Podcasts

Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

Spotlight

“Up on the Roof” Visit NYC’s Faves for Views, Drinks, Food and Hospitality

06/29/2024

Rooftop bars are beckoning you for the most memorable summertime soirees. There’s nothing better than looking out over the city from some of the highest points and enjoying a refreshing drink and delicious bites while experiencing soft breezes. Check out our Top 10! These venues are totally Instagrammable.

Balcón Rooftop Bar – Located at The Marmara Park Avenue on East 32nd Street, it’s the place where you can relish a delightful cocktail program along with delicious artisanal cheeses, charcuterie and small plates, and handcrafted cocktails while taking in the breathtaking views. The wrap around balcony on the 20th floor has intimate table space along with comfy couches for all size parties.

The Roof at Public Hotel – With breathtaking views of the greatest city in the world, The Roof’s decor features an industrial and chic minimalist backdrop, white plush seating, and abundant greenery. They have kicked off the Sun Club. Soak up the sun with a $25 day pass that is complimentary for hotel guests. It includes Wi-Fi and an all day menu with delicious pastries, sandwiches, and drinks. 

Starchild Rooftop – Located at The Civilian Hotel on West 48th Street just off Broadway, the elevated bar and lounge experience on the 27th floor offers spacious seating options with sweeping views of midtown and the Hudson River. Gather your group and visit before or after the show.

Monarch Rooftop – Just steps from Herald Square on West 35th Street, this rooftop boasts an indoor and outdoor bar, deep comfy couches, and a menu of small plates to enjoy with your libations. It is so close to the Empire State Building, there are photographical views of the iconic skyscraper.

Harriet’s Rooftop – Located at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge on the 10th floor, Harriet’s is an elegant rooftop known for its panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge, The venue is perfect for a night of craft cocktails and delectable light bites with your besties or make it a date night. Check out their music schedule too.

Brooklyn Chop House Located on West 47th Street in Manhattan, Brooklyn Chop House has extensive rooftop bar, complete with elegant lighting, a retractable glass roof, and live greenery that lines the walls and ceilings for an elegant and relaxing visit before or after dinner.

Time Out New York Rooftop – In the heart of Dumbo, Brooklyn, this is the place where you can relax while indulging in food and drink from culinary experts.  Time Out New York is a favorite destination of New Yorkers and many more.  Find out what all the buzz is about.

Haven Rooftop – At the top of the Sanctuary Hotel in the heart of the Theater District, Haven Rooftop is a year-round venue that offers their guests delectable modern American cuisine and tasty handcrafted cocktails.  You’ll enjoy the stellar views of Midtown Manhattan’s skyline at their 2,500 square foot space. It’s so convenient when you are planning to see a show on the Great White Way.

Somewhere NowhereThis two-level indoor lounge and open air rooftop pool venue is at the top of the Renaissance NYC Clelsea Hotel on 25th Street.  The venue is on the 38th and 39th floors with panoramic views as far as the eye can see.  Kick back after work or on weekends to enjoy creative cocktails, tapas, and dance to the live music.  

230 FifthOpen 7 days a week on the 20th floor of 230 Fifth Avenue it is a venue that is open all year long. The penthouse bar and lounge features a rooftop garden, live music, craft drinks, globally inspired bites, and weekend brunches. 

Top photo: Bigstock

Jean Smart Battles for Laughs in Hacks

06/08/2022

The third season of Hacks is now streaming on MAX.

Jean Smart is on a roll. Known for breaking out as Charlotte in the sitcom Designing Women, which ran on CBS from 1986 to 1991, she is now winning raves, nominations, and awards for her performances on streaming series. On HBO, she plays Kate Winslet’s mother in Mare of Easttown and a superhero turned FBI agent in Watchman. But it’s in HBO Max’s Hacks that Smart takes center stage, both literally and figuratively, as an aging standup comedian in Las Vegas trying to keep her act going and the laughs coming.

Jean Smart

Deborah Vance (Smart) has enjoyed a long residency at Vegas’ Palmetto Hotel, managed by one of her former lovers, Marty Ghilain (Christopher McDonald). While Deborah can still attract older fans and tourists, Marty is looking to make a change. Deborah’s agent, Jimmy LuSaque (Paul W. Downs), is tasked with getting Deborah to update her act. To work with Deborah, Jimmy proposes one of his other clients, Ava Daniels (Hannah Embinder), a young comedy writer who lost a TV deal after she made an offensive joke on Twitter. Neither woman, however, is open to the idea. But with Deborah facing eviction from the Palmetto, and Ava unable to get work, they reluctantly team up.

Ava may be persona non grata in L.A., but she’s a fish out of water in Vegas. Arriving at Deborah’s mansion, she’s a bit overwhelmed, but not intimidated. The two women trade barbs and Deborah, recognizing talent when she hears it, takes Ava on, asking her to write some jokes. Deborah doesn’t use any during her next performance. Ava thinks that getting to know Deborah would help her craft jokes in the comic’s voice. Deborah suggests a road trip so they can talk, but the outing ends badly when their car gets a flat. Deborah is picked up in a helicopter, leaving Ava in the dessert to mind the car and wait for road service.

Jean Smart and Hannah Embinder

Ava can’t afford to quit so returns to the mansion the next day, only to have Deborah ask her to catalog the many tapes and DVDs stored in the basement. What begins as a tedious task, turns into a revelation for Ava. She begins to appreciate Deborah’s talents and the battles she waged to stay relevant. At one point she was being talked about as the first woman to host a late night talk show. When that dream died, along with her marriage and the relationship with her only sister, she had to fight for her career and her personal life. Collateral damage is her only daughter, DJ (Caitlin Olsen), who has been in and out of rehab. 

Megan Statler and Paul W. Downs

Once Ava learns about Deborah’s life, she suggests building a show around that history. While Deborah suffered many setbacks, Ava believes her fans will welcome her candor. And, of course, even the sad moments can be milked for humor. Getting that show right, however, will take hard work, more misses than hits, and Deborah and Ava’s relationship will be tested to the breaking point. 

Smart gets a chance to display her comedic talents, not only during those standup routines, but in her interactions with Ava and others. Embinder goes toe to toe with Smart, making Ava believable and someone we can root for. Ava learns more about standup comedy, while Deborah grapples with cultural issues with Ava as her guide.

Christopher McDonald and Carl Clemons-Hopkins

The two strong leads are backed up with a strong supporting cast. As Deborah’s COO, Marcus, Carl Clemons-Hopkins expertly captures the struggle as a gay man trying to succeed in Deborah’s chaotic world, while also creating a social life. Poppy Liu nails Kiki, Deborah’s quirky personal blackjack dealer. As Jimmy, Downs is the agent with a heart, something that keeps him honest, but guarantees he won’t rise to the top at his competitive talent agency. He’s helpless when the top boss saddles him with his ditsy daughter, Kayla (a fabulous Megan Statler).

Credit goes to the production team beginning with series creators Lucia Aniello, Downs (wearing another hat), and Jen Statsky, who hit on themes that will resonate with women (and men) who feel taken for granted and marginalized, no matter their age or field. Vegas has never looked better, the strip’s hotels shining and beckoning anyone who is brave enough to dream. And the costumes, particularly those worn by Smart, capture the glitz of Vegas without going over the top.

The series has not yet been renewed for a third one. Although season two concluded with an ending that tied up some loose ends, there are so many places the writers can take these characters. We want more! More of Hacks and truly, more of Smart. 

Hacks can be streamed on Max.

Photos courtesy of Max