New York

SideTour Launches in New Cities: Experiences Now Live in Dallas, Seattle, and San Francisco

Since SideTour was founded in 2011, we’ve spent most of our time at artisanal beer tastings, underground jazzfests, wildlife foraging excursions—you know, the most unforgettable experiences in NYC, Chicago, DC, and Philly. After two years, we’re thrilled to share some big news: we’ve officially hit Texas and the West Coast.

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Company News, New York

The Closing of 5Pointz

This morning we were informed that the graffiti epicenter 5Pointz was, without notice or warning, painted white last night by the building’s property developer. As many of you know, 5pointz, widely considered the world’s graffiti mecca, was at the center of a legal debate between artists and the land developer. So while the future of 5pointz had been in question for some time, this abrupt change to the building was completely unexpected.  We were shocked and disheartened to hear the news, as 5Pointz has been an integral part of the SideTour family for nearly two years.

Our founder and CEO, Vipin Goyal, first met 5Pointz curator and graffiti artist Meres One in 2011 through a mutual friend. When Vipin rode out to Queens to meet Meres and see the complex, he was immediately blown away—not only by the astounding breadth of artwork, but also by Meres’s knowledge of graffiti and passion for 5Pointz. SideTour seemed like a good fit for Meres, too, who was excited about the prospect of turning his informal tours into regular, recurring events. What started off as a six person experience hosted just twice a month, soon grew to become a 16 person experience held twice a week. 5Pointz was one of our most popular offerings, selling out time and again, for an incredible total of 121 SideTour events since its launch in 2012.
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New York

5Pointz Graffiti: From SideTour to Hollywood

We’re not the only ones raving about 5Pointz, an astounding street art exhibit in Queens: now Hollywood has discovered the graffiti haven as well. Featured in the film “Now You See Me” starring Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Woody Harrelson (we could go on), the iconic art space serves as the scene-stealing backdrop for the movie’s climax. Not that the SideTour community wasn’t already aware of its awesomeness.

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New York

Meet Homeland’s Casting Director at a Gourmet Feast

Judy Henderson and her son Chef Lee provide a SideTour experience that’s two for the price of one: the chance to pick the brain of an Emmy award-winning casting director and a delicious, homemade three-course meal.

Judy, recently nominated for another Emmy for her work on Showtime’s “Homeland,” isn’t the only family member with a knack for entertaining. Learn more about Chef Lee, how he approaches his culinary endeavors and the savory foods you’ll taste on this one-of-a-kind SideTour experience.

New York

Recap: Our First Ever Host Community Bash

A few weeks ago, the SideTour team launched an experience of our own: a host community party at our NYC headquarters.

The heart of SideTour is our one-of-a-kind events, and that ultimately comes down to our one-of-a-kind hosts. We wanted to thank the community for all of the awesome work their doing (and thank you’s obviously involves lots of pizza and beer), in addition to letting hosts connect with one another in person. Throughout all the mingling and noshing, the SideTour team presented some of our tips for social media and self-marketing (check out this blog post for more). Continue Reading

New York

Another Side of Woodstock: Musicians Who Turned It Down

On August 15-18, 1969—44 years ago this week—Max Yasgur’s farm was transformed into a counter-cultural celebration of peace and music during Woodstock. The iconic, muddy music festival symbolizes the free spirit of 60’s, and claims one of the most legendary lineups of all time: The Who, Janis Joplin, Santana, Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix (just to name a few).

JimiHendrix Photo: “Live at Woodstock” documentary

Who could have possibly turned down an invitation to play at Woodstock? Turns out, a lot of significant artists of the day opted out, and the musicians who failed to show are almost as interesting as the ones who performed. Here’s who said no—and why.

Bob Dylan: He never really considered it, despite how close he lived to the festival grounds. In fact, he was reportedly annoyed at the number of hippies descending on his quiet rural neighborhood.

The Doors: They turned down an invitation, thinking it would be a “second-class repeat of Monterey Pop Festival.” Not the best foresight.

Led Zeppelin: Their manager refused, claiming they’d “have just been another band on the bill.”

Woodstock CrowdPhoto: Barry Z. Levine

Joni Mitchell: She was on the original docket, but canceled because her manager didn’t want her to skip an appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show.” She later wrote the song “Woodstock” dedicated to the festival.

Jethro Tull: Echoing Dylan, Jethro Tull were also not fans of hippies. Front man Ian Anderson declined, concerned about the likelihood of inappropriate nudity. (And he apparently said that the pay was inadequate.)

Though Woodstock became something much greater than any one headliner, there must have been some serious “kicking yourself” retrospective moments among this crowd. It seems even the greats make mistakes, and in this case, a lot of them did.

New York

An Ideal Day in NYC: 12 Hours with “Spanish Rob”

Those in the know seek out “Spanish Rob,” as he’s known around town, for his expertise in horology. Essentially, he’s a guru and connoisseur of high-end watches, obsessed with the art and science of luxury timepieces. He’s also an NYC nightlife ringleader, known for curating dinners, co-hosting media events and coordinating the social club WRNY, or “We Run New York”. Here’s how this city insider would spend his perfect 12 hours.

Spanish Rob

Photo: Spanish Rob

11:00AM Brunch in Alphabet City A friend of mine owns Poco on Avenue B and 3rd Street, and her husband is the chef there. He won the Food Network show “Chopped” a few years ago, meaning that the food here is always top quality. They have the best lobster mac and cheese (shown) and braised pulled pork sandwiches. But it’s hard to go wrong here as any entrée comes with unlimited Bloody Mary’s, mimosas or sangria (red or white) served by the pitcher. During peak times—or if you’re coming with an entourage of 25—make a reservation in advance.


Photo: Poco Restaurant & Bar Facebook page

2:00PM Gallivant Around Town Skipping Club, a flash mob of avid skippers, is hosted by fellow WRNYer Michelle Joni and meets at different NYC locations every Thursday. Join up and you’ll find yourself skipping through Central Park, Hell’s Kitchen or even Coney Island, entertaining and spreading joy to your fellow New Yorkers. This week’s skip featured a guest appearance by the Guinness World Record holder for fastest skipper.


Photo: Skipping Club Facebook page

4:00PM Go Antiquing, Manhattan Style At the New York headquarters of Antiquorum, the largest auction house specializing in high-end timepieces, you’ll get a public viewing of rare watches available for sale. Visiting is a must for any watch lover (like me), and sometimes you can even sit in on a live auction.


Photo: All rights reserved by antiquorumauctioneers

5:00PM Happy Hour Brews On the up-and-coming Avenue C you’ll find ABC Beer Co., a shop that’s half craft beer, half bar. They have 12 rotating taps of unique brews to appeal to every type of beer drinker. Tell the bartenders your particular taste (I’m partial to red Irish ales), and they’ll find something delicious for you to try.



7:00PM Meaty Meal My new favorite BBQ brisket joint is Mighty Quinn’s, in the center of the East Village on 2nd Ave. It has a quick line and cafeteria-style dining, boasting simple meals with complex flavors. Just the brisket and fries are plenty for a meal.


Photo: Some rights reserved by Dan Nguyen @ New York City

9:00PM Dance the Night Away My top spot for drinks, Sweet & Vicious, caters to all cocktail genres and is located in the axis of Soho/Bowery/LES. Every other month, my best friend and I host a networking event there called Obliterati to connect people in different social circles across various media scenes. Grab the signature frozen margarita in a jar—or as we call it, a “jargarita”—and hang out in the beautiful backyard area. As the night progresses and the tequila starts to set in, hit the dance floor inside while some of the best NYC DJ’s spin. There’s never a cover, and the party never disappoints.


Photo: All rights reserved by Eddie Vega

New York

Peppergrass: Foods You Can Forage in NYC

A picnic in the park takes on a whole new meaning when you forage for your vittles. Given the warm weather, we’ve been showcasing Wild Man Steve Brill’s favorite food finds that are just ripe for the picking at a city park near you. Up this week to enrich your taste buds: Poor Man’s Pepper, a variety of peppergrass.


How to find it You’ll spot this common weed in sunny, disturbed habitats along roadsides or thriving in sandy soil from spring to fall. The mature plant boasts several branches with alternating single leaves and seed stalks, along with intermittent flat, circular seedpods.

How to eat it Use the spicy leaves, flowers and seedpods for zesty salads, soups, sauces and casseroles. You can also grind up the green seedpods to make superb wild mustard by pulverizing them in a blender with vinegar, miso, garlic, turmeric and salt.

What to “serve” with it For a full meal of foraged foods, be sure to also hunt for yellow wood sorrelchicken mushroomslamb’s quartersburdockjuneberries and mulberries—the first six edibles on Steve’s list. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Join Steve on his SideTour or download his app, Wild Edibles (for iOS and Android).

New York

Central Park Events This Week

For thousands of visitors and locals, Central Park is the summertime destination. You could join the flock at Sheep’s Meadow or the crowd at Summer Stage, but if you’re looking for something more intimate and unique, sign up for one of these SideTour experiences.

Roam at Dusk Sometimes the most interesting secrets are hidden in the shadows. On this sunset tour held next Thursday evening, you’ll learn tidbits about the Park’s landmarks and its lesser-known crannies, from famous film and TV settings to a secret romantic rock garden.


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New York

Hanging Out in Harlem: 12 Hours Above W. 120th Street with Historian Kathleen Hulser

Kathleen Hulser is an urban historian, adjunct professor at both Parsons and the New School and a SideTour host. Although she spends a lot of her professional time downtown, she lives in Harlem on the street where HBO’s Boardwalk Empire is shot. Along with her Springer Spaniel, Nikki, she peruses the architecture and green spaces of Harlem while sampling tasty bites of the newest eateries that are springing up.

8:00AM Wake and Walk In doggie world, 8am is late, so Nikki is raring to go. We pass through the nine-foot tall, carved double doors of my brownstone in Harlem. Many people around the community have asked, “Is that a bird dog?”—a testimony to the Southern origins of many Harlemites who had hunting dogs in their youth.


Photo: Kathleen Hulser

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SideTour brings you unique things to do, amazing tours and unforgettable experiences to help you enjoy your city in a whole new way.

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