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Closing act: Tough times forcing iconic stages to close


The iconic Roseland Ballroom, a favorite of bands and audiences for decades because of its size and sentimental importance, will reportedly soon join a growing group of music venues that have shuttered in recent years, an increasing trend that some say is distorting the artistic identity of New York.

Roseland, set to host its final act in April 2014, as first reported by Billboard last month, joins recent musical landmarks to close up shop, including Park Slope’s beloved Southpaw and Bleecker Street’s Kenny’s Castaways in 2012, Amato Opera on Bowery in 2009 and most famously the irreplaceable CBGB in 2006.

Other cultural institutions aren’t immune: The artistic and creative hub 3rd Ward in East Williamsburg unexpectedly closed last month.

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said more of these iconic New York venues are being squeezed out by increased development in areas these performance spaces made remarkable in the first place.

“It’s this sort of vicious cycle, which is that these sort of places tend to come into edgy, up-and-coming neighborhoods, they help make them into desirable locations, vibrant places to be, and then they’re the victim of that success because they attract the sort of broader crowd with more money,” Berman said.

“Then what they’re replaced with is typically a chain store or a coffee shop or in some cases these sort of more upscale types of retail establishments, which don’t make the same kind of contribution to the cultural vitality of the neighborhood,” he said.

During his time as mayor, Michael Bloomberg rezoned about 37% of the city. This opened the door to the development in growing areas that some have said helped force out those classic institutions.

Maria Kenny, whose family owned and ran Kenny’s Castaways for 37 years, shut down the club last October after the changing nature of the neighborhood made it impossible to stay open.

“Unfortunately this is just the reality we’re in,” Kenny said. “The thing is, if there were new places coming to replace the old ones forced out, that would be OK. But that’s not happening,” she said. “You’re getting coffee shops, lounge bars. You’re not getting more clubs, you’re getting chain stores.

Kenny added that the last decade or so has been one disaster after another for the owners of these cultural and artistic landmarks, including skyrocketing real estate prices, Bloomberg’s indoor smoking ban, gentrification and, of course, 9/11.

Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, agreed that “real estate pressure” is pushing these places out, among a litany of other factors.

“The arts community is an enormous job creation community within the city and it benefits everyone,” he said.

Bankoff added: Venues “come and go out of business pretty quickly, so you have new places spring up, but are there enough of them? Probably not. There are never enough.

(With Dan Rivoli)

Photo by Craig Ruttle
by Meredith.Deliso

27K expected to participate in this year's NYC Veterans Day Parade


The New York City Veterans Day Parade, which this year highlights the contributions of female service members, has always been a time to celebrate and honor all who have sacrificed and died on our nation’s behalf.

But “America’s Parade,” which is now in its 94th year with 27,000 participants, is also a welcome chance for veterans to network, swap war stories and feel the flush of solidarity with others who can understand their feelings and frustrations like no one else.

The parade “is really an opportunity for vets to reconnect with one another,” observed Mike Abrams, 33, a former U.S. Marine Corps captain and current member of the Marine Corps Reserves who founded Four Block Foundation, a program that helps  veterans transition to corporate careers. The nationally televised parade —  the largest in the country — attracts retired and active service members from all over not only to march, but to catch up, confab, reminisce and strategize.

With the 238th anniversary of the Marine Corps celebrated Sunday, the old home week vibe is even more pronounced, said Abrams, who lives in Midtown.

“It’s so nice to be around other veterans,” said Kevon Vaughn, 27, a former USMC corporal who did two tours in Iraq. The kinship forged in military service can eclipse even biological family ties for some, explained Vaughn, who was watching “Band of Brothers” with some other veterans at the Rocco Moretto V.F.W. Post in Astoria Sunday and marveling how soldiers in World War II made do without modern day technology. “I can go to any veteran and if I need help, they will help me, and if they need help, I’ll help them,” said Vaughn, who lives in Springfield Gardens, Queens.

While civilians pay homage by attending the parade —  600,000 spectators are expected Monday —  younger veterans often show up to honor their lost comrades and their predecessors. “The older veterans really paved the way for us,” in terms of securing better rights and benefits, said Vaughn, who is now training to become a speech pathologist.

“Some old guy who is probably in a nursing home is the reason I have the G.I. Bill today,” he said.

Among the honorees in this year’s parade is Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, the last surviving recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Battle of Iwo Jima, site of the iconic “Flag Raising” photograph.
If you go to the Veteran’s Day Parade:

: Parade kicks off Monday around 11:25 a.
m. and goes until around 3:30 p.m., rain or shine; opening ceremony begins at around 10 a.m.

: Route runs north along Fifth Avenue from 26th Street to 56th Street; opening ceremony is at the Eternal Light Monument at Fifth Avenue and 24th Street.

What to see: The wreath laying as part of the opening ceremony will happen at 11 a.m. sharp (“the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”); VIPs and Reviewing Officers will sit at the stage on Fifth Avenue at 41st Street.

by Meredith.Deliso

kate -- Free events in NYC this week


Lady Gaga launches three-day ‘ARTPOP Pop Up: A Lady Gaga Gallery’
Gaga’s ARTPOP could mean anything, so come make meaning of it for yourself. The Grammy winner  is showcasing a special three-day exhibit in conjunction with the release of her latest album, “ARTPOP,” in stores today. Starting today through Wednesday, check out the ARTPOP Pop Up, which will feature props and outfits from the pop sensation, along with interactive experiences. (Monday-Wednesday, noon-9 p.m., FREE, 417 W. 14th St.,

Open Mic Night at GTR Store Showroom
As a celebration of its new showroom, the GTR Store is launching a weekly Open Mic Night every Monday and Tuesday, starting tonight. The cool stylings of jazz musicians will fill the air on Monday evenings, and the tones of acoustic sets will permeate Tuesdays. So come out and hear local musicians tout their musical skills. (Mondays & Tuesdays, 5-9 p.m., FREE, GTR Store Showroom, 141 W. 28th St., fourth fl.,

Inside MAD: The ‘Usual Gang of Idiots’ pick their favorite MAD spoofs
It’ll be pure MAD-ness at Barnes & Noble Upper East Side tomorrow evening as MAD magazine editor-in-chief John Ficarra gets together with Al Jaffee, Desmond Devlin, Tim Carvell and Sam Viviano to discuss the editors’, writers’ and artists’ all-time favorite MAD articles. Stop by to hear the discussion of  their most beloved gags, satires and spoofs, as well as chat about the celebrity essays — from the likes of Roseanne Barr and Ken Burns — in the book. (Tuesday, 7 p.m., FREE, B&N Upper East Side, 150 E. 86th St., 212-369-2180,

Lady Gaga (Getty)
by Meredith.Deliso

Theater review -- 'Richard III,' 3 stars; 'Twelfth Night,' 4 stars


The fall season of wall-to-wall Shakespeare, which so far has offered more misfires than hits, no doubt reaches its high point with the Globe Theatre’s double bill of “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III.” Both are directed by Tim Carroll in an “original practices” style and feature a terrific all-male cast led by the extraordinary Mark Rylance.

The traditional ambience of London’s Globe has been re-created at the Belasco Theatre, with musicians playing period instruments on a balcony and plenty of candlelit chandeliers. Before the performance begins, the actors get into their lavish costumes and makeup onstage and interact with audience members, several of whom sit onstage in specially built wooden boxes.

In “Richard III,” Rylance portrays the physically deformed title character as more of a hammy clown than a charismatic but chilling villain.

While hardly the ominously toned political thriller that one would expect, it’s hard to imagine a funnier, more enjoyable production of this play. Rylance is joined by a poised Samuel Barnett as Queen Elizabeth and a suave Angus Wright as the Duke of Buckingham.

“Twelfth Night,” in which Rylance plays the comparatively smaller role of the countess Olivia, is an absolute joy and triumph from start to finish. If “Richard III” comes off as too lighthearted, “Twelfth Night” is perfectly suited to this merry environment of men playing women, bright lighting and close interaction with the audience.

Barnett leads the way with an extremely moving performance as the cross-dressing Viola, while Rylance brilliantly stresses Olivia’s increasingly ridiculous infatuation with her suitor’s young page. Stephen Fry, also an acclaimed English actor, is unusually subdued as the dour steward Malvolio.
If you go: “Richard III” and “Twelfth Night” play at the Belasco Theatre through Feb. 1.111 W. 44th St., 212-239-6200,

"Richard III" (Joan Marcus)
by Meredith.Deliso

Overlooked albums in the Bob Dylan catalog


This year has been a surprisingly good one for Bob Dylan fans.

First there was a package tour with Americana disciples like Wilco, Beck and My Morning Jacket. Then there was the release of “Another Self Portrait,” featuring unearthed tracks from 1969-71. The year ends with the release of the 43-CD “Complete Album Collection Vol. 1” box set and a star-studded Dylan Fest tribute concert, which raises money to help musicians dealing with health problems.

This year’s Fest takes place over two nights and features members of The Black Keys, Heartless Bastards, Mooney Suzuki and The Hold Steady, among many others.

To mark the occasion, we look at some overlooked Dylan albums and some songs we hope are broken out onstage.

"John Wesley Harding" (1967)
A quiet acoustic album that followed the three albums on which Dylan went electric, “John Wesley Harding” is short on hits, but long on storytelling. Its “All Along the Watchtower,” was famously covered by Jimi Hendrix.
Dylan Fest request: “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine”

"New Morning" (1970)
New Morning was rushed out a few months after Dylan’s “Self Portrait” album was savaged by fans and critics. It has a relaxed, homespun feel, and even its more experimental tracks work well.
Dylan Fest request: “Sign on the Window”
"Street Legal" (1978)
“Street Legal” had the misfortune of following two of Dylan’s best albums, “Desire” and “Blood on the Tracks.” It may be a step down from those, but it would be among any other artist’s finest moments.
Dylan Fest request: “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)”
"Oh Mercy" (1989)
A bright spot in a dark period in Dylan’s career, “Oh Mercy” features atmospheric production from Daniel Lanois, who had recently worked on U2’s “The Joshua Tree” (and would later work on “Time Out of Mind.”)
Dylan Fest request: “Shooting Star”

"Love and Theft" (2001)
“Love and Theft” didn’t get quite the attention of Dylan’s 1997 comeback “Time Out of Mind,” but many fans consider it the stronger record and the best of his late period work. It shows off Dylan’s sense of humor and includes elements of folk, rock, blues, country and Tin Pan Alley.
Dylan Fest request: “Po’ Boy”

If you go: Dylan Fest NYC is Monday and Tuesday at 9 p.m at Bowery Ballroom,
6 Delancey St., 212-533-2111, $25.

by Meredith.Deliso

USDA taking steps to let China export chickens for sale in the U.S.


Sen. Charles Schumer Sunday said chickens raised in China are closer to coming to Americans’ dinner plates.

Schumer said a U.S. Department of Agriculture report to Congress indicates that its Food Safety and Inspection Service found some Chinese chicken slaughtering standards “equivalent” to America’s safeguards. The move is an indication to Schumer that the USDA plans to let China export chickens for sale in the U.S.

“By taking steps toward allowing Chinese-raised and processed chicken to be sold in the U.S., the USDA is taking steps away from guaranteeing American consumers a safe food supply,” Schumer said in a statement.

USDA spokesman Aaron Lavallee denied that the USDA found China’s poultry slaughter system equivalent to the U.
S.’s. He added that the audit on China’s food-safety system is part of the department’s obligation to review requests from foreign countries to export products to the U.S.

Photo by Charles Eckert
by Meredith.Deliso

Man shot dead in Lower East Side


A 30-year-old man was fatally shot in front of the Alfred E. Smith houses early Sunday morning, the NYPD said.

George Taliferro of Pearl Street and St. James Place in the Lower East Side was found with a gunshot wound to the torso at 4:13 a.m. He was pronounced dead at New York Downtown Hospital.

The NYPD did not provide a description of a suspect, pending the investigation.

Neil Patrick Harris out and about with pal in NYC


Friends’ night out!

Neil Patrick Harris took in opening night of “La Soirée” at the Union Square Theater on Thursday night followed by dinner with a gal pal at Manon in the Meatpacking District.

According to our spy, the pair enjoyed a variety of appetizers as well as carrot cake and glasses of Sancerre Chavignol.

by Meredith.Deliso

Richie Incognito opens up about alleged hazing on Fox


Suspended Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito opened up on Fox Sports Sunday about his alleged hazing of  teammate Jonathan Martin, who left the team.

Incognito, 30, said the long, vulgar voicemail he left on Martin’s phone was taken out of context.

“It’s thrown around a lot,” Incognito said of his use of the N-word in the message. “It’s a word that I've heard Jon use a lot. Not saying it's right for when I did it in the voice mail, but there’s a lot of colorful words thrown around the locker room that we don't use in everyday life.

The alleged hazing is being investigated by the NFL Players Association and Martin has hired an attorney.

Incognito told Fox Sports that he contacted Martin Friday and the two were working to try and alleviate the problems.

Incognito also showed Fox Sports texts between him and Martin, including two Martin sent to Incognito after leaving the team.

The texts reportedly said:

“Wassup man? The world’s gone crazy lol I’m good tho congrats on the win.

And: “Yeah I’m good man. It’s insane bro but just know I don’t blame you guys at all it’s just the culture around football and the locker room got to me a little.

Richie Incognito, #68 (Getty)
by Meredith.Deliso

Expectant mom Drew Barrymore honored at Baby 2 Baby Gala 

A bevy of haute mamas gathered to help families in need at this weekend’s Baby 2 Baby Gala. 

Drew Barrymore, who is expecting her second child with hubby Will Kopelman, was honored with an award for her dedication to the nonprofit, which supplies families with essential baby and kids’ clothing and gear. Looking radiant in a short-sleeved floral-print Tory Burch gown, Barrymore attended the swanky event with Kopelman. 

Jessica Alba, Rachel Zoe, Julie Bowen, Nicole Richie and Busy Phillips — who are moms, too �� were also at the gala, held at the Book Bindery in Los Angeles. The guest list also included Rebecca Romijn and hubby Jerry O’Connell, Rosie Huntington-Whitley and Molly Sims.

Samantha Ronson DJ’d.

Drew Barrymore (Getty)
by Meredith.Deliso

Man killed in fiery car accident in the Bronx


A driver was killed early Sunday morning when his car crashed and went up in flames in the Bronx.

Cops said the sole occupant of a 2001 Isuzu Rodeo drove southbound on Broadway at West 240 Street around 12:15 a.
m., where he slammed into an elevated train pillar and caught fire.

The unidentified man was pronounced dead at the scene with burns throughout his body.

How you can help victims of the Philippine typhoon


Want to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan? Groups and businesses  have set up charities and other help lines:

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC), is accepting money donations that will go directly to relief efforts. Email [email protected] or log onto

The Philippine National Red Cross is also accepting donations via multiple platforms. Those interested can log onto or call (632) 527-0000.

The United Nations World Food Programme will be sending supplies to the region. The group will send 40 metric tons of fortified biscuit from Dubai to the hardest hit areas.

They are accepting donations at or by texting the word AID to 27722 to instantly donate $10.

by Meredith.Deliso

Marvel's 'Thor' soars to top of box office


Marvel superhero Thor pounded his box office competitors over the weekend, muscling movie sequel "Thor: The Dark World" to the top of U.S. and Canadian charts with a hefty $86.1 million in debut ticket sales.

The 3D film starring Chris Hemsworth trounced last week's top movies. Raunchy comedy "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" finished in second place with $11.3 million from Friday through Sunday, according to

"Free Birds," the 3D movie featuring the voices of Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson as turkeys who team up and travel back in time to get turkey off Thanksgiving dinner plates, earned the No. 3 slot with $11.2 million, just ahead of senior citizen buddy comedy "Last Vegas" which took in $11.1 million.

"Thor: The Dark World" also hauled in $94 million from international markets, where the movie began playing on October 30, distributor Walt Disney Co said. IMAX showings added another $11 million globally, and its combined global sales through Sunday reached $327 million.

The new "Thor" installment co-stars Natalie Portman as the love interest for Thor, the mighty god of thunder who battles to save his homeland of Asgard from evil forces. Tom Hiddleston plays Thor's villainous brother Loki.

"Thor 2" fell a bit short of industry forecasts that it would kick off with up to $92 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters. But the sequel opened stronger than the original movie, which debuted with $65.7 million in May 2011.

by Meredith.Deliso

16-year-old boy in police custody after Bryant Park shooting: NYPD


UPDATED 7:50 P.M.: Police have a 16-year-old boy in custody after a shooting in Bryant Park Saturday night that injured two people, an NYPD spokesman said.

A 14-year-old boy was struck in the torso and a 20-year-old man was shot in the leg around 11 p.m.
According to police, the shooting stemmed from an attempt by the teen suspect to take the older victim’s coat, saying “I like your jacket.” The victim responded, “If you want it, come get it,” according to police.

The victims were taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.

Bryant Park Corporation spokesman Joe Carella deferred questions on the incident to the NYPD, but said “it’s our understanding that his perpetrator was not on the rink; he was outside the rink.” The NYPD did not confirm that, as the investigation is ongoing.

One witness, Raghuram Krishnamachari, who snapped a picture of police responding to a “motionless” victim, wrote on his Twitter account that he heard about three gunshots. “People fell down, everyone got up and evacuated except one.

The shooting caused the park to close until about 10 a.m. Sunday, according to a message on Bryant Park’s Facebook page.

“We are cooperating fully with authorities, who agree that it is safe to reopen,” the Facebook message said.

At press time, no charges had been filed.

Photo by Raghuram Krishnamachari
by tim.herrera


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