Tag Archives: NYC Sightseeing

Living it up at Madame Tussauds

by Louise, Director of Operations

Last night we were lucky to be invited to check out the expanded exhibits at Madame Tussauds in Times Square. This branch of the famous wax museum (which originated in London over 175 years ago) has been open since 2000, and is one of the most popular additions to the area. It is well worth a visit on your next trip to New York!

Leo and Ash wore the same outfit. Awkward.

Leo and Ash wore the same outfit. Awkward.

The exhibition encompasses 6 floors – you’ll be brought to the top by elevator and make your way down. On the way you’ll find dozens of stunning replicas of movie stars, historical figures, famous athletes, fictional characters, and more, all ready for wonderful photo ops in a variety of poses. Some of the more distinctive displays (ET, the Obamas, etc) are manned by professionals to snap a high quality photograph of you, but most are available for casual smart phone photos (or real cameras, if you are still doing that).

Melba tries her hand at being Don Draper's secretary

Melba tries her hand at being Don Draper’s secretary

We’d had a glass of wine or two before embarking on the exhibit, and while it’s fun and silly no matter what I don’t NOT recommend being a little loosened up. It definitely makes for some fun pictures! You can also get wine, beer and snacks at a few different snack bars on your way through.

I might identify a little too closely with Dorothy Parker

I might identify a little too closely with Dorothy Parker

The work, of course, is stunningly accurate. You may find yourself staring into the eyes of Anderson Cooper, certain that at any moment he will suddenly spring to life. Or maybe that was just me. I can guarantee, however, that the lifelike nature of these figures is nothing short of remarkable.

Kelly loves the Jonas Brothers and she doesn't care who knows about it

Kelly loves the Jonas Brothers and she doesn’t care who knows about it

Madame Tussauds is great fun for all ages, and the location makes it a fantastic way to bridge the gap between say, your day of sightseeing and your pre-theater dinner. It is included in a number of our sightseeing packages, including the Freestyle Tour and the New York Pass, or as a standalone ticket. We can also include it in your customized New York City Vacation Package – e-mail us at info@newyorkguest.com to start planning, and you, too, can find yourself soon contemplating life with Dorothy Parker, or performing with the Jonas Brothers.

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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: http://mappery.com/map-of/Bronx-Zoo-Map

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: http://travel.newyorkguest.com/Activities/New-York-Pass

— 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 TMrkulic@newyorkguest.com for advice and assistance! Visit NewYorkGuest.com for more suggestions on must-do activities in New York City!

— Terra

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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

existed.

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