Selected Events (12/21) + Top Manhattan Toy Stores 2014

Today’s “FAB 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – SUNDAY, DEC. 21, 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.”

Chris Botti Tenth Annual Holiday Residency  — Jazz

“Born To Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity”– Film

The NYC Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Spectacular – 
SpecialEvent/ Holiday Music

Twas The Night Before Christmas Reading and Procession
– SpecialEvent/ Literary Reading

Holidelic: Sugar Daddy – SpecialEvent/ Holiday Music-Funk!

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
♦ “9 Notable Events-Dec.”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦  For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site: nyc123blog.wordpress.com

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Chris Botti Tenth Annual Holiday Residency (through Jan. 4)
“Just because trumpeter Chris Botti, celebrating his 10th December at the Blue Note, connects with an audience beyond the usual hard-core jazz fans doesn’t mean one should dismiss him as a lightweight. He plays a lot of pretty melodies (only a curmudgeon would object) and uses pop accouterments, but he can also dish out the hard stuff, using distortion, abstraction and a tense, gritty sound when it is appropriate. It is particularly nervy to open with the “Concerto de Aranjuez,” but his most imaginative interpretation is Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” rendered something like Miles Davis playing “Time After Time.” (WSJ)
Blue Note, 131 West Third Street, Greenwich Village,
212-475-8592 / bluenote.net
At 8 and 10:30 p.m./many tables sold out, $40 at the bar, $5 minimum.

“Born To Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity”
Dir. Catherine Gund. 2014. Documentary. USA. Color. 83 minutes.
I don’t usually highlight individual film screenings, but if you have never seen Streb in person (they are awesome!), this will be the next best thing.

Elizabeth Streb and the STREB Extreme Action Company form a motley troupe of flyers and crashers. Propelled by Streb’s edict that “anything too safe is not action,” these daredevils challenge the assumptions of art, aging, injury, gender, and human possibility.

Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity traces the evolution of Elizabeth Streb’s movement philosophy as she pushes herself and her performers from the ground to the sky. Revealing the passions behind the STREB dancers’ bruises and broken noses, Born to Fly offers a breathtaking tale about the necessity of art, inspiring audiences hungry for a more tactile and fierce existence in the world.
Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway
4:30PM / $14
212-864-5400

The NYC Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Spectacular
“features all the seasonal hits powerfully belted out by over 250 men. This year’s production, “Home For The Holidays,” tells the story of a young man’s journey to The Big Apple.” (dnainfo.com)
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 La Guardia Pl,
3PM / $45 to $75.

Twas The Night Before Christmas Reading and Procession
“In 1822, as a Christmas present for his six children, Clement C. Moore wrote the poem that became a classic for all to cherish. Come hear a reading of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. A special musical prelude and slide show begins at 3:30pm.

After the reading, there will be a lantern procession to Trinity Cemetery and Mausoleum, where a wreath will be laid at the gravesite of Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863), the son of Dr. Benjamin Moore, the sixth rector of Trinity Parish.” (thoughtgallery.org)
Church of the Intercession, Broadway at West 155th Street
4PM / FREE and open to the public.

Holidelic: Sugar Daddy
“Everett Bradley, a musician and member of the E Street Band, hosts his annual show of holiday music with a funky spirit.” (NYT)
Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th Street, Chelsea,
212-414-5994 / highlineballroom.com
8PM / $35

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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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