Tag Archives: Brooklyn

The Water Tower Bar: Hidden NYC Cocktail Bar High Up In The Sky

Nightlife Bars The Water Tower Williamsburg Hotel NYC Cocktail Bar

There are so many speakeasy bars in New York, but today we came to talk about a NYC Cocktail Bar called The Water Tower Bar. These guys are hidden high up in the sky!

Nightlife Bars The Water Tower Williamsburg Hotel NYC Cocktail Bar
Nightlife Bars The Water Tower Williamsburg Hotel NYC Cocktail Bar Skyline
Nightlife Bars The Water Tower Williamsburg Hotel NYC Cocktail Bar Inside
Nightlife Bars The Water Tower Williamsburg Hotel NYC Cocktail Bar Big Poppa
Nightlife Bars The Water Tower Williamsburg Hotel NYC Cocktail Bar Message in the Bottle
Nightlife Bars The Water Tower Williamsburg Hotel NYC Cocktail Bar Sunset
Nightlife Bars The Water Tower Williamsburg Hotel NYC Cocktail Bar Decor
Nightlife Bars The Water Tower Williamsburg Hotel NYC Cocktail Bar Lights
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New Yorkers are all about creativity and searching for unique things to do in the city. We all know that summertime in New York is the best time of the year where businesses get creative to attract you into their “homes”.

In addition, we also know how quick summer can pass by, so you should definitely take advantage of everything that’s going on: from unique experiences like jet skiing in the Hudson River, the best rooftop screenings and open door helicopter tours to get pictures of NY from above!

All of that is truly amazing, but today we want to talk about New York’s nightlife! We aren’t the biggest party peeps around, I have to confess, but we do enjoy exploring some of the best hidden cocktail bars in New York.

You’ll find great bars in so many different parts of New York but, have you ever been to a hidden cocktail bar high up in the sky? Yup, that’s exactly what you read!

The Water Tower Bar, located on the very top of The Williamsburg Hotel has one of the coolest bars you can visit. Why? Well, they literally built an intimate space inside a water tower with probably one of the most amazing skylines views of Manhattan!

Just to start off, it’s a pretty interesting walk up! You have to climb quite a few steps…up and up and up, until you get there.

The bar is not a big, making every night an opportunity to actually meet new people and interact with everyone there. The super high ceiling gives us air to breath, combined with the huge floor-to-ceiling windows offering the priceless view I spoke about!

Rael Petit, the expert mixologist of the house, has done some serious work on these cocktails. And, we can say, he really knows what he’s doing! So, lucky us to have found this spot! Actually, lucky everyone!

We decided to try 3 of their most famous drinks to share with you our thoughts! And, bottom line, they were all AMAZING! Plus, the names are all pretty cool too!

This is what we had:

  • Message in the Bottle: Bacardi 4yr, Clarified Milk Punch, Chinese Cinnamon Cordial, Blue Majik Pineapple Juice and Lemon
  • Big Poppa: Hendricks, St. Germain, Thyme Corial, Egg White, Lemon Juice and Angostura Bitters
  • Blue Jeans: Empress Gin, Salers, Velvet Falernum and Dolin Blanc

And, if we could, we’d just continue on tasting the entire cocktail menu!

We just ordered a small dish with mozzarella cheese to eat before. They do have a few options if you get a bit hungry.

The night we visited was on a Thursday. We had the pleasure of listening to a great reggae Brooklyn-based band that got everyone on the dance floor. The band is called Sundub and the singer is called Joanna Teters. Her voice is really fantastic!! Other nights, they have some of the top DJs in town doing some serious music too!

So, now it your turn to go there, try their cocktails and dance a bit! Don’t forget to get some priceless pictures of Manhattan’s skyline!

If you enjoy these posts and finding the next best NYC Cocktail Bar, take a look at some speakeasies we love.

Hours: Wednesday – Saturday: 6pm – 4am

Location: 96 Wythe Avenue

https://www.thewilliamsburghotel.com/bars-restaurants


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC
*Last Update on March/2020.*

NYC Food Trends Taking The City By Storm

Dining NYC Food Trends Insects Black Ant

Yes, New York has every possible cuisine you can desire or imagine on Earth. That said, take a look at the NYC food trends taking the city by storm. Some are not super new, but probably came to stay!

Dining NYC Food Trends Insects Black Ant
How about a pair of crunchy insects in your dish? Lol! ©BlackAntNYC

New York is the restaurant capital of the world – just consider there are 24,000 eating establishments in Manhattan alone. So, we decided to talk about the upcoming NYC food trends!

It has been estimated that you if you ate at a different restaurant every day, it would take you over 22 years to dine at them all.

One of the reasons that NYC is so diverse for dining, is that there are influences and cultures from all around the globe. This means that there are always great new NYC food trends, which you can even try cooking at home.

Take a look at a few of the food trends below and let’s see how adventurous you are when trying new cuisines! Lol!


Glorious Grasshoppers

Dining NYC Food Trends Grasshopper Croquetes Black Ant
Croquetas de Chapulin: yucca-manchego Grasshopper croquetes with avocado and Chapulín salsa. ©BlackAntNYC

As we think more about sustainability and food ethics, insects are hitting restaurant tables in a big way. They are actually an excellent source of protein and delicious with a little spice.

If you head to Toloache, the Mexican restaurant headed up by Julian Medina, you can sample them in tacos, hot with chili and cooked with crunch.

The Black Ant, in the East Village, is another great eatery that is embracing grasshoppers. In fact, almost every item on their menu uses insects. The grasshopper-crusted shrimp however are a triumph.

If you want to have a taste at home you can easily buy grasshoppers online, they may even become a household staple.

Locations:
205 Thompson Street, Greenwich Village
166 East 82nd Street, Upper East Side
251 West 50th Street, Midtown

www.toloachenyc.com

Location: 60 2nd Avenue, East Village

www.theblackantnyc.com


Beautiful Baogels

Dining NYC Food Trends Baogel Black Seed Bagels
Baogel at Black Seed Bagels. ©BlackSeedBagel

The baogel is another wonderful cultural hybrid, featuring a soft pork belly filling, usually found in a bao bun, and of course combined with a soft, bagel.

It is the creation of Black Seed Bagels and Chinese restaurant Nom Wah Kuai, and usually served with a chili cream cheese on the side for ultimate dipping.

To try this at home, the pork belly cooks best in a sous vide machine, a beautifully gentle slow cook that will leave the pork tender and succulent, ready to be folded into bagel dough.

You can then return the bagel into the machine, to make a really soft baogel. This trend just goes to show how versatile water bath cooking is.

Locations: Several locations, see their websites!

https://www.blackseedbagels.com
https://nomwah.com


Raindrop Cake

Dining NYC Food Trends Raindrop Cake
The peculiar Raindrop Cake. ©RaindropCake

The raindrop cake is a thing of simplistic beauty. Originating from Japan, it is a beautiful dessert that is made from water, agar and sugar.

It is served in bamboo, alongside a flour that is made from roasted soybeans. The dessert is vegan, has very few calories, but it a textural delight in the mouth.

It’s all about feeling that sweet burst of liquid on the tongue. Darren Wong, who originally brought this cake to Smorgasborg food fair said that he wanted the raindrop cake to be reminiscent of the Asian jelly desserts he ate as a child.

You can now buy kits to have a go at making the raindrop cake at home. They are delicious with a little syrup and some fresh mint on the side.

Locations: Smorgasburg has 4 locations.
Thursdays: BK Bridge Park, 6pm
Fridays: WTC, 11am – 7pm
Saturdays: 90 Kent Avenue, 11am – 6pm
Sundays: Breeze Hill, Prospect Park, 11am – 6pm

https://www.smorgasburg.com


New York is a special place for dining – if you can imagine it, the likelihood is that there is a restaurant serving it. These fresh, new ideas and NYC food trends are also changing the way that we consider our home cooking.

So, come explore New York with us and don’t forget to share your discoveries in the comments below! We’d love to hear about them, so we can also check them out!


Guest Writer: Cindy Trillo
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Black Ant, Black Seed Bagels and Raindrop Cake

*Last Updated on Feb/2020.*

Citrico: A Mexican Restaurant In Brooklyn

Dining Citrico Mexican Restaurant Brooklyn Doll

It’s taco time! Citrico is a Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn! We went there for a night filled with traditional tacos and cocktails and had a great time!

Dining Citrico Mexican Restaurant Brooklyn Food Drinks
Dining Citrico Mexican Restaurant Brooklyn Cocktails
Dining Citrico Mexican Restaurant Brooklyn Vegetable Blue Taco
Dining Citrico Mexican Restaurant Brooklyn Aguacate Frito
Dining Citrico Mexican Restaurant Brooklyn Full Table
Dining Citrico Mexican Restaurant Brooklyn Chocolate Mousse
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Who likes Mexican food!? I definitely do! Today we want to share about a small traditional Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn we visited.

I don’t know about your guys, but I certainly do love Mexican food!!! That said, I decided to explore a neighborhood in Brooklyn called Prospect Heights and eat at a restaurant called Citrico!

Well, to start off Noor, the owner, is Mexican so obviously the food, authentic Southern Mexican, is super traditional. The restaurant’s décor is simple, but very inviting and low-key with some typical Mexican objects and frames that set the mood to the place.

When we got there, I always like to ask what are the bestsellers and what are the most unique and different dishes on the menu.

So, take a look at what we had:

  • Guacamole (of course): Served with chips and topped with fresh pomegranate
  • Tostada de Betabel en Mole: beets cooked in homemade mole made from scratch, over rice and a crispy corn tortilla and then topped with crema, queso fresco and lettuce
  • Agucate Frito: Fried avocado with shrimp ceviche
  • Taco Gordita Combo: vegetable taco on a blue corn tortilla topped with avocado and queso fresco + a handmade corn gordita stuffed with black beans, crema, queso fresco and lettuce. Comes with pickled habaneros and homemade salsa roja.
Obviously, we’d never miss dessert:
  • Chocolate Mousse: Homemade semi-sweet chocolate mouse garnished with a strawberry and a Mexican cookie
And finally, the cocktails we ordered:
  • Passion Fruit Margarita
  • Tropical: Bruxo mezcal, coconut purée, and pineapple topped with toasted coconut flakes

Plus, Prospect Heights is a neighborhood with exploring. It’s just a few blocks from Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill, that are also super charming areas in Brooklyn!

Have fun exploring and eating tacos!

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 4pm – 11pm
Friday: 4pm – 12am
Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 12am

Location: 681 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn

http://citricobrooklyn.com


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

16 Things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC [PART 4/4]

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Rats

I compiled the 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC! New York City is super friendly city and pretty easy to find you way around. But, there are a few things you should know before visiting!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4
©Behind the Scenes NYC

New York City is super friendly city and pretty easy to find you way around. But, it also has a few particularities you should know before visiting!

So, I decided to share 16 things NO ONE ever tells you about NYC, for the 1st timers in NYC. There are a few rules and tips to make your NY experience seamless and memorable.

We split this topic into 4 different posts, so see below the final, Part 4! And check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, if you haven’t already!


#13 Don’t yell if you see a rat or a cockroach!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Rats
Photo Credit: Courtesy

This had to be #13! Hahaha! This will certainly identify you as a “tourist”.

Why? Well, let’s start from the basics! Did you know that there are more rats in New York, than there are people?

Ok, let’s do the math! It’s estimated that within the 5 boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island), there are around 8.5 million residents. The number of rats is around 5:1, adding up to over 42 million rats below our very own feet!

Now, let me tell you something about cockroaches. They are smart little bastards! I was LITERALLY chased by a human-eater-roach back in 2014 when I came to visit New York before moving, in the middle of a subway station. I was running away from it in circles (no lie!) and the roach was running after me in circles too!

It was comic not to say, ridiculous! I was screaming and laughing desperately – as were all my friends – instead of helping me out. So, don’t do as I did. Try to chill and act as if nothing is wrong! That is…if you can!


#14 Shoot! I need to “pee” and can’t find a bathroom!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Bathroom
©Behind the Scenes NYC

The story of our lives! Manhattan is definitely not a bathroom-friendly place and you might get into some trouble if you don’t know where to run to in an emergency.

I do recommend going to every bathroom you pass by, just in case you don’t at some point! Also, I’ll give you a tip, there is a great APP called SitOrSquat that shares all the public bathrooms in New York. Might be good to downloaded to your phone, right?

Hint, hint! Some places that you’ll find bathrooms: Starbucks, Barnes & Nobel and department stores!


#15 New York is NOT synonymous to Manhattan!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Brooklyn
©Behind the Scenes NYC

And I’m tired of telling people this! I mean, most tourist are stuck between Central Park South and SoHo – which I call “the comfort zone”. But, all the other boroughs in New York are growing and you have just so much to see! It’s just great when you free yourself from Manhattan, and dive into exploring other corners of NYC!

We all know that Brooklyn is now the new “hot spot” with so much going on. So, you might want to start from there. The trendy neighborhood now, is Williamsburg and I love Greenpoint that is close to it. Queens is a paradise for foodies and each borough has its own charm.

And still, there are countless amazing day trips upstate, as well and breathtaking destinations in Long Island, from wineries to beach resorts.

Ok, so let’s start slowly just by crossing the bridge into Williamsburg or DUMBO? I guarantee you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find!


#16 Last by not least: When in doubt, just walk in!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Secret Restaurant
Secret Japanese restaurant hidden behind these doors. ©Behind the Scenes NYC

What I mean is, if you pass by a weird looking door, but apparently people are discretely walking in and out…you might just want to walk in too. I know…the first thought that comes to mind is: “This is part of a horror movie, and if I walk in, I’ll never walk out…” Hahaha!

You never know what you can expect and 99% of the time, you’re not crashing into anyone’s home. On the other side of that door, there might be something extraordinary happening for you to check out or some delicious secret restaurants.

What I mean? Well, secret speakeasy bars are spread all over town, like Patent Pending – that I always love going to, or high-end hidden restaurants with a hidden door tucked behind a hanging art work in a gallery, like Frevo. Regardless, these spots will create some of the most memorable moments of your New York experience!

Be brave…and walk in!


And that’s a wrap for our list of the 16 things NO ONE ever tells you about NYC, for the 1st timers in NYC! There are so many other tips, but I guess that starting through these 16, you’ll be fine!

There are just a few things that we remembered along the way, that we just have to share, and that are FREE:

  • Water in NYC is FREE! Yes, NYC’s tap water is known for being some of the best in the country, and there is even the rumor that our bagel is one of the best, because of the water! So, when you arrive at a bar or restaurant you might automatically receive cups with water that will be refilled all the time, or you can ask for still or sparking water, that comes in a bottle – and these are paid for!
  • Condoms in NYC are FREE! Yup, that’s what you heard! They are Free, so check out where to find Free NYC Condoms.
  • Fitness classes for FREE! The City of New York created the “Shape Up NYC Classes“, where you can find everything from Yoga in the Park and Hip Hop Fitness, to Zumba and Aerobics classes!

If you want a post about all the FREE things to do in NYC, leave your comment below and we’ll get right on it for you!

I hope we were able to help a bit more on your understanding of how the city functions!

Also, as mentioned, feel free to use the information we gave that makes more sense for YOUR trip! When we talk about tipping for example, we know that many people are traveling on a budget, so let’s just be reasonable, right? The idea was just to share a bit how things work!

And, if you’re looking for assistance for a corporate group coming to New York, don’t hesitate to contact our experts! We organize everything from dinners, cocktails to corporate events and unique experiences.


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Seeing The Best Of New York City By Motorcycle

Curiosities City Secrets Seeing the Best of New York City By Motorcycle Sandra Frey

Have you ever thought of seeing the best of New York City by motorcycle? Let us give you a few pointers on how this could be an amazing experience!

Curiosities City Secrets Seeing the Best of New York City By Motorcycle Sandra Frey Cropped

New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in America, attracting more than 60 million guests each year. This, thanks to its world-famous landmarks, eclectic cuisine, and unique culture.

If you’re looking for something other than the typical take on the NYC experience, ditch the buses and walking tours! They are quite touristy anyway… Instead experience the best of New York City by motorcycle.

Exploring by bike makes it easy to see parts of the city secrets that other tourists rarely get to enjoy, and it also makes it easy to snap pictures, grab some street food, or simply take in the view.


Exploring Landmarks Downtown

Downtown, you can find many of the major landmarks of Manhattan, including the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and Freedom Tower. You can also explore more hole-in-the-wall places, including small restaurants and specialty shops in Chinatown, Little Italy and the up and coming, South Seaport.

You can also see the filming locations of certain famous movies, including the Ghostbuster Firehouse, the Tiffany & Co. flagship store from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and many more. For a thrilling ride, you can cruise through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, the longest continuous underwater road in the U.S.


Experience Uptown Scenery

Uptown is known for its stadiums, like the famous Yankee Stadium, and museums through out the artsy Museum Mile. But, primarily tourists head up to see the scenery.

From the perspective of an automatic motorcycle, you can get some of the best possible views driving up the West Side Highway along the Hudson River. You might also see the palisades that rise over five hundred feet above, cross the George Washington Bridge, head up to the Medieval inspired MET Cloisters and wander through the less well known northern areas of Central Park.


Tour Midtown Monuments

Midtown Manhattan is home to the Empire State Building, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, and other impressive bastions of culture and architecture.

Are you looking for something a little bit more out of the ordinary? You can visit sites such as the mysterious Rose Hill Historic House, the historic C.O. Bigelow Apothecary, or the quirky Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library.

You’re looking to avoid the crowds and experience New York City from a unique angle? So, simply tour the city by motorcycle. Traveling by bike makes it easy to get around. You’ll be able to find all of the hidden gems that NYC has to offer.

Whether you’re riding through the streets of downtown New York, enjoying the sights of midtown, or exploring the refined uptown area, touring New York City by motorbike gives you a unique and exhilarating look at the city.


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sandra Frey
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Your Friend’s Kitchen: A Dining Experience At The Chef’s House

Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Table

New York is a gastronomy haven for those that love food! I want to share a different NYC dining experience that will take you on a journey around the world, called Your Friend’s Kitchen!

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Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience In The Kitchen
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Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Fernanda Paronetto Chef Linda Meenakshi
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I was invited to enjoy a unique NYC dining experience, different from what I have already done around New York City. And believe me, I have done countless experiences around town.

But this time, I was called for a Vegan African Feast at Chef Linda’s home! I was intrigued from the start, considering that not only would Chef Linda cater a totally new menu, but she was going to open her home to host us for this super special night!

I was excited and extremely curious too!

Chef Linda (aka Linda Adria Sebisaho) is was born in the Eastern part of Congo, in Africa and moved to New York at the age of 15! Initially, she dreamt of getting into medical school, but totally changed her mind and became a math teacher! Her cooking talent  kicked in a bit later.

Today, she runs her own catering company. She loves these types of social dining experiences, having meals with strangers, that leaves as friends by the end of the night!

She says, “it’s a form of art”, and we couldn’t agree more!

That said, Chef Linda was thrilled to co-host this night with Your Friends Kitchen, created and founded by Meenakshi lala.

So, let me tell you a bit about how the night unraveled!

Chef Linda’s home is in Harlem, a neighborhood I love exploring with all its Jazz spots and amazing restaurants like Seasoned Vegan. I headed up with a friend, that was just as excited!

As we arrived, everyone there warmly greeted us! The table was decorated with colors inspired by the African culture, setting the mood of the night to come.

In addition, they printed a beautiful menu with what we were going to eat during the night! The menu had this beautiful illustration of an African woman wearing one of the gorgeous fabric head arrangements, already bringing us into the journey that was about to start!

Chef Linda introduced herself and in no time, the feast had started! The event is “B.Y.O.B. – Bring Your Own Bottle”, so be sure to bring any drink that makes you happy!


Here is what the menu looked like:

  • Starter #1: Yucca – Mashed Yucca stuffed with chickpeas or cheese
  • Starter #2: Sambusa – Fried dough filled with spiced carrots, peas and potatoes
  • Salad: Sachumbari – East African salad made from tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and lime
  • Main #1: Yassa Aubergine – Harissa spiced eggplants, pilau rice and ginger caramelized onions
  • Main #2 (a surprise!): Plantain with white beans, onions and tomato sauce
  • Dessert: Beignets – Savory fried African doughnut served with strawberries
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Plantain
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Sambusa
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Salad Sachumbari
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Yassa Aubergine
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Beignets
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Menu
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Each dish was explained by Chef Linda, where she would tell us a quick story of its meaning, influence and ingredients.

Portions were extremely generous, beautifully arranged and the best of it all: we had truly a great time, laughed all night long with the stories everyone shared and made some interesting business connections.

Chef Linda amazed us with her talent and we left having a new group of friends that we hope to stay in touch with and explore other dining experiences by Your Friend’s Kitchen!

Last, but definitely not least, I’d love to thank Meenakshi, for inviting us to be part of this special night! We are happy to be part of this new community she’s building and will definitely be back for more!


More information about Your Friend’s Kitchen:

How It Works:

Your Friend’s Kitchen is an authentic food experience, a new take on going out for a meal. Your Friend’s Kitchen aims to bring people together to share an experience that is comforting and familiar, yet not like any other.

Whether they are home cooks or food lovers, our hosts share a passion for bringing people together, one meal at a time!

The Founder:

Meenakshi is a passionate foodie, avid traveler and founder of Your Friends Kitchen. She discovered her love for cooking when she first moved to the United States from India. A foodie at heart, she has traveled to 25+ countries and explored street foods and fine dining alike.

Her passion for cooking food and hosting inspired her to create a platform for others to enjoy dining in the comfort of a warm, cozy, intimate setting and enjoy a delicious meal prepared with love and passion.

Her goal at your friend’s kitchen – Bring people together, one meal at a time!


For you to learn more about Your Friend’s Kitchen and also check out the upcoming events, be sure to go to their website where you can book everything directly!

In addition, if you have a corporate group coming to town and you need help organizing all the experiences, dinners, events, our experts can help you out!

www.yourfriendskitchen.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Shir A.

16 Things NO ONE EVER Tells You About NYC [PART 2/4]

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2 Photo Sam Truong Dan

New York is a great city to visit and there is so much you can do! But, if you’ve never been, it can be a bit overwhelming. So, I decided to share 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC.

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Andre Benz

Yes, believe it or not, there are a few rules and tips to make your NYC experience seamless and memorable. This fast paced city certainly has its particularities. But, I can guarantee, that it’s what make this city so unique! You just need to learn a few tips and tricks, to survive in NYC!

We split this topic into 4 different posts, so see below Part 2!

And if you haven’t seen Part 1, go check it out!


#5 Why don’t yellow cabs just STOP when you signal!? And what are these green cabs?

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2 Taxi
Photo Credit: Courtesy

Many tourists don’t know that the light on top of the cab helps identify if they are free or with a passenger. When the light is ON, they are free for you to try and stop them. So, when the light is off, they are in the middle of a trip and will pass straight by.

Ah! Have you ever seen the green cabs in Manhattan before!?

Well, these cabs will never stop to pick you up in Manhattan, even if they are free. They are only allowed to get passengers in the other boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island), but they can commute anywhere, of course. So, you’ll only be able to grab a yellow cab, while in Manhattan.


#6 This is for the art lovers!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2 Free Museums
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Even though the city is known for being a very expensive one, there are several ways to save money.

Some museums can have pretty high fees, but most have free entrances a few specific days a week, or a few free hours. And still, others might be “pay what you wish”.

NYC residents: If you have that City ID or another document proving you live in NYC, be sure to tell them. Many paid museums are free for us! WUHU!

The NYC Arts website has a detailed list of all of them to help you out!

And the art galleries? They are all free to enter and see the current art works!

New York also offers countless free events, by the way. You just need to stay tuned to our IG Page or other pretty great accounts too like FomoFeed! We love them!


#7 Always have money on you!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2 Have Money Photo Jack Harner
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jack Harner

Why? Well, believe it or not there are countless places around New York that are “cash only” spots and will not accept any other payment method. For example, one of my all time favorite spots in Williamsburg, Brooklyn called Beco Bar, is a cash only bar/restaurant. Well, they JUST recently added Amex credit card machine, but many others, have no other option.

Regardless, having a bit of money in your pocket, is always advisable during a trip. You never know what might happen, so you might as well be prepared. But, if you do forget, most of the “cash only” spots or have an ATM inside or they are close to one that you can run to.

Now, don’t come with a $100 bill. You’ll have a pretty hard time exchanging them or getting change if you’re purchasing something cheap. Plus, banks aren’t allowed to give you change for them. Bummer! I guess everyone is just skeptic it might be a fake.


#8 Tipping is CRUCIAL!!!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 2 Photo Sam Truong Dan
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sam Truong Dan

This is something not all visitors agree with or feel comfortable, but it’s a reality! New York is a city where you tip for absolutely everything! You need to breathe? Tip! Just joking….but not joking.

So, let me give you the basics on how this goes. And of course, just be reasonable guys!!! I know many people are traveling on a budget, and that’s totally fine too, so just be mindful when you are at different places.

In general, restaurants vary with tips from 18% – 22%. I always end up tipping 20%, but you can feel free and pick what suits you best. For bigger groups, some restaurants will automatically include 25% in the bill, so be sure to see that.

At bars, I also just usually tip 20% to make it easier, but you can just consider at least $1 a drink, and for the pricier cocktails, at least $2. Guys, the tireless barmen and bar-women are working their asses off all-night-long to be sure you have a great time, so help them out too!

By the way, when the bar is super full, nicer tips might give you an extra attention when getting future drinks at the bar.

Now, as I mentioned, tipping is not limited to only restaurants and bars. If you’re getting an Uber/Lyft/Via/Juno, you can always tip the driver at the end of the ride through the APP, but yellow cabs also expect tips. Yes, even the lousy, dirty, smelly ones… You can tip 15% – 20% and if you’re paying with a card, you just pick the tipping amount on the screen.

Tipping at the hotel is also important. It’s always nice to tip the bellboy that helps bringing your luggage into the hotel and up to your room. Generally, it’s $1 per bag, but if you’re at a nicer hotel, be nicer too! Lol! When your leaving the hotel, and a staff grabs a taxi for you, yes, tip him like $1-$2. Oh, and most people most often forget: the cleaning lady! She was the one that kept your room super neat and clean during all these unforgettable days in New York. You might want to leave around $2/day for her at the end for your stay. I always also customize the tip with a smiley note!

So, as you can see….tipping is crucial and this is also one of the reasons you have to have cash on you!!! But, as I said, be mindful and reasonable within the budget you have too!


If you enjoyed our Part 2 of the 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC, be sure to check our Part 3 coming up next! There is still so much more to learn!

For any questions regarding travel or event planning for Corporate Groups, contact our experts to help you out!


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC, Courtesy of Jack Harner, Sam Truong Dan and Andre Benz
*Last Update on March/2020.*

4 Unexpected Places You Can Visit In New York [NYC Secrets]

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC FDR Track 61 Waldorf Astoria Fernanda Paronetto

Although NYC is one of the busiest cities in the world, it’s also the home of countless secrets. Take a look below to see 4 unexpected places you can visit in New York!

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC FDR Track 61 Waldorf Astoria
Track 61, underneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – ©BehindTheScenesNYC

New York City, or the “Big Apple” as it is well known, is one of the busiest cities in the world. It is home to millions of people, as well as thousands of tourists who come to see the wonders and marvels of its huge economy and millions of businesses. We love exploring unexpected places you can visit in New York.

There’s a lot to plan when you visit New York, from deciding which attractions are absolute must-sees to getting all your tickets and travel insurance in order. (Oh! Did you know that one week in a US hospital can cost $30,000, for example? It’s definitely not something you want to forget!).

Most tourists flock to the famous sites and top attractions such as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. But, the experience in these places might not be as expected because of the huge crowds taking photos, walking around or just standing there idle.

There are, however, other lesser-known places where you can go and have a better, less tourist-centric experience.

Here are 4 unexpected places you can visit in New York:


Track 61

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC FDR Track 61 Waldorf Astoria Fernanda Paronetto
Fernanda Paronetto on FRD’s subway cart, at Track 61, underneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – ©BehindTheScenesNYC

You may well not have known, but there was a secretive presidential train platform deep under the Grand Central Terminal, called Track 61 one of NYC’s subway secrets.

It was mostly used by the heads of state to secretly commute to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, first in the late 1930’s by the then-president General John J. Pershing, and second by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the early 1940’s.

President Roosevelt hid from the public due to his physical condition, after he contracted polio at the age of 39 and was confined to a wheelchair.

The track has since stopped being used and is mostly abandoned. As of now, it’s currently completely closed to the public and the MTA doesn’t allow anyone to visit the location. But, there is an amazing tour of the Grand Central Terminal secrets that we love and you can explore too!

Unfortunately today no one can access there anymore due to security reasons.

Location: Underneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel


Brooklyn Heights’ Hidden Subway Ventilator

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC Brooklyn Heights Joralemon Street Fake Subway Ventilator Credit: UntappedCities by Michelle Young
Fake Subway Ventilator at Joralemon Street in Brooklyn Heights – ©UntappedCities by Michelle Young

Joralemon Street; number 58, the faux facade, is in the middle. – ©UntappedCities by Michelle Young

A walk through Joralemon Street, in Brooklyn Heights, might seem like nothing out of the ordinary, from the beautiful brownstones to the relaxing environment and being steps from the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

However, what is unknown to many is that 58 Joralemon Street looks exactly like the rest of the houses, but is actually a subway ventilator used as an emergency exit. (OBS: In the picture above, the fake house is the one in the middle.)

It was a residential home before being converted in the 1800’s during the subway extension from Manhattan to Brooklyn. The house is heavily guarded by the NYPD, so getting close to it might be a problem. Yikes

Location: 58 Joralemon Street


The Blockhouse

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC The Blockhouse. Credit: Central Park Conservancy
The Blockhouse in Central Park – ©Central Park Conservancy

Located in the northern part of the Central Park, right by lower Harlem, is The Blockhouse. It is said to be the second oldest thing in the park and dates back to the early 1800’s during the war with the British.

The Blockhouse was supposed to help the Americans defend themselves, but was never used, because the British never reached the city. The building is always locked, in time lost its wooden roof and is totally abandoned.

While visiting it, take your time to walk to the East side of the park and take a peek at other spots like: Fort Fish, Fort Clinton, Nutter’s Battery and Charles A. Dana Discovery Center…all located around the Harlem Meer. Oh! Meer means “Lake” in Dutch!

Location: West Side at 109th Street and Central Park West.


Tribeca’s Dream House

4 Unexpected places to visit in NYC Dream House. Credit: IDK Tonight
Dream House – ©IDK Tonight

Established in the early 1990’s by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, the house is secretly located in Tribeca, just off Church Street. It acts a quiet peaceful space where anybody can go, sit, take a deep breath and just relax.

The incense, sound art and light installation in the room are therapeutic and will leave you calm and fresh. The mellow looped music changes depending on your position in the room, whether you are upright or relaxing on your back.

The place is currently under La Monte Young’s foundation known as MELA and is financed by the Dia Art Foundation.

Location: 275 Church Street

www.melafoundation.org


If you want to explore other unique and unexpected places you can visit in New York, be sure to go to Industry City to see what this Brooklyn neighborhood is all about or plan to visit these 5 offbeat museums in NYC.

And,  of course, continue searching out website, since NYC secret spots away from the touristy scene, are totally up ou alley!


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC, Central Park Conservancy, ©UntappedCities by Michelle Young and IDK Tonight
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Find All 19 Murals Painted By Kobra in New York

Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Tolerance

It’s practically unanimous the feeling and respect people have for Eduardo Kobra. His murals bring so much creativity and life, so I decided to compile and share with you all 19 murals painted by Kobra in New York City for you to visit them yourself!

Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Tolerance
Tolerance (Madre Teresa & Mahatma Ghandi) – 130 10th Avenue

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing the Brazilian artist, Eduardo Kobra, better known as only Kobra. And, I decided to write about all 19 murals painted by Kobra in New York.

In addition, I was part of a small group that walked around New York City with him to learn, from his own words, what his murals are all about, the inspirations and stories! Priceless, for sure!

For years, Kobra has been a growing legend when the topic is: street art and graffiti.

In New York City alone he currently has 19 breathtaking murals, where in Brazil, he’s painted over 500! But, his work doesn’t stop there. He’s been traveling the four corners of the globe for years now and leaving his mark at every spot.

Amazingly, Kobra is self-taught and collects inspirations from big names like: Banksy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring (1958-1990), Diego Rivera and the 1970’s group of New York street artists.

His recent project in New York, named Colors of Liberty, took place and was finalized by the end of 2018. The idea behind it was to portray and pay homage to great personalities that have and still are fighting against violence, with the goal of spreading peace.

Some of these names are: “the Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), the Holocaust victim Anne Frank (1929-1945), the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai (1997-), and the German scientist Albert Einstein (1879-1955), among other examples like Mother Teresa, Andy Warhol, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Frida Kahlo, etc.

His style is certainly one of a kind. The geometrical colors of his murals are distinct and unmistakable, having become his trademark.

He’s painted in countries such as Spain, Italy, Norway, England, Malawi, India, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and several North American cities besides, of course, around Brazil.

Brazilians L-O-V-E New York and when they come across one of Kobra’s murals, the reaction is always the same: they feel SO proud and happy to have a Brazilian artist beautifying the streets of one of the most important cities on our planet. Well, I do think New York one of the most amazing places on Earth, if you read my story.

That said, I decided to compile and share with you all the current 19 art works around the city with all the names and addresses. This way, you can visit them yourself and be sure to take that Instagram-worthy shot to share with your friends!


Kobra’s Murals in New York City:

Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Liberty
Liberty – 519 Broome Street
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York The Braves of 9/11
The Braves of 9/11 – 780 3rd Avenue
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York The Braves of 9/11 Fireman 2018 Celebration
Fireman 2018 celebration in front of The Braves of 9/11 mural – 780 3rd Avenue
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York SoulPhia
SoulPhia – 16 Clarkson Street
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York War is Hell
Kobra finishing up War is Hell – 219 Bedford Avenue
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Black or White Michael Jackson
Black or White (Michael Jackson) – 180 1st Avenue
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Walk This Way Run D.M.C.
Walk This Way Run-D.M.C. – Corner of 12th Street and 191 Avenue A
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Genial É Andar de Bike Fernanda Paronetto
Genial é Andar de Bike – 776 3rd Avenue
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Stop Wars
Stop Wars – 391 West Street & Christopher Street
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Clube 27
Clube 27 – 36 Rivington Street
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer – 833 Dekalb Avenue
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore – 10th Avenue and 22nd Street (Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat)
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Ellis Immigrants
Ellis Immigrants – 16 Clarkson Street
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York American Dreamers Boy with Balloon
American Dreamers – 14 Watts Street
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo – 360 Prospect Place
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York We Love NYC
We Love NY – 212 8th Avenue
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Tolerance CloseUp
Tolerance (Madre Teresa & Mahatma Ghandi) – 130 10th Avenue
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Stop Guns
Stop Guns – 231 Eldridge Street
Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Roy Lichenstein Peace Through Liberty
Roy Lichtenstein: Peace Through Liberty – 221 East 44th Street

Here is the full of list:

  • Liberty – 519 Broome Street
  • The Braves of 9/11 – 780 3rd Avenue
  • SoulPhia – 16 Clarkson Street
  • War is Hell – 219 Bedford Avenue
  • Black or White (Michael Jackson) – 180 1st Avenue
  • Walk This Way Run-D.M.C. – Corner of 12th Street and 191 Avenue A
  • Genial é Andar de Bike – 776 3rd Avenue
  • Stop Wars – 391 West Street & Christopher Street
  • Clube 27 – 36 Rivington Street
  • Christ the Redeemer – 833 Dekalb Avenue
  • Mount Rushmore – 10th Avenue and 22nd Street
  • Ellis Immigrants – 16 Clarkson Street
  • American Dreamers – 14 Watts Street
  • Frida Kahlo – 360 Prospect Place
  • We Love NY – 212 8th Avenue
  • Tolerance (Madre Teresa & Mahatma Ghandi) – 130 10th Avenue, Manhattan
  • Stop Guns – 231 Eldridge Street
  • Roy Lichtenstein: Peace Through Liberty – 221 East 44th Street

In addition, you can also find an older work from Kobra located in the neighborhood of Williamsburg, in Brooklyn of Warhol and Basquiat. It’s located at North 9th Street & Bedford Avenue.

Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Warhol Basquiat Williamsburg
Warhol and Basquiat – 162 North 9th Street & Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn

Sadly, the very famous iconic kiss mural that could be seen from the High Line is now gone!

I have not been able to find the reason why, as many other people too, but it’s such a huge loss t to the city. So, now an ugly, sad grey paint covers it and no explanation was giving…

Lastly, Eduardo Kobra currently lives in São Paulo, with his wife, Andressa, baby boy, Pedro.

www.eduardokobra.com

Kobra Mural Grafitti New York Kobra Tour

Picture: Kobra led a group we were invited to work on around New York. He explained the meaning of many of his murals to us through out the day. Such a priceless experience hearing about these murals from Kobra himself!


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Kobra Studio
*Last Update on March/2020.*

NYC Renting: Need-To-Know Facts In 2019

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Rent 2019 Daryan Shamkhali

If you’re considering moving to New York City, here are some need-to-know facts for 2019 about NYC Renting. We all know that rents can skyrocket, but we have some good news for you!

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Rent 2019 Jose Alonson

New York City has historically had relatively high rent, but there is good news for would-be citizens. According to the New York Times, there has been a 0.7% drop in rent prices on the average one-bedroom property. While modest, this is a welcome change to years of inflating prices.

It’s still a matter of careful planning for would-be NYC renters. With that in mind, a few changes are afoot that will change rental opportunities. Pay close attention if you’re looking to move to the Big Apple; it could save you a few dollars for the good things in life like eating outt.

More inclusivity in properties

Many NYC properties are very old and, resultantly, outdated. Fortunately, many landlords are making efforts, along with city regulators, to make homes accessible. 2019 will see this fast tracked with the federal case against the MTA.

According to the New York Post, the United States Attorney sued MTA for their inaccessible subway stations and the outcome of this could have wide ranging consequences, including more housing inclusive of accessibility requirements.

Changes in tax

When you rent in New York City, make sure you know about your property tax. Homeowners can expect to pay up to 10%, according to Bloomberg. What Bloomberg also noted, however, is that the individual tax burden is reducing.

As years progress, you can expect the tax bill to be less cumbersome as other counties pick up the slack. This means that your overall rental outgoings may be lower in the next few years, especially when considered with the ongoing trend concerning landlords.

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Rent 2019 Daryan Shamkhali

Landlords are settling down

Whether it’s because of the political climate, or some other source of uncertainty, landlords are staying put. According to CNN Money, more and more landlords are aggressively pursuing rent negotiation, rather than simply putting prices up and letting the tenants make a choice.

This is a nod towards more stability, as a renter. You can expect that, if you look after your property and have good behavior, that your rent will reduce over the years. You will also benefit from a continued relationship with the landlord, which is advantageous for the likes of maintenance and security.

Renting in New York City can still be expensive, but it matches the high average income in the area. Making the most out of your rental will be easier in years to come, through enhanced levels of accessibility, lowered levels of tax returns and more consistent landlords.

Keep yourself aware of these trends and work around them to get your feet in the door in the grand old city.


Guest Writer: Cindy Trillo
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jose Alonso and Daryan Shamkhali

*Last Update on March/2020.*

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