A Travel Guide to New York City

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“New York is a different country. Maybe it ought to have a separate government. Everybody thinks differently, acts differently –they just don’t know what  the rest of the United States is.”

– Henry Ford

I have often thought that New York is its own country, a sort of melting pot of the cultures from around the world. With this New York has so much to offer. There is so much to do, to see, and to eat, and although I am far from a New Yorker (I have only been here 2 years, the standard is generally 10 years depending on who you ask) here are a few of my favorite things the city has to offer.

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Museums  There are some really amazing museums in New York. Let’s face it though, it is hard to pick and sometimes the entry fees just don’t seem worth it. However, there are several museums here with a sort of “hidden trick.” Museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art advertise their prices with the words “suggested donation” in small print next to them. That means that the $38 advertised is only what they would like you to pay, not what you need to pay. It’s really up to you what you give and it is completely normal not to pay the whopping entry fee advertised. I have given as little as $2 on one occasion. Other museums like this are the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and many more.

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Skyline Another thing the Big Apple is know for is the breathtaking skyline. The trademark Empire State Building is a must do for most visitors. I must say it is quite an amazing view and historical building, however something practical to remember is that if you are on the top of the Empire State Building, you won’t be able to see/take pictures of this iconic building. Another option for seeing the skyline is the Top Of The Rock at Rockefeller center. It is slightly cheaper and lines are generally a bit shorter and you can see the whole skyline, including the Empire State Building. If you are looking to see the view on a budget, another option is going over to New Jersey in the other side of the Hudson River from New York.

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Iconic Attractions One of my favorite things to do with people as I show them around this wonderful city is Wall Street, Ground Zero, and the Statue of Liberty. I usually take the subway down to Ground Zero and the New Freedom tower. It is quite an amazing sight to see. The entrance to the actual memorial is also a suggested donation, however the museum is still under construction, so it might not be worth your while. But a year ago I stumbled upon a little gem in that area that has become on of my favorite things in the city. Saint Paul’s Chapel at Trinity Church is a small church a few blocks away from the 9/11 site and was a sanctum for the first responders and has been turned into a fascinating and breathtaking memorial/museum. Right around there is also Wall Street and the famous bull. And to top it all of you can take the Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island and catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. The ferry is free and departs every half hour so when you get to Staten Island I would suggest stepping outside the terminal to look at the view before the next ferry leaves for Manhattan.

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Central Park Central Park is definitely one the best things the Big Apple has to offer. Although it might not be ideal during the frigid and rainy winter months here, I would strongly urge you to visit it it you get a nice (or even just mild) weather day. Central Park is huge, so don’t expect to do it all in one day, and there is honestly no need to do it all. Just pick a part or two and go explore (I still to this day get lost in Central Park). Some of my favorite places are the Reservoir, the Great Lawn, and the Conservatory gardens.

A Few Helpful Tips If you have a smartphone I would highly highly recommended app Hopstop.  You can put in your current location or any starting location, then your destination and it will tell you walking or public transit directions or estimate how much a cab will cost and the amount time it will take you to get there. The bus and subway system is slightly confusing, but also just a lot for a visitor to take in during a short stay here. I still use this every time I leave my neighborhood and it has yet to fail.

Except for the very bottom and tops of the island, Manhattan is composed of street blocks and avenues. It is helpful to remember that the street blocks are ordered in chronologically going from South to North. So if you are at say 13th street and need to get to 86th you need to go uptown because the numbers go up. If you are at 112th and need to go to 64th you need to go downtown.

New Yorkers are known for being stereotypically rude. Yes, I do encounter some unpleasant people but for the most part New Yorkers are generally very willing to help you out. So if you get lost or can’t figure something out, don’t be afraid to ask. Just don’t stop someone who looks like they are trying to get to work/home quickly.

New York City is divided into 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Manhattan is where most of the tourist attractions are found but if you are feeling adventurous exploring the other boroughs can be fun! I hope you enjoy your visit in the wonderful city of New York!

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This travel guide was written by Ragan K.

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Opportunity Hides in the Belly of the Drink Cart

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I am always loyal to my traditional choice of apple juice while flying. At least, I was, until the other day on Delta I spied a can of Minute Maid Cranberry Apple Cocktail peeking its shiny head out on the third shelf of the drink cart. The entire time the cart rolled toward me, I just wanted the attendant’s blue pencil skirt to move out of the way so I could view the whole drink selection! It didn’t. Flight attendants wouldn’t take kindly to being asked to recite the list of drinks, either.

But to give up there would be to ignore an important fact: there are always open cans.

On the shelves, flight attendants store half empty containers of beverages so they don’t waste. No, not half empty—half full. The volume of the can does not match the volume of the cup. What I’m saying is that it’s time for you to branch out with your drink choices. Ask the flight attendant to MIX THEM.

If you’re a very savvy flier, you can search airline websites ahead of time for a list of drinks that will be served. You’ll find blogs from hundreds of other travelers playing the game, too. Why go to the trouble? There are a few reasons. You’ve been on so many planes, you deserve to get the most out of your flying experience. It’s also important to celebrate the little things and the long travels. Who knows, your most cherished American beverage could be available, or an odd, obscure, international item that you just need to try. Don’t miss out.

And to be honest, we don’t get to order alcohol. Haven’t you ever wanted to be like the smooth chick in the movie who impresses the bartender by easily rattling off her complicated order? Have the satisfaction of delivering the awesomeness and knowing you’re one step ahead of the airplane game.

Of course, there’s no telling how the flight attendant will respond, especially if you ask for something that’s too complicated. But remember, the cans are always open. And when the cans are open, customer service and satisfaction will be victorious.

Perfecting the Daytrip – Picking the Right Outfit

Planning the perfect daytrip is an art – you have to pick the right outfit, pick the right city, and bring the right things. So that’s what we’ll be exploring this week…today: the perfect [fall] outfit. 

I think when it comes to traveling there needs to be three factors considered:

1) cuteness – you’ll be taking lots of pictures!

2) practicality – you need to be able to hike up cobblestone streets and climb up towers and sit on long rides!

3) warmth – with chilly fall temperatures, make sure you’re bundled up!

And now for your staples:

boots – leggings – scarves – sweaters – long socks

layer, layer, layer!

I hope this gives you some inspiration!

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What are your favorite fall outfits?

10 Things to Do with a Barf Bag

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  1. Collect the bags from every airline you’ve been on.
  2. Scrapbook.

  3. Reuse as envelopes. (use www.instructables.com for inspiration) this is a thing in Australia, according to Wikipedia.

  4. Write a letter to a friend on it.

  5. Make a hand puppet.

  6. Use for storage. Don’t forget, the bags seal!

  7. Use as a lunch bag.  (heh heh. Snicker snicker.)

  8. Place damp food leftovers in, seal, hold at arm’s length and proceed down entire aisle of plane looking green.

  9. Create a poster for that friend or teacher you have with the middle school sense of humor.

       10. Put on feet to make airplane slippers. Proceed down aisle again.

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Look for more airplane activities from Lizzy in the upcoming issue!

Your First Move

This summer, I’m writing a series on being a teen TCK for Denizen, an awesome online magazine for TCKs! Here’s part of my first article on moving to a different country…

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“Once there was a town named Pompeii.”

My mom read the familiar words and I snuggled deeper under the covers, my mind wandering to this ancient place that only existed in books. The historic tragedy fascinated and haunted me and I decided that someday, when I was all grown up, I would go. I would walk through the ruins of Pompeii, my feet stirring the dust of a world long gone.

Little did I know that I would be doing just that a few short years later. And it wouldn’t be quite as dreamy. It would be scorching hot, my dust-caked feet would ache, and we would join our fellow weary tourists at Burger King for lunch.

So how did I go from listening to a bedtime story in Texas to exploring an ancient city in southern Italy?

When I ten years old, my parents told my little brother and I that we were moving to Florence, Italy. The year before we moved was spent dreaming about living in Europe and reading book after book about the culture and customs of my new home.

That summer, my dad’s company sent us through cultural training and that was when I first heard the term “third culture kid.” That summer was when I first realized that it wouldn’t necessarily be a walk in the park to move across an ocean, but in my mind it still shimmered with adventure.

After living in Italy for five years and labeling myself a TCK for seven years, my view of moving has transformed. When picturing my adopted country, no longer do bright images of gelato, and of Carnivale, and of gondolas, dance in my head. My glowing optimism and thrill for a transatlantic adventure have been dimmed by the reality that moving to a different country is hard.

Moving to another country requires so much more than the 50 pounds the airport lets you bring. And whether you’re excited, terrified, or horrified at the prospect of moving, one thing is true: you have to pack your suitcase. So allow me to give you some packing advice. I’m no expert, but I’ve gone through this once or twice.

Read the rest here!

 

DIY Week – Country Art

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For the last day of DIY Week, I found this simple, yet lovely, craft to display your favorite places. Perfect for TCKs!

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I first did this craft for a loved quote last year, but decided to put a travel spin on it for DIY Week.

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I first cut out half of a page from an old French magazine I have. I found a page with mainly words so I wouldn’t have to sacrifice any fun vintage outfits or ads while also making sure my drawing would be visible on the page.

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Next, I printed out a dark outline of Italy. After making sure it fit the page, I taped it to the back so when I put it up to light, the outline would shine through making it an easy stencil.

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I then traced the shape with dark ink. I didn’t make it perfect, which, in my opinion, makes it look more fun. After I did Italy, I chose a fun quote from a classic Italian move, “Life Is Beautiful.” “Buongiorno Principessa!” means “Good Morning Princess!”

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When I did this last year, I used watercolors over the ink, but for the life of me I couldn’t find a set of watercolors. I looked and looked and looked. But they were no where to be found. So for the sake of getting this blogged I just used a marker, but it would look much prettier in watercolors!

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And there you have it, a quick craft! I hope you’ve enjoyed DIY Week. Let us know if you made any of them and send us a pic at notofthisworld [dot] r2 [at] gmail [dot] com

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Have you entered our summer travel accessories giveaway yet? To win Paperdoll by Natalie Lloyd, EOS lipbalm, Vera Bradley, and more, click here.

DIY Week – Pinterest Favorites

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Here are some of my favorite travel-themed DIYs from Pinterest…

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And here are some that Not of this World has featured in past issues…

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{map bouquet}

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{vintage sign}

Check back in tomorrow for the last day of DIY Week!

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Have you entered our summer travel accessories giveaway yet? To win Paperdoll by Natalie Lloyd, EOS lipbalm, Vera Bradley, and more, click here.

DIY Week – Postcard Accordion

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Postcards are my favorite souvenirs to buy on trips. They’re cheap, easy to pack, and great for capturing memories. I always look for the watercolor ones when I visit a new city – I have over 30 of them now! I’m always looking for fun ideas of how to display them all and one of my new favorites is making a postcard accordion.

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Supplies needed: postcards, tape (or glue), and ribbon

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Choose an odd number of postcards and pick which one you want to be the cover of your accordion. The other ones can switch places once you make it, but the cover will stay the same.

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[place the tape where the purple lines are]

Lay the postcards on a flat surface. The first one should have the picture side facing up; the next one should have the writing side facing up. Continue to alternate them in this order.

When you have them in the right order, place a piece of tape in between each card, connecting them all together. I used tape because I didn’t want to permanently alter the cards and it’s practically invisible once the project is complete. If you don’t want to use tape, you could also use extra pieces of paper between the cards and glue.

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While they are laying flat, take one piece of ribbon and tape (or glue) it on the back of your cover post card. Before you put the other ribbon on the back cover, fold up your accordion to see which will be the back since you can tweak the order depending on how you fold it. After you pick the back, secure the second piece of ribbon and tie the two pieces together in a pretty bow!

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Ways to use this: write a note to a friend on the back of each postcard, creating a unique book of notes; write down memories from each day of a trip and display your booklet around your house or at work where you’ll remember your trip; use it as a travel journal

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Have you entered our summer travel accessories giveaway yet? To win Paperdoll by Natalie Lloyd, EOS lipbalm, Vera Bradley, and more, click here.