Saturday Night LIVE and OUT | New York, United States | So las night I experience a VIP backstage of SNL – Saturday Night Live, and got to hang out with Lady Gaga, during and post the show. I must be fully honest, I never cared much for her, and yes I got hooked up many time to her songs and marketing, but tonight I saw a different side of her. The live performer, the professional and the human being, and I must say I was impressed by them all in no particular order. Our night began at Asia Galore restaurant TAO Downtown. If I would have to describe this venue, I would say is a sort of convention center food venue, with a menu that includes every single type of Asian cuisine (and not in the best way). A huge statute takes over the room, a weird one, which combines the shape of Shiva with the face of Buddha. I do not recommend it at all. But thank God our night have much more interesting surprises ahead. So we left TAO in Chelsea, and moved to the Rockefeller Center area, to the NBC Studios and headquarters of SNL – Saturday Night Live. Thank you Lisa Medrano and Ted Harbert, Chairman of NBC Broadcasting, for the invite to see Lady Gaga live and invite us to the backstage and after party, at Dos Caminos. BTW Lisa Medrano, chose a Rubin Singer Leather jacket for the look of the night. We spent the rest of the evening watching Lady Gaga backstage right from Lorne Michaels’ office, best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live and producing the various film and TV projects. An unique experience indeed. But of course, the after party was still ahead. A great night !!! and I got to see how generous and professional Gaga was with her co-stars. Professional shining with her own talents and generous, making sure everyone was shinning equally as her. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends (*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone # 917.754.5515. Check our schedule bespoke groups, escapes and retreats at Coups de Coeur. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of LGTNetwork, IGLTA, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network.
Grand Central Terminal behind the scenes tour | New York, United States | If there is something that always intrigues and interests me about iconic landmarks and destinations, is to dig deep into their apparent facade and learn about the myths and legends behind them. You saw my recent post on Buenos Aires, from my visit last week, and now New York. Invited to join this exclusive group of luxury concierges of Manhattan, by my friend Michael Romei, I took part of this exclusive behind the scenes 3hs tours of Grand Central Terminal and Beyond. The tour was conducted to detail and perfection, by Docent-in-Chief Daniel Brucker, who not only is an erudite in the subject, but also is known and referred as “The Keeper of Grand Central’s Secrets”. Grand Central Terminal is “the world’s number six most visited tourist attraction”, bringing in approximately 21,600,000 visitors annually. The first tip to learn about Grand Central, is that it is a “Terminal” and not a Station. Grand Central is the point the end and the beginning of the rail line into and out of New York City. Our tour guide, made strong emphasis on this, and demanded respect alluding Grand Central Terminal, is the biggest train terminal in the world.
From there on, we immersed into a behind the scenes and secrets tour, which took over 3 hours. I must say it felt like just one. We started with a brief introduction. while seating at the stunning and breathtaking Vanderbilt Hall. This room is very important, and you will be able to read the plaque placed there. The Grand Central was the first building in the United States to be saved under the Landmark Act by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In 1975, when Grand Central was threatened with demolition, Jacqueline Onassis lent her support to the preservation cause. Facts: Grand Central Terminal is the biggest terminal in the world. New York’s biggest basement. The entire population of San Francisco passes by and uses the GCT everyday (750K people). 700 trains daily. 44 platforms with 67 tracks. 99% punctuality. 80% Lost and Found rate. 1200 passengers per train formation.
Did you know that all the Train Schedules displayed on the boards, are wrong ? Well technically they are wrong, but on purpose. All train departures are scheduled to leave a minute before they do. This is to allow the massive crowds to move safely and organized.
Have you ever tried the Whispering Gallery? There is a section of the Terminal on the lower concourse, next to the Oyster Bar and Restaurant. The acoustics of the low ceramic arches, covered of Guastavino tiles, can cause a whisper to sound like a shout. I looks like I am confessing, but no. This is how it works. Stand at opposite corners with a friend. Let your friend whisper something, facing the wall. You will hear it loud and clear on the other opposite corner, you were right next to them.
The Grand Central Terminal Clock, is a stunning true jewel. Urban legends say, it is worth between 10 to 20 million dollars. Each of the four clock faces is made from opalescent glass; the story that the faces are made of opal and that both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have estimated the value The ceiling over the Main Concourse, one of Grand Central Terminal’s most famous features, displays a massive celestial piece of art. This remained covered for many many years, with grime and dirt, result of millions of cigarettes smoked by waiting commuters. However, if you look carefully, you will notice the great mistake made by the artist. The zodiac on the ceiling is depicted backwards. The Vanderbilt, never recognized this mistake, claiming the painting was made as if God would be looking from the skies. Also if you look carefully, next to Pisces you will find a hole in the ceiling. This hole was pierced by a Redstone rocket, which was place on display at the Main Concourse to show Americans and the world the supremacy over the Soviet Union and the Sputnik Satellite.
But this was just the beginning of our behind the Scenes and Secrets for Grand Central Terminal. Till this point, we had seen same as any other regular visitor. But of histrionic guide, had a few more surprises of us, which are only accessible to a few. First we went down to New York City deepest and largest basement. There we saw and learnt about the very soul and power of this iconic station.
We explored the tunnels under GCT, with rock formation that date 600 million years. Did you know that the Grand Central Terminal and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, are linked by a secret train platform and track “Track 61” ? which allowed VIPs to enter the hotel in a more private manner, and was always fueled and ready for the use of presidents. Even Andy Warhol was popular for throwing parties in this train, called “The Underground Party”. This simple tiny red button, is the one responsible for shutting off the ENTIRE power of Grand Central Station, in case of an emergency.
From there we move to the higher floors of the Terminal, where we visited the “Situation Room” and the “Headquarters of Operations”. But I must say, that the most exciting part of our tour was reaching the highest point of the building, and seeing Grand Central Station at full splendor, from the city windows of the ceiling. What I called “the eye in the sky of Grand Central Station”. Little windows located right on top the 100 years sing.
What an amazing way to explore Grand Central Terminal, and learn more about such an iconic building, which in many ways has transformed the life of Americans and most closely New Yorkers. After over 3 hours walking along, up and down, was time for lunch. For this which better option than walking to the lower level and enjoying some great fresh dishes at the OYSTER Bar & Restaurant (I strongly recommend the Manhattan Clam Chowder, and the Tuna Steak, with a chilled Chimay Belgian beer). Hope you enjoyed my report. I do not want to say much, not to spoil your own experience. Once again BIG THANK YOU to Michael Romei, Les Clefs d’Or organization and Metro-North Railroad. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
(*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email email@example.com or phone # 917.754.5515. Check our schedule bespoke groups, escapes and retreats at Coups de Coeur. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of LGTNetwork, IGLTA, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network.
CITIBikes take on New York | New York, US | Spring / Summer season 2013 is here … so BIKE New York. CitiBikes has arrived, finally, to the Big Apple, same as London, Paris, Lyon among many other top cities around the world. Very smart move CitiBank. !!! I found this station, right at my neighborhood outside my daily Starbucks on W 49th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen. Find out more on how to use the system at www.citibikenyc.com. Maps, apps, fares and all the information for a healthy spring/summer season on wheels. See you around. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building | New York City, United States | Yesterday I came out of my hotel in New York, part of my weekend plans to be a tourist in my own city, and right there it was, the New York Public Library, a building I have passed by a zillion times, but I have never taken the time to step inside and appreciate the beauty of the architecture and heritage. Continue reading New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Bryant Park Lunch Priceless | New York, Bryant Park | This is so funny. You people might think that the only thing I do all day is EATING and DRINKING. Well ,damn right I do….!!!! and all is a research for you guys ;-). This time I bring to you Bryant Park, the perfect summer/fall eatery, if you want to feel and mingle with the locals and keep your lunch budget… let’s say affordable while enjoyable. Continue reading Bryant Park Lunch Priceless
Looking for your own personal shopper in your next trip to NYC? | New York, US | Longing for a style makeover? If you are not sure on what looks best on you or want someone to help you with your shopping next time you are in New York or, even find the best look for you, Daniel Lombardi is a Personal Shopper and Stylist, who will give you personalized attention, advise you on current trends, while creating a look that is distinctly your own. That is what I did last Friday and he made me go wait out of my way… Continue reading Looking for your own Personal Shopper in your next trip to New York?
Bateaux New York sailing across Hudson River | New York City | The ultimate dining cruise in New York City. You’ve never seen New York’s world-renowned skyline quite like this. The most up-close views, separated only by glass windows and water. Splendid variety of live music. Outstanding service. All aboard our European-inspired Bateaux New York. You can be certain our magnificent all-glass vessel will leave a lasting impression. Continue reading Bateaux New York sailing across Hudson River
New York seen from the air Helicopter Tours | New York City | Get a different view of New York city and all its highlights. Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Hudson River and all the buildings you always wanted to see. Many different options depending on your mood. (1). New York, New York (20min) / (2). The Big Apple (15min) and (3). Romantic / VIP New York (20min). Pick wisely Continue reading New York seen from the air Helicopter Tours
Hot Air Balloon Rides over New Jersey | by Alejandro Gagliesi | Look at how my friends entertain themselves over the weekend. My dear friend Alejandro, for us just “Alex” spent all his Saturday flying over the Hunterdon County on Hot Air Balloons. How spectacular is that? I the meantime I was home working and dying of envy by just looking at his pictures. I always had this dream of flying on Hot Air Balloons over the wine country sipping through some great chilled white wine, ohhhhh silly romantic me. OMG.!!! But also would love getting on one of this balloons and do bungee, not so romantic right but still very exciting. Continue reading Hot Air Balloon Rides over New Jersey
Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the MET | Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City | What a better way to begin this week than an early Monday morning private tour at the MET – Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the new Alexander McQueen Exhibit. So if you live in New York or plan to visit before their closing in July, put it in your itinerary, you certainly wont be disappointed. The exhibition, organized by The Costume Institute, celebrates the late Alexander McQueen‘s extraordinary contributions to fashion. From his postgraduate collection of 1992 to his final runway presentation which took place after his death in February 2010, Mr. McQueen challenged and expanded the understanding of fashion beyond utility to a conceptual expression of culture, politics, and identity. His iconic designs constitute the work of an artist whose medium of expression was fashion. Approximately one hundred examples are on view, including signature designs such as the bumster trouser, the kimono jacket, and the Origami frock coat, as well as pieces reflecting the exaggerated silhouettes of the 1860s, 1880s, 1890s, and 1950s that he crafted into contemporary silhouettes transmitting romantic narratives. Technical ingenuity imbued his designs with an innovative sensibility that kept him at fashion’s vanguard. It is a shame that I was not allowed to take pictures during the exhibit, to show you in full the indeed Savage Beauty potraited in his avant-guarde Romanticism designs. I also heard the comments, in the narrow corridors, that the locals to the MET are horrorized by this exhibit, saying that it brings The Metropolitan Museum of Art down. I, personally think, as a man almost in his 40’s , that this is the perfect excuse to welcome young people and a total different crowd to come to the MET, so I applaud and congratulate them for this exhibit. My favorite were the crazy hats and hair ornaments, the hologram with Kate Moss and and the mix of styles among Asian influence of the Kymonos, the European Crinolines and the Roman leather Armors. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the MET (May 4, 2011–July 31, 2011) Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, 2nd floor. The exhibition is made possible by Alexander McQueen™. Additional support is provided in partnership with American Express and Condé Nast. For more information www.metmuseum.org. Hey shout out to Lady Gaga and her staff. Guys you should come over and buy the entire exhibit. It is sooo you. !!!! After all I am sure you were born this way. After the exhibit, I went walking by the Central Park down to 61st. Street and 5th. Avenue to The Caprice Restaurant at The Pierre Hotel, but that is for a whole different post. CM