Monthly Archives: July 2012

How to Attend TV Show Tapings in New York – Part 1 of 3

by Megan, New York Guest Concierge

One of our most common questions from guests is how they can attend a taping of a TV show, so we’ve compiled information for the most popular shows so you can plan ahead or play it by ear – whatever works for you!

This three part series starts with perhaps the most popular genre: Late Night/Comedy

Saturday Night Live Tickets
In Advance: In order to request tickets to SNL, you must send an email to snltickets@nbcuni.com at some point during the month of August for the upcoming season. You need to include all contact information in the email, and cannot request tickets for any specific date. If you are selected, you will receive two tickets to either the rehearsal or live show for a random date. Only one email permitted per household – audience members must be at least 16 years old.
Last Minute: A stand-by line forms outside of the 49th St. entrance to the studio the night before the show. Stand-by tickets are given out at 7am Saturday mornings. You need to choose to try for either the rehearsal or live show at this time & will be given a numbered ticket – the rehearsal is supposedly easier to get into, but there’s no guarantee either way. The group gets lined up by ticket number when you come back for the taping & people are sent up until the studio is full. Frequently a cast member, or possibly the host, will come by to say hi to the line Friday night when they get out of their rehearsal.

David Letterman Tickets
In Advance: Fill out the on-line form at http://www.cbs.com/late_night/late_show/tickets/online.php – you will be able to choose up to 3 dates that you would be available. Tapings are Mon-Thurs (two tapings on Thursdays.) After filling out the form you will be contacted any time within a day of submitting the form to 24 hours before the taping (depending on when tickets become available.) You will need to correctly answer a trivia question about the show in order to secure your ticket when they call you (it’s normally something relatively simple like what is the name of Dave’s band leader?, etc.) You will need to give both your and your guest’s names (if applicable) – you can only get 2 tickets & tickets are non-transferable (they will check your ids at the theater.)
Last Minute: This is the easiest show to get into last minute! Stand-by tickets are available by either calling (212) 247-6497 starting at 11am on the day of the taping you would like to attend – or going directly to the theater from 9am-12pm (Broadway at 53rd St.) There is greater success for people going in person vs calling & you will still need to answer a trivia question for either of these methods as well.

Jimmy Fallon Tickets
In Advance: Advance tickets can be requested through the ticket office at (212) 664-3056 – tickets are generally given out about one month in advance. You can request up to 4 tickets at a time, all audience members must be at least 17 years old.
Last Minute: Arrive no later than 9am on the day of the taping at the 49th St. side of NBC studios under the “NBC Studios” marquee. Only one stand-by ticket will be given per person, and they do not guarantee admittance into the taping. Any tickets not given out at 9am will be held at the NBC Studio Tour desk – on the second floor of the NBC Experience Store.

The Colbert Report Tickets
In Advance: Fill out the on-line request form at http://www.colbertnation.com/tickets/ – there is an interactive calendar that will let you choose an available date. You can request up to 4 tickets for the taping. If no times are listed, you can supply an email address for them to alert you when more dates open up.
Last Minute: Stand-by tickets are given out at the studio on the day of the taping (513 W. 54th St., between 10th & 11th Ave.) There is no official time listed to arrive, but earlier is always better. They generally give the tickets out in the early afternoon (2-3pm) with tapings closer to 3-4pm. One ticket is given per person, all audience members must be at least 18 years old.

The Daily Show Tickets
In Advance: Fill out the on-line request form at http://www.thedailyshow.com/tickets – there is an interactive calendar that will let you choose an available date. You can request up to 4 tickets for the taping. If no times are listed, you can supply an email address for them to alert you when more dates open up and/or send them an email at requesttickets@thedailyshow.com. If you choose to send an email, be sure to include your name, the show date you would like to attend, and the number of tickets requested (again, up to four.)
Last Minute: The Daily Show tapes Mon-Thurs at about 5:30pm. Stand-by tickets are EXTREMELY difficult to get – you would try directly at the theater located at 733 11th Ave., between 51st & 52nd St. Stand-by tickets are one/person and are typically given out in the early afternoon.

Stay tuned for our next installment on Thursday – Daytime/Talk Shows!

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Filed under New York Sightseeing, NYC News and Information

New York City on a Shoestring

by Louise, Community Manager

Think a trip to New York City isn’t in your budget? That may not be true! We’re specialists at working within a budget, so we know all the tips and tricks for making an NYC vacation affordable. Here are a few of them:

Plan a trip in January or February

Between the post-Holiday lull and the unpredictable weather, rates in New York are by far the cheapest in the first two months of the year. Sure, you might have to deal with some cold temperatures or snow, but with all the great indoor activities available (shows, museums, restaurants) and plenty of climate-controlled tour buses in which to explore the sights, plus our nifty underground transportation system, you can still have a fantastic time!

Stay in Long Island City or Brooklyn

Bonus to staying in Long Island City: Check out this view!

I know, I know – the inclination is to want to stay in Times Square. But seriously: Times Square is loud and expensive. It’s great to stay there and be in the center of the action, walking distance to lots of places, but will it ruin your vacation if you stay a little out of the way? Not at all! The NYC subway system is safe, clean and reliable and will get you from point A to point B in less time than you think. Long Island City and Brooklyn are both great areas to stay, will save you a ton of money, are quick trips to central locations, and will give you a look at REAL neighborhoods of NYC, where people actually live. Seriously, nobody lives in Times Square.

Check Out Free Stuff

Nobody is going to pretend that New York doesn’t cost money, but there are actually a number of museums that you can visit for free either all the time or on select dates and times. The American Folk Art Museum and the Museum of the American Indian are always free, for example. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens is free on Tuesdays, MOMA is free on Fridays from 4-8 PM, the Whitney is free on Fridays from 6-9 PM, and the Frick Collection is free on Sundays from 11 AM – 1 PM. And these are just a few examples!

Consider Off Broadway Shows

Avenue Q, a Tony-winning Broadway show, now plays Off-Broadway

I just wrote a blog about this recently, but Off Broadway shows can often be just as high quality as Broadway productions and sometimes are even more lovely and original. Plus, they are much less expensive to see than Broadway shows. So if you want to catch a show but Broadway is going to break the bank, check out the Off Broadway offerings – there may be something just as wonderful or even better to see!

Take a Food Tour

Okay, so I’m partial to food tours because I’m obsessed with food, but if the budget is tight and you’re going to spring for one guided tour, make it a food tour. Why? It’s a guided tour and a meal in one! Most food tours are great neighborhood tours, and you’ll learn about the history of an area from a knowledgeable guide while getting plenty of snacks to boot!

Go For a Walk

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of NYC’s best walks!

So this may not work if you do come in the winter, but if the weather’s nice nothing beats a good, long walk in the city. You never know what you may find, from unexpected outdoor markets to incredible street performers to remarkable public art. Plus, it’s free to take a walk AND it’s a very healthy vacation choice to make. Here are a couple of walks to consider:

  • Head down to the financial district and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll end up in the fantastic Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO, Brooklyn where you can find great playgrounds, stunning views, delicious ice cream and the occasional flea market.
  • Go to the Upper East Side and enter Central Park around 72nd street (or 86th if you’re feeling ambitious) and walk south until you reach the exit at 59th street, then walk down 5th avenue and do some window shopping at all the famous shops.
  • Head to the northernmost entrance to the Highline Park (30th street between 10th and 11th avenue) and walk to the southernmost end (Gaansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District), stopping plenty along the way to admire the beautiful flowers and greenery as well as the fantastic views of the city. Bring sandwiches and drinks and have a picnic along the way!

And of course, the most important tip of all…

Book with New York Guest

We want to help you and what’s more – we know how! We live here, we know the hotels, we know the deals, we’ve seen the shows, and we’ll work with you to create a customized plan that meets all of your needs. That’s what we love to do! Contact us today to start planning.

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Filed under New York Travel Deal, NYC, NYC News and Information, Special Deals

6 NYC Dishes that SHOULD be Iconic

by Louise, Community Manager

There are certain New York City foods that everyone feels inclined to try – Magnolia Cupcakes, Shake Shack burgers, Katz’s pastrami sandwich, pizza from Joe’s or Grimaldi’s, frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity, the list goes on and on. If you go to these places, you’ll usually find them jam-packed with tourists looking for that iconic experience, while nearby there are other fantastic places making amazing food that is in some cases even better, going unnoticed by too many people. It is my mission today to tell you about some of these wonderful, unforgettable NYC food experiences that you won’t have to wait for an hour to enjoy!

1. The Meatloaf Sandwich at Dickson’s Farmstand

Chelsea Market – 75 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th/ www.dicksonsfarmstand.com

I don’t know what it is about this sandwich but I am basically incapable of walking by Dickson’s without getting one. Dickson’s locally sources all of their meat, so you know it is true New York food you are eating, and that the animals were humanely raised as well (it’s so hard to know at so many butchers). The meatloaf is moist and tender and exactly the same size as the bread, so there are no bread-heavy bites and no meat tumbling out of the sandwich. There is mayonnaise on both pieces of bread and pickles to give you crunch and acidity. It is totally filling and so, so good. Buy one and take it to the nearby Highline for a picnic!

2. 3-in-1 Cream Pie at Peel’s

325 Bowery at 2nd Street http://peelsnyc.com/

It’s a mystery to me why this is the case, but it is surprisingly hard to find good pie in New York City – however, Peel’s is a delightful exception. This southern-inspired joint serves a lot of great food both to-go from their counter at the front and in their dining room. They also boast a really wonderful cocktail list. But whatever you do at Peel’s, make absolutely SURE you save room for the 3-in-1 Cream Pie. This pie is ridiculous and should probably be illegal. The perfectly flaky crust has a layer of dark chocolate cream on the bottom, topped with caramelized bananas, topped by coconut custard, and THEN topped by a healthy layer of whipped cream sprinkled liberally with toasted coconut. I can barely type this because I so badly want to get up and go down to the Bowery and order it. TRY IT.

3. Sisig at Maharlika

111 1st Avenue at 7th Street / http://maharlikanyc.com/  

Just a few blocks north of the famous Katz’s Delicatessen sits Maharlika, a remarkable Filipino restaurant whose understated exterior does not quite hint at the awesomeness contained within. The mind-blowing traditional Filipino dishes are meant to be shared and I have never been disappointed by anything I’ve ordered, but you HAVE to get the Sisig. Okay, it might sound a little weird – pig ears, belly, cheek and snout boiled, then  grilled and finally sautéed with onions, garlic and lemon served over garlic rice – but there is a reason why this is such a popular Filipino dish: it is DELICIOUS. On one visit my waitress told me it is often used as a hangover remedy. I’ve never had the pleasure of testing that out but I believe it would work. Even if you’re not up for an assortment of pig, definitely get the garlic rice – it is more delicious than rice has any right to be.

4. Pistachio Cupcakes from Sugar Sweet Sunshine

126 Rivington Street / http://www.sugarsweetsunshine.com

You can tout Magnolia or Crumbs all you want, for me Sugar Sweet Sunshine is where it’s at as far as cupcakes are concerned. Opened by two friends named Peg and Deb in 2002, this spot on the Lower East Side is may not be teeming with people the way Magnolia is, but it is teeming with love. As a professionally trained pastry chef (I am! It’s true!) I like to think I can tell when a baked good is made with love, and these baked goods are. I am pretty obsessed with the pistachio cupcake, though there are a variety of flavors available and even some things that aren’t cupcakes if for some strange reason you don’t want a cupcake.

5. Watermelon Pickle & Crispy Pork at Fatty Crab

643 Hudson Street or 2170 Broadway / http://www.fattycrab.com

Yes, I am a proud omnivore – you have noticed by now that I am partial to my meat. This dish at Fatty Crab is absurdly amazing. Pork belly (which is really just a thicker cut of bacon, for those who haven’t experienced its transcendence) is combined with watermelon that has been soaked briefly in vinegar to create the world’s best party in your mouth. The acidic crunch of the watermelon combined with the fatty crunch of the pork belly will make every previous mouth-closing of your life seem like a waste of time, and the topping of fresh herbs and ginger put it over the top. Again, I’ve never been disappointed by anything I ordered at Fatty Crab and eating there is an experience in and of itself, but ordering this is a must.

6. Burgers at Joy Burger Bar

361 6th Avenue at Washington Place or 1567 Lexington /  http://joyburgerbar.com

In my opinion, Joy Burger Bar could take Shake Shack in a burger-off any day of the week. There are those that would disagree with me, but I would tell them that even if the burgers were inferior in flavor (I believe they are, in fact, superior) the fact that you won’t have to wait in line for an hour and will be able to find a place to sit to eat your burger from Joy puts it over the top. Combine that with the fact that you can choose your patty size (3 oz, 5 oz, or 8 oz – all exactly the right moist, yielding texture for a burger), choose from 5 cheeses, a bunch of sauces (including offbeat ones like chimichurri and mango chutney) and many extra toppings, sweet potato fries and zucchini sticks in addition to the standard French fries and onion rings, shakes, fresh juice…and everything is amazing. My default is a 5 oz patty with garlic mayo, cheddar cheese and a fried egg (and this is why I limit my visits), but there is something for everyone.

Obviously I have a lot to say about food, so if you’re looking to plan a food-centric trip to  New York I’m your girl! E-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com for more suggestions or to start planning!

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Filed under New York Restaurants

If happy little bluebirds fly…

by Julian, New York Guest Concierge

End of the Rainbow, which has hopped across the pond for it’s NYC debut, reveals how our worship and fascination of icon Judy Garland became too much for her to contend with. As we watch this very personal depiction we are shown her character in its entirety. No stone is left unturned as we see our beloved star in every compromised twist and turn of the plot. In the first act we find Ms. Garland in dire and yet extravagant circumstances, having gone through 4 husbands and now with her new fiancé Mickey Deans, Garland is out of money but not able to escape the life she has built around herself. Throughout the show we see a woman who cannot control her environment, but as the icon she has bec0me cannot escape her surroundings either. So we watch those around her try to keep her together.

She seems to desperately want a break from her life and yet can’t give up the love of her fans, the lavish hotel rooms, the men who both adore and abandon her and paramount to all of that are the drugs. We are told her mother was feeding her pills since the beginning of her career and that for the last 15 years she has been working 14 hours a day 7 days a week starting at 5 a.m. She is now too entwined in a web that the director suggests is more her last husband and mother’s fault then her own. In any case, Garland cannot bring herself to leave the web even when her pianist, Anthony, played by Michael Clumptsy, invites her to live with him. Her newest husband-to-be, now also her manager, is in control of her decisions.

 In End of the Rainbow, we are given many opportunities to consider what really led to the unraveling of Judy Garland’s life. It seems her need to be loved overshadowed everything she did. The love ended up being just as much of a drug as all the other things she was addicted to. The lines of her personal and professional life fully blur when she gives up on stage and even curses the audience that loves her so before leaving the stage. We watched her joy and her struggles but mostly the latter. From the scenes of her nearly jumping out of her hotel suite window to the intimate moments she shared with her pianist. When asked if she missed any of her other 4 husbands she said she misses the love. It seems Ms. Garland was always in search of love.

As the play points out Judy’s fan’s like to watch her rise and fall to which Ms. Garland answers “That’s what I do.” It is also what Bennett does in her performance and I certainly enjoyed watching this talented actress as she embodied Judy Garland’s glamour and star power as well as the manic and raw reality of her life.

 Garland says near the end of the play that she sings for others and she will stop when the public no longer wants to hear her voice. As ideal as that all sounds the plays tension is centered on Garland struggling to meet the standard she has set up for herself now that she is no longer able to sing and perform the way she once did without the drugs that keep her going. As she admits when she says, “It’s a terrible thing to know what you’re capable of and to never get there.”

With one of the most acclaimed performances of the year from the astounding Tracie Bennett, this is one not to miss! Contact us for your tickets.

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The Top 10 “Stars & Stripes Forever” Photos

Because July has us feeling patriotic, we asked for the best USA-centric photos you had, and boy did these photos have us humming our national anthem with one hand over our hearts! Scroll down to check them out, and then cast your vote for which one should take home the prize this month!

#1 by Allen Brown

#2 by Ilse Neugebauer

#3 by Jayden Hurvitz

#4 by Kathie Patterson

#5 by Laura Ghisalberti

#6 by Linda Brown

#7 by Linda Brown

#8 by Luca Martignoni

#9 by Luca Martignoni

#10 by Luca Martignoni

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Filed under Monthly Photography Contest

East of the City, West of the Hamptons

by Richard, CEO

So many people think that the world ends at the NYC border and doesn’t resume until you get to the ultra-famous ‘Hamptons’. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.
For visitors interested in seeing more of New York without the 3 hour Hamptons drive here are a few closer options:

Long Beach – a 30 minute car ride or a 45 minute ride on the LIRR from Manhattan brings you a block from the ocean, surrounded by miles of beaches and boardwalk. Less snobby and less costly than anything in the Hamptons, Long Beach is a good option – plenty of places to eat, a wide beach that runs for miles and no ‘beach fee’ like they charge in New Jersey.

Atlantic Beach – just to the west of Long Beach is a quieter option that is just as wide and pretty. A ½ block walk from the Long Beach LIRR station or a cab ride gets you there in 5 minutes.

Fire Island – fabulous barrier island – you can get there via the LIRR to Bayshore or a 90 minute car ride. Once there you hop on one of the ferries to one of the islands 6 destinations. Pleasant 10-15 minute ferry rides. There is plenty to do if you are a beach bum at heart. Many of the small towns have their own following and many offer great food options– all on an island less than a mile wide. Without too much difficulty you can walk from one little village to the next in 10-15 minutes. There are no cars allowed on Fire Island other than those belonging to the residents.

Jones Beach and Robert Moses Beach – located to the east of Long Beach And the west of Fire Island, these barrier islands offer miles and miles of wide open beaches. At Jones Beach, there are stops along the way to get ‘beach food’. At Robert Moses, you can walk to the Lighthouse and see living history.

Now, get out there and soak up the sun!

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Filed under Further Afield

Dogfight – or, extolling the virtues of Off Broadway

by Louise, Community Manager

The instinct when you come to New York is to head right for the Great White Way, sit in a 1,000 seat theater and watch a big show, right? And I definitely support that instinct – you SHOULD go to a Broadway show. You should go to five Broadway shows, if you want my honest opinion. But I have been reminded several times recently how important it is to not forget about some of the amazing things that are happening Off Broadway.

More than anything, the 2012 Tony’s brought this into perspective. The two top Tony winners in 2012 were Once with 8 Tony Awards and Peter & the Starcatcher with 5. Both of these shows transferred to Broadway from Off Broadway runs. Those who explore the Off Broadway offerings saw both these shows before they were sensations. It’s now nearly impossible to see Once for less than $160 per ticket, while those in the know enjoyed it for less than $100 a ticket during its Off Broadway run. Explore Off Broadway during your visit to NYC and you never know when you could be seeing the next big thing.

Why am I rambling about this today? Because last night, my colleague Kelly and I ventured Off Broadway to see the new musical Dogfight at Second Stage, and it was as good or better as any new show I’ve seen on Broadway this year.

Dogfight tells the story of three young marines preparing to be deployed to Vietnam in 1963. It’s their last night stateside and they plan to participate in a “Dogfight” – a party wherein every man brings the ugliest woman he can find, and the man with the ugliest date wins a prize. Eddie Birdlace, one of the “Three B’s” as he and his friends Bernstein and Boland call themselves, ends up asking Rose – a shy and awkward young waitress from a diner where he stops for coffee. Rose’s initial overwhelming excitement over being asked on a date is dashed when she finds out the true nature of the party, and her reaction leads to a life-changing emotional journey for both her and Eddie.

From the opening number where the marines celebrate the start of their night of debauchery to a heart-wrenching final ballad from Eddie, the songs in Dogfight are alternately fun, moving, and gorgeous (or all three). In particular, I loved Rose’s buoyant song following being asked out by Eddie, sung in her bedroom as she decides what to wear and tries to keep herself calm, and Eddie and Rose’s song as they awkwardly stroll down the street together, neither of them really knowing what to say.

Kelly and I were drawn to Dogfight in particular due to leading lady Lindsay Mendez, seen most recently on Broadway in Godspell, one of our top picks from the 2011-2012 season. Mendez is superb in the role of Rose, fully embodying the awkward, shy clumsiness of the character and filling all of Second Stage with her tremendous and beautiful voice. Mendez is joined by Derek Klena, seen most recently in the Off-Broadway revival of Carrie, who absolutely blew me away in his moving and heartbreaking portrayal of Eddie. As Eddie’s marine buddies, Nick Blaemire (also most recently seen in Godspell) and Josh Segarra (most recently seen in Lysistrata Jones, another of our 2011-2012 favorites) were fantastic – although we were a little sad to see them playing, for lack of a better word, jerks. The entire supporting cast is excellent, and this is an ensemble that truly seems to enjoy performing together, which for me always brings a show to a whole other level.

Dogfight is playing at Second Stage through August 12th, and with it being somewhat of a lean summer in terms of Broadway offerings, I highly suggest you consider checking it out while you’re in town. There is no predicting what will happen with limited run Off Broadway premiers, but as I mentioned initially, this is how both Once and Peter & the Starcatcher began their journeys towards being two of the most successful productions of the 2011-2012 Broadway season. Come 2013, will we see a big, flashy high budget production take home the top prize, or something smaller and more understated with tons of heart? I don’t know about you, but heart always gets my vote.

Interested in seeing Dogfight or another Off Broadway show on your trip to NYC? E-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com and I’ll be happy to assist you!

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