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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Top Five Holiday Windows in New York City

The Top Five Window Displays in New York City this Holiday Season

Ah, it almost goes against the spirit of the season to pick one window over another. Yet, due to popular demand, we're giving in and posting the best of the best in the Season Holiday Retail Storefront Windows throughout the city. This list was created after eye-witness judging, internal debates, heated discussion and absolutely no scientific criteria at all.... Honorable Mentions go to Bergdorf Goodman and Anthropologie who just missed our list.  

5. Macy's - 34th between 6th Ave and 7th Ave-  Along with the classic "Miracle on 34th Street" windows that is up year after year, The world's largest department store also has a great window for kids based on the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" - All made of paper! Fun!

4. Barneys New York - 61st and Madison Ave-  We're not sure how to best describe this other than: Whimsical, Creepy and focused solely on celebrating American's love for...food and celebrity chefs. Seeing Paula Deen gathered around the Christmas Kitchen in a Snuggie is particularly intriguing/disturbing.

3. Lord and Taylor - 38th and Fifth Avenue - Always one of the most popular sets of windows due in part to their location (right at Rockefeller Center), they've gone classic with sets of detailed miniatures over 12 windows that tell the tale of Christmas stories over the past 100 years.

2. Henri Bendel- 56th and Fifth Avenue - We were surprised that this made our list, but we just couldn't get over the sheer elegance (that also reminded us we certainly can't afford to shop here). Designs inside and out focus on fashion intertwined with a stunning take on the Nutcracker. And, really, who doesn't love the Nutcracker?

1. Saks Fifth Avenue - 49th and Fifth Avenue - Amazing. The best in the city. The light and music show on the side of the building builds to a breathtaking crescendo. Check out the video below, but this is a must see in person. The light show combines with traditional windows themed of Snowflake and Bubbles and a young girl on Christmas morning. Truly, it is all heartwarming and exhilarating. If this doesn't put you in the holiday season then nothing likely will change your Grinch like spirit. Light show is every fifteen minutes through Jan 6th. 

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Big Adventure wants to know: what was YOUR favorite part/stop of this past Saturday’s Big Adventure on Ice?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ah, the Big Adventure is ready to call it a night. What a day; we are exhausted. Early reports are that the Big Adventure on Ice has been one of our best outings yet. Thanks to everyone that came out and we’ll see you again in early 2011!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Big Adventure on Ice Begins! We’re rolling into the Flying Puck right now at 30th St and 7th Ave to fuel up for the day. Nice touch: they have Stained-Glass in the shape of hockey player in the ceilings!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The next Big Adventure is tomorrow!

Holy Crapsticks! The Big Adventure On Ice is tomorrow! Some related trivia to get you ready: The last time the mercury read below zero in NewYork City was January 19th, 1994 when it was -2 degrees. Should be nowhere near that cold tomorrow. Hope you will be joining us tomorrow anywhere along the way for what we promise will be a great day…

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We've got a New Year's Eve Situation here...

Adding a touch more chaos to New Year's Eve in Time's Square 

Adding to our growing list of 100+ reasons why you should stay away from Times Square on New Year's Eve is this latest news that the pint-sized celebutaunt Snooki of Jersey Shore infamy is going to be riding in a ball that drops from 1515 Broadway in the middle of Time’s Square. 

And just to make it more interesting, MTV (who is hosting the event) is attempting to set a Guinness Record for the largest amount of people doing a Fist Pump at one time. Hunh. We really don’t have words.'

For what it’s worth, Snooki won’t be in the historic, traditional New Year’s Eve ball as it descends near Midnight in Time’s Square. I’m pretty sure that the powers that be wouldn’t let her near that classic ball. In part because it is made up of beautiful, delicate Waterford Crystal and all. Still, this borders on asinine and is sure to make the scene in Midtown Manhattan even more chaotic. 

The real New Year’s Eve ball that drops is iconic as the Statue of Liberty and Papaya Dog. For 2011, Waterford Crystal has designed 288 new “Let There Be Love” crystal triangles featuring a romantic pattern that blends a modern cascade of hearts with diamond cutting. 

The tradition of dropping a New Year’s Ball celebrates its 104th birthday this year. Way back in 1907, the chief electrician for The New York Times, crafted the first Ball in response to a request for some kind of spectacular midnight show that would draw attention to the newly christened Times Square. Rumor has it that Dick Clark was there to host the first countdown. Great article on the history of it all can be read here  http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1869058,00.html

As an alternative, The Big Adventure suggests avoiding the crowds and booking a ride on the Yacht Manhattan from Classic Harbor Line: http://www.sail-nyc.com/html/holiday_cruises.html


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Not quite "The Ride” of your life (a bit closer to "disappointing experience")

Planning on doing some NYC Site seeing in the near future? Visiting the city yourself or taking some guests on a “let someone else do all of the talking” tour? The Big Adventure suggests you avoid “The Ride.”

Recently, there was a no holds barred article in the NY Daily News that illuminated a fact that many of us already knew: The new tourist attraction The Ride is overpriced and underwhelming.

Since the company launched in September, there have been ubiquitous ads all over town for this bus tour that’s part “entertainment experience” and part…well bus tour.

We give ‘em credit, The Ride is a new twist on the decades old, standard bus tour. For starters, they’re rolling down Broadway in a 1.3 million dollar vehicle that features comfortable stadium seating. The seating all faces the right side of the road giving everyone the advantage of looking at the same thing  Plus, the coach is stacked with state-of-the-art audio and video, seats that shake, move and jimmy, and enough in-bus special effects that would make James Cameron drool.

But after you get past the allure of the cool bus, The Ride quickly goes downhill. Instead of trying to enlighten, educate and simply point out the wonders of NYC, The Ride “re-enacts” scenes from NYC life. On the sidewalk outside the bus, you’ll occasionally see a variety of performers who churn through their corny shtick among other real people. A variety of gimmicky stunts are played out mixing the tour with some quick one-act scenes. What is indented to be surprising comes off as amateurish. What is supposed to show a “slice of life” in NYC is ridiculous. Trying to be part show and part tour, it instead ends up being a lot of nothing.

Plus, with the $65 ticket price needed for a seat on The Ride, your better bet is to spend that money on a real Broadway show or buy TWO tickets for one of the more traditional double-decker classic buses.  

In short, The Ride is a great attempt but ends up being an overdone miss. Spend your money on one of the better,more classic options. The Ride operates 364 Days a year and leaves from the Marriott Hotel in Times Square. 75 Minutes. 4.2 Miles.

Visit “The Ride” on “The Internet”:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Want the best secret sites of NYC? Visit Scoutingny.com

Want to learn all about the best secret sites of the city? Visit Scoutingny.com 

One day, while the Big Adventure was watching a story on the last three remaining outdoor Phone Booths in Manhattan (Which is a great story,  as well as an amazing new children’s book called the "Lonely Phone Booth", and a separate entry all together), we were introduced to the Scouting New York Blog. Written by Nick Carr who is a professional Film Scout by day and enthusiastic NYC resident at night, his posts on New York are truly marvelous.

Over the last two years, ScoutingNY.com has done a terrific job of uncovering lesser known architectural marvels that people walk by every single day without thinking twice. The site covers everything from forgotten spots from years pasts to just great locations that are tucked away in the concrete jungle that is the Big Apple. Full of detailed pictures that document places, nostalgic whimsy and romantic intrigue, we really can’t get enough of ScoutingNY.com. Updated several times a week, you can even catch some unique posts critiquing locations used in classic NYC films such as Ghostbusters. For some good reading, we suggests that you search the blog for some of our favorite offerings: "The Wizard of Park Avenue", "The Addams Family House Near Union Square" and "New York, You’ve Changed: Rosemary’s Baby". 

If you ever need a reminder that this is a truly an amazing site or maybe just a need little inspiration to beat the daily blahs, we recommend a double-dose of ScoutingNY.com

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Enjoy Lunch with World Leaders at the United Nations Delegate Dining Room

The Big Adventure Recommends: Lunch at the United Nations Delegate Dining Room 

Looking for a different lunch dining experience? The Big Adventure suggests a trip to the United Nations Delegate Dining Room. Technically, not even in NYC but firmly placed in International territory at the UN Headquarters on 1st Avenue. This is your chance to impress friends by dining in the upscale commissary usually reserved for the Ugandan Diplomats and Swedish Ambassadors. The real secret is that Dining Room is open to just about anyone. All you need is a reservation made about 24-hours in advance and go through the building’s security process. 

Once you hurdle that mini-gauntlet, the door is opened to dining in an amazing space complete with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide stunning views of the East River. The Wow factor of it all is pretty great. The menu changes from host country to host country on a regular basis (which, unfortunately, makes the quality of the food a bit inconsistent) so you can sample a different world’s cuisine on each visit. It’s an impressive meal that allows you to dine like a diplomat complete with ID badge and hobnobbing with international power-players.
Note that the hours are kind of tight: Monday-Friday 11:30-2:00m PM. Business attire is required: jackets for men; jeans, shorts, sneakers and flip-flops are not permitted. The meal runs around $25. 

Reservations required (212) 963-7625.
1UN Plz, New York,NY

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Join us for The Big Adventure on Ice!

The Final Itinerary for The Big Adventure on Ice   

Since we’re about nine days away from our Big Adventure on Ice, all going down next Saturday, December 11th, we wanted to send out the complete itinerary for our frozen day. We’re looking forward to sliding through the city and basking in all things ice. Shockingly enough, we’re not including Ice Skating anywhere. Too easy. Too predictable. The Big Adventure is better than that.

We encourage you to pass this on to anyone and invite everyone from Frosty to Val Kilmer (see Top Gun). As always, feel free join for only part of the day or the whole enchilada for an event we promise will be unique, affordable, social and distinctly NYC.  

Flying Puck – 12:30 PM -364 7th Avenue at 30th Street - We’re starting the day with some food, booze and perhaps time in the penalty box. There is no shortage of Hockey related paraphernalia at this recently opened pub near Madison Square Garden. Bonus: rumor has it, Hall of Famer Bobby Orr tends bar on Saturday.

The Polar Exhibit at The Central Park Zoo –2:00 PM - $12 Admission (working on a discount)– Enter the Park at 64th & Fifth Avenue - Because there are few things more adorable than watching Polar Bears at meal time or Penguins open gifts (really), we’re going to enjoy a small army of ice-loving creatures, including a pair of Polar Bears named Gus and Ida, at this New York City Staple.

Youth Ice Hockey at Chelsea Piers5:00 PM - 23rd St. & 11th Ave on the Hudson - We’ll crowd the bleachers to cheer on your new favorite NY sports team – The New York City Cyclones—as they do battle with the dreaded Mariners. Forget the flashy showings (and price) of the Rangers, Islanders or Devils. These teenagers play with more heart and in a nicer space, really. Plus, we can reenact scenes from The Mighty Ducks. Make the Flying V!

Antarctica Bar- 7:30 PM– 287 Hudson at Spring St. - We’re then heading way down south…well, near the Holland Tunnel..to one of New York’s oldest and best bars. The staff at Antarctica has set up a $3 Ice Shots for us along with space that comes complete with top-tier jukebox, various bar accoutrements and an always colorful crowd. But the best part? The custom built Big Adventure Ice Sculpture and Luge! This thing is just plain awesome.

Kettle of Fish -11:00PM59 Christopher St. near 7th Avenue - Our Ice theme continues to this home away home for all things from the coldest state in the lower 48: Wisconsin. Well, to be clear the people themselves are warm and engaging, This great West Village bar has, for years, been the unofficial Embassy of America’s Daily Land in New York City. Grab someone from Sheboygan and have them tell you how friggin' cold it is there. Also, for a different take on ice, we’ll be showcasing what we believe to be the World’s Largest Diamond while at Kettle of Fish.

The Donut Pub Late Night- 203 W 14th St at 7th Avenue - Where there is Ice, there is Icing. And few things are better than a late night donut that meets the pastry trifecta: freshly made, perfectly warm and smothered in the most delicious Icing this side of the North Pole. We’ll ice-cap off our night at this small 24 hour eatery with Boston Cream, Glazed and Chocolate iced treats.

We hope that you’ll join us next Saturday! See you in mittens and scarves on the 11th...

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The Big Adventure on Ice is just 9 Days Away!

The Big Adventure on Ice is just 9 Days Away!

It’s going to be the event of the season! Well, aside from Christmas, New Year’s and Boxing Day. Let us know if YOU will be joining us by RSVPing your attendance on the Facebook Event Page. Just start by clicking the Events tab at the top of our Facebook Page…

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Meat Ball Shop Location- Brooklyn Style

Double The Meat Balls, Double the Fun

Recently, The Big Adventure posted an entry about the incredibly popular food find of 2010: The New York City Meatball Shop. We wanted to follow up with news this Holiday Weekend is that they are in talks to add to a second location beyond their Lower East Side Stanton Street home. Where would this expanding franchise plant its delicious new roots? On Bedford Avenue  In the Williamsburg section (where else?) of Brooklyn. But the good news is that this iteration appears to much larger with an outdoor section. Read more on this link to the lesser known Meat Ball section of The New York Times

Friday, November 26, 2010

Walk off That Turkey With New York City's Shore Walkers

Walk off That Turkey With New York City's Shore Walkers

Feeling a little rotund around the middle after yesterday's feast of Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Pumpkin Pie, Rolls, etc, etc? The always great non-profit group Shore Walkers hosts its annual "Walk Off The Turkey" Event this weekend on Saturday, November 27th. The WOTT event is special three times over as its a wonderful way to see a new part of the city, get some solid exercise and make some new friends while just enjoying a nice walk.

Shore Walkers has been a part of the NYC walking culture for almost thirty years and the WOTT is one of their signature annual events. We particularly enjoy the group's inspiring Mission Statement which pretty much sums it all up: "To improve your health and stamina, to have fun on your feet while enjoying great walks, to protect our shore areas, to explore and learn about the Hudson estuary and other shore areas, and to meet interesting people along the shore"

The Walk Of The Turkey begins at 10:00 AM at the Staten Island Ferry and continues along the Hudson all the way up Manhattan. Admittedly, the 12 miles trek may be a bit ambitious for some but the journey is almost all on level ground and the reward of stumbling across the Little Red Lighthouse at the foot of the George Washington Bridge (as well as other landmarks along the way) are well worth it. A donation of $10 is requested.

If your feet aren't feeling it tomorrow, Shore Walkers has walks through the city including a half-dozen more over weekends through the end of the year. Most vary between four and nine miles in length as they explore virtually every path in the city.  So, lace up the Adidas, kiss the cranberries bye-bye and enjoy a slow-paced walk!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Glory Of Smittens

Well, you just can’t have a Big Adventure on Ice without mentioning Smittens.  Smitten, you may ask? That’s right: Winter gloves for love birds. Adorable? Impractical? Cold Weather Wear? A Nauseatingly Display for Couples? Stop guessing because all of those are correct. Link to the website below where they could not have chosen a worse, non-winter, non-romantic picture….we need people in an outdoor cafĂ© sharing cocoa!


Bonus: We also love the Olympic Canadian Mittens from last year’s Winter Games. You can bet you’ll see those in action on 12/11.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All About The Big Adventure


A Guide to the Holiday Display Windows at shops throughout New York City 
(Nov 21,2010)

Time Out New York is on the ball again - they recently posted this comprehensive list earlier this week. While perhaps not the definitive list, it should give you a solid overview of retail stores throughout Manhattan who are putting their backside into decking the halls to create amazing Holiday themed Display Windows. 

These windows have become as iconic for the NYC Holiday season as the Rockettes and Tree at Rockefeller Center. The Big Adventure's favorite? Without a doubt, Barney's outshines the others year after year. Although, we've already seen Dylan's first hand and the Penguins using Gummy worms to Ice fish for giant Swedish Fish is pretty dang cute.

If planning a visit, choose your route carefully - many are stores are close to one another and you can knock out half a dozen locations in under 45 minutes...

Dylan’s Candy Bar - 1011 Third Ave at 60th St (646-735-0078 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              646-735-0078      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, dylanscandybar.com). 

Henri Bendel - 712 Fifth Ave at 56th St (800-423-6335, henribendel.com).

Lord & Taylor - 424 Fifth Ave at 39th St (212-391-3344, lordandtaylor.com).

Barneys - 660 Madison Ave between 60th and 61st Sts (212-826-8900, barneys.com).

Bergdorf Goodman - 754 Fifth Ave at 58th Sts (212-753-7300, bergdorfgoodman.com).

Bloomingdale's - 59th St and Lexington Ave (212-705-2000, bloomingdales.com).

Macy's - 34th St and Sixth Ave (212-695-4400, macys.com). .

Anthropologie - 50 Rockefeller Plaza between 50th and 51st Sts (212-246-0386, anthropologie.com). Monday, November 22.

Tiffany & Co. - 727 Fifth Ave between 56th and 57th Sts (212-755-8000, tiffany.com). November 22 at 5pm.

Saks Fifth Avenue - 611 Fifth Ave between 49th and 50th Sts (212-753-4000, saks.com). November 22 at 6pm.

Steuben Glass - 667 Madison Ave at 61st St (212-752-1441, steuben.com). November 30.

Cartier - 653 Fifth Ave at 52nd St (212-446-3400). Opening TBD.

Fendi - 677 Fifth Ave between 53rd and 54th Sts (212-759-4646, fendi.com). Opening TBD.

Louis Vuitton -1 9 E 57th St at Fifth Ave (212-752-4835, louisvuitton.com). Opening TBD.

Enjoy the NYC Holiday Windows 2010!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Announcing:The Big Adventure on Ice!

Join us on Saturday, December 11th, 2010 for a day of frostbite & freeze as we celebrate the onset of Winter In New York City with The Big Adventure on Ice!  

As the weather starts to turn cold, we're going to mark the start of the season with the return of another Big Adventure...this time On Ice! Starting around 1:00 PM and continuing through the chilly wee hours, we'll be attending events, stopping at bars and visiting venues that all play into our frozen theme.  

Just like all of our Big Adventures, the day will a unique way to explore the city, incredibly social, relatively inexpensive and open to all who wish to join. If all goes according to plan, The Big Adventure on Ice will include some interesting, eyebrow raising and dare we say amazing stops as we raise our mittens to well...Ice. 

The Big Adventures thinks that some of the final stops may surprise you as we're being somewhat... liberal and creative. In short, we've got a few curve snowballs set. We're going to embrace the theme with some unexpected visits as we shy away from the more predictable winter fare. 

 We'll have the full itinerary posted by the week after Thanksgiving, but for now you can visit The Big Adventure Facebook Event Page through the link below for more information (and to let us know if you'll be accompanying us!)  Hope to see you on Saturday, December 11th when the net Big Adventure embarks... just be sure to bring your ear muffs.

The Big Adventure on Facebook

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Bottom of the List: Nastiest Station in the New York Subway System?

What is the most disgusting NYC Subway Station? We vote for 2nd Avenue.

The New York Subway System boasts over 450 individual stations. Many unique, blissfully old and charming, but, well, not all of them can be winners.

An unofficial Big Adventure survey found that the Lower East Side - Second Avenue station (F Line) is by far the nastiest and most disgusting station in the system. 

Without going into overly descriptive details for the benefit of those with tender tummies, we’ll just say that it is a sad, dingy, smelly location with seemingly random, aimless people and assorted homeless lurking about. Since the station no longer stop serving as the terminus to the V Line in June, you would think it might smell less like human excrement....but no. Particularly sad since it is such a busy and often used station. Our fear is that with all the subway cuts and fewer booth attendants system wide, this is going to become more and more of an issue.

A strong vote was also made from those who personally hate the 34th street/Herald square station. and found it "ridiculously hot and extra stinky"

What do YOU think is the worst station in the system?