The Best Way To Experience New York

By Go City Expert

This post originally appeared in World Within Her a travel blog focused on sustainable travel and a vegan lifestyle.

"New York is a cosmopolitan city, full of wonder and culture, but when you’re visiting for such a short time, what’s the best way to see the city and cram in as much as you can while not spending a fortune?"

THE NEW YORK PASS This is where the New York Pass came in handy. We picked them on our first day there. The pass allows you to get into 90+ major attractions, and, yes, we are talking about the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, The Met, The Whitney, along with walking tours of the different neighbourhoods. The price varies, depending on how many days you want the pass for; for one day it’s $109, if you buy the three-day pass it works out as $80 a day. I hear you say it sounds a lot, but most attractions in New York have about a $35 entrance fee. Needless to say I took full advantage of seeing the major museums; The Moma, The Met and The Guggenheim along with Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building and the New York City bus tour. These were all incredible to say the least, as you can see in some of my photos below. What I really enjoyed doing were the walking tours, which were included in the pass. I did the meatpacking district tour, which I recommend highly to learn about its history and why Samantha from Sex and the City that made it so popular. I also did the Soho, Little Italy and China town tours. It’s such a great way to find out how the city has evolved and why the neighbourhoods are so charming.

TWO BOOTS Right now, let’s talk about good vegan food.We all know that when you come to New York, it’s inevitable that you will gorge on food, because the food here is SO GOOD! Pizza is high on the agenda. I went to Two Boots in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s a well-known pizza place among the locals; they offer vegan and non-vegan pizza and, my gosh, the vegan pizza is incredible. It didn’t feel like I was missing out and it certainly tasted better than any vegan pizza I’ve had in London. I’ll even go as far as saying better than those in Rome! I’ve been told it’s due to the New York water... The crust is like no other. BY CHLOE By Chloe is one of the most talked about vegan restaurants in New York, so naturally on our second night, we headed on over to the one on Bleeker Street. Like any hot spot in New York, it was packed with a massive queue when we arrived there were no tables available, so I do recommend going at non-peak times otherwise you will struggle to find a seat. We waited 15 minutes until two seats became available, it was great to see so many healthy options on the menu. I went for the Kale Cesar salad, which came with shiitake bacon, avocado, maple wheat croutons and a Cesar dressing. It was a generous sized portion, which was to my liking it had a lot and tasted great, the shiitake bacon tasted scrumptious and it didn’t leave me wanting the meatier bacon.

My friend had the quac burger, which entailed black bean quinoa, sweet potato patty, corn salad, quac tortilla strips, chipotle, aioli with a whole grain bun. Before I could blink she had eaten it, it was bursting with flavour with a lot of juiciness to tuck into. I can certainly see why By Chloe was put on the map! B&H [caption id="attachment_988" align="alignright" width="980"]

Photo Credit B&H[/caption] Photography lovers you would have heard of the B&H flagship store in Manhattan, I can only describe it as being a kid in a candy store. We were very lucky to be given the grand tour by Jonah, who showed us the four floors, packed with photography and film equipment, computers, drones and printers and a hell of a lot more! From this tour I got a really good sense of how important every customer is to B&H, Jonah talks about the different process that are in place to make a customer have a good experience, from the above the head electronic baskets and the big demo stations to the knowledgeable staff available. The staff in store do not work on commission, so are free in selling you a cheaper product if is indeed better performance wise than its more expensive neighbour. They have a used section, if you so want to head over and get yourself a bargain, I myself own a few secondhand lenses. B&H also have events, seminars and workshops in store along with offering street photography tours led by professional photographers. My friend and I were very lucky to have a private street photography tour organised by B&H, portrait and street photographer Derek Fahsbender. He took us to Brooklyn for the street tour to commence, we walked around Bushwick and Williamsburg, which is highly recommended for the street art and the trendy hipsters, along with some colourful characters. People here have more time to stop and talk unlike the hustle of Manhattan. We ended up talking to a lot of the people we photographed, getting to know them and finding out what they would recommend from a local perspective to a tourist. Below are some of the photos taken on the day. Enjoy.

All Photo Credit: Nyla Sammons

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How to Get Around in NYC

One city, 8 million residents, countless opportunities to get lost. Chances are, unless you know New York City very well, you will find yourself lost or on the wrong path once or twice. Don't beat yourself up if that happens to you, even native New Yorkers take the wrong train or walk in the wrong direction on occasion. To minimize the amount of time you waste getting lost, it's a good idea to get familiar with the plentiful transportation options New York City has to offer. [spacer height="20px"] The New York City Subway [caption id="attachment_1195" align="aligncenter" width="1051"] 7 Train in Queens | Photo by @nyclovesnyc[/caption] By far the most efficient way of getting around is the New York City Subway. Though the intricate web of colors and letters and numbers may seem daunting, this trusty old system will take you pretty to and from pretty much every corner of New York City. The NYC subway is one of the oldest in the world, and frankly, it shows. The vestibules are often smelly, dirty and congested and the old-fashioned trains are often late, or in desperate need of repair. Despite this, Most New Yorkers use the subway every day for their commute in place of driving, and you should too. Follow alert.mta.info for current delays or reroutes. The best way to navigate the subway is to get really familiar with the infamous Subway Map. This work of art will tell you everything you need to know, as long as you know roughly where you are and where you're going. Once you have found your destination stop and identify the line you have to take, you have to pay attention to whether the train is going Uptown or Downtown. The Uptown and Downtown terms are relative to where you currently are, typically if you're heading North (or to the Bronx or Queens), take the Uptown train and if you're headed South (or to Brooklyn), take the Downtown train. For easy navigation, you can pick up a hard copy of the map at most subway stations, or you can download it onto your phone. Several handy apps are also available, if you like to get thorough. If you're unsure about local customs, please familiarize yourself with Subway Etiquette. Keep in mind that each single ride on the subway is $3, or $2.75 with a preloaded MetroCard. If you're here for a while, you can get an unlimited weekly MetroCard for $32 or a monthly for $121. A new physical card will run you $1. [spacer height="20px"] Municipal Buses [caption id="attachment_1197" align="aligncenter" width="1295"] MTA Bus Map[/caption] Much like the subway, the municipal buses are run by the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority). They are available in every borough and offer transportation to some areas the subway just doesn't reach. For most MTA buses, you can use the same MetroCard you purchased at the subway station (Express buses do not accept unlimited MetroCards). Unlike the Subway, the buses actually operate on a schedule decently well (many New Yorkers may disagree with this statement). Again, all you really need here is the schedule and a Bus Map and you're good to go! Unlike the subway, your phones will work here the whole time. [spacer height="20px"] Citibike (and other bike rentals) [caption id="attachment_1198" align="aligncenter" width="993"] Citibike rack | Photo via Siegel+Gale[/caption] Biking around New York has become not only a popular pastime, but also a popular mode of transportation. Health/earth conscious New Yorkers have opted for two wheels in place of cars and congested subways. If you don't own a bike, or for whatever reason can't ride yours, there are plenty of options out there. Perhaps the most popular is Citibike, a bike sharing program, available all over the city, offering short-term bike rentals. Citibike offers either yearly membership, or a day pass for short-term visitors. With the day pass, you can ride as many times as you want, for $12. Remember that you have 30 minutes before you have to dock again. Download the Citibike app to get information about the closest docking stations, including real-time availability map. If you would rather get a better bike for a rental, without being limited to the 30-minute timeline, you can try Central Park Sightseeing, Central Park Bike Rent or Blazing Saddles. Blazing Saddles offers cruiser rentals down at South Street Seaport, and pier 84, while the other two companies offer rentals and tours in Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge. You can rent from a [spacer height="20px"] Hop on Hop off Bus [caption id="attachment_1199" align="aligncenter" width="1139"] Big Bus Tours[/caption] One of the most scenic and informative ways to see New York is on top of a Big Bus double-decker bus. These buses go around in several loops, have a tour guide and stop by most of the major attractions. You can either take Big Bus as a sightseeing tour and do the whole loop (each loop is about 2 - 2.5 hours) or hop on and off wherever is convenient for you. Keep in mind that the buses go in NYC traffic and can be quite slow. It's not the best transportation option when you're in a rush, but it's a great way to get acquainted with the city when you first arrive. Each New York Pass holder receives a free 1-day ticket, covering the Downtown, Midtown and Uptown loop. [spacer height="20px"] Foot [caption id="attachment_1230" align="alignright" width="1500"] The High Line | Photo via TimeOut New York[/caption] [spacer height="20px"] The most popular way of getting around in NYC, hands down, is walking. New York City is one of the most walkable cities, due to its concentration on a relatively small piece of land. You can technically walk the entire island of Manhattan in the span of a day. When visiting New York, it's a good idea to bring a pair of comfortable shoes, because unless you want to shell out big bucks for taxis, chances are you are going to do quite a bit of walking regardless. Manhattan above 14th St. is very easy to navigate on foot, because the streets are organized in a grid. 12 Avenues go North to South and 200 some streets cross them East to West. The boundary between East side and West side is 5th Avenue. Things get more complicated Downtown, where there is no street organization to speak of. It's recommended to fire up Google Maps while strolling below 14th St. [spacer height="20px"] New York Water Taxi (and other ferries) [caption id="attachment_779" align="aligncenter" width="2845"] New York Water Taxi[/caption] Most of New York City is essentially a cluster of islands, as such it is intertwined with a body of water, which presents a great opportunity for water-based transportation. There are many ferries servicing the New York City Waters, one of them is the New York Water Taxi, which offers stops all along the New York Harbor for you to hop on and off. For transportation to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, use the Statue Cruises Ferry departing from Battery Park. For transportation between Brooklyn and Manhattan, you can use the East River Ferry, or the New York Water Taxi. If you're looking to sightsee on the river, check out the Best Cruises in NYC. [spacer height="20px"] Taxi One of the most quintessential transportation methods in NYC has to be the signature yellow cabs. Taxis are convenient, quick, and you take take them pretty much anywhere. The drawback is the cost, if you rely on taxis only for all your transportation needs, it'll cost you. Certain routes and times of day may also make you delayed due to traffic. Yellow cabs are most popular in Manhattan, but you can catch one in outer boroughs as well, except the cars will be green. New York City taxis are heavily regulated, so you don't have to worry about getting ripped off if you hail a cab, but please remember the etiquette attached to riding in a taxi. Regardless of how far you go, please remember to tip your cab drivers, preferably in cash. [spacer height="20px"] Uber (and other ride share programs) [caption id="attachment_1231" align="alignright" width="2000"] Uber | Photo via The Bubble[/caption] Uber has become insanely popular in recent years. Ride share programs have a few advantages over taxis. They tend to be cheaper, you can call them from an app, wherever you are, and you don't have to tip. You can call an Uber, Lyft or Juno, at any time, wherever you and and in a few minutes your car will be waiting for you. One draw back is that during peak time, in popular areas, Uber has surge pricing, so you can end up paying much more than you would in a taxi. If you need a ride on a Friday night in West Village, you may be better off hailing a taxi than calling an Uber. in outer boroughs, rude share apps are almost always more accessible.
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How to Get Your Poetry Fix in New York

February 25, 2020 Into every life a little poetry should fall. If you're looking to write it, hear it, discuss it, or even look at art exhibits about it, New York is the place to be. We've got the ways for you to get your poetry fix in New York. The Poetry Society of New York First, if you’ve participated in a poetry-themed event in New York, chances are the Poetry Society had something to do with it. Dedicated to promoting poetry within the culture, they offer numerous poetry-themed events. These include a poetry festival on Governor’s Island the last weekend in July and The Poetry Brothel, an immersive literary cabaret. They also offer student workshops and micro-residencies, which give working poets small blocks of time to write. Plus, there's the Typewriter Project, which installs vintage typewriters at different sites around the city. Participants can write, read, and comment upon online poetry. They also have their own press, dedicated to publishing both poems and visual art. And they’re perhaps best known for Poetry in Motion—a partnership with MTA Arts and Design. It combines poetry with visual art in posters in subways cars and digital screen in subway platforms. If you see or participate in some form of poetry in New York, you’ve probably been involved with the Poetry Society. One way to get your poetry fix in New York! [caption id="attachment_3953" align="alignnone" width="649"] Credit: MTA Arts and Design[/caption] Poets House Next, if you want more of a library-type feel, Poets House is a national poetry library and literary center. It offers one of the most comprehensive independent poetry collections in the country. Poets House houses more than 70,000 poetry books and related collections. They also offer workshops, conversations, and exhibitions. Workshops range from the straightforward: “Dream Work/Poem Work,” to the more complicated: “Poetics of Terror: Visceral Performance & Cyborg/Trans Poetics.” Exhibits tend to focus on books, manuscripts, and artwork that illuminate the relationship between poetry and visual arts. And if you want to listen and not necessarily write, upcoming workshops include “Tuesday Talk: Nature in Poetry with Bob Holman" (April 21). It celebrates Earth Day with a screening, discussions, and readings that look at endangered languages and endangered species. Nuyorican Poets Café Another way to get your poetry fix in New York? A multicultural, multi arts institution, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe is best known for its open mic events. Those events are mostly known for poetry and music--often jazz and hip hop. However, comics and storytellers also appear. The Café offers a voice for rising poets, musicians, actors and filmmakers. Founded in 1973 by Miguel Algarin as a salon in the East Village, it gave a voice to artists who weren't being represented by mainstream industries. The cafe is also known for its poetry slam. It offered the first one in New York in 1989, and two slam events are now held each week. And huzzah! Those who advance far enough get to participate in the National Poetry Slam. Bowery Poetry Bowery Poetry also offers poetry open mic nights, which include some bilingual nights. They also offer workshops like “Writing with Attitude,” a free creative writing workshop that operates like a college workshop. It includes discussions and participants commenting on each other’s work. At the end of the year, LUNA, a themed literary magazine of the participants' work, is published. And musicians--they also offer songwriting and a musical showcase. The Poetry Project And finally, founded more than 50 years ago, The Poetry Project was an offshoot of coffeehouses that held readings on New York’s Lower East Side. Today, it promotes contemporary poetry through readings, workshops, a newsletter, and a literary magazine. It also offers internships, fellowships and archives. They’re well-known for their annual New Year’s Day marathon reading. Luminaries such as Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith and Yoko Ono all appeared there. Before literary fame flashes though your mind: It’s invitation only. But don't despair: They always need volunteers.
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