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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.
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.
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 CITY’S FINEST MUSEUMS
JUST ACROSS CENTRAL PARK
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.)
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
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:
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
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 Museum, The 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.
Yes, we complain: too slow, too hot or too cold, too crowded, way too expensive, ancient…and on and on. In summer the platforms are brutally hot, the cars–freezing! Don’t worry, comes winter, it’s totally reversed. Metrocard is an ingrained part of city life, and we apologize to visitors for sometimes creating frustration. Visiting with kids? Be sure to ride in the first car, with young riders pressed against the window, their eyes wowed as the train rushes through the underground darkness or along the elevated tracks. The New York subway system is, perhaps, the 15th wonder of the world. The facts pertaining to this transportation system are mind boggling.
Started in 1904, City Hall to Harlem, 5 cents a ride, and it stayed at 5 cents for 44 years. The elevated train system was already in place for 35 years then, but it was the underground engineering miracle that allowed our city to expand into the vast metropolis it became. New neighborhoods did not grow until the elevated train was built first. Beyond Midtown, modern Manhattan is constructed on solid granite, Manhattan schist. The engineers moved on as they extended the system. In construction right now, under Second Avenue, the new route faces that same mountain of granite. Incredible! Two terrible events brought us to a frightening reality about our underground system: the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, where two stations collapsed, and Super Storm Sandy in 2012. While major flooding (tracks to ceiling) occurred in some stations, the system restarted 48 hours after that destructive night.
The MTA Arts for Transit program has brought artwork to 225 subway stations, 70 others to be added. You can download the free app for iOS or Android phone. One truly extraordinary subway stations is right here at West 81st Street-Museum of Natural History, the closest station for Park 79 Hotel! Both levels of the station are palettes for fantastic mosaics come alive–prehistoric animals with unpronounceable names, butterflies, sea animals, geologic layers. Tiny crustaceans and giant dinosaurs. In Midtown, the corridors in the the 42nd Street and 51st Street stations are filled with brilliant tile art. 14th Street on the Lexington Avenue line, Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue in Brooklyn–incredible!
(photo: payvisit blog)
Must mention, “Music Under New York,” where 350 carefully selected talented musicians and groups cause travelers to stop and be delighted. Others just set up their presence on any station…and perform.
The Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn is the largest museum in the USA devoted to urban public transportation history, and one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world. The Museum explores public transit development in the greater New York metropolitan region: exhibitions, tours, educational programs, and workshops dealing with the cultural, social, and technological history of public transportation. A smaller outpost is at Grand Central Terminal. Consider seasonal nostalgia Tours. Nostalgia Rides can be a memorable part of a seasonal visit.
Many elevated stations now boast stained glass windows and interesting ironwork, even if the endless iron structures need real work. But they also boast magnificent views along their tracks and have been ongoing inspiration to our artists. Lines #1 (Harlem River Valley, 215-225th Sts.) #4 and #6 in the Bronx (Whitlock and Elder Sts.) As the #7 train travels east, Long Island City looms, and then, you ride atop one ethnic neighborhood after another. #J train to Williamsbridge. From the #A line there is the Atlantic Ocean in Queens!
Park 79 Hotel, as often remarked upon by our guests, enjoys a terrific location: heart of the Upper West Side rich in historic brownstone homes and elegant apartment houses, national brand stores and chic boutiques. There are street fairs, grand museums, terrific restaurants and pubs, the best transportation in the city (we think!); Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, universities and conservatories. Even with these highlights, guest comments always include Central Park. Without fail: CENTRAL PARK! We agree. This is our garden, and just a walk through charming Theodore Roosevelt Park at the American Museum of Natural History.
Here we highlight the deeply forested enclaves of Central Park beckoning adventurous visitors–and New Yorkers. City sounds disappear, all quiet here. Water falling, woodland birds hiding, maybe a quiet picnic blanket…and you.
Hallet Nature Sanctuary East Side, 60-62nd Streets
April through October, only guided tours bring visitors. A rare opportunity to explore one of Central Park’s best-kept secrets and learn of the revitalization of a seemingly natural landscape. Please visit the Events Calendar of the website for the next opportunity to visit the Hallett Nature Sanctuary.
The Ramble Mid-Park from 73rd to 79th Streets.
The Ramble is a 38-acre “wild garden.” Escape the city’s clamor and be lost in a true forest setting. As amazingly wild and natural it seems, except for the bedrock, it is entirely artificial. Even the water running in the stream and the adjacent Lake is turned on and off like a faucet. Some of the trees date back to 1859 when the Ramble was planted. Here, find a thriving wildlife habitat. The Central Park Conservancy carefully monitors and guards this woodland successfully, especially considering that more than 25 million people enjoy Central Park each year. Because of its location on the Atlantic Flyway of migrating birds in the spring and fall, the Ramble is the park’s center of birding activity. Over 230 species have been spotted, while over 40 other species remain in the Park all year long.
Park highlights close to The Ramble, to be enjoyed along with this woodland adventure, are:
The Pool Enter Central Park West/100-103rd Street
Here a natural stream has been dammed by the original designers, Olmstead and Vaux, offering grassy banks, weeping willows, and rushing waterfall. The water gushing out of a grotto on the Pool’s southern shoreline is actually the city’s drinking water from a pipe hidden deep in the rocks. Many species of birds, fish, and amphibians are found at The Pool, and local residents consider this haven as their private Eden.
The North Woods West 103rd Street
Perhaps the most secluded and peaceful area of Central Park, the North Woods seems more a corner of the Adirondack Mountains, just a few subway stops away from Times Square. This is one of the Park’s three woodlands offering people and wildlife an oasis of nature in the middle of New York City. Fallen trees, are left where they land (unless hazardous or obscuring paths), providing nutrients to surrounding plants, homes to wildlife and a natural look to the landscape.
The Ravine Deep within The North Woods
Though designed to resemble the Adirondack wilderness, the Ravine, as all of Central Park, is completely man made. The Loch, a stream that flows through the North Woods is dammed in several places to create the cascades of the Ravine.
Both iPod and Android have apps to bring Central Park alive!