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New York Travel

The Vessel and the Shops at the Hudson

The Vessel and the Shops at the Hudson

Recently I made a trip out to see the Vessel, one of the newest attractions in the ever evolving NYC architectural roster. I finally made it out to see it with a girlfriend and if you follow my stories or watch my Vessel highlight on Instagram, you’ll know we walked all the way to the top.

 

It was of course crowded during the day, but less so in the evening. I remember walking The High Line and seeing the beginnings of construction on the Vessel, Shops at the Hudson and The Shed and wondering what they would look like. So I was intrigued to see what it was all about.

 

What is it?

The Vessel is a life size sculpture of sorts. Its copper reflective mirror exterior is an eye catcher for sure. I personally appreciate the color and its reflective façade, bouncing back the images of people as they look up at it. Make it a mission to walk to the top to see the view of the Hudson and lower Manhattan.

 

Quick facts

  • Designed by Thomas Heatherwick
  • 16 floors
  • 154 flights of stairs around 2,500 steps

 

How much is it?

Its FREE people! And who knows if or when that will change. So seize the day and book your timeslot. Which is an hour long. The timeslots, I’m guessing are for crowd control, I chose late afternoon on a Saturday, and there was barely a line. Once our hour was done and we excited the line was long.

 

Hours– Open daily 10am-7pm

 

Can everyone visit?

Yes! I saw families with small kids, and it has an elevator if you don’t want to walk to the top.

 

 

 

The ShedThe Shed is an event space that will be rotating open to the public shows and exhibitions, prices begin at $10 to enter. We stopped in to look around, but I haven’t seen an exhibition there yet.

 

The Shops at Hudson Yards– Once you’re done walking The Vessel and Shed take a walk around the Shops at Hudson Yards. A mall with both mid-tier and high-end stores, health center, restaurants and the well awaited Mercado Little Spain. Created by world renowned Chef José Andrés and the Adría Brothers this is the Spanish version of Eataly, the Italian food wonderland. In similar form Mercado Little Spain encompasses restaurants, bars, grocery goods and more. Located on the lower level this is a food paradise for those who are familiar with Spanish cuisine and those who are just being introduced to it. As I have been to Spain, I was excited to see what it had in store. While there we ate at Bar Manolo, where I had dishes I had never tasted before and to finish off our night, we stopped by the Pasteles bar (cake) to have a scrumptious raspberry crunch bar.

 

While at the Shops at Hudson Yards check out Beyond the Edge on the 4th floor to shop souvenirs if you wish. Have you visited these yet? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments and on social media.- T.S.

 

 

New York Travel

Visiting Governors Island

Visiting Governors Island

Last weekend I visited Governors Island, I had never been, not even for the seasonal events that get media coverage there. I recently saw a tv program that was talking about how renovated it was, which peaked my interested immediately. NYC in its ever renovating state will always have something new to see and this one was no different. If you’ve never been, whether tourists or local this is a must see. Trust me, its not a complete tourist trap this time of the year, it was actually very relaxing! Here is how I spent my day there and my tips for your own excursion to Governors Island.

 

What is Governors Island?

It’s exactly what it sounds like, an island off the concrete island of Manhattan where Govenors lived. Originally settled by the Dutch and named Nutten Island in 1624 it was renamed Governors Island in 1689 when it was home to the British royal governor. Throughout the late 1700’s until the 1990’s it served as a military base for the U.S. Army and Coastguard and is where Castle Williams was built as a military base and then a prison. The island also holds Fort Jay, which was built in the 1700’s and was used to defend New York from the British. Barracks and houses were also constructed as military personnel and their families lived on the island. By 2001 Governors Island was established as a national park under the care of New York City. No one lives there now as it is considered a national monument and is historically preserved.

 

Getting There

To get there you must take the Govenor’s Island Ferry from Wall Street Pier 11 to Soisson’s Landing on Governors Island. Ferries run pretty frequently, and on Saturdays and Sundays if you take any of the ferries before 12 pm its free! So that is exactly what we did. It was a short wait for the ferry and so was the ride to Govenors Island, approximately less than 10 mins. Enjoy the views as you take the quick trip back and forth.

 

Getting Around

Once there you’ll want to ask the info desk for a map. Govenors Island is a green island so the paper maps they give you have to be returned to them before you leave, or dropped in a basket in front of the info desk. We walked some of the way without it and we had to go back and ask for one as there weren’t that many maps around the park. Something we thought could be improved was the actual details of the maps, which were a bit lacking. But it’s a small Island and we walked the whole thing in one day, some parts more than once.

We decided to get our steps in as we walked the whole island, but they do have alternatives. Renting bikes from Blazing Saddles and Citi bike are available, as well as balance bikes for parents with small kids and surreys, a four wheeled cart for groups who want to ride around together. There were also pedal-carts and scooters for kids for rent as well. Every now and then as we rested we wished we rented one of the group bikes, although on the other hand every time bikers wanted to enter a histrorically preserved section of the island, like Castle Williams they would have to get off their bikes or surreys and walk.

 

Food

There are plenty of food options on Govenors Island, starting with the two restaraunts you see when you get to the island. Which are Taco Vista and Island Oyster which serves seafood and is where we stopped and ate dinner before we went back to Manhattan. The food was delish and the drink was spectacular. Watching the sun come down against the NYC sykline was an extra treat. During the day we ate lunch at Little Eva’s, one of the food trucks parked near Liggett Terrace and Hammock Grove. This location is where all the food trucks park for the day, so go around and weigh your options. The food at Little Eva’s was scrumptious as well. Overall we were very satisfied with the food options they had on the island.

Things To Do

As you walk the island be sure to stop and see all the historically preserved spots like Castle Williams and Fort Jay. Artwork is also present on the island with scupltures and plays and exhibitions held in a converted church as well as various houses that belonged to mitlitary families and Governors in the past. You can also bring a picnic if you wish as there is a designated picnic area or you can lounge on the various lawns in red chairs spread throughout the whole island.

 

The Urban Farm is a must see as people are welcomed to walk amoungst the growing vegatables and fruits. The staff were very friendly and informative as they told us what each plot was growing and invited us to touch and smell the bounty of nutritional goodness. Composting is also done and it is welcomed if you have something to contribute. The Urban Farm is not quite done being developed as there was still a section that was under construction.

Ziplinning, mini gulfing and rock climbing are also activities you can do on Govenors Island. Take the kids to Slide Hill, which holds the the longest slide in nyc, and make sure to check out the LMCC Art Center which holds diffrent art and sculpture exhibitions. Kayaking and staying overnight in a tent in the Collective Retreats are a few other things you can do. This is not even the whole list of activities! Not to mention the other seasonal activities they have up to the closing day of Governors Island of October 31st.

 

Views for a Lifetime of the City

The views of NYC from Governors Island are gorgeous and they follow you around as you make your way through the island. Make sure to take in the views at the top of The Hills  and on the Play Lawn. I walked to the top of The Hills and got gorgeous shots of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. If you walk the perimeter of the island you will also get great shots of the city as well.

We plan to go back once Governors Island opens again to the public on May 1st. If you plan to visit Governors Island before the closing day of October 31st this year it will be good to know that the island is open Monday-Fridays 10am-6pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 7pm. Let me know if you plan to visit or if you’ve ever been to Governors Island-T.S.

 

 

Travel

Stay-cation in Atlantic City

Stay-cation in Atlantic City

Last week we went on a stay-cation to Atlantic City with family friends. I had never been to the seaside city known for gambling and entertainment shows. The city itself is run down except for a few up-kept historical spots, a shopping strip and of course the casino/hotels. The boardwalk was a tale of the same, one side vibrant with stores, The Hard Rock Cafe and a pier with rides, games and restaurants. While the other side had not as many, thanks to some businesses closed down and past attractions taken away. One would think that in a city that generates money from gambling there would be more upkeep to so such a large attraction and to the city itself. Although we don’t have to think that hard on where all that money stays (casinos). If only those casinos would invest in the city itself?

 

We did get to see a few historical places that I found interesting. There is a time capsule buried in front of a church that is to be opened in 2056 that we stopped to see. Although the most interesting place, was the Abescon Lighthouse with an attached house that serves as a museum. Not only did I enjoy this place because of all the history it held but because of the lighthouse keeper, named Buddy. The museum is free but if you pay a fee you can walk up to the top of the lighthouse where the lighthouse keeper, Buddy waits to greet you and tell you more about the site. Buddy is 92 years old! He is there every Friday, although the other employees say he’s there up to three times a week. He served in WWII and traveled with his now deceased wife when they were young.

 

Buddy who is quite chatty, told me of one particular trip to South America with his wife and how they forewent wanting kids in favor of traveling. My kind of couple! He became interested in becoming a lighthouse keeper after doing the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge with a few friends. Buddy thoroughly enjoys volunteering there, celebrating his birthdays with the lighthouse staff and has been the lighthouse keeper for what will be 10 years in October. He walks up and down the 228 steps of the lighthouse just like everyone else. Once again Buddy is 92 YEARS OLD!  He attributes good genes, and physical activities like the Tai Chi classes he takes to his longevity. Buddy was one of the highlights of the trip for me. If you go to Atlantic City you have to visit Buddy at the top of the Abescon lighthouse!

Facts about the lighthouse:

Jan 15, 1857 was when the lighthouse began shining across the Atlantic. The light beamed 20 miles out to sea.

The position of the current museum is exactly where the original light house keeper lived and it was known as the “Keeper’s Dwelling”.

The assistant keepers dwelling or the assistant lighthouse keeper also had a house, located behind the lighthouse.

By July 11, 1933 the lighthouse was decommissioned or put out of service thanks to the rising skyline of Atlantic City.

Lighthouse keepers had strict rules to follow, like that of a person in the military. They were to stay in the watchroom and never leave unless an assistant keeper or trusted person came and took their place. While other requirements included being neat, sober and managing the upkeep of the lighthouse and the grounds.

 

 

The rest of my trip included eating really good Peruvian food at El Chalan on 2641 Artic Ave. Playing Rummikub, which I’m finally getting the hang of thanks to my Rummikub tutor (my mom’s friends), walking the boardwalk at night, riding a ride at the amusement park with my moms thrill loving friend and pushing a single slot machine button. And no, we didn’t win anything! Lastly, a few hours at the beach was spent before heading home.

 

 

 

If you’re interested in visiting Atlantic City in November, Puerto Rican Salsa Group El Gran Combo will be at the Tropicana on November 30th. Make sure to pickup the Atlantic County Coupon Guide in your hotel or at the Absecon Lighthouse for a discount off the admission to the lighthouse and to other events in A.C. Have you ever been to Atlantic City, what was your experience? Let me know in the comments and on social media.-T.S.

art Fashion exhibit The Metropolitan Museum of Art Travel

How to visit all three NYC Met Museums within 2-3 Days

the met

Last week I did something I do quite often, visit the Met Museum every year to view their largest Costume Institute exhibition. Before they open this exhibition the museum host the MET Gala. Yes that Gala in which you ask yourself why are these celebrities dressing up or dressing weirdly? I’ll break it down a bit for people who are not in the fashion, media, art..etc world. Every year the Metropolitan Museum of Art features a few exhibitions, and one very large one. Anna Wintour from Vogue, board members and the Met Museum decide on a theme or designer to focus on or honor with the exhibition. In the past they have focused on Asia and Asian inspired fashion with China Through the Looking Glass or one of their most visited exhibitions Savage Beauty on Alexander McQueen after his death.  To attend this event, celebrities have to be invited by Anna Wintour and the team, of which they decide who sits where and they also depict the dress code, usually in connection to the theme of the exhibition. This years exhibition Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, inspired many celebrities to dress in Pope like attire. Some celebrities embrace the theme while others don’t, I personally love those that do. In order to attend this gala, celebrities pay around $30,000 per ticket which benefits the Costume Institute. This year the exhibition spans two locations of the Met Museum. The largest part of the  exhibition taking place at The Met on 5th ave and the second at The Met Cloisters in upper Manhattan. I was determined to visit them both and because I thought The Met Bruer had part of the exhibition I ended up visiting all three within two days. How can you do this? I’ll give you my tips below.

 

There are a few ways you can accomplish this and I am going to suggest one way for New Yorkers and one way for tourists. I think of it this way because normally New Yorkers will know which subways to take and how to find these subways quickly. Where as if you are a visitor you will probably need some time to figure out which subway to take, where you have to catch it, where you have to get off and where to go once off etc. If you are savy with directions or have a great app to help you it can speed up the process. I just suggest taking this into consideration and the fact that NYC blocks are a mile long and you’ll be looking up at buildings and not walking as fast. Now if you feel you want to do this in a different manner, go right ahead but after some thought and doing this myself these are my suggestions. With one Met Museum ticket you can visit all three locations within three consecutive days, thanks to its ticket policy. One ticket gets you into all three! So this means you only have to pay to get into one museum no matter which, and transportation. Take advantage of this and make sure to KEEP THE RECEIPT as each museum will ask for the receipt when you mention this policy!

 

Tourist: Your first stop should be the Met Breuer, the smallest of the three. This museum holds modern art including Picasso’s. The museum is small with only a few floors, with one currently closed for construction. It also has many large sculptures as opposed to alot of paintings, which in my opinion made the process of reading about and viewing the piece faster. It only took me an hour an a half to complete the museum, but you might be going a bit slower than I did so I’d say give yourself 2-3 hours here. It probably won’t take you longer than that because like I said, its small. If your hungry check out the café which has a patio area on the basement level of the museum.

 

Your next stop should be the Met on Fifth. The Met on Fifth is only seven blocks away from the Met Breuer, save yourself money and walk there! If its good whether, you won’t regret it, as the architecture of the upper east side is beautiful and the townhouse lined streets are peaceful. I love walking to the Met because of this simple fact, its like getting a quick peaceful break before you cross into the bustle of Museum Mile on fifth. The Met on Fifth is the largest of the museums and it is going to take you the rest of the day to get through it. Some of my favorite parts of the museum include the Costume Institute if there’s a fashion exhibition, the Egyptian Art wing, the Charles Engelhard Court in the American wing, the Medieval Art wing and the rooftop. The rooftop is open May-October and sometimes holds exhibitions while the views of the city are incredible.

 

By the time you are done with the Met on Fifth you’ll probably be too tired or it will be too late to attempt to go uptown as the MET closes at 5:30pm (Sun-Thurs) and the Met Cloisters at 5:15pm. You might feel like you didn’t see everything at the Met on Fifth and want to come back the second day. You are going to want to leave the Met Cloisters for the third day, as it takes a while to get up there and because it deserves a slow stroll through the grounds. The Met Cloisters is located inside Fort Tyron park in upper Manhattan, literally almost at the very end of Manhattan. From the Met on Fifth to the Cloisters the subway ride will take around an hour, and from the subway to the museum you are walking uphill. Give yourself time to walk slowly and take in the views of the flowers and nature of the park. I’m assuming you can take a taxi up but why would you, when you’ll miss the views and the nature. NOTE: Once you get off the train follow the signs that say Cloisters to find the elevator inside the subway station that will take you up to the entry of the park. If you attempt to walk from the subway, it will take long and it might be confusing. The park also has many hills and steps and you will be EXHAUSTED by the time you get there. I’ve walked there both ways and highly suggest finding that elevator!  Take your time in this museum, its small but gorgeous as it is filled with medieval art and the gardens and the architecture of the building are impeccably detailed.

 

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Local: YOU GOT THIS! I did it!

Now you may like the suggestions I made for tourists, and by all means follow them. But as a person who enters NYC via midtown I prefer going all the way up to the Met Cloisters first and coming back down to the Met Breuer in one day. Now the Met Cloisters connects via the A subway which runs on the west side of Manhattan, but the Met Breuer is on the east side. You would need to transfer to the C or B subway at some point or get off near Central Park and cross. It doesn’t take long if you walk NYC pace! I still enjoyed the park and I made it to the Met Breuer with hours to spare. From the east side of the park to the Met Breuer its only one block away. I did it this way and felt I saw everything both museums had to offer and got to stop and admire sections of the park I hadn’t before. I visited the Met on Fifth on a separate day, I suggest doing the same due to how big it is. Since I know my way around the museum on fifth, I knew exactly what I wanted to see. What I didn’t know and what you might not have realized is the ticket price for local NEW YORKERS is pay as you wish. College students of the NY, NJ and CT area can also pay as they wish. For non-New Yorkers it cost $25 to enter the museum, but like I mentioned above keep that ticket and receipt because it gets you into all three museums. This policy is fairly new, and a lot of people think it’s still pay as you wish for everyone, it is NOT. But it is well worth it if you visit all the museums!

 

Don’t miss the Picasso’s and Degas’s at the Met Breuer! They have the famous The Little Fourteen Year Old Dancer sculpture by Degas along with other modern art. The museum is the smallest of the three, with many sculptures and a floor currently under construction. You might be finished with more than enough time to visit the Met on Fifth! Take your time at the Cloisters, its like stepping out of New York and into a European medieval castle. The museum itself is small, but you are going to want to take in the details and beauty of the architecture, art and grounds. While Fort Tyron park is beautiful on its own. When at the Met on Fifth make sure to visit the Egyptian and Medieval sections and the rooftop, you wont’ regret that rooftop!

 

 

 

 

In whatever manner you visit the MET Museums I highly suggest you take advantage of the ticket policy. Locals who are just looking for something to do on a weekend or looking for ways to educate their kids are going to enjoy these museums. While tourists visiting for the first time are not going to want to miss the MET, it is a MUST. I hope this post encourages you to visit at least the MET on FIFTH, as I’ve been visiting this museum since I was a little girl and it is still one of my favorite places on earth.

 

Trains: A,B,C

Time: 2-3 Days

Cost: $25 per ticket + subway ride $2.75 per ride + if you are coming from outside NYC.

 

I will have a separate post on the Heavenly Bodies : Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Have you ever visited all three museums as a local or tourists? Let me know in the comments and on social media!- T.S.