CITYSIGHTS NY BLOG

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NYC Neighborhoods

  • Experiencing Brooklyn in October: Halloween and More

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    Brooklyn is a wonderfully unique and exciting area in the fall. Due to the rich cultural heritage that many of the residents celebrate, the autumn months are often packed full of exciting festivals and other events. For many people, it is the most exciting, lively time of the year and they would never dream of missing the various celebrations. Just imagine Brooklyn in October: Halloween, harvest festivals, Columbus Day 7 autumn. If you are in the Brooklyn area this fall, you should seriously consider taking part in one or more of the following activities:
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  • Brooklyn Street Fairs Connect Communities and Neighborhoods

    brooklyn-street-fair

    A street fair celebrates the character of a neighborhood, and no community does it better than Brooklyn! As the name suggests, a Brooklyn street fair is usually held on the main street of the neighborhood. With many vendors, you can find good food, unique merchandise, live music, parades and even dance demonstrations. Depending on what time of year it is, you can spend nearly every weekend exploring street fairs in various neighborhoods and enjoying live music, local color and unique, eclectic food.
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  • Staying Safe in NYC

    staying-safe-in-nyc

    You’ve probably already been told by numerous people that your life will not be complete without a trip to New York City. Guess what? They’re right! New York is truly a magical destination, and seeing its images in movies or on television doesn’t quite do it justice. Forget Paris; an NYC sightseeing trip is definitely something that you need to do in your lifetime.
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  • Celebrate Brooklyn: A Free and Fun Festival

    bric-brooklyn-festival

    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.

  • Get a Taste of NYC Culture at the Lower East Side Festival

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    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!

    Festival Details

    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
    • Wassail
    • 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.

    Interactive Activities

    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.

  • Please Your Palate With A Taste Of The Lower East Side!

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    Attention Foodies! If you’ve ever dreamt of sampling some of the finest and most diverse flavors New York City has to offer, and helping a worthwhile cause in the process, you’re in luck. On April 15, 2015, Grand St. Settlement sponsors the 15th Annual Taste of the Lower East Side—a gourmet event that brings together over 50 of the Lower East Side’s most exciting restaurants for a premier tasting event to delight the palate!

    The Lower East Side of Manhattan has an established reputation as a food Mecca for both native New Yorkers and visitors. Mobile eateries and innovative kitchens have replaced the pushcarts and sidewalk vendors, but the spirit of the neighborhood remains a thriving inspiration. Taste of the Lower East Side is a celebration of flavor sure to bring everyone to the table, letting you sample some of the dishes that have made the Lower East Side a foodie’s paradise, while supporting Grand St. Settlement, an advocacy organization seeking to provide everyone, regardless of income, with access to the nutritious food needed to promote health and sustain life.

    For 100 years, Grand St. Settlement has assisted the Lower East Side community by providing families with the skills and resources needed to improve their lives and their futures. In the multicultural setting of the Lower East Side it’s only natural to bring together a broad array of dishes reflective of the various ethnicities represented in the area.

    The list of participating restaurants is essentially a who's who of food in the Lower East Side. This year’s restaurants offer a spectacular variety of fusions and flavors sure to tickle your tastebuds. Here are just a few of the fine establishments offering their wares for the tasting…Black Tree, Cata, The Comfort, DBGB, Fung Tu, GG’s, Kuma inn, Louie & Chan, Mezetto, Pies ‘n’ Thighs, Prohibition Bakery, Sauce, The Wren, and MANY MORE!

    So bring your appetite, and enjoy the many flavors of one of New York’s oldest and most diverse neighborhoods!

    If you go:
    Metropolitan Pavilion
    125 East 18th Street, Manhattan
    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    6–7pm Tasting Preview ($300)
    7–10pm General Admission ($195)

  • Visiting the East Village

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    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!

    Shopping

    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.

    Dining

    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.

    Hotels

    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.

    Drinks

    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.

    Nightlife

    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.

  • 5 Best Places to Eat in Chinatown

    In 1850, New York City’s Chinatown started as a tiny enclave in downtown Manhattan. Once Chinese immigration quotas were raised, however, the neighborhood grew to bursting and now houses over 100,000 people and is one of the oldest ethnic Chinese communities outside of Asia.

    While Chinatown is filled with everything from shops to grocery stores to bars, it’s the restaurants that draw in the most visitors. If you’re visiting New York City, you definitely want to visit these fabulous Chinatown eateries.

    1. Wo Hop, 17 Mott St

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    In order to make Chinese food more palatable to Americans, dishes such as Chop Suey and Sweet and Sour Pork were invented. Wo Hop opened in 1938 and still offers these traditional dishes in its basement location. Open late every day – until 7 AM – this popular spot is one of Chinatown’s few late night spots to grab a bite after spending the night enjoying the nearby nightclubs.

    2. Peking Duck House, 28 Mott St

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    If you want the signature dish at the Peking Duck House – and trust us, you do – you’ll need to order the “three way” which will culminate in your server bringing the duck to your table moments before a chef whips up some knife magic and cuts into the deliciousness. Served with lovely thin pancakes and plum sauce and scallions, peking duck is a delicious treat. Whatever you order at the Duck House, it’s certainly one of the best restaurants in Chinatown.

    3. Tasty Dumpling, 54 Mulberry St

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    If you want a treat that won’t break the bank, you do not want to miss the fried dumplings at Tasty Dumpling. This tiny store front counter – no servers here – creates both the filling and the dumpling dough on site. For a mere $1.25 you’ll get five dumplings! Perfect for an appetizer before sitting down in another Chinatown restaurant.

    4. New York Noodle Town, 28 Bowery St

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    If you like noodles – and, honestly, who doesn’t – you must visit this iconic Chinatown eatery. Whether you like them pan fried or served in a broth, you’ll find many delicious varieties here. A particular favorite is the flowering chives sauteed with duck, pork, or seafood (but if you want the suckling pig, know it tends to run out by 8 PM most nights).

    5. Nom Wah Tea Parlor, 13 Doyers St

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    This gem was Chinatown’s first dim sum parlor, opening in 1920. After many ups and downs, the restaurant was revamped in 2010 into the delight it is today. Unlike most dim sum restaurants, each plate is made to order, so everything tastes far fresher than other dim sum joints. Be sure to try the shrimp rice noodle rolls.

    While these are definitely our favorites, the best restaurants in Chinatown are constantly up for debate. Visit the neighborhood and decide for yourself!

  • Discover A Taste Of New York's East Side: Cuisine From Little Italy To Yorkville

    Lower East Side
    New York City has long been known as a magnet for immigration and enterprise. Perhaps no single neighborhood typifies these two concepts better than the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where mom-and-pop markets and eateries have thrived for decades in an environment rich in cultural diversity. From spicy pickles and single-origin coffees to fancy donuts and intensely flavored ice creams, Manhattan’s Lower East Side is a feat for the palate.

    When Italian, Irish, Chinese, and Jewish immigrants settled in the Lower East Side, they brought their traditional recipes and cuisine with them. Some of the purveyors have been in the neighborhood for decades, while others just recently opened—and the combination is nothing short of delicious.

    In these narrow streets, you’ll find a European-style indoor market, its aisles lined with butchers, cheesemongers, candymakers, fruit sellers, and chefs preparing lunches for local workers. You’ll wander down narrow streets lined with buckets of pickles and discover blocks where century-old businesses sit virtually unchanged alongside upscale new stores serving trendy, unique sweets. A combination of coffee, pickles, pizza and donuts may sound crazy, but there’s something magical about the combination.

    Upper East Side
    Manhattan’s Upper East Side has long been known for fine European cooking, particularly in Yorkville, where the German bakeries are famous. The area is also well known for its European-style sidewalk cafes and upscale restaurants.

    Now imagine starting your day with a light breakfast at the Upper East Side's premier gourmet market, where experienced chefs demonstrate their practiced techniques in the making of cheese, pastries and other delectable goodies. Next, explore an Upper East Side you never knew existed, with a visit to an old German bakery, a neighborhood fixture established nearly 80 years ago, when German immigrants favored the area. Taste the hand-made rye, pumpernickel and other signature breads of Central Europe baked in time-tested brick ovens.

    Next you’ll discover New York's only bookstore devoted solely to food and cuisine. The owner will be happy to guide you to the latest copy of The Joy of Cooking or a rare copy of a royal Ottoman cookbook. Then it's on to New York's most ingenious culinary-concept store, to sample some world-class wines.

    The tour ends with lunch—you'll have stories to tell after savoring the finest pastries at a very special patisserie, where the owner markets his sinfully sweet creations: the works of a master.

  • Visit The "Real" Little Italy...Arthur Avenue In The Bronx!

    Located in the Belmont section of the Bronx, Arthur Avenue was named after President Chester A. Arthur in the 19th century. Italians first settled here to help build the Bronx Zoo, and after the creation of the Third Avenue elevated train, which ran between the Bronx and downtown Manhattan, their presence in the neighborhood increased, with the population reaching close to 100,000 Italian residents by the early 1900s. Generations of Italian families have given the neighborhood a small-town character that is rarely found in the big city. The neighborhood is also the birthplace of many celebrities—including actor Chazz Palminteri, author Don DiLillo, and rock star Dion DiMucci, whose group, Dion and the Belmonts, is named after a local street (Belmont Avenue). Joe Pesci was discovered here while working as a maitre’d.

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    Today, Arthur Avenue continues to honor its Italian heritage, as the descendants of many original immigrant families have returned to own and manage business begun by their ancestors. The vast array of markets, butchers, pasta stores, and pastry shops is supported not only by long-time area residents but also their relatives and children from far and wide. It’s not uncommon for celebrities to be cited here, as they seek relief from the Manhattan publicity spotlight. Clint Eastwood, Liza Minelli, Cher, Joe Pesci, and Tony LoBianco have all come to sample the delicious food and authentic atmosphere of Arthur Avenue.

    Arthur Avenue Retail Market
    The Arthur Avenue Retail Market is a covered Italian bazaar that brings together under one roof a wide rage of vendors also found on nearby streets, from sausage makers to bread bakers, and from cafe’s to florists. In total, the market is home to nine restaurants, five pastry shops, four butchers, two pasta-makers, six bread stores, three pork stores, five gourmet delicatessens, two fish markets, three gourmet coffee shops, and one gourmet Italian wine shop—and that’s just the food! Gift and houseware shops abound too!

    Visitors find easy parking in a safe, secure environment where they can spend a whole Saturday shopping, eating and shopping again – often in connection with a visit to nearby Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo or the New York Botanical Garden.

    This special educational guided tour from Midtown Manhattan to the Bronx was designed with guests in mind. Take this opportunity to see another side of New York and experience a very culturally rich neighborhood during your stay.

    Don’t miss these popular spots!
    • Casa Della Mozzarella
    • Cosenza’s Fish Market
    • Biancardi’s Butcher Shop
    • Madonia Brothers Bakery
    • Cerini Coffee
    • Peter’s Meat Market

    If you go:
    Several guided tours cover the Arthur Avenue/ Belmont Neighborhood. Check online for dates, prices, and departure times.