Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Bridge Collapse in MN is Scary to Us

Yesterday a 40-year-old bridge in the Minneapolis area collapsed during rush hour. You had to be sleeping from yesterday afternoon until now, to not know about this. Please join me in prayer for those people and their families who died or were injured in this tragedy.

I know you can’t live life worrying about these things. But nevertheless, it can’t stop you from thinking about our bridges and tunnels in NYC. I heard that there are 39 bridges in NYC, and I count two tunnels within NYC, and two going out from Manhattan to New Jersey. So going over bridges or through tunnels is an unavoidable reality, especially for Manhattanites, who have to over or under water every time they leave or enter Manhattan, Those who feel they avoid the outer boroughs, have to think of all the times they go to/through N.Jersey, or out to the Hamptons. There are people who live in Queens and only go to Long Island, Sadly, I know some of these people. But for the other 90+percent of us, the bridges and tunnels we use are way more than 40 years old. So we continue to put our faith in the MTA and TBTA to regularly inspect and maintain our river crossings.

Travel and Leisure Thinks NYC is Swell: #6 in the World, # 1 in the US

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Travel and Leisure just released their 2007 “World’s Best Awards”, ranking the best cities, hotels, airlines, cruises, etc. worldwide. Here’s a breakdown of the Top 10 Cities:

  1. Florence
  2. Buenos Aires
  3. Bangkok
  4. Rome
  5. Sydney
  6. New York
  7. Udaipur, India
  8. Istanbul
  9. San Francisco
  10. Cape Town

New York is up two slots from our ranking last year as #8, a testament to the fact that the world knows just how awesome this city is!

I’m positively dismayed to have only visited two of the cities on this list (the other being San Francisco) That will need to be rectified stat–as soon as I can get the taste of my last international flight out of my mouth.

Also interesting to note, only two other cities on this list currently have Metblog sites, Bangkok and San Francisco.

Check out T&L’s take on what makes our city so list-worthy. Also, make sure to check out their Top 50 NYC restaurants.

If you’ve been to any other cities on the top 10 list, how do you feel NYC stacks up against them?

Travel and Leisure World’s Best Awards 2007 [via Gridskipper]

Photo: New York at Night [Achibase.net]

Continental Flight with Human Waste Running Down the Aisle? Yeah, I Was On That…

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Sewage flows from a toilet on Continental Airlines flight 1970 from Amsterdarm to New Jersey on Thursday, June 14, 2007. Photo by Collin Brock.

If you are just finding your way to this story, please note that there is a now a dedicated blog about Continental Flight 71 / 1970 from Newark to Amterdam called Poop on a Plane

DIGG THIS STORY!

I don’t normally cross post things from my personal site, but seeing as this story is now the front page on the Drudge Report and has been picked up by Seattle news, I figured it was worth tossing into the NYC new arena.

On Wednesday June 13th at around 2:00 pm my boyfriend and I boarded Continental flight 71 from Amsterdam to Newark along with about 200 other passengers. Despite that fact that the flight was only scheduled to be 8 hours, it wasn’t until 32 hours later that we arrived in New Jersey. What happened in between is a tale of massive mismanagement, awful customer service and downright inhumane, unsafe and unsanitary conditions. This was a massive clusterfuck on Continental’s part–a screw up of Jet-Blue proportions; maybe even worse. It’s long and drawn out, just like the actual ordeal itself, and it goes a little something like this:
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New York = Brazil!

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That is, at least in terms of Brazil’s GDP. The creators of this interesting map have calculated the “GDP” of each of the fifty States, and renamed them with the names of countries that compare economically. Fun!

Do Not Drive to Manhattan

In what is surely going to become a political hot-potato, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is going ahead full steam with his plan to decongest Manhattan by introducing congestion pricing.

The NYTimes ran a big article yesterday on this topic and covered the spectrum of viewpoints on this issue.

Mayor Bloomberg’s fast-advancing plan to charge drivers $8 to drive in the most congested parts of Manhattan may seem geared mostly toward the suburbanites whom many blame for Manhattan’s perpetually snarled weekday traffic.

Personally I am not sure if I do agree with the plan in its implementation, however good it be in concept.

Under the plan, cars would pay $8 and trucks $21 to enter Manhattan below 86th Street between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.

If I live in Manhattan below 60th street, I should be able to drive around as I see fit. However in the mayor’s plan I will not be able to do so. I will be charged a certain amount of money to even move my car to the other side of the street for alternate side street cleaning.

They plan to monitor this by putting cameras all over the city at intersections and then software will convert images of license plates into invoices that you will receive by email for all the times you drove the car.

Privacy issues aside, I think this is crazy. It is completely unfair to be charged to drive inside the city if you are already inside, or are a resident. Yes by all means charge those who drive in from outside. But not those who live and call the island their home.

I hope the plan gets modified and they figure out a better way to enforce this.

Otherwise, I am getting a vendor license and will start selling this. And makes lots of money.

Google Maps Takes NY

streetviews.jpgOK, OK… So it isn’t NYC-specific, but Google has added an AWESOME feature to their already very helpful Google Maps program. Now, in addition to being able to view plain maps, satellite views, and even traffic patterns, the massive interactive giant has implemented a new feature that allows users to actually view street-level images!

Here is an example of the new feature, in the form of a “street view” of the intersection of 50th Street and 6th Avenue. This image was taken as if you were in the center of the intersection, facing east toward Radio City Music Hall. You will notice that you can easily zoom in (although the resulting image becomes blurry), and you have 360-degree pan ability. You can also click on the arrows on the street to go to another image further down the road.

It is pretty simple to use. Just go to Google Maps, and type in the destination you want to view. Once there, click the “Street View” button, and you will see some streets get a blue outline. Just drag the little yellow man into the area you want to view, and the rest should be intuitive. This is a limited roll-out, so not all areas are available… But much of Manhattan can be viewed, as well as a fair chunk of the major routes in the outer boroughs.

This launch appears to be in response to the impending launch of MSN Live’s powerful yet apparently cumbersome similar feature.

I’ll Stay in NYC for Memorial Day, thank you…..

As I look at the news reports– clogged highway arteries, slow-moving turnpikes, crowded airports and train stations, I am reminded once again why I stick around these holiday weekends.

If you stay away from Times Square and all the tourisy areas, the city is wonderful on a holiday weekend. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty good the whole summer during the weekends. Once the last Hampton jitney pulls out on Friday night, the city is peaceful. And this weekend, when the NYU students have gone, and the summer session hasn’t yet begun, the area south of Fourteenth Street is almost totally neighborhood-y residents. It’s a rare moment. Savor it.h

When a towncar just won’t do…

copter_plus.jpgWe’ve all been there… You’re running late for a flight, and you get stuck in gridlock, or in the Midtown tunnel on your way to the airport. You’re sweaty and angry, and you’re willing to pay almost anything for a less stressful solution! Now, there is…

I just got an email from Delta with lots of information on a new partnership they have with US Helicopter. You can now take a comfortable-looking Sikorsky S76 from either Midtown East or Downtown to JFK or Newark airports (I refuse to call it “Liberty.”) The flight seems incredibly short and hassle-free!

Starting at $159**/one-way when booked at flyush.com, the eight-minute flight will spare you the 60- to 90-minute commute to JFK.

I took a look at the site, and weekday flights are in fact as low as $159. It is a lot of money, but I can say that when I travel for business, I take a car service and that can be up to $75, so the idea of doubling the price for an 8-minute trip does not seem that bad! In some cases, I would be willing to pay the difference myself to avoid the horrors of the commute.

One other huge benefit… Because USH screens passengers at the Heliport according to TSA standards, once you arrive at the airport, you can go directly to your gate without going through the often horrid security screening process!

If I have a flight at an off-hour, there is obviously no reason for this. But, if I have a flight on the Friday before X-mas at 7pm, I will definitely consider using this service!

Would you ever try this out?

Chicago has oddly polite fire engines

I’m back from my short, one night, business trip to Chicago. I didn’t get a chance to give my “New York Glare” to any drivers that got too close to me in a crosswalk, mostly because I think I only crossed about four streets, and there wasn’t any traffic on them or turning at the time (I cabbed it most places). But, while I was unable to sleep at an early hour, I was able to observe something that I found interesting, and very un-New York-like.

I was staying in a hotel that overlooked Michigan Avenue, the Marvelous Miracle Magical Magnificant Mile (their Fifth Avenue), and since I don’t sleep well in a strange bed, I was easily awakened at about 6:30am by a fire engine siren, which sounds a bit different than ours. Since the siren got closer to my hotel, and then stopped, and since I was wide awake, I decided to look out the window and see what was going on. There, right across from my window, was a lone fire engine stopped in front of a building, siren off, but lights still flashing. I didn’t see any firefighters on the street, but I figured that in the time I took me to get out of bed, and stumble over to the window, they must have gone into the building.

I scanned the building, and since I didn’t see shooting flames or smoke, I deemed it safe to wander around the room and see if I couldn’t figure out the light switches (trust me, they were a little confusing). A minute or two later, I heard a second fire engine approaching, and since I was near the window, I looked out and watched it pull up. That’s when I saw something a bit odd.
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I Left My Heart…

Today, I do something I haven’t done in about 6 years. I leave New York for a real vacation, one not designated as family holiday meetups or quick runs down to DC or up to Boston.
I’ll be visiting San Francisco for the first time (I lived in San Diego for two years but never got that far up the coast). It’s been awhile since I’ve had a way to compare living between the east coast and west coast and I’m looking forward to it. I also intend to get an answer to the question of which city is gayer. Hopefully, I’ll come back armed with stories of little inconvenienced which made me miss ol’ NYC and also a photo or two. If I don’t return, expect me to pop up on San Fran’s Metblog before long.

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