Category Archives: New York Travel Deal

Christmas! ….in August

by Louise, Director of Operations

We may be braving some warm, muggy conditions here in New York this week, so it’s always nice to have a reminder that CHRISTMAS IS COMING! Yesterday, a few of us from the New York Guest office  headed up to the Beacon theater for a little preview of what’s to come from MSG/Radio City this holiday season.

christmaspreview1 Our hostess started out by introducing the quintessential Rockettes, who came out and performed a number from the Christmas Spectacular. I’ve never been so close to the Rockettes before, and I have to stay, the way they keep those smiles on their faces while executing insanely complicated dance moves is pretty mind-blowing. After their number, one of the producers and our hostess came out to discuss the Christmas Spectacular, and hinted at a pretty cool sounding new number this year featuring three-dimensional snowflakes that were described as being “about four feet wide.” I’m not sure of the details there…but I know that sounds like something I, for one, want to see in person!

christmaspreview2The next part of the event was by far my favorite. Our hostess brought out wunderkind musical composers Pasek & Paul, who co-wrote the music for last year’s holiday season sensation, A Christmas Story The Musical (click here to read our review from last year). A Christmas Story earned three Tony nominations and is scheduled to return for this holiday season at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Seeing Pasek & Paul is always a treat, and their enthusiasm is as infectious as the tunes from the musical version of this beloved holiday film. They treated us to a chorus from one of the songs from the musical, introduced us to two of the dogs who wreak havoc on the Parker family, and finally brought out Dan Lauria (of Wonder Years fame, who will be reprising his role of Jean Shepherd this year) and new Ralphie Johnny Rabe, to sing Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun. The energy of everyone who took part in this segment was so joyful. I missed this show last year, but surely will make it this time around!

The event closed out with a preview of a brand new Rockettes show that is coming to Radio City in spring of 2014, called New York: Heart & Lights. From what we saw (and we were lucky enough to be among the first people to see anything from this show!) It will be a true celebration of everything New York City, with eight huge production numbers from the Rockettes and a story about discovering NYC. You surely want a chance to be among the first to see what will most likely become another iconic annual offering from Radio City – so mark your calendars for April 2014 and book your trips early!

Speaking of booking trips – are you thinking of coming to NYC this Christmas? Then you should read Louise’s Top Three Tips for a Spendthrift’s Christmas in New York:

1)      Travel after December 17th and before December 28th

You’ll avoid the high rates for “shopper’s weekends” in early December, and get out before the New Year’s Eve rate jumps. And you’ll see the most magical of the magic times.

2)      See a morning or late night performance of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The most expensive times to see RCCS are the traditional “theater times” – matinee performances at 1 or 2 or evening performances at 7 or 8. There are, however, usually performances at 9, 10 or 11 AM, and performances at 9:30 or 10 PM. These are your best bet for good seats at low prices – and what better way to start or cap off your Christmassy day?

christmaspreview33)      Do the Double Decker Bus

Don’t let the potentially cold weather dissuade you – double decker buses are still an awesome way to get around the city. The Gray Line buses are covered and heated in the cold, and the 48 hour package gets you access to basically the entire city, plus the evening tour of the best Christmas lights in Manhattan!

Using these tips you can book a two night stay in Manhattan with double decker bus tour access and Radio City Christmas Spectacular tickets for under $400 per person including taxes & fees – and that’s what you would spend per night on just a hotel room in early December!

Ready to book your Christmas in New York getaway? E-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com and I’ll be happy to help!

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Filed under Broadway News, New York Sightseeing, New York Travel Deal, NYC Icons

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

What are you doing for New Year’s, New Year’s Eve?

by Louise, Community Manager

We’re only about a month away from the biggest and last night of the whole year and that means we’re spending a lot of our time talking about what is good to do in New York on New Year’s Eve. With literally hundreds of options, figuring out what to do is definitely a daunting task, but there’s an event for everyone! Here are a few we recommend:

1. New Year’s Eve at St. Andrew’s: We’re partial to this event because we’re hosting it, but also it is going to be awesome! St. Andrew’s is conveniently located right around the corner from Times Square, just a few blocks from where the ball drops. The downstairs space at St. Andrew’s will be a casual party with a buffet dinner (including carving stations), 5 hours of open bar and a dance floor for just $165 per person.

I am personally a big fan of the upstairs section at St. Andrew’s. While it’s a very large space, it is divided into several smaller rooms, which gives it a great intimate feeling, perfect for a romantic New Year’s Eve. Private tables for two with a three course meal and five hours of open bar are $295 per person, or share a table with another couple for $265 per person.

You can buy tickets to our St. Andrew’s New Year’s party by following this link, e-mail info@newyorkguest.com or calling us at 212-302-4019. Availability is limited and we’re almost sold out so book soon!

2. Times Square All Access Pass So you want to do the Times Square New Year’s thing but you’re not up for standing out in the cold for 12 straight hours with no food or bathroom? Have we got the solution for you! Open bar for 8 hours, admission to several venues in the area, free appetizers at most venues, and best of all, special access to the center of Times Square to watch the ball drop LIVE. Starting at just $275 per person, this is the way to check that item off your bucket list without having to worry about freezing. The price will go up as the event gets closer, so book now for the best pricing!

3. Family Gala aboard the Jewel Yacht Looking for a family-friendly New Year’s event? Look no further! The Jewel Yacht is going to throw a fantastic party complete with open bar, a fantastic DJ, a champagne toast at midnight, dinner buffet and of course FIREWORKS! Who wouldn’t love to ring in the New Year while sipping champagne and watching fireworks in the New York Harbor? And starting at around $150 per person this is an economical option as well. The voyage WILL sell out, so make sure you secure your seat early.

4. VIP New Year’s at 1 Oak Celebrities are always being spotted at this Chelsea hotspot, and Jay-Z and Beyonce celebrated the start of 2011 there, so don’t be surprised if you spot some familiar faces in the crowd at 1 Oak, and if you decide to spring for an unforgettable night with one of their $1500 VIP options, you might even be toasting with them at midnight!

These are just a few suggestions – there are so many more! If none of these catches your fancy, please feel free to e-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com or call 212-302-4019 and I’ll be happy to help you find the perfect way to ring in 2011! And don’t forget that if you need a hotel for New Year’s weekend, New York Guest is your best resource, with two night packages in Manhattan starting at under $1,000!

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Filed under New York Travel Deal, NYC News and Information, Out on the Town

Give the gift of NYC!

by Louise, Community Manager

Thanksgiving is just over a week away, which means we’re all starting to think about what would make the perfect Christmas gift. And in my book, there’s no better gift than the gift of travel. And what better destination than NYC?

Now, you can’t fit all of of the city under your tree, but the beauty of working with a small company like ours is that we can work with you to design not only the perfect gift but the perfect way of using it to surprise your loved ones. Here are just a few ideas:

Christmas in the City

This year Christmas falls on a Sunday, so there’s a perfect opportunity to spend a long weekend in NYC and see all the Christmas sites before they are gone! What’s more, there are some amazing hotel deals for that weekend – rooms start at under $200 per night including taxes and fees, meaning you’ll have money leftover to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular or one of the new Broadway shows like Godspell or Bonnie & Clyde, which both have performances on Christmas day! Check out our Christmas package or contact us at info@newyorkguest.com for a customized package.

A GLEE-ful Broadway Experience

For three weeks in January Darren Criss, aka Blaine Anderson (or Blaine Warbler) from the hit series Glee will take on the role of Pierrepont Finch in Broadway’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. There can be no better gift for the Glee fan in your life than a night in Manhattan and two tickets to see Blaine on Broadway. Starting from just $500 for great seats and a great hotel! Contact us for details & booking!

New York Guest Prix Fixe Vacations

Not sure what they’d want? Buy one of our Prix Fixe Vacation Gift Certificates and let your loved one do the planning! Choose from five hotels, five shows, and five activities for the same flat rate when you travel by March 15th, 2012. The perfect way to pay for the trip but let someone else have the fun of planning it (and then, of course, you’ll share the fun of traveling together)

There are as many options for NYC travel gifts as there are buildings in Manhattan, so don’t hesitate to contact me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com with any ideas you have – I’d be glad to help you create the perfect present!

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

William: City Sights, City Lights!

Hello Readers! My name is William and I am one of New York Guest’s newest concierges. I recently got the chance to experience a double-decker bus here in the BIg Apple and boy did I have a great time. Read on for all of my inSIGHTS!

Think you know everything about New York City?  Think again.  Double-Deck Bus Tours are great for first time visitors to The Big Apple as well as seasoned vets!  This tour is full of many different tour guides, fully loaded with knowledge about the city; each one comes with their own style and flavor, and all of them are friendly and completely approachable.  Hopping on and off is convenient and highly encouraged, as it is one of the best ways to take in the local culture, which changes from neighborhood to neighborhood.  Their thoughtfully designed routes ensure that you will not miss any of the breathe-taking attractions New York City has to offer its guests and its natives. 

Our day started with a laid back ride on the subway into the centrally located Times Square area where we wanted to pick up the uptown loop tour.  We found several City Sights helpers at the bus stop and they showed us exactly where the bus would be pulling up.  A whole 2 minutes later, the bus came.  After a zealous welcome from the tour guide, the exchange of passengers getting off and new ones getting on was so fast my girlfriend and I found ourselves in two plush seats before we were able to finish checking out all the fashionable clothes worn by the locals passing by.  There were plenty more to gawk at as we got underway.

Cruising along up 8th Avenue to Columbus, our guide was ablaze with energy as he told us about the neighborhood we were driving through, the history behind the statue of Columbus in the circle, Central Park, and the infamous Time Warner Building which boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the world.  Unlike other tours where the guide talks at you, this guide was very interactive, asking questions about some of the passengers and testing their knowledge of the city before unleashing his own fount of information.  As we passed by Lincoln Center, the Dakota, and Strawberry Fields, my girlfriend remembered Zabar’s was in the area, on the corner of 80th Street and Broadway.  Zabar’s is a favorite market and grocery of locals from all over the city and the outer boroughs.  Our mouths began to water as we thought of their abundant variety of cheeses, meats, fresh fish and shellfish, prepared foods, and the thing that put them on the map – rye bread so fresh it’s hot when the baker hands it to you.  At that moment, we knew where our first stop was.

Hoping off the bus across from the Natural History Museum, it was a short walk to the famous grocer’s market.  The decision was tough, but we settled on some pork sticky buns and a buckwheat and vegetable salad lightly dressed with lemon vinaigrette.  Delicious! Of course, we had to get four loaves of the famous rye; one for dad, one for grandma, and one for each of us.

                Getting back on the bus at the Natural History Museum was a cinch.  It pulled up to the curb just as we got there, and looking down the street a bit, I saw another one coming on.  Again, we were welcomed on with open arms, and found seats right up front.  As we took off, our guide once again began a flow of information.  Occasionally, an inquisitive passenger sitting behind us asked a question, and the guide was able to go into great detail in her answer.  Another passenger was asking where they should get off to go a certain spot she wanted to see.  Realizing English was her second language, the guide began talking to her in Spanish, then she was right back up sharing her love and knowledge of the city with us. 

We continued on past St. John the Divine Cathedral, the tomb of former American President Ulysses S. Grant, and Columbia University before deciding to satisfy my girlfriend’s penchant for African art and fabrics by hopping off the bus in Harlem, right in front of the Apollo Theater.   Right away we found a street vendor selling scented oils, and quickly purchased a vile of the rose oil – Mmm.. Decadent.  Meandering around this famous part of New York, we casually browsed other vendor stands, and stopped to chat with Ben, a local who lived a few blocks away.  We asked him what some of his favorite  were, and he gave us a quick breakdown of the area.  Soon enough, we found ourselves in the Harlem Market.  We strolled through countless booths selling all sorts of African goods; jewelry, fabric, hand carved walking sticks, tribal statues, handbags, hats – the list goes on.  I was amazed at the craftsmanship! The prices were low and there was room for haggling.  After we were done shopping, we hung out for a half hour or so chatting with some of the merchants.

After a quick glance at our City Sights map, we saw there was another stop for the bus right in front of the market!  Awesome, no backtracking!  Within 5 minutes a bus was pulling up to the curb.  Larry welcomed us on board and we had plenty of seats to choose from.  


 Tired from all the shopping we decided to ride the bus the rest of the way around the loop.  We made our way out of Harlem and onto 5th Avenue, which we followed along the east side of Central Park.  We passed many of the sites we had visited often, but thanks to Larry we learned things we had never known.  I know the Metropolitan is huge, but I did not know it was the largest art gallery in the world! (Really thought the Louvre had it beat)  After learning the history of how the Frick Collection came to be, I was reminded that I had planned to go see it, but forgotten about it.  The tour guide once again ignited my desire to check it out.  He also gave a great history lesson on Grand Army Plaza which is found at the southeastern corner of Central Park.  Here there was almost too much to see, but our guide pointed everything out to us; The Plaza Hotel, F.A.O. Schwartz, The Ivy Bridge in Central Park, as well as the numerous statues of South American liberators alone Central Park South. 

Turning down 7th Ave, we enjoyed a pleasant drive at cruising speed as we passed Carnegie Hall and headed into the heart of New York City, Times Square.  This is where we started off, so we decided to depart, and leave our tour guide, Larry, a handsome tip for all his wonderful information.

Riding the Subway home, my girlfriend and I reminisced about our day.  The zany tour guide who first picked us up, and bid us, “Good eats!” as we headed to Zabar’s; the beautiful architectural work encompassing Central Park; the rich ethnicity and open-hearts of the locals in the Harlem marketplace; and the new things we learned about the things we knew everything about.  City Sights is a must for first timers, and even more so for those who know so much about the city, they need to be surprised.  We saw so much of our city that day, and were able to casually peruse it the way we wanted to, finding and exploring our own path to inspiration. 

If it’s your first time or fifth time in New York City and you want to really see New York, give us a call.

Make sure to mention this blog post and you will recieve 10% off of City Sights vouchers now through August 31st!

We look forward to hearing from you! (212) 302-4019 or info@newyorkguest.com

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Filed under Group Travel, New York InSight, New York Restaurants, New York Shopping, New York Sightseeing, New York Stories, New York Travel Deal, NYC News and Information, NYC with Kids, Out on the Town, Special Deals, Uncategorized

Mamma Mia! Lora’s Look into Last Minute Mother’s Day Mania

Picture this–It’s Thursday and Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, just 3 days away. All you have is a measly Hallmark card that sounds like every other Mother’s Day card you have ever sent. You love your mom; she is the most amazing mom you know. And you need something else to do for her to show her your appreciation. Sound familiar?

That was me earlier today.  BUT it all came to me as I was trying to write some heartfelt words in my generic Mother’s Day card. My mother happens to be moving to the West Coast in a few months and I am trying to get in all of the quality time I can now before she moves so far away.

My sister, my mother and me

My sister and I decided to have the ultimate girl’s weekend with our mother this weekend! Since we want Mom to soak up as much “Manhattantime” as possible with her favorite Manhattanite daughters, we decided: Why not stay in Manhattan and have our girl’s weekend here!?I got a great hotel package rate staying at the super chic, super trendy hotel here in Chelsea near the New York Guest office. We can even bring my sister’s pooch, Stella! How could we have a girl’s weekend without Stella!?

Stella!

Saturday night we got discount tickets to see Mamma Mia on Broadway. We have all seen the show before, but it is an absolute favorite and totally fitting for the theme of the weekend. Before the show we will be dining at one of our favorite restaurants, Dos Caminos. By far, here you’ll find the best Mexican food in New York City!  My mouth is watering thinking about the guacamole as we speak. And the sangria!

On Sunday we have plans to go to the spa and pamper my mother in return for all of her love and support. She truly is the best! Perhaps we’ll take in a lunch or brunch at my all time beloved Penelope’s. If you can stand lines at this “no reservation” brunch spot, the wait is worth it!

If you feel like doing something extra special for your mother this Mother’s Day give New York Guest a call and we will help you spoil your deserving mamma! It’s not too late to arrange an amazing weekend getaway to New York City.

— Lora

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Filed under New York Stories, New York Travel Deal

Take advantage of our Secret Sale!

Are you a New York Guest newsletter subscriber? I hope so!

Our subscribers received a very special e-mail today going over the deals included on our Secret Sale on New York City plus a new coupon code.

Sign up today to receive our monthly mailing, New York InSight:

http://www.newyorkguest.com/newsletter/sign-up/

If you sign up today, we’ll make sure you get a copy of today’s great deals.

Thank you!

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