Want To Go To A Lunchtime Dance Party?

Imagine a world where lunch breaks are parties. Where you can leave your computer monitor for an hour, let out your angst over Excel spreadsheets and lukewarm, instant office coffee on a dance floor, and jam to the tune of a DJ’s throbbing beats – all before 2pm. This world exists. Not just in your mind – but in reality, thanks to Lunch Beat, the international, non-profit lunchtime dance party initiative, which was such a hit in Sweden in 2010, co-founders Sarah Reynolds & Isha Toor decided it was time to bring it to the States – and straight to Flatiron. Next week. 

On Wednesday, April 24th, from 12:30pm-1:30pm, ditch your Microsoft Outlook and pass through the velvet rope at Slate, where you can not only decompress for an hour at an alcohol-free, daytime disco, but also eat really healthy vegetarian food – all for just $12. Under one condition: you must dance. You must get down. So pack your dancing shoes. 

Get the scoop on Lunch Beat, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Two Public Art Installations Going Up In NYC This Week

New York City continues to be one of the best cities in the world for public art (um, just my opinion) with two new public art installations debuting next week.

One will be 10 steel sculptures of iconic NYC bulidings that will line the medians of Park Avenue from 54th to 67th Street, a location where most art is probably inside penthouses on the walls.  This mini-skyline entitled No Limits will include the Flatiron, the Crystler Building, the Empire State Building, the Sherry-Nederlander, and other recognizable landmarks. The Park Avenue Malls, the Wall Street Journal explains, have featured public sculpture projects since 1999.   

The second, downtown-ier art installation will be in Madison Square Park entitled Topsy Turvy, and created by Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder. The piece is described by the WSJ thusly:

 "… [A] quaint cylindrical wooden hut that looks like a birdhouse for people, but is in fact a large-scale camera obscura, will aim its low-tech lens at the surrounding environs …  "

Particularlly the installation will cast its imagery on the Flatiron Building, although I think it would be fun if it turned slightly westward towards Eataly, the Marimekko Store, and Hill Country Chicken.

Email me at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Forcella Grows With Third Location

When pizza master Giulio Adriani’s fried pie made the scene last year at the first two Forcella locations in Williamsburg and the NoHo, everyone was talking about it. Now, we aren’t so obsessed with fried dough, but that doesn’t make going to Forcella any less exciting.

Now, you can get their classic Neapolitan-style pizzas in Flatiron, where they opened up shop in October. At their official opening party on Wednesday, I got to experience the pies first hand, literally, and made my own pizza.

What kind of toppings can you get? Well I choose ricotta, pepperoni, black olive, and mozzarella. My companion proved more adventurous with his fig, spinach, and sausage pie. Of course, you can go for one of the menu options including the Salame Piccante with spicy salami, mozzarella, and basil; the Fuorigrotta with burrata, lemon, and arugula; or the Posillipo with butternut squash cream, smoked mozzarella, and speck.

But, if you like the idea of making your own pie, you won’t be able to step back with Adriani, but you can choose any toppings your want.

More Oysters For Your Eating Pleasure

From the guys behind the Almond restaurants comes L&W Oyster Co., a laid-back and fine-dining eatery all in one, with, you guessed it, plenty of bivalves. "Oysters are timeless, delicious, nostalgic and sexy,” said co-owner Jason Weiner. “These are also the characteristics that we strive to achieve with our restaurants, so in a sense, opening an oyster parlor was inevitable for us."

Owners Eric Lemonides, Antonio Rappazzo, and Jason Weiner call it a “bi-concept seafood restaurant,” meaning they start the day with a clam shack type of meal and follow it up with the more high class oyster and martini bar. Behind the dishes is Per Se and Ritz Carlton alum David Belknap, who whips up afternoon plates of lobster BLTs and bowls of classic New England clam chowder in 30-minutes-or less. Talk about a power lunch.  

On the dinner menu, you can order plenty of sustainable seafood dishes including shrimp “scampi” cavatelli, smoked bluefish fondue, and baked clams. Then, there are the oysters. The raw bar at L&W Oyster Co. boasts eight rotating types of east and west coast bivalves like the Mike Osinski’s Widow’s Hole, plus, littleneck clams, chilled lobster, and fluke crudo.

Opened in what used to be the Bar Breton space in the Flatiron district, the new L&W Oyster Co. is an open and airy space with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, wood and white luncheonette booths, banquets, and comfortable community tables in the center. During the day, they have paper napkin dispensers and placemats, and, come evening, linen and china. Luckily, no matter how you choose your oysters, they are still delicious and fashionable.

Monkey Business: Bonobos Expands to Personal Guide Shopping

Bonobos, the popular online men’s shop, are much softer and more luxurious than the ones I order from my old catalog. Yep, I’m a mail-order shopper, which puts me one posture point above the Snuggie purchaser on the evolutionary ape-to-flaneur chart. Nothing terrifies me more than a store clerk asking if I need help. Which is why the opening of the brick and mortar shop in Flatiron is such a mystery to me. And, similarly, why has Piperlime, the online bastion from Gap Co., gone and built a walk-in catalog? It seems to merge all the comfort and ease of leisurely browsing online with everything that’s not that.

The Guide Shops, as they’re called, aren’t exactly retail stores. They require an appointment (you can make one online), and instead of browsing alone, a Bonobos guide spends forty-five minutes helping you try on pants and jackets. Please, you may think,I can try on pants myself. No, you can’t! For example, I’ve been under the impression for the past five years that I wore a 32 by 34 trouser. Nuh-uh. Lauren, my guide, fixed that shit right up. With an eyeball, she diagnosed my waist as a 31. I tried on a 32 out of stubbornness—sure enough, there was an inch between my thumb and the button! Now I’m rocking a 31, and I feel brand new.

As for the jacket, I’ve been a 40 L since my 18th birthday (first suit). Not true! Lauren handed me a 38, and it was like leaving the Republican Party for the Party Party. Also, I’m not a Republican. Next cool thing: they give you beer. Even if your appointment’s at 11am. And there’s just something awesome about having a card in your wallet for the professional pants-fitter. Especially when the only other card in your wallet is for the dermatologist (mole checks, naw mean?). The point is, I went into the Guide Shop experience terrified of being assessed by a stranger, and by the end, I was ready to open a tab. Lauren told me that some customers just text her personal phone asking her to send them trousers, which works. You can also hire the guides to come to your home or office and throw a Pants Party, which is like a Tupperware party but with colorful chinos. “We were just at Facebook this week,” Gina, the PR rep, told me. Presumably helping them change out of pajamas.

Their clothes do indeed have some crucial details. The waist is curved, “which gets rid of that khaki diaper butt.” The shirts are cut to eliminate “billowing muffin top.” And you can get a lot of the clothes in a slim version if you’re on the ectomorphic side. But the main draw is the cool pocket lining, which comes in prints like houndstooth and paisley, so when you walk around, the design peeks out your back pockets. What does your back pocket print say about you? If you’re sharp, it should say “a professional helped me pick these out.”

New York Opening: The Flatiron Room

New Yorkers are not the most loyal lot when it comes to drinking establishments. They have a few signature cocktails here, then there,  then off to somewhere else. But the owners of the new Flatiron Room have sorted a way around such traitorous habits: give drinkers something to own.

At The Flatiron Room, you can polish off half a bottle of your favorite bourbon or rye, and the bartenders will brand it with your name, and store it for you until your next visit. But then, you’d pretty much want to come back here anyway, with its staggering collection of more than 400 whiskies, high-minded classic cocktails, live jazz, and vintage-chic (coffered ceilings, Chesterfield-style banquettes). Proximity to the Ace and The NoMad hotels promises a cool international crowd. 


Want to be first? Sign up for BlackBook Happenings now and get the latest openings and events in the city of your choice delivered to your inbox every Monday.

Peruvians Come Out: La Mar Opens Patio

Summer has officially begun at restaurateur Gaston Acurio’s upscale Peruvian restaurant La Mar Cebicheria Peruana in the Flatiron. Starting tomorrow, no longer do you have to dine in the sleek cavern of what once was Danny Meyer’s Tabla, because starting tomorrow they have an outdoor patio.

“Peruvian food is ideal for outdoor dining,” said Victoriano Lopez,the executive chef at La Mar NYC. “Sitting on our patio and enjoying cebiche and a refreshing pisco sour while overlooking the park, well, we hope this experience transcends people to Peru in some way.”

You might not feel like you are dining alfresco in Lima, but outdoor eating in New York City isn’t something to scoff at, and neither is this restaurant. Acurio opened La Mar in September 2011 on the premise of bringing class to what many people see as a cheap cuisine. I interviewed the restaurateur last year and he said, “Some, they think Peruvian food has to be really cheap or fried, and doesn’t have the same value as those other [cuisines]. But, we use the best ingredients you can find in the world, pay the same salaries that are paid in great restaurants, and we are in a great location that is expensive to be in. We aren’t just cheap food.”

A year since I spoke to Acurio, Peruvian food still hasn’t gotten the notoriety he has sought, but it’s not because the food isn’t excellent. The cebiches at La Mar are top notch and perfect for the hot weather.  “We hope to showcase our cuisine to New Yorkers and visitors alike with classic Peruvian dishes like cebiche, anticuchos, lomo saltado, and more,” said Lopez. “And we aim to deliver the same warm and generous spirit that’s present at Gaston’s restaurants around the world.”

Along with the new patio, La Mar will offer fresh menu items including baraca chalaca, a rock shrimp cebiche served with oysters, mussels, scallops, and a fish of the day; whole fish cebiches, either grilled or fried; and seasonal salads made with local ingredients and quinoa. At least now, with the new patio, people can really see what La Mar is doing.

New York Opening: Mihoko’s 21 Grams

As cinephiles were made aware in the eponymous 2003 Sean Penn vehicle, 21 grams is the purported "weight" of the soul. And if anyone can be trusted to have communed with the more enlightened self, it’s one who has taken to a ballet stage. And so the name of former ballerina-turned-philanthropist Mihoko Kiyokawa’s debut New York restaurant, Mihoko’s 21 Grams, suggests something far from quotidian.

For one, the French-Japanese cuisine (everything from king crab to foie gras torchon) at Mihoko’s 21Grams is startling underrepresented on the NYC dining scene. But designer and Philippe Starck’s associate Bruno Borrione has also created a spectacular space that marries aristocratic glamour and utter surrealism, with enigmatic projections, tromp l’oeil, and neoclassical columns that seem to appear out of nowhere. Like nothing you’ve ever seen.

New York Openings: Granduca di Sicilia, Dizzy’s on 5th, Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya

Granduca di Sicilia (Flatiron) – Sicilian villa restaurant imports brick oven pizzas and fresh seafood.

Dizzy’s on 5th (Park Slope) – This fine diner grabs a prime corner in brunch domination.

Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya (LES) – Blue Ribbon’s greatest hits: brunches, fried chicken, and über-fresh sushi.