CITYSIGHTS NY BLOG
A few days ago I found myself aimlessly shopping and was mildly surprised by the rather large assortment of flowered headbands and cropped fringe tops. That is, until I saw the giant signs posted throughout the store: “Festival Wear”. As one who has personally been to music festivals I have to say they are a great time; a great, expensive time. As a New Yorker the nearest musical festival would seemingly be Governor’s Ball, which is now over. But oh, how wrong I have been. There is a music festival right here that is largely free (yes FREE) in Brooklyn. Celebrate Brooklyn! is here and it’s definitely worth celebrating.
First of all did I mention most of it was FREE? Well it’s free, and I know that’s every New Yorker’s favorite number. The majority of the concerts will be at no cost, first come first serve. Bring your blankets and your comfy shoes as you enjoy professional dancers, artists, and singers perform at the Bandshell. It is important to note that while many events are free, some are ticketed.
Ok, great it’s a festival in Brooklyn but what is it and who is paying for it? Celebrate Brooklyn! is organized by a not-for-profit called Brooklyn Information and Culture (BRIC) that has been heavily involved in the establishment of the festival. BRIC and Celebrate Brooklyn! are far more than your average summer concert series. Both the festival and organizations behind it are acting to showcase just what Brooklyn has to offer. As a former Queens and current Manhattan dweller, I personally can’t wait to be partying in Prospect Park and everyone who can, should be joining me.
The lineup includes the grand dame of Funk herself Chaka Kahn on June 3rd and later acts such as Interpol and Esperanza Spalding. So what could be the problem? New Yorkers are busy. Between work, friends, drinking, and more work how is anyone supposed to go enjoy any of the excitement being offered? Well not to worry, busy bees! The entire Celebrate Brooklyn! event lasts until August 12th, where Willie Nelson will be performing a ticketed benefit concert. Yes, THE Willie Nelson.
Jamming out to Willie or any other of the array of musicians is far from the only inclination for potential festival-goers. Multiple dance companies and artists have banded together to create some truly spectacular shows. And you don’t need thick glasses, plaid shirts, a cup of coffee, and an apartment in Williamsburg to enjoy the spectacles. These are all-inclusive and universally interesting events. Celebrate Brooklyn! celebrates Brooklyn, not a select group of people. From traditional Brazilian dance pieces to the blaring fun of “I’m Every Woman” echoing through the streets, there is something for everyone. Which is what New York is all about isn’t it?
So you feel like going to Coachella but don’t have over $300 for tickets alone? Want to go rock out with body paint at Bonnaroo but can’t quite figure out how to get to Manchester, Tennessee (trust me it’s a trip)? Festivals have become as much a fad as the flower headbands that are inherently associated with them. Well we are lucky. Not only do we get to live in New York, but we have our own festival; one that does not cost hundreds of dollars or require a plane ticket. Best part? Celebrate Brooklyn! at Prospect Park is all summer long and adheres to any and all tastes. So take advantage, support the community, and show some love for Brooklyn! The links to the official website are included below, for your convenience and reading enjoyment. Or simply visit bricartsmedia.org and browse to your heart’s desire.
Whether your family is from Puerto Rico, you want to feel connected to a vibrant Latin American community in New York, or are simply looking for something fun and cultural to do in Manhattan this summer, be sure to check out the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade on the second Sunday in June. This year’s event is the 58th anniversary of the annual ceremonies and is set to be the biggest parade yet with over 100,000 expected to march.
About the Parade
Today, the Puerto Rican Parade is an annual recognition and celebration of the 4 million people of Puerto Rican heritage who now live in the United States. The original parade took place in 1958 in Spanish Harlem, or El Barrio, out of the necessity to create a public voice for Puerto Ricans living in New York. The parade now serves to demonstrate cultural pride while promoting several important initiatives in the Puerto Rican community in NYC including:
• Community engagement
• Cultural awareness
While the Puerto Rican Parade has serious roots in activism, today the event is fun-filled, light-hearted, and has something for everyone. You don’t have to be Puerto Rican to appreciate this grand event. In fact, the annual parade is now considered an essential part of summer in New York.
The Puerto Rican Parade takes place ever year along iconic Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on the second Sunday in June. This year’s event will occur on June 14 from 11am – 5pm and will march from 44th Street to 79th Street. There is no cost to attend. Plan to arrive early if you want prime viewing spots, as the parade has been known to attract well over three million spectators in years past. Note that bleacher seating in the review stand is not available to the public, as these seats are reserved for special honorees and sponsors.
What to Expect
This year’s parade is set to be the greatest and most memorable one yet! The whole family will enjoy watching the parade’s many floats and exhibits. All will be decked out in pride for Puerto Rico. Expect to see and experience:
• Puerto Rican music
• Latin dance
• The Queen of the Puerto Rican Parade
• Hundreds of vibrant and decorated floats
• Much more.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what’s in store at this year’s parade. You can’t miss it!
If you wish to participate by marching or joining a float, you can get involved by contacting the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Organization. Otherwise, simply bring your friends and family to Fifth Avenue on the second Sunday in June to enjoy and support the annual Puerto Rican Parade.
Whether you have roots in Ireland or are simply looking for something fun and unique to do in NYC, you can’t miss the Irish Festival in Staten Island this summer. Fun for all ages, this year’s fair brings together an ensemble of Irish music, dance, food, and more. The event is particularly important this year, as it commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the Irish Civil War and honors those who gave their lives during battle. It’s sure to be an epic celebration, so don’t miss it!
About the Staten Island Irish Festival
It’s no secret that the Irish love community, and that’s what the Irish Festival in Staten Island is all about. For the past 17 years, some 5000 people have turned out annually for the ceremonies, and that number has grown exponentially in recent years. You’ll find your very own slice of Ireland in Staten Island this summer, complete with all of the food, music, and craic that will make you feel like you’re walking down the streets of Dublin.
This year’s Irish Festival takes place on June 13th and 14th from 12 – 7:30pm at the Staten Island Boys Football League grounds on Travis Avenue and South Avenue. Admission is $12 for general and children under the age of 12 may attend for free. Pre-sale tickets are available at various outlets for $8. Bring cash if you wish to purchase tickets at the gate. Free parking is available onsite at the Staten Island Boys Little League. If that lot becomes full, there is additional parking in a nearby overflow lots with a free shuttle service to and from the front gates of the festival.
What to Expect
There is truly fun for the whole family at this year’s Irish Festival! No matter how old you are, you’ll love experiencing a taste of Irish music, dance, food, and culture. Some of the great activities planned for this year’s event include:
• Irish dancing lessons
• Bagpipe and drums music
• Land of Leprechauns play area for kids
• Tinker’s Shopping Village
• Live traditional and modern Irish music
• Much more.
Entertainment will also be on hand for little ones including face painting, games, and story time.
Get Involved at This Exciting Festival
If you want to enjoy a deeper experience and get involved with the Staten Island Irish Festival, there are many great volunteer opportunities available. Whether you want to help out or simply attend as a visitor, you can’t miss all of the excitement that’s in store at this year’s Staten Island Irish Festival.
If you are looking for a fun and unique thing to do in NYC this summer, be sure to check out all of the excitement and entertainment at the Lower East Side Festival known as DayLife. With several different events throughout the warmer months, DayLife has become known as the one of the best summer kickoff parties in the Lower East Side. In June, the festival will return with a special event called Lower EAT Side that features the neighborhood’s finest foods, fashion, music, and more.
About the Lower East Side Festival
The goal of next month’s Lower East Side Festival is to showcase the neighborhood’s vibrant entrepreneurial scene. It brings together chefs, fashion designers, and other artisans who help to make the area what it is today. DayLife is about much more than delicious food and great music, however. It’s also where New York past meets New York present. The festival is full of modern and hip activities that breathe fresh life and community into the historic neighborhood. Consider the Lower East Side your very own urban backyard all summer long!
All DayLife events including the Lower EAT Side festival take place every summer between Delancey Street and East Houston Street. This year’s Lower EAT Side event takes place on Sunday, June 14 from 12 – 5pm. All festivals are free of charge and feature a full range of entertainment, typically including live music, art demos, fine foods, and much more. Some of the food vendors that will be at this summer’s festivals include:
• Mimi and Coco
• Heartbeet Juicery
• Pies N Thighs
• Moscow 57
• Melt Bakery
• The Meatball Shop
• Goodfellas Brick Over Pizza
• Georgia’s BBG
• Tache Chocolates
• A Casa Fox
• La Newyorkina
• Insomnia Cookies
• An Artistic Taste
• Many more.
These are just some of the great, local vendors ready to serve up delicious bites all summer along at the Lower East Side Festival.
The Big Apple isn’t just for the young and hip anymore! The Lower East Side Festival is family friendly and has something fun in store for everyone. No matter what age you are, you’ll love getting in on all the action at this year’s DayLife festivals. Some of the activities you can expect to see include:
• Giant Jenga games
• Hula hooping contests
• Matchmaking services
• Fitness tests and challenges
• Guided yoga lessons
• Much more.
If you’re looking for a fun and different thing to do in NYC with friends and family this summer, don’t miss the Lower East Side Festival and all of the action that it has in store.
The Women of the World Festival is an event that honors the accomplishments of women and girls of all backgrounds while highlighting important social issues that women face. This year, the WOW festival is making its debut in New York. If you’re passionate about women’s rights, issues and achievements, this women’s festival is an event that you shouldn’t miss.
TheWOW Festival aims to give women from all backgrounds an opportunity to share their stories and discuss the obstacles that they face. The first installment of the event was held in London in 2011 on the 100-year anniversary of International Woman’s Day. Since then, this festival has since grown to take place in four countries and feature a variety of activities, including:
• Speeches and debates
• Workshops and mentoring
• Networking opportunities
• Films and exhibitions
• Performances and other live entertainment
This varied lineup guarantees an illuminating and even unforgettable event.
About WOW Harlem
In 2015, Harlem will host its first WOW Festival at the Apollo Theater. The festival will kick off with an opening event at 6:30 p.m. on June 11. Over the following three days, you can expect to see performances or presentations from various influential women, including Leymah Gbowee, Naomi Wolf, Iyanla Vanzant and Macy Gray.
Over the course of the festival, you also can participate in related educational and social events throughout Harlem. On June 12, various restaurants will host lunches that feature informative presentations modeled after the style of TED Talks. On June 13, City College of New York will host a WOW marketplace, where you can meet anyone from vendors to members of women’s advocacy groups.
WOW Festival tickets are conveniently available online, by phone or at the Apollo Theater box office. Tickets for certain events, including lunch presentations and the Thursday and Friday entertainment, are sold separately. However, if you want to attend the festival on Saturday or Sunday, you can buy a day pass, which gives you access to all of the events taking place at the Apollo Theater that day.
Large groups, local residents and students may qualify for discounted tickets. If you are attending with at least nine other people, you can call the theater’s ticket sales department to buy 10 or more passes at a reduced rate. If you live in Harlem, attend City College or are younger than 18 years old, you can secure a day pass at a discount by buying it in person and showing your ID.
Planning Your Attendance
Over the last few years, the WOW Festival has grown rapidly while earning a reputation for empowering women and even changing lives. If you will be in the Harlem area between June 11 and June 15, make sure to plan on attending and buy your tickets early so that you don’t miss out on this incredible event.
New York City is home to many renowned museums that are popular attractions for long-time residents and visitors alike. Each year, nine of these museums open their doors to the public during the Museum Mile Festival, which is essentially a cross between a block party and an art appreciation event. If you would like to explore some of the best NYC museums for free, this festival is an event that you won’t want to miss.
The Museum Mile Festival launched in June 1978 with the goal of boosting public support for the arts. The first festival was held along a stretch of Fifth Avenue where nine museums are situated. The event drew many New Yorkers to the area for the first time and united people from various backgrounds.
For the last 35 years, the Museum Mile Festival has continued attracting locals as well as tourists. More than one million people have attended the event to date, and the stretch of Fifth Avenue where the festival is held has officially been designated as “Museum Mile.”
Many of the most famous NYC museums take part in Museum Mile Festival, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum. If you attend the free museum evening, you also can visit the following museums free of charge:
• Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
• Museum of the City of New York
• The Jewish Museum
• The Africa Center
• El Museo del Barrio
• Neue Galerie New York
• National Academy Museum and School
Even if you’ve already visited many of these museums, the free admission and the accompanying entertainment make this festival well worth attending.
In 2015, the Museum Mile Festival will be held on June 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. The opening ceremony will take place at 5:45 at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. In addition to free museum access, this year’s event will feature all kinds of performances and activities, including singing, dancing, children’s entertainment and interactive crafts.
During the festival, the 23 blocks that comprise Museum Mile will be kept free of cars, so taking public transportation is advisable. Since the event is open to an unlimited amount of people, you don’t need to worry about making reservations or purchasing tickets beforehand.
Don’t Miss Out
If you haven’t attended the Museum Mile Festival yet, make sure that you don’t miss out this year. This event offers an unforgettable way to enjoy some of the most famous NYC museums and cultural treasures in a fun community atmosphere, which makes it the perfect activity for anyone from tourists to local families to art enthusiasts.
Whether you are a long-time New York City resident or a first-time visitor to the Big Apple, taking a brunch cruise can be an unforgettable way to explore the city and surrounding areas. These affordable NYC Cruises make it easy to plan a relaxing but entertaining weekend excursion. Regardless of whether you’re going out with family, friends or colleagues, it should be easy to find a cruise that offers the ideal fit.
Get A New View of NYC
When you book a spot on one of these cruises, you can count on seeing many of the most iconic sights in New York City and Manhattan. Even if you’ve already taken in these views, a cruise can provide an entirely new perspective. For example, on the Yacht Manhattan Brunch Cruise, you have the opportunity to see all of the following attractions:
• The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
• Governor’s Island and Roosevelt Island
• The George Washington, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges
• South Street Seaport
• The Upper West Side and Financial District
• Battery Park
• The United Nations building
Most local brunch cruises offer similarly rewarding itineraries and views. Since many of these cruises last at least two hours, you should have plenty of time to take in the landmarks and attractions from an exciting new perspective while enjoying a leisurely brunch.
Enjoy Premier Live Entertainment
Some brunch cruises also give you the opportunity to take in active entertainment while you savor your food and survey the shoreline. For example, Hornblower Cruises & Events hosts Sunday cruises that feature jazz entertainment and a live DJ. These cruises make the ideal outing if you love live performance art or if you have already explored the New York City area on a regular brunch cruise.
Sample Delicious Brunch Offerings
Most NYC brunch cruises feature a huge selection of buffet-style breakfast and lunch dishes, along with desserts, cocktails and other beverages. Traditional and locally sourced New York foods, which may range from bagels to salmon to mini quiche, are often staples on these cruises. You can typically choose from a variety of beverages, including juice, tea, coffee, mimosas and other cocktails, before ending your meal with a selection of delicious desserts.
Planning Your Brunch Cruise
It’s advisable to plan far in advance if you want to take a brunch cruise, since spots on these NYC Cruises generally sell out quickly once the weather starts warming up. If you want to experience one of these cruises firsthand this season, make sure that you start comparing your options and planning your outing early.
In Brooklyn, biking has become a popular form of exercise and transportation. However, taking a Brooklyn bike ride also provides an unbeatable way to recreationally explore the city. Today, there are countless exciting Brooklyn Bike Tour options, which let you get in a workout while traversing the city in an eco-friendly way. If you’re ready to see a new side of Brooklyn, make sure that you don’t miss out on the following types of tours.
Guided tours are a prime way to explore Brooklyn, regardless of whether you’re a local or a tourist. Taking an established local tour, such as the Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour, can help you ensure that you don’t miss out on any famous sights. This tour opens with views of Ellis Island, Staten Island, the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbor before passing by the Financial District, Brooklyn Heights and South Street Seaport.
Many tours feature a reasonable pace that keeps the excursion fun for everyone, from children to people who don’t regularly travel on two wheels. Additionally, the affordable pricing and short length make these tours a feasible outing for almost anyone. Most tours last just a few hours and cost less than $50 per person. Even if you are already familiar with the Brooklyn area, the active nature of these tours, along with the associated health benefits, make joining one well worth your time.
If you love meeting new people who share your interests, and if you would like to see Brooklyn in a more casual and relaxed way, large group rides provide a fun alternative to traditional tours. For example, the popular yearly Tour de Brooklyn gives you the chance to explore local neighborhoods at a comfortable pace. The 2015 tour runs through the following neighborhoods:
• Park Slope
• Fort Greene
• Brooklyn Heights
• Prospect Lefferts Garden
If you can’t make this particular tour, there are plenty of other public groups and rides worth considering. Many of these rides are free, which makes them a great go-to event if you love getting outside and spending time in the city. Many of the rides that aren’t free help raise money for charity, which makes participation an even more rewarding experience.
Ensuring a Great Time
If you’re gearing up for a Bike Tour or group ride, remember to come prepared with proper clothing, food, water and safety gear. Also, if you have any health issues, make sure to take precautions and pay attention to how you feel during the ride. This should help ensure that you can comfortably and safely complete your ride without missing out on any of Brooklyn’s best sights.
There are many words and terms that can used to describe New York City, such as exciting, unique, one-of-a-kind, and world-class. Yet to truly capture the essence of what NYC is all about, there really is only one term that works: melting pot. Remember that America is nation built by immigrants, and at some point, all of them were channeled through New York City harbor. Thus, you’ll find a mixture of cultures and ethnicities here that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. The best part? The city fully embraces its cultural diversity. Nowhere else is this on more abundant display than at the annual international festival at the Museum at Eldridge Street.
The Museum at Eldridge Street’s Annual Block Party
New York’s Lower East Side has always been a hodge-podge of different cultures and backgrounds. Fifteen years ago, organizers decided it was time to celebrate the cultural influences found within the area. Originally started as an event to commemorate Jewish and Chinese art, the festival has grown to include theatrical performances, live music, arts and crafts displays, and of course, cultural food and beverage offerings from the Hispanic, Hebrew, and Chinese communities.
Every June, over 8,500 people converge on the museum to participate in what has become a unique blend of both block party and artistic experience. Visitors both young and old will find plenty to do here, from listening to Peking opera performed side-by-side with salsa and bomba music, to learning how to play games like mah jongg. Those really wanting to immerse themselves in the cultural experience can even take classes in basic Mandarin, Spanish, and Yiddish.
Well-Attended and Well-Supported
Admission to the event is free, helping draw in the large crowds that routinely make the festival the museum’s most popular event of the year. Recognizing the important role that this event plays in building bridges between the area’s different cultural communities, local and state leaders, as well as several business and civic organizations have pitched in over the years to ensure that event organizers have the resources needed to make the festival a memorable one. This year’s even not only has the expressed support of both New York governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature, but also groups such as:
• NYC & Co. Foundation
• The New York City Council
• The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
• The New York State Council on the Arts
Want to take your family all over the world in day? New York makes that possible by cramming all that the world has to offer in just few city blocks. Attendance at the museum’s international festival is a must for both New York City residents and visitors to the Big Apple. Come see the richness of other cultures while also gaining a greater appreciation for your own.
Rome, Paris, London, Moscow, Sydney. Like these other world-class cities, everyone should experience New York City at least once in their lifetimes. Yet unlike these other destinations, The Big Apple offers a unique blend of fast-paced modern living, artistic influence, and old-world charm. You can easily spend a month here and still feel as though there’s so much more that you still haven’t experienced. Yet if you don’t have a month, the key is to get as comprehensive a view of the city as you can. That only comes from enjoying an exciting double decker bus tour.
Why Take a Bus Tour? Why Not!
Spend five minutes on New York City’s streets and you’re bound to see NYC Double-Decker Buses pass you by. On those buses are adventurers who, just like you, have come to the city to see what all of the fuss is about. Sure, you can try and brave the city’s infamous foot traffic to get to all of the sights that you want to see. Yet pretty soon you’ll see why New Yorkers have earned the reputation of always being in a hurry; there’s just far too much to see and do here. Instead, get above the maddening crowd by hopping on the bus to see all of the sights and sounds the city is known for.
An All Around Town Tour will cover everything in the city, from Uptown to Downtown and even the Bronx. The bus tour is designed to capture all of New York’s must-see destinations, including:
• Madison Square Garden
• Central Park
• The Lincoln Center
• Time Warner Center
• Carnegie Hall
• The Metropolitan Museum of Art
You’ll also pass through some the city’s more infamous communities, including Harlem and Hell’s Kitchen. The best part of it all is, if you see a place you want to stop at, just hop off the bus and talk a walk around. Once you’re done, come back to any of the marked bus stops. Tours make regularly scheduled stops every 25-30 minutes.
Taking You to Where You Want to Go
Once you’ve taken your tour and gotten the overview of the city, come back to take specialty routes to some of NYC’s most famous attractions, including the Empire State Building, the Top of the Rock Observatory, and Madame Tussauds famous Wax Museum.
Don’t run the risk of ending your NYC vacation feeling as though you missed out on all that the city has to offer. With an All Around Town Bus Tour, you and your family will get to see every aspect of The City That Never Sleeps and find out why so many are drawn to this truly magical place. New York City is calling to you; are you ready to answer?