Your Personal Concierge
Top Entertainment Venues in the City & More
NYC is teeming with great places to enjoy all types of entertainment—from cool jazz to interactive theater, magic and more. JW Marriott Essex House New York’s David CJ Rahner shares his favorites, plus happenings in the boroughs and trends on the dining scene.
Q: Besides the obvious must-see attractions, name three underrated gems.
A: In the middle of the East River is a hidden gem called the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. One can take the aerial tram from 59th Street and Second Avenue over the river to Roosevelt Island, which offers spectacular views of the city skyline. I also suggest booking tickets in advance for Jack and the Beanstalk in Central Park. Also in Central Park, see Cleopatra’s Needle: This ancient Egyptian obelisk from 1450 B.C. is the oldest man-made object in the park.
Q: This month’s three must-attend events?
A: At the Blue Note Jazz Festival, jazz fans can see artists like Savion Glover and Buddy Guy. The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party heads to Madison Square Park Jun. 13 and 14. Pit masters from all over the U.S. take over for the annual finger-lickin’ good food festival. And, the New York Philharmonic performs concerts in several of the city’s parks Jun. 17 thru 23.
Q: What is a neighborhood to check out off the island?
A: In Brooklyn, Red Hook boasts a long history as one of New York City’s original ports. Every weekend, the IKEA Express runs free ferry rides from Lower Manhattan. While there, make sure to check out the Waterfront Museum—which gives visitors a look all the way back to 1860 when NYC waterways helped make the city what it is today—as well as the Showboat Barge, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. For dining, try Red Hook Lobster Pound, Brooklyn Crab and Kevin’s. The Red Hook Winery offers tours and tastings.
Q: What would you say are your top three entertainment venues in the city?
A: Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle is my favorite old-world New York institution for sophisticated jazz. Birdland is my favorite place to listen to jazz after a Broadway play. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola’s 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. nightly sets typically sell out; however, the 11:30 p.m. set Tuesday thru Sunday is great for walk-ins.
Q: What are three under-the-radar spots worth checking out?
A: At Queen of the Night, an interactive dinner show, at the Diamond Horseshoe, one never knows what to expect, but one is sure to leave feeling amazed. From an elegant suite in The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria hotel, Steve Cohen creates an unforgettable magic show. The Flatiron Room features more than a thousand kinds of whiskeys, one of the most extensive lists on the East Coast. It also has live jazz music every night.
Q: For those that love high-tech gadgets, what shops would you recommend?
A: My favorite electronic store is B & H Photo, Video & Pro Audio. They are trustworthy, reliable and have everything. Recently, guests of ours spent hours in the drone section, and, for the first time in my life, I was able to see how one works. Our guests are always happy when they leave B & H.