Beat The Heat in NYC This Summer

By Dom Bewley

Summer is well and truly upon us, at once awesome and yet unbearable in its glory. There’s still a few months of sun left (fingers crossed) to explore all the wondrous delights that New York has on offer. But it’s also hot. Very, very hot. All those tall, glass, sky-scraping behemoths and streets paved with tarmac mean that NYC scorches like no other. Still, you’ll want to make the most of the sunshine before it skedaddles for another half year, so here are some of the best ways beat the heat in NYC this summer.

Water is your friend, human

Water is brilliant, isn’t it? Not only does it make up 70-odd percent of your flesh body, it’s also pretty neat to drink too. You should be drinking 2-3 liters a day, and that’s never truer than when the sun’s beating down. Your best bet is to carry a reusable bottle around with you. Not only can you fill it up at one of the many water fountains around, but you’ll also be super environmentally friendly. If only people had been as conscientious as you over the past century. Maybe things wouldn’t be so hot.

Of course, if you’re already out with no water bottle of your own, you can pick one up from any number of shops and stands around town. Remember to stay hydrated on the subway too. Not all of them are air-conditioned, and the ones that aren’t can become a humid kind of hell.

Dress to impress (your body's temperature)

Dare to get those pasty legs out in a sundress or a pair of shorts. Freedom is key – anything tight or heavy is only going to make you sweat buckets. That’s not pleasant for you. Or for anyone else who might be within smell-shot. Are you brave enough to don a pair of sandals or flip flops too? O’ courageous one, we salute you.

Or just run away from the sun

Of course, if it all gets a bit much and you want to seek the safety of a beautifully air-conditioned building, there’s plenty of inside hilarity to be had too. Fancy a little culture to go with the cold air? There are museums aplenty. Looking for a little summer spending spree? Try the innumerable shops. Or if you’re starving, stop by a local restaurant and pray they have air-con.

Ice cream, you scream, everybody screams

As if you needed an excuse. What better way to beat the heat in NYC this summer than with the ice-cold, sugary delights of ice cream? You’re sure to find ice cream vans on most street corners, so go exploring. Vegans can even have their chilly tastebuds sated at one of the renowned Van Leeuwen shops around town.

Just cruisin'

Miss all of the hustle, bustle and blazing microclimate of the city by backflipping on to a boat. Sweet moves. If you’ve never seen the city by sea, then you haven’t even lived. There are plenty of options too. Take a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise, and catch a glimpse of NYC’s iconic skyline with the glorious breeze running over you. Close your eyes and imagine it. Excellent. Or go say hi to Lady Liberty on the retro Shearwater Classic Schooner. Either way, you’re bound to beat the heat in style.

Them’s just some of the ways to beat the heat in NYC this summer. If you're ready to take o New York armed with all of our tips, here are some of the best things to do this summer.

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Empire State Building - Interview with Jean-Yves Ghazi

How tall is the Empire State Building? 1454 feet. Four million people visit the Empire State Building every year The building has its own zip code: 10118. Valentine’s Day is the only day that couples can get married on top of the Empire State Building. The Empire State Building was started and finished in a record-breaking 20 months. See more Empire State Building facts. As modern life continues to move at pace and buildings stretch skyward to accommodate and entertain its city residents, there's one building in particular that remains the jewel of New York's skyline: the Empire State Building. Since its conception, it has been a towering symbol of ambition and imagination - a feat of human endurance, ingenuity and financial resolve. As many as 3,400 men worked on the building every day to assemble its skeleton in record time and it cost an estimated $41 million to build at the time (around $558 million by today's standards). Since its unveiling, it has proved to be fertile ground for inspiration. Films such as Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and King Kong (1933) gave the building as much prominence in film as it's had in our collective imagination ever since. But what's it like to be at the helm of one of the Seven Wonders of the World? We had the honor of catching up with Jean-Yves Ghazi, the Director of Empire State Building, to find out. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Innovation has been at the forefront of the building's design since it was conceived. How have you kept this spirit of innovation alive in 2019? Our guests love the building. They adore the outdoor views. However, they weren’t too crazy about the queuing process. So four and a half years ago we embarked on this project [the ESB's new exhibit, second floor galleries], during which time we assembled best-in-class teams to design content and expand the overall experience. This creative, intelligent approach ensured that the ESB continues to inspire our visitors, and places them at the forefront of everything we do. We kept getting feedback from our visitors validating our endeavor to take the ESB in an experiential direction. We learned how deeply the connection with the building runs when it comes to our guests - it really is a profound thing. This insight motivated us to create experiences that would help fuel their pre-existing emotional connection with the building. For those unfamiliar with the second floor galleries, can you give us a bit of a summary? Sure! The second floor galleries is an interactive journey into The Empire State Building's legend and history. Telescopes mimic the original survey markers, and guests can watch short film clips of actors reenacting day-to-day interactions that would have occurred on the street outside in the early days of the building’s construction. They can then explore the building through different decades, interact with touchscreens and ride in a simulated elevator. Spatialized audio, jets of air, as well as an optical illusion with a one way mirror on the floor will make them the feel like they're looking many floors down the shaft. It really is a unique experience. That's before we mention the massive, digital rendering of King Kong... Haha, yes. You can touch King Kong’s hands which have broken through the walls. It's pretty spectacular, thanks to HD displays and 4D media elements. It feels like he's right outside the window! Incredible. Immersive exhibits aside, the Empire State Building has obviously had such an effect on the collective imagination throughout the world. In what ways did it inspire you as a child? Here in New York, we have a tendency to not visit attractions in the city unless we have family visiting. So when my family came over from abroad to see me back in 2001, of course they wanted to see the Empire State Building. It’s a day I’ll never forget. My family were absolutely blown away by the experience. Fast forward to today, and I’m fortunate to lead the most iconic landmark in New York City – one of the top iconic attractions in the world. It’s a tremendous responsibility, but it’s such a privilege too. Having been in the hospitality business my entire career, I love the reaction our guests have when they visit. It reminds me of the same emotional connection my family had when they came to see it. Speaking about it being an integral part of people’s memories, what is the most fantastic story you’ve seen or heard while working at the Empire State Building? We see lots of proposals, and probably the most elaborate one was when a guest started putting down rose petals completely unannounced before getting down on one knee in front of everyone. Once a year – during Valentine’s Day - we also host weddings. (Who doesn't want to be married at the top of the Empire State Building?). Every year we host a unique crowd of close-knit families coming together to celebrate the big day. These are the moments that feel so special to me. But let’s not forget that while these weddings are special moments in their own right, it’s all the other moments – the smiles, the gasps you hear as people gaze over the top of the building, and the laughter of visitors engaging with our exhibits – that we create every day. They’re all absolutely priceless. Sustainability is something that you take seriously. Can you describe the steps the Empire State Building has taken to reduce its impact on the environment? Buildings use around 40% of a city's total energy, and in dense urban settings like New York, commercial buildings account for up to 75% of energy used. The Empire State Building, through its energy-efficiency program, has continually beat its energy-efficiency guarantee, from year one. We're exceptionally proud of this achievement and have the ambitious aim of surpassing our targets, year after year. Cutting-edge technology minimizes your energy use. But how have you leveraged it to change the way you tell stories? It’s an interesting question! Technology continues to evolve, and the way to tell these stories is with speed, accuracy, and ease of access. All of our exhibits including the interpretive panels come in a range of languages to encourage effortless interaction. From an accessibility perspective and from a technological perspective in general, I can tell you that it has had a significant impact on our ticketing process whereby we introduced ticketing kiosks that include other languages. As technology evolves, we’ll deliver information in a meaningful, fun, and practical way. What new exhibits are in the pipeline that you’re excited about? You'll have to come and find out! Our second floor galleries exhibit is still so new, but the positive reaction from our guests have been phenomenal - we're absolutely thrilled. We'll continue to enthral and delight our visitors from around the world - so watch this space. A huge thank you to Jean-Yves Ghazi for this incredible interview. And if you want more of the best things in the city we've got just the thing.
Suz Pathmanathan
Free Things to Do in New York City

Free Things to Do in New York City

The City of Dreams - New York City - is the ultimate destination for workers, students, and all of the human folk across the globe. Living in New York can truly be a dream come true and teach you so much about life in a metropolis that it will always be an experience to remember. That being said, it's not the cheapest city in the world. And, with so many things to see in New York, such as museums, restaurants, parks, and iconic attractions, it's easy to lose track of time and expenses while you're there. Lucky for you, there are plenty of free things to do in New York City! Here is a list of the best things you can do for free in the Big Apple. Including: Central Park High Line Staten Island Ferry New York Public Library and more! Free Things to Do in New York City: Central Park Arguably the most famous park on the planet, Central Park needs no introduction. The backdrop for countless movies and TV shows, its 843 acres of verdant delight are enveloped by the towering concrete of Manhattan. For locals, it's a quick escape from the city's hustle and bustle. For you, it's an excellent excuse for some free fun! If you need to burn off some calories from all the food, get your walking boots on and go exploring! There are tons of lakes, ponds, and bridges to explore, as well as trees to sit beneath with a book or picnic. You could also visit the Conservatory Garden, a free garden full of seasonal flora, fountains, and sculptures. Need some holiday snaps? You'll find tons of Grammable things ripe for the taking. You can even hike in Central Park, thanks to the North Woods. This 40-acre stretch of land includes trails, waterfalls, and opportunities to see some birds. Nice. And, if you've got some spare cash, consider taking a guided bike tour of the park's best bits to see it all in one fell swoop. Free Things to Do in New York City: High Line The High Line is a park built on an old elevated train track. And, given it's the former New York Central Railroad track on the west side of Manhattan, it's guaranteed to offer some of the best views in the city. You can walk through the gardens, check out the contemporary art exhibits and performances, and savor delicious food with your friends and family while getting a unique perspective of the city. Free Things to Do in New York City: Staten Island Ferry Staten Island is where the famous rap ensemble Wu-Tang Clan first came together. So, if you're a fan and want to see where the members grew up, why not take the Staten Island Ferry? Not only will you receive a lesson in NY hip hop, but you'll pass the iconic Statue of Liberty, one of the most photographable monuments on the planet. You can board the ferry at the St. George Terminal on Staten Island or the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The ferry ride takes approximately 25 minutes and operates every day of the week. Free Things to Do in New York City: New York Public Library Bookworms and students rejoice! The New York Public Library is free to visit! And yes, most libraries do offer free entry. While the NYPL name encompasses over 90 libraries in the city's limits, we're talking about its most famous location - the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. And oh my, is it grandiose. Each room and floor has unique architectural features and many activities besides reading. For students living or studying in NYC, it can get a little mundane to work and hit the books at home. That's why the Rose Reading Room is so popular. This peaceful and spacious area allows anyone to set up shop and study to their brain's content. Image courtesy of legacy1995/Shutterstock Free Things to Do in New York City: Museums No good city would be complete without a comprehensive list of museums, and New York is no different. And if you're looking for free things to do in the Big Apple, some of the best are free too! The American Museum of Natural History is arguably the best of its kind on the planet. Featuring 28 interconnected buildings housing 45 permanent exhibition halls, a planetarium, and a library, you can spend literal hours wandering around. And, with recent additions like the gargantuan Titanosaur to eye up, it'll delight both kids and grown-ups alike. If you're interested in more recent history, learn all about New York at the Museum of the City of New York. It's a mouthful, but there's no better place to chart the city's rise from settlement to metropolis. Free Things to Do in New York City: Times Square Times Square is one of the most iconic spots in New York; with bright lights, street art, and performances, you can take in the true blue New York energy at Times Square. It is also one of the best places to take pictures and indulge in some good food from across the globe. Or, if you want to upgrade your experience, take a guided tour and get the low down on the area's history. New York - a city so nice they named it twice; it is hands-down one of the best cities in the world, and getting the chance to live and study there is truly a dream come true. Make sure to make the most of your time and save some money by exploring these free things to do in New York City. If you are in New York for a longer stay, consider your accommodation options. AmberStudent is an online student accommodation that helps you secure a home of choice on your study abroad journey. This is a great choice for international student housing. And, if you're looking for things to do in New York City that aren't free, the New York Pass has got you covered. Featuring all of the city's best bits, including entry to the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Guggenheim, it's the best way to see it all for one low price!
Dom Bewley

New York City Marathon

It's marathon time, baby. At least, if you like running. Yes, the New York City Marathon is upon us once more. Those of you lucky enough to have gotten a place are no doubt deep into training. It's too late to get involved now if you haven't, but there's always next year. Either way, you might be wanting to know a little more about the world's biggest marathon, so read on for an information overload on all things New York Marathon. History of the New York Marathon The New York Marathon started way back in 1970. And since it's humble beginning as a simple circuit around Central Park, the event has gone from strength to strength, attracting runners from all over the globe. 49 years later, and the race features well over 50,000 runners from 129 countries. Last year, they raised $40 million for charity. Good going, gang! Where is the New York Marathon? In New York City, da-doy. The course itself starts in Staten Island, before making its way through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and finally looping round and finishing in Manhattan. So if you're not interested in taking part in the marathon, but are interested in getting around New York, bear that in mind and make sure you check which routes are open. When is the New York Marathon? The first Sunday of November, which is November 3rd this year. Can I take part? Not this year, sorry bud. And getting in any year can be an achievement in itself. If you're looking to get involved next year, here are a few tips to follow. Entry takes place between January 14 through February 14 every year. So you'll need to apply then. Put it in your calendar. You'll also need a charity partner. Lots of people who regularly run the New York Marathon in aid of Team for Kids, and if you run and raise $2620 for them by October 2nd, you're guaranteed a spot! There are other charity sponsors chosen on the day the draw takes place on February 27th If you have over 15 New York Marathons under your belt, then congrats, you're guaranteed a place. Though, that doesn't exactly help newcomers. If you live abroad, and plan your trip to the marathon through the marathon's International Travel Partner, you may be able to book a spot. Bear in mind that the whole package doesn't come cheap. Luckily, it includes your flights, accommodation, and your entry fee! If you were admitted into this year's marathon but officially canceled, you can run the following year if you pay the entry fee again. If you're a really, really good runner with world renown, then you'll likely be accepted into the marathon if you contact the elite athlete coordinator. Why should I take part in the marathon? Well, not only do you get to raise money for some fantastic causes, but presumably, you wouldn't be here if you weren't somewhat running-inclined. So you'll know what to expect, and what you'll get out of it. The fame. The glory. And a huge binge on high carb food once the deed is done. Grab a burger at some of the best joints around, or if you're in a nostalgic mood, why not take a bike tour around Central Park, where the New York Marathon first took place? Taking part this year, or hoping to run in 2020? Let us know below!
Dom Bewley

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