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Planning for Transit Times from the Major NYC Airports

If you are heading into New York from one of the airports on business, you need to know how much time it will take you to get to your destination once you are on the ground.  Here are some general drive times* when coming in to the city from the Big Three:

JFK to NYC  ≈ 1hr
LGA to NYC ≈ 30-45 min
EWR to NYC ≈ 1hr

*NOTE: drive times in peak traffic can take 50% longer

In scheduling your time, you also need to take into account the realities of airport transit.  Taxi lines can be very long, especially during peak travel times.  And shuttles decide the order of their customer drops based on geography, which could mean much longer transit times if you are the last passenger.  The most efficient way is to book a limousine when you book your flight and transition smoothly, safely, and stress-free from the airport to your appointment in town.
Category:NYC Limo Information

Limo Pickups: Hassle-Free Transport

Landing at one of the New York airports does not mean you have arrived. It simply means you and your luggage are on the ground somewhere in the vicinity.  When it comes to figuring out how to get to your destination in the city, you are on your own.  You could end up waiting in one more long line if you opt for a taxi, or pacing curbside until your shuttle arrives and hoping you are the first and not last drop off on the schedule.  None of that is pleasant and all of it is stressful.

You may not realize that hiring your own limo and driver is both a reasonable and relaxing option.  You have two options for pickup: curbside, where the driver waits in a car with a sign on the window or meet and greet, where the driver comes inside to meet you either at baggage claim or the customs exit holding a sign with your name.

At Luxor Limo, our current Meet-and-Greet Special offers you this extra service for no extra charge on suv, van and stretch limo pickups. Not only will one of our professional chauffeurs meet you inside the terminal, he will have an umbrella for you if it’s raining, escort you to your vehicle, and provide you a safer, smoother ride directly to your destination.

Book your limo at the same time you buy your ticket to avoid the hassles that can make the last hour of your trip the most difficult.  At Luxor Limo, you can book online 24/7, or you can make a reservation via email or by calling and speaking to a customer service professional on the phone.  Let us know what your needs are regarding passengers and luggage, and we will handle it for you.  All our drivers are professional chauffeurs who speak English and know the best routes for a safe and efficient transit for the last leg of your trip to New York.
Category:NYC Limo Information


You’re planning a big sports night out in New York with friends, catching a game at the Garden or at one of the stadiums. So how do you get there?  Public transportation is great for the planet and your wallet, but it can feel ordinary and anonymous when what you want is for it to be YOUR night.  This is why, despite all the hassles, people want to drive their own car.  So that the event is more than the game, it’s the whole night.

But driving in New York has some big downsides as well.  First off, you need a designated driver.  And that can mean there’s one person who is odd-man out, while everybody else can let loose.

Then there’s parking. There are ten things that could mean you are looking at an unhappy end to an otherwise great night.

PARKING TICKETS: Finding a legal parking space on the street is never easy, and if there is a big event going on, the chances of finding a legal space are almost zero. So what do you do if you see an open space?  Should you grab it?  Maybe.  Most of the time it will be fine, but there are some rules that could surprise you.  For example, the NYC government parking rule #50 says you can’t park in a crosswalk which makes sense, but then notes “Crosswalks are not always identified by painted street markings.”  The fine:  $115.  So if you are one of those people who just refuse to pay for parking, allow tons of time and don’t push the boundaries of legal.  A parking tickets in the city costs anywhere from $65-$180.

TOWING: If you think you can park somewhere that you haven’t paid for, or want to push the envelope on street parking, you may have to find alternate transport home.  A city tow has fixed rates depending on the size of the vehicle from $185-$370. You will also have to pay the ticket, and you must pay before you can get your car. Every one night in impound costs another $20. Then there’s the private towing from parking in somebody’s space that you don’t have the rights to, and the price on that is whatever they can charge.

FINE PRINT: You might decide to drive and just park in a garage.  You see a sign that says $10 and you are interested.  But be careful of the fine print.  The city says rates must be posted, but doesn’t say how big the print has to be.  There are many exceptions and special conditions on signs in parking lots and once you are in, you owe whatever it says.  Parking lots in certain areas know this and structure their fees to get the most out of the unwary.

EVENT RATES: Even though rates must be posted, lots can get around that with a simple phrase: event rate in effect.  This allows them to hike up the price without having it posted.  Almost anything can qualify as an event.   If you’re in town with your car for something special, chances are it qualifies as an “event” and you should expect event rates near the venue.

FLAG WAVERS: Many garages employ flag wavers who sometimes look rather official.  They will direct traffic to their garage which is usually off the main path (hence the need for flag wavers to get you there) and are often hard to get out of once you are there.  These places, though off the main drag, are often more expensive, not less.

TAXES: Wherever you park, the price is not quite the whole story.  City taxes on parking garage fees add another 20% to the cost.  A $50 fee means a $60 bill in the end.

TIPS: There are fees, taxes, and then tips.  Be ready to tip your valet going in and out.  The reality of space in New York makes self-service lots less cost-effective.  Valets can park cars literally bumper to bumper within inches on either side, packing them in.  The tip going in is a request to be extra careful.  How extra careful do you want the valet to be?  You say that with the size of your tip.

BUMPER DAMAGE: Even if a valet is careful, their job is to pack the cars in.  If you don’t want your bumper scratched from the wall or your sides dinged on the side, you should make sure you have bumper protectors and car door guards.

BIG VEHICLE SURCHARGE: If you’ve got an SUV you will likely have to pay more.  It’s all about the premium of space, and if you take up more space, you have to pay for the extra real estate.  Even if the sign says one rate, you could be looking at a serious surcharge for that big vehicle .

TIME WASTED: Valet parking often means a long wait at the end of the event.  There might be a line waiting for cars, or your car might be packed in behind others and so will take a while to extract.  (Oh, and did you tip well?  Because a good tipper might just get a bit quicker service in hope of a quicker turnaround). Or if you parked on the street a good distance from the venue, you will now have to hike back to your car.  Then sit in traffic, burning gas.  If you want to go somewhere else not in the neighborhood for a post-game party, you have all the same parking problems.  Time wasted handling the hassles instead of having fun with your friends.

When you add up the hassles and the cost (not to mention the potential costs of damage or towing), you might consider going with a chauffeured car for the night.  Let the driver worry about the traffic.  You have all the privacy and control you would have in your own car.  And you and all your friends can party as much as you want.  There’s no time wasted searching for a parking space, walking back and forth from a spot a mile away, no bumper dents on your car, no worries at all.  Just a great game, a great night, and all on your own terms.

Do you have a parking “night out” horror story?  Tell us about it.  We’d love to hear from you.
Category:NYC Fun Facts

Top Ten Power Lunch Spots in New York City

Power Lunch.  Business dealings smoothed over by fine food and drink.  Everyone leaves satisfied.  According to an exhibit at the New York Public Library, “Lunch Hour NYC,” the first power lunch restaurant in New York was Delmonico’s Steak House in the 1830’s, though it wasn’t called that back then. The phrase “power lunch” comes from an Esquire magazine article in 1979, “America’s Most Powerful Lunch” about the Grill Room at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The power lunch scene is not as fickle the way it is for nightclubs and even restaurants.  The Grill Room is still shows up on just about every list of this year’s power lunch spots. The atmosphere conducive to the conduct of business is not trendy.  It is conservative and comfortable.  Some places are more about being seen than the food, perhaps, but the place should never interfere with the work being conducted in tandem with the meal. Seating at the “best” tables is reserved for patrons of some stature, and some have a mandarin hierarchy for who gets placed where.

Many have a prix fixe menu, which usually offers the quality of a la carte items not just a lower price but a shorter wait time.  Power lunch, after all, is an interlude, it isn’t the whole work day.

Michael’s New York
Michael’s New York shows up on everybody’s list.  The cuisine is California contemporary with a fair amount of seafood on the menu.  During the day, there’s plenty of natural light and the pleasant, stylish decor provides a bright backdrop without intruding.
The Grill Room at the Four Seasons

The Grill Room was the inspiration for the phrase “power lunch” and it retains top honors to this day, showing up on every list, sometimes before and sometimes after Michael’s. A mid-town modernist icon with indirect lighting, tall ceilings, and towering windows, the tone is classy all the way.

This airy, chic restaurant in the Trump Tower offers food that is a fusion of French, American, and Asian.  The colors are light and muted and the views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows of Columbus Circle and Central Park are stunning.  The food at Jean-Georges makes it the only restaurant on the top ten list with Michelin stars, and it has a whopping 3.

The Standard Grill
Located under the High Line (read article here) in the meatpacking district, the Standard Grill aims for an American Bistro feel.  Like the bistros of France, The Standard Grill has tables in their glassed-in patio with a bright, life-in-the city feel and rich leather booths inside have the weight of a plush club.

Service is the god of the staff at Nobu. The food is Asian, with a Peruvian (yes, Peru) influence.   The decor has a timeless Japanese feel and with very modern overtones.  The subdued tones and wood tables make this the place to do a deal over a meal in TriBeCa.

Asiate, 35 stories high overlooking Central Park in the Mandarin hotel, has arguably the best view in the city. The Asian/French fusion food is served in a dining room that is a fusion of hot and cold itself.  The warm gold tones of the upholstery and screens contrasts with the icy crystal of the ceiling light sculpture and glass partitions.

21 Club
The 21 Club in Midtown Manhattan began as a Prohibition speakeasy, the kind with levers to tip move walls and tip tables to dispose or or hide the booze whenever there was a raid.  The food is “country club classic” as is the decor.  And although the restaurant no longer requires a tie to enter, you’d never know it to look at the lunch crowd in their suits.

Casa Lever

The booths look like spaceship pods as imagined by the 60s, an era suggested by the Warhol prints on the wall as well.  Wine racks instead of walls separate the booths letting the light come through.  The little red tables in the middle give the place a friendly, intimate feeling. The food is Italian but the staff and feel is all Manhattan.

Le Cirque
With a name that means “the circus” you might expect a bright and raucous restaurant instead of a sedate bastion of old-style gravitas.  The high ceilings with cloth draping does evoke the big top tent a bit, but on the ground the restaurant is all business.

Cipriani Wall Street
For a power lunch in the Financial District, Cipriani has an expansive elegance with a 70-foot high ceiling finished with a  Wedgewood Dome.  There is also an outdoor terrace overlooking Wall Street for those interested in a mid-day cocktail as they contemplate their domain.

How about you?  Have you eaten at any of this bastions of the business deal and have your own take on them? Or is there someplace you prefer?
Category:NYC Fun Facts

Cultural Meccas of NYC -The Met and The Guggenheim

When I was a kid living in Pennsylvania, my mother would take the family to New York City and we’d spend the day in Manhattan shopping, seeing a show, maybe ice skating if it was the season (see blog post here). We’d have a meal or two at a quintessentially New York eatery and a snack from one of the sidewalk carts.  And, because New York had culture that our small town did not, we’d spend a good chunk of time in one of the New York City museums.

New York has more museums than most people have books in the house.  In Manhattan alone, there are over 60 museums.  Many world-class art museums grace the island but two dwarf the rest: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim .

Both the Met and the Guggenheim are along what is called “Museum Mile,” a tree-lined stretch of 5th Avenue bordering Central Park between 82nd and 104th Streets. A half-dozen, more targeted museums can also be found there including El Museo del Barrio, the Jewish Museum, the Goethe House German Cultural Center, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design.  These smaller museums can often be more enlivening and accessible to the occasional museum goer than the goliaths nearby where you can spend the day and not see everything. The Met along has almost 2 million works of art that have been created over more than 5,000 years. To get a sense of its size, the Egyptian Art gallery includes a whole temple given to the US as a gift.

The Met owns another historical building, or rather group of buildings, transplanted stone by stone which is a museum in its own right: the Cloisters.  The Cloisters combines five medieval cloisters into one estate along the Hudson River. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. not only donated the land for the museum and contributed works from his own personal collection of medieval art (including the famous unicorn tapestries), he also donated land across the river from the museum so that the view would remain unspoiled. The Cloisters museum primarily exhibits works of art from the 12th to the 15th Century in buildings that date back to that era, creating a feeling of stepping back in time.  With the vaulted arcades and central courtyards around which monastic life was led, the Cloisters offers a real sense of how life moved at a different pace and with a different horizon than the modern world alongside the works of art that reflect the spirit of those times.

School kids and college students from the Greater New York area get in free, but everyone else is asked to pay a $20 donation for either the Met or the Cloisters.  Admission to one buys same-day admission to both, if you are planning a day of museum visits.

The other great museum born from the vision of a single philanthropist is the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The building itself is a work of art. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this Guggenheim is the youngest building to be designated a New York City landmark.  The design is a large part of what makes a visit to the Guggenheim so enjoyable. The round building has a long spiral ramp that curls from the top to the bottom.  Even thought the art is only from the 19th and 20th centuries, the volume of works on display can easily make a day of it you wish.  Children get into the museum for free and the price for adults at $12 is nearly half that of the Met, so if you want bang for your buck, the Guggenheim is your museum.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
Fifth Ave at 82nd Street
New York, NY 10028

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10128

The Cloisters
Fort Tryon Park
New York, NY 10040
Category:NYC Fun Facts