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Summer Streets Hits Astor Place: Food, Mini-Golf, VR, and… a ‘Smell Walk’?

A waterslide at last year’s Summer Streets.

The city’s popular “Summer Streets” program — in which seven miles of New York streets are temporarily turned into pedestrian-only parks — returns the first three Saturdays of August.

Our fair city’s government — or the program’s sponsors, anyway — have spared no expense. The smorgasbord of activities announced at a Department of Transportation press conference on Astor Place this morning includes crowd favorites like waterslides and ziplines — as well as some eccentric new additions, including a “smell walk”; an event described as “a silent disco, but for your tongue”; and the opportunity to bathe in a “giant washing machine.” Yet riding our subways is like participating in the Stanford Prison Experiment. Remarkable.

Anyway: This year’s theme is “the Five Senses,” hence novelties like the smell walk. Created by artist and designer Kate McClean, who previously created “smellmaps” in cities like Amsterdam and Paris, it’s described as “45 minutes of walking slowly and sniffing followed by a 15-minute visualisation exercise to communicate your smell encounters to those who missed the opportunity.” You can RSVP to be one of the 30 lucky smellwalkers here.

In keeping with the sensuous new theme there will also be a greater emphasis on food this year, with “food sessions” organized by New York chef John Mooney of Bell Book & Candle in the Village (known for growing vegetables on its roof). During the culinary silent disco, designed by Daily Tous Les Jours, a Montreal-based “interaction design studio,” participants will dine at a banquet while wearing headphones so their experience can be complemented by a soundtrack and narrator.

The “giant washing machine” will apparently be that — a 30’ wide by 50’ long inflatable washing machine filled with giant plates and utensils that participants run through while being splashed by jets of water. For the more pedestrian among us there will also be mini-golf, a dog park, bouldering walls, and the aforementioned waterslide and zipline, among other attractions.

Astor Place is one of Summer Streets’ designated “rest stops,” and several of the activities — including the “smell walk,” the mini-golf, the interactive banquet/silent food disco, and a virtual-reality tour of Mt. Everest — will be located there.

This is the tenth year of the Summer Streets program, noted speakers at the press conference this morning, who described the program as part of a broader shift in New York toward a more pedestrian-friendly, environmentally-friendly, and creative city. As last year, the main sponsor is Citi.

Summer Streets will take place from 7am to 1pm on Aug. 5th, 12th, and 19th along Park Avenue, Lafayette, and Centre Streets from Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park. All activities are free; some require advance registration.

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DIY Venue Silent Barn Opens Up Its Books, Wants to Be ‘Not in a State of Panic’

Silent Barn’s is releasing their financials to anyone who wants to read.

Beloved Bushwick DIY venue/housing cooperative/artist colony Silent Barn has been in a bit of a financial bind of late. The popular concert venue, which also functions as an art collective of sorts, has struggled to navigate a coldly indifferent capitalist world, and Silent Barn — technically a for-profit LLC but operating more or less as a non-profit and in the process of transitioning to one — has put out an urgent call for donations as well as paid members.

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Throwback Italian Deli Promises Food Just Like Nonna Used to Make

Credit: Nico Eyes.

Following on the recent news of Greenwich Village eatery Dante’s expansion to a second location in Little Italy comes another development of interest to fans of Italian cuisine.

Today is the grand opening of Regina’s Grocery, an Italian-American comfort-food joint at 27 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, next door to The Fat Radish.

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A Massive Art Party Is Taking Over an Abandoned Mansion This Weekend

From You Are So Lucky’s Halloween party in Alder Manor last fall. Credit: Alex Nero.

When they arrive at You Are So Lucky, the mysterious three-day spectacle this weekend in which “125 artists, musicians, and performers are taking over an abandoned gothic manor at the edge of the city,” the first thing attendees will see are the sprawling 33-acre grounds of a 72-room Gilded Age mansion overlooking the Hudson.

In some ways the venue itself is the headliner, said renowned underground party impresario Will Etundi, one of the organizers. “The grounds are incredible. Grass at your feet, the open sky, a sweeping view of the Palisades,” he said. “It feels like you are in a fairy tale, with old mansions, trees, old statuary, rock formations….You are right on the edge of New York City but it feels like you are a few hundred miles, and a few hundred years, away.”

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Coney Island Announces Lineup for Summer ‘Flicks on the Beach’

From last year’s Flicks on the Beach. Credit: Alliance for Coney Island.

With the memory of the recent Mermaid Parade still warm in our hearts, we’re pleased to note that the Coney Island Flicks on the Beach festival has announced this year’s lineup.

The film selection is an eclectic mix of the heavily family-friendly — Beauty and The Beast, Finding DoryThe Lego Batman Movie — and a few edgier selections like Get Out. The series is sponsored by Amazon Studios, who will also be doing previews of two Amazon Studios originals — Landline, the new dysfunctional family dramedy from the Obvious Child team, and Crown Heights, a Sundance drama (adapted from a This American Life episode) about a wrongfully imprisoned man.

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Drink from a Literal Negroni Fountain at Dante’s New Location

The Negroni Fountain. Credit: AvroKO Hospitality Group.

Dante, the award-winning Greenwich Village bar-restaurant best known for its negroni on tap (and its sadly discontinued $1 martini specials), is launching a new satellite location tonight. Created in partnership with design firm-slash-restarauteur AvroKO, the new bar — “Dante at GENUINE” — is located above GENUINE Liquorette in the space formerly occupied by GENUINE Superette.

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Free ‘Fire Festival’ Comes to Bushwick Tonight (Not That Fyre Festival)

Are you drawn to flame like, uh, a moth to the flame? Are you looking for something exciting to fill your Wednesday evening? Tonight there’s a free fire festival (no, not that Fyre Festival) in Bushwick. Featuring “fire performers, jugglers, fire breathers and circus acts,” according to Instagram, Combustion NYC will showcase the “fire arts” and “flow arts,” as they’re known to enthusiasts.

The event — apparently the first of its kind in New York — is sponsored by Flowtopia, a Bushwick-based “fire boutique,” and the Floasis, a performance and education venue for fire-eating, fire-dancing, and flow arts.

The event runs from 7pm to 9:30pm tonight, June 28, in Maria Hernandez Park.


New East Village Record Store Will Be ‘Like Flight Club, But For Records’

(Photo: @limitedtoonenyc on Instagram)

New York vinyl fans have had to cope with repeated bad news over the past few years, as record shop after record shop has closed downtown. But — coming right after the news of a Kickstarter-funded documentary about the beloved, now-closed Other Music — there is more good news: a new record shop is coming to the East Village, created by the people behind the podcast and cult Instagram RecordNerdz and focused on hard-to-find contemporary music.

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What You Missed at Hanksy’s Surprise Art Show, ‘Market Surplus’

Art credit: @bkfoxx. Photo credit: @bytegirl24.

If you didn’t catch it this weekend, you sadly missed your chance to visit “Market Surplus,” the limited-edition LES popup street art show that opened Friday evening and closed last night. The show, organized by LES provocateur Hanksy, featured work from ten street artists who had less than a week to fill an abandoned market hall with murals. The show’s “gallery” — slated for conversion to senior housing as part of the massive Essex Crossing development — will soon be demolished.

But despair not: we’ve rounded up the best Instagram photos from the show.

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Sneak Peek: Hanksy Brings Art Show to Abandoned Lowline Space For One Weekend Only

Photo credit: Jesse Vega.

Opening tonight: a three-nights-only popup art installation in an abandoned, soon-to-be-demolished Lower East Side market hall, organized by the cult New York street artist Hanksy. We got a preview tour of the space, where the ten artists have been working overtime to finish their murals.

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Duane Michals Targets Trump in New Art Show, But Does He Hit the Mark?

“The Lyin King” (c) Duane Michals.

Political art is easy to create but hard to pull off. The election of President Trump has spurred much talk among the chattering classes about art’s potential as a weapon of activism and satire. Unfortunately, as we’ve noted before, that political impulse often comes up short. The cultural left has an unfortunate tendency to bring butter knives to gun fights; but satire, like knives, only works when it has a real edge.

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Protesting Trump By Taking a Page From Westboro Baptist Church?

Non-profit Chelsea bookstore Printed Matter is now stocking the latest suite of protest signs from Lower East Side-based indie art publisher Badlands Unlimited. Inspired by the Westboro Baptist Church’s infamous “God Hates Fags” signs, these, however, have messages like FAGS HATE TRUMP, GOD HATES TRUMP, and TRUMP DOOMS AMERICA.

“The signs are really meant to be carried out into ongoing protests and rallies,” said Micaela Durand, director of Badlands Unlimited. “They’re inspired by the Westboro Baptist Church signs; we wanted to subvert that speech.”

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