Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Normal Heart – Broadway Review

Though many evenings you’ll find me walking around my Morningside neighborhood with my favorite four-legged companion, Harold (a sprightly 2-year old Wheaten Terrier), as one of New York Guest’s team of expert Concierges since 2009, I also love to get out and experience all that New York City has to offer.  Especially if it’s an unexpected surprise…!

This spring there are a lot of high-profile shows opening on Broadway.  Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to see one that is sneaking into town without a lot of fanfare – I caught the first preview performance of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart which is directed by Tony winner and Broadway legend Joel Grey.

The play chronicles the early years of the onset of AIDS in the NYC gay community from 1981-1983, and the response (or lack thereof) from government, medical and homosexual leaders.

This production is in really good shape for a first preview.  As can be expected for the first performance in front of a live audience, there were few technical and lighting glitches here and there, but wow, was I impressed!!!

Joe Mantello, who just happens to be the director of the Broadway smash hit Wicked, is the lead, and his performance is incredible.  Ellen Barkin, known from Ocean’s 12 and Drop Dead Gorgeous, plays a frustrated doctor treating an exponentially growing number of infected patients. She has a powerful monologue that stops the show cold.  The entire cast is uniformly strong and contains other famous faces you will instantly recognize.

I attended the show with five friends, all of whom were floored – both with anger at the way the beginning of the AIDS epidemic was handled, and with raw emotion for the characters living through this horrible and scary situation.

Cast of The Normal Heart

The performance received a spontaneous standing ovation – the very moment that the lights came down – from a very industry heavy audience that is not likely to give the requisite standing ovation given at every Broadway show these days.  Following the curtain call, the audience continued to applaud and applaud well after the house lights came one, begging for the cast to come back to the stage and be acknowledged for their great work.
 
The sheer force and passion behind Larry Kramer’s writing is as powerful, moving and needed as it ever was. This production is bound to be a sleeper hit and get some of that fanfare as the word spreads.
 
Contact my colleagues here at New York Guest to get tickets to this important play today. The run is limited, only 12 weeks, so don’t miss out!
 
— Ash
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A Perfect Day at the Bronx Zoo!

We decided to venture out to Bronx Zoo last Saturday as the weather was nice and we have two little girls under 4 who have a lot of energy to spend.

Entrance to the Bronx Zoo

We parked the car and after a quick walk in to the Zoo the first sight was buffalo grazing in the sun – the biggest buffalo I had ever seen!  From there we saw the monkeys – every kind of monkey that you can imagine.  Some of the highlights were the California Sea Lions, the crocodile and who wouldn’t love the Butterfly Farm with classical music and the fish swimming in a stream? Well, my 3 year old for one as the butterfly’s were flying everywhere.

Monkeys at the Bronx Zoo

The best part though has to be the Children’s Zoo – the slide, the boars having a little argument, the goats, the chickens, the peacocks walking around.  All of this and we didn’t even see the elephants yet!  When we went to leave and realized that we didn’t see the giraffes, lions, tigers, etc….we knew we had to go back – we bought a seasons pass which includes also Central Park Zoo, NY Aquarium, Queens Zoo and the Prospect Park Zoo. One thing is for sure: we will be busy in 2011!

The Bronx Zoo was just fantastic, very spread out and not too busy. Did you know it is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States?  It really is much larger than one would expect. Check out a map of the grounds: http://mappery.com/map-of/Bronx-Zoo-Map

We finished the day off by going to Arthur Avenue – what many people consider to be New York City’s real “Little Italy” for a perfect Italian meal – with Montepulciano wine,  delicious bread and Parmesan cheese and of course pasta! We finished it off with New York cheesecake and crème brule.

Arthur Avenue: Little Italy in the Bronx

A visit to the Bronx Zoo is recommended for anyone coming to New York City, whether you are travelling with children or not. A great way to get tickets to the Zoo is by getting a New York Pass which grants you free access to the Zoo and 55 other New York City sites and attractions. Right now get an additional 5% off our New York Passes when you book online using code GLNQO at check out: http://travel.newyorkguest.com/Activities/New-York-Pass

— Julie

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Traditions of Broadway

There’s nothing like tradition…

One of my mother’s great New York traditions was having what she called “Girl Days” on Broadway. Whether it was taking me to see a show or spending a weekend with her college girlfriends at a fancy hotel and seeing 5 shows over 2 nights, I always grew up with the idea that seeing Broadway with friends was just something you do… that you do as much as you can!

My mom at Marquette in the 1960s

My mom graduated from college in 1967 and, for nearly 40 years, she carried on a tradition of meeting her girlfriends in the city for weekend of shopping and shows.  No matter how tough times got the girls always met in New York in the fall.  Sometimes, if I was lucky, being the only daughter of the group, I was invited to join in.

Since my mother has passed, I have served as her younger substitution and this year I saw Catch me if you Can starring Tom Wopat and Norbert Leo Butz. We laughed a lot, admired the costumes, gazed lovingly at Tom Wopat, who happened to have grown up with one the girls, and laughed at the memories of trips past.   I know that this one tradition that my mom is happy to know that I am carrying on.

One of the greats parts of my mother’s trips that I always laughed at was that, despite their financial success, the girls always shared one standard room. Just like they did as freshmen, they bunkered up and never wanted to be more than a few feet from each other for fear on missing out!   One hotel that I love for this is the Sheraton Tribeca. The rooms are large enough for 3 ladies to feel comfortable. Plus an inexpensive upgrade to SPG Club floor ensures access to the gorgeous lounge that comes with complimentary breakfast and is stocked with all the libations necessary for hours of endless chatter.  The lounge also has one of the best views in NYC! The hotel is just stone throw from the shops of SoHo where you can spend all the money you are saving!

Outdoor terrace at the Sheraton Tribeca's Club Lounge

Let our team here at New York Guest team help you plan your own “Girl Days” on Broadway! We’ll set you up with a great package including your Broadway tickets and the perfect hotel for you and your friends. Simply call us at (212) 302-4019 and we’ll get the planning started!

— Jeannette

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How to Get Tickets to The Book of Mormon

Check out updated Book of Mormon info as of 10/3/2011 by clicking here

Have you heard about Broadway’s surprise smash hit, The Book of Mormon? Out of seemingly nowhere this show has become THE show to see right now on Broadway!

What’s it all about?

Brought to you by the creators of South Park, Trey Park and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon is a story about two young, mismatched Mormon missionaries who travel to a place as different from Salt Lake City as you can get: a remote Ugandan village. The always funny lyrics and sometimes profane or irreverent language, combined with great music, wonderful choreography and excellent acting have made this show an instant hit.

Out of nowhere The Book of Mormon has become the most popular ticket in town! How popular? VERY. POPULAR. So popular that finding tickets can be almost impossible! But thankfully you have friends in New York City… New York Guest!

New York Guest can find you tickets to the Book of Mormon

How to get tickets to see The Book of Mormon:

1) Plan Ahead. To get the best availability at the best prices, plan to get tickets well before you arrive in New York City. Call our office at (212) 302-4019 or e-mail us at info@newyorkguest.com to inquire about availability as soon as you know you are coming to New York City. Though last minute tickets can often be arranged, it’s definitely better to plan ahead if possible.

2) Be flexible. Consider a matinee performance or weeknight performances when tickets might be more readily available.

3) Be careful. See a deal online that seems too good to be true? It probably is– there are lots of ticket scams out there! We have seen too many customers face disappointment when they are told by the theatre that someone else is already sitting in seats they thought they had bought for themselves. New York Guest acquires tickets only from reliable, licensed sources!

4) Consider a Broadway Package. If you are coming to New York City to see this show, consider booking a Broadway Package to take advantage of discounts on both the hotel and the tickets.  Learn more about New York Guest’s New York Vacation Packages including our very popular Broadway Packages. All of our New York Vacation packages are completely customizable for you!

We currently have The Book of Mormon tickets available on our website as well, so visit http://travel.newyorkguest.com/Activities/Broadway-Show-Book-of-Mormon to read more about the show and ticket options available!

— Terra

Check out updated Book of Mormon info as of 10/3/2011 by clicking here

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Biking in Central Park

Greetings!  My name is Alicia and I am one of the New York Guest Concierges!  I have lived in New York almost 10 years and certify myself a New Yorker.  What do I love about being a concierge, you ask? I have the opportunity to make every guest fall in love with New York the way I have over the years.  I’ve gone from being a visitor to an official resident, with lots of secret NYC tips!  And . . . since I can’t keep a secret . . . this partnership is a match made in heaven!  I love the feeling I get when a guest returns to my desk and says “that was amazing, we never would have known to go there!”

Over the years I have had a chance to explore many of the amazing things New York has to offer.  One of my favorite places to go is Central Park. Pair this up with a bicycle and there you have it, one of the best warm weather activities in the city!   The major advantage of exploring Central Park via bicycle is the ability to see a lot of park in a very short amount of time.  There is one main loop which runs the entire circumference of the park.  It is closed to traffic on weekdays for a period of time during the day and all weekend.  While I normally love to see all the yellow cabs racing by, I certainly don’t want to compete with them on the open road!

My husband, Peter, a top a bolder in Central Park

While taking off and exploring the park on a bike is a great way to see everything, it is probably best to bike with someone who is familiar with riding in the park.  While the park is  safe for bikers, keep in mind you share the road with pedestrians, skaters, pedi-cabs and even horses!  Some paths are “pedestrian” only and a clear knowledge of the rules and regulations will ensure your ride is safe and a law abiding one.

While biking in the park, sites not to miss include:  Conservatory Water, the famous sail boat pond featured in the movie Stewart Little; Blato, a statue of the sled dog who became famous during the1925 serum run to Nome; Loeb Boathouse, where you can rent a rowboat by the hour to explore the Lake; Cleopatra’s Needle, the oldest man-made object in the park.  Also, be sure to swing by a few of the big boulders throughout the park – remnants of the last ice age! If you climb on top, you can see the grooves (striations) cut by the ice-sheets moving north and south over 12,000 years ago!

Tip: Pack a lunch and pair your Central Park biking adventure with a picnic in the park!

There are so many things to see . . . . This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg!  You should make your way to the closet bicycle and set out to discover your own Central Park gems!  For first-timers I highly recommend signing up for a guided bike tour of Central Park.  So many things to see . . . . it’s a good idea to ride along with someone who will make sure you don’t miss out on the amazing sites!

— Alicia

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Baby It’s You – Broadway Review

New Broadway Show Alert! Join me in welcoming Baby It’s You to the Great White Way.

Baby It’s You was outstanding! I saw it in previews last night and think it ranks right up there with some of the best shows to ever play on Broadway.  I even liked it better than Jersey Boys!

There is a strong interesting story, great music for every age, and fantastic performers. Watching the women who play the Shirelles was like watching four versions of Whitney Houston live on stage in her prime.  They have the best costumes I can recall on Broadway. this show should be a hit – it has all of the ingredients – very good acting,  interesting story, over 30 songs, and costumes that are perfect. Get tickets now in previews before the official show opening on April 27th to get the best availability.

You’ll love these hits from the show:

He’s So Fine

Dedicated to the One I Love

Twist and Shout

Mamma Said

Sixteen Candles

…and many more you will instantly recognize!

Who is Baby It’s You for? Everyone from 12 to 90. Anyone will find something great to love in this show.

For show schedule and tickets contact New York Guest at (212) 302-4019 or email us at info@newyorkguest.com.

Check out this video preview:

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