Is New York City in your summertime vacation plans? We’ve found a new destination for culinary enthusiasts! So, hop on the bus with us as we take their new Night on the Town tour, complete with a couple of foodie stops.
Gray Line New York is actually the largest New York City tourist attraction, operating their signature red Double Decker Bus tours in that city since 1926. Now, they are going a little further to give you a taste of all the sights.
We talked with David Chien, the Director of Marketing of Gray Line New York, to find out more about the Night on the Town tour. Here are a few facts:
⋅ The dinner tour starts at 777 8th Avenue; be there promptly for the 5 p.m. bus
⋅ It goes for five hours, including a one-hour cruise that takes you past the Statue of Liberty
⋅ You end at the Top of the Rock for a panoramic view of the city’s nightlife
⋅ It really is the best way to see New York!
While the typical Gray Line tour, on any one of its 120 buses, allows you to hop on and hop off at any point, the Night on the Town is structured for you to stay with them the whole time. But, there are plenty of chances to get off the bus. Here’s how it works:
You’ll jump on the bus and meet your tour guide. Ours was Bonnie, and she introduced herself while handing us a menu for our dinner selections. You can choose among Homemade Sausage with Peppers and Onions, Eggplant Parmigiana, Pork Scallipini, Skirt Steak, and more. Hint: We recommend the Chicken Parmigiana or the Basa, a white fish filet. The menu selections and a soft drink are included in the cost of your ticket, although wine and dessert are extra. From there, all your decisions are made!
You’ll drive by a series of foodie hot spots on the tour, including the Farmer’s Market, hundreds of restaurants, and a lot of history. You’ll travel through the Wholesale Restaurant District of New York, where restaurateurs can buy everything they need to serve you. You’ll go past the ‘Peter Luger Steak House’: http://www.peterluger.com/, known as New York City’s number one steak house, and through Little Italy as you drive along Mulberry Street.
And then, after your mouth is fully watering, you arrive at The Grotto Azzurra (read a further review, here), located on the corner of Mulberry and Broome Streets. It’s a NY classic restaurant, recently reopened with Broadway tunes playing in the background, a nice bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and healthy servings of Parmesan cheese to complement your pasta.
The tour doesn’t really allow time for dessert, unless you can order and eat fast—so we ended up taking ours to go. The tiramisu, made from their own recipe, is so tasty we didn’t even mind eating it with our fingers! And, if you are adventurous, try the Sweet Macaroni Tart, another house recipe that just has to be tasted to be understood.
We grabbed dessert and hopped back on in time to head to the boat. Along the way, we were treated to glimpses of Fraunce’s Tavern, said to be the oldest tavern in America, and the Bridge Café, the oldest serving tavern (check their website for ghost stories and more history!), and Lanza’s, an Italian restaurant that has been around for a mere 100 years. And, you can’t forget the Good Stuff Diner, known to some as Manhattan’s best diner.
Of course, the one-hour cruise is worth it—food aside—for the breath-taking sunset view of Lady Liberty and the New York skyline. Any tour of New York just has to include the Statue where so many of America’s ethnic influences started.
Next stop on the tour—the Highline, built in the 1900s in Chelsea Market (home of The Food Network studios). The last train carrying goods between New York and Chicago came and went in 1980, and now the rails are being reborn with gardens and a busy marketplace. You’ll walk through the National Biscuit Company building, full of its bakeries and history, and just full of shops—including a seafood market, a tea salon, and the ever-present gelato. And, you’ll see 9th Avenue, between 43rd and 53rd, where New Yorkers come to dine, and you’ll know you just have to come back later to try them all.
Then it’s one more hop on the bus, and you get to Top of the Rock Observation Deck in the Rockefeller Center. It’s a great ending to an evening spent getting to know New York City—with a Night on the Town.
See what another tour-goer had to say about the Gray Line tour, here.