Selected Events (12/06) + Top Manhattan Toy Stores 2014

Today’s “FAB 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – SATURDAY, DEC. 06, 2014
“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to. We make it as easy as 1-2-3.”

Holiday Activities @ GrandCentralTerminal – Special Event

DAPTONE SUPER SOUL REVUE – Soul Music

Old World Wine & New World Wine – Exploring and Explaining Terroir –
Food & Drink

Cyndi Lauper & Friends Home for the Holidays – Pop/Rock

Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers – Jazz

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Holiday Activities @ GrandCentralTerminal

New York Transit Museum Annex: Holiday Train Show (through Feb. 22)
This free annual holiday treat for model train enthusiasts, featuring vintage Lionel trains, is on display in Grand Central Terminal.
starting Saturday, holiday hours (through Dec. 24) are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store at Grand Central Terminal, near the Station Master’s Office; mta.info/mta/museum.

Holiday Markets at Grand Central Terminal (through Dec. 24)
In Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal, the shops will remain up through Christmas Eve. Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; grandcentralterminal.com.

DAPTONE SUPER SOUL REVUE
“Here’s a match made in soul-music heaven. The Apollo Theatre, which hosted revues of artists from Stax and Motown Records and provided the stage—and the vibe—for James Brown’s “Live at the Apollo,” will present three nights of talent from Daptone Records, out of Brooklyn, today’s undisputed leader in high-quality, low-down, genuine old-school sounds.

Headlining each night will be the indestructible Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, supported by the Brown disciple Charles Bradley and a wealth of talent from the label, including Antibalas, the Budos Band, the Menahan Street Band, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, and the Sugarman Three. Hosted by the Dap-King guitarist Binky Griptite, these performances will be recorded for a live album.” (NewYorker)
Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th St.
800-745-3000.

Old World Wine & New World Wine – Exploring and Explaining Terroir
“It’s important to remember that wine doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There is a reason that the Barossa Shiraz that you were drinking in college doesn’t taste just the same as the Crozes-Hermitage that you bought to take to last week’s dinner party. Where a grape is planted by a winegrower is as important as the variety he chooses.

Join us for an afternoon of tasting and talking about wine as Blue Ribbon Restaurants’ Wine Director Sam Ehrlich walks us through some of the world’s great wine regions, see through the prism of Syrah and Riesling grapes. Light snacks from Blue Ribbon’s chefs will also be served.” (ThoughtGallery.org)
Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar, 34 Downing St.
212-691-0404
1:30PM / $55

Cyndi Lauper & Friends Home for the Holidays
“It’s time to give back! Cyndi Lauper’s annual Home for the Holidays benefit concert is back, and this time the lineup is as diverse as ever. Come join some of the most celebrated artists of the year and of all time in benefiting and raising awareness for LGBT youth homelessness. This year’s lineup includes, of course, Cyndi Lauper, alongside 50 Cent, Sufjan Stevens, Patty Griffin, Salt-N-Pepa, Liv Warfield, STRFKR, and Emily West.” (Eleanor Lambert, VillageVoice)
Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, at 74th St.
800-745-3000, beacontheatre.com
8PM / $50 to $2,000

Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers
“What will Santa Claus say,” this New Orleans trumpeter-singer wants to know (paraphrasing Louis Prima), “when he finds everybody swinging?” The 44-year-old Mr. Ruffins has long been on the forefront of Louisiana Neo-Traditionalism, as made clear on his current CD, “We Partyin’ Traditional Style!” (2013), as well as his 2009 Christmas album. December is a perfect month for this party-hearty performer. In fact, Mr. Ruffins and his BBQ Swingers could probably even turn Arbor Day or Groundhog Day into the party of the year.” (WSJ)
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St.,
(212) 505-3474

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity (pop. 8.4 million) had 54 million visitors last year and quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
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Manhattan Toy Stores (nycgo.com)
Here’s a rundown of some top Manhattan toy stores. Now buy that kid a toy.

FAO Schwarz
This store is a place to gawk: at the oversize stuffed animals, at the real people in toy soldier outfits, at the giant piano made famous by Tom Hanks movie Big and at the immensity of the space itself. Able to trace its roots all the way back to 1862 (when the founder first started vending toys out of a Baltimore shop), FAO Schwarz is a bona fide tourist attraction. These days, kids can customize certain items here—designing, for example, their own Muppet or toy car.

American Girl Place
New York City is home to a large flagship store for American Girl–brand dolls. The company has found success selling figures representing young girls from various historical periods and ethnic backgrounds. Those who’d like to further indulge their children’s desire to treat the dolls like real people can take advantage of a photo studio, a salon for dolls to get new ‘dos and a doll hospital where damaged “girls” are admitted as patients, fixed up (the store sends the dolls out for that) and shipped back to their happy owners good as new.

Scholastic Store
The retail outlet of NYC publisher Scholastic sells a full slate of the house’s titles—including popular series like Harry Potter, The Magic School Bus, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Captain Underpants. The big, colorful store also hosts craft workshops, movie screenings and other kid-friendly events. Check their website for details. Also sold on site: computer programs, games, puzzles, videos and, of course, toys.

Toy Tokyo
This East Village store caters to serious toy collectors with its selection of rare and imported items, such as hand-painted figurines and wind-up toys from Hong Kong and Japan. Expect to find the latest Transformers, Star Wars and urban vinyl (read: designer action figures made of vinyl) toys here, along with unexpected gems.

Disney Store
Cited by some as a symbol of Times Square’s now-long-ago transformation into a family-friendly destination, the Disney Store is exactly what it sounds like: a repository of Disney-branded products, including plenty of toys. If your kid is looking for a Buzz Lightyear action figure, a plush Pumbaa or, say, an Epcot Spaceship Earth play set, this is the place to find it. Thanks to Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars franchise, you can also find lightsabers and other Lucas-related goodies.

Toys “R” Us
We’ll allow that there might be a Toys “R” Us in your hometown, but chances are that one doesn’t have its own Ferris wheel or an animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex.

Video Games New York
Filled with hard-to-find items—vintage games for systems like for NES, SNES, Atari Jaguar, Dreamcast, Neo Geo, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance and Commodore, not to mention Japanese imports and hardware for arcade machines—this store is as much a museum as a place to shop. Parents who grew up with some of those older consoles may find themselves feeling like kids again. While the used inventory is where Video Games New York really distinguishes itself, the place also carries new machines and releases.

Kidding Around
The downtown location of this store (there’s also an outpost in Grand Central Terminal) has a mom-and-pop feel, to go with some high-end, unusual gifts you might not find at a larger chain. It also sells New York City–themed toys, such as a model Staten Island Ferry.

Forbidden Planet
This cool store specializes in comics, graphic novels, manga, anime and other “alternative hobbies,” like sci-fi and role-playing games. Forbidden Planet also has a huge selection of toys and statues, and its staff, described by one customer as a “fleet of cute nerds,” is extra-helpful since they’re all enthusiasts themselves.

Nintendo World
Though the 10,000-square-foot Nintendo emporium stocks the latest WiiU games, that’s not where its primary charm lies. You’ll find that instead in T-shirts that set characters in the real New York City (for example, Mario emerging from a sewer); in vintage consoles, games and accessories (even the Gyromite robot!) under glass displays; and in the opportunity to chat with a virtual Nintendo character.

American Museum of Natural History Gift Shop
The shop at this museum—itself a must-visit for any parent with an inquisitive child—sells a wide array of science-related fare, including toys. You might find a set of glow-in-the-dark planets, a pocket microscope, a butterfly garden kit or a plush dinosaur.

blogger’s note:
AC Gears, 69 E 8th St. (b/t University Pl & Greene St in Greenwich Village)
should be added to this list. more like a toy store for adults, with some gadgets directly from Japan, you won’t find their stuff anywhere else in town.

nycgo.com, the website of New York City’s official marketing and tourism organization, has lots of useful NYCity info for the holidays:
Best NYC Toy Stores,
Ice Skating,
2014 Holiday Events,
Holiday Gift Guide,
Winter Events
This fine site is worth checking out when you are planning your NYCity visit.

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