Monthly Archives: September 2011

J! E! T! S! JETS! JETS! JETS!

By Beth, New York Guest Travel Planner

For most people you associate the Fall season with Halloween, pumpkin-flavored treats, the leaves falling, and apple picking. I on the other hand associate the fall with football. For as long as I can remember I have been surrounded by football. My grandfather coached, my dad coached, my brother played, my friends played, and the tomboy inside me wished I could play. I live in a house divided when it comes to who to root for. My Dad, Mom, and sister are New York Giants fans while my brother and I root for the Gang Green, the New York Jets.

I’ve had the luxury of going to a lot of Jets games in the last two years. Nothing beats the atmosphere of an NFL game. The tailgating before hand, the sea of fans in their favorite players jerseys walking in, and the eminent chants (If you are familiar with the Jets you will know that at the beginning of every game, and at every kick the fans will let out their J! E! T! S! JETS! JETS! JETS! chant). The action and excitement of a football game are a great way to spend a Sunday in New York! I love going to games and anticipate the season starting every fall.

 Whether you are a football fan or not, I highly recommend visiting MetLife Stadium for a Giants or Jets game. Contact me at blenowicz@newyorkguest.com or at (212) 302-4019 and I’d be happy to help you out with tickets. You can also check out tickets on our website or our Football Fanatic package!

GO JETS!

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Follow Me to Brooklyn

by Louise, Community Manager

A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is only the beginning!

Throughout my life in NYC, I’ve lived in Manhattan (where I grew up), Queens (for two years after college) and Brooklyn (for the past six years). I also commuted to a high school in the Bronx, so except for Staten Island I’m pretty well-rounded in my knowledge of New York. And I have to tell you, if you visit New York City without visiting the borough of Brooklyn, you are missing out. Here are just a couple of the reasons why I love BK so much:

The restaurants of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens

If you’re a foodie like me, you have to take the F train to Bergen Street or Carroll Street (just 3-4 stops from Manhattan, or 1 stop from the Sheraton Brooklyn or Nu Hotel). The only problem you’ll have is choosing which of the amazing restaurants to enjoy, so here are some of my top choices:

 Pre Dinner Cocktails

The Clover Club's bar will make you feel like you've stepped back in time

Char No. 4 – specializing in bourbon and bourbon cocktails such as the Spicy Buck (Weller Antique bourbon & Blenheim SC spicy ginger ale)

Clover Club – a HUGE list of vintage cocktails in a romantic setting. I almost never get past the first page of the menu, but try the Parchment Fizz (Gin, pear eau de vie, bianco vermouth, lime juice, simple syrup, dash of absinthe)

Your Meal:

Buttermilk Channel uses seasonal & local ingredients to offer tasty dishes that tend to be exactly what you’re craving. Start with snacks like their addictive maple & bacon roasted almonds, then enjoy an ever-rotating menu of first and second courses (if the duck meatloaf is available, you should definitely try it). Plus, they offer three courses for $25 on Mondays

Seersucker is also seasonal and local, but the menu is inspired by southern cuisine. The chef/owner came to Brooklyn from Arkansas and does a great job giving New York’s seasonal offerings a southern flair.

And because I find it hard to narrow it down but don’t want to go on forever: also check out Chestnut, Frankie’s Spuntino, Prime Meats, and The Grocery.

Brooklyn Farmacy has a vintage soda shoppe vibe

Additional Dessert (you know you want it)

Head to the Brooklyn Farmacy, located in an actual former pharmacy and decorated like an old timey soda shoppe, serving up delicious ice cream and traditional egg creams.

If you’re in the area during the day you can also take the Eat Like a Local tour of Carroll Gardens and visit many local spots!

The Brooklyn Flea

You could spend all day at the Brooklyn Flea and still not see everything

If it’s a nice day, or really even if it’s not, you should definitely check out the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene on Saturdays from 10 AM – 5 PM. Just about 10 minutes into Brooklyn on the C train (to Lafayette avenue). At the Flea you’ll find everything you can imagine: hand-made crafts, vintage clothes, art, unique jewelry, and of course my favorite: local food artisans. You could spend a whole day wandering the stalls and collecting amazing finds, interspersed with stops for coffee, porchetta sandwiches, Solber Pupusas (2011 Vendy Award champions!), Calixto Huaraches, McClure’s pickles, King’s County Jerky, Blue Marble ice cream, and many other delightful treats.

The Prospect Park Zoo

One of the zoo's most famous residents

Prospect Park is my favorite park in the city. It’s less crowded than Central Park so if you go for a picnic with your friends you’ll have more space to spread out. Then, situated on the north side of the park we have the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, always a beautiful place to visit, and then my favorite spot, the Prospect Park Zoo. Every weekend families crowd into the Central Park Zoo, meanwhile about half an hour south on the Q train (Prospect Park stop) there is a beautiful zoo that has just as wonderful animals without having to fight nearly as hard to see them. Sea lions, golden lion tamarins, wallabies, emus, red pandas, Meer cats and prairie dogs are just some of the animals you’ll encounter in your walk around the zoo. They also host animal encounters and sea lion feedings and have three areas where you can feed the animals yourself, for up-close and personal encounters. While not as big as the Bronx zoo or as, well, central as the Central Park zoo, you’ll find this zoo is really worth the trip, especially when combined with a walk through the Botanical Gardens and a delicious picnic lunch in the park.

Coney Island

The famous Wonder Wheel still towers over Coney Island

Just take the F, D, N, or Q train to the end of the line and you’ll find yourself in one of the most famed areas of the city. Coney Island has been a destination for well over a century, and while it has changed a lot in that time there is still a great deal of old-world charm to be found there. The “side shows” are still there if you want to find them, and you can still see a Burlesque show, but you can also relax on the beach (which is kept very clean, but it does tend to get crowded on weekends), head to Luna Park to ride the world-famous Cyclone and Wonder Wheel and many other rides, grab a Nathan’s hot dog, and check out all the marine life at the New York City Aquarium. There’s definitely no shortage of things to do!

The Brooklyn Academy of Music

The Howard Gilman Opera House, part of BAM

There is always something amazing going on at BAM, and it is conveniently located near one of NYC’s biggest public transportation hubs, the Atlantic avenue/Pacific street station. The latest indie movies will be showing in the BAM Rose cinema, while avant garde dance troupes will be performing in the Harvey theater. Many live theater and opera performances are scheduled, but you can also catch a live HD screenings of operas being performed at the Met in Manhattan for less than ¼ of what you’d pay to see it live. BAM also hosts art shows, lectures and live music. Rest assured you’ll be able to find something unique and interesting to see or do there during your visit!

These are just a few of my favorite features of Brooklyn – there are so many more! Stay at the Sheraton Brooklyn or the Nu Hotel and make Brooklyn the focus of your next trip to NYC – you won’t regret it! Got questions about visiting Brooklyn? E-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com and I’ll be glad to assist!

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An Uplifting Experience

By Laura, New York Guest Concierge

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a performance of Sister Act.

As the musical began I realized how invigorating and exciting Broadway is in New York. At the sound of the first musical note I was on the edge of my seat. This musical as it turned out not only had wonderful musical productions but comedy and a love story as well.

Dolores Van Cartier(Patina Miller) was starting her singing career when she witnessed a mob hit. The police decided to hide her in a local convent. At the police station Dolores meets Eddie, an old friend from high schoool. Eddie, who was very awkward had a school boy crush on Dolores. He vows to protect her and keep her safe from harm.

As Dolores arrives at the convent, Mother Superior(Victoria Clark) is very skeptical with the arrangements. She is not sure if Dolores will be able to conceal her identity fron the sisters. Dolores begins to teach the choir who is badly in need of musical help. The choir includes Sister Mary Patrick and Sister Mary Robert. Both sisters take an interest in Sister Mary Clarence(AKA Dolores) and begin to form a friendship.

As Dolores teaches the choir how to “Raise Your Voice”, the choir gains notorarity in the community. Friendship and compassion overcomes fear as all unravels for Dolores.

Sister Act was an entertaining and uplifting evening!

Want to see Sister Act or another Broadway musical on your next trip to NYC? Contact us at info@newyorkguest.com for all your ticket needs!

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Prepare Ye (for an awesome show!)

by Louise, Community Manager

Godspell starts previews on October 13th

I will admit without shame that there was a time in my childhood where I watched the 1973 movie version of Godspell (starring the ever-fantastic Victor Garber) more than once a week. So it has frankly been painful for me to wait for the revival to open. With just three weeks to go until previews begin, my colleague Kelly and I went up to Circle in the Square theater to check out the progress of the load-in and get the inside scoop on the production.

The theater lobby was filled with equipment and boxes, a strange sight considering I’ve only ever seen the space jammed with people before or after a show. When we walked into the actual theater I was so pleased to see that they’ll be using the space the way I happen to think Circle in the Square is best utilized: the center is the stage and there are seats on every side of it (see seating chart). Some productions choose to block off one section of seats to have a more traditional set-up, but I think this set-up is PERFECT for Godspell for so many reasons:

–          The actors are very likely to spend some time in the audience (this actually ends up happening at most Circle in the Square productions) because it is the easiest way to get on and off stage

–          It gives the theater an incredibly intimate feeling – there are 700 seats (still small by Broadway standards) but if you had to guess looking at it you might think there were 200.

–          Since Godspell is such an ensemble show, it gives the actors the opportunity to play to different sections of the audience at different times, meaning you could go to see it multiple times (I probably will) and see things you missed the last time.

–          This is always true of Circle in the Square, but the house is so intimate that there aren’t more than 11 rows in every section – even when you’re in the last row, you’re closer to the action than you can get in many other Broadway theaters!

It was an amazing experience to see the Broadway stage being built. The theater was full of tools and equipment and there seemed to be quite a bit of welding going on. There are beautiful chandeliers already hanging throughout the house, and some kind of pulley system seemed to be being hung above the stage. When I asked our guide about it, her lips were sealed but she did say that in this production we’d see a lot of things that we’d never seen before in a Broadway show. As much as I tried to get details, she wanted to keep some of the mystery alive, but I did secure this tidbit: Rather than having a section for the orchestra, band members will be seated in different sections throughout the house, which will give the show a surround sound effect. How awesome is that? She also confirmed that there will be some serious audience participation in this show – come prepared to dance!

I verified with our guide that the show will have the bright colors that you’d expect. She couldn’t reveal details about the costumes but she said that the designer has come up with some amazing stuff. I also inquired as to whether the show would be appropriate for all ages, because the movie does get a little intense at the end, and she said it would be great for kids – the beautiful costumes, amazing choreography, catchy music and overall joyfulness of the show will delight everyone.

Godspell opens for previews October 13th. This production stars Hunter Parrish, Lindsay Mendez, Telly Leung and many other talented young actors. Godspell includes beautiful songs such as Day by Day, Bless the Lord, All Good Gifts, Light of the World and many more.

 I’ll follow up in a few weeks once the show has opened and I’ve been to see it to let you know whether the production meets my expectations (which I have no doubt that it will). In the meantime, contact us to secure your seats to this brand new production! Great for groups, individuals, families, and everyone else. E-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com.

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Jack’s: A Smart (& Yummy) choice for Times Square dining

As one of the most seasoned concierges at New York Guest, Megan was put in charge of one of the newest concierges, Cari.  Two foodies with a love for theatre and music, they instantly became friends as well as colleagues. Megan taught Cari the ins and outs of being a concierge, but there is always more to learn.  As a concierge in NYC, it is necessary to be knowledgeable in restaurants, theatre, sports, touring, and everything else!  Megan and Cari decided to expand their knowledge by visiting a highly recommended restaurant named Jack’s Restaurant and Bar on 40th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue.

Jack’s is affordable but chic; it is quiet and calm, but still busy.  The service is kind and attentive without being overbearing.  The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming; it is an amazing place to have a meal.  Jack’s is famous for their tapas menu.  When Megan and Cari arrived they had already perused the menu, so the question was tapas or no tapas!  Tapas were the decision and the right one as well!  We ordered the five tapas platter including grilled steak, corn and roasted pepper bruscetta over naan bread, crispy Thai chicken spring rolls with a sweet chili sauce, chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce, grilled chorizo, tomato, manchego cheese and naan bread, and pan crisped crab cake with cilantro, mustard aioli and rice paper.  Everything was excellent!  The crab cakes were the perfect combination of breading and crab with an awesome sauce on the side — definitely Cari’s favorite.  Megan’s choice was surely the spring rolls for their great tasting sauce and crispy veggies and chicken.  The bruscetta, chorizo, and the chicken satay were all such fantastic choices that we found ourselves too full to even get entrees!  As foodies, this is not like us so we decided to get the next best thing: a platter of desserts!  A platter of 3 desserts arrived for us with chamomile tea and coffee: tiramisu, chocolate strawberry cake, and the special of the day, black and white chocolate mousse cake.  It was indeed very special and we both were in love with this last dessert.  The other two were delicious as well; the chocolate strawberry was perfect for any chocolate lover and the tiramisu was light and fluffy, without the usual lingering taste of alcohol.

We were both extremely impressed with Jack’s Restaurant and Bar.  Not only was the food excellent, savory, and ample but we felt no need to rush out.  We enjoyed a long, relaxing evening, with a well spaced out meal.   Jack’s has been the perfect recommendation for our guests in town because of its’ proximity to Times Square and Broadway theatres.  It is now our number one choice for an evening out!  Be sure to put Jack’s at the top of your list on your next visit to NYC!

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The Farley Post Office

by Richard Williams, CEO

The Farley Steps

Here’s one more place you should visit when in midtown Manhattan – the Farley Post Office opposite Madison Square Garden. Built in the mid 1930’s, the Farley Post Office represents a step back in time. It’s a block from Macy’s, next to Madison Square Garden, and on your way to visit the Highline, New York’s newest/oldest must see.

Twenty huge columns grace the front of the entrance, creating an effect that looks a little like a side of the Parthenon in Athens. Leading up to raised entrance doors are a flight of stairs- maybe 20 /25 steps in all spread out over 75 or so yards. On a sunny morning or afternoon, the steps a good place for a stop and cup of coffee or light lunch – just watching the people passing by on their way to work and shop. Think of it as a less crowded alternative to the Metropolitan Museum of Art steps!

Named after James Farley, the Postmaster General under FDR, the building is grand in its design (Farley was the political insider of his day – he was also called ‘the Toastmaster General’ reflecting  his link to  the patronage that flowed from Washington).

It looks like soon (probably be 2020) the post office staff will move out and the entire building will be devoted to train and transit for Long Island and New Jersey commuters.   At that time the LIRR, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak and some of the subway lines will share the space. Sad for the USPS to give up such a beautiful building, but good news for those commuters who crowd into Penn Station every day!

In the meantime, head to the steps of the post office.  When you get in the mood to have a drink,   a ½ block away is a true Irish pub- Tir  Na Nog ; walk a few blocks to a wonderful friendly restaurant, Arno, or head to Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse a block away on 9th Avenue

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Wicked & Wonderful

By William Gozdziewski, New York Guest Concierge

Giant cogs!  Fantastic falsettos! Gilded faces! Dancing Munchkins! Emerald cities! Flying monkeys!  These are a few of the fabulously fascinating treasures which abound in Wicked, one of Broadway’s most popular shows, playing since 2003.  This musical comedy is performed by an extremely talented cast whose vocal power will leave you with goose prickles; whose witticisms leave your belly aching from laughter; whose energy pulls you in like an indelible tractor beam of excitement.

Wicked tells the tale of Elphaba, a smart and friendly little girl who is ostracized by society because she was born green.   By the time she is of school age, she is used to being shunned by her would-be friends, but still dreams of one day meeting The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Sent to school for the sole purpose of taking care of her sister, Nessarose, she quickly becomes the favorite of the head mistress when she demonstrates her innate magical powers.  The head mistress takes her under her wing, and sets her down the path that will eventually lead her to an audience with The Wizard.

Along the way there is a plethora of charming occurrences; a hysterically funny feud forms between Elphaba and her exceedingly popular roommate, Galinda, which soon turns into a lasting friendship.  Galinda’s “prince charming” comes to the school, and she quickly falls for him.   And we learn that Elphaba is a huge animal rights activist as she comforts her slighted teacher, Doctor Dillamond, a goat and the school’s only animal professor.  When Elphaba gets her wish to meet The Wizard, we find out that things aren’t always as they seem.

Filled with many delightful and humorous references to both the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum’s classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz this show is a wonderful evening out for families, couples, or anyone who was ever a child.

If you are traveling to NYC this fall, give us a shout at lgeller@newyorkguest.com. Packages including one night at the Algonquin Hotel and tickets to see Wicked in the orchestra or front mezzanine start from just $300 per person this October & November.

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