Visit Harlem!

NYC-harlem

For many of our guests at Park 79 Hotel, a visit to Harlem is pretty high on their list of must-sees.  Exploring everything to know on the Internet, they discover an area truly unique.  No other world capital boasts a Harlem, and our Harlem—as with so many neighborhoods—has changed…and changed again.  Real estate investors, downtown restaurateurs, business offices (following Bill Clinton), giant retailers and, now, Columbia University have been changing the landscape drastically the past few years. Central Park’s northern landscape surprises even us locals: Harlem Meer, the Dana Nature Center, Summer dancing, Lasker Ice Rink – Swimming Pool, huge granite boulders and the northern gate of Conservancy Gardens on the East Side.

This is, for the most part, good news; to many long-time Harlem residents (especially the far-from-affluent) the changes are not all welcome.  Traditional Harlem boundaries are changing as well.  Columbia University’s newest campus starts at Broadway and ends near the Hudson River, the southern boundary is West 125th Street.  Riverbank State Park borders the West Side Highway. (In fact, Harlem boasts several beautiful parks.) East Harlem is now multiethnic: African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Chinese, Mexicans, young Anglo-Americans. Both of the Harlems share an amazing change-of-architecture scene, East Harlem going south to East 96th Street.  (And Costco has found a home here in a multi-story shopping mall along the East River!)

feature-brownstone

Harlem Highlights NYC

Noting that many of these “upheavals” have been for the good, we share those unique sites and tastes that visitors should look forward to experiencing.

The streets are safer and cleaner; Harlem residents can be among the most welcoming New Yorkers;  it’s so easy to reach Harlem’s main crossroads by subways and buses, bringing visitors right to where they want to be. And, green medallion taxis can carry you TO Park 79 Hotel’s doorstep on West 79th Street in minutes.  Day and Night!

Romare Bearden paintings "Jamming at the Savoy" & "The Card Players"

Romare Bearden paintings “Jamming at the Savoy” & “The Card Players”

Romare Bearden’s paintings and remarkable collages stand as glorious tributes to Black History and can be seen at the Studio Museum and Schomburg Library.

A highlight of any Harlem visit is the Sunday Gospel Service and Brunch.  The churches have almost all become far too crowded for tourist groups, but the gospel brunches are memorable, both for the spirit and joy of the music and the enormous offerings of food. The women of Harlem, in their gorgeous hats, will join you very often after services, and they ARE stunning (especially Easter Sunday).

3 hats

Here are links that will take you to all the information for your Harlem Visit planning.  Daytime: solo walking or guided tours-museums, shopping, parks, recreation. Night: soul food dinner, jazz, dancing, The Apollo.  Sundays: gospel performances and brunch, with a group or on your own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk the High Line & Visit the New Whitney Museum of American Art

on the grassWhat was for too many years a truly wasted, unending fixture along the western edge of Manhattan’s Chelsea, now seems to have been magically reinvented. Envisioned by a dedicated unit of locals, here would burst from the ravaged, rusting elevated train path, a promenade like no other.  With the Hudson River to the west, historic Chelsea on the east, the open sky above, The High Line would transport our citizens–and the world’s citizens–literally and very figuratively–with the railroad tracks gracefully restored and reimagined, and plantings so different from a traditional decoration. While the inspiration is greatly owed to Promenade Plantee in Paris, the High Line’s east-west horizons are unique, and the landscaping are inspired by its history.

High line yellow

From Park 79 Hotel the suggested subway line is the C or C-A to 34th or 14th Street stations, an easy walk from there. Entry points are in Chelsea (including the newest wing not far from West 34th Street) and the Meatpacking District, both neighborhoods with such interesting history and architecture.  Beneath the High Line’s elevation, the Meatpacking District offers an amazing choice for dining, entertaining friends, meeting people–and shopping!  Chelsea Market is the shopping paradise just north.  Here are links to bring you to these highlights:

Guardian Angel Church NYC

Chelsea Market NYC

Whitney Museum of American Artokeefe

Just opened this May 2015, the stunning Whitney Museum of American Art, situated on the High Line and almost touching the Hudson River, has drawn such interest from architectural critics, the Contemporary Art world, museum officials, and everyone who has already visited…or not. Renzo Piano is the famed architect, The Whitney not his first museum modernization or rebuilding in New York City. (New York’s Morgan Library and The Art Institute in Chicago are his superb renewals.) Not only is the Whitney in and of itself spectacular, but its location and position on the High Line have created a truly unique experience for the museum-goer. The long wait has been well worth it!

Whitney Museum High Line NYC

Discovering Riverside Park

 

 RIVERSIDE PARK

How fortunate that Park 79 Hotel enjoys a very special corner! Our hotel almost touches the American Museum of Natural History–a true host of iconic landmarks for our guests to enjoy “just up the street.” But, starting the day, turn a sharp right and head west till you can’t go any further.  THERE IT IS!  One of the city’s most beautiful parks–RIVERSIDE PARK. Beautiful parkland covering 330 acres Its history of neglect and abandonment, unfortunately, overcame the shoreline park designed by Frederick Olmstead in the 1870’s, a typical fact of many of our city’s parks. Its savior was Robert Moses, and under his strict reign the railroad tracks were hidden, he built The  Rotunda and extended the park to the Hudson River shoreline, developing the multiple recreation areas.  The southern edge then became 55th Street, while, just south of the George Washington Bride, the north border is 155th Street.

The Riverside Park -Hudson Greenway,  the most heavily used bikeway in the USA,  is the city’s longest, from Dyckman Street in the north to Battery Park in the south. (There’s a small gap for street use in Harlem.) Bike, skate or hike along the Hudson River, almost entirely at the water level. To the north, near the Georgeight, stroll four blocks and–

 

BEST OVERVIEW

Riverside Park Biking Hiking Kayaking

 BIKING                HIKING              KAYAKING (seasonal)

 

ENJOYING SEASONAL TREES, FLOWERS

Riverside Park NYC Seasonal Beauty

At cherry blossom peak season in April, Riverside Park has its own claim to fame. Dubbed the Cherry Walk, this stretch along the Hudson, between 100th and 125th streets, is brilliant with dozens of cherry trees blooming in breathtaking splendor. Even more impressive is Sakura Park  (just off Riverside Park at 122nd Street), packed with 2,000-plus trees donated by Japan in 1912. Crabapple trees fill the senses with perfume and white and pink floral clouds from 100th Street south to the 90’s.  Summer’s dense shade brings families, friends and lovers to the lawns for picnics, readings, guitar strumming and cuddling. When autumn delights with warm sunny days and chilled nights, every seasonal color paints the viewer’s vision–breathtaking!

GRAND STATUES AND MONUMENTS

The vista along the Hudson River and looking out onto the New Jersey shoreline (with The Palisades at the north end of the park) is made even more spectacular by the numerous monuments and regal statues aligning the park. From Joan of Arc to Eleanor Roosevelt, history is brought to life, always with the park itself lending the dense backdrop.

The two most important monuments reign supreme:

SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT at 89th Street             GRANT’S TOMB and RIVERSIDE CHURCH

Riverside Park NYC

SPORTS FIELDS in Riverside Park include tennis, volleyball and basketball courts; soccer fields, and a skate park at 108th Street.  Visitors will find it difficult to actually participate (teams, permits, etc.), but watching is free, and a tennis-match invitation is always possible.

CULTURAL AND ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS  are announced each spring for the season. Most are free.

DINING AND DRINKING  venues range from hot dog and ice cream vendor carts to some really nice dining choices.  Of course, picnics are welcome and very popular.

PIER 1 CAFE

79TH STREET BOAT BASIN (so close to Park 79 Hotel)

ELLINGTON IN THE PARK    (Duke Ellington’s home is just across from the park)
RIVERBANK GRILL   An upscale, beautiful, year-round restaurant located in Riverbank State Park on the Hudson. Not open every day, weekends for brunches, reservations a must in-season! Worth a visit!

Memories of New York City can only be enhanced when Riverside Park beckons time away from the busy, too-busy Midtown streets. 

 

Some Great Food Events This Spring

Spring  IS coming–it’s GOT to come!  It WILL come!  And we can stop nursing a those bowls of very hot soup that we would eat with gloves on. Hot chocolate can now be replaced by hot fudge sundaes eaten on a bench…under a warm sun…as part of a day’s stroll.  Oh please!!!

This is the perfect time to tempt Park 79 Hotel’s guests with a fresh season of amazing food adventures that can be part of their stay with us. We’ll try to go right through Spring 2015, a spring that will be more welcome than any other in memory.  Summer’s events will just have to wait!

 

The Village Voice 8th Annual Choice Tasting Event  Friday, March 13th features 50+ handpicked restaurants from all five New York City boroughs on  at Metropolitan Pavilion. Urban Harvest is the non-profit benefitting from this event.

The New York Culinary Experience   April 11-12. Cook with 30 chefs!

The NYC BBQ Cook-Off in Historic Richmondtown  Saturday, April 11. The Staten Island Ferry can bring you there, so it’s a really amazing adventure for your Big Apple stay.

Food Book Fair  April 10-12, Friday-Sunday. New ideas in food and writing that spanned the wide worlds of art, science, education, activism, technology, politics and entrepreneurship.

The New York Hot Sauce Expo  April 25-26,  Saturday-Sunday  In Brooklyn,  Speaks for itself.

This is the Chili Cook-Off, also in historic Richmondtown, Staten Island. Saturday, April 25.

Taste of Hope  The American Cancer Society’s delicious fundraiser on Thursday, April 30.  One of the major culinary events of the year raising over $1,000,000.

The New York City Burger Week  May 1-7,  7 events, 28 restaurants

The Annual Specialty Food Show comes to the Javits Convention Center.  Friday-Sunday, June 28-30.  Nothing is left out–nothing.

 

The New Taste of the Upper West Side   Sunday to Tuesday, June 28-30.  Now in its 8th year, with over 3,500 guests in 2014. Wonderful cuisine from the area’s finest restaurateurs, showcasing our diverse restaurants throughout the Upper West Side,  It really is special!

Keep in mind that a stay at Park 79 Hotel, here in the heart of the Upper West Side, brings you to an endless choice of dining experiences.  If your stay can’t coincide with a foodie-event, not to worry.  Your personal dining choices will be fixed in memory, be at the heart of  sharing with friends at home.

 

 

 

 

 

Lots to Do in our Neighborhood in Wintry Weather

Traveling in winter CAN be good: lower air and hotel rates — less crowds everywhere — easier tickets — great restaurant deals.  Good shopping, of course!    The less attractive part of it: WEATHER — very cold or very chilly — snow, maybe the shorter days.

Park 79 Hotel boasts an amazing location–all seasons–and it contributes to a memorable, fun and rewarding New York visit.  Nightly rates are often absurdly low! If you are a neighborhood resident and hosting family or friends, call the hotel. There’s a special Friend & Family rate for your guests–contact the hotel.


Our local city transit stations and stops allow guests to be everywhere in short trips, avoiding crowded corners. Enjoy all the city highlights. And save time for the Upper West Side, populated with historic homes, international boutiques, great dining, renown cultural institutions, lively street action.  We hope our readers are planning their winter visit right now–or for next winter–and will save our suggestions.

WINTER OUTDOOR FUN CLOSE BY IN CENTRAL PARK

Trump and Lasker Ice Skating–Running and Biking–Special Outdoor Winter Celebrations.  Taking great photos! Check www.centralpark.org for weekly announcements.

 

ENTERTAINMENT HIGHLIGHTS
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is our star!  A beautiful walk from our door to the campus is in itself a treat. The avenues are filled with color and rhythm, shop windows are appealing, architectural highlights, a variety of food vendors–the excitement is door-to-door.  The world’s largest performing arts complex.

  • The Beacon Theatre
  • Stand Up New York Comedy Club
  • AMC Multiplex and Lincoln Plaza Cinema
  • Triad Theatre Club
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center

 

 

 

THE CITY’S FINEST MUSEUMS

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • & the Hayden Planetarium
  • New York Historical Society
  • Museum of Arts & Design
  • Folkloric Museum
  • The Children’s Museum
  • Bard Graduate Center of Decorative Arts 

 

JUST ACROSS CENTRAL PARK

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Frick Museum
  • Neue Galerie
  • NYU’s Institute for the Study of Asian Art ……  and all the other fine collections along Museum Mile.
STROLLING…SHOPS…AND MORE SHOPS

 

The Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) has created a “village” feel to the avenue, and now the streets are lined with boutiques and stores, restaurants and cafes, consignment and flea-market finds, the Sunday Farmers’ Greenmarket. GreenFlea on 77th Street is always a wonder of vintage and craft finds. While winter colors along the street are subdued, Theodore Roosevelt Park across the street is a study in urban nature, with historic apartment buildings as background.

DINING, DRINKING, SCHMOOZING, FOODS TO BRING HOME OR HAVE DELIVERED TO YOUR ROOM

 

As we’ve noted many times, both Columbus Avenue and Amsterdam Avenue are populated with an abundance of restaurants, diners, pubs, bars–a few really fine, highly rates upscale restaurants–food “boutiques” and corner delis.  Just strolling along these busy neighborhood ways will have your wanting and wishing for more time to enjoy them all!  Our ZIP codes are: 10023, 10024,10025, and you can read all about what’s terrific.  Vegans and vegetarians will learn that especially Amsterdam Avenue near Park 79 Hotel has truly delectable non-meat menu dining, with American and international chefs.  The pubs have great burgers, wings, sandwiches to go with unending beer choices.  Deliveries to your room at Park 79 Hotel can go well into the late night hours, including those warm,  fresh chocolate chip cookies from Insomnia Cookies. 

 

Planning to bring terrific Big Apple treats back home?  Close by, on Amsterdam Avenue, are the sweet indulgences of Sugar Plumm and Jacques Torres Chocolates. You may break the bank if you’re not careful…but you will be loved by all those you left home when they open the plastic bags and boxes.  Forget the tee shirts and funny hats–bring back love, what we here consider love: our bagels, delicatessen, smoked fish and meats, knishes: these are why we love Sunday breakfast! (Some of these emporia DO sell tee shirts, hats and bags–good quality and something to talk about back there.)

  • Zabar’s 
  • Fairway
  • Barney Greengrass
  • Levain Bakery
  • Citarella
  • Murray’s Sturgeon Shop

 

 

No URL’s this edition, but we’ve highlighted those places we feel are well worth your pre-trip study online, help you plan your in-depth New York Visit, your introduction to the Upper West Side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting the American Museum of Natural History

 

Park 79 Hotel literally shares a corner of New York City with the American Museum of Natural History: Columbus Avenue and West 79thStreet.  Is this amazing?  Just ask our guests!  It’s always a good-news item they share online…and with friends back home. This amazing institution lures the world’s visitors—all ages, all languages.  The best news: It IS marvelous! 

Its history is well worth a look. The word-for-the-wise:  Plan ahead!  Bringing little kids and teenagers—don’t feel you must see everything, unless there’ll be a second visit. Here are some recommended steps:

Personal research:

All Exhibits

Check this website for fascinating background information.

Entrances: Four (4) entry points: 81st Street B, C subway station (lowest level); Central Park West (main iconic entrance); West 81st Street & Central Park West (Planetarium), Columbus Avenue & West 79th Street (park-Planetarium).

Entry: The museum asks/suggests a set entry fee per person.  This is NOT a mandatory amount, it’s suggested.  Decide what you can afford. Each special exhibit does carry a set fee and must be paid. Entry includes the planetarium visit as well.  There are wonderful public tours to choose from, and these are highly recommended.

Eat/Dine: The cafeteria is ALWAYS busy!  Way downstairs.  Lots of choices. Also remember, Columbus Avenue is a dining festival—one restaurant after another, all prices, good stuff for kids, indoor and out. Shake Shack is almost always crazy-crowded. On Sundays, GreenFlea on 77th Street has wonderful food purveyors, and the weekly farmers market along the museum on Columbus Avenue is ideal for healthful, fresh foods.  Only two-of-you?  Caffe Storrico at the New York Historical Society on West 77th Street is kind of nice. And…lots of street-food vendors.

Shop:  How about four floors of gifts-souvenirs-amazing stuff? From adorable stuffed dinosaurs to stunning precious jewelry, something for all.

Relax: Theodore Roosevelt Park or Central Park – save some time to chill out and watch the world stroll by. The Park 79 Hotel is waiting to welcome you back!

New Year’s Eve…and Beyond for our Guests

At this writing, everyone is busy with the Christmas-Chanukah-Kwanzaa preparations. This is at-home or, if you are very lucky, visiting New York City.  But now is a good time to plan-for New Year’s Eve here and the relatively quiet time that happens through January of each new year. Three Kings Day is celebrated on January 6 in the Latin communities; still great merchandise in the stores; museum major exhibits lure visitors in from the cold; our hotel pricing certainly spins downwards; airfare is almost a real bargain; the Javits Convention Center is so busy. Broadway theatres are alive and easier to book.  Restaurants really want you to come in and enjoy–even if your new year’s diet resolution has taken hold. Ice skating goes on till March and April now. But, let’s start with New Year’s Eve and all that visitors can do besides freeze in Times Square. The Times Square Alliance website gives all instructions and details for joining the thousands of revelers. You have to be here very, very early, strict policing.

THE most important city event–a lot easier than Times Square! Worth your choice! Come to Central Park for the all-weather terrific celebration — dance, drink, sing, applaud, run, dress crazy!    

       runnerNew Years Eve in Central Park, NYC

For after-midnight, join this terrific group of bicyclists–weather permitting TimeOut Magazine reports it all.  and Elton John plays the Barclay Center! Webster Hall   Music into the New Year–lots of music!  Dance your Happy New Year The music tribute to George Gershwin by the New York Philharmonic Everything else happening at Lincoln Center   Dancing’s at Jazz at Lincoln Center! REAL dancing! Dress Up! St. Barts New Year’s Eve Concert December 31, 11:00 pm to past midnight  Join a huge crowd greeting the new year crossing the Brooklyn Bridge  Even the cold isn’t cold in this happy crowd.

bklyn

And now it is 2015, an easy number to remember for the next 365 days, 2015.    Read through  these highlights  for lovers, sports fans, families, antiques fanatics, boat people, the GLTB community,  kids—pretty much everyone NOT going to Florida.

Madison Square Garden has undergone an important updating recently and is a favorite concert and sports venue, home to New York Knicks Basketball and Rangers Hockey, Liberty Women’s Basketball and so many concerts. Billy Joel has made it his perfomance home. About 20,000 seats, but also home to the smaller Theater at Madison Square Garden. Here are annual family shows, events and theatricals including Cirque du Soleil, the NFL and NBA Drafts. Barclay Center just over the East River (made famous by William and Kate recently!) almost never sleeps, and the Prudential Center  in nearby Newark is the third great venue. Disney on Ice loves January here.

The Jacob Javits Expo Center here in Midtown West is jam-packed during January: ACCESSORIES, THE BOAT SHOW and THE NY TIMES TRAVEL SHOW are the biggies. With Park 79 Hotel also on the West Side, it’s an easy subway-X-Town bus to the door. Check our EVENTS pages.

Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea has interesting winter shows: Textile Design and Functional Art, while early March welcome Vintage Clothing.

So close to Park 79 Hotel, and a good reason some guests always choose our hotel, is the Beacon Theatre.  Starlights this January: Dancing with the Stars, the 15th; Fleetwood Mac, January 22, Billy Idol, the 28th.

Kids Broadway Week  and Broadway Week are official promotions during school breaks and winter-holiday plans.      

 

   

Holiday Season in New York City — Not to be Missed Favorites

Holiday Season in New York City starts earlier and earlier, fun for visitors from afar and pleasurable for the locals. Even before Thanksgiving, it’s everywhere: glamorous, funny, spiritual–all our senses are struck.  So how do visitors plan to take it all in?  Are there any places that are perhaps not known? Fun to experience even if in a crowd?  Worth spending time with to bring home lasting memories?  Of course!  We don’t have to write about Rockefeller Center or Fifth Avenue windows or Macy’s.  They are so spectacular, visitors will find and love them easily.  Allow us to suggest to our guests at Park 79 Hotel some Holiday Treasures of  New York that will stay in your hearts.

Origami Tree at the American Museum of Natural History  Each year a new theme inspires the talented volunteers as they start the project in July. For more than 30 years, families bring children for the experience, since it’s a game to find and name the hundreds of beautifully constructed scientific or natural decorations.

The Annual Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden  A must-see New York tradition. Enchanting model trains zip past NYC’s landmarks in a magnificent model city. The setting under the glass dome of the Haupt Conservatory adds to this dream world.  More than 150 iconic buildings, all re-created with bark, leaves, twigs, acrorns–all natural materials by a dedicated volunteer group in Kentucky led by Paul Busse. Weather permitting–and we do get mild early winter evenings–strolling the paths, twinkling outdoor decorations, the gorgeous gift shop– wow! AND MetroNorth takes you right to the garden’s gate, then wisks you back to Midtown Manhattan.

Madison Ave windows above 60th Street are not as well known as the fantasies of the major stores along Fifth Avenue.  But the street is calm, the elegance displayed in the boutique windows is well worth slipping away for during a couple of hours.  Barney’s is all fantasy–sometimes a bit crazy, this year by Baz Luhrmann.  The American and International fashion houses don’t stint on decoration.  There are luxury coffee and pastry shops along the way to lure you in from the winter.

Dycker Heights in Brooklyn   (See our calendar section for details)  On your own or with one of the several guided tours.

Columbia University’s campus becomes a lovely city forest, its trees illuminated right through the winter’s darkness, and just across from the east gate is Cathedral Church of  St. John Divine. Annual decoration is the imposing Peace Tree, all white, origami doves totally covering the branches.  The silence of the vast space humbles the visitor and service is for everyone. Christmas Eve service welcomes all.

67th Street east of Columbus Avenue is always beautiful, and you are right near Tavern on the Green and Lincoln Center with their glorious lights.

Far Downtown, at the World Finanacial Center, now Brookfield Place, be sure to spend time in the Winter Garden

Time Warner Center’s lights and music have become world famous, well worth a visit even in daylight. The stores are all decorated in their finest, warm walk-around away from winter chill.

From All the Staff at Park 79 Hotel, Best Wishes for all the Holidays at this Time and in the New Year 

 

 

Bowling, Ping Pong, Billiards, Darts and Karaoke

With winter anxiously waiting to descend on us, it’s time to spread the word about the cornucopia of  THINGS TO DO INDOORS WHEN IT’S TOO DARNED COLD TO BE OUTSIDE.  This is New York, so you can bet there’s quite a mix of indoor “sports.”  All the boroughs have neighborhood favorites, but we’ll concentrate here on games in Manhattan, Brooklyn and then add further out. Good excuse to explore!

EVERYTHING you’d like to know, but here are some highlights. Can be out-of-date re closings and rates, please note.

Bowling has lost much of its old-fashioned allure as trendiness takes over, just as with almost everything else. Old favorite spots have disappeared with the city’s real estate grabs. But there are new outlets, too, with top line equipment and comforts. Still relatively easy on the budget for a fun time with friends.

LUCKY STRIKE IN HELL’S KITCHEN   Classy Lucky Strike is hugh, fancy, with state-of-the-art lanes, classy “lounge” sofas, even a dress code. Special deals are offered Mon-Tue-Wed, with unlimited bowling and/or billiards and ping pong. $$Extras have to be part of the deal.  In Midtown-West on 42nd Street.

FRAMES IN HELL’S KITCHEN   Couches, $$ mixed drinks. Also a dress code for your group.It’s a really nice atmosphere, quite a good local following.

THE GUTTER  Crossing into Williamsburg, Brooklyn, you’ll find two bowling sites.  The Gutter will satisfy: elegant, a bit old-school still pricey compared to back-home. Bring your own food, if you like, no kids admitted.  Just grownups who love Brooklyn  and bowling.

BROOKLYN BOWL    Definitely high-end.  Just be careful not to count on this venue without checking first, as they often host music events.  All kinds of specials, so see what fits your desires and schedule. Fried chicken (and other stuff)  and nightclub-quality shows and DJs. So, it’s bowling at its best.

Also check the following bowling emporia–not Manhattan or Brooklyn–but not impossible.  Great idea if you’re already wandering these locales for great memories:

WHITESTONE LANES  in Flushing, Queens   Bargain rates, open 24 hours.

HUDSON LANES  Really a great choice, and with  the PATH train, so close. Varying rates, lots of NJ locals, but not a second choice at all.  And add another state to your NY memories!

Ping Pong is often  part of a multi-choice stop, and it can be taken very, very seriously. And don’t forget, Bryant Park has open-air, FREE ping pong! Just mentioning two here, but Google “ping pong” and lots come up.

SPIN  Here is true sport and entertainment in a designer-type setting. Day or Night, ping and pong in 17 courts. Restaurant/Bar, pro-shop. You have to be over age 21 after 9pm, but during the day it’s all-ages.

FAT CAT in the West Village  More than ping pong, but good ping pong!  Pool, live music, classes.

WANG CHEN ping pong is quite close to park 79 Hotel, on 100th Street & Broadway. Very serious ping pong! Very serious!

Billiards & Pool so many neighborhood spots may feature a table or two, but here we’ll mention the highlights for this diversion.  Some have a couple of TV screens for seasonal sports, others are TV screen theatres.  It’s a great way to mix with locals, maybe make a new forever friend.

SPACE BILLIARDS    24 hour operation, in Koreatown on 32nd Street, in from Broadway and up a funky elevator. 14 tables (beautifully maintained) special lighting, And not just billiards–there’s Korean snacks and vast beer menu. KARAOKE!  Hidden on the 12th floor of a typical, old Midtown building.  But surprise and fun await! $17 per hour, $20 per hour if you have more than four people in your party.

EASTSIDE BILLIARDS  is just a cross town bus from Park 79 Hotel, with many considering it the very best. Luxurious could be a description.

Soldier McGee is close to Park 79 Hotel, just a good neighborhood Irish bar with pool table.  Always busy.

Darts are everywhere.  Even a tiny neighborhood hangout can have a couple of dart boards. So here’s a BIG list for all over. Play Darts! Just too many to list, so this is a great guide and you can choose a location just right for your schedule.

 

Karaoke is taken very seriously by our Japanese-New Yorkers, but the love of this “sport” has become an epidemic…and a terrific one Here’s a listing for some known and some hidden karaoke temples, even a few very close to he hotel. Perfect for a rainy night, a too-tired-to-do-much evening. KARAOKE TONIGHT! 

 

The Lower East Side — An Early History & Dynamic Present

When we promote our Park 79 Hotel to New York’s visitors we boast of our amazing Upper West Side neighborhood–its history, the important changes over 200 years–and why we are so proud to live here.  So much history and so very much promise. New Yorkers feel this strongly about every neighborhood–their neighborhood!

New Yorkers born between the 18th and 21st centuries have either had to or, now, choose to live in this Lower East Side corner of our city. Histories and fiction, musicals and films–personal biographies–the rich documentation of life on the Lower East Side is read and absorbed by people around the world.  In fact, the LES absorbed people from around the world as it grew from a village in the 18th century and was in the early 20th Century, the most densely populated corner of the world!  Really!  Today’s guided tours richly describe the facts and figures, not just to visitors,  but also to those of us who have roots here, especially covering the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The area became the first stop for Irish, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Jewish, and Chinese immigrants, as well as African-Americans and Puerto Ricans, all seeking a better life.  How it has changed!  There are still small ethnic enclaves, especially where Chinatown begins and ends. but the soaring rents–the glass-clad and terraced apartment houses and the nouveau boutiques–sparkle, but at incredible rents.  Here and there are small remnants of ethnic businesses that stir our memories or invite tourists who’ve researched such treasures such as Streit’s Matzo Bakery, Katz’s Delicatessen, Russ & Daughters and Schapiro’s, no longer a winery, now a restaurant.

Fascinating history of this city corner. An area rich in German culture, demolished when the picnic boatride on the General Slocum ended in great tragedy.  An unforgettable visit to the Tenement MuseumThe Lower East Side History Project Tours   and The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy offer excellent ethnic tours. Walks of New York  lead additional tours and there’s walking through the East Village/LES for a walk through Rock N Roll history.

AND Eating!  Too many decisions, way too many!