Named "New York's Wackiest Tour Guides" by the Travel Channel!

The First Graduating Class of the Tour Guide Academy!

I know it’s not June yet, but break out the caps and gowns and pop the sparkling apple cider because we just graduated our first class of NYC Tour Guide Academy students!

Tour Guide Academy

A diverse mix of six women and one man who met us all at the illustrious City Reliquary to start with a game of NYC “Who am I?” As every good guide knows, you have to be sociable and want to get to know people to be a proper tour guide! And it’s even more fun when you have to guess the names of famous New Yorkers.

Tour Guide Academy

What followed was a Top Secret series of industry tips, tour knowledge, DCA study tips and a lower Manhattan practice run at becoming the next generation of NYC guides. And you know what? A couple of them ALREADY DID!

Tour Guide Academy

We want to give a shout out to Sandy Martinez, the first graduate of the NYC Tour Guide Academy to already be loaded up on the NYC Tour Guides roster of guides.

So remember folks, if you sign up for the next Tour Guide Academy Course on May 20th your dreams of becoming a LUNY guide might come true!

Email Gideon@levysuniqueny.com to find out more

 

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Tour Guiding in NYC: A Great Full Time or Part Time Career Option!

Tour Guide Academy

Become a NYC Tour Guide! Do you love NYC? Do you know an incredible amount about it? Do you love to talk and be the center of attention?

  • 53 Million Tourists visited NYC last year and tourism is NYC’s fastest growing business

  • Freelance Tour Guides make $50-$75 an hour

  • Meet people from all over the world

  • Work Part time or Full time

  • Work outdoors

Learn from Mark Levy, founder and owner and “Tourfather” of the The Levys Unique New York! NY’s First Family of Tour Guides and Gideon Levy, founder and owner of NYC Gangster Tours,  two of the most successful, innovative and engaging tour businesses in NYC.

Full course includes two classes in tour guiding craft, content and style, group and time management, vast networking opportunities and an introduction meeting at the premier professional tour guide association in New York City, where you might meet your next employer.

Full Course: $150
We believe that the course is tax deductible as an educational or professional expense, but check with your tax professional. Our first classes are April 1 and 8

You’ll learn

  • Tips for passing the NYC Dept of Consumer Affairs Tour Guide License Test

  • The insider details of the massively lucrative NYC tour and travel industry

  • Essentials of the tour guide trade: gear, techniques, routes and itineraries

  • Essential NYC themes: geography, history, biography, infrastructure, culture

  • How to find tourism jobs or create your own tourism or travel start-up

You can pay  via Zozi right here https://advance.zozi.com/express/activities/2582

Contact Gideon@levysuniqueny.com with questions.

Brought to you by:

                                         LEVYS.logo4.color.CMYK

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The Big Egg Hunt NYC

Who says that Easter eggs hunts are only for kids? In NYC, the Russian jewelry firm Faberge has launched “The Big Egg Hunt.” There are 283 eggs hidden all of New York City. Each egg is just over two feet tall and decorated by a famous designer such as Bruce Weber, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. Each egg is up for auction, and all proceeds from the purchase of the eggs go to the Studio in a School and Elephant Family charities.

The best way to find all of the eggs is to download the official Big Egg Hunt app. It will show you the locations of all 283 eggs. It will also give details about who designed the eggs, who the egg was intended to be found by, and how to “buy” the egg. You can also visit the official website here.

One of the most magical aspects of the Big Egg Hunt is how it draws in an un-expecting audience comprised of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds. I did not learn about the Big Egg Hunt from a news article. I discovered it while walking from Lincoln Center to Columbus Circle. I saw egg #189 designed by Naeem Kahn rising in front of the Trump International Hotel. I decided to go and investigate. As I did this, I discovered several more eggs. I sat down to absorb their creative beauty, and witnessed something spectacular. Children, old ladies, girls out on shopping sprees, and business men between meetings, all diverged from their original paths to investigate the eggs. I even saw a man in suit and tie stop and then call his co-workers in excitement about the eggs! It is so rare to find art on the streets that draws in such a wide variety of people with such excitement. Making the eggs even more special is how the event has incorporated social media into the project. With the official Big Egg Hunt NYC smartphone app, you can scan bar codes and “collect” all of the eggs. You can also take photos, tweet, and share the eggs on facebook. The eggs are getting New Yorkers to talk about art in new innovative ways, all while supporting charities. The designs are delightful, the hunt is fun, the interactive social media adds a special novelty, and it all benefits a good cause. What a wonderful way to celebrate April.

The eggs will be displayed throughout the city until April 18th, when they will be moved and displayed in Rockefeller Center until April 25th. These are some of the eggs the Levy’s have found thus far.

The Big Egg Hunt The Big Egg Hunt The Big Egg HuntThe Big Egg Hunt

The Big Egg Hunt IMG_8273 The Big Egg HuntThe Big Egg HuntIMG_8281 The Big Egg Hunt

IMG_8288 The Big Egg Hunt

The Big Egg Hunt The Big Egg Hunt

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Sprinkles Cupcake ATM

Last week, NYC received its very first 24-hour cupcake ATM! (ATM = Automatic Treat Machine.) On Tuesday, March 25th, Sprinkles Bakery opened up its first Manhattan cupcake ATM location at 780 Lexington Avenue.  Having the world’s largest sweet tooth, as soon as I heard about the ATM, I had to try it.

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM

I asked David John Madore and his daughter Eliza Holland Madore to help me in my cupcake ATM quest. We arrived at the cupcake ATM around 1 p.m. on a rainy blustery Saturday afternoon. The line of people was about ten deep. When we got to the front of the line, we faced a large computer screen listing 20 different flavors of cupcakes. The flavors included banana dark chocolate, Cuban coffee, peanut butter chocolate, gluten free red velvet, sugar free red velvet, vegan red velvet, and a “doggie cupcake” for canine friends.  Eliza chose red velvet, David chose triple cinnamon, and I chose dark chocolate.

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM menu

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM menu

To order from the ATM, you push the image of the cupcake you want, then proceed to checkout. Each cupcake costs $4.25, which is fifty cents more than the average Sprinkles cupcake. These cupcakes, however, come with a gift box that are sold for fifty cents at the brick and mortar Sprinkles store, so there no actual mark-up for the ATM dispensed cupcakes. After swiping your credit card to pay for the cupcakes, the computer screen switches to a “real-time behind the scenes video.” You can actually watch the mechanics of the ATM at work as they select your cupcake, put it on a conveyor belt, and then deliver it to the cupcake dispenser. When your cupcake arrives, a pink door opens and you grab your cupcakes.

Our Cupcakes Being Delivered!

Our Cupcakes Being Delivered!

 

Eliza Holland Madore grabs her red velvet cupcake from the cupcake ATM.

Eliza Holland Madore grabs her red velvet cupcake from the cupcake ATM.

 

Eliza Holland Madore with her bounty from the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM.

Eliza Holland Madore with her bounty from the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM.

You may think, what is so special about this cupcake ATM? Isn’t it just a fancy vending machine? On the surface, yes it is. It is also so much more.  New Yorkers are a people who love entertainment, whether it be on Broadway or in their dining experience. Let me tell you, a cupcake ATM is fun and inexpensive entertainment. For example, there is a sense of wonder about how your cupcake is delivered unharmed! In a normal vending machine, the products seemingly tumble to their deaths on their way to your hand.  Not so with the cupcake ATM where the cupcake is delivered with every centimeter of frosting perfectly in tact. In fact, when Candace and Charles Nelson, co-founders of Sprinkles cupcakes, first thought up the idea of this 24-hour cupcake ATM, the technology to deliver an untarnished cupcake did not exist. They had to create it!  They partnered up with a European firm, and several models later, voila! You have a cupcake ATM that can deliver over 100 cupcakes orders per hour.

So now the million dollar question, how are the cupcakes? Amazing. David, Eliza, and I did thorough taste tests on all three of our flavors. The first was red velvet. The actual cake of the red velvet had a very unique dough taste and texture which was exquisite. The frosting was well proportioned and a wonderful compliment to the cake. It was a solid red velvet experience. The triple cinnamon had a similar dough taste to the cake part which made Eliza think of carrot cake and birthday cake flavors. It had the same cream cheese frosting as the red velvet, with strong cinnamon overtones. The dark chocolate was special in that the chocolate taste was not diminished in any way by being put into a cake.  It was the dark chocolate frosting that was the star of the show. The frosting was rich, dark, and creamy, more like a dark chocolate ganache that might fill a truffle than traditional chocolate frosting. It was wonderful.

Red Velvet and Triple Cinnamon cupcakes from the Sprinkles Cupacke ATM.

Red Velvet and Triple Cinnamon cupcakes from the Sprinkles Cupacke ATM.

 

Eliza Holland Madore and David Madore are happy to eat their cupcakes from the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM on the go!

Eliza Holland Madore and David Madore are happy to eat their cupcakes from the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM on the go!

Cupcakes have been food trend A-listers in NYC since Magnolia Bakery was featured on “Sex and the City” in the year 2000. The cupcake ATM is a brilliant cutting edge idea that revives the cupcake craze in NYC which has been waning with the introduction of juice diet trends and other confections such as French macarons. The Nelsons are innovators, giving New Yorkers a unique shopping/dining experience – quirky and joyful enough to trend on social media sites like facebook and twitter. So get out to Lexington Avenue between 60th and 61st street and get yourself deliciousness delivered 24 hours day by NYC’s very first Automatic Treat Machine!

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Dunwell Doughnuts

Bushwick has many treats, but none so delicious as Dunwell Doughnuts! The best news? Dunwell Dougnuts is ALL VEGAN!

I was attending wedding rehearsal dinner in Bushwick. When I got off the L train Montrose, I was face to face with a quaint old-timey looking doughnut shop beckoning me to come in. When I entered the vintage wood paneled store it was nearly 6 p.m. This meant that the doughnuts were in low supply. Fortunately there were two two flavors left, traditional glazed and coconut. I decided to try the coconut. Biting into the doughnut was a magical moment, indeed! Gooey, soft, bursting with flavor! Every overly dramatic cliché adjective used in every food commercial came flooding into my mind. This was the most delicious doughnut I had ever tasted! I decided to buy and extra to share with my roommate. When she tasted the doughnut, she practically twirled about the apartment with excitement. We decided to research this mysterious doughnut shop and only then discovered it was all vegan!

Vegan Coconut Doughnut from Dunwell Doughnuts

Vegan Coconut Doughnut from Dunwell Doughnuts

Dunwell Doughnuts gets it name from its two founders – Dan Dunbar and Christopher Hollowell. (DUNbar + HolloWELL = Dunwell.) Legend has it that they first got their doughnut shop idea after watching an episode of the Simpsons. Watching Homer Simpson consume his favorite treat made these two college friends realize that there were no satisfying all vegan doughnut shops in NYC. Since opening December 6th, 2011, Dunwell Doughnuts has been serving their scrumptious doughnuts and other vegan treats in their comfy Bushwick shop. They even serve vegan ice cream that can be placed on top of a doughnut to create a sundae of joy. They bake their doughtnuts twice day to ensure your personal doughnut is as fresh as can be. They have over 200 flavors, but only serve select flavors on any given day. Their “staple” flavors served every day are traditional glaze, cinnamon sugar, coconut, chocolate, raspberry/blueberry, and jelly filled. Seasonal includes Root Beer, Raspberry Pistachio, Raspberry Rose, Chocolate Mint, Maple Bourbon, and German Chocolate Cake. You can see their full list of flavors here.   You can check their facebook page for each day’s flavor offerings.

Outside Dunwell Doughnuts

Outside Dunwell Doughnuts

You can learn more about Dan Dunbar, Christopher Hollowell, and their products on their very extensive website.   The important thing to know is they have hit the jackpot in delicious, and no matter what borough you live in, it is well worth the trip to Montrose street!

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