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Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Guide To Planning your own Spring NYC Big Adventure!

Ah, finally Spring is upon us. Longer days, beautiful weather and...what's that...people on the street seem to be smiling. 

To celebrate, we've put together an itinerary to allow you to create your own "Spring Big Adventure" allowing you and friends to descend upon several outdoor locations throughout NYC. You can make this happen on any weekend day and tweak the itinerary for a day of basking in the sun, enjoying the outdoors and in general, rejoicing in Spring. This has been brewing since Jan 23rd – which was the coldest day of winter when we were suffering through cabin fever and immensely tired of slush and gray. All of us have braved the most miserable winter in a while. Now…we celebrate spring!

We encourage you to pass the information along to anyone who might enjoy outdoor bars, rooftop locales, competitive chalk art, New York City Parks and musty old tombs (really). If you follow our guide, we promise will be unique, affordable, social and distinctly NYC. 

The West 79th Street Boat Basin CafĂ© – 1:00 PM –Walk as far west on 79th Street as you can past Riverside Drive until you end up overlooking the Hudson River and Boat Basin. We’ll sit with a view of the House Boats and Riverside Park as we sip Electric Lemonade and fried perfection. The perfect place to soak in the sun and start the day.

Host a Sidewalk Chalk Art Competition - 2:30 PM –As you stroll through Riverside Park –one of the most beautiful and underrated parks in NYC– set up and enjoy some Sidewalk Chalk Art. It’s art guerilla style (because Sidewalk Chalk is verboten….breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law). Create teams, bring art supplies, endless chalk and lovely sections of sidewalk to vandalize…er decorate. After everyone hones their skills and talent, chose one winner will be crowned the Picasso of the Park! The Salvador Dali of the Sidewalk! The Rembrandt of the Road! The Georgia O'k....you get our drift.
https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEhkozXY1H0onGmAfaippKahHjGaw7sNTlCE2VtjzUxDTiA-9C17HvpA50czGdlWhtcfeJWME1mzcP2KSimkISJC4U4DujeUSiepOnmOajqXT8wlkZ9-9YySSCBxQqOk2-Ubu6p9xddHQjCx/s1600/Grant%2527s%20Tomb%20NYC.jpgGrant’s Tomb – 3:30 PM – 122nd and Riverside Drive - Hop on the M5 Bus and journey up to what is officially known as The General Grant National Memorial. Nothing like spending a spring day at a tomb. Seriously though, this is a very cool museum that opened over 110 years ago. Despite rich history, architecture and grandeur, seemingly few New Yorkers have ever visited. Rectify that with a private tour by the National Park Service guide all dedicated to that 18th President and Civil War General with the awesome first name: Ulysses S. Grant

The Heights Bar and Grill – 4:45  PM– Broadway and 112th –The Heights (named after its neighborhood Morningside Heights) is a somewhat secret gem and the only rooftop bar in Manhattan north of 59th street. Swing by for a drink while lounging on the top floor roof-deck patio and judge who has the best sandals in the bar.

https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEivTJM2ZzSj-eXaJeaKKeUxfPAZhcDcQIrXglOjxc7SoUZC5Q8yfpWFrxyig-Co2Jw-NSn_xVO-04HmNXWA_aQSbD8hQEL3i0r8Fv0r_-zEj9zw1f4IBTY37Zz4_JJJzXy3kc2Gl_rwl8Kp/s1600/High%20Line%20Park.jpegTraversing The High Line -6:30 PMEntering at 20th Street and 10th Avenue- The plan here is simple – a stroll down the most unique urban park on the East Coast at Sunset. Starting at the northern most section and ending at around 12th street, we’re going to walk every inch of the park and get it on like Ponce De Leon. Lots going on most spring days including a roving book cart and guides.

https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEiCeMgOUUdcj84HmWf9hyphenhyphenedjrDLcQO5v8HFNO4QDqx-PqQP6XMihB00j5sHpVt1LPERwC4ASSKHg3SNdd-d6CaAtaefm5rh5BE23gDvWR2aBQiMsDQpzTowRCGclQ7COSpillxT2JLG4Zoi/s1600/Standard%20Beer%20Garden.jpgThe Standard Beer Garden– 8:00 PM -  Little West 12th and Washington Street – Fresh off The High Line and back on firm ground, you’ll be transported to a magical faux German land. Outside and spacious, visitors leave their Meatpacking pretensions at the door in exchange for Ping-Pong, Brats and Steins.

https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEgiuGdaiy2TZGhUuQb0jcYvEHGA4cRCCH0_dXJTT8mkc6GKNxemVfmupkyLj-qJTbASckEHverwtGC5PKF3S-l3C6kjom6hlmQdqDp3KTaAUHYGB2JNPpiVf-LhNaMVtkSP6O9xoBymG2mb/s200/Ear+inn.jpgEar Inn 10:00 PM – 326 Spring Street near Washington Street – Man, we love this place. End the evening with one of New York's oldest bars where the drinks are as tasty and affordable as the history of the place is remarkable Historic Home turned Brothel turned Bar. Great to get our relaxing on after a long day of trekking. Also known as the Green Door Bar or the James Brown House. God Bless drinking establishments with three names.

Enjoy! We hope this makes for a wonderful Spring Adventure for any who follow our route! Let us know how your journey goes by visiting us on Facebook  or sending us an E-mail: Info@NYCBigAdventure.com

Friday, March 27, 2015

Madison Square Garden....The Fourth?!

Did you know that New York City is currently on its FOURTH Version of Madison Square Garden? True enough: Four Venues in four different locations throughout the city.

The latest construction of "The World's Greatest Arena" (known in some circles as MSG IV) opened in 1968, but the original was built waaaayyy back almost 90 years earlier in 1879.

MSG I-The first Madison Square Garden opens its doors on East 26th Street and Madison Avenue in 1879. Unfortunately, the roofless Garden was hot in the summertime and freezing in the wintertime so it had a rather limited lifespan.

MSG II - The second incarnation opens on the same spot in 1890. Topping the Garden's tower was a statue of Diana which caused Madison Square Park to become known as "Diana's little wooded park".

MSG III -The third to bare the name, this MSG built in 1925 was located on Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan, on the site of the city's trolley-car barns Moving uptown, It was the first Garden that was not located near Madison Square. It was home to the Rangers, Knicks, Defunct NHL team The Americans and the annual NIT college basketball tournament.

MSG IV - Ah, the site we now all know an and love. It's a little trivia that most people don't know. The arena we have now is probably destined to remain for a long time and is currently undergoing a significant renovation.

The MSG Co. offers a great program called "The All Access Tour for Madison Square Garden." that's well worth a few bucks.

In the meantime, brush up on all of your Madison Square Garden history at this site below:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Answers to our NYC Trivia Quesitons

So, last week we challenged you with three big questions about NYC. See the answers below. Did you get all three right? Are you a master of all things Big Apple? More NYC trivia to follow in the next couple of weeks.  

Sure, you've mastered complicated Subway transfer at 59th street and you know the best Happy Hour specials from Midtown to the Bowery, but how well do you really know NYC? Here are three basic trivia questions about New York City. Any proud true resident should go three for three. After all, these are elements of the city that you likely see every day. Good luck!

1. The official New York City flag

The city flag is a vertical tricolor in blue, white, and orange and charged in the center bar with the Seal of New York City in blue. The tricolor design is derived from the flag of the Dutch Republic—the Prince's Flag—as used in 1625, when New Amsterdam was settled on the island of Manhattan. This design reflects the current design implemented in 1977.

 (There are also flags for each of the five boroughs, but we've left them out of our examples just to make it easier)




2. What is the official New York State motto?

A) Freedom and Unity! - Vermont's Sate MottoB) Excelsior(Latin for "Ever upward!") -Correct!
C) Wisdom, justice, and moderation - Georgia's State MottoD) Labor Omnia Vincit (Latin for "Hard work conquers all things!) - Oklahoma's State Motto

3. What is the State Fruit of  New York?

A) Pumpkin B) Avocado
C) Wild Blueberry D) The Apple - Naturally!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Testing your New York City knowledge!

Sure, you've mastered complicated Subway transfer at 59th street and you know the best Happy Hour specials from Midtown to the Bowery, but how well do you really know NYC? Here are three basic trivia questions about New York City. Any proud true resident should go three for three. After all, these are elements of the city that you likely see every day. Good luck!

1. Can you pick out the official New York City flag?

Only one of the flags below reflects the current design implemented in 1977.

 (There are also flags for each of the five boroughs, but we've left them out of our examples just to make it easier)

2. What is the official New York State motto?

A) Freedom and Unity!B) Excelsior(Latin for "Ever upward!")
C) Wisdom, justice, and moderationD) Labor Omnia Vincit (Latin for "Hard work conquers all things!)

3. What is the State Fruit of  New York?

A) Pumpkin B) Avocado
C) Wild Blueberry D) The Apple

How did you do? Fret not: Answers will be revealed on Friday!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How to give back in NYC? Try New York Cares

New York City is a tremendous city and those who have spent time in the Big Apple knows that the people are the heart and soul of this town. Despite the stereotype of the surly, rushed New Yorker, most people who live in the five boroughs are warm and generous with both their time and their money.

But what's the best way to give back? There are thousands of deserving good causes spread near and far. Most are amazing, some are a bit sketchy and only a few are the right fit.

The NYC Big Adventure recommends checking out New York Cares. The organization was founded by a group of friends in 1987 who wanted to take action against some of the endless social issues in New York City. Today, the organization engages 59,000 volunteers in service each year, helping 400,000 New Yorkers in need.

But what we really dig about New York Cares is their superior interactive website that offers an amazing selection of opportunities. A highly searchable listing system with features such as a map and filters provides details and clearly indicates the number of spots left. In our opinion, it make determining how to spend your time giving and contributing!

NY Cares doesn't get enough love and it is one of best for showcasing 1000s of volunteer opportunities in NYC. Make a difference today, yo!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Our New Favorite Map of NYC

The Big Adventure is often on the lookout for quality New York City memorabilia that we can hang on the wall in our home or office. They is so much cheap garbage out there (sorry, Times Square vendors) that we let out a little of yelp of excitement when we discovered this.

Are you familiar with those large MTA neighborhood maps that provide detail about a specific set of blocks? They can be spotted in  just about every subway station in the system. Now, the MTA has put several of them up for sale in their only Transit Museum store!

Station Size: Unframed 44 x 49 inches $115
These Neighborhood Print Maps are available as custom-made unframed prints as large as 44 inches by 49 inches - the same size that are found in subway stations! It looks like there are 68 different maps available from Astoria to Union Square. A giant map with great detail that would look great on our office wall...if we didn't work in an cubicle the size of phone booth.
Station Size: Unframed 44 x 49 inches $115
Station Size: Unframed 44 x 49 inches $115
Neighborhood Map Print
Neighborhood Map Print
Neighborhood Map Print
Neighborhood Map Print
Neighborhood Map Print

The bad news? They run about $115 per print. Ooof!

Buy your MTA Neighborhood Print Maps Here

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Big Dog Show - 10 Facts about The Westminster Kennel Club 139th Annual Puppy Parade

Happening right this very moment at Madison Square Garden are royal grand finals or some such of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. A NYC tradition for pups, owners, fans and Christopher Guest.The Big Adventure thought we would supply some quality trivia and facts about the show lifted straight from their own site -http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org
    Astonish your friends, amaze assorted dog owners and astound strangers with the following information: 
    1. The Westminster Kennel Club was established in 1877, making it America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. 
    2. First held in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is America's second-longest continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby.
    3.  The dog show has outlasted three previous versions of Madison Square Garden, and is currently being staged in MSG IV.
    4. The first telecast of Westminster was in 1948, three years before "I Love Lucy" premiered.
    5. A portion of the proceeds from Westminster's first show in 1877 was donated to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to establish a home for stray and disabled animals.
    6. The Empire State Building first honored Westminster by lighting its tower in the Westminster colors of purple and gold in 2004 and will do so again in 2011.
    7. There have been over 300,000 dogs entered in Westminster's 138 shows through 2013
    8. Through the 2010 show, there have been 1,673 judges who have officiated at least once at Westminster, some as many as 23 times, at Westminster.
    9. Two Best In Show winners, Norwich Terriers, had the same sire: 1994's Ch. Chidley's Willum the Conqueror and 1998's Ch. Fairewood Frolic were offspring (half brother/sister) of Ch. Royal Rock Don of Chidley. We don’t even know what any of that means.
    10. In 1884, The Westminster Kennel Club became the first member of the American Kennel Club.
    For what it's worth, The Sporting, Working, Terrier, and Best In Show competition is going to be televised live on USA Network from 8-11 PM ET

Friday, February 6, 2015

Exploring the rare Track Geometry Car of the NYC Subway

If you're a frequent strap-hanger on the NYC subway, then you might have been lucky enough to once get a glimpse of the elusive MTA's Track Geometry Car. Making only sporadic appearances, the train rarely emerges from the underground tunnels like a mythical mechanical beast. A sighting is usually spoken about only in hushed tones late at night at local bars.

Okay, we're exaggerating a bit, but The Track Geometry Car is arguably the most unique car among the rolling stock in the MTA's line up. Of the entire 6,500 plus subway cars, there is only one incredibly cool Track Geometry Car.

The train uses a crew of seven and an endless array of sophisticated tools such as the "Ultrasonic Rail Flaw Measuring System" to carefully measure the track's alignment, curvature, rail gauge, vertical gap and more. Each and every section of the 637-miles track is manually checked six times a year by a trained crew of mechanics, analysts, and engineers.

The train has one main purpose: spot track defects before they become dangerous. After all, some of these tracks are over 100 years old and endure the stress of hundreds of heavy trains each day. In the past, track inspection was painstakingly completed by track inspectors walking the tracks and visually inspecting every section of track.

If you find yourself standing on a NYC subway platform, keep your eyes peeled and you just might spot the Track Geometry Car!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The NYC Big Adventure Recommends: The Redhead Bar

Following up on our recent post regarding delicious Hot Chocolates throughout NYC, the Big Adventure highly recommends The Redhead bar and restaurant in the East Village at 13th Street & 1st Avenue. Come for the deliciousness of the Hot Chocolate Car Bomb, stay for Bacon Peanut Brittle (amazing and...unexpected), a full and unique dinner menu and friendly, fastidious bartenders.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Another great Free NYC attraction - The Museum at F.I.T.

So, cold, cold January has arrived but not the fun part of January. The part where the calendar reads just after New Year's and the city has come to a frozen stop. All of your friends are suddenly broke and no one wants to leave their apartment because they have soup belly. Plus, with the sun setting at like a quarter after four in the afternoon, it feels dark all the time.

The worst part about this is that all the traditionally great free things to do in NYC- Walk the High Line, Bike Ride through Central Park, Run along Riverside Park - are suddenly terrible, terrible ideas. What to do? How about a visit to the Free Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.(227 W 27th Street at 7th Avenue)

The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion, and features innovative and award-winning exhibitions. The museum's Fashion Culture special programs run year-round and include exhibition talk and tours, fashion conversations with leading designers, lectures and book signings. Admission to the exhibitions is always free year-round. We've been impressed with our visits in the past and always a unique place to hit.

With a mix of permanent and rotating exhibits, the museum houses work from designers such as Dior, Chanel, and Balenciaga. With more than 4,000 pairs of shoes, 50,000 clothing pieces and accessories (dating back to the 18th century), and 30,000 textiles (dating back to the 5th century), there is plenty to see here. Be sure to stop by the Gallery FIT to view work from up-and-coming students and faculty members as well.

Hey and if you still need some Free middle of winter entertainment when you're done, go for a spin on The Staten Island ferry and have a contest to find the saddest Staten Islanders on the boat.