Brooklyn Bridge

See New York City in One Day

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New York City can be pretty big sometimes. Big and intimidating. When you travel here, you probably ask yourself how can I see all of New York City in one day? Is there a tour that I can see the top NYC sights in a short time so I can save the rest of my week for other sightseeing activities? Well, now there is.

Statue of LibertyIntroducing the all new New York City in One Day Tour!

In this 6-hour personalized tour of 12 people or less, you will sightsee by foot, minibus and boat. See all of the top New York attractions like the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge with a knowledgeable, local tour guide. Experience the neighborhoods of Manhattan, the New York skyline from the Hudson River, and more when you sign on for the New York City in One Day Tour.

ESBHighlights:

  • 6-hour New York sightseeing tour, led by a friendly local guide
  • See top New York attractions by foot, minibus and sightseeing boat
  • Relax aboard a minibus and pass sights such as the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center
  • Stroll past New York City Hall and Brooklyn Bridge, and wander along the High Line, an elevated parkland walkway
  • Enjoy a 1.5-hour New York Harbor sightseeing cruise and view the Statue of Liberty alongside other sights
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of 13 people ensures personalized attention from a guide

You can book this brand new tour now online (New York City in One Day Tour) or by calling our visitors center 1-800-669-0051

Take Advantage of Labor Day in NYC

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Labor Day is a lot like Memorial Day in New York City. As the latter marks the unofficial beginning to the summer, Labor Day is the sad, unofficial end to the summer. Yeah, technically summer doesn’t end until late September, but once the first Monday of the month comes to pass, our minds are already shifting to fall.

Labor Day is also a lot like Memorial Day in that it’s a getaway holiday for most of us who live here. We have a long weekend and we typically use it as our last chance to head down the Jersey Shore or out to the Hamptons for one last hurrah of summer beach fun. This is good news for those of you thinking of visiting Manhattan for Labor Day Weekend because it means that the city will be empty for your sightseeing pleasure.

Here are our tips on taking advantage of the locals heading out of town and leaving the city in your hands for three days:

  • Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

The only annoying part of walking the Brooklyn Bridge is the crowds that you have to fight to do so. With locals out of town, the walkway shouldn’t be too bad.

The Reservoir in Central Park is a prime running spot for locals. It has a great track, beautiful views and never really gets too crowded. With all of the locals out of town, you’ll have open space for days.

The High Line Park is a popular spot for those who live in The Village, but most tourists visiting don’t even know about it. Head over to the West Side park for a very cool experience.

Less people means less traffic, less traffic means more fun. Labor Day Weekend is the final weekend of the unofficial summer, and one of the best weekends to take a tour.

So, what are your plans for Labor Day? Are you making like a local and heading to the beach, or are you going to take advantage of our great city? Let us know in the comments!

NYC Shuts Down Park Avenue for Summer Streets 2013

Will you be in New York in August? The Big Apple is full of surprises every day with the amount of events this summer that are fun and free! Come this August, Summer Streets will completely shut down Park Avenue and open up for you to just have fun! You can bring your bike, walk with family, or play and eat with friends. Summer Streets extends from Brooklyn to Central Park with six rest stops where the performances and activities open to all ages! The six rest stops are Uptown Rest Stop, Park Avenue Tunnel, Midtown Rest Stop, Astor Place, Soho Place, and Foley Square Rest Stop. Summer Streets will be held on 3 consecutive Saturdays in August — the 3rd, 10th, and 17th — from 7am to 1pm.

Check out all the free activities:

  • Fitness classes
  • Delicious food vendors
  • Rock climbing
  • Dance performances
  • Yoga
  •  Mini golf
  • Football
  • Public artwork

It gets better, for the first time in history Summer Streets are also opening up the “Voice Tunnel” which runs from 33rd Street to 40th Street. How cool is that to record your voice at the center of the tunnel into an intercom! About 100 voices will be illuminated in the tunnel at any given time.

Review: Visiting The Empire State Building

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 Empire State Building.

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View from the top of the Empire State Building

When you picture the New York City skyline, what do you see? I think that it is safe to assume that a part of your image included the soaring Empire State Building. It is a beautiful sight to see, but it is a mind-blowingly different experience being at the top looking out, down and across at everything else for a change. And by everything else, I literally mean everything else.

The entrance to the observation deck is on the 5th Ave. side of the Empire State Building. I headed here on a chilly, but sunny and clear Wednesday morning. I was immediately impressed with the lobby because it was eloquently designed with all marble features. The workers directed everyone upstairs where all the visitors had to go through security. There were a lot of people around me just as eager to get to the top as I was and we all moved quickly through the line. From there I was sent to will call since I needed to pick up my tickets. Those who already bought and had their tickets in hand were sent directly to the elevators to the top. The will call line was extremely short and quick for me, but for your own convenience I would suggest buying your ticket ahead of time.

Finally, it was my turn to board the elevator to head up the 80th floor. This was a 55 second elevator ride and even though that may seem short, the elevator felt like it was climbing floors at an extremely fast rate and also that it was just never going to end. Upon arrival to the 80th floor, to my surprise I still wasn’t at the observation deck. I entered into a room that reminded me of a small museum. It displayed pictures and all the history behind the Empire State Building. I want to give you the chance to discover and explore the Empire State Building yourself, but I’ll give you this one fact just in case all your hopes and dreams come true one day and you are on Jeopardy and need to know- The Empire State Building was built in 1931.

After learning the history of the building and looking at historical photos from the building being built, it was time to head up 6 more stories to the observation deck. Here, I was given the option of waiting for the elevator or taking the stairs. I decided to take the stairs to switch it up a little from the previous elevator ride. Don’t do that. I’m not sure if it was the thin air or they just lied and I climbed about 20 stories because when I arrived at the top, I was extremely winded and felt like I had just ran a marathon.

esb; nyc

View from the Empire State Building, looking downtown

That feeling actually lasted long, and not because of the stairs, but because I immediately stepped out onto the most breath-taking panoramic views I have ever seen. The deck was huge and wrapped around the entire building. I took time on each side to take priceless pictures of downtown first. This included the Brooklyn Bridge, The Freedom Tower, and The Statue of Liberty (which looked about the size of an ant). On the East Side, I decided to stick my camera through the grate and take a picture of the streets below me. Again, don’t do that. I almost dropped my camera and that could have been the one thing to ruin the trip.

I then made my way over to the North side and over looked uptown and Central Park. Since it was such a clear day, I could see all the way to the Bronx and beyond. I even saw the Top of the Rock observation deck and pointed and laughed because I was higher than them. Just kidding. What I actually did was look out over The Hudson River into New Jersey and New Jersey didn’t even look that bad. I mean, the armpit of America looked good from the top of the Empire State Building and that’s saying something. (I’m from New Jersey by the way).

After spending time taking in all the amazing views and after coming to the realization that I could not live up there, I headed back inside. Of course, I chose the elevator back down to the 80th floor to take a walk through the gift shop. After looking through the entire store I concluded that all the t-shirts, magnets, glasses, and posters were reasonably priced. They offered a variety of designs and colors in everything they sold, which I liked.

I took the 55 second elevator ride back down to the lobby on the first floor. In those 55 seconds I realized that the observation deck exceeded all my expectations. This wasn’t just another view of New York City. This was all of New York City and surrounding areas all at once, but without the chaos and noise. It is hands-down, a can’t miss.

To pre-purchase tickets for the Empire State Building and skip the line in the beginning, visit our website now: Empire State Building Tickets

Reviewed by Megan Ryan

The Brooklyn Loop Is Getting Better

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You have been asking us for some time now to make our Brooklyn Loop tour a Hop-on, Hop-off style tour like our Uptown and Downtown Loops. You have told us that you want to be able to get off the bus in Brooklyn and explore the up-and-coming borough even more on your own.

Well, we’ve been listening.

Starting on Monday, March 25th, Gray Line New York will officially be turning our Brooklyn Loop into a Hop-on, Hop-off tour. We will make stops at the Brooklyn Promenade, Atlantic Ave., Barclays Center, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Zoo, Brooklyn Public Library, Fort Greene Park, and BAM.

So what do you think? Anywhere else we should stop? Are you going to hop on?

Things to do in NYC St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge this St. Patrick's Day

Are you coming to New York City this weekend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? If so, you don’t want miss out on some awesome experiences that this City has. Yeah, you know about the parade, but what else are you planning? Here, we’ve compiled a list of a few of the best things to do during St. Patrick’s Weekend so you won’t miss a thing:

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Go to a service or just visit for the architecture.  One of the most beautiful Catholic Churches in the world, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has plenty to offer.

McSorley’s Old Ale House

McSorley’s in the East Village boasts being New York’s oldest continually operating saloon. A classic pub, there is no place better to grab that Pint of Guinness that you’ve been craving

Brooklyn Bridge

Take a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, the landmark built by many Irish American immigrants.

Top of the Rock

Have you ever wondered what NYC is like on St. Patrick’s Weekend?  Well go to the Top of the Rock and you can see the whole thing! With arguably the best view in Manhattan, it’s tough to find a reason not to go!

Irish Arts Center

On Sunday, March 18th, the Irish Arts Center will be holding a free celebration.  From 12-5 p.m., all are invited to enjoy music, dance, culture and many performances.

2012 St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Of course we cannot leave this out.  You have to go to the parade, even if just for a short while.  It’s one of New York’s greatest traditions, so don’t miss out.