Please please please go onto their website as it will explain things far better than I have time for! If you are around at the weekend, this really is a must do and see activity as it will take you away from the usual tourist trap shananigans!
HELL'S KITCHEN FLEA MARKET, where the tourists, locals and celebrities go to hunt for a bargain. Great fashion finds, art, antiques, collectibles and fresh produce. Outdoor market.
Open 10.00 - 18.00 every Sat and Sun
West 39th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenue
The Comedy Cellar is one of my favorite hangouts/things-to-do in Manhattan. And best of all, it can be free! (if you work your cards right!) If you're a party of 4 or less and plan to go during the week (not a Fri, Sat, or holidays/special shows), then you can get free cover passes with internet reservations. just go to http://www.comedycellar.com/specialoffer/specialoffer.shtm. The entrance/admission is FREE, just print out your receipt. You DO have to buy 2 items per person (grab a coke or a beer) and 20% gratuity to the check.
Read the information before getting the reservation. But it's really simple. You go to the website the day you want to go see a show, print out the receipt with your name and other information, show it at the door right before the show, get seated, buy two drinks per person over the course of the show, pay your bill plus the 20% gratuity and you've just seen a virtually free show! :-)
As for the show itself, it's amazing. I love the comedians there, sometimes really well-known names come on stage. It's a small, dimly lit basement, with a small stage and a keyboard, you're sitting closely to other people in a very Village-esque atmosphere. Locals AND tourists both frequent the Comedy Cellar. Located right on MacDougal, between W 3rd Street and Minetta Lane in Greenwich Village, it's a great place to go before or after hitting the bars or after dinner. It's a hilarious, low-key way to spend an evening in Manhattan!
307 W. 26th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenue
Upright Citizens Citizens Brigade, New York's local comedic improvisation troupe!
They are amazing, honestly. They are ingenious. And best of all, they're cheap! :-) $5 per person, per show, the shows are typically 2 hours, bring your own beer or buy it there, and prepare yourself for fits of laughter as these guys do the darndest things! Ever see Who's Line? Well, this is it. Only more risque, more New York, more modern, more adult, more fun! I would say age 16/18 and up! The topics are a bit off-color but it's all in good fun. If you're a Christian fundamentalist, don't go.
This place is great. You can get reservations online and pick up your tickets at the door. This place, like the Comedy Cellar, is an underground event, down in a basement, but a bigger stage here, better lighting and sounds (more techy geeks work there than at the Comedy Cellar!) and a more interactive crowd!
The clientele differ each day, sometimes its mostly tourists, sometimes its mostly locals, high school teenagers, college kids, adults, even grandparents! I must admit I took my 9 year old sister here once, but she claims she's very mature for her age! haha
I definitely recommend this place is you have teen/college kids, or go yourself, with a spouse or with friends. It's definitely worth the late night laughs! :-) If you can, try to see ASSSSCat. They're great!
Got a few minutes in NYC? Take the 1/9 train up to the 79th street stop. You'll be at Broadway on the Upper West Side. Go to the west side of Broadway and walk 1 block north to 80th Street. On one corner is H&H Bagels on the other is Zabar's. You can smell the bagels a block a way. Try and get one from a batch that is freshly made. Sourdough is terrific, followed by cinnamon raisin, poppyseed, and if you're feeling adventurous, everything bagel! After you've scarfed one or two down, saunter on over to Zabar's and poke around at all of the different cheeses, breads, and of course the olive bar.
After H&H you'll never want any other kind of bagel. Oh, yeah, they're open 24/7. Many a late nights/early mornings, I have gone out for a bagel.
www.forgotten-ny.com is a great resource for travelers who have been to NYC numerous times and want to find something different to see or do. How often can you go to Times Square or the Empire State Building? Forgotten NY has various tips on NYC such as old buildings, signs, cemeteries, old streets and alleys, and hidden parks. Who would've guessed that NYC's most elegant subway station is below City Hall and has not been used for years? Wonder why New York Marble Cemetery has lawn chairs but no headstones? Would you like to visit the oldest bars in NYC? These and hundreds of other questions are answered at www.forgotten-ny.com. Have fun!
Anyone who REALLY loves mysteries knows about the cities which have mystery book shops. One of my favorites in New York is called The Black Orchid, located at 303 East 81st Street between First and Second Avenue. Not only does this shop carry an immense assortment of current writers (often with signed editions available), it also has out-of-print items, and will ship your purchases on request. The proprietors know their stock inside and out, and have a monthly newsletter of upcoming publications, authors to watch, etc. My last visit resulted in about eighteen new books, three of which were parts of series about which I'd never heard. It also resulted in a recommendation for a local Hungarian lunch spot (I'd certainly never have tried it, otherwise), a great resale shop, and an old-fashioned candy emporium which has, alas, since gone out of business. Too many dieters, I guess.
UPDATE: In 2009, the Black Orchid closed. Bonnie and Joe still do occasional sidewalk sales, but the best mystery bookshop in New York is no more. Sorry if you missed it!
Mandarin Oriental, New York is part of an exclusive new development on floors 35 to 54 of the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. It is a stunning blend of modern design and oriental flair in the heart of Manhattan. The Lobby Lounge has beautiful views of Central Park and the City skyline. It is a very expensive hotel; Rates from USD 479! You can always drink a cocktail in the Lobby Lounge. Just to get a feeling of this magnificent hotel.
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Located in the upper east side right near Central Park, the building coiling between the turn-of-the-century mansions on Fifth Avenue and designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright is as famous as the art collection it houses - its shell-like facade has become a NYC landmark. In 1992, a new 10-storey tower increased the museum's space to include a sculpture gallery and a café.
The spiral ramp curves down and inward from the dome and passes works by major 19th and 20th century artists : a.o. Picasso, Modigliani, Manet, Matisse, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Kandinsky and Degas. There are also temporary exhibits, so not all of the collection is on display at any one time - check the web site for details.
Address : 1071 5th Ave at 89th St
Directions : take subway 4, 5 or 6 to 86th St
Opening hours : Sun-Wed : 9am-6pm; Fri-Sat9am-8pm
Admission : $ 12, students and seniors $ 7, children under 12 : free. Voluntary donation on Friday 6-8pm
note : the museum also has a downtown location in SoHo at 575 Broadway at Prince St. (Thu-Mon : 11am-6pm) - it features displays that complement those at the main museum.
Background: I make it a point to take a walking or cycling tour in every city I visit.
Critique: Big Onion Walking Tours offers the best walking tours on the planet. Period.
Delivery: If you want glaze, this ain't the tour for you. Big Onion Walking Tours was started by graduate students earning their PhDs in history and looking to earn a little cash on the side to pay for tuition. Consequently, the tour guides (all either PhDs or students earning their PhDs) get down and dirty with substantive historical details and often provide little known insights derived from their own dissertations. And it isn't dry stuff. The content is simply fascinating. All the tour guides are personable and know how to captivate an audience. Speaking of the audience, you'll find a large percentage of the group are actually NYC locals wanting to learn more about their city.
Content: Plenty of choices. Big Onion offers intimate tours with various themes including Revolutionary New York, Chinatown, Central Park, Gangs of New York, East Village, Irish New York, Gay and Lesbian New York and Jewish Lower East Side. My personal favorite, the Multi Ethnic Eating Tour. Fantastic eats and fantastic content. For what more can one ask?
Physicality and Dress: You'll do some serious walking. Nothing you can't handle, but be certain to put on some comfortable walking shoes. Tours last between 2-4 hours.
Advice: Whatever you do, do not take a tour bus to Harlem! You'll miss the faded Harlem Renaissance glamour if you're stuck looking through the window of a tour van. Instead, opt for the Big Onion's Historic Harlem tour.
Pricing: $15 for Adults. $12 for Seniors. $10 for Students. Additional fees may apply for specific tours.
CBGB stands for “Country, Blue Grass, and Blues”, but this venue became famous in the 1970s for playing a very different musical style, punk. Indeed many people consider this the birthplace of New York Punk. Many of the bands Chris and I listened to as students made their names here (the Ramones, Television, the Patti Smith Group, Blondie) so it was in something of a spirit of pilgrimage that we headed for the Bowery to seek it out. Unfortunately, though, the venue closed a couple of years ago. The final concert was performed by Patti Smith on Sunday October 15th 2006. Nowadays the building houses a vintage clothing and record store, but the owners have carefully preserved some of the original features (including a wall plastered with playbills from the club's 10th anniversary shows in 1983 that were discovered during redecoration - see photo 3) and have created something of a shrine to that era.
Next door, in a building also previously owned by CBGBs, is Morrison Hotel, a gallery devoted to music photography, where we saw an interesting exhibition of photographs by Dave Stewart (ex Eurythmics).
315 Bowery, New York 10003
On the east side of Bowery between Houston and Bleecker Streets. Nearest subway stations are at 2nd Avenue (line F) or Bleecker (line 6)
If you do dare, bring your kids here. It’s hard to get them off but my wife just decided to get 10 rides, equivalent to about $25 dollars for the kids. You can get $3 per ride or just get the package deals.
Coney Island already has a long history of these fun rides and were not disappointed. The kids had so much to choose from, and of course the carousel was a favorite along with big cars with honks and a train ride, and so on…
Of course, we had to keep a close watch on the 5 year old twins who would run to oblivion if allowed to. I feel somehow though that there should be more security for the kids – maybe they do have plain clothes security looking around? Maybe not.
But the Wonder Ferris Wheel is a great centerpiece for this place, and of course those crazy rollercoasters!
Time Warner Center, one of the largest developments in New York City history, opened in May 2004 and is located on the west side of Columbus Circle. Inside are shops like Armani, Hugo Boss, Coach and more, offices (including Time Warner’s headquarters), CNN studios, apartments, concert halls and The Mandarin Oriental hotel with 251 guestrooms. It includes a four-story atrium with a view of Central Park.
The best feature of the project is the very spectacular 35th floor lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, whose entrance is on 60th Street. The luxurious lobby has a lounge with enormous windows overlooking Central Park and Central Park South.
It is a very beautiful building with a lot of shops, restaurants. Take a look at the architecture, it is fantastic. You can spend some time here if you want and enjoy the view!
Of course you have shoes, but the question is, do you have enough shoes. If the answer is, as it is for me, an indignant, "Never!" then you must immediately head to 8th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues. Welcome to my very own shoe capital of the world.
This block is chock full of shoes. No Choo or Pucci or Prada, not that I'd ever knock those but seriously who has the cash. But this block does feature many of the funkiest trends in shoes. From sneaks to the little ballet flats that have swept the city (which I'm wearing as I type) to sky high stillettos, this place will stretch your pedimagination.
Some of the stores are sketchy. Honestly, if it looks sketchy, it generally is. I trust my judgment and my sense of smell in most things, and this street is no exception. I wish I could rattle off a bunch of names of stores that are my favorites, but good lord I don't think I have ever looked at a sign. I'd have to check my credit card slips. I can tell you that there are two that are my favorite. The first is at the west end of the street, it's quite well-lit, and has a nice mix of the absolutely bizarre and the eminently wearable. The second is also adorable, and I've never been to it when it wasn't having a going out of business sale. Ha!
Someday I will be able to afford a personal shopper and I can say to her, Prada platform pumps, size 6, green snakeskin, and they will be on my bed when I get home. Now is not that time in my life. But frankly, I think I'd miss my jaunts to 8th Street when I'm a richy busy woman who doesn't have the time to shoe shop on the funnest, funkest shoe street in Manhattan.
TIP: go around the corner onto 6th Ave to Bigelow Apothecary. Everything from cotton balls to T. Leclerc Face Makeup. Tons of expensive candles and perfumes, if that's your thing.
At midnight, every Friday and Saturday night and on holidays (i.e. Halloween and April Fools), Chelsea Clearview Cinemas has Rocky Horror Picture Show Night! It's more than a movie, it's a cult event! It's New York and what's more, it's Chelsea! People get dressed up, bring props, scripts and dance and sing their hearts out to the Time Warp! It's a fantastic time. Price of admissions it the same as any movie (in NY at least), $10.75. You have the option of purchasing the prop/goodie bags or pins and t-shirts that they occassionaly sell at these events. Or you could just bring your own. I highly recommend this event. It's tons of good natured fun and it's something relatively unique to NY. I mean, EVERY Friday and Saturday night? Seriously. This city never sleeps!
260 West 23rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenue
While we were walking through West Village, we saw this “wall with Tiles”. Looking further I noticed that this was a ‘Tiles for America” monument. It’s located at the corner of 7th Avenue and 11th Street.
Tiles for America began on September 12, 2001. In the aftermath of the attack at the WTC, people gathered at Saint Vincent’s Hospital. This hospital was waiting for the survivors of the attack.
Lorrie Veasey began to create an inspiration to recovering victims; Tiles for America.
The tiles tells us about the heroes, courage, unity, poetry, and other positive themes. Every tile has its own story. You can read the feelings and thoughts of the people's respons of 9/11. Looking at the tiles it gave me goose bumps. It was very impressive.
There are approximately 6000 tiles hanging on the fence.
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