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  • Carnegie Hall - The History Of New York City's Grand Stage


    As the old joke goes, a guy stops a stranger in the streets of Manhattan and asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” and the stranger says, “Practice.” And indeed those who’ve graced the Hall’s stage since 1891 have numbered among the most elite orchestras, conductors, and performers in the world. Composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky himself featured as guest conductor at the Hall’s inaugural performance in May of 1891, and the list has gone on to include the finest classical, jazz, and rock performers—from legendary tenor Enrico Caruso and conductor Arturo Toscanini, to swing great Benny Goodman, and from Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald to the Beatles.

    The history of Carnegie Hall begins in the 1880s, when industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie financed the design and construction of what was then simply called the “Music Hall.” In 1890 construction began at the site, located at 7th Avenue and 57th Street in midtown Manhattan, and a year later the structure was complete. It remains one of the last New York City buildings to be constructed of masonry alone, entirely without the use of steel. The Carnegie family retained ownership of the Hall, until 1925, when it was sold to developer Robert Simon. Simon’s son, Robert Jr. inherited the property upon his father’s death and continued its management through the 1950s. The move of the New York Philharmonic to Lincoln Center nearly spelled doom for the Hall, which was actually slated for demolition. Fortunately a group of concerned artists led by violinist Isaac Stern, offered an alternative. They suggested that the city purchase the building from Simon, and that it be managed by a nonprofit corporation. The city agreed, and Carnegie Hall was spared the wrecking ball.

    Carnegie Hall is actually three venues—the Main Hall (now the Isaac Stern Auditorium), Zankel Hall, and the Weill Recital Hall. Of the three, the Main Hall is the most majestic, featuring five levels and a daunting 137-stair climb to the first balcony. The auditorium seats over 2800 people and was, until 1962, the home of the New York Philharmonic (which relocated to Lincoln Center). Zankel Hall (originally the Recital Hall, and later the Carnegie Lyceum) seats 600 and between 1961 and 1997 served as a movie theater featuring art films. The fully renovated Zankel Hall opened in 2003. The smallest of the three venues is the Weill Recital Hall (originally the Chamber Music Hall) seats 268 for more intimate performances. The building has seen several structural renovations, the first in 1986 and the second in 1991, and the third in 2003. The second of these included creation of the Rose Room, the East Room, and the Club Room.

    Today Carnegie Hall’s three venues continue to feature the top performers in all areas of the arts, from classical and rock music, to poetry performances and lectures. If you plan to visit Carnegie Hall, check their online calendar for upcoming events and be sure to book your tickets well in advance.

  • Get Quirky At The 2015 Film Comment Selects


    During the two week-long Film Comment Selects festival, you can explore more than 20 rare and underrated films chosen by the Film Society of New York City! Each year the festival offers up an intriguing and often mind-blowing array of films that range from the exotic to the unclassifiable, from the rarely seen to the underrated. This year’s lineup is sure to impress, and kicks off with Mark Hartley’s Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films—a dizzying tell-all that reveals the exploits of 1980s producers Menahem Golam and Yoram Globus. Three Golan & Globus films follow, including 10 to Midnight, The Last American Virgin, and Ninja III: The Dominion. The Festival also features six films by Danish director Nils Malmros, known for his intensely personal and often heart-wrenching autobiographical films. Other highlights include Belluscone: A Sicilian Story (Franco Maresco, Italy), Bypass (Duane Hopkins, UK), High Society (Julie Lopes Curval, France), and Tales (Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Iran).

    Here are just a few highlights from the 2015 Film Comment Selects schedule:

    Electric Boogaloo / Director: Mark Hartley (USA) / 2014
    Back in the 1980s, producers Menahem Gollan and Yoram Globus earned themselves a unique (if less than lauded) place in cinema history. Their company Cannon Films shocked the Hollywood community with a series of
    shoestring-budget schlock productions interspersed with a peppering of inadvertently tasteful films. Documentarian filmmaker Mark Hartley takes you back to that often-bizarre era with celebrity anecdotes and a selection of clips from the Cannon Films library of hits (and misses). From Death Wish 4 (with Charles Bronson as man of middle-class vengeance Paul Kersey) to Barfly (with Mickey Rourke as alcoholic poet Charles Bukowski), the Cannon film catalog stretches from the lurid to the artful, and director Hartley makes sure you don’t miss a bit of the wild ride.

    Belluscone: A Sicilian Story / Director: Franco Maresco (Italy) / 2014
    Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi is one of those larger-than-life figures whose story encompasses wealth, power, and lurid excess the likes of which one usually must rely upon fiction to deliver. The extremes of Berlusconi’s tabloid-splashed life and career present more than enough material for gonzo satirist Franco Maresco to explore. Focusing on the former Prime Minister’s Mafia connections, Maresco takes a sort of “Man Bites Dog” view as a well-known film critic investigates an “abandoned” film project, which turns out to be the very film that’s on screen, with filmmaker Maresco speaking of it in the third person. The subsequent “mockumentary” is a wild ride, blending actual film footage with that created by Maresco.

    Fires on the Plain / Director: Shinya Tsukamoto / 2014
    This disturbing reimagining of the Ichikawa’s antiwar classic is practically a one-person show, with Shinya Tsukamoto as producer, writer, director, photographer, art director, and editor. Tsukamoto also plays the film’s protagonist, a private who wanders the battlefield, is separated from his unit, and becomes immersed in war’s obscene brutality through a series of grim adventures. The film is an unflinching examination of war and a work of art in the highest traditions of cinema.

    Film Comments Selects
    February 20 – March 5, 2015
    Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center
    144 W. 65th Street, Manhattan

  • February's New York Film Festivals You Must See


    The weather may be cold and blustery but there’s still plenty to keep you entertained while you’re in New York City. This month features several exciting New York film festivals to inspire, challenge, and delight movie buffs of all ages! Here’s your quick guide to the New York film festivals coming up all over the city.

    New York International Children’s Film Festival
    February 5—March 22
    Various Locations

    For the past 18 years, the New York International Children's Film Festival has showcased
    the world’s best in films for young audiences. Highlighting the most engaging and interesting films in the genre, the Festival celebrates the full range of children’s cinema—from obscure short films to Hollywood global releases, from comedy to drama, from live action to animation. The ideal family event, the Festival offers you and your kids the chance to discover together the magic of movies together. This year’s festival features the latest films from Studio Ghibli, Nick Park, and many more of the industry’s finest all-ages storytellers. A complete list of films and venues, as well as ticket sales, can be found at

    Film Comment Selects: Unusual Film Festival
    February 20 – March 5, 2015
    Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center
    144 W. 65th Street, Manhattan

    Explore more than 20 rare and underrated films as chosen by the Film Society. Each year this New York film festival offers up an intriguing and often mind-blowing array of films that range from the exotic to the utterly unclassifiable. This year’s line-up is sure to impress, and kicks off with Mark Hartley’s Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films—a dizzying tell-all that reveals the exploits of 1980s producers Menahem Golam and Yoram Globus. Three Golan & Globus films follow, including 10 to Midnight, The Last American Virgin, and Ninja III: The Dominion. The Festival also features six films by Danish director Nils Malmros, known for his intensely personal and often heart-wrenching autobiographical films. Other highlights include Belluscone: A Sicilian Story (Franco Maresco, Italy), Bypass (Duane Hopkins, UK), The Golden Era (Ann Hui, Hong Kong), High Society (Julie Lopes Curval, France), Tales (Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Iran), as well as two Japanese films, The World of Kanako and Fires on the Plain. Plus, this NYC film festival also includes an extended screening of Gremlins!

    NYU Fusion Film Festival
    February 26–28, 2015
    Tisch School of the Arts

    Presented annually by the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, the NYU Fusion Film Festival celebrates women in film, TV, and new media. Each year’s competition among young women filmmakers highlights the finest in the audio-visual arts. Each film in the Festival is directed or shot by a woman and provides a chance for these emerging artists to show off their works ad build their careers. The Festival also reflects the changing character of the film industry—a field once almost exclusively the realm of male directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, and photo- and videographers. The Festival’s 13 categories include “Docs-in-the-Works,” in which filmmakers share documentaries in progress and receive advice and critiques from leaders in the field. This unique approach allows young filmmakers to be mentored by established artists and to craft their work based on the tips and advice they receive. Prizes include scriptwriting software, photographic equipment, video- and photo-editing software, and more! Along with the screenings, the Festival includes panel discussions, master classes, retrospectives, and student showcases.

    When will you be experiencing New York theatre? Book your NYC getaway now to fit these great events into your schedule!

  • Experience The Wonder Of The World's Most Skilled Acrobats At Cirque Ziva


    Cirque Ziva runs through January 4, 2015
    New Victory Theater
    229 West 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)

    Start the New Year with some excitement! The Golden Dragon Acrobats have delighted American audiences for over 30 years, since founder Danny Chang brought them to the US from China. Their newest show, Cirque Zíva, originally played at the Asbury Park Boardwalk's Paramount Theatre in 2011 and was the first summer run at the venue in its more than 80-year history.

    The Golden Dragon Acrobats maintain a rigorous and demanding travel schedule of over 200 performances per year, visiting all 50 states and over 65 countries on five continents. And now, until January 4th, 2015, they’re in the Big Apple!

    A Bit of History

    To meet the new market demand from US presenters, producer Danny Chang restructured the Golden Dragon Acrobats in 1998 to form Asian Artists Productions, Inc. or AAPI. While the new company continued to produce and tour the Golden Dragon Acrobats, AAIP expanded to create theatrically elaborate, resident-shows like Circo Magnifico, Dream, Pagoda, Cirque D’or and others, each for a specific US market.

    "Cirque Zíva" is newest touring group from AAIP. The large cast and spectacular set designs illustrate the best of Chang's brand of artistic merit, high production value, and solid commitment to cultural exchange.

    Praise for the Golden Dragon Acrobats

    The troupe's 2005 New York debut at The New Victory Theater earned them two Drama Desk nominations (Angela Chang for Best Choreography and Danny Chang for Most Unique Theatrical Experience). Danny Chang, the group's founder, producer and artistic director, is one of the world's leading promoters of Chinese acrobatics and has received the prestigious Medal for International Faith and Goodwill by the Republic of China's Coordination Council for North American Affairs.

    About the Current Show

    Zíva was created in 2011 for a 10-week engagement at Asbury Park Boardwalk’s Paramount Theatre, the first-ever summer run held at the venue in its more than 80-year history. An instant success in Asbury Park, earning critical acclaim and packed houses, the show burst onto the US performing arts circuit with a 55-city, 20-week premiere tour in 2013, and encore tour winter/spring 2014.

    The current run at Broadway's New Victory Theater from Dec. 1, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015 makes the Golden Dragon Acrobats the ONLY troupe of its kind from China to be chosen twice for this prestigious venue! Don’t miss your chance to be dazzled by the grace, skill, and strength of these phenomenal performers. For more great performances like this, check out the Big Apple Circus!

  • New York City Concert Events

    New York is constantly wrapped in music, its heart thumping with it, its limbs swaying to its strings. Here are just a few of the musical performances you can see in the city this weekend. From the Czech Philharmonic to Top 40 radio star Ryan Adams to Canadian punkers The New Pornographers, there’s something for everyone.


    November 15
    Damien Rice
    Apollo Theater

    253 West 125th Street, Manhattan
    Irish singer-songwriter and perpetual raw nerve Damien Rice has gotten a lot of traction over the last decade with his longing, emotionally bare balladry. His latest LP, My Favorite Faded Fantasy, delivers the kind of lovelorn, lyrically anguished tunes fans have come to expect. Get in on the catharsis at Rice's one-night-only gig at the legendary Apollo.

    November 15 & 17
    Ryan Adams
    and Butch Walker
    Carnegie Hall

    881 7th Avenue, Manhattan
    Restless, prolific troubadour Ryan Adams hits the city in support of his latest releases, Ryan Adams and 1984 (a full-length and an EP, respectively), both nods to the rock and punk he grew up with. Adams plays two sets of shows during this run: a pair of solo acoustic dates at Carnegie Hall, followed by a pair of full-band gigs at Hammerstein. Expect to hear his intimate, heartbreaking classics at the former, and his noisier new tunes at the latter.

    November 16
    The Czech Philharmonic
    Carnegie Hall

    881 7th Avenue, Manhattan
    “… Unbounded lyricism and Czech melancholy emerged with the authenticity that only this orchestra can bring,” said The Guardian of the Czech Philharmonic. Conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek, the orchestra performs treasures from its homeland by Janáček and Dvořák. Also on the program, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet ignites fireworks in Liszt’s dazzling Piano Concerto No. 2.

    November 16
    Beacon Theater

    2124 Broadway, Manhattan
    Leeds, England–based quartet alt-J traffics in a distinct sound, combining clever songwriting and colorful, jazzy instrumentation with world beats and skittering drops for a quirky brand of alt pop. The band's Mercury Prize-winning debut, An Awesome Wave, made a big splash in 2012, and now alt-J's back with sophomore effort This is All Yours.

    November 17
    The New Pornographers
    with The Pains of being Pure at Heart
    Hammerstein Ballroom

    311 West 34th Street, Manhattan
    Beloved Canadian crew the New Pornographers (which launched the careers of A.C. Newman, Neko Case and Destroyer's Dan Bejar) is back with Brill Bruisers, its latest set of shamelessly grandiose, irresistibly hooky pop. Peppy Brooklyn jangle-pop faves the Pains of Being Pure at Heart set the stage.

  • Let’s get to know the Neighborhoods of Queens

    On the most eastern edge of New York City lies the largest borough, Queens. You might be surprised to know that Queens is named after an actual Queen – Catherine of Braganza, Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1683. Queens today is nearly half foreign born NYC residents, and is home to two of New York City’s airports, La Guardia and JFK. Featuring a wide array of housing including row houses, high rises, and large single family homes, you’ll find 2.3 million people live in this borough. Let’s get to know the neighborhood of Queens.


    • Astoria

    Named for the millionaire John Jacob Aster, this area of northwestern Queens is incredibly diverse. Just a short subway ride from Times Square, you’ll find excellent dining, shopping, and the most vibrant Greek community in the city. Here is where the Museum of the Moving Image, the Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Noguchi Museum live.

    • Corona

    This unique neighborhood has long been a cultural mecca, and was home to Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and others – and is where Louis Comfort Tiffany made his famous glass. Flushing Meadows-Corona park offers paddle boats, swimming, and ice skating and more. A funky and diverse neighborhood you don’t want to miss.

    • Flushing

    Want to visit the real Chinatown of New York City? Then hop on the subway and head to Flushing, where the Asian population has soared in recent years (over two thirds of those living in Flushing are foreign born, most from Asia). This is where you’ll find the very best authentic Asian cuisine, great Asian shops, and even popular sports facilities such as Citi Field. Be sure to visit Flushing Town Hall for some great concerts, too.

    • Forest Hills

    One of the prettiest neighborhoods in NYC is Forest Hills, a lovely area that feels much farther from Times Square than a mere nine miles. Here is where Peter Parker fictionally grew up (only to become Spiderman, of course) and where Simon and Garfunkel began making music together. Be sure to visit the World’s Fair grounds and catch a show at the West Side Tennis Club.

    • Jackson Heights

    You’ll find ethnic diversity in Jackson Heights along with a delicious variety of foods to go with it as well as the heart of the Queens gay community. With much of the area designated as historic, you’ll enjoy the architectural treasures you’ll see here. Be sure to visit the Roosevelt Avenue Street Food corridor.

    • Jamaica Bay & Rockaway Beach

    Did you know you can go camping, hiking, and bird watching in New York City? You can in Jamaica Bay and Rockaway Beach. A shore town within the city boundaries, this area is full of unique outdoor sports and green space. Hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, visiting this area can help it recover. Be sure to go.

    • Long Island City

    Once home to manufacturing and factories, today Long Island City is an exciting art scene. The industrial spaces are perfect gallery spaces, and a growing group of restaurants and hotels are making this a great New York City destination. If you’re traveling with kids that skateboard, don’t miss Gantry Plaza.

    • Sunnyside

    A middle-class neighborhood that lives up to its name, you’ll find tree lined streets and popular pubs and mom-and-pop stores featuring all kinds of wares. Here you’ll find immigrants from Romania, Greece, Turkey, and South Korea and more giving this neighborhood a real international feel. Be sure to visit the Thalia Spanish Theatre and the historic Calvary Cemetery.

  • Yum! Some Of The Best Food In The World Is In Brooklyn

    Brooklyn is more than just a borough – it’s a neighborhood filled with diverse people and culture as well as beautiful scenery and architecture. You do not want to miss a visit to Brooklyn while visiting New York City.

    One of the best ways to take a bite out of this part of the Big Apple, so to speak, is with a food tour of Brooklyn. Immigrants who moved to the borough from Manhattan’s lower east side brought with them rich culinary traditions and Brooklyn is simply bursting with delicious options.

    Starting from Williamsburg, where two different groups live – orthodox religious families as well as a newer influx of hipsters – you can sample the best knishes in town at Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, enjoy matzoh ball soup at Katz's Deli, and try a perfect bagel from Russ & Daughters in business since 1914.


    Then you can move on to trying some delicious Southern-themed restaurants such as Briskettown, Fette Sau, or The Brooklyn Star. Prefer pizza? Motorino takes the famous pizza of New York City (seriously, it’s the best in the country) a step further with gourmet offerings that will make your tastebuds sizzle.

    Then it will be time to move over to Greenpoint, in the northern tip of Brooklyn, where many Polish immigrants settled on farm lands. With the largest Polish-American community in the nation, you will find Greenpoint charming – and, if you’re a fan of HBO’s Girls, familiar. In Greenpoint you’ll find many family restaurants with the best pierogies and kielbasa you’ve ever tasted.

    Be sure to also visit DUMBO - nope, not a neighborhood for the intellectually challenged, but named geographically for “Down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” This neighborhood has been popular with artists since the 1970s, and is home to many culinary delights including Chef Jacques Torres’ chocolate factory as well as restaurants of all descriptions along Fulton Landing.


    You’ll want to end your day in Sunset Park, which offers great views thanks to being the highest point in Brooklyn. Sunset Park is incredibly ethnically diverse with a massive hispanic population – don’t miss the great Cuban sandwiches at La Fe, but in recent years a Brooklyn-based Chinatown has also developed, offering you the perfect symmetry of East meets West foods. If a cuban sandwich isn’t to your taste, you won’t want to miss the Vietnamese sandwiches at Ba Xuyan (but hurry, they close at 6:30). If you’d like to picnic in the park, be sure to pick up takeout at Super Pollo Latino for the most amazing rotisserie chicken you’ve ever tasted.

    As you can see, Brooklyn is an amazing borough to visit. Happily, most of Brooklyn is ideal for long walks so you can burn off those calories between meals. It might be tempting to stay in Manhattan while in the city, but you won’t want to miss Brooklyn’s amazing culture – and delicious food!

  • Grotta Azzurra Lunch Menu

    Grotta Azzurra Lunch Menu

  • World Yacht Menu


    Panzanella Salad
    Hudson Valley Apples, Roasted Cauliflower, Baby Tomatoes ,
    Herb Croutons Radicchio, Baby Arugula, Pomegranate Vinaigrette

    Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
    Herbs, Cognac, Cream & Vegetable Broth

    Maryland Lump Crab Cake
    Sweet Corn & Wilted Spinach, Lobster Sauce


    Seared Atlantic Salmon
    Tumbleweed Sweet Potatoes, Blended Wild Rice Pilaf, Blood Orange Emulsion

    Braised Beef Short Rib
    Elephant Garlic Whipped Purée, Cabernet Braising Jus

    Lemon Thyme Scented Free Range Breast of Chicken
    Asparagus, Baby Carrots, Basil Whipped Purée, Forest Mushroom Sauce

    Pappardelle Ala Vodka
    with Spinach Charred Cauliflower


    Tiramisu with Coffee Anglaise

    Passion Fruit Cheesecake
    Caramel Fondue & Chantilly Cream

  • Downtown Tour

    The three most visited sites in New York City are all located in the area referred to in local terms as “downtown”.

    That world famous trio includes the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the site of the World Trade Center – “Ground Zero” where the city and the nation’s heart was broken on September 11, 2001. Your City Sights hop-on/hop-off double decker tour bus has stops offering convenient access to these must see locations and attractions


    Narrated by licensed New York City tour guides passengers will hear about the neighborhoods, sites and attractions made famous in song, story, film and television. Hop off and explore the legendary artists and writers’ quarter, Greenwich Village or have authentic Italian or Chinese cuisine in Little Italy or Chinatown or see the neighborhood that was the first home to wave after wave of immigrants making this diverse city truly the World’s Capitol.


    View the most famous neighborhoods, attractions and places of interest: Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Macy's, Empire State Building, SoHo, Chinatown, Little Italy, Site of the World Trade Center, Wall Street, Financial District, Battery Park South Street Seaport, Lower East Side, United Nations, Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Hall, Broadway Theatre District and much more.

    Downtown Tour Now Offered in 11 Languages!

    Now, CitySights NY is giving you even more flexibility in enjoying our tours by offering multilingual audio tracks in 11 different languages on all of our popular hop on/hop off bus tours. You can experience the journey in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian and Hebrew.


    Best Manhattan Tour