Selected Events (12/11) + Top Manhattan Toy Stores 2014

Today’s “FAB 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – THURSDAY, DEC. 11, 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.”

Loser’s Lounge Tribute to Elvis Presley – Pop/Rock

‘I Only Read It for the Cartoons: …”  – SmartStuff/ Panel Discussion

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood  – Jazz

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana II: Navidad Flamenca  – Dance

Harris Eisenstadt’s Canada Day  – Jazz

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“LOSER’S LOUNGE TRIBUTE TO ELVIS PRESLEY (through Dec.13)
“Here’s what Joe McGinty—the keyboard wizard, arranger, and architect of the musically sophisticated and giddily entertaining Loser’s Lounge shows for more than twenty years—said recently about putting together the collective’s tribute to the King, a month shy of Presley’s eightieth birthday: “I’ve found a lot of interesting interpretations and cover versions that I think will make the show more special than just trotting out Elvis classics. But, on the other hand, I don’t want to disappoint the people that come to hear the ‘hits,’ so it’s tricky.” Come watch McGinty and a couple of dozen peerless entertainers pull another rockin’ rabbit out of the hat.” (NewYorker)
Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St.
9:30PM / $25
212-967-7555 / publictheater.org

‘I Only Read It for the Cartoons:
An Evening With (a Few of) The New Yorker’s Most Brilliant Artists’
“The New Yorker cartoonists Edward Koren, Lee Lorenz and Victoria Roberts participate in a panel discussion moderated by a 2014 Whitney Biennial artist, Keith Mayerson, and Richard Gehr, author of “I Only Read It for the Cartoons: The New Yorker’s Most Brilliantly Twisted Artists.” They might even shed some light on how to win the next cartoon caption contest.” (NYT)
School of Visual Arts, 209 East 23rd Street, third floor amphitheater,
7PM / FREE
212-592-2010 / sva.edu

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood
“In September, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood released their third studio album, Juice, a textured, funk-driven assemblage of Latin and pan-African grooves, Dylan and Doors covers, and blistering originals. Organ trio MMW straddles the avant-garde while preserving their status as jam band royalty, periodically bolstering their ranks with jazz guitar god John Scofield, one of their most fruitful, and yes, juiciest collaborations. Juice mixes the cerebral with the danceable, inflecting Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic philosophy of group unity with acoustic piano and B-3 grease; whatever the song calls for. Yet the pulpiest squeeze comes from Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love,” reimagined as an 11-minute dub vamp.” (Aidan Levy, VillageVoice)
Terminal 5, 610 W 56th St.
at 7pm / $35
212-582-6600 / terminal5nyc.com

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana II: Navidad Flamenca
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana II presents Navidad Flamenca as part of the 7th annual Flamenco in the Boros Tour. This series of free community performances thrills audiences with the rich holiday customs of the Spanish-speaking world from Argentina and Mexico to Colombia, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Through music, carols, and dance, Navidad Flamenca highlights these traditions — all united by a single language — and reflects the influences of Spanish culture throughout the Americas.
7:30 pm / Target FREE Thursdays
David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Harris Eisenstadt’s Canada Day
“A venturesome drummer and composer, Mr. Eisenstadt walks the line between free-form exploration and meticulous composition with Canada Day, featuring the trumpeter Nate Wooley, the saxophonist Matt Bauder, the vibraphonist Chris Dingman and the bassist Eivind Opsvik.” (Chinen-NYT)
Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow Street, West Village,
8pm / $15
212-242-4770 / greenwichhouse.org

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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.

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.

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.

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.xx

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