Tag Archives: nyc tours

Walking The Fashion District in NYC

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The history of the Fashion District, or Garment District, in NYC has always been one of the most overlooked by visitors when in the city, in my opinion. Walking the streets from 7th to 9th avenue, and 34th to 42nd st, one would never imagine that in many of those buildings are housed some of the largest fashion labels and studios of the world, as well as their warehouses, production facilities and offices.

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Three Favorite Indoor NYC Tours, Plus Many More with CityPASS

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It’s so sunny out, but so windy and cold. You don’t want to stay inside – especially if you’re visiting NYC – but how can you avoid freezing your tush off and still take in all the city has to offer?

Well, I’m  going to dust off a few fun posts I’ve shared on some tours you can enjoy (inside), especially on a nice day, making a day out in NYC fun and exciting for the entire family to enjoy. And even if you are from NYC, touring the city and taking advantage of these tours is a lot of fun. I personally was giddy to have the backstage access to some of these, and there’s so much to learn a long the way too!

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Finding Holiday Treasures with Stray Boots

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If you’ve read my site long enough then you know that while most New Yorkers run at the sound of holiday bells in all the main sights throughout the city, I gravitate to them like a moth to the light.

It remains my absolute favorite time of the year in the city and I am just as excited as anyone visiting from out of town, or my kids who (gotta love them) love all the noise, crowds and lights too.

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NYC Fun: New Amsterdam Theater Tour, Mary Poppins and Posing with Mickey

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Disney is huge in NYC. I know, you are asking yourself, “What?” But, truth is, Disney was one of the first major investors in the Times Square area before Times Square was what it is today. Its presence on the  grumbling 42nd street set the tone for what was to come and encouraged change, much of which transformed the area to something no one could have imagined possible at the time.

Its investment was in the performing arts, and it did so in what is the New Amsterdam Theater. But the theater already had a wonderful history before that. For a long time the theater was the home of the Ziegfeld Follies, George White’s Scandals and Eva LeGallienne’s Civic Repertory Theatre. In 1937 it was used as a cinema which closed in 1985. Walt Disney Corporation leased the aging building in 1993. Hugh Hardy, architect known for his extensive work in renovating many cultural icons in NYC, performed his magic on this theater as well and between 1995 and 1997 renovated the New Amsterdam to be the flagship for Disney Theatrical Productions for presentations on Broadway.

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Taking The Ride Around NYC

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My oldest son recently asked me why it was that I enjoyed taking tours around New York City. He said, “Don’t you know it all by now?”

Well, some would assume so. But not I. I am not too proud to admit that there are a lot of things that I don’t know about my city, even though I know a lot. Most people who have lived here all there lives know even less. It is safe to assume even that most tourists know more facts about this city than most residents simply because we, New Yorkers, like to think that we “know it all” by the sheer fact that we live here, while tourists are actually out there picking up facts as they tour along. Plus, with how frequently this city changes, there’s always something new to learn, see, and try.

So, in order to learn more I go on tours. But I will admit that some tours, a lot of tours, can be boring and redundant, and well, can make walking around lost with a map in front of your face feel a lot more interesting than riding around listening to someone talk in a mic over street noise. Lucky for you, darling readers, I don’t list those tours here on my blog. I only highlight the cool ones.

And a cool one I took recently is The Ride. This 13-feet-high, 45-feet-long bus was completely gutted and rebuilt to include three rows of stadium style seating. The Ride is not a double-deck bus, but is design to provide optimal, wide views of New York City sights and people.

Speakers allow on-board performers and riders to interact with the pedestrians as well as on street surprises. The performances highlight the unique qualities of this great town. The Ride can be between an hour to 75 minutes long, depending on traffic, and if stuck in traffic, it continues to engage the audience and entertain.

Now, personally, I have never laughed as much on a tour as I did on The Ride. The guides were hilarious! And, the ultimate value in The Ride? I actually learned something. Really interesting facts about the city. I also loved that they shared some tips on how to navigate the city, like for example, if you are waiting for the train and it comes, and you see all the subways cars are full, except for one, DO NOT get on the empty car! It probably has no AC or worst yet, smells like a dead body. No, seriously. Bad idea.

I took my “jaded” teen with my on this tour, and by the end of it, even he was smiling. Thus, the lesson to walk away with from this post is 1) you never know enough about the city, 2) out of all the tours out there, The Ride is a fun one to check out and 3) empty subway cars when all others are full=bad news.

Tickets for The Ride are $65.00 and the tour is best for riders ages 10 and up. They also offer group discounts. You can check out their schedule here and more information on the tour here.

Now, go on, get out there!

Disclosure: The Ride provided two complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

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Helicopter Over NYC

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The other day my husband and I were talking about the most fun things we have ever done in this beloved city of ours. We both agreed that at the very top of our list is the helicopter ride we took over New York City.

I had planned it for his birthday and I wanted to celebrate in a way that would be both romantic and fun, but that would also appeal to our adventurous spirits.  I didn’t want to travel too far (needed to be home for the surprise dinner I had planned), but wanted it to be more than just a visit to a fancy restaurant or bar. Taking a helicopter ride over the city is not the most inexpensive gift, but it is well-worth the money spent.

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Taking a Bus Tour to NYC Landmarks with Kids in Tow

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Being a true New Yorker, I couldn’t wrap my head around such a good deal, so they offered to let me try it. Thus, on a Saturday morning, my family and I made our way to see New York as tourists.

Normally, when you book the $10.00 tour you have the option to be picked up at two locations: the Sheraton Hilton in Flushing, Queens or in Chinatown. The agency arranged for us to have a van pick us up at our apartment building, and though a lovely gesture and one that we truly appreciated as the day progressed, that type of tour (known as a private tour) costs about $400-$500. So, I cannot speak to the experience of actually taking the tour bus.

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Loosing Your Breath at Top of The Rock, NY

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The weather in NYC lately has been AMAZING. The days just beg for you to be outside, laying on the grassy lawns of Central Park, sipping a cold drink in an outdoor eatery, hanging out with the kiddos at the zoo. Anything and everything, except be inside. You just want to take in the city…admire the views of Spring. One of the absolute best places to do that is at Top of The Rock in Rockefeller Center.

During my stay at Residence Inn not too long ago, I was offered a complimentary trip over there, a short walk away I might add, and I was thrilled. I love anything and everything that lets me glance at my city all at once!

When you walk into the building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, you are greeted with the view of a staircase breathtaking chandelier. The piece, called “Joie”, by Swarovski, from Austria best known for their cut crystal, sets the tone of the magnificence of the sights to come. The droplets of crystal seem to rain into the center of  the staircase as you go up it. Then once on the first level of the observations deck, you are greeted by “Radiance”, a 180-foot geode crystal wall also by Swarovski.

When I arrived it was mid-morning, and it was wonderful to see Central Park, the Empire State building, and the many other views below, but I will admit, if you are going to Top of The Rock, go at night.  Not only do the lights of the city make it all seem so much more magical, but the Swarovski pieces really come alive. It’s enough to take your breath away.

Standing out there, the cool wind hitting my face, I fell in love all over again, with New York City. Looking down at the streets and buildings as tourists around me shot pictures of themselves in front of the familiar places, it was hard to not be proud of it all.

The Top of The Rock is open 7 days a week, 365 days of the year, regardless of weather. They are open from8:00AM to 11:00PM, with some changes during the Holidays. For their current ticket prices, check HERE.

And by all means, bring the kids. It is completely safe, a must see, and they will love it!

Top of The Rock30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112-0005 -(212) 698-2000

Disclosure: Residence Inn provided admission to The Top of The Rock to facility the experience for this review. For a complete view of NYCityMama.com’s Disclosure please go HERE.


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NBC Studio Tours, A Fun NYC Experience

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As part of our 30 Rock Affinia Package recently, we got passes to the NBC Studio tours in Rockefeller Center. NBC Studios, formerly an RCA radio network, formed in 1926 as the vision of Russian immigrant and successful businessman, David Sarnoff. The tour takes us through the history of this amazing enterprise, born and bred right here in New York City.

The Tour starts at the NBC History Theatre where we watched a video guiding us through the beginnings of NBC, the transformations it has gone through, including highlights of our favorite entertainers and shows.

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Radio City Music Hall: Stage Door Tour

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After our fun and exciting All Access Tour at Madison Square Garden, my aunt and I got on a double-decker bus and made our way through New York City traffic and East to the gorgeous Radio City Music Hall.

Like Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall has been a favorite of mine for fun family entertainment. Our last visit there was to catch the annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the world famous Rockettes. The Rockettes have performed the Christmas special at Radio City every year since 1933.

I told my aunt before we entered the main hall, “Take a deep breath, it’s pretty amazing.” And the truth is that Radio City Music Hall really is. So much so, that no matter how many times I have been there, it never fails to give me a sense of awe each time. The Stage Door Tour brings you so much closer to the beauty, history, and behind-the-scenes of this iconic place.

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