Written by aboutthatplace on 08 Nov, 2010
An article about New York city would be incomplete without discussing immigration. In New Amsterdam in the 1640s, seventeen languages were spoken. By 1855 New York had become the most Irish city in America. By the late 1800s Italian and Jewish immigrant…Read More
An article about New York city would be incomplete without discussing immigration. In New Amsterdam in the 1640s, seventeen languages were spoken. By 1855 New York had become the most Irish city in America. By the late 1800s Italian and Jewish immigrant populations peaked. (Nearly 1/3 of Italians returned to their homeland). By 1970, 18.2% of the city’s population was foreign-born, however, where they were coming from shifted. The countries of origin had been Italy, Poland, Russia, Germany, Ireland, Cuban, the Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, Australia and Jamaica. In 2000 they changed to the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Mexico, Guyana, Ecuador, Haiti, Trinidad, India and Columbia.These groups of people brought with them their culture and cuisine. They made a lasting impact on the restaurant scene. We visited two of the most-famous New York landmark restaurants and a neighborhood renowned for noodle bars.Katz’ Deli205 E. Houston Street(subway: 2nd Avenue)First made famous in WWII with "Send your boy in the Army, a salami". Then, more famous with a little film called "When Harry Met Sally". You know the scene I'm referring to... Yes, it was filmed right here. And we had "what she was having." By the way, she had pastrami. It is super moist, and they serve it with spicy mustard on rye. And the pickles, are not fully pickled, more like slightly brined cucumber. Julianna liked them but wouldn't recreate "that" scene for me.All in all, we viewed this as over-hyped.Lombardi’s 32 Spring StreetSubway: Spring St. & LexingtonIt was 1897 when a native of Naples, Italy, Gennaro Lombardi, opened a grocery store at 53 Spring Street in the "Little Italy" neighborhood of Manhattan. In 1905 his employee, Antonio Totonno Pero began selling pizza pies for 5¢. They adapted the Naples classic to the coal-fired oven and topped it with fior di latte (Mozzarella-style) cheese. The pizza caught on and Gennaro licensed the first pizzeria in New York (and the United States).In 1924 Pero left to open his own pizzeria on Coney Island, and the original Lombardi’s closed in 1984. A decade later the new Lombardi’s opened a block away. It is owned by a friend of Lombardi’s grandson, John Brescio.Lombardi’s began as a pizzeria, promoting and spreading New York-style pizza across America. What was so special about this American classic? We had to find out for ourselves.It’s about the sauce -- the freshest I’ve tasted, as if made just moments before we ordered. But it isn’t pizza sauce, instead, something that you would expect on lasagna. The crust wasn’t as thin as anticipated either. We’d heard that you should "fold" a slice of New York pizza to eat it. You couldn’t fold a Lombardi’s slice easily. Plus, it had a flatbread flavor. And then we found the charcoal spots. Dig into those! The charcoal-fired spotted bottom adds a smokiness to the crust.We cannot express how wonderful the staff was. They were beyond compare, and even opened the pizza oven door to show us the coal-fired method. No wonder locals return over and over.Next, we were on the hunt for for an authentic noodle bar. At every window in Chinatown we'd stop for a peek and read the menu posted outside. Julianna doesn't eat beef, pork or anything that remotely looks "cute" when alive. Writing "meat with noodle" on the menu didn't entice her. Famished, I finally persuaded her to give a not-so-noodle bar a chance.It was clean, had strange decor and staff which spoke very basic English. We were given the standard pot of hot tea and ordered "winter melon" soup, Peking-style pork, shrimp fried rice and cashew chicken. It was far too much food for just two people, and the only solid hit was the Peking-style pork, rich and tangy with a crispy layer on the outside.Probably many places in Chinatown are better. (The Dining Room at 104 Mott Street, subway Canal). Because Julianna had only picked at her food we found dessert at one of the dozen Chinese bakeries. I opted for mango pudding while Julianna dug into an angel food style cake with fruit. Delicious! As we sat on a park bench enjoying the evening and our treats, I wondered how Chinatown came into being.The Gold Rush brought Chinese laborers by the thousands to the U.S. But as the gold dwindled and railroads were completed, the immigrants moved east to work in cigar-making and textile factories, and laundries. The biggest cities allowed them to congregate into areas (for protection). By 1880 the Five Points slums hosted 1,100 Chinese.In 1882 the U.S. enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act, essentially banning immigration for 10 years, but still the Chinese trickled in. This little New York enclave became home to 7,000 Chinese by 1900. And, when the ban was lifted in 1943 Chinatown's population exploded. Today there are an estimated 150,000 Chinese people living within two square miles, making it the largest Chinatown in the world.And for dessert...Max Brenner841 BroadwaySubway: 14th-Lexington-Union SquareIts classy, stylish and contemporary, and it has tubes of chocolate running across the ceiling into large barrels near the hostess’ station. Yes, this place has hip servers and a Mojito and Margarita bar, along with serving the standard pizzas, salads and pastas. But, you’re really here for chocolate.The first chocolate "boutique" opened in 1996 in Ra’anana, Israel and has expanded nearly worldwide. One can see why, this place is a chocoholics fantasy gone mad. Their large sweet tooth menu contains chocolate-drenched goodies such as ice cream, cookies, cakes and then dips into new frontiers with "choctails" and crispy chocolate eggrolls.We tried four different sweets off of the menu, but my favorite was the Berry Lovely off of the "food" menu under "chocolate aphrodisiacs". They mix up Chambord, fresh raspberry sauce and white chocolate. The perfect blend of berry and chocolate, without one overshadowing the other. Julianna declared that her chocolate Granita was amazing, with less calories and more taste.As a note: four items off of the menu was way too much for us. One treat per person will easily satisfy the chocolate monster in anyone. Close
The first British governor was appointed by Queen Anne. Her cousin, Lord Cornbury, was (probably) New York city’s first drag queen. That same year (1702) one in nine of the city’s residents perished during an outbreak of yellow fever. Less than 30…Read More
The first British governor was appointed by Queen Anne. Her cousin, Lord Cornbury, was (probably) New York city’s first drag queen. That same year (1702) one in nine of the city’s residents perished during an outbreak of yellow fever. Less than 30 years later 600 souls were lost to smallpox. But, by 1733 the city had still swollen to 11,000 residents.Progress was coming rapidly to the city. King’s College (now Columbia) was established in 1754, whale oil lamps illuminated the streets within a decade, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade takes place (1766) and New York hospital opens in 1771. With progress comes change, and some of it is not so smooth.In 1765 the British pass the Stamp Act which resulted in the formation of the "Sons of Liberty" and protests took place. In retaliation the British created the Townsend Act (taxes on imports) and in 1770, on Golden Hill, the British and Sons of Liberty clashed resulting in first bloodshed. The Boston Massacre occurred quickly after this. In 1776 George Washington led his troops against 25,000 British soldiers. They pulled down a statue of George III in Bowling Green, melted it down and used the metal for musket balls. In the end, Washington was defeated and the British begin a long seven-year occupation of the city. In 1783 the British departed permanently from Battery Park.A boom time ensued for the city. The Bank of New York was organized by Alexander Hamilton in 1784 (original location at 48 Wall St.), trading began with the Chinese and St. Peter’s Catholic church (the city’s oldest) was consecrated. The first directory of New York city was published in 1786, and New York’s city council allowed the federal government the use of City Hall thereby becoming the nation’s first capital. In 1792 a stock market was established along Wall Street under a grove of trees (prior to this trading took place in a coffeehouse on the corner of Wall and Water streets), the New York Post hit newstands in 1801 and the first fire department was established. The city’s population was now over 60,000 including 2,500 slaves.Expansion occurred rapidly. Brooklyn was incorporated as a village in 1816 (and as a city in 1834) and over 1,000 moved northward into Greenwich Village to flee a yellow fever outbreak in 1822. To feed this population, the Erie Canal opened in 1825, connecting midwest farmers to the city. The Erie railroad replaced the canal in importance by 1832.The Great Fire of 1835 claimed 674 buildings below Wall Street. A massive building boom would follow. Some of the buildings erected over the next few years include: the Astor House hotel, original City Prison and St. Paul’s (Brooklyn). However, most impressive were the churches designed by James Renwick Jr.Renwick was born in 1818 to a wealthy Manhattan family. At the age of 12 he entered Columbia University to study engineering. He eventually obtained a Master’s degree. In 1843 he secured his first commission, Grace Church, located at 802 Broadway in Greenwich Village. It was built in the Gothic Revival style. He followed up this project with other church projects, including Calvary Church (1846) and St. Patrick’s Cathedral (1858).It was over the next 75 years that New York really came into its own, and the history of the city can be readily seen. The arts makes their entrance into city life in 1842 when the Philharmonic was organized and the first concert took place in the Apollo Rooms on lower Broadway. Thirty years later, the original Metropolitan Museum of Art opens its doors. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Metropolitan Museum of Art1000 5th Avenue(subway: 86th Street & Lexington)In art school certain museums are spoken of with reverence: the Louvre, Prado, Vatican and Uffizi Gallery. In the U.S. its "the Met", and it was this former art student’s first visit. I scampered up the stairs and was very quickly overwhelmed by the scale of this treasure trove.Behind the Beaux Arts facade (completed in 1902) lay riches -- over two million square feet of floor space in a building nearly a quarter mile long -- which boasts two million works of art from nineteen different departments. Its all here, from antiquities to Egyptian works, European masters, photography, sculpture and primitive works from around the world. Hard to believe that this developed from a single person’s collection (John Taylor Johnson, a railroad executive) in a building twenty times smaller than the present location in 1872.You simply cannot take in everything. Instead, we picked a specific area to focus on, and headed to the second floor’s collection of European paintings (roughly, 2,200 works). The walls are lined with the names of genius, Monet, Cezanne, Raphael, Rembrandt and Duccio. What grabbed my attention was Van Gogh. (I had never thought much of the artist, but had only seen a simple self-portrait with my own eyes.) His thick, rich, vibrant Irises, Roses and Oleanders were startling, unexpected treats. You can find each brushstroke hidden in the petals and stems. I promised myself to research Van Gogh when I returned home, and exhausted we made our way to the roof top terrace. Besides a magnificent view of Manhattan and Central Park, you can find a simple snack shop. Close
Standing in Union Square, its hard to imagine the history of this vast city. Dominating the square is Zeckendorf Towers, four towers shooting up into the sky 26-stories, and topped by green glass pyramids which light up at night. To the north is…Read More
Standing in Union Square, its hard to imagine the history of this vast city. Dominating the square is Zeckendorf Towers, four towers shooting up into the sky 26-stories, and topped by green glass pyramids which light up at night. To the north is the Flatiron District, boasting trendy Madison Avenue, to the south once-Bohemian Greenwich Village and sprinkled about are dorms for N.Y.U. Within the looming stone, granite and brick structures rests this sanctuary, laid out in 1832, and named "Union" for the intersection of Manhattan’s two main thoroughfares (Broadway and the former Bowery Road, now 4th).Over three hundred years prior to this square’s creation an Italian explorer hired by the French, Giovanni da Verrazano, sailed into New York harbor in search of the Northwest Passage. Henry Hudson would follow in 1609, and within a year fur traders would travel the coast seeking their fortunes. But, it wasn’t until 1621 that the Dutch recognized the area as valuable, and chartered the Dutch West India Company to protect their interests. A colony of Belgian, Dutch and French-speaking Walloons was formed three years later, and they called their settlement "New Amsterdam". The growing settlement purchased the island of Manhattan in 1626 from the Algonquian Indians for beads, axes, cloth and other items valued at $1,000 (in 2006 currency). There were now 270 colonists, 30 houses and six farms in the area. Within a decade 104 muskateers and a fort, also called Amsterdam, were established. By 1638 New Amsterdam expanded into what is now Brooklyn and a ferry service was organized. Within two years the Dutch purchased all of the boroughs of present-day New York.In 1653 New Amsterdam broke away from the province of New Netherland, ended the control of the Dutch West India Company, and celebrated with (what was probably the first) parade down Broadway. The new director-general, Peter Stuyvesant, also ordered a quarter-mile long wall to be built along what is now Wall Street.Immigration began in ernst the following year as 23 Jews from Spain and Portugal arrive. (Italians had already been in the area for 20 years.) The Jews and Quakers were fleeing persecution and the first laws regarding religious freedom were established in the New World. However, this new freedom and peace was not to last.In 1664 the Duke of York sent a British armada to this growing port. They quickly captured Staten Island, sent troops into Brooklyn, and forced the surrender of the city to Britain. New Amsterdam became New York. The British controlled the city until the American Revolution.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------To view some of this very early history of New York, we made our way to Battery Park, a 22.9-acre public park hugging the southern shoreline of Manhattan, and named for the military compound established by the Dutch.At the southern end of the park, just off of South Street, rests Castle Clinton. The round red brick building was built between 1808-1811, and called West Battery (it became Castle Clinton in 1815, named for a New York mayor). Originally the structure stood on an artificial island, but during the 19th century the island was incorporated into a park on the mainland when landfill connected the two. The U.S. Army ceased using the fort in 1821 and three years later the area became Castle Garden, which now contained an opera house, promenade and restaurants. In 1855 an Emigrant Landing Depot was established at the site (the nation’s first) and processed eight million immigrants, including Oscar Hammerstein, Harry Houdini and Joseph Pulitzer, until 1890 when Ellis Island opened.Battery Park: www.nycgovparks.org/parks/batterypark. Nearest subway: 4, 5, R, W, 1. Facilities include bathrooms, water fountains, playgrounds and surrounding eateries. The park also boasts numerous statues, memorials and gardens.Today, Castle Clinton (and Liberty State Park in New Jersey) are where you can purchase ferry tickets to both Liberty and Ellis Islands. Purchase tickets online in advance (as far in advance as you can) at: www.statuecruises.com.Line 1: opens at 8:15 to pick up tickets. Tickets sell out very quickly.Line 2: security check (think airport security) opens at 8:30Line 3: board the ferry to Liberty Island, first departure 9:00Line 4: exit ferry after a 15 minute rideLine 5: second security check if you purchased either "crown" or "pedestal" tickets.Line 6: elevator. Or you can climb the 153 steps to the pedestal.We opted for "pedestal" tickets. This means you are allowed out on the granite pedestal which Lady Liberty stands on. Its roughly ten stories up and offers a 360° view of New York harbor.Although the lines are horrific, and you begin to feel like herded cattle, I would still recommend seeing Lady Liberty up close and personal. As an American, I bet you’ll get choked up too.To think that the colossal statue (a bit over 151 feet tall, weighing 225 tons) almost never reached the United States. The majestic robed figure, Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, holds a torch and tablet of law, and was the brainchild of Frenchman, Frederic Bartholdi. In 1875 it was decided that the French would build the statue if the Americans found a site and provided a pedestal. Easier said than done. "Liberty Enlightening the World" was to be proudly displayed in Philadelphia but then-President Rutherford B. Hayes selected Bedloe’s Island in New York harbor as the final destination of the monument. Meanwhile, publisher Joseph Pulitzer began a campaign to raise the needed money to build the pedestal. Over 120,000 citizens donated and the Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28th, 1886. Celebrations of the completion of the statue included New York City’s first ticker-tape parade.Another 15 minute ferry ride will drop you at Ellis Island. (If pressed for time, this is missable). The island was originally home to Fort Gibson, but from 1892 to 1954, twelve million immigrants passed through the large building, which is now a museum. Inside, you can wander through the "Registry Room" in which immigrants were processed or visit the genealogy library ($5 for an hour search). On both Liberty and Ellis Island are snack bars and facilities. Sidenote: The original torch was deemed too fragile during a renovation and is now displayed in the bottom of the pedestal. Close
Written by airynfaerie on 20 May, 2010
One thing in the New York area which I've always wanted to do but had never taken the opportunity before was to visit the nearby Coney Island. The reason, partially was because we'd always visited in the colder seasons, and also because our time there…Read More
One thing in the New York area which I've always wanted to do but had never taken the opportunity before was to visit the nearby Coney Island. The reason, partially was because we'd always visited in the colder seasons, and also because our time there was normally packed with other things to do that we couldn't take the extra trip.This past trip, however, was a bit more relaxed. Although we only had three days in NYC, we'd mainly gone to see a specific show and the other days were open. We did explore the city a bit more and visited a museum which we'd never seen, but we had some extra time on our last day up there, that when we woke up that morning, we decided we'd have enough time before our late afternoon flight home to take the train to Coney Island.Since it was May, and the weather had been quite spring-like and lovely, this was an even better excuse to go to the seaside. Unfortunately it was pretty chilly with the ocean breeze, and we were glad to have brought our warm coats. From the city (after a stop for a morning coffee and pastry), we hopped on the N Subway Line and settled in for the approximately 45-minute ride south. It was an easy and relaxing ride down there, and we were almost the only ones in the subway car. I'm guessing that it's a different story in the height of summer though. When we exited at the end of the line, we could see the carnival rides a couple of blocks away lining the shore. I've always been interested in seeing this famous boardwalk, and the trip was definitely worth it for a stroll on the iconic beachside promenade. As soon as we got off the train and walked to the street, it felt like we stepped back in time to some weird deserted carnie time-warp. There were even strange creaking noises coming from the wind moving something metal around, and all the colorful signs seemed an out-of-place-bright to advertise to just the 9 or so people meandering around. But the vintage style painted signs, old carnival rides, fair food displays, and wooden boardwalk seemed oddly comforting in an Americana sort of way. I'm at least glad we got to see this strange place before all the summer crowds and before (if) it ceases to exist any longer.We didn't ride anything, but the vendors were just getting set up that morning. I tried just imagining the crowds that are probably here in the height of summer. If you go, some of the rides you can take (or just take photos of) are the "World Famous Cyclone" rollercoaster and the Wonder Wheel ferriswheel. You can also visit the New York Aquarium just off the boardwalk, or take part in the annual Nathan's Hotdog eating contest!• http://www.coneyisland.com/• Subways D, Q N or F from Manhattan Close
Written by airynfaerie on 18 May, 2010
Central Park is one of those places which is itself so many things to its guests: a running path, an animal menagerie, a sports field, a carriage track, a party space, a picnic hill, and more...but overall, a refuge in the middle of one of…Read More
Central Park is one of those places which is itself so many things to its guests: a running path, an animal menagerie, a sports field, a carriage track, a party space, a picnic hill, and more...but overall, a refuge in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. Since my first visit to the city years ago, Central Park became one of my favorite places in the city, and a must-see each time I visit.In the past, I've paid a visit to the Central Park Zoo to enjoy the nice collection of animal exhibits. During the fall and winter I've walked through much of the southern end of the park checking out the ice skating rinks during the colder months, and watching the changing of the leaves in autumn. The endless paths, tunnels, lovely bridges, and foliage is a needed retreat from the hectic streets. During this past trip, we wanted to explore even more of the great park. Since we were heading further north on Museum Mile in the Upper East Side, we decided that after leaving the Guggenheim Museum, to take the opportunity to walk across the park. I'd wanted to see the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir for a while now and so we took a stroll along the southside of this lovely lake. The walkway is a great place to get a view of the towering skyline above the water and treeline, and is one of the most popular places for runners in the city. The 1.5+ mile pathway was full of joggers the entire time we were there. The sun was nearing the "golden hour" and the ducks swam along the still water...it was a beautiful serene time in the park.The next day we wanted to go and see the Dakota building and Levain Bakery, both in the Upper West Side, so once again used the opportunity to walk across the park and see another part. This time we chose the Sheep Meadow area, located around the 66th-69th Streets West. This 15-acre lawn actually once was a sheep pasture. Now, during the months between April and November, this lovely open space is used by tens of thousands for relaxing, picnicking, sun-bathing, and sometimes even protesting.Years ago there used to be many concerts held here, but after making the grassy lawn more or less grass-less and just dusty, now it's a bit more calm and kept mostly perfectly manicured. Also it's kept quite peaceful as it's marked and official "quiet zone" allowing no dogs, no organized sports, and no music.• http://www.centralparknyc.org Close
Written by Cantin2 on 27 Jan, 2010
CARNIVAL DREAM We had the opportunity to tour Carnival’s newest ship – the DREAM – when she was visiting New York prior to her winter cruising in the Caribbean. It is a "DREAM"……. Carnival is attempting to…Read More
CARNIVAL DREAM We had the opportunity to tour Carnival’s newest ship – the DREAM – when she was visiting New York prior to her winter cruising in the Caribbean. It is a "DREAM"……. Carnival is attempting to change its image – appeal to a broader spectrum but still remain a "Fun Ship". It certainly appealed to us……As soon as you enter the 14 story atrium, you notice the more subdued décor than one is accustomed to on Carnival – and they tell us that eventually all ships will be refurbished in this décor. We especially liked the new "feel" of the atrium …………. The piano player performs on an elevated platform surrounded by seating areas and a long bar giving it a casual rather than a "stuffy" feel. If you prefer, you can sit on two upper balcony levels overlooking the atrium – still order drinks and listen to the music while your spouse browses the shops. Our tour focused on the new type rooms offered – the Spa Suites are a stone’s throw away from Cloud Nine Spa area – these rooms provide private access to the spa, upgraded bath amenities, robes and slippers. The Cove Balcony Staterooms are on the lower decks – closer to the water and may appeal to families with younger children since they are enclosed by the ship’s hull rather than the staterooms on the higher levels whose balconies are glass and rails and…..and at value pricing. The Deluxe Oceanview Family Suites accommodate 5 (2 Adults and 3 Children). Quarters may seem tight for five, but I did like the expanded bathrooms – a full bath with shower and a washroom with sink and junior tub. There are also connecting rooms for families wishing more privacy. And, of course, the Penthouses that get all the Oohs and Aahs… Food……Always a prime focus on a cruise – we only walked through the buffet area on the pool deck during lunch – It is a very large area with lots of seating – many different stations ( pizza, grill, carving station, salad bar, sandwich bar, stir fry, pasta station, deli….etc…etc…). No lack of choices here, no long lines and the food looked very good. We were served a four course lunch with wine – I was so impressed!!! We started with foie gras mousse and goat cheese rolls – followed by a salad of crisp greens with shaved beets and pumpkin topped with dried cranberries, honey roasted walnuts and a champagne vinegraitte…..Pasta was a fettuccini with eggplant belly and cherry tomato sauce decorated with a crisp parmesan fan. Main Course was a choice of Baked Salmon or Filet Mignon. Our filet was topped with mushroom sauce served on a bed on mini Mac and Cheese. The plate was decorated with grilled asparagus and a ring of Cheese Polenta. The desert presentation was a beautifully decorated plate with chocolate cake, fruit sorbet and chocolate dipped strawberries. This was probably the best filet that I’ve ever had on a cruise ship – the flavors and presentations were spectacular. The food was very very impressive. Kid’s fun - Kids will LOVE this ship …… Carnival Waterworks is great fun for them – a splash area and three different kids of waterslides. Minigolf has real grass and basketball on the top deck will keep them occupied. Camp carnival for ages 2-11 is divided into three age appropriate programs. Young teens (12-14) meet to play games and join activities in Circle "C" while 15-17 year olds hang out in Club O2. There are planned parties, dances and smoothie tastings – even teen Shore Excursions such as kayaking and cave exploration take place on port days.Adult’s Fun – This ship is not only about kids – Parents can "get away" too. A two level "Serenity" area has lounge areas, a bubbling whirlpool, attentive servers and – no kids allowed – no extra fee and it comes with an ocean view…..Cloud Nine Spa is a very relaxing area with a thallasso-therapy pool, steam rooms and a thermal suite. Again no fees - except for spa services. Four large whirlpools are situated to take full advantage of superb ocean views.Nightlife – Lots of choices here – A Stage Show – Movies under the Stars - the Casino – A Supper Club – or you may prefer to dance the night away or to set quietly listening to jazz…….It’s all up to you!! We were treated to a great show following our luncheon – The Carnival Entertainment Team put on a fantastic production that was so energizing. Acrobatics combined with dancing, great voices and many costume changes had the audience standing and singing along. We all left with smiles on our faces. We wished we could have stayed on and sailed away to the Bahamas – looking forward to sailing on the Dream…..You can enjoy videos of the ship by clicking on the highlighted words. Close
Written by wanderer 2005 on 07 May, 2009
I had read really good things about Dial 7, so I decided to give them a try. I was happily surprised and will definitely use them again! I reserved a sedan to pick us up from La Guardia airport to take us to our…Read More
I had read really good things about Dial 7, so I decided to give them a try. I was happily surprised and will definitely use them again! I reserved a sedan to pick us up from La Guardia airport to take us to our hotel, then back to the airport, a few days later.I could have just taken a yellow cab into the city, but I wanted a nice car for my husband and I, so I made my reservations via their website.Having lived in NYC, I knew that anything was possible, I mean the guy could have showed up in a beat-up, old VW bus, so I was a tad bit nervous.My email confirmation said to call the toll free number after we retrieved our luggage, and the girl I spoke to gave me the number of my car and said he would be there in 5 minutes.You have to cross over to the next curb and look for your driver holding a sign in his hand, out his window with the car number on it. He pulled right up, put our luggage in the trunk, confirmed where we were going and we were off. The car was a fairly new, nice, black Lincoln sedan. The driver was really nice and professional and we arrived at the hotel in about 30 minutes…not too bad in rush hour traffic.The rate was a flat rate of $36.00 not including tolls or gratuity, which is a great rate so That’s why I reserved it. There was another car service that wanted to charge $85.00 oneway for the same kind of car, and a cab would have been about $35-$40, so I felt I was doing good.Like I said, I was a little nervous about the shape the car would be in, because the cars are usually privately owned by the driver and not by the car service, so you never know, but I was pleasantly surprised in both instances.When we were picked up at our hotel for the ride back to the airport, the driver was on time and the company even called me to make sure my car had arrived. VERY NICE.The car on the way back was a cream colored Lincoln and not AS nice as the first one, but nicer than a cab.At any rate, I absolutely recommend them to anyone wanting a nice ride to or from the airport.www.dial7.com Close
Written by Cantin2 on 21 Apr, 2009
New York City Broadway Shows - exciting - and always a hightlight of our short stays......I'll share a few insider tips.1. Once we arrive in NYC our first stop is always the Visitors Information Center just across from TKTS near 48th and Broadway. I love…Read More
New York City Broadway Shows - exciting - and always a hightlight of our short stays......I'll share a few insider tips.1. Once we arrive in NYC our first stop is always the Visitors Information Center just across from TKTS near 48th and Broadway. I love this place - Full of brochures....all sorts of discounts to restaurants, bars, sightseeing and info is always available on discounted shows - SRO (standing room only) - Student and Senior discounts - Rush tickets (last minute) and lottery tickets - more details later. There is also a booth that sells full price tickets. While at the visitors center you can avail yourself to 15 minutes of complimentary internet, use the rest rooms, have your picture taken with a variety of NYC backdrops ($10) and even be featured on a Time Square Marquis!!! .......Then with info in hand we head off to either.......2. TKTS...Half price tickets sold mainly on day of performance for cash only....there's a location on 48th and Broadway and another at the South Street Seaport. The line starts to form about an hour prior to opening. Available shows are listed on a billboard and there is a $3/ticket surcharge. Matinee tickets are sold at noon on Broadway and the prior day at the Seaport. Evening performances are sold starting at 3PM. You can subscribe to e-mail updates from a few websites to monitor the trend of available shows.3. SRO.....some shows that are "sold out" will sell standing room only on a first come first serve basis at the theater - the Visitors Center may have a list of sold out shows. These spots are located along the back wall behind the orchestra section - they are numbered and usually 12 spaces are allocated. The walls are chest high so this is not suitable for children, handicapped or very short people. Prices usually range in the $25 - $35 range. We have been fortunate enough to be offered an empty seat by the ushers after about 1/2 hour.4. LOTTERY TICKETS - Each theater has it's own policy and only a handful of these tickets - the Times SquareVisitor's Center also provides this information. Call each individual theater to inquire about the time of the drawing....The procedure: Arrive at the theater 1/2 hour prior to drawing and fill out a form - only 2 tickets per form. At the designated time - tickets are drawn (about 24 tickets are usually available). We were fortunate enough to win front row seats to Wicked for $26 each.5. COLLEGE STUDENTS and SENIORS - You need proper ID - some theaters offer last minute "Rush" tickets. Again - call the theater......some sell them all day and others only two hours prior to show time. We saw "Jersey Boys" for $25 each.Chances are usually better for matinees and midweek performances. This does require some time spent on the internet or phone, but to us, it's well worth the effort.6. AUCTIONS - We've also had good luck at Sky Auction - many times the show is combined with restaurant credits of $100 or so...We've had best luck at the Italian resaturants featured. Close
Written by gwynethmarta on 08 Nov, 2008
And so I bought my ticket and landed on JFK. I finally wanted to find out whether it’s true what they say about New York. I especially remembered one quote from a movie, most likely Woody Allen saying: "The true New Yorkers understand that people…Read More
And so I bought my ticket and landed on JFK. I finally wanted to find out whether it’s true what they say about New York. I especially remembered one quote from a movie, most likely Woody Allen saying: "The true New Yorkers understand that people living anywhere else must be, in some sense, kidding". Now I can honestly say, I totally agree.During my first days in NY I could only be compared to a child in a huge candy store on Christmas. With my eyes wide opened and my head facing up I walked the streets of Manhattan absorbing everything I saw. After a few days of this huge cultural shock, when I was finally able to think straight, I started exploring this amazing city.One of the things that fascinated me about NY is that every newcomer like myself fits in. Nobody cares that you’re different, that you speak another language. Nobody discriminates. On the contrary, NY favors differences and encourages individuality. Some feel as just a tiny fraction in a huge anonymous crowd, but it’s this anonymity that draws people here. It’s like a magnet for those who want to feel free and start new lives from the scratch.What’s also incredible about New York is its amazing diversity and the fact it can generate all kinds of emotions in a single day. Starting at the busy financial district with its famous Wall Street, going through the enchanting Little Italy and trendy Greenwich Village, passing through the hectic and always crowded and bright Times Square and finishing at the relaxing Central Park, NY just overwhelms with its variety of ambiances. During my one-month stay in New York, all I can say is that thirty days are not enough to discover what this metropolis has to offer. I stayed in a tiny flat in Brooklyn where the rent was three times more than my rent in Europe, but all I cared about was that right outside my door there was a metro station that took me straight to my Manhattan’s favorite places. Many asked me how I managed to find an apartment there from one day to another. The truth is it was kind of risky, but I just took a local paper with ads and started calling people. As apartments in NY are as fresh bread, they sell from one minute to another. As I was struggling with my huge suitcase in a subway, one extremely nice new yorker helped me and referred me to some vacation rental sites I could look at to find an apartment.In one of my favorite books about New York, Maria Kornatowska said that there are probably thousands of people who come to NY to start a new life. They want to forget their past, their social status and discover this other part of personality that was hidden deep inside of them to become somebody completely different. It’s something about the NY freedom that is so unique. Everybody can dress however they want, live their own lives and be lost in the colorful crowd. Everything is allowed and everything is possible, especially when you are an exotic foreigner who came from another part of the world. I went to all the standard touristy NY spots such as Ellis Island, the NY Stock Exchange, "the Met" or the Empire State Building, but what I loved the most was just walking the streets without a map or any plan and observing the real New York.Here are some of my favorite NY pastimes:- Stargazing in the Battery Park with the view on New Jersey- Visiting The Frick Collection, one of the most amazing private collections of art I’ve seen- Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoying the NY City Skyline at sunset. - Having dinner on the roof of "the Met" (the Metropolitan Museum of Art)The list could go on and on but let’s leave something for the next chapters. Close
Written by pabrams52 on 13 Dec, 2007
Visiting NYC in 36 Hours"
You might be wondering why any visitor to New York City would limit his stay to a short 36 hours when the city is so jam-packed with things to do. The nature of my most recent visit was that of…Read More
Visiting NYC in 36 Hours"
You might be wondering why any visitor to New York City would limit his stay to a short 36 hours when the city is so jam-packed with things to do. The nature of my most recent visit was that of a surprise weekend getaway to celebrate my husband’s 65th birthday…a momentous birthday at that, which called for suitable recognition and a blow-out present.
The idea came to me when I read a glowing review of the play, "Pygmalion" which was due to close its run on December 16, 2007. I was immediately struck with the idea of whisking him away, while not revealing any information. I knew he’d be impressed with my efforts. But, could I keep the surprise?
The components would all have to be top shelf. as this was a birthday for which it was well worth splurging. I began with the choice of hotels. There are a few from which to choose in the Big Apple, but with a personal recommendation from close friends, it made the choice easier. I went with The London NYC which is a chic and sophisticated update of the former Rihga Royal Hotel. From the moment you enter the hotel, you can sense your every need will be taken care of. The sleek, modern lobby may not be vast in size but the efficiency and friendliness exuded by the front desk staff on arrival, more than makes up for whatever may be missing in square footage. The all-suite hotel is furnished in a clean and minimalist décor, with standard suites including two flat screen televisions, spacious work desk (appointed with high-speed access) and beds which have only the finest linens. On the chilly evenings over which we stayed, I comfortably snuggled under their warm comforter.
The hotel’s fine dining venue, Gordon Ramsay at The London, was among the top 4-Star rated restaurants on Forbes’ Magazine’s 2007 "All Star Eateries in New York". Our dining experience there did not let us down and lived up to that auspicious rating.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the hotel’s superb concierge staff. I utilized their services for theatre tickets and dinner reservations. They came through on every count! They recommended our pre-theatre dinner restaurant, Basso 56, where we enjoyed a superb meal.
Our time in New York City was much too short…merely a quick weekend. But we definitely proved that you can still enjoy a lot of the city even in what is aptly described as "a New York minute". The pace, the excitement and the range of activities is so off-the-charts, that you’d be hard-pressed not to have a good time there. It was worth the plane ride, it was worth braving the cold weather and it forever remains a city worth returning to again and again.
P.S. The surprise came off flawlessly...he never suspected a thing until we got to the airport. He was thrilled with the entire weekend and it will go down as one of our most memorable and special trips!