Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Route – Route Change for 2009

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon - Garfield After much speculation, it was announced in April 2009 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will have a new route for 2009. The new, wider route will give the parade the extra space it has needed for more parade goers and will allow for more economic activity.
The parade had previously started at 77th Street and Central Park West to continue South on Broadway when it reached Columbus Circle, through Times Square and ending in Herald Square. The new route will now have four 90 degree turns, with the parade starting at 77th Street and Central Park West, turning East onto 59th Street, then South at 7th Avenue, then East on 42nd Street for a block before turning South onto 6th Avenue, and finishing in Herald Square at 34th Street. This is the sixth route change in the history of the parade since its debut in 1924.
The parade route change has sent hotels on 6th and 7th Avenues scrambling to create pricey room packages and viewing parties in their event spaces for people who want to watch the parade indoors. This change is of course a disappointment for Broadway hotels whose business will now be hurt because the parade won’t be passing outside its doors anymore.
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New York Chocolate – An NYC Religion

Chocolates in New York CitySometimes you want more than just your run-of-the-mill candy bar in NYC. You want to go someplace where chocolate isn’t just a snack, but a way of life. Enter the chocolate nirvana’s.

Start with Max Brenner, where chocolate isn’t just a way of life, but a near religion. With stores around the world, the chain takes its chocolate seriously. You can start with breakfast (and if you can’t wait, go for the Melting Cinnamon Chocolate Chunks Oatmeal) proceed to the Petite Lunch (where sides include waffle fries dusted with chili and, of course, cocoa powder) and then head for the big time. Maybe Max’s Three Layer Chocolate Confection with Toffee Bananas? You can always attempt the Peanut Butter Crunchy Dessert Bonbon, or any one of the fondue, ice cream or crepe creations.
Max Brenner has two New York locations: 841 Broadway (between 13th and 14th Streets) and 141 Second Avenue (at 9th Street.) call 212 388-0030.

Next stop: Jacques Torres. The dessert czar (he was the pastry chef at Le Cirque) has several locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including one on the upper west side (285 Amsterdam, between 73rd and 74th Streets; 212 787-3256; as well 350 Hudson Street (212 414-2462. (The location in Brooklyn features an ice cream store and factory that is visible from street level.) . While you can buy standard chocolates (if your definition of standard includes Champagne Kiss bonbons) the real draw is the amazing hot chocolate in a variety of flavors.

Finally, head to the delightful Marie Belle. With such events as private chocolate-tasting classes and a Cacao Bar and Tea Salon, this shop offers an elegant take on the chocolate experience. Try the Aztec Hot; MarieBelle on Madison (762 Madison Ave, between 64th and 65th Streets) (212 249-4585); or MarieBelle SoHo (212 884-9707) 484 Broome Street.

Billy Elliot Will Hit the Road in 2010

Billy Elliot Broadway MusicalNo, the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit musical Billy Elliot won’t be leaving Broadway anytime soon, but the show will be launching a national tour next year. At last, many people who don’t have a chance to travel to New York City to see this wonderful Broadway musical will be able to see it in their own town. The touring company of Billy Elliot will start in Chicago in March 2010 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, where it will have an extended run before moving on to other cities. Billy Elliot is based on the independent British film of the same name, which is about a boy from working-class England who dreams of learning ballet.

J.C. Penney Set To Open First-Ever Manhattan Store

JC Penney store to open in NYCAmerican department store chain J.C. Penney is opening its first-ever store in New York City on July 31 at 33rd Street and 6th Avenue in the Manhattan Mall. The mall is located one block from Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square and a block from Penn Station.
While the store will have an official grand opening on July 31, a soft opening is taking place tomorrow, July 23, and the new locale will be open to shoppers from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. With more than 1,100 stores across the country, this 153,000-square-foot J.C. Penney store will staff 500 associates. It will be the first J.C. Penney store in Manhattan despite maintaining a corporate office on the island from 1914 to 1988.
There are currently J.C. Penney stores in Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx that are top revenue generators for the department store, so Manhattan store sales are expected to do quite well. The two-level store will finally breathe some life into Manhattan Mall as it has been a ghost town while undergoing renovation for the past year or so.
J.C. Penney is famous for boasting affordable clothing and has recently stepped up to shedding its dowdy reputation by offering designer collections like “I Heart Ronson” by Charlotte Ronson and a Cindy Crawford Home line coming out in September. A Sephora cosmetics store will also open within the new J.C. Penney.

PATH And Bridge Toll Revenues Hurting In Summer Tourism Decline

Brooklyn Bridge in NYCWhile New York City’s economy is no doubt feeling the heat of the recession, a new report has emerged that PATH rail system ridership and traffic through the tolls on the six area bridges into the city have also taken a hit. PATH ridership declined 3.5 percent during the first six months of 2009 compared to the first six months of 2008. Traffic through the Port Authority’s six bridges and tunnels fell 3.1 percent. The Lincoln Tunnel has had the steepest decline, of 5 percent. This information was announced July 14 by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
Consistent revenue coming in from leases and fees along with cutting costs have helped the Port Authority stay afloat financially, but this goes to show that not even New York City’s transportation systems and toll bridges are recession-proof.
Not only has New York City tourism been on the decline this summer with fewer visitors, but fewer commuters are coming in for work, with the loss of 107,800 jobs in New York City since August 2008. Layoffs throughout industries across the board have clearly caused a domino effect on the tourism industry. The unemployment rate is currently at 9 percent in New York, and the recent 65 percent rise in gas prices may be another reason why people are off the road this summer.

A Steady Rain To Become a Hollywood Film

A Steady Rain, the play that will be produced on Broadway this Fall, is going to soon become a movie too. The two-person play is already getting an incredible amount of attention due to the fact that the Broadway production will star major Hollywood stars Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Wolverine, Australia, Broadway’s The Boy From Oz) and Daniel Craig (James Bond in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace). Playwright Keith Huff, who is currently working on writing the screenplay adaptation of his own play, sold the film rights for A Steady Rain to the same producers who are behind the upcoming Broadway production. Whether or not Jackman and Craig will also star in the motion picture version has not been determined yet, but it just so happens that one of those producers is Barbara Broccoli, who is a longtime producer of the James Bond 007 movies.

The Guggenheim and Frank Lloyd Wright Celebrate a Golden Anniversary

The Guggenheim Museum in NYCQuick, how many architects can you name?
No, neither can we.
Well, except for Frank Lloyd Wright, and this summer marks the 50th anniversary of his design of New York City’s extraordinary Guggenheim Museum, which is celebrating with an exhibition called “Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward,” running from mid May to August 23.
Co-organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the exhibition features 64 projects, ranging from private homes, religious spaces, and government buildings, to designs for buildings that were never created; it also includes some original drawings that have not previously been on public view.
Renowned for creating a form of architecture in which form and function meld seamlessly, Wright’s love of nature and tranquility are highlighted here, as is his elegant use of simplicity.
Displayed on the winding ramps of the Museum, one of the most recognizable buildings in the world, the exhibition highlights the artist’s 72-year career through a range of mediums, such as new 3-D models and digital animation.
The exhibition also includes lectures, children’s programs, and an audio tour.
The museum is located at 1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street.
For hours, directions and more information, log onto their website:; or call 212 423-3618.

Celebrities Play Tour Guide For New Big Apple Greeter Program

As part of the Big Apple Greeter organization’s new “Celebrity Greeter for a Day” program, visitors will have the opportunity to go on free tours led by celebrities who will offer them a personal taste of New York City, rather than taking them to the usual famous tourist spots. The “Celebrity Greeter for a Day” program was launched July 15 with the help of former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber and “The Sopranos” actor Dominic Chianese (in photo) at City Hall in Manhattan. Also on hand were Big Apple Greeter representatives and New York City tourism and elected officials.
The program intends to match tourists from around the world with well-known New Yorkers serving as volunteers, offering their unique perspective on a walking tour of favorite haunts. More than 300 New York City residents serve as greeters throughout the year. Now celebrity greeters will be added to the mix and matched up with visitors the same way other volunteers are paired. Greeters are matched with visitors based on language, neighborhoods they want to see, and other interests. However, visitors won’t know in advance if they’ve been paired with a celebrity, so it will be at random.
The Big Apple Greeter program also brings economic opportunity to New York City’s tourism industry. Founded in 1992 by Lynn Brooks, this non-profit organization’s mission is to enhance New York City’s image to foreigners, and to show them New York doesn’t have to be expensive and overwhelming.

Ana Gasteyer Joins The Cast of Broadway’s The Royal Family

Ana Gasteyer in The Royal Family Broadway ShowFormer Saturday Night Live cast member Ana Gasteyer, best known for her impressions of such personalities as Celine Dion and Katherine Harris, is joining the cast of the upcoming Manhattan Theatre Club revival of the classic play The Royal Family. Gasteyer will play Kitty Dean, who is related by marriage to the Cavendishes, the fictional clan of stage celebrities whose exploits are explored in The Royal Family. Written by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, the comedy first appeared on Broadway in 1927 at the Selwyn Theatre (which is now known as the American Airlines Theatre). The new MTC production will begin preview performances at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on September 15, with its official Broadway opening on October 8.

Blithe Spirit Floats Away From Broadway

The Broadway revival of Noel Coward’s play Blithe Spirit ends its run at the Shubert Theatre today. The production, which recouped its investment during its nearly five months on Broadway, was the first Broadway revival of the classic comedy since 1987. In it, Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding, An Ideal Husband) starred as a writer who, following his participation in a seance, finds himself haunted by the ghost of his first wife (Christine Ebersole) – which makes his current wife (Jayne Atkinson) none-too-happy. The role of the medium who conducts the seance was played to loopy perfection by the legendary actress Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote, Beauty and the Beast, Gaslight), who won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her efforts.