Season’s Greetings from Central Park Sightseeing!

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Holidays Rockefeller Center

NEW YORK: Crowds gather at Rockefeller Center to see the newly lit Christmas tree on December 5, 2013.

 

Thanksgiving is over, the Macy’s Parade has marched through Manhattan and the holiday season has officially started. Santa came to town as the finale of the parade and now its time to spread holiday cheer, spread good tidings and be merry. During this season in the city there is so much to see and do. Lights twinkle and sparkle in the distance, snowflakes fall from the sky (hopefully soon!), horses travel about with carriages in tow, and everything is a magical holiday wonderland.

With so much to see and do during the holidays in NYC, it can be hard to keep track of it all! The list below will give you an overview of much of what New York has to offer during the winter season.

  • 17th Annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square -New York’s Biggest Holiday Festival!
    • Nov. 28, 2016 | 5:30-9:00 PM
  • Winter Village in Bryant Park
    • Tree Lighting / The Lights Before Christmas, an original tale on ice | Dec. 2nd | 6pm
    • Holiday Shops | Open Nov. 25-Jan. 2 | M-F 11am-8pm & Weekends 10am-8pm
    • Ice Skating at The Rink | Oct. 30-Mar.5 | 8am-10pm
    • Public Fare | Eat at the Winter Village!
  • Holiday Lights Walking Tour with Central Park Sightseeing
    • Nov. 25-Dec. 30 | 5:00-7:00 PM daily
  • Lasker Rink in Central Park
    • 11am-3pm, 4pm-7pm
  • Wollman Rink in Central Park
    • 10am-9pm, daily
  • Empire State Building lit up with Red and Green Lights – seen from all over Manhattan!
    • Observation Deck open 8am-2pm, daily
  • Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes
    • Nov. 13-Jan. 3, daily shows at 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm
  • Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Rockefeller Centre
    • Tree Lighting Ceremony and live broadcast | Nov. 30 | 7pm-9pm
    • Watch the live-stream broadcast from NBC in the comfort of home!
  • 5th Avenue holiday window displays
    • Saks Fifth Avenue
    • Macy’s Herald Square
    • Barney’s
    • Bergdorf Goodman
    • Bloomingdale’s
    • Lord & Taylor
    • Tiffany & Co.
    • Henri Bendel

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      Cartier’s iconic window display on 5th Avenue hinting that a package from them will make your holiday that much more magical.

  • Gigantic Holiday Cheer in the form of giant ornaments along 6th Avenue
    • 1251 6th Avenue
  • Visit a Holiday Market
    • Union Square Holiday Market
    • Columbus Circle Holiday Market – opens today!
  • Go sledding in local parks
    • Pilgrim Hill, Central Park
    • Cedar Hill, Central Park
    • East River Park
    • Inwood Hill Park
    • Morningside Park
    • Riverside Park
    • Fort Greene Park
    • Owls Head Park
    • Prospect Park
    • Crocheron Park
  • See the extravagant Dyker Heights holiday lights in Brooklyn
  • Go to Chelsea Market to shop and see the featured holiday pop-up shops
  • Attend one of the holiday shows at Lincoln Center like the Nutcracker
  • Participate in NYC SantaCon!
    • Saturday, December 10th @ 10 am
  • Go to Serendipity 3 for an iconic treat – Frozen Hot Chocolate
  • Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show
    • November 19-January 16
  • See the christmas tree beneath the arch in Washington Square Park
  • Go skating at Rockefeller center rink or Wollman or Lasker Rinks in Central Park
  • See Macy’s Santaland
    • Filled with holiday treats, send your letter, meet Santa himself
    • Macy’s Herald Square, 8th Floor
  • Listen to St. John the Divine’s Winter Solstice concert series
    • December 15, 16, 17, 2016
    • Only four shows so reserve a spot soon!

Following the Presidents Through Central Park

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dsc_1341With all the hullabaloo about the current election it’s a great time to talk about presidents. No, I’m not about to rant or rave about Trump, but here are a few stories about past Presidents who have left their mark on Central Park during their visits to New York.

Thirteenth president Millard Fillmore has a long connection to Central Park. In 1847, as New York State comptroller, Fillmore authorized the appropriation of funds to construct the Arsenal, which is now part of Central Park and citywide headquarters for the Parks Department. An honorary façade marker inscribed with Fillmore’s name was placed on the building.

Nineteenth president Rutherford B. Hayes opened the American Museum of Natural History on December 22, 1877 in what is now known as Theodore Roosevelt Park. President Hayes also unveiled the Fitz-Greene Halleck statue in Central Park on May 15, 1877.

On April 30, 1899, twenty-fifth president William McKinley made a trip to New York. During his visit, McKinley took a cruise on the Hudson, but to get to the dock at 129th Street, the President, First Lady, and their following boarded carriages and cut through Central Park to Riverside Drive.

Twenty-ninth President Warren G. Harding spent an afternoon in New York on April 19, 1921 to unveil the Simon Bolivar Statue in Manhattan’s Central Park. He then delivered a major policy address urging greater cooperation within the Americas.

Herbert Hoover, the thirty-first president, spent much of his time in New York City–from 1940 until his death in 1964–when he moved into the Waldorf Towers, overlooking Parks’ Park Avenue Malls.

Thirty-second president Franklin D. Roosevelt has had a large impact in the city’s parks system. His Works Progress Administration (WPA) programs (after 1939, known as the Work Projects Administration) funded many projects in the city.

At the end of World War II Roosevelt’s successor, thirty-third president Harry S. Truman, spoke to 50,000 people at Sheeps Meadow in Central Park on Navy Day, October 27, 1945.

On a sadder note, thirty-sixth president Lyndon B. Johnson flew in and out of New York in a helicopter via Central Park’s Sheep Meadow for Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on June 8, 1968.

After losing the 1962 California gubernatorial election, thirty-seventh president Richard M. Nixon moved to New York and lived in an apartment overlooking Central Park.

Forty-first president George Herbert Walker Bush lived in the Waldorf Towers from 1970 to 1972 while serving as the United States ambassador to the United Nations.

Bill Clinton, our forty-second president, set up his post-presidency office in Harlem; the former president surprised Parks Arsenal employees one winter afternoon after a visit to the Central Park Zoo–he graciously shook hands on his way out to Fifth Avenue.

While in town for a fundraiser in July of 2015, forty-fourth president Barack Obama strolled through Central Park, stopping for a hot dog before going to see Hamilton with his two daughters, sister and brother-in-law.

And although not a president, New York governor Alfred E. Smith, the 1928 Democratic candidate was honored by a sculpture, a playground, a recreation center, a school, and a housing project on the Lower East Side block where he grew up. In retirement, he was given the title honorary zoo night keeper (or some such moniker) and a key to the Central Park Zoo, so he could admit himself at any time.

Presidential facts courtesy of NYCGovParks.org

Holiday Lights Walking Tour & Cyber Monday Deal – BOOK NOW!

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For native New Yorkers and tourists alike, the holidays in New York are a special and magical time of year. Twinkly lights cover the tree-lined streets, decorations are hung overhead and everything becomes a winter wonderland.

If you’re looking to experience this wonderful winter, join us on our Holiday Lights Walking Tour where you can explore the magic of New York at its finest. Running from November 25th through December 30th, the tour will feature the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, and Tiffany and Co., ending at the Macy’s in Herald Square.

Covering iconic light shows and storefront displays, the two-hour tour will head down Fifth Avenue, travel around St. Patricks Cathedral, pass through Times Square and end at Macy’s in Herald Square. This is something you don’t want to miss and there are only 15 spots available, so book quickly!

As a special Cyber Monday Deal, if you book your Holiday Lights tour tomorrow, Monday, November 28th, 2016, you will receive a complimentary pair of hand warmers for each person going on the tour. (You do not have to go on the Monday November 28th tour, but you do need to book your tour on that day.)

Tours depart daily from 56 W 56th Street and there are only 15 spots available so book fast and make sure you get a spot!

BLACK FRIDAY DEAL!

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Are you a savvy holiday shopper? Do you enjoy riding bikes? Do you love bike merchandise? Do you love a discount??

If you answered yes to the above questions, then we’ve got a deal for you! Mention this post in our store at 56 W 56th Street and we’ll give you 25% off all merchandise in the store on Black Friday!

While you’re there, book a carriage ride through Central Park, go on our Holiday Lights Walking Tour through Midtown, or if you’re brave enough to bear the cold – go on our Bike or Walking tours of Central Park!

*Valid only on Friday, November 25th at our 56 W 56th Street location.

19 Thanksgiving Activities in NYC for Kids & Adults

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  1. See a holiday themed movie at one of the local theaters – always open on holidays!
  2. Ice skate in Bryant Park’s Winter Village, Central Park’s Wollman Rink, or the iconic Rockefeller Center Rink under the tree.
  3. Go visit the Bryant Park Winter Village shops for trinkets and holiday themed ornaments. Or the shops at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market are always a good bet!
  4. Enter your children in the Long Island City YMCA Kid’s Turkey Dash, the Turkey Trot in Prospect Park or the Pilgrim Pedal, a bike ride leaving from 23rd street.
  5. Go see the Rockette’s perform the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular.
  6. Visit the Lego store at Rockefeller Center to see all the exotic creatures made from lego pieces and figurines.
  7. Go get a frozen hot chocolate from Dylan’s Candy Bar to celebrate the season!
  8. Go on a Holiday Lights Walking Tour and see the giant ornaments and decorations throughout the city.
  9. Take the kids on a carriage ride or walk through Central Park to see all the sculptures and secrets the park has to offer.img_2857
  10. Check out the holiday window displays of Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Tiffany’s and more.
  11. Go to the playground and have the kids burn off energy and all that turkey.
  12. Visit the Central Park Zoo and make friends with all the furry animals.
  13. Go on a family bike tour and stop to visit the Natural History Museum or the Met on the way and make it an educational holiday.
  14. Or rollerblade through the park to burn off the Thanksgiving feast, especially while it’s so nice outside.
  15. Attend the new exhibit at the Taylor Swift Experience, which debuts at 19 Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport on the 19th.
  16. Go see the live Alton Brown show: Eat Your Science at the Barrymore Theatre through Thanksgiving weekend.
  17. Go to Brooklyn to see the Dyker Heights Holiday Lights that give the Rockefeller Tree a run for its money.
  18. Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen or with the New York City Food Bank with the kids.
  19. See a Broadway show with the kids – Matilda, School of Rock and Disney on Ice are still playing during the holiday season.

Top photo is a Thanksgiving feast in the Tiffany & Co. window on Fifth Ave. Bottom photo is one the holiday window displays at Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Ave.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Guide

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2016-0512-nbcu-upfront-2016-macys90ththanksgivingparade-shows-image-1920x1080-jr Do you want to go to the Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade but don’t know where to stand? Or when it starts? Or what’s new this year? Well the below guide is your go-to for info on this year’s parade!

What: Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade


Where: The parade starts at 77th Street and Central Park West and travels south along the park. Then the route turns East at Columbus Circle, follows along Central Park South and turns right to head south on 6th Avenue until 34th Street where it travels east until arriving in front of Macy’s Herald Square.

There’s 2.5 miles of public viewing along the route but space fills up quickly – some people even camp out as early as 6 am!

Good spots to watch: 59th to 75th Streets along Central Park West, Columbus Circle and along Central Park South, 59th through 38th Streets along 6th Avenue

No or Limited Viewing: 75th to 77th Streets at Central Park South, 34th to 38th Streets at 6th Avenue, 34th Street between 6th & 7th. The start and end of the parade has very limited viewing due to balloon organization and television broadcasting.


When: The parade starts at 9 AM airing on NBC at 9 AM EST on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24th, 2016


Why: For the balloons of course! And to take part in an iconic NYC experience that you’ll never forget. Top floats, balloons, and performers include:

  • Hello Kitty
  • Pikachu
  • The Pillsbury Doughboy
  • Spongebob Squarepants
  • Elf on the Shelf
  • Paddington Bear
  • Charlie Brown
  • Harold the Policeman & Harold the Fireman
  • The Nutcracker & Mouse King Balloonicles
  • The Big Apple Float
  • Tom the Turkey
  • Santa’s Sleigh

Extras: Macy’s Parade Time Traveler App, available on the App Store and on Google Play

This app gives you a virtual experience during the parade, so when you’re waiting for the next float or balloon to pass by, you can hold your phone up and see how the balloons and buildings looked back in the day. You can also use it in store to catch Macy’s balloons – something great to occupy the kids with while doing some early holiday shopping!

Also, because it’s the 90th Anniversary of the Parade, this year Macy’s has created an interactive 360 degree timeline and map of past balloons with fun facts and quirky visuals of past performers. http://social.macys.com/parade/

Photo courtesy of NBC Studios at nbc.com

Tips for a Sneak Peek of the Macy’s Parade!

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macys-thanksgiving-balloons-18Every year, its a treat to get to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as people in costumes, decorated floats and balloons flying high in the air stroll down Fifth Avenue. What many people don’t often see if they watch on tv or only go to the parade on Thanksgiving day, are the balloons close-up. Kids and adults alike revel in the experience, it would make their day to see their favorite characters close-up and in person.

On Thanksgiving Eve, between 3pm and 10pm, you can see the gigantic balloons line the streets as they’re blown up for the parade. The Natural Museum of History on the Upper West Side at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue is where the viewing entrance begins. Kermit the Frog will seemingly grow out of thin air, Spiderman will crawl on the streets of New York, and it will be magical for your kids to see some of these characters come alive. thanksgiving-ballons-2012-14Some tips:

  1. They actually start inflating balloons around 1 pm so some balloons will already be inflated when people arrive around 3 pm. As it gets later in the day, more people arrive and the area becomes more packed, so the earlier the better.
  2. If you’re going to bring small children, don’t bring a stroller. It’s a small space and as the sidewalks become more packed, you’ll get stuck looking at the same balloon or herded along the path.
  3. Prepare younger kids for the crowds, or wait to take them until they’re older and can handle the lot of people.
  4. If you’re coming from far away, plan to take public transport, and walking for at least a few blocks. Macy’s has a map of the entrance points on their website.
  5. The loop around the museum takes about 45 minutes to complete so bring some snacks and water for the kids.
  6. Insider tip: the easiest way to see the balloons is to enter and go through the Natural History Museum first and then you can exit from the museum directly into the
  7. And if all else fails, there’s always the post-parade balloon deflation.

Images courtesy of PhotoFramd.com