City Pulse

By Lauren Baccus

To be fair, who really knows what is Mother’s Day is supposed to be? Not quite as personal as a birthday, or gallant as an anniversary, falling somewhat short of a mass family gathering. In mid-May we are given a singular opportunity to celebrate the wonderful and unique women in our lives who have given birth. Unfortunately, often by the time Mother’s Day rolls actually around, I have transformed what should be a beautiful expression of love and gratitude into a looming tribute to the power of procrastination. Oh lordy, what to do?

I, for one, have often been saved from total shame by the last minute greeting card or corner deli bouquet. And while it’s hard to build a valid argument against flowers, I can’t help but feel that Mother’s Day has been somewhat sapped of its potential creativity. Although my days of presenting Mom with macaroni necklaces and fruit prints to perfunctory ‘ooooohhhs’ and ‘aaaahhhhhs’ are long passed, in this amazing city there are so many potentially wonderful opportunities to spend quality time with the amazing woman we all call Mom.

I compiled few suggestions to get you thinking about fascinating and fun ways to show Mom how much she inspires you. And to prime her to get you a beaucoup birthday gift!

What: Ballroom Dance Classes
Why: Because everybody secretly (and not so secretly) loves Dancing with the Stars.
Suggested Activity: Dance Studios 101 will be open for beginner social dancing but you can also gear up for a lesson with their Mother’s Day Social Party on Friday featuring a little footwork, a little food, and lots of fun.
101 Lafayette Street, 2nd Floor (Corner of Lafayette and Walker St., one block south of Canal Street) 212-431-7134
www.dancestudio101.com

What: Mother’s Day Tea
Why: There’s always something to be said for a traditional Mother’s Day treat in a 19th Century Garden. How civilized!
Suggested Activity: Merchant’s House Museum will be hosting their Annual Mother’s Day Tea in the Garden complete with finger sandwiches, scones and a tour of the Museum. Reservations are required.
24 E 4th Street (Between Bowery and Lafayette)
212-777-1089

What: Upscale Invitation-Only Sample Sale
Why: An upscale traveling trunk show featuring a collection of amazing designers including Cynthia Rowley, Oliver Peoples, Vivienne Westwood among many others…what more needs be said?
Suggested Activity: Make an entire weekend out of Mother’s Day and stop by Billion Dollar Babes on Saturday. RSVP required.
The Altman Building
135 West 18th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues)
www.billiondollarbabes.com

What: Family Fun in Central Park
Why: Because a big part of being a mom is having kids; and a big part of staying sane is keeping everybody happy and entertained.
Suggested Activity: Cinderella Samba! is set amid the Carnival-infused landscape of Brazil and offers a fresh spin to this classic fairy tale. Saturday and Sunday performances at 1 pm. 212-988-9093 www.centralpark.com

What: Group/Private Walking Tours
Why: Because no one knows New York as well as they should, even miraculous Mom
Suggested Activity: Hoof it on foot around some of New York’s most historic neighborhoods with New York City Cultural Walking Tours. Popular tours include: Upper East Side Millionaire Mile, Gargoyles in Manhattan and Midtown Architectural tours.
212-979-2388
www.nycwalk.com

What: Walk-In Yoga Classes
Why: For all those times you’ve given her chocolate when she’s specifically told you that she’s on a diet.
Sugested Activity: Located around Union Square, Om Yoga Studio offers many classes throughout the day to cater to every experience level.
826 Broadway, 6th Floor
212-254-YOGA (9642)
www.omyoga.com

What: Wine Tasting
Why: Because there are few things more fun than intellectualizing liquor and getting a little buzzed with Mom.
Suggested Activity: LeNell’s Wine and Spirit Boutique in Brooklyn will be hosting a special Mother’s Day wine tasting event from noon to nine.
416 Van Brunt Street between Coffey and Van Dyke
718-360-0838

Happy Mother’s Day!!

FLAUNT YOUR VINO VOCAB
By Amber Roniger

The first time I really drank wine (‘sides Manischewitz from the communal temple chalice, super-cough-syrupy-sweet-ick!) was home for Christmas break during freshman year in college. Sitting in the bedroom of my first massive crush, we discussed grabbing some wine at: the deli. I knew nothing in the least except to command from him something red and sweet. Of course he bought me the driest vino rojo he could find. Through cursing him silently, I noticed that I actually enjoyed the wine, so much so that we each polished off our own bottle. We laughed like idiots, probably the best I’ve ever shared. Life is funny like that, you never know from which direction pleasure may come; but it’s so easy to enjoy hilarious trivialities when emulating cackling winos.

After my somewhat dubious wine initiation, I slowly developed a taste for the good stuff. Sipping red in a steaming bath for three hours on end became my favorite vice, you know what I’m saying. Listening to music, relaxing in the salty, bubbly or clear, a good book perched. A glass of vino rojo politely standing by, waiting courteously and patiently to be sipped and appreciated, rolled over the tongue, treasured and enjoyed. And so I, of course – ever the pleaser, oblige the wine. I wouldn’t want to disappoint. Truly, my most coveted, day-end escape is a protracted soak in a hot tub (or even better… hottub) with a nice vint. Nothing else renders me feeling so queenly, so kept and so clean, all toasty both inside and out.

Throughout the years, during unfortunate table waiting jobs, the one useful thing I did learn was some rudiments about wine. I definitely don’t claim to be a prosaic wine-artist-linguist, but I do know some of the basics, and more importantly, I know what I like. It was always a treat to have a wine tasting at work, especially at the head-end of a shift; and yes, thank you very much, I always swallowed. Now the only time I wait in restaurants is on line (thank God). I am the designated wine chooser when dining with family. The ‘rents tend to rely on my experience and I like to think I make savory choices. But truth be told, there’s buckets more to know.

Which is why this new radio show, WOMEN AND WINE, created by women, especially for women, is so damn engaging. If you care anything about wine, this is a must listen.

This one-hour radio chatter session on VOICEAMERICA.COM, brings together four knowledgeable women to spread the good wine-word and share their passion about vino and wellness, wine-themed spa treatments (lux!), wine-country getaways (heaven), the marriage of wine and lifestyle and an overall demystification of the holy water. It’s a really lovely diversion from any hectic day. I dig their exploration of the crossroads between food and wine and the on-site interviews in vineyards. But the best part and the most rewarding of the show, is when the hosts sneak through shopping aisles acting as wine angels, providing vino-s.o.s. to wandering female shoppers. They help them select excellent vintages to compliment whatever they are cooking.

The show kept me completely engaged for the entire hour as I chomped on my burrito and felt like I was really there sharing in their dalliances. (Although taste-o-listen would be a handy accoutrement to the audio experience.) The Women and Wine radio show is a wonderful offshoot of the WOMENWINE.COM I-net site. Be sure to check this week for delectable mother’s day culinary suggestions.

One of the things I love most about being a woman is sharing tasty finds and bonding with girlfriends, such a treat and a pleasure. It truly tickles me to know that wine is not just some boy’s club anymore. In fact, “Wine Bible,” the best selling wine book in the U.S. is written by a chica, Karen MacNeil, you go girl! Its no wonder at all seductive wines are often described as ‘feminine,’ it just seems so obvious.

So next time you’re at dinner with some intolerable-Sideways-bowtie-wine-geek, impress him with your extensive knowledge, flaunt your vino vocab and offer some pointers of your own. Wine, just like women, has great complexity of character, and the older the vintage, the rarer, the better! So go on and enjoy life, one beautiful oakey-woody-appley-bubbly-sippie-slurp at a time! Sisters, raise your glasses together, three cheers for women and wine! I’ll clink and drink to that!

www.voiceamerica.com (to listen live or download the show at any time)
www.womenwine.com
(877) 804-WINE

Originally published May 2006
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