brooklyn

5 Can’t Miss Events This Week in NYC

On The town is back on Broadway, the High Line is ending it’s guided tours, and DUMBO is getting artsy this week in NYC.

Attend the revival of “On The Town” on Broadway Monday, September 22

broadway

Guided walking tours of the High Line end Tuesday, September 23

high line

Head to Brooklyn for the Dumbo Arts Festival Friday, September 26-28

dumbo

See over 350 vendors at the NY Art Book Fair Friday, September 26-28

ny book fair

Discover hidden treasures and finds at the NYC Big Flea Saturday, September 27-28

nyc big flea

5 Best (Remaining) Record Stores in NYC

Colony Records, no longer with us.

For many, vinyl is a thing of the past. Heck, physical music in general has become antique. With the advent of iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube, the music industry has gone almost entirely digital. Just last year NYC lost a 64-year veteran of the record selling business, Colony Records.

But there still are the purists out there- the ones who are constantly updating their turntables and organizing their sleeves in alphabetical order. This is for those of you who are still looking for the record mainstays in NYC. These are the 5 best record stores in NYC, still standing:

Bleeker Street Records

flickr / bill_comstock

flickr / bill_comstock

Last year Bleeker Street Records almost faced the same fate as Colony. Its rent had gone up too much, but luckily it was able to find a spot nearby to call a home. It may no longer be on Bleeker Street, but it’s still one of the top record stores in NYC.

Permanent Records

via permanentrecords.com

We can only hope that permanent’s name holds true, because the Greenpoint record shop is top-shelf. In a time when record store after record store is closing the doors, Permanent holds strong.

Turntable Lab

via turntablelab

This Alphabet City music shop sells more than just records, and that might be what keep them alive for the long haul. That being said, their vinyl selection is fantastic!

Good Records NYC

via good records

Located in the East Village, Good Records both buys and sell records. They also have fantastic service, which, let’s be honest, is what make a good record store a good record store.

Academy Records & CDs

via academy-records

Academy is another very large record store with great prices. The buy, sell, and also deal in all forms of music media, which is nice, just in case you feel like something other than vinyl.

What’s your favorite record store in NYC? Tweet us at @GrayLineNewYork

5 Can’t Miss Events This Week in NYC

This week features a few events in Brooklyn that you need to go to. Here are the 5 events to keep an eye on in NYC:

Jay Z is back in his home for another night on the Magna Carter World Tour at Barclays Center Monday, January 13

image via barclayscenter.com

Early American Guitars: The Instruments of C. F. Martin opens at The Met Tuesday, January 14

image via metmuseum.com

Stop by The Word in Brooklyn for a special Comic Book Night Panel with Sean Howe and Tim Leong Wednesday, January 15

image via cntraveler.com

The Under The Radar Festival continues through this Saturday at The Public Theater Through Saturday, January 19

image via undertheradar

Join Fran Lebowitz and Martin Scorsase in conversation at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Sunday, January 20

image via bam.org

NYC Activities for the Week of November 4

Justin Timberlake Barclays Center

It’s another week and another host of events in NYC. This week is highlighted by shows of all types, from Ed Sheeran to John Mulaney. Here’s what’s going on in NYC this week:

BrainStorm New York 4-7

Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom exhibition opens at the Met 4

Justin Timberlake takes over the Barclays Center 6

New York Comedy Festival 6-10

Rob Delaney Book Launch at PowerHouse Arena 6

Radio City Christmas Spectacular Opening Night 7

Ed Sheeran plays a sold out Madison Square Garden 7

War/Photography exhibition opens at the Brooklyn Museum 8

International Hotel, Motel, and Restaurant Show 9-12

Kevin James headlines the St. George Theater 9

Queens International 2013 Opens at the Queens Museums 9

How to Spend Halloween in NYC with Kids

halloween for kids

Halloween is fast approaching, and if you’re in New York City with young kids, you definitely want to find out what great events they can go to. Below is a fantastic list that isn’t to be missed!

Hometown Halloween – Financial District
Thursday, October 31 3-7:30pm
74 Trinity Place between Rector and Thames Streets
FREE! Everyone from 2 – 92 can trick-or-treat in the historic church’s graveyard. Starting at 6pm, Older children who can handle more spooky activities can watch a screening of the silent 1920 classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde inside the church complemented by the church organ.

Asphalt Screams – Upper East Side & Battery Park City
Thursday, October 31 4-6pm
FREE but online RSVP required
555 East 90th Street between York and East End Avenues
212 North End Avenue between Warren and Murray Streets
Both spots are throwing zombie-themed parties that are a must to attend. Enjoy games of Zombie Freeze Tag, a Spook-tacular Soccer Shootout and much more. First 300 kids to arrive will receive a ghoulish goody bag. Although this is a free event, a donation of $20 per family is highly appreciated.

Halloween 313 – Fort Greene
Thursday, October 31 5:30-9:30pm
313 Clinton Avenue between Lafayette and Dekalb Avenues
FREE
Every Halloween, volunteers at this house put on a a spectacular and over-the-top show for children of all ages. This year’s theme is 20,000 Screams Under the Sea: A Steampunk Adventure. Expect creepy simulations of Victorian glamour. Performances run approximately every 30 minutes and take place outside. It gets crowded quickly, so get there early to get a good view.

Where ever you go this Halloween, make sure you are safe and having a spooky and sweet time.

Alisa Vilabrera is a blogger for CheapOair. A leading travel website offering a large selection of discounted flight deals, hotel rates and car rentals.

Take Advantage of Labor Day in NYC

brooklyn bridge

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!

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.

esb; nyc

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