After one of the seemingly longest and most brutal (weather-wise) winters, New Yorkers are more than ready for Memorial Day and what it signifies: the beginning of the summer season. Traditionally this time of year in New York is when numerous events begin for the summer season. This weekend that will include the wonderful 172 acre public open park space Governors Island. A true oasis amidst the craziness of New York City, Governors Island offers the perfect one-day mini-vacation even though it is only a mere half mile or ten minute ferry boat ride from the lower tip of Manhattan. It reopens Saturday (May 24th) for the 2014 summer season but, unlike in previous years when it was only open weekends, this island of fun will be open seven days a week this summer. Furthermore, the park will now offers an additional 30 acres of space for the public to enjoy.
Governors Island amenities include sporting facilities, picnic areas, old buildings to view or explore, and lots of art on exhibit...and this is all free to see and do. There are even have bike rentals that are free at certain times (free weekday mornings for one hour between 10 a.m.and noon) and at other times moderately price), but you can always bring your own bike over on the ferry. Similarly entrance to the island park, a former military base and home to the US Army and Coast Guard that first opened to the public nine summers ago, is completely free. The ferry ride (formerly free) over from nearby the Staten Island Ferry Building is now just a minimal fee of $2 round-trip. There are lots of concerts and music events on the island too. For full info on Governors Island summer schedule and general info click here.
Also scheduled to reopen this weekend is The Downtown Boathouse, which offers free kayaking on weekends and Thursday evenings through mid-October each year. An all-volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free public access to the harbor in New York City through public kayaking programs, their mission statement claims "to encourage safe public use of the harbor waters of New York City and thereby provide residents of this space-constrained city with increased recreational opportunities." I reviewed this fine city entity last year on a previous NYSOM Amoeblog that included an interview with one of the volunteers there. Highly recommended!
Another sign of the NYC summer season beginning is the unveiling of new outdoor movie screening schedules. These include the cheesy but fun '80's Tom Cruise action flick Top Gun, which is being screened this Friday evening during the perfect time (Fleet Week in NYC) at the absolutley most perfect location: aboard the flight deck of the permanently docked US navy aircraft carrier The Intrepid, which sits in the waters of the Hudson on the West Side midtown at Pier 86 at the end of 46th St. beside 12th Ave. Top Gun (see trailer below) screens at sunset with the evening's program officially beginning at 7:30pm but since it is a fun free event in NYC, it means it will be packed to capacity so plan on getting there early to ensure a space for you, your picnic basket, lawn chair, and blankets. Top Gun is just one of seven movies to be screened on the Intrepid this summer. The next one will be Independence Day on July 10th. More info at the official website for Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Top Gun trailer (1986)
Reggie Watts Live on East Village Radio (2012)
Sad news for for hella cool, long-running Lower East Side-based East Village Radio (EVR), which this Friday (May 23rd) will call it quits after 11 entertaining years of broadcasting as both a low-powered pirate radio (in its early days) and as an internet/live-streamed station for most of its time. A really cool and most diverse programmed radio station that I was fortunate to get to do a couple of guest spots on over the years, its glass walled storefront studios were right on the street (First Ave @ 1st Street) where its richly diverse schedule of DJs included Mark Ronson and Bobbito, and, over the years, the folks from such spots as Fat Beats, The Fader, and Wax Poetics all did shows there. Reggie Watts (video above) popped in in January of 2012 and did a wonderful freestyle ode to New York City.
The reason for the closure of EVR? You guessed it: money! It had become far too costly to pay high rent as well as cover the costly streaming royalty fees at the commercial rates that they were being charged. This week on Facebook and on Twitter, under the hashtag #EVRlastsong, EVR programmers are asking listeners what they think the radio station's very final song on the air should be? One listener suggested "My Way" - not the Frank Sinatra version, as expertly featured in last Sunday's episode of Mad Men, but the Sid Vicious version (as heard in this week's episode of Californication). A few EVR followers agreed that Johnny Thunders' "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory" would make the perfect swan song.
In honor of EVR's legacy, I leave you with a video from a TV show of the late great Johnny Thunders doing "You Can't Put Your Arm Around A Memory" taken form the former New York Dolls member's 1978 solo album So Alone.