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Arthur Avenue, Little Italy, Bronx

Bronx Little Italy, Arthur Avenue

Year Round

2344 Arthur Avenue, Belmont, Bronx
Between 183rd and 187th Streets, about 4 blocks south of Fordham Road
Many hear of, but not enough find, their way to what some foodies call New York’s “real Little Italy.” It’s easier to find than you think, close by the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Gardens and Fordham’s Rose Hill campus.  Take a stroll down streets decked in holiday tinsel, have a bite of some classic “red sauce” Italian and pick up some truly wonderful stocking stuffers and hostess gifts for the foodies on you list.

Tips:
Our favorite field researcher picks up dinner from the neighborhood’s butchers during a late lunch between sites. Pack a cold bag and you’ll be able to bring some Italian sausage home too.
Fees:Free
Good for:All
Subway:4 or D to Fordham Road station. Walk 11 blocks east along East Fordham Road (or catch the Bx12 east) to Arthur Avenue. Turn right heading south on Arthur Avenue. The fun starts around 187th Street. 2 or 5 train to Pelham Parkway then #12 bus heading west to Arthur Avenue. Walk south on Arthur Avenue.
Bus:Bx12 east-west along East Fordham Road
Train:Metro-North Harlem or New Haven line trains to Fordham Road Station. Walk 6 blocks east along East Fordham Road, turn right on Arthur Avenue. The fun starts around 187th Street.
Parking on site:No
Limited on street parking and be prepared to stay on top of the time on the meters.
Bathrooms:No
No public restrooms except for patrons at the many restaurants. There is one at the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, 2344 Arthur Avenue.
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Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Year Round

42nd Street at 6th Avenue, Manhattan
Entrances on 41st Street, 6th Avenue and 42nd Street.
Now a midtown favorite, Bryant Park has undergone a major transformation and is filled with gravel paths and green chairs, where you can enjoy a lunch with friends, have a walk or just sit and relax. The park is right behind the New York Public Library. Bryant Park hosts a free ice skating rink, holiday shops and food purveyors entertain from morning to night once the holidays get rolling.  A perfect midtown oasis.  Ice skating continues until late February.

Tips:
Excellent restrooms at this mid-town park.
Fees:Free
Ticket info:
Good for:All
Website:http://www.bryantpark.org/
Subway:B,D,7 to Bryant Park station. N,Q,R,S,1,2,3 to Times Square station which is one block west of Bryant Park.
Bus:M1, M2, M3, M4, M5 down 5th M5,M6,M7 up 6th M42, M104 along 42nd St
Parking on site:Yes
The Holiday Shops of Bryant Park recommends these nearby lots and garages: Central Parking Systems, 25 W. 39th St, 212-382-3872 Champion Parking Inc., 31 W. 37th St, 212-944-7196 Edison Parking East, 136 W. 40th St, 212-221-9827
Bathrooms:Yes
NYC's favorite public bathroom has an attendant, fresh flowers and adequate supplies. Located in the northeast corner of the park towards the NY Public Library.

City Island in the Bronx

City Island

Year Round

City Island Avenue, City Island, Bronx
A site in itself, City Island is a seaside community with a vibrant nautical lifestyle and history known for its charm, seafood restaurants and antiques. Be sure to see the Stepping Stone Lighthouse on the southern shore.  Maritime artifacts and antiques can be viewed at the City Island Nautical Museum at 190 Fordham Street.  Admission is free but it is only open on Sundays.  Aslo pass by Oysterman Samuel Pell's Second-Empire mansion at 586 City Island Avenue near St. Mary Star of the Sea Church and other Victorian-era mansions throughout the island (most are clustered on the Sound side of the island). The City Island Theater Group produces shows year round, holiday schedule TBA. The island is a little over 2 miles long and 3/4 miles across at its widest point.  Population: a bit over 4,500. City Island is also home to a diverse range of bird species and an avid bird watching community.  http://www.cityislandbirds.com/
Fees:All
Ticket info:
Good for:All
Website:http://www.cityisland.com/
Subway:#6 to Pelham Bay Park station, then connect to Bx29 bus out Shore Road to City Island
Bus:Bx29
Other:Driving directions from all points at http://www.cityisland.com/directions.html Lucky enough to be coming by private boat? Check in at http://www.cityisland.com/nautical/ for marinas and "sailor links."
Parking on site:Yes
On street
Bathrooms:No
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Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Year Round

350 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Between 33rd and 34th Street.
Known around the world from movie fame and for its distinctive position in New York's skyline, the Empire State Building is as beautiful today as it was when it was completed in 1931. The Tower Lights are an ongoing and ever-changing visual sculpture on the top 30 floors of the building and deserve a nighttime visit to get the full effect.  A daytime visit also enhances a New York City outing as you can see the various neighborhoods and landmarks that make New York so special. The Observatory Deck on the 86th Floor and another glass enclosed observatory on the 102nd Floor make for arresting vistas. A visit can also include the "New York Skyride," a flight simulation through New York City.  Plan for lines. 

There are several art exhibits on view in the lobby, including the addition of items from Fay Wray's private collection of photographs, posters and "King Kong" memorabilia permanently displayed in two lobby showcase windows.  Lobby concerts are scheduled during the year inlcuding the holidays.

This past summer the Empire State Building unveiled a $2 million interactive, multi-media sustainability exhibit at the second floor visitor’s center, showcasing a $20 million energy retrofit project that was announced in April 2009 with President Bill Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While the retrofit programis under way, the installation aims to educate the millions of people who visit the building every year on the positive global impact of both energy efficient building and sustainable living practices. Upon completion of the program, the Empire State Building will reduce total energy usage by more than 38 percent, energy costs by $4.4 million annually, and carbon emissions by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years.

Tips:
The line gets long so we recommend a visit early in the day. The "New York Skyride" is a bit dated and is really optional.
Fees:Fee
Ticket prices:Observatory Tickets (includes tax): Adults 13-61, $20; Youth 6-12, $14; Child 6-11, $12.07; Seniors 62+, $18 Cut the the line time with an Express Pass Tickets (includes tax): All ages, $45 New York Skyride additional.
Ticket info:Observatory is open from 8am to 2am, seven days a week.  Last elevator ascends at 1:15am.
Good for:All
Hours:Observation Deck is open 8:00am-2:00am, seven days a week.
Website:www.esbnyc.com
Phone:(212) 736-3100
Subway:#1, 2, or 3, A, C or E to 34th Street/Penn Station. B, D, F, N, Q, R or Path to 34th Street/Avenue of the Americas .
Bus:From Northern Manhattan/Upper East Side, M4; From Upper West Side/Harlem, M10 south; From Downtown/West Side, M10-north; From other Manhattan locations, any north-south bus to 34th Street and transfer to M34 or M16. Disembark at Seventh Avenue; From Northwest Queens, take Q32.
Parking on site:No
Parking garages on 33rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Bathrooms:Yes
On 2nd Floor after you pass through the security line.
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Empire State Building Tower Lights

Empire State Building

Year Round

350 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Between 33rd and 34th Street.
The Empire State Building commemorates holidays, special causes and other public events by orchestrating the over 70 lights on the buildings tower with a huge range of color combinations.    A beacon that can be seen from many locations around the city, the lights can be deciphered by checking the lighting schedule on their site at the lighting schedule link.
Note: During the fall bird migration season, especially on cloudy, humid or foggy nights, the tower lights are turned off to discourage birds attracted by the lights from flying near the building.
Fees:Free
Ticket info:
Good for:All
Hours:Observation Deck is open 8:00am-2:00am, seven days a week.
Website:www.esbnyc.com
Phone:(212) 736-3100
Subway:#1, 2, or 3, A, C or E to 34th Street/Penn Station. B, D, F, N, Q, R or Path to 34th Street/Avenue of the Americas .
Bus:From Northern Manhattan/Upper East Side, M4; From Upper West Side/Harlem, M10 south; From Downtown/West Side, M10-north; From other Manhattan locations, any north-south bus to 34th Street and transfer to M34 or M16. Disembark at Seventh Avenue; From Northwest Queens, take Q32.
Parking on site:No
Parking garages on 33rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Bathrooms:Yes
On 2nd Floor after you pass through the security line.
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