Posts tagged ‘​@chautauquaharborhotel’

I love Lucy’s hometown

On August 21, 1941, Frank Sinatra played the Pier Ballroom in Celoron, New York for the whopping price of $2.50 per couple. For 60 years, crowds came by trolley and steamship to this popular Moorish-style dance hall on the southwestern shore of Chautauqua Lake that also boasted the world’s largest Ferriss Wheel and a roller coaster that zipped out over the water. Chautauqua-Harbor-Hotel-1260x800

Eventually, the ballroom burnt down, the ten-story Phoenix Wheel was dismantled and this prime lakefront property, except for a few fans snapping selfies with the infamous “Scary Lucille Ball” statue, was largely forgotten.

Until now.

The new Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, evoking the grand hotels of yesteryear, is breathing life into this beautiful nine acres of Celoron shoreline. With 135 rooms and stunning views of the lake, this Four-Diamond offering even features some of the park’s old carousel horses at their outdoor bar.

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The Golden Girls, the hotel’s three concierges who grew up here, moved away and returned for their beloved hometown’s renaissance, have loads of fascinating stories and can steer guests to the tiny childhood home of Lucille Ball. As for that Scary Lucy statue, it’s still there, much to the embarrassment of locals who started a FB group in 2012 to protest, but luckily a new statue that actually looks like the First Lady of Comedy has been erected nearby. lucy4lucy

You decide!

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How many karaoke bars does it take to come up with a punchline?

Move over, drunken renditions of “Purple Rain.” The hottest new karaoke bar has neither music, nor beats.

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Rather, it’s karaoke for aspiring comics. At Jamestown, New York’s $50 million National Comedy Center, visitors can take the stage, grab the mic and try out already-successful comedy bits by their favorite comedians, from Ellen DeGeneres to Dave Chappelle. Like its  musical cousin, comedy karaoke displays lines on a screen and even adds tips on when to pause and when to wait for a laugh. Or not.

This real stand-up lounge (there’s even alcohol to assuage potential embarrassment) is one of 50 interactive exhibits at the museum recently designated by Congress as an official cultural institution.

Exhibits run the gauntlet from Chaplin’s cane to Seinfeld’s puffy shirt, from vaudeville to an adults’ only Blue Room (it’s segregated downstairs), from holograms of modern comedians performing actual sets to YouTube videos of cats. There’s even a surprise bench with a hidden whoopee cushion.
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Jamestown, the birthplace of Lucille Ball, also has an annual comedy festival, the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum and free showings of popular comedy films. Ghostbusters is on tap October 11.

National Comedy Center, 203 W 2nd Street, 716.484.2222.

Best local place to rest your weary,sore-from-laughing-body. Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, a 4-Diamond luxury hotel on the shores of historic Chautauqua Lake in Celoron, New York.