CITYSIGHTS NY BLOG
Get In The Loop!
For residents and visitors alike, New York City offers no shortage of exciting excursions and attractions. This is especially true on holidays such as the Fourth of July, when a variety of special celebrations and historical events are staged in honor of the country’s founding. If you’re spending this Fourth of July near the Big Apple, make the most of the holiday by attending at least one of the following July 4th events in NYC.
Coney Island Events
It only makes sense to celebrate Independence Day at an all-American attraction like Coney Island. You can plan a full day of activities, including swimming, enjoying live music, attending a sideshow, braving the amusement park rides and enjoying classic fair food. You can also attend the famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest, which is a Fourth of July tradition that has been held for almost a century. This event usually wraps up before early afternoon, giving you plenty of time to attend other Fourth of July festivities.
Historical NYC Tours
Taking a historical walking tour is another fitting way to celebrate the Fourth while learning more about the country’s history. Check out the Revolutionary New York Walking Tour from Big Onion Walking Tours, which is staged specially around Independence Day, or the Presidential Greenwich Village and Gramercy Park tour from NYC Discovery Walking Tours.
Both of these tours stop at several famous locations. The Revolutionary New York tour includes Federal Hall, Fraunces Tavern and the graves of General Richard Montgomery and Alexander Hamilton. The Presidential Greenwich Village and Gramercy Park tour stops at Washington Square Arch, Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace and historical locales associated with the following presidents:
• George Washington
• Abraham Lincoln
• Teddy Roosevelt
• Woodrow Wilson
• Franklin Roosevelt
• John F. Kennedy
This tour also conveniently ends at the highway a few hours before the firework show starts, which makes it a great way to wrap up your afternoon.
Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks
Finally, no Independence Day in NYC is complete without taking in the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks show. You can catch this event on live television or from various areas around the city, from bridges to rooftop promenades. For an especially unforgettable night, buy a $100 ticket to the Sky Room lounge. This bar, which offers panoramic views, is currently the highest rooftop lounge in NYC. Besides a spectacular view, your ticket buys you classic American picnic food and access to an open bar.
Planning an Unforgettable Holiday
Simply spending the Fourth of July in New York City can be incredible, given the city’s history, culture and many opportunities for celebration. Still, if you want to enjoy an especially spectacular Fourth, try to work one or even all of these memorable events into your itinerary for the day.
You've decided to visit New York City in July when summer is at its peak, and there's no limit to the enjoyable events. For a genuine NYC summer tradition, stop by the annual Nathan's hot-dog-eating contest. New York weather in July can be quite hot, so many New Yorkers escape to local beaches on the weekends, such as the Jersey Shore or the Hamptons. The 4th of July celebrations, including the firework spectacular, are truly once-in-a-lifetime NYC experiences. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to plan around the weather.
NYC Weather in July
Even though it is hot and humid, don’t let that intimidate you. The highs average around 85 degrees, and the lows fall to 70 degrees. July is the hottest and wettest month of the year, but this is the time when most of the activities are available outdoors. Start planning for the hottest month ahead with the essential things to do to keep cool, including summer concerts, art exhibitions and things to do on NYC rooftops.
Featured July Events
Find your favorite sunglasses, put on some sunscreen and get the summer drinks ready because summer in NYC is here! There are plenty of events that take place in July, but the highlight of the season is unquestionably Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks display, when the sky lights up looking a million candles. The best spot to observe the performance is along either side of the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge. Other featured July events include:
Walking Central Park is essential. Stop by Sheep Meadow, which transforms into a sunbathers' paradise. Other smaller parks, such as Madison Square Park, are ideal for sun-worshippers also. Listen to music at Celebrate Boston! or Central Park SummerStage in Prospect Park. On the west side of Manhattan, don't miss River Flix at the Hudson River Park.
What to Wear in NYC in July
Hot weather comes to NYC throughout the month of July. Pack plenty of shorts and sleeveless tops. Remember to wear sunscreen, especially if you plan to do a lot of touring around town. Bring an umbrella and a light sweater or rain jacket. This will come in handy for the unexpected downpours or in the air conditioned stores and museums. Comfortable, water-resistant closed-toe shoes are ideal for walking. A picnic blanket is a must if you plan to attend some of the free outdoor movies and concerts.
After five years of lighting up the Hudson, Macy's 4th of July Fireworks is returning to the East River. Most locals are quite pleased about the change because it means that Brooklyn and Manhattan can get a glimpse of the excitement. Additionally, tourists have the option of participating in family-friendly activities such as a 4th of July Fireworks Cruise!
The new location provides plenty of places in NYC to view the performance on land, but many of the most dramatic views will be from the water. There is no experience quite like watching Macy's 4th of July Fireworks up close while you sail along the East River. Also, you won't have to battle the crowds.
Cruise Options for Everyone
Of course, these special boat rides come with a hefty price tag and many are only open to ages 21 and up. However, you can find an affordable, kid-friendly 4th of July Fireworks cruise in NYC. The July 4th Spirit of New Jersey Dinner Cruise provides the perfect vantage point to watch the fireworks display while you enjoy a leisurely dinner, an open bar, and live music. There are many other available cruises to choose from, such as:
• Circle Line July 4th Cruise. See the firework displays over the river aboard this unique cruise. You can purchase drinks and food on board while a DJ entertains you during the exhibition.
• World Yacht 4th of July Dinner Cruise. Experience a one-of-a-kind, five-hour dinner cruise. The all-inclusive price features a five course sit-down dinner, music for dancing, open premium bar, and a personal view of the fireworks.
• Clipper City’s July Firework Spectacular Sail. This catered five-hour cruise features a BBQ buffet, open bar and up-close fireworks viewing.
• July 4th Sail on the Schooner Adirondack. Start at the Chelsea Piers on this two and a half hour cruise while you relax and enjoy an open beer, wine, soft drink and champagne bar.
• July 4th Cruise on the Yacht Manhattan. When you board this 1920s style yacht, you’ll be whisked away on a three-hour cruise. Tickets include an open beer, wine, soft drinks and champagne bar, as well as four separate courses of passed desserts hors d’oeuvres and desserts.
• Water Taxi's July 4th Fireworks Cruise. There’s no better way to view the fireworks than from the American Princess. Tickets include a light buffet, hors d'oeuvres, soft drinks, juice and dessert trays.
Take in all the perks of the unbelievable sights of the East River fireworks display on an exciting dinner cruise. If you're planning to take a July 4th cruise, you should book one quickly. Most of these cruises sell out long before the sparklers go off. Make sure to leave ample time to get to the dock.
When you crave a world-class wine tasting experience at a charming vineyard, you don't have to fly to Napa Valley. The North Fork area of Long Island is NYC's unsung Wine Country, and it's right here in your backyard where you can participate in excellent Long Island wine tasting. The North Fork Crush Wine and Artisanal Food Festival is an ideal occasion to taste excellent wines and sample exquisite cuisine with the people who produce the wines and create the menus.
New York Wine Events is turning North Fork establishment Jamesport Vineyards into an elegant wine and food tasting venue, just in time for your summer sampling delight. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste over 100 wines that are available to buy. Samples artisanal foods and light fares provided by Noah’s Restaurant while the delightful sounds of live jazz provide the backdrop.
North Fork Crush Wine and Artisanal Food Festival Highlights
At North Fork Crush Wine and Artisanal Food Festival, you will have the opportunity to meet some of the premier winemakers on Long Island. You won’t be talking with retailers, importers or distributors. You will be interacting with the region’s legitimate wine growers and producers. Highlights and features of the festival include:
• Three hours of sampling of more than a hundred different varietals of wines
• A unique selection of North Fork’s best artisan foods
• An artisanal assortment of cheeses and locally baked breads
• Live jazz concert on the vineyard grounds
• Complimentary souvenir wine glass
Don’t miss this a unique opportunity to learn about winemaking from the experts!
Jamesport Vineyards was established in 1981 and manufactures 7,000 cases of wine annually on 60 lush acres of productive land. As one of the oldest vineyards in North Fork, it supplies wine to many top Manhattan restaurants. Once you visit Jamesport Vineyards you will develop an understanding of the unique lifestyle of the North Fork of Long Island. The quality of Jamesport’s wines, including their tasting room in a 150-year-old barn, creates a relaxed and vibrant atmosphere.
Long Island Wine
North Fork Crush highlights grapes from Long Island’s 3,000 acres of vines. You will be treated to an eclectic blend of over a hundred remarkable whites, bold reds and sparkling samples. The geography, soil characteristics and maritime climate combine to create exceptional, high-quality wines. Long Island winemakers blend state-of-the-art technology and age-old growing techniques to offer a range of world-class wines from selected blends and distinct varietals. Taste it, and if you like it you can buy it. All wines that are sampled during the festival will be on sale throughout the day. You will also have the opportunity to join the wine clubs of the vineyards at the festival.
New York, NY- Very few things can be classified as awesome, but Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is certainly one of them. Currently, there are two Kalahari Resorts and Conventions open: the first in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, and the second in Sandusky, Ohio. On July 1, a third location will open in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, which will be a boon for East Coasters. Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is unique in many ways. One is their authentically African theme. In fact, the owners, the Nelson family, traveled to six countries in Africa last October to bring back authentic items and experiences for their guests. The resort also caters to all members of the family — from the young, to the young at heart. With a mission to help families reunite, Kalahari Resorts is destined to revolutionize the waterpark industry.
Their press release explains the latest Kalahari Resorts mission: "The demands of modern life and overbooked schedules are taking a toll on family time. On average, families are spending fewer than eight hours per week with one another. Kalahari Resorts and Conventions was created for families by the Nelson family — and they are on a mission to remove family time from the Endangered List — beginning with the opening of their grandest resort to date in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, on July 1, 2015."
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, recently named the World’s Coolest Indoor Water Park by Condé Nast Traveler (2014), is sure to satisfy anyone who visits their resorts. Their new resort in the Pocono Mountains will feature Pennsylvania’s largest indoor waterpark, an outdoor waterpark with a huge outdoor pool, a sundeck for relaxing, indoor/outdoor whirlpools, and a swim-up bar. It also has a 30,000 sq. ft. family entertainment center including bowling, laser tag, and arcade games, three signature dining experiences, a 100,000 sq. ft. convention center, and more. With a vast number of family-oriented activities on premises, people of all ages are guaranteed to have a great time. As Travis Nelson, spokesman for Kalahari Resorts, said: “We are passionate about creating an unforgettable experience for families — and our new resort is unparalleled to any destination on the East Coast.” Although this sounds like a strong statement, to my surprise, it may actually be an understatement.
Here in New York City, the excitement about the new Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is palpable. I am eager to check out the resort later this summer. I especially anticipate seeing how this family resort will appeal to all ages. And based on the reports, I look forward to showing the world why everyone should go to the resort. And of course, those with families should bring their entire crews. At Kalahari Resorts, the "fun factor" will certainly be at the highest caliber and I cannot wait to experience it for myself. The hype is for real!
There are days when I just want to run down the street as fast as I can, tossing others aside as I move at my own pace and avoid the kerfuffle of shuffling feet and loud conversations (and yes, I did say “kerfuffle”). But then there are those days, those few glorious days when I round the corner and realize that the intense foot traffic is not because of construction: it’s a parade!
As I may have made mention multiple times in my previous posts, New York is great.
“But why, random blogger, is New York so grand?” you may ask. Well, I shall explain. The pivotal and most significant element that makes this city the “Big Apple” is its exquisite culture.
One of the best parts of living in New York is the multicultural celebrations, and boy oh boy does the Puerto Rican Day Parade raise the bar. It’s fun, it’s vibrant and it’s a good time The streets are blanketed with color and flowing with music. You really can’t help but be infected by the excitement.
This year’s 57th parade was a spirited and lively celebration. With EGOT winner Rita Moreno acting as Grand Marshal, the day included thousands of participants and crowd-goers. The National Anthem was sung by Puerto Rican singer Raquel Sofia, along with a selection of songs from her new album.
But where, oh where, can one find this parade for next year? Again, my friend, take my hand and I shall be your guide. The festivities began around 11am at 44th street and 5th avenue. This year the parade lasted until about 4pm. So for those of you interested in going next year, get an early start and bring a lot of water.
National Puerto Rican Day is not simply about dancing la bomba and having some pastelón. Parade officials always use the celebration to raise awareness for various causes. This year Boricuas used their voices to call attention to the terrible conditions involving the Caño Martín Peña. The channel has fallen into extreme disarray and poses a threat to its nearby low-income populace. Officials also expressed support for the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, ex-leader of a Puerto Rican terrorist organization. The celebrations also focused heavily on the influence of Afro-Boricuas (Puerto Ricans of African dissent) honoring artistic, philanthropic, and other important cultural achievements.
Great food, fabulous dancing, risque costumes, discussions about ecological destruction, and upbeat music: what more could you want?
If you are planning on visiting NYC the end of June this year, you won’t want to miss the one-of-a-kind Asian Food Festival. It is the biggest and most distinct Asian food celebration in North America, marking the culinary arts of Asian and Asian-inspired cuisine. Taste Asia is a produced and established by NTD Television and Epoch Times to present the best of Asian culture and food to New Yorkers.
Over the past six years, approximately one thousand chefs from a dozen countries and neighboring regions have competed in the competition, with cash prizes awarded to winning participants. In 2015, Taste Asia returns to Times Square, this time with an even larger exhibition, including notable chefs illustrating distinct Asian cuisines and demonstrating their country's culinary techniques and traditions.
Asia comes to Times Square when top chefs from numerous Asian regions will gather at NTD television’s kitchen arena to exhibit the ultimate in Asian cooking. Taste Asia is NYC’s highly publicized outdoor food festival. Master chefs from around the world and some of NYC’s finest will showcase their talents using Taste Asia’s trademark fully-equipped outdoor kitchens, delighting live television viewers and crowds of thousands. They will concentrate on recipes and ingredients that span across Asian cultures, regions and countries.
A gathering of Asian and Asian-inspired restaurants will provide tastings, and cultural performances will take place on the center stage. The result is a celebration of Asian cuisine that serves as a connection between those countries and also the East and West through the love of food and culture.
Taste Asia 2015
Taste Asia is the climax of a month-and-a-half-long Asian restaurant month, which starts annually in May, the month that celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage. Tempted by free food samples and live performances, it isn’t hard to entice visitors and locals to attend. While Asian food is famous in New York, what is less well known is how it is made.
This year, the Taste Asia 2015 will be coming to NYC June 26 through 28. On June 28th, the 7th International Chinese Culinary Competition will also bring together traditional Chinese chefs from around the world to compete in five cuisine categories: Cantonese, Northeastern, Huaiyang, Shandong and Sichuan. The competition’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culinary techniques. Other events you won’t want to miss include:
• Asian cooking showcase and on-stage cultural performance
• 7th International Chinese Culinary Competition
• Taste Asia Food Fest
• Taste Asia luncheon
• Taste Asia awards dinner
Korean and Indian dancers round out the mostly food-related performances, which include a dumpling eating competition, mochi- and noodle-making demonstrations, and lessons on how to eat with chopsticks.
The best things this summer are free, particularly when it comes to NYC's summer concerts. Starting each year in May and running through August, you can hear live music of all kinds across the city without spending a dime. Whether it's a classy night outdoors with the Philharmonic, indie rock on the Manhattan waterfront or world music at SummerStage, NYC’s 2015 Summer Concerts in New York City are sure to please music lovers of all tastes.
Central Park SummerStage Concerts
The Central Park SummerStage in an outdoor venue at Rumsey Playfield that hosts numerous music, spoken word and dance events each summer. Many of the events are free. Others require advance tickets and serve as charitable affairs for the Central Park SummerStage series.
Rumsey Playfield is located off Fifth Avenue on East 72nd Street. The closest subway is the 6 train; just take the 68th Street exit. You can easily enter the park on Fifth Avenue and 69th Street. Entrance to the concert area begins 90 minutes before the entertainment begins on weekends, and one hour before it starts for weeknight shows.
New York Philharmonic in the Parks
A favorite New York City summer concert series for visitors and locals is the New York Philharmonic in the Parks. This year, from June 17 to 23 the Philharmonic will present free outdoor concerts in in the following areas:
• Cunningham Park in Queens
• Prospect Park in Brooklyn
• Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx
• Central Park
These shows offer the chance to hear outstanding classical music. More importantly, it's an excuse to meet up with friends and enjoy food, drinks and a free evening out with the New York Philharmonic providing the backdrop. Plan your seating location because the audience takes the performance more seriously up close to the band shell.
Concerts begin at 8:00 p.m. so if you want to get close to the band shell, you should plan to arrive at least two hours early or more. However, depending on your group’s size and if you're less particular, you can arrive up any time even right up until the show begins.
The Great Lawn is positioned directly in the middle of the park, from 79th to 85th Streets. You can find the band shell in the northern part of Great Lawn. To arrive by subway, catch the 4, 5 or 6 train to 86th Street. Head three blocks west to 5th Avenue and enter the park at the entrance between 85th and 86th Streets. Follow the winding pathway and the crowds. Another option is to take the A, B or C train to 81st Street and enter the park right on 81st Street. Follow the excitement to the Great Lawn.
If you want to plan a Monday evening movie night in NYC this summer, make your way to Bryant Park for the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. Bryant Park is the summer destination for movie fanatics in NYC. Each week a different movie is showing on the lawn. With plenty of lawn seating and nearby street fair food carts, it’s an evening out that won’t break the bank. Join thousands of movie-loving visitors and locals as they pack Bryant Park for this bona fide NYC tradition. This year’s movie line-up presents another awesome season of exceptional outdoor cinema.
Summer Film Festival
Outside free film screenings are just one of the joys of NYC summers, and the Bryant Park setting is especially fun. Each year, HBO teams up with Bank of America and other partnerships, including the Bryant Park Corporation, to present free movies at sunset. Summer Mondays begin mid-June and run through mid-August. The lawn opens at 5:00 p.m. and the films start about 30 minutes after sunset. While the movies start at dusk, folks start streaming in when the park's dense, green lawn opens. Many people just head over straight from the office in their work clothes, with their blankets and takeout food in tow. Follow their lead and arrive early because the lawn tends to get quite crowded by sundown. This year get ready for exciting movies favorites, including Ghostbusters, Footloose and Back to the Future.
Available Food Choices
You can pack your own food or snacks, but all packages, bags and backpacks are subject to search. If you want to take advantage of on-site food options, you have plenty of choices such as:
• Bryant Park Grill & Café
• ‘Wichcraft Food Kiosks
• Southwest Porch
• Hester Street Fair food vendors
Bring a blanket and arrive early! Over 4,000 park chairs are set up, and are on a first come, first served basis. Bringing your own chairs, tables, tarps, plastic sheets or bags are not permitted.
How to Find Movies in Bryant Park
You can easily find Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan behind the New York Public Library between Fifth and Sixth Avenue and 40th and 42nd Streets. Just take the M, F, D or B train to the 42nd Street and Bryant Park exit, or take the 7 Train to 5th Avenue. Free bicycle parking is available in the park at 41st Street and 6th Avenue.
If you are looking for something fun to do in NYC, movies in Bryant Park will keep you occupied all summer long. Whether it’s family movies, classics, comedies, sing-a-longs or horror flicks, there's something for everyone!
Father’s Day weekend is one of the best times to visit New York City. Winter weather is officially long gone and the city is alive and bustling with many different activities and festivals. Whether it’s your first trip to the Big Apple with dad or the two of you are regular visitors, there are several fun and unique ways to enjoy the city this summer, including guided brunch cruises and dinner cruises. Sometimes the best way to get acquainted, or reacquainted, with NYC attractions is to enjoy a sightseeing tour. While the old standbys are always there, today there are many different custom and themed tours available for visitors and residents alike. Why not treat dad to something relaxing and different this Father’s Day?
Get Acquainted With a Sightseeing Tour
If it’s your first time exploring New York, one of the easiest ways to get familiar with the iconic landmarks and architecture of the city is to take a guided tour on land. You’ll get up close and personal with famous sites like:
• Times Square
• Central Park
• Brooklyn Bridge
• Empire State Building
• Chrysler Building
• Flatiron Building
• World Trade Center
• Much more.
This is just the beginning of what you can see on a land-based tour of New York.
Enjoy Brunch on a Boat Tour
Once you’re feeling more familiar with the Big Apple, why not take in the beauty of the skyline and landmarks in a whole new way? Brunch cruises are a fantastic way to enjoy NYC attractions with dad this Father’s Day. You’ll enjoy a world-class meal while you sail along the Hudson River and surrounding bay. This a great way to see the places you can’t appreciate from mainland, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
See the City Lights at Night With a Dinner Cruise
There’s something about New York at night. One of the best ways to enjoy the city skyline is at twilight, when the sun is setting and the city lights are twinkling. You and your dad will love one of the city’s many dinner cruises, which allows you to see NYC attractions at night while you enjoy fine cuisine and drinks.
Customize Your Cruise
Brunch cruises and dinner cruises depart at many different times throughout the day. You can plan your trip based on what you want to see and what kind of entertainment you want to enjoy aboard the boat. Durations and routes vary, so you can pick the best option for you and your dad. Whether you want to enjoy an outstanding meal, live music, or simply take in NYC attractions with dad this Father’s Day, you can’t miss one of the city’s great sightseeing tours.