Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 24, 2016

The 90th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be held on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24, 2016 in New York City starting at 9:00 a.m and ending at 12:00 p.m.  See the map of the route here

See the balloons come to life the night before from 3pm to 10pm on the day before Thanksgiving. You can enter the special balloon inflation areas surrounding the Museum of Natural History beginning at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue.

Recommended stretches or spots on the route for watching the parade: 
Central Park West: Viewing starts at 75th Street (two blocks down from the official start of the parade) and is only open to the public on the west side. Central Park is closed for invite-only grandstand seating. The parade runs along this stretch from 9 to 10:30am, so early birds who don't mind turning up at 6am to snag a prime spot should flock here.
Time Warner Center: The Shops at Columbus Circle open at 9am on Thanksgiving Day. From the second and third floors of the mall, you'll enjoy an elevated view of the parade streaming down Central Park West. As an added bonus you'll also get to see the Holiday Under the Stars light display. Twofer!
Sixth Avenue: The floats and balloons reach Sixth Avenue at about 9:30am, so arrive at this 21-block portion as late as 7am and you should still find a good spot.



Jacob Riis: How The Other Half Lives- Exhibit at Museum of City of New York- Free

The  Museum of the City of New York currently has an fantastic exhibit on a subject that every New Yorker should be aware of -- the plight of the poor in our city at the turn of the century. 

The exhibit centers on the ground-breaking work by Jacob Riis, a pioneering newspaper reporter and social reformer in New York at the turn of the 20th century. He published  HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES, a forerunner in the genre of photojournalism. Considered one of the great works of American photojournalism, the book chronicled, in both vignettes and photographs, the brutal life in New York City's largest slum. The exhibit at the museum, Jacob A. Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Halffeatures photographs by Riis and his contemporaries, as well as his handwritten journals and personal correspondence.

If you love photography, the museum's online gallery of over 1,200 images that Riis took documenting every aspect of the lives of the poor and the effects of poverty on housing, education, and crime in New York at the turn of the 20th century.

FYI: The Museum is technically free -- it "suggests" an admission price ($14!). Be a sport and give a few bucks. 


The 2015 42nd Annual Village Halloween Parade is on! 
This Saturday, OCTOBER 31, 2015 at 7 p.m

Image result for halloween new york paradeAnyone (in costume) can join in the parade and walk side by side with the hundreds of PUPPETS, 53 BANDS of Different Types of Music, DANCERS and ARTISTS, and thousands of other New Yorkers in costumes of their own creation. To be part of the parade, enter at 6th Avenue at Canal Street between 6:30pm and 8:30pm. You MUST be on costume.

Too lazy to dress up or walk?  Stand on the sidelines - with the throngs of people - the route is up 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street.  It starts at  from 7:00pm - 10:30pm.  Info at HALLOWEEN PARADE

Cant make it out or too afraid?!?!? Watch on tv on NY1

For other spooky things to do, check out Time Out's Halloween Guide

Hallelujah! Tips for hearing Gospel music in New York City

You aren't the first person to visit New York who wants to hear Gospel music. Hundreds of tourists flock to the big churches of Harlem every weekend. Not to mention the actual churchgoers -- you could wait hours to get in to a service. 

The Choir Header

Thank god I've got some tips for you to make your experience heavenly!

• Find out service schedules ahead of time. Churches have services at different times, and not all services include a choir. Look at a church’s website or call ahead to decide when to visit.

• Know your etiquette.  Many church websites have a “Visitors” page. Read this information to spare yourself being scolded, like tourists last November were at a Sunday service at a historic church.  Showing up in jeans and flip flops is inappropriate.
 Be sure to turn off your cell phone ringer and unless you are permitted to do so, do not take photos or videos.
• Give yourself enough time: services with a choir singing will also include a sermon and not only are the sermons quite moving, it can be considered rude to leave in the middle – so give yourself enough time to enjoy the whole service.
• Consider making a small donation to the church Congregations are happy to have visitors and share their celebrations, but no church and choir can get by without the support of its members and guests. Even a dollar or two is appreciated.
• Avoid the tourist crowds Consider visiting a smaller congregation– the experience will be just as special and that less crowded.
Where to go
Our pick:  The Brooklyn Tabernacle’s choir is 40 years old but better than ever. This year they were invited to sing to the Nation at the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. The Tabernacle is located in easily-reachable Downtown Brooklyn at 17 Smith Street between Livingston and Fulton Streets (718) 290-2000. Sunday services are at 9am, 12 pm and 3 pm.
If you prefer to stay in Manhattan, try to steer clear of the larger congregations, some of which are so popular with tourists, visitors are sometimes turned away for lack of space in the pews.  Still, they are popular for a reason—the sermons and choir and services are magnificent. Some of the larger churches are located in Harlem and they are:
Abyssinian Baptist Church 420 W 145th Street between Convent and St. Nicholas Avenues (212) 234-6767.  Sunday services at 9 am and 11 am.
Greater Refuge Temple 2081 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. at 124th Street (212) 866-1700.  Sunday services are at 11 am, 4 pm, and 7:30 pm.
Mount Neboh Baptist Church 1883 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. between West 114th West 115 Streets.  Streets.  (212) 866-7880.  Sunday services are at 8 am and 11 am.
Canaan Baptist Church 132 W. 116th Street between Lenox & 7th Aves. (212) 866-0301.  Sunday services are at 8 am and 11 am.  Sunday service at 10am (starting July 1).
First Corinthian Baptist Church 1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. between West 115th and West 116th Streets (212) 864-5976. Sunday services are at 8 am and 11 am.
Bethel Gospel Assembly 2-26 East 120th Street, between 5th and Madison Avenues, (212) 860-1510.  Sunday Services: 8:00 am and 11:30 am.

FREE KAYAKING in the city! Yellow cabs aren't the only way to get around this city!

LIC Boathouse Sunset Paddle. Surreal!
Here's a straightforward cut and paste job courtesy of Free Kayaking. Im posting fast so I can get out there on the water ASAP! My personal recommendations the first two: 

L.I.C. Community Boathouse  A growing boathouse on the East River in Long Island City. They offer a variety of free kayaking programs.

You can always find parking.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse 
Non-profit organization offering free walk-up public kayaking in Brooklyn Bridge Park between Piers 1 and 2 on Saturdays and Thursday evenings. Runs youth kayaking program and a kayak polo program for adults and kids. 


Downtown Boathouse 
An all-volunteer organization dedicated to providing free access to the Hudson River.
Offers free walk-up public kayaking at Pier 26 on the Hudson River.  2014 season starts Saturday, May 17th and runs through mid-October  Open every Saturday, Sunday and holiday from 9am-6pm plus weekday evenings in the summer.  See website for info on free weekday evening classes, free guided river trips and free walk-up kayaking on Governor's Island.

Manhattan Community Boathouse 
Offers free walk-up public kayaking at Pier 96 and 72nd Street on the Hudson River. 
All-volunteer organization. During the summer provides daytime programming for children and young adults. Runs guided trips on the Hudson River on weekend mornings from June to September. 

Hoboken Cove Boathouse
Non-profit organization running free walk-up public kayaking programs at Hoboken Cove on selected Saturdays and Sundays.

Red Hook Boaters
A Group offering free Kayaking and Canoeing in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood. They operate out of the New York City Kayak and Canoe Launch at the Valentino Park at the end of Coffey Street in Brooklyn. Check their website for their schedule. 

Kayak Staten Island http://
An all-volunteer organization providing free kayaking for the public at the shoreline on South Beach in Staten Island. 

Gateway Boathouse http://
Future boathouse in the Rockaways providing access to Jamaica Bay. 

The Gowanus Dredgers
A canoe club based on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. Runs a public access and canoeing program in the canal. 

Inwood Canoe Club
Founded in 1902, the Inwood Canoe Club is the oldest canoe and kayak club in Manhattan. The Inwood Canoe Club offers free public kayaking during the summer. 

Sebago Canoe Club
A canoe and kayak club with a facility in Paerdegat Basin on Jamaica Bay (a national wildlife refuge), at the foot of avenue N in Brooklyn. They also have a cabin on Lake Sebago in Harriman State Park for members. They offer free public kayaking programs and also have storage facilities for members of their club. 

Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club
A kayak club based in Yonkers on the river right near the train station. They run a lot of trips, and have storage facilities available for members.

Long Island Paddlers Based on Long Island NY, the club organizes paddling trips for a range of skill levels in all parts of Long Island.

New York Kayak Polo
New York Kayak Polo is a non-profit organization with the aim of promoting the game of Kayak Polo (also known abroad as Canoe Polo) in the New York City area. The group was born as one of the volunteer programs in the Downtown Boathouse in the summer of 2002, but they have evolved into an independent organization. They encourage people to try this exciting water sport. Located at Pier 66.

This Sunday, May 18 Lower East Side Bites & Sites - Only $10!


This two-hour Bites and Sites tour is the perfect way to discover neighborhood's blend of cultural diversity, rich history, and great, affordable food. And it is only $10 per person (food not included).  Though you main gain a little bit of weight, you will gain a LOT of knowledge and unforgettable stories. 

The tour is designed so that you choose what (if anything) you want to eat at each of the stops. 


Yonah Schimmel Knishery – Eat what my ancestors (and maybe yours) ate back in the old world! Handmade potato knish for $3.75 (other flavors too!) Big enough to share, too yummy you may not want to!

Prosperity Dumpling– Hands down the best pork fried dumplings you have ever eaten. Four big ones for $1.25. Other non-pork and vegetarian items just as delicious and cheap).

Doughnut Plant– Splurge for the to-die-for Crème Brulee doughnut for $3.50 or stick with tried and an incredible glazed doughnut for $3

Kossars Bialys– a warm bialy for .90 cents from the oldest bialy bakery in the United States. And yes, I will tell you what a bialy is…. once we get there. 

The Pickle Guys - .75 cents for a pickle that has been sitting in a barrel for weeks, pickling, and waiting just for you!

THE SITES:  As we walk off the bites, these are the SITES you'll learn:

What was Lady Gaga doing in a 130 year old synagogue?  

Who painted those gorgeous murals on cargo containers on 1st Street

How the ABC-NO-RIO political collective got its nonsensical name?

What is Matzoh...and if you know, where is the Streit's Matzoh Factory?

How did Vladimir Lenin's statue end up on a rooftop on Houston Street?

Why has Orchard Street been closed as a pedestrian mall every Sunday for over a hundred years, but no pedestrians show up?

Come find out answers to these questions and many more!


Tour is $10 per person payable in cash at the start of the tour. Food not included, but very affordable.

We meet at 12 pm at Yonah Schimmel Knishery located at 137 East Houston Street corner of Forsyth. See google maps

To RSVP visit our Facebook event listing and click JOIN. Reserving a spot is recommended, but you can just show up at the meeting spot at 12 noon and join the group.

Bites and Sites at Fort Greene's Brooklyn Flea

This past Saturday was a perfect day to check out Brooklyn Flea in its Fort Greene location at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School's yard.

While the Flea is a destination unto itself, the surrounding streets are lined with stunning, historic, landmarked buildings that enhance the experience. While the shopping is a feast for the eyes, the prices are more fitting for a Queen bee than a mere flea.  We decided to make a B-line straight to the back of the schoolyard known for its many unusual and delectable edibles.

The food offerings are from local purveyors of creative, fresh, and fun gastronomic treats.  The air was filled with the aromatic scent of roasting meat. Porchetta was in the house, although we were equally tempted to try the sliders from Bed-Stuy's (m)eatery Lone Star Empire.  Speedy Romeo, another local eatery was serving up meatball sliders in lieu of what they do best, pizza.  Probably a smart move since a few stalls away was Flea favorite Pizza Moto.

New York City is surrounded by water, which means fish and seafood are abundant at the Flea. After slurping some oysters from Brooklyn Oyster Party, we just had to try the unusual fusion of sushi and Mexican food by crunching on a Spicy Tuna Taco from Takumi Taco.  We skipped Red Hook Lobster, but only because we were saving room for dessert.

And dessert there was!  We wanted one of everything, but with so many new vendors and perennial favorites, we limited ourselves to a few.  No trip to the Flea is complete without checking out Bed Stuy's Dough, but the pickings were slim so we decided to try a big ball of sugar, popcorn and goodness on a stick from Park 
Slope's Gather.  

Then we made an incredible discovery, Alchemy Creamery.  What we thought was heavenly ice cream turned out to be a deceptive mix of hazelnut, almond, & coconut milk blends. Their fantastic flavors are all dairy-free, gluten-free & vegan. Without a shop of their own yet, you've got to get yourself over to one of the Brooklyn Flea locations or Smorgasburg.  Filled to the brim, it was time for us to head out of the Flea for a stroll. With a festive farewell from the People's Pop stand, we vowed to return for their summery shaved ice.

1-picstitch (6)

We were tempted to sit for a while, but the guilt from the antique scale and the hefty pink elephant persuaded us a walk was best. We made it less than a block before we did need a sit-down.  

We chose to rest and digest on the stairs of the 100-year old Queen of All Saints Church. As we prepared to leave Fort Greene, we said a prayer that we'd survive another day so we could do this again next weekend.

Sunday May 11th Join my $10 two-hour BROOKLYN HEIGHTS walking tour 1-3 pm

With gorgeous weather predicted for Sunday, come join my Brooklyn Heights walking tour. The cost is $10 cash per person at the start of the tour.  For a full description of the tour, click Brooklyn Heights Tour.

You don't have to sign up, you can just show up at the meeting spot at 1 pm. We meet at Brooklyn Borough Hall located at 209 Joralemon Street. For directions check out Google Maps.

If you would like to let me know you are coming so I can keep an eye out for you, RSVP on Facebook.

and if you are wondering if I am any good at giving tours, check out my reviews​​.


Free Outdoor Summer Movies schedule announced!

The official Free Summer Movies in NYC  schedule. 

Check back for updates and new series being scheduled. Warning: this list is LONG! 

Monday Nights Bryant Park
Not announced yet - usually Bryant Park

Tuesday Nights - Not announced yet 

July 9: Iron Man 3
July 16: American Hustle
July 23: This Is the End
July 30: The Lego Movie
August 6: Lone Survivor
August 13: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
August 20: Captain Phillips
Summer on the Hudson: Pier I Picture Show, Riverside Park
July 9: Clueless
July 16: Back to the Future
July 23: Harold and Maude
July 30: The Princess Bride
August 6: Anchors Aweigh
August 13: The Outsiders
SummerScreen in McCarren Park
July 9: Back to the Future
July 16: Zoolander
July 23: Cry-Baby
July 30: Heathers 
August 6: The Big Lebowski
August 13: Audience Pick
Thursday Nights - Brooklyn Bridge Park  
(Im sensing an animal theme)
7/10  Duck Soup
7/17 Sharknado
7/24 Fantastic Mr. Fox
7/31  Beetlejuice
8/7   Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
8/14 Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
8/21 The Birds
8/28  Public Vote!  Stay tuned to 
Brooklyn Bridge Park for details throughout the summer.

Friday Nights
Hudson River Park's RiverFlicks Family Fridays on Pier 46 
July 11: Despicable Me 2           
July 18: Ghostbusters        
July 25: Ghostbusters II             
August 1: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
August 8: Groundhog Day            
August 15: The Smurfs 2         
August 22: The Wizard of Oz 
Celebrate Brooklyn! at Prospect Park Bandshell
July 25: Amandla: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony
Miscellaneous days and series:
Intrepid Summer Movie SeriesIntrepid flight deck
Friday, May 23: Top Gun
Thursday, July 10: Independence Day
Thursday, July 17: Gravity
Thursday, July 24: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Thursday, July 31: The Hunt for Red October
Thursday, August 7: Spaceballs
Thursday, August 14: Captain Phillips
Movies at Crocheron Park (all films start at 8pm)
Friday, May 30: Super Buddies
Friday, June 6: Brave     
Friday, June 13: Tangled   
Tuesday, August 12: Despicable Me 2
Tuesday, August 19: Monsters University
Tuesday, August 26: Europa Report

A skyscraper grows in Brooklyn! The Brooklyn Skyscraper Historic District

Brooklyn Borough Hall-Court Street-Brooklyn Skyscraper Historic District-Landmark-NYC
We know that "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", but did you know that skyscrapers did too? The about the Brooklyn Skyscraper District?

At the turn of the 20th century, in the Brooklyn Heights vicinity, the first Brooklyn skyscraper, the magnificent Temple Bar Building went up. Within a few decades, two dozen more popped up. In 2011, the city officially
recognized these buildings as historic landmarks despite fierce opposition from real estate developers.

75 Livingston Street-Brooklyn Skyscraper Historic District-NYCTo find out more about these big beautiful buildings, check out my article just posted on UNTAPPED CITIES, a fabulous website.

And if you want to see these splendid buildings, as well as visit the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, join me and the New York Adventure Club on April 12th at 1 pm for a Brooklyn Heights 2 hour, $13 walking tour. 
Check out the article on UNTAPPED CITIES for details to sign up.

For reviews of my tours, see REVIEW and TESTIMONIALS page..

Jaywalking - a new yorker's birthright or a menace to society?

verb (used without object)
to cross a street at a place other than a regular crossing or in a heedless manner, as diagonally or against a traffic light.

It's a well known mathematical theory that crossing the street diagonally will save you time and distance. And New Yorkers love to save their time.  Sometimes it's not even about saving time. It's just something we do, it's in our blood. We feel powerful when we cross mid-street, when the cars are waiting for their red ligt to change, and we weave our way patiently to get to to the other side of the avenue. 

But now our new mayor, Bill DeBlasio has a hard-on for pedestrian safety. In the first two months of this year, the NYPD issuing 452 jaywalking tickets through the end of February, compared with just 50 during the same period last year.

His mission is a good one. NYC is dotted with "death spots" -- locations where accidents, many of them fatal, between pedestrians and vehicles occur. Not because of jaywalking but because of lack of safety features at a crosswalk, if there even is a cross-walk at a much used intersection. 

In 2012,  thirteen-year-old Dashane Santana lost her life while crossing the intersection at Clinton and Delancey. The tragedy ultimately proved a watershed moment that spurred the DOT and local politicians to finally address safety issues along that particular thoroughfare. Since her death, necessary changes were implemented, including longer crossing times at most crosswalks, extended sidewalks, and traffic pattern updates (e.g. no left turn from southbound Delancey).

Factors that contribute to accidents and fatalities are the width of the road to be crossed by a pedestrian, often way too wide for even the most sprightly of walkers to complete safely before the red hand stops flashing and becomes a solid STOP!  The "walk" signs countdown on a New York second (which ticks by faster than other locations on earth).  

These are the real hazards that the mayor should focus on, and not ticketing New Yorkers who are just exercising our birthright to cross where and when we feel like it, as long as WE know we can do it safely.  So why focus on ticketing jaywalkers rather than altering dangerous locations that make crossing the road a dreaded necessity?

Money.  Traffic tickets generate revenue. Altering streets and avenues to shorten the distance one must cross cost money.  Hopefully, the mayor and his VISION ZERO plan, a set of proposals aimed at improving street safety (based on a Swedish street safety approach which treats all traffic deaths as inherently preventable) will focus on traffic not tickets, pavement not people and let us New Yorkers continue to cross on the diagonal without the fear of having to pay a fine.

By the way,  New York City's First fatal car accident on record occurred on May 30, 1896, when Henry Wells of Springfield, Massachusetts, struck cyclist Ebeling Thomas at the intersection of Broadway and 103rd street.  Amazingly, upper Broadway is still a death trap -- the intersection at Broadway and 96th Street has been the site of 52 injuries from 2008 to 2012, and THREE pedestrian deaths in a 10 day period earlier this year, according to DOT. So what are the most dangerous intersections in NYC? Check out Transportation Alternative's CrashStat site for who, where and when. The why we already know. Now it's time for the what...will be done about it.

No more subway nightmares on the weekend. The MTA's WEEKENDER can help.

The 4 is running as the 3 and the C is on the F line until it runs on the A line and there is no subway service on the L or G or F and WTF?!??!?!?

Do yourself a favor- look online before leaving the house at the MTA Subway advisory system just for weekends called The Weekender. (Also available as an app iPhone and Android app.)

I find it minimally less confusing than the signs posted in the subway, but then again, once you've swiped your card only to find out that your train isn't coming, it's too late.

Give The Weekender a try. Your weekend travel experience might be a LITTLE less awful.

Going up! 157 years ago today, the first passenger elevator takes off

On March 23, 1857 the first commercial passenger elevator took customers up and down the 4 floors of the spectacular Haughwout Building in SoHo.  

This purveyor of fine china was described by The New York Times as “the greatest china and porcelain house in the city” in the 1850s. Even First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln had Haughwaut's design a custom set of plates and tableware for the White House.

But more significantly, the Haughwout Building installed the first commercial elevator designed for passenger use. You know the name of the inventor, you can still see his name engraved in many elevators around the world - OTIS, as in Elisha Graves Otis.

So next time you take a ride, check out whose elevator it is...


103 years ago today...a New York tragedy that paved the way to labor reforms

On Saturday, March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the top floors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory, where the workers were mostly women and young girls, many of them immigrants.

Firemen raced to the scene, but the ladders weren’t tall enough to reach the upper floors of the10-story building where workers were trapped inside because the factory owners had locked the exit doors to prevent them from taking unauthorized breaks, like going to them bathroom.

With no way out and the fire raging, many of the women began to jump to their deaths. By the time the fire was finally put out, 146 workers had lost their lives.

This tragedy spurred a wave of activism in the budding labor movement. The day after the fire, 15,000 garment workers walked off the job, demanding a 20 percent pay hike, a 52-hour workweek and overtime pay. The fight for labor reforms continued and legislation was eventually passed protecting laborers. 

Every anniversary of the fire, volunteers from the Chalk Project visit each one of the known victim's houses and writes her or his name and age in chalk on the sidewalk.


You can visit the site of the fire, which occurred in what was the Asch Building, at 23–29 Washington Place in Greenwich Village. It's now known as the Brown Building and part of New York University's campus.  The building has been designated a National and New York City landmark. On the corner of the building at the intersection of Washington and Greene, you can see a memorial plaque.


Free Wi-Fi in Fi-Di

Courtesy of the Downtown Alliance free public Wi-Fi spots are popping up all around lower Manhattan. What could be better than sitting in Trinity Church's graveyard among 17th and 18th century tombstones and tweeting? Here are just a few of the locations. Below is a map of the area with all locations. Happy surfing!

Plaza at 7 World Trade Center

Wi-fi is available at the plaza in front of 7 World Trade Center at Vesey and Greenwich Streets.

The Elevated Acre 
The Elevated Acre is located at 55 Water Street.


Fulton Street Plaza

This area from Water Street to South Street and along Front Street is covered by Wi-Fi in conjunction with Howard Hughes Corporation. 

Stone Street 
Stone Street is located between Hanover Square and Coenties Slip. Wireless service is strongest in the outdoor restaurant seating area.

Here's a map of the many more locations, some of which are beautiful relaxing locations to sit and surf the web.

And for other sites around the city, check out Free Wi-Fi in NYC and for the up and coming Wi-Fi below ground, check the  MTA's website  for a list of subway stations.