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:
It’s October 14th. Summer is definitely gone and temperatures slowly start to go down as Fall is settling in. But Fall is still one of our favorite seasons in the City. If you are planning to visit New York this Fall, here is list of activities you should not miss!
Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. Sadly, it is also considered the unofficial end of summer in the United States. A lot of New Yorkers are going to enjoy their last recreation before going back to work ! So if you are in New York during this time, here are some activities you could do !
Watch a Broadway show for half price !
Broadway Week 2017 is coming and if you ever wanted to see a Broadway show but didn’t want to pay full price, now is your chance to get two for one tickets for some of the best shows playing on Broadway in September. The deal is offered by Broadway producers and NYC & Company which lets you buy two-for-one tickets to certain shows for a limited time.
When is Broadway Week?
Broadway Week in NYC runs from September 4th, 2017 through September 17th, 2017.
What should I see ?
This year, there are 23 Broadway shows to choose from. Some of the Broadway shows included in the two-for-one deal include: “1984,” “Groundhog Day,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Aladdin,” “Anastasia” and “Kinky Boots.” So there are plenty to choose from if you’re looking for a date idea or family-friendly outing.
It’s a perfect activity to do with family or even if you are traveling by yourself ! A deal is a deal ! The variety of shows currently on Broadway proves that there’s something for everyone and this is the perfect time to experience it.
How can I book my ticket(s) ?
Very easy, we can help you to get the tickets you want. Harlem Spirituals has built partnerships with the best Broadway companies and boutiques. We always have the best prices and seats available in the market.
Enjoy a cultural Jazz tour and taste the local Soul Food with us !
Come and relive the high-stepping, fun-loving nights of the 1920s! Join us for a great night out in Immortal Harlem. Tour the neighborhood with one of our professional city guides and learn about Harlem’s role in the history of Jazz in addition to the roles of its most noted jazz musicians who gave New York its musical edge.
What is it and what will I see?
See the site of the original Cotton Club, where Duke Ellington and Lena Horne spent hours wowing crowds from around the world. Drive past the site of the Savoy Ballroom where Benny Goodman and Chick Webb fought it out during their “Battle of the Bands,” and where the Charleston, “Lindy Hop” and the “Big Apple” dances were firmly cemented into American culture.
Visit the world-famous Apollo Theater, where Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald won the popular “Amateur Night.” Pass by Minton’s Playhouse, where bebop was born and where Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk started the tradition of musical jam sessions.
Discover one of Harlem’s hottest clubs, where jam sessions and musical collaborations go on into the wee hours of the morning. Dinner is at Sylvia’s legendary restaurant – “The Queen of Soul Food” (Family style dining).
When is it ?
On Mondays, swing dance the night away to the beat of a terrific, twelve-piece band. Free dance lesson included! We pick up the tab for your first two drinks at the Jazz club.
On Thursdays, experience the essence of Harlem and enjoy the convivial atmosphere as you mingle freely with the locals, while enjoying the sounds of a jazz or rythm & blues band. We also pick up the tab for your first two drinks at the Jazz club.
What is “Soul Food?”
Soul Food is the traditional African American cuisine that originated in the South of the United States. It consists of spicy ribs, collard greens, freshly cooked corn bread, black eye peas, and not to mention the best crispy fried chicken!
When someone hears of the words “New York” the first images that usually come to mind are those of Times Square and its giant luminous boards, Central Park and its mythical lake, or Greenwich Village and its brownhouses, typical of the New York architecture. Today, I choose to widen your horizons and make you discover districts like the Bronx, Queens or Brooklyn, each seeped in history and culture in their own unique way.
To live like a true New Yorker let’s get off the traditional tourist path of Manhattan. This time around, I am taking you deep into the real New York! No need for a bulletproof jacket, I have secured the place for you 🙂
The Bronx is the most northern of the five boroughs of New York City, within the U.S. state of New York. It is geographically south of Westchester County; north and east of the island and borough of Manhattan to the south and west across the Harlem River; and north of the borough of Queens, across the East River. Of the five boroughs, the Bronx is the only one that has the majority of its area on the U.S. mainland and, with a land area of 42 square miles (109 km2) and a population of 1,455,720 in 2016. The naming of « the Bronx » originates from Jonas Bronck, a swedish immigrant who was the first to colonize this area in the 17th century. That part of the land was designated by the Siwanoy Native Americans « Rananchqua », later on the settlers named it « Broncksland » or « Bronck’s farm » and finally « the Bronx »
The birthplace of the Hip Hop Culture
It is true that The Bronx does not benefit from a very flattering image as it has been considered one of the most dangerous districts of New York for a long time. Countless criminal acts and gang wars happened there in the Seventies and Eighties.
Today, the neighborhood is very far from its former reputation, and the memories the district has preserved from this “Golden Age” are the graffitis and local paintings. Street Art is inspired by all these actors of the streets and the pionniers of Hip Hop which have made the Bronx a legendary place in that field.
Celebrities who grew up in the Bronx
If you are a fan of Pop Culture, you know Jennifer Lopez aka Jenny from the block lived a big part of her life in the Bronx. She mentionned it quite a few times during interviews. Some other amazing stars have lived there : Woody Allen, Lauren Bacall, Peter Falk, Fat Joe, French Montana, Billy Joel.
What you don’t want to miss in the Bronx
The Yankee Stadium, homebase of the NY Yankees baseball team. You do not have to enter the arena but if you have the opportunity to be close by, go snap a picture in front of it ! It is a staple of NY culture.
The Italian district around Arthur Avenue, the “real” Little Italy and its farmer’s market with fresh produce. If you wish to travel down to south Italy without leaving New York, you should absolutely head over this district full of Mediterranean flavors. Most of the craftsmen are Italian immigrants who arrived in New York about forty years ago. They are always willing to have a conversation with visitors while having coffee! If you are a fan of cheese or charcuterie, search no more and buy their fresh produce. They are, at least, half cheaper than those sold in Manhattan.
Identity of the Queens
In 2013, its population was of 2,296,175 habitants. The Queens accommodates the international airport of New York-John F. Kennedy as well as the airport of New York-LaGuardia. Created on November 1st, 1683, it was baptized in honor of the queen consort Catherine de Bragance, wife of the king Charles II of England.
The Queens: A true melting-pot
The district is quite cosmopolitan and is composed mainly of districts accomodating the middle class, as well as upper middle class districts where one can find hotels, large parks and golf courses. It coincides with the county of Queens (administrative unit of the State of New York). However, strictly speaking, the latter does not function like a county, as it does not have any power and depends entirely on the municipal authority.
The personalities who grew in the Queens
He can be seen everywhere these days, the most emblematic figure to date to represent the Queens is no other than the current president of the United States, Donald Trump! Other celebrities resulting from other horizons also were born in this cultural melting pot: 50 cents, Ja Rule, Nicky Minaj or Lucy Liu.
The not-to-be-missed places:
Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park is where the team of baseball the New York Mets, plays. It was the first stage to host a concert (the Beatles on August 15th, 1965). The park of Flushing Meadow also hosted the World Fairs of 1939 and 1964.
The residential district of the millionaires of the Queens: You will be able to admire the prettiest houses which can remind us of Californian residences with green lawn, white picket fences and swimming pools.
Brooklyn is one of the five boroughs of New York. It is part of the county of Kings (Kings County), administrative unit of the State of New York. However it does not operate like a county strictly speaking, because it does not have any power and depends entirely on the municipal authority. With a population of more than 2,636,735 habitants in 2015, it is the most populated district of New York.
Historical facts about Brooklyn
The Dutch were the first Europeans to colonize the Western area of Long Island, which was hitherto inhabited by the Carnasie Amerindian tribe. They established themeselves in Midwood in 1624. They bought the territory to the Mohawks which extends itself to the current districts of Gowanus, Red Hook, Brooklyn Navy Yard and Bushwick. The Village of Breuckelen (named after the town of Breukelen in the Netherlands) became authorized by a dutch Company of the Western Indies in 1646 and became then the first municipality of the Nieuw Nederland.
Williamsburg: the quintessential hipster neighborhood of Brooklyn made of small diy artist boutiques, street art, coffee shops, trendy bars and vibrant nightlife.
Dumbo: It is one of my favorites part of Brooklyn, bordering the waterfonts, it is ideal to take a picture with the buildings of Manhattan behind you. The possibility of taking a boat to join the city is also a good idea to admire the environment with impressive architecture.
Bushwick: The area a little less popular than Williamsburg but is up and coming, a lot of young people relocate there as it is cheaper.
Personalities associated with Brooklyn
Jay-Z, Mike Tyson, Aaliyah, Al Apone, Cindy Lauper, Barbra Streisand, etc: the list is long!
Would you like to take a tour with us ?
Harlem Spirituals can take you along an unforgettable adventure…
Discover the heart of New York ! After meeting with our tourguide in Times Square, get on the bus to get started on your tour of NY. First stop : the Bronx, also known under the appelation « boogie-down Bronx » and the only burough attached to the american continent. Explore the South Bronx, famous for its influence on latin american music and its involvement in the rise of the hip hop culture : breakdance, graffitis. Go admire the Yankee Stadium and Grand Concourse, the main street of the Bronx known for its many art deco buildings.
Continue your adventure in the Queens, second biggest borough of New York that will surprise you by its diversity and culture richness. Admire Astoria’s street art and murals and stop by Socrates sculpture park : a nice area by the water hosting sculptures and art out in the open.
Visit Long Island City, growing neighborhood with the most art galleries around, museums and art studios of NYC.
And finally, Brooklyn! A real example for fashion and crafty work, Brooklyn is also the most populated burough and one of the two (Queens being the other one) that is the most diverse culturally. Discover Williamsburg, the « hipster capital » with its numerous trendy coffee shops, small vintage boutiques, wolrd restaurants and art galleries. This former industrial neighborhood is today the home of the most hip community around, and its waterfront provides one of the most spectacular views of manhattan bordering with many green parks.
The tour ends in DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a dynamic part of Brooklyn with a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the skyline, before the bus takes you back to Times Square.
Though 750,000 visitors pass through its doors daily, the celestial ceiling above Grand Central Station’s main terminal has the power to practically stop time. But despite its beautiful, dark green and portrayal of the traditional zodiac, there’s just one problem: It’s technically inaccurate. Shortly after its installation in 1913, a visitor noticed certain astronomical inconsistencies, for instance, the placement of Orion. Kids, however unless they’ve just finished a particularly intensive constellation unit in school will be awed nonetheless !
Take a walk along the High Line -Free
Consider this park NYC’s best example of recycling on a mega scale: Built atop an abandoned train track, the High Line offers more than twenty blocks’ worth of car and bike-free strolling. Besides plenty of seating and a killer view of the ritzy Meatpacking District and Chelsea, there’s also weekly free drop-in workshops for kids during the summer, like art projects every Saturday, insect and plant life classes on Wednesdays, plus Thursday morning structured lawn time, where families can enjoy stories, bubble-blowing, music, and storytelling.
One World Observatory – $28
One World Observatory at World Trade Center lets visitors experience panoramic views of NYC on levels 100, 101 and 102 from atop the tallest building in the United States, 1,250 feet above the ground. Kids will love arriving at their destination Jetsons-style via Sky Pod elevators (some of the fastest in the world) which lead to a two-minute video presentation of gorgeous city images on the 102nd floor. Check out City Pulse on the 100th floor, showing HD videos featuring notable NYC landmarks and neighborhoods, then daredevil kids (and parents!) can brave the Sky Portal, where a 14-foot wide circular disc gives you a view of real-time, high-definition footage of the streets below. CLICK HERE TO BOOK IT WITH US !
M&M’s World in Times Square- free
The New York City store is within a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m2), three-level glass box, in Times Square. It includes a 50-foot (15 m)-wide, two-story-high, “wall of chocolate“, made up of 72 continuous candy-filled tubes.
M&M’s World in Times Square is New York City’s largest candy store, and offers merchandise such as themed clothing, dishware, watches, and piggy banks. Before it opened in 2006, nearly 13,000 people lined up for the 198 jobs, which were in demand because of a more generous health benefit package than is usually offered for an entry-level retail job in New York.
Feel Festive at the Radio City Chritsmas Spectacular – Tix starting at $49
New York is world famous for it’s over the top dedication to the holidays each December, and few places in Gotham better sum up this city’s love for the season than this annual tradition. Since 1933, the Radio City Rockettes have been bringing cheer to audiences faces with each in-unison high kick in their fabulous, sparkling costumes. The massive set pieces and new technology mix with classic elements like the dancing Santas and wooden soldiers to create an experience nostalgic grandparents and first-time viewers will equally enjoy. Afterward, make sure to grab a picture around back at Rockefeller Center’s gigantic holiday tree.
Walk accross the Brooklyn Bridge – Free
A must-do for any city kid worth her salt, the mile-long stroll from end to end of the Brooklyn Bridge offers spectacular views of downtown Manhattan, including the Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, and of course, the iconic double arches that have come to signify NYC’s hippest borough worldwide. While you’ll mostly be joined by the thousands of other tourists and locals crossing the East River, be on the lookout for the occasional cyclist attempting to make their way through the crowds. If you’re coming from Manhattan, reward tired legs with a scoop of strawberry at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, handily located at the base of the bridge in DUMBO.
The American Museum of Natural History – $16
The Museum’s collections contain over 32 million specimens of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time. It also boasts habitat groups of African, Asian and North American mammals, a life-size model of a Blue Whale suspended in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, the 62-foot (19m) Haida carved and painted war canoe from the Pacific Northwest, the massive Cape York meteorite and the “Star of India”, the largest blue sapphire in the world. The circuit of an entire floor is devoted to vertebrate evolution. Take time to explore extensive anthropological collections including the Asian Peoples, Pacific Peoples, Man in Africa, Native Americans in the United States collections, general Native American collections and collections from Mexico and Central America. CLICK HERE TO BOOK IT WITH US !
Visit Harlem and see a Gospel mass – $49
Learn about Harlem from its origins as a rural Dutch community to its transformation into a summer retreat for New York’s most prominent families. Journey into the past and see the African-American Mecca for writers and artists at the turn of the century. Hear about Harlem’s troubled past during the 1960’s and 1970’s and view its present day community beam with pride as it revels in Harlem’s renaissance.
See famous NYC sights and landmarks such as Columbia University, City College, Morningside Heights, the Morris Jumel Mansion, Sylvan Terrace, Strivers Row, the Cotton Club, the Apollo Theater, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Sugar Hill, Duke Ellington’s apartment, the famous 125th street and many more. End your tour of Harlem by joining a local congregation* for the Sunday worship mass service and experience the soul-stirring power of gospel music with a live gospel choir! CLICK HERE TO BOOK IT WITH US !
Bike in Central Park – $19
Experience the world-renowned Central Park via bicycle. Plan a sightseeing trip with the help of an illustrative map and see breath-taking attractions all over its 843 acres. Explore the sites in a fun and convenient way.
During your bicycle escapade see many famous sites like Strawberry Fields, Bethesda Fountain, and Shakespeare Garden. Be sure to also visit Central Park’s lesser-known treasures such as Wagner cove and admire views of scenic landscape. All Bike Rentals include an illustrative map, helmet, chain/lock, and basket. Bikes can also be ridden throughout the city. CLICK HERE TO BOOK IT WITH US !
The Beast Cruise – $24
Don’t miss The Beast, New York’s very own thrill ride! Hold on to your hats as this 30-minute, fun-filled cruise takes you for a wet n’ wild ride through the New York harbor. Hop on board this cruise and soar past NYC’s skyscrapers at a heart-pounding 45mph. This thrilling cruise will pause for a few minutes for a close-up of the Statue of Liberty, where you’ll have time for a photo-op before roaring back to life across the New York Harbor. CLICK HERE TO BOOK IT WITH US !
Statue of liberty – $15
Lady Liberty or Liberty Enlightening the World, as she’s officially known was a gift from France on America’s 100th birthday. A universal symbol of freedom, the copper-plated sentinel stands 305 feet tall from the bottom of her base to the tip of her torch. The monument’s grand reopening on the Fourth of July 2013 comes after almost two years of construction and Hurricane Sandy-related closures. CLICK HERE TO BOOK IT WITH US !
Madame Tussaud – $33
Come see your favorite celebrity wax figures at the world famous tourist attraction, Madame Tussauds and mingle with the stars sprawling Times Square. Get up close and personal with top cultural figures, world leaders, sports stars, characters from your childhood, Bollywood, Hollywood and TV stars, Pop stars, historical icons and political heavyweights. With so many celebs in one place, it’s no wonder Madame Tussauds is one of the top attractions in New York! Madame Tussauds opened its doors in the heart of Times Square in New York City in the year of 2000. Today visitors are sent on a unique journey through the realms of history, power and fame. CLICK HERE TO BOOK IT WITH US !
Triboro Tour from Hip Hop to Hipsters with Lunch – $109
Your New York City adventure begins! Visit the three largest boroughs of New York City. Grab a seat on our climate-controlled coach to The Bronx often referred to as the “Boogie-Down Bronx”; the only borough of New York City that is attached to mainland USA. Explore the South Bronx known for its influence on Latin music and greatly recognized for its impact on global pop culture with the emergence of Hip-Hop, Breakdance and Urban Graffiti.
See the new Yankee Stadium and The Grand Concourse; known for its many iconic Art Deco buildings. Head on over to Queens; New York’s 2nd largest and most ethnically diverse borough. See Astoria with its exciting local art corridor of murals and stop at Socrates Sculpture Park; the only NYC metropolitan area dedicated to large scale sculpture and art installations in an outdoor environment. See Long Island City’s expanding waterfront community with one of the highest concentration of art galleries, art institutions, and studio space in New York City.
Finally: Brooklyn! Synonymous with all things trendy and artisanal, Brooklyn abounds with energy and diverse cultures. Stop in Williamsburg, the “hipster capital of the world” and a great place to “People Watch”. Spend some time exploring its cool and laid back atmosphere with unique cafés and local shops.
Indulge in an authentic down-home BBQ lunch in Downtown Brooklyn then see DUMBO a unique neighborhood nestled between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. CLICK HERE TO BOOK IT WITH US !
The Bronx Zoo – $28
The special Children’s Zoo is something you cannot skip when you visit the Bronx Zoo with kids. The Children’s Zoo is like a mixture between a playground and a petting zoo, where children learn how to live or move like an animal, and where they can feed lambs or lama’s. Also the Madagascar! part of Bronx Zoo will put smiles on their faces, especially with kids that know the movie. At Madagascar! you will not only find the animals that belong on the African island – you will find them in an environment that is a perfect imitation of their own surrounding.
The Empire State Building – $27
Located on the 86th floor, 1,050 feet (320 meters) above the city’s bustling streets, the Observatory offers panoramic views from within a glass enclosed pavilion, and from the surrounding open-air promenade. Since the Observatory opened to the public in 1931, almost 110 million visitors have enjoyed the awe-inspiring vision of the city beneath them.
The building, one of New York City’s main tourist attractions, offers a variety of activities for its visitors. One can tour the Observatory 365 days per year, day and night, rain or shine for breathtaking views of Manhattan and beyond. Also, there are two restaurants, a sushi bar, three coffee shops, a drug store, a Hallmark card shop, a post office and two banks, in addition to the plethora of restaurants and nightlife activities in the surrounding area. CLICK HERE TO BOOK IT WITH US !
If you have any question, don’t hesitate to send me a message on Facebook!