Exploring the Globe

06/24/2009 4:00 AM |

Head back uptown for a few glasses of fine wine on the Upper East
Side; the Bar@Etats-Unis (247 E 81 St) offers 250 bottles, as
well as many more half-bottles and wines by the glass. Most are from
regions of France, Italy and Austria. Once you’re good and tipsy (er,
once you’ve exercised your sophisticated palate), cut through Central
Park, where you might find the Metropolitan Opera (metopera.org) or the New York
(nyphil.org) hosting
their annual concerts in the parks, which also hit the rest of the
boroughs in July and August: the Met is doing various recitals; the
Phil, Mozart and Beethoven. You’ve heard of them? Make it all the way
across the park, wino, and you can catch the orchestra’s affordable,
annual Summertime Classics series hosted (oh, and conducted) by
the hilarious Bramwell Tovey. Concerts on July 7-10 will focus on
pieces by German and French master composers. From late August into
September, the Met will be broadcasting operas, mostly by Italians, in
Lincoln Center Plaza on huge HD screens — for free! Take that,


Drop the kids off at the Philippine Consulate (556 Fifth Ave)
on Saturday mornings through July 25 for summer school! They’ll be
teaching kids age 5-17 about Philippine language, art, custom, dance,
music and games. The kids can tell you all about it later, after you
spend your day doing things more fun than school.

Start your journey through New York’s Southeast Asian community with
breakfast at Sanur (18 Doyers St), a cheap and unattractive basement
restaurant known for its authentic Indonesian food. Try the nasi lemak,
a traditional dish that usually involves rice, peanuts, anchovies,
cucumbers and hard-boiled egg. Or, play it a bit safer (coward) with
sticky rice or curry noodles.

Once nourished, take a stroll through Chinatown (whoops, wrong part
of Asia) to the Wat Gym (31 Howard St), where you can take one
of the afternoon beginner’s classes in Muay Thai, known in America as
“Thai Boxing,” a hybrid fighting sport that involves kicking, punching,
elbowing, kneeing, wristing, ankling, etc. It’s like the football of

Now exhausted, travel uptown and stop by the Myanmar
in New York (10 E 77th St) to protest against the human
rights abuses
that occur routinely in that country, before concluding
your adventure with dinner at nearby Vermicelli (1492 Second
Ave), a Vietnamese restaurant popular for its moderate pricing. Or,
travel to the poorly named Le Colonial (149 E 57th St), a posh
Vietnamese restaurant with French overtones. Let it be a reminder to
you of the West’s colonialist history.


Start your time-bending trip through the Cold War with a visit to
the city’s Ukrainian Museum (222 E 6th St), which boasts a
collection of folk and fine arts; in addition to paintings and drawings
from noted Ukrainian artists (none of whom you’ve heard), they have
costumes, jewelry, ceramics and Ukrainian Easter eggs, which are
unfortunately more Faberge than the hard-boiled springtime treat.

Man, all that thinking about Easter eggs is bound to have made you
hungry, so hop on the subway and head out to Queens for a bite at
Casa Romana (3920 Queens Blvd). All the Romanian movies to
emerge from film festivals over the last few years have been real downers, pre-occupied with the harshities of life under Ceaucescu. But
this restaurant is a blast: not only do they serve authentic Bucharest
cuisine like stuffed mushrooms, they also frequently host live
entertainment, from singers to belly dancers. Not to be confused with
Sammy’s Roumanian, which, well… maybe next trip.