Get the best out of Times Square

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It is hard to believe that the farmland that was once called Longacre Square (up until 1904) is now the most recognizable commercial intersection in the nation. Times Square officially resides between 42nd and 47th street and 6th to 9th avenue, but most action takes place right around where 42nd street meets broadway. When visiting this spectacular place, it may seem like its impossible to experience it all (which it realistically is), but we’ve done our best to pick and choose the best things this epicenter of light has to offer…

  1. Catch a ball game at ESPN Zone
     
    With over 100 HD Televisions, there is no better place to have a bite to eat and cheer on your favorite team. On your way out, check out the ESPN Store that sells tons of sports merchandise.
     
  2. Visit M&M’s World
     
    What could be more exciting than a 25,000 sq, foot store filled with M&M’s of every color imaginable. The store offers 3 floors of everything M&M from customizable candies to souvenir clothing.
     
  3. Take a ride at Toys R Us
    It’s no secret that there is a huge ferris wheel in the center of the world’s largest toy store. What you may not know, however, is that while there you can take a stroll through CandyLand, meet  play on a giant piano, and see some of the original Jurassic Park dinosaurs. All while letting the kids pick out a few toys!
     
  4. Enjoy Madame Tussauds wax wonders
     
    You will not believe your eyes. This wax figure museum is world-renowned and includes everyone from Ben Franklin to Miley Cyrus. Enjoy a stroll around a take a picture with your favorite celebrity look-a-like
     
  5. Watch a live taping at NBC Studios
    Although tickets need to be purchased well in advance, it is so worth it. Shows you can catch live include Dateline and the Today Show. Another great thing to do their is go behind the scenes and take a tour of the whole studio. 
     
  6. Have a snack at Dale & Thomas Popcorn
    The Today Show right down the street has dubbed them “The Rolls Royce of popcorn”. It would be a mistake to go to Times Square and not try some of the best gourmet popcorn in the world. You can try flavors ranging from Chocolate Drizzle to Blazing Buffalo. Also, the store has many great gifts! 
     
     
  7. Buy an I ♥ NY shirt from a ‘touristy’ souvenir shop
    You can’t stroll through without buying something with the iconic I Love New York symbol on it. They should not be hard to come across, as there are souvenir shops about every 100 feet in Manhattan.
     
  8. Take a peak at MTV Studios and shop around the store
    Check out the venue that has attracted some of the biggest stars of all time to New York. Who knows…you may end up running into one! 
     
  9. Gawk at the NASDAQ sign for a few minutes
    It is definitely worth noting the largest LED display in the world. This 120 ft. tall neon sign sign cost 37 million dollars to build and is said to take up the most valuable piece of advertising real estate for a mere 2 million dollars a year.
     
  10. Take a picture  with The Naked Cowboy
    Don’t leave Times Square and taking a snapshot with the famous fixture
     that shows up and plays the guitar in just underwear, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat no matter what the weather.
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Staten Island: The “not-so-Lost” Borough

Sure 60,000 people ride the free Staten Island Ferry daily, but that doesn’t stop the world from labeling the island, which is separated from the rest of the city by New York Bay, the “Lost Borough”. Many think that, besides the free ferry ride that offers a spectacular view of sunset on the Manhattan skyline (if you time it right of course), there is nothing to do there. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! You don’t have to dig very deep to see that there are many fun attractions on Staten Island. Here are 3 suggestions to get you started:

  1. The Greenbelt Conservancy

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This lush, 2800-acre span of green land provides for a perfect escape from the monotonous concrete and urbanization that has taken over the rest of the city. The Conservancy includes trails for hiking, mature trees for escaping the summer heat, a wildlife refuge, summer camp, a recreation center and much more! The Greenbelt is good for one-time visits or membership deals for locals. Also, check out the Calendar of Upcoming Events for more specific interests! Make a day out of the Greenbelt Conservancy and see the “greener side” of New York.

2. Snug Harbor Culture Center

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An affiliate of the Smithsonian,the Snug Harbor Culture Center is the perfect place to go to get your arts & entertainment fix. Situated right on old Snug Harbor, formerly known as the “haven for aged sailors”, the spot is one of the region’s most historical landmarks. Throughout history the center has remained the very heart of the Staten Island social scene. Within the center you will find a contemporary art museum, botanical garden, children’s museum and concert hall among many other things. Plan your visit today!

3. The Chinese Scholars Garden

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The Chinese Scholar’s Garden is actually located within the Botanical Gardens of Snug Harbor, but it is definitely not your average botanical garden. The garden, which was constructed by 40 Chinese artists and artisans from Suzhou, opened in June 1999. The traditional Han Dynasty architecture of this magnificent achievement can be traced back 2,000 years. The garden is enclosed by tall walls so that only visitors of the garden can experience it’s surreal beauty. For more information on the Chinese Scholar Garden’s history click here.

So there you have it; 3 fun things to do in Staten Island besides riding the ferry. It  doesn’t seem so “lost” now does it?

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August in Hudson River Park

hudson_sunset

The month of August in New York City has an average high 0f 83 degrees. While the days can be quite scorching, the evenings could not be more pleasant, and there are few better ways to enjoy them than heading out to the Hudson River Park to enjoy one of their events. The park is located right in Manhattan along the  waterside of the Hudson River between Battery Park and 59th street. While the park is a great place to visit for a bike ride along one of it’s scenic routes or a picnic under the trees, fun events take place almost daily during the summer and this month is no exception. Some Hudson River Park events going on in August are as follows:

  • Hudson River Park’s Moondance – Dance Manhattan makes this event, which takes place on Pier 54 every Sunday night through August 8th, possible by offering free dance lessons. All levels of dance experience  are welcome to come and enjoy a night of swing, tango or salsa under the stars and along the river-front. Live music changes with every Moondance, which starts at 6:30 PM weather permitting

August 1st- Hector Del Curto’s Eternal Tango Orchestra
August 8th- George Gee Swing Orchestra

  • Hudson River Park’s Stars of Tomorrow – students from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and Mannes College The New School for Music perform on one of Hudson River Park’s most beautiful places, Pier 45. All are welcome to come enjoy the music, which starts at 6:30PM every tuesday evening and is free.

August 3rd- Peter Gazarov Quartet
August 10th- Classical Brass Trio
August 17th- Classical Woodwinds Trio

  • Hudson River Park’s RiverFlicks for Grown-ups–  Book a babysitter for Wednesday nights! Pier 54 is the place to see all your favorite movies from 2009 on the big screen outside. Movies begin at 8:30 PM and are free to the general public.

August 4th- Julie & Julia
August 11th- Public Enemies
August 18th– Star Trek

  • Hudson River Park’s Rumble on the River – This outdoor boxing event pairs some of the best amateur boxers from New York’s 5 burroughs to compete on Pier 84 in front of a live audience. The matches begin at 7PM and are free to the general public. Not so interested in the boxing? Enjoy the beautiful view of the sunset over the Hudson river instead, which is spectacular from Pier 84.
  • Hudson River Park’s RiverFlicks For Kids- Grab a few blankets and snacks for a night of movies in the park with the whole family. Movies start at 8:30 PM and are on Friday nights.

August 6th- Big (Pier 54)
August 13th- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Pier 46)
August 20th- Annie (Pier 46)

  • Sunset on the Hudson – Every Friday night through August 20th, come to Pier 45 at 7pm to watch the sun dip below the horizon and listen to New York’s acclaimed Guitar Man David Ippolito from this spectacular grass-covered spot that stretches 900 feet into the majestic Hudson River.
  • Hudson River Park’s RiverRocks- Don’t miss out on the Hudson River Park’s last concert of the season with Deer Hunter and special guest Real Estate. The show will be at Pier 54 and gates open at 6PM. Follow status updates on Twitter.
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