Welcome To New York: A Spotify Playlist

Last year, I spent a weekend in Arizona with some friends from college.  I flew from Philly to Phoenix on a five hour flight, and I forgot my iPod.  It was the worst.  It didn’t make things easier that I was making my cross country trip on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  Everyone in the airport was on edge and a nice playlist would have made things much easier on me.

This is just how I am.  Music makes everything better in my mind.  I don’t know what I would do without my headphones when I hop on the 1 train for my daily, morning commute.  I’m sure for some of you, this doesn’t entirely register, but many of you are just like me.  We need music.

A couple of summers ago I took an even longer flight; this time from Newark to Heathrow in London.  For this journey, I made a special playlist on my iPod.  It was full of songs about London, and England, and Europe and songs by Englishmen.. It was all about my trip, and it put me in the perfect mood.

This got me thinking about our guests.  Many of you travel great distances to visit New York City and enjoy our tours.  With that in mind, I decided to make a playlist in hopes that it makes your travel a little bit easier.

Last Friday, we asked you on Facebook what your favorite New York themed song was, and your response was not very surprising.  At least it wasn’t surprising to me, because the two songs that were mentioned are, in my mind, songs 1 and 1a about NYC.  Frank and Jay-Z.  Old school and new school.  The Theme from New York, New York and Empire State of Mind.

But while those are probably the two most popular New York based songs, there are literally hundreds of others.  Our Spotify playlist consists of 46 songs, from Elton John to The Rolling Stones; from Beastie Boys to Wu-Tang Clan.  The list includes songs from each of the past 9 decades, with the oldest tune being ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ (1924).

The criteria for choosing songs were simple: Each song is either about New York, or has a strong connection to the City.  (For example: I know Bruce Springsteen’s ‘My City Of Ruins’ was originally written about Asbury Park, NJ, but when it was performed at the 9/11 telethon, it immediately became a song about New York, too.)

There are two important things to still point out about this list.  First is that some of the songs on the playlist have very explicit lyrics.  I just couldn’t justify a New York playlist that didn’t include Jay-Z.  Don’t worry; I plan on making a censored playlist for those of you who would like one.

The second thing is that this playlist isn’t complete.  In fact, it never will be.  If there is a song that you would like to see added, let me know.  Post it in the comments here, write it on our timeline on Facebook or Tweet at us @graylinenewyork.

Enjoy our New York Spotify Playlist

Introducing Big Pink Sightseeing

If you’ve been in New York City over the past week or so, you’ve probably seen them.  They look just like any of our other buses, but they’re pink.  Our Big Pink Buses have been on the road recently, but haven’t had any passengers.  Well, that’s about to change.

Beginning Monday, April 16th, Big Pink Sightseeing will be running the bus tour that also fights for a cure:

Big Pink Bus

Big Pink Bus

Not only have we wrapped a bunch of our buses in pink to support breast cancer awareness throughout New York City, but for every ticket sold, Gray Line New York is making a donation to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  While you take this exclusive, open-top, double-decker bus tour of Midtown and Downtown Manhattan, you will also be helping the fight against breast cancer.

If not for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, many facts about the genetic basis of breast cancer would not be known, the link between exercise, nutrition and breast cancer risk would not be established, and the rate of mortalities would not continue its downward curve.  BCRF-funded scientists are responsible for these and many other critical achievements.

For more information about BCRF, visit www.bcrfcure.org

To book your Big Pink Sightseeing tour, head over to New York Sightseeing now.

2012 Tribeca Film Festival Info

One of the world’s most spectacular film festivals will be back in New York next week starting Wednesday, April 18th.  The Tribeca Film Festival has been a staple in Downtown New York since 2002 and now, in its 11th year, is expected to draw upwards of 3 million people.

The festival, which is the brainchild of Academy Award winning actor and Director Robert De Niro, is known for showcasing some of the year’s best documentary, narrative and short films.  The festival gives out awards in all of these categories, but also holds a competition for New York films to showcase its host city.

The world premiere of "The Avengers" will close this year's Tribeca Film Festival

While Tribeca primarily shows indie films, the festival has been known to host premiere events to major studio movies, including “The Interpreter” with Nicole Kidman and “Baby Mama” With Tina Fey.  This year it has been announced that superhero blockbuster “The Avengers,” starring Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson among others, will close the Tribeca Film Festival.

Tickets packages are on sale now and single showing tickets for American Express Customers go on sale Tomorrow at Noon.  Non-American Express card holders have to wait until Monday, April 16 to buy tickets.  For more ticketing information, or to see this year’s film guide, follow the links to their Official Website.

Our downtown loop bus tour runs right through the heart of Tribeca, so if you have tickets to a show, hop-off for the movie and then hop back on to the next bus when the screening is finished!

Name That Building

New York City has the world’s most recognizable skyline thanks to its thousands of buildings.  Some are big, some small, some have beautiful detail and others are plain.  When it comes down to it, can you guess the name of New York’s most famous buildings?  Let’s put it to the test and play Name That Building! (answers at bottom)






2 points if you can get BOTH famous buildings in this picture!






Passover Festivities in NYC

If you’re going to be in New York this weekend and are looking for Passover plans, look no further.  We’re here to help you with all of your needs!

Seder Plate

Passover Seders

The Passover Seder at Chelsea Pearl offers a 5 course meal, an open international wine bar and the Reading of the Passover Haggadah.  It costs $100 per person, but if you order online, you can get a $20 discount

To find other local Seders in your neighborhood, visit chabad.com

Passover Restaurants

USA Today put together a fine list of restaurants in New York City that have Passover menus.  This list will include some great restaurants offering special meals for Passover.

Passover Service

Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue is one of many temples in New York City that will be hosting a special service on Friday.  Visit their website for more information on the service and their annual Cyber Seder.