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Drink Like a New Yorker: Glam It Up at The Campbell Bar in Grand Central Terminal October 20 2017

Campbell Grand Central Terminal

Just reopened last spring after extensive, yet authentic renovations, The Campbell is a part of New York history that is worth a visit.  The place feels expensive and when you are in it, you feel like a million dollars.  Heck, maybe a billion…

This iconic Art Deco New York bar, known as the Campbell Apartment is almost a secret.  People have enjoyed it for about a hundred years, and while it was originally for a select few, the word quickly spread and for a long time it was a quiet place to go and see and be seen.  Then it was still a cool place to go and hide out with a martini for a while, but it fell into disrepair and some of the luster had worn off. 

Campbell Grand Central Terminal

 It wasn’t long ago that the Gerber Group restored it to its original opulence that includes 25-foot high hand painting ceilings.

While the dress code isn’t as strict as it would have been in days gone by, especially not at nighttime, however, there is something magical about showing up to this secret gem in party clothes, and sipping on a classic cocktail or a new concoction from one of their mixologists in front of the huge, stone fire place as either a great beginning or end to a fabulous evening on the town.

Campbell Grand Central Terminal

 

The team at New York NightLife has many tours and parties available for every interest, but having a Manhattan or classic martini in this place situated within Grand Central Terminal is a cool way to begin or end a night exploring some of the best nightlife New York City has to offer. 

This club, er, bar was named after John W. Campbell, a financier who turned this space into a private work and party space in 1923.  Plenty of history abounds, but the young, yet professional staff and modern accouterments make it a worthwhile place for anyone who likes blending the old and the new.   

While this space is technically available from noon til 2AM, and lunchtime is popular, the after work and after midnight scene is what we are celebrating for now.  In addition to plenty of drink options, they do have a modern kitchen full of interesting snacks and small bites. 

The Campbell is located at Grand Central Terminal at 15 Vanderbilt Avenue (off 43rd Street), New York, NY 10017. You can find more information here

 Check it out.  


Things to do in New York: See 'The Band's Visit' on Broadway October 18 2017

The Band's Visit

 

A new musical opened up in previews on Oct. 7 on Broadway that is already the talk of the town.  The Band's Visit stars Tony Shaloub (of TVs popular Monk and Wings), Katrina Lenk (of TV's The Good Fight and Blacklist), Johnny Cariani (Tony nominee for Fiddler on the Roof) and Ari'el Satchel (Netflix hit Jessica Jones) and many more familiar faces of film, TV and theater. The music and lyrics are by David Yazbek, the book is by Itmar Moses, it is directed by David Cromer and it is choreographed by Patrick McCullom.  

The Band's Visit is a funny and touching show about an Egyptian Police Band, who after a mix-up at the border are sent to a remote village in the heart of the Israeli desert.  Their bus will not arrive until morning and they are surprised that there is not only no hotel in the area, but the friendly townspeople take them in and everyone's lives change because of this charming, unexpected adventure. 

Ben Brantley of the New York Times said of The Band's Visit that this“My favorite musical of the season by far.”

The show has already won Best Musical for NY Drama Critics' Circle Award, Best Musical for Outer Critics Circle Award (Off-Broadway), Best Musical for the Lucille Lortel Award and the Best Musical Obie Award.  

Not only is the story compelling, but also the music is exceptionally good. Bradley added, “The music takes on a transcendent harmonic shimmer
that stops the heart.”

 

 This musical is based on a 2007 Israeli film directed by Eran Kolirin.

The Band's Visit is playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre 243 W 47th Street and tickets may be purchased through Telecharge or other places online.  Ticket Prices range from $49-upwards of $175.  The show runs for 90 minutes--there is no intermission,
nor late seating for this show. 

Catch the next best thing on Broadway as soon as you can.  Shows are already sold out, so plan ahead. 

[Featured image The Band's Visit from Ahron R. Foster from official website.] 

 


Beat the Chill with the Best Hot Chocolate in New York City at Jacques Torres October 16 2017

Best Hot Chocolate in New York City

With the temperatures dropping, the popularity of hot beverages sky rockets.  Every coffee shop has a version of hot chocolate that may do in a pinch, but if you are in New York, you need to plan a destination trip to experience some of the best hot chocolate in the world by world famous chocolatier Jacques Torres

Jacques Torres is actually called “Mr. Chocolate” and is considered to be one of the world’s biggest authorities of chocolate.  In fact, he was the first artisan chocolatier to start from cocoa beans to make his own chocolate. This is one of the reasons why his hot chocolate is so much better than the other options out there.

There are two options that you can try depending on your flavor preference:  Classic and their signature Wicked Hot Chocolate.  The consistency of these decadent beverages is similar to hot liquid pudding.  With the addition of their fresh whipped cream, you have an experience that will not soon be forgotten.  This hot chocolate coats the tongue and just makes you feel so good.

Now the Classic hot chocolate is rich, chocolaty goodness.  It is sweet, but not cloyingly so, but they have something special for those with an adventurous palate: Wicked Hot Chocolate.

  

What is Wicked Hot Chocolate?  This proprietary blend of 60-70 percent dark chocolate is mixed with allspice, cinnamon, ground ancho chili peppers, and smoked, ground chipotle chili peppers for that perfect kick.

 While you are at the chocolate shop, you might want to indulge in one or more of their many confections.  The Jacques Torres truffles are especially popular.

 

If you fall in love with these items and don’t know how you will live without them, you are in luck as they sell mixes and chocolates that you can take with you. 

There are multiple locations for your chocolate drinking pleasure.  The flagship store, Jacques Torres Chocolate, is located in downtown New York City on 350 Hudson Street. Find the location nearest here.

[Featured and additional images from Mr. Chocolate, Jacques Torres]


Celebrate Thanksgiving in New York City, Even If You Have No Plans Yet October 13 2017

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a favorite American tradition.  This year it takes place on November 23.  It is a great blend of good food, family and friends and lots of fun for the whole family.  However, what happens if you will be in New York City over Thanksgiving, but don’t know anyone who can take you in or you are just not sure what you should do?  Well, there are plenty of options of activity and meal options that can make you part of this great holiday.  Also, since many people do not have to go to work on the following Friday, you can first enjoy an activity and/or relish a delicious meal and if you feel like getting your party on, you still can take part in one of the great offerings from New York NightLife.  Just be sure to make your plans as soon as possible as reservations fill up quickly.  Now is not too early to make your plans.  But first, we need to talk about the parade…

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Should you go or not?  Well, 3.5 million people fill the streets of New York to see this happening that has taken place since 1924 and features giant character balloon, thousands of dancers, cheerleaders, band members and is considered a worthwhile once-in-a-lifetime experience.  If you know you like parades, or you have kids who would love the spectacle of it, then be sure to go.  But, if you aren’t a big fan of these kinds of events, then you may opt out.  However, if you are lucky enough to have a friend who lives along the parade route and invites you over to watch from a balcony or you decide to splurge and get a Parade view room at a hotel along the route, then definitely go those routes.  If you decide to go, get up early, and plan to get your spot before 6AM, even though the Parade doesn’t start until 9AM.  Check the weather report, but wear lots of layers.  Bring water and snacks. 

Something worthwhile is watching the balloons getting inflated the night before from 3PM-10PM.  More than a dozen giant character balloons are filled up the neighborhood surrounding the Museum of Natural History between 77th and 81st Streets between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West.  Now this is something everyone should experience at least once. 

A Homestyle Thanksgiving

What happens if you want to enjoy a traditional American Thanksgiving in New York, but you don’t have family or friends in the area?  Well, there are so many people who have the more-the-merrier philosophy in regards to this holiday, so colleagues and acquaintances are often happy to invite more people, so keep your ears open for those kinds of invitations.

Orphan Thanksgiving

However, if you don’t want to wait for an invitation, but you know you want something that feels very homey, there are options. Meetup.com is a social connection site—no this isn’t a dating app (even though they do have some single events) you can look around for events on or around Thanksgiving to join. Many groups host Orphan Thanksgiving parties for people who for some reason don’t have somewhere they want to go to celebrate.  Check out the site, enter your zipcode and see if there is an event that suits your interests and needs.  Just know for these events, you often need to tell the group about yourself and why you want to take part in this activity. 

Thanksgiving Dinner Out

Some people like to avoid the hassle of cooking, so they choose to go out to eat.  Most fast food and some smaller restaurants do close for Thanksgiving so their employees can spend the time with their families, but that usually isn’t the case with diners and higher end restaurants.  So, depending on your budget and your interests, you can have a great Thanksgiving meal while at a NYC restaurant.  Diners typically do not take reservations, but most offer a so-so option of a traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and veggie side meal that will do in a pinch.  But, with some planning, you can make reservations at a high end spot and enjoy a multi-course meal that will still get you in a thankful mood. 

While many places offer a special Thanksgiving meal, not every meal involves turkey and such.  Restaurants featuring regional cuisine usually have options that go with their culinary point of view.

Here are a few suggestions of restaurants that offer exciting Thanksgiving dinner options,  Balthazar, Café Luxembourg, Gotham Bar and Grill, Maialino, Boulud Sud, Craft, Locande Verde, Morton’s, Eleven Madison Park, Union Square Café, The Breslin, Le Coq Rico, Bubby's and more. 

And, if you have a favorite restaurant, call them up and see if they are doing something special.

Planning for Black Friday deals

Black Friday Deals

One typical American tradition is to plan a shopping trip for Black Friday, the day after, and sometimes, landing on Thanksgiving itself.  Even though more people are opting to skip the crowds associated with going shopping to get some great deals on gift options by getting things online, getting up early (or heading out right after dinner) is something many people like to do.  If shopping is your thing, take a look at the circulars and ads online for your favorite stores and create a game plan. 

One more thing…Movies

As many people are off work and there are usually some popular films planned for release around Thanksgiving, be sure to plan ahead and get your tickets in advance. The entire weekend is usually packed and it is often worth the extra fees attached with getting tickets in advance to ensure that you will be able to see what you want to see when you want to see it. 

[Featured Image Destination 360]


Things to do in New York: Visit the Tenement Museum October 11 2017

Tenement Museum

 

Do you ever wonder what life was like for people about 150 years ago?  What about even more recently, say WWII era?  Well, many people do. And NYC has its own museum dedicated to the people who lived in the Lower East Side during many key moments in American History.  The building, 97 Orchard Street was built in 1863 and housed more than 7000 working class immigrants from many different cultures. What challenges did these people face?  What were their goals?  What did they spend their money on?  What did they do for fun? This unique, interactive experience that is the Tenement Museum  endeavors to answer those questions and more. 

This museum was created by people who wanted to show what life was really like for people in very different circumstances. Many cultures are represented including immigrants from Europe, Asia and the Americas during different periods of time.

This tour isn’t just looking at old apartments, it also involves a walking tour with a knowledgeable tour guide who can answer most questions.  There are many kinds of tours available that can serve a variety of interests. 

As this museum is meant to challenge the traditional notion of museums, it has a few quirks.   

  • Reservations are required.
  • Tours are only permitted via guided tour.
  • Large bags, backpacks, or luggage is not permitted inside 97 Orchard Street. Lockers are provided in the Visitors Center.
  • Photography is not permitted inside the museum. While water is allowed, no food, other beverages or gum is allowed in the museum.
  • Electronic devices are required to be turned off before embarking on the tour
  • Reservations are not available until after 1 PM as the morning is reserved for school children and students.
  • Some of the rooms are not air conditioned.

According to the Tenement Museum website, there are three ways to visit, but all require reservations.

Tour the building and visit the restored apartments and businesses of past residents and merchants from different time periods

Meet the residents (played by costumed interpreters) who lived at 97 Orchard Street

Walk the neighborhood and discover the Lower East Side and the way immigrants helped shaped the area and its culture.

Combine a building tour with a walking tour for a comprehensive museum experience.

 

Tickets generally cost $25 per person, with $5 off for seniors and students and can be purchased online here.

 People who love history will enjoy this thoughtful experience. 

[Images from TenementMuseum.org]

 


Eat Like a New Yorker: Get Your Cheese Fix at Murray's Cheese Shop October 09 2017

8Murray's Cheese Valentine's Day

For many people, cheese is considered to be a perfect food. The varieties of cheese are vast and include cheddar, brie, feta, Camembert, Manchego, Fontina, gouda, Havarti, ricotta, mozzarella and so many more. They come in different textures and flavors and hail from every corner of the world. New York staple Murray’s Cheese Shop is one of the best places to go to get your cheese, or even specialty foods such as candies, cured meats and other delicacies fix.  Not only is Murray's Cheese shop one of the best things to eat in New York City it is also one of the best things to do in NYC. 

Since 1940, Murray’s Cheese, with the flagship located in Greenwich Village (254 Bleecker St., between 6TH & 7TH Ave.) has been supplying New Yorkers with the best and most interesting cheeses available from all around the world. In 2000, a second location opened in Grand Central Market in NYC’s Grand Central Terminal. In 2012, they added a restaurant to bring cheesy goodness to the masses. And as of 2017, there are more than 350 locations that sell Murray’s Cheese across the United States.

While visiting their robust cheese counter is always experience, thanks to their friendly and knowledgeable staff. The cheese moves quickly, so nothing is on the shelf too long. Murray’s sells baskets and gift sets for every occasion and has special features based on holidays and location. Their Valentine’s Day box and their Irish and Dolce Vita (Italian Cheese and specialty foods) are especially good, but the MVP may be the best.

However, Murray’s offer something that other respected cheese mongers in NYC do not have: in-person or web cheese classes. Their Cheese 101 is especially magical. Here’s what Murray’s says about this class opportunity:


“For the first time ever, we are thrilled to offer the deliciously informative fun of our Cheese 101 Class in the comfort of your own home! Just like in class, our Cheese 101 at Home includes a random selection of five cheese selected by our expert cheese mongers. The monger-selection will represent all the styles of cheese you'll be learning about. Our apologies in advance, but the selection cannot be customized.

You will receive one cheese from all five categories below:

1. Bloomy Rind: Fromager D'Affinois • Chèvre D'Aregental • Moses Sleeper • Bonne Bouche
2. Washed Rind: Taleggio • Dorset • Epoisses • Greensward
3. Cheddar Cheese:Cabot Clothbound • Flory's Truckle • Montgomery's • Bleu Mont
4. Alpine Cheese: Comté • Pyrénées Brebis • Challerhocker • Pleasant Ridge Reserve
5. Blue Cheese: Fourme D'Ambert • Roquefort • Stilton • Bayley Hazen.”


Yes, you can order a class, receive a box of high quality cheeses of different flavors and from different, yet compatible regions, gather a group of friends or even choose not to share and have a wonderful time.

And, if a class isn’t your thing, go to the shop, taste a few varieties, find something you love, get a baguette and have an impromptu snack, before going on one of the awesome tours available from New York NightLife.

Learn more about Murray’s Cheese Shop here.

[Featured and additional images by Murray's Cheese Shop]


Plan Ahead: Experience Christmas in New York October 06 2017

Christmas talk already?  We know.  Halloween hasn’t even arrived yet.  However, many people are planning to venture to the winter wonderland that is New York City from November to early January.  The Christmas lights and beautifully decorated store windows exist at every corner of the city.  Most restaurants and bars offer special seasonal items.  Even the offices at New York NightLife will feature festive decorations and most of our tour options will have elements of the holiday season.  While there is no lack of amazing activities and sites to behold, some items need to be planned in advance, especially if tickets are needed or if you know you will be visiting something during an abnormally busy time.  The team at New York NightLife has pulled a few lists of places for the best lights, must-see holiday shows and a few extra bonus activities. 

The Best Christmas Lights and Decorations in New York

Now, almost every area of New York City has beautiful lights and festive holiday decorations during the holidays.  You can stumble into any neighborhood and you will feel holiday spirit.  The Walk at Columbia University is lit with twinkle lights on their trees, Columbus Circle/Time Warner has special silver lights that look like diamonds and LED snowflake displays, and South Street Seaport is all lit up as are many of the pockets in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island.  Every New Yorker or visitor has their favorite spot for Christmas lights, but there are some that are consistently the most popular. 

Time Warner Center Christmas

As reported in USA Today, here are the best holiday light destinations in NYC

  • Rockefeller Center, Manhattan.
  • New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx.
  • Dyker Heights Christmas Lights, Brooklyn.
  • Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.
  • Bank of America Winter Village, Bryant Park. Note:  The Christmas Shops here are especially delightful.
Bryant Park Christmas
  • World's Largest Menorah, Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.
  • Holiday Under the Stars, The Shops at Columbus Circle.
  • Macy's, Manhattan.
  • Historic Richmond Town, Staten Island.
  • Park Avenue, Manhattan.

Holiday Shows

Christmas shows in NYC vary from the classy and traditional, to the kind of new, and maybe a little tacky, but no less fun for those who know what they like.  

Here’s the top list of the most popular holiday and Christmas shows in NYC according to New York City Theatre. 

  • NYCB: The Nutcracker. David H Koch Theater.
  • Elf. Theater at Madison Square Garden.

  • Metropolitan Opera: The Magic Flute. Metropolitan Opera House.
  • A Christmas Carol. Beckett Theatre.
  • Kris Kringle The Musical. Town Hall Theater.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Count Basie Theatre.
  • Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

 

The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes

This New York Christmas tradition is worth seeing once.  While each year varies a bit, the general themes tend to be similar.  However, the dancing is great and they now incorporate multimedia events.  This holiday staple features more than 140 performers including the world famous Rockettes, original music, has real animals on stage and lasts 90 minutes.  The show runs from the second week of November through early January.  The closer it is to Christmas, the more likely the show is to sell out.  Tickets range from $35 to $700. Group rates and coupon codes are available. 

The Mariah Carey Christmas

Mariah Carey is one of Christmas’ most popular divas with 1994’s hit “'All I Want for Christmas Is You” still being a modern favorite. This concert takes place at the Beacon Theater for a limited run from November 27 through December 5.   This show will mostly consist of songs from Mariah's two holiday albums, Merry Christmas and Merry Christmas II You, as well as some classic seasonal favorites. Tickets are available and start at $87.

Tickets for all of these shows are available online and should be purchased in advance.

 Tips for Other Christmas Adventures and Treats

  • Most artisanal bakeries have special holiday treats that are only available for a few months.  Be sure to ask about them. 
  • Unless ice skating at Rockefeller Center has been a lifetime dream: skip it.  Avoid this tiny pool and skate instead at either Bryant Park or Central Park.  It is much more pleasant experience.
  • The night boat cruise or Sunset Jazz Cruise from New York NightLife are especially magically during the holiday season.  The beautiful New York Skyline is even more lovely with the addition of other festive lighting and positive energy.
  • Make time to see the holiday window displays around the city.  Some of the most popular are at Saks Fifth Avenue, Macys, Lord & Taylor, Tiffany's and Bloomingdales.

 

Enjoy your time in New York over the holidays!

 

 

 


Relax Like a New Yorker: Enjoy a Fall Picnic October 04 2017

Central Park Picnic Fall

There is something especially magical about New York City in the fall.  Yes, some may say that the lights and festive mood make winter the best.  Others love the pretty flowers and break from bad weather that is spring.  And there are a few who prefer summer.  Given that New York tends to be hot and humid for about three months per year, there tends to be fewer fans of the summer itself, even though the parties, events, barbecues, concerts, etc. make many people very happy.

But in the fall, especially in October through Mid-November, there is something extra special about this time of year.  The city is active and alive.  The weather is crisp, but not too cold.  The trees are changing, but aren’t quite naked.  It is the perfect time for a picnic.

Now, it is possible to go to just about any restaurant, stand or coffee shop, grab some goodies, find a bench and enjoy an al fresco snack or lunch, but making an actual plan and setting up a special meal outside, and ideally on a blanket and savoring the meal as well as the company is a worthwhile experience.  There are many places such as Dean & Deluca and even some hotels that supply great picnic baskets, but the team at New York NightLife has picked a couple of places that make delicious packed outdoor options for your enjoyment.

Pappardella

No automatic alt text available.

Located just a block away from Central Park, the popular Upper West Side eatery offers delicious gourmet Italian picnic options for parties of two or four.  You can order your picnic bag with as little as 24 hours in advance, seven days a week from 12:30 PM to 6 PM.  Their standard picnic bag includes paninis, antipasto, salads and dessert options, as well as a picnic tablecloth, napkins and utensils, but you can check out their menu and order additional items.  Note, coupons sites such as Groupon and Living Social often have special deals on these picnics.  If you are looking to save money, you may want to look into those options.  Pappardella is located at 316 Columbus Avenue at 75th Street, New York, NY 10023.

Perfect Picnic

Perfect Picnic NYC

Something that makes Perfect Picnic special is that they deliver their special picnics all around Manhattan for fees ranging between $10-30, however, you can also stop by 81 Allen Street in the Lower East Side and pick up your feast.  Also, you can choose whether you want to feed one, seven or hundreds with either their American, Classic, Family and Deluxe Picnic options.  They have many varieties of picnic lunches available and they also have the Kids Picnic, that has a small meal prepared that is perfect for kids under 10. Now, if you want something more extravagant, you can choose to have a “picnic experience” which comes with everything you need for a picnic, including someone to wait on you and clean up the mess when you are done.  The price for these starts at $350 for two for a period of two hours and tip isn’t included, but this is a great romantic option for people who want to enjoy a great memory without the extra hassle.  Learn more here

For more suggestions, check out this article on packed picnic options in New York from CBS News and this piece from Time Out New York on best premade picnic baskets in NYC.  

General Tips for Picnicking in New York

  • Check the weather in advance, while moving a picnic indoors can be fun in a pinch, it can lose a bit of its magic.  So unless you are only in time for a short period of time, try to get a sense of what the weather will be to ensure the best conditions for this experience.
  • Should you find a ready-made picnic lunch that you love, but don’t have the proper equipment, visit a dollar or discount store and pick up a few items that will make the experience complete such as tablecloths, napkins and serving items.  Of course you can go fancier if you wish. 
  • Pick your location in advance.  In case you want some ideas of where to go on your picnic, check out this top ten list of great picnic spots from CBS news.
  • Technically, drinking alcohol is not legal in New York parks, but the laws have recently become more relaxed, so please be discreet with your choice of container.  Bring any necessary tools such as openers with you. Most ready-made picnics do not supply alcohol, and those that do may not be specifically  what you want, so think about bringing your own. 

Happy picnicking!

 


What to do in New York City for Halloween--Part 1--Events that require reservations October 02 2017

Jekyll and Hyde Club NYC

There is never a lack of things to do in New York City for Halloween.  Almost every bar has some sort of activity, and there are plenty of private parties and happenings that people can choose to do closer to October 31.  Soon we will tell you more of the best options out there for people who haven’t made reservations, however for now, the team at New York NightLife have pulled some ideas for you that require a little planning ahead or that you can do earlier in the month of October to get your Halloween fix. 

A few general notes:

  • Not all Halloween-themed events only take place on October 31, though most events expecting costumes are limited to the 31, or have specific costume mentions. 
  • Scary Haunted Houses and Horror inspired Escape Room opportunities take place for the entire month of October, and some even into early November. Google haunted houses NYC or escape rooms NYC to find ones that best suit your interests and needs.  It is likely that you will need to book these at least a couple of weeks in advance for a Halloween or near-Halloween time. 
  • The closer to Halloween, the more advance time you probably need to make reservations for specific events.
  • Many restaurants offer Halloween Prix Fixe Meals.  If you have a favorite restaurant, checkout their website to see if they are doing something special for Halloween and book as soon as you make up your mind on where you want to go.
  • If there is a place you know you want to be at or near for Halloween festivities, such as the New York Village Halloween Parade or a bar with a ghostly reputation or scary theme such as Beetle House, the Headless Horseman or the Slaughtered Lamb, then plan to arrive as early as possible and hang out all day.  If one of these bars is your desired location, plan to get there as early as you can and be prepared to spend a lot of money.  More on non-reservation Halloween plans again soon.

Beetle House NYC

  • Also, the publication Time Out New York typically keeps an updated list of Halloween events going on in and around NYC.  Check out their website for new ideas here.

The Jekyll and Hyde Club

This spooky bar located features special effects and live entertainment.  While the Jekyll and Hyde Club is open year round,  and  is usually a popular spot with tourists, this time of year is extremely busy for them.  This place offers reservations for their Premium Reserved Seating for the dates October 26 through October 31 for $79 per person for a select period of time.  While they also have a standard reservation available for $59 per person at other dates and times, this option is not available the closer we get to Halloween.  The admission price does not count food and drink, so be prepared to spend more money in order to have a the full Halloween experience.

Haunted Lantern Tours at Fort Totten Park

Lantern Tour Fort Trotten Park Queens

People who enjoy being scared, but also like historical information will likely enjoy this tour at Fort Totten Park in Queens at Cross Island Parkway with the entrance at Shore and Abbott Roads.  These tours only take place on October 27-28 at 6:30 PM and are free.  They are said to be very dark and supposedly very scary.  Guests are not allowed to use their phones for light.  For more information visit the New York Parks website here.

[Image NewYorkCityParks.org]

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

The tri-states most magical light display of all things Halloween and fall takes place in the Hudson Valley and is now in its 13th year.  This event has activities for the entire family and some haunted house events more suited to adults.  This event is known to sell out, so get your tickets early.

According to the HudsonValley.org website:

Tickets cost : Adults: $20 (Fri-Sat $25)    Children 3-17: $16 (Fri-Sat $20)

Blaze takes place on 40 evenings! Visit Friday through Sunday, Sept. 29-Oct. 1; Thursday through Monday, Oct. 5-9  (Columbus Day weekend); Thursday through Tuesday, Oct. 12-31; Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 2-5; Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 9-12, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17-18, and Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24-25 (Thanksgiving weekend).

Van Cortlandt Manor is located on South Riverside Avenue off Route 9 in the village of Croton-on-Hudson.

Tip:  For GPS: Use 525 S Riverside, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520

    Hope you enjoy these suggestions of things to do for Halloween in NYC.  And don’t forget, you can always engage in one the great tours or bar packages available from New York NightLife. The rooftop bars and many of the locales that are passed during these tours will be decorated for Halloween, so you you will be able to enjoy fully enjoy the festivities. 

    [Featured Image Ollies

     


    Things to do in NYC: Stargazing at the High Line September 29 2017

    Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

    Who said you can’t see the stars in New York City?  There are a few locations where you can enjoy the autumn sky with less light pollution, while still in the city limits.   One of the best things to do in NYC is check out Stargazing at the High Line.  What makes this even more special is that telescopes are provided so you can see much more of the night’s sky.  And to make things even better…this event is free with no reservation necessary.

    Now, this happens at the High Line on Tuesdays from April through October 31st from sundown until around 930 PM, but visiting this lovely spot in early fall can be a magical experience. 

    Note:  Stargazing at High Line is cancelled in the event of rain or snow. Updates are available on Tuesdays by 3 PM @highlinenyc on Twitter.

    Stargazers are joined by people from the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York who are there to help you work with the telescopes, distinguish some of our neighboring planets, generally navigate the night’s sky and answer some basic and some more complicated questions about the power of the universe. 

    Walking the High Line on its own is fun, but going up there to enjoy the cosmos, the brisk fall air and watching all the interesting people is a real happening. 

    There are a few interesting food carts to grab a snack while on the High Line, but there are many worthwhile bars and restaurants in the area to visit when you have finished your walk and starry adventure. 

    This activity takes place at the Diller-von Furstenberg Sundeck on the High Line at 14th Street. 

    [Featured Image Credit Stargazing at the High Line]


    Live Like a New Yorker: Eat, Drink and Listen to Jazz at Blue Smoke September 27 2017

    Blue Smoke NYC

    Some people would say that a night of good food and drinks topped off with some great jazz music at makes for a perfect evening.  Blue Smoke is a favorite for New Yorkers and their guests who want a memorable, classy but informal evening that has the warm air of Southern Hospitality and delicious barbecue, followed by a trip next door to the internationally celebrated club Jazz Standard.   

    The name Blue Smoke comes from what you get when you have perfectly smoked meat.  And that is just one of the things you have to look forward to when you visit.  Executive Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois has created a menu with so many options that it is hard to choose, but the team at New York NightLife is confident that you will enjoy whatever you choose as long as you enjoy great barbecue flavors and having a good time.  Something notable about the drink bar is that all of the spirits, beer and wines (especially their impressive selection of whiskey) are made in the USA. 

    Jazz Standard has been popular for more than a decade and features legendary established artists as well as some of today’s best and brightest.  This club has two sets every night at 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM with an extra set often added on Fridays and Saturdays at 1130 to accommodate demand.  Tickets are recommended to be purchased in advance on the website here.  Most of the Blue Smoke menu is also available at the Jazz Standard. 

    Jazz Standard Club NYC

    Note:  Jazz Standard is family friendly.  Well-behaved kids are allowed.  However, they do have a Sunday “Jazz for Kids”performance which may be better for families with younger children. 

    Choosing between all of the delicious items takes some serious effort.  Hopefully, you will have a companion or more who enjoys sharing their food as this is a place where you really want to try a little of everything.  While the meats and sides are terrific, the snacks are what really have you begging for more. 

    Blue Smoke NYC

    What are some must try food  items at Blue Smoke (most are from their snack section):

    • Warm Barbecue Potato Chips: these are nothing like you have had before in a bag.  They are spicy and sweet and go perfectly with their special blue cheese and bacon dipping sauce.
    • Deviled Eggs: many places in New York have good deviled eggs on the menu, but very few places have great ones.  These are tangy and creamy bite-fulls of happiness are worth trying, especially if you are always trying to find the best deviled eggs out there.  These will certainly make your list. 
    • Cornbread Madelines: These are as beautiful as they are filled with corny goodness.  Perfect consistency and even better with their butter and some honey.
    • Their famous Barbecue Pit Stop has you choose one meat From the Pit which included Baby Back Ribs, Dry Rubbed Smoke Chicken, Spare Ribs, Chopped, Pork Shoulder, 7 Pepper Beef Brisket, Link of the Week and Barbecue Salmon. But which to choose?  With Barbecue, everyone tends to have a favorite, but the Baby Back Ribs and the 7 Pepper Beef Brisket may be just a little better.  Two sides are also included.  Again, all are good, but the Mac & Cheese is incredibly popular.

    Blue Smoke 7 Pepper Brisket

    • Leave room for dessert. They have fresh baked goods and some staple items that are sure to tempt a sweet tooth.

    There are two traditional locations, but the music via Jazz Standard is only present at the flagship location that is located at  116 E. 27th Street (between Park and Lexington)  and the secondary location is in Battery Park at 255 Vessey St. (West Street & North End Ave.)

    Jazz Standard

    But there are a few other options…Two Blue Smoke concession stands are available at New York Mets home Citi Field, and Blue Smoke on the Road opened in 2013 in Terminal Four of the John F. Kennedy Airport. 

    While the strongest recommendation is to make a trifecta night of food, drink and music, however visiting Blue Smoke at lunchtime, for brunch or for a dinner when you have other plans later on is a worthwhile trip too. Visiting these places are some of the best things to do in NYC.  

     

    [Featured Image of Blue Smoke  by Marissa Vicario MWAH]


    Eat Like a New Yorker: Extend Your Night with a Trip to Veselka September 25 2017

    While the Ukranian dinner Veselka has been an East Village staple since 1954 and serves its terrific food 24 hours a day, the best time to enjoy this place may be in the wee morning hours after enjoying a night out on the town.  This restaurant has served stars, students, socialites and more.  At one time or another, almost anyone who lives in or frequently visits New York City knows that a trip to this eatery should be on everyone’s bucket list.  And it is important to note that Veselka does not disappoint, regardless of the hour. This is one of the best things to do in New York City. 

    The food is consistently good.  The service is professional, but not saccharine sweet.  And the crowd is as diverse as New York City itself. The wait can be long on at many times, especially on weekends when the clubs close, but the lines seems to go by pretty quickly and the experience of waiting isn’t unpleasant. 

    So, when you are done touring around for the day, or are craving some memorable Ukranian dishes or if you want to make one more stop after going on one of the amazing tours from New York Nightlife, be sure to plan a visit to Veselka.

    What to get at Veselka:

    Velselka isn’t a typical casual dining place.  Just going there presents the opportunity to make a memory.  Many common items could possibly be elevated by the clever team at Veselka.  A simple grilled cheese sandwich may be improved upon with the addition of a specialty cheese and some splendid fig jam.  While their typical diner fare is tasty and will indulge a specific craving, it is almost a travesty to not enjoy some of the Ukranian specialties that have helped make Veselka famous. 

    • Pierogi:  multiple options of flavors exhibit with this savory dumpling with stuffing options that include potato, cheese, meat, spinach & cream cheese, sauerkraut & mushroom, arugula and goat cheese and their special short rib and seasonal broccoli cheese varieties.
    • Ukrainian Meatballs:  made from pork and beef with a savory mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and one of their sides.

    Veselka

    • Apple Cider:  available seasonally in Fall and Winter and shouldn’t be missed
    • Blintzes: award-winning Ukrainian-style crepes filled with lightly sweetened Farmer's Cheese.
    • Kutya:  a tasty Ukranian pudding of wheat berries, raisins, walnuts, poppy seeds and honey. 
    • And, of course… Borsht:  Ok, not everyone loves beets, but if you do or are open to trying something new, the beefy, earthy hot soup is truly delicious.  Give it a try.

    Fun Facts from the Veselka Website:

    • Many of their ingredients are locally sourced from some of the best farms
    • 3,000 pierogi is about how many they make every day.
    • 5,000 gallons of borscht is made by Velselka per year
    • 2500 potato pancakes are made each week.

    Veselka is located at 144 2nd Ave., New York, NY 10003 and tends to be open every day.  

    [Featured Image Global City, Rebekah Mintzer]


    Things To Do In New York: Ripley's Believe It Or Not Times Square September 22 2017

    OK, there aren’t too many things in New York City that scream “tourist” more than going to the Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium (museum of sorts) that is conveniently located in the heart of Time’s Square. While this is not a classy hub of art and culture; it doesn’t pretend to be. It is clean and strange and it is entertaining for anyone who is open to spending an hour or two exploring some of the unusual aspects of humanity, genetic mutations, the animal kingdom, natural phenomena, interesting art created by unique means, lots of optical illusions and more.

    There are more than 30 locations of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not located throughout the world. Most of them are in areas with a strong tourist industry. While many of the “Oddotoriums” as they are called, contain similar elements, every location is a little different and showcases something unique to the city. This one features more than 500 artifacts in 20 galleries on a wide variety of any imaginable (and a few not easily imagined) subjects. These are family-friendly, but can also make an interesting date night on your way to or from a great nighttime adventure with the team at New York Nightlife. 

    Some people may be offended by the showcasing of some people who were regarded as “freaks,” however learning some specifics concerning the world’s tallest, smallest, fattest, most-limber, most-resistant to pain is worthwhile.  This is especially true if we take from it that the world is made of all sorts of people.

    Something that makes this experience special is that this is an interactive experience.  Visitors are encouraged to take photos and play with some of the objects.  Of course there are a few items that are not to be handled, but those are clearly marked. 

    Some things to look out for (not that you can really miss them):

    • Tunnel of Light--Also known as "The Black Hole"
    • Ancient medical paraphernalia
    • New York's Only Laser Race
    • Optical illusion spots to take fun photos

    Ripley's Believe It or Not NYC

    • Creative art inspired by Darth Vader perfect for Star Wars fans
    • The history of inspiration for the museum, cartoonist and explorer Robert L. Ripley
    • Vampire Hunting Kit

    • And more

    The Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditrium is located at 234 West 42nd St., New York, NY 10036. It is usually open from 9 Am until 1 AM.  


    Things to Eat in NYC: Sweet Treat Fans Must Try Chocolate Works September 20 2017

    Even people without a sweet tooth usually have their favorite kind of candy, even if it is only for special occasions.  Well, finding a reason to venture out to one of the few locations of Chocolate Works in New York City is a worthwhile mini-adventure.

    Whether it is chocolate, ice cream sundaes, gummy candies, taffy, licorice, dipped fruit, truffles, nut clusters, peanut butter cups, cinnamon discs, nostalgic candy brands from childhood, toffee, baked goods, fudge, divinity, sour treats and salty, sweet caramels, a chocolate fountain, perfect for dipping fruit and marshmallows and more, Chocolate Works has something for every palate. And much of their candy is made fresh by only the best chocolatiers and artisanal candy makers.  

    While NYC has many great shops devoted to bulk candy, ice cream and chocolates, there aren’t too many places that have a little bit of everything.

    Chocolate Works Ice Cream

    There are 19 stores throughout many states.  You may be wondering, why go to a chain when there are so many specialty candy or ice cream shops all around New York City?  There are many reasons, but here are the four most important courtesy of your team at New York Nightlife.

    1. Chocolate Works has something for almost everyone, so you can enjoy the vast variety (they have vegan, sugar free and frozen options) of sweet treats.
    2. The customer service at Chocolate Works is abnormally good. The skilled staff are quick to come to your aid, but they don’t hover.  They usually even have samples for their guests to try.
    3. Chocolate Works is a family friendly location. While visitors to New York City may not have the time to book one of their extraordinary family or adult parties, it is a worthwhile trip to visit and spend 30 minutes looking around and if you have the time, you can make your own candy or some edible art.
    4. The eleven Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey locations are convenient to get to, with the Brooklyn Heights, Upper East Side and Upper West Side locations being most popular for tourists. Find the location nearest to you here.

    So, what is the must try item at Chocolate Works?

    Everything is good and everyone has their favorites, but you’ve got to try the...

    truffles.  There is an abundance of chocolate truffles in a variety of flavors that are beautifully decorated.  By all means, try those but if you want something really special, you may choose to ignore the beautiful ones and splurge on the Chocolate Works’ Signature Truffles.  These are not beautiful. They look like tiny bricks covered in a burnt-looking brown powder.  The smooth taste and perfect creamy consistency are surprising. A box of these doesn’t come cheap, but they are worth it. 

    Chocolate Works Signature Truffles

    So if you find yourself on the in New York City and are craving something sweet, find a reason to check out #ChocolateWorks


    Things to do in New York City: Experience Oktoberfest in NYC September 18 2017

    Things to do in New York City Oktoberfest NYC

    Just because you aren’t in Munich, it doesn’t mean that you can’t join in the autumn fun that is Oktoberfest. Whether you live in New York City or are just visiting, finding a place to celebrate Oktoberfest during late September/early October is one of the best things to do in NYC. While all of the German restaurants and bars in NYC do something in celebration of this boozy, brat-filled festival, there are some events that just might be a little better than others. The team at New York Nightlife has compiled information on two of the most popular activities and food and drink experiences related to Oktoberfest that include beer, pretzels, beautiful women in Dirndl costumes, men in Lederhosen, festive music and more in New York City that you may want to try.

    Oktoberfest NY—Watermark Bar

    Things to do Oktoberfest Watermark Bar

    One of the most-popular events for Oktoberfest isn’t your typical restaurant or bar experience.  It is an actual festival called OktoberFest NYC that takes place on weekends from Friday, September 15 through Monday, October 2.  This annual event is sponsored by the Watermark Bar and people may enjoy steins of beer, traditional German music and food, games and fun activities for the entire family, though drinking activities are limited to adults 21 years-old and up.  One of the events that is popular at this event is the heavy stein holding competition for strong people.  This festival takes place on Pier 15 at 78th South Street, New York, NY 10038.  Tickets are available online and these events are known to sell out, so you will want to get your tickets in advance.  Some tickets are free or you can prepay for all-you-can-drink specials, but you are still advised to reserve your space. Also the views are spectacular.  Check it out. 

    Zum Schneider—Munich on the East River

    Zum Schneider is a popular Bavarian Bierhaus and German restaurant with two locations.  One in the East Village in NYC ( 24-20 FDR Drive Service Road East New York, NY 10010) and the other is a road trip away in Montauk—both have Oktoberfest activities, however the tented festival in Manhattan is considered by some to be the only traditional Oktoberfest in New York City.  It is called Munich on the East River.  The team at Zum Schneider hosts a warm up party that takes place from 1pm on Saturday, September 23 and goes through the following Sunday until midnight.  Admission is free and they feature many Oktoberfest imported beers on tap.  

    And then from Friday September 29 through Sunday October 8 is the big event.  Weekday festivities begin at 5 PM and go until 10 PM in the tent, but there is an after party that is only a ten-minute walk away at the actual restaurant.  Weekend events begin at noon, with Sunday events going until 8 PM and Saturday events going until 10 PM.  These events are not free.  The music is one of the main draws of this annual event.  Tickets are already sold out for popular weekend days.  The prices vary from $28-100, not counting extra money needed for food and beer.  As a restaurant/bar,  Zum Schneider is known for being cash only, but this event accepts credit cards.  Tickets are available online, with a few general admission tickets available at the door.   Dressing up in German-inspired costumes is encouraged. Oompah! 

    Here's a video of the fun you can have at Zum Schneider's Oktoberfest:

     Notes:

    • No backpacks or large bags allowed
    • On weekends, reserved seating is separated into two sessions 12-4:45 PM and 5:15-10 PM.  Early reservations are expected to vacate their seats in time for the evening guests to be settled.
    • All Exits are final
    • No smoking in the tents

    Tip:  If you want to find a local place in New York doing something for Oktoberfest or your chosen activity ends up being sold out, Google or Yelp "German Bar" pr "Oktoberfest" and your zip code some good options will come up.  Check out their websites or give them a call for more information. One way or another, you will be able to celebrate Oktoberfest in New York City if you want to. 

    [Featured Image Zum Schneider NYC German Restaurant & Biergarten]


    Drink (and Eat) Like a New Yorker: Happy Hour at The Mermaid Inn September 15 2017

     

    The words “Happy Hour” fill many people with glee.  However, the Happy Hour at The Mermaid Inn in NYC is not only one of the best deals in town, but it is one of the tastiest options for food and cocktails.  Happy Hour, actually the happy hours, at the Mermaid Inn go from 5 PM to 7 PM every night of the week. 

    The ambiance is rich, dark and tactfully nautical.  When the weather is fair, you will want to sit outside in their outdoor seating, but even with a reservation, those are first come first serve for Happy Hour, so do plan ahead.  In fact, reservations, while not required are strongly recommended as they fill up very quickly.  You can make reservations by visiting their website or Open Table.  When it comes to things to drink and eat when in New York City, the Happy Hour at Mermaid Inn is a brilliant combination of appetizers, snacks, shellfish, drinks and a special treat that comes at the end of the experience.

    The Mermaid Inn is conveniently located in three distinct neighborhoods.

    • Upper West Side

    570 Amsterdam Ave

    NY, NY 10024

    • East Village

    96 Second Ave

    NY, NY 10003

    • Greenwich

    79 Macdougal Street

    NY, NY 10012

    Note:  This location is actually called The Mermaid Oyster Bar has a slightly different Happy Hour menu, but they offer a special of Happy Hour all night on Mondays.

    If you want to make a full meal out of it, you will not be disappointed, but this post is about the wonderful Happy Hour.  What makes it so special?

    Mermaid Inn Oysters

     

    The drinks

    Now, the Mermaid Inn has a full bar so you are free to get whatever libation calls to you, but their specials are worth a try.

    House wine is $7 per glass

    Draught beer is $5

    And the specialty cocktails are tasty and there is a decent amount of alcohol in them.

    Happy Hour specialty cocktails at the Mermaid Inn include:  Dark & Stormy, Mermaid Mary, the Pink Flamingo (so refreshing), Hot & Dirty and an Aperol Spritz.

    Food

    Any good NYC seafood place has some fresh shellfish, but the quality and the value you receive at the Mermaid Inn’s Happy Hour is worth the visit.

    Shellfish

    • Chef’s Choice Oyster
    • Littleneck clams
    Appetizers and Snacks

    There are quite a few great options including Fried Oysters, Avocado and Shrimp Sliders, and Clam Sliders.

    But here are some must try items:

    • Fried Calamari
    • Mini Chilled Corn Soup/Clam Chowder (and others depending on the season)  
    • Mini Mermaid Fish Taco
    • Old Bay French Fries (OK, this last item isn’t on the happy hour menu, but they are flavored well and fried to perfection, so add them to your order.)

    And there's free chocolate pudding

     

    The team at New York Nightlife hopes that you enjoy your Happy Hour experience at the Mermaid Inn. 

     


    Things to Do in New York City: Live the Fashionista's Dream at the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology September 13 2017

    There is no wonder why the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is considered to be the most fashionable museum in New York City, because they are all about amazing clothes, textiles, shoes and accessories from the past (as far back as the 18th century), present and sometimes even the future.  This NYC treasure is one of the best things to do in New York City, especially for anyone who loves clothes.  Even people who don’t really care about clothes can find something interesting among these well-styled permanent and special exhibitions. You may even find something from the past that you want to incorporate into your present wardrobe!

    The permanent collection features fashion from a collection of more than 50,000 items representing some of the best and most famous designers in the world including Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga and more.  They do have a habit of featuring some interesting contemporary avant-garde fashion.

    The museum has three levels of galleries.  The lower level is devoted to special exhibitions, the main floor has a living history of fashion and the next level features the Gallery FIT, which features work from students and faculty.  It is a great place to see work from new and upcoming designers before everyone else. 

    The Museum at FIT is located at Seventh Avenue at 27 Street in New York City 10001-5992. It is open Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 8 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM to 5 PM.  They are closed Sundays, Mondays and on July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

    Fun facts about the Museum at FIT

    Entrance to Museum FIT

    • About 100,000 people visit per year
    • There are only a handful of museums dedicated to fashion in the world including: Muse de la Mode, the Mode Museum, and the Museo de la Moda.
    • Some of their most controversial exhibits were:  The Corset: Fashioning the Body, Gothic: Dark Glamour and A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk.
    • The museum was founded in 1969, but landed in its current location in 1974.  Official exhibitions began in 1970.
    • True fashionistas will want to check out FIT's Online Collections here.
    • The main floor of the gallery is completely changed every six months, however it always depicts 250 years of fashion

    • The Museum  at FIT offers many lectures, panel discussions, special guided tours and they are celebrated for annual Fashion Symposium which features some of the greatest fashion minds in the world. Learn more about upcoming events here.
    • There is no coat or bag check, so travel light to this museum

    The team at New York Nightlife hopes that you enjoy learning all about clothes during your trip to the museum at FIT.

    [Featured Image Fernando Leon/FIT]


    Eat Like a New Yorker: Great French Fries at Pommes Frites September 11 2017

    Best French Fries in New York Pommes Frietes

    French Fries, or to be more specific for some purists, Belgian Frites, are one of life’s perfect guilty pleasures.  Most people have their favorite places to indulge in these salty bits of fried potato perfection.  Some like their fries thin, while others prefer them thick—but there are multiple options, so French Fry lovers should make a plan to try as many varieties as they can, as there are always new places to try.  There are about a dozen places with amazing French Fries in New York City, but one place that consistently makes the list of the best French Fries in New York is Pommes Frites, an East Village destination for lovers of fried potatoes from all over the world. Here you will have Frites that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  Yummy! 

    Now, it isn’t just the process of cooking the Belgian Fries twice that makes this a go-to place for amazing fries—it is also about the more than 25 dipping sauces and toppings.  These sauces include familiar and exotic options including Aioli, Vietnamese Pineapple, TLC—Tequila, Lime, Chipolte, Parmesan & Fresh Herbs, Curry Ketchup, a slightly more expensive Organic Black Truffle and more. 

    Best French Fries in New York Pommes Frites Dipping Sauce

    Pommes Frites is located at 128 Macdougal Street, New York, NY 10012 and you will notice that there is almost always a line.  The good news is that it moves pretty quickly.  The prices are reasonable at Pommes Frites: $5.25 for regular; $7 for large; and a double order is $8.75.  The special sauces are $1.50 each with three sauces for $3.75.  You can choose to sit and enjoy the fries in the bustling rustic, semi-communal environment with rich dark wood tables, benches, stools and chairs or take the fries to-go as you embark on other NYC adventures.

    Best French Fries in NYC Pommes Frites Facebook Post

    A few tips:

    • Customers at Pommes Frites are encouraged to sample fries and taste any and all sauces, so don’t be afraid to ask for samples
    • Some of the sauces and garnishes are free at Pommes Frites including:  Mayonnaise," Especial"—Frite sauce of ketchup & raw onion, Yellow Mustard, Ketchup, Tabasco Sauce, Malt Vinegar, raw onion and Jalapeño.
    • Try the Poutine--Frites with Canadian Cheddar Cheese Curd & Gravy

    The team at New York Nightlife wishes you well on your culinary adventures when you visit New York City.


    Things to Do in New York City: Feast of San Genarro Steet Festival September 08 2017

    One of the best things to do in New York City is enjoying the simple fun and bustling excitement of a street fair.  If you will be in NYC in mid-September, then you may be in luck and you have to go down to historic Little Italy and relish in the joy that is the 91st Annual Feast of San Gennaro.  This year, this festival will take place from September  14-24 and it opens every day at 11:30 AM and closes at 11 PM Sundays through Thursday's and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

    Enjoy free music entertainment each night from 7:30 to 9:30 PM (unless otherwise noted), in addition to free music and/or food demonstrations and lectures every afternoon between 2:00 and 5:00 PM on the FESTIVAL STAGE located at the corner of Grand and Mott Streets in Manhattan. 

    This event is the annual salute to the Patron Saint of Naples.  While it has been taking place for 91 years, it has been hosted since 1996 by Figli di San Gennaro, Inc. (Children of San Gennaro), a nonprofit community organization committed to keeping alive the spirit and faith of the early Italian immigrants who lived in worked in this neighborhood in the early 20th century. While there are some religious components, everyone is welcome to attend and enjoy all things Italian, or more specifically all things Italian American in New York City. 

    There are many things to experience at the Feast of San Gennaro including delicious Italian food, traditional street treats, exciting entertainment, unique vendors and the opportunity to see interesting people while participating in a time-honored, beloved NYC event. 

    Things to do in New York San Genarro Festival

     Food

    There are so many delicious options both familiar and brand new.  While the majority of items are culturally Italian, there are plenty of other options worth exploring too.  Pace your self so you can try as many as you would like.  

    • Wide variety of Italian meats including sausages, braciole, charcuterie, meatballs, roasted meat on a stick, prosciutto and more
    • Cannolis and other Italian pastries
    • Chicken, Veal and Eggplant Parmigiana
    • Mozzarella cheese
    • Italian Doughnuts called Zeppolis
    • Arancini
    • Fried Ravioli
    • Soft Shell Crab
    • Shrimp Scampi on sticks
    • South American Arepas
    • Authentic New York Bagels with traditional flavors, spreads and toppings
    • Fair food like funnel cakes, cotton candy, fried Oreos, etc.
    • Torrone nougat and other candy from Piccola Casa Dolce
    • Gelato
    • Stromboli 
    • Fried and fresh oysters and clams
    • All sorts of delicious pizza

     

     

    Things to Do in NYC San Gennaro Festival

    Entertainment

    There is an abundance of music, street performers, eating contests, traditional carnival games, and so much more, but just being there makes you feel part of something unique and incredibly entertaining.  There are some scheduled events, but there are plenty of things to see at any time you join the festivities. 

    • Ferris wheel
    • The Grand Procession with Chazz Palminteri serving as Grand Marshall takes place at 2 PM on Saturday, September 16. 

    • Opera Night on Monday, September 18
    • Annual Meatball Eating Contest hosted by Tony Danza at 1 PM on Saturday, September 23

    • In addition to the nightly free performances, there are many music, comedy and variety show acts present throughout the entire 11 day event

     

    Tip:  Bring your own bottled water.  Save your money for the good eats at the Feast of San Gennaro.  

    Check out a video of the history of it below:

    Visiting the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy in September is one of the best things to do in New York.  The team at the New York Nightlife encourages you to enjoy and embrace Italian American culture at this fabulous, unforgettable street fair. 


    What to Pack for an Autumn/Winter Trip to New York City September 06 2017

    Now that September is here, it is only a matter of time before temperatures start to drop.  While there weather tends to be mild until mid-October, it is a good idea to pack accordingly should you be planning a trip to New York City from mid-September to as late as April, you will want to make sure you pack some specific items.  It tends to be the coldest in December, January and February, but the temperatures can sometimes bite you in early fall.  One of the main tips to being comfortable is to pack plenty of layers.  While it may be frigid outside, many indoor places can be uncomfortably warm.  And, just because it is chilly outside, it doesn't mean you can't rock a daring ensemble for a night on the town, you just need to plan ahead.

    What everyone should pack for fall/winter?

     What to pack for fall or winter trip to NYC

    Many of these items are specific to colder months, but most people could stand to have a reminder to bring chargers and power adapters.  

    • Long scarf
    • Wool Hat or Beanie
    • Gloves
    • Sweater
    • Insulated coat
    • Lightweight jacket 
    • T-shirts or tank tops for layering
    • Jeans
    • Non-slip shoes
    • Extra socks
    • Thermal underwear (if you get cold easily)
    • An easily packed or fold-able tote bag 
    • Extra underwear 
    • Sunglasses are still helpful almost all year round
    • Phone/laptop charger
    • External battery for phone charging
    • Add some of your favorite cold medication to your toiletry bag, just in case
    • Hand sanitizer--germs about in the small spaces, so better safe than sorry
    • Extra zip top bags in case you need to repack extra toiletries on your way back
    • Small flashlight

    Specific to Women

    Pack Stylish Winter Boots for Winter in New York

     Whether you are just planning a casual visit, it is always worthwhile to bring an outfit suited for a nice evening out. In the colder months, plan on having shoe options that you can bring with you )and change upon arrival at your destination) so you won't slip in transit.

    • Extra bra (a sports bra is a good option for cold and wet weather)
    • Scarf for your hair or an insulated hood for your coat
    • Waterproof boots for walking around the city
    • Long skirts can be lovely, but be sure they are not so long as to drag on the ground or they can get dirty quickly
    • Lightweight spare bag to hold casual shoes so you can change into dress shoes when you get to your destination
    • Lounge wear in the form of yoga pants and comfortable shirt or two piece pajamas

    Specific to Men

    What to pack when visiting New York City in fall/winter sports coats

    Men have it a little easier in the colder months when it comes to packing, but having the right jacket that will keep you warm, but won't be unbearable in a crowded room.  And, if you are lucky, it looks great with slacks or jeans.  

    • Sports Jacket
    • Dress Pants
    • Button Down Shirt
    • Comfortable Pajamas
    • Waterproof Shoes

     

    What to leave at home?

    Leave your Umbrella at home when visiting New York City

    While there are plenty of items that a traveler never needs to bring while on a trip of less than a couple of weeks such as full-sized bottles of shampoo, irons, any unnecessary electronics, expensive jewelry and bottled water, there is one item that is tempting to bring with you, but it is usually easier to buy one upon arrival.

    Umbrellas--It is easy to purchase a decent umbrella for under $10 at a variety of convenient places.  If you insist, bring an inexpensive one that you can leave behind or donate on your way out of town.

    Now if cold weather sneaks up on you, there is no reason to worry.  You can buy all of these items and more.  Heck, you may even choose to replace all of your items anyhow, but by packing these items, you will be prepared for any weather the fall or winter throws at you in New York.

    Note:  If you know you will be enjoying tourist activities and may be battling the elements, you may want to bring a couple of disposable rain ponchos with you. You can buy them in New York, but it is cheaper and easier to bring them with you.  Yes, they aren't the most fashionable item out there, but they are convenience and can keep you dry on that double decker bus tour in the rain.  

     


    Things to do in New York: Catch the Views from Top of the Rock September 04 2017

    Things to do in NYC at Sunset Top of the Rock

    One important thing that many people want to do in New York City is to go up a tall building and take in the beautiful views of this beautiful city.  There are multiple options, but one of the most popular is Top of The Rock located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.  These 360 degree panoramic views from the 70th Floor are some of the best in the city.  Many people regard this is the best place to enjoy the skyline of New York.  Whether you want to enjoy a sunny day, a winter wonderland or nighttime light show, you will be mesmerized by the view, though going at sunset seems to be a preferred time.  Going to the Top of the Rock is a favorite activity for people who enjoy the tours and passes available from New York Nightlife.

    Hours of operation

    • Daily from 8 AM to midnight seven days a week, with the last elevator going up at 1115 PM.
    • Some holidays have special hours: Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

    What to expect

    • When you purchase a ticket, or redeem your pass you are encouraged to select the specific times and dates for your visit. Some unscheduled tickets are available, but immediate entry is not guaranteed without advance tickets.
    • Enter the building on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues
    • All guests are required to go through a security checkpoint
    • The experience includes a beautiful Swarovski crystal chandelier, a multimedia exhibit and glass ceiling sky shuttles that take gusts to the Top
    • There are three levels of the observation decks:
      • Deck one features The Radiance Wall—the history of the Top of the Rock and New York City
      • Deck two is called The Breezeway—an entirely outdoor area
      • Deck three is on the 70th Floor and is outdoors, does not have a glass enclosure and is a favorite spot for photos

    • Top of the Rock is open rain or shine, however guests are advised in advance of inclement weather, note there are no refunds provided for bad weather, however they will offer to reissue a ticket for a future date and time.
    • There is no time limit for staying on the deck, but most guests stay for around 45 minutes
    • There are bathrooms available on the 66th
    • There isn’t a restaurant up there, but there are places to get snacks on the way up
    • The Rockefeller Center Tree and Skating Rink are not visible from the observation deck, but they are easily accessible from the concourse level.

    • Top of the Rock often features some of the photos an videos taken by their guests. In order to be considered, use the following hashtags #TopoftheRock, #RockCenter, #RockShops and RockEats.

    Cost

    Check and see if Top of the Rock is included in your tour package.  If not,

    Regular Entry Price: Adult $34.00

    Regular Entry Price: Child $28.00

    Top of the Rock remains one of the favorite things to do in New York. Savor the view!

    [Image 3, Cory Schloss Images, View from Top of the Rock]


    Drink Like a New Yorker: Try Vodka at Russian Vodka Room and Russian Samovar September 01 2017

     

    Whether you live in New York City or if you are just visiting and you love vodka, then there are two places that you have to try:  Russian Vodka Room and Russian Samovar.  These two restaurant bars are situated across the street from each other, located on 52nd St. between 8th Avenue and Broadway and both serve up delicious food and drinks and have live jazz, blues and standards music (fantastic pianists), but both may be most known for their wide selection of vodkas, especially their tempting, homemade infused vodkas in flavors such as cranberry, ginger, pineapple, garlic dill, horseradish, peach and more. And, you if vodka isn’t your thing, they both have full bars, but really, vodka is really at the heart of these New York staples.  They are similar, but not the same and both have special advantages.  The ambiance differs, but the friendly welcome is present for both.  While you can choose one and park there for as little or until closing if you like, but as they are so close together, why not try both and discover a favorite for yourself? 

    The Drinks

    Infused Vodka at Russian Samovar

    Both restaurant bars have a wide selection of bar staples and tasty international beers, but most people try it out for the vodka.  Both feature at least ten flavors of house infused vodka. These are available in 2 oz. shots, carafes of various sizes and flights of six different flavors are available for those who wish to taste many flavors.  Specialty cocktails adorn the menus of each for those who like to mix it up a bit.  Also, both venues feature a variety of popular and exclusive brands of vodka such as Absolut, Ketel One, Stoly, Cristal and many more. These places are known for being generous with their pours.  

    The Food

    Food at Russian Samovar

    Many people come to these establishments for the drinks, but once you see the food walk by you will be tempted to try some—and you should, especially to help soak up some of the vodka.  Russian Samovar and Russian Vodka Room serve traditional Russian dishes such as smoked fish, charcuterie platters, caviar, borsht, pierogies, Pelmini veal and pork dumplings (both fried and steamed) with sour cream and hot mustard, and assorted pickled vegetables that are equally good, but there are a few must try items that are a worth trying at each establishment. 

    Must Try Food at Russian Samovar

    • Mushroom Vol-Au-Vent “Windblown”—porcini mushrooms with cream sauce topped with a cheesy puffed pastry
    • Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad—with goat cheese and walnuts
    • “A Tribute to Perestroika” 22 oz Ribeye Steak—this dish serves two and is cooked in a red wine reduction with mushrooms
    • Chicken Kiev Entrée—Breaded chicken rolled in an herbed dill butter with mashed potatoes
    • Roasted Duck Entrée—pan seared duck breast with brae burn apple
    • Medovik—Layered Honey Cake

    One additional item to consider is the black tea that is sweetened with black cherries. It tastes great, but the presentation is lovely and extra memorable.

    Things to Drink in NYC Tea Russian Samovar

    Must Try Food at Russian Vodka Room

    • Duck Liver Pate—This pate is perfectly seasoned and served with toasted bread
    • Mushroom Julienne En Cocotte—This baked mushroom dish is almost to pretty to eat…Almost…
    • Chicken Schnitzel—breaded chicken with truffle dill butter and roasted potatoes
    • Beef Stroganoff—This traditional Russian beef dish is made with a cream sauce and served with Kasha instead of noodles, delicious!

    Beef Stroganoff at Russian Vodka Room

    • Short Ribs—These braised short ribs are tender and served with Kasha

     

    Happy Hour

    Happy Hour Bar at Russian Samovar

    Russian Samovar and Russian Vodka Room both offer similar deals drink specials for Happy Hour.  Both have full bars with great selections. 

     

    Happy Hour Duration

    Cost of Martini

    Cost of Shots

    Cost of House Wine

    Cost of Beer

    Russian Samovar

    Every Day 5-7

    $6

    $5

    $5

    $5

    Russian Vodka Room

    Every Day 4-7

    $5

    $4

    $5

    $4

     

     

    One extra tip, these infused vodka shots are incredibly smooth, so know that you can easily over indulge if you don’t pay attention, so know your limits and pace yourself. 

    The team at NewYorkNightlife.com wants you to have fun and try new things, but please drink responsibly and stay safe.


    Things to do in New York City: The Staten Island Ferry August 30 2017

    Staten Island Ferry Sign

    While taking one of the amazing boat tours offered by New York Nightlife could be the highlight of your trip to NYC, a visit isn’t quite complete without a short ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  This free ride operates 24/7, 365 days per year and goes between the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan to the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island and lasts about 30 minutes each way.  It has great views of New York City and the Statue of Liberty, not to mention people-watching. The team at New York Nightlife is here to help you get the most out of this ride.

    How to get to the Staten Island Ferry

    • You can take a cab or car to the Whitehall Station at 4 Southstreet
    • If you prefer public transportation like subways or buses, you will need a Metrocard (which you may by at any subway station or at one of the kiosks on the street). Check out MTA Trip Planner to find the best way for you get there.

    Note:  Most subways require you to be in the first five cars in order to get off at the Whitehall Station, so plan to be in the front of the subway before getting there.

    What to do once you arrive at the Ferry Terminal

    • Follow the crowds and the signs and you will soon be at the terminal
    • Get in line and get on the ferry
    • Find a place where you like the view and enjoy the ride

    YOU MUST DE-BOARD THE STATEN ISLAND FERRY AND GET BACK IN LINE TO TAKE IT BACK, YOU CAN'T JUST STAY ON-BOARD FOR THE RETURN!

    New York Skyline From Staten Island Ferry

    Tips for taking the Staten Island Ferry

    • Avoid riding during rush hours between 6-9 AM and 3:30-8 PM on weekdays to enjoy a less crowded trip
    • Bicycles are allowed on, but they must be walked onto the ferry and they must be loaded in the bicycle loading area
    • Rollerblades and skateboards may be brought onto the ferry, but not used while on-board or in the terminal
    • Snacks, drinks and beer are sold at a concession stand on every boat
    • Taking pictures or video is fine for personal use
    • Smoking is not permitted in the ferry and in most areas of the terminal
    • Make a backup plan on where to reunite with your group in case you get separated
    • The decks can get slippery in wet or snowy weather, so please be cautious in those situations
    • Be sure to take all of your belongings with you when you get off the Ferry

     

    View of Statue of Liberty from Staten Island Ferry

    Fun Facts about the Staten Island Ferry

    • The distance traveled each way is 5.2 miles (8.4 km)
    • It is operated by New York City Department of Transportation
    • It has been in service since 1905
    • The Staten Island Ferry carries 23 million passengers per year
    • Vehicles have not been allowed on the ferry since the September 11 attacks
    • The Whitehall Terminal was designed to hold more than 100,000 people
    •  The eight vessels used to make the trip are: Spirit of America, Senator John J. Marchi, Guy V. Molinari, Samuel I. Newhouse, Andrew J. Barberi, John F. Kennedy, John Nobel, Alice Austen and Micheal Cosgrove

    The Staten Island Ferry in Movies and TV

    Staten Island Ferry has been a staple in pop culture.  It has been featured in the following movies and TV shows, just to name a few:

    I Love Lucy—Season 5, Episode 12 “Staten Island Ferry”

    Multiple episodes of Law & Order

    Friends—“The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy”

    The Staten Island Ferry was an important part of 1988 Melanie Griffith, Harrison ford and Sigourney Weaver in  Mike Nichols new classic Working Girl.

    Amy Schumer rode it in the 2015 film Trainwreck

    In the 2017 film Spider-man: Homecoming, Spider-man and Iron Man work together to save one of the Staten Island Ferry boats in a key action scene.  

     Happy riding!


    Things to Do in New York City: Experience “Sleep No More” August 28 2017

    Catching a show is a fun and popular way to spend some time while in New York City.  Of course, there are Broadway, Off Broadway and even Off Off Broadway options and those who love to watch a good play, musical, comedy show or other kind of live entertainment event.  Those can be amazing.  Even a bad show can present a good storytelling option.  However, these shows are just things you watch, Sleep No More, is an interactive theater encounter, called “promenade theater” where you don a mask and interact with actors and are immersed into a dynamic once-in-a-lifetime experience.  This experience also has optional rooftop restaurant and bar options called Gallow Green that are not included with the purchase of a ticket to a performance, but worth considering. 

     

     

    What is Sleep No More?

    Sleep No More is a mostly non-spoken film noir inspired adaptation of Macbeth with a little witch trials thrown in the mix, that takes place in the McKittrick Hotel (actually a restored warehouse that has been converted into a performance space in the Chelsea neighborhood area of New York City). The audience walks at their own pace through a series of appropriately designed rooms and environmental theater through a six-floor fully immersive experience.  The audience can freely walk through the sets and touch items and find clues to the story.  The McKittrick Hotel isn’t a typical hotel.  It includes is six floors of indoor/outdoor sets that include typical hotel features like a lobby, but it also has a sanitarium, streets of the fictitious Scottish town Gallow Green, a speakeasy, grand bedrooms, courtyards, a forest, a crypt, a fantastic ballroom and more.  In fact, the hotel has a 1930s hotel jazz bar called the Manderley where the audience can enjoy the live music and have a drink after the theatrical experience is done.  While you explore at your own pace, following performers around is part of the fun so be prepared to move around.

    When does Sleep No More run?

    Tickets are sold for months in advance, with multiple time slots available each day from 5PM through midnight, depending on the day of the week, with a 4 PM start time on most Saturdays.

    Do you have to get tickets in advance?

    Yes, it is advisable because the tickets often sell out weeks in advance. 

    How do you get tickets?

    While most NYC theater ticket sites have options for Sleep No More, there are two options that are better than most.  Go directly to the Sleep No More website here, or Google “discount tickets Sleep No More” to see what kinds of deals are available. 

    How much do tickets cost?

    The average cost is $75 per ticket.  While there are discounts available, the cost is usually upwards of $100 as drinks are expensive, but they do make the experience a little more interesting.

    Is there an option for last minute ticket options?

    People interested in attending a sold out time slot or date are encouraged to contact reservations@sleepnomorenyc.com

    Sleep No More

    How many people experience it with you?

    The audience is admitted during staggered times, so there are never too many people in one place at once.  You might experience something totally on your own, or there may be close to 100 people watching a specific scene. 

    How long does it take?

    Guests may stay as long as they want as long as it is still open, however, most people spend about three hours savoring this interactive experience. 

    What to expect?

    • You will be wearing a mask—identical to ever other member of the audience
    • About the mask, it can fit over glasses, but if you have the option to wear contact lenses for this experience, do it.
    • Bags and coats are required to be checked in. The cost of this is $4 per person.
    • It is hard to recognize people, so plan on either enjoying the experience alone or holding hands the entire time
    • Like any theater experience, talking is not appreciated
    • While not a “haunted house,” there are elements that may be disturbing to some. There is blood, murder, nudity, strobe lights, creepy music and other elements that are meant to make people uncomfortable, yet intrigued.
    • While there is no official dress code, it is fun to get dressed up, but comfortable shoes are advised as you will be walking, sometimes running around a lot.
    • All sales are final. Tickets may not be exchanged for another date or time.  However, it has been reported that if you are running a bit late and they are not overbooked, they will do their best to accommodate you.

    Sleep No More

    Is Sleep No More suitable for kids?

    Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, but the many themes of this experience are adult in nature and not suitable for young children.  There is nudity, violence and complicated concepts in Sleep No More.

    What is the history of the show?

    Sleep No More was created by British Theatre company Punchdrunk in 2003.  In 2009, they joined forces with Emersive in 2011 and started New York productions.  That same year, it won the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience.  It also earned special Obie Awards for design and choreography.

     

     [Featured Image by Jim James "Sleep No More.]