Lesley Heller Workspace
54 Orchard St (btw Grand & Hester), Tel: 212-463-7490; - Highlights work by emerging and underrepresented, mid- and late-career, contemporary artists.
Foley Gallery
59 Orchard St (btw Grand & Hester), Tel: 212-244-9081; - Spotlights fascinating photography, painting, drawing, and cut paper. Check out Simon Schubert's work!
Anastasia Photo
Blind Painting, Grace Knowlton, 
Lesley Heller
143 Ludlow St (at Stanton), Tel: 212-677-9725; - Features documentary photography and photojournalism. View Matt Black's The Geography of Poverty series.
131 Allen St (btw Rivington & Delancey), Tel: 212-366-6939; - Focuses on ephemeral and media-based work.
LES Art Gallery Tour ( Sure, you can wander around on your own, but if you'd like a more personalized, in-depth experience, art-historian Savona Bailey-McClain leads group and private tours of LES galleries.
Gallery hopping is fun, but you'll need to stop for a coffee or grab a bite to keep your energy up. There's a number of great coffee places and, of course, nearby Chinatown for lunch or dinner:
Roasting Plant 81 Orchard St (btw Broome & Grand);
- Serving brewed-by-the-cup coffee. Cafe Katja 79 Orchard St (btw Broome & Grand); - Austrian comfort food & imported beers on tap.
Tenements Tales & Tastes Tour (Urban Adventures NYC, Let Urban Adventures' friendly, enthusiastic guides fill you in on the history of the area, home to immigrants from all over the world for generations. Each ethnic group added to the "beautiful mosaic" of New York City. Sample Chinese, Italian, Germany & Jewish food to round out the experience.
In addition to the burgeoning art scene, check out these fascinating museums:
Tenement Museum 103 Orchard St; - The story of immigrants in New York City in the late 1800s, beautifully told. There are a variety of tours that can be pre-booked on the website.
The New Museum of Contemporary Art 235 Bowery; - Exhibiting striking, post-modern art.
ICP Museum 79 Essex St; - The International Center of Photography has relocated to the Lower East Side to become the cultural anchor at the new Essex Crossing complex.
Discount stores still thrive along with a thousand other little funky shops, but gentrification is rapidly encroaching via trendy, designer boutiques. Here are a few stores that have been on the LES for generations:
Altman Luggage
135 Orchard St (btw Delancey & Rivington), Tel: 212-254-7275; - since 1920.
A. W. Kaufman Designer Lingerie 73 Orchard St (btw Grand & Broome), Tel: 212-226-1629; - since 1924.
Harris Levy Fine Linens
98 Forsyth (btw Grand & Broome), Tel: 212-226-3102; - from an Orchard St pushcart in 1894 to a store in 1899.
Katz Furniture 20 Orchard St (btw Canal & Hester), Tel: 212-677-8528; - since 1906.
Moscot Eyewear 108 Orchard St (at Delancey), Tel: 212-477-3796; - from a pushcart to a store in 1915.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Budapest: Enjoy Coffee & Cake at 6 Famous Cafés

  Café Centrál
By Jacquelin Carnegie – (Budapest, Hungary)
Long before “café culture” flourished in Paris and Vienna, it thrived in Budapest. The custom of drinking coffee was introduced by invading Ottoman Turks in the 1500s. During Budapest’s Golden Age, between 1870 and 1910, there were some 500 coffee houses in the city.
In their heyday, Budapest’s cafés were hangouts for aspiring writers, poets, artists, and the local intelligentsia. Before the age of television and the Internet, people spent hours in their favorite café, sharing ideas, gossip, and reading the newspapers, provided for free.
New York Café
These Budapest coffee houses had sumptuous interiors with lustrous chandeliers and frescoed ceilings to rival the Sistine Chapel. But, after two world wars and the communist era in Hungary, the old famous cafes had been destroyed or closed. In recent years, many of these once-grand cafés have been restored to their original splendor:
New York Café
New York Café
New York Palace Hotel, Erzsébet körút 9-11; Tel: 01/886-6111;; Metro: M2 – Astoria; Open: 9am-midnight
Opened in 1894 on the ground floor of a stylish office complex, designed by architect Alajos Hauszmann and financed by a New York life insurance company (hence the name), the café was a favorite haunt of the writers and editors who worked in the building (now a five-star Boscolo hotel). For struggling writers, the New York provided free ink and paper and offered a low-cost "writer's menu" (bread, cheese & cold cuts). During Budapest’s Golden Age, much of the city’s creative business took place here or at the Café Central.
Café Centrál
Károlyi Mihály utca 9; Tel: 01/266-2110;; Metro: M3 - Ferenciek Tere; Open: 8am-midnight
 Café Centrál
Opened in 1887, the Central was a popular meeting place for writers, poets, editors, and artists. In the 1890s, writers sitting around the café began an influential literary periodical, A Hét (Week). A few years later, another group of regulars, who divided their time between the Central and the New York, launched Nyugat (West), which became one of the most influential Hungarian literary journals in the early 20th century.
Café Gerbeaud
Vörösmarty tér 7; Tel: 01/429-9000;; Metro: M1 – Vörösmarty tér; Open: 9am-9pm
Café Gerbeaud
Founded by confectioner Henrik Kugler in 1858, this is regarded as one of the most elegant and refined cafés. In 1884, its Swiss pastry chef, Emile Gerbeaud, took over the establishment, making it as famous for its cakes as its coffee.
Café Párisi 
Andrássy út 39; Tel: 01/947-7894;; Metro: M1- Opera; Open: 9am-9pm
BookCafé Párizsi Áruház
This stunning café is located on the third floor of an Art Nouveau building, designed by Zsigmond Sziklai, opened in 1911 as Párizsi Nagy Árúház, Budapest’s first modern department store. The café, in Lotz hall, is resplendent with restored frescos (done by painter Károly Lotz), large mirrors, and magnificent chandeliers.
Művész Kávéház
Andrássy út 29; Tel: 70/333-2116;; Metro: M1- Opera; Open: Mon-Sat, 9am-midnight; Sun, 10am-10pm
Around since 1898, Művész means artist and since the café is located opposite the Budapest State Opera House, over the years, it’s attracted its fair share of artists and performers.
Café Gerlóczy
Café Gerlóczy
Gerloczy u. 1; Tel: 01/501-4000;; Metro: M1, M2, M3 – Deák Farenc tér; Open: 7am-11pm
On a leafy square, in a pretty 1892 building, the Gerlóczy has the feel of a Parisian café with its wonderful croissants and freshly-baked pastries—some consider it the best breakfast in town. At night, a harpist adds to the atmosphere. Another unique, Gerlóczy offering: 19 stylish rooms in its upstairs boutique hotel, so you never have to leave!
Stay at the Café Gerlóczy
Getting There: The best time to visit Budapest is between March and October. Both Delta and American offer connecting flights.
Read Before You Go: "The Great Escape” by Kati Marton: This wonderful book, about influential Hungarians, describes life in the Budapest cafés at the turn of the 20th century.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Beyond Broadway: 5 Great Cultural & Culinary Day Trips from NYC

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Catching a Broadway show should be at the top of your New York City “To Do” list. But, the surrounding, tri-state area--Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts--also offers great theater. At these venues, easily accessible by public transportation, you get wonderful entertainment at reasonable prices. Plus, the theaters are near nice restaurants and other interesting cultural activities for a perfect day trip. You might even be inspired to stay for the weekend or longer!

1) Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Ct., Westport, CT; Tel: 203/227-4177;
Westport Country Playhouse, Stockard Channing & Jane Alexander,
 David Hare’s The Breath of Life (photo: Carol Rosegg)
Paul Neumann and Joanne Woodward were key to the revitalization of this historic theater. The red barn was originally built in 1835. Transformed into a theater in 1931, the Playhouse initially featured try-outs bound for Broadway, then became a stop on the “straw-hat,” summer stock circuit throughout the 20th century. Today, the not-for-profit Westport Country Playhouse presents a selection of terrific plays with top-notch actors.
Westport Country Playhouse
 (photo: Robert Benson)
Nearby Eats: The theater recommends several nearby restaurants.
Other Cultural Activities: Westport Arts Center - art exhibits, gallery talks, concerts, and films.
Stay the Night: The Westport Inn
Getting There: From New York (Grand Central Station), take Metro North train (New Haven line) to Westport. Then, a 10-min. taxi ride. (Westport Star Taxi: 203/418-0131) Travel time: About an hour and a half.

New Jersey
McCarter, Daphne Rubin-Vega & Jimmy Smits,
Anna in the Tropics (photo: T. Charles Erickson)

2) McCarter Theatre Center
91 University Place, Princeton, NJ; Tel: 609/258-2787;
Begun in the 1930s as a venue for the Princeton University Triangle Club (who still perform here), the McCarter stage has been graced by some of the most illustrious actors of our time. (Joshua Logan and Jimmy Stewart were in the first production.) McCarter was a popular pre-Broadway and summer-stock stop, then developed into a place where noteworthy playwrights premiere new work (Thornton Wilder's Our Town, William Inge's Bus Stop). Today, the theater continues presenting premieres and nurturing new talent as well as showcasing re-imagined classics.
Nearby Eats: There’s a café at the theater and a wide selection of great restaurants nearby in downtown Princeton: Alchemist & Barrister, Triumph Brewing Company, Winberie’s Restaurant & Bar, Yankee Doodle Tap Room.
Other Cultural Activities: Princeton Tour Company - great walking tours; Princeton University Art Museum - 72,000 works of art including Degas, Monet & Picasso and an extensive collection of Chinese artifacts; free.
McCarter Theater 
(photo: Peter C. Cook)
Stay the Night: Nassau Inn
Getting There: From New York (Penn Station), take NJ Transit train (Northeast Corridor line) to Princeton; get off at Princeton Junction, then take the "Dinky" train to Princeton, a 5-min. ride, stops across the street from the theatre. Travel time: About an hour.

3) Paper Mill Playhouse
22 Brookside Dr., Millburn, NJ; Tel: 973/376-4343;
Paper Mill Playhouse, Oklahoma 
(photo: Gerry Goodstein)

In 1938, the Paper Mill Playhouse opened in a defunct paper mill. Begun as a repertory theater, operettas and musicals were soon added to its’ repertoire. Over the years, the Playhouse gained a reputation for offering a selection of great plays and fabulous productions of Broadway musicals. Today, in addition to reviving iconic shows, the Paper Mill Playhouse presents brand-new musicals.
Nearby Eats: There’s a café at the theater, Kirby Carriage House, but Millburn’s Main Street, just a few blocks away, is worth exploring--several ice cream parlors, coffee shops, and restaurants. (The Millburn Deli is famous for its’ Sloppy Joes.)
Other Cultural Activities: In nearby Short Hills, NJ: Greenwood Gardens, a 28-acre public garden on the National Register of Historic Places; Cora Hartshorn Arboretum & Bird Sanctuary, 16-acres of woodlands with nature trails.
Paper Mill Playhouse
Stay the Night: Short Hills Hilton
Getting There: From New York (Penn Station), take NJ Transit train (Midtown direct Dover) to Millburn. Short walk or taxi ride to the theater. Travel time: About an hour and a quarter.

4) State Theater

State Theater, musician Michael McDonald
(photo: Danny Clinch)

15 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, NJ; Tel: 732/246-7469;
The State Theater is housed in an historic vaudeville and silent movie palace from the 1920s. Best known for its’ concert series featuring headliners at affordable prices--from Aretha Franklin to Yo-Yo Ma to Bruce Springsteen, the theater also presents Broadway musicals, opera, jazz & blues festivals, comedy, and children’s theater.
Nearby Eats: Lots of nice restaurants near the theater. 
Other Cultural Activities: Zimmerli Art Museum - an excellent university museum with an impressive collection from ancient artifacts to contemporary art.

State Theater
Stay the Night: The Heldrich 
Getting There: From New York (Penn Station), take NJ Transit train (Northeast Corridor line) to New Brunswick, just a few blocks walk to the theater. Travel time: About an hour and a quarter.


5) Barrington Stage Company
30 Union St., Pittsfield, MA, Tel:
Barrington Stage, Debra Jo Rupp, Dr. Ruth
(photo: ©Barrington Stage)
Founded in 1995, the not-for-profit company, housed in a 1912 vaudeville theatre, produces award-winning plays and musicals, and finds innovative ways to attract new audiences and introduce young people to theatre. The new productions at Barrington Stage are so terrific they often transfer to Broadway (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Freud’s Last Session)–but you can see them first, right here!
Barrington Stage
Nearby Eats: There’s a huge selection of all kinds of restaurants, cafés and wine bars on North Street in the Upstreet Cultural District. 
Other Cultural Activities: Pittsfield is abuzz with artsy activities from 3rd Thursdays street fair to 1st Fridays ArtsWalk. Berkshire Museum - art & artifacts from every continent.  
Stay the Night: Holiday Inn & Suites
Getting There: From New York (Port Authority Bus Terminal) take a Peter Pan bus to Pittsfield. About four hours (but worth it!)