5 Last-Minute Things to Do on Memorial Day

Image via The Wynwoods

Happy Memorial Day! Weren’t part of the flock of urbanites who kicked off summer Fridays by ditching the city for more seasonal locales? You came to the right place. Memorial Day Weekend doesn’t have to be a three-day marathon of grillin’ and chillin’, which is why we’re presenting you with 5 last-minute things to do on Memorial Day across the country today, from a beach day trip in New York to art exhibits in SoCal. Whatever you choose, you’ll be sure to get in the summer spirit and still be rejuvenated for work on Tuesday (woof).

New York: Memorial Day Weekend doesn’t get its rep as the start of summer for no reason – it’s when most beaches officially open for the stretch until Labor Day. Rockaway Beach is the go-to surf and sun spot for old-school New Yorkers and millennial hipsters alike, and this weekend marks the opening of the Rockaway Boardwalk from Beach 86 St. to Beach 97 St. for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. Take your unlimited MetroCard for a swipe, head on down, and check out The Summer Shift, a brand new pop-up restaurant in the old Rockaway Taco spot featuring a rotating line-up of chefs.

Los Angeles: Whoever said museums were closed on Mondays was seriously disturbed. Admission to the LACMA is free on Memorial Day, as part of Target Free Holiday Mondays. Check out Chris Burden’s Ode to Santos Dumont exhibition and grab a drink on the outdoor patio at Ray’s & Stark Bar.

San Francisco: Don’t let the hills of the city by the bay deter you from hitting up the free Memorial Day walking tours hosted by San Francisco City Guides. Tours run all day, starting with a 9:30 A.M. one of the Japanese Tea Garden and ending with a 2 P.M. one at the Embarcadero.

Chicago: Take advantage of the season opener and head to the beaches of Lake Michigan today, now that they’re open for the summer. The choice is yours: 31st Street Beach on the South Side, 57th Street Beach in Jackson Park, 63rd Street Beach, Fargo Beach and more.

Miami: MDW in Miami is synonymous with Urban Beach Week, a five-day rap festival that shuts down South Beach and its environs. If you’re not one for Rick Ross, then head to the Perez Art Museum for its Memorial Day BBQ, where you’ll find $5 wine and beer specials and live music from indie group The Wynwoods.

Memorial Day Weekend Is Approaching, & The City Is A-Changin’…

Sorry I have been missing…been busy. I am happy to have nearly completed the design of The DL, that three-floor nightclub with the DOL (Dinner on Ludlow) attached. It looks swell, and I never want to leave it since it’s so much fun. The Wednesday night party with DJ Prince Terrence and the House of Fields crew is wonderful. I almost have an itch to get back in the game but, alas, staying up till 5am and dealing with the daily grind of nightlife is not for me anymore. I’m content to build the clubs and analyze and anecdote for you. 

Next up is the opening of the front room of XL (512 W. 42nd St.) which has earned its own moniker: "Rosebud." I’m quite sure that this isn’t a Turner Classic Movie reference. XL is the go-to place for everyone who isn’t straight and narrow, which means you are certainly welcome if you are straight and not narrow minded. I designed the place to be warm and comfy. It is all walnut burls and rich veneers and plush seating. It is an ultra-lounge which functions as a quiet respite but can twirl and spin with all the bells and whistles when it needs to. I am very proud of it and will proudly attend the unveiling this Friday. 

I’ve also been slammed finishing up that coffee shop on 96th and Columbus. Birch Coffee is slammed from open to close. It was difficult to live up to the reputation of its brilliantly brewed coffee. And the restaurant out in Long Island I’m working on is six weeks out and still takes up a great deal of my time… but I will be filing regularly again.

The impending Memorial Day Weekend has tons of skilled bartenders, waitrons, and support staff heading east. This creates openings for jobs in the city where clubs will learn to lean on the tourist trade that will fill the void, especially on weekends. Thursdays become Fridays as the NYC in-crowd is still in town. This is an ideal opportunity for newbies to learn or hone their trades, as nightlife still pays the bills for artists that won’t want to starve, and students who pay their bills by serving swill.

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A Nightclub In A Water Tower? Underground Clubland Alive & Well

Somewhere along the line, people forgot that Memorial Day was a day of rememberance. It is a pause before summer fun, when we need to remember those who gave their lives so that we could enjoy ourselves. The world seems to be getting worse with only a bad end in sight, and as we cling to the things that distract us from certain realities, we must honor those who gave up so much and who are in harm’s way as we sip expensive swill. If you see a uniform this weekend, club people, push him to the front of the line; somebody buy the man or woman a drink or at least hold open a door for them. Respect is in order. 

I’m not sure where I will spend my weekend. I like it like that. I may have a DJ gig out East, but if not, it will be spent walking dogs around my beloved Williamsburg. I’ll try to take advantage of the great escape and attempt to get into St. Anselm again as the last few attempts have proven futile. Two-hour waits are the norm and I don’t do that. Unless my girlfriend is shopping for shoes.

I am constantly bombarded with talk of "the good old days." People often want to reminisce about a time more wonderful. I remember having fun and all that, but refuse to agree with the assertion that life in clubland was better back in the day. I think the perception of clubs is a perception of how you were at that time.

To a certain generation, there was nothing like the disco era. To others, the 80s were the end all. Many without knowledge of those eras or the roaring 20s for that matter loved the good ol’ days of the 90s and 2000s. 

I think there is always a scene. My memories take me back to Danceteria and Save the Robots, The World and Area, and the Paradise Garage. But today, I love The Box and the underground Brooklyn stuff and Frankie’s Westgay at Westway, and Patricia Fields’ crew and their Chicken and Diamonds party, and anything Susanne Bartsch does, and a zillion other soirees. These are the good ol’ days and dont let anyone talk you out of it.

I read in the NY Times about a water tower in Chelsea that some genius built out and made into a small illegal joint. It was up a dozen flights of stairs and a scary ladder through a small hole etc. This shit is happening, but in an age where everyone knows everything in a second, it’s harder to keep "underground."

I gotta go, but before I do, I’d like to honor my dad who at 90 and a veteran of World War 2 is still  making memories.

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Photo: NYT.

Burger Friday: NYC’s 3 Best Burgers For Your 3-Day Weekend

Memorial Day is all about burgers. Burgers of every kind – juicy, veggie, dripping, spicy, charred. Burgers know no limits. And in honor of the national holiday that is National Burger Month, I’m devoting this extra-special Burger Friday to Memorial Day. In fact, I’ve created a three-day Memorial Weekend burger itinerary for you, simply to ensure that you devour only the best burgers all weekend long, every day. Dig in:

Saturday:
The Bronte Burger from Ruby’s: This burger is the star of the show at Australian-American spot Ruby’s in the middle of Nolita. Probably because it’s a sensory parade; you’ve got a thick hunk of beef, topped with fresh, local tomato and lettuce, creamy mayo and cheese, and a sweet and tangy chili sauce – sandwiched between a toasted ciabatta bun. Exclamations after the first bite known to include: "oh my," "what the…" and "Holy Mother."

Sunday:
The Black Label Burger from Minetta Tavern: Mosey down Greenwich Village’s tucked-away Minetta Lane and get served a $26 burger of prime dry-aged beef with caramelized onions on a toasted soft bun alongside pommes frites. You’ll feel French in no time.

Monday:
The Off-The-Menu Burger from Brindle Room: This discreet burger is adored, yet it’s a strictly "ask the waiter" deal. What makes it special? The aged ribeye that’s ground into the steak, and its ruthless simplicity. Gotta love a good secret.

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Photo: Yelp.

Next Week’s NY Happenings: Luau At The Dutch, Charlie Bird, Month Of Clicquot

MONDAY: Dutch Treat
Andrew Carmellini’s Soho smash The Dutch will make sure you have a transporting Memorial Day, even if you never make it off the island. Go whole hog on summer’s start with a tropical luau on Monday. Ribs, wings, and tuna poke get things started, followed by suckling pig cooked in a Caja China. There will be tiki cocktails and halo-halo for dessert, too.
Memorial Day luau at The Dutch (131 Sullivan St., Soho) runs from noon to 9pm on Monday, May 27th. The lunch prix fixe is $40, family-style dinner is $65. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides. Photo by Evan Sung.

WEDNESDAY: Bird Lives 
Soho newcomer Charlie Bird takes its inspiration from Charlie Parker while getting creative on an Italian-accented menu. Chef Ryan Hardy of Aspen’s The Little Nell turns out a Greenmarket array. Robert Bohr (Colicchio & Sons) handles the stellar wine program.
Charlie Bird (5 King St., Soho) opens Wednesday, May 29th. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

SATURDAY: Sport of Kings
The Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic returns to Liberty State Park, and while you may not score tickets to the match, you can partake in the citywide “Month of Clicquot.” The Four Seasons Hotel is running “Bubbles and Bites” happy hours at the bar on Fridays in May, Willow Road has a Yellow Label lunch special, and the revamped Bar d’Eau at Trump SoHo is hosting a water ballet pre-party this Saturday at 6pm.
Month of Clicquot runs through May, leading up to the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Saturday, June 1st. Water ballet at Bar d’Eau (246 Spring St. Soho) is this Saturday, May 25th. To learn more about the bar, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

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Beach Blast: The Hamptons Flip Out This Memorial Day Weekend

After a few sleepy summers, shit is once again getting real in the Hamptons. What’s that mean? It means throw some wedges and a DSO-worthy outfit in the Birkin bag you’ve been using for the gym, because you are not going to have time to work out with all the new openings out east, though you’ll definitely have an opportunity to work it.

Under the best of circumstances, Hamptons properties see more flips than the schedule board at Penn Station, but this season has been off the charts. To wit:

Out: Madam Tong’s/ Madam Tong’s Redux In: Southampton Social Club Ian Duke (of NYC’s Prohibition) and David Hilty took over Jen Luc’s ill-fated Madam Tong’s last year, but not in time to change the concept (they just amended “Redux” to the offensive name), but this year they’ve taken the place speakeasy chic.

Out: Jean Luc East/Prime 103 In: The Beachhouse Micheael Gluckman, proprietor of the Boathouse, has added one of the marquee spaces to his “house” line. The huge space, with indoor and outdoor seating, has not had a restaurant worthy of it in quite some time. Will this one be different? Signs point to yes.

Out: Bamboo In: Shiki Gluckman unloaded his sushi place in East Hampton, perhaps to concentrate on Beachouse. There’s another sushi place there now. Raw fish and cold sake will set you right.

Out: Le Maison In: The Pomme Café The last vestiges of Jean Luc were exorcised from the Hamptons when the Trata guys took on JLX to make a go at their own French Bistro. It didn’t last. This season the folks behind The Pomme, a successful bistro in Astoria, toss their chapeaus in the ring.

Out: Almond In: Agave Almond vacated the building it’s been in for years for greener pastures. A yet-to-open restaurant called Agave will take its place. Do you really need to be told that it will serve Mexican food and tequila?

Out: Ocean Grill In: Almond Almond’s new digs are right on Main St. in Bridgehampton, and its loyal following is sure to follow to the larger space (with the added benefit of sidewalk cafe tables).

Out: Capri In: Capri Languishing after its Pink Elephant heyday, the Capri Hotel’s new owners (Steven Kamali of the Surf Lodge among them) have classed up the joint with a Nobu, a Cynthia Rowley boutique and a daytime/nighttime hang space called The Bathing Club.

Out: RdV In: South Pointe One of the largest dance halls in the Hamptons goes through yet another change of hands, and this time it gets spruced up with tiki bars and “extravagant” crystal chandeliers. Why is there an “e” on the end? Probably so they don’t get sued by the Vegas club “South Point.” You see, it’s totally different.

Out: Polish people In: The Elm OK, that’s not entirely true. Long ago the space now occupied by a veritable superteam of veteran club promoters was once a Polish social hall, but in recent years has been an event space for hire. It’s another cavernous Southampton space, and this summer is sure to be an nightlife epicenter, with high-profile acts and the Koch brothers “Day and Night” champagne brunch for daytime revelers.

Out: Lily Pond In: SL East Michael Satsky reportedly had liquor sponsors in place and had even put up a billboard on Hudson St. in NYC inviting people out to Lily Pond for summer 2011. Then his landlord turned around and gave the venue over EMM Group’s Eugene Remm, Mark Birnbaum and Michael Hirtenstein, who will bring their SL concept to the perennial club spot on the outskirts of East Hampton.

Out: Second House Tavern In: Ruschmeyer’s Another one one bites the dust in Montauk. By which we mean, another flea-ridden family motel (OK, some might say “old-guard piece of nostalgia”) bites the dust, as part of the team from Surf Lodge takes over another hotel/restaurant and makes it over in their own hipster-beachbum-no fleas image. Expect local cops to get writer’s cramp ticketing lines of cars on both sides of Fort Pond.

Check out the Hamptons Listings on the BlackBook Guides – and download the iPhone app – for the latest and greatest hangs, and don’t forget the sunscreen.