National Geographic Traveler: French New York


For a Parisian-style staycation in the Big Apple, visit my new column on the Intelligent Travel Blog
Stay tuned for more tips on how to travel the world without ever leaving New York City! 
Next up, Italian New York.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My New York Bucklist: Top 40 Must-Dos in the Big Apple

In no particular order, a girlfriend and I have amassed a gigantic list of all the top things to do in New York City, some of them popular, some of them less known about. This list of best New York attractions is based on information I have been given by locals and other city transplants such as myself. Those crossed out have been completed!

1. Eat artichoke pizza at Artichoke Pizza, walk the Chelsea High Line, go to the Chelsea Market

2. Go to a Yankees and/or Mets game (I heard if you take the water taxi sometime the captains let the girls drive the boats).

Chelsea High Line

3. Run Brooklyn Bridge back and forth

4. Have a picnic at the Bronx Botanical Garden

5. Climb the 354 stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty

6. Have drinks at the rooftop bar at The Met

7. Go to an open air concert at Central Park

8. Go to a concert at Madison Square Garden (Saw Prince and Simbad)

9. Attend a church service in Harlem on Sunday and photograph all the women in their beautiful hats.

10. Take a “free” wine and art tour of all the Chelsea galleries

11. See the secret subway station off the 6 local uptown.

12. Run the perimeter of Central Park

13. Shove my face at Shake Shack

14. Get into the Boom Boom Room at The Standard Hotel

15. Take a trapeze class

16. Go to the Fulton fish market early in the morning and meet the legendary fish mongers

17. Take the gondola to Roosevelt Island

18. Visit the China Town ice cream factory

19. Tour the Chrysler and Empire State buildings

The Chrysler Building

20. Take a dance class at Broadway Dance Center

21. Go to a charity ball.

22. Kayak the Hudson River

23. See a freak show at Coney Island, then ride the roller coaster and eat a hot dog at Nathan’s

24. Get waited on by transvestites at Lucky Cheng’s restaurant

25. Find out about New York’s connection to the bagel and write a story about it

26. Get pampered at the Spa Castle and then visit a Hindu Temple in Flushing, Queens

27. Take singing lessons with someone who trains for Broadway

28. Tour the real Little Italy in the Bronx, stroll Arthur Avenue

29. Do a jazz tour in Harlem

30. Have summertime fun at a water taxi beach

31. Eat at the Latin American food trucks in Red Hook, watch a soccer game

32. Rent a row boat in Central Park and ride across the river

33. Live it up in the Hamptons

34. Gamble in Atlantic City

35. Participate in an Improv Everywhere stunt

36. Volunteer to help replant oysters in New York waterways

37. Participate in at least 10 New York Caresprojects

Coney Island

38. Photograph hipsters in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

39. Take a Bollywood dancing class then eat Indian food in Curry Hill

40. Dance salsa under the stars in front of Lincoln Center during the Midsummer Night Swing series. Visit http://midsummernightswing.org/ to see the line up.

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Gastronomy, New York City, Travel, Travel Resources, Uncategorized

Change Requires Action, Perhaps Becoming the Cork Dork

In the past couple weeks, I have learned that life change doesn’t mean focusing on getting rid of the things you don’t want, but instead filling your life up with the things you do want until they take up all space. The process of getting where you want to be requires action, forward-moving momentum, at best taken in stride with baby steps: the easiest way to form new habits and change behavior.

Personally, I may not see myself in the restaurant industry forever, but I am doing everything I can to make it a positive experience until I fully progress toward something else. For example, I use downtime before the customer rush to study vocabulary words, which makes me feel more empowered about my writing. So far, I have memorized approximately 135 new words from moiré and lugubrious to obsequious and redolent. And I’ve gotten the other servers involved, bringing out there inner sesquipedalian by holding story writing and word rhyming competitions. We recently debated the difference between decimate, eradicate, extirpate, exterminate, obliterate, annihilate, and eviscerate.

In my most recent endeavor to create something positive in my current lifestyle, I’ve also become the stresstaurant cork dork. In honor of Earth Day, I am collecting all of the corks at the stresstaurant for one week and will either donate them to charities for the creation of green projects or will make them into art projects, sell them, and then donate the money to charity.

If all goes well, I plan to expand and continue running the project.

Why do this? Well, I realized that I write and preach about leading a positive lifestyle, being generous, and giving, but felt I wasn’t fully living this prophecy. Therefore, I wanted to start doing things that would make a difference by starting where I currently am. Action. So much of the time we say, “I will start X as soon as…” or “Someday I will…” But why not start today?

Internationally, 340 tons of cork are produced each year, and it has been painful for me to watch as we send cork after cork to the landfill when I know already that they could easily be reused. Corks can be ground back down to make floor and wall coverings, shoe platforms, moisture-retaining mulch, woodwind instruments, the interior of baseballs, and more.

This for me is about thinking creatively about everyday things, looking at something average and making it extraordinary.

And when it comes to trying something new, start now. Why not? The worst thing that could happen is never having the chance to have tried.

Leave a comment

Filed under Change, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Uncategorized

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Courage from The Daily Love

Every day, Mastin Kipp, founder of The Daily Love, delivers personal emails to my inbox that encourage me to be a stronger, happier person. What a great way to start the day! Today’s email I felt compelled to share because he communicated something I currently struggling with: following your intuition in spite of fear and insecurity. Subscribe to The Daily Love, it’s free!

Enter Mastin:

Living your dreams takes courage, it just does. On the one hand you have your heart, your soul and your intuition nudging you in one direction. On the other hand you have your personality and your mind desiring to stay in your comfort zone.

Living life on the edge in pursuit of your dreams happens as you take action from your intuition and you stay with the fear as your mind and personality resist, cry, act fearful and want to quit.

Accept that it’s totally natural for your mind and personality to be fearful, sad, angry and unsure about listening to your intuition and heart.

Deep down you know that everything IS and WILL BE okay. But the mind doesn’t always agree with this knowing.

Stepping onto The Path and living life at your Highest Potential will challenge you to let go of the limiting beliefs that your mind is telling you about what’s possible for you and ask you to make choices and take action from a deeper place of knowing.

Take risk. Take CALCULATED risk on your heart’s behalf. Let your intuition guide you into the unknown and scary places. Instead of disaster, you will find new horizons.

Don’t ask for your intuition and heart to give you guidance on how to be safe, secure and still live your dreams. Instead, ask for the courage to truly listen to your heart and intuition and cultivate the required mental attitude to make it happen and stay calm in the middle of the unknown storm.

Your dreams are counting on it.

Love,

Mastin

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Achieve Anything: Begin Half-Way There

Spandex pants and socks on: check. Bag and shoes by the door: check. Lights out.

Last night, I went to bed wearing gym clothes so that I would wake up ready for a morning workout. Since I set myself up for the next day’s activity in advance, I left my mind with no way out. If I had woken up  ready for the gym and decided not to go, I would  feel guilty all day. Ah, the pressure of structured commitment.

This is often something I do to encourage a new habit: I’ll fence myself in with something that holds me to it, and then feel forced to follow through. If I’m quitting a job or ending a relationship, I will call my friends and tell them I already did it before I have actually done it. I’ll go ahead and buy tickets for a trip, which makes me prioritize vacation time and work out itinerary details leading up to the departure date.

Following through on big decisions is easier with a strong motivator in place. So, avoid “someday” by taking small actions that will set you up for big results today.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Two Hundred Years of Remarkable Development

I first saw Hans Rosling’s video 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes during a third world development class in college. I recently rediscovered it at Ode Magazine and definitely think it is something everyone should watch.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized