New York Bleecker Street Pizza

Bleecker Street Pizza in NYC

New York Bleecker Street Pizza frontBleecker Street Pizza in NYC is a “Must-Eat”, and that’s not just true according to NYC tour guide Renee, who talked to Douglas Greenwood, the owner at Bleecker Street Pizza, to find out a little bit more about his great family-owned pizza place:

Touted in 2011 by the New York Times as one of the “five must-eat” places in New York City, by Food Network as the best pizza in NYC three years in a row, and by Jimmy Kimmel on his TV show, Bleecker Street Pizza makes their pies “the old fashioned way.”

“As true to my Italian grandmother’s recipe as possible,” says Douglas Greenwood. “We do not know what flour she used to make her crust,” Greenwood admits, “but the dough and marinara sauce are exactly her recipes!” Only extra-virgin olive oil is used at Bleeker Street Pizza, (except in the deep fryer, which burns vegetable oil) and Parmigiano-Reggiano is sprinkled on all pies.

The pizzas are Tuscan style, since his Nonna made them that way. Crust bottoms are dusted with a mixture of toasted breadcrumbs, spices and seasonings, just the way she made them. Fresh basil tops off the Nonna Maria pie for which Bleecker Street Pizza has become famous!

No expense is spared in preparation of the food at Bleeker Street Pizza; basil is air-shipped in for use on the pies. The spinach on the mushroom-spinach pizza is sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil. Greenwood says he was told by his cheese supplier not to use the expensive Parmigiano-Reggiano on the pizzas. But, he does. “That’s the way my grandmother made them.”

Greenwood, who only has one branch of his family tree from Italy, said his family always commented that if they took Nonna Maria’s recipe and made pizzas, they would be successful. So, he did. But the route to this life took a 20-year path as a New York City Police Officer. He even worked the Manhattan South Task Force.

“When I retired, I was not ready to go fishing,” Greenwood said. “Well, not full-time.”

Remembering the wonderful Sundays of his childhood when his grandmother made her pizzas; the joyous afternoons with the family, friends and neighbors gathered around the table consuming them, he said he wanted to recreate the experience.

Greenwood said he chose Greenwich Village because he always liked working there as a policeman. He sought a location and found this former Japanese place at 69 Seventh Avenue on the corner of Bleecker Street, refurbished it, and started making pizzas. Now in its 11th year in business, Bleecker Street Pizza is still garnering accolades.

Food Paradise, a program on the Travel Channel, recently finished filming there for an upcoming episode on New York City’s best pizzas. Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Bleecker Street Pizza provides affordable pies from Classic recipes with high-end ingredients.

+++Hungry yet?! Our pay-what-you-like Greenwich Village Food tour stops at Bleecker Street Pizza as well.  +++

Written by Renee Rewiski. You can meet tour guide Renee on one of her many tours with Free Tours by Foot.

Greenwich Village Food Tour

Best Greenwich Village Restaurants and Places to Eat

This post is a self-guided Greenwich Village food tour to help you narrow down the overwhelming food options to sample while keeping an eye on your budget. The tour includes 6 “must-try” foods, the ones that New Yorkers have been eating forever.  We’ve included a few historical sites you won’t want to miss as well.  

 

 

The information from this post is on our interactive map, which you could use while walking the route.  You could do this tour for under $10/person, depending on your appetite.

Greenwich Village is known for its wide range of cuisines that reflect the ethnic diversity of NYC.  Some of the neighborhood’s food shops, cafes and restaurants opened up almost a century ago and are still every bit as popular as they were then.  

Greenwich Village also keeps up with the modern trends in cuisine and you can dine in the area every night of the year and never eat the same food twice.  Let us show you all the things to eat in Greenwich Village.

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McSoreley's Free New York Pub Crawl

McSorley’s Old Ale House NYC

While New York City is home to hundreds of bars, very few can claim the history and character of McSorley’s Old Ale House.  They can boast being open for over 150 years and serving everyone from Abraham Lincoln to John Lennon.  One of their mottos is “We were here before you were born.”  (The other is “Be Good or Be Gone.”)  With its sawdust-covered floors and memorabilia of decades gone by covering the walls, a visit to McSorley’s can feel a bit like stepping back in time.   A pair of Harry Houdini’s handcuffs dangle from the bar rail.  A “Wanted” poster for John Wilkes Booth hangs on the wall.  You can look around and almost expect to see Boss Tweed sitting in the corner.  If you find yourself near East 7th Street, duck in and have a cold beer at McSorley’s.  Don’t miss an opportunity to see Old New York!!

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How to Get to McSorley’s Old Ale House

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New York Pizza tour

Talking New York Pizza with Scott Wiener

We here at Free Tours by Foot love great stories of entrepreneurs, especially when concerning New York tourism and New York Pizza.  We have been aware of a special tour for some time and we felt that we should share this story with those of you who may not have heard of this tour.   This business idea is so intriguing, we needed to find out more.  So, we interviewed Scott Wiener from Scott’s Pizza Tours and find out why.  Scott’s Pizza Tours lead groups of hungry and happy guests, both New Yorkers and visitors alike, through Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, Brooklyn and more.  We include some of the pizzerias included on his tours on some of our New York food tours, but the real New York pizza experience is had on one of these great tours.  Be sure to check the tours out at http://www.scottspizzatours.com/.

Free Tours by Foot guests get a special price with Scott’s Pizza Tours.  Enter FreeByFoot and get $2 off Scott’s tours.  Just click the link to be taken to his page.  Check out his TripAdvisor reviews.

Scotts Pizza Tours

How did you get the inspiration of doing a New York pizza tour?

I used to visit multiple pizzerias in one day with my friends. We would eat a single slice at each pizzeria and come home when we were ready to explode. This was right after college when none of us had jobs (and probably should have been spending more time looking for them) so weekly pizza adventures were a welcome distraction from the real world. Word got around about this increasing pizza obsession and people started asking me to take them on their own trips to pizzerias they heard about online or on TV or in the newspaper. I realized it was going to take a year just to follow through with all the promises I was making to accompany everyone to their pizzerias. So I rented a bus for my 26th birthday party and took about 30 friends and family members out for a day of pizza eating. We called pizzerias and arrived just on time to pick up the pies, distribute slices on the bus and move on to the next stop. I gave out little goody bags with notebooks and breath fresheners and palate cleansers. That birthday party became the model for what I do now.

New Yorkers are very proud of their pizza. Can you tell us why?

Pizza is sacred in New York because it’s a easy food to grab for the typical on-the-go New Yorker. Other cities don’t have this pedestrian culture, so it’s not thought of in the same context. Pizza isn’t a fast food here, it’s a food that’s fast. We are fully aware of how many pizzerias there are and how the average New Yorker has only been to a handful of them (near the apartment, near the office, etc) so there’s a sort of admiration for the unknown pizza among New Yorkers. We’ve heard of a place just a couple miles away but have never been there because there are 100 pizzerias on the way to it. It’s a massive landscape and I think that’s what helps create this level of reverence.

How do tour guests react to your New York pizza tours? Any funny stories?

We have a blast. I’m always impressed with the people who take these tours with me. Lots go on their own pizza adventures, make their own pizza, and even build their own pizza ovens in the backyard. It’s rare for me to do a tour that doesn’t have a guest who has toured with me before. One family has taken it over 15 times! I tried to ban them from taking more but they just signed up for another one in July. People love pizza and it’s a huge part of their lives, this tour is just one way to share that. I had a couple get engaged on a tour and even performed a wedding during a tour! Imagine the shock on peoples faces when they’re on a pizza tour and then suddenly they’re part of someone’s wedding.

Can you let us into some of the preparation secrets behind good New York pizza?

The real secret is that there are no secrets. Everybody is using the same ingredients so it all comes down to technique. It’s not about who can toss the dough the highest, it’s about who works the dough with the least effort. A good pizza maker is the one who has control over their own hands as the primary food-prep equipment of the house. That means having an even and consistent stretch as well as topping with restraint. This is not a town that piles on the toppings.

There are many “best” pizza places in NYC. Which pizza place is your personal favorite?

Too many to list and it really comes down to what style you’re looking for. The best bet for a first timer is to get out of Times Square, get out of Midtown… go downtown to Greenwich Village or Soho or the Lower East Side and your chances are better for finding a good slice. Go to a place that doesn’t have tons of junk on the pie… just a good solid slice. Then wash it down with a Coke.

New York Brooklyn Bridge

Sex and the City – Self-Guided Tour

Sex and the City centered around Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, but it could be argued that New York City itself was the fifth major character in the well-loved television series and subsequent movies.  Dozens of shows have been set in NYC, but Sex in the City is a show that could ONLY be set in NYC, which cannot be said for many.  If you (like many) are a fan of SATC, then you should check out some of its iconic locations during your trip to the city and just do a self-guided tour! (Click map)

If taking on this tour sounds too daunting, you may consider On Location Tours’s Sex and the City Tour.  You could get a small discount on the full price at Trusted Tours.  If you purchase the NY Pass, the Sex and the City Tour is included.

New York Sex and the city self-guided tour

WEST SIDE/ UPTOWN/ MIDTOWN

1010 Fifth Avenue (1)
 aka “Real Estate Heaven.”  In the Sex and the City film, this is the building where Carrie and Big find the penthouse of their dreams.   After seeing a truly grim apartment elsewhere in the building, they are shown an amazing, airy apartment up on the top floor of 1010 Fifth Ave.  Just when Carrie starts to think that it is perfect, she realizes that the master bedroom closet does not match the rest of the apartment for spaciousness.  Big promises to build her a better closet, but doesn’t get a chance to do so before their wedding is called off.  He goes ahead with the new closet, and this is where Carrie and Big reunite at the end of the film (over a pair of Manolo Blahniks, of course!)

The Plaza Hotel (2)
(Fifth Avenue and 59th St) at the end of Season 2, Carrie runs into Mr. Big in front of this iconic NYC hotel after his engagement party has been held there.  (He is engaged to Natasha, whom Carrie refers to as “the stick figure with no soul.”) She asks him why he didn’t want to marry her when they were dating.  While he struggles for an answer, she leaves him with a line from “The Way We Were”- “Your girl is lovely Hubble,” and then walks away. 

Tiffany and Co. (3)
(727 Fifth Avenue, between 56th and 57th St.) Charlotte gets a re-do of her engagement to Trey MacDougal in front of this famous jeweler.  Their previous engagement consists of her suggesting casually that they get married and him responding “allrighty.”  She frets about this terrible engagement story until he walks her to Tiffany one day and suggests that they go in and pick out “the most beautiful ring that they have.”  She responds “Allrighty.”  From then on she tells people that Trey proposed to her in front of Tiffany and Co.

New York City Public Library Main Branch (4)
(Fifth Avenue and 42nd St.) This beautiful library is the place that Carrie chooses for her long-awaited wedding to Mr. Big (aka Jonathan James Preston).  She thinks that it is fitting that they get married in the place “that houses all the world’s great love stories.”  She and Anthony Marentino commence planning a spectacular New York wedding.  The scene in the film when she gets the idea shows her going to the library to return a book.  In reality, this would never happen, as NYPL Main Branch does not actually have a circulating collection.

EAST SIDE/ UPTOWN/ MIDTOWN

Manolo Blahnik (5)
(31 W 54th St, between 5th and 6th Avenues.) Carrie Bradshaw makes the realization when she is trying to buy her apartment from Aidan in Season 4 that she has spent $40,000 on shoes, primarily Manolo Blahniks.   SATC became synonymous with the sky-high stilettos and Sarah Jessica Parker got so comfortable wearing them over the course of six seasons and two films that she says she could run a marathon in them.

Russian Samovar (6)
(256 W 52nd St, between Broadway and 8th Ave.) Carrie’s first date with “The Russian” takes place at this traditional Russian restaurant.  They have dinner before they go and check in on a downtown performance artist to.   “The Russian,” Alexandr Petrovsky, is played by the world-renowned ballet dancer Mikhail Barishnykov.  Barishnykov, in addition to being part owner of The Russian Samovar, is a composer.  Some of his compositions can be heard during the episodes that he appears in.

Columbus Circle Fountain (7)
(59th Street and 8th Ave.) Carrie and Aidan sit by this fountain when they decide to end their relationship for good, after two seasons of back and forth.  A sad episode for all the SATC fans who were on Team Aidan.

Da Marino (8)
(220 W 49th St., between Broadway and 8th) Avenue When Carrie and Big decide to give their relationship another try in Season 2, they go out for dinner to this intimate Italian restaurant.  While they are there, Carrie discovers that not only is her boyfriend a regular, but that he also regularly gets up to sing with the house band.  Actor Chris Noth is also a real-life regular, just like his character.

 

CENTRAL PARK

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (9)
This beautiful jogging track is seen several time throughout the SATC series and in the film.  The Reservoir is a favorite spot for the runner in the group, Charlotte, but all of the girls run the track together in an episode as well.

Loeb Boathouse (10)
Carrie and Big meet at this Central Park restaurant for lunch.  Carrie goes to the lunch after fighting with Miranda, who says she doesn’t want to deal with Carrie’s emotional fallout after another go-round with Mr. Big. Carrie promises Miranda she will not kiss him at lunch.  When they meet up at The Boathouse, Big goes in for a kiss.  To keep her promise and avoid his kiss, Carrie ducks and they both fall into the water.

DOWNTOWN

Onieal’s (11)
(174 Grand St.)  After having their hearts broken by Miranda and Carrie, respectively, Steve Brady and Aidan Shaw partner up and open Scout, a bar on Mulberry St.  (The bar is named after Steve’s dog, who he bought as a puppy while still with Miranda as a “practice baby.”)  Onieal’s served as the bar Scout for the Sex and the City series.

Louis K. Meisel Gallery (12)
(141 Prince St.) Before Charlotte marries Trey MacDougal, she is an art dealer at this SoHo gallery.  Her dealings with the art community lead to her being a subject in multiple works of art during the series, including one where she is photographed dressed as a man.

St. Mark’s Comics (13)
(11 St. Mark’s Place)  While looking for her favorite shoe repair shop, Carrie stumbles upon this St. Mark’s Place shop.  While there, she meets Wade.  Wade is charming and carefree and fun…and lives with his parents.  They keep seeing each other for awhile, and Carrie enjoys having his mother offer them cookies and lemonade and wait on them.  Everything is fine until Wade blames Carrie for his stash of marijuana when his mother finds it.  She leaves the apartment and takes the stash with her, smoking it with the girls later that night.

Patricia Field (14)
(302 Bowery) Sex and the City was just as well known for its wild fashions as it was for its storylines.  Costume designer Patricia Field created dozens of fashion trends through her work on SATC, from tutu skirts to nameplate necklaces.  Her New York City shop carries amazing clothes and accessories, and you can pick up your very own Carrie-style nameplate necklace.

Jefferson Market Garden (15)
(Greenwich Ave between 6th Ave and W 10th St.) While planning her wedding to Steve, Miranda is having a hard time deciding on anything.  She eschews anything traditional or cliché.  She settles on this beautiful community garden, because it is “non-icky” and not traditionally romantic.  She stumbles upon it when her plastic shopping bag bursts while she is walking by it.

Magnolia Bakery (16)
(401 Bleecker St.) The cupcakes from this NYC bakery became world famous when Carrie and Miranda snacked on them during an episode of SATC.  They enjoy the buttercream-topped cupcakes while they discuss Carrie’s new crush, Aidan Shaw.

The Pleasure Chest (17)
 (156th 7th Ave S.) Sex and the City was groundbreaking because of its frank and open discussion of sex.  In “The Turtle and the Hare” episode, Charlotte becomes “addicted” to The Rabbit vibrator, purchased from this store and stops leaving her apartment.  Eventually, Carrie and Miranda stage an intervention and confiscate The Rabbit.

66 Perry Street (18)
Though Carrie Bradshaw is supposed to live at 245 E73rd St (in a rent-controlled apartment for $700 a month!!), the apartment that was used for the series is actually at 66 Perry Street.  The building next door, 64 Perry, was actually used for the first three seasons and was then replaced in favor of the fancier-looking 66 Perry for the subsequent seasons.  Though it is hard to imagine Carrie without her front steps, the setting for so many great moments in the show, there are none at 245 73rd St.

The Meatpacking District (19)
This trendy area is the setting of many of the girls’ nights out during the series.  Also, when Samantha decides to leave her stuffy Upper East Side building (after they judge her for her wild lifestyle) she moves to this neighborhood.  Though she tangles a bit with the local transvestite prostitute population, she eventually makes peace and comes to love her neighborhood.  The final scene of the Sex and the City movies shows the girls heading out for a night in the Meatpacking District.

 

Whether you check out a location or two while you are in a particular neighborhood or you decide to devote a day to a Sex and the City pilgrimage, don’t miss seeing where your favorite moments of this iconic New York series took place!

New York City's skyline @fotolia

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Tickets

Looking for a free and fun NYC experience?  Then consider obtaining Jimmy Fallon tickets. The Tonight Show returned to New York City this year for the first time in 42 years!!  This iconic late-night show is the longest-running talk show in television history, and has been hosted in past years by Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and many others.  The new host (as of February 2014) is Jimmy Fallon, a former cast member of Saturday Night Live.

Consider taking our free Midtown Manhattan Tour and we can show you where his studio is.

Some Fun Facts About The Tonight Show, Past and Present…

  • The original show debuted on September 27, 1954, and was officially called “The Tonight Show Starring Steve Allen.”
  • Some iconic features of the show, including the opening monologue, a guest musical performer and taking the camera outside of the studio for comedy bits all began during the original show with Steve Allen
  • The longest-running host of The Tonight Show was Johnny Carson, who hosted for thirty seasons.
  • Jay Leno never touched a single paycheck that he earned during his time as the host of The Tonight Show.  He lived solely off of his earnings as a stand-up comedian.
  • The current show with Jimmy Fallon is the first time “Starring” has been used in the title since Johnny Carson was the host.
  • The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is shot in Studio 6B at NBC Studios.  The studio underwent a $5 million renovation to prepare for the show’s return to New York.
  • Studio 6B is where The Tonight Show was hosted by former hosts Jack Paar and Johnny Carson.  A decade into his tenure as host, Carson moved with the show to Burbank, California.
  • Jimmy Fallon is the sixth host of The Tonight Show.  He was previously the host of Late Night, which airs right after The Tonight Show on NBC.  (Fellow SNL alum Seth Meyers took over as host of Late Night.)
  • Film director Spike Lee directed the current opening sequence for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
  • The Roots are the current house band for the show.  Steve Higgins is the announcer and “sidekick.”
  • Will Smith was a guest on Jimmy Fallon’s first show, and U2 performed as musical guest.
  • The official air time of The Tonight Show is 11:34pm Eastern Standard Time.

How to See A Taping of The Tonight Show

New Yorkers are thrilled to have The Tonight Show back in our city!  During the first show, a grateful Rudy Giuliani could be heard saying “thank you” to Jimmy Fallon for bringing the show back home.   Fallon has been getting great reviews as the new host of the show, so take advantage and go see a taping during your trip to NYC!  The Tonight Show tapes every weekday at NBC Studios.   You can get tickets by visiting www.showclix.com/event/thetonightshowstarringjimmyfallon.   Tickets are usually released about a month in advance, so you will be able to plan ahead.  You will only be allowed to book tickets for The Tonight Show once every 6 months.  (Give other people the opportunity to see it too!!)

If You Get Tickets…

  • The person who reserved must be present.  They will check IDs to match names.
  • No groups larger than four people may book.
  • No bags larger than small purses will be allowed in.
  • No cameras, phones or electronics of any kind will be allowed into the taping.
  • No one under the age of 16 may attend the taping.
  • Those attending are asked to keep to a “smart casual” dress code.  (You’ll be on TV!  Time to look good!)
  • Even though the show airs at 11:34pm, it tapes quite a bit earlier.  All tapings are at 5pm.

If You Don’t Get A Ticket…

Standby tickets are given out at 9am for that day’s show.  They are distributed at the 49th St entrance to 30 Rockefeller Center.  If you don’t make it by 9am, you can inquire about standby tickets at the NBC Experience Store.  Standby Tickets to not guarantee entry into the show.

Other Tonight Show Experiences

Every day, The Tonight Show invites a small audience to watch Jimmy Fallon rehearse his monologue.  The reaction of the rehearsal audience partially determines what makes it into the actual show. This is a really fun opportunity to be a part of the process.  You can watch the show that night and tell your friends, “I helped Jimmy Fallon pick out that joke.”   www.jimmyfallonmonologuerehearsal.com.

Take advantage of The Tonight Show’s return and go see a taping!  You will not only get to see television in the making, you will get to go inside NBC Studios in the iconic Rockefeller Center.  A perfect way to make your trip extra-memorable!

+++Check out our famous pay-what-you-like walking tours of New York City as well!+++

Katz's Deli Where Harry Met Sally

Katz’s Deli in New York City

Katz’s Delicatessen
205 East Houston Street (corner of Ludlow), New York, NY 10002
Open: M-W:  8am-10:45pm, Thu: 8am-2:45am, Fri: 8am- all night!, Sat: All day!, Sunday: until 10:45pm.

When it comes to Jewish delicatessens, Katz’s is the undisputed champion. Located  on the corner of Houston and Ludlow Street in the historic Lower East Side of New York, this iconic eatery (actually, the very first Jewish delicatessen) has been serving up the best  pastrami and corned beef sandwiches in the world, not to mention great hot dogs, knishes, and knockwurst, since 1888.

If you’re looking for more than just great food, look no further. Inside, it’s pure authentic Lower East Side. You want cafeteria style? You got it. You want old school New York staff? This place invented it. If that’s not enough, how about sitting where the famous Meg Ryan “I’ll have what she’s having” scene in When Harry Met Sally was filmed?  While you’re there, make sure you take a walk around. The walls are covered with photos of famous folks who have eaten there.

Katz’s was originally called ‘Iceland Brothers’, and then when Willie Katz came along and partnered up with the brothers, ‘Iceland and Katz’. Then Willie and his cousin, Benny, bought out the Iceland Brothers and it’s been Katz’s ever since. The restaurant is now owned by the Dell family, longtime friends of the Katz family.

Katz’s calls itself a kosher style restaurant. So what is kosher style? Definitely not kosher. Here’s a few basics. According to the   KOF-K Kosher Supervision website: 

  • “Kosher” in Hebrew means “fit” or “proper.” in terms of food, kosher meets the dietary requirements of Jewish law.
  • Jewish Law; Written Torah (the Bible) and the Oral Torah, observed by Jews for over 3,000 years.  
  •  Jews eat kosher because G-d told them to do so.
  • Kosher is not a style of cooking. Knishes, hot dogs, blintzes, schnitzel, and kreplach can all be non-kosher if they doesn’t meet the dietary requirements of Jewish law…
  • When a restaurant identifies itself as “kosher-style”, it almost invariably means that the food is not actually kosher!
  • Kosher dietary laws are observed all year round.

What Makes Kosher Food – Kosher?

  • The written Torah specifies which animals may be eaten and which may not:
  • YES:  Land mammals – Only those with cloven hooves and chew their cud (Cattle, sheep, goats, deer and bison). Sea creatures (Fish with fins and scales, such as tuna, salmon and herring).
  • Fowl: chicken, geese, ducks, turkeys. Produce: unprocessed fruits and vegetables.
  • NO: Pigs, lobsters, shrimp, clams, eels, octopus, sharks, and whales, birds of prey.
  • Any product derived from these forbidden animals, their milk, eggs or fat, also may not be eaten.

Kosher preparation of meat

  •  An animal or fowl that is permitted is forbidden under Jewish law unless it is slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law.
  • Meat and dairy must not be served together.

So if kosher style is actually not kosher, what is it?  According to website Judaism 101, “there is no such thing as kosher style food. Kosher is not a style of cooking. Chinese food can be kosher if it is prepared in accordance with Jewish law.”   

Yet, Katz’s still considers itself kosher style. The menu features a kosher section, including a disclaimer that reads:  ‘Ingredients/products are kosher. However, they are not necessarily prepared according to Jewish Dietary law.” But Katz’s does prepare its food in strict adherence to New York Jewish Deli Law. They’d better; they wrote the book.

Weekdays and weeknights are great times to avoid long lines. But there’s something special about being in there when it’s jamming!! Get thee to pastrami!!!

+++Check out Free Tours by Foot’s a pay-what-you-like Lower East Side Food Tour!+++

 

Written by: Dante Salerno

 

 

 

 

New York The mosaic man

The NYC Mosaic Man Jim Powers

The Mosaic Man, whose real name is Jim Power, embodies the enduring, archetype of an artist who lets nothing stand in the way of his craft. Since 1985, through poverty, lack of funding for his craft, assisted living, periods of homelessness, and health problems which now confine him to a wheelchair, he has adorned the East Village with dazzling mosaics. His legendary Mosaic trail, a fantastic display of his work on over 80 lampposts throughout the neighborhood is a must-see for tourists and New Yorkers alike. His tribute to the Fillmore East and to  many of the  rock & roll stars who played there, on the lamp post at the North West corner 6th Street and 2nd Avenue, a few feet from where the iconic music  club once stood,  is a shining example  of Power’s talent.  His work has been praised by National Geographic and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and on recommendation lists all over cyber space.

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Colbert report NYC street

Live TV Show Tapings

While visiting NYC, not only do you have the opportunity to see amazing sights, you can attend live tapings of some of your favorite TV shows!  Saturday Night Live, The Colbert Report, Good Morning America and more film in New York City, and offer travelers the opportunity to be a part of their studio audience.   The best part?  All of these shows will let you see a live taping for FREE!!

The Late Show With David Letterman

David Letterman has been hosting this CBS late-night show since 1993.  He has amassed quite a few fans, so tickets, while easy to request, are not easy to get.

How To Request Tickets:

You can request tickets online at www.cbs.com/shows/late_show/tickets/request/.  Be warned: you will be asked a trivia question about the show, so brush up on your knowledge beforehand!!

Tickets can also be requested in person at the box office of the Ed Sullivan Theatre, at 1627 Broadway (between 53rd and 54th Sts.)  This can be done Monday through Thursday, from 9:30am until noon.  They ask that you do not line up any earlier than 9am.  You can also go on Saturday or Sunday from 10am until 6pm to request tickets.  Please note that getting there earlier than they ask will not help you.  When you request tickets your name is entered into a random lottery.  If your name is selected for tickets you will receive a phone call.  This could be as early as the day you request tickets or as late as the day before the taping, so it can be tricky to plan ahead.  You may only enter your name once every 6 months.

If Your Name Is Picked…

  • You can receive up to 2 tickets.

  • Tickets are non-transferrable

  • The show is taped at 4:30pm Monday through Wednesday, and at 3:30pm and 6pm on Thursday.

  • No recording devices of any kind are allowed in the studio.

If You Don’t Have A Reservation:

Standby tickets are available.  You can request these tickets by calling 212-247-6497.  Do not call any earlier than 11am the day of the show that you wish to attend to ask about standby tickets.

 

Saturday Night Live

Airs: 11:30pm on Saturdays, NBC

How To Get Tickets: Tickets are given out via a random lottery.  To enter the lottery, send an email to snltickets@nbcuni.com during the month of August only.  Include your name and all of your contact information in the email.  Only one entry is allowed per household, so you and your family members can’t all send separate entries.

If Selected:

  • You will receive two tickets for a specific date.  They are given randomly; you cannot pick your daters when you enter.

  • You will receive a ticket to either the live taping (11:30 pm) or the dress rehearsal (8pm)

  • You must be at least 16 years of age to attend the show.

  • You will only be notified if you are selected to receive tickets

If You Aren’t Selected (But Want To Try Anyway):

You can try to get Standby Tickets.  The line is on the 49th St side of 30 Rockefeller Center and tickets are distributed at 7am on the day of the show.  Be warned: you are in for a long wait.  People often camp out overnight to get standby tickets.  You are required to stay in line the whole time (except for short, necessary breaks.)  Tickets are first-come, first-serve and do not guarantee entry into the show.  You can elect to get stand-by for either the dress rehearsal or the live taping.

 

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

The Tonight Show has returned home to New York!  This show tapes Monday through Friday at 5pm.

How To Get Tickets:

You can get tickets by visiting www.showclix.com/event/thetonightshowstarringjimmyfallon.   Tickets are usually released about a month in advance, so it is possible to plan ahead for this one in conjunction with your trip.  You will only be allowed to book tickets for The Tonight Show once every 6 months.  (Give other people a chance to go too!)

If You Get Tickets…

  • The person who reserved must be present.  They will check IDs to match names.

  • No groups larger than four people may book.

  • No bags larger than small purses will be allowed in.

  • No cameras, phones or electronics of any kind will be allowed into the taping.

  • No one under the age of 16 may attend the taping.

  • Those attending are asked to keep to a “smart casual” dress code.

If You Don’t Get A Ticket…

Standby tickets are given out at 9am for that day’s show.  They are distributed at the 49th St entrance to 30 Rockefeller Center.  If you don’t make it by 9am, you can inquire about standby tickets at the NBC Experience Store.  Standby Tickets to not guarantee entry into the show.

Other Tonight Show Experiences

Every day, The Tonight Show invites a small audience to watch Jimmy Fallon rehearse his monologue.  You reaction of the rehearsal audience partially determines what makes it into the actual show.  You can get tickets to be a part of the Tonight Show process by visiting www.jimmyfallonmonologuerehearsal.com.

 

Late Night With Seth Meyers

Late Night is taped Monday through Friday and airs on NBC in the 12:35am time slot.  You can be a part of the taping and check out new host Seth Meyers!

How To Get Tickets:

You can book tickets in advance.  Typically they are released 4-6 weeks in advance.  You can reserve tickets by calling 212-664-3056.  The ticket office is open 9-5, Monday through Friday EST.

If You Get Tickets:

  • You may get up to 4 tickets at one time.

  • The reservation holder must attend.  The tickets will only be released to the person who reserved them.

  • You may only reserve tickets once every 6 months

  • You must be at least 16 years old to attend Late Night.

  • Any cancellations must be at least 24 hours in advance.

  • You will not be allowed to bring any large bags, phones, cameras or other electronics into the studio

Monologue Rehearsal Tickets:

Tickets to see Seth Meyers rehearse his monologue will be released at 1pm every day.  They are available at the NBC Experience Store.  Help the show decide what monologue jokes make it into the taping!

Standby Tickets:

Standby Tickets are released the day of the show at 9am at the 49th St entrance to 30 Rockefeller Center.  If you can’t make it at 9 am, you can ask about tickets at the NBC Experience Store.  Standby tickets do not guarantee entry into the show.

 

The Colbert Report

This taping is immensely popular and tickets are booked very far in advance.  However, you can put yourself on their email list to be alerted whenever tickets become available.  This can be done at www.thecolbertreport.cc.com/tickets.

If You Don’t Have A Reservation…

You can stand in line for standby tickets.  They are given out at 4pm on the day of the show.  (The show tapes Monday through Thursday.)  Standby tickets are given out at 513 W 54th St, between 10th and 11th Avenues.  Entry is not guaranteed with a standby ticket, particularly because shows are often oversold.

To Attend The Taping…

  • You must have a ticket.  You cannot sell your ticket or transfer it to someone else.

  • You must be 18 or older.

  • You will be asked to show a government-issued ID.

  • You will not be allowed to bring any type of recording device.

  • You can only attend one taping per 6 month period.

 

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Like The Colbert Report, tickets for these taping often book well in advance of the show.  You can sign up for the email alerts so that you know when tickets become available at www.thedailyshow.cc.com/tickets.

Standby Tickets:

Like most shows, The Daily Show offers standby tickets.  As with the other shows, these do not guarantee entry into the taping.   Tickets are handed out at 2:30 pm the day of the show.  The Daily Show tapes Monday through Thursday at 733 Eleventh Ave (between 51st and 52nd Sts.)  Because of the show’s extreme popularity, it is recommended that you get in line well before 2:30pm if you want a better chance of getting in.

If You Have Tickets…

  • You must arrive no later than 4:30 pm.  If you arrive before the rest of your party, you can only pick up your ticket.  The others must pick theirs up by 4pm, or they may be given away.

  • The taping usually lasts until 7 or 7:30pm

  • You must be 18 or older

  • You may not bring recording devices of any kind

  • The show is sometimes overbooked, so having a reservation does not guarantee entry into the taping!

 

Good Morning America

This is a great taping to attend if you are an early bird!  Good Morning America is taped live every day from 7am until 9am.  You can only see a taping on weekdays, however.  Weekend taping of the show do not have studio audiences.  Good Morning America is filmed in Times Square, at 44th and Broadway.

How To Get Tickets:

You can get tickets for Good Morning America by filling out an online request form at www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/mailform?id=12943471.

Attending A Show:

  • You must bring a valid photo ID

  • You may not bring any bags larger than a purse.

  • You may not bring gifts or cards for the hosts.

  • You may not wear any attire that endorses a business or product.

 

The Today Show

The Today Show does not have a studio audience, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a part of it!  The Today Show invites anyone and everyone to join them outside of their studios in Rockefeller Center.  The show begins at 7am and tapes every weekday morning.  This is a good option for those traveling with kids, since most live tapings have some kind of age limit.

Some of the tickets for live TV tapings in NYC can be difficult to get and may involve waiting in long lines, but you can be sure that it will be an experience that you won’t forget!

Running tours of Central Park with Free Tours By Foot

Running in Central Park

Whether you are a casual Sunday jogger or a serious road warrior with many marathons behind you, Central Park is a runner’s paradise, although it’s also a great place for a walking tour.  If you feel the urge to stretch your legs and get a run in during your trip to NYC, head up to the park!  Central Park offers several distance options and different types of terrain.  No matter what your preference is, there is something for you!

Map below is from the New York Times.  Click here for a printable version of the full map

Central Park Running Map Read more »