Month: April 2013

Review: Bronx Loop Double-Decker Bus Tour

Yankee Stadium

Every week, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, we are diving into one of  our own products, the brand new Bronx Loop.

I was excited to go on the Gray Line New York Bronx Loop not only because it is new, but because it also included the Uptown Loop, which I have yet to experience- Not to mention I am a huge Yankee fan and any opportunity to see the stadium is exciting for me.

Before we get to the Bronx Loop, I first got on an Uptown Loop bus and took the first half of that route. Right from Times Square, I hopped on the Uptown bus with dozens of excited tourists. I was just as excited as everyone else and immediately went up the stairs to the top deck of the bus to ensure the best views possible. Even though it was slightly chilly and windy, I have zero regrets about this decision.

columbus circle

Columbus Circle

Uptown Manhattan is personally one of my favorite areas in the city because of its historical and architecturally great buildings and this tour only enhanced my adoration for the Upper West Side. We were taken around the Upper West Side passing views from Central Park to the Hudson River. I enjoyed learning where famous people lived and seeing great landmarks which I have never gotten the chance to see or learn about such as, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine and the General Grant National Memorial.

Upon arriving to the Harlem Market, it was time for me to hop off the Uptown bus and get on a bus to the Bronx. I had a few minutes to spare which was great because I got to walk through the markets and browse through the unique cultural items featured, from handmade jewelry to purses and scarves. After I was done looking, I hopped on the Bronx Loop bus and took a ride through the Bronx to Yankee Stadium. Prior to the arrival at the stadium, I enjoyed learning about the diverse cultures that subside in the Bronx and the art and history contained in the northern borough.

Once arriving at the Yankee Stadium stop, we had about 20 minutes to explore the surrounding areas, so I hopped off and took several pictures of the new stadium. I noticed their official store was open, so I walked through the store and found dozens of trinkets decked out in Yankee logos. After purchasing a shirt, I made it back to the bus just in time for departure.

Central Park West

Central Park West

In no time, we made it back to the Harlem Markets to transfer back onto the Uptown Loop. The remainder of the Uptown Loop took us back down on 5th Avenue to see the beauty of this side of the city. I was able to see many parts of the Park that I have never gotten the chance to see before. The beauty of the park during this early spring time fascinated me and caught my interest. We also passed The Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which are both incredible museums to see and easily hop off to visit.

Arriving back in Times Square, I got off the bus overwhelmed with images and thoughts about my experiences of Uptown and the Bronx that afternoon. I am sure that the pictures that I took and my review of these tours do not compare to my actual experience. Whether you are visiting New York for the first time, or you have lived here your whole life, the bus tour is an experience that is both extremely informative and eye-opening. I recommend you take a tour for yourself to fully understand what I am talking about.

To pre-purchase tickets for the Bronx Loop, visit our website now:  Bronx Loop Tickets

Review and photos by Megan Ryan

LL COOL J Ride of Fame Contest

LLBanner_Simple

If you’ve ever wanted to meet actor, rapper and New York City native LL COOL J, this is your chance.

On May 13th, The Ride of Fame is honoring LL COOL J as an immortal celebrity, and 10 lucky fans will be given VIP access to his induction ceremony which includes a double-decker tour around NYC with the man himself. All you have to do is answer one question:

What does “Authentic” mean to you?

How to Enter:

  • Send out a tweet telling us what “Authentic” means to you.
  • Your tweet can contain a picture, a video, or it can be just the tweet.
  • To submit it for entry, Make sure you use the tag #LLCOOLJROF and be sure to follow@RideofFame and @LLCOOLJ

Timeline:

  • April 29, 2013 – Contest opens
  • May 6, 2013 – 10 winners announced
  • May 13, 2013 – Ride of Fame induction and Grand Prize winner announced

Prizes:

  • 10 winners will be selected by LL COOL J one week prior to the ride of fame. These winners will be invited as exclusive guests to LL COOL J’s Ride of Fame induction ceremony where they will get to meet him and take a double-decker bus tour of NYC with him.
  • Each of the 10 winners will be allowed to bring one guest of their own.
  • 1 Grand Prize Winner will get VIP seating during Ride of Fame ceremony and an autographed copy of his latest album, Authentic, for both the winner and guest.

Please read the contest terms and conditions. By entering the LL COOL J Ride of Fame Contest, you acknowledge and agree to the contest terms and contidions

2013 NFL Draft in NYC

A sailor announces a pick at the 2012 NFL Draft

A sailor announces a pick at the 2012 NFL Draft

It’s that time of year again, when the best college football players from around the nation diverge upon New York City to find out where they will begin their professional careers next fall. Who will Kansas City take with this year’s first overall pick? Find out this Thursday at Radio City Music Hall.

Have you ever gone to see the draft in person? It’s a wonderful experience and best of all, it’s free- but getting tickets can be difficult because they are distributed on a first come, first served basis. Here’s how to get tickets to the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft:

  • Wristbands will be distributed on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. for entrance to the first round which takes place on Thursday night.
  • You must be present to get your wristband. No picking one up for your buddy who couldn’t get out of work in time. You have to be there
  • On Draft Day, doors will open at 6:40 p.m. when tickets will be distributed to those fans with a wristband.
  • You can begin lining up at 6 p.m. to try to get the best seats. (Note: officially, you are only allowed to line up as early as 6 p.m., however fans have been known to arrive as early as 8 a.m.)
  • Enter Radio City Music Hall and watch as Commissioner Roger Goodell announces the unofficial beginning to the 2013 NFL season.

Are you going to the draft this year? How early do you plan on getting there? Tell us your story by sending an email to klawless@twinamerica.com

Don’t forget to join us on Twitter for this week’s #GLNYchat, where we will discuss all things NFL & NYC.

Photo Credit: Flickr / Official U.S. Navy Imagery

Memorial Day 2013 in NYC

high line, nyc

As the weather gets nicer and nicer every day, I can’t help but think that summer is coming. I know, we’ve barely gotten any spring yet, but the unofficial start to the summer is just over one month away, and there’s no happier time of the year than Memorial Day Weekend.

Memorial Day in NYC is an interesting holiday. Usually, people will use any holiday as an excuse to come into the city, but Memorial Day works in the opposite direction. Memorial Day weekend is the biggest weekend for New Yorkers to leave the urban jungle that we call home and head out to Long Island, Coney Island and the Jersey Shore. New York City empties out and everyone heads to the beach because boy, has it been a long time since we’ve laid out on the beach.

Because Memorial Day Weekend features the emptying on New York City, it actually serves as one of the few holidays in which you won’t have to fight the overwhelming crowds on the streets- if you do it right.

Last year we wrote a few tips for avoiding the crowds Memorial Day Weekend, a post worth checking out. Essentially, you need to take advantage of the fact that everyone is going to be more focused on the beach than the City. Midtown will be crowded because, even though there is not going to be a fleet week this year L, we still expect some unofficial honoring of our troops around that time.

We recommend heading up to the Cloisters, or maybe The High Line- something that will take advantage of the beautiful weather and the lack of people in NYC. If you’re trying to stay away from crowds, you should probably pass on the Intrepid. Don’t get us wrong, we love the Intrepid and recommend visiting, but Memorial Day Weekend probably isn’t the best 3 days of the year to do so.

What are your plans this Memorial Day Weekend? Are you heading down the shore? What will you be doing in NYC? Share with us in the comments.

Photo Credit: Flickr / David Berkowitz

Review: New York Historical Society Museum and Library

new york historical society

Every Monday, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, our Partner of the Week is the New York Historical Society Museum and Library.

Founded in 1804, the New-York Historical Society Museum is New York’s oldest collecting institution. But that certainly does not make it unappealing. It is located right along Central Park West with central park right across the street, making the outside just as pleasant as the inside. During my visit inside the museum on a hot Spring, Wednesday afternoon, I discovered over ten million artifacts, documents, and works of art. In addition, I explored the earliest moments of our nation’s founding as well as important events of today. This included remarkable sculptures, furniture, paintings, ceramics, and other artifacts from history.

After admiring the elegance and displays of the lobby, which included brief historical pieces of New York City, slavery, The Revolution, and World War II, I headed upstairs to the exhibits. I first came across a library and a reading room free of charge to any visitor to sit and look or read. The rest of the second floor included “The Complete Flock of Audubon’s Aviary.” This contained numerous rooms with their collection of Audubon watercolor paintings. These watercolor models of The Birds of America were so unique to see. I learned that the New-York Historical Society is the only place to view these national treasures in their entirety. And I certainly believed that you could not find an exhibit like this anywhere else.

new york historical society

After bird watching, I went up another flight of stairs to explore all the different kinds of artifacts from the 17th century all the way through to the 21st century. First I found The Holiday Express, where I found an abundance of toys and trains from the Jerni collection. This was my favorite part of the entire museum because the beauty and detail in all the miniature trains and train stations was like nothing I have ever seen before. However, this was the only exhibit that I could not take pictures in, so you will have to visit and prove me right on this one.

I continued through-out the floor where I stumbled upon several different artifacts. I looked at numerous tables and chairs used by the first US Congress. Seeing desks that our forefathers sat in was incredible. The painting exhibit included American Paintings from the colonial period through the twentieth century. The paintings captured so much American History including depictions of Washington Crossing the Delaware and self-portraits of several US presidents. Similar to this, the sculpture room displayed sculptures of historical figures like Roosevelt, Lincoln, and Jefferson.

new york historical society

NYC police equipment from the 1940’s and 50’s.

Needless to say, I had no idea that there was so much awaiting me at the NY Historical Society Museum. I could talk all day about the unlimited history in this museum. Now that I’m thinking about it, I did fail to mention the Children’s History Section on the lower level and the Military weapons from the Civil War and both world wars on the upper lever. Lucky for you, I am providing you with some insight of the museum before arriving. There might have been a few more things I forgot to mention, but I guess you’ll have to plan a visit and find out for yourself. There is no way you can pass this recommendation to indulge yourself with rich stories of New York and American history.

To pre-purchase tickets for the New York Historical Society Museum and Library, visit our website now:  New York Historical Society Museum and Library Tickets

Review and photos by Megan Ryan

2013 Tribeca Film Festival in NYC

tribeca film festival

The Tribeca Film Festival has, in its short existence, become one of New York City’s premiere celebrations of the arts. Filmmakers from around the world diverge upon lower Manhattan to share in their passion of the movies. On April 17th, the Tribeca Film Festival is back for its 11th year, and it is setting up to be another great one.

Here, we put together everything you need to know about the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.

When is the Tribeca Film Festival?

The Tribeca Film Festival begins on April 17, 2013 and ends on April 28, 2013

How to get tickets for the Tribeca Film Festival?

There are three ways to go about getting tickets

  • Festival Pass: This gives you access to every film, talk, and event at the Tribeca Film Festival
  • Single Event Pass: You can buy tickets to individual films, talks and events
  • Rush Tickets: When films, talks and events are sold out, you can wait in the rush ticket line and if the theater doesn’t fill up, you will be able to purchase a ticket

What films will be showing at the Tribeca Film Festival?

Here is a link to the Tribeca Film Festival Film Guide. It includes every movie that will be screening, including films making their world premieres as well as classics like Beetlejuice.

Where will the films be shown?

The Tribeca Film Festival has viewings at several theaters throughout NYC, primarily in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of TriBeCa. Check the film guide for details about what is playing where.

Should I go to the Tribeca Film Festival?

Absolutely! Even if you just go for one film or one talk, it is definitely worth taking part in. Here is a story from last year’s festival that is sure to make you smile.

For more information on the Tribeca Film Festival, visit their official website.

Photo: Flickr / clementine gallot

Review: Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

The Beatles, Madame Tussaud's NYC

The Beatles, Madame Tussauds NYC

Every Monday, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, our Partner of the Week is Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

If you’re unaware that Madame Tussauds is one of the most exciting museums in New York City, I am about to tell you why. The museum is filled with countless lifelike and life-size wax figures of famous people from history, pop culture, politic, sports and more. When I was given the chance to spend the afternoon with these prominent icons, I was beyond excited.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

The greatest part of walking through this extremely real experience was being able to take pictures with and of whatever I wanted. I walked past the box office line, since I purchased my ticket ahead of time, and began walking up the stairs to the start of the exhibit. After taking a picture with the Incredible Hulk, I anxiously awaited my elevator ride up to the roof-top party with the most famous Hollywood stars. This was a giant room where I felt under-dressed and embarrassingly a bit star-struck. With wax figures like Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and The Osbourne’s, I could not stop taking pictures.

Each exhibit and room was so unique in a way that none of my excitement died down at all through my journey. My roof-top with the stars was only the start. I continued into a political exhibit where I saw up-close American presidents throughout history, leading up to President Obama. I also saw Prince William and wife Kate Middleton, Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. Every single wax figure was mind-blowingly realistic I could not believe how magnificent they were.

Other exhibits that followed were walks through sports, music, and Hollywood timelines. People old and new were featured in each exhibit and each wax figure had a description of why there are famous. I enjoyed the fact that the museum wasn’t a place to just take pictures and look, but a place to learn more about famous heroes and stars all in one afternoon.

will and kate

William and Kate

Some things that I liked which Madame Tussauds included throughout the museum were “Wax Figure Facts.” These facts gave interesting and also amazing facts behind creating a wax figure. To learn about the time, money, and technique used in each wax figure came across as extremely interesting to me. I have always wondered how the features were so alike to the real-life person, and Madame Tussaud’s enlightened my curiosity.

I had visited the Wax Museum years ago, but it has changed dramatically since then. The updates, the exhibit changes and the new and renewed wax figures featured in the wax museum made this second visit worthwhile. So even if you have been through this museum before or haven’t been at all, I can guarantee that when you go and see for yourself, you will find yourself star-struck by a few of your most idolized stars.

To pre-purchase tickets for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and skip the line in the beginning, visit our website now: Madame Tussauds Tickets