NYC Attraction Reviews

5 CAN’T MISS EVENTS THIS WEEK IN NYC

This week the Irish take over New York with for St Patrick’s Day, Billy Joel playing in concerts and for all ye tea and coffee lovers there is a festival specifically for you this week.

St. Patrick Day Parade this Monday the 17th. The Parade can be viewed on 5th Avenue between 44th Street and 79th Street 

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Image via Pixabay.com

Coffee and Tea Festival on this Saturday and Sunday 22nd to the 23rd.  

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Image via the Coffee and Tea festival

Billy Joel this Friday the 21th, in Madison Square Garden 

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Image via flickr /Oracle OpenWorld

 

GLBT Expos on the 22nd and 23rd, at THE JAVITS CENTER. 

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Image Via Originalglbtexpo

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL AMALUNA is performing this Thursday the 20th in Citi Field FLUSHING 

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Image via Cirque Du Solsil

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Eat and Play Wednesday: Empire State Building & NY SkyRide

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Welcome to Eat & Play Wednesday, where each week Gray Line New York will be highlighting one of our friends who offer discounts with the Eat and Play Card. Today we are taking a look at NY Skyride/Empire State Building Combo who offers 20% off with the card.

History

The Empire State Building is a 103 story skyscraper that began construction in 1929 and was completed in 1931. Since its creation the empire state building stood as the world’s tallest building for almost 40 years until the completion of the World Trade Center’s North Tower in 1970. It wasn’t until the 9/11 attacks that the empire state building was once again the tallest building in New York. After the building of the one world trade center, the empire state building has lost its title as tallest building in New York making it the fourth tallest building in the United States and the 23 tallest building in the world. Today the empire state building is looked at as an American cultural icon.

NY Skyride is located in the Empire State Building and opened in 1994 to compliment the observation deck. The NY Skyride is a 25 minute motion simulator attraction that simulates an aerial tour over the city of New York. Since its inception the simulator has gone through two incarnations. The original version ran from 1994 to 2002 and featured James Doohan, the original ‘Scotty’ from Star Trek, as the planes air pilot.  After 9/11 the simulator was closed for a while until it made its return mid-2002. The simulator returned with a new aerial pilot in Kevin Bacon and was more educational as opposed to the humorous tones of the original.

Operating Info

Empire State Building is open 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. -2 a.m.

NY Skyride is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

With the Eat and Play card you receive 20% off the price of admission when you combo both the Skyride and the Empire State Building.

5 Quick Facts

  • The NY Skyride is open 365 days a year
  • The minimum height for the NYC Skyride is 36 inches
  • The NYC Skyride is located on the second floor of the Empire State building
  • The NYC Skyride is shown ever 15 – 20 minutes
  • NY Skyride highlights: Yankee Stadium, Roosevelt Island, WTC, Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty.

You can purchase your Eat and Play Card online here, or in person at our visitors’ center at 777 8th Avenue.

Eat and Play Wednesday: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

ripleys

Welcome to Eat & Play Wednesday, where each week Gray Line New York will be highlighting one of our friends who offer discounts with the Eat and Play Card. Today we are taking a look at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! who offers 20% off with the card.

History

Ripley’s Believe It or Not was founded by Robert Leroy Ripley who was born in Santa Rosa, CA and moved to New York in 1913. Ripley developed a fascination with oddities and his collection of them began when he started to travel around the world. In July 1933, Ripley opened an auditorium with a showcase of all his weird collections. The collection brought in nearly two million visitors. Ripley died at the age of 50, however his collection endured with the first Ripley’s Believe It or Not opening in St Augustine, Florida in 1950.Today there are over 30 Ripley’s Believe It or Not around the world. Time Square opened their auditorium in 2007.

Operating Info

Ripley’s Believe It or Not is open 7 days a week, from 9am – 1am

With the Eat and Play card you receive 20% off the price of admission at the door.

5 Quick Facts

  • Robert Leroy Ripley was born on Christmas.
  • Ripley quit school before graduating to support his sick mother
  • Ripley’s first trip abroad was to Belgium and France
  • John Arthur opened the first Believe It or Not museum
  • Ripley played semi-professional baseball back in Santa Rosa

You can purchase your Eat and Play Card online or in person at our visitors’ center at 777 8th Avenue.

 

Eat & Play Wednesday: Radio City Stage Door Tour

Radio CityWelcome to Eat & Play Wednesday, where each week Gray Line New York will be highlighting one of our friends who offer discounts with the Eat and Play Card. Today we are taking a look at Radio City Stage Door Tour who offers 20% off with the card.

History

The Radio City Stage Door Tour gives you a behind the scene look of one of the most iconic theaters in NYC, Radio City Music Hall. Located in the heart of Rockefeller Center, tourists get to explore the magnificent Art-Deco Interiors, learn hidden secrets about the legendary stage as well as the preparation taken to get ready for a concert or Radio City Christmas Spectacular and take a look at a celebrity signed guest book. Last but not least, the tour lets you meet a Rockette and lets you know what it takes to become one of the stars of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Operating Info

The Radio City Stage Door Tour is open 7 days a week, from Sunday through Saturday from 11:00AM – 3:00PM

With the Eat and Play card you receive 20% off the price of admission at the door.

5 Quick Facts

  • The group was founded in St. Louis, Missouri in 1925
  • The Rockettes use to be known as the Missouri Rockets
  • Every Rockette must be between the height of 5’6” and 5’10 1/2” tall otherwise they are not eligible to audition
  • The cast begins rehearsals about three weeks before their first performance
  • In addition to the cast members of the show the Radio City Music  Hall two camels four sheep and one donkey

You can purchase your Eat and Play Card online here, or in person at our visitors’ center at 777 8th Avenue.

Eat & Play Wednesday: The Intrepid

Card design

Welcome to Eat & Play Wednesday, where each week Gray Line New York will be highlighting one of our friends who offer discounts with the Eat and Play Card. Today we are taking a look at The Intrepid, Sea, Air and Space Museum, who offers 20% off with the card.

History

The Intrepid, Sea, Air and Space Museum is a grand collection of museum ships in NYC, filled with military and maritime history and is located in Pier 86 street. Shortly after a prominent New York real estate developer and philanthropist named Zachary Fisher and a journalist named Michael Stern fought for and succeeded in saving a WWII aircraft carrier named the USS Intrepid from being scrapped in 1978, The Intrepid, Sea, Air and Space Museum was founded in 1982. In addition to holding the Intrepid, the museum also houses the submarine USS Growler, a Concorde SST, A Lockheed A-12 supersonic reconnaissance plane and the most recent awarded gift, The Space Shuttle Enterprise.

Operating Info

The Intrepid is open 7 days a week, from 10 a.m. -5 p.m., and open an extra hour late on Saturdays and Sundays until October 31st.

With the Eat and Play card you receive 20% off the price of admission at the door.

5 Quick Facts

  • In 2007, The Intrepid was used in the filming of the Will Smith movie, I Am Legend
  • The Intrepid was used as headquarters for the FBI during 911
  • The Intrepid became a national landmark in 1986
  • In 2012, the Space Shuttle Enterprise landed in NYC and has since been housed on the main deck of the Intrepid
  • Until 2013, the museum served as the home base for all Fleet Week activities in NYC

You can purchase your Eat and Play Card online here, or in person at our visitors center at 777 8th Avenue.

Review: Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

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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, our Partner of the Week is the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

If you like exploration, inspiration and excitement, the Intrepid is the museum for you. This Sea, Air, & Space Museum, all located on the aircraft carrier, The Intrepid, gives you the opportunity to learn and experience US history from the past century. Positioned right on the Harbor, I personally think the Intrepid is one of the most uniquely located museums in all of New York City because it has beautiful views of the water on one side and the city on the other.

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Captain’s Bridge

Separate from a traditional museum, the Intrepid offers indoor and outdoor experiences like no other museum I have been to. After going quickly through security, I immediately stepped onto the large pier where the ship is docked. It was a beautiful day so I did not rush to get onto the ship/museum and I walked to the end of the pier where a British Airways Concorde was located. It was cool to see because this was one of the only airplanes featured that I could actually touch and walk under.

From there I finally boarded the Intrepid through one of the four towers. This took me onto the Hangar Deck, which is all indoors and filled with countless artifacts and history. A portion of this deck is an exhibit known as the Exploreum. I felt that this is worth noting because of the hands on activities. You could sit in the cockpits of fighter jets, lay in the ships bunk beds and experience a 4-D motion ride, just to name a few. I could tell a lot of kids were especially enjoying this section but that doesn’t mean I didn’t.

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WWII Navy Artifacts

After the Exploreum fun was over, I went outside to climb up to the Flight Deck. Here, the entire outside top deck was filled with airplanes and helicopters, each with their own bit of history. I looked at and read about Fighter Jets from the US Navy that were part of wars such as, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and World War II. At the center of this deck I was able to climb up to the Captain’s Bridge. I thought this was one of the coolest parts of the ship because even though it was small, it still seemed like one of the nicest parts. I walked through the control room and the Captain’s Sea Cabin. It felt like one of the most exclusive parts of the ship and I think that’s why it was so appealing and exciting.

After that, I had two more decks to explore- the Third Deck and the Gallery Deck. These decks were inside and completely opposite from the Hangar Deck because it was a lot more closed in, filled with narrow hallways and doorways to climb through. Here, I was able to get a feel of what it was like to be working on the ship. I saw numerous cubbies with bunks and bathrooms, the kitchen, lounge and cafeteria rooms. It was fascinating to see how everything fit, even though it was so crammed.

As I was making my way off of the ship, back onto the pier, I realized that I loved this museum because it was so unique in a way that each deck was completely different from the other. Whether it be outside or inside, or open spaced or closed spaced, this kept the museum constantly exciting and gave off a real feel of the actual boat. I enjoyed that I felt like I was on an exploration rather than formally walking through an organized museum. It is needless to say at this point, but if you enjoy exploring and are looking for an adventure, the Intrepid is the place to be.

Pro Tips:

  • Bring sunscreen for warmer days
  • Bring Jacket for colder days
  • Exploreum for kids and the whole family
  • Bring a camera for a lot of pictures
  • Some sections you can only get to via stairs, but mostly elevators are provided

To pre-purchase tickets for the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, visit our website now: Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum Tickets

Review and photos by Megan Ryan

Review: Radio City Stage Door Tour

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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, our Partner of the Week is the Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour

I wasn’t sure what to expect during the Radio City Stage Door Tour, but needless to say I was excited. I arrived at 50th and 6th Avenue, quickly went through security and the tour began right on time. I was satisfied with the organization of the check-in and security process because everyone was extremely nice and enthusiastic to get our group into the tour on time so there was virtually no waiting around.

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Radio City Music Hall Main Lobby

This tour was a guided tour from start to finish with a small group of people. The tour guide first directed us into the Main Lobby of Radio City Music Hall. Here we learned all about the interior design of the lobby, how it came about and how it got its shape, color and design. From there, we walked down the stairs into the Grand Lounge. As you can see in the pictures below, the Grand Lounge has a darker feel to it with dim lighting. I thought that it was interesting to learn that in the 1930’s and 40’s, people use to come off of the subway, directly into this lounge. The darker colors and dim lighting were used to quiet down the guests, as opposed to the red and orange colors of the inviting Main Lobby.

We took an elevator to the Upper Level Seating and sat in the back rows of the theater to take it all in as a whole. From this seat, I was able to cherish the vast, unique beauty of the theater. One feature that caught my attention that the tour guide discussed here was the acoustics designed in the theater. He explained that there was not one bad seat in the house. In addition to no columns, the walls and ceiling are designed to clearly send sound from the stage all the way to the back row. From where we were sitting, we could clearly hear the workers on stage moving around.

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Costume Room

After this, we were finally taken back stage to see things from behind the scenes. We were taken into the Roxy Suite, a VIP room where the performers and musicians hang out in before they perform. It felt cool and exciting to be in the same room that countless famous people have been. Also, with its colors and furniture, this room was one of my favorite features of the tour.

Down the hall from this suite was a screening room where I was given a chance to sit in original seating from the theater from 1932, and watched a short film on the history of Radio City Music Hall. A majority of the film focused on the formation of the world famous Rockettes. Right after, we were surprised with the opportunity to meet and talk to an actual Rockette.

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The Roxie room

We continued our journey through hallways and stairs and came across the costume room that displayed clothes from Rockettes and other performers. It was cool to see where the costumes and clothes are made and designed, each in their own individual way. There was also a hallway near here that displayed a long timeline with information and pictures of the Rockettes and Radio City that went from 1927 leading up to today. The evolution was amazing to see laid out like that. But more importantly what I thought was fascinating was seeing how some of its history has not changed at all.

There is so much history and uniqueness in Radio City, which I never would have known before my visit. My fascination and wonder behind this theater only increased as the tour continued. I can definitely say I left there with more information than I thought possible. I have been to shows at Radio City in the past, but the Stage Door Tour offers a completely different experience.

Pro Tips:

  • This tour is completely guided and lasts about an hour long
  • Photos are welcome, so be sure to bring your cameras!
  • This tour is especially good for music and theater fans because of the history
  • There will be some minor stair climbing, but elevators will always be available
  • You get a special opportunity to meet a real life Rockette. You might get a little starstruck, so think of some things you want to ask her before you begin taking the tour

To pre-purchase tickets for the Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour, visit our website now: Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour Tickets

Review and photos by Megan Ryan