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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Next NYC Big Adventure is coming March 10th!

Announcing: The next NYC Big Adventure! We're heading back to the streets of New York City on Saturday, March 10th starting around 1:00 PM and continuing late into the evening for yet another Big Adventure. It will be an exhilarating March day that will be packed with unique events and doings that are social, cheap and one of a kind to NYC. Whether this is your 10th NYC Big Adventure or your first, all are welcome.

The "maddening" theme of this Big Adventure and more details will be announced in Mid-February as we firm up some of our locations and activities. Tell a buddy, bring a friend. We hope that you'll mark it on your calendar and join us on Saturday, March 10th!

If you're thinking of joining us, feel free to let us know your coming via the Facebook Event Page Here.  We'll be sending out updates to anyone who lets us know they might be coming.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Not what you want to see on your subway ride

The NYC Subway tunnels are always an exciting place. There was a recent story making the rounds of the Transport Workers Union 100 hosting a “Rate My Rat Contest” (the goal was order to raise awareness on action for a Rat-Free Subway). And then this week there was just a bizarre, crazy story of an opossum hopping on an D train out at Coney Island. Crikey, I wouldn’t even know where to go to find an opossum in NYC. 

So, with the recent spate of vermin on public transit, The Big Adventure through we would resurrect this gem from last year. True, we could probably write an entire blog (and I’m sure someone has) about rats on the trains, but this is the summit of all rat-like videos. 

Fair warning. Don't read any further if you really hate the site of rats. Or if you don't enjoy the idea of say...what could happen to you if you fall asleep on the New York City Subway. Or if combining both scenario A and B terrify you, just go ahead and leave now. Hands down, the most disturbing viral video you'll see all week.

Still with us? Good. Enjoy the Viral Video that captivated The Big Apple for an entire week last year: Rat Crawls On Sleeping Subway Rider's Face. (Or "A video that will deter tourists from taking public transit") - It's a short clip, but we're guessing you might shriek just watching this around :16. Talk about a worst nightmare. Geez, and I thought my general fear of being stuck on a car with a dirty rodent was bad enough.

Come to New York City! Don't fall asleep on our trains! Watch out for the animal that spread the bubonic plague and killed a third of Europe!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Experience The Coffee Commons in NYC this weekend

Do you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur? The captain of caffeine? You’ll have your chance to prove your worth this weekend for a mere five bucks at the Coffee Common X NYC running now through Sunday in Chelsea. 

Another in the ever growing Pop Up themed stores, the Coffee Common offers unlimited samples of high quality java while you mingle with baristas, brewers, roasters and more. Enjoy coffee brewing demos, tasting experiences, and insight & advice for those who concoct their own coffee at home. The Big Adventures looks forward to dropping by, tasting the best and then staying awake till February. 

We also really dig the simplicity of their motto “An Event to Help People Make Great Coffee “A great goal to aspire to indeed.  While you’re in the neighborhood, we strongly suggest you hop across the street and grab a delicious meal or warming drink at Moran’s Chelsea – one of our favorite restaurants in NYC. 

The Coffee Common X NYC is at 10th Avenue & 19th street. Admission is $5. Open 11 AM to 6 PM through Sunday, 1/22. All info here

Friday, January 20, 2012

World Class Squash Tournament at Grand Central Terminal This Weekend

Hey, what do you know about the game of Squash? We’re guess your knowledge level is somewhere between nothing and contrived typecasts you’ve made up in your head. Perhaps something about Lord Butterscotch playing on a court in Devonshireberg, England. Lucky for you, Grand Central Terminal is hosting the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions Squash Tournament running today through Jan 26th. This event is essentially the Super Bowl of Squash Tournaments. Man, it was fun just to type that!

A giant ten ton 21-by-32 foot glass square court in the middle of the Vanderbilt Room smack dab in the middle of New York’s busiest train station with seating for 500. The Men’s bracket features 24 of the world’s best players competing for a big cash purse. The event also includes a women’s tournament and an amateur ping-pong tournament because….squash players like to play ping-pong in their spare time? We have no idea.

The heart-stopping game playing action is free to watch by those who passersby and idle tourists. Tickets start at $20 and all games are at Grand Central terminal throughout the weekend. If you’re looking for an extra shot of style and grace, we suggest stopping by The Campbell Apartment (secretly snuggled in an upper floor at Grand Central) for a drink before or after the match. The Big Adventure has already purchased our tickets. We’ll be the ones with the giant foam finger. Maybe we’ll see ya there.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Broadway Week returns with 2-for-1 Tickets to great shows

The always-in-gear NYC tourist board is trying to kick those infamous January Great White Way Blahs (or the JGWWB as its known) with 2-for-1 tickets deals on 22 Broadway Shows starting this Tuesday, January 17th through Saturday, February 4th. Sure, that’s more like three weeks, but we won’t complain. There are surprisingly few restrictions and an impressive variety of high quality shows from legendary long-running musicals (like Phantom of the Opera) to just-opened celebrity-studded plays (like Seminar).

Worth pointing out that this is part of a universal tourist partnership by the city and the theaters rather than an offering from the usual suspicious and concerning off-market ticket agencies. 

Also, to take things one step further, you can enjoy Kids' Night on Broadway the week of Feb 5th through the 9th which allows you to get a free ticket for any child age 6–18 when you purchase one full-priced adult ticket to the same show.

This is all part of Mayor Mike's hard push to create a NYC Tourism Machine that is a never-ending, gear-grinding beast. Whenever things get just a bit slow, tourist board NYC & Company jump to action. Since winter months are a traditionally sluggish time, this is a great chance to take advantage. Tickets are on sale now. 
List of Broadway shows included in Broadway Week’s 2-for-1 Ticket Promotion

Saturday, January 14, 2012

El Sammy Sosa Deli - Things you find in the Bronx

Recently The Big Adventure found ourselves at the intersection of 187th and 3rd avenue in the Bronx. It was here we stumbled across a local bodega with a truly head scratching name: El Sammy Sosa Deli Grocery. 

This storefront was perplexing for a number of reasons. For starters, you don’t see many NYC delis named after baseball players. Much less one who played for Chicago for most of his career. Much much less a player who is the poster child for the steroid controversy.

Second, the awning and marquee on the deli (which feature Sammy in signature swing and pointer-finger-to-God-thanking-pose) appear to be brand new. Puzzling since Sammy Sosa hasn’t hit a single home run since 2005 and hasn’t been a star player in over a decade.

Our best guess is that since the bodega is smack dab in a Dominican neighborhood, the store might be paying homage to one of MLB’s "Greatest Dominican players". However, pretty sure that Albert Pujols Deli or Jose Reyes Grocery has a better ring to it.

We didn’t actually go in and ask about the name which, a week later, is kind of driving us nuts. Right now, our biggest mystery in the Big Apple is why the owners chose the name El Sammy Sosa Deli. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Steak 'n Shake coming to New York City....sorta

It is happening. You can almost hear the transplants from Texas to Illinois to South Carolina squealing with glee: In 24 Hours, after 78 years, the first Steak 'n Shake will open in NYC. 10:00 AM tomorrow (Thursday, 1/12) morning.

The amazing news is that when the location opens on Thursday morning, they will give away free Steak 'n' Shake meals for a year to the first 150 people in line.

The bad news is that it is opening near the heart of Times Square at 53rd and Broadway. Rrrrriiight next to David Letterman's Ed Sulivan Theater. (Sorry, Rupert Jee). Meaning it will undoubtedly attract mostly tourists - many of whom will live ten minutes from The Shake in their own town. And it will only resemble a true Steak 'n Shake if you squint very hard. This “Steak ‘n Shake Signature” plans on only offering Shakes, Burgers and Fries. Meaning that when it comes to the similarities to Shake Shack, now that pupil has become the master. And have already confirmed that they will be selling wine by the glass (not joking.) and they will not be 24 hours.

So, for a true fan of this burger joint, it appears that with this kind of mutated borderline monstrosity, Steak ‘n Shake is only kind of opening in New York City.  And, yeah, even after saying that we’ll likely still stop in and get a Steakburger, Cheese Fries and Vanilla Shake.

Steak ‘n Shake Signature |1695 Broadway in Midtown |10 AM- Midnight

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Skyscraper Museum - Big Adventure Recommends a visit

There are seemingly thousands of museums, galleries and the like in NYC, but some of the most interesting are the hardest to find. A solid entry in the "Lesser known yet amazing Museums of NYC" category, is The Skyscraper Museum. Near Battery Park in lower Manhattan, this small but mighty non-profit boasts fascinating exhibits series of interesting expert speakers, an ever-changing collection and a lively, excitable staff that could talk Big City Skyscrapers all day.

Billing themselves as experts in the world's first and foremost vertical metropolis, this unconventional museum operates in the shadow of some of biggest and oldest buildings in the city ever since the museum opened in the splendid new space in 2004. Founded in 1996, The Skyscraper Museum is a not-for-profit, educational corporation devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future.

Why go now? Because the new exhibit is the perfect way to beat the cold and get into the buildings without actually getting into the buildings.The very cool exhibit SUPERTALL is worth the five bucks entrance fee alone. SUPERTALL is all about the world's tallest buildings from Asia to Dubai that have been built since 2001 or scheduled to be completed in 2016. Visit now as the exhibit closes end the end of January. On their site, they even have this thought-provoking graph showcasing where the Supertall Skyscrapers have appeared across the globe over the last generation.

One of our favorite past exhibitions was 2011's Vertical Urban Factory which featured the innovative architectural design, structural engineering, and processing methods of significant factory buildings from the turn of the 20th century to the present. Now, over a century after the first large factories began to dominate Now, over a century after the first large factories began to dominate our cities, the exhibition posed the question: Can factories present sustainable solutions for future self-sufficient cities? Oooh! That's a true puzzler. Right up there with if you kill a mime in the woods, will it make any noise?

The big buildings of this town never cease to fascinate the Big Adventure and a visit provides a nice homage to all of them. Not to get overly sappy, but it is some concrete and steel poetry in the big city

39 Battery Place on the other side of the Ritz Hotel. 
$5 Admission, Open Wed-Sun Noon-6 PM.  
http://skyscraper.org/ -Phone: 212.968.1961

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Professional Bull Riding Invitational returns to MSG this weekend

We know it sounds unlikely, but rounding up a bunch of friends and grabbing tickets to the Professional Bull Riders Invitational at Madison SquareGarden may be one of the most fun things you can do this weekend in NYC.

Speaking from experience, The Big Adventure can vouch for this surreal and extraordinaire experience. Which is only made better by the fact that you probably know nothing about Bull Riding. The PBR is the pinnacle of a paradox when you witness, smack-dab in the middle of NYC, men riding three ton bulls on the exact same floor on which the Knicks played 48 hours earlier. The crowds are lively and diverse ranging from irony-seeking local school kids to legit cowboys that moseyed down to MSG from…well…no one is sure where. And Flint theRodeo Clown (really) will keep you amused as you watch cowboys grib a saddle for deal life as angry bulls try to buck them to the hard dirt.

The best part is that tickets are cheap, the sport is inviting and they come back every January. We invite you watch 40 men try to tackle a bull for eight seconds on the "Toughest Sport on Dirt.” (Don’t make the mistake of confusing this event with a Rodeo) Did you know that even the animals can get penalties in this sport? It’s true. Flags are thrown. Lasers and Fireworks are deployed.

Events are this Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM, Sunday at 1:00 PM. Tickets start at $15 and there are discount tickets at Goldstar Right Here for “THREE SNOT-SPEWING, BONE-CRUSHING, ADRENALINE-SOAKED PERFORMANCES!” (Thanks MSG PR Machine for that nugget).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Basketball Alternatives to the NBA in NYC

So, The NBA is back. Pros are hitting the hardwoods. Knicks in action. Nets doing whatever it is they do (aside from winning just one game thus far). Etc. To that, The Big Adventure responds with unenthusiastic lament of "Who Cares?" Outrageous ticket prices and underwhelming play both bore and make us sad.

As an alternative, did you know that there are SEVEN colleges in New York City that play Division 1 Basketball? Sure, the quality of these games does vary, but it also makes for a fun day checking out some local college hoops. Considerably cheaper and once you remove the chance of spotting celebs sitting court-side these games are almost just as entertaining. And, depending on whom you chose to believe, as many of four or five these teams could make it to the Big Dance this March. Here is a listing of the seven teams:

Columbia University's Lions, stalwarts of the Ivy League, play in Morningside Heights near 116th and Broadway. Fordham's Rams play way up in the Bronx at Rose Hill Gym -celebrated as the oldest on-campus sports venue (1925)  currently in use by a Division 1 Team.

Long Island University Blackbirds play in Brooklyn at Dekalb & Fulton. Right down the street from LIU less than a mile away you can find the St. Francis Terriers also in Brooklyn

The Manhattan College Jaspers (no clue what a Jasper is) heave the rock in Riverdale.  Lesser known Wagner College in Staten Island has a student body of less than 2,000 undergraduates, (counting Jim Carroll, Robert Loggia, and Andrew Bailey as alumni) but manages to fields the Seahawks in The North East Conference. 

And, of course, Big East area favorites St. John's Red Storm (or "The Johnnies") who split time between Queen and Madison Square Garden.
Hmmm...we might have to include some local college hoops in our next Big Adventure.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The 2012 NYC No Pants Subway Ride Returns

1/9/12 Update: We've noticed a lot of interest in Sunday's event, so we have posted a link to some quality pictures of the 2012 No Pants Subway Ride from Jamie NYC over at Flickr right here


The 2012 No Pants Subway Ride in New York City. You have to smile just a touch when saying it. Ah, it is back once again. Like clockwork every first weekend of the year, those wacky folks at Improv Everywhere are hosting The 11th Annual No Pants Subway Ride in NYC this Sunday, January 8th from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Groups will be gathering in in Astoria, Downtown Manhattan, Flushing, Central Park and two locations in Brooklyn. 

Details were posted today right here. The premise is simple: Groups of people gather on random Subway platforms to ride the NYC Subway sans pantaloons. The participants (in theory) do not behave as if they know each other or as if anything is wrong. Aside from the lack of pants, everyone wears otherwise regular winter clothing.

The event is completely free, you can RSVP on Facebook and they raising the ante be selling official T-shirts this year. Hey, there is even an after party at Greenwich Village Country Club starting at 5:00 PM.

Be forewarned: it is not a small, subtle event. So far, over 4,500 people have signed up on Facebook to join. That's a lot of people missing pants. Last year, we wrote about the event in much more detail. For a blast from about a year ago in the past,  we revisit our original post below….

The 2011 No Pants Subway Ride.

Welcome to 2011. New Year. New beginning. Same zany "take the city by storm" annual events. What does the, ahem, Naked City have lined up for January? The 10th Annual No Pants Subway Ride.

The concept is incredibly simple: Show up with no pants and ride the New York City subway system. Yes, It's sophomoric. True, its a touch ridiculous. And some would argue that it is borderline illegal and a tad lewd.

All of that aside, the event is incredibly popular and growing exponentially each year. And, yes, we have to admit that the site of thousands of people sans pantaloons tromping from Union Square to Brooklyn, across subway platforms and staircases is pretty hilarious.

Organized by Improv Everywhere, legend has it that the event began in 2002 with just seven people. When asked by curious onlookers (likely trying their best to show big city indifference) what the story is, bare-legged participants are encouraged to simply respond, "I forgot my pants today" and add lines such as "Hunh, apparently so did that random guy/gal."

Falling in the same vein as Santacon and The World's Largest Pillow Fight, this event has moved way past Flash Mob status and, for better or worse, more into citywide social event that attracts an...interesting mix of people. Also, the event has apparently spread to many a city with public transport.Sadly, many of whom attend now miss the point of the subtle prank like you're going to miss fabric on your thighs on a cold day in January. 

Bottom line, if your goal is to make some new friends and walkaway with some memorable visions and good stories, this just might be the event for you. Although, where you keep your Metrocard without any pants on is your business.

And as our New Year's gift to you, here is a fantastic photo gallery from last year from one of the "agents". Gives a insider view into the day: 100110 No Pants 10 Photos

An incredibly detailed look at last year's event: Recap of 2010 No Pants Subway Ride

New York Times- The Year in Questions - Perfect Year End Quiz!

As the New Year gets underway, we can't help but wax nostalgic on all that went down in New York City and of course the country over the course of the incredibly eventful and departed 2011. From the Nanoquake in Manhattan to the Megaquake in Japan. From Legalizing Gay Marriage in the Empire State to changes to Heads of State in North Korea (died), Egypt (ousted) and Italy (ousted..but more sexy like). 

Lucky for us, the New York Times has once again combined the memories from the past year with the challenge of an online quiz. Two great tastes which taste great together. Check out the link below to re-live last year in the Big Apple and tackle some real stumpers. How many can YOU knock out?   

Here are a few of our favorites from the 84+ question PDF:

11. Who can’t be processed “with a normal brain”?
37. What foodstuff did New York airport authorities try to confiscate from Australia’s
foreign minister?
38. Whose last words were,“Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow”?
54. Which country became the17th member of the euro zone?
62. Which Hawaiian document, dated Aug. 4, 1961, has the serial number 61 10641?

(By the way, the answers are Charlie Sheen, Vegemite, Steve Jobs, Estonia and a certain Commander in Chief’s Birth Certificate)