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New York City's Entertainment Scene

New York City’s Entertainment Scene

There are a lot of different reasons to travel to New York City. Some go for the sights, some for the food and drink, some for specific events, and most for the total experience. But in the midst of New York’s unlimited appeals is one of the busiest and most incredible entertainment scenes anywhere, which is enough of a reason to head to the Big Apple.

Simply put, New York tends to attract the biggest names in show business and sports, and it has the venues to support them. If this is part of what you look for in picking a destination, read on for a few words on some of the city’s best entertainment venues.

For Shows

New Amsterdam Theatre

Boasting internal décor reminiscent of European royal opera houses and a name that harkens back to New York’s origins, the New Amsterdam Theatre is full of historical atmosphere. It’s located just a few blocks south of bustling, ultra-modern Times Square and yet, according to a city theater guide, it’s one of the two oldest surviving Broadway venues. It’s the perfect spot for those fascinated with the history of theater in the city.

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The Belasco Theatre

It’s nowhere near as old as the New Amsterdam (which was originally constructed in 1903), but The Belasco is still among the older Broadway theaters. It offers the same old-world, vaguely European atmosphere with a slightly cleaner, more modern touch. For my money, this is the most beautiful of the New York theaters.

The St. James Theatre

Located in the heart of the theater district and having hosted shows off and on since opening in 1927 (as The Erlanger), The St. James has long been among the more popular venues. It’s reached new levels of fame lately after serving as the primary filming location for the Oscar-winning 2014 film Birdman.

For Music

Claire Tow Theater

If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art venue at which to enjoy a top-notch musical, symphony performance, or opera, the Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center is tough to beat. Its gorgeous, ultra-modern design is a pleasure in itself, and as discussed here, its terrace sets it apart from other theaters by providing a unique place to congregate between shows and acts.

Radio City Music Hall

If you’re more interested in catching a big act traveling through the city, look no further than Radio City Music Hall. The biggest concerts often take place at the major sports arenas (which I’ll cover below), but this is arguably the busiest and most spectacular music-first venue in the city for popular acts.

BB King Blues Club

New York’s Jazz and Blues clubs, and increasingly even the Rock clubs downtown, are renowned for attracting incredible talent—sometimes established, sometimes unknown, and sometimes on the way up. This page on New York travel highlights the BB King Blues Club, along with the Apollo Theatre, as one of the best venues in this category for a memorable live music performance.

New York City’s Entertainment Scene

For Sports

Yankee Stadium

It may not be as special as the historic ballpark that was abandoned after 2008 and eventually torn down, but the new Yankee Stadium is in some ways a replica of that historic site. It stands across the street from the old stadium grounds and, history aside, is as stunning a venue as there is in the country to watch a baseball game.

Madison Square Garden

Near the top of this list of sports venues to visit before you die, Madison Square Garden is a treat no matter what you see there. It’s probably best known as the home of the New York Knicks, and despite the franchise’s rocky history of late, the arena tends to be packed for home games. MSG is also a stellar concert venue and the home stadium for the NHL’s New York Rangers and the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

These are some of the highlights for those drawn to New York City for its reputation for live events. Each of these destinations offers an incredible and memorable experience, and can be worth the whole trip to New York.

Why You Can't Miss New York City in the Summer

Why You Can’t Miss New York City in the Summer

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There are few cities in the world that carry a simply magical feeling to them which I dare any traveler to truly define. We have been lucky to travel to some pretty wonderful cities around the world and have experienced them all as best we can, but still we have only felt the true magic in a small handful of cities. Its nearly impossible to not fall in love with Paris and Venice took our breath away but New York City has, without a doubt, the most electrifying feeling of them all, especially in the summer time.

You know from the second you arrive that there is just something special about New York City. Hard to define and impossible to describe, New York is a city like no other and this is why you can’t miss New York City, especially in the summer.

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The city truly comes alive as the cold starts to flee around April, and while there might still be some cold days through May, New York City blossoms as the trees and flowers do and is filled with a vibrance few cities have ever felt. The people come alive with an energy you cannot ignore, life is good and the city knows it.

The food is a good enough reason to visit the city no matter the time of year, but come to New York in the summer and you are in for a special treat. Home to some of the most delicious and well known restaurants in the world, New York is a place many famous chefs also call home and where many of them have opened smaller, more home like restaurants and tasting rooms. These, almost boutique, restaurants and cafes serve some of the best food around, and during the warm summer months they often feature special menus, social events and outdoor patios which fill with life well into the night.

Well known for its eclectic and ever changing art scene, the summer brings a renewed wave of artistic endeavors to the city and you’d be hard pressed not to find a new gallery opening, art show or other creative outlet being showed off on any weekend in the city, no matter where you found yourself. Get lost, follow the music, follow the color and you’ll be sure to find yourself making an unforgettable memory in no time.

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Not only does the nightlife blossom in the summer time, but the activities during the day do as well. If you are an active person and want to get in some exercise while in the city, there is simply nothing better to do than to explore central park. Social running groups are common and easy to link up with as well as free yoga classes, kickball, frisbee and softball leagues, the opportunities are truly endless.

There is nothing like packing a picnic, grabbing the cooler and and blanket and heading to Central Park with a group of friends on a beautiful summer day. Don’t fear the humidity, find some shade, bring the sunscreen and relax in one of the most unique and vibrant cities in the world.

No trip would be complete without a visit to Times Square, eating at the world Katz Deli and seeing the Empire State building for the first time. But make sure to also save time to visit Lincoln Center and see a performance, the New York Philharmonic used to mesmerize me as a child. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visit the Brooklyn Zoo and visit the Museum of Natural History, all will be amazing. And if you like shopping? Don’t even get us started, the choices are endless – everything is at your fingertips.

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If sports are your thing you’ve got many options, and while the Knicks and Giants don’t play in the summer months (Unless the Knicks make the playoffs… yea right.) you’ve got not one, but two baseball teams to watch. There is nothing quite as American as watching a baseball game in the summer and with the legacies of both the New York Mets and New York Yankees, there is hardly a better city in America to watch a baseball game.

Traveling to the big apple is easy as pie and there are endless ways to get there. Flights to New York are always popular and there are constantly deals on weekend getaways and holiday trips. Even if you don’t take the train to the city, a visit to Grand Central Station will not disappoint as it is one of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in the whole city. Busses have always run routes to and from New York City from nearby cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC and in recent years the newer busses often offer free wifi, electrical plugs and bathrooms, a huge upgrade from when I was growing up.

While visiting New York is an amazing experience any time of year, the city truly has something special for those who visit in the summer. So pack your bags, jump on the plane, train or bus and make your way to what might be the most magical and fascinating city in the world. And once you do, come back and tell us about your adventures and see if you can describe the magical feeling the city has to our readers better than we could. Up, up and away, the big apple awaits!

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Images provided from Flickr via Premshree PillaiJoey Lax-SalinasDan Nguyen and Kamran Aslam

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

transparent travel

Transparent Travel – The Only Travel Agency Left That Matters

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How many of you remember growing up with pogs, Doritos 3D and  MTV actually playing music? Right around then was probably the last time we heard the prehistoric phrase “travel agent” as websites like Travelocity and Orbitz have made them all but obsolete. Well, thats not quite the case and we were thrilled to find out why. We recently met Giuseppe Catanzariti and his wife Chelsea Phillips, who together founded Transparent Travel, the only travel agency left that matters. We immediately had too many questions to ask them. Why in the world would you start a travel agency now, I thought that went out of style years ago? Well, we were happily surprised, gitty in fact, when we checked out their website and saw just what exactly they were offering. We were happy to sit down with Giuseppe and ask all the questions we could about the coolest up and coming travel agency out there.

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Latitude 34: Travel Agents are done right? Why did you start a travel agent company?
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Transparent Travelers: If the Internet has killed anything, it’s the traditional travel agency. When my wife and I were first talking about starting a company focussed on travel, we realized that there were a lot of ways we could go about it. As we had both travelled extensively and lived abroad for long periods of time, we had naturally worked with our fair share of travel companies – especially the big ones, like Frommer’s, Fodor’s, and Lonely Planet. “Isn’t it interesting,” I said to my wife, “that with all the travel we’ve done between us, we’ve never worked with a travel agency?” We talked about this for a bit and we determined that it wasn’t as though we had gone out of our way to avoid travel agencies – they just never came up. After all, does it make sense to pay a third party to book flights and hotels for you when you can do that yourself, at no cost, in about three minutes, on one website?
And then it all sort of clicked: travel agencies don’t ever come up because, quite simply, traditional travel agencies are old-fashioned by their very nature – and not old-fashioned in the vintage, charming sense, but old-fashioned in the irrelevant, uninteresting sense. But, we thought, what if there were a new sort of travel agency – one that was web savvy, easy to work with, and run by people with an understanding of the way that people travel today? That was the light bulb moment for us – because, we realized, there was no reason why such a travel agency couldn’t exist. And so we started pouring our energy into what would become Transparent Travel – a travel agency predicated on a passion for travel, and a desire to make it easier for those who’ve always wanted to travel to actually be able to do it. Through Transparent Travel, we seek to reintroduce the concept of the travel agency to the 21st century, and, in so doing, we hope to bring consistent traveling into more people’s lives.

“People are the walking, talking manifestations of different cultures, and, at the same time, they are the core ingredient that go into making cultures in the first place. Not until one has travelled some can one fully appreciate the impact of this reality…”

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Lat34: With all the tour companies out there how do you provide something new and exciting?
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TT: The best metaphor I can come up with here is the home computer market in the early 1980s. At that time, you could buy yourself a computer, sure, but that computer basically had to come from IBM, it had to be exorbitantly expensive, it had to be gray, clunky, and designed to merely function rather than to excite and inspire. This is basically the landscape of the current market for group tours. While it’s true that there’s more than one option out there, each option is really only a very, very subtle variation on a theme. Huge travel companies will indiscriminately sell “tour packages” to about 50 people, get them all onto a bus somewhere, drive them around for a few days, have them all stay in the same hotel, and then send them back to their lives.
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At Transparent Travel, we believe that this is fundamentally the wrong way to operate group tours. We’re different because we never take more that 20 people in a group. This creates a more engaging, more social environment, and allows people to more easily make new friends – which, for us, is a huge reason to travel in the first place. Our itineraries are different that the other guys, too – rather than dragging groups through a laundry list of tourist attractions day in and day out, we show people the very best of each place we go. The small places, the charming pubs, the off-the-beaten-path sights and stops that really make a place unique. We also encourage free exploration, giving our groups far more time to do their own thing than other tour operators. Finally, we’re not in this to get rich. We charge the least we can realistically charge for every tour we conduct, and we always use donate a portion of our profits to organizations like Doctors Without Borders. Because for us, the reward of traveling to exciting locales with eager travelers of all persuasions is pay enough. At the end of the day, we’re passionate about traveling. And that’s really what makes our tours different.Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.32.00 AM
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Lat34: What are the most important life lessons to learn while traveling and when/where did you learn them?
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TT: This is the million dollar question. It’s actually difficult to articulate just how important traveling has been to us, and it’s even more difficult to distill the experiences – the laughing, the exploring, the friend-making – into little nuggets of wisdom – those who are similarly passionate about traveling will know what we’re talking about here. But if we had to sum up what we’ve learned through travel, it would have to be the simple, inescapable fact that people are people are people. And people have the miraculous gift of being able to become friends with those they spend time with, to become close with them, to become entwined in their fate.
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People are the walking, talking manifestations of different cultures, and, at the same time, they are the core ingredient that go into making cultures in the first place. Not until one has travelled some can one fully appreciate the impact of this reality. It may be trite, but we’re all brothers and sisters. We can improve each other, help each other grow, and make each other’s lives richer. We wouldn’t be who we are today without having travelled, and through this company we seek to make the experience of living and breathing different cultures accessible for anyone who has ever wanted to give it a go themselves.
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Lat34: What can you get from a tour that you simply can’t get traveling solo or without a group?
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TT: For some people, traveling solo just isn’t a viable option. We’ve loved globetrotting alone ourselves, but we know that not everyone is keen on that practice. Using myself as an example: whenever I was to embark on an extended solo excursion, I would often field questions from friends and relatives to the effect of “how can you do that yourself? Isn’t it unsafe? Aren’t you nervous? What if something goes wrong?” And I would have to try to assuage their worries and attempt to assure them that I would be fine. But what’s important here is that, for some people, the very prospect of traveling alone is unsettling and unappealing. The tragedy here is that some of these people may inadvertently pair together the idea of “dangerous solo travel” with travel in general, and then be disinclined to see the world for themselves. The structure, safety, and expertise that we offer through our Transparent Tours is just the kind of thing that a great many people are looking for when they decide that it’s time for them to finally take that big trip. We consider it a privilege to be able to bring travel into the lives of people who wouldn’t travel otherwise. Our tours are especially crafted to bring travel to more people, and to make that big trip as stress free as possible. That way, our groups can relax and fully enjoy the culture that they are experiencing.
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Thanks to Giuseppe and Chelsea for taking the time to speak with us. We are very excited to see where these guys go from here and hope to take a trip with them real soon. Keep up with that they are doing on their website and head over to their Instagram and Facebook and give them a like. Happy travels!
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jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to forget them all.

A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh.

Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!


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