Monthly Archives: October 2012

Hurricane Sandy ends, Recovery begins

Jane’s Carousel in DUMBO, Brooklyn just above the flood waters

As anyone on the east coast can tell you, it has been a very challenging couple of days,  and the work is really just beginning. Here in NYC the subway system was shut down on Sunday at 7 PM in advance of Sandy’s arrival, and tours, Broadway shows, museums and more did not operate Monday, nor will they operate today. There was and is severe flooding throughout the city and there is no timetable for public transportation to begin running again. Currently all area airports are closed as well. We have nothing but faith in the city’s emergency workers to get everything up and running again as fast as humanly possible – NYC is stronger than the strongest hurricane!

A portion of the West Side Highway

Our commitment is to be here for those who are currently visiting or planning to visit New York as we manage our own recovery efforts as well. Unfortunately, our e-mail server is currently down due to the storm. We hope to get it working again as quickly as possible but in the mean time you can reach us by joining us at Facebook.com/NewYorkGuest and sending a message, sending a tweet at twitter.com/NewYorkGuest or by commenting below with your contact information. Someone will get in touch with you shortly.

We wish everyone the best and are thinking of those who have a major personal recovery ahead of them. May it be as painless as possible!

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Filed under NYC News and Information

The Mystery…of Edwin…DROOD!

by Louise, Director of Operations

Back in the spring, I first saw an article that Roundabout would be reviving The Mystery of Edwin Drood this fall and I have been SO EXCITED about it ever since. The Mystery of Edwin Drood is one of those shows that a lot of people have never heard of, but those who know it tend to love it. A lot.

Set in an English Music Hall, every actor in Drood portrays two characters – the character of an actor at the English Music Hall, and a character in the story of Edwin Drood. The entire show is one play within another play – and you’re better off knowing that before you arrive or the beginning of the show can be a little bit confusing!

Using a format in which the actors transition frequently between playing Music Hall performers and playing their part in the story, you are introduced to the Mystery of Edwin Drood – a novel that Dickens was only about 2/3 finished writing at the time of his death in 1870.  The score is one of my favorites and many of the songs in the first act – There You Are, Both Sides of the Coin, The Wages of Sin, and No Good Can Come From Bad – are wonderful. The audience participation level is high; you are very likely to be approached by a member of the cast before the show even starts, and you will be asked to speak or sing more than once. It’s all part of the fun of being at a show where the fourth wall essentially doesn’t exist. One of my favorite moments in this production comes when one of the main characters, John Jasper, is sneaking out of a crypt in the graveyard for suspicious reasons, and the stage manager stands on the stage with him, slowly letting the air out of a balloon to act as the squeaky door of the crypt.

Throughout the first act, the “Chairman” of the Music Hall points out moments in the show you should take note of, because in the second act the show ends abruptly, mid-song, and they explain to you that at this point Dickens has died and now it is up to YOU – the audience – to decide how the story ends! The scene in which your choices are given to you is one of the strongest in the show. The audience was laughing non-stop throughout. You vote on three major plot points, which the cast then dutifully acts out. Yes, there really are many different ways that the show can end, and the show really does end in accordance with how the audience votes. So if you go to see the show three times, you can see three different endings.

The big story of this production, of course, is that Chita Rivera has taken on one of the starring roles. She is funny and engaging throughout, but in my opinion there are bigger stars in this production. Jessie Mueller as the exotic Helena Landless was absolutely the standout performer for me (and for the rest of the audience too – we voted for her to play a rather large part in the conclusion!) Additionally, Gregg Edelmann as the Reverand Mr. Crisparkle was delightful, and the comedic duo of Robert Creighton as the town stonemason and drunk, Durdles and Nicholas Barasch as his deputy were a wonderful highlight.

You may not want to take the kids to this one – the play-within-a-play format could be a little confusing for young’uns, and there is some bad language, drug use, and references to prostitution within the story. However, it’s a very enjoyable night out for friends or couples – you have to be ready for some silliness though! Don’t be prepared to take anything too seriously, or you will be in the minority. Relax, have fun, and don’t forget to pay attention to the clues: the Mystery of Edwin Drood is yours to solve!

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Filed under Broadway Review

Going Gray

by Vanessa, New York Guest Sales Associate

One glorious Saturday morning, I set course for Time Square where my trusty steed-the Gray Line Bus- awaited me. I anticipated the worst, enormous crowds, surly employees, and worst of all traffic. I was however, more than pleasantly surprised, so much so that I considered returning the next day. In a stealthy and lineless exchange at the Times Square Guest Center, I quickly made way across the street and to the roof of one of their many red buses for three hours of sight seeing and sun-tanning. Having recently moved to New York from California, my sense of a true metropolis has been embolden with single image of a subway map framed by an endless sea of yellow cabs. New York is a city that begs to be seen, and though I have made serious attempts to walk through each neighborhood I still find myself disoriented after having spent too much time in the subway or trapped in a crowd. Should there ever be a requirement for all New Yorkers and visitors alike, a Hop On Hop Off tour is certainly one. In the open air of a roof top bus you find yourself heads above the crowds and cabs for privileged views of the city. More importantly, for a new New Yorker like myself, the tour was a great to help me conceptualize the city’s layout.

Lasting nearly three hours, we wove our way through downtown via Broadway, pausing briefly at Battery Park, then cutting below the Brooklyn Bridge before snaking our way up through the nation’s largest Chinatown towards the United Nations, and then back to end at the Rockefeller Center. Passengers literally hopped on and off without fuss along 11 different stops clearly marked throughout downtown.  While the city appeared to be posed for an endless series of glamour shots, the true star of the day was our tour guide Ahmed, whose love and admiration of the city, its architecture, and its inhabitants was palpable. However it was his particular sense of being both equal amounts Egyptian and New Yorker that not only inspire hope, but two very serious claims about New York.

Two Very Serious Claims:

1. New York is America. If ever there was a space that completely embodied the spirit of an American, NYC is that place. Restless, hopeful, cool, over the top, pragmatic in unexpected ways, nose grinding and boot strapping, where dreams come to be American. This is America.

2. New Yorkers love their city so much that they verge on being provincial. There are several elements to this equation, traffic being the common denominator.

Ask a Manhattanite about Brooklyn, and prepared for casual bewilderment, rather than cool nostalgia, “I never go there, but I hear it’s great”. Ask a Brooklyner and prepare for endless pontification on the brilliance of this ultra cool, vast, diverse, and evolving borough. More on this later.

Three hours flew by, and all at once we were saying goodbye as old friends do. After regaining my cement legs, I made my way toward Grand Central Station to return to Brooklyn, stopping along the way at my favorite café Gregory’s for a warm pumpkin beverage and to revel in my small sense of familiarity or more poignantly that I am not a tourist but a New Yorker, a once foreign feeling in this new city I now call home.

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Filed under New York Sightseeing

Team building at its finest on the New York Harbor!

by Louise, Director of Operations

Riding in style, as always

October 14th was a perfect Autumn night. The temperature hovered around 65 degrees with a beautiful breeze and the skies were clear as the New York Guest team assembled outside the Grayline Visitor’s Center. We were all so thankful for the gorgeous weather as our evening included a 2 hour twilight cruise with Citysightseeing, our new favorite choice for cruising New York Harbor.

Enjoying dinner in the main cabin

We rode in style atop a double decker bus (of course, we wouldn’t travel any other way) to Pier 78 on 38th street, where we immediately boarded the vessel designated for us. We’re always a team that gets right down to business, so we quickly set about dining on the generous and tasty buffet of salad, pasta, chicken marsala and plentiful sweets. Most of us got the formality of eating out of the way before we even left the dock, so we could head to the upper deck with our glasses of wine and beer to enjoy the live DJ and the beautiful evening.

Some of the team relaxing on the back deck

Early on in the evening, the upper deck became a dance floor while the indoor lower deck served as a haven for those who needed a little respite from the madness. At the back of the boat there was a smaller outdoor area where still other revelers gathered to enjoy the scenery and chat.

This view never gets old!

While the DJ was mostly focused on encouraging everyone to dance and have fun, he also pointed out the important sites as we passed them – the Brooklyn Bridge, the Freedom Tower, and of course, the Statue of Liberty. No matter how many times you’ve seen these sites, and even no matter how many times you’ve seen them from the water, there is just nothing like gazing up at Lady Liberty as she stands in all her glory surrounded by a sky filled with stars.

More team members enjoying the final dance of the evening

Too soon, our 2 hours on the water came to a close and we danced one final dance as the awesome crew docked our boat back at Pier 78. Our double decker chariot awaited and made three convenient stops at Penn Station, Port Authority and Grand Central so that everyone would have easy access to a subway that would take them home.

We all agreed it was absolutely one of the best work events we’d ever attended, and would highly recommend the experience to any company looking to host an unforgettable evening for their employees, though Citysightseeing charters are available for any type of event at all. Not only that, but even if you aren’t booking an event you can enjoy a wonderful Citysightseeing Cruise any day of the week, with several 90 and 60 minute options sailing daily. We know you’ll have a blast!

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Filed under Group Travel, New York Sightseeing, Out on the Town

The Top 10 Cityscape Photos

NYC is beautiful from all angles (well, MOST angles anyway) but many times we find it is particularly striking when you can take in a large area all at once. This month’s photography contest entries certainly confirm that thought! Scroll down to view the top 10 and then cast your vote for the winner!

#1 by An Storms

#2 by Annalisa Pisanelli

#3 by Annalisa Pisanelli

#4 by Dara Rosenberg

#5 by Ilse Neugebauer

#6 by Ilse Neugebauer

#7 by Kathie Patterson

#8 by Linda Brown

#9 by Linda Brown

#10 by Sabrina Hamilton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Monthly Photography Contest