Category Archives: Queens

Getting Around New York City via Taxi Made Easy

Getting Around New York City via Taxi Made Easy

If you’re new in town or not a resident of the Big Apple, utilizing one its many taxis can seem tricky. Things move fast in the city, so it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle-bustle if you aren’t familiar with local customs. Taxis, however, represent one of the most common and—with a few fellow passengers—affordable transportation options available. Here’s everything you need to know about New York City taxis.

Getting Started

You’ve seen it done on TV and in movies a thousand times before: hailing a cab is as simple as extending your arm as it approaches—right? Almost; you also have to pay attention to the service light on top of the vehicle. A cab is available when only the center indicator is lit. When both the cab number and “off-duty” lamps are illuminated, that means the cab’s not taking fares. If a driver already has a fare, all lights will be dimmed.

To increase your chances of being spotted, step off the street slightly as you hail (be safe!), and stand in a good spot where the driver can accommodate you. Lastly, make sure you’re on the side of the street where traffic’s headed in the direction you need to go.

A Few General Tips

While making use of taxis in NYC is not an overly complicated process, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Traditional medallion taxis (the yellow ones) in New York City cannot be requested in advance. If you’re not up for hailing your ride, you’ll need to rely on an alternate transportation service such as a livery cab or hired car service.
  • Only up to four passengers are typically permitted in a standard-size taxi cab. Minivan-style vehicles may permit up to five individuals.
  • Children seven years of age and under are permitted to sit on the lap of an adult passenger riding in the backseat of a cab.
  • The front seat of a cab can be used by a passenger when the rear three seats are full, or when he or she is unable to access the backseat of the taxi.

Notes Regarding Fares

The distance you’re traveling is the biggest factor in what you’ll pay for a cab ride, but there are other factors which influence your final fare as well:

  • All taxi rides in NYC are subject to a minimum fare (equivalent to one mile of travel) as well as a city tax surcharge.
  • Incremental rates are applied each 1/5 mile when traveling over 6 MPH, or every two minutes when below this speed.
  • Additional surcharges apply at night and during peak weekday periods.
  • Passengers are on the hook for all road and bridge tolls (drivers are obligated to offer discounted E-Z Pass rates).
  • You may pay via cash, credit or debit card and may decline to tip (15% is customary) in the event of poor service.

 

Remember, fares are not influenced by the number of bags or total passengers, so plan your city travels strategically and enjoy the savings!

Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks in New York City Viewing Spots.

Where to Watch the ‘39th Annual Macy’s Firework Spectacular’!

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed declaring the United States independent from Great Britain. Today, in 2015 on July 4th, Americans and visitors alike, celebrate with fireworks, parades, festivals, and barbecues surrounded by friends and family. In New York City, there’s an infinite amount of different Fourth of July events going on and the one that takes the cake is certainly going to be the 39th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. It is the largest fireworks show in the United States and if you’re not here in New York City to catch it live, it is broadcasted across the United States along with tons of musical performances.

The first Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show was in 1976 in celebration of the nations’ bicentennial. Since then the show has been outdoing itself year after year. At approximately 9:20 pm on July 4th, you’ll get to see 25 minutes of fireworks in all their glory. The show will take place at two locations on the East River – the Midtown area and the South Street Seaport. This is making for a bigger show which means even more spots for everyone to view the fireworks.

With that being said, where should you watch the Macy’s 4th of July Spectacular Fireworks? Think of the Brooklyn Bridge as the centerpiece for the show, so anywhere you could see the bridge, is where you’ll have perfect sight of the fireworks. Remember, you want to grab your spot way in advance so showing up at 8:30pm is not going to work.

  • Manhattan: The FDR Drive is part of Macy’s official viewing spots. There are entry points at Broad Street (ground level), Old Slip (upper level), Pearl & Frankfort, Houston Street, 23rd Street, 34th Street, and 42nd Keep in mind these areas tend to fill up the fastest and will close as they reach capacity so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to grab a spot.
  • Brooklyn: Brooklyn Bridge Park is right under the action with the City skyline in the back drop. The good thing about this location is you could spend the afternoon there, lay some blankets down, have a picnic and as the sun starts to set, you’ll end up with a prime viewing spot.
  • Queens: Long Island City is right along the East River, and the higher you can get, the better. Queensbridge Park or any of the various parks along Center Blvd will get you in on the action. As we said, the higher the location the better – so, check to see if you can get ticket to one of the rooftop parties in the area. Both Z NYC Hotel and Ravel Hotel will be hosting exciting parties.
  • By Sea: CitySightseeing New York offers a first row seat to the fireworks along with great music, food options and a cash bar. There is no doubt it will be a night to remember.

No matter what you end of doing, thanks to Macy’s, this 4th of July is set to be an explosion of fun.

 

Spring Time Sports Games in New York City

New Yorkers have a lot of pride, there is no arguing that, especially when it comes to their beloved sports teams. New York City is the only city to have more than one team  for each of the major sports franchises – baseball, football, hockey, basketball and most recently, soccer. Although there are always sports going on year round, there is something about springtime weather that gives you that extra push to get to a game. Tourist and locals alike flock to the stadiums around the metropolitan area to get a glimpse of these iconic New York teams.

Baseball

A fresh cut field, hot dogs, family time, spring air – its all part of baseball season. The New York Yankees and New York Mets both offer up about six games a week, so you are bound to be able to catch the Bronx Bombers or the Amazin’ Mets during your time here. The Mets play at Citi Field in Queens which can easily be reached by taking the 7 train from midtown Manhattan. At this very moment they are on a nine game winning streak, so hopefully by the time you see this, Matt Harvey and the rest of the Mets have kept that going.

The New York Yankees. It doesn’t get more iconic than that thanks to the legacy they have created. The Yankees play over in the Bronx, which too is easily accessible by the train. Tickets for the Yankees will run you a little more than a Mets game but, for a way around that the bleachers aren’t a bad spot and you have a chance at catch a home run ball!

Soccer

Soccer has been in New York for a while now with the New York Red Bulls who play in New Jersey, but this year the New York City FC had their inaugural season. Although these games run on a less frequent schedule than baseball, with two teams now, you have a good chance of catching at least one. Soccer is only recently becoming more of a mainstream interest in the United States and there are many star players from Europe now taking contracts with American teams which makes these games even more exciting to watch. You can catch the New York Red Bulls playing at Red Bull Arena while NYCFC plays in Yankee Stadium.

Hockey (Playoffs)

There is no doubt hockey is a winter sport, that is until the two New York teams both make it into the playoffs. The New York Rangers and New York Islanders both have made it to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. So far, both teams are holding their own and if they both win their series, they will be playing each other in the next round. Last year, Henrik Lundqvist and the boys made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals where they were defeated by the LA Kings and this year they are back for retribution. Lets hope both teams make it to the next round, which means double the New York City area games and then you can draw your line in the sand with who you are rooting for.

 

Head over to Flushing, Queens and catch a match at the Arthur Ashe or Louis Armstrong Stadiums.

Tennis Fury: The U.S. Open is Here!

The U.S. Open has invaded New York so for the next two weeks, one can expect endless tennis talk across news providers, crowded sports bars, traffic, and A-list celebrity sightings in the city.

You may be inspired to pull out the old tennis racket or to watch Serena smash a tennis ball onto her opponent’s court. No matter the urge, New York has plenty to do during the U.S. Open which will be held every day until Monday, September 8.

If you feel so inclined (and can afford the tickets), why not attend the actual event?? Head over to Flushing, Queens and catch a match at the Arthur Ashe or Louis Armstrong Stadiums. American Express and Grey Goose have sponsored a few special on-site events for attendees including children’s activities and U.S. Open inspired cocktails.

For avid sports bar goers, events like these are yet another reason to cram into a small venue and yell in unison with strangers. Well, have no fear! Enjoy all-you-can-watch tennis matches on the best plasmas in the city at these hotspots:

  • Irish Rover This classic sports pub is located at 37-18 28th Avenue in Queens.
  • Rock McBride’s Also located in Queens, you can’t beat the most friendly neighborhood bar (with the best Happy Hour in Astoria). 27-01 23rd Avenue
  • Legends Heralded as best sports bar in Midtown, this casual bar is a must if you want to stay in the city. 6 West 33rd Street

No worries—there are a few family-friendly viewing options as well. Bryant Park will host U.S. Open watch parties daily 11AM to 1PM and 7PM to 9PM on the Southwest Porch. Brooklyn Bridge Park (Harbor View Lawn) will also host special viewing on a big projector screen daily at 11AM.

If you want to get more active, try hitting a tennis court! Take a lesson at Midtown Tennis Club or find some friendly competition on a public court in the city.

There are lots of ways to feel a part of this year’s U.S. Open! Be sure to use GO Airlink for your transportation needs to Queens during the next two weeks.

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is Here!

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is Here!

The 24th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is commencing this weekend, with two full days of free events! This year there will be a record number of 188 teams participating in the traditional dragon boat races. In addition to the 2500 participants, festival organizers are preparing for more than twice the amount of attendees over the weekend.  Here’s a rundown of everything to ensure you have all your ducks in order for a fun weekend.

When: August 9 – 10, 2014

Where: Meadow Lake, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens

Event Schedule

August 9:

  • 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM: Chinese Music Ensemble of New York
  • 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Opening Ceremonies
  • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: American Tap Dance Foundation
  • 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: CASYM Steel Orchestra
  • 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Shaolin Masters and students from the Flushing, NY Temple perform martial arts

August 10:

  • 10:30 AM – 11:45AM: Tamika Lawrence and band.
  • Noon – 12:45 PM: Wing Tsun martial art performance
  • 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM: Rectifist and friends- a New York City Band
  • 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM: Rob Lok International Purveyor of Comic Visual Action & Ocular Business
  • 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM: Mawuena Kodjovi West African melodies and dances
  • 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM: Shaolin Masters and students from the Flushing, NY Temple perform martial arts.

Other Important Details

Food: There will be a food court with a host of vendors at the festival. Attendees will have the opportunity to indulge in traditional Chinese cuisine including fish balls, edamame, dumplings and an assortment of noodles with different sauces.

How to get there: It is okay to drive but be aware that there is NO parking available unless you have a parking pass. If traveling by train, take the train to Mets-Willets Point station, where you will be able to transfer to the special event bus. You can also take the , , or trains to the train.

For more information about the festival, visit http://www.hkdbf-ny.org/!