Category Archives: NYC Icons

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 and I’ll be happy to help!

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The Radio City Christmas Spectacular!

 by Kelly, Guest Services Manager

With Thanksgiving one week away, it’s about that time – the time to get into the Holiday spirit.  I started early this year with a trip to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is one of the most-watched live shows in the United States, with over two million people attending every year.  The show features the Radio City Rockettes, who have been high-kicking their way into America’s hearts since their first performance at Radio City Music Hall in 1932.  Known for their precision dancing and the perfect uniformity of their stunning kicklines, the Radio City Rockettes are a New York City staple.

Now, I confess…I’ve always harbored a secret desire to be a Rockette.  Sparkly costumes, perky smiles, tap dancing…I’m all about it.  However, I’ve resigned myself to watching from afar, considering I’m just too short (did you know that each Rockette must be between 5’6” and 5’ 10 ½” tall?)…and I haven’t been able to kick that high since high school cheerleading camp…and goodness knows that was a long time ago.  Even though I will never be able to join their kickline, I get a thrill every time I see the Rockettes perform.

This year’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular features a little of the old and a little of the new.  Audience members can expect to see their favorite tried-and-true numbers, such as the Rockettes’ version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” a live recreation of the first Christmas in “The Living Nativity,” and the amazing “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.”  The wooden soldier number is really amazing to behold – the discipline and skill that it takes to create the visual effects of this number, especially the slow-motion trust fall where each Rockette falls back into the arms of the dancer behind her, keeping the line upright and intact until the last soldier falls to the ground, are truly remarkable.  One of my favorite numbers that I’ve seen in years past is “New York at Christmas,” which features the entire cast of singers and dancers as the Rockettes tour Manhattan aboard a Gray Line double decker sightseeing bus.  As the Rockettes board the double decker bus and the action continues onstage, the sights of Manhattan whiz by behind the stage on the world’s largest flying LED screen, making you feel like you’re taking the Gray Line tour with the Rockettes!

This year’s revamped Christmas Spectacular features a few new numbers in addition to the favorites of years past.  A new storyline featuring a harried mother and her young child frantically shopping for a special Christmas present at the mall encounter Santa, who gives them a present of his own – a trip to the North Pole to play “Santa’s Video Game.”  In the game, the Humbugs have struck and have kidnapped all of the toys from Santa’s workshop.  The mother and daughter team must defeat the Humbugs to save Christmas.  As the mother and daughter battle the Humbugs, the Rockettes join in as the players being controlled in the game…all in front of the giant LED screen featuring brand new 3D graphics that have to be seen to be believed!  Ultimately, the mother and daughter team triumph, and they realize that the greatest Christmas gift of all is time spent together.  I’m not usually a huge fan of 3D, but even I’ll admit that I thought this number was fun and inventive, and I really enjoyed it.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a blast of Holiday cheer, and the perfect way to celebrate the season.  For me, no Holiday season would be complete without a trip to see the Rockettes, Santa, and Gus the camel (who makes a cameo in “The Living Nativity”) in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  Performances run through January 2nd with 4 shows daily.  Visit our website at for tickets, give us a call at 212-302-4019, or you can email me personally at for tickets to join in the Holiday cheer.  Have a safe and happy Holiday season, and as the Rockettes sing – “Let Christmas Shine!”


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Apple & New York

by Richard, CEO

There is a definite outpouring of sympathy in New York over the untimely death of the Apple founder, Steve Jobs.

In some ways, this West Coast genius had a special affinity for the East Coast city that is called ‘The Big Apple”. It was here on world famous 5th Avenue that Jobs introduced us to his special brand of innovative genius – in the products that he created and in the way he marketed them.

He will be sorely missed. First, by his immediate family and friends. But also by the legions of fans, admirers, users and competitors who eagerly awaited his ever so low key presentation of the latest must have gadget.

I think what makes Jobs so very interesting was his ability to create something that was so revolutionary, so practical, so well thought out  and then so indispensible. We never knew a computer could be like a Mac – we never envisioned what an IPhone, IPod, IPad would do for us.

Genius Mr. Jobs, right up there with Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Watson of IBM.


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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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New York City: Off the Beaten Path!

Many think of glitz and glamour when they think of New York– especially Manhattan. The bright lights, fancy restaurants, luxurious hotels and posh nightlife are some of the main reasons travelers visit this great city!  There are so many other reasons to visit as well. New York City is the capital of self expression as well as diversity. There are so many interesting activities and attractions that sometimes get lost in the glitz of this city; some are also FREE! Are you looking to experience the city a little differently on your next trip to NYC? Looking for something other than the regular sightseeing and hotel options? This post is for you!

The Lobby of the Ace Hotel in Chelsea

The Ace Hotel defines diversity as this is not your cliché New York property!  The hotel’s decor is comprised primarily of works from local designers and artists creating a more urban/hip style. When you enter the hotel, the lobby is reminiscent of a HUGE Living room. Guests are drinking tea, coffee, “beverage of choice” and mingling in this common space. The rooms at the Ace Hotel are elegant, but simple. The Ace Hotel is not fussy, but fun!  There is a really nice shop in the hotel selling clothing that is designed by local up-and-coming designers; another one-of-a-kind aspect of the Ace!

In regards to touring the city there are many unique activities from which to choose:

If you are into Movies and Television there is a great tour that I personally took that is a great way to experience New York City from a different perspective.  The New York TV and Movie Sites Tour is 3.5 hours of fun and loaded with awesome information. Not only do you visit the actual sites, but you learn facts about the films/shows and the filming process as well. You don’t realize before you take this tour how many TV shows and movies feature gorgeous New York City.

The Graffiti Tours of New York are also different way to see the sites. The tour will teach you the history, techniques, visuals, and vocabulary needed to understand graffiti as an art form. This new tour option is a great way to see another side of the city that is truly unexpected– email me directly for more tour information and pricing.

Hudson River Skate Park

The Hudson River Skate Park is FREE! If you enjoy Skateboarding or even just watching it this is a great place to go.  I also suggest visiting The STRAND Bookstore. There are so many rare finds and interesting reads; more than 2.5 million used, new and rare books, a renovated main store and a growing author events program.

For those who like a thrill, why not take a New York Helicopter Tour over the Island o f Manhattan? It is really thrilling and the views are unlike any other! This is an eclectic way to see the “regular” but spectacular NYC Landmarks!

The Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour is also exhilarating! Pedal over the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn Heights, considered to be America’s first suburb, boasting amazing skyline views across the water and then head back across the river on the Brooklyn Bridge, gliding peacefully above vehicular traffic and stopping to take amazing panoramic photos of lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and more. You explore downtownManhattan, the hub of the American financial system, plus Battery Park, South Street Seaport, Wall Street and more!

Shopping in New York Citycan range from Upscale 5th Avenue Stores, department Stores and of course VINTAGE! There are many great Vintage shops from which to choose. My Colleague Lora enjoys BEACON’S CLOSET in Williamsburg Brooklyn; read her post on vintage shopping! I enjoy What Goes Around Comes Around located in SoHo where the clothing and accessories are retro and unlike no other!

Whatever your interests may be, I am happy to customize your trip! Please contact me for assistance with your travel plans toNew York City. Call me at (212) 302-4019 or email me at I look forward to help you with a great, unusual itinerary of New York City!


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A Perfect Day at the Bronx Zoo!

We decided to venture out to Bronx Zoo last Saturday as the weather was nice and we have two little girls under 4 who have a lot of energy to spend.

Entrance to the Bronx Zoo

We parked the car and after a quick walk in to the Zoo the first sight was buffalo grazing in the sun – the biggest buffalo I had ever seen!  From there we saw the monkeys – every kind of monkey that you can imagine.  Some of the highlights were the California Sea Lions, the crocodile and who wouldn’t love the Butterfly Farm with classical music and the fish swimming in a stream? Well, my 3 year old for one as the butterfly’s were flying everywhere.

Monkeys at the Bronx Zoo

The best part though has to be the Children’s Zoo – the slide, the boars having a little argument, the goats, the chickens, the peacocks walking around.  All of this and we didn’t even see the elephants yet!  When we went to leave and realized that we didn’t see the giraffes, lions, tigers, etc….we knew we had to go back – we bought a seasons pass which includes also Central Park Zoo, NY Aquarium, Queens Zoo and the Prospect Park Zoo. One thing is for sure: we will be busy in 2011!

The Bronx Zoo was just fantastic, very spread out and not too busy. Did you know it is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States?  It really is much larger than one would expect. Check out a map of the grounds:

We finished the day off by going to Arthur Avenue – what many people consider to be New York City’s real “Little Italy” for a perfect Italian meal – with Montepulciano wine,  delicious bread and Parmesan cheese and of course pasta! We finished it off with New York cheesecake and crème brule.

Arthur Avenue: Little Italy in the Bronx

A visit to the Bronx Zoo is recommended for anyone coming to New York City, whether you are travelling with children or not. A great way to get tickets to the Zoo is by getting a New York Pass which grants you free access to the Zoo and 55 other New York City sites and attractions. Right now get an additional 5% off our New York Passes when you book online using code GLNQO at check out:

— Julie

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MoMA: New York’s Museum of Modern Art

Musem of Modern Art (Photo Credit: Terra Mrkulic)

Out of over 80 museums in New York City, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is undoubtedly my favorite. With such a diverse collection including 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and drawings, and design objects, there’s always something new and interesting to see.  Even the building that houses the collection is a marvel! Though the collection was founded in 1929, the new building that houses it was just opened in 2004.

MoMA is a “Must-See” on your next trip to New York City, even if you have been before. That’s why I included it on our list of 12 essential things to do in New York City.

You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so here are some of my pictures from recent visits to the museum.

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Let our team at New York Guest help you choose which activities and attractions are right for you on your next trip to New York City. We can even pre-arrange tickets for you! Just give New York Guest a call at (212) 302-4019 for advice and booking assistance.

— Terra

(all photos @ Terra Mrkulic)

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Terra: Visit Ellis Island on Your Next Trip to New York City

Everyone has their favorite places to visit in New York City. For some, it’s a shady spot in Central Park or standing at the top of the Empire State Building. For others, it’s a favorite bench, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or perhaps a favorite museum. In my book, no visit is complete to New York City without a visit to Ellis Island.

Ellis Island

Between 1892 and 1954 over 12 Million immigrants entered the United States through the gateway of Ellis Island, a small island in New York harbor close to the Statue of Liberty. Included in that 12 million were several members of my family, such as Agostino Arado, my great-grandfather from Genoa, Italy who we believe arrived on the SS Karl Wilhelm II in 1900 at the age of 20.

Agostino Arado and Family - First Generation Americans

To get to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum you take the same ferry that goes to the Statue of Liberty. I recommend carving out at least a few hours to visit both islands. If you have school-aged children, this is a wonderful way to bring American History alive; walking the hallways of the old Main Building you get a real sense of what our ancestors went through to become American citizens. In my opinion, Ellis Island is one of the most important historical sites in the United States.

Ellis Island Registry Room

In more recent years, starting in 1984, Ellis Island underwent a major restoration, the largest historic restoration in U.S. history. The $160 million dollar project was funded by donations made to The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. in partnership with the National Park Service. The Main Building was reopened to the public on September 10, 1990 as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Today, the museum receives almost 2 million visitors annually.

Tickets to the museum are free though a 45-minute audio tour (available in several languages) costs $8.00 for adults (worth it!).  Free public tours of Ellis Island given daily by the National Park Service. Times are posted at the Information Desk.  Make sure to take time to visit the American Immigrant Wall of Honor where the names of over 700,000 immigrates are inscribed in a memorial overlooking the New York Harbor. 

**Tip: bring a blank sheet of paper and pencil/crayon and you can bring home an etching of meaningful family names– a wonderful souvenir!

American Immigrant Wall of Honor

Over half of today’s American population can trace back to ancestors who crossed through Ellis Island. The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. is also a major genealogical center for research. While visiting the museum you can utilize the American Family Immigration History Center where you can further investigate immigration history, family documentation and genealogical exploration.  Alternatively, on their website there are a variety of free documents and records that can be obtained including passenger manifests for the ships that docked here.

Let me help you plan a New York sightseeing itinerary that includes plenty of time at my favorite place, Ellis Island. Feel free to call me at (212) 302-4019 or e-mail for advice and assistance! Visit for more suggestions on must-do activities in New York City!

— Terra

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Kelly: I am a Yankees Fanatic

Hello NYG fans!

My name is Kelly, I am the Sales and Operations Manger on the New York Guest team. Being a native of Northern New Jersey, just 15 miles away from Manhattan, I have been a Yankee fan since birth. Every year around this time, when spring training is in full swing (pun intended),  I start to get excited for the upcoming baseball season.  This year is no different! I am already glued to the nightly news for reports on who is being traded, which players are coming back and how the pre-season games are going.

Andy Pettitte throws against the Minnesota Twins

I am sad to start off the 2011 season by saying good-bye to the retiring long-time Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.  Pettitte, along with Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, make up the heart of the team I grew up with and have watched season after winning season. On the bright side, his retirement opens the door for the up and coming rookies to show their stuff.  Seeing new pitchers take the mound is never boring (see the story of Joba Chamberlain to see what I mean)

This is also the time of year my family starts planning the games we want to go see at Yankee Stadium– I try to go to at least 20 games every season! With 80 home game between April and October the hardest part is narrowing my choices down to just 20 games .  There are some special games I plan to attend, like Old Timer’s Day that have to be reserved months in advance due to their special popularity . However it happens all the time that I will get a call at 4:30 on the afternoon of a game from someone offering me a ticket…and I never turn down a ticket to a Yankees game!

See the 2011 Yankees Baseball Season Schedule

My view of the field at one of last year's games

People ask me all the time why I am a Yankees fan. It’s more than just being a native of the New York metro area since I know Yankees fans who have never stepped foot in New York City. Yankees fans are like family. I frequently run into people I know at the game– cousins, friends and sometimes even other New York Guest team members! Baseball in New York City is a serious deal. Just about everyone has one allegiance or another, and the top baseball news of the day is constantly under discussion.  The few games a year when the Yankees play the other hometown team, the New York Mets, are some of the hottest tickets to acquire in the entire league. Then of course there are the Boston Red Sox.  The Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry is the best rivalry in all of sports with an exhilarating history that extends back over100 years. Tickets to these epic games are nearly impossible to find, but I have connections that make getting tickets possible.

The New Yankee Stadium

I love helping my clients with their baseball ticket orders since baseball is something I am truly passionate about. I can also advise you on some special tips that only the locals know, such as the special Yankees ferry that goes to & from Yankee Stadium on game days. What a beautiful way to get to the game!  Let me help you with your summer baseball tickets by e-mailing me your request at or you can buy tickets right on our website.

On you can either buy Yankees tickets by themselves, or a Yankees Baseball Package including tickets and your hotel stay.

If you have any questions, just give me a call at (212) 302-4019!


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Lora: Double Decker Delight

Double Decker Bus in Times Square

I recently got the opportunity to go on a double decker city tour! It has always been something I wanted to do. I have done it in Boston and Washington, D.C. and always thought it would be interesting to do in my own city: New York! All my life I have been touring New York City like a tourist, even though I am a native of the area.  This tour in particular shouldn’t be left just for tourists, it’s a great way to discover the city you live in as well.

I woke up early wanting to be the first in line with all of the other eager tourists.  When I suggested we wear the foam Statue of Liberty hats my friend said I was taking it too far.  What a party-pooper.

Throughout the day we went on four different buses; the nature of this tour is that you get to hop on and hop off at various bus stops around the city. The double decker buses circulate on a route all day long and you can get on and off as much as you like during the time your ticket is valid. We got off in Greenwich Village, SoHo, Ground Zero and Little Italy for food, shopping and sights.

I have to say that I am ashamed to admit I had never been to Ground Zero before taking the double decker tour. It was an emotional experience for me, especially the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site (the full memorial will open closer to the time of the 10 year anniversary later this year).  Listening to 911 phone calls, the photos of the firemen and the plans for the rebuilding were so intriguing. I didn’t even know that museum existed until recently. On your next visit to New York City, I highly recommend that you include this stop on your itinerary. I am proud to tell you that New York Guest is a strong supporter of the 9/11 Memorial.

Most interesting fact of the day: Murray Hill (where I live) was named after Mary Murray, a former owner of an estate in the area. Her family were Quakers said to be responsible for delaying William Howe and his army during General Washington’s retreat from New York by extending an invitation for tea. Who knew? Our tour guide on the double decker bus knew!

Our last tour guide was a woman named Kathleen. She was the kind of person that loved life and loved her job even more. She has been giving tours for over 20 years and never gets sick of it. She gave me her card and told me she does private tours and is trying to start her own business.  She was the kind of person that beams life; someone that makes you rethink your own. The crowd loved her. If you are coming to the city and need a private tour guide, I would love to put you in touch with her!

Overall, the double decker tour of New York was a great experience– you can book your double decker tour right on our website (tickets are on sale right now!) or contact my colleagues for booking assistance.

Other tours I highly recommend:

Sex and the City Tour

On Board New York Tours (all day tour with a professional guide)

The New York Pass (see over 55 NYC sites and attractions at an incredible rate)

New York Helicopter Tours

New York Harbor Cruises

Here are some shots I have taken while sightseeing in NYC over the years!

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I recently got the opportunity to go on a double decker city tour! It

has always been something I wanted to do. I have done it in

Boston and Washington DC and always thought it would be interesting to

do in my own city.

I woke up early wanting to be the first in line with all of the other

eager tourists. When I suggested we wear the foam Statue of Liberty

hats my friend said I was taking it too far.

Throughout the day we went on four different buses. Getting off in

Greenwich Village, Soho, Ground Zero and Little Italy for food,

shopping and sights. I have to say I am ashamed to admit I haven’t

been to Ground Zero. I never found myself in the area other then to

drive by. It was an emotional experience, especially the museum.

Listening to 911 phone calls, the photos of the firemen and the plans

for the rebuilding were so intriguing. I didn’t even know that museum


Most interesting fact of the day: Murray Hill (where I live) was named

after Mary Murray. A former owner of an estate in the area. Her family

were Quakers said to be responsible for delaying William Howe and his

army during General Washington’s retreat from New York by extending an

invitation for tea.

Our last tour guide was a woman named Kathleen. She was the

kind of person that loved life and loved her job even more. She has

been giving tours for over 20 years and never gets sick of it. She

gave me her card and told me she does private tours and is trying to

start her own business. She was the kind of person that beams life;

someone that makes you rethink your own. The crowd loved her.

Overall, this was a great experience. Something to check off the list.

If you are interested in any City Tours, please contact my colleagues at New York Guest. I also highly recommend the Sex and the City Tour!

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Filed under New York Sightseeing, NYC Icons, Out on the Town