NEW YORK — Any business trip to the Big Apple can be turned into a pleasurable one if you're in the know. As the seasons change in the city, there's an air of newness and excitability that even the locals can feel. From restaurant openings to art exhibits, visitors from around the world can find something to sink their teeth into once they've left the show piers. Here, a look at some notable events and openings that coincide with the Fashion Coterie.

Garbo's Garbo
For everything Greta Garbo, look no further than the Scandinavia House. The cultural institute is giving Garbo a glamorous salute in honor of the centennial of her birth on Sunday. Visitors will see original vintage prints of large-format portraits from the Swedish actress' private collection taken by legendary Hollywood photographers such as Ruth Harriett Louise, Clarence Sinclair Bull and George Hurrell. Also on view are portraits by New York photographer Edward Steichen and the German-born photographer Arnold Genthe, one of the first photographers to capture Garbo's beauty on film. The exhibit also features photographs taken on movie sets as well as posters, lobby placards, magazines and other memorabilia.

A film series, Forever Garbo, kicks off on Saturday with a screening of "Camille," with Garbo playing the role of the doomed heroine of d'Alexandre Dumas Fils' "La Dame aux camélias." The screening will be followed by a discussion with Robert Dance and Scott Reisfield, authors of the new book "Garbo: Portraits of her Private Collection" (Rizzoli). The series was organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and is curated by Dance.
— Lauren DeCarlo

New York Philharmonic: Opening Night
In New York, legendary cultural institutions are sprinkled throughout the city and there's always something to suit one's taste on its cultural calendar. For those seeking something historical and orchestral, the New York Philharmonic will have its opening night at Lincoln Center on Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. Founded in 1842 by a group of local musicians, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S. and one of the oldest in the world. After more than 70 years in Carnegie Hall, the orchestra moved to Lincoln Center in 1962. The orchestra plays roughly 180 concerts a year, most of them in Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, during its September-to-June subscription season.On opening night, Lorin Maazel, who became music director in September 2002, will be conducting Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," as well as Richard Strauss' "Don Juan," and "Der Rosenkavalier," performed by 35-year-old Evgeny Kissin on piano.

Dazzle your date with this fun fact: Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," was Beethoven's last concerto and "Don Juan" was scored by Strauss when he was just 24 years old.

Check out for ticket information.
— L.D.

Ben & Jack's Steakhouse
The owners of the new Ben & Jack's Steakhouse restaurant are no strangers to the world of chops and porterhouses.

Owners Jack, Russ and Ben Sinanaj all formerly worked for more than a decade at the venerable Peter Luger's Steakhouse in Brooklyn. The three — Jack and Russ are brothers and Ben a cousin — pooled their life savings to open the restaurant, located on East 44th Street between Second and Third Avenues, just a few weeks ago.

"It is a dream to own our own restaurant and we looked for years to find the right location," said Ben, a native of Albania.

With its wood paneling, etched glass doors and fabric flower seats, Ben & Jack's exudes Old-World charm. The spacious 200-seat restaurant features two main dining areas and six private rooms that are nestled on a quiet block near Grand Central Terminal. While it largely caters to business clientele working nearby, Ben & Jack's also hopes to attract residents who live in the neighborhood.

"We want young women to feel comfortable coming here with their friends," Ben said.

The menu includes traditional steak favorites such as rib eye ($39.95) and a 44-oz. porterhouse for two ($75.90), as well as seafood offerings like Chilean sea bass ($29.95) and grilled yellowfish tuna ($29.95). A highlight of the menu is a salad with shrimp and bacon that comes drizzled with the restaurant's spicy signature Ben & Jack's sauce. Dessert options include hot fudge sundaes and a German-style apple strudel, and the extensive wine list includes a hearty selection of reds and whites from California, France, Italy and elsewhere.While some restaurant owners prefer to toil behind the scenes, these guys are front and center. In addition to overseeing the menu and staff, the owners also wait on and serve customers, as they did for years at Luger's.

Added Ben with a smile: "We like to see what's going on with our customers."
— Melanie Kletter

Harvest in the Square
Union Square has quietly become one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city. With Union Square Park at its core, the surrounding neighborhood has become home to some of the most regarded culinary institutes in the borough. To celebrate the neighborhood, the Union Square Partnership is hosting Harvest in the Square, a food, wine and microbrew event celebrating the very best Union Square has to offer.

On Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m., the North Plaza of the park (between 17th Street and Park Avenue South) will be transformed into a culinary feast. Chefs from more than 45 of Union Square's finest restaurants such as Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Dos Caminos, Havana Central and Tocqueville Restaurant and Wine Bar will create their finest treats for tasting — rain or shine.

Wine and beer establishments such as Corey Creek Vineyards, 71 Irving Coffee & Tea Bar and Heartland Brewery will also be on hand.

Tickets are $85 and can be purchased through Proceeds benefit the Union Square Partnership's capital campaign for the redesign of Union Square Park's North Plaza.
— L.D.

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