Tomorrow brings the running of the 135th Kentucky Derby!

STUCK IN NYC FOR THE BIG DAY? Freelance food writer and New Orleans native Ashley Fryer has celebration tips no matter what your budget:

The Kentucky Derby…it’s the one day of the year that it’s perfectly normal to don an overtly garish bonnet and sip straight Bourbon (with a little sugar and mint thrown in for a bit of flavor). Don’t have thousands of dollars to transport yourself from the streets of the Big Apple to the grandstands of the Big Race? No worries. Here are three options to celebrate quite possibly the best marriage of sport, gambling, and hedonistic celebration ever created:

ONE: If you’re all for dolling it up and living large, Esquire has partnered with Eleven Madison Park to throw a swanky celebration of the race, complete with a cigar lounge, open bar, live Derby coverage, and Chef Daniel Humm’s spin on “Derby cuisine.” Cost is $250 per person all-in (including gratuity). For reservations visit the restaurant’s site and for more information, email or check out their Facebook page.

TWO: If beer and betting is more your style, you’re in luck. The Playwright Irish Pub on West 35th St. not only serves up Irish fare and stout, but is lucky enough to be the only Manhattan bar sanctioned by NYC OTB. Adorned with more than 70 flat screen TVs (there’s really not a bad seat in the bar), the best part of The Playwright on Derby Day are the 2-person betting windows and electronic kiosks. Want to throw down a last-minute trifecta before post time? No problem! Pick up your pint and saunter over to those who are happy to take your money. There’s no cost to reserve a table, but plan to block out your afternoon if you’d like a guaranteed place to sit. The Playwright is accepting reservations only before 1 PM, and post time is set for just after 6 PM. Five hours of mint julep tailgating = not for the faint of heart! Call 212-268-8868 for reservations or more information.

THREE: Finally, if you’re looking for the recession redux version of a Kentucky Derby party, why not bring the Derby to you? Dig through your closet to find an old hat (or anything you can wear on your head), mix up a batch of mint juleps using the official Churchill Downs recipe, place your bets via Twin Spires (the Derby’s official wagering site) and enjoy front-row viewing from the comfy-ness of your own couch. NBC’s coverage begins at 4 PM Eastern, and post time is set for 6:10 PM on the dot.

WHEN IN KENTUCKY: Now, if you are lucky enough to be in Kentucky tomorrow, local artist Natasha Sud (aka “The Lady of Assemblage”) shares the inside scoop what’s really ‘hood in Louisville:

Sweet, sweet Louisville! This weekend is the Kentucky Derby and things are already starting to get crazy. If coming to town now or ever, check out these people, places and things:



The Seelbach

Galt House

The Brown Hotel




Bourbon’s Bistro

Mayan Cafe

El Mundo

Vietnam Kitchen

Havana Rumba

Cumberland Brews


Nach Bar

The Back Door


The Swan Dive: ( Swan St. / no website)

Cumberland Brews

LISTEN – Louisville is obviously known for its music scene. We have had a lot of great bands come out of here: Slint, Will Oldham, MMJ, etc etc. Here are some from the next wave:

Wax Fang

Joe Manning

Health and Happiness Gospel Band


Dot Fox

Why Louisville

The Makery

Ear X Tacy

Wild and Wooly

Louisville Antique Mall

YOGA: Eternal Health

GUITARS Guitar Emporium

THEATERS: Baxter Ave and Village 8

“The Lady of Assemblage” is Natasha Sud, a Russian native who grew up in Louisville and recently moved back there after seven years in Los Angeles. The Lady makes collages and loves photography. She has shown her work in many solo and group shows and festivals. She also designed the two album covers for The Watson Twins. Check her out at and

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