2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

Will you be in New York for the holiday season? What’s Christmas in the Big Apple if you don’t visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. This year the ceremonial lighting will take place on the evening of Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 and will mark the event’s 81st anniversary.  The famous tree will remain lit and be viewed into the New Year until 11 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7, 2014.

New York looks even better at night with breathtaking lights.  If you’re going to be in Manhattan this winter, don’t forget to check out our Holiday Lights tour, which starts in November.

The event is a free event and you do not need tickets to attend.  Be sure to show up early to get the best spots!

**Updated for 2013**


Thanks to all who made the #PayItForwardExpress a success!

For those who have been following, the #PayItForwardExpress have been a huge success!  Even after the tours have been taken, the great bloggers who earned a spot aboard continue to spread the word. Here is the link to a Storify summarizing the events of the past 4 weeks:

[View the story “Hop on the #PayItForwardExpress” on Storify]

We will continue to update this Storify as time goes on, but on behalf of Gray Line New York, I would like to thank everyone who participated in this awesome event to make the world a better place, especially Amee and Dawn for putting the whole thing together. The #PayItForwardExpress was a success because of you all, and if you keep being great people, the world will keep being great to you.

Planetary Rover, Curiosity, Will Land on Mars — In Times Square

It’s not quite the same as Apollo 11 landing on the Moon, but early Monday morning will be a big moment for NASA.  At approximately 1:31 a.m. on August 6, NASA’s planetary rover, Curiosity, will land on the surface of Mars, and you can watch it live.

The Toshiba Vision screen in Times Square (just below the New Year’s Ball) will broadcast the journey for all passersby to see beginning at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday night and continuing until 4 a.m. Monday morning.

“In the city that never sleeps, the historic Times Square will be the place for New Yorkers to participate in this historic landing,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, according to NASA’s press release. “When you think of all the big news events in history, you think of Times Square, and I can think of no better venue to celebrate this news-making event on Mars.”

Unfortunately, NASA forgot about us working folk when they scheduled this landing in the middle of the night, but for those of you on vacation in the big city, this sounds very cool!

Students, Welcome Back to School!

Ok, it may be a little early to be welcoming college students back for the Fall semester, but it’s never too early to start making plans.  Beginning August 16th, Gray Line New York will be offering all college students from the Tri-State area half priced tours!

Maybe you’re coming to NYC for freshman orientation and you want to learn more about the place you’re going to call home for the next four years.  Maybe you and your college friends want to see NYC from a different perspective.  Maybe you’re a Rutgers student who’s coming to Manhattan for the day and want to take advantage of a cheap tour.  This tour is for you!

What’s that?  You family is coming with you but they aren’t currently enrolled in college?  If they’re with you, they get 10% off as well.  Your summer may be over, but the fun doesn’t have to stop.

For more information on this discount follow this link to the Gray Line New York website.

Park Avenue is closing for NYC Summer Streets

Photo: nyc.gov

It can be tough to close portions of busy streets in major cities, but it does happen from time to time.  In Paris, Champs Elysees closes to traffic for the finish of a bike race.  Parts of Oxford Street in London have closed in the past so that Christmas shoppers don’t get crushed (if you’ve ever shopped on Oxford Street, you know this is a legitimate concern).  Well in New York City, we close down almost 7 miles (7 miles?!) of Park Avenue on three consecutive weekends in the summer, just so people can have fun.

During the first three Saturday’s in August, Summer Streets is taking over Park Avenue.  From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., one of the busiest streets in the world will be opened up to the public to do pretty much whatever we want.  There will be art workshops, rock climbing walls, food markets, workout sessions, a zip line and more!  Fun can be had by the whole family.

This is the 5th year of NYC Summer Streets and it is such a great time.  Get out of your apartment (hotel room) and have some fun, go for a run, ride a bike, play some games.  New York is shutting down 7 miles (7 miles?!) of road for you, so you better take advantage of this truly unique opportunity.

Harlem Week 2012

Harlem Week, 2011
Photo: harlemweek.com

One thing that’s great about New York is its weeks.  Yeah, it has 52 just like any other city, but the weeks in New York are special, because they seemingly all have a extra significance.  Whether it’s Fleet Week or Pride Week or Restaurant Week; there is always something great going on.  And to top it off, New Yorkers love their weeks so much that we don’t even limit them to a week!  Fleet Week lasted 8 days; Pride Week 9 days; Restaurant Week is already 10 days deep and we’re not even half way home!  Yeah, there is something special about New York City and its weeks.

This weekend is the start of another week in the Big Apple: Harlem Week.  What originally started out as a day of celebration in 1974, Harlem Week has turned into a festival of events that encompasses over a full month of the calendar year.  And why should it only last 7 days when there is so much to celebrate about the uptown neighborhood.

  • On Saturday and Sunday, begin Harlem Week with “A Magical Weekend in Harlem,” and event for the whole family!  Art will be on display, musicians will be on the street and there will be activities for the kids.  Swing over to 104th between Lexington and Park for this free event.
  • Every Wednesday night in August the world famous Apollo Theater will feature Amateur Night, a timeless tradition and salute to the young talent within the community.  This will be a ticket work getting.
  • Street ball and Harlem go together like apple pie and America.  Some of the most gifted basketball players in the world got their starts playing on the hard courts uptown.  During the first two weeks of August, Holcombe Rucker Park will play host to the Entertainers Basketball Classic, a free event starting at 6 p.m. every night. (Yes this is the event that NBA Star Kevin Durant set on fire last year) 

For a full list of events and to learn more about Harlem, visit harlemweek.com.

The Weekend in NYC: Go to space on the Intrepid

Each weekend, we like to tell you what’s up in New York.  This way, when you finish your bus tour or you’re just hopping off, you’ll know what to do.  Here’s what’s happening this weekend in New York City:

Image: intrepidmuseum.com

Intrepid SpaceFest

Yesterday the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum opened up its Space Shuttle Pavilion featuring the Enterprise, which many of you will remember making its journey into the harbor.  SpaceFest is a 5-day festival focused around the pavilion, and by all accounts it is awesome!  NASA is on hand all weekend providing exhibits and demonstrations suitable for guests of all ages, and on Friday you can even watch Star Trek from aboard the ship itself.  Anyone who is into space exploration won’t want to miss this event.

Soccer at Yankee Stadium

Baseball’s (New) Cathedral has hosted plenty of sporting events since it opened in 2009.  There are 80+ baseball games played each year, it is home to college football’s Pinstripe Bowl, and now we can add professional soccer to the list.  This weekend, European Champion Chelsea FC will take on Paris Saint-Germain in a friendly as part of the World Football Challenge.  It’s fun that the stadium that hosts the world’s top baseball team will now play host to the world’s top soccer team as well.

Block Party!

The New Museum will be hosting their 6th annual block party this Saturday at Sarah D. Roosevelt Park.  The party begins at noon and is free to all.  Once the bash comes to a close, head over to the New Museum where you will receive free admission for the day.  This sounds like lots of fun with activities for comers of all ages.

If you have any weekend tip or just some questions looking for suggestions, email us at ask@graylinenewyork.com