NYC Museums

The best museums NYC has to offer.

Eat and Play Wednesday: Central Park Zoo

cp zoo eat and play
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 Central Park Zoo who offers 20% off with the card.

History

The Central Park Zoo originally started out as a menagerie which was a form of keeping common and exotic animals in captivity. The zoo soon evolved almost spontaneously in 1859 from gifts of exotic pets and other animals given to them informally to the zoo it is today. The original animals that were on the play when the zoo first got started were a bear and some swans. In 1864, the central park zoo officially became the second publicly owned zoo in the United States as well as the first official zoo in NYC. By 1980, the zoo like central park itself was in a state of ruin as a result of neglect. At the time responsibility of its management was held responsible by The New York Zoological Society, which today is known as the Wildlife Conservation Society. The zoo was closed in the winter of 1983 for reconstruction. The zoo was scheduled to open in 1985; however due to some issues the project was delayed and reopened five years after reconstruction in 1988, thus becoming the modern zoo you see today.

Operating Info

The Central Park Zoo is open 7 days a week, Weekdays from 10 a.m. -5 p.m., and Weekends & Holidays from 10 am – 5:30 pm

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

5 Quick Facts

  • The zoo is often featured in pop culture, the most popular example being Madagascar.
  • The entire park looks natural however it is landscaped or artificial.
  •  The wild animals aren’t just in the zoo they can be found the ponds in central park are home to carps and sunfish to turtles and frogs.
  • The park sits on migratory route, so the park features nearly 300 species of birds
  • If you like birds best time to visit is the fall or spring

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

 

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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.

108 Things to Know if You’re Visiting NYC This Fall

autumn, nyc, new york city

We brought you a list of 107 things to know if you were visiting NYC this summer, and you loved it. So we put together an even bigger list for this fall. Some things still hold true, like our taxi hailing suggestions, but all in all it’s updated to reflect the next few months. Who’s excited to visit NYC!?

Food

  1. The Vendy Awards come to Brooklyn September 7
  2. The Prospect Park Food Truck Rally is on the first and third Sunday of every month until Oct. 20
  3. Smorgasburg is a great way to spend a weekend afternoon, runs through November 24
  4. Four star restaurants have long waiting lists. Make your reservations now.
  5. There are about 42 million fast food restaurants in NYC, but you shouldn’t go to any of them. At any given moment you will be within a 5 minute walk of low priced, better tasting burgers/chicken/tacos.
  6. Our dollar slices probably taste better than what you’re used to, but if you want really good pizza, the extra money is worth it.
  7. Don’t be afraid to try the pretzels at the hot dog stands
  8. Food trucks are awesome, try them!

Music

  1. Bryant ParkCity Park’s SummerStage still has a few more shows before the season ends
  2. Electric Zoo comes to NYC August 30-September 1
  3. The CBGB Music Festival is October 9-13
  4. Greenwich Village is known for having great live music
  5. Madison Square Garden reopens this fall with some bigtime headliners, including Ed Sheeran and The Eagles
  6. The Barclays Center, The Garden’s Brooklyn counterpart, hosts some of the biggest names in Music this fall, including Selena Gomez and Justin Timberlake
  7. The Barclays Center also hosts its first ever hockey game on September 21, when the Islanders and Devils square off

Arts

  1. Many Museums, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have a suggested donation to enter, but you don’t have to pay anything at all. If you can afford to, you should pay the requested amount so that these museums will continue to be some of the best in the world.
  2. The Intrepid is a museum on an aircraft carrier, which is awesome
  3. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is free every Friday afternoon
  4. MoMa also has 11 new exhibitions planned for this fall, including Images of an Infinite Film
  5. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is known for its unique building and is also a landmark of NYC
  6. The Guggenheim has three new exhibitions launching this fall, including Robert Motherwell: Early Collages
  7. Brooklyn Museum also has five new exhibitions planned for the fall
  8. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has seven new exhibitions launching this fall, including Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim
  9. The Met is also now open seven days a week
  10. There are like, a bazillion museums in NYC, not just the couple we named. You should check out as many as you can while in the city.
  11. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has a lineup of amazing concerts, plays, and films throughout the fall

The Holidays

  1. The Holiday Season begins sooner in NYC than in other places. We get really into it.
  2. Somewhere between October and November, it starts getting cold in NYC
  3. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on December 4
  4. The Tree Lighting begins at 8 p.m., but if you want to see it in person you should find a spot by 3 p.m. that day
  5. The tree will remain lit every day from 5:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., except Christmas and New Year’s Eve which have special hours
  6. The Tree will remain lit until January 7, 2014
  7. The Holiday Lights Tour begins December 3
  8. The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall with the Rockettes begins showing on November 8
  9. The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park return in October

Thanksgiving

  1. Thanksgiving is on November 28 this year
  2. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9 a.m.
  3. The Parade travels from the American Museum of Natural History down to Herald Square
  4. Watch the balloons for the Thanksgiving Day Parade get filled the evening before parade day at 3 p.m.
  5. Tickets for grandstand seating at the Parade are provided to Macy’s employees and charitable organizations only, not the general public
  6. You can volunteer as a balloon handler in the Parade
  7. Black Friday is one of the best days for shopping around NYC, but you also might want to visit Woodbury Commons for some incredible deals

thanksgiving parade nyc

Shopping

  1. 5th Avenue has top of the line products, and prices to match
  2. SoHo has less expensive clothing stores and trendy boutiques
  3. Chinatown has incredibly cheap prices, and products to match
  4. Union Square is one of the most popular places to shop.
  5. Greenwich Village is filled with designer labels.
  6. Herald Square has almost every chain store there
  7. Macy’s on 34th Street is the world’s largest department store and a registered NYC landmark.

Parks

  1. Central Park is the largest park in Manhattan, but the 5th largest in NYC.
  2. Brooklyn Bridge Park has an incredible view of the Manhattan Skyline.
  3. Riverbank State Park is a great park too including a gym, pool, places to barbecue, and kids facilities
  4. The High Line is an old elevated railway converted into a park
  5. Battery Park has a beautiful waterfront, and is where you pick up the ferry to the Statue of Liberty
  6. All of NYC’s parks are free to enter
  7. Bryant Park has a reading room, ping pong, games, carrousel, free ice skating and chess.
  8. Here’s a list of parks with free WiFi
  9. Washington Square Park has never a dull moment with constant entertainment to enjoy like break dancers and artists.
  10. The parks are closed from 1 a.m. til 5 a.m., unless otherwise specified. Breaking this curfew will get you a $40 ticket

Transportation

  1. The subway costs just $2.50 per ride, and can get just about anywhere in the city.
  2. Save your metro card because it’s a $1 additional fee for a new one
  3. If you’re staying for a week, you should buy a 7-Day Unlimited Pass which is good for unlimited subway and local bus rides for $30.
  4. The subway runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week
  5. When waiting for the train, stand behind the yellow platform edge strip.
  6. Don’t try to hold the door on the subway. People will hate you.
  7. Don’t block the doorway on the subway. People will hate you.
  8. Let people off the train before getting on.
  9. If all of the subway cars are crowded except for one, which is empty, get on the crowded car.
  10. You read that right, don’t get on the empty car. There’s a reason it’s empty.
  11. Be aware of your surroundings
  12. Trains usually run local or express, so if you are unsure you may want to ask a person or choose a local train
  13. Make sure you know exactly where you’re going before you swipe your card, you can’t get a refund using the subway.
  14. It can become very crowded on the trains. You will be surprised of the capacity.
  15. If you want a taxi cab, stick out your arm
  16. Taxis tend to go out of service around the afternoon rush. Plan accordingly.
  17. When catching a taxi you should get one in the direction you are going, it will save time and money
  18. The Staten Island Ferry is free

Attractions

  1. The Empire State Building has observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors providing one of the best views in Manhattan
  2. The Statue of Liberty is now open and you can walk from the ground floor all the way to Lady Liberty’s crown that provides you with an amazing view of the city
  3. Ellis Island has remained closed since Hurricane Sandy
  4. Apollo Theater in Harlem is one of Harlem’s landmarks and offers Amateur Night on Wednesdays
  5. Botanical Gardens provide family activities and hands on gardening, too
  6. Flatiron Building has a lobby where you can see historic photographs and notes hanging from the wall
  7. Yankee Stadium has a museum in the stadium as well as Monument Park, providing fascinating history of the team

Pro-Tips

  1. avenue of the americasEven numbered streets run east
  2. 5th Avenue is considered the center of the city. Any address like E. 42nd street is east of 5th, and address like W. 42nd street is west of 5th
  3. 6th Avenue also goes by Avenue of the Americas because of the statues on Central Park South where it meets 6th
  4. The numbers on the lights in Central Park refer to the closest cross street
  5. When hailing a taxi
  6. If it’s sunny and raining, that’s probably air conditioner sweat, and you should move
  7. Download a city/subway map to your phone. One less awkward thing to carry, and you don’t have the “tourist” look every time you need directions
  8. It’s safe to get lost on the street on New York, it’s fun in any neighborhood and you get a chance to explore parts that a tour guide wouldn’t typically show you.
  9. If you happen to see a person having trouble standing because of age or an infant, the subway etiquette is to give up your seat.
  10. Be prepared to do the most walking you ever done in your life. Wear comfortable shoes.

Miscellaneous Tips and Facts worth knowing

  1. Don’t forget to take pictures of things. NYC is a beautiful city and worth sharing with your friends back home.
  2. When you take these pictures, if you abruptly stop walking in the middle of the sidewalk, people like you a little less. Don’t do that.
  3. Try not to text while walking.
  4. Think of walking like driving: If you’re going to walk slowly, stay to the right. If you want to walk fast you can “pass” on the left. The same rule applies for standing on escalators.
  5. Always carry some cash. You won’t need it everywhere, but you will need it more than where you’re from (probably)
  6. Tipping for quality service is a nice thing to do, and being nice is totally awesome
  7. Remember New York City can be very expensive, so spend wisely so you can be able to see a lot of what New York has to offer
  8. New York City is divided into five boroughs-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island
  9. Streets run east/west, avenues run north/south (in Manhattan)
  10. SoHo is south of Houston (pronounced HOUSE-ton) Street
  11. TriBeCa is the Triangle Below Canal Street
  12. If you ever need help with something, just ask someone. Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers tend to be very nice
  13. Don’t worry about the cat in the bodega, it’s there for your benefit
  14. Be prepared to see anything on the streets on NYC.

107 Things To Know If You’re Visiting NYC This Summer

New York City, Top of the Rock

Transportation

  1. The subway costs just $2.50 per ride, and can get just about anywhere in the city.
  2. Save your metro card because it’s a $1 additional fee for a new one
  3. If you’re staying for a week, you should buy a 7-Day Unlimited Pass which is good for unlimited subway and local bus rides for $30.
  4. The subway runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week
  5. When waiting for the train, stand behind the yellow platform edge strip.
  6. Don’t try to hold the door on the subway. People will hate you.
  7. Don’t block the doorway on the subway. People will hate you.
  8. Let people off the train before getting on.
  9. If all of the subway cars are crowded except for one, which is empty, get on the crowded car.
  10. You read that right, don’t get on the empty car. There’s a reason it’s empty.
  11. Be aware of your surroundings
  12. Trains usually run local or express, so if you are unsure you may want to ask a person or choose a local train
  13. Make sure you know exactly where you’re going before you swipe your card, you can’t get a refund using the subway.
  14. It can become very crowded on the trains. You will be surprised of the capacity.
  15. If you want a taxi cab, stick out your arm
  16. Taxis tend to go out of service around the afternoon rush. Plan accordingly.
  17. When catching a taxi you should get one in the direction you are going, it will save time and money
  18. The Staten Island Ferry is free

Food

  1. The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is on July 4 on Coney Island
  2. Smorgasburg is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon
  3. Four star restaurants have long waiting lists. Make your reservations now.
  4. There are about 42 million fast food restaurants in NYC, but you shouldn’t go to any of them. At any given moment you will be within a 5 minute walk of low priced, better tasting burgers/chicken/tacos.
  5. Our dollar slices probably taste better than what you’re used to, but if you really want good pizza, the extra money is worth it.
  6. Don’t be afraid to try the pretzels at the hot dog stands
  7. Food trucks are awesome
  8. Parked! Food Truck Festival will make your taste buds dance which is usually every August
  9. Vendy Awards will be back in September
  10. Restaurant Week serves great prix fixe meals and usually lasts for several weeks in August

Music

  1. musicianCity Park’s SummerStage is totally free
  2. The New York Philharmonic will drop by parks in all five boroughs for free shows in July
  3. So will the Metropolitan Opera
  4. Good Morning America and the Today Show host free concerts every Friday morning
  5. Governors Ball Music Festival is June 7-9
  6. The Northside Festival is June 13-20
  7. Electric Zoo come to NYC August 30-September 1
  8. The CBGB Music Festival is October 9-13
  9. Blue Note Jazz Festival is from June 1-30
  10. Sunset on the Hudson is June 7th-August 23rd on Friday evenings
  11. Greenwich Village is known for having great live music

Arts

  1. The Comedy of Errors is free in the first session of Shakespeare in the Park
  2. Love’s Labour’s Lost, A New Musical is free in the second session
  3. The Intrepid is a museum on an aircraft carrier, which is awesome
  4. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has priceless pieces of art
  5. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre has some amazing shows with cheap prices, too.
  6. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is known for its unique building and is also a landmark of NYC
  7. Brooklyn Museum has some eye-catching art too
  8. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has a lineup of amazing concerts, plays, and films throughout the week
  9. If you love spoken word you will have a good time at any poetry cafes in Manhattan
  10. Harlem has some historic libraries, great dance schools, and art too.

Shopping

  1. 5th Avenue has top of the line products, and prices to match
  2. SoHo has less expensive clothing stores and trendy boutiques
  3. Chinatown has incredibly cheap prices, and products to match
  4. South Street Seaport is a great place to shop and eat on the harbor
  5. Union Square is one of the most popular places to shop.
  6. Greenwich Village is filled with designer labels.
  7. Herald Square has almost every chain store there
  8. Macy’s on 34th Street is the world’s largest department store and a registered NYC landmark.

Parks

  1. Central Park is the largest park in Manhattan, but the 5th largest in NYC.
  2. Brooklyn Bridge Park has an incredible view of the Manhattan Skyline.
  3. Riverbank State Park is a great park too including a gym, pool, places to barbecue, and kids facilities
  4. The High Line is an old elevated railway converted into a park
  5. Battery Park has a beautiful water front and some summer concerts
  6. All of NYC’s parks are free to enter
  7. Bryant Park has a reading room, ping pong, games, carrousel, free ice skating and chess.
  8. Here’s a list of parks with free WiFi
  9. Washington Square Park is never a dull moment there always entertainment to watch like break dancing and artists.
  10. The parks are closed from 1 a.m. til 5 a.m. Breaking this curfew will get you a $40 ticket

5pointz

Attractions

  1. The Empire State Building has observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors providing one of the best views in Manhattan
  2. At the Statue of Liberty you can be able to walk from the ground floor all the way to Lady Liberty’s crown that provides you with an amazing view of the city
  3. Apollo Theater in Harlem is one of Harlem’s landmarks and offers Amateur Night on Wednesdays
  4. Botanical Gardens provides family activities and hands on gardening too
  5. Flatiron Building has a lobby where you can see historic photographs and notes hanging from the wall
  6. Yankee Stadium has a museum in the stadium about the fascinating history
  7. 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center is a great place to view if you love spray-paint art
  8. Times Square is the heart of Manhattan favorite tourists’ places!

Other Free Things

  1. Many Museums, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have a suggested donation to enter, but you don’t have to pay anything at all. If you can afford to, you should pay the requested amount so that these museums will continue to be some of the best in the world.
  2. Oh, and you should check out The Cloisters as well
  3. Superfree Wednesday is a free comedy show at Peoples Improv Theater
  4. Sony Wonder Technology Lab is free for the kids with fun workshops on video games, movies, and music

Other Important Dates

  1. The Statue of Liberty will reopen on July 4
  2. Manhattanhenge falls on May 28/29 and July 12/13
  3. Saturdays in August, 5th Avenue shuts down for Summer Streets

Pro-Tips

  1. Even numbered streets run east
  2. 5th Avenue is considered the center of the city. Any address like E. 42nd street is east of 5th, and address like W. 42nd street is west of 5th
  3. The numbers on the lights in Central Park refer to the closest cross street
  4. When hailing a taxi
  5. If it’s sunny and raining, that’s probably air conditioner sweat, and you should move
  6. Download a city/subway map to your phone. One less awkward thing to carry, and you don’t have the “tourist” look every time you need directions
  7. It’s safe to get lost on the street on New York, it’s fun in any neighborhood and you get a chance to explore parts that a tour guide wouldn’t typically show you.
  8. If you happen to see a person having trouble standing because of age or an infant, the subway etiquette is to give up your seat.
  9. Be prepared to do the most walking you ever done in your life. Wear comfortable shoes.

Miscellaneous Tips and Facts worth knowing

  1. manhattanhengeThe 4th of July Fireworks will be on the Hudson River, not the East River
  2. Don’t forget to take pictures of things. NYC is a beautiful city and worth sharing with your friends back home.
  3. When you take these pictures, if you abruptly stop walking in the middle of the sidewalk, people like you a little less. Don’t do that.
  4. Try not to text while walking.
  5. Think of walking like driving: If you’re going to walk slowly, stay to the right. If you want to walk fast you can “pass” on the left. The same rule applies for standing on escalators.
  6. Always carry some cash. You won’t need it everywhere, but you will need it more than where you’re from (probably)
  7. Tipping for quality service is a nice thing to do, and being nice is totally awesome
  8. Remember New York City can be very expensive, so spend wisely so you can be able to see a lot of what New York has to offer
  9. New York City is divided into five boroughs-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island
  10. Streets run east/west, avenues run north/south (in Manhattan)
  11. SoHo is south of Houston (pronounced HOUSE-ton) Street
  12. TriBeCa is the Triangle Below Canal Street
  13. If you ever need help with something, just ask someone. Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers tend to be very nice
  14. Don’t worry about the cat in the bodega, it’s there for your benefit
  15. Wherever you’re from remember that the food costs doubled compare to the price at home
  16. Be prepared to see anything on the streets on NYC.

Photo Credit:
Top of the Rock: GLNY / Kevin Lawless
Musician: Flickr /marniejoyce
5Pointz: Flickr / Nelson Minar
Manhattanhenge: Flickr / MichaelTapp

Review: Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

flight deck

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.

Captain's Bridge

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.

wwii navy artifacts

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: 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

Review: Exploring Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

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 Ripley’s Believe it or Not!.

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Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium

Living in New Jersey, with an easy commute to New York City, has provided me with many opportunities to explore the countless sights and attractions of The City. However, I have never managed to make my way over to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!. After my visit on a Monday morning, I immediately regret never experiencing this surprisingly unique museum before.

When I arrived just before 10:30 a.m., I barely noticed the empty line to get inside because so many sights caught my eye in the lobby. Lights, dinosaurs, crazy objects and life-size human figures were just a few things that took my attention during the brief moment I was in the lobby. Before I knew it, I had given my name and immediately entered the museum. It was surprisingly quiet at first, and then I remembered it was a Monday morning. Throughout the whole museum, which I leisurely went at my own pace, I encountered not even a dozen other guests. However, I felt the amount of guests didn’t make a difference because of the quantity of exhibits and that no amount of people could get in my way even if it was a crowded weekend.

Nevertheless, because I did not have much prior knowledge about Ripley’s, other than to expect to see some unbelievable things, I am almost certain my eyes were wide and my jawed was dropped from beginning to end. The first sections consisted of displays of completely unique and bizarre people throughout history. From a bearded woman, to a man who could hold a dozen eggs in his world’s largest hand, I immediately understood where this place got its name, Believe it or Not!. With such amazement right from the start, I couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the exhibits had to show.

The rest of the museum had such a random mixture of images, displays, videos and hands-on experiences that you would have to see to fully understand its astonishment. Even though I do say that this is the most random museum I have experienced, in no means was it disorganized or not enjoyable. I walked on miniature wooden model boats from The Spanish Armanda, stuck my head in a cockroach display, walked into a black hole, and touched The Berlin Wall, just to mention a few of the highlights.

Although this may sound like the exhibits are childish or silly, I was surprised at the amount of history emerged in this museum. I learned about some of the most interesting facts and saw exclusive artifacts from American and World History. However, it was in no way boring, (and this is coming from someone who is not a huge fan of history). From George Washington’s hair, to a piece of the titanic to Thomas Edison’s electric chair; there were endless amounts of history’s most interesting pieces and facts. Throughout the entire experience, I wondered why all history couldn’t be this exciting.

The tour concluded with a gift-shop that included t-shirts, magnets, glasses, candy and other memorabilia from Ripley’s. You could even purchase a professional picture of yourself taken in front of a green screen that made it look like you were sitting on a beam outside, overlooking New York City. But this wasn’t the only picture you were allowed to walk away with. There were no restrictions against taking pictures and since I was able to walk through at my own pace, I was able to take great pictures to ensure this experience will be truly unforgettable.

It is accurate to say that it is nearly impossible to describe in words everything I saw and experienced at Ripley’s. But I am grateful for that because I now want to convince everyone I know to see exactly what Ripley’s is all about. If you have a couple hours, are in New York City and are looking for a unique experience, I strongly suggest paying Ripley’s Believe It or Not! a visit.

The museum intrigued my interest, sent shivers up my spine, made me laugh and also made my palms sweat a few times. You would have to visit for yourself to figure out exactly what the Ripley’s experience does for you and what all of its hidden secrets are that I chose not to include here.

To pre-purchase tickets for the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and skip the line in the beginning, visit our website now: Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Tickets

Review by Megan Ryan, Gray Line New York

Photo Credit: Flickr / Tomas Fano