Aquariums around New York, NY

New York City. The Big Apple. This global hub speaks for itself, needing no introduction in virtually every possible area, including a wide range of aquariums. With so much to see in New York, we’ll dive right in. Here are some of our favorite aquariums around the city that never sleeps. 

New York Aquarium

The New York Aquarium occupies a historic part in the nation’s identity, the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, located on the iconic Coney Island boardwalk. Here, New Yorkers have enjoyed learning about the conservation efforts and realities of ecosystems around the world, principally through some very iconic ambassadors! These include species such as the sea otter, sand tiger shark, green moray eel, cownose ray, harbor seal, and the black-footed penguin. Crowds can enjoy the bountiful exhibits, sea lion shows, and feedings here at the New York Aquarium, all in an incredibly famed area of the city.

https://nyaquarium.com

Central Park Zoo

For over a century, Central Park Zoo has been one of the premier attractions for generations of New Yorkers to see and learn about the wonders of animals, land, and sea. Here, famous faces like the chinstrap penguin, king penguin, macaroni penguin, gentoo penguin, California sea lion, grizzly bear, and snow monkey reside in a series of habitats, some of New York’s most interesting and eccentric residents. The California sea lions here have regular feeding shows, and love to show off their smarts to the crowds. The four species of penguin and the tufted puffins also have regular feeding shows, with their lovable antics above water and below for all to see. 

Aside from these close-up looks, there is also a 4-D theater, where groups can experience nature programming and family films. For a family-friendly experience with some of the most iconic and important species in a fun set of activities, the Central Park Zoo is a great option. 

https://centralparkzoo.com

Bronx Zoo

In the Bronx is truly a larger installation. The combined efforts of the Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society over a century have amassed to a project spanning 650 species represented by 4,000 animals in over 260 acres. Indeed, this impressive amount of species is evident in the scope of aquatic species visitors can see here; from the American alligator to the Aldabra tortoise, California sea lion, Magellanic penguins, little penguins, Nile crocodile, and the small-clawed Asian otter. 

In addition to the myriad species, there is also a number of feedings, Q&A sessions, zoo shuttle rides, a ropes course, feedings, shopping, and dining options to round out any visit to the Bronx Zoo. These experiences accommodate groups, the public, and smaller parties of all interests and ages providing many opportunities for visitors to explore all sorts of topics. Whether visiting or local to the New York Area, groups of varying ages and diverse interests will find more than a day’s worth of activities and reasons to come back again and again. 

https://bronxzoo.com

Looking for New York City Parking?

5 Quirky Date Night Destinations in New York City

Date night doesn’t have to be the same each time. While we all love cuddling up at the movies or trying new restaurants or embracing a bit of high culture at museums, every once in a while, date night needs to be shaken up. Each city has a hidden world of strange, quirky, and delightful things to do. Try any one of these on your next date night and embrace the weird, whimsical part of life.

Hot Tub Boat Tours with “Sea the City”

Fancy a boat-trip on the Hudson River with the famed NYC Skyline in the distance, but looking for something that will spice up your day on the water? Then, sink into a hot tub boat and relax with breathtaking views of NYC’s skyline and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. You’ll enjoy time on the river while in the water of a hot tub that is always a perfect, hot temperature. You are allowed to bring your own snacks and drinks. Date night on the river just got a little more exciting with these rentals. Prices can be steep, so we suggest making this date night a group outing.

Magic Jewelry (Chinatown)

Not your typical shopping destination. At Magic Jewelry in the heart of NYC’s Chinatown, you and your date can get an aura photo taken with an accompanied aura reading, learn FengShui, or find your element and the corresponding crystals that will balance your life. Everything at Magic Jewelry is about finding balance and creating positive energy. It is a unique destination and a quirky way to get to know one another better.  

Bathhouse

A hidden gem in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that will remind you of the ancient baths found throughout Europe. But this bathhouse/spa was built from a converted factory. Among the industrial architecture of early 20th-century New York you’ll relax in the same way the Ancient Romans, Greeks, and Ottomans did. This is not your traditional spa experience and makes for a unique, restorative evening out.

Frevo’s Hidden Restaurant

The outside is a seemingly small, under-the-radar art gallery. Modern art paintings hang on the walls, but one of them covers a secret passage to the restaurant behind the gallery. You and your date can have fun searching for the correct painting that will double as a door to the intimate, gourmet eatery. There is something decadent and exciting about finding this hidden gem.

Marie’s Crisis Café

When in the Big Apple, famous for larger-than-life shows on Broadway and the kitschy songs of musicals, a trip to Marie’s Crisis Café is a must. And it will definitely provide a wonderful twist to dinner out as a couple. This Café is a New York treasure, not because of its style or architecture but because of its piano. Marie’s Crisis Café is a piano bar where musical theater plays all night long in a dimly lit, dingy bar and patrons sing at the top of their lungs. You’ll feel as if you walked into the world of a Broadway Musical.

Looking for New York City Parking?

Our favourite ways to spend summer in New York, NY

Whether a short summer trip, a whole summer or even a lifetime, there is so much to do in New York City that it’s not possible to see everything in this bustling global capital of over Eight million. With this in mind, it can be hard to choose the most memorable sights and additions to any travel itinerary. Here are some of our favourite ways to do summertime in the city that never sleeps. 

Statue of Liberty 

Step inside the monument that has represented the hopes of Americans and people from over the world, standing proudly atop Liberty Island. Visit the Statue of Liberty Museum and follow the long life of Lady Liberty, from the conception of her image in France, her assembly, her voyage across the Atlantic and her reemergence in New York. Here at the Museum, you can also view over 500 photographs from throughout her life, and then walk over to the main statue. The crown of the statue provides a beautiful view over the New York City area and the Upper Bay. For a personal introduction to one of New York City’s (literal) biggest personalities, come to Liberty Island.

American Museum of Natural History

For an inspiring learning experience, come to the American Museum of Natural History, whose wealth of antiquities and rare artefacts have drawn the curiosity and imaginations of New Yorkers for generations. Here, exhibits cover a variety of topics, from the stars to the diversity of life on our planet, to ancient humanity. Among these are the immersive Hayden Planetarium, collections of Primates and Asian mammals, a replica of an Easter Island Moai and an Olmec head. Whether to explore our histories or our surroundings, the American Museum of Natural History and it’s value on learning makes it a good addition to any Summer plans in New York. 

Fourth of July in Brooklyn

Experience the city come to life with Patriotic spirit on America’s birthday, and celebrate in a truly unique setting- New York City! Gather at High Noon to see giants like Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut compete to eat the most Hot Dogs in ten minutes, and head to the Brooklyn Bridge at night to see a stunning display of fireworks. Whether at a rooftop deck, a city park or from a cosy window, fireworks over the skies with Lady Liberty and New York City is a great way to spend the Fourth of July. 

SummerStage

SummerStage is an electric community event, featuring artists from a wide variety of genres including Pop, Rap, Latin that all play in New York’s Central Park. This long-standing New York City tradition pits serious names and massive crowds in the middle of the city. Some of these performers in SummerStage’s past include George Clinton, Talib Kweli, Tokimonsta, Kool & The Gang and San Fermin. This event occurs all over the summer and travels at times over the city from its main venue in Central Park. For a thrilling memory of music and an intense atmosphere, come enjoy the music at SummerStage.

Looking for New York City Parking?

The Best Parks of #NewYorkCity

Don’t have a lot of money but you want to get out of the house? See nature? Have fun? Go on a walk? Have a picnic? Let’s check out the best parks in New York City. This city is known for its skyscrapers and miles and miles of concrete, however, there are also some gems of nature in this city and you’ll be happy to visit them all.

Central Park

First, what list of parks in New York City would be complete without Central Park at the top of the list? This park is iconic and has been featured in countless movies for its dazzling display of trees, water, flowers, and wildlife in the middle of the Big Apple. It is easily one of the most recognizable parks in the world. This park is smack-dab in the middle of Manhattan and boasts various fountains, a lake, a castle, and even a zoo. If you’re ever in New York City, visiting Central Park is an absolute must.

Riverside Park

Riverside Park stretches four miles and provides breathtaking views of the Hudson River. It was designed in the 1870’s by the same architect who designed Central Park and is home to famous landmarks such as Grant’s Tomb and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. You’ll also find various playgrounds for families as well as walking trails, trees, and various historical buildings.

Bryant Park

This park is located in Midtown Manhattan and is completely surrounded by skyscrapers. Within walking distance of the New York Public Library and Grand Central Station, this park is the perfect choice for anyone in the city who wants to have a respite on their lunchbreak or just while wandering around town. Entertainment of all kinds comes to Bryant Park at various times of the year, such as summer movies on the lawn or ice skating at Winter Village during the winter. Make sure you take the time to check what event might be going on in Bryant Park while you’re in NYC. 

Prospect Park

Prospect Park is a sprawling 585 acres and also designed by the same team which designed Central Park and also Riverside Park. Some might call Prospect Park the crown jewel of Brooklyn, as it is well-beloved by the locals. There are so many things to explore in this park from the impressive Long Meadow to the Grand Army Plaza, you’ll never want for sights to see in this nature oasis. You’ll also adore Prospect Park Lake, a haven of peace and quiet in the middle of chaotic and noisy Brooklyn. In fact, it might just be the most serene location in the area.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

With a grand view of Brooklyn Bridge in the background, New York City’s most famous (and oldest) suspension bridge, you’ll have a most beautiful day exploring this lush, green park. You’ll have a perfect vantage point to enjoy the waterfront and have yourself a picnic. Or if you prefer to wander, you’ll enjoy all the gardens, basketball courts, playgrounds, and at Pier 4, there is even a sandy beach to delight the children. As far as a park with amazing photo opportunities, this is the park to visit. You’ll have a wonderful time visiting New York City’s famous parks!

Looking for New York City Parking?

5 Great Places to Have a Picnic in New York City

When the weather cooperates, we all love to get outside and explore the world around us. There is nothing more refreshing and soothing to the soul than a picnic in the sun, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Every city in the United States has incredible locations for picnicking. Below are 5 Great Places to Picnic in New York City, but by no means is this an exhaustive list.

Central Park

The most famous New York City Park, by far, but for good reason, which is why Central Park makes this list. It is iconic. It is also extremely large and centrally located, making it ideal for picnics. Sheep Meadow and The Great Lawn are famous picnic locations. They can be crowded but have amazing views of the Park and the NYC Skyline. You can also head to Arthur Ross Pinetum for a quieter spot with picnic tables or wander even further to the North Meadow or East Meadow (vast expanses perfect for picnics).

Prospect Park

The largest park in Brooklyn and one of the best in NYC. The same people who helped design Central Park designed Prospect Park. There is a large lake with a dramatic boathouse, several monuments, lookout points, Duck Island, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (one of my favorite places in New York City). You can picnic on one of the vast lawns, at the edge of the lake, or on the trails of Brooklyn’s only forest. 

Astoria Park

An extremely beloved and popular park in Queens, NY. A good portion of its popularity as a park comes from its location on the East River – Astoria Park has views of both the East River and the famous NYC Skyline. It is also one of the best designed parks in the city and excellent for a recreational day followed by a picnic. There are tennis courts, a swimming pool, a running track, playgrounds, and a skate park. South Hill is one of the best spots to spread a picnic blanket. You could also choose to eat lunch on a bench along the river watching the waves, the passersby, and the NYC Skyline.

Governors Island

Not a traditionally famous New York City Park, but Governors Island has plenty to offer. The entire 172 acre island was converted from a U.S. Army Base to an island park. A visit to the island is only a short ferry ride away. Hammock Grove is one of the best places on the island, where more than 50 colorful hammocks are set up for lounging in the sun. On the Southern part of the island are giant slides for the kids in all of us. There are also quite a few restaurants and historical landmarks to visit. If you’re looking for a view of the NYC Skyline, Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, then visit The Hills or Governors Island Picnic Point.

The Battery

A waterfront park on the Southernmost point of Manhattan. You can escape some of the noise of the city by heading down to The Battery. While it is a popular tourist location, it is less visited than other parks in the city. Enjoy the open lawns or stroll the walk along the harbor. The Battery Fountain and the SeaGlass Carousel are popular spots for a bit of fun while out for a picnic.

Looking for New York City Parking?

Fun Summer Things To Do In New York City

Summer is finally here!  The kids are out of school, and backyard barbecues are taking place all over the nation.  After the year we had in 2020, and most people having chosen not to take a vacation, you can almost rest assured that families will be out in full force this year.

With this in mind, we thought we would offer a few great vacation ideas to help you plan, as well as some places that would be great for just a few days away.  We all need time to recharge and some well-deserved play in the sunshine.

Here are some of the best places to check out this summer!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10028

The Metropolitan Museum of Art maintains a museum and library of art in the City of New York. Its main collections include arms and armor, ancient Near Eastern art, Asian art, costumes, drawings and prints, European sculpture and decorative arts, Greek and Roman art, Islamic art, medieval art, modern and contemporary art, musical instruments, photographs, and the Robert Lehman Collection, as well as the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. The institution was founded in 1870 and is based in New York, New York.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, often referred to as The Guggenheim, is the permanent home of a continuously expanding collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art and features special exhibitions throughout the year. The cylindrical building, wider at the top than at the bottom, was conceived as a “temple of the spirit.” Its unique ramp gallery extends up from ground level in a long, continuous spiral along the outer edges of the building to end just under the ceiling skylight.

Times Square

West 42nd Street to West 47th Street, New York, NY 10128

Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center, and neighborhood in New York City.  Brightly lit by numerous billboards and advertisements, it stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets and is sometimes referred to as “the Crossroads of the World,” “the Center of the Universe,” “the heart of the Great White Way,” and “the heart of the world.” One of the world’s busiest pedestrian areas, it is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. In addition, times Square is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many tourists, while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days. Formerly known as Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly erected Times Building, now One Times Square.

Looking for New York City Parking?

Best Hikes Near #New York City

Summer is nearly upon us, which means you’re probably starting to think about ways to enjoy The Great Outdoors! Hiking is one of the most rewarding summer activities – you explore new areas, get in touch with nature, and get great exercise. While New York City is more readily known for Broadway and skyscrapers, its proximity to the Appalachian Mountains means there are some decent trail options around the city. Here is a list of awesome hikes you can do if you’re in the Greater New York City area.

Hudson River Greenway

This one is for beginner hikers or those who don’t have the time or means to travel outside the city. It’s a popular walking, jogging, and biking path along the Hudson River up the west side of Manhattan. It runs from Battery Park all the way to Riverside Park, nearly at the other end of the island. The trail is paved and flat, running about 5 miles. There are awesome views of the skyline, the river, and New Jersey beyond it.

If you want to get out of the city for better scenery and more challenging hikes, read on!

Breakneck Ridge

Located about an hour north of Grand Central Station by train, Breakneck Ridge is a hike that’s easily completed as a day trip from NYC, even for those without a car. You’ll get off the train in the town of Cold Spring, which is a quaint small town oriented around a single main street. It’s worth building some time into your day to have breakfast here at one of the cute cafes to fuel up before your hike.

To get to the trailhead from town, you can either take an Uber or walk towards Hudson Highlands State Park. There’s a marked path along the main road that will take you to the trailhead safely behind a guardrail (the trailhead is just past an underpass on a highway). Ignore Google Maps when it tries to tell you it will take you an hour and a half to get there! Just follow the signs.

As the name implies, Breakneck Ridge is for the brave at heart who aren’t afraid of a challenge. The trail starts off as a steep, unrelenting rock scramble. It goes up to several peaks with breathtaking views of the Hudson River before winding down through the woods, past some ruins, and back into town.

Anthony’s Nose

Another Hudson Valley Hike you can get to via the Metro North train is Anthony’s Nose (however, getting to the actual trailhead is much easier with a car). This hike is less exhilarating than Breakneck Ridge, but still has plenty of ups and downs and some rock scrambling. There are sweet views from the “nose” right above the bridge. You might even see a train go by on the tracks along the river while you’re taking a break above. Unless you want a short nature walk, make sure you take the Camp Smith Trail to get the full experience.

When you’re done, reward yourself with a craft brew and a snack at Peekskill Brewery.

Looking for New York City Parking?

Things to Do for the Fourth of July in New York City

Everyone’s favorite summer holiday is quickly approaching! Nothing says July 4th like BBQs, pool days, parades, and fireworks! But with the country beginning to emerge from the worst of it, some celebrations are returning in the area. Read on to see what’s happening around New York City this Independence Day and gather up some ideas for your Fourth of July weekend.

Macy’s Fireworks

The nation’s largest Independence Day celebration is right here in New York! Macy’s always puts on a fantastic firework show and if you can get yourself to a good viewing spot, you’re in for a treat! The only trouble is, as of right now, we’re not sure where they’ll be launched from. Macy’s usually changes up the location they launch from, including whether they’re launching from the Hudson or the East River. Be sure to stay tuned here to find out the location when it does get announced!

Fireworks Cruise

If you want the best chance of an unobstructed view of the fireworks, book yourself on a fireworks cruise. There are lots of different styles of cruises available, so you might have to dig to find the one that’s right for you (and your budget). Here are a couple of options to get you started:

·   Full Moon – An exclusive and intimate adults-only cruise on a restored vintage yacht.

·   Circle Line – A family-friendly and relatively affordable cruise with a live DJ.

·   Manhattan II – a large luxury vessel, bookings come with private tables and hors d’oeuvres.

Go to a Baseball Game

As the ultimate American pastime, baseball pairs perfectly with Independence Day! And New York City’s baseball teams, the Yankees and the Mets just happen to be facing off this year on July 4th. The evening game starts at 7:08 pm over at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Tickets will be sold in limited numbers called “pods” to try to keep social distancing and limited capacity within the stadium. At the time of writing, Yankee Stadium is allowed to be at 33% capacity, but more pods will get released as local regulations change. Check back here for more information as the 4th approaches.

Rockaway Beach

Cooling off at the beach is the perfect way to spend a sweltering Fourth of July! And New York City’s favorite beach is arguably Rockaway Beach in Queens. Located on a barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean, the area is super cute with pastel-colored condos.

The beach is vibrant and lively, with all sorts of things going on. You’ll find a boardwalk over FIVE MILES long that you can stroll and people watch. All along it are vendors selling delicious summer treats and drinks. If you’re feeling sporty, the beach is popular for volleyball, surfing, and even skateboarding. It’s also a great swimming beach.

You can easily spend the whole day at Rockaway Beach, as there are public restrooms, BBQ areas to make a meal, and playgrounds to keep the kids entertained.

Looking for New York City Parking?

Arboretums and Botanical Gardens to Visit in New York City

When considering a vacation, or even just a day out with the family, why not consider visiting a local arboretum or botanical garden?  You can enjoy a delightful getaway with a visit to one of these beautiful gateways to all that nature has to offer.

Arboretums and botanical gardens work to promote common respect and educate with a drive towards an appreciation of the world of gardening and the insects that work to pollinate our plants and flowers. 

These nature monuments are just waiting to be discovered and welcome all visitors for a day of tranquility, enjoying their peaceful beauty.  Make sure to check out one of the arboretums or botanical gardens listed below.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an urban botanic garden that connects people to the world of plants, fostering delight and curiosity while inspiring an appreciation and sense of stewardship of the environment.

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

1000 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden is one of the oldest and most visited Japanese-inspired gardens outside Japan. It is a blend of the ancient hill-and-pond style and the more recent stroll-garden style, in which various landscape features are gradually revealed along winding paths.  The garden features artificial hills contoured around a pond, a waterfall, and an island, along with carefully placed rocks. Architectural elements include wooden bridges, stone lanterns, a viewing pavilion, a Shinto shrine, and a dramatic vermilion-colored wooden torii.

New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458

The New York Botanical Garden is an advocate for the plant world. The Garden pursues its mission through its role as a museum of living plant collections arranged in gardens and landscapes across its National Historic Landmark site; through its comprehensive education programs in horticulture and plant science; and through the wide-ranging research programs of the International Plant Science Center.

Creative Little Garden

530 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

The Creative Little Garden has been an oasis of tranquility in New York’s East Village since 1978. It’s a “community backyard” maintained by volunteers from the surrounding neighborhood. There are no plots tended by individual gardeners, instead, members collaborate on the landscaping of the whole park. Everyone, not only members, can relax, read, have lunch, work on your laptop or just enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of our garden.

Alice’s Garden

34th Street and Tenth Avenue, New York, NY 10001

For the fifty years that Alice Parsekian lived in this area, she worked diligently to keep her neighborhood clean. For twenty of those years, she maintained this small plot of land across the street from where she lived on 34th. She planted flowers and tended to them on a regular basis. Today, there is a brick path that leads visitors into this secret oasis named for Alice, who died in 2010 at the age of eighty-six.

Looking for New York City Parking?

Best Places to See the Sunset in New York City

New York City is the ultimate concrete jungle so it’s not the first place you might think of for natural wonders. But the city that never sleeps is surprisingly a great place to catch the sunset! There’s something about that golden glow on the buildings and the evening light reflecting in the many panes of glass on skyscrapers that’s truly special.

Whether you’ll be taking a long trip in NYC or just passing through La Guardia on a quick one-nighter, you should try to catch at least one sunset in the city. We’ve rounded up some of the best places to catch it from.

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge spans the East River, so since the sun sets in the West, it’s probably not the first place you would think to catch a sunset. And while it’s true you won’t see the sun slipping below the horizon from the bridge, what you do see might be even better. From your vantage point, the sun will be setting right behind Manhattan, so you’ll see the skyline silhouetted against an explosion of color.

To get onto the Brooklyn Bridge, you’ll need to go to either City Hall in Lower Manhattan or to Borough Hall just outside of Downtown Brooklyn. There’s a mile-long path that goes across the top tier of the bridge (above vehicle traffic) for bikes and pedestrians. Make sure you stay on the appropriately marked path and don’t drift into the bike lane! It can get very crowded on nice days, but less so in the evenings, which is another reason to go at sunset.

Top of the Rock

Since NYC has so many tall buildings, it helps to view a sunset from up high. At the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, you’re treated to breath-taking views any time of day. But sunset is a truly spectacular time for 360˚ views of the sky and city while the sun sets behind the Empire State Building. You can get tickets here.

Coney Island

If you’re a fan of watching sunsets from the beach (and who isn’t?) you’re going to want to make sure to catch a sunset from Coney Island. While the angle means that you won’t see the sun dropping below the water, you’ll still get to enjoy all the pretty colors reflecting on the ocean. Coney Island is a fun place to be in the afternoon and evening, too. Make a day of it by hitting the beach, strolling the boardwalk, and grabbing a hotdog from Nathan’s Famous for dinner.

Manhattanhenge

This one is a bonus, because it doesn’t happen every night. For just a couple of magical nights a year, the Earth is aligned so that the sunset falls in line with Manhattan’s grid. This means if you’re on any numbered street that follows the grid – such as 42nd street – you will see the sun setting at the end of the road when you look to the West! If you’re planning a trip to Manhattan this month, you’re in luck, because Manhattanhenge is occurring over Memorial Day Weekend.

Looking for New York City Parking?