summer

We Can’t Wait for Summer! [CONTEST]

bryant park summer

It has been a long, hard winter here in NYC. Just when we think it’s going to warm up and we can start wearing shorts again, BOOM! Snow! We’ve decided it’s time to stop worrying about the snow and start getting excited about the summer. Sure, we may get a few more cold days this year, but our minds are on summer time!

Well, we’re hosting a contest. If you can guess which day is going to be the hottest in April, you will be eligible to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! That’s all you have to do, just make a guess and if you’re right, you win! Here’s the thing: you can wait as long as you want to make a guess on which day you think will be the hottest, but you cannot guess a day that has already passed.

Better yet, Gray Line New York is 88 years old this year, so if we get some real summer fun this month and hit 88 degrees at any point, we’re going to give away bus tours to everyone who entered!

So get over to our facebook page and enter the contest here with this link because I don’t know about you, but we just can’t wait for summer!

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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.

Summer Restaurant Week 2013: July 22 to August 16

restaurant week 2013

Restaurant week is back again in NYC this summer. It is a week so big it lasts 20 days (July 22nd to August 16th). If you still don’t know how it works, participating restaurants offer sweet deals on prix fixe lunches and dinners. With more than 300 restaurant, including TONY’s top critics eateries, you can enjoy mouthwatering lunch for $25 and dinner for $38 without breaking the bank.

It is an opportunity to dine out at some of NYC’s most outstanding restaurants and a chance to try some of the top cuisines that delight your palate and define the art of dining in the Empire City.

Reservations for this beloved culinary tradition are already open, and you can find a list of the restaurants participating here. Go ahead! Indulge yourself!

107 Things To Know If You’re Visiting NYC This Summer

New York City, Top of the Rock

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. If you want a taxi cab, stick out your arm
  16. Taxis tend to go out of service around the afternoon rush. Plan accordingly.
  17. When catching a taxi you should get one in the direction you are going, it will save time and money
  18. The Staten Island Ferry is free

Food

  1. The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is on July 4 on Coney Island
  2. Smorgasburg is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon
  3. Four star restaurants have long waiting lists. Make your reservations now.
  4. 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.
  5. Our dollar slices probably taste better than what you’re used to, but if you really want good pizza, the extra money is worth it.
  6. Don’t be afraid to try the pretzels at the hot dog stands
  7. Food trucks are awesome
  8. Parked! Food Truck Festival will make your taste buds dance which is usually every August
  9. Vendy Awards will be back in September
  10. Restaurant Week serves great prix fixe meals and usually lasts for several weeks in August

Music

  1. musicianCity Park’s SummerStage is totally free
  2. The New York Philharmonic will drop by parks in all five boroughs for free shows in July
  3. So will the Metropolitan Opera
  4. Good Morning America and the Today Show host free concerts every Friday morning
  5. Governors Ball Music Festival is June 7-9
  6. The Northside Festival is June 13-20
  7. Electric Zoo come to NYC August 30-September 1
  8. The CBGB Music Festival is October 9-13
  9. Blue Note Jazz Festival is from June 1-30
  10. Sunset on the Hudson is June 7th-August 23rd on Friday evenings
  11. Greenwich Village is known for having great live music

Arts

  1. The Comedy of Errors is free in the first session of Shakespeare in the Park
  2. Love’s Labour’s Lost, A New Musical is free in the second session
  3. The Intrepid is a museum on an aircraft carrier, which is awesome
  4. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has priceless pieces of art
  5. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre has some amazing shows with cheap prices, too.
  6. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is known for its unique building and is also a landmark of NYC
  7. Brooklyn Museum has some eye-catching art too
  8. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has a lineup of amazing concerts, plays, and films throughout the week
  9. If you love spoken word you will have a good time at any poetry cafes in Manhattan
  10. Harlem has some historic libraries, great dance schools, and art too.

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. South Street Seaport is a great place to shop and eat on the harbor
  5. Union Square is one of the most popular places to shop.
  6. Greenwich Village is filled with designer labels.
  7. Herald Square has almost every chain store there
  8. 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, pool, places to barbecue, and kids facilities
  4. The High Line is an old elevated railway converted into a park
  5. Battery Park has a beautiful water front and some summer concerts
  6. All of NYC’s parks are free to enter
  7. Bryant Park has a reading room, ping pong, games, carrousel, free ice skating and chess.
  8. Here’s a list of parks with free WiFi
  9. Washington Square Park is never a dull moment there always entertainment to watch like break dancing and artists.
  10. The parks are closed from 1 a.m. til 5 a.m. Breaking this curfew will get you a $40 ticket

5pointz

Attractions

  1. The Empire State Building has observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors providing one of the best views in Manhattan
  2. At the Statue of Liberty you can be able to walk from the ground floor all the way to Lady Liberty’s crown that provides you with an amazing view of the city
  3. Apollo Theater in Harlem is one of Harlem’s landmarks and offers Amateur Night on Wednesdays
  4. Botanical Gardens provides family activities and hands on gardening too
  5. Flatiron Building has a lobby where you can see historic photographs and notes hanging from the wall
  6. Yankee Stadium has a museum in the stadium about the fascinating history
  7. 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center is a great place to view if you love spray-paint art
  8. Times Square is the heart of Manhattan favorite tourists’ places!

Other Free Things

  1. 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.
  2. Oh, and you should check out The Cloisters as well
  3. Superfree Wednesday is a free comedy show at Peoples Improv Theater
  4. Sony Wonder Technology Lab is free for the kids with fun workshops on video games, movies, and music

Other Important Dates

  1. The Statue of Liberty will reopen on July 4
  2. Manhattanhenge falls on May 28/29 and July 12/13
  3. Saturdays in August, 5th Avenue shuts down for Summer Streets

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. The numbers on the lights in Central Park refer to the closest cross street
  4. When hailing a taxi
  5. If it’s sunny and raining, that’s probably air conditioner sweat, and you should move
  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 on New York, 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. manhattanhengeThe 4th of July Fireworks will be on the Hudson River, not the East River
  2. Don’t forget to take pictures of things. NYC is a beautiful city and worth sharing with your friends back home.
  3. 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.
  4. Try not to text while walking.
  5. 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.
  6. Always carry some cash. You won’t need it everywhere, but you will need it more than where you’re from (probably)
  7. Tipping for quality service is a nice thing to do, and being nice is totally awesome
  8. 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
  9. New York City is divided into five boroughs-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island
  10. Streets run east/west, avenues run north/south (in Manhattan)
  11. SoHo is south of Houston (pronounced HOUSE-ton) Street
  12. TriBeCa is the Triangle Below Canal Street
  13. If you ever need help with something, just ask someone. Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers tend to be very nice
  14. Don’t worry about the cat in the bodega, it’s there for your benefit
  15. Wherever you’re from remember that the food costs doubled compare to the price at home
  16. Be prepared to see anything on the streets on NYC.

Photo Credit:
Top of the Rock: GLNY / Kevin Lawless
Musician: Flickr /marniejoyce
5Pointz: Flickr / Nelson Minar
Manhattanhenge: Flickr / MichaelTapp

Memorial Day 2013 in NYC

high line, nyc

As the weather gets nicer and nicer every day, I can’t help but think that summer is coming. I know, we’ve barely gotten any spring yet, but the unofficial start to the summer is just over one month away, and there’s no happier time of the year than Memorial Day Weekend.

Memorial Day in NYC is an interesting holiday. Usually, people will use any holiday as an excuse to come into the city, but Memorial Day works in the opposite direction. Memorial Day weekend is the biggest weekend for New Yorkers to leave the urban jungle that we call home and head out to Long Island, Coney Island and the Jersey Shore. New York City empties out and everyone heads to the beach because boy, has it been a long time since we’ve laid out on the beach.

Because Memorial Day Weekend features the emptying on New York City, it actually serves as one of the few holidays in which you won’t have to fight the overwhelming crowds on the streets- if you do it right.

Last year we wrote a few tips for avoiding the crowds Memorial Day Weekend, a post worth checking out. Essentially, you need to take advantage of the fact that everyone is going to be more focused on the beach than the City. Midtown will be crowded because, even though there is not going to be a fleet week this year L, we still expect some unofficial honoring of our troops around that time.

We recommend heading up to the Cloisters, or maybe The High Line- something that will take advantage of the beautiful weather and the lack of people in NYC. If you’re trying to stay away from crowds, you should probably pass on the Intrepid. Don’t get us wrong, we love the Intrepid and recommend visiting, but Memorial Day Weekend probably isn’t the best 3 days of the year to do so.

What are your plans this Memorial Day Weekend? Are you heading down the shore? What will you be doing in NYC? Share with us in the comments.

Photo Credit: Flickr / David Berkowitz