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Archives for January 2013

The 10 Most Romantic Locations in NYC!

Where are the most romantic locations in NYC? For romance… or maybe popping a specific question! These are places you could return with a future family to tell the kids, “Yes, its true, (insert-name-of-spouse) and I agreed to tie the knot right here.” We could even devise a private tour that ends in the romantic locale of your choosing!

10. Bethesda Fountain, Central Park

There’s nothing like it. In summer, all in bloom; in winter, when its just you and your loved one. Olmstead and Vaux’ “Heart of the Park,” will forever be your cherished memory.

9. Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center

Because nothing best exemplifies your future spreading out in front of you like the sweeping views from their Observation Deck. Plus, you can boast “I gave her a rock, on Top of the Rock!”

romantic locations in nyc

8. Brooklyn Bridge

There is no better, stronger symbol of building bridge to your future  than the majestic Brooklyn Bridge. Built in 1883 and designed to last for 1000 years. And we have proof – It worked for Blake and Jess!

romantic locations in nyc

7. The Cloisters

Going a bit off the beaten path, this one is for Museum lovers and aficionados of solitude and reflection. At the top of Manhattan, in Fort Tryon park, the Museum celebrates Medieval culture and has a stunning view of the Hudson River.

romantic locations in nyc

6. Wave Hill, da Bronx

This 28 acre public garden in the NW Bronx was built in the style of an English garden. Resident Mark Twain once wrote about Winter in Wave Hill – “I believe we have the noblest roaring blasts here I have ever known on land; they sing their hoarse song through the big tree-tops with a splendid energy that thrills me and stirs me and uplifts me and makes me want to live always.” Whatta romantic location in NYC!

5. Staten Island Ferry

Hey, it worked for Melanie Griffith in Working Girl! The free, perennially tourist packed half-hour boat ride stil gives the best views of the city. Bonus- you can drink beer on the boat!

romantic locations in nyc

4. Prospect Park’s Boathouse

Tucked away inside Olmstead and Vaux’s masterpiece, the PP Boathouse is a Victorian wonder overlooking a tranquil lake.

romantic locations in nyc

3. Coney Island’s Cyclone Roller Coaster

Just whatever you do, please dont try and propose WHILE ON the coaster itself. We dont you losing the ring. Do it as the coaster slides back into the carriage house. Quoth the Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Love is a roller coaster!”

2. Underneath the Unisphere, Flushing-Meadow Corona Park

Surrounded by the ethnic enclaves of the most diverse population in America, underneath a great emblem of peace and diversity, and walking distance from awesome celebratory feasts in Flushing.

romantic locations in nyc

1! Grand Central Terminal’s Whispering Columns

We saved the best for last. Bring your beloved to the lower level of GCT, right outside the Oyster Bar. Have her (or him!) stand facing the wall in one of the corners, and have them listen. Go to the opposing corner and face the wall. Whisper into the corner; thanks to the extraordinary acoustics of the Guastavino tiled ceiling, your words will carry perfectly to your lovers’ ears, as if you were standing right next to them. Thats when you tell them you love ’em!

Do you know anyone who has proposedromantic locations nyc in NYC? Tourists or New Yorkers? Let us know if we left any key spots off the list!

By the (ecstatically engaged!) Matt Levy


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The Marvelous MET and the Bewitching George Bellows

Every tour guide knows that January and February are a time to hunker down, live light, and prepare for the busy season that rolls up in March, just like your favorite perennials. For some, that might mean catching up on some classic films (Matt Baker) checking out some live music (Matt Apter) or hell, for some of us that means its time to get that long overdue knee surgery! (Much love and a speedy recovery to Matt Cummings and Kristen Singleton!)

But for many art-loving New Yorkers, this is the perfect time of the year to visit one of our beloved museums. So this past Wednesday, Jonah and I enjoyed a marvelous afternoon at New York’s best suggested-donation art museum in town: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Remember folks, the $25 at the door is only their recommended price! Though it’s always important to support the arts, don’t feel guilty about shelling out a few bucks to one of the most heavily endowed art museums in the world. Located on 5th ave between 77th and 81st streets, The Met was founded in 1870 by a group of wealthy philanthropists, artists, and collectors to be the American equivalent of Paris’ Louvre.

The Met holds one of the largest, most comprehensive collections of art in the country, spanning 6 continents and over 5000 years of artwork, dating back to 3000 B.C. One could spend exactly ten seconds at each piece of artwork from open to close and it would take a month to see everything the Met has to offer!

So when you go there, you have to have a strategy. Jonah and I spent four hours with some 20th century impressionists, a dose of Matisse, a lil’ bit of Renaissance European paintings, and a dash of 21st century photography, but the main exhibit I was excited about was the work of early 20th century New Yorker George Bellows.

Bellows was born in 1882 in Columbus, Ohio and attended Ohio State University where he played baseball and basketball before moving to New York and studying fine art under Robert Henri at the New York School of Art. Bellows chose to paint what many considered to be crude subjects – boxers, the lives of the poor and downtrodden, when such subjects were considered uncouth. Bellows co-founded the Ashcan school movement, and his painting “Cliff Dwellers” (a reference to the way that poor residents of the tenements all crowded the windows and fire escapes of their homes in summer months) made a huge impact on both the art world and the growing socialist politics of the time.

Bellows ended up doing many illustrations for the left-wing newspaper “The Masses” but left the paper to pursue his artistic vision unencumbered by political ideology. This is when he began his arguably greatest work by painting great boxing matches. These paintings exhibited the raw, visceral masculinity and aggression of what some called barbaric ritual and others called “sweet science.” Either for or against, there’s no arguing the kinetic energy displayed on the canvas.

george bellows metropolitan museum new york tour guides

Like many New Yorkers, as he grew older and started a family, Bellows moved out of the city to Woodstock, New York. He spent his final years painting natural landscapes before he died of a ruptured appendix, far too young, at the age of 42.

Many folks aren’t too inclined to spend a day admiring “fine art”. Such museums and their wares are considered too high-brow, effete or inaccessible for the average work-a-day New Yorker (or tourist.) If you fall into this category, simply head uptown to the Met and spend a little time with Bellows, whom, after a long day of painting, I could imagine grabbing a pint at McSorelys and bitterly grousing about how Jack Dempsey “should’a murdered dat bum!”

By Gideon Levy

George Bellows Drinking At the Bar

George Bellows exhibit is on display at the Met until Feb 18th, 2013

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January is for Lovers in NYC – 3 Tales of Wintery Wedding Bliss

Well folks, it’s winter in New York City. And not the shiny big tree, holiday lights and getting presents half-of-winter, I mean the post-New-Years-hangover, bitter-January-wind-and-frost half. That’s when work is slow, temperature is low and there aren’t a whole lot of holidays to mark the time. In short, this isn’t the time of year for romance. Or so I thought…

As it turns out, wintertime IS for lovers in NYC, at least when it comes to LUNY’s private tour clients. I recently did a spate of private tours to couples and families that were enjoying different aspect of the marital cycle. First tour was a young man by the name of Gideon (we’re a rare breed) and his lovely wife Clarissa for their two-week long honeymoon in New York!

Gideon and Clarissa were an interesting pair: Mormons from Australia, and true to the stereotype, Gideon and Clarissa didn’t drink alcohol or coffee and were some of the sweetest, nicest, friendliest tourists I have ever met. And in the Mormon faith, they actually got married a little late in life: 25 and 22 years old, respectively.

One key stop on the tour was at Happy Warrior Park (named after the legendary New York Governor Al Smith.) The Park is known among certain circles as Rocksteady Park –  in the late 1970’s, the Rocksteady crew from The South Bronx invented the B-boy culture known as break-dancing. If being an Australian Mormon named Gideon wasn’t unique enough, my Oz-boy was also a B-boy who NEEDED to do at least one “freeze” in his personal breakdancing mecca.

Gideon Watts

One week later, I led another lovely tour, this time for  the Jenkins family, 9 in all, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Matriarch Lee-Ann had taken a tour of NYC with my brother Matt only 8 months earlier, and enjoyed it so much that she wanted to bring the whole family along for their winter vacation. However, there was a special activity planned for the trip.

trying ring on

While walking the family over the bridge, I spoke of the legendary union between chief engineer Washington Roebling and his loving, devoted and brilliant wife Emily. Emily took over management and supervision of the bridge after her husband had come down with a crippling case of the bends.  With love, patience and unwavering devotion, the two worked together to complete the greatest bridge the world had ever seen. There is no symbol in New York City that greater represents the power of a good marriage than that of the Brooklyn Bridge. (At this point in my Brooklyn Bridge tale, I gave the wink and nod to Lee Ann’s son Blake)


I stepped back and Blake produced a small box from his jacket pocket. He got down on one knee and proposed to his now-fiancee Jess. For the next four hours I got to enjoy touring the Jenkins family through Brooklyn while all floating on a cloud of euphoria after such a happy occasion.

It’s always a joy to be a part of these couples’ marital stories. You know what else is a joy? Having work in the wintertime! In fact, one might even ask “Hey, why is Gideon giving all these private tours? Isn’t Matt around?” As a matter of fact, Matt wasn’t around… he was off on vacation in Mexico with his lovely girlfriend Jenny. Little did I know while I was giving my tour to the Jenkins clan, Jenny and Matt were no longer just boyfriend and girlfriend.

Late one evening on the side of the road in Tulum, after crashing their Vespa (with only minor scrapes) Matt told the love of his life that he couldn’t spend one more day without her being his official partner in life. He then produced a ring and proposed.

Matt Jenny engagement

So let me wish a MAZEL-TOV the size of the Empire State Building to my brother Matt and my sister-in-law to be Jenny on their engagement!!!!!

Who’d a thought? I guess January is for lovers!

By Gideon Levy

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