On the Town - Celebrities (in Wax), Tours and ViewsMarch 20, 2009 - by City Guide
Take the kids to get up close and personal with the world’s biggest legends and celebrities at Madame Tussauds New York, home to masterfully crafted, life-size wax figures that seem so real, they’ll feel like they’ve met some of their favorite celebrities. Recent additions to the Madame T pantheon include the Jonas Brothers, President Obama, and Hannah Montana herself, Miley Cyrus. And baseball fans of all ages will love a chance to see figures of the Yankees’ star shortstop Derek Jeter and Mets third baseman David Wright as opening day is here. They can also test their skills before judge Simon Cowell and host Ryan Seacrest and see if they’ve got what it takes to become the next American Idol. 234 W. 42nd St. btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves., 800-246-8872; www.madametussauds.com/newyork.
Uncle Sam’s New York offers both travelers to New York City and curious locals a view of the city few other tour companies can offer. Their walking tours provide a quintessential New York City experience that brings history, culture, and glamour into one carefully researched, planned, and utterly unforgettable tour. Uncle Sam’s New York caters to those who want to combine history, insight, and plain old fun into a short window of time to focus on what the essence of the city is all about. With Uncle Sam’s New York Tours, you can join expert guides on the Edgar Allan Poe Greenwich Village Tour, Alexander Hamilton’s Financial District Tour, the George M. Cohan Theater District Tour, and a trip up to the Empire State Building’s observation deck followed by a walking tour of the surrounding neighborhood’s biggest landmarks. Uncle Sam’s New York also offers numerous pub crawls of the West and East Village neighborhoods and famed Hell’s Kitchen area. Lastly, for late-night clubgoers, the Chelsea Night Club Tour and Frank Sinatra Limo Tour are perfect ways to grasp New York’s thrilling nightlife. For more information, and to book tours, visit www.unclesamsnewyork.com or call 917-655-0906.
Experience the best of NYC from atop a bicycle with a tour or rental from Bike and Roll. With Bike and Roll NYC you will enjoy car-free, easy riding along the scenic Hudson River Greenway, or take in a true New York experience as you ride over the Brooklyn Bridge, or just escape from the hustle and bustle by exploring the glorious urban oasis that is Central Park. Bike and Roll offers a huge selection of all-new Trek bikes that start as low as $10/hour. Bike and Roll has the largest fleet in town -- beach cruisers, hybrids, fitness bikes, road bikes, tandems, kids’ bikes and more. They provide you with a free map, lock, and helmet with every rental.
Bike and Roll also offers a host of fabulous guided bike tours. Go along the new Hudson River Greenway and through Central Park (departs 10:30am daily) and you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the river and city skyline before heading to 843-acre Central Park to visit famous sites such as Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare Garden, and other. The Bike the Brooklyn Bridge Tour (departs at 2pm daily) allows you to see Lower Manhattan, heading south along the Hudson River Greenway past Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty, before taking in Brooklyn and the stunning views of New York Harbor from the Brooklyn Bridge. Prices are $50 for adults, $35 for children (12 and younger) on weekends, and $45/$30 on weekdays, which includes bike, helmet, guide, water, and a light snack. Multilingual guides are also available. Pier 84, Hudson River Park; W. 43rd St. & the Hudson River; Battery Park, Pier A; West St. & Battery Place; South Street Seaport, Pier 17; Fulton St. & South, 212-260-0400; www.bikeandroll.com/newyork.
New York is a city that offers many venues that feature many different skyline views from many different perspectives -- harbor tours, helicopters, waterfront restaurants, observation decks, and rooftop dining -- to name but a few. These are wonderful ways to see the city; however, few can come even close to the view from Top of the Rock. Reopened over three years ago after being closed for 20 years, Top of the Rock is the brainchild of John D. Rockefeller Jr., and preserves the historic integrity of Rockefeller’s creation while incorporating innovative features and new technology. High-tech sky shuttle elevators will take you up to the 67th floor -- and the elevators are a marvel in themselves, with transparent glass ceilings against which rapid video sequences of historic Rockefeller Center imagery are projected as you are rapidly accelerated upward.
The elevator leaves you in the interior of the Grand Viewing Room, a wrap-around space that has northern and southern views; an additional indoor viewing space is offered in the high-ceilinged Weather Room. The 70th floor -- a mere 20 feet wide and 200 feet long -- crowns the building with a 360-degree panoramic view of the city. Top of the Rock offers many ticketing options that combine admission to neighboring attractions at a reduced price. These include the Rock Pass, which grants adult admission to Top of the Rock, the NBC Studio Tour (49th St. btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.), and the Radio City Stage Door Tour (Sixth Ave. btw. 50th & 51st Sts.) for $46 (a 17% savings), and is available at the box offices for all three venues. If the Museum of Modern Art (11 W. 53rd St.) is on your agenda, a $30 combination ticket that provides access to both Top of the Rock as well as MoMA is available exclusively at the Top of the Rock box office. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 877-NYC-ROCK or by visiting www.topoftherocknyc.com. 30 Rockefeller Plaza, W. 50th St. btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Get a glimpse of the city from high above on one of many modern jet helicopter flights offered by Liberty Helicopter Tours. They feature breathtaking views of Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and many other sights and landmarks. There are many different packages to choose from, including Lady Liberty (6-8 min.), the Big Apple (12-15 min.), and New York, New York (16-20 min.). A Romance Over Manhattan private tour is also available. Pier 6 & the East River, 212-967-6464; libertyhelicopters.com
Last November, New York City’s love of music hit a high note when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened its Annex in the heart of SoHo. In its 25,000-square-foot exhibition space, the Annex showcases selected artifacts from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s vast collection. The on-site “Hall of Fame” pays tribute to every artist inducted into the RRHF, and the Immersive Theater highlights some of the most explosive performance moments in rock history. The Annex’s Roots and Influences exhibit examines how yesterday’s music legends influenced today’s chart-toppers. The Moments to Movements area takes visitors on a journey of the moments that created and defined movements, and showcases exciting and rare rock items. The New York Rocks area is a tribute to the city that has been so integral to music history. The Cleveland Rocks room showcases additional elements of the Museum’s collection, and a special exhibit room rotates exhibitions that feature one select artist or band. Visit the Annex and go beyond the typical museum experience—be engaged in a dynamic and immersive musical journey. 76 Mercer St. (Spring-Broome Sts.), 866-976-2569; rockannex.com.
NY Waterway’s daily cruises allow for breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and more of NYC’s landmarks. 90-minute jaunts include the Skyline and City Lights Cruises of New York Harbor and the glorious skyline while the New-York Historical Society History Cruise offers entertaining and informative facts about the history of New York, its various waterways, and other important areas & neighborhoods that can be observed from the boat. The AIA NY Architecture Cruise is the city’s first cruise dedicated to the architecture of the magnificent landmarks that make up NYC and its world-famous skyline. During the baseball season, the Yankee Clipper will take you to the new Yankee Stadium while offering pre-game food service, a bar serving beer, wine and soda, and, of course, the most gorgeous skyline in the world. All tours are led by informative and entertaining tour guides describe the sights from boats with indoor and outdoor seating. Pier 78 (W. 38th St. & Twelfth Ave.), 800-533-3379; nywaterwaytours.com.
See New York from the top with CitySightsNY’s buses -- double-deckers that are top-seating-only, so everyone gets an unobstructed view of the attractions. Their buses are furnished with state-of-the-art sound systems and urban storytellers who offer interesting facts about all of the city’s famous faces and places. Their hop-on, hop-off tickets are valid for 48 hours from when you get your boarding pass, and they offer options that include tickets to the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island and Top of the Rock observation deck. 212-812-2700; citysightsny.com.
There are also a couple of world-famous New York City landmarks we know the whole family will enjoy seeing together: Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. You never know what you’ll see on Madison Square Garden’s All-Access Tour (Seventh Ave. btw. 31st & 33rd Sts., 212-465-5800; thegarden.com). Visit the Knicks, Rangers, and Liberty locker rooms, tour the Theater at Madison Square Garden, and get a bird’s-eye view of the arena floor from one of the exclusive luxury suites. You may even observe pro athletes practicing, today’s top performers in sound check, behind-the-scenes activities of a live event, casts in rehearsal, or the hundreds of crew members needed to stage events. On the Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour (50th St. & Sixth Ave., 212-247-4777; radiocity.com), experience the behind-the-scenes magic of America’s most popular showplace, as expertly trained tour guides take you on a one-hour journey through the history of one of the country’s most magnificent national landmarks. They’ll even throw in a real-life Rockette for good measure.
Not an art museum, not a science museum, and not a circus sideshow, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square showcases the oddities in life and delivers the ultimate in shockingly odd, true stories. The exhibits include Ripley’s collection of 24 shrunken heads that were the spoils of war for the Jivaro Indians of Ecuador; a 3,197-lb. meteorite that fell to earth in China during the Ming Dynasty in 1529; a collection of Olympic torches; and human and animal oddities. Discover the embodiment of one man’s endless fascination with our world and his belief that fact is stranger than fiction. And be sure to check out their shop, which features t-shirts, bizarre collectibles, unique jewelry, crazy candy and toys that will engage your imagination. 234 W. 42nd St. btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves., 212-398-3133; ripleysnewyork.com.