Category Archives: Staff Intro

Cruisin’ the New York Harbor

Hello BlogWorld!  To all of you reading, a great big hello from one of New York Guest’s newest concierges, Cari!  I have been a Jersey girl my whole life, living right across the Hudson River, nestled in the suburbs, an easy commute away.  New York City has always been like my backyard, a place where I could escape anytime I felt like it.  I worked there, I auditioned there, I saw Broadway shows, I went out to eat with friends, and I commuted home.  I thought I knew all there was to know about this city I’ve practically grown up in but I realized I was taking advantage of the amazingness right across that river! 
Each day I work for New York Guest I feel like I get to uncover another one of New York City’s secrets.  The other night I uncovered a wonderful secret- on the water!  On Friday evening, when the weather was absolutely perfect, my boyfriend and I set sail on the CitySights Twilight Cruise
 (A quick pause to dish about a great place to eat!  We hit BRGR on 7th Avenue between 26th and 27th street.  This is a-get-it-at-the-counter-and-we’ll-bring-you-your-food place.  We were looking for something quick.  We were blown away by the taste of these grass fed burgers!  I got a burger with avocado, bacon, and american cheese, he had a burger with mushrooms, cheddar cheese, and avocado, and we split a combo of onion strings, sweet potato fries, and russet fries.  This burger is in my top 5 best list of all burgers I’ve ever had and the man agrees with me!  Onion straws were awesome but we give even bigger thumbs up to the sweet potato fries.  Quick but delicious food!)
 Back to the cruise!  We arrived at 38th and 12th, the NY Waterway terminal, and we looked for the signs saying CitySightseeing.  Big, red and easy to find!  We decide to sit on the open air deck on the second floor to get the whole view and I’m so glad we did.  Benches next to a heater and we were in business!  Danny, our tour guide, was hilarious and shared lots of fun and little known facts about the city.  The sun was just about setting as we began this romantic 90-minute cruise. 
We took in the Empire State Building in all its glory, the Frying Pan restaurant that I’m dying to try, South Street Seaport all lit up, tons of sailboats and kayakers, and the growing Freedom Tower where the World Trade Center used to stand.  The bridges were my favorite part. Our tour guide Danny joked that their order was BMW like the car: Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and Williamsburg Bridge.  I don’t think I ever recognized the beauty of these bridges.  They were lit up and glorious as the sun set in the background.  I couldn’t stop myself from snapping pictures on my phone, thinking how great it was to feel like I was seeing it all for the first time.  Next up was Battery Park, Tribeca (we saw the building where Leonardo DiCaprio lives and where the Titanic was supposed to dock- very close-by!  Ironic, isn’t it?), the United Nations, Governor’s Island, the captivating Ellis Island, but then we laid eyes on Lady Liberty herself.  I visited the Statue of Liberty as a child, I’ve picnicked at Liberty State Park in NJ, and I’ve toured Ellis Island in the past couple of years but seeing Lady Liberty and her torch burning bright on this beautiful night topped off the night, making me feel proud that I live in such a fabulous place.  We sailed back, reliving all the sights we had seen, retiring the camera and just enjoying the view again on the loop back to the dock.  Our last sight was the Empire State Building lit up in red, white, and blue.  Can it get any better? 
 We walked off the boat giddy from the ride but mostly just grateful.  (They had NY Waterway buses to take you wherever you needed to go!) Tonight we got a night off from being locals and got to look at the beauty of what we have in front of us every day.  The city is so full of hustle and bustle; millions visit every day.  Today we stepped away from the hustle and bustle and got to enjoy the same glories as the rest of our amazing visitors.  Whether you have lived here your entire life or are visiting for the first time, whether you are here with your husband, mom, or kids, the NY Waterway twilight cruise is something you don’t want to miss.
Planning a trip to NYC? Check out the cruises/boat tours section of our website by clicking here, or e-mail info@newyorkguest.com to start creating your dream vacation!

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Filed under New York Sightseeing, New York Stories, Out on the Town, Staff Intro

What’s on your New York City Bucket List?

For everywhere we live and everywhere we visit, we all have our list of things we must do before we run out of time. Last week I asked the staff of New York Guest for some of the top items on their “Bucket lists” for our great city of New Yor. Check out their answers here and then let us know – what is YOUR New York City Bucket List?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Maria, Accountant

  • Spend a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Walk down 5th Avenue from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to Rockefeller Center
  • See the Frick Collection
  • Get a drink at Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle
  • Explore the Meatpacking District: walk the Highline and Chelsea market, have drinks at STK or Gaansevoor, dinner at Buddakan or Spice Market

Kayaking on the Hudson

Lora, Group Travel Manager

  • Go Kayaking on the Hudson River
  • Visit Ellis Island
  • Visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum
  • Spend the night at the Plaza Hotel
  • See a movie at the Paris Theater

New Year's in Times Square

Richard, CEO

  • Watch the Grand Central morning commute from the top of the steps
  • Spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square
  • Watch the sunrise from Battery Park
  • Ride the Staten Island Ferry
  • Have a Manhattan at the Oak Bar in the Plaza

A path in Central Park

Karissa, Reservations Manager

  • Go to the top of the Empire State Building
  • Visit the Statue of Liberty
  • Take a walking tour of Central Park
  • Go on the CitySights All Around Town tour
  • See a Broadway show from house seats

Jeanette, Director of International Sales

Law & Order: SVU films in NYC

  • Stay at the Presidential Suite in the Four Seasons
  • Eat dinner at Rao’s
  • Be on an episode of Law & Order
  • Take a helicopter to the Hamptons
  • Private shopping at Bloomingdale’s

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Megan, Concierge

  • Have dinner at Per Se
  • See an opera at the Met
  • Spend the night at the Plaza
  • Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park
  • See the Thanksgiving Day Parade in person

Night at the Museum

Louise, Community Manager

  • Have a meal at Blue Hill Stone Barns
  • Stay at the Marriott Marquis on December 31st (you wouldn’t catch me standing outside!)
  • Sleepover at the Natural History Museum
  • Sail to Bear Mountain and spend the day hiking
  • Go to the Vendy Awards on Governor’s Island

USQ Greenmarket

Michael, Director of Hotel Sales

  • Have a leisurely lunch at Da Silvano’s
  • Walk through Central Park in the autumn
  • Sip a Bloody Mary at the Central Park Boat House
  • Go shopping at the Saturday Union Square Greenmarket
  • Spend a day exploring all the neighborhoods of Manhattan – North, South, East & West

What are your New York Dreams? With all of our local NYC resources, we can make any wish come true! Contact us at info@newyorkguest.com and let’s start planning.

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Filed under New York InSight, New York Sightseeing, Out on the Town, Staff Intro

Shawn: New York is on a ROLL!

Hello my fellow foodies! My name is Shawn and I am one of the newest members of the New York Guest team. I look forward to sharing my love and knowledge of food and travel with you!

Nestled amongst the streets and alleys of the world’s gastronomic capital, food trucks provide a tantalizing alternative for your taste buds.  If you’re traveling on a dime or in a rush these cheap eats will surely hit the spot! New York City is known for the typical hot dogs (or as I call them- dirty watah hot dawgs), pretzels, nuts, and of course Halal meat and falafel trucks (better known as “StreetMeat!”)

      

"Halal, it's nice to meet you!"

  Beyond the sizzling bits of lamb, crunchy cashews, and delectable dogs, exists a world of flavors that transcends the quintessential Big Apple food-on-the-go. These taveling trucks have truly given a new meaning to the phrase, “Fast Food.”

Oh how I love the smell of "Nuts 4 Nuts"

 Allow me to take you on an affordable, decedent journey that is just as diverse as the people in our multi-cultural city.

Gems of the streets and always on the go, my favorite trucks surpass the traditional eateries of my city. They can provide a one-of-a-kind voyage into the unknown world of NYC grub delight.

Who's your edamame?

 I recently had the pleasure of stumbling upon this mouth-watering stop. I have heard about it through the grape-vine and just had to try it out!

They definitely lived up to their reputation.

The service was warm and friendly. Yes, you heard me right. Good customer service from a TRUCK in New York City. The  food was even better. Just under 300 calories for a box of 6 dumplings for $6, I savored a guilt-free lunch of pork and Chinese chives accompanied by a spicy basil dipping sauce that balanced the flavors perfectly. The best part was that I didn’t even break the bank! If you’re a little piggy like me and can’t get pork off the mind, try their braised pork belly sliders with Asian slaw! Mmmmmm.

 If meat is not your thing, then try their edamame dumplings! The whole wheat wrap holds pureed whole beans with a soy dipping sauce.  

Always fresh and always on the move: find out where the closest Rickshaw Dumpling Truck is by following them on twitter or you can visit their website.

So, where do you plan on satisfying your mid-afternoon sweet fix? How about The Big Gay Icecream Truck?! This truck provides creamy, twirled castles of goodness with a unique spin. Have you ever had ice cream topped with wasabi pea dust? Perhaps some olive oil and sea salt? Or pumpkin butter? How about coconut curry? Chocolate and cayenne pepper? Of course you haven’t! If you’re in New York and looking for a true unique, New York experience, go and try it out for yourself!

What’s more New York than a fat, juicy hamburger? If you don’t have the money this week for the ridiculously over-priced hambuergers, the line at the Shake Shack is too long (what else is new?) and you don’t have time to sit down, then Frites ‘n’ Meats has your back! One of my personal favorites, this truck has incredible,  juicy grass-fed Angus burgers for only $5.50!

I know what you’re thinking…What about the cheese!?! Well how does choosing from gruyere, brie, cheddar, blue or goat cheese sound? Not convinced just yet? You will be when you top off your burger with one of their unique toppings like savory onion jam, apple wood smoked bacon or garlicky guacamole, just to name a few.

Delicious!

As if that’s not enough, you can then accompany your burger with a side of hand cut Belgian-style fries. Enjoy yourself a succulent, satisfying meal all under $10! That’s unheard of in the world of Big Apple burgers!

What's that smell?

Are you nuts for Nutella like me!?! Then you have to check out Waffels & Dinges. Imagine warm, fresh waffles smothered in dulce de leche, nutella, bananas, whipped cream and much more to choose from for only $5!!!!! You seriously need to check this place out. What makes this place so desirable is that you can enjoy these little golden beauties for lunch or as a sweet treat with their savory pulled pork waffle. Find out where your next waffle craze will be on their website!

 

Sometimes, it's just worth the calories.

These trucks are just some of my favorite places for a quick snack or a tasty, cheap meal.

If you’re coming to New York for the lights, the fame, the beauty or just plain old adventure, don’t forget that the true spirit of New York City can be found in our streets, in our people and most importantly, in our food! Get out there and take a bite out of our city! It’s waiting for you!

If you need any assistance in finding the local eating experiences or anything else, give me a call at (212) 302-4019 or write me an email at SFleitman@Newyorkguest.com. I look forward to speaking with you!

 

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Filed under New York InSight, New York Restaurants, New York Sightseeing, NYC News and Information, Staff Intro, Uncategorized

The Normal Heart – Broadway Review

Though many evenings you’ll find me walking around my Morningside neighborhood with my favorite four-legged companion, Harold (a sprightly 2-year old Wheaten Terrier), as one of New York Guest’s team of expert Concierges since 2009, I also love to get out and experience all that New York City has to offer.  Especially if it’s an unexpected surprise…!

This spring there are a lot of high-profile shows opening on Broadway.  Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to see one that is sneaking into town without a lot of fanfare – I caught the first preview performance of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart which is directed by Tony winner and Broadway legend Joel Grey.

The play chronicles the early years of the onset of AIDS in the NYC gay community from 1981-1983, and the response (or lack thereof) from government, medical and homosexual leaders.

This production is in really good shape for a first preview.  As can be expected for the first performance in front of a live audience, there were few technical and lighting glitches here and there, but wow, was I impressed!!!

Joe Mantello, who just happens to be the director of the Broadway smash hit Wicked, is the lead, and his performance is incredible.  Ellen Barkin, known from Ocean’s 12 and Drop Dead Gorgeous, plays a frustrated doctor treating an exponentially growing number of infected patients. She has a powerful monologue that stops the show cold.  The entire cast is uniformly strong and contains other famous faces you will instantly recognize.

I attended the show with five friends, all of whom were floored – both with anger at the way the beginning of the AIDS epidemic was handled, and with raw emotion for the characters living through this horrible and scary situation.

Cast of The Normal Heart

The performance received a spontaneous standing ovation – the very moment that the lights came down – from a very industry heavy audience that is not likely to give the requisite standing ovation given at every Broadway show these days.  Following the curtain call, the audience continued to applaud and applaud well after the house lights came one, begging for the cast to come back to the stage and be acknowledged for their great work.
 
The sheer force and passion behind Larry Kramer’s writing is as powerful, moving and needed as it ever was. This production is bound to be a sleeper hit and get some of that fanfare as the word spreads.
 
Contact my colleagues here at New York Guest to get tickets to this important play today. The run is limited, only 12 weeks, so don’t miss out!
 
— Ash

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Filed under Broadway News, Broadway Review, Staff Intro

Biking in Central Park

Greetings!  My name is Alicia and I am one of the New York Guest Concierges!  I have lived in New York almost 10 years and certify myself a New Yorker.  What do I love about being a concierge, you ask? I have the opportunity to make every guest fall in love with New York the way I have over the years.  I’ve gone from being a visitor to an official resident, with lots of secret NYC tips!  And . . . since I can’t keep a secret . . . this partnership is a match made in heaven!  I love the feeling I get when a guest returns to my desk and says “that was amazing, we never would have known to go there!”

Over the years I have had a chance to explore many of the amazing things New York has to offer.  One of my favorite places to go is Central Park. Pair this up with a bicycle and there you have it, one of the best warm weather activities in the city!   The major advantage of exploring Central Park via bicycle is the ability to see a lot of park in a very short amount of time.  There is one main loop which runs the entire circumference of the park.  It is closed to traffic on weekdays for a period of time during the day and all weekend.  While I normally love to see all the yellow cabs racing by, I certainly don’t want to compete with them on the open road!

My husband, Peter, a top a bolder in Central Park

While taking off and exploring the park on a bike is a great way to see everything, it is probably best to bike with someone who is familiar with riding in the park.  While the park is  safe for bikers, keep in mind you share the road with pedestrians, skaters, pedi-cabs and even horses!  Some paths are “pedestrian” only and a clear knowledge of the rules and regulations will ensure your ride is safe and a law abiding one.

While biking in the park, sites not to miss include:  Conservatory Water, the famous sail boat pond featured in the movie Stewart Little; Blato, a statue of the sled dog who became famous during the1925 serum run to Nome; Loeb Boathouse, where you can rent a rowboat by the hour to explore the Lake; Cleopatra’s Needle, the oldest man-made object in the park.  Also, be sure to swing by a few of the big boulders throughout the park – remnants of the last ice age! If you climb on top, you can see the grooves (striations) cut by the ice-sheets moving north and south over 12,000 years ago!

Tip: Pack a lunch and pair your Central Park biking adventure with a picnic in the park!

There are so many things to see . . . . This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg!  You should make your way to the closet bicycle and set out to discover your own Central Park gems!  For first-timers I highly recommend signing up for a guided bike tour of Central Park.  So many things to see . . . . it’s a good idea to ride along with someone who will make sure you don’t miss out on the amazing sites!

— Alicia

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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Broadway Review)

Greetings from Manhattan! My name is Danielle, I am another one of New York Guest’s hotel concierges. I have been a hotel concierge for 3 years and love helping people discover exciting New York City! When it comes to seeing shows, I’m the best audience member and I’m always pulling for the cast like a stage mom. Now if a show’s a stinker then there’s only so much I can like about it, but normally there’s some redeeming quality or something that I can appreciate.  Like The Pirate Queen. That show was a hot mess but they had FANTASTIC costumes!! And the interaction amongst the queens was wonderful. Great elements of the show they just didn’t go all together.

Also, I’m a straight shooter. I’m great at prescribing shows for anyone’s interest even if they’ve never seen a Broadway show. There are so many choices and interests– Broadway and Off-Broadway are really for everyone.

I was lucky enough to see a preview of the brand new Broadway show How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Tuesday, March 8 2011.  I loved it!!

You might have heard of this show before since this is the third time the show has played on Broadway. The original run was back in 1961-1965 when it ran for a whopping 1,417 performances during which the show won 7 Tony Awards and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Then in 1995 How To Succeed… came back to rave reviews with Broadway favorite Matthew Broderick, who also won a Tony for his performance. And now the show is back! In the role J. Pierrepont Finch is Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe who plays opposite Emmy Award winning actor, John Laroquette in the role of J.B. Biggley.  Radcliffe did an exceptional job in the show Equus last year, so I was really glad to see him back on stage.

The Marquis at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre

The costumes were fantastic very vibrant, beautiful color palette of teals, lavender, rose, mint green and so 60’s!!
The Costume Designer must have been inspired by the choreography which is just as fun, poppy and vibrant.

Daniel Radcliffe really holds his own a corporate ladder climbing J. Pierpont Finch, F-I-N-C-H. The role isn’t an easy one as it requires just the right about of charm which he has in spades. The comic timing is very refreshing as well. So nice to see him in a fun light hearted show and to see another side of this talented actor.

Daniel Radcliffe by Annie Lebovitz for Vogue Magazine

Also surprising was John Laroquette. Although, this man is very talented and a total veteran performer so I don’t know why I was surprised. His comic timing is impeccable and where his character could easily be seen as a no-good louse, he actually comes across as charming and forgivable. And by the end, we definitely do forgive his extracurricular.

John Laroquette in How to Succeed Without Really Trying

No shortage of audience interaction with guffaws to applause to our right whooping from some of the younger fans.
Some of the songs were a bit slow because it was left in it’s original style where someone will sing a line, pause pause pause, and then someone else will sing a line, pause pause pause.  But I have no doubt that this talented cast will work out the kinks and have the audiences in the palm of their hands through those quiet moments by the time of the show’s official opening scheduled for March 27th. There are some definite show stopping numbers are contained in this gem. Most notably a numbers toward the end of both acts.

The first act is quite long, clocking in at about an hour and 40 minutes. But the second act is definitely shorter making the show 2.45 hours including intermission.

Oh– and look out for celebrities! Katie Holmes was in attendance at my show with little Suri in tow. And they stayed for the whole show! So even a 5 year old enjoyed the show!! (Although this is really more recommended for audiences 10 and up)

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

I would definitely recommend this show for those who are also fans of Promises, Promises, The Producers, Hairspray, Sweet Charity (yes, I just brought up that amazing musical that should still be running)!

Contact my colleagues in the office to get your tickets– and don’t wait! This show is sure to be sold out more nights than not. You can inquire about tickets by calling New York Guest at (212) 302-4019 or e-mail info@newyorkguest.com

— Danielle

I’m all over How to Succeed.
I was lucky enough to see a preview on Tuesday, March 8 2011.
I loved it!!
Great classic 60’s Broadway Musical.
The costumes were fantastic very vibrant, beautiful color palette of teals, lavender, rose, mint green and so 60’s!!
The Costume Designer must have been inspired by the choreography which is just as fun, poppy and vibrant.
Daniel Radcliffe really holds his own a corporate ladder climbing J. Pierpont Finch, F-I-N-C-H. The role isn’t an easy one as it requires just the right about of charm which he has in spades. The comic timing is very refreshing as well. So nice to see him in a fun light hearted show and to see another side of this talented actor.
Also surprising was John Laroquette. Although, this man is very talented and a total veteran performer so I don’t know why I was surprised. His comic timing is impeccable and where his character could easily be seen as a no-good louse, he actually comes across as charming and forgivable. And by the end, we definitely do forgive his extracurricular.
No shortage of audience interaction with guffaws to applause to our right whooping from some of the younger fans.
Some of the songs were a bit slow b/c it was left in it’s original style where someone will sing a line, pause pause pause, and then someone else will sing a line, pause pause pause. But I have no doubt that this talented cast will work out the kinks and have the audiences in the palm of their hands through those quiet moments by the time of opening.
Some definite show stopping numbers are contained in this gem. Most notably a numbers toward the end of both acts.
The first act is quite long, clocking in at about an hour and 40 minutes. But the second act is definitely shorter making the show 2.45 including intermission.
Oh! and look out for celebrities. Katie Holmes was in attendance at my show with little Suri in tow. And they stayed for the whole show! So even a 5 year old enjoyed the show!! (Although this is really more recommended for audiences 10 and up)
I would definitely recommend this for fans of Promises, Promises, The Producers, Hairspray, Sweet Charity (yes, I just brought up that amazing musical that should still be running)

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Filed under Broadway Review, NYC News and Information, Staff Intro

Melba: Fuerza Bruta Review

Hello! My name is Melba Guerrero and I am a New York Guest Hotel Concierge. I was born in New York, raised in Dominican Republic and moved to New Jersey as a teenager. Even though I’m just across the Hudson River, my heart is always in the city which is why I like to stay really close to it. I’ve been working in the hotel business for over 4 years and I love it– even more so now that I am a concierge because I have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and help them appreciate New York City as much as I do.

I’m a singer/musician, aiming to get my Music Education degree, and I’m also the musical director for my sorority, which I now do part-time. In school and in other areas, I’ve had the opportunity to perform musically, however, I didn’t experience seeing a professional performance on Broadway and off Broadway until becoming a part of New York Guest. Seeing the shows is part of my job since it helps me learn about the current shows and the great ones from the past.

Last week my mom, my sister and I went to see Fuerza Bruta, an avant-garde off-Broadway show. Prior to arriving, I was not aware that this show does not have chairs and that we were going to have to move around during the performance. I thought it would be fun for me and my sister, but my poor mother can’t stand for too long (luckily they had a couple of benches on the sides) and she didn’t want to miss anything, so she remained standing for the whole show.  In Spanish, Fuerza Bruta means ‘brute force’.   I wondered what I should expect from a “brute force”.  I did see some previews from the website to see how it is, and I thought it was cool and was really looking forward to it. The preview is only a glimpse of what you’re going to see– meaning there is so much more to see than what you expect.

In the beginning of the show I felt as though I was in a 20th century version of a silent film, where the audience is sucked in to it to see it live! I was moving to the beat of the music; at some points it felt like I was in a Brazilian dance club. It was crowded, and the more rhythmic parts can catch you unexpectedly but I didn’t mind. I don’t want to give away too much, but you might get a little wet on purpose from the performers. It was so much fun; I was so happy with the outcome and understood what Fuerza Bruta finally means. The energy of the performers and dancers, the dynamics of the music, the tempo of the rhythm would make that a Fuerza Bruta!  I will definitely go again with close friends and dance dance dance!

Look up!

Let New York Guest help you find some of New York City’s off Broadway treasures like Fuerza Bruta. Just give my colleagues a call at (212) 302-4019 for advice and assistance!

— Melba

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