CITYSIGHTS NY BLOG
I remember back in 1988-1989, my late night excursions with friends into club land would take us deep into an area filled with warehouses, dark alleyways and cobbled stoned streets. You could hear the music pounding through large garage/factory doors with no signs of a legit establishment, but inside was another world filled with music, dancers and nightlife! This area is known as Tribeca.
Tribeca was a haven for short run parties and clubs; one of which closed in recent years known as vinyl. Vinyl held the best house parties in its 15 yr or so span like Shelter, body & Soul, NASA and many more. Unfortunately. like the rest of Tribeca, all these warehouses were converted into condo lofts. Goodbyeeeeee New York Night life!!! :(
Tribeca still reflects much of old New York. You can see many of these old warehouses fully restored along side cobble stone streets. In the 60's and 70's just like Soho, it was home to striving and hungry artists due to the cheap rents in abandoned lofts and seclusion of lower Manhattan.
Now Tribeca has flourished with many new businesses though there are still lots of commercial spaces available. Even though its a highly residential area now, its still a trek to the nearest public transportation like subways; which means not too much street traffic just below Canal street. Tribeca is home to lots of great restaurants like Nobu for all the sushi lovers and many others. A nice hotel to stay at in the area is the Tribeca Grand which holds a great restaurant and bar with DJ's. But for me, the best Tribeca has to offer are the many loft buildings built in the late 19th century. You can still catch a few loft buildings which haven't been touched in ages and still embody the grand splendor of the 1960s and 70s when artists used to occupy them..old and rusty...I love'em :) I always like to walk my dog around Tribeca and just look at the buildings.
For all the movie buffs, the Tribeca Film festival is currently happening, a yearly event since the 2002. This festival was started by none other than Robert Deniro who is a local resident and the purpose was to bring back vitality to the neighborhood after the 9/11 attacks. The festival is gaining in popularity year after year and is now an attraction for tourists and the local yokels.
So hop on the Downtown Tour bus, and hop off stop # 12 and walk west! Just get lost and wonder around Tribeca's many cobbled stoned streets and views of beautiful loft buildings and warehouses.
One of the latest neighborhoods to undergo transformations within the retail, fashion boom (and condo homes) is Nolita, short for North of Little Italy. In the mid 90s, fashion designers headed to this area and boutiques sprang all over the place. Most of the boutiques are cute and small but high turnover is common in this area. One minute a new boutique pops up, then 6 months later it closes and a new one moves in.
High commercial rents make it almost impossible for small businesses to strive and profit. Let's not even speak of rental apts, they are sky rocketing, though in the current "recession", a drop down in rents has been taking place throughout the city. New condos are under construction as well. The building on the corner of Spring & Mott has a penthouse for $19million (thats right NINETEEN MILLION, pictured here before renovation). It's a beautiful 19th century building under recent renovation to make way for the people with deep pockets.
If you love pizza as I do, then you must stop by Rays Pizzeria, located on Prince street between Elizabeth and Mott. It's the O.G. (original) Rays pizzeria, and they've been there since the 1959.
Other great restaurants include my favorites Cafe Habana, for Cuban food, Mediterranean cuisine from Cafe Gitane and Mexican from La Esquina.
A popular attraction is Old St. Patrick's Church. Construction for the church began in 1809 and the current church stands since 1879! The wall surrounding the church is a sight; brick wall that actually leans it's so old and the gate doors located on Mulberry street are the originals and worthy of pictures. On Saturdays and Sundays and on warm days, you will catch vendors along this wall selling fine pieces of jewelry, art, clothing and more.
Just 1 block east of Elizabeth & Prince street is the Bowery. The newly constructed NEW MUSEUM (http://www.newmuseum.org/) opened this past December 2007. Odd boxed shaped building with unique art and worthy of a quick visit.
Nearby on Mulberry Street was the Ravenite Social Club. The hang out spot for John Gotti and friends. It's now a shoe store but I believe it still has the original floors. We won't dabble into Italian heritage though ;)
So if you're visiting Soho, just walk east on Prince street and enjoy the boutiques, restaurants and more on the streets known as Mulberry, Mott, and Elizabeth. Take the downtown bus tour
stop # 11, and have fun!
If you're in the "village" on a beautiful summer's day, one cannot ignore a stroll through Washington Square park; one of New York City's best known parks. There you will catch the locals and tourists alike, sun bathing and enjoying the park's fountain area. Dog's and owners share the fun with spectators at one of the many dog runs within the Park. I myself bring my pooch for a nice walk and enjoy the sounds of local musicians while relaxing on one of the many benches.
The park is surrounded by the NYU campus, thus making it a popular local haven for students and even teachers alike. In fact, the university rents the park for its graduation ceremonies and uses the Arch as its symbol.
The park dates back to 1826, and the arch was constructed as a dedication to our first president of the United States of America, George Washington. Washington Square has long been a hub for politics and culture in New York City. You can catch a demonstration or a rally there at any time. I remember attending one for marijuana back in 1992 :)
The local area is filled with stores, restaurants and shops for all to enjoy. So hop on the Downtown Tour Bus stop #10, and walk on over to enjoy this beautiful park!
One of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC has to be the East Village. It's many shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars make it a thriving area and cool place to hang with friends. Bargain and second hand shops are bountiful and the mix of artists, beatniks, locals and new comers makes the East Village quite exciting and vibrant.
The East village came about in the late 1950 to 60s. It developed as an area for artists and beatniks and formed itself as a neighborhood separate from the nearby Lower east side. The East Village also includes Alphabet city, known for its avenues A through D. Primarily a Latin neighborhood, Alphabet city has not changed much though recent condo buildings are going up constantly.
A Great place to visit is Tompkins Square Park; a cool place to lay on the grass in the shade from the hot summer days and enjoy the many sights and sounds of the locals. Cool doggie park too! The park is also home for many festivals, art shows and street fairs as well.
Speaking of sounds, lots of record shops in the east village like A-1, Good Records, Kims Video and many more for vinyl enthusiasts.
East Village is also known for its cheaper rents though they too are on the rise in this neighborhood. It's apartments have long been a haven for the incoming influx of NYU students and other schools in the area; thus making it a young and lively neighborhood.
And if you love sweets, the place to go is Veniero's which has been continuously owned & operated by the Veniero Family since 1894, in the same location! Yummy pastries and cakes, mmm yummy!, Google them up for the address!
Ahh the Lower East Side, one of the last but already gentrified, final frontiers of NYC. Long gone are the days of abandoned and burned down buildings and empty lots. One of the oldest neighborhoods of NYC (and very poor back then); today, it's a live and vibrant area where the locals mix with the newly arrived implants. Where chic boutiques mix with local bodegas (Spanish for deli's) and classy hotels like the Rivington, shares a street with 19th century tenement buildings.
Be sure to check the Tenement Museum on Orchard street. A building that hasn't been touched since the late 19th/early 20th century to conserve the feel of how they lived back then.
Another local attraction is Katz deli, on E. Houston. A Jewish delicatessen with great sandwiches and other tasty treats since 1888.
A great area to discover on a NYC Downtown tour provided by Citysightsny. Who knows, you may even catch me walking my dog. :)
The South street seaport in the downtown Manhattan area is considered a historic district. It has one of the oldest architecture in NYC dating back to the 19th century. Once a fish market, it was surrounded by mercantile buildings and fishing ships; the area now is a major tourist attraction full of shopping stores, restaurants and a beautiful mall.
The area is well know for its festivities outside as well; artists, performances and shows are constant in the summer time and through out the year.
The streets, adorned by cobble stones and tall 19th century lighting posts are a warm welcome to all tourists and New Yorkers alike. Be sure to visit the South Street Seaport museum and, if you're in town during the summer, dance music parties are held outside with big DJ's. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes when you ride on one of NYC Bus tours provided by Citysightsny
Enjoy the beautiful port that NYC has to offer!
Even if you're not on a shopping spree when visiting New York City, a place you must visit is the Soho district of Manhattan.Soho's cast iron buildings, exemplify magnificent architecture not seen in any other part of the city (except Chelsea, Noho and Tribeca). These buildings also known as "Loft Buildings" were constructed in the late 1800's and were mainly used as factories. In the 60's and 70s, artists moved in for the cheap rents and in the 70's and 80s', Soho became a dangerous place at night. It was known as an old wild west to some. Crackheads roamed and squatted from roof top to roof top, also known as roofhopping. Lots of break ins through the skylights occured. There were hardly any stores and Soho was not a shopping district back then like it is today. You didn't want to venuture out on th streets of Soho like Crosby street when the night set in. Speaking of Crosby and the surrounding streets, many of them still have the cobble stones from the late 19th century.During the late 80s, 90s and onward, in came gentrification and transplants. Cheap rents vanished as did the artists; the converted lofts are now homes well worth millions of $$$. Imagine owning a whole floor or even half a floor in a building, with 12 to 16ft high ceilings, wooden floors and huge windows.You can still spot a couple of buildings in Soho yet to be renovated. They look worn down, paint chipping away at what once a beautiful cast iron building. The only reminder left of the old wild west.A great place to visit so hop on and off the citysightny Downtown bus tours and enjoy Soho!
A great place to visit and still a major attraction is the World trade center memorial site, also known as the Ground zero memorial.
Hop on and hop off on the downtown tour bus for some NYC sightseeing ! . Great photographic billboards of post 9/11 and and awesome view of the current site. Pay your respects to the lost lives of the innocent and brave people of 9/11.