How to celebrate Fourth of July in New York?

What is this it is?

Independence Day referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation: the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.

Credits: Michael Dyers
Credits: Michael Dyers

Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies (in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States). Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.

What Can I expect from that day?

Independence Day is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Similar to other summer-themed events, Independence Day celebrations often take place outdoors. Independence Day is a federal holiday, so all non-essential federal institutions (such as the postal service and federal courts) are closed that day. Many politicians make it a point to appear at a public event as well, in order to praise the nation’s heritage, laws, history, society, and its people.

Families often celebrate Independence Day by hosting or attending a picnic or barbecue; many take advantage of the day off and, in some may take a long weekend away to gather with relatives or friends. Decorations are generally colored red, white, and blue, the colors of the American flag. Parades are often held in the morning, before family get-togethers, while fireworks displays occur in the evening after dark at such places as parks, fairgrounds, or town squares.

How to celebrate this exceptional day in New York?

As mentionned above, the majority of New Yorkers will be enjoying the day outside: Central Park is one of the destination for an impromptu picnic with family and friends to later meet again in the evening to see the fireworks. The show starts around 9:00pm on the East River. Brooklyn Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge offer the best view of Manhattan. Also, keep in mind nearly 3 million of spectators are expected so make sure you arrive around 11:00am to score the best spot. If you do not want to wait, I invite you to explore other options to admire the fireworks below.

Credits: centralpark.com
Credits: centralpark.com

A wonderful cruise to admire the fireworks !

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

The 4th of July cruises are very trendy right now in New York. Indeed more and more people embark on board of a small boat to be near the fireworks and celebrate this national event with friends and family, while remaining away from the hurly-burly of New York. The cruise lasts for 5 hours during which you will be able to witness the best perspective of Manhattan and its skyline. To top it all, this escape includes the magic of one of the best DJs of New York. It is one wonderful moment which will remain engraved forever in your memory. If you are hungry or you wish to have a drink, there is a service bar/restaurant available in the boat. To book it, CLICK HERE

An helicopter tour

Credits: lovingnewyork
Credits: lovingnewyork

If sailing is not your thing, maybe you have the heart of a bird and air is for you!? If that’s the case, you will be thrilled by this tour which will enable you to enjoy the most exceptional sights of the city. After a takeoff above the Hudson River, you will move right towards the mythical Statue of Liberty and will be able to admire the Empire State Building and other iconic buildings of New York! If you want to make a success of your trip in New York, I strongly advise you o take this tour. To book it, CLICK HERE

If you have any question, do no hesitate to write me on Facebook!

Salvatore

How to avoid scammers in New York?

How to avoid scammers in New York?

How I always say a successful trip is a well organized trip! Scammers are everywhere and I hate to be taken for an idiot. I now know New York very well and it’s my pleasure to tell you what you should avoid while enjoying your trip !

At the airport

Credits: Gary Busio
Credits: Gary Busio

Don’t get into a gipsy cab (black car), those drivers are expecting the perfect fool. Some of them are indeed without scruples and will not hesitate to ask you $200 to $400 once arrived at your destination!Yellow cabs respect the official city rate which is approximately $75, tip included). For your information, Harlem Spirituals offers a large range of transportation service. Some of them include a private driver that will wait for you outside the airport : no stress, no wait, no inconvenience ! To book this service with us, CLICK HERE

Buy and walk in touristic places

Credits: Angel Chevrestt
Credits: Angel Chevrestt

Do not buy electronic products or cellphones in stores located toward Times Square. Very often, they are poor quality products and when you realize it, it’s too late, you are already back in your city/country.

Some shops, most of them near Broadway, sell national phone cards at the price of international cards. They are obviously much expensive and useless for you if you want to call your family and friends from your country.

When you pay with your credit card in a restaurant or any other business dealing with the service aspect, don’t forget to write the tip you want to leave. If you let it empty, the server or any other employee can fill it for you …

In Times Square or Soho, while you ll be walking around, you ll certainly meet young musicians acting with you like you guys have been friends forever. They will try to put on your hands their last CD/album. Don’t forget they expect money from you. So if you feel charitable that day, feel free to give them whatever you can, otherwise do not pay attention to them !

In the High Line and other touristic places, you may meet false buddhist monks. Basically, they offer “piece of paper full of wisdom”. They smile and look inoffensive, but they ask you for money. This phenomenon have obliged the town hall to set up information boards everywhere to inform tourists of these scammers.

Hotel, housing and public behavior

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

If you are staying in an hotel and your booking does not include breakfast, don’t order it on the spot. Most of the time, it’s more expensive than having breakfast outisde the hotel and on the top of bit you get to try different meals.

In New York, drinking booze in public is formally prohibited. If you get caught by the police, they will make sure you’ll regret it, not even talking about the huge fine you will get.

In a less glamour note, if you feel like you need to pee, my advice to you is do not do it in public nor against a wall, it’s consider like a degradation of public goods. The police officers will be pitiless.

Do not get Pedicabs randomly in the streets of New York, the rates which they give to tourists are excessively expensive. Harlem Spirituals offers similar activities like biking on the Brooklyn Bridge! To book it with us, CLICK HERE

If you have a drink in a bar, the tip is not included and as I already said, therefore do not hesitate to ask your change and leave a tip by yourself (for a beer or a soda or a cocktail, leave between 1 and 2 dollars).

In Times Square, if you decide to take a picture with Batman or Mickey Mouse, don’t forget that the guy behind this costume expects a tip… Some of them can become very aggressive if you forget to pay them…

If you rent a house or an apartment, do not send money or at least be very careful, there are a lot of scammers online. Choose a well-known website like Airbnb or Vrbo or Homeaway.

If you have questions, do not hesitate to comment on this article or to write me on Facebook.

Salvatore

What you shouldn’t miss in Central Park!

What you shouldn’t miss in Central Park!

Central Park is located in the heart of Manhattan. It is one of the most mythical places in New York. Jogging, picnic, rides with bicycle, all is allowed in this gigantic garden which extends from the 59th to the 110th Street. Let’s go for a personalized tour!

Credits: ZeroOne

The green lung of Big Apple

Space was arranged but one also finds there parts of nature that have remained wild. Central Park accommodates more than 35 million of visitors per year it increases every year.

Throughout the year, the park offers a great diversity of tourist sites and activities. In short, one is never bored there! As indicated previously, Central Park offers multiple sites to be visited. You may not be able to discover it all on your first visit, this is why I have selected  “the best of the best“ for you!

The unmissable of Central Park

Great Lawn (from the 79e to the 86e street – West Side)

It’s a green space of the park which has the characteristic to count many grounds of baseball and playgrounds. In summer, many events are organized there: projection of films in open air, gigantic picnic, “white dinner” etc

Strawberry Fields: Remain of John Lennon (from the 71rst to the 74th street – West Side)

Strawberry Fields is a monument in memory of John Lennon and a symbol of peace. It was inaugurated at the exact place where the famous singer used to talk his walk. Every day, the fans of John Lennon lay there flowers, poems and candles to pay him homage.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Réservoir (from the 85th to the 96th street – West Side)

Credit: Patrick Gruban
Credit: Patrick Gruban

In 1994, this Tank was renamed “Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir” in honour of the latter which was accustomed to practising the race with feet there. It is one of the places most attended by the runners.

Madagascar at Central Park! (From the 63rd to the 66th street – East side)

Credits: MusikAnimal
Credits: MusikAnimal

The zoo of Central Park is in the south-east of Central Park. It is managed by Wildlife Society Conservation. One can visit a tropical greenhouse, see polar bears and otaries. It preserves animal species in danger such as the tamarin, the clamping plate of Wyoming or the small panda. Most large animals were transferred to the zoo from Bronx.

The place was popularized thanks to films such as The Wild and Madagascar and especially, the series derived “the Penguins from Madagascar”. Opening hours: In winter from 13:00pm to 4:30, in summer of 10:00am at 5:00pm and the weekend of 10:00am to 5:30pm.

The Belvedere Castle (79th street, in the center of the park)

“Belvedere” means in italian “beautiful view”. This castle with uncommon architecture was built at the top of the Vista Rock, which is a 450 millions years old rock! Until the Sixties, this place sheltered the buildings of the weather observatory of New York. Today, the place is especially snuffed by the romantic ones.

Sheep Meadow (from the 66th to the 69th street – West Side)

Credits: Ed Yourdon
Credits: Ed Yourdon

Sheep Meadow is an old pasture with sheep (which justifies its name). It is the place of relaxation “par excellence” at Central Park. During the summer time, visitors get sun baths every day.Since this lawn, you will be able to benefit from a spectacular sight on scrapes-ciels surrounding the park.

Shakespeare Garden (79th and 80th street – West Side)

The Shakespeare Garden is a real tribute to Shakespeare’s work. It counts many trees and a special mulberry tree which one says that it was put out of ground by Shakespeare himself in 1602.

The garden is located near the Delacorte Theater where many plays take place between May and August. Thus, celebrities such Al Pacino, Mery Streep or Natalie Portman already worked there. The free tickets are limited. If you absolutely want to try the experience ,you will have to be armed with your patience (queue: approximately 3h)

The Bethesda Terrace (On 72nd street)

Credits: Jon McIntosh
Credits: Jon McIntosh

The Bethesda Terrace was drawn like the heart of Central Park. The staircases offer a marvellous lake view and on the Great Lawn. For the music enthusiasts, you need to know that many travelling artists choose to occur there because the place presents amazing acoustics naturalness. In the middle of the place, there is the Bethesda Fountain called  Angel of the Toilets. The four cherubs being located below the angel represent the virtues: Temperance, Purity, Prosperity and Peace.

Some practical information to visit Central Park like a pro!

From the end of October to March, two ice rinks are installed in Central Park: The Wollman Rink (entertaining skating rink) and The Lasker Rink (for the hockey). If deep in your heart, you feel like a Chris Creveling, you should absolutely do it!

Wollman Rink: 59th Street and 6th avenue

Lasker Rink: West Side, 110th Street

3 best ways to discover Central Park

You can obviously discover the park by walk, but there are also other options for you. let’s find out together which way would be best for you.

1) Ride a bicycle!

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

I think the best to discover Central Park is by bicycle. My advise for you is  to book your bicycle a few days in advance especially if you have a family. Keep an eye on the road, there are professional runners  police officers and horses!

Price: Approximately $30 dollars per person fo 90 minutes

Harlem Spirituals is happy to make an exceptional offer for our readers: “Central Park Bike rental for 2 hours” is only 22 dollars. if you want to book it with us, CLICK HERE 

To see all of our biking options, CLICK HERE

2) Culture in Velotaxi/VeloTour or Pedicab

Velotaxi/VeloTour is a very interesting activity if one wishes to ride a bike accompanied by a guide. Indeed, it’s great to get funny anecdotes about New York and Central Park while keeping a certain independence. It will cost you $60 per hour for an adult and $50 for a kid. As for Velicabs, which, obviously is very snuffed by the tourists, it makes it possible to discover the park under a different angle. Note that the pedicab can carry only 2 people  maximum.

Prince: approximately $130 per hour.

3) Romance in Horse Carriage

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Have you ever dreamt to rent a horse carriage in Central Park? it’s totally possible, Love Story guaranteed! Indeed, it’s an unforgettable experiment. You will be able to discover the innumerable bridges, fountains and statues of Central Park. This activity is a true privileged moment. Family, friends or even only for yourself!  it is a single way to explore one of the most famous parks in the world. A blanket will be offered to you to warm you up.

Price: Between $180 and $220 for 45 minutes. If you book it with our agency, you get the lowest price because we have privileged partnerships.

Harlem Spirituals offers this tour for $150 (4 people). if you want to book it with us, CLICK HERE.

That’s it for today, I hope you enjoyed our Central Park tour!  If you have tang question about New York and its secret, do not hesitate to write me a message on Facebook or to come say hi to your office/boutique localized near Times Square.

Salvatore

 

Neighborhood Guide: What To Visit In Harlem

harlem guide, harlem spirituals

Welcome home to Harlem! Home- evocation of an immediate sense of peace and belonging; which is exactly the feeling you have when stepping foot here. As you likely know, Harlem is a comeback tale of the ages, which has resulted in a surge in visitors in recent years. This tale, coupled with all the exciting and meaningful adventures to be had, is the inspiration for this post…the first in a series of posts dedicated to Harlem’s greatness and the best things to do in Harlem. Let’s start this week with What To Visit in Harlem!

Read more

How To Plan Your Perfect New York Holidays

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Harlem SpiritualsPhoto by Anthony Quintano

New York City’s unique holiday atmosphere, infinite lights and décor, and incomparable offer of exciting shows and seasonal activities make it the ideal holiday destination. Despite all the joy and wonder that Christmas in NYC exudes, your trip deserves proper planning… especially if you’ll be visiting the Big Apple for the first time! Here are some tips to help you plan your perfect holidays in New York:

Read more