October 2012

Wild about filmmaking

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People think of Fred Kaufman as a regular Dr. Doolittle. They bring him their sick animals, their “zoo stories,” so to speak. The confusion is not so surprising. The Irvington resident has been with “Nature” – PBS’ most watched documentary film series – from its inception in 1982, with the last 21years spent as executive producer.

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Noo Yawk

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New York, N.Y. – Gotham, the Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps.
And it never has, not even on its darkest day.
Other cities may be more exotic (Istanbul, New Orleans), more beautiful and romantic (Paris, San Francisco), more historically significant (Jerusalem, Rome, London). But few cities have New York’s gift for embracing the gritty and the glamorous, its terrifying, wondrous capacity for reinvention.

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Lucky Thirteen

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To understand Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET, you need to know that he really enjoys doing the promos for “Reel 13” – the Saturday night film series – in which bits of dialogue from the upcoming film are woven into his pitch. And his favorite film of all time? “Casablanca.” “It’s a great story about love versus noble sacrifice.” It’s that spirit of sacrifice and public service that fuels Shapiro’s passion for WNET – the parent company of Thirteen, PBS’ flagship station, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

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Commuter’s paradise

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Headed by executive chef Sandy Ingber, the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant prepares for its 100th birthday. The not-your-average-seafood-joint is a superb answer to the bustling commuter’s grumbling tummy and an ideal destination for groups of after-work professionals, while its raw bar makes it onto the must-do list of many domestic and international tourists. Sandy tells us what oysters we should be eating now.

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Down in Dumbo

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One of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City, Brooklyn’s Dumbo is a synergistic place where stylish artists, actors, designers, musicians and filmmakers can showcase their works in understated galleries like SmackMellon and performance spaces like St. Ann’s Warehouse. Bars and cafés coexist peacefully with luxurious new condos housing celebrities, families and young executives in an intimate space between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges that extends east into Vinegar Hill.

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Hello, Brooklyn!

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Sports meets culture meets fashion meets neighborhood rivalry meets celebrity support. It may not get juicier than the New York Knicks versus Brooklyn Nets competition, which will debut in the season opener on Nov. 1 at the Barclays Center. The battle was made for TV and the confrontational blogosphere. Let the games begin.

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Enchanting life

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Stephen Schwartz – the creative force behind “Wicked,” “Godspell” and “Pippin,” not to mention a host of Disney movies – finds the theater difficult? Well, that’s as likely as the Good Witch of the North and the Wicked Witch of the West being roomies. Oh, wait a minute.

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High times on the High Line

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As autumn draws us into New York City with its exceptional weather, what could be more enjoyable than a stroll through the park as we take in the crisp air and multicolored landscape while watching the crowds of passers-by? The park I’m thinking of, though, is not Central Park. It’s the High Line, built on a defunct railway set 30 feet above Manhattan, winding 1½ miles through the West Side.

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Painting the town

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Watercolorist and fashion illustrator Anne Watkins paints what she sees in ordinary and extraordinary New York. She records fabulous celebrations, weddings, people and places using the “surprisingly muscular medium” of watercolor with stylish, impressionistic flair.

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Still The Vicious Circle

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“Why don’t you get out of that wet coat and into a dry Martini?” Such was the suggestion Robert Benchley gave Ginger Rogers in the 1942 film “The Major and the Minor.” Today, the quip is printed on cocktail napkins lining the elegant oak bar in the Blue Bar at New York’s The Algonquin Hotel, a historic hub of witty words and liquid lunches.

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