‘Soup to Nuts’ in New York!
Fun Crew’s Angela Salt, UK@Kidscreen delegation member in 2012, (and again in 2013) outlines her top tips to enjoy New York during the Kidscren Summit. A big CMC thank you to Ange for sharing her personal “Rough Guide”
Soup… To… NUTS…??!’ After I’d scalded my nasal passages with hot cawfee in a puerile laugh-attack when I heard this at my first Kidscreen ‘round-table’ session, I found out the phrase is like the latin ‘ab ovo usque ad mala’ – from the egg to the apple. I challenge you to get ‘soup to nuts’ into every pitch meeting and presentation you do – with a straight face or it doesn’t count.
So suddenly you’re in The Big Apple! You want eggs! Do you know HOW you want ‘em? Eggs up? Basted? Over hard? Don’t dither! I’m an over-easy / benedictine girl myself. My ‘favorite’ place to get them is Silver Spurs Diner, 490 Laguardia Pl (At Houston St) which is mine and Stu’s ‘usual’ NY diner. I’m not sure why, because it’s a total schlepp from anywhere we’ve ever stayed, but the head waitress, Kiki, is a character and she remembered us when we returned last year after 12 months – which is good enough reason to go back and feel like we’re ‘regulars’, like ‘Cheers’ only set in a diner.
As in all NY restaurants I’d advise sitting with your back to the prominently displayed, appetite suppressing Heimlich Maneuver poster. And be prepared for New York Tax which makes two cup of tea in bed at The Paramount roughly fifteen quid. Pack a travel kettle and tea bags and buy gen-u-ine ‘I Heart New York’ mugs from Canal St. when you’re there looking for wishty Nikes or a knock-off Chanel handbag for the Missus back in Blighty.
A hearty diner breakfast big enough to feed a family of four and a dog in the UK will set you up for a busy, busy day first day at Kidscreen! If you’re still jet-lagged or frankly couldn’t be arsed registering for Zumba @ the Summit at 7.30AM you can make like you’ve just arrived from your morning routine Bikram hot yoga session by cranking up your room’s heating to max as you put your ‘Manhattan’ face on and doing a few star jumps in the lift. You’ll probably be going down with The Power Rangers in fist-punching stances so nobody’ll bat an eyelid. However keen you are to spill your ideas over the first unsuspecting delegate you meet hold back on the elevator pitch – and never EVER try and pitch in the restrooms unless you’re helpfully passing one-sheets under the stall door to a broadcaster you know is sitting there straining to hear all about your great idea!
The Delegates’ Lounge is where it’s all happenin’. ‘Our tables’ are clearly demarcated by proud 10” Union Jacks and hopefully Greg or Sarah with a trident, shield and live lion to heel. (Well Seaworld had real eagles last year didn’t they?!) You want to make it look like you’re having loads of meetings. If you’re not then grab your nearest ex children’s TV presenter who can improvise and project exclamatory approbation across a crowded, noisy ballroom whilst vigorously flapping your show bible aloft.
After ‘30 mins With…’ here and another ‘30 mins With…’ there. the chances are you’ll already be thinking of lunch. It takes some delegates days to discover ‘free lunch’ is served daily! Some don’t find out till it’s all over! DOH! Not to be confused with ‘Lunch With…’ sessions which are allocated via lottery and it might just be your bad luck to be sitting next to someone hellbent on pitching with their mouth full.
The Hilton do put on a lovely spread but if you really just fancy a pie nip out to Pie Face, a mere skip and a hop away at 1691 Broadway near W. 53rd. Gourmet PIES with cute FACES and extra strong coffee called ‘Kick My Arse’. Perfect if you’re getting ‘summit fever’ and just need a quick run around the block to recharge.
My other ‘quick break’ tip is to nip over the road to MOMA for a breath of fresh art. You can enter via the gift shop and buy a postcard of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ to remind you of the swirly Hilton carpet which induces depersonalization disorder in many delegates each year after 4 days exposure.
Generally Kidscreen delegates are a friendly lot, so hit the ground smiling! Americans are bound to find your wacky Brit ideas and bad teeth utterly compelling! Now that Cadbury’s are owned by a US multi-national it’s unfair to say all American sweets are rubbish compared to ours. Besides theirs have way better names – Sweet Tarts, Sugar Daddies, Tootsie Rolls and Hot Tamales.
Economy Candy, 108 Rivington St is a great place to stock up on such tooth-rotting treats for your kids back home.
Sugar addicts should also rush to The Doughnut Plant at The Chelsea Hotel 220 West 23rd St (between 7th & 8th) or on The Lower East Side at 379 Grand St (between Essex and Norfolk). It’s way better than Gregg’s. (As in the the UK bakery chain, not Childs)
If you’re going in for the Pitch It! competition of course it’s crucial to do it jacked up on a sugar high and ‘kick my arse’ coffee buzz to stand anywhere near a chance of appearing as upbeat as our up-speaking cousins. The right outfit can also give you the confidence boost you need. For example, my Kidscreen capsule wardrobe includes a knitted replica of our Queen’s Coronation Crown and 6” Vivienne Westwood platforms – ‘English eccentric with a regal twist’. Cabs are easier to hail in a crown and I feel appropriately dressed for the reception at The British Consul General’s Residence.
The British Consul’s ‘do’ is quite posh but if you’re like me you might like to mash it up in Manhattan and head downtown on other evenings for a bit of a contrast…
Wednesday night is live band night at The Lit Lounge 93 2nd Ave (Between 5th & 6th St.) East Village. The Lit’s totally scuzzy. A dimly lit, damp and dirty dive bar playing great VERY LOUD music. Beware the grotty restroom and slightly dodgy atmosphere. Neither bother me but then I’ve always taken hand-sanitising gel and a ‘locally respected’ graff-artist homie who happens to be built like a brick sh*thouse…
Thursday’s it’s Adventure People at Botanica 47 East Houston St where my lovely friend and Kidscreen regular, Matt Rockman, from Brooklyn regularly DJs. He lived in London during the 90’s so is well up on his UK tunes, remembers Sabresonic at London Bridge AND he plays requests!
On our last Friday night in New York we like to wind down somewhere chilled for a meal. Last year we wandered around Hell’s Kitchen and found 5 Napkin Burger at 630 9th Ave and 45th St. It’s No.12 in Zagat’s 2013 most popular NYC restaurants. Stu, who is a butcher’s son rated his burger very highly. I’m 95% vegetarian and was 100% happy with my interesting veggie burger. I loved the industrial chic low lighting in there too.
Other places I’d recommend to dine are: Kelley and Ping Asian grocery and noodle shop 127 Greene St, SoHo http://www.kelleyandping.com/,
Via Della Pace 48 East 7th and 2nd – a nice little Italian and cheaper than Patsy’s 236 W. 56 Street (Frank Sinatra’s fave where the ‘ratpack’ of the British children’s media industry had a sit-down last year) http://www.patsys.com/
Thai 51 224 E. 51st ST (between 2-3 Ave) near to the British Consulate.
Zenkichi – An unforgettable modern Japanese Brasserie 77 N6 St Brooklyn serving 50 premium sakes, where the waitress draws blinds around your table for an intimate dining experience… http://zenkichi.com/
If you want somewhere with more atmosphere than high food ratings then the restaurant occupying the former dining room at The Chelsea Hotel 222 W. 23rd St (between 7th & 8th) is a wildcard choice. The Chelsea’s a notorious New York landmark infamous for its residents, including literary figures, thinkers, musicians, actors and artists. Dylan Thomas died of pneumonia there and Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of Sid Vicious was found stabbed to death there in 1978. Undeterred by such gruesome associations, Stu ordered a monstrous paella for himself which included an entire lobster and enough seafood to fill a Morrison’s fish counter.
Finally for something cheap and cheerful, head to Crif Dogs NYC’S No.1 Weiner! 113 St. Mark’s Place. House dogs any way you like it and a ‘secret’ bar through a telephone box. http://www.crifdogs.com/
Or my absolute favourite sit-in / takeaway – Dumpling Man 100 St. Mark’s Place (between 1st Ave & Ave A). http://www.dumplingman.com/
We normally rock up in New York on the Friday preceding Kidscreen, which gives us a whole weekend to get over the jet-lag, hang out and see friends before the full-on intense summit whirl kicks off with the Little Airplane Launch Party on the Monday night. Josh Selig’s a wonderful host and the welcome’s very warm and friendly so don’t miss this!
Getting around New York’s a piece o’ cake. A 7-day Unlimited Ride Metro Card costs $29 and is good value for unlimited subway and local bus rides until midnight, 7 days from first use. The subway’s quick and easy to navigate and you can pretend you’re in “Carlito’s Way” or “Crocodile Dundee” depending on which accents you can do.
As we keep reminding our three children, Kidscreen is *weary sounding sigh* “A lot of hard work…” but someone has to do it, and fly the flag for UK Creativity. There will be the odd, snatched moment of downtime so finally here’s a few places me and Stu go ‘nuts’ in New York!!
KIDROBOT – 118 Prince Street http://www.kidrobot.com/NewYork.html worship at the temple of urban vinyl.
Toy Tokyo – 91 2nd Ave (between E.5th & E. 6th St) https://www.toytokyo.com/visit-us MORE urban vinyl!
Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters – 37 W 8th St, Greenwich Village – a great place to buy an overcoat when the coat you’ve packed turns out insubstantial for the biting cold.
Forbidden Planet – http://www.fpnyc.com/New-York-Store/
Trash And Vaudeville – 4 St. Mark’s Place http://www.trashandvaudeville.com/retailstore.html for our little boy Austin’s punk rock creepers.
The LEGO Store at The Rockerfeller Center – 620 5th Ave at 50th St http://stores.lego.com/en-gb/stores/us/rockefeller-center/
FAO Schwarz – 767 5th Ave http://www.fao.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=3810526
New York Costumes – 104 4th Ave at 11th and 808 Broadway (Two entrances! This shop’s vast!) http://www.newyorkcostumes.com/
Marimekko Flagship Store – 200 5th Ave http://us.marimekko.com/shops/shop-locator?tid=All&country=gb Stu hates this shop but if I’ve had to spend ages in Forbidden planet…
Jonathan Adler at 47 Greene St, 37 Greenwich Ave and 1097 Madison Ave. Ditto above.