CITYSIGHTS NY BLOG
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One can tell a lot about a city by its old taverns and taprooms, and when it comes to New York, there’s certainly no shortage. For over three centuries, New York City residents have quaffed their share of ales. Some of these old taverns were used as secret meeting places for those planning the American Revolution, and others as gathering spots where New York businessmen organized the first stock market, to wrest financial power from the auctioneers. Fortunately for today’s visitors, many of these venerable watering holes remain open, allowing you the chance to sample their wares. So let’s take a tour of are the five oldest pubs in New York City.
54 Pearl Street, Manhattan
At the corner of Pearl and Broad Streets stands Fraunces Tavern—a restaurant, tavern, and museum that can trace its roots to the Colonial Era. Arguably the oldest building in the city, the structure was built in 1719 as a private home for Stephen DeLancey, son-in-law of then mayor, Stephanus Van Cortlandt. In 1762 the building was sold to Samuel Fraunces and converted to a tavern. In the lead-up to the American Revolution, the Sons of Liberty used the building to hold secret meetings, and at the close of the war, General George Washington bid farewell to his troops at a feast held here.
279 Water Street, Manhattan
More obscure perhaps than the other taverns of its age, the Bridge has been in business as one sort of taproom or another, since the days of George Washington, though he did not drink here. In fact, the bar’s traditional patrons were more likely to be smugglers and prostitutes than presidents or generals. Now the last remaining clapboard building of its type in the area, the Bridge was built in 1794, as a “porter house,” where local sailors could grab a draft. Today the Bridge has left its criminal past behind and has been reformed into a neighborhood taproom.
326 Spring Street, Manhattan
Built in 1812 by the black Revolutionary War veteran, James Brown, the structure first began housing a tavern five years later, in 1817. By the mid-1800s, the building was sold to Irish immigrant Thomas Cloke, who began brewing and bottling his own beer, which he sold to the local sailors (and pirates) along the waterfront. The Ear’s past is less than pristine, as it was a rough place where one could procure a prostitute or hire someone to perform less than legal deeds. In 1977, the bar was sold and underwent another transformation, making it a beloved (and far less nefarious) watering hole for locals and tourists alike.
McSorley’s Old Ale House
15 East 7th Street, Manhattan
Perhaps the most widely recognized of New York City’s old pubs is McSorley’s. Opened in 1854 by Irish Immigrant John McSorley, the bar’s walls are crowded with memorabilia and artifacts from almost two centuries of life. McSorley’s is a talker’s bar, so you won’t find a TV or jukebox anywhere, and the place can get pretty packed. Known for serving only one brand (its own) in two varieties (light and dark), McSorley’s is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The characteristic tall slim drafts can be ordered in twos and fours, so drink up.
129 East 18th Street, Manhattan
As the awning declares, Pete’s is the tavern O. Henry made famous. Founded in 1864, the bar holds claim to being the oldest continuously operating tavern in the city. O. Henry became one of the premiere short story writers of his day, and legend has it that he wrote perhaps his most famous tale—Gift of the Magi—in a booth at Pete's in 1905. Outside its literary reputation, the bar is worth visiting on its own merits, with its original pressed-tin ceiling, carved rosewood bar with gold medallions, and giant hardwood booths that look like caves. Bring your laptop (or a flashlight).
No go raise a pint and enjoy!
In New York City, there’s so much to do and see, it might seem impossible to fit all the attractions into one vacation. If you’re looking to get the most out of your visit to the Big Apple, CitySightsNY has the answer—our Super New York Tour packs a full 72 hours of sights and attractions onto one deluxe ticket, all for the price of a 2-day tour! That’s right, you pay for 2 days and the third is free!
The Super New York Tour lets you see the best that New York City has to offer—from the clubs of Harlem to the cafés of Little Italy, as well as Brooklyn and the Bronx, the Statue of Liberty, Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building and more—all with the convenience of hop-on, hop-off service provided by our fleet of double-decker buses and our professional and courteous staff.
Look at all the Citysights Super New York Tour delivers…for one ticket!
The Brooklyn Tour
Visit the city’s most populous borough and see the majesty of Grand Army Plaza, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Museum (a Beaux-Arts building with a vast art and Egyptian antiquities collection), along with the graceful mansions, intriguing shops and restaurants and a wide array of cultures. You’ll also see the gloriously designed Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Public Library, and of course the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge.
The Bronx Tour
Start at the famed Harlem Market, where up to 100 vendors from a wide range of African countries sell their wares, and then head north into the Bronx and see the Grand Concourse, and the famed new Yankee Stadium, opened at the beginning of the 2009 baseball season.
The Downtown Tour
View the varied tapestry of downtown Manhattan—from the shops, cafés, restaurants, and boutiques of Greenwich Village, Little Italy, and Chinatown, to the bustle of Wall Street and the Financial District! You’ll also visit Battery Park City, South Street Seaport, the Lower East Side, along with Rockefeller Center, the United Nations building, Carnegie Hall, the Broadway theater district!
The Uptown and Harlem Treasures Tour
Begin in midtown, home of Lincoln Center, and head north, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Dakota apartment building (former home to John Lennon), the Apollo Theater (where greats like Ella Fitzgerald made their debuts), and the Harlem Market, among many other treasures.
Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Ferry
Check out some of New York Harbor’s most famous signs—including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park, Governors Island, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, South Street Seaport, and more. Stop off at Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty and catch the next ferry to continue your tour!
See the splendor of New York at night—when the theaters and clubs come alive! From Little Italy and SoHo to Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side the city is a dazzling jewel best viewed at night!
Statue of Liberty Ferry
Your visit to New York isn’t complete without a trip to Liberty Island and an up-close view of America’s most famous statue! There is nothing more Ferry tickets also include Ellis Island, home of the National Immigration Museum.
And there’s more—the Super New York Tour lets you enjoy TWO breathtaking sky-high views of the city, one from the world-renowned Empire State Building, and the second from Top of the Rock, the observation lounge atop Rockefeller Center.
Downtown Manhattan comes alive in Spring! From the boutiques and flea markets of Greenwich Village to Earth Day at Times Square, there’s always something to capture your interest and delight your senses. So why not make a day of it and see all the downtown hot spots.
When you take CitySightsNY Downtown Tour you’ll board a luxurious double-decker bus to view the most famous neighborhoods and attractions. During your tour, professional and informative guides reveal the history and significance of Downtown Manhattan’s most famous landmarks, including Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Macy's, Empire State Building, SoHo, Chinatown, Little Italy, Site of the World Trade Center, Wall Street, the Financial District, Battery Park South Street Seaport, Lower East Side, United Nations, Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Hall, Broadway Theatre District and much more!
Enjoy the convenience of hop-on, hop-off tours. Find a place you want to explore, just hop off and when you’re done catch the next tour bus at the same stop. Shop at Macy’s, visit the tall-masted ships at the South Street Seaport, explore the bustle of a busy trading day on Wall Street, or grab a bite to eat in a chic Greenwich Village café. There’s always something exciting to do and see, and you can customize your Downtown Tour the way you like it.
And no trip to New York City would be complete without a visit to the Madame Tussauds wax museum. Come see dozens of meticulously created wax likenesses of your favorite personalities from movies, TV, sports, and music as well as likenesses of world leaders and famous New Yorkers. From Albert Einstein to The Hulk to Yankees slugger Derek Jeter, you’ll meet them all at Madame Tussauds! Have your photo taken with Marilyn Monroe… well, the wax Marilyn. Then experience Cinema 4D and get access to the museum’s Behind the Scenes interactive exhibit.
Over the past century, hundreds of films have been shot on the streets of New York City—from early silent movies like The Crucuble (1914) to Academy Award winner Birdman (2014). Some scenes have become so famous that the locations themselves are now celebrities of a sort. Here are just a few…
The Seven Year Itch starring Marilyn Monroe (1954)
The iconic image of beauty Marilyn Monroe flirtatiously holding down her white dress against the advances of an unruly subway breeze has been immortalized on everything from posters to fridge magnets. The history of the actual scene is slightly less glamorous.
Shot for the 1954 Billy Wilder film The Seven Year Itch, the scene was fraught with problems. During the 3-hour overnight shoot, Marilyn flubbed her lines, requiring many retakes. Back in Hollywood, the editors found sound problems with the original scene and reshot it again on a Hollywood sound stage. Though the New York scene never made it to the final cut, the subway grate along Lexington Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets in Manhattan is still there, if you want to feel the breeze.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring Audrey Hepburn (1961)
If you want to mirror Audrey Hepburn’s longing gaze into Tiffany’s window from Blake Edwards’ 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s just go to the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th Street, and be sure to wear your black evening dress, pearls, and tiara.
Dog Day Afternoon starring Al Pacino (1972)
If you find yourself near Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood you can take a walk along Prospect Park West, between 17th and 18th Streets and see where Pacino shot his famous “Attica! Attica!” scene as bank robber Sonny Wortzik.
Taxi Driver starring Robert DeNiro (1976)
Shot largely in the Times Square area around 47th and 48th Streets near Broadway, the dark seedy landscape of Martin Scorsese’s 1976 classic Taxi Driver is all but gone. The cheap eateries and triple-x theaters have been demolished and replaced by a kinder and cleaner neighborhood, and the building that housed the “Palantine Campaign” in the film is now a bank.
The Pope of Greenwich Village starring Mickey Rourke (1984)
The strange yet compelling tale of two NYC cousins trying to make it through gambling and robbery was shot in various Soho and West Village. Locations include the corner of Sullivan Street and West Houston, the DeSalvio Playground at Mulberry and Spring Streets, and bars at 51 Spring Street (now Pomodoro Restaurant and Pizzeria) and 176 Mulberry Street (the Mulberry Street Bar).
Fame starring Irene Carra (1980)
If you want to dance in the streets, try 120 West 46th Street outside the Fiorella LaGuardia High School for Performing Arts. The iconic outdoor dance number from Fame was shot nearby, though at the time the school denied filmmakers use of the school building itself because they felt that the raw language used in the movie was nothing to kick up their heels about.
Coyote Ugly starring Piper Perabo (2000)
A great deal of the 2000 film Coyote Ugly was filmed in the less-than-glamorous meatpacking district, but the bar itself is at 153 First Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets.
Once considered part of the Lower East Side, this formerly working class neighborhood became home to New York City’s counter culture. First the beatniks were lured to the neighborhood by the cheap rents, and in the 1960s artists, musicians, and hippies moved in. It is the birthplace of even more recent movements such as punk rock as well. It was dubbed the East Village to distinguish it from what at the time were the slums of the Lower East Side.
Today the East Village also includes Alphabet City, Loisaida, St. Mark’s Place, and the Bowery. As often happens in neighborhoods that are discovered, today the East Village is one of the most popular spots in the city and has been fairly thoroughly gentrified. While not quite as radical as it once was, this part of New York City has much to offer!
You’ll find the most amazing array of shops in the East Village. If you’re a cycling fan, you might want to visit Landmark Vintage Bicycles and peruse their collection of lovely old bikes. La Sirena offers amazing Mexican themed crafts and knick knacks, and if you don’t get your fill there be sure to visit Love Shine, designer Mark Seamon’s shop full of truly unique gifts.
You won’t go hungry in the Village. Try the Pan-Latin delights at Yerba Buena, or the spectacular ramen at Ippudo NY, or the Neapolitan pizza at Motorino. If you’re on a budget but love to eat sustainably grown local foods, be sure to stop in Northern Spy Food Company – no entrees over $15. Don’t worry – there are plenty of delicious and reasonably priced spots to eat in this neighborhood.
If you want to stay in the heart of Manhattan but not in midtown, consider the East Village. The Bowery Hotel offers luxurious rooms with floor to ceiling windows and lots of classic touches. Europeans love the East Village Bed & Coffee (think bed and breakfast minus the breakfast) with each room featuring a unique theme. Then of course there is The Standard, formerly the Cooper Square Hotel, offering a library with books from Housing Works.
At the end of a great day in New York City, you’ll probably want to grab a drink. For a fancy spot with experimental drinks, you’ll want to visit Booker and Dax. If you’d like something with a more Gothic flair, visit Death & Company. For a bit of history, check out the former Ukrainian Social Club at the KGB Bar. If you’re looking for an Irish pub, you’ll want to visit McSorley’s Old Ale House – authentic right down to the sawdust on the floor and only two choices of ale.
If you’re in the mood for some live music, be sure to check out who is playing at Webster Hall – a great spot with good sound, but arrive early if you want a good view of the stage. Nublu is a small space that offers some strange avant garde acts, but also latin dancing on Wednesday nights. If you prefer comedy or cabaret, the spot for you is Joe’s Pub.
There’s nothing quite so luxurious as a late breakfast served in style. Manhattan is known for its diverse array of dining spots—from greasy spoons and charming cafés to boutique hotels and exclusive restaurants. But if what you seek is a delicious brunch that won’t break your budget, here are a few places to check out...
140 Seventh Avenue South (between Charles and 10th Streets)
For a Southwestern-style brunch, check out Agave’s bottomless 2-hour brunch, served till 4pm. The reasonably priced $28 special gets you an entree plus unlimited mimosas, Bloody Marys, or sangria.
113 West 116th Street (near Malcolm X Blvd.)
If down home soul food is more your style, drop by Amy Ruth’s in Harlem for fried chicken and waffles, catfish and waffles, candied yams, and collard greens. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and prices that go easy on your wallet.
17 Avenue B
For brunch on a budget, stop by the Cornerstone Café for banana nut pancakes, or try the Texas French toast. Brunch is served 8–11am and is a true bargain.
136 West Broadway
If you’re dining with a large group, try Edward’s in Tribeca. Styled in the decor of a French brasserie, Edwards delivers everything from pancakes to crab cakes, plus a generously stocked bar—so there’s sure to be something to suit every taste.
Friend of a Farmer
77 Irving Place (between 18th and 19th Streets)
Want a taste of the heartland in the heart of Manhattan? Try Friend of a Farmer. The rustic, inviting, and plainspoken menu includes fresh-baked breads and a host of hometown favorites created from the best ingredients.
33 Leonard Street
The classic diner breakfast lives on in this Tribeca eatery. Grab a table or straddle a chrome-clad stool at the counter and enjoy a short stack of pancakes and bacon. The waitress might even call you “hun.”
182 Avenue B
A gem in Alphabet City is the Y Café, known for its fast service, generous menu, and reasonable prices. Try the Nutella pancakes!
Lincoln Center in the heart of Manhattan is renowned the world over as a showcase for the finest in orchestral and operatic music from soloists to symphonies. But what you may not know is that it’s also a great place to introduce your kids to the wonders of music with children’s concerts and interactive hands-on events!
Come welcome spring at Lincoln Center with two very special children’s events on Sunday, March 22.
Inspector Pulse Pops a String
2:00pm at Alice Tully Hall
Follow along as Inspector Pulse discovers there’s more to the humble string than meets the eye. From the hammered and plucked strings of instruments like the piano and harpsichord to the bowed strings of the violin, viola, and cello, Inspector Pulse explores the world of strings in a way that’s fun for the entire family. A string quartet even drops by to help the Inspector unravel the mystery of string instruments. The role of Inspector Pulse is played by composer Bruce Adolphe, Resident Lecturer and Director of Family Programs of the Chamber Music Society. Joining Bruce will be the Amphion String Quartet, winners of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition and members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Build a String Instrument
3:00pm at the David Rubenstein Atrium
Want more strings? After learning all about string instruments from Inspector Pulse, bring the kids to the Rubensteain Atrium where they can build their own working string instrument! This fun (and FREE) workshop is presented by Lincoln Center and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Kids will learn all about string instruments with a hands-on workshop that lets them learn first-hand how string instruments make music. And once you’re done building, take your child’s creations home to keep and play! Recommended for ages 4 and up. Admission is FREE
And while you’re visiting, be sure the take the full Lincoln Center tour and see where the world’s most famous musicians and vocalists have performed! And for more info on the history of Lincoln Center, click here!
If you go:
Sunday March 22, 2015
61 West 62nd Street, Manhattan
Macaron Day may not be New York City’s oldest or most famous holiday, but it’s certainly among the most delicious. And there’s no better way to get in a spring mood than with a tasty treat.
Friday March 20th, 2015 will mark the 6th annual Macaron Day NYC. Fifteen of the finest patisseries and bakeshops throughout the city will be participating in the event.
The History of Macaron Day NYC
This delicious annual holiday started in 2010 when François Payard—chef and owner of FP Patisserie, François Payard Bakery and Payard Patisserie & Bistro—organized the first Macaron Day in NYC. The day coincides with Jour du Macaron in Paris, and id held each year on March 20th to celebrate the first day of Spring.
How Macaron Day Works
Here’s how it works—drop by a participating bakery, buy a gift, give a donation, and get a free gourmet macaron! And you can be sure you’re giving to a good cause, as a portion of all macaron sales will go to City Harvest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger and promoting sustainability. Participating locations will provide one macaron per customer, with limited quantities by location, between 10am and 5pm, while supplies last. To get your free macaron, just tell the shop worker you are there for Macaron Day NYC, and enjoy!
About City Harvest
Founded in 1982, City Harvest is the oldest food rescue organization in existence and help provide food for more than 1.4 million New Yorkers facing food uncertainty and hunger. With City Harvest, nothing goes to waste! Each year the organization collects approximately 50 million pounds of surplus foodstuffs from restaurants, grocers, bakeries, manufacturers, and farms… then delivers that food (free!) to over 500 community food programs across the city. City Harvest also partners with residents and organizations to promote nutrition education, conservation of resources, and sustainability along with a wholesome, food-secure diet.
Participating bakeries include Bisous Ciao Macarons, Bouchon Bakery, Chantilly Patisserie, Éclair Bakery, Epicerie Boulud, Francois Payard Bakery, FP Patisserie, Macron Café, Mcaron Parlour, Mad-Mac, Spot Dessert Bar, Sugar and Plumm, Todd English, and Woops!.
Whether You're Renovating Or Redesigning, You'll Find The Best Ideas At The Architectural Digest Home Design Show!
New York City is a world-renowned center for architecture and interior design—and if you’re looking to buy, browse, or gather ideas for that next big home redesign or renovation, there’s no better place than the Architectural Digest Home Design Show. This annual springtime event draws thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world. The show features thousands of products from more than 400 brands, design lectures hosted by Architectural Digest, and seminars presented by The New York Times. Each day of the four-day expo provides insightful panel discussions and Q&A with leading architecture and design experts. You’ll also find ample opportunities to socialize at the many book signings, cocktail receptions, and cooking demonstrations that accompany the show.
Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find at this year’s show…
• The latest in home furnishings, lighting, carpeting, and decorative accessories from over 400 manufacturers around the world will be showcased.
• Inspiring creations from independent designers are highlighted in the show’s “MADE” section—MADE is a great way to see the most innovative cutting-edge designs in a gallery-like setting and gather ideas for your next big home redesign.
• Daily seminars tackle a broad range of topics, including kitchen and bath renovation, designing with a mission, outdoor living, integrating art and furnishings, luxury furnishings, regional design, and much much more! Panelists include Tim Schroeder, David Rockwell, Anthony Baratta, Shara Kasprack, Martha Stewart, and more!
• reFRESH is a show within the show, highlighting the most innovating and luxurious kitchen and bath designs featuring state-of-the-art appliances, fixtures, tiles, and building materials.
• Shopping—yes, many items at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show will be available for immediate sale. So if you’re feeling inspired and find that perfect accessory, why not buy it now!
And while you’re at the show, be sure to grab a bite to eat. There will be lots of vendors, as well as evening reception and cocktail parties. You’ll even find some culinary demonstrations that let you sample freshly prepared gourmet cuisine!
If you go:
Architectural Digest Home Design Show
March 19–22, 2015
Piers 92/94 are located at 711 12th Avenue (at 54th Street), Manhattan.
Whether or not your ancestors came from the Emerald Isle, everyone’s a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. And few cities celebrate the holiday with the brightness and spirit of New York City. Since 1762, New Yorkers have been donning the green and marching to honor St. Patty’s Day, and that proud tradition carries on today.
The 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade promises to carry on that proud tradition with thousands of participants—from military units and marching bands to high school bands, floats, pipers, and representatives of the many Irish-American societies that have helped to sustain the parade for 253 years. Each year millions of attendees gather from around New York, the nation, and the world to witness this grand celebration.
The parade traces its roots the Colonial days, when Irish soldiers and ex-patriots gathered at the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Lower Manhattan. The modern parade begins at the new St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue at 50th Street in midtown Manhattan. The parade will be reviewed from the steps of the Cathedral by the Archbishop of New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who also serves as Grand Marshal.
Among the largest and most well-attended parades hosted by the city, the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade expects about 2 million spectators along the Fifth Avenue route.
Four hours of televised parade coverage will be provided on local NBC network affiliate
WNBC4, along with live streaming video of the full event available online.
The procession begins at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue at 11:00am on March 17th and threads its way marches up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick's Cathedral at 50th Street to 79th Street and the Irish Historical Society, where it wraps up around 4:30–5:00pm. Revelers typically continue their celebration at the many bars and pubs of Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
If you plan to attend, the event is FREE. Keep in mind that the parade is a daylong event, from 11am–5pm and that mid-March weather in New York City can be nippy and breezy, so dress appropriately. Remember to wear a bit o’ the green!
If you are planning on taking a Citysights tour tomorrow, please be informed that there will be detours due to road closures for the parade.
Street Closures for St. Patrick’s Day Parade - Tuesday, March 17
The following streets in Manhattan will be closed from 11 am to 5 pm:
• 5th Avenue between 29th Street and 44th Street
• 5th Avenue between 86th Street and 79th Street
• Madison Avenue between 63rd Street and 64th Street
• Vanderbilt Avenue between 43rd Street and 46th Street
• 44th Street and 45th Street between Vanderbilt Avenue and 6th Avenue
• 46th Street to 48th Street between Park Avenue and 6th Avenue
• 63rd Street and 64th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue
• 80th Street to 85th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue
Downtown detours on Saint Patrick’s Day:
Regular route to Battery Park. Coming back up on 1st Avenue
Left on 42nd Street
Continue on 42nd Street to 6th Avenue
Right on 6th Avenue
Stop between 53rd & 52nd
Continue north on 6th Avenue to 59th Street
Left on 59th Street to 7th Avenue
Regular route to Times Square
Uptown detours on Saint Patrick’s Day:
Regular route to 5th Avenue
South on 5th Avenue to 96th Street
Left on 96th Street to Lexington Avenue
Right on Lexington Avenue
Stop at 49th Street and Lexington Avenue
Continue South on Lexington Avenue to 42nd Street
Right on 42nd Street to 8th Avenue
Right on 8th Avenue to 47th & 8th Avenue”