In a city where neighborhoods reinvent themselves with same speed as Madonna, hearing that a new restaurant has sprung is just par for the course. The Lower East Side is just one of many NYC neighborhoods that is shedding the skin of its past, and I just got the scoop on a new place that you and your peeps will want to make your “old haunt” very fast.
The name is The Derby and it opened a little over a month ago. Located at 167 Orchard Street this eatery specializes in biscuits and bourbon and southern cuisine standards such as cheddar grits, chicken fried steak and baked macaroni and cheese. The music creates a cool eclectic, vibe. The décor is a mash-up between bar at Churchill Downs and a scene from The Great Gatsby with a speakeasy located in the basement – a great setting for a private get together.
I know what you’re thinking, the vintage furnishings sound nice, but how is the food? Well FAMERS…the food is scrumptious. I suggest the fried chicken, if you’re looking to have a cheat day on your diet. The pieces are fried to golden perfection and the meat is juicy. It comes with a side of fried okra and let me tell you, any place that can get me to like okra gets high marks in my book.
If this place was running in the upcoming Belmont Stakes, I would put my money down on The Derby. It’s a shoo-in and a cool place to have a bite to eat in the summertime. And if you do, say hello to Gabe, the restaurant’s manager. He’s very personable and a definite added attraction. Good food, good vibe, good people, good prices…there is nothing not to like about The Derby.
The unofficial start of summer is here and Urban Waves @ Open Hydrant is raising the temperature uptown with their Summer Short Play Festival. The three day festival begins on June 6 and ends on June 8. The plays participating in this festival are The Three Joys of Mary, Heat of the Moment, Last Exit in New York, Billboard’s Greatest Hits and Fire.
Founded by Luis Cardenas, Sarah Rosenberg (stars of the Showtime documentary Shakespeare High) and Deborah Pautler, Open Hydrant’s mission is to vitalize the Arts and Theater scene in the Bronx. Their wish is to create an ensemble based company of actors, directors, playwrights, producers and artists to better serve the cultural invigoration of the South Bronx. The creative spirit of New York City doesn’t just reside in Manhattan. As the Bronx’s first professional AEA ensemble theater company, Open Hydrant is determined to make the BX a destination for citizens of all five boroughs and the tri-state area. Urban Waves, a subset of Open Hydrant, explores material that contain edgier themes.
Urban Waves @ Open Hydrant Summer Short Play Festival will be held at The Point, located at 940 Garrison Avenue. Advance tickets can be purchased for$12 online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com. The ticket price also includes one drink. Don’t be afraid to haul your cookies to SoBro to view good theater. Open Hydrant and Urban Waves are the best thing to come out of the Bronx since hip hop!
I don’t think there is a person alive that hasn’t heard the phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” As for myself, I prefer “Laughter is the best medicine.” Laughter may not have the ability to cure all ailments, but it definitely heals the soul. And a prescription filled with laughs is what the members of the audience at The Little Shubert Theatre will receive when they view Under My Skin.
Taking cues from Switch, Big and Freaky Friday, Under My Skin adds a whole new chapter to the old body exchange tale. So here’s the story… Mr. Harrison Badish III is the CEO of Amalgamated Healthcare, the nation’s leading healthcare provider. He’s a cold, shrewd business man who cares more about making money for the company than making a difference or knowing his employees, one of whom is Melody Dent. Melody is a single mom from Staten Island who works part-time at Amalgamated with her best friend Nanette. Both she and Nanette had a problem being seen by Badish until one fateful day when a cup of coffee sets off a chain of events that leads to Melody and Harrison coming face to face with an angel. The angel, compassionate to their pleas, decides to bring them back to life, but there is a catch, their souls are placed into the wrong bodies. And while the pair waits for the angel to switch them back, they discover what life is really like for each other and learn more about the trials and tribulations of the opposite sex. By the time Melody and Harrison are themselves again, they realize they can’t live without each other.
Cheeky and chock full of humor, Under My Skin lodges itself directly into the marrow of the audience’s funny bone. Husband and wife writing team Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser harmoniously weave comedy and social commentary with this production. The good ole “make ‘em laugh” approach is a tried and true method of slipping in points of view that require introspection. Along with adding new layers to the age old battle of the sexes debate, they also weigh in on the state of healthcare, or lack thereof, in our nation and how it affects the everyday, working American.
The neon lights of Broadway do burn bright. But sometimes they shine even brighter Off-Broadway. Under My Skin is one of the most dynamic shows I’ve seen in a while. If you find yourself on 42nd Street, take a walk down to The Little Shubert Theatre for an thoroughly enjoyable 90-minute laugh-fest.
Photos: Joan Marcus