Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Best Restaurant in NYC is Hiding in Bloomingdales

French Onion Soup Photo by Ralph Daily
I am about to reveal to you one of New York City’s best kept secrets, so don’t tell anyone, OK? Head on over to Bloomingdales, you know, the upper up-scale department store on the Upper East Side?

Take the elevator up to the sixth floor, and amaze yourself when you enter a French dining car from Paris, circa 1870s. It is hard to imagine a more romantic atmosphere in this tiny corner of bustling Manhattan.

OK, not everyone agrees that the food is quite as awesome as “the best restaurant in NYC” makes it sound, but combined with the unique ambiance, a visit to “Le Train Bleu” is certainly worth your time.

Here is a quote from one customer on Yelp!:

“How have I lived in NYC for 30 years and I never knew this restaurant existed? It is so cool. The food is from another era. It is classic standard traditional French bistro food. It isn't the best or the worst just average.
But the reason to eat here isn't the food but to eat in a train at the top of Bloomingdales. It is just so incredible. ”

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A New “Must-See” New York Site: The 9/11 Memorial

Photo by Anthony Quintano
The sights and sounds of September 11, 2001 will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of all those old enough to have understood the events of that dreadful and fateful day. On that day 2,983 people lost their lives when terrorists with horrifyingly murderous intent smashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York; the Pentagon in Washington DC; and a thwarted third attack which took the lives of all aboard Flight 93.

In honor of their memory and the loved ones they left behind, a memorial has been established on the site where the Twin Towers once stood. In their place are twin memorial pools with the names of the murdered are stencil-cut into the bronze panels surrounding the reflecting pools. Each pool covers almost an acre in area and are the biggest manmade waterfalls in all of North America.

A few steps away from the actual memorial there is also a museum. Unlike the memorial, which is free to visitors, the museum charges an entrance fee.  The museum tells the story of 9/11 using multi-media displays, archives, narratives and an artifact collection. Guided tours are available, and films, lectures and other special events take place at the museum.

If you can visit the museum, it is highly recommended. But if you can’t, there are still many ways to take the event and create something positive. During this holiday season those at the 9/11 Memorial are asking people to become part of their #2983 Campaign. The goal is to have the community at large help to complete at least 2,983 acts of compassion, gratitude and service as a tribute to each one of those lost in the attacks. If you would like to become part of this worthwhile undertaking, visit the 9/11 Memorial website.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New York with Teens Can be a Blast

Teenagers are a special challenge to please on a trip. They are not quite adults and might not find much fun the things their parents find enjoyable. And they are certainly not children, either. At some point in their growing up, they just can no longer tolerate activities that appeal to young children, even though parents are willing to sit through a lot of silly or boring activities for the sake of their toddlers, young children or pre-teens. So what to do?

Luckily, if you have decided to spend your precious vacation time in New York, it won’t be hard to keep your teens entertained, and even happy.

Here are some categories of teens and the activities that will catch their attention:

Sports and Fitness

•    Bike riding at either Bike and Roll and Bike the Big Apple. These outlets rent bikes and provide guided tours through some of the highlights of NYC, such as Central Park, across the Brooklyn Bridge, along the mighty Hudson River, or all over town.
•    How about learning to “fly through the air with the greatest of ease” for something different? Trapeze School New York offers single-class sessions for as young as six-years-old, so any younger brothers and sisters can also join in the fun.
•    Skating fans will love Pier 62 which features a carousel and a California-style concrete skate park.

Tours and Food

Have a couch potato among your number? Try:

•    On Location Tours brings people to sites around the Big Apple which have featured in famous TV shows and movies. If you have a dedicated TV viewer or movie goer in the family, this is sure to thrill.
•    In New York watching television taping is practically a way of life. Before you go make sure your teens meet the age minimum for the show. Saturday Night Live is one of those restricted shows, so be sure to check first.
•    Have a foodie in the family? Go on a culinary adventure such as Scott’s Pizza Tours or A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours. These tours aim to please the teenage palate. And of course their adult care takers that also love fun food.

As you can see, there is no reason to hesitate taking your teen along on an amazing adventure in New York.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Take the Kids to the New York Hall of Science

Since 1964, when it was built as part of the New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science has been enthralling adults and children. When it was first opened it was one of the very few science museums anywhere in the world. After going through a period of severe deterioration and then renovation, it reopened in 1986 to unexpected crowds of visitors, inspiring even more expansion of the facility.

NY Hall of Science
In 2004 the museum’s north wing was opened. This wing is called the “Hall of Light” and differs significantly in design from the rest of the museum. Because of the semi-transparent fiberglass insulating panel system on the slanted roof and walls of the upper floor, sunlight is able to enter, eliminating the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours. This special design has resulted in a LEED certification for the building.

The fifth annual World Maker Faire is coming to the NY Hall of Science on September 20-21. The Faire will host over 700 ‘makers’ exhibiting such amazing examples of modern technology and scientific achievements as personal drones, wearables, 3D printing, humanoid robots, and much, much more.

The Faire will be housed in the northwest corner of Corona Park in Queens. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the Faire. The museum is certainly worth a visit any time of year. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5:45pm. Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 4:45pm. Adults are $11 and children ages 2-17 cost $8. There is free admission in the winter/spring months from September to June on Fridays from 2-5pm and Sundays from 10-11am.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Red Bamboo Replaces Meat with Joy

This vegan restaurant will surprise and please even the most lustful meat eaters, as long as they have an open mind. The broad menu offers first courses, specials, pastas and burgers, salads, sandwiches and more. For instance, try the mouth-watering Soul ‘Chicken’ which is delicately breaded with panko, and seasoned with rosemary. This is a restaurant which will prove that there is much more to eating than “meat and potatoes.”
Red Bamboo between McDougal and 6th Avenue in the West Village

Located at 140 West 4th Street, the atmosphere is warm, cozy and even “homey.” You might even feel like you are eating at mom’s. Lunch is served, and you can easily take a date that is willing to experience something different for a change. Come in time for happy hour. Red Bamboo’s hours are: Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 11:30pm and Monday through Friday from 12:30pm to 11:30pm.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Take a Big Bite from the Big Apple!

Here is a brief description of some of the more interesting evening entertainment venues around town. It’s the Big Apple, so take a bite!
  • Combine cruising with jazzing during this unique evening getaway. Sail down the East River while swinging to the cool sounds Duke Ellington himself would admire. See the spectacular skyline from a unique perspective aboard a private boat, get happy with a few drinks purchased at the bar and just simply relax.  Right now there are three trips you can join: Wednesdays on July 16, August 6 and October 8; from 7:00pm – 10pm. $85.
  • Have you yet been to the most respected, and longest running open-mic event in the world? Well then quickly make your way to Open-Mic with Ron Grant, and maybe you’ll get to see the next Jamie Foxx, Prince or Mariah Carey shoot to stardom right from the stage. Every Sunday at 9:15pm. $15.
  • Try out an improvisation show with just a touch of love. The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre- East go into the audience and find out about someone’s love life. Then UCB spins their stories into a hilarious but heartwarming skit guaranteed to bring tears of laughter to your eyes. Saturdays, July 12, 19 and 26 at 10pm. $10.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Take Part in the Audience of Your Favorite TV Shows

Here’s something to do that’s a little bit different, lots of fun, and best of all: Free! Join a studio audience and watch one of your favorite shows either live of being taped. New York City is a mecca for television these days, and you can choose from a great selection of popular and quite enjoyable venues.

Since there is generally a long wait on line for tickets at the last minute, its best to write in for your tickets ahead of time; the more time the better.


Bethenny Frankel
This syndicated daytime talk show features Bethenny Frankel. You may know her already from “Skinnygirl” and “Real Housewives of New York City.” What you will hear when you are there: discussions about pop culture, beauty, fitness, relationships and a lot more. To attend a taping you must be at least 18 years old, although if you are 16 you can come, but with someone else who is at least 18. Contact: tickets@bethennytv.com or bethenny.com to get your tickets.
Location: 528 W. 57th St. (bet. Tenth and Eleventh Aves.)
Schedule: Visit the show's official website for schedule details.


The Colbert Report

Stephen Colbert has hosted his own satirical news show since 2005 under the auspices of Comedy Central. He arrived from the wildly successful “The Daily Show” and has kept his audiences in stitches of laughter ever since. Although the scheduled taping session are booked far in advance, you can ask for tickets and keep checking back on-line using the show’s ticket-reservation system. If you don’t mind taking a chance not getting in, you can sign up for standby tickets at the studio starting at 4pm the same day as the taping.
Location: 513 W. 54th St. (bet. Tenth and Eleventh Aves.)
Schedule: The Colbert Report tapes Monday through Thursday.