central park

New Year’s Eve Concerts and Events

new year eve nyc

It’s hard believe but 2013 has come and gone. By midweek, it will be 2014 and New York City will be in cleanup mode. But Tuesday is New Year’s Eve, and that mean it’s time to party. Here are the best New Year’s concerts, parties and events to ring in 2014 in NYC:

image via barclayscenter.com

image via barclayscenter.com

The best New Year’s Eve Cruise in town sets sail at 10 p.m.

Billy Joel will play Barclays Center with Ben Folds Five

Jill Scott will take the stage at Radio City Music Hall

There will be New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Prospect Park

image via nyrr.org

image via nyrr.org

Central Park will host a midnight run for NY Road Runners

The Disco biscuits will host the party at the Theater at MSG

Phish will take the main stage at Madison Square Garden

Gov’t Mule will play the Beacon Theatre

image via straightfresh.com

image via straightfresh.com

Deadmau5 plays Nassau Coliseum to ring in the new year

Gogol Bordello will be live at Terminal 5


Child Friendly Attractions in NYC

child Happy Central Park

As big cities go, New York is one of the most child-friendly in the world today, offering a wealth of things to keep your kids happy, from playgrounds and movie theaters to toy stores and more. As far as major attractions go, there are plenty to choose from too. Help your children understand the sheer scope of the city by taking a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or a ride to the top of the Empire State Building, then plan days out to the most exciting attractions New York City has to offer children. Here are five of our favorites.

 American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West, at 79th St

Chances are, if your child has seen Night at the Museum, they’ve probably already nagged you for a visit to New York’s world-famous Natural History Museum. The most jaw-dropping and fascinating area of the educational institution remains the seemingly-endless dinosaur floor, which deserves a visit purely for the T-Rex that’s constructed from real dinosaur bones. Elsewhere, your little ones can explore the wild, the ocean and even space. Easily a full day of fun.

 Central Park

For parents in Manhattan, Central Park truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Cross Central Park and find 21 playgrounds to choose from, boat rides on the lake during the summer, the Trump ice rink in winter, the carousel, the magnificent zoo (complete with 130 species, petting area, sea-lion feedings, 4-D movie screenings and even classes) and the marionette theater at the Swedish Cottage. This 840-acre adventure has something for kids of all ages, no matter what time of year it is.

Sony Wonder Technology Lab
550 Madison Ave

If you live with a budding techie who can’t keep their hands off your smart phone, tablet and laptop, be sure to take them to Sony’s Wonder Technology Lab in Midtown. It’s extremely interactive, educational but entertaining and, best of all, it’s free. Your kids can create profiles of themselves, learn how the internet works, play with a multitude of touch-screens, turn themselves into avatars and, on Saturdays, they can even catch a movie. The SWTL is best for older children, but chances are, parents might learn a thing or two as well.

Statue of Liberty
Liberty Island

As one of the nation’s most enduring and famous landmarks, the Statue of Liberty remains a great day out for kids. Whether you are taking in the magnificent views from a dock in Staten Island or embarking on a fun ferry ride across New York Harbor over to the lovely Liberty Island, your young ones will certainly enjoy our beloved 127-year-old iron lady and her 305-foot-high torch, will marvel at the sheer size of her feet and learn a thing or ten about why she’s there and what she symbolizes, as well as the rich history of Ellis Island.

 The Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W. 83rd St.

Since opening in 1978, the Children’s Museum has proved so popular, it now stands at 38,000 square feet and five floors of exciting exhibits that intermingle entertainment and education—often with plenty of interactive elements. Here, your kids can dabble in everything from hands-on pottery workshops and guitar concerts, to arts and science experiments, and the Museum is mindful of mixing up its features to keep regular visitors intrigued and happy. Suitable for kids of all ages.

Rae Alexandra contributed to the Gray Line New York entertainment blog on behalf of The Accolade at Bay Street Landing

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.


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.


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!

The 2013 Metropolitan Opera Free Summer Recitals

image metoperafamily.org

image metoperafamily.org

If you’re in New York for this summer and your taste in music is a little more classical, The Metropolitin Opera has you covered for free!  For all the opera lovers, this year’s summer recital series is in almost every borough and runs from  July 16 to August 1. This is a chance to see the world’s best opera singers in New York. Just grab some waters and choose a park:


Central Park SummerStage

Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 8pm


Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn

Friday, July 19, 2013, 7pm


Crotona Park, Bronx

Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 7pm


Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island

Thursday, July 25, 2013, 7pm


Jackie Robinson Park, Manhattan

Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 7pm


Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens

Thursday, August 1, 2012, 7pm



The Best 8 Places for running in NYC

central park running

It’s too nice outside to be stuck at your gym or at home exercising! Sometimes jogging can become tedious, but jogging in New York City might make you forget that you’re even sweating. Make fitness fun by exploring the city and still being able to get the summer body you want to achieve.

Here is our list of top spots to jog in NYC:

8. Roosevelt Island
7. High Line Park – Go early or don’t go at all.
6. Riverside Park
5. Inwood Hill Park
4. East River Bridges – Great views, nice inclines, but be prepared to slow for the walkers. It can be a tight squeeze on the bridges at some points.
3. Prospect Park – Our favorite Brooklyn running getaway.
2. Hudson River Greenway – Run the length of the Hudson, right on the water. It’s beautiful.

And the best place to run in NYC is…

1. Central Park Reservoir – Nothing beats running the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The views are beautiful, there’s room to pass slower runners, the track isn’t too hard and it isn’t too soft- It’s as good a place as you’ll find in NYC to go for a jog.

One tip: Ever heard of the early bird gets the worm? Well, let’s just say you might want to be a jogging bird. Remember its New York! If you want to take a walk or jog in NYC it’s very hard to avoid people and cyclists in your way, so head out early before everyone wakes up!

Change up your scenery and jog on.

Photo Credit: Flickr / Ed Yourdon

Mother’s Day in NYC 2013

A Central Park picnic for Mother's Day?

A Central Park picnic for Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is coming up and if you haven’t yet, it’s time to start planning. Luckily for you, if you will be in NYC on May 12th, we have a couple of suggestions for you. Here’s the Gray Line New York guide to Mother’s Day in NYC:

For The Outdoor Mom

The mom who loves the outdoors might not be thrilled about being in the big city for her special day, but did you know that NYC has over 1,700 parks and playgrounds? As shocking as that may sound, that’s not a made up stat. Our recommendation, take mom to The High Line to experience one of Manhattan’s most unique parks, or maybe just head to Central Park for a picnic.

For The Sporty Mom

Who said the ballgame is just a Father’s Day tradition? Take mom to Citi Field for a game against the Pirates.

For The Hungry Mom

Brunch. New Yorkers love their brunch, because it’s breakfast, and it’s lunch. At the same time.

Taking your mom to brunch is as nice a thing as you can do for the woman who brought you into this world. Remember to think ahead, because Mother’s Day is one of the year’s big brunch days, so you may need to make a reservation.

For The Music Mom

If your mom is one of those people who always has music playing, than you’re in luck. The Bayou n’ Brooklyn Music Festival will last all weekend, closing on Mother’s Day.

For The Tourist Mom

You have been living in New York City for a year since you left your Ohio roots, and mom is finally coming to visit so that she can spend Mother’s Day with her favorite child. Mom has never been to Manhattan before, so you know that she’s going to want to see everything. No problem, just hop on a double-decker bus tour for the weekend. Tours include Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and a nighttime route. Mom will love you forever.

Does your mom not fit into one of these categories? Let us know in the comments and we’ll update our recommendations for you.

Photo: Flickr / patrickhashley