Month: March 2012

April Showers? Find a Book!

Rain is never fun.  Well, almost never fun.  But if you’re only in NYC for a short time and trying to see the sights, it can really put a damper on your plans.  The problem is it rains a lot this time of year.  Personally, when it rains I like to cozy up on a nice chair and read a book.  So why not do that if you’re a tourist?  Reading a book might be the best way to see at least something worthwhile: the library.

New York Public Library

Like most things, New York does its libraries big.  Many of the city’s most popular libraries are of the finest architecture in the world.  One of the most beautiful buildings in New York, in which you will certainly be able to find a book while you wait for the stormy clouds to pass, can be found just blocks from your favorite sights in Midtown Manhattan: The New York Public Library.

To be fair, there are many NYPL branches throughout all five boroughs.  It’s not just one building.  But we’re talking about the Main Branch, located on Fifth Ave. between 40th and 42nd Streets.  Protected by lions at the front entrance, the stone building stands along among some of New York’s most brilliant skyscrapers.

Located on Fifth Avenue, right next to Bryant Park

Inside the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (named after a benefactor who donated $100 Million dollars to its renovation) you will find books.  Lots of books.  The New York Public Library System has the second largest collection of items in the United States, behind only the Library of Congress.

Rose Main Reading Room

The Rose Main Reading Room offers plenty of tables to work on a project or leisurely read some classic literature.  The room is surrounded by reference pieces and lit almost entirely by its arching windows and dangling chandeliers. It is one of the most enchanting rooms in all of Manhattan.

If you find yourself caught in the rain next time you’re in New York City, don’t worry.  The Empire State Building may be surrounded by fog and Times Square may be filled with puddles, but at least you know that the library will be there for you.

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2013 NYC Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

image via TimeOut New York

Are you coming to New York this Easter? Do you want to take part in the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival?  Great!  Here are the essential details that you will need to know:

What: The NYC Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival is an annual tradition that takes place in Midtown Manhattan.  This is one of the less organized parades that the city has to offer, but it is still loads of fun.  Make sure you bring your favorite bonnet (extravagant hat) and celebrate with the crowd.

Where: The parade is on Fifth Avenue between 47th Street and 57th Street

When: It begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. on Easter Sunday

Don’t expect any big floats or marching bands in this parade.  The spectacle is featured around the outfits and bonnets of those who come, so it’s safe to say that the Snoopy balloon will not be making the trip down Fifth Avenue.

For some more information on sightseeing in New York City, visit newyorksightseeing.com

Dine Like Mad Men in New York City

For those of you who are avid Med Men fans, this weekend will bring you the relief that you’ve been seeking for the past 17 months: A new episode.  The old English proverb goes, “All good things come to those who wait,” and wait we have.  On Sunday night, the wait will finally come to an end.  Season 5 kicks off in what would be 1965 New York City, so we decided to look back at our own history.  How can we still get a taste of that 1960’s Manhattan life?  Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some of Don Draper’s favorite hangouts which still exist today:

*SPOILER ALERT* The rest of this article will feature moments from the television series Mad Men. If you do not want spoilers for season 1-4, you should stop reading now.

image via la-grenouille.com

La Grenouille – In season 3, key members of the British ad agency Putnam, Powell and Lowe make a visit to the United States before purchasing Sterling Cooper.  They meet with Draper and the gang at La Grenouille, one of New York City’s finest French restaurants. As recently as two years ago, the New York Times has written a glowing review of the Midtown eatery.  To enjoy this fantastic restaurant, Hop-off at Rockefeller Center and walk up 5th Avenue to 52nd Street.

PJ Clarke’s– After Peggy Olsen successfully pitches her campaign to Belle Jolie in season 1, she goes out to celebrate at PJ Clarke’s with a few of her coworkers.  They drink, they dance and have an all-around fun time at the old saloon.  Still open today on 3rd and 55th, Hop-off at the Astoria=Waldorf Hotel and you’re just a few blocks away.

image via pjclarkes.com

Grand Central Oyster Bar – If you’re in the mood for seafood, you can Hop-off at the same Waldorf Hotel location and walk down Park to the Grand Central Oyster Bar.  Don and Roger Sterling eat and drink themselves under the table in the season 1 episode, “Red in the Face.” Still to this day considered one of the best oyster bars in New York City, Grand Central has been open since 1913.

Keens Steakhouse – Don and Pete Campbell head to Keens Steakhouse in season 3 to talk business over a couple of delicious pieces of meat.  You can check out one of the finest steakhouses in all of New York City, just two blocks up from Herald Square.  Hop-off at The Empire State Building stop for a short walk to a big porterhouse.

Sardi’s – In Season 2, Don, comedian Jimmy Barret and his wife, Bobby head over to Sardi’s for a celebratory drink.  Even though Don’s relationship with the Barret’s may have crumbled, Sardi’s is still going strong, in its 86th year of business.  Located next to the St. James Theater on 44th, Hop-off at Times Square for a fresh Old Fashioned at Sardi’s.

And of course, put on your nicest skinny tie, pour yourself a scotch on the rocks and enjoy the season 5 premiere of Mad Men, Sunday at 9pm on AMC.

To hop-off at all of these locations, check out Gray Line New York’s Downtown Loop and don’t miss out!

What people are saying about Gray Line New York

People from all across the globe have come to New York City and taken one of the many Gray Line New York bus tours.  Today we caught up with Dee and Nadeem, in town from Sheffield, UK, and asked them how their experience has gone:

Dee and Nadeem took the All Loops Tour this week.  If you want to take advantage of the same tour that they found so wonderful, stop by our website and book your tickets now!

It’s Hop-Off Madness!

March is here, and if you’re a sports fan, this means one thing: Madness! The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has already started, pitting 68 of the best colleges in the nation against one another to see who reigns supreme.

Here at Gray Line New York, we decided that it was about time we set up a bracket of our own.  We have so many hop-on hop-off locations throughout Manhattan, it’s almost impossible to decide which is best.  That is why we took to the streets and are asking you to help us.  The selection committee has deliberated and the seeds are set:

In the Downtown Bracket

#1) Empire State Building

#4) Soho

#3) Rockefeller Center

#2) Times Square

And in the Uptown Bracket

#1) Apollo Theater

#4) Grant’s Tomb

#3) Central Park South

#2) Museum Mile

The battle on the streets counts as 50% of the vote to see who moves on and your vote online makes up the other 50%.  With the competitors in the downtown bracket facing off on the streets yesterday, let’s see how the first match-up went:

#1 Empire State Building vs #4 Soho

There was no upset here, but you still have a chance to change that.  Can Soho make a second half comeback?  Go over to our facebook page NOW and vote for your favorite!  Don’t forget to tell us why in the comment section.  Did we miss your favorite hop-off location? Let us know!

If you want to take one of our tours and see for yourself where the best hop-off spot is, be my guest.  And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow when Rockefeller Center tries to take down Times Square!

Things to do in NYC St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge this St. Patrick's Day

Are you coming to New York City this weekend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? If so, you don’t want miss out on some awesome experiences that this City has. Yeah, you know about the parade, but what else are you planning? Here, we’ve compiled a list of a few of the best things to do during St. Patrick’s Weekend so you won’t miss a thing:

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Go to a service or just visit for the architecture.  One of the most beautiful Catholic Churches in the world, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has plenty to offer.

McSorley’s Old Ale House

McSorley’s in the East Village boasts being New York’s oldest continually operating saloon. A classic pub, there is no place better to grab that Pint of Guinness that you’ve been craving

Brooklyn Bridge

Take a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, the landmark built by many Irish American immigrants.

Top of the Rock

Have you ever wondered what NYC is like on St. Patrick’s Weekend?  Well go to the Top of the Rock and you can see the whole thing! With arguably the best view in Manhattan, it’s tough to find a reason not to go!

Irish Arts Center

On Sunday, March 18th, the Irish Arts Center will be holding a free celebration.  From 12-5 p.m., all are invited to enjoy music, dance, culture and many performances.

2012 St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Of course we cannot leave this out.  You have to go to the parade, even if just for a short while.  It’s one of New York’s greatest traditions, so don’t miss out.

Spring is in the Air This Weekend

A Beautiful Weekend is on the Way!

This winter has not been what New Yorkers have come to expect from recent years.  The temperatures have gotten chilly, but never truly cold and we barely saw any snow flurries, let alone a blizzard.  After last years ‘Snowpocalypse,’ this season has been weak, to say the least.  And if you are hoping that it will turn around and NYC will become a winter wonderland yet again, don’t get too excited.  With forecasts for this weekend calling for sunny skies and temperatures reaching up to 60 degrees on Sunday, I’m willing to admit that spring has come.  And boy, am I thrilled.

It’s not that I have anything against winter in New York.  I mean, you have the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, and a snowy Central Park is one of the most picturesque scenes that The Big Apple has to offer, but it’s cold.  Often, too cold.  But now that the weather is warming, there is no more bundling up just to go down the block or avoiding long walks to keep out of the cold.  Now, we can take off our hats and gloves and leave our big coats behind; spring is here!

If you’re lucky enough to be spending time in Manhattan for this beautiful weekend, then get ready for some fantastic activities.  There are always a ton of things to do in New York, but this weekend seems to have an extra boost to it with the way that the weather is shaping up.  So, without further ado, here are a few of the best ideas for your weekend schedule:

Armory Arts Week:

The Armory Show in New York has a fantastic display of contemporary and modern art exhibits. Whether you are an art enthusiast or a first timer, this show has something for you.  If you hop off our Uptown Loop at Columbus Circle and walk west to the piers, you’ll have no problem finding this fantastic event.  The show begins today, Thursday March 8th, and continues through Sunday the 11th.

Chinatown Restaurant Week

17 restaurants are participating in this year’s Chinatown Restaurant Week, which is set to kick off on Friday, March 9th.  This nine day event will help celebrate the Chinese culture and present nice discounts for traditional Chinese cuisine.  If you’re hungry this weekend, hop off of our Downtown Loop at the Chinatown stop and eat up!

Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament

Are you a sports fan? Well the Big East Tournament, college basketball’s premiere conference championship, is a must see.  Thursday all day, as well as Friday and Saturday night, The World Most Famous Arena will host some of the most exciting athletes in the nation as they all vie for the crown.  Just hop off our Downtown Loop at the Macy’s/Madison Square Garden stop, and don’t forget your tickets!

Gray Line New York All Loops Tour

With the weather warm and the sun shining bright, this weekend will be a fantastic time to grab your family and friends to sit atop our world famous double-decker buses.  The All Loops Tour includes our Uptown Loop, Downtown Loop, Brooklyn and Night tours, and your tickets will be valid for the whole weekend! (Tickets valid for 48 hours) Do you want to know the best part about hoping on and hoping off of our bus tours this weekend?  You can hop right off of our bus and be within walking distance of all of the above suggestions!

Don’t miss out on a wonderful opportunity to see all of the sights and experience a wonderful weekend in New York City.