New York Sightseeing Tours and Rides

By Kirsten McCroskrie

Whether you choose to see New York from the ground, air, or water, you will be hard-pressed to take it all in! The city’s many neighborhoods change by the block, and it takes an experienced tour guide to explain it all. For your convenience, New York Pass works with the best tour companies in town- and now they offer New York Pass holders great deals and packages!

By Bike - Enjoy the city in a different and highly entertaining way. Take a leisurely 2-hour escorted bicycle tour of Central Park.

By Boat – use the famous New York water yellow Hop-on Hop-off Taxi, 12 stops at hottest sightseeing spots.

By Bus – use the New York Pass to enjoy a Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus Double Decker Bus Tour for the ultimate sightseeing experience.

By Helicopter – Seeing New York from the sky is an unforgettable experience! Your New York Pass will get you a great discount on seeing New York from above. You will fly over the Hudson River with views of the Statue of Liberty, World Financial Center, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Woolworth Building, Met Life (Pan Am) Building, Ellis Island, New York Harbor, George Washington Bridge & Central Park.

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What to do in New York in January

The holidays are long gone, and the only thing that keeps you going is your daily mocha latte and the thought that one day, rumor has it, a season called spring will appear. But fear not! January brings its own delights (and we do mean delights, not just “things to get you through an annoying month.”) From popups to pastries, stick with us for ways to make the month fun, not just merely tolerable. Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. Jan 20 Civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. was known for his non-violent approach to advancing civil rights; he was assassinated in 1968. Now in its 34th year, the largest event of its kind brings together artists, activists, and community leaders at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House to celebrate the life of the famed civil rights leader. A combination of talks, music, an art exhibit, and more, the event is free and open to the public. Winter Lantern Festival Until Jan 12 For starters, there’s the Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. If you still need easing away from the holiday lights and festivals, this is a good one to check out. More than 1,000 lanterns morph into incredible luminescent art and a variety of amazing shapes and figures, from plants to animals and mythical creatures. The exhibit includes eight acres of lights (!) plus interactive exhibits and live shows. The Progressive New York Boat Show January 22-26 Next up, the New York Boat Show at the Javits Center is an annual tradition, with a surprising amount to offer both boat lovers and those who are just along for the ride - figuratively speaking. The show's main draw, of course, is dozens of boats for sale, from kayaks to yachts, but visitors will also find miniature boat building for kids, food and drink, including a Nathan's hot dog cart and a Boar’s Head sandwich station, and even a career day, about jobs in the marine industry. It’s one of the many annual things to do in New York in January that marine and sailing enthusiasts should look out for. Winter Jazzfest Until January 17 Over the course of nine nights, visitors to Winter Jazzfest are treated to jazz performances at a series of venues across the city, including, this year, ones in Brooklyn. One wristband gives visitors entry to any venue—as long as it isn’t full. Visitors will have the opportunity to see more than 100 performers, including drummer/bandleader/artist-in-residence Mark Guiliana, and Brazilian musician Seu Jorge. Lunar New Year Celebration January 25 Celebrate the start of the Year of the Rat, the first in the Chinese zodiac cycle, at the Queens Botanical Garden. The Lunar New Year celebration includes crafts, activities designed for the whole family, and a lucky plant sale. FYI, the plants are lucky, not the sale. Performances are also on the docket, and past events have had such offerings as a taekwondo demonstration and a dance performance. The 39-acre site may not be as well-known as the gardens in the Bronx or Brooklyn, but this is a good opportunity to explore it, even during the winter. Tomatoland Now on Have you ever wondered what New York seems like to a tomato? No, neither have we. And yet, we now have Tomatoland, a 4,000 square foot pop-up designed to educate visitors about the environment and excess consumption. Visitors are treated to such exhibits as Refrigerator World, which highlights our use of exceas packaging; Noodle Swing, where attendees can sit in a swing suspended from a giant fork and try on costumes; and a Ketchup Pool, which offers travel in a bottle-cap car to meet some green-tomato cousins. The exhibit also includes places perfect for photo ops as well as some interactivity. [caption id="attachment_3745" align="alignnone" width="1125"] Image courtesy of Tomato Land[/caption] Frost Fest January 24 If it’s January, it must be time for...bumper cars on ice! Yes, that’s a thing, and a good one. You can spin, twirl, and bump your way across the ice at the Bryant Park ice rink, and, starting January 24, you can also take a spin if you go there for the 10-day Frost Fest, a series of programs including live entertainment, an Igloo experience, and a silent disco. NYC Broadway Week January 21-February 9 If you love theater but not the prices, check out the winter version of Broadway Week; it actually lasts more than a week. This is the time to get two-for-one tickets to some of the most popular Broadway shows around, or ones you might not necessarily attend. You may even be able to snag tickets for shows like Book of Mormon and Chicago. Tickets go fast--so you shouold be, too. Ophelia Ever had the urge to visit a NYC rooftop bar in January? No? Well, now you will. A number of sky-high bars in New York are outfitted for winter weather, including Ophelia, which sits at the top of an art deco tower and will make you feel like you’re inside a snow globe. Grab some cocktail fare, like a truffle potato wedge or a French onion slider, and an actual cocktail. Then gaze at the amazing 360 city views and enjoy the feeling that you’re inside a jewelery box. Looking for other sky-high venues? Check one out here. Looking for more ways to take advantage of the city this month? Check out The New York Pass.
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The Best Attractions in Brooklyn

Aerial view of Brooklyn. Photo by Curbed NY [spacer height="20px"] Manhattan is no longer the only borough on the radar of New York City visitors. Tourists as well as Manhattanites have been migrating to the hip borough for a few years for a good reason. Brooklyn offers many great attractions, some of New York City's best restaurants, tranquil greenery and the kind of views you can only see when you actually leave Manhattan. When in New York City, do not limit yourself to the tried-and-true island of Manhattan and venture out to its cooler cousin. [spacer height="20px"] Brooklyn Botanic Garden Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo by Vince Young [spacer height="20px"] The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a true NYC gem. It offers tranquil green paths, beautiful flowers, lakes, a fragrance garden, a place for children to learn about plants and flowers and about the most stunning cherry trees that blossom in the spring. Brooklyn Botanic Garden is located at 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225 Opening hours: Tuesday–Friday: 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Closed Mondays (but open Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Columbus Day, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.) Closed Labor Day [spacer height="20px"] Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo by Robert Harding/Getty Images [spacer height="20px"] After you make the mandatory walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, stop by the Brooklyn piers and the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge Park. This park offers the most amazing views of Downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. When you stop strolling or lounging in the plush grass, there are many activities to do at the piers, including beach volleyball, soccer, multiple playgrounds, food trucks, ice cream and many more. Finish your day at Brooklyn Bridge Park by visiting Fornino at Pier 6 for a wood-fire pizza, beers and a rooftop patio with stunning views. [spacer height="20px"] Brooklyn Museum Brooklyn Museum. Photo by Mark Lennihan/AP [spacer height="20px"] The third largest museum in New York City, the Brooklyn museum boasts with a great collection of classical and modern art. The museum is located right between Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on the edge of Prospect Park. Fun fact: The sculptures on the outside of the majestic structure were designed by Daniel Chester French, the creator of the famous Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Brooklyn Museum is located at 200 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052 Opening hours: Monday: Closed Tuesday: Closed Wednesday - Sunday: 11am–6pm Coney Island Luna Park at Coney Island [spacer height="20px"] Coney Island is actually a peninsula, located at the South-East end of Brooklyn. The beach and boardwalk at Coney Island serve as a frequent setting in movies and offer some much needed r&r opportunities just a subway ride away. The beach tends to be crowded in the summer, but it's worth a visit, if you're looking for that old New York vibe. Located at Coney Island is also the famous Luna Park. The Luna Park offers awesome thrill rides and roller coasters, kiddie rides and tons of other fun attractions. While you're down there, don't forget to sample a hot dog from Nathan's. [spacer height="20px"] Bushwick Collective Bushwick Collective [spacer height="20px"] It's worth it to venture out off the beaten path into Bushwick. The industrial-looking neighborhood exudes a classic Brooklyn attitude and is full of some of the best street art in New York City. The Bushwick Collective is a non-profit outdoor gallery of graffiti and street art, preserving the cultural integrity of the neighborhood and its vibrant history of self-expression. You can wonder around Bushwick by yourself and then visit the trendy Williamsburg for a bite, or you can take a guided Alternative Street Art tour with Inside Out Tours (included in New York Pass). To see the street art in Bushwick walk around Troutman Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue. [spacer height="20px"] Prospect Park Prospect Park Lake [spacer height="20px"] Central Park's smaller sister is located in the heart of Brooklyn, surrounded by the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and lots of lovely residential neighborhoods. The 585 acre park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and includes spacious lawns, bushy walkways and refreshing lakes for the perfect afternoon getaway. When inside Prospect Park, you can get lost and feel like you're in the woods, fully escaping the busy nature of the city that surrounds it. In the Summer, Prospect Park hosts the famed food market, Smorgasburg every Sunday. In the Winter, the LeFrak Center in Prospect park serves as an outdoor ice-skating rink.
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Cab Etiquette Rules That Everyone Should Know

This article was originally published in www.newyork.com on July 14th, 2016 [spacer height="20px"] New York City is the land of cabs — 13,237 at last count — and catching one is only half the battle (see our story, 6 Surprising Tips for Catching a Cab, for more on that aspect). Once you’re in and on your way, there’s a lot to know about what to expect from your ride and how to behave if things start to go wrong. Read on for our four handy tips for navigating the interior yellow cab experience with style and aplomb. [spacer height="20px"] Is it ever acceptable for a cab driver to refuse you service? Technically, the answer here is yes, but only if the trip will take more than 12 consecutive hours, which is illegal, or if the light on top of the cab is off, indicating that the cab is off duty. Otherwise, drivers are obligated by law to drive you to the destination of your choice within the five boroughs. Most New Yorkers wait until they’re safely inside a cab with the door closed before revealing their destination, especially if it’s to an outer borough. Can you insist that a driver hang up the phone if he’s in the middle of a hands-free call? It’s happened to all New Yorkers. You jump in a cab happy to be on your way, but the driver is yapping away on his mobile, blasting music or ignoring the comfort of the rider. Once you’re inside a taxi, you have rights. Too hot on a summer day with the windows rolled up? Request the driver turn on the air conditioning. Can’t hear yourself think from the cell-phone chatter? By law, drivers should not be using mobiles, smartphones or other such devices while driving (even hands-free), so don’t hesitate to ask them to get off the phone. What’s the right amount for a tip? Tipping is a way of life in New York when it comes to restaurants, hotels and taxis. In most American cities the tip threshold is lower than in the Big Apple, around 15 percent according to many surveys. But, hey, this is New York and everything is better, bigger and more expensive. That doesn’t mean you can’t tip 15 percent or whatever number you think is fair, but it’s important to remember that 20 percent is the general rule. If you pay by credit card, there are automatic gratuity settings of 20, 25 or 30 percent gratuity, although you can add any amount. If a cabbie has been incredibly helpful and friendly, it’s always good to show your appreciation, especially if he or she helps you with unwieldy luggage. If they are flat-out rude or get completely lost, tip at your own discretion. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Is it acceptable for a cab driver to tell you to stop talking on your cell phone? Legally, a driver can’t make you hang up your phone, but as a rider it’s common courtesy to avoid loud conversations and rude conduct. “I think drivers overall appreciate being respected for their professionalism and the service they provide. Driving a taxi is incredibly difficult, and requires great patience and skill, and the more passengers convey their understanding of this, the more drivers value it,” says NYC TLC Commissioner/Chair David Yassky. The best advice is to treat your driver with respect, and you’ll likely earn their trust and get to your destination quickly and safely. Is it rude to pay with a credit card if the driver asks you to pay in cash? Taxi drivers love taking cash just like every other New York business, but don’t let that stop you from pulling out the plastic. All New York taxis are required to take credit cards, so if a cabbie tries to tell you the machine is broken, don’t take the bait. Another common trick is for a driver to say that he (or she) has already hit the “cash” button, but don’t let that fool you either — switching from cash to credit is as simple as pushing a button. After the transaction, ask for a receipt. That tiny piece of paper can come in handy — it has the official medallion number on it, which is important if you lose something or need to file a complaint. What do you do if a cab driver refuses to comply with your requests? As a paying passenger you have rights, including the option to get out of a cab at any time. If serious issues arise, write down the medallion number, which you can find located on the license plate, hood of the vehicle, on top of the taxi, and on your receipt. You’ll need this to submit an official complaint online at nyc.gov or by calling 311. What’s the best way to acknowledge a driver for exceptional work? A nice tip is more than enough to show your gratitude, but if you’d like you can also commend a cabbie for going above and beyond the call of duty on the same website that the city uses to track complaints. For more New York City tips, visit www.newyork.com.
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