Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, choreographer Justin Peck, musician Chris Thile and playwright Jocelyn Bioh share their must-do lists in arts, culture and dining.
By Charles Passy
Sept. 6, 2018 9:00 a.m. ET
Even high-profile New Yorkers have fall to-do lists.
That was our takeaway after talking to four such locals—a prominent chef, choreographer, musician and playwright. While they all have busy work schedules this autumn, they spoke of events they wanted to attend, attractions they intended to see and restaurants they were dying to visit.
Here is what they shared:
On her work calendar: In addition to her work with the Food Network and at her Midtown Manhattan restaurant Butter, Ms. Guarnaschelli will also be appearing at a number of autumn events, including the Great Chefs Event NYC and the New York City Wine & Food Festival.
On her fall must-do list: For Ms. Guarnaschelli, it is just not fall without a trip to Bear Mountain State Park in Rockland County. She brings along some friends and a deli lunch—Sarge’s in East Midtown is a favorite for to-go orders—and simply takes in the scenery. “If you want full-on fall foliage, you just got to go to a place like that,” she said.
Ms. Guarnaschelli also plans to get to chef Harold Moore’s fairly new West Village restaurant, Bistro Pierre Lapin. “He’s a really good old-school, stand-at-the-stove chef,” she said, adding that he offers “French cooking the way you want it to be.”
She is making sure to visit the Whitney Museum of American Art for its “Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again” exhibit. “I’ve been a passionate follower of Warhol for many years. I think it’s going to be tremendous,” she said.
On his work calendar: Fresh off his Tony Award-winning work on the Broadway revival of the musical “Carousel,” Mr. Peck will have a busy fall at the New York City Ballet, where he is resident choreographer. He has two works, “Easy” and “Pulcinella Variations,” being performed by the company during its autumn season. He also has two new pieces on tap with NYCB for 2019.
On his fall must-do list: Mr. Peck has one priority come fall: pizza. Specifically, the pizza at Una Pizza Napoletana, Anthony Mangieri’s restaurant that opened on the Lower East Side a few months ago. This is a return to New York for Mr. Mangieri, who had moved his establishment for a number of years to San Francisco, which is where Mr. Peck first became aware of the place that many foodies consider a pizza mecca. “It’s very simple with very authentic ingredients,” he said of the restaurant’s approach. But no matter how you slice it, Mr. Peck is adamant about one thing: “It’s the best pizza I’ve ever had.”
Not that Mr. Peck isn’t thinking about culture as well. He has plans to see Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Broadway.
“It has an interesting and really top-notch creative team and obviously it’s a very important piece of literature,” he said. He has a connection to the production, too, in that he worked with Ann Roth and Jennifer Tipton, its respective costume and lighting designers.
Also on Mr. Peck’s calendar: a visit to Forest Hills Stadium on Sept. 30 to catch the National, the Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band. Aside from the fact that he has collaborated with the group, he just loves the outdoor venue. “I feel like it will be a big moment” for the band, he said.
On his work calendar: Mr. Thile’s fall is highlighted by his work at Carnegie Hall, where he holds the Richard and Barbara DebsComposer’s Chair for the 2018-19 season. The mandolin player, singer and all-around musical maverick will be headlining concerts on Oct. 23 at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and Nov. 28 at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall (two performances). Mr. Thile will also be performing throughout the U.S. and Europe with his Punch Brothers group. And he continues hosting his public-radio show “Live from Here.”
On his fall must-do list: Despite how much time Mr. Thile spends on the road—or perhaps because of it—the season is all about enjoying his Brooklyn neighborhood, Carroll Gardens. That means walking the streets with his young son in the days leading up to Halloween and taking in the houses decorated in haunted themes. “He calls them ‘ghosties,’” said Mr. Thile.
It also means sitting on the back porch of his brownstone and “drinking a bunch of red wine,” he said. Mr. Thile is partial to Crush Wine & Spirits, a store in East Midtown Manhattan, for its selection. He also likes the helpful staff. “It’s not just hipsters pushing wine that tastes like pickle juice,” he said.
Mr. Thile likes to get out and hear music, too. He hopes to catch some artists during their longstanding weekly gigs. He is especially looking forward to seeing guitarist/singer (and occasional collaborator) Michael Daves at one of his regular Rockwood Music Hall Tuesday night performances on the Lower East Side. “He’s steeped in the bluegrass tradition, but he’s got this ragtag rockabilly thing going on, too,” said Mr. Thile.
On her work calendar: Ms. Bioh’s “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play,” returns to off-Broadway’s MCC Theater this October after its critically acclaimed world premiere in 2017. The production is currently playing in Los Angeles, where it runs through Sept. 30. Ms. Bioh is also busy with other dramatic efforts: She recently worked as a writer on the Netflix series, “She’s Gotta Have It.”
On her fall must-do list: Her passion for the written word notwithstanding, Ms. Bioh loves dance. Come fall, that means she is headed to New York City Center for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s annual stint, which this year marks the company’s 60th anniversary. “I just think Ailey is one of the best dance companies to ever exist and what they do is so beautiful,” said Ms. Bioh.
On the theatrical front, Ms. Bioh is looking forward to the world premiere of Donja R. Love’s two-character play “Fireflies” at the Atlantic Theater Company. Mr. Love is “a new and fresh voice” and “someone who infuses a lot of poetry into his plays,” she said.
As the weather turns more brisk, Ms. Bioh likes to head to the West Village location of Quality Eats, the creative-minded steakhouse, for some hearty fare. Her favorite menu items include the grilled bacon appetizer. “When it gets cold, it just feels like a good idea,” she said.