By Scott Etkin and Lisa Kava
Playday, an art center for kids, is opening at 469 Amsterdam between 82nd and 83rd Streets. Playday offers creative classes — including everything from sculpture and weaving to knitting and graphic design — for children in different age groups, from toddlers through high schoolers. There will be programs during the day, after school, birthday parties on weekends, and camp during the summer.
“The idea [for Playday] came from not being happy with the art my children were doing in school,” said founder and CEO Gregory Okshteyn, who went to high school nearby at the Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, and has a background in architecture. He opened the first Playday in Long Island City in 2017 — the Upper West Side will be its fifth location (he noticed families from the UWS were making the trek to LIC). Playday will host an open house on May 20th and 21st and classes are already available to book starting the following day (reservations are made online). Class sizes range from 15 to 20 students, said Gergory. “All of our instructors are highly trained, professional artists [and] very passionate about education.”
Aquarius Hardware, the longtime supply store at 601 Amsterdam (between 89th and 90th Streets), is closing this August. Aquarius has been at this location for 25 years and seven more at 86th Street, Leo, the manager, told the Rag. He said that slow business and high rent – plus the challenge of being in a space that’s large for a hardware store – are the reasons for the closing. He mentioned that the landlord might split the space into two storefronts after the closing. (Thanks to Ken for the tip.)
Ellington in the Park, the seasonal outdoor restaurant in Riverside Park, reopened on April 26th. The cafe overlooks the sand volleyball courts and monkey rings on 105th Street (the closest entrance is the stairs on 103rd Street and Riverside Drive). Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., though they may be adjusted due to weather. “We’re excited to reopen Ellington in the Park and look forward to serving-up our comfort-food-driven dishes as well as our list of refreshing cocktails, wines and spirits,” said owner Glenda Sansone, who also runs its sister restaurant, Ellington on Broadway. “We will also introduce live music for June/July/August and guests can look forward to exciting performances from up-and-coming artists.” (Thanks to Karen for the tip.)
Cologo Nail Spa at 2566 Broadway between 96th and 97th Streets has closed due to a disagreement about the lease, the manager told West Side Rag. The owner is looking for a new spot in the area and has identified a space just a few blocks away but has not yet signed a new lease, the manager said. They hope to reopen at the new space within the next few months. (Thanks to Valoree for the tip.)
Pop’s Pizza has opened at Turnstyle, the underground market in the Columbus Circle subway station. “Pop’s Pizza is bringing some of the most unique square pizza pies,” owner Nav Singh wrote in an email to West Side Rag. In addition to classic square pies, Pop’s Pizza offers specialty pizzas such as classic ravioli, fig and honey, and spicy chicken parmesan. There is also a vegan pizza. All pizza sauces – including marinara, buffalo and vodka sauces – are made from scratch, Singh told the Rag. The pizza shop’s original location at 301 West 57th Street remains open and serves only traditional thin crust pizza.
Chick’nCone, a chain that serves handheld chicken and waffles, has also opened at Turnstyle. Chick’nCone’s signature dish puts a twist on a classic by putting chicken nuggets inside of waffle cones, owner Valerissa wrote to the Rag. They also serve chick’nSandwiches on a brioche bun, Caj’nFries (shoestring French fries with Cajun seasoning), kid’s meals and a variety of side dishes, including Caj’n Corn and baked macaroni and cheese.