Andrea F

Day 92: City Lights from the Empire State Building

In Empire State Building, NYC, NYC Architecture, things to do in NYC on August 31, 2009 at 11:58 pm


Make it your reason for going to Midtown. Like they say, you haven’t visited New York City if you haven’t been to the top of the Empire State Building. Before you raise your hands in a fuss, stop and think—it is pretty extraordinary. From the ground, it’s known as the building with the nighttime light show in glowing colors, reminding everyone what season it is, but on the 86th floor, all that matters is the view below. Even for longtime New Yorkers, the vastness of the surrounding landscape, that includes not only the city, but local waterways and neighboring states as well, is in a word, breathtaking. Since its completion in 1931, the New York landmark building has welcomed thousands daily to snap shots against the luminescent backdrop, or study the grid of city streets that buzzes with traffic over a thousand feet down, maybe even daydream themselves into their own Hollywood Blockbuster (think King Kong, Sleepless in Seattle). Being part of the daily grind it’s easy to forget the expanse of the city, but from a quarter mile up in the sky, there’s absolutely no denying it.


Day 91: Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

In NYC, NYC Bars, NYC Culture, NYC Restaurants, Queens on August 30, 2009 at 11:56 pm


It’s been said that in New York, you can travel the world without even leaving the city, thanks to all the ‘little’ neighborhoods, and the shops, cafés and bars within them. If you’re ever in the mood for a visit over to the Czech Republic and its surrounding Eastern-European neighbors, head to Astoria to Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, where for an evening, you’ll feel a world away. The last remaining beer garden of its kind and a fixture in the community since the early 1900s, Bohemian Hall is a gathering place for local Czech and Slovak communities and adventurous others with a liking for beer and a taste for some hearty Slavic fare. The massive back garden is especially inviting on warm-weather days where lines of picnic tables cover the ground and mobs of strangers and friends unwind to live music—note the Czech and Slovak flags on the stage—, a great beer selection, and what else but pierogies, potato pancakes, sauerkraut and goulash. Does it get any better than this?

Day 90: A Day at the Races

In Horse Races, New Jersey, NYC, NYC Sports and Recreation, things to do in NYC on August 29, 2009 at 11:48 pm


Unless you’re up for spending the afternoon at OTB (and chances are, that’s not likely) it means a car-ride. But a day at the track is worth the effort it takes to get there, and not just for the sake of winning a few bucks. There’s the beautiful horses and colorful jockeys, the hot dogs and beer, and of course, the thrill of the gamble. It’s one thing to catch the footage on the tube, but to stand at the mile-long track with only a fence between you and the thoroughbreds, bets placed, tickets in hand, the grandstands full of fans chanting the names of their favorites and the rumble of hoofs in the dirt, the action’s so thick you can taste it. With at least a half-dozen New York/New Jersey venues in close proximity to the city, it’s an easy day away. If you don’t consider yourself to be one in the know, find a friend who’s familiar with the game and tag along under their direction, or breeze through a program for the basics of betting and give it your best shot. Worst case, pick the names you like the sound of, like say, Koka Kola Kitty and cross your fingers they finish first. As long as you keep it for fun, it’s no sweat if you don’t win. But if you do…that wad of cash will feel really nice in your hands.