holidays

44 Reasons to Be Excited About Fall 2014 in NYC

central park nyc fall

Fall is the season for beautifully burnt colors, the first chill of the season, football, tailgates, pumpkin spice added to all of our favorite beverages and giant piles of leave that are always more fun to demolish in theory than in practice. In NYC,, the autumn season is really about so much more than that. It’s about festivals of food and film and music and wine. It’s about brand new exhibitions flooding our museums- the greatest in the world. It’s about Broadway shows – 8 of them – opening the curtains for the first time. It’s about the beginning of the holiday season with Christmas Trees and giant turkeys and Rockettes and Nutcrackers. Here are 44 reasons to be excited about Fall 2014 in NYC:

  1. New York Film Festival is back in town (September 26-October 12)
  2. So is the NYC Independent Film Festival (October 15-19)
  3. And don’t forget the Big Apple Film Festival (November 5-9)
  4. There’s even a Horror Film Festival in NYC this Fall (November 13-16)
  5. But it’s not just about movies… The New York Wine and Food Festival comes this Fall (October 16-19)
  6. The Prospect Park Food Truck Rally is live on every first and third Sundays of the month (until October 19)
  7. New York Comic Con hits the Javits Center (October 9-12)
  8. The Global Citizen Festival is a free* concert with Jay Z and Carrie Underwood and more awesome people (September 27)
  9. And the CBGB Festival highlights younger bands with lots of free and cheap shows (October 8-12)
  10. The Village Halloween Parade is one of NYC most extravagant annual events (October 31)

 

There are 6 new exhibitions at MoMa

MoMa rain

photo: digitaltrends.com

  1. Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor (October 4)
  2. Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs (October 12)
  3. Sturtevant: Double Trouble (November 9)
  4. Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities (November 22)
  5. Modern Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection, 1909-1949 (December 13)
  6. The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World (December 14)

And 3 new exhibitions at the Guggenheim

guggenheim

photo: wikipedia

  1. Zero: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s (October 10)
  2. V. Gaitonde: Painting as Progress, Painting as Life (October 24)
  3. Wang Jianwei: Time Temple (October 31)

And 2 new exhibitions at Brooklyn Museum

brooklyn museum

photo: museum-newyork.com

  1. Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond (October 3)
  2. Judith Scott—Bound and Unbound (October 24)

And 7 new exhibitions at The Met

met stairs

photo: photobento.blogspot.com

  1. Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age (September 22)
  2. Thomas Hart Benton’s America Today Mural Rediscovered (September 30)
  3. Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry (October 8)
  4. Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire (October 21)
  5. Bartholomeus Spranger: Splendor and Eroticism in Imperial Prague (November 4)
  6. El Greco in New York (November 4)
  7. The Art of Collecting Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions, 2003-2014 (November 11)

And 8 Broadway Premieres

broadway

  1. On The Town (October 16)
  2. Disgraced (October 23)
  3. The Last Ship (October 26)
  4. The Real Thing (October 30)
  5. The River (November 16)
  6. Side Show (November 17)
  7. A Delicate Balance (November 20)
  8. The Elephant Man (December 7)

Plus, it’s the start of the Holiday Season!

bryant park holiday

  1. Thanksgiving means the Macy’s Day Parade (November 27)
  2. And what comes the first Wednesday after the fourth Thursday of November? The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting (December 3)
  3. Our annual Holiday Lights Double Decker Bus Tour begins (December 4)
  4. Bryant Park Holiday Shops will be open once again (November)
  5. As will the Central Park Ice Rink, which is just beautiful with the burnt orange of the trees (November)
  6. The Salvation Army posts up all across the city with dances and songs (December)
  7. And the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is back for another year (November 7-December 31)
  8. Last but not least, The Nutcracker takes Lincoln Center by storm (November 28-January 3)

Fall in NYC has so much to offer! What are you most excited for this coming season? Tell us on twitter at @GrayLineNewYork

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When is the 2014 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting?

rockefeller center christmas treet

And a few other far-too-early-to-be-talked-about questions about the holiday season in NYC.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas in NYC, it doesn’t get much better than that. What’s that, it’s 92 degrees out today? Summer still has another month left? Yes, these things are true, but right around the beginning of August is when we begin consistently receiving questions about Christmas in NYC, so it’s time we start planning our holiday vacations while we answer your questions in a special holiday edition of NYC FAQ:

When is the 2014 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting?

2012 rock center tree

This year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, December 3 beginning at 7 p.m. Remember, get there early if you want a good spot of the show.

When does the NYC Holiday Lights Bus Tour begin?

christmas lights tour

Each year, Gray Line New York turns our Night Tour into a specially themed Holiday Lights Tour catered to the incredible sights and sounds NYC puts on during the season. Between the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, 5th Avenue’s awesome holiday decorations, Macy’s light show, and so much more, we had to dedicate a tour to the season. This year, the Holiday Lights Tour begins on Thursday, December 4th, the day after the Christmas Tree Lighting.

Where is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree?

2008 rockefeller center christmas tree

The easy answer is Rockefeller Plaza.

The more appropriate answer is that the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree can be found between 5th and 6th Avenues on the plaza that connects 49th and 50th streets. You can approach the tree from the side by walking down one of those blocks and entering the plaza, or you can go to 5th Avenue between 49th and 50th streets to enter with the traditional view of the tree. There will almost always be a crowd on 5th Avenue taking pictures during the holiday season, so just look out for them.

How long will the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree be lit?

rockefeller center christmas tree statue

The tree will be lit for the first time on December 3rd and remain lit until January 7th, 2015. Aside from a few special days during this stretch, the tree will remain lit until 12 a.m. each night.

Will there be any other tree lightings in NYC during the holiday season?

bryant park christmas tree

Yes! Most people are only familiar with the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, but there are quite a few trees in NYC that have lighting ceremonies and remain lit for an extended period of time. Here are just a few:

  • The American Museum of Natural History has an Origami Holiday Tree on display
  • Bryant Park hosts one of the best trees in Manhattan at the top of their skating rink
  • Winter’s Eve in Lincoln Square is on December 1 this year
  • The New York Stock Exchange Tree will rise for the 91st time this year
  • The World’s Largest Menorah can be found on 59th and Central Park South

Where can I go ice skating in NYC?

central park ice skating

There are a few places to go ice skating underneath the cold, night sky in NYC. The most popular spot is Rockefeller Center, right below the big Christmas Tree. The Bryant Park Ice Rink is another beautiful park to go skating, surrounded by the Holiday Shops. Our third recommendation goes to the Central Park ice rink, which has some incredible views of the skyline.

The holiday season in NYC is truly as good as it gets. Decorations hang high, music and lights serenade the city streets, smiles will cover the faces of all and holiday cheer will capture will our hearts. Are you coming to NYC for the holidays? Do you have more questions that we didn’t cover? Let us know about it on twitter @GrayLineNewYork.

Photo Credit:
Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com
Gray Line New York
Anthony Quintano / Flickr
pedrosala / Shutterstock.com
Anthony Quintano / Flickr
Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com
Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock.com

110 Things to Know if You’re Visiting NYC This Winter

800px-Central_Park_winter_NYC1It may not be winter yet, but it’s officially the holiday season. A few month back we brought you 108 things to know if you were visiting NYC this fall, and you loved it. So its only appropriate we outdo ourselves once again this winter. Some things still hold true, like staying out of empty subway cars, but all in all it’s updated to reflect the next few months. So brace yourselves because after this list you’ll definitely be ready to visit NYC.

Sports

  1. Head over to MSG for the Big East Tournament from March 12 – 16
  2. Catch the A10 Tournament at the Barclays Center from March 12 – 16
  3. The Super Bowl will be held at MetLife Stadium on February 2
  4. Super Bowl Boulevard will be held on Broadway between 34th and 44th Streets and will be free to the public from January 29-February 1
  5. Yankee Stadium will play home to a pair of outdoor hockey games with the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders

Arts

  1. The Intrepid is a museum on an aircraft carrier, which is awesome
  2. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre has some amazing shows with cheap prices, too.
  3. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is known for its unique building and is also a landmark of NYC
  4. If you love spoken word you will have a good time at any poetry cafes in Manhattan
  5. Harlem has some historic libraries, great dance schools, and art too.
  6. Many Museums, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have a suggested donation to enter, but you don’t have to pay anything at all. If you can afford to, you should pay the requested amount so that these museums will continue to be some of the best in the world.
  7. Visit Radio City Music Hall this winter to see the famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular
  8. MoMa also has five new exhibitions planned for this winter such as Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New on December 21
  9. The Guggenheim has two new exhibitions launching this winter, including CARRIE MAE WEEMS: THREE DECADES OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO on January 24
  10. Brooklyn Museum will have one new exhibition for the winter called Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties on March 7
  11. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has four new exhibitions launching this winter, including Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary Chinaon on December 11
  12. The Met is also now open seven days a week
  13. There are like, a bazillion museums in NYC, not just the couple we named. You should check out as many as you can while in the city.
  14. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has a lineup of amazing concerts, plays, and films throughout the winter
  15. Visit Queens to see the Louis Armstrong House Museum which feature rare at home recordings of the jazz legend
  16. It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play will be making its debut December 6th at the Clarence Brown Theater
  17. The Whitney Museum of Natural Art will be adding 2 new exhibitions this winter including Edward Steichen in the 1920s and 1930s: A Recent Acquisition
  18. Check out the Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade festival celebration on February 2
  19. Westminster Kennel Club 138 Annual Dog Show premiers on February 10
  20. Head over to the Javits Convention Center to see the New York Progressive International Motorcycle Show on December 16
  21. Join in the celebration of winter sports in the Winter Jam NYC being held in the heart of central park on January 25
  22. The New York Jewish Film Festival is January 8 – 23
  23. The Armory Show and Armory Arts week will be held on March 5 – 10
  24. Head to the Joyce Theater shows like Focus Dance
  25. The Theater at St. Clement’s will be showing the classic A Christmas Carol on January 4

Music

  1. Greenwich Village is known for having great live music
  2. Madison Square Garden begins this winter with some big time headliners, including Billy Joel and Justin Timberlake
  3. Barclays Center, The Garden’s Brooklyn counterpart, hosts some of the biggest names in Music this winter, including Pink, John Mayer, Beyoncé and Pitbull
  4. The Beacan Theater will have a wide variety of holiday shows and act like Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays,
  5. New York Guitar Festival is January 10-29 at Brookfield Place Winter Garden, SubCulture, Merkin Concert Hall
  6. NYC Winter Jazzfest is January 7 – 11
  7. GlobalFest is January 12 at Webster Hall
  8. Z100’s Jingle Ball 2013 is December 13 at MSG

The Holidays

  1. The Holiday Season is bigger in NYC than in other places. We really get into it.
  2. The Tree Lighting remains lit every day from 5:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., except Christmas and New Year’s Eve which have special hours. The Tree will remain lit until January 7, 2014
  3. Come see the world’s largest Hanukkah Menorah at Grand Army Plaza
  4. Time Square is the place to be on New Year’s Eve to watch their famous ball drop
  5. Celebrate the holidays at the world famous Apollo Theater for their Holidays at the Apollo shows running all through December
  6. Don’t Miss American Ballet Theater’s The Nutcracker premiering on December 13
  7. Rockefeller Center has one of the world’s most famous ice rinks, right beneath the tree
  8. Kick off your New Years by participating in the New York Road Runners Midnight Run at 72nd Street Transverse near Cherry Hill
  9. Celebrate Valentine’s Day in New York with a nice romantic Carriage Ride in Central Park
  10. Celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue

Food

  1. Four star restaurants have long waiting lists. Make your reservations now.
  2. There are about 42 million fast food restaurants in NYC, but you shouldn’t go to any of them. At any given moment you will be within a 5 minute walk of low priced, better tasting burgers/chicken/tacos.
  3. Our dollar slices probably taste better than what you’re used to, but if you want really good pizza, the extra money is worth it.
  4. Don’t be afraid to try the pretzels at the hot dog stands
  5. Food trucks are awesome, try them!

Transportation

  1. The subway costs just $2.50 per ride, and can get just about anywhere in the city.
  2. Save your metro card because it’s a $1 additional fee for a new one
  3. If you’re staying for a week, you should buy a 7-Day Unlimited Pass which is good for unlimited subway and local bus rides for $30.
  4. The subway runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week
  5. When waiting for the train, stand behind the yellow platform edge strip.
  6. Don’t try to hold the door on the subway. People will hate you.
  7. Don’t block the doorway on the subway. People will hate you.
  8. Let people off the train before getting on.
  9. If all of the subway cars are crowded except for one, which is empty, get on the crowded car.
  10. You read that right, don’t get on the empty car. There’s a reason it’s empty.
  11. Be aware of your surroundings
  12. Trains usually run local or express, so if you are unsure you may want to ask a person or choose a local train
  13. Make sure you know exactly where you’re going before you swipe your card, you can’t get a refund using the subway.
  14. It can become very crowded on the trains. You will be surprised of the capacity.
  15. Taxis tend to go out of service around the afternoon rush. Plan accordingly.
  16. When catching a taxi you should get one in the direction you are going, it will save time and money
  17. The Staten Island Ferry is free

Shopping

  1. 5th Avenue has top of the line products, and prices to match
  2. SoHo has less expensive clothing stores and trendy boutiques
  3. Chinatown has incredibly cheap prices, and products to match
  4. Union Square is one of the most popular places to shop.
  5. Greenwich Village is filled with designer labels.
  6. Herald Square has almost every chain store
  7. Macy’s on 34th Street is the world’s largest department store and a registered NYC landmark.

Parks

  1. Central Park is the largest park in Manhattan, but the 5th largest in NYC.
  2. Brooklyn Bridge Park has an incredible view of the Manhattan Skyline.
  3. Riverbank State Park is a great park too including a gym, and kids facilities
  4. The High Line is an old elevated railway converted into a park
  5. Battery Park has a beautiful waterfront, and is where you pick up the ferry to the Statue of Liberty
  6. All of NYC’s parks are free to enter
  7. Bryant Park has a reading room, ping pong, games, carousel, free ice skating and chess.
  8. Central Park has a pair of ice rinks, one at 59th, the other at 106th.
  9. Here’s a list of parks with free Wi-Fi
  10. Washington Square Park has never a dull moment with constant entertainment to enjoy like break dancers and artists.

Pro-Tips

  1. Even numbered streets run east
  2. 5th Avenue is considered the center of the city. Any address like E. 42nd street is east of 5th, and address like W. 42nd street is west of 5th
  3. 6th Avenue also goes by Avenue of the Americas because of the statues on Central Park South where it meets 6th
  4. The numbers on the lights in Central Park refer to the closest cross street
  5. When hailing a taxi…
  6. Download a city/subway map to your phone. One less awkward thing to carry, and you don’t have the “tourist” look every time you need directions
  7. It’s safe to get lost on the street in Manhattan, it’s fun in any neighborhood and you get a chance to explore parts that a tour guide wouldn’t typically show you.
  8. If you happen to see a person having trouble standing because of age or an infant, the subway etiquette is to give up your seat.
  9. Be prepared to do the most walking you ever done in your life. Wear comfortable shoes.

Miscellaneous Tips and Facts worth knowing

  1. Don’t forget to take pictures of things. NYC is a beautiful city and worth sharing with your friends back home.
  2. When you take these pictures, if you abruptly stop walking in the middle of the sidewalk, people like you a little less. Don’t do that.
  3. Try not to text while walking.
  4. Think of walking like driving: If you’re going to walk slowly, stay to the right. If you want to walk fast you can “pass” on the left. The same rule applies for standing on escalators.
  5. Always carry some cash. You won’t need it everywhere, but you will need it more than where you’re from (probably)
  6. Tipping for quality service is a nice thing to do, and being nice is totally awesome
  7. Remember New York City can be very expensive, so spend wisely so you can be able to see a lot of what New York has to offer
  8. New York City is divided into five boroughs-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island
  9. Streets run east/west, avenues run north/south (in Manhattan)
  10. SoHo is south of Houston (pronounced HOUSE-ton) Street
  11. TriBeCa is the Triangle Below Canal Street
  12. If you ever need help with something, just ask someone. Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers tend to be very nice
  13. Don’t worry about the cat in the bodega, it’s there for your benefit
  14. Be prepared to see anything on the streets on NYC.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Pictures

Last night was the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting! The biggest and brightest Christmas tree in NYC was the star of the show, and social media had the pictures to prove it. Here are some of the best fan shots we saw from last nights Christmas Tree lighting:

https://twitter.com/HeartAndLights/status/408419069197815808

NYC Activities for the Week of December 2

rockefeller center christmas tree

December is here and winter is in the air! this week’s activities are highlighted by holiday fun, including a few pretty big Christmas Tree Lightings:

Winter’s Eve food and music festival at Lincoln Square 2

Radiolab Live Apocalyptical at Beacon Theatre 2

Columbus Circle holiday Market opens 3

Elton John begins a 2-day headline at Madison Square Garden 3

Bryant Park’s Tree Lighting Show 3

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns 4

The Fashion Footwear Association of New York takes to the Hilton New York for three days, beginning Wednesday 4

Matisse: In Search of True Paintings opens at the Met Museum 4

Sir Patrick Stewart is honored on the Ride of Fame 4

The 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting 4

Andrea Bocelli comes to Brooklyn for a show at Barclays Center 5

In the showdown for NYC, the Brooklyn Nets host the New York Knicks 5

The guys from MythBusters will be at the Beacon Theatre 6

Cyndi Lauper and Friends put on a holiday show 7

The MSG Holiday Festival features local teams, St. John’s vs Fordham and La Salle vs Stony Brook 7

P!nk plays Barclays Center 8

NYC Activities for the Week of November 25

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It’s Thanksgiving Week NYC! Here are some of the things that you can do while you’re visiting New York this week:

Ten Thousand Waves exhibition opens at MoMA 25

The Origami Holiday Tree goes on display at the American Museum of Natural History 25

Van Morrison plays the Theater at MSG 25

Lighting of the Worlds Largest Menorah at Grand Army Plaza in Manhattan 27

The preseason NIT is back in the Garden with Duke and Arizona 27

African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde exhibition opens at the Met 27

Slayer will play at the Theater in MSG 27.

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Balloon inflation the night before the parade 27

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 28

The Nutcracker Ballet opens at Lincoln Center 29

The African Diaspora International Film Festival begins 29

Guster will play at the Beacon Theatre 30

The Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker opens at the Hammerstein 30

College Hockey takes to MSG when BU and Cornell face off 30

Literally Alive presents, A Christmas Carol 1

image via Flickr / Kowarski

NYC Activities for the Week of November 18

image via The Met

There are lots of events in NYC taking place the week before Thanksgiving! Check them out:

The Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair opens 18

Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar play the Barclays Center 19-20

The Urban Square Holiday Market returns 21

An evening with David Sedaris at Carnegie Hall 20

The Met Presents its Christmas Tree 20

The Jewels by Jar exhibition also opens at the Met 20

The 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warriors Project comes to Madison Square Garden 21-22

Alejandro Hernandez plays at the Cushman and Wakefield Theater at the Barclays Center 21

Beautiful: The Carol King Musical opens on Broadway 21

Amos Lee take stage at the Beacon Theatre 22

The Battle of the Badges pits the FDNY against the NYPD 22

Glory 12 Kickboxing comes to the Theater at MSG 23

Hot Tuna comes to NYC for a show 23

Kanye swings back to Manhattan for two shows at MSG 23-24

The Museum of Modern Art opens the exhibition Isa Genzken: Retrospective 23

Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen open their new Broadway show at the Cort Theatre 24