Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Bar Profile: Rudy's Bar and Grill

Rudy's Bar and grill, located in Hell's Kitchen, opened it's doors in 1933 by the Rudy family and was one of the first bars in New York City to receive a liquor license after prohibition had ended. Not much has changed since then including the original wooden front door which is still fully functional today. If you are lucky, you'll get to hear about this historical bar firsthand from the present owner Jack, who has been a regular at Rudy's since 1943. As you arrive at the entrance, you are greeted by a giant pig statue, which has become a landmark of the bar as well as a red neon sign displaying the bar's name. Inside, you see exactly what you'd expect from the winner of best dive bar by AOL-City Guide. Bar stools and tattered red banquettes up against beer stained tables furnish the bar for the most part. But just as you'd expect from a great dive bar, you also get cheap drinks, a great jukebox, and best of all FREE hot dogs.
Rudy's has 12 beers on tap including the house beer Rudy's red, which has a watered down taste but at $3 a pint you have to take what you can get. Other great deals include $7.50 PBR pitchers and McSorley's Ale cheaper than AT McSorley's! Catch the early bird special and pay only $4 for your cocktails and shots from 8am to 5pm. It's no wonder that Danny, a manager at the bar said “Rudy’s won’t match neighborhood Happy Hours. We refuse to raise our prices!” The jukebox, which blares all types of music from jazz to classic rock to mainstream music is also an attraction at Rudy's. To accompany your dirt-cheap drinks and good tunes you also have a complimentary hot dog which has lured in customers time and time again.During the warmer months the "backyard" (a tented concrete area) is open for fresh air and extra space. This does not prevent the bar from being extremely packed and noisy all the time so keep that in mind. Every Thursday the "Drinking Liberally" social group stops in at 7pm to discuss left-wing politics, which may intrigue/sway some of you away from stopping by the bar at that time depending on your political affiliation. Either way, Rudy's Bar and Grill is a historic landmark for bars in NYC and should be visited by all locals and tourists alike. With cheap prices and free hot dogs it's hard not to consider this a first-stop bar for the night.
To learn more about Rudy's Bar and Grill, be sure to check out their main site here.

For even more history, stories, and free drinks, dont forget to book the Hell's Kitchen Pub Crawl with Uncle Sam's New York Tours today!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Getting into NYC Nightclubs

So you want to enjoy New York City's legendary nightlife filled with dancing, drinking, socializing, and a story to go home with? Well we got good news for you. You can make this desire a reality as long you follow some unwritten nightlife rules. Some of these tips may be obvious, all are simple, but they are also key to having a successful clubbing experience in the city that never sleeps. The first step to enjoying a NYC nightclub is to actually GET IN the club. There's more to this than you may initially think so be prepared to get turned down if you don't take these things into consideration.
  • Get on the list
    • Planning to party at a nightclub does not have to be last minute. If you plan ahead and get on the guest list, you have a lot better chance of getting in. Go on the desired club's website or a promoter's website and look to sign up. It's always a good idea to get on a few club's guest lists if you are unsure of where you may end up.
  • Get in with promoters
    • If you decide to get on the list of a nightclub promoter make sure you get their name and number so you can give them a heads up when you arrive. Promoters make their money by getting people in the club, so they want you there. All you have to do is let them know when you show up and you'll jump that long line.
  • Book a table ahead of time
    • If you are traveling with a group or meeting up with friends at the same club, booking a table in advance is a great idea. It is a lot more convenient and you'll be able to cut the line. Booking a table can be done through promoters or nightlife tour companies, just remember to name drop the promoter or company at the door.
So far these tips have been for planning at least a day or two in advance. What if it's the day of and you haven't done any of the above? You may not be totally out of luck, but realize that it will be a bit tougher to get in and will most likely require waiting. Even if you did plan ahead, there are still things you need to take into consideration for the night of. Here are some last minute tips
  • Dress to impress
  • Arrive with women
    • Bouncers will let women in first so you'll probably get in faster if you're with a group of them. If you're a social butterfly and you're flying solo, you might want to get to know some ladies while on line.
  • Respect the bouncer
    • If you annoy the bouncer, you won't get in anytime soon it's as simple as that.
    • Asking stupid questions or being cocky won't help your chances but trying to be buddy buddy with the bouncer won't either. They aren't there to make friends, they're working
    • Tipping the bouncer is risky. Many bouncers won't accept tips and plenty will take your money and simply not let you in any sooner. With that in mind, I suggest saving your money to spend on a drink for the cute girl inside.
There you have it. If you keep these things in mind and follow some of the advice offered, you should have no problem getting into a NYC nightclub. Once in, expect to pay a cover charge at the door, especially at popular clubs on the weekends.

Enjoy the clubbing experience in New York City and don't hesitate to add suggestions or ask questions about these tips.

If you want the ultimate nightlife experience, including two free drinks, line cutting, drink specials, and the opportunity to meet new people, book Uncle Sam's New York's Chelsea Nightclub Tour operating every Friday and Saturday night.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Neighborhood Focus: Garment District

Despite being only one square mile in area, the Garment District of Manhattan still has a significant impact on the fashion industry and global business. The neighborhood is marked by the Javits Convention Center at the extreme west, the New York General Post Office, Penn Station, and Madison Square Garden in the center, and the Empire State Building in the east. With over $14 Billion in annual sales, New York is the fashion capital of the United States with 1/3 of clothing manufactured in the U.S. being designed and produced in this neighborhood alone. Conferences, expositions, Fashion Week, and tourism all contribute to this outrageous statistic.

The growth of the Garment Industry dates back to the 1800's where there was a transition of people making their own clothes to having them tailor-made. Factors that contributed to this transition include the efficiency of having clothes produced for slaves instead of by them, the invention of the sewing machine, the need for uniforms during the Civil War, and the arrival of immigrants with relevant business experience and skills. By 1880 New York produced more garments than its four closest urban competitors combined and in 1910, 70% of the nation's Women's clothing and 40% of the Men's was produced in the City.
By the 1920's the United Hebrew Trades union hired Jewish and Italian Gangsters such as Lepke Buchalter as union enforcers, but got more than they bargained for. They used unions to demand payments from factory owners and threatened strikes while dipping into union bank accounts. This control transformed into a protection racket, expanding into such areas as bakery trucking. Shortly after Lepke Buchalter's death by the electric chair, Carlo Gambino turned the mob-influenced industry into an all out organized crime cartel. Life for the mob trucker couldn't get better through the early 90's, but everyone else was suffering.

From the mid-1950s until 1992, the garment business shrank 75 percent, and cost New York 225,000 jobs. Manufacturing has declined tremendously in New York City over the past two decades because of numerous factors such as lower outsourcing costs and excessive rents. Many of the showrooms and factories are being transformed into retail stores and condo apartments as we speak. Some of the industry's most famous designers, promising entrepreneurs, and fashion makers reside their business here including Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Liz Clairborne, and Nicole Miller. The Garment industry still remains the fashion capital for designers, couture houses and showrooms despite the decline of manufacturing.

To preserve the rich history of the Garment district, a Fashion Walk of Fame on 7th Avenue has been set up and a sculpture of a sewing worker has been installed on the corner of 39th Street and 7th Avenue. Some think this is not enough and have joined the Save the Garment Center campaign. To learn more check out the official site here.
Getter a better glimpse of the Garment district and learn more information about this neighborhood by taking the New York Up, Down, and Sideways tour offered Friday and Center.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Majestic Theatre on Broadway

The Majestic Theatre is one one of the largest Broadway theatres in New York City, with 1607 seats at its 245 West 44th Street location. Herbert J. Krapp designed the theatre in 1927 for Irwin Chanin, but was soon taken over by the present owners, the Shuberts, during the Great Depression. The interior of the theatre is a beautiful neo-classical design and has remained one of Broadway's premier musical houses. The most notorious shows that have premiered at the Majestic include
It was also the second home of 42nd Street and the third home of 1776. The theatre has shown The Phantom of the Opera since it opened on January 26,1988, the longest-running production in Broadway history with more than 8,000 performances! In 1987, both the interior and exterior of the theatre were designated as New York City Landmarks and people from all over the world stop by to take in how "majestic" this theatre really is.

Learn more about the Majestic Theatre by checking out an in depth timeline from the official site here.

You can experience this Theatre along with several other historic ones when you take the George M. Cohan Theatre District Tour...Book Now!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

This Month in New York History: July

July 3rd: On this date in 1819, the first savings bank in the United States opened in New York City. It was called the Bank of Savings and allowed for customers to deposit their savings safely. By 2002, there were 109 savings bank organizations in 92 countries. To learn more about the history of banks and commerce in New York take a walking tour of the financial district with one of our guides.

July 4th: On this date in 1827, slavery was abolished in New York State. New York has been a dynamic, diverse, melting pot for years now, despite being the capital for American salvery for nearly two centuries. The emancipation was celebrated with a long parade throughout the city and was a step in the right direction for equality. In 2005 and 2006, the New York Historical Society ran a landmark exhibition on the slavery and the making of New York. Check out their site to learn some interesting facts.

July 13th: On this date in 1863, the New York Draft Riots broke out in NYC. The rioters were protestors of new conscription laws for the Civil War and it is regarded as one of the worst riots in U.S. history. Buildings were set ablaze and the costed the city about 1 million dollars in property damages. Abraham Lincoln sent the army to contest the rioters and 120 casualties lost there lives over the span of three days. July 26th: On this date in 1788, New York became the 11th state to ratify the United States Constitution. By the end of May 1788, nine states had ratified but the next three, New Hampshire, Virginia, and New York were necessary for success. This was no easy task and took months of debate. New York finally ratified by a vote of 30-27 and proposed 25 items in a Bill of Rights and 31 amendments.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

NY Craft Beer Week: because New York City is an amazing place to be a beer drinker

September 11-20, 2009 is the 2nd annual NY Craft Beer Week in NYC where locals are able to appreciate and take pride in the many different varieties of this delicious beverage. The goal of this event is to expose locals and visitors to various local beers and make the experience enjoyable with tons of activities. Some of these activities include tasting new styles of local beers, interactive pub crawls, beer dinners, scavenger hunts, and the Gotham cask ale fest. You can get your NYC Beer Passports in early August and be on your way to collecting stamps at some of the best beer bars in each of the neighborhoods, so don't miss out!. After participating in beer week you'll be an expert on different bars and local beers and will be able to show your friends and families your favorite ones.

For more events, details, dates, and updates on this year's NY Craft Beer Week check out the official site here and be sure to join the mailing list

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Bar Profile: White Horse Tavern

Located in the West Village at 567 Hudson street, this historic bar is frequented by tourists and locals wishing to sit in the same stool as famous artists of the past. The pub lives up to its name by displaying an overwhelming amount of white horses as the main decor. Go ahead and try to count the number of white horses in the bar, I dare you.The bar was founded in 1880, and you can certainly tell that some of the bar hasn't changed at all since then. This is definitely a cool aspect of the bar, making you feel just as Jim Morrison or Bob Dylan did, who saw this bar in a similar fashion years ago. In its early years, the bar was mainly frequented by longshoremen up until the 1950's where a Bohemian culture took over. The Clancy Brothers, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, and James Baldwin are some of the other greats who enjoyed a drink here. Dylan Thomas, however, is the artist most associated with Whitehorse Tavern. The Welsh Poet enjoyed his whiskey at "the horse" and legend has it he took 18 shots one night which is linked to his death. There is a whole room dedicated to Dylan Thomas where you can admire the poet and try to match his 18 shot record, although we do not recommend it. The Catholic Workers spent time at this bar and the idea for the Village Voice was stumbled upon here as well. The White Horse enjoys a rich history that you can only truly appreciate by wetting your whistle here firsthand.
Check out what other people are saying about White Horse Tavern here.

Get the full experience of the history of White Horse Tavern and plenty other historic bars by taking the West Village Pub Crawl Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

NYC Taxi Tips

It's nearly impossible to walk a few blocks in New York City and not see a yellow cab. There are over 10,000 taxis in New York City and while it may be one of the more expensive ways to travel, it is also the most convenient and most safe at night. Whether you're a tourist or a local, there are a few things you need to keep in mind while riding in a New York City Taxi. Everyone may know to refrain from smoking and to wear a seat belt, but some things may not be as obvious...

Finding a cab

  • Hail a cab by standing at a street corner in the direction you want to be going in and stick your hand straight out. It may be harder to get a cab during peak hours so don't be discouraged when taxis zoom by you.
  • Accept only yellow taxis with a TLC medallion on their hood. Taking other vehicles will cost you more money and aren't as safe.
  • It is important to note that an empty cab will have its numbers on the top illuminated (pictured left below), while an occupied cab will not (pictured right below). Also keep a lookout to see if the "Off Duty" light is illuminated or not.

Taxi Fares

Initial fare.............$2.50

Each 1/5 mile (4 blocks).$0.40
Each 1 minute idle.......$0.40
Peak surcharge...........$1.00 (after 4pm until 8pm Mon-Fri)
Night surcharge..........$0.50 (after 8pm until 6am)
Additional riders........FREE

Rides outside NYC

  • The above fares apply only to trips within NYC and to Newark Airport.
  • Trips oustide these zones will result in separate flat rates, which can be negotiated with the driver but don't expect it to be cheap.


  • Pay the amount on the meter and a tip even if it isn't technically mandatory
  • You should tip your driver 10-20% depending on the quality of service

These are the basics for riding NYC taxi cabs. Follow these simple procedures and you'll have a safe, easy ride to wherever your destination may be. For more information check out New York City Taxi Tips and Hints