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Woody Harrelson and Justin Timberlake film Friends with Benefits in Battery Park City

Movies Filmed In Battery Park City

Woody Harrelson and Justin Timberlake film Friends with Benefits in Battery Park City
Filming of "Friends With Benefits" (Credit: Wenn Images)

As the filming for Justin Timberlake’s “Friends With Benefits” have taken over our neighborhood the last couple of days, it had our team thinking…

What other movies have taken over our esplanade in this way?

At first thought, we remembered Barbra Streisand’s ‘Prince of Tides,’ and then before we knew it an entire list was cobbled together.

So to help you at your next neighborhood cocktail party, we present:

(Some) Movies Filmed in Battery Park City List!(In seriously no particular order!)

1. ‘Prince of Tides’ (1991) starring Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand – scenes were filmed in and around the esplanade.

2. ‘Hackers’ (1995) starring Angelina Jolie (before Brad) – scenes filmed at the then new Stuyvesant High School

3.  ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ (2010) starring Shia LeBouf and Michael Douglas – scenes filmed in and around the Bowling Green area.

4. ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ (2010) starring Nic Cage – scenes filmed in Battery Park.

5. ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ (2010) starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt – scenes were filmed at the Ritz Carlton Battery Park

6. ‘P.S. I Love You’ (2007) starring Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank

7. ‘Boomerang’ (1992) starring Eddie Murphy

8. ‘The Good Guy’ (2009) starring Alexis Bledel (Thanks to FB friend Ellen!)

9. ‘Hitch’ (2005) starring Will Smith (Thanks to FB friend Honey!)

10. ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ (1985) starring Madonna (Thanks to FB friend Fern!)

11. ‘Men In Black’ (1997) starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (Thanks to FB friend Laura!)

12. ‘I Am Legend’ (2007) starring Will Smith (Thanks to FB friend Tom who also honorably mentions ‘Working Girl’ starring Melanie Griffith)

13. ‘Inside Man’ (2006) starring Denzel Washington and Clive Owen (Thanks to Roberta!)

Any others we might be missing? Let us know!

Potrait of Wally

Museum of Jewish Heritage Displays Stolen Painting

Potrait of Wally
Portrait of Wally by Egon Schiele

After a decade long battle over a painting that had been seized by its original owner during WWII by Nazi troops is finally coming to a close.

In 1997, The Leopold Museum in Vienna had loaned Egon Schiele’s Portrait of Wally to the Museum of Modern Art. Once on display, US officials then seized the art piece in 1998 after the estate of original owner Lea Bondi Jaray made claims that the art work was handed over by the Nazi’s under duress, right before she fled Austria.

Lea Bondi Jaray died in 1969.

The US government has the right to seek paintings under the National Stolen Property Act, which allows for the confiscation of property over $5000 which have been known to be stolen or taken by fraud. The value of the painting at that time was estimated to be around $2 million dollars.

In a deal settled yesterday in Manhattan federal court, the Leopold Museum agreed to pay the heirs of  Lea Bondi Jaray as stipulated in a settlement documents released by the estate lawyers. The terms of the settlement are as follows:

(a) the Leopold Museum pays the Estate $19 Million;

(b) the Estate releases its claim to the Painting;

(c) the United States Government dismisses the civil forfeiture action it brought against the Leopold Museum and releases the Painting to the Leopold Museum;

(d) the Leopold Museum will permanently display signage next to the Painting at the Leopold Museum, and at all future displays of the Painting of any kind that the Leopold Museum authorizes or allows anywhere in the world, that sets forth the true provenance of the Painting, including Lea Bondi Jaray’s prior ownership of the Painting and its theft from her by a Nazi agent before she fled to London in 1939; and

(e) before it is transported to the Leopold Museum in Vienna, the Painting will be publicly exhibited at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, in New York, beginning with a ceremony commemorating the legacy of Lea Bondi Jaray and the successful resolution of the lawsuit.

And so, it is almost a decade later the saga of the stolen painting ends but is available to us to view for the next three weeks right here in Battery Park City. Representatives of the estate wanted to highlight the importance of showcasing the work at the Museum. According to the statement by Jaray’s estate:

“Representatives of the Estate expressed their appreciation at reaching this historic settlement, which reflects the true value of the Painting, and acknowledges Lea Bondi Jaray’s ownership of the Painting and her and her family’s long quest for justice. In addition, they underscored that the public display of the Painting at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York will mean that visitors will be able to view the Painting in a setting that memorializes the sufferings of so many in the Holocaust and the resilience and resolve of those who escaped and/or survived. They added that the permanent signage reflecting the Painting’s true provenance will ensure that future generations are told the real story of the Painting’s theft from Lea Bondi Jaray during the Nazi era.”

According to the family, “Finally after more than 70 years, the wrongs suffered by Lea Bondi Jaray are at least being acknowledged and, to some degree, corrected.”

James Blachly conducts Mahlers 4th symphony

Trinity Church’s James Blachly Performance Benefits NOLA Music Education

James Blachly conducts Mahlers 4th symphony
James Blachly conducts Mahlers 4th to benefit All Souls Camp in New Orleans

As busy as we all get, everyone has a dream. James Blachly is no exception.

Navigating through the hustle and bustle of Lower Manhattan, this distinguished composer/conductor and Trinity Choir member often dreamt of re-creating the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

“I attended and watched rehearsals and fell in love with the performance of Mahlers 4th Symphony. To me it was like paradise. I realized then, to work on this piece would be a great priviledge.”

Tonight that dream will be realized — as Blachly along with colleague Owen Dalby have assembled The Sheep Island Ensemble, in what they consider to be a “dream team” of young professional musicians across New York to perform Mahlers 4th 6PM tonight at Trinity Church.

Lucky for the rest of us, tonight’s performance is free — with a suggested $20 donation — in which proceeds will go to The All Souls Music Camp, which is dedicated to providing music education of children living in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

Although tonight’s concert isn’t explicitly connected with Trinity Church — being a Trinity Choir member helped the musicians score the location in light of supporting The All Souls Music Camp.

The All Souls Music Camp began in 2009 with 12 students, and has grown to 51. It’s a program for children from 3-16 and provides formal training in choral singing, strings, composition and music literacy. It was the brainchild of a local church that had began in an abandoned Walgreens turned community center for the children of the Ninth Ward.

As a volunteer for the All Souls Camp, tonights concert can be considered a full circle for Blachly. For he credits his education in Stuyvesant for the music education that led him to his profession.

“It was during my senior of Stuyvesant that I decided to be a classical musician professionally and practiced 5 hours a day to make it into and attend Oberlin.”

As part of the prestigious Trinity Choir, he appreciates being close to the World Trade Center site as keeping him connected to the post 9/11 world  — helping him to keep connected to the reality of what it takes to help a community after disaster. Many of the students of All Souls can relate to in their post Katrina world.

” [The All Souls Camp] is a really beautiful community and they have grown a lot over the past 5 years. We’ve been involved for the past 2 years and I realize that music can inspire and remind us of the most exalted state of humanity.”

For those interested in attending, please find the information below:

The New York City Summer Mahler Project
Mahler’s 4th Symphony
Date: Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Trinity Church Wall Street
At the Intersection of Wall Street and Broadway
Tickets: Free with $20 Donation to benefit the All Souls Music Camp in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans
Telephone: (212)-866-0468 (GEMS) or (646) 320-5583 (Blachly)
Online: OR
Tickets: At the door.

Bill Murray Joins Poetry Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

Poets House
Bill Murray will be there... so it's got that going for it, which is nice.

What do $250, a love of poetry and a lifetime wish to meet Bill Murray have in common? Well, if you have all three, you might want to snag a ticket to tonight’s 15th Annual Poetry Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge.

Legendary actor Bill Murry will be joined by Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang, award-winning poets Anne Carson, Glway Kinnell and Thomas Lux, and (hopefully) you for a stroll across the famed NYC bridge. There, under the Roebling’s arches, you’ll be serenaded by the poetry of Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, Langston Hughes and other stalwarts of poetic verse.

The annual pilgrimage, which raises funds for non-profit Poets House, begins at 6:30 PM tonight in Manhattan and culminates in Brooklyn with a celebratory dinner and readings in honor of Poets House’s 2010 Elizabeth Kray Award winner, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, known for such works as A Coney Island of the Mind, Americus and Poetry as Insurgent Art.

Tickets start at $250, though Poets House members can procure them for a cool $225. Reservations are required, so give Krista Manrique a holler at 212-431-7920 (ext. 2830) if you’re interested in letting Bill Murray make your acquaintance this eve.

National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Teen Exhibition Comes to BPC

National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
Some of this year's award-winners (photo courtesy of

If you want to get a sneak peek at our nation’s next generation of great writers, painters, sculptors, fashion designers and filmmakers, here’s your chance.

The works of the teenage winners of the 2010 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards — which are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers — are on display at the World Financial Center’s Courtyard Gallery, now through June 25. For the bargain price of $0 (yes, it’s free), visitors can see film, video, animation, writing, photography, painting, sculpture, fashion, drawing, graphic design and ceramics exhibits from some of the most talented young artists around.

Continue reading Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Teen Exhibition Comes to BPC

Governors Island Concert Series

Free Governors Island Shows All Summer

Governors Island Concert Series
Free concerts? We're there! (photo courtesy of She&

You know what’s awesome? Free concerts. What’s even better? Free concerts on Governors Island, in the middle of the beautiful (but let’s face it, unswimmable) Hudson River. And what’s even better than that? Free ferry transport to the shows so you don’t have to swim across the Hudson (you can if you want to, of course — that’s your prerogative).

You’ll get everything described above thanks to this summer’s Converse-sponsored Gone to Governors live music series — held, as always, on the Beach at Governors Island — and kicking off on June 5 with a performance by alt-rock darlings Yeasayer. Things get even better from there, with a lineup that features an array of musical talent, from the indie-rock awesomeness of She & Him (featuring actress Zooey Deschanel) to the psychedelic stylings of Dr. Dog.

Continue reading Free Governors Island Shows All Summer

Iron Man 2

‘Iron Man 2’ Review: Stark Raving Good

Iron Man 2
Talk to the hand, Mickey Rourke.

When the original Iron Man blasted its way into theaters two years ago, the film — like its armored antihero — was most definitely flying below the radar. Robert Downey Jr. was not yet the roguishly charming, bankable leading man that he is today; Iron Man wasn’t exactly a superhero with a gargantuan built-in fan base like, say, Superman or Batman; and, speaking of Batman, there was that other comic-book movie, The Dark Knight, also opening in summer 2008… and the anticipation for that may have overshadowed Iron Man just a wee bit. So imagine the near universal delight of moviegoers when Downey’s bravura turn as hard-living-smartass-weapons-manufacturer-turned-not-so-secret-superhero Tony Stark helped Iron Man explode expectations, catapulting the comeback kid (well, comeback adult) back onto the A list in a big way and setting up soaring expectations for a sequel.

A couple years and one hell of a stacked cast later, that sequel has arrived, steeped in such ridiculous buzz it might seem destined to crash and burn. Well, exhale deeply and smile — because Iron Man 2 is pretty darned good. Sure, the two-hours-plus running time could have been trimmed down and the various intertwining plots wouldn’t have suffered from some tightening, but all the goods that made the original such a hoot are still there. Badass action: check. RDJ (that’s what we call Robert Downey Jr., because we’re pals) at the top of his one-liner-spewing game: check. Palpable sexual tension between Downey’s Stark and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts: definitely check.

When part two of the saga begins, Tony Stark is reveling in his newfound national-hero status. He’s basically achieved world peace and, unlike pretty much every other superhero that’s ever graced a movie screen, he’s not opposed to being worshiped for it. He’s a less altruistic Superman, he’s what Batman would be if Bruce Wayne dressed up in costume, got hammered and entertained party guests by blowing stuff up with his neat-o weapons (oh yes, that happens in this movie). Stark is happy to yell from the mountaintop — or to a Senate hearing committee chaired by Gary Shandling — that “I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one.” And that’s what makes this superhero character so intriguing: He doesn’t want an alter ego; he wants credit for his good deeds.

The witty script, from Tropic Thunder scribe Justin Theroux, highlights Stark’s lovable narcissism, giving Downey plenty of great moments for grandstanding (emphasis on the grand), at the same time that it depicts his more vulnerable side. You see, this time around Stark has three foes: Cackling Russian baddie Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), who’s got a vendetta with the Stark family, a brain as sharp as Tony’s and a weird fondness for cockatoos; rival weapons developer Justin Hammer (a comically snide Sam Rockwell); and, perhaps most lethally, toxic side effects from the very heart that’s keeping him alive.

The plot goes something like this: Vanko wants to kill Stark, so he builds his own suit in the hopes of whiplashing Tony into oblivion. Meanwhile, the U.S. government wants the Iron Man technology for itself, so it hires Hammer to work on a prototype. Vanko, in need of better resources to execute plan Obliterate Tony Stark, joins forces with Hammer, who’s the kind of guy who wipes his butt with Benjamins, eats elegant meals in airplane hangars, and wants to build a whole fleet of iron men to fight in the U.S. armed services. At the same time, Tony is living like a man with a death wish and trying to find a cure for the deadly side effects of being Iron Man. Oh, and Samuel L. Jackson still wants Tony to join the covert S.H.I.E.L.D. force, and Tony’s got a new assistant in the shapely form of Scarlett Johansson, who — surprise, surprise — is a skintight-leather-wearing undercover agent named Black Widow.

If that sounds convoluted, that’s because, well, it kind of is. But it won’t take away from your enjoyment one iota. If you liked the first one, you’ll be Stark raving mad for the second.

Get tickets for Iron Man 2 at the Regal Battery Park Stadium 11.

Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair

Families Flip for Tribeca Film Festival Street Fair

Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair
Kids were king of the (cardboard) castle at the TFF street fair.

Temperatures approaching 90 degrees couldn’t keep kids and parents from flocking to yesterday’s Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair. Thousands turned out to enjoy the festivities, which ranged from the universally fun zeppole-eating and BMX-stunt-watching to kid-centric activities such as storming a gargantuan cardboard castle, making kites and cavorting on a bouncy Coca-Cola polar bear (kind of like a bouncy castle, only shaped like the aforementioned beast instead).

The event, which took over Greenwich Street between Chambers and Harrison (as well as all the side streets) from 10 AM to 6 PM, capped 10 days of movies and free events that comprised the ninth annual Tribeca Film Fest.

ESPN Sports Day
Can I try that, Mommy?

The extravaganza kicked off with a live performance by the cast of the Broadway musical Wicked at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and only got wicked better from there. As part of ESPN Sports Day, BMX daredevil Dave Voelker was on hand with his crew of bike-riding pros to put on an aerial stunt display the likes of which had never been seen in Lower Manhattan. “Oohs” were followed by “aahs” … and questions along the lines of, “Mommy, can Daddy show me how to do that on my Schwinn?” Let’s hope he didn’t try.

Children also lined up to grab some air of their own on the numerous bouncy castles strategically positioned on just about ever side street. One was a regular old castle, another was ESPN-themed, and still another took the shape of the iconic(?) Coca-Cola polar bear.

As if that weren’t enough, there was also a Chinese parade, ESPN-sponsored games such as free-throw shooting and tee-ball, face-painting, a puppet show, and enough junk food being consumed to make all the dentists in the area smile wide. Heck, Mr. Met and his entourage were even wandering around, much to the delight of children and female Mets fanatics.

As a nice reward for parents, the festival got an adult-friendly boost at 3 PM, when Mike D of the Beastie Boys led an epic guitar jam at the Church Street School for Music and Art. All in all, it was a beast of a time.

'Please Give' cast chats at the Apple Store SoHo

‘Please Give’ Cast Pleased to Give Apple Store SoHo a Thrill

'Please Give' cast chats at the Apple Store SoHo
Oliver Platt holds court at the Apple Store.

One of the great things about the Tribeca Film Festival is that most of the movies in the lineup aren’t bloated studio blockbusters with millions of dollars of marketing budget to burn (tough break, Michael Bay). They’re smaller independent films that rely on word of mouth and dedicated tub-thumping stars to get the buzz going, which ultimately results in cool events where said tub-thumping stars mingle with the public and promote the everliving crap out of their movie.

That’s exactly what happened at the Apple Store in SoHo last night, as recognizable actors Oliver Platt (A Time to Kill), Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie) and acclaimed writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Friends With Money) gathered to chat about their new flick, Please Give, as part of TFF’s “Meet the Filmmakers” series.

Continue reading ‘Please Give’ Cast Pleased to Give Apple Store SoHo a Thrill

Zoltar predicts the future for onlookers from inside his glass box.

Hitting It Off ‘Big’-Time With Zoltar

Zoltar predicts the future for onlookers from inside his glass box.
Zoltar and his box 9 (which was in the shop), courtesy of

Not every kid grows up to confront the incarnation of his childhood nightmares — but that’s exactly what I got to do at this Friday’s Tribeca Film Festival Drive-In screening of the 1988 Tom Hanks classic, Big. You see, I was on tap to interview Zoltar (for the uninitiated, he’s the card-dispensing, wish-granting carnival mannequin from the film). And my memories of the guy were that he was trapped in a box (possibly because he was too dangerous to unleash on the public), had scary red eyes, and his mouth opened with a frightening breathing sound as he silently demanded you make your wish for a quarter. That’s pretty scary stuff for a 7-year-old kid to witness! Continue reading Hitting It Off ‘Big’-Time With Zoltar