Category Archives: New York Stories

Things to Look Forward to in 2013

by Eileen, New York Guest Travel Planner

1. Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella opening in March!

2013“Ten Minutes Ago”, “Impossible; It’s Possible”, “A Lovely Night”— classic songs that capture the heart! I know quite a few people excited for the revival of this Broadway classic. I admit that my knowledge of the show is limited to the Disney adaptation featuring Brandy and Victor Garber, so it will be great to see a production of this in person! The all too brief preview from the Thanksgiving Day Parade piqued my interest and now I’m anxiously counting down the days until its premiere!

2. Wrestlemania XXVIII at Met Life Stadium

I love wrestling and it’s been my life long dream to attend a Wrestlemania. This year New York and New Jersey are playing joint hosts to the phenomena of Wrestlemania week. Die hard fans will be coming from all over the world to take part in the festivities!

2013_23. The Statue of Liberty reopening!

Since October 2011, the Statue of Liberty has undergone significant restoration. I was looking forward to visiting the Statue when it reopened this past year. Unfortunately Hurricane Sandy had other plans, and now the Statue is closed indefinitely. While there isn’t a time frame for when the Statue will reopen, I know I am crossing my finger that it’s in time for the lovely spring weather.

Speaking of….

4. Springtime in the City!

Aside from the week or so of my sinuses adjusting, I love spring time in New York! The allure of the cold weather of autumn and winter has worn off for me at this point, and I’m not looking forward to the next three months. I love walking out of the house, only to realize you don’t really need your winter jacket anymore. If you are planning on coming during the spring, you must visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens! My family usually ventures into one of the most beautiful areas in Brooklyn on Easter Sunday. It always amazes me

5. Summertime in the City!

Baseball, the great outdoors, tennis, and the beach— I’m ready for summer! I love heading out of town for an extended weekend to Long Island or Connecticut. There are so many great day trips from New York— Philadelphia, Washington D.C, and Boston— why not take advantage of the low prices and weather.

2013_36. The All Star Game at Citi Field in July!

I love baseball, the Mets, and Citi Field. This year the annual All Star Game will be held in Flushing, New York at Citi Field. I think Citi Field is a great ballpark with spectacular views from all over the park, the array of beer and food offered, the easy accessibility from metropolitan area, and because the Mets play there. The Field is reminiscent of Ebbets Field, home to the Brooklyn Dodgers, and pays tribute to the legendary Jackie Robinson right when you step through the home plate entrance. New York will always be a baseball town first— so the All Star game coming to a passionate crowd will be a once in a lifetime experience.

7. Another year with New York!

As a New Yorker through and through, I cannot picture myself anywhere else in the world. New York has theatre, sports teams, art, music, parks, magnificent sights, and a passionate population. If you’ve never been to New York, you must come and experience it for yourself. If you’ve visited us before, you have to come back! This city changes in a matter of months and you never know what’s going to happen next!

From the New York Guest Travel Planners, we wish you a wonderful New Year and hope to hear from you soon!

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How to Have an Awesome Times Square New Year’s Eve

by Jeannette, Director of International Sales

tsq The first time I saw Times Square on New Year’s Eve was from Central Park South as I scurried to connect to N train from the 1 line at Columbus Circle. Times Square station had long shut down to make way for the masses of people lining up to celebrate the Millennium at the Crossroads of the World. It was 5pm and the crowd was to 57th Street and I looked down and thought to myself, nothing in the world would make me ever want to be part of the debacle which is Times Square on December 31st!

Fast forward to 2003,  2 career changes later, now head concierge at the Crowne Plaza Manhattan Times Square, I am now literally living and breathing Times Square for 50 hours week. The Starbucks with the line out the door knows my name and order, the deli with the overpriced Matzah Ball soup know I like 2 packs of saltines with the $8 cup of soup and the ladies at the Thai walk up nail place know I have exactly 17 minutes before I have to rush back to my job and make peoples’ New Years dreams come true.

And how do I do that? I let them in on the little known secrets on how to celebrate in Times Square. I start with my diagram of the Square. Each block represents 1 hour, which is approximately how long is take NYPD to herd you like cattle into blockaded squares each holding about 100 people.   The Square begins filling up around 12pm so those lucky ones that are up front, have been waiting for 12 hours to get that coveted spot.

timessquare1Some people say bring crossword puzzles, drink water sparingly and make sure to have sandwich on hand!   I say run unless you want to be cold, hungry and possibly soiled.

So what do I tell people when the ask where to spend their New Years in Times Square?

There are countless restaurants on the side streets leading up the main event. A reservation at one of these gets you coveted NYPD pass giving you a reason to be loitering about. Try getting a spot on 47th or 46 on the east side, and you might catch a glimpse of the concerts in Duffy Square.  Most of the restaurants have loose policy when it comes to toasting the New Year so if you are lucky, you just mind find yourself wandering into Times Square just after the ball drop with a glass of champagne with confetti in your hair as the revelers are running to the toilets and subways to get out of Dodge!

standrewsThis year’s event features performances by Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen and my top pick has to be St Andrews on West 46th.  There multi level party features open bar and different dining options so come midnight look for me, reveling in 46th Street with my glass of cheer in hand! You can call me directly at 646-867-8253 if you want to join in the festivities.

 

 

 

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(B) Side – Williamsburg

by Vanessa, New York Guest Sales Associate

Fedora: Check

Skinny Jeans: Check

Handle Bar Mustache: Double Check!

The boon and bane of hipster-dom in Montauk reached such feverish heights this summer it warranted a feature in the New York Times. Locals ran anti-hipster campaigns, banning fedora and ironic mustaches alike as latter continued to arrive to Montauk’s modest shores in hoards. Once an honorable title of the 1940’s subculture, the term hipster in now at best a slur dropped at the slightest hint of apathy. While we could continue in that direction, I’m glass half full kind of girl, and after a recent weekend spent in Williamsburg-their capital- I have made a small space in my heart for all things hip-and -ster.

Wedged gently between Greene Point and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg straddles the edge of history and modernism along the East River in Brooklyn. The remains of a once booming industrial center have been reapropriated into shops and warehouses for artisans, artists, and all things avant-garde.

Arrive in reverent form on single speed rented at the Brooklyn Bike Peddler, a modest though well stocked joint for all things bicycle. After a long grueling (wink) journey into the heart of Williamsburg, quench your thirst and settle you hunger at Radegast Hall and Biergarten. Cozy and comforting without the slightest sense of claustrophobia, this beer hall not only boasts a large selection of German and local beers, but a brunch menu so divine a “friend” felt compelled to order three dishes on her own.

While one could spend an entire day under a canopy of pretzels and mustard, I encourage you to wander north through many funky and locally made clothing shops.

Treasure hunters and vintage junkies might opt for a Sunday trip as Williamsburg plays host to a weekly flea market located between Kent St and the East River on 6th Ave. For the food obsessed, any day is a good day to be a in Williamsburg, Saturday however boasts a convergence of all varieties of gastronomic delights aptly titled, Smorgasburg (same location as Flea Market). Foodies need not worry about missing the flea market; a stone’s throw from the food market lays Artist and Fleas, a daily indoor flea market.

Exhausted from a day of treasure hunting and foraging, pause for a perfectly brewed “cup o’joe” from resident West Coast hipsters at Blue Bottle Café before ending your day along side the river to catch the golden hour as the great fedora in the sky (formerly the sun) retreats below Manhattan as you coast back home.

For more on the mention locations or for further information on all things Williamsburg contact us at info@NewYorkGuest.com

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Eleven Years Later

by Eileen, New York Guest Travel Planner

I love autumn.  I love when the weather begins to turn slowly but surely cooler and it’s time to take out scarves and gloves.  The night takes on a wonderful crisp tone and the sun begins to set earlier.  When I was younger I couldn’t wait to go back to school, and September always marked a new beginning for me.  I was in seventh grade when our school nurse interrupted our Spanish class to tell us two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center.  September took on a new meaning for me in 2001.

When it happened, the tragedy of it all seemed so far away from me in Flushing, Queens.  We lived in a quiet neighborhood that was 30 minutes outside of Manhattan.  I couldn’t believe what I was watching on tv and for two days it didn’t seem real.  The attacks happened on a Tuesday and school was cancelled for two days.  When we returned on Friday it seemed all too real; the wind path had changed and now there was a strong scent of debris and rust in the air.

I watched as the World Trade Center became Ground Zero, laying dormant for years.  For many years, I didn’t venture past 14th Street in Manhattan.  There was never really anything for me in Lower Manhattan.  After graduating high school, I decided on going to Pace University.  The Manhattan Campus of Pace is located right near the Brooklyn Bridge, across from City Hall, and just a few streets over from Ground Zero.  One Pace Plaza had served as a medical center for first responders and those injured on that day.  The University had strong ties with the NYPD and FDNY, and was a major proponent of revitalizing Lower Manhattan.  One winter day in the middle of a long break between classes, I bundled up and ventured outside.  For the first time I went over to the World Trade Center.  I’m not quite sure what compelled me to head in that direction, but I continued on.  It some ways I guess I needed to see that it was real; to see that such a tragedy occurred and that we, as a country, were still here.

As a New Yorker, I don’t really venture outside of the Northeast that often.  All of my family is sprinkled throughout New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.  When I decided to head to Australia for a semester abroad, I realized I would be the furthest away from home ever.  All the students studying abroad had a departure orientation just a few weeks before we all went our different ways.  The study abroad chair person warned us that our country’s politics were an all too common subject being discussed no matter where we went in the world.  The topic of September 11th didn’t come up until about two months into my semester abroad in a discussion about Indonesian terrorist attacks.  I don’t even remember how it came up, but I remember the tutorial of about 20 students turn to look at me, the lone New Yorker.  For the first time, I shared what I had felt and gone through in great detail with a bunch of strangers.  I realized that they had felt the same terror and process of grieving that I had, nearly 10,000 miles away.  It was the first time that it struck me that this tragedy had spread beyond our domestic and geographic borders.  We were all still in the process of healing.

Last year marked the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks, a milestone for so many.  I was actually in Australia visiting the friends I had made a year and half prior.  At nearly 11 AM on September 12th, I watched the New York Jets host the Dallas Cowboys.  The pre-game ceremony and game were broadcast live on Aussie telly.

This year the anniversary actually snuck up on me.  With the week before shorted due to Labor Day and the week before that shortened due to my last summer vacation, I lost track of the dates.  I woke up and watched some of the reserved and respective news coverage and headed to my bus stop.  The air was cooler and I could see some of the leaves beginning to fall; September felt like a new beginning again.

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Sleep No More: A Mind-blowing Night of Immersive Theater

by Eileen, Travel Planner

For a year or so I’ve heard about Sleep No More.  Every so often a friend or colleague would express interest in going to see this show and I’d nod my head and say “Yeah, me too.”  I had heard very little about the content of the show itself, if you can even call it a show.  I knew three things though: it was based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, you were bound to get lost in the maze of sets, and always be alert because an actor might just run over you.  Sleep No More is more than just a show; it’s a unique experience to everyone who ventures to the McKittrick Hotel.

Sleep No More opened over a year ago and its popularity has skyrocketed with visitors and native New Yorkers.  The performance takes place at a large warehouse between 10th and 11th Avenues in the Chelsea District.  The warehouse was converted specifically for this performance into the abandoned McKittrick Hotel.  You are given a playing card and are then split into groups according to your card number.  I was not too thrilled to be split from my friends, but I had been warned that this would happen.  Into the elevator you go, and you are instructed to put on a white mask.  You cannot take your mask off and you cannot talk to anyone.  Anonymity is key to this experience.  The actors are the only ones allowed to speak (they rarely do) and have their faces shown.

I had gotten into the elevator last, which meant I’d be the first to exit.  The operator said “Everyone out,” so I moved forward.  The hallway was dark, and the only light sources were the candles lit in corners of the room that opened into the hallway.  Scared out of my wits, I turned around to find no one behind me.  I was alone on the floor and the elevator seamlessly blended into the wall.  I am not ashamed to admit that I had a mini freak out.  I do not like haunted houses and I am somewhat afraid of the dark— this was my worst nightmare.  I truly considered turning back, but I talked myself into moving forward and exploring.

The floor was an abandoned hospital wing.  The attention to detail in the logs, the discarded beds, the medicine cabinets, the handwritten letters was stunning.  I treaded on passed the hospital wing and was suddenly in a graveyard with smoke and angelic statues.  I carried on and was in a room with Lady Macbeth and Macbeth.  I followed the crowd and made it to the ballroom with the cast performing a ragtime dance.

Once the cast finished they broke off, I picked one cast member to follow.  I still haven’t quite figured out who the actor was supposed to be, but I followed him into a small room that resembled a confessional and watched as he did a ballet routine.  At one point I ventured on past the actor and made my way upstairs.  I found a floor that resembled an early turn of the century street with brick roads and shops of every kind.  Of course, I found the candy shop and stuffed my pockets full of butterscotch for the train ride home.  When I came back out, two actors were engaged in a physical duel.  They ran into a small room off the main hallway and I followed.  As soon as I entered, the door was shut behind me and they continued their fight.  At one point an actor was thrown and landed on top of me.  The actor didn’t say a word, helped me steady myself, and continued on with the scene.

There are about five different floors to the warehouse— a bedroom, a graveyard, a hospital, a mental institution, a rave, and a ballroom.  The only way to travel is to climb the small stair cases up and down.  There is next to no light and a lot of produced smoke.  You will bump into people and stumble over people.  The actors move through out the entire production, so I suggest keeping on the move.  Various scenes take place twice so if the group is too big and you can’t see, move along.

I can go on and on about the various scenes I experienced, but I can’t even guarantee you’ll see the same thing I did.  The main idea of Sleep No More is that it can be anything you make it out to be.  If you disregard your fears, you can have an amazing time running after actors to catch a glimpse of a plot.  It took me a full hour and half to really warm up to the set and the whole idea of the performance.  I’m proud of myself because I lasted a lot longer than I had anticipated.  Fourteen hours later and I’m still not really sure of what I experienced, but I do know that I would like to attend again.   It was a true New York experience that I can’t recommend enough.

If you have questions about Sleep No More or you’d like to book a package including tickets, feel free to e-mail me at efitzgerald@newyorkguest.com for more information!

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Tips for Moving to New York City!

by Maeva, New York Guest Concierge & Travel Planner

# 1- Land the job first!

Earlier this year, I came to visit my high-school gal pal in NYC to celebrate our birthdays. In catching up on old times, she mentioned her new job as a concierge and how much she loved guiding people around the city and making suggestions for the best Dim Sum, or Rib Eye Steak. As I joked around with her about how we both naturally love to talk about food and our own experiences, she suggested that I should apply for the position and with my background, I’d be sure to get the gig. And I sure did!

 # 2- Find an Apartment!

Though I was able to stay with my aunt who lived in Yonkers (about an hour and a half away from the city) my first week on the job, I still had to find my own place. I looked everywhere, NYHabitat, StreetEasy, local Church websites, and even Craigslist! Most of the neighborhoods in Manhattan were totally out of my budget, and the majority of the apartments had broker fees that were outrageous! When it comes to looking for an apartment in NYC, it’s better to do it By Owner, which is what I did-thanks to Craigslist, I found a two bedroom basement apartment for $1350 in a neighborhood called Sunset Park in Brooklyn. It took me two weeks to find the place, and three of my friends from Florida live in my neighborhood.

 # 3- Don’t Neglect the Other Boroughs!

At first I was hesitant about living outside of Manhattan since my job was there. I was thinking about my commute and if it would take forever to get into Manhattan. However, all of my friends who work in Manhattan live in the outer boroughs. My gal pal from high school lives in Astoria, Queens, my manager and several of my co-workers live there as well. Brooklyn has become a special place for me because I get to see more trees and fewer buildings. Being an island girl, I need some nature in my life. I also feel like I’m escaping from the hustle and bustle and noise from the city. There are great neighborhoods in Brooklyn like Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Carroll Gardens, and Williamsburg. They are the up and coming trendy locations I enjoy going to. I love Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum-Free Concerts are amazing! I can’t say that much about Queens; though I have family that lives there, I prefer Brooklyn.

 # 4- Sell the car and get a Metrocard

Seriously, don’t move to New York with your car. You’ll end up paying more for parking and gas. A monthly Metrocard is all you need. And if you are worried about groceries, almost every store in the NYC delivers.

 # 5- Get a Roommate Questionnaire!

While you are thinking about getting your own place, you may consider roommates to be a little more economical. When thinking about roommates there is a lingo that you’ll need to learn. Example, 420 Friendly. Uhm, I suggest you google that. There is nothing more important that knowing and understanding the people or person you will be living with. My roommate is an angel sent from heaven just for me. She cooks, cleans, and loves to entertain. We were made for each other. We discussed expectations, habits, things that piss us off, and even décor ideas. It’s always good to be on the same page at the beginning!

Those are my tips for now as this new kid on the block continues on with her Empire State journey. There’s so much to capture here in New York City, so you’ll be hearing from me more often.

A bientot,

Maeva- Travel Planner, Concierge, Foodie Extraordinaire, and Flat shoes enthusiast!

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A Giant Celebration!

by Karissa, Reservations Manager

Karissa and her fiance sporting their Giants gear

One of my fondest memories as a young girl was watching Giants Football every Sunday after church with my Grandpa! Now at the time I wasn’t quite as into it as my older brothers and my dad were, I didn’t understand the rules and the games went on too long and sometimes I even fell asleep after a big lunch! My favorite player was Tiki Barber because I liked his name. Years later he actually was my favorite player because he was actually a very good player! Now maybe 15-17 years later I’m an avid fan and I don’t ever make plans on a Sunday when the game is on, I understand the rules (most of the time) and you’ll usually find me being the one yelling at the TV when they make some good plays or when the refs makes bad calls! Since my two favorite players have now retired (Tiki Barber and Michael Strahan) I now have a new favorite player: Victor Cruz. Of course, Cruz was a key player this year in helping the Giants get to the Super Bowl. Many know him as the salsa dancer in the end zone.

Since I was born the Giants have won the Super Bowl 4 times. 1986, 1990, 2007 and now 2011. Hopefully they’ll win a lot more in my lifetime and I can have my kids grow up on Giants football as well! I was too young to remember the Super Bowl in 1986 and 1990 but the last 2 I will never forget. And of course everyone will always remember the David Tyree catch in 2007 win against the Patriots and now the Mario Manningham catch in 2011 win against the Patriots. Both games were also nail biters till the end. I remember watching the 2007 game and being almost scared to watch the last few seconds and this year was just the same when the Patriots had the ball with less then a minute left to score a touchdown. Luckily, they didn’t!

Living in New York City for both the 2007 and 2011 championships made it that much more exciting when they won. Even though the Giants play in New Jersey they are known as the New York Giants, although many native New Jersey residents (my fiance being one of them) become upset when New York City gets all the credit. Lucky for me the parade is always in New York City! Unfortunately I was unable to to go the Ticker Tape Parade in 2007, but this year I was blessed to be given a ticket to get reserved seating in City Hall where they have the ceremony! I was beyond ecstatic. I made sure to tell my whole family and all my fellow Giants Fans as I couldn’t hold in the excitement. But I took plenty of pictures and videos to share with them!

When we got downtown it was a sea of Blue, White and Red. Everyone in their Giants apparel and screaming and having a great time with all these strangers. Since we had reserved tickets were were able to get into City Hall Park so we didn’t have to stand sardined in with all the people on the street. So once inside the park we scoped out great locations right against the fence of the park where we could stand along the fence and see over everyone’s heads in the street – which is an added bonus for me since I’m pretty short! After a long time waiting the parade started and it started off with my favorite player VICTOR CRUZ! I was so excited for him to be at the head of the parade and I’m sure he was as well! As the floats went by I saw the whole team go by one by one waving to the fans and signing memorabilla and throwing it out to the crowds. It was an amazing expereince and it only got better!

After the parade we headed back into the park and had a seat in the crowd as we patiently waited for the players to come out onto the stage. They had a few performers from Rock of Ages, some local high school bands and of course some salsa dancing! When the ceremony started we were greeted by Mayor Bloomberg and and another favorite player of mine Michael Strahan, I was so excited to see him on stage I had no idea he would be there but was over joyed seeing him welcome his old teammates onto the stage. The players all entered the stage single file and it was a great experience sharing the excitement with the team and the thousands of people inside the park screaming for their favorite players as they were announced. After all the players and coaches received their keys to the city there were two great short speeches by Quarterback and MVP Eli Manning and co-captain Justin Tuck, ending with their song they made up called “I Got a Ring”

It was an incredible experience and I hope the Giants win many more championships so other people can have this same memory as I will always have. Check out the rest of my pictures on the New York Guest facebook page!

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