New York Today: Free and Cheap Events, 9/4/2011

HITTING A HIGH NOTE. The Met is back at Lincoln Center Plaza with free screenings from the Live in HD series. Tonight's show is "Lucia di Lammermoor," featuring Natalie Dessay. 8 p.m. Free. Broadway and 65th St. (212) 875-5050. HEAR THE ONE ABOUT? Funnyman Vince Averill hosts a standup special with ­comics you know and others you may not, but should. 9 p.m. Free. Beauty Bar, 231 E. 14th St. (212) 539-1389. CULTURE IS IN THE BANK. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch customers are invited to Museums on Us. Cardholders get free admission to some of the most exciting cultural venues in New York City, including the Bronx Zoo, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Aquarium. For more information visit JERSEY BOUND. Paddle your way to Hoboken and Jersey City on a free public kayaking trip. Bring water, a hat and sunscreen and be ready to row for three hours. Downtown Boathouse, Pier 96, West Side Highway and 56th Sts. (646) 613-0375. ART ON THE MOVE. Parents and kids between 5 and 11 get creative together in "Open Studio: Moveable Sculptures." Take a tour of the galleries, then make your own works of art. 11 a.m. $5 for families with up to six members. Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Road, Queens. (718) 204-7088. CREATIVE MINDS. SoHo's William Bennett Gallery hosts the opening of its newest project, "Emerging Creatives Collide." Curated by Ashley Bouder, principal dancer with New York City Ballet, the exhibit features works by up-and-coming contemporary artists such as Chrissy Angliker, David Foox and Rachael Senchoway. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Free. 65 Greene St. (212) 965-8707. MASS MUSIC. Church service in transformed into the lively Summer Festival of Sacred Music. The St. Bartholomew's Choir and St. Bartholomew's Boy and Girl Choristers perform Arvo Pärt's "Berliner Mass" and "The Beatitudes" alongside the church's famous pipe organ, the largest in New York City. 11 a.m. Free. St. Bartholomew's Church, 325 Park Ave. (212) Continue Reading

List: Where to go apple picking in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Fall is prime time for apples, pumpkins, hayrides and corn mazes, too!With our colleagues at the North Jersey Media Group and the Poughkeepsie Journal, we’ve put together an extensive list of destinations. All are great for a daytrip with kids in tow — many farms have playgrounds, hayrides and petting zoos — a few offer wineries and craft beer if you want to make it an adult getaway. PICK YOUR OWN: Best places to go apple picking outside NYC Dr. Davies Farm, CongersOpen for apple picking beginning Sept. 2 and then daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (weather permitting). There are over 4,000 trees and 15 different varieties of apples on 55 acres. Picking poles are available to rent and friendly, leashed dogs, are welcome. To find out what varieties the farm is picking, call that day. 306 Route 304, Congers, 845-268-7020. The Orchards of Concklin, PomonaApple picking begins Sept. 17 and is on Sundays only, and Columbus Day Monday, when the season is scheduled to end, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weather permitting. The farm stand also offers fresh baked goods and cider. 2 S. Mountain Road (off Route 45), Pomona, 845-354-0369. Harvest Moon Farm & Orchards, North SalemApple picking every day, picking hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. One $30 bag (which can hold 25 pounds of apples) admits five people to the orchard. Farm store open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, 914-485-1210, Outhouse Orchards, North Salem Choose from two size bags: $20 gets ½ bushel; $30 gets you 2/3 bushel. $5 parking fee on weekends. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, 139 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, 914-277-3188, Stuart’s Fruit Farm, Granite SpringsApple picking is already underway and and runs daily, 10 a.m-5 p.m. through November. There are over 20 different varieties to choose from so go to the farm’s website and see what is Continue Reading

How to see 13 of your favorite Halloween movies

Halloween is more than just dressing up and passing out candy to cute kids in Spider-Man or Princess Elsa costumes.For some reason, people like to be frightened.Why is that? What is so thrilling about being scared out of your wits?It's fun? Really? I'll take your word for it.Here's the good news: You don't need to find your fear at a haunted house or a haunted hayride as there are plenty of terrifying films on screen this month.For those who are less hardcore, there are some "classic" films that you should be able to handle.And for good measure, we even threw in Harry Potter, everybody's favorite wizard (who isn't named Gandalf). Expecto Patronum!Here are 13 Halloween-themed movies playing throughout New Jersey: 1. Horror Movies at the Mansion: Don't Go in the HouseWatch this cult classic "Don't Go in the House," a sadistic horror movie that was actually filmed in the Strauss Mansion in 1979. The movie will feature live special effects that coincide with the film.Dan Grimaldi, who later went on to star in the "Sopranos," stars as the main character. The film follows his life from a young boy, where he was burned by his mother, to him as a twisted adult. MORE:  Outdoor ice rink is coming to Pier VillageAfter the movie, enjoy a tour of the house and learn more about where certain scenes in the film were shot. Individuals under 17 must be accompanied by an adult.WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14PRICE: $15WHERE: Strauss Mansion, 27 Prospect Circle, Atlantic Highlands 2. Frankenstein, National Live TheatreThe Princeton Garden Theatre will present the National Live Theatre's rendition of "Frankenstein," which was filmed March 17 and 24, 2011, in South Bank, London.The performance is directed by Danny Boyle and stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller, who both alternate roles as scientist Victor Frankenstein and the creature. MORE:  6 must-see films for an election yearThe story Continue Reading

Where to watch fireworks throughout New Jersey

All summer long, fireworks decorate the night sky like gems.Those bursts of jewel-tone colors make us exclaim and applaud not only because they're beautiful, but because they are ephemeral: Here one moment, spreading vibrant patterns across the sky, and then flickering out a few seconds later. How emblematic of summer: Such an intense season, and the one that seems to pass by most quickly.Enjoy it while it lasts.Municipalities, amusement parks, county fairs and other fun-loving entities schedule fireworks around Independence Day, first and foremost. But you’ll find them crackling in the sky throughout the season. It’s Friday night! Boom, clap! It’s Thursday night! Whiz, bang! Any excuse will do. More FREE summer fun: Free outdoor moviesFireworks are astonishing no matter where they explode. But for the most oohs and ahhs, watch them burst over water, be it the ocean, bay, river or lake. You get double the effect: First, the colors reach into the cool, black sky, and then a shimmering reflection spreads color over the water. Even the fireflies will be impressed.Your strategy should be to arrive early, no matter where you’re going. Scout out an unobstructed view and plant your picnic blanket or chair on the ground before the sun sets. Some displays, like those at Tuckerton Seaport, Six Flags Great Adventure or any of the boardwalks, are preceded by festivals and day-long activities and attractions, so you may be so busy that you’ll forget to stake out your territory. No matter. There is a thrill to that first ka-boom that will shake you even if you happen to be riding a roller coaster when the show begins.Here is a sampling of fireworks displays for the July 4 and beyond:Asbury Park: 9 p.m. July 4 on the beach. New this year is a viewing area available at the Paramount Theatre, 1300 Ocean Ave. on the boardwalk. Doors open at 8 p.m. for standing-room-only spots in the mezzanine room and balcony, with a cash bar and music by DJ Continue Reading

Head outdoors to see these movies

The heyday of drive-in movies is long past, but there are still plenty of opportunities to watch movies in the great outdoors this summer.Screenings throughout the state are free, with most showing family-friendly films.Why do this, in an age when we can all stream movies onto our devices and zone out any time we want?Because it is SO much more fun.Gather your family, call your friends, take your crush on a low-key, old-fashioned date.Everybody take a corner of a blanket and flutter it onto the grass or the sand. Kick off your shoes. Watch the sun go down.Lightning bugs hover, excitement builds. Then, hush! The movie begins, and everyone watches it together, laughing and clapping as the story turns. When the credits begin to roll, we all whisk our blankets from the flattened ground and head back home. The crickets stay until the end, cheering. Here are some of the places screening free outdoor movies this summer:  ASBURY PARK: On the beach in front of Langosta Lounge. For more information, visit the Shore Flicks page on Facebook.July 28: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”Aug 4: “Zootopia”Aug 11: “Blue Crush”Aug 18: “Jaws”Aug 25: “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”BELMAR: Saturday night movies on the Eighth Avenue beach, with popcorn and other refreshments for sale by local organizations. Bring a blanket or chair. For more info, go to 16: "Frozen"July 23: "Inside Out"July 30: "Hotel Transylvania 2"Aug. 6: "Monsters, Inc."Aug. 13: "Toy Story 2"Aug. 20: "Minions"Aug. 27: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" FOR KIDS: Our 10 favorite places to go when school is out BERNARDS TOWNSHIP: Wednesday night movies begin at 8:30 p.m. in Dunham Park. For more info, call 908-204-3003 or go to 20: "The Incredibles"July 27 : "Jurassic World"BRICK: Friday night drive-in style movie screenings on the Continue Reading

Oscar week: 9 Jersey Shore movies that mattered

A version of this article originally ran in March of 2015. Here's to the 1946 musical, "Three Little Girls in Blue," where three sisters from Red Bank get on a train to Atlantic City to meet the men of their dreams.It would never happen today. You can't take a train ride from Red Bank to Atlantic City that doesn't zig-zag across the state. But the film is an early example of the Jersey Shore's appeal to Hollywood. MORE: Our look at the 2017 Oscar nomsMore than 1,900 feature films have been shot in New Jersey, with many of them at the Shore, since 1978, according to the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission.Here's our list, in honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC, of nine Jersey Shore movies that mattered. "Amityville Horror" (1979)The house at 18 Brooks Drive in Toms River is not haunted, nor did ghastly murders take place there. But sure enough the house was featured in the 1979 sequel-producing hit "The Amityville Horror."The movie was based on a quadruple murder that took place in a Dutch Colonial house in the town of Amityville on Long Island. Filmmakers came to Toms River to re-create the Amityville house. After rearranging the facade of 18 Brooks a bit, it was showtime.The film starred James Brolin as George Lutz, who moves his family, which includes Margot Kidder as wife Kathleen Lutz, into a dream home that turns into a nightmare.Incidentally, several scenes were shot around town, including City Hall and and the Sunken Garden at Georgian Court College in nearby Lakewood. "Annie" (1982)There was no other place to film the 1982 version of "Annie" other than at Woodrow Wilson Hall on the grounds of the then-called Monmouth College in West Long Branch, said Roger Paradiso, production manager for the film."When I met the ('Annie') production executives at the Hotel Pierre in Manhattan, I told them I had the perfect location for Daddy Warbucks' home. I went to college there for two years. It was in New Jersey. I Continue Reading

2011 Oscars celebrate power of movies as well as talent of Colin Firth, Natalie Portman & others

We did not just celebrate "The King's Speech" on Oscar night, or "The Social Network," or an old-fashioned western like "True Grit" or a wonderful boxing movie out of the past like "The Fighter." We celebrated all of them. We celebrated the movies. There was, as always, something wonderfully American about the occasion. This is the modern world, of course, where we get everything we want, when we want it, on laptops and cell phones. But if you want to see a first-run movie (and you're not an Academy Award voter), you still go buy a ticket and sit in the dark and watch actors and stories that are still bigger than life. Hollywood doesn't always have to be Lindsay Lohan, or Charlie Sheen starting to sound wiggier than Khadafy. Just about movies that people want to see. "I wanted to go to the movies with my friends when I was growing up and I want to do that now," my friend William Goldman, a legendary screenwriter, was saying Sunday. "It's not the same as watching a DVD on your television screen, no matter how big your screen is. And it never will be the same." Goldman wrote "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" more than 40 years ago. He won an Oscar for it, later won an Oscar for "All the President's Men," for which he wrote a line - "Follow the money" - that has become a part of American history. He wrote "The Princess Bride" and "Marathon Man" and that is just the short list. But when he talks about the movies even now, he is the kid who used to go to the Alcyon Theater in Highland Park, Ill. for the Saturday matinee and sometimes go back on Sunday and do it all over again. "When word first got out on the playground that I had seen the same movie twice," Goldman said, "one of my friends said, 'How could you see it again knowing who won?' But it was the same then as it is now with the movies: When they work - and, boy, this year proves that they still work - they're still magic." There was a story in Variety about how movie ticket sales dropped 7% Continue Reading

New York Today: Free and Cheap Events, May 20 2011

Give back at the Gap. Clear out your closet for a cause. Just in time for spring cleaning, the Gap and Goodwill have teamed up to take donations in support of Goodwill’s job-training programs. Drop bags off at any Gap store and receive 30% off your next purchase. Free. Go to for store locations and hours. Films all fresco. Enjoy movie night at Captain Tilly Park. Watch the hilarious antics of Donkey, Princess Fiona and the big green ogre in “Shrek Forever After” right on the grass. Bring your own chairs and blankets. 7 p.m. Highland Ave. and Upland Parkway, Queens. (718) 520-5919. So you think you can dance? Break out your dancing shoes and learn to salsa, rumba and more with performers from Ballet Folklorico Cutumba at DanceAfrica 2011’s Cuban Social Dancing event. 6:15-9:15 p.m. Free. Atlantic Center Plaza, Fort Greene Place and Atlantic Ave. (718) 636-4100. ‘In their own words.’ Watch as students from Episcopal Social Service’s after-school programs present poetry, dance and music inspired by their personal histories. 5 p.m. $3. M.S. 302, 681 Kelly St., Bronx. (646) 839-6305. Singing for Japan. See choirs from both sides of the world at the Japan-U.S. Chorus Charity Concert. The Hagi Choir, whose members hail from earthquake- and tsunami-striken Sendai, perform alongside the U.S.-based Alexandria Harmonizers. Reserve tickets at (212) 247-7800. 8 p.m. Free, but donations will be accepted. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave., at W. 57th St. Cuban scene. Anchored by an inter-active lounge, artist Consuelo Castañeda creates three spaces — each featuring different media — that highlight her experiences as a Cuban émigré. Noon-6 p.m. Free. Americas Society Gallery, 680 Park Ave. at 68th St. (212) 249-8950. Fair play. Experience Brooklyn’s greatest thrills at the Kings County Fair, featuring rides, tasty treats and live performances. 5 p.m.-midnight. $7. Aviator Sports and Events Continue Reading

A hygge haven: This historic home brings Danish design to the Highlands

For James Corne and Sarah Byron Corne, decorating their Highlands home started with hygge on the mind. The Danish design concept. pronounced HOO-GAH and roughly translated to coziness in English, and is evident in their home from the wooden walls to the earthy tones.James and Sarah coupled furniture passed down from family with more modern pieces to bring their historic home, built in the early 1900s, into a balance of old and new finds. Creating a warm atmosphere and emphasizing the activities they enjoy were a few ways James and Sarah instilled hygge into their home. In the living room, the master bedroom and upstairs bathroom, the couple installed wood accent walls to bring natural, warm elements into their home. Scattered throughout the house are bookshelves, including ones that float on walls in the guest room and one that’s a drawbridge in the living room.In the dining room, a Tekken 3 arcade machine sits in the corner while James’ paintings – including one of Muhammad Ali in the dining room – hang in different rooms of the house. Sarah’s crochet skills – and those of her family – are displayed in blankets scattered throughout the house.  You may like: This Fern Creek ranch is sophisticated chic with a homey flair Take a tour: Cozy Crescent Hill bungalow emphasizes space with a purpose The room that sold Sarah and James on their home was their upstairs “TV room” with a chimney-like ceiling cut out with a crescent moon window at the top. The space, paired with wall-length windows, radiates with natural light. A large, flat screen TV is mounted on a wall opposite of a Murphy bed topped with colorful pillows the couple equipped for late-night movie marathons. In the corner, a desk area is nestled below James’ “skateboard wall” mounted with upside down skateboards showcasing edgy graphic design work. Above the bed, an iconic Continue Reading

Bursts of color distinguish this mid-century modern Highlands condo

Correction: A previous version of this story had the incorrect name and location of a store from where Ron Hopper bought his bed set. It is Furniture Dudes on Lexington Road. Ron Hopper’s condo, tucked behind Baxter Avenue in the Original Highlands, is "a happy space. I’ve always had a good eye for color," he said. Drawing from mid-century modern and art deco styles, Ron has combined colors – like a fire engine red seen throughout the house – to create a fun, funky spot for both relaxing and entertaining. But he’s done it with attention to detail – such as choosing the right size furniture for his 996 square foot hideaway – and has finished several renovations along the way. He’s also added thrifty finds from around Kentuckiana each with a story of the hunt.  Check out these homes Renovated Victorian home in La Grange is timeless with eclectic twist Vintage jewelry store renovated into modern loft in downtown New Albany AN EYE FOR COLOR A painting titled “Windswept” by Linzi Lynn – depicting a woman with wavy, rainbow hair – served as Ron’s inspiration for decorating his home. Its fiery orange and red tones can be found in a tufted leather chair – opposite the painting hanging above his mantle – and in the rainbow rug that covers the living room. Its earthy colors are seen in a green tufted ottoman and couch topped with rainbow polka dot and sequin pillows.Curved yellow and red lounge chairs and lime green, red and yellow bar stools in the kitchen accentuate the mid-century modern look. Art deco vibes come into play in paintings with stark shapes above the living room’s couch and in a Gatsby-like flapper statue on the mantle.  QUICK FIXESWhen Ron bought his apartment in April, he knew smaller renovations would allow him to customize his home. With the help of friends and family, he ripped up the carpet Continue Reading