Holiday Fun for all! The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens

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Looking for something fun for the whole family this Holiday Season?  Then check out the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx.

For this time of year the big event is the annual Holiday Train Show, now in its 25th year.  This show held inside the beautiful Enid A. Haupt Conservatory features large scale trains traveling through the gardens.  It is hit with people of all ages.

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The trains pass through a wonderland of 150 handmade buildings, each one representing a famous New York City landmark, bridge or building.  Each structure is carefully and skillfully constructed using bark,  twigs,leaves and other natural materials. It has to be seen to be believed.

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For the little ones there is a Thomas and Friends mini performance and advance tickets and reservations are needed for this show.

The Gardens also feature a “Bar Car Night” for those 21 and older. Enjoy an after-hours evening at the Holiday Train Show with ice carving demonstrations under the starlight, pop-up acts by some of NYC’s favorite street performers, and live entertainment.  

And in true “bar car” fashion, the evening will feature drink specials and a selection of spiked hot beverages.
Advance tickets are recommended for all events.

for tickets and information:  web:   http://www.nybg.org/home

 New York Botanical Gardens

2900 Southern Boulevard Bronx New York

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photo credits:  New York Botanical Gardens

 

 

 

City Clipper: Sail away to adventure in New York Harbor

 

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Sail away on a two masted schooner for hours of adventure and relaxation.  It is not in the Caribbean, or some other exotic locale, but right in New York Harbor.   Manhattan by Sail offers a fantastic opportunity to see New York City on  vintage sailing vessels.  As you sail on these tall ships you will be transported to another time as you ply the waters of New York Harbor.  This is a unique escape that will make you feel that you are not in New York but rather on vacation in the islands. Although there are other tour boats that are available for sightseeing around Manhattan, this adventure is unique.

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The City Clipper prior to sail

We decided on a two hour excursion on the City Clipper, a restored 158 foot long sailing schooner equipped with two steel masts and two top sails and six fore and aft sails.  The ship was built prior to the Civil War  but has been renovated over the years and now has a steel hull, a long open deck seating for passengers and a full bar in the center of the vessel that serves drinks and snacks to the guests on board (additional cost).

We took advantage of the Twilight Sail which leaves from Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan and cruises for two hours in New York Harbor as the sun sets over New Jersey.  It was a warm and gorgeous summer evening as the City Clipper pulled away from its slip at the Battery and made its way into the harbor.  With a good wind on the water that day, the crew decided to hoist the sails and guests are able to assist in this task.

 

 

 

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Helping hoist the sails

The schooner turned away from Manhattan and navigated around Governors Island and plied the waters between that island and the Borough of Brooklyn.  This was a unique perspective and one not often seen by New Yorkers and visitors alike.   The ship made a graceful arc south of Governors Island to catch a wonderful sunset behind the Statue of Liberty as well as other ships that were enjoying the waters that evening.

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There are great photo opportunities at all points of the sail.

 

We really enjoyed the slow and quiet cruise under sail as well as the cocktails available at the cash bar.  The bar staff was friendly and helped keep the mood lively.  As the sun dropped into the west the schooner turned back toward the city and the lights of Jersey City, Battery Park, and  The Freedom Tower provided a memorable light show for all aboard.

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If you are looking for an unique excursion and a few hours of fun, you should experience a classic sail on the City Clipper.

for more information, sailing times and pricing please visit:

https://www.manhattanbysail.com/

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Sabbia: a new rooftop restaurant at Eataly in NYC

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Eataly has opened a new  roof top bar and restaurant in Manhattan on the 14th floor of Eataly at 200 5th Avenue in the Flatiron district.    Sabbia (“sand” in Italian) is Eataly’s new pop-up restaurant and is sure to be a hit.  Eataly is the amazing gourmet Italian marketplace and eatery that is part owned by Chef Mario Batali and Joe and Lydia Bastianich.  I had the opportunity to attend a press only launch party for this new hip restaurant.

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Oyster Bar

The theme of Sabbia is the  beach and seaside resorts of the Italian coastline.   The rooftop bar and restaurant with its retractable glass roof creates an environment in which you are no longer in Manhattan, but rather you are at a hip seaside resort in sunny Italy.  The decor features, cabanas, beach chairs, palm trees, vintage travel posters, and more.   The atmosphere is casual and laid back as if you were on vacation.

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Cabanas, Beach Chairs and more !

The menu consists of healthy, easy to eat  “coastal” foods from both  land and sea.  During the preview we were able to sample calamari, shrimp, scallops, and chicken as well as other dishes.  Eataly is also partnered with Island Creek Oysters of Massachusetts which has set up an oyster bar in a small boat right in the restaurant.

There is also a full bar which specializes in  12 unique and fresh cocktails , as well as a selection of wines and beers. Some of the cocktails that are available are “Hoppy Hour”, “Sorrento Spritz” and many more.

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A flight of cocktails

 

Sabbia opens Friday April 29th and will be open through October.   Don’t miss out on this special coastal Italian experience on a rooftop in the heart of Manhattan. So grab your sunglasses and sandals and get ready for summer.

Sabbia  (at Eataly)

200 5th Avenue  New York New York     14th floor

https://www.eataly.com/us_en/stores/new-york/archive-new-york/sabbia-rooftop-restaurant/

212-937-8910

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Classic Harbor Line: An elegant adventure around Manhattan Island

 

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Manhattan is an island of many neighborhoods and numerous flavors that it is hard to take in all the city has to offer in one day.  But a recent Sunday out on the water revealed  to me that you can see this amazing island and its many facets from the comfort and luxury of a classic motor yacht.   Classic Harbor Line provides a wonderful three hours of comfortable cruising on the waters around Manhattan.  This is not the typical tourist sightseeing cruise.  A few hours on the motor yacht, Manhattan II was a throwback to a more elegant era of boating and taking in the sights of New York City.

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The Manhattan II, based out of Pier 62 in Chelsea is a beautiful modern vessel  inspired by luxury motor yachts of the 1920s.  It is 100 feet long and 22 feet wide, with plenty of polished teak and mahogany that evokes the era of elegant cruising yachts.  But this vessel has plenty of glass on all sides and the roof for an uninterrupted view of the scenery all around.  Seating is at tables with  comfortable couches that wrap around the table on three sides.  There is also an outside area to stand or sit on the bow of the boat.

Classic Harbor Cruises offers many different types of cruise themes that are open to the public as well as private charters.  Some of the many cruise offerings are Brunch, Architecture, Fall Foliage, Sunset, and Wine cruises just to name a few.   We opted for a Sunday brunch cruise that started at 10am.  Although it was quite cold the morning we arrived at the pier, our 2 3/4 hour cruise was quite comfortable in the glass enclosed cabin.   A full multi course brunch was served and included bagels, muffins, fresh made waffles, fruit, eggs, sliced ham, veggies and much more.  The food was fresh and everything was delicious. Mimosas were served and there is a small bar on board.

The sun was shining into the cabin as we slipped away from our pier and started down the Hudson River.  The only thing you could hear other than the other guests was the light hum of the engine as we glided down river.   We sailed passed  the gleaming Freedom Tower and lower Manhattan and turned toward the Statue of Liberty.  The ship then slowly turned and made our way through New York Harbor.  We soon passed into the East River and observed the Financial District.  As you take in the panorama that is the city, I was struck by the quietness of being on the river.  It was serene.  On the island of Manhattan it is noisy and busy, but here on the water the observer has a quiet and unobstructed view of the skyline.  It was quite the contrast to cruise along quietly as the boat passed under the Brooklyn Bridge and the many other bridges along the East and Harlem Rivers .  The boat provided a unique prospective of the city not available on land all while you dine in comfort.

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Along the way the captain pointed out some of the sites and provided some background that enhanced the overall experience.   We circled Manhattan island, and turned back into the Hudson River across from the Palisades and passed under the George Washington Bridge.  IMG_0246

As we headed down river it was hard to believe our cruise was over so quickly.  What a great time.  To experience New York City from the water on a beautiful and elegant yacht is a an experience not to be missed.  Classic Harbor Cruises also has cruise offerings  originating in Newport Rhode Island , Brooklyn, Hoboken, Boston and Key West, Florida.

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For more information on the many cruises and the different types of boats and  for Tickets:

http://www.sail-nyc