5Pointz graffiti mecca, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Morrissey, and other concerts in NYC this weekend, last minute tickets to television show tapings of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report, old NYC vs. new NYC, free boat ride of NY Harbor, and NYC-themed music videos by Ryan Adams and B.o.B. are among the items covered in this third installment in the New York State of Mind. This is the new Amoeblog series in which I report, from a New York City perspective, on music and other entertainment and happenings in the Big Apple in what is a kind of weekly NYC music/entertaiment report meets budget travel guide.
This week, as the NY Fall weather makes itself increasingly evident, there are hardly any outdoor events as compared to just a month ago. Public spaces such as the wonderful Governors Island in the harbor south of the lower tip of Manhattan and across from Brooklyn. It reopens in May of 2013 and is an amazing space with park areas and art exhibits that are all free with free ferry service to and from. But the closure of most outdoor spaces and events that raged all summer long in NYC merely means that the fun happenings have moved indoors.
Speaking of which, concerts this upcoming week in NYC include Morrissey at Terminal 5 on Friday and Saturday (Oct 12 + 13) with Kristeen Young opening, The Mountain Goats at the Bowery Ballroom on Monday (Oct 15) with Matthew E White opening, and Natureboy, Heart of Hearts, Easy Lover, and Sick Din all on a bill on Saturday (Oct 13) at the wonderful funky basement performance space of LES (Lower East Side) spot the Cake Shop, which recently faced danger of extinction but was save thanks to fan support.
In addition to catching on location filming of TV shows and movies around NYC (as mentioned here last week), you can also get free tickets to tapings of the numerous studio TV shows recorded in New York City. These include the two nightly Comedy Central shows The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - both of which I have gotten last minute tickets for (the tapings were fun experiences). The catch? You have to spend a bit of time in line early on the day of the show to try and get standby tickets, but there's always some available. Of course, this is only if you have not arranged tickets months in advance via the shows' respective websites (Daily Show + Colbert Report) where, if you know when you will be in NYC, you put your name down for desired date(s) well in advance of your trip. Note: there has been a freeze on advance tickets to each of these shows recently, which leaves standby on the day-of the only option to attend a taping at this time.
The stand-by ticket sign up takes place in front of the studio at 4pm the day of the show (a couple of hours before taping), but it is advisable to arrive there much earlier to increase your chances of securing a ticket. The times I got tickets, I showed up around 1-1:30pm and there were folks there before me. The studio for Colbert Report is at 513 W. 54th Street New York, NY 10019, while the (not too far away) studios for the Daily Show tapings are between 51st and 52nd Streets at 733 11th Ave. Note that if word filters out in advance that a well-known act, like say Radiohead, is scheduled on these shows, odds are there will be a lot more folks showing up on that day for standby. Another (easier) way to find out about standby tickets is to follow @DailyTix on Twitter for Daily Show tix news and with each tweet offering a link to the Colbert Nation ticket page. If some show up, jump on them right away. Generally tickets open up the day before a show and on the morning of. And each studio attendee can only be an audience member once every six months.
The famed Nuyorican Cafe, now in its 35th year of presenting spoken word, theatre, poetry & slam, hip-hop, music & film, is going strong. Located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan at 236 East 3rd Street (between Avenues B and C), you can be exposed to some wonderful pieces of art on any given night on its self-described "biggest little stage on earth." Regular weekly events at the Nuyorican Cafe include the Wednesday Night Slam hosted by Jive Poetic (9:00pm), Thursday Night Salsa with Hector Martignon, the Friday Night Slam with Angel Nafis (10:15pm), and Open Mic Mondays when (for $5 admission) anyone can sign up and the first 25 can play a song, present a poem, do a freestyle or prewritten rap, a stand-up comedy routine, or basically any other form of entertainment for the allocated five minutes per showcase act on stage. Full listings and schedules here.
Spend a few minutes chatting with a New Yorker or even a frequent visitor to the Big Apple and inevitably the topic of "how New York's changed" will come up in the conversation. Indeed NYC in the '70s and '80s, and even a good chunk of the '90s, was a whole other place compared to now - especially in areas like Times Square, which was completely transformed from rows of seedy X-rated movie theaters to pristine Disney stores and sparkling major chains. For more on the old NYC and photos of it, like the one above of a subway car in the 1970s, visit such places online as the Facebook page Dirty Old 1970s New York City.
Ryan Adams "New York, New York"
Situated not far from the MoMA's PS1 annex in Long Island City (LIC) Queens is 5Pointz which is widely considered the holy land of graffiti - a place where aerosol artists from the tri-state area, as well as from all around the globe, converge to put up art on the endless walls of this huge, old warehouse building. The art is constantly in flux which means you never know what you will see there. Since I take the 7 train (it passes right above and around the colorful structure) I have an opportunity to see it regularly. But, as a longtime diehard graffiti fan, I make a point of stopping by once every couple of weeks (usually on weekends when most activity takes place) to take pics and chat with artists I know out there like longitme NYC artist DEMEROCK who is out there a lot.
Not surprisingly, in a city where real estate is a premium, the likelihood of something like this (see video below that I shot this time last year to get an idea of the graffitied warehouse building) cannot last forever. And recently word was that it was going to be shut down by now (October 2012). However when I talked with DEMEROCK this past week to ask him the status he reported that, "No everything is okay for now and there is now no date of things coming to a halt. So hopefully it will stay this way for a while longer." Of course nothing good lasts forever so if you are a fan of graffiti art go check out 5Pointz sooner than later (7 and E trains both stop there - and it is near PS1 so you can plan a visit there too). Meantime there are endless great photos and videos of 5Pointz online which you can find via various sources including this link to blogs on the topic.
The first thing you should know about the Staten Island Ferry, which travels back and forth between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan on a 24-hour daily cycle, is that it is FREE. Yes, there is absolutely no charge at all for this wonderful 25-minute boat ride out in the NY Harbor - a ride that passes the Statue Of Liberty, Governors Island, Ellis Island, and all the other sites on this five mile boat ride with New Jersey on one side and Brooklyn on the other, and with Manhattan and Staten Island to the other two sides. The ferry is the only non-vehicular mode of transportation between Manhattan and Staten Island. If you take the ferry, which is operated by the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), its terminal is all the way downtown (R and 1 trains stop right there) near Battery Park where there's lots of other great things to check out. In the daytime hours there is usually a long line to get on the ferry (locals commuting home and tourists taking advantage of the free ride) so allow an extra 15-20 minutes before departure. It is well worth it. More info here.