CITYSIGHTS NY BLOG
If you and your family are looking for a fun vacation destination this year, consider New York City. While the Big Apple has plenty to offer visitors all year round, the summer time features unique events and attractions that allow visitors the chance to get an authentic taste of what it’s like to be a New Yorker. Those really wanting to capture the essence of the city need to include a trip to Brooklyn in their itineraries. Catch a bus to experience a one-of-a-kind double decker Brooklyn tour. While you’re at it, make sure to stop by the annual Arts Festival in Brooklyn.
NYC’s Longest-Running Arts Festival
Way back in 1979, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park was suffering through multiple years of neglect from the city. Enter BRIC Arts Media, a nonprofit arts organization looking to showcase the borough’s unique diversity to the rest of the world. Working in conjunction with city officials, the BRIC launched the Celebrate Brooklyn summer concert series to help revitalize the park and draw visitors back in. Since that time, Celebrate Brooklyn has become the city’s longest-running and one of its most attended arts festivals, routinely drawing in visitors from all over the world.
Festival organizers have always had the goal of offering visitors to the festival a blend of internationally-celebrated artists and young, up-and-coming performers. As a result, some of the biggest names in music have graced the Bandshell on Park Slope during the concert series, such as:
• Bob Dylan
• Norah Jones
• They Might Be Giants
• The Mark Morris Dance Group
This year’s festival will feature renowned performers such as Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan, and Modest Mouse. Admission to most shows is free, while some are ticketed in order to help subsidize the overall cost of the festival. For a one-time $100 donation, you can earn “Friend of Celebrate Brooklyn” designation that allows you preferred seating to all free shows. Concerts and events will run from the beginning of June through mid-August.
Catch a Bus Tour
While in Brooklyn for the festival, don’t miss the opportunity to catch any one of the double decker tour buses you see to get a comprehensive look at this amazing community. Popular sights that you and your family will catch on the Brooklyn leg of a city bus tour include the aforementioned Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Promenade, the Brooklyn Museum, and the world famous Brooklyn Bridge. Plus, you’ll get great views of the Vietnam War Memorial, One World Trade Center, and the Statue of Liberty.
If you and your family really want to experience true New York City art, forget the trendy, artsy hangouts in Soho and Chelsea. Drop into Brooklyn to see the kind of art that New Yorkers themselves truly value. Prospect Park offers activities the whole family will enjoy, and from June to August, the Bandshell will be jam-packed with performers guaranteed to satisfy every distinct musical style. Don’t miss this chance to get a true glimpse at city life!
Brooklyn has a long history of making outstanding contributions to American arts, including cinema. Each year, the Brooklyn Film Festival honors that tradition by showcasing the talents of up-and-coming local filmmakers. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a visitor who is in town on a Brooklyn tour, the Brooklyn Film Festival provides an unforgettable outing with films that will surprise, inspire and delight you.
About the Festival
The organizers of the Williamsburg Brooklyn Film Festival and the Brooklyn International Film Festival apply more than 18 years of experience to put on the Brooklyn Film Festival. Each year, hundreds or even thousands of artists submit films of various types, including narrative features and shorts, documentary features and shorts, animated films and experimental films.
The submitted films are made to fit an annual theme — for example, the 2015 theme is “Illuminate” — and only a small number of films that embody this theme are shown. In 2015, the event’s organizers will select 100 films that best exhibit unconventional thinking, unprecedented storylines and unrestrained artistic intelligence.
Other Festival Details
The 2015 Brooklyn Film Festival will take place from May 29 to June 7. The festival will rotate between several famous venues, including the Wythe Hotel, Windmill Studios NYC, Nitehawk Cinema and NY Media Center. You can purchase a single-program ticket for just $13, and $10 options available to seniors and students. If you plan to attend multiple days, you can upgrade to a four-day pass for $35 or a full-festival pass for $100.
Besides showcasing unforgettable films, this 2015 Brooklyn Film Festival will feature various special events that are open to the public. These events include:
• The opening night screening, which will feature a party with complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres.
• The KidsFilmFest, which airs documentary, animated and live films that children filmmakers have produced.
• The Filmmakers Party, which is open to showcased filmmakers and people who have bought passes for the full festival.
• The BFF Exchange, which gives aspiring filmmakers a chance to take in expert advice while attending panels, a pitch session and a happy hour.
• The Illuminate Party, which gives people attending the festival a chance to meet actors and filmmakers from the feature films.
The festival will end with a final award ceremony, during which participating filmmakers will have the chance to receive over $50,000 worth of prizes. This free event offers an exciting and satisfying way to wrap up the festival experience.
Discovering Brooklyn’s Cultural Side
The Brooklyn Film Festival represents a cultural event that is well worth attending, whether you’re a city resident or visitor. If you’re only in town for the festival, think about building on your experience by taking a Brooklyn Tour to the most famous sights and attractions in the area. This is the perfect way to round out your cultural experience of Brooklyn while seeing the most unforgettable sides of the city.
Biking has become a popular way to get around Brooklyn, whether you’re commuting to work or exploring the city on an official Bike Tour. Every May, Bike to Work Week and Bike Month provide a chance to celebrate biking and all of its benefits. If you’re taking part in Bike to Work Day in Brooklyn this year, make sure that you don’t miss the Bike Home from Work Party on May 29. This event offers an unforgettable way to celebrate the end of Bike Month.
The 2015 Bike Home from Work Party will take place at the Dumbo Loft event space and underneath Pearl Street Archway. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., vendors will be on hand selling all of the following items:
• Delicious food and beverages
• Handy cycling accessories
• Unusual cycling fashion items
If you make your way to the Manhattan Bridge, you can also enjoy local brews from Coney Island Brewing Company and Brooklyn Brewery at the event’s beer garden. Besides savoring the food and drinks and stocking up on essential gear, you’ll have a chance to meet other cycling enthusiasts and celebrate Bike Month with a great crowd.
When you aren’t shopping and mingling, you can enjoy music, light shows and a live award show at the 2015 Bike Home from Work Party. The award show, which kicks off at dark, will honor the winners of the Bike to Work Challenge, which lets workplaces from the five boroughs log their bike commutes and compete to rack up the most trips. Nine workplace teams, along with five individual winners, will be recognized and given a chance to win prizes. This makes attending the party essential if you have been competing in the challenge.
Keeping with the spirit of Bike Month, the Bike Home from Work Party features convenient valet bike parking. This ensures that you can head straight to the event after work without worrying about safely stowing your bike. This service will be free, but it is only available on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure that you get there earlier if you want to snag the most secure parking.
Other Fun Cycling Events
Even outside of May, Brooklyn and the surrounding areas offer no shortage of exciting excursions for cycling enthusiasts. If you love the spirit of Bike Month and want to spend more time out on two wheels, consider taking the opportunity to explore New York City with a Bike Tour. These tours can give you a chance to see the city’s best sights, such as Central Park, from a new perspective. Like any other cycling trip, these tours provide a healthy and incredibly fun way to get around and discover new sides of your surroundings.
If you’re looking for a new experience, cultural festivals offer an informative and uniquely entertaining excursion. The Greek Festival NYC, which is one of the biggest and most popular Greek festivals in the Tri-State area, provides an unforgettable chance to experience a taste of Greek culture while supporting the local community. This makes the festival an event that you won’t want to miss if you’re living near New York City or even visiting the area.
The Greek Fest typically takes place in New Jersey the weekend after Memorial Day. If you are visiting New York over the holiday, it only takes a very short time to get to this fun-filled event. During the festival, you can watch or take part in various special events, including olive oil and wine tastings, performances from Holy Trinity Greek dancers and cooking demonstrations that are geared specifically towards adults or kids. Every day, the festival will conclude with a raffle that is open to anyone in attendance.
On Thursday and Friday, the festival is open from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. On Saturday, you can attend the event from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Sunday, the festival concludes with a shorter day, which runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Cultural festivals provide a prime opportunity to enjoy exotic foods and beverages, and the NJ Greek Festival is no exception. You can sample a number of delectable specialties, including gyros, lamb shank, octopus and Greek fries. To accompany those foods, you can choose from Greek coffee, Greek beer and regular beverages. Don’t forget to wrap up your meal with delicious traditional pastries and desserts, such as baklava, revani and karidopita.
The NJ Greek Festival is put on with the help of donations. This allows all of the admission expenses to be given to charitable causes. The event primarily benefits the following entities:
• The Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey, which helps rehabilitate children who have special needs. Each year, the hospital treats 20,000 children who have suffered from brain and spinal injuries, developmental disorders and serious illnesses.
• The Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in New York City, which was destroyed during 9/11. The church is currently being rebuilt to include a non-denominational space for mourning and remembrance.
• The Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad, which serves the town of Westfield 24 hours per day for the entire year. This emergency response squad operates exclusively based on donations.
With attendance supporting these great causes, there’s even more reason to carve out time to attend this festival this year.
An Event You Can’t Miss
If you’re ready to give back while broadening your horizons, NJ Greek Fest 2015 is an event that you won’t want to miss. Whether you simply want to sample Greek food or learn more about Greek culture, this event promises premier entertainment and an exciting, entirely new experience.
The annual Summer Beer Festival in New York City is a time to enjoy delicious and high quality beverages, engage in conversation with connoisseurs, and experience luxury of a different kind. From formal activities like tastings and tours to less formal events like brunch cruises and brewery visits, there is something for everyone to experience.
Bask in the Beer
No matter your preference for beer types, chances are you will find something that appeal to your likes during the festival. A large selection of the finest brews is available for your enjoyment. These include such notable names as: Ace, Naked Flock, Lancaster, Speakeasy, Two Brothers Brewing Company, Heavy Seas and more.
Events to Enjoy
You may choose to participate in any one of the many exciting events featured throughout the festival. Each gives participants access to fun and games, luxury food vendors who serve culinary delights, and approximately 75 different breweries. Some of the events include: Ditch the Desk – Let Summer Fridays Roll, and Sunset at the Seaport. There are also various general admissions sessions which are open to anyone in the public.
Another fantastic event to participate in during the Summer Beer Festival is a unique brunch cruise. For example, the Brunch Cruise aboard the Yacht Manhattan is truly a luxurious experience and a great choice for memorable entertainment.
The brunch menu features a variety of food and drink that is sure to please even the most sophisticated palette. Some of the foods you may enjoy include:
• Smoked Salmon
• Belgian Waffles
• Fresh-Baked Pastries
• Glazed Ham
At the same time participants are enjoying delicious culinary cuisine, they will experience breathtaking views of the city and its most popular landmarks. Bridges including the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, George Washington Bridge, and Williamsburg Bridge can be seen along with popular attractions like Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The United Nations Building, the Upper West Side, and the Financial District will be pointed out and visitors will also see Governor’s Island, South Side Seaport, and Battery Park.
If you are visiting New York and happen to be in town during the Summer Beer Festival or are experiencing this tradition for the first time, each unique event can be a great way to celebrate the occasion. You may choose to participate in a carefully planned tasting, tour a brewery, or indulge in a brunch cruise while taking in the majestic skyline of New York City. Satisfy your desire to indulge in high quality beer and experience the city’s attractions along the way.
Visiting New York City for the first time can be exciting and the possibilities of entertainment, places to visit, and experiences to participate are endless. Even for the city’s residents, entertainment is so vast that deciding what to do can be time consuming. If you aren’t sure where to begin, how about a beautiful ride on one of the city’s timeless dinner cruises? This can be an exceptional way to see the city, experience luxury, and enjoy some of the state’s finest wines.
Wine tasting goes back hundreds of years to when it was traditionally used only by experienced professionals to evaluate the quality of various wines. Over the decades, it has evolved into a sophisticated yet leisurely activity where folks can experience the diversity of various wines and pleasure their palette with delicious combinations of fine drink.
Taste of Quality
Whether you are interested in participating in a wine tour or simply want to sample some of the most popular wines, New York City offers a variety of tasting activities depending on your interests. Some of these include:
• New York Sailboat Cruise
• Parrish Museum Tour and Wine Tasting
• Champagne Sunset Cruise
• Beginner Tango with Wine
• BYOB One Night Painting and Wine Party
• West Village Wine Tour
• Wine 101 Class
• Wine Tasting Sail
Each of these events gives participants a unique experience involving wine tasting and the opportunity to mingle with other folks in fun and relaxing settings. If you simply want to experience some of New York’s most popular wines and cruise around the city, consider one of these fantastic dinner cruises.
This beautiful cruise takes place at dusk and boasts a free glass of house champagne, wine, or beer with the purchase of a ticket. Participants will explore sights such as the beautiful city skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and breathtaking views from the Hudson River. Whether you are interested in dancing, dining on culinary delights, or tasting unique house wine, this cruise is one for the books.
One of the most luxurious dinner cruises is the World Yacht Dinner Cruise. An international staff will serve guests with the finest cuisine, beautiful wines, and memorable entertainment. At the same time, outstanding views of the city and its most famous landmarks can be enjoyed from the comfort of a dazzling yacht.
Wine tasting in New York City can be both a formal and an informal activity. Whether you choose to participate in an official wine tour or enjoy a laidback dinner cruise, either will give you an experience of a lifetime.
The Parade of Sail signals the official commencement of Fleet Week. A parade of ships enters the New York Harbor below the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and makes their way to Manhattan's west side. The Parade of Sail event often features U.S. Naval Academy Yard Patrol boats in the New York Harbor. The vessels can be viewed along the Hudson River from Battery Park to just south of the George Washington Bridge. The event is open to the public and free of charge. Visitors can also participate in one or more boat tours in the area in order to enjoy all of the sights during this exciting event.
This year’s festivities will honor the War of 1812 and The Star Spangled Banner. Any stretch of the river will provide vantage points to view this year's fleet, which includes 10 warships and 17 tall ships from around the world as they cruise into the Harbor and set sail up the Hudson. The best areas to observe the entire Parade of Ships are along the New York Harbor, including Hudson River Park, Battery Park, Red Hook and Shore Road Park.
Visit the Ships
You can board the vessels after they dock for free tours in Manhattan, Staten Island and Brooklyn. Tours will be conducted daily, Thursday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lines may be capped at 3 p.m., so we suggest that you arrive early. Tickets for additional guided tours will be available at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Day Sails on Schooner Adirondack
There are also fascinating Parade of Ships cruises that offer a sweeping view of NYC Fleet Week's Parade of Sail, such as Day Sails on Schooner Adirondack and other fun Day Cruises. The two-hour sail provides a breathtaking adventure of NYC like you never imagined, aboard an 80-foot wooden clipper. Within minutes of departing the shore, the calm of the Hudson River replaces the busy Manhattan lifestyle, and you'll welcome the relaxing breeze off the New York Harbor. You'll take in the famous Manhattan skyline from the water with spectacular views of the following must-see attractions:
• Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
• Governor’s Island
• Financial District
• Brooklyn Bridge
We will shut off the engines and sail lazily through the harbor for as much of the tour as possible. This exciting tour is available daily at 3:30 p.m. starting May 1, 2015. Take a Day Sail on the Schooner Adirondack as we set sail on the New York Harbor during Fleet Week 2015.
Now you can maximize your NYC baseball adventure with additional exciting events before a New York Yankees game, such as fun places to eat at the stadium, the exciting Uptown Tour and things to do nearby after the game. Yankee Stadium is filled with history, and the Bronx's River Avenue and East 161st Street intersection is no exception. When you reach the neighborhood, the fans will overwhelm you with enthusiasm.
Whether you're new to the game or are a diehard fan who can list a plethora of big games you’ve attended, a visit to Yankee Stadium is a must-see experience. From the moment you step inside, you will feel all the perfect games, no-hitters and World Series wins. Even though the old stadium housed about 56,000 seats, it seems like millions remember Reggie Jackson’s legendary three home runs in the World Series performance of 1977.
The area surrounding Yankee Stadium before game time becomes a confusion of fans arriving from the crowded subway entrances and parking garages that circle the ballpark. There is always a fair amount of domestic and international tourists more interested in exploring and observing the legendary home of the Bronx Bombers than rushing to their seats to attend the game.
Professional fans have learned to buy food and drinks before going into the stadium in the Concourse, the neighborhood surrounding Yankee Stadium. It’s a traditional Bronx community, with a busy strip of restaurants, bars and delis to the east and apartment buildings to the west.
Mike and Ike Picnic Area
Why not make your baseball experience complete with a picnic at The Mike and Ike Picnic Area, which features a pregame all-you-can-eat picnic? You can even purchase a package that includes field level seats. Here are a few of the inclusions:
• 2-1/2 hour party before the gates open
• Picnic continues for 30 minutes after the game starts
• Semi-private picnic space
• All-inclusive non-alcoholic beverages and food
• Seats located in Sections 133 to 134
• Private parties available for groups of up to 250 guests
If you want something other than the Mike and Ike Picnic Area, the real advice from locals is to spend your money on food and drinks outside of the stadium. Make the short trek to Foodtown, a unique market and deli one block from the stadium. They are happy to make you a large sandwich on the cheap. You can also book the exciting Uptown Tour, which offers a little someone for everyone by providing a glimpse of the treasures of NYC’s Uptown and will get you up close and personal to Yankee Stadium.
NYC's Fleet Week began in 1984 to honor the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and has continued to take place almost every year since then. Tourists who wish to take advantage of this incredible event can ride one of our double decker bus tours and hop off at their leisure to enjoy the various Fleet Week activities. Traditionally, it takes place in late May and spans Memorial Day weekend. The highlights of the week include widespread military exhibits and ceremonies, along with the chance for free tours of some of the visiting ships. The Memorial Day celebration is a focal point of the festivities, which features a military aircraft flyover and singing of Taps to honor those who gave their lives in service to the United States.
Numerous performances take place at the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. There are also a lot of free activities, including ship tours in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, and performances, displays and exhibits in and around NYC, such as:
• Parade of ships in the harbor
• Free ship tours
• Memorial Day Parade
• Competitions such as tug of war and eating contest
• Musical performances by military bands
• U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue demonstrations
All events are free, except those that are at the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. You will need to purchase tickets to attend those events and enter the museum.
The Best NYC Double-Decker All Around Town Tour
Wrap up the perfect holiday to NYC during Fleet Week 2015 with our All Around Town Tour, which introduces you to everything the city has to offer. Celebrate NYC’s time-honored celebration of the sea services with the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state areas. It is an unparalleled opportunity to meet Marines, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen. You can also observe first hand the advanced abilities of today’s naval services.
We help you maximize your time in NYC with our exciting Double-Decker Bus Tours and All Around Town Tour, which covers Uptown, Downtown and the Bronx. When you book the tour, you can hop on any of our double-decker buses. From there, you choose whether you want to experience the entire tour or hop off the bus at any point along the way. Because our buses stop almost every 25 to 30 minutes, you can hop off and take advantage of the myriad happenings during Fleet Week and then hop back on and resume your tour.
Exploring the sights of NYC during Fleet Week 2015 from the comfort of a double-decker bus is one of the most fun and educational experiences you can have in The Big Apple. Book your front row seat for Fleet Week and the amazing NYC Double-Decker All Around Town Tour today.
For over 30 years, DanceAfrica has been delighting New York City residents and visitors with its African dance festival. This year is no different, and the focus is on Brazilian dance, with Afro-Brazilian dance troupe Bale Folclorico da Bahia headlining the event. This Brazil festival NYC is one to experience as part of your Downtown Tour. Hosted by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the event is full of music, dancing, food and fun for visitors of all ages who want to see the beauty and excitement of African song and dance. Any Memorial Day visit to NYC is incomplete without a stop at DanceAfrica.
DanceAfrica was started by BAM in 1977 and has been delighting attendees for nearly four decades now. Over the years, the festival has grown to include more and more dance companies and vendors. For many Brooklyn-ites, Memorial Day weekend is not complete without a stop to watch the dancers, grab a bite to eat and do a little shopping.
Over the years, dance companies from around the world have participated in the event, including the following countries:
This year's Brazil festival NYC will explore the rich African history and ancestry present in Brazil, and will showcase the Afro-Brazilian music and dance that combines Brazilian rhythms with the country's African roots. In addition to Bale Folclorico da Bahia, the Bambara Drum and Dance Ensemble and other local dance troupes are slated to perform.
How to Get the Full Experience
In order to get a full DanceAfrica experience, visitors should plan to see and do all that the festival has to offer. Beyond the dancing, you can explore the DanceAfrica outdoor bazaar, where hundreds of vendors sell authentic African, African-American and Carribean goods, foods and fashions. Plan to take in a film at FilmAfrica, held at the BAM Rose Cinemas. Children will also enjoy crafts, face painting and plenty of fun in the children's village.
This annual festival is held on the streets surrounding the BAM Richard B. Fisher Building at 321 Ashland Place. If you are planning to participate in a Brooklyn tour, be sure to stop by the DanceAfrica event any time during Memorial Day weekend. The event is free and open to the public, making it a great low-cost experience to add to your New York City visit.
No visit to New York City is complete without getting a taste for the ethnic diversity that the city has to offer. The DanceAfrica event provides an entertaining and educational glimpse into African ancestry from around the world.