Visit the Hamptons while you are in New York !

If you appreciate the contrast between new and old, you will love Long Island. It’s a little paraide located in the North-East of the United States, extending off the coasts from the State of Connecticut to the south towards the Hudson. Long Island is known to be the theater of a real New York melting pot. Indeed, here, old buildings mix with the last trendy clubs, the young people and the less young share the beach in harmony.

Credits: nytimes
Credits: nytimes

The Hamptons, the St tropez of New York

Some History… It’s a simple part of the island where virgin nature and fishermen were immortalized under the brush of some great painters, The Hamptons quickly became a dynamic destination. In the early 70s, this heaven on earth becomes the new place with the visit of the biggest celebrities. This area is now visited every year by the New Yorker socialites and VIP who are looking for a little escape under the perfect breeze from May to September ! (Like Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick)

credits:people
credits:people

Visit the Hamptons with Harlem Spirituals

Begin your trip with a stop at Riverhead, for a warm and typical country breakfast, then continue east as you pass the Long Island Duck, before arriving to the famous Southampton where residents such as Jerry Seinfeld, Paris Hilton, David Letterman, Steven Spielberg, and others have made it their home.

Credits: nytimes
Credits: nytimes

Start the tour strolling down the picturesque main street, before heading down through the historical area, the harbor and along ocean drive, passing by the homes of the rich and famous along the way. You will then continue to Sag Harbor a picturesque and quaint town that invites its visitors to enjoy it’s unique atmosphere. Take your time to tour the harbor and see the yachts, then stop at the antique stores or the old world shops for some real bargains.

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

After lunch head west towards the Tanger Outlets where you’ll pick up your mall goodies and then explore the stores. Find your own bargain with brand name stores for less! You’ll conclude your visit in the late afternoon, and depart west for an evening arrival in New York.

If you want to book this trip with us, CLICK HERE

If you have any question, feel free to send me a message 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

 

A Guide To Some Classic NYC Food Experiences

Nowadays it’s not enough to just know about the latest food craze or trendy restaurants. The real pursuit is in finding the hidden gems – the under-the-radar eateries where real New Yorkers go for deliciously unpretentious bites that always manage to hit the spot. But how do you know where to go when New Yorkers like to keep their favorite places a secret so it doesn’t end up like every other crowded joints in NYC?

If you’re planning a visit to NYC or have guests coming from out-of-town, skip the typical tourist spots. And if you don’t know where to go: join us for a tasty BBQ lunch in Brooklyn or for fresh seafood lunch in a small, charming NYC seaside neighborhood that is off the beaten paths and frequented by mostly locals, on our Hidden Treasures tour of The Bronx with Lunch at City Island. Because why would anyone settle for average food options in NYC of all places, when you can essentially travel the world one plate at a time without ever leaving this city!

Here is our insider guide to good eats in the Big Apple.

Pizza

Pizza-NYC(Photo by Katrin G)

As a quintessential NY food, you are probably not surprised to see pizza on this list. Now, what is the best pizza in the Big Apple? Thin crust, thick crust, NY style, deep-dish, wood-fired or coal-oven… the answer is anyone’s guess and the good news is that regardless of your preference, New York City has a style of pizza for everybody and you can decide where you fit by looking at our list of The 10 Best Pizzas in New York City including the places where you can eat them.
Staff’s pick: Some of our favorite pizza places include Motorino, John’s on Bleecker Street, and Roberta’s.

Barbecue
Originating in the South, American Barbecue is more than just a culinary style; it’s a whole subculture with fierce fans. While New York City may be a mecca of food, it’s not the largest BBQ hub in the United States. You will be surprise by how far Barbecue enthusiasts in the Big Apple go to get their authentic BBQ fix in this City. No need to worry about finding one if you have been on our Triboro from Hip-hop to Hipsters tour complete with a finger-licking authentic southern style Barbecue lunch in Brooklyn! If you haven’t booked it already, do it now and you won’t regret it.
Staff’s picks: Other Barbecue restaurants that some of us cherish are Hometown Bar-b-que, the Smoke Joint, Blue Smoke and Hillstone

Soul Food

Chicken n Waffles(Photo by Flickr U)

What is soul food, anyway? It’s a token from the south of the US brought to NYC. The name “soul food” was coined by soul music, and initially used by Jazz artists in the ‘50s. Soul food is nothing new to New York City; it’s been around for decades. In fact, ‘til this day there are still some very good soul food eateries in the city that serve the most authentic version of this dish such as the restaurant we go to during our Soul food and Jazz tours as well as our Harlem Gospel tours with soul food lunch on Wednesdays or soul food brunch on Sundays.
Staff’s picks: When we want soul food on days our tours aren’t available we go to Bobwhite, Londel’s Restaurant or Manna’s to fix our cravings.

Seafood
New Yorkers love to have the best of everything and the seafood is no different, and they will travel to great lengths to find the perfect plate. For fresh seafood, join on our Hidden Treasures of The Bronx with Seafood Lunch, when we uncover the Bronx and this tiny coastal community known as City Island. On this tour, you not only get see a different side of New York City but you’ll also get to enjoy a delicious seafood lunch on City Island located in the Bronx.
Staff’s picks: Other good seafood options if you can’t make it to City Island are Littleneck Brooklyn, Luke’s Lobster or FishTAG.

Ramen

Momofuku Ramen(Photo via Momofuku)

Ramen noodles have been popular in New York City for a long time but this is one of the food trends that has yet to vanish and is enjoyed by people of all backgrounds in this melting pot. This dish continues to mesmerize many foodies and travelers in New York, as there are so several ways to enjoy it. Nowadays, upscale ramen eateries are popping up all over New York City and they are building a stellar reputation among food lovers in the Big Apple.
Staff’s picks: For a flavorsome bowl of ramen, we like Ippudo Ramen, Chuko Ramen, Ivan Ramen or Totto Ramen.

Bagels
What makes the bagels in New York City so special? Even some New Yorkers have yet to find an answer to this question. Some people speculate that it’s all in the water 🙂 whatever the case may be, we can all agree that they are amazing! New York City is home to some of the world’s best bagels and you’ve got a lot of bagel options. Most New York bagels can come anyway you like, whether you want something sweet or savory for breakfast. One thing for sure is that once you eat a bagel in the Big Apple; you will always be able to tell the difference when you go anywhere else.
Staff’s picks: We recommend you try Bagel Express, Broadway Bagel or Bagel Talk during your next NYC stay.

Burgers

Burger- Spotted pig(Photo via the Spotted Pig)

Whether you are visiting or have out of town guests in New York, keep in mind that when it comes to getting tasty burgers in this city, your options are all but limited. If you don’t believe in standing in long lines for a Shake Shack Burger, you can still get very decent burgers that are not fast food depending on the type you are looking for. And, remember that you can still enjoy some really appetizing burgers in this town without necessarily going to a burger-focused restaurant. Some good burger joints in the Big Apple to go: the Counter Times Square, the Corner Bistro, and the Spotted Pig.
Staff’s picks: Some good burger joints in the Big Apple that we like to go are the Counter Times Square, the Corner Bistro, and the Spotted Pig.

Hot dogs
When it comes to hot dogs in NYC, do yourself a favor and stay away from the hot dog carts on the street because there are so many other franks out there for you to enjoy. On independence day annually for instance, people go to Nathan’s famous in Coney Island to stuff tons of hotdogs down their throats for the title of “Nathan’s Hot dog eating champion”. However, if watching people eat lots of hotdogs in minutes is not your perfect image for entertaining, go to any Nathan’s just to get a taste of their famous dogs. Nathan’s has a number of locations citywide if going to Brooklyn seems a little to far away.
Staff’s picks: Our choice for best hot dog in NYC goes to Crif Dogs for all the fun and creative options they offer. But, if you prefer the classic NYC style dogs, try the New York Dog House 🙂

Well now, if you can’t make up your mind on what to taste first and where, we have the perfect solution: join our Uptown and Harlem Food tour  and enjoy 5 delicious and quintessential New York food experiences while also exploring the exciting neighborhoods.

Whether you are on the hunt for all-time classics, trendy bites or the off-the-radar food spots, these are ultimately what you may want to have on your list of what to taste while you are in Gotham. Even if you are not familiar with some of these dishes — don’t knock them until you try them. Challenge your taste buds! What is the dish that you most look forward to eating every time you are in NYC?

Enregistrer

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:

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