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

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

Top 10 Activities For Your Holidays in New York

washington square park nyc Harlem Sprituals

The holiday season in New York City is indisputably one of the best times to be here. As if the city didn’t have enough going on, the number of activities and attractions nearly triple during this time of the year. Anyone who’s ever spent Holidays in New York can tell you that there is a lengthy list of things to do by the end of it. With so much happening, here are our top 10 activities to best enjoy the holiday season in the city that never sleeps!

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NYC Neighborhood #7: Downtown Manhattan

NYC Neighborhood #7: Downtown Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan is more than just the city’s main business center and financial district. In and around this concrete jungle of bank towers and office buildings, there are some really important and beloved pieces of New York City’s history. Unlike any other areas of New York City, our picturesque Downtown (also known as Lower Manhattan), provides a spectacular backdrop for nearly any types of situation.

This neighborhood still radiates the old New York charm and it still has some sites dating back to when NYC was known as New Amsterdam. Downtown also hosts a number of iconic landmarks and attractions, museums, public artworks and performing arts centers. All can be best seen on our New York, NY tour, which really shows the many facets of Manhattan and the contrast between its various neighborhoods. But, if you want to see Downtown Manhattan when it comes alive at night, take the New York by Night with One World Observation Center (priority admission). On this NYC night tour, beside taking in sweeping views of Manhattan Skyline from different angles, you will also stop by the Meatpacking District, New York hottest and trendiest neighborhoods these days. You’ll also drive through many neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan such as SoHo, Nolita, West Village, and Chinatown. And there’s just so much more to do in this area that you can continue exploring Downtown on your own. This post can be used as your one-stop guide for everything to see and do in Lower Manhattan.

1- Art 
Whitney Museum

(Photo by Shinya S. – Flick)

With its art-centric communities like Chelsea, Lower East Side, Soho and the West Village, Downtown Manhattan boasts quite a few galleries. Starting with Milk Studios and Gallery, a place where the world of fashion, art and nightlife all mingle together. At the Manhattan Art & Antiques Center, and the Ivy Brown Gallery things vary in nature, with exhibitions encompassing photography, paintings and sculptures from both well-known and up-and-coming artists. Then, there is the White Columns, which claims to be the New York City’s oldest alternative non-profit space and was established in 1970. The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art both curates modern American art and are definitely must-sees when you are in the area. Additionally, there is a Children’s Museum of the Arts, which is a fantastic establishment for parents who want to introduce their kids to art early on.

2- History

1200px-Nyc_city_hall_july2006b(Photo By Aude – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5)

So much of New York’s history still lives Downtown. It was here on Wall Street that President George Washington took his inaugural oath of office (more specifically at the Federal Hall). Lower Manhattan hosts lots of significant sites such as City Hall, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Woolworth Building, One World Trade Center, and the National September 11th Museum; which – by the way – you can explore at night on our New York by Night with One World Observation Center tour that includes a ticket and express entrance to the One World Observatory. Beside the historical spots, there are several other important NYC landmarks that can be found in this area including: Battery Park, Castle Clinton, the Charging Bull, the Museum of Chinese in America (located in Chinatown), the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the African Burial Ground, and the South Street Seaport that encompass a maritime museum where visitors can stroll past eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings located alongside its cobblestone streets. There are even art galleries related to Manhattan’s importance as an island and a port city. Downtown also has many religious institutions with really beautiful architectural details like the Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel.

3- Food

South_street_seaport_(Photo By Jan Ainali)

Describing Downtown Manhattan as a fun “hot spot” is still an understatement. If anything, Downtown Manhattan’s abundance of restaurants, boutiques, lounges and bars is the most concentrated in the entire city. With practically countless possibilities for late night dining, drinking, and socializing. In terms of eateries, there is a diverse mix of restaurants in Downtown among them you can count Mediterranean, Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Indian and traditional American cuisine. Some of the most popular restaurants choices are: Cipriani, Beauty & Essex, STK Downtown, Nobu, Morimoto, Toro NYC, Catch, Dos Caminos, and TAO Downtown. Other Downtown food destinations that are worthy of a visit include the Spice Market and the Chelsea Market. South Street Seaport, known as the place that used to be America’s busiest port, also provides some great places for shopping and dining. For sugary treats, you can wander into the nearby shops or go straight to the areas’ most famous joints like Duane Park Patisserie, Magnolia Bakery, or to Dominique Ansel Bakery for their famous Cronuts! For those looking to enjoy a little casual meal and drinks with spectacular views, you are already in the fun zone 🙂

4- Entertainment 

Downtown Manhattan(Photo by Gigi NYC)

While Downtown is known for its energy and its reputation as the New York City’s “playground”, there are few places more enjoyable than this portion of the Big Apple especially at night, regardless of the season. Our New York by Night with One World Observation Center tour is especially a great place to start uncovering Downtown. This area has practically endless options of restaurants, nightclubs, lounges and bars, many of them with accessible rooftops offering amazing views of the Hudson River, downtown Manhattan and its surroundings. There are also plenty of choices if you are looking for concerts, live shows including Off-Broadway productions, standup comedy and more! Le Poisson Rouge, Pianos, the Highline Ballroom, and the Comedy Cellar are all great entertainment destinations in Downtown Manhattan. Metrograph, a newly opened indie movie theater, offers a unique experience accompanied by drinks & food. If you’re in the mood for some shopping instead, there’s the remarkable Brookfield Place, a mall where designer labels can be found under one roof alongside with glorious Hudson River and skyline views. Although this neighborhood seem too small to have gardens, you can still embrace nature in places like Zuccotti Park, Tompkins Square Park, Washington Square Park and the Downtown portion of the High Line Park. Already been on the Staten Island Ferry? Get an overview of Manhattan Island by cruising the harbor aboard one of these NYC cruises. Some of the best choices, we recommend the Clipper City Twilight Sailing Cruise, the Shearwater Champagne Brunch Sailing Cruise, and the Dinner Cruise with Live Jazz Music.

 

Downtown Manhattan, for anyone who isn’t familiar, is a world of exploration and adventure that is waiting for you to enjoy endless shopping, dining and entertainment. Plus, our New York by night and New York NY tour are both perfect for wandering the streets of Downtown after exploring the in-and-out of this area with a local expert. Where would you rather be, Downtown, Midtown or Uptown Manhattan?