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Unlocking the Best of NYC: Unconventional Adventures Await

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New York City, the city that never sleeps, offers a plethora of activities beyond the usual tourist hotspots. While exploring iconic landmarks like Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty is a must, there’s a world of excitement awaiting those who venture off the beaten path. From immersive art installations to hidden gems and secret gardens, here are some amazing activities to try in NYC you might not have thought of.

Plan Ahead for Unforgettable Experiences

Before we dive into the lesser-known gems of the city, it’s essential to emphasize the importance of planning ahead. NYC is a bustling metropolis with a never-ending stream of tourists and locals alike, so booking tickets for activities in advance can save you time and ensure you don’t miss out on the experiences you crave. 

Whether it’s securing tickets to a Broadway show, reserving a table at a trendy restaurant, or ensuring entry to a popular museum, advanced planning can make your trip smoother and more enjoyable.

Explore the High Line

Nestled amidst the skyscrapers of Manhattan’s West Side, the High Line is a unique urban park that transforms an abandoned railway into a picturesque green oasis. Stroll along the elevated promenade, which features lush gardens, art installations, and breathtaking views of the city. It’s a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets below, offering a glimpse into NYC’s commitment to blending nature and architecture in unexpected ways.

Discover the Cloisters

Tucked away in Fort Tryon Park at the northern tip of Manhattan, the Cloisters is a hidden treasure trove of medieval European art and architecture. This branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts a collection that spans over a thousand years, featuring illuminated manuscripts, intricate tapestries, and the serene beauty of the cloistered gardens. A visit here feels like stepping into a different era, making it a serene and educational experience.

Visit the Noguchi Museum

Dedicated to the life and work of Isamu Noguchi, one of the most innovative and influential sculptors of the 20th century, this museum in Long Island City is a haven for art enthusiasts. The serene sculpture garden and the carefully curated indoor galleries showcase Noguchi’s diverse creations, from sculptures and furniture to set designs and public works. It’s a serene oasis away from the city’s hustle, where art and nature blend seamlessly.

Take a Walk Through the Elevated Acre

In the Financial District, you’ll find the Elevated Acre, a hidden gem perched atop a parking garage. This lush, green space offers breathtaking views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge. With its well-manicured lawns, benches, and peaceful atmosphere, it’s an excellent spot for a quiet picnic or a leisurely stroll, providing a serene escape in the heart of the bustling city.

Get Lost in the Hispanic Society of America Museum

While the Metropolitan Museum of Art garners most of the attention, the Hispanic Society of America Museum deserves recognition for its incredible collection of Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American art. Located in Upper Manhattan, this hidden gem houses an extensive array of paintings, sculptures, textiles, and manuscripts. The best part? It’s often far less crowded than its more famous counterparts, allowing for a serene and contemplative art experience.

Explore the Roosevelt Island Tramway

For a unique perspective of the city’s skyline, hop on the Roosevelt Island Tramway. This aerial tramway connects Roosevelt Island to Manhattan and offers stunning panoramic views of the East River and the surrounding boroughs. It’s an unconventional way to experience the city’s beauty and provides an unforgettable memory.

Uncover the Beauty of Green-Wood Cemetery

Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is more than just a resting place; it’s a tranquil haven filled with art, history, and natural beauty. Explore its winding paths to discover historic graves, stunning mausoleums, and sculptural masterpieces. Don’t forget to climb Battle Hill for an unobstructed view of the Manhattan skyline – a serene and contemplative experience in the midst of this bustling city.

Experience the Magic of Magic After Hours

Hidden within the Lotte New York Palace Hotel is a hidden speakeasy called “Magic After Hours.” This intimate venue hosts magician Steve Cohen, who performs astonishing feats of sleight of hand and mentalism for a small audience. The atmosphere is cozy and exclusive, making it a unique and unforgettable evening of magic and wonder.

Traverse the Socrates Sculpture Park

Queens holds a secret haven for art lovers known as the Socrates Sculpture Park. This open-air museum features contemporary sculptures, installations, and performances by emerging artists. The ever-changing exhibits and the park’s stunning waterfront location make it a serene and creative escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Everyone dreams of traveling across Europe but New York City is a treasure trove of amazing activities, waiting to be explored beyond its iconic landmarks. Whether you’re interested in art, nature, history, or unique experiences, the city offers something for everyone. By planning ahead and venturing off the beaten path, you can uncover hidden gems and create unforgettable memories in the city that never sleeps. 

So, don’t just follow the crowd – embark on your own journey of discovery in the Big Apple, and you’ll find that there’s always something new and exciting to experience.



Entertainment

Registration is Open for Solstice in Times Square 2024

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Solstice in Times Square: Mind Over Madness Yoga returns on Thursday, June 20, 2024 with our 22nd annual event! Experienced yogis and first-timers alike are invited to join us for one of the free yoga classes taking place throughout the day on the Broadway pedestrian plazas, finding calm once again within the chaos of life in New York City.

Go to Broadway and West 46th Street, where experienced yogis and first-timers alike are welcome to join us in-person for one of seven classes throughout the day.

All Solstice classes are free but donations are welcome and appreciated.

Can’t make it in person? Join us virtually by livestreaming any or all of the seven classes. All classes will stream on TSQ.org/Solstice via YouTube and on Facebook. There is no need to register for the event if you are not joining us in person.

Solstice in Times Square is an accessible event for people with disabilities. Please submit your accessibility accommodations by June 13, 2024 when you register for the event.

There will be an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter on site for all classes this year, provided by Inclusive Communication Services. The live stream will also have ASL interpretation all day and real time captions (with the option to turn off the captions).

For further information, please email info@tsq.org.

To register for a class, click here. You can choose your class time from the list of available classes, AFTER you click “CHECKOUT.” Please note, each person must have their own ticket, and each person is allotted ONE class for the whole day. After you have finished the registration process, you should receive a confirmation email from Times Square Alliance (timessquarealliance@buytickets.at) with your ticket. For contactless check-in, please have your ticket ready to scan on your smart device or printed out on the day of the event.

For more info and Frequently Asked Questions about Solstice in Times Square, visit TSQ.org/Solstice.

Share your Solstice photos and experiences using #SolsticeTSq via Twitter and Instagram, @TimesSquareNYC.

Class Schedule

7:30am – 8:30am Class, Instructed by Richa Dhekne, Presented by Consulate General of India, New York

Class Description: Join Richa on an inspiring journey through the sacred limbs of yoga, where asana, pranayama, and meditation beautifully intertwine.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: Richa Dhekne is a 500-hour Yoga instructor and Breath Meditation teacher with over two decades of experience as a volunteer and faculty member with the Art of Living Foundation. As a young college graduate, Richa embraced a transformative opportunity to live at the Art of Living ashram in Bangalore. There, she contributed to Rural Development Programs and the International Association of Human Values, empowering women and youth to achieve self-sufficiency and mental wellness. Richa’s journey brought her to New York, where she currently resides with her husband and teenage son. Professionally, she excels as the VP of Finance and Operations at skincare company Ahava. Balancing her career with her dedication to teaching, Richa continues to inspire and guide individuals through yoga and meditation, nurturing both youth and adults.

9:30am – 10:30am Class, Instructed by Cealia Brannan, Presented by Gaiam

Class Description: As we welcome the summer solstice, balance the heat of a cadenced vinyasa flow with fluid sequences that bring coolness, like water, through balancing and circular sequence transitions.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: Cealia Brannan is a dedicated yogi whose journey with yoga began around 8 years ago when it serendipitously landed in her lap. With a commitment to making yoga enjoyable and approachable for all, Cealia’s focus has been on blending fun, accessibility, and mindfulness into her practice and teaching. Cealia thrives on pushing the boundaries of traditional yoga by crafting imaginative and innovative sequences that keep her students engaged and inspired. Currently, she shares her expertise and passion for yoga with students worldwide through online teaching. Specializing in both Hatha and Vinyasa styles, Cealia brings a unique blend of grace and strength to her classes. Additionally, her expertise extends to mobility work, further enriching the yoga experience for her students.

11:30am – 12:30pm Class, Instructed by Tracye Warfield

Class Description: Vinyasa Flow – “Let’s Flow.” The practice of Vinyasa yoga allows transitions between standing, seated, supine and prone postures, guided by mindful breath. The practice is a moving meditation that creates strength, grounding, balance, expansion, and your own, unique flow in your body and mind. Perfect for all levels.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: “New York is home and a yoga flow is life.” Since 2010 Tracye Warfield has been sharing her experienced yoga practice in Vinyasa, Hatha, breathwork, mindfulness, and meditation internationally as a wellness and life design consultant with her company bytracye. During her travels throughout the globe, she has developed and implemented innovative and impactful programs for various organizations, including Fortune 500 corporations, non-profits, and wellness studios. She is passionate about creating inspired change – mind, body, and spirit – and empowering others to live their most abundant, healthy, and happy lives.

1:30pm – 2:30pm Class, Instructed by Lara Heimann

Class Description: Celebrate the summer solstice in a way that makes you feel fully “LYT” up! This class will be nourishing and challenging to activate the senses and spirit, so you are reminded of your resilience. This is a yoga practice for longevity, weaving creative mobility drills and functional movement into yoga poses that you know and love.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: Lara Heimann, an international yoga pioneer and Physical Therapist, revolutionizes the modern practice of yoga through her LYT Method®. With over 30 years of expertise, Lara integrates neuroscience and habit formation into her method, which is practiced by thousands worldwide in over 50 countries. Her comprehensive movement approach blends physical therapy techniques, yoga, functional movement, stress reduction, strength training, and mobility exercises, offering essential tools for modern lifestyles, taught online, in workshops, retreats, and corporate wellness programs.

3:30pm – 4:30pm Class, Instructed by Susan Hu

Class Description: Join Susan for a feel-good, rhythmic vinyasa flow to move with mindful breath and tap into the joy of the heart. The class will end with the most nourishing yoga nidra for deep rejuvenation and spiritual inspiration.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: A master of mindful breath and rhythmic movement with a focus on the connection to the Self, Susan is an E-RYT® 500, YACEP®, and founder of an RYS® 200 based in NYC. As the senior lead teacher at the Bhakti Center, she offers dynamic yet nourishing yoga classes and trainings including hatha, vinyasa, yin, restorative as well as meditation and yoga nidra. Deeply rooted in her spiritual practice, Susan guides students on an empowering and healing journey, invoking a sense of joy and love in every class.

5:30pm – 6:30pm Class, Instructed by Sri Dharma Mittra

Class Description: This sequence of yoga poses for all level practitioners will move the spine in all directions and leave you feeling recharged and energized.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: Sri Dharma Mittra first encountered yoga as a teenager before meeting his Guru in 1964 and beginning his training in earnest. Sri Dharma founded one of the early independent schools of yoga in New York City in 1975 and has taught hundreds of thousands the world over in the years since. He is the model and creator of the Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures, the author of ASANAS: 608 Yoga Poses, Yoga Wisdom and the LOAY Teachers’ Manual, and a number of video series have been created over the last 20 years to help share his method of yoga.

7:300m – 8:30pm Class, Instructed by Douglass Stewart

Class Description: Douglass’ yoga class will be a slow flow, breath-oriented class designed to develop from the modified version of certain poses to their fuller expressions.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: Douglass Stewart has been teaching yoga since 2001. He is the co-founder of Yoga in Times Square, celebrating the Summer Solstice by uniting the community of yoga enthusiasts across the country. Douglass, in collaboration with Times Square Alliance, received Gold Distinction in the Shorty Awards for their Summer Solstice Video during the Covid 19 pandemic. He has received the Community Service Award for volunteering yoga classes at the LBGTQ Community Center. Douglass teaches at the Ishta Yoga Center, including the Teachers Training. He teaches yoga at Om City Yoga and currently leads meditation and the PPOW Gallery.

LOCATION

Broadway & West 46th Street, 10036

 

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Cabaret

Jumaane Smith Plays To Sold Out Crowd at Birdland

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This past week Jumaane Smith and his quartet performed for a full house at Birdland in New York City. Jumaane is one of the greatest trumpeter performing today. Like Louis Armstrong he is strong on both trumpet and vocals, playful on stage.

Jumaane has collaborated with Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder, andperformed with Michael Buble for 17 years. and Harry Connick Jr. Smith is stepping onto center stage with the release of his new album “Come On Home” on August 16. This deeply emotional and predominantly original work traverses the rich landscapes of jazz, blues, and contemporary soul, echoing the timeless influence of classic albums from these genres. Known for his exceptional talent and versatility, the LP and his performance encapsulates themes of love, loss, overcoming challenges, redemption, and joy.
A highlight if the night was”I Know,” about finding your soulmate—the one person who stands by you against the world, the person you long to see at the end of the day.
Smith was backed by outstanding musicians Chris Lewis – Saxophone, Al Street – Guitar, Carmen Intorre Jr – drums, Will Gorman – organ.
It’s always a treat to be in the audience enjoying an evening with Jamaane Smith and his incredible music
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Entertainment

Summertime—don’t let the livin’ get too easy! Part I

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So tempting, isn’t it, to while away the summer in a cozy hammock or beach chair.  But then by Labor Day you have nothing to show for all that valuable time.  Here are a few suggestions that you might find enticing:

Be a Pioneer!

Or at least take a ride on one!  The 1885 Schooner Pioneer leaves from the South Street Seaport and a sunset ride around lower Manhattan is not to be missed.  https://southstreetseaportmuseum.org

Or Be a Reader!

There are many lists of what you should/could be reading, but I’d rather recommend authors you’ll be grateful to get to know.

NYC-based Amor Towles has a new book out Table for Two, a collection of short stories, the final of which is a prequel to his first novel.  Each of his four books is a complete joy, leaving one with a most satisfying experience.  If you plan to travel, his middle books are perfect companions.

A NYC transplant from Virginia, the brilliant Tom Wolfe wrote many long, and worthwhile, novels. But for a rather jaundiced peek inside the NYC art world, try his uncharacteristically short yet powerfully revealed The Painted Word. You’ll never see museums in the same light again.

Transsexuality is a topic that can be difficult to understand. Jan Morris, who wrote many books as James Morris, tells a tale of transition in Conundrum, a brief book detailing his motivation in a way that was intelligent and easy to understand.

If you’ve ever wondered about what it takes to produce a musical, composer Douglas J. Cohen reveals all the travails and joys of the experience in How To Survive a Killer Musical, about what it took to produce his musicalization of No Way to Treat a Lady.  It’s a must-read for anyone seriously interested in theatre.

Fill a Day with Fun and Games and Music

Many remember when it was known as “Needle Park”, but Bryant Park is now approaching amusement park status. A quick check of their website reveals a cornucopia of events to please every palate. Movie nights, concerts, theater and games galore are offered—all for free! A recent visit provided a relaxing respite of ragtime in the middle of an afternoon provided by Terry Waldo and his band.

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Events

Baccarat and Basil Hayden Host Glorious Speakeasy at Tony Awards

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Talk about a glorious night!

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: (L-R) Taraji P. Henson and Anna Wintour attend Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy at the 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Baccarat x Basil Hayden VIP speakeasy room at the Tony Awards this year kicked things off in a lavish way.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: (L-R) Adrienne Warren, Nick Jonas, Billy Porter and Elle Fanning attend Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy at the 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

It was where celebrities from Anna Wintour to Julianne Hough to Daniel Radcliffe to Ekin-Su Cülcülogu relaxed, sipped a Basil Hayden 75 cocktail, mingled and took selfies.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: Ashley Park attends Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy at the 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Inside the exclusive speakeasy, Anna Wintour donned her signature oversized onyx sunglasses but this time with a smile as she giggled with Taraji P Hensen – perhaps it’s Taraji’s contagious personality shining through, her mesmerizing Oscar De La Renta gown or maybe the result of a few Basil Hayden 75’s but either way, the queen of fashion was beaming.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: (L-R) Jeremy Strong, Jessica Lange, Andrew Rannells and Eddie Redmayne attend Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy at the 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Elle Fanning, Billy Porter, Nick Jonas and Adrian Wallen dazzled as they posed for pictures while Ben Platt and partner Noah Galvin received some ‘awwws’ from the elite crowd as they embraced each other.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: Shaina Taub attends Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy at the 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Ashley Park was ready to rock in a mind blowing Harris Reed floor length gown and Pandora jewelry as she toasted the camera while Daniel Radcliffe quietly made his way around the room chatting with other nominees before winning his Tony later on that night.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: Ariana DeBose attends Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy At The 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Three cheers for this very Tony-licious moment!

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Events

Tribeca Festival Wraps Up with Big Apple Moment with ‘Satisfied’ Premiere

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The final day of the 2024 Tribeca Festival closed out with the film “Satisfied” at the Beacon Theater. The night also showcased a “Hamilton” pre-Tony anniversary moment with Renee Elise Goldsberry. After the premiere and performance guests gathered at Allure Lounge to sip on Hendrick’s Gin cocktails and to honor the indelible moment.

Roxstar Entertainment’s popular Cinema Center finished its premiere party run with the late-night soiree attended by director Chris Bolan and actress Kelli O’Hara as well as the fleet of producers on the film including executives from Stick Figures Productions and Amblin Documentaries.

Guests enjoyed a gourmet selection of canapes catered by Allure Restaurant as well as featured cocktails by Hendrick’s Gin including the Hendrick’s Grapefruit Collins.

“Roxstar Entertainment is pleased to continue to support independent filmmakers and distributors especially in its mission to get movie fans back into their true intended viewing medium, the movie theaters.  We are so grateful to be able to work with like-minded companies to sponsor and support the events and help drive the promotion and celebration for the films, filmmakers, and respective casts,” says David Manning, Roxstar Entertainment’s Executive Producer of the Cinema Center.

 

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