What kind of weather can I expect during my trip to New York?

Rain or shine, New York is always a good trip idea ! Indeed, even when my Sicilian roots resurface and get me excited with the first ray of sunshine, I also appreciate the fresh and breezy nights of the City during the month of November. In this article, I will give you advice for your next trip to New York City according to the changing seasons.

credits: pexels
credits: pexels

Let’s get right into it: 
Winter in New York is a tough season, even for John Snow!

What you heard about NYC in the winter is probably true. It’s freezing cold and the streets get covered in snow. The maximal average temperature between December and February reaches approximately 41°F while the average minimal temperature reaches 27°F.

snow in times square harlem spiritualsCredits: Anthony Quintano

However, do no trust the average estimates too much. Indeed, 3 winters out of 10 temperatures can reach as low as the -1°F and even go beyond -4°F. Also, it is not rare for a snowstorm to last several days . Rain can be a big part of the month of February. In short, harsh winters in New York are an usual occurrence.

How to survive?

By wearing the right clothes!
To avoid freezing to death and spending your money on extra sets of clothes when you are here, my advice to you is to bring the survival kit of the mountain dweller! Warm coats, scarves, gloves, beanies and even your moon boots or furred boots (not necessarily with real fur) which will prove to be more than useful (you will thank me later!)

Lastly, skip the glamour and multiply layers: leggings skilfully slipped under trousers, vests, tee-shirts and sweaters under your polo neck, the whole supplemented by a warm coat. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella as well, rain can also be unpredictable (some hotels provide them.)

What activities should I do during the winter?

Obviously, I would advise you to stay indoors as much as possible, why not go to the numerous museums or galleries the city has to offer ? You can always stop to a few coffee shops on your way to warm yourself. New York is the place to be for everything cultural. All the greatest museums are here, whether you are into modern art or a dinosaur enthusiast, the MoMa and the Museum of Natural History await you. If you wish to book any of these activities securely CLICK HERE.

Another idea is to visit Harlem. You’ll be comfortably seated in our heated bus while our best tour guide show you the neighborhood and tell everything about the storied past of Harlem. Cherry on top, you will have the chance to attend a Live Gospel concert at the end of the tour. It will create a wonderful memory and warm up your heart. To join us for this experience, CLICK HERE.

Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Spring: New York City starts brightening up and emerges from its harsh winter conditions.

Spring remains a rather short season (from mid-March to the end of May) but well marked. Indeed, the temperatures increase rapidly; the average minimal temperature during March is about 33°F while it can go up to 53°F in May. The early morning frosts of March end progressively and the days get nicer. However, it continues to rain frequently.

Harlem Spirituals / Roosevelt Island in the spring

What should I pack for my trip ?

An umbrella, sweaters, jackets and cardigans (mid-season everything.) For those of you who are sensitive to cold, a light scarf is not superfluous. Regarding shoes, always think “comfortable” because you will be walking a lot!

What are the best activities during this season?

The weather starts to get warm again, you can wear lighter clothes but still bring a jacket with you. Time is favorable for long walks, discovering neighborhoods and other boroughs (if you are the adventurous kind!) and animated outdoor spaces. Stay outside as much as possible ! You will still be able to go to museums during the evenings when the air is cooler.

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

If you want to rent a bike in Central park or book an helicopter tour with us, those are also considerable options, CLICK HERE.

Summer in New York is hot and humid.

Credits: Pexel
Credits: Pexel

New York in the summer is hot… very hot, and seems to last forever. The average maximum temperature in July and August is 86°F and can sometimes go beyond. It is easily possible to reach the 104°F. Watch out for temperatures variations between outside and buses, restaurants, museums and stores where air conditioning is often put on full blast.

What are the essential clothing items to bring in your luggage?

Bring everything lightweight, short and cropped ! T-Shirt, tank tops, dresses, skirts, dockers, flip-flops (except to take walks, New York isn’t the cleanest of cities… ) Do not forget to carry sunglasses (a must)! Sales are happening in New York during the month of July so if you wish to travel light, know that you can buy clothes here for much cheaper.

How can I have fun during this hot weather?

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Go on a cruise and be close to the water! This is what I prefer doing during this hot weather ! There are all type of cruises and for any budget. You will have fun creating wonderful memories with your family. It is also the perfect occasion to take pictures with the Statue of Liberty in the background or with the New York skyline. To book one of our cruises or boat tours, CLICK HERE!

What about Autumn in New York ?

Temperatures fall between October and December, you can expect a good 50°F.

Things to do in NYC in the Fall, Harlem Spirituals

Contrary to what one may think, Fall in New York City is not wetter than the other seasons since the rate of precipitations is appreciably the same throughtout the year. However you will notice the change of season and ambiance with the decorations of the city (remember Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations are coming up!) The trees display gleaming colors and you can’t stop looking at nature which offers amazing red landscapes.

What to carry with you?

Once again, make it simple : clothing of mid-season will be enough. For those who are very sensitive to cold, a good coat and a scarf will be necessary. The temperatures still remain positive even if the weather in New York is unforeseeable. For me, it is the most pleasant temperature because the weather is neither too cold nor too hot.

What can I do during Fall in New York?

Fall is a season that is very appreciated by New Yorkers because, finally, it’s time to get away from the summer inferno and humidity. Also Halloween is approaching!! Need I say more? The entire city is decorated with spiders and monsters. It feels great to be outside with a little scarf around your neck and a warm cup in your hand. During this season, take advantage of the weather: visit neighborhoods like Harlem, Brooklyn, the Bronx or Queens. To book a private visit of any district with us, CLICK HERE. And then when the temperature gets to you, go on a coffee break !

Credits: Harlem Spitituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

If being out in the cold isn ‘t your thing, and you absolutely want to remain indoors while discovering the city, why don’t you book a tour with a private driver throughout the city? It is the perfect occasion to have an overall sense of the city while being seated comfortably on board of a splendid limo! If you want to know more, CLICK HERE.

As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to send me a message on Facebook !

Salvatore

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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

 

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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Quiz: How Well Do You Know New York?

Quiz: How Well Do You Know New York?

Test your knowledge of Gotham City with this short and fun quiz to see if you know more the average New Yorker :) Get all the answers right to receive a 10% discount on all our Harlem Spirituals/New York Visions tours!

It's a common fact that millions of visitors from all over the world flock to New York ever year. Yet only a happy few really get to truly experience the Real New York. Yes, Midtown Manhattan is stunning and we all love it. However it's only a tiny slice of the apple. The truth is, even some New Yorkers don’t know everything about this town. New York City is much more than just one neighborhood. In fact, each of its five boroughs and over 300 neighborhoods brings something to the table; Manhattan and Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island are all incredibly diverse communities that all add so much life to this city. New York City's diversity stretches across its five boroughs including Manhattan and is filled with adventures and off the beaten path destinations that only a few tourists venture to.

Join one of our guided NYC adventures to expand your knowledge of the city. Stroll through trendy Dumbo, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and more Brooklyn neighborhoods on the Brooklyn Walking Tour which also includes an all day pass to the ferry so you can cruise the New York harbor! Explore the Boogie-Down Bronx on both our Hidden Treasures of The Bronx with Lunch at City Island and the Bronx Tour with Bronx Zoo Experience. Or if you want to see it all, take our BBQ & BBQ tour - From HipHop to Hipsters, a Triboro tour that'll take you to the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, and end on a tasty note with an authentic BBQ Lunch.



Which NYC building is considered to be the tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere?
1. 30 Rockefeller Center
2. Chrysler Building
3. Empire State Building
4. One World Trade Center
Hint: http://goo.gl/PpKLqX

What is the name of the most famous (baseball) stadium located in the Bronx?
Barclays Center
Shea Stadium
CitiField
Yankee Stadium
Hint: http://goo.gl/yhM2IW

In which NYC borough can you find the neighborhood known as City Island?
Staten Island
Queens
The Bronx
Brooklyn
Hint: http://goo.gl/yhM2IW

Which NYC Zoo is America's largest metropolitan zoo, and features more than 4,000 animals?
Prospect Park Zoo
Central Park Zoo
Bronx Zoo
Queens Zoo
Hint: http://goo.gl/0B3VKC

Where did Soul Food originate in the United States?
Cotton Club
Harlem
Southern US
Jamaica, Queens
Hint: http://goo.gl/67cDpV

The Statue of Liberty is clearly visible from Battery Park.
True
False
Hint: http://goo.gl/U1rSfB

Where is the Soldiers and Sailor's Memorial Arch of Grand Army Plaza?
Manhattan
Staten Island
Brooklyn
Queens
Hint: http://goo.gl/Bq81oj

Which one of these neighborhoods is NOT in Queens, NY?
Astoria
Long Island City
Jamaica
Weeksville
Hint: http://goo.gl/ZLO90K

Where is the famously known New York Stock Exchange?
Federal Hall
Wall Street
Town Hall
Union Square
Hint: http://goo.gl/U1rSfB

Which of these venues host the beloved and legendary “Amateur Night”?
Cotton Club
Lenox Lounge
Shrine NYC
Apollo Theater
Hint: http://goo.gl/DKuxyq

Name


Email


If you are human, leave this field blank or you will be considered spam:

We hope that you’ve had fun taking this Quiz! If you would like to know more about the Big Apple, join us on our tours; we’ll take you off the beaten path to explore the real New York!

Disclaimer: Participants of this quiz who answer all the questions correctly will be automatically eligible to get a 10%discount on our tours (including our brand new tours). To receive the discount, participants need to confirm to the following eligibility criteria:

1. You must be over 18 to qualify

2. You must have a valid Facebook ID/ Twitter handle (as applicable)

Winners will be notified via email on Friday, June 3rd 2016. All submissions must be sent before June 3rd.

Discount code will need to be redeemed  before July 31st, 2016. In the event of any questions, please contact: digitalmedia@harlemspirituals.com stating the name of this Quiz (“How Well Do You Know New York?”) in the subject line. 

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?