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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Date – Visit New York with Romancing Manhattan Tours

A Day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

What other way to kindle (or re-kindle) a romance than by strolling through one of the most breathtaking museums and public spaces in the world!?

On Friday and Saturday evenings starting at 4pm, you can listen to live classical music on the Great Hall Balcony Bar while enjoying some wine and appetizers (beer and mixed drinks are also available). Oftentimes the light menu is inspired by a particular current exhibition that is going on. You can view all of their menus online. Just remember even though the museum closes at 9pm on these evenings last call is at 8pm. In addition to the Great Hall Balcony Bar there are four other places to grab something to eat that are open to the general public.

May through late Fall (weather permitting), the Rooftop Garden Café is open and has jaw-dropping views of Central Park and the city beyond. There are often special exhibits you can check out as well. If you are visiting the museum during this time then visiting the Rooftop Garden is an absolute must.

Permanent collections that are not to be missed are the Egyptian Collection, which houses 26,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts and objects and is the largest Egyptian collection in the world outside of Cairo. Be sure to stop by the Temple of Dendur while you’re there.

Looking for your knight in shining armor? Or looking to be one yourself? Chivalry is alive and well at the Arms and Armor exhibit which displays many suits of armor and weapons from the medieval period. Use this to inspire a little Old World romance of your own!

Some other personal favorites are the Gallery of Musical Instruments, the brand new Gallery of Islamic Art, the gallery of European Paintings and gallery of Medieval Art. But to plan a special visit of your own, I highly recommend you visit their website, look at the galleries that interest you and map it out on their floor plan. You can very easily get lost here. Have fun (and remember to hold hands).

 

 

The Essentials:

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue at 82nd Street; Tel: (212) 535-7710. Website: www.metmuseum.org. Hours: Tues – Thurs 9:30am to 5:30pm, Fri – Sat 9:30 to 9pm, Sun 9:30am to 5:30pm, Closed Mondays (except holiday Mondays), Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is suggested contribution, so pay as you wish (you can pay a penny, a dollar or you can pay the full suggested contribution, which is $25 as of this writing – it’s up to you).

Some interesting notes:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has over 2,000,000 objects, artifacts and works of art spread across 2 million square feet of exhibit space making it the largest museum in the western hemisphere and second only in the entire world after the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia (yes it is bigger than the Louvre in Paris… MUCH bigger).

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Central Park Date – Visit New York with Romancing Manhattan Tours

A gondola ride followed by lunch (or brunch) on the lake and a stroll through Central Park.

Central Park is a classic New York date. New Yorkers have been romancing each other here for over a century and a half!

Book a gondola ride in advance (at least a week ahead of time if possible) and enjoy a half-hour or hour-long leisurely ride on an authentic Venetian gondola professionally steered by an experienced gondolier relaxing ride around the Central Park Lake is absolutely transporting. Feel free to bring along a bottle of wine or champagne. This is a pretty popular spot where many a gentleman has popped the question. Ask Andres (the gondolier) to show you the Bow Bridge and try to see how many TV shows and movies you recognize being shot at this location!

After your gondola ride you will be docked right at the Boathouse Café where you will enjoy a lunch out on the terrace overlooking the lake. Once again, be sure to call ahead and reserve a table (and be sure to request an outside table). You can conveniently book both the gondola and lunch when you call the restaurant.

When you’re finished with lunch, how about a stroll through Central Park while you’re here? Let me help you out with that. Go to www.centralparknyc.org/maps to view an interactive map of Central Park. From the Boathouse Café take a 5 minute walk over to the Bethesda Terrace (you can see it clearly from the restaurant and the lake. When you’re there, walk under the arcade (tunnel) and look at the beautiful tilework on the ceiling (in good weather it’s common to see people performing in here since the acoustics are pretty awesome). When you’re through the tunnel just walk up the steps and you’ll be at the beginning of one of the most famous walks in New York City – The Mall (or Literary Walk), a promenade designed for proper 19th century strolling by the designers of the park Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead. This also has been in quite a few movies… can you name them? Here are a couple: Maid in Manhattan and Big Daddy. Can you remember others?  When you come to the end of The Mall follow the path on the map that will lead you to 5th Avenue and 59th Street. You’ll be right by The Plaza Hotel where all the horse & carriages are. Once past The Mall you’ll come upon the small but very fun Central Park Zoo. This was the zoo from the animated film Madagascar. Take a peek inside and say hello to the polar bear, seals and 150 other kinds of other animals and creatures from around the world.

The Essentials:

The Boathouse Café and gondola rental: Park Drive North in Central Park; tel: (212) 517-2233; website: www.thecentralparkboathouse.com. Getting there: enter Central Park from either 5th Avenue and 72nd Street or 5th Avenue and 76th Street. It’s just a 10-minute walk from here. Use the Central Park map as a guide, www.centralparknyc.org/maps. Or, go all out and take a horse & carriage from 5th Avenue and 59th Street directly to the boathouse (horse & carriage rides are $50 for the first 20 minutes plus an additional charge thereafter). Always double-check the price with the driver before hopping in.

Hours: Lunch is served Monday – Friday, 12pm – 4pm year round; Saturday – Sunday is brunch only served from 9:30am to 4pm.

Some interesting notes:

Central Park is a completely man-made park and is considered the first urban park in the US. It is 843 acres right smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, some of the most expensive real estate in the world! Construction began in the 1850s and was completed in the 1870s, igniting a frenzy of the city’s wealthiest citizens to build the most beautiful and palatial new residences along 5th Avenue and thereby permanently creating one of the poshest and most exclusive neighborhoods in the world, the Upper East Side.

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New York City date – Visit New York and enjoy these unique experiences

Pretend you’re fictional husband and wife detective team Nick and Nora and solve a NYC mystery through Accomplice New York, then grab a couple of old fashioned drinks at Bemelman’s Bar.

If you never thought you’d ever have the chance to fantasize you were a detective and have a romantic role-playing adventure with your partner while solving a crime… here’s your chance. You can pretend you’re Nick and Nora Charles, the 1930s and 40s TV, radio and movie detectives inThe Thin Man. Grab yourself a fedora and a little velvet hat and get going!

Accomplice is a brilliantly designed and executed interactive game that is part theater, part scavenger hunt and part tour. You’ll be given a mission, a plot to solve and sent out onto the streets of Manhattan aided by clues and mysterious cast members scattered throughout various locations such as street corners, bars, iconic landmarks, and out of the way spots. The New York Times says “it’s like being in the middle of the Michael Douglas movie The Game”. The adventure lasts 2 ½ to 3 hours and you can choose from Accomplice: New York which takes place in the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Little Italy, Soho and the Financial District or Accomplice: The Village which takes place entirely in the crooked, narrow streets of Greenwich Village. All games take place Fridays through Sundays onlyand you definitely need to reserve in advance for this. Call or email them to see how far in advance they suggest you make a reservation. You may need to book a month or more ahead of time. They do sell out.

When you’re finished it’ll be late afternoon and you’ll be ready to relax with a good Martini or Old Fashioned. Head uptown to the classy Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel for a little unwinding and conversation. The bar and hotel date back to the late 1920s. There’s no loud music here, just a piano player and occasionally other musicians playing old jazz standards and cabaret style music. The drinks are expensive, to be sure, but you almost feel as if Nick and Nora themselves, or Cary Grant were about to walk in any minute. Make sure you look good. Be comfortable but don’t where white sneakers or jeans if you can help it. Remember, they always looked good back in the day, even when solving mysteries! For the full effect I recommend going in the evening when it’s dark, so you might have a couple of hours to kill (go before 9:30pm and avoid a cover charge – the music starts at 9:30pm). Try going for a stroll up Madison Avenue between 59th and 80th Streets. You’ll see cute little restaurants tucked away on the side streets and even a diner or two if you want to grab a bite to eat first. Be spontaneous and just pick one that looks appealing to you.

 

The Essentials:

Accomplice, Tel: (212)242-1524www.accomplicetheshow.com

Bemelman’s Bar (inside the Carlyle Hotel), 35 East 76th Street, entrance on Madison Avenue between 76th and 77th Streets. Tel: (212)744-1600

 

Some interesting notes:

The Carlyle Hotel is where former president John F. Kennedy supposedly had his affair with Marilyn Monroe. Look for his picture on the wall when you enter the hotel but before entering the bar.

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The Breakfast at Tiffany’s Date – visit New York

The Breakfast at Tiffany’s date

This is a good weekend afternoon date. Get the popcorn ready, get comfy and snuggle up to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s a classic romantic New York movie with George Peppard and the timeless, inimitable Audrey Hepburn. It is loosely based on the Truman Capote novel of the same name and is also a bit of a New York time capsule, having come out in 1961. Directed by Blake Edwards, it won Henry Mancini two Academy Awards for Best Musical Score and Best Original Song (Moon River). Healso garnered a Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album. Mrs. Hepburn was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her memorable role as the naïve, eccentric Holly Golightly.

Now for some fun. How about taking a stroll past Holly Golightly’s Upper East Side apartment and then shooting straight to Tiffany’s to have something engraved, just like Holly and Paul did in the movie? How awesome is that? The green-and-white candy-striped awning at 169 East 71st Street (between 3rd Ave and Lexington Ave) may be gone but you’ll still recognize the white limestone-colored townhouse (adjacent to the left of the brownstone). A nice walk would be to start at Park Avenue and 71stStreet and walk to 3rd Avenue, stopping a moment to gaze at that location where such a warm and touching (and often funny) love story took place.To continue your walk, make a left on 3rd Avenue and walk up to 78thStreet. Make a left on 78th Street. This four-block stretch is one of the most beautiful blocks in the city. Notice all the beautiful townhouses and brownstones, the different types of architecture, the abundance of trees overhanging the street. From Park Ave and 71st St to 3rd Ave to 78th St to 5thAve is about a 25 minute walk so make sure you pick a day when the weather is nice. This is a great stroll through a beautiful neighborhood.

 

When you get to 5th Avenue and 78th Street there’s a good chance you won’t want to walk another 20 minutes to Tiffany’s on the corner of 5thAvenue and 57th Street so just go ahead and hail a taxi for a quick ride (hopefully, if the traffic on 5th Ave isn’t too bad). Tiffany’s will be on the far left corner. Now remember in the movie when Paul, a struggling writer with no money, asked the man behind the counter to engrave something for Holly? He bought something inexpensive ($10 I think it was) andmade this romantic gesture to Holly. Go ahead and do the same thing! Hopeless romantics will love this. Of course you will probably not find anything for $10 but let’s have some fun with the counterperson and ask them if they’ve ever seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s and if they remember that scene when Paul and Holly were in the store. If not, go ahead and explain it to him or her. No doubt they will try to be as helpful as possible. Who can resist such unbridled romance as this!

 

The Essentials:

Holly Golightly’s apartment, 169 East 71st Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.

Tiffany’s, 727 5th Avenue at 57th Street. Tel: (212)755-8000.www.tiffany.com.

 

Some interesting notes:

Author Truman Capote originally chose Marilyn Monroe to play the lead role but ultimately Paramount Pictures had the final saying and decided to go with Audrey Hepburn. Inside Tiffany’s along the wall to the left when you enter you’ll find the Tiffany diamond. It’s a 128.5 karat yellow diamond with 90 facets. It’s considered priceless. Only two women ever wore this diamond: Mrs. Mary Whitehouse and Audrey Hepburn during publicity photo shoots for Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

 

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A date in Brooklyn – Visit New York with Romancing Manhattan Tours

A visit to the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn and an early romantic dinner at Saul (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn) followed by drinks at Clover Club (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn)

 What an overlooked gem! If the massiveness of New York City’s subway and transportation system intrigues you, then you will love this little, often overlooked museum. The New York Transit Museum, one of the city’s leading cultural institutions is the largest museum in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history, and one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world. The Museum explores the development of the greater New York Metropolitan region through the presentations of exhibitions, tours, educational programs, and workshops dealing with the cultural, social, and technological history of public transportation. Since it’s inception over a quarter century ago, the Museum, housed in a historic 1936 IND subway station in Brooklyn Heights, has grown in scope and popularity.

The museum’s galleries feature curious and engaging exhibits such as Steel, Stone, and Backbone, which recounts the tale of building New York City’s 100 year-old subway system, and many highly interactive exhibitions such as On The Streets, an in-depth look at New York City’s trolleys and buses.

Since this museum closes at 4pm, you’ll want to get there sometime between 2:30 – 3pm so you don’t have too much time between the museum and the dinner. Allow a good hour to visit this museum.

Tip: Be sure to sneak a kiss or two on one of their vintage subway cars, just like they did in the old days.

After the museum, it’s just a 15 minute walk to your restaurant (see below for easy walking directions). If you have some time to kill before your dinner there are plenty of shops along Smith Street to peruse. Saul is a pioneer in this ever-so-popular hot neighborhood. It’s casual and intimate with an American menu. Their menu changes seasonally so expect nothing but the best and freshest ingredients. Be sure to check out their menu online (see website below). This restaurant does get crowded – and noisy – so be sure to make a reservation just to be safe. For a fun end to a meal you must try their signature Baked Alaska!

 

Tip: ask for table 5A, it’s a corner table.

Walking directions: When exiting the museum turn right on Boerum Place and walk down to Atlantic Avenue. Turn left on Atlantic Avenue and go just one block over to Smith Street. Turn right onto Smith Street and the restaurant will be 2 and a half blocks down on your right (between Dean and Bergen Streets).

For a perfect end to your date, all you have to do is walk four and a half blocks down Smith Street (against the flow of traffic) to Clover Club (Smith Street between Baltic and Butler Streets). The Clover Club is based on an actual club that existed in Philadelphia between 1882 and the 1920s, so the drink menu and atmosphere are reflective of that time period. The bartenders here are extraordinary (mixologists) and the cocktails are sure to impress.  But if you really want to make an impression, order off the menu and ask for the Kick Flip (just trust me on this one, it’s delicious…. and potent!)

Tip: There’s live Big Band jazz on Wednesdays between 8:30pm and 11:30pm. They get very crowded on Wednesday’s so call ahead to reserve a table (there’s no cover charge).

 

The Essentials:

New York Transit Museum, 130 Livington Street in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn. Tel: (718)694-1600. Admission: $7 for adults. www.mta.info/mta/museum/ Hours: Tues – Fri, 10am – 4pm; Sat and Sun, 11am – 5pm. CLOSED MONDAYS.

Saul, 140 Smith Street between Dean and Bergen Streets. Tel: (718)935-9844. www.saulrestaurant.com

Clover Club, 210 Smith Street between Baltic and Butler Streets, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Tel: (718)855-7939. www.cloverclubny.com/

 

Some interesting notes:

New York City has the largest subway system in the world with over 700 miles of tracks and 468 subway stations. It was built in 1904 and transports well over a billion people a year.

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Happy 4th of July everybody!

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I have a great little story to share which I mentioned in an earlier blog post. But for those who didn’t catch it I feel it is appropriate to mention it again here on this very special day, the day we declared our independence and became a free nation. But before I do, I just want to share a thought.

You know, we’re all New Yorkers, each in our own way right? New York is a city of dreams, a place for new beginnings, new starts, big ideas, grand visions, a place where we can become our very best. People have come here from all over the world to start anew.

It’s truly inspiring and exciting and unforgettable when you visit this great city for the first time. It really does bring out something in you. And there is an energy here that you cannot find anywhere in the world. Many people have said that, and it’s so very true.

So I invite you to fall in love with New York. Come here and get inspired, and go back home feeling a newfound energy that you didn’t have before. Get your New York on! Where’s your inner New Yorker?

I want to personally reach out to as many of you as I can and invite you to connect with with me here on our website, Facebook, on Twitter, on YouTube, LinkedIN and anywhere else you can find us.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas, interact with you, and help you plan the most amazing trip to New York City you can imagine.

On that note, I wish you all again a happy 4th of July. Be safe, and I’ll see you in New York!

With Lots of Love,
Jason
Founder/Romancing Manhattan Tours

Ya know, one of my favorite little stories to tell on tours is when George Washington and his troops were read the Declaration of Independence down at City Hall Park.

The date was July 9, 1776. Several people in the crowd were so fired up from hearing the reading that they marched down to the Bowling Green Park at the foot of Broadway and tore down the statue of King George III. They then walked the statue up to the local foundry and had it melted down into bullets, which they used against the British. Of course, the perfect irony here is that the British soldiers were being shot by their own king!

And if you go down to the Bowling Green Park today, which by the way is the oldest park in Manhattan dating back to the 1730s, you’ll notice that the tops of the posts of the fence are on even. That is because the top of the posts were finished off with the design of the British Royal crown. Each of these crowns were sawed-off, which is why the tops of each of the posts are uneven, each in its own way.

I love touching the tops of these posts, I really feel a connection to the past and all that actually happened when I do this. Let us never forget the story of the humble beginnings of this great nation of ours.

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Travel to New York in July – Visit New York

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Travel to New York in the summertime can be daunting when the weather is extremely hot, but saving money on hotels helps you keep your cool.
With the exception of July 4, hotels in NYC tend to drop their prices. The earlier you book the more money you will save. Give us a call or send us an email to plan your summer vacation in New York City!
If you plan to visit New York next month (July) we have some fun and interesting, as well as historical dates for you to keep in mind.
On July 9,  1776 while 50 British warships containing 23,000 soldiers lie quietly in New York Harbor, New York City patriots march down to the Bowling Green park in lower Manhattan and pull down the statue of King George III to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. They then marched the statue up to the local foundry and had it melted down into musket balls. When a continental soldier learned that the army would use the lead from the 4000-pound statue for bullets, he was quoted as saying: “I hope that the emanations from the leaden George will make deep impressions in the bodies of some of his redcoated and Tory subjects.”
The beautiful building standing behind the park was built by famous architect Cass Gilbert and was used as a US custom house. Today it is the Museum of the Native American Indian, a branch of the Smithsonian, it is free of charge. You might recognize this building from the movie conspiracy theory with Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson. This is the building where Julia Roberts character worked.
The Bowling Green Park still stands today with the original fence surrounding it. It was called Bowling Green because gentlemen used to go lawn bowling there for the price of one peppercorn a year. Sitting on top of each of the posts of the fence were decorative ornaments of the British crown. Take a closer look at the top of these posts and you will see that each one is uneven. This is because the crowd sawed them off!
On a less serious note, on July 6, 1946 actor and filmmaker Sylvester Stallone is born in Hell’s Kitchen.
On July 5, 1809 New York City’s African-American Baptists organize the Abyssinian Baptist Church. Their success encourages others to found the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1818 and the Negro Presbyterian Church in 1821. Today, the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on 135th St. is one of the cities best-known black houses of worship; for years, its pulpit was the platform of Congressman Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
On July 1, 1919 after World War I established the airplane as a reliable and efficient transportation tool, the Postal Service connects New York City and Cleveland with daily airmail service, the nations first.
On July 28, 1945, 56 years before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, on a foggy Saturday morning, an American B-25 bomber crashes into the 78th and 79th floors of the Empire State building killing 10 people in the building and three in the plane. No structural damage to the building is done.
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Planning a trip to New York City – dates in June to remember

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If you are planning a trip to New York City in June keep these dates in mind!
If you are going to visit New York in June it would be good to remember the date of June 19, 1885. For it is on this day under a cloudy sky that New York celebrates the Statue of Liberty’s arrival from France.
The first completed portion of the statue, her three-story tall arm and torch, spent nine years as a tourist attraction in Madison Square Park (Madison Ave & 5th Avenue between 23rd and 26th Streets). When the body was finished, the arm and torch returned to France and the completed statute was shipped to New York.
The statue consists of 300 copper plates riveted to a steel frame. The steel skeletal frame was designed by none other than Gustaf Eiffel, who would then go on to build the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. The shackles at her feet represent freedom from tyranny, the seven spikes on her crown represent the seven continents and the seven seas, the torch represents enlightenment and the tablet in her left hand has inscribed upon it the date of July 4, 1776, the year we declared our independence.
The Statue of Liberty’s dedication was delayed until October 1886, because of a shortage of funds for her pedestal. We were responsible for raising the money to build the  pedestal upon which the statue would stand. However, New Yorkers were not very forthcoming in sending in their donations and it wasn’t until newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer wrote a letter in his newspaper asking New Yorkers to come forward with their support and promising to print the names of every single person who made a donation no matter how small, did the residents of our city finally send in their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.
It is important to remember that the statue was not a gift from the government of France to the government of the United States, it was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States honoring our freedom and democracy that they so desperately wanted.
Although the Statue of Liberty will not be opening until July 4th you can get great views by taking a Harbor tour around the waters of New York surrounding the statue. I recommend New York Water Taxi, I love their boats and their guides for the most part are very good. They have tours that depart from the South Street Seaport as well as Pier 83 on the Hudson River, near the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum.
Also this month in June, Coney Island presents the first roller coaster on June 6, 1884.
On June 25, 1906 architect Stanford White is shot and killed on the roof of the Madison Square Garden he designed by the husband of showgirl Evelyn Nesbitt, Mr. White’s former mistress. That Madison Square Garden was built on the corner of Madison Avenue and 26th St., but today is the location of a prominent feature of the Manhattan skyline, the New York Life Insurance Company building.