Category Archives: Thing to Do

This Fall, New York City offers plenty of fun events, free of charge.

Fun Fall Free Events in New York City

This fall, New York City offers plenty of fun events, free of charge. Surprisingly, there are many activities this season that are both enjoyable and easy on your wallet.

  1. MoMA (11 W 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Aves)

Manufacturer and sponsor UNIQLO offers free admission to the Museum of Modern Art every Friday from 4:00pm-8:00pm, which is a great deal compared to its usual $25 fee. If you’re craving some beauty and culture, head on down to one of the city’s most popular museums. The museum suggests you arrive before 6:00pm to avoid long lines.

  1. Oktoberfest NYC (Watermark -Pier 15, 8 South Street)

You don’t have to travel to Munich to enjoy Oktoberfest! From October 4th-7th and October 11th-14th you can enjoy Oktoberfest right here in NYC. Admission is free to this family friendly event at Watermark Pier. They’ll be beer, pretzels, brats and everything Oktoberfest for sale but the stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn are free!

  1. TCS New York City Marathon  (Verrazano-Narrows Bridge)

If you’re cheap and active, register for this year’s New York City Marathon on November 4th. More than 200,000 people join in on this exciting event each year, including people of all ages. You can join in on the race for a fun block party or you can compete for prizes of up to $100,000. Whether you’re in it to win it or simply want the bragging rights for finishing a 26.2 mile run, the NYC Marathon isn’t something you want to miss.

  1. Central Park Tour: Conservatory Garden (East Side from 104th-106th Streets. Enter at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street, or 106th Street gate inside the Park)

Get a chance to enjoy nature and learn about hundreds of trees, flowers, and shrubs that beautify Central park’s Conservatory Garden this October 29, from 1:00pm-1:15 pm. A tour guide will walk you through the stunning landscape that the park’s horticulturists maintain, and it’s all free of charge.

  1. Village Halloween Parade (6th Avenue from Spring to 16th Street)

This year’s 42nd Annual Parade will be on October 31 at 7pm. Only people in costume are invited to attend one of New York’s largest events. There will be hundreds of puppets, 53 bands, dancers and artists, and thousands of other New Yorkers. Those in costume can lineup for the parade between 6:30pm and 8:30pm.

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

Tips for Fourth of July Travel in New York City

Ah, there’s nothing like summer in the City. What better time to experience the Big Apple than the Fourth of July? With fireworks booming over the city and illuminating the skyline, you’ll really feel like you’re in the greatest city on earth.

But holiday travel, especially from Manhattan to JFK or Laguardia and vice versa, can be the rain on your parade if you don’t plan carefully on a popular holiday like the 4th of July. Take these travel tips to heart to make the most of your Fourth of July adventure.

Decide Where to Watch the Fireworks in Advance
With so many people vying for a good spot to watch the famed Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks, you don’t want to get caught in the crowds! Decide in advance where you’ll watch the fireworks and plan to get there well before dusk.

This year’s display will once again be launched on the East River, with several official viewing areas located along FDR Drive . These can be accessed from Houston Street, 23rd Street, 34th Street, and 42nd Street in Midtown or Broad Street, Old Slip, and Pearl & Frankfort in Lower Manhattan. These entry points open at 7 PM, but you’ll probably need to arrive several hours in advance to secure a spot.

Some other popular viewing areas that may be a bit less chaotic include Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO, the Brooklyn Promenade, Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken, and Roosevelt Island’s Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park.

Pack Light to Travel Easily
Now that you know you should plan to arrive early to catch the fireworks, you’re probably wondering what you should bring to keep yourself entertained and comfortable all day. But keep in mind that this is one of those situations where less is more. So leave the portable grill at home!

In fact, in official viewing areas, you won’t be allowed to bring in large backpacks, lawn chairs, or other bulky items — and police say they will be checking bags. Plus, if you’re planning to do some sightseeing during the day, you won’t want to be lugging around everything but the kitchen sink.

Pack as light as possible, but don’t forget the essentials. Water, sunscreen, snacks and a blanket should definitely make it onto your list.

From Manhattan to JFK in a Cinch
When it’s time to leave the city, you won’t want your glorious holiday marred by a disastrous trip from Manhattan to JFK, Laguardia or Newark. With everyone flocking to get out of the city, travel to the airport can be chaotic.

Make your travel a whole lot easier by booking a car service or an airport shuttle in advance, with easy pick up anywhere in Manhattan and drop off right at your terminal. It’s a lot more affordable than you’d think — especially if you’re willing to hop on a shuttle with some fellow travelers.

But the best part is that it’s truly the most convenient way to travel, especially from Manhattan to JFK. Book your car before you go and you’ll have one less thing to think about. Instead of worrying about flagging down a cab or cramming into a hot subway car with sweaty passengers, spend every minute of your Fourth of July holiday enjoying the spirit of NYC.

5 Tips for Visiting New York City this Summer

The summer season is an exciting time in New York City, with endless things to do and see. Have a picnic in Central Park, spend an evening relaxing on a rooftop bar, or dance the day away at one of the city’s many festivals or concerts.

When you travel to New York City this summer, take advantage of these travel tips to make sure your NYC adventure is one you’ll treasure for years to come.

1. Visit some of the city’s best public parks
Enjoy the summer sun in one of NYC’s finest urban parks. In addition to Central Park, Manhattan’s infamous 843-acres oasis, NYC boasts a bunch of free outdoor spaces to relax, have a picnic, read a book, or even rent a canoe! Visit Brooklyn Bridge Park – complete with waterfront esplanades, a famous old carousel, and sports fields or take a walk along The High Line, an elevated park on Manhattan’s West Side built on an abandoned train track.

2. Make transportation easier with JFK car service
Navigating through hordes of traffic and waiting on hot subway platforms can put a damper on an otherwise perfect trip…even before it starts! Get to and from the airport with ease by taking advantage of JFK car service. Get picked up in a modern and chic black car that’s waiting for you when you arrive. Your car will take you right to your destination, whether that’s a hotel, a museum, or one of those public parks. It’s an affordable and stress-free way to kick off your NYC trip.

3. Try to catch one of these free festivals or shows
There’s a lot to celebrate in NYC this summer. See if you can catch one of the many free, outdoor music and cultural festivals. Start with Coney Island’s one-of-a-kind Mermaid Parade, the nation’s largest art parade on June 17th. Or check out Bastille Day on July 14th in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill to enjoy the flavors, sounds and spirit of France. There’s also a whole host of recurring shows happening all summer long, like Shakespeare in the Park, Outdoor Movie Night in Randall’s Island Park, or any of the Lincoln Center’s annual lineup, like Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

4. Check out one of these rooftop bars
Spend a night out on the town and experience the city after dusk the New Yorker way – at one of the city’s many swanky rooftop bars and lounges. Hang out with the locals at St. Cloud Social atop the Knickerbocker Hotel. Watch the buzz below with a cocktail in hand from a serene spot tucked away in lush greenery. To get out of Manhattan and still snag the best views, try Westlight atop Williamsburg’s flashy William Vale hotel or Penthouse 808 in Long Island City.

5. Feast on NYC’s finest food
Despite the prevalence of glitzy restaurants and bars, NYC’s food scene is simple at heart. There are some NYC staples that you shouldn’t miss out on this summer – and they won’t break the bank. Try custard-based homemade ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery, make a breakfast of bagels and lox from Zabar’s on the Upper West Side (and pick up some black and white cookies while you’re there, too!), grab a slice from Joe’s Pizza on Bleeker Street, or discover have one of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs at the original location, complete with sauerkraut, red onions, cheese and chili.

Now you’re ready to make the most of your time in New York City this summer. Enjoy the public parks and outdoor shows, experience the luxe lounges and casual eats, and start your trip off the right way by booking your JFK car service in advance. The more you prepare before your trip, the less you’ll have to worry about when you’re exploring the Big Apple.

Fall Foliage

It’s Almost Fall in New York City!

With so much going on in a city that never slumbers, it’s hard to plan your Fall excursions. Here are some exciting ways to spend your getaway.

  • Fall Foliage – Take in New England’s natural beauty during its most prized time of year. Blade, bike, or simply wander beneath the autumn foliage in Central Park, a prime location to view the season at its finest. Stop by the New York Botanical Garden, home to some of the city’s oldest living trees.  NYBG also offers the Haunted Pumpkin Garden (September 17th – October 30th), where award-winning sculptors carve the country’s largest pumpkins into masterpieces.
  • Cider Week – Cider is the flavor of Fall. From October 21-30th, NYC restaurants host a week where you can sip on New England’s finest cider ales, from Foggy Ridge Cider to Farnum Hill. Eateries such as Murray’s Cheese Bar and Astor Center offer tastings of this Fall staple as well as pairings of cheese and pasta dishes.
  • Halloween – Get your costume ready! New York’s Halloween Parade is one of the biggest annual events in New York, with over 50,000 witches, vampires and ghouls who attend each year. Bands and dancers will be performing as well as talented artists. If you want a more family-friendly holiday outing, Boo at the Zoo at the Bronx Zoo is a spooktacular experience. There will be a hay ride, face painting, storytelling, exciting creatures and more fun activities for the family to enjoy.
  • Macy’s Day Parade –  November will be here before you know it, and that means Thanksgiving! This parade is an annual tradition that presents monstrous balloons of every popular cartoon character you can think of, from Pikachu to Spiderman. On ground level you can see cheerleaders, clowns, floats, and celebrities. Before you stuff your face this Thanksgiving, venture on over to a world-renowned New York experience.
  • Film Festivals – New York City offers an endless array of film festivals in the Fall. The New York Film Festival takes place from September 30—October 16th and showcases work from film legends. The festival is celebrating its 54th year of bringing the spotlight too films both big and small.

A Closer Look: The Empire State Building

If you want to “feel the heart of New York City”, there is one place you need to visit – the Empire State Building. The building was constructed in 1931 on the 33rd and 34 Streets of 350 Fifth Avenue. It was constructed with only a little below $41 million dollars which is equivalent to almost $700 million dollars present day. This gem of New York City was the tallest building in the world when it was completed and up until the recent completion of One World Trade, was the tallest building in New York City.

The opening of the building coincided with the period of the Great Depression. A lot of people were thus, not able to afford to rent spaces in the building. This was further compounded by the fact that it was not easily accessible by public transportation. A lot of people living in New York were simply not interested in renting the building. It wasn’t until around 1951, before the Empire State building really opened up and began to yield profits.

The Empire State Building also features some decks for observation which tourist’s visits regularly. The decks are reputed to be among the most famous attractions for tourists worldwide. In actual terms, there are two of these decks. One of the observation decks is located on the 86th floor while the second deck is located on the 102nd. The deck for observation located on the 86th floor features 360 degree views which allows an uninterrupted, clear view of the whole city of New York. There is also an optional audio tour of the city of New York on this floor, which tells you which gives you information about what you are seeing throughout the deck.

Now you might be wondering what exactly is above the 102nd floor. On the 102nd floor there is a door that leads up to the top and final, 103rd floor. This is one of the most exclusive areas of the building and was initially designed as a disembarkation floor for airships. Since then it is mainy used for when celebrities visit and the occasional movie filming. On this floor there is also access to the spire. This entrance and the staircase that leads up the spire, is used for maintenance work only.

If you are planning to visit New York City anytime soon, then the Empire State building is one of the sites you must visit. You can purchase tickets here and don’t forget to spot some other famous sights while you are up there, like Central Park, Times Square and even the Brooklyn Bridge.

Sightseeing winter in New York City

Sightseeing During the Winter in New York City

The holidays may be over, but that doesn’t mean your sightseeing has to end! New York City has so much to offer in every season, especially in the winter. From free ice skating at Bryant Park (bring your own, or rent skates!) to taking a long leisurely stroll through the MET, there is something for everyone.

During the winter, the cities skyscrapers look especially magical; this is why we suggest checking out the Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock Observatory. The NYC skyline is one of the best views in the world. People come from all over the world to see this wonderful city light up, and with the Observatory being open until Midnight; your big city dreams can come true, 850 feet above street level. Tip: Go right before sunset. This way you can see the city during the day and night, and have photos to share for years to come.

As the snow continues to fall, and the days stay chilly, it’s always smart to have a backup sightseeing plan! Some days you may not want to be as tall as the buildings, and that’s why visiting Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is a great alternative! The museum has over 200 wax figures resembling some of your favorite celebrities. Did you know that the artists apply each hair by hand, and celebrities often donate their own clothes for the display? Hours upon hours go into each figure; it’s a site to see for yourself!

See New York City on a Budget

See New York City on a Budget

See New York City on a Budget

New York City is definitely one destination that must be on every traveler’s bucket list. However, far too many are scared away from the prospect of visiting the Big Apple by the costs. They hear horror stories about hundred-dollar cab rides and paying $5 for a hot dog, and immediately write their dreams of visiting NYC off. The sad part about all of this is that it doesn’t have to be this way. From finding discounted tickets to Broadway shows or utilizing the NYC Share Ride Shuttle, taking in New York City on a budget isn’t much of a challenge at all.

Tips to Save a Few Bucks on Your Travels

Now, if you’re like many of those wanting to visit NYC, than you’ve convinced yourself into thinking that the only way to get the full experience is to splurge. Yet if you truly want to experience New York as a New Yorker would, then you’ll look for ways to save a buck and avoid the traditional tourist traps. With that in mind, here are some tips from the locals on how to enjoy New York without needing to take out a second mortgage:

  • Save on your accommodations: If you’re looking to spend $300+ per night on a hotel room, than New York can certainly accommodate you. However, any resident will be quick to point out that the view of Central Park you get from the ground level is just as good as the one available from some of the city’s swankier hotel rooms. Thus, they recommend saving on your lodging when you can. Hit the Internet and look for travel sites that offer discount rooms. Avoid traveling during the holiday season and at other times when you know hotel costs will be outrageous. You may even want to look into a hosting service where actual residents are willing to let you crash on their couches.
  • Know how to get around: Some may say that no trip to New York is complete without hailing one of the city’s famous yellow cabs. Just know that a ride is going to cost you, especially if you happen to get stuck in midday traffic. New York City has the one of the most famous subway systems in the world; don’t be afraid to use it. Or, if you prefer, try any of the city’s ride share shuttle services. They get you to where you need to go just as quick as a cab, and for only $5-$10 per ride, sharing your journey with others is well worth it.
  • Use your sightseeing budget wisely: There are, of course, certain landmarks that must be seen in the city, each of which charges admission. However, with a prepaid New York City Pass, you’re granted access to more than 50 of the city’s most popular attractions, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Radio City Music Hall, and Madison Square Garden. Want to see a show? Get up early one morning and head to any of the TKTS booths in Times Square. They sell tickets for day-of performances for up to a 25-50 percent discount.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the only way you’ll ever be able to visit New York City is to blow your kid’s college fund. There are ways to enjoy all of the sights and the sounds of The City That Never Sleeps on virtually any budget. So stop worrying about breaking the bank; your dream vacation is much more attainable than you think.

SoHo Neighborhood Guide NYC

Neighborhood Guide: SoHo

When you are making your way around the city and start to see streets that are flagged with artistic stones, buildings that look like well-preserved antiques and boutiques that fit almost every fashion style you can think of – you are in SoHo. This historic area has become a shopping mecca for natives and tourist alike as the streets are always buzzing especially on holidays and weekends. A lot of people come to New York just to hit this 26 block neighborhood which packs more than you can imagine onto every street.

SoHo is a shoppers’ haven as the area is surrounded by high-end, specialty and other types of boutiques (including a shop that has fossil jewelry and scorpion paper weights). There is no doubt why New Yorkers describe SoHo as a place where people go for shopping. There are a lot of designer stores in SoHo including Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Coach and Burberry. Other major stores in SoHo include Banana Republic, UNIQLO, American Eagle, J Crew and H&M.

Food is another factor that makes SoHo desirable. SoHo has a lot of restaurants many of which have a 4 star and 5 star reputation. Some restaurants in SoHo include Fiamma Osteria, Mercer Kitchen, Lure Fishbar and Balthazar amongst others. These restaurant tend to be on the higher price scale, so they are definitely hot spots you should look into for Restaurant Week.

In terms of accommodations, there are different parts of SoHo you might choose to stay in and a lot of this depends on your budget. You could get a place in Central SoHo if you want to pretend to reside next to the rich and the famous for a few days. The area is very active and living in this part puts you right in the center of all the action when you stay at hotels like Trump SoHo or The Mercer Hotel. However if you don’t want to empty your wallet on a hotel room, look more towards Western SoHo where you should be able to get a good deal at the Courtyard or Four Points by Sheraton.

SoHo nightlife will want you to continue having fun until the sun comes up. Some of these spots include Grand Bar, Cipriani SoHo, Grand Hotel, Park and S.O.B. amongst others. The great thing about night life in SoHo, is just like the fashion shops, there is something for everyone. You could be looking for a piano bar, a themed bar, or if you love a good party, there are plenty of dance clubs – so you just need to find what is right for you.

Oh and we can’t forget – do you know what exactly SoHo means? It is just a play-off of its location, ‘South of Houston’.

NYC Summer Restaurant Week is Back!

NYC Restaurant Week 2015 is back once again to brighten our summer even more. Twice a year you don’t have to worry about spending an outrageous amount of money in New York City’s finest restaurants. Instead you worry about how you’re going to decide on which hot spots and hidden gems to go to during the almost month long foodie celebration. You’ll need to come up with a strategic plan on how to sift through the over 350 restaurants to make sure your cover all basis.

So what exactly is the deal?

The deal, is a big deal – 3 courses for either $25 during lunch and $38 during dinner. Some of the restaurants run the special with no restrictions others have ‘lunch only’ or ‘not valid on Saturdays’. You have plenty of time to get the most deals you can, Restaurant “Week” is more like Restaurant “Month” running from July 20th to August 14th.

Reservations

If you are looking to hit some of the more popular spots like Mercer Kitchen, The Palm Court or Mr. Chow, you’ll need to already have reservations or be okay with eating at 10:00pm. These are definitely restaurants that have coveted seats, and not only during Restaurant Week. Our advice when it comes to these hard to book places, is to wait until the day of and wait on any cancellations. Using OpenTable is an easy way to keep check up on this and book a table as soon as you find a match.

Restaurants

With there being over 350 restaurants, it’s hard to cover them all but here are some suggestions you should put towards the top of your 2015 list.

David Burke Kitchen – One of our personal favorites, this creative menu takes ordinary food and gives it the perfect amount of “umph”. Located on Grand Street, this restaurant offers a country-barn-loft feel and offers indoor or outdoor dining. The menu includes rustic but modern dishes like Skuna Bay Salmon Tartare and Creekstone Farms Beef Short Rib.

Lure Fishbar – This upscale fish restaurant will let your try top of the line food without causing your wallet to explode. Lure has one of the most coveted tables during Restaurant Week because where else are you going to get an Oyster Sampler, Nori Crusted Tuna and Valrhona Chocolate Cake for just $38? Keep in mind you are getting a deal with your meal, so when you see the drink menu is $16 and up, don’t panic.

STK Midtown – Although STK only offers a lunch menu for Restaurant Week, there is no reason not to schedule your client meetings here. This hot spot takes your traditional steakhouse and brings it up a notch with a cool, high-energy vibe. Offering their Classic Burger, Confit Chicken Sandwich and Pan Seared Branzino, this menu appeals to everyone.

Time is ticking, do your research, choose wisely and make 2015 NYC Restaurant Week reservations!

Madison Square Garden Events (Summer/Fall)

One of the best and historic sports, music and entertainment venues is located right here in New York City – Madison Square Garden. Week after week the venue gives way to a wide range of events including basketball, soccer, concerts and even rodeos! The other great thing about Madison Square Garden, or ‘MSG’ as it’s known to most, is that it is located right above Penn Station, making transportation a breeze. The venue has a way of transporting you out of the big city but still lets you feel like you are part of something big, real big. This upcoming summer and fall, there could be a seat waiting for you in the 20,000 seat venue:

U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015

Following the release of U2’s thirteenth studio album, the band announced they were to play indoor arenas for the first time in a decade. Madison Square Garden obviously fit the bill perfectly and they are scheduled to play eight shows in New York City. The band promises a one of a kind experience for every single show (so if you have the twine, might want to grab tickets for a few different nights). Considering that U2 has been playing stadiums for the past ten years, this show is sure to be intimate and extraordinary.

New York Liberty

New York Liberty is our very own professional woman’s basketball team. They play throughout the summer and give you chance to catch a sporting event at the famous arena without spending a lot of money. Currently, they are on a winning streak and the team is keeping up with the New York City temperatures, playing hotter than ever. You can catch Tina Charles, Epiphanny Prince and the rest of these ladies take the court weekly at MSG.

Billy Joel

Billy Joel has officially become a fixture of Madison Square Garden for the past 19 months and is still going strong. Ticket continue to be high in demand and he has eight more shows already scheduled for the rest of the year. Considering he has more than 150 million albums sold throughout his career, he might be playing shows at The Garden for a long time coming. You can check out upcoming shows and purchase tickets on his very own ‘Billy Joel at The Garden’ website.

Madonna

Madonna is bringing her ‘Rebel Heart Tour’ this September and bringing Amy Schumer along for the ride. Before you are wowed by The Queen of Pop, Amy will be hitting the stage to give you a few laughs. With over 32 years of songs under her belt, she has said she is finding it harder and harder to decide which tunes actually make the cut. You’ll have to see for yourself when she hit the big stage at Madison Square Garden.

Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Armani Milan

The 2015 Euroleague Basketball World Tour kicks off this October in the States. Maccabi Tel Aviv and Armani Milan will battle it out in a preseason game on October 4th. The teams are 6-time and 3-time, respectfully, European Champions. This is a great opportunity to see how the style of basketball differs outside of the United States.