The guides from Wilderness Rocks help urban dwellers escape to nature with five- to six-hour day trips through the Catskills and beyond. Groups of up to 14 get scooped up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and whisked away from the concrete jungle's hectic routine of hailing taxis and dodging falling coconuts under the Panamanian Consulate. Departing throughout the year, hike options range from the Catskills snowshoe trip on February 11—a 6-mile trek through the snowy sanctum of the Catskill Mountains—to the Pound Mountain trip on April 7, which involves moderate rock climbing and spelunking. Rather than sprinting ahead to nab the freshest, most coveted pinecones, guides make several stops along the way, allowing everyone to catch their breath and take in the serenity of their surroundings. Once hikers have finished each trail, Wilderness Rocks transports the group back to the 86th Street rendezvous point with nothing but their gear, memories, and carefully rehearsed alibis. Before departure, check each trip's page for departure times, clothing requirements, and what equipment to bring.
Sam's Art & Framing preserves and stylishly showcases photos, prints, portraits, and memorabilia with expert care. Sam invokes more than 30 years framing experience to craft each frame by hand on the premises. Choose from thousands of molding and mat-board samples to enshrine a child's artwork or an overturned parking ticket. Framing options are virtually limitless, but as an example, about $70 can get you a 20"x24" frame with glass, backing and hanging hardware, and a basic diploma will run about $100.
Reflecting the diverse scope and scale of science itself, the exhibits at the New York Hall of Science range from massive NASA rockets to holographic depictions of the infinitesimal atom. Originally built for the 1964 World's Fair to showcase technological advancements, the center has since transformed into an interactive museum that, since 1986, has seen more than 7 million visitors. Today, more than 450 interactive exhibits invite visitors of all ages to explore the world by watching living microbes thrive and evolve in a miniscule zoo, discovering the powerful mathematics hidden in everyday objects, and testing their understanding of physics and Plutonian trash talk on a mini-golf course inspired by the cosmos.
When British Colonel Roger Morris and his wife stumbled upon a piece of unclaimed Manhattan hilltop, they knew it would be the ideal spot for their summer home. Built in 1765, the 8,500-square foot Morris-Jumel Mansion—as it's known today—was the centerpiece of an estate that extends more than 130 acres from the Harlem to the Hudson River. Loyal to the British crown, Morris left America during the Revolution; in the fall of 1776, General George Washington used the home as headquarters during the Battle of Harlem Heights.
Today, the mansion offers guided tours of its historic property. After becoming president, Washington returned on July 10, 1790, to dine with cabinet members that included future presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; you can visit the dining room where they ate together. More than 40 years later, in 1833, Aaron Burr got married to Madame Eliza Jumel—the widow of the mansion's second namesake owner, Stephen Jumel—right in the parlor of this estate.
Besides tours, the mansion now hosts rotating exhibits that display everything from period costumes to the axe Washington used to floss his wooden teeth. There are also events throughout the year, from classical and jazz concerts to wine tastings and, once, a lively debate between Burr and Alexander Hamilton scholars.
The frames at J. Reznik Studios don't just immortalize old photographs and new college diplomas; they also keep the memories of fallen heroes alive. As the studio's in-house artist, Jodi Reznik has eased the pain of lost loved ones for dozens of families—such as those of Suffolk County police officer Glen Ciano and NYPD officer Russel Timoshenko—by memorializing them with brush strokes on canvas. Equal parts frame shop, gallery, and conversation space, the studio beckons art lovers of all stripes to interact with Jodi and her husband, Jeff, while they browse her work or select a frame for an existing piece. Expert print makers also enlarge and emblazon images on paper and canvas to forge eye-catching photo gifts, and staffers specializing in flower preservation enshrine bouquets from weddings or punish daisies with unpaid gambling debts behind quality glass. J. Reznik Studios has impressed not only walk-in customers, but online clients as well, earning an 86% customer-approval rating from Groupon users.
Located along the Museum Mile section of Fifth Avenue, the Museum of the City of New York chronicles local culture through an array of exhibitions, interactive programs, publications, and other media. Founded in 1923 and housed in a landmark building, the nonprofit museum hosts temporary exhibitions to complement extensive permanent collections. Hallways and gallery spaces invite guests inside to study historic maps, photographs of life and architecture, and artwork, as well as vintage displays gathering toys, fashion, and furniture—providing more insight into the city's rich character than the diary of Al Pacino. Docents and visiting artists aim to highlight the city's diversity and heritage through public programs and events, such as gallery tours and performances as well as symposiums and panels. A gift shop allows visitors to bring home a taste of the Big Apple via city-spirited books, clothing, posters, music, films, and handmade goods.