The Ultimate Book Lover’s Guide to New York City

Once upon a time, we read books. We don’t mean the kind you swipe or listen to. We’re talking about those sleek rectangular symbols of obsolescence, with their heavenly, substantive smell of ink on paper. But years ago we moved across the country to a modest space, and it wasn’t long before we felt the draw of technology, with its promise of convenience, constant availability and ease of use. Now, aside from the occasional signed copy or special edition to add to our bookshelf, we don’t buy physical books. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love them. Thankfully, beneath the veneer of New York City’s gotta-go culture lies an avid community of readers. Within the bustling city, you can always find quiet spots where people linger, book in hand. You just have to know where to look. Here’s the ultimate book lover’s guide to New York City.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: The Truth About Hiring a Guide in Fès, Morocco

I’ve taken hundreds of tours in my lifetime. From half-hour guided tours in museums to day-long city tours, it’s been one of my favorite avenues to discover someplace new. (I’ve taken a few at home, too.) But anyone who’s been on their fair share of tours will know that’s it’s pretty hit or miss. Even if you do the research, locate a reputable company and pick someone with stellar reviews, you could still have a bad experience. I know many travelers who opt for the thrill of self-discovery instead. But if you’re exploring a medina with almost 10,000 unmapped streets in a country where you don’t speak the language, it might be a good time to consider hiring a guide. I did, and here’s what I can tell you about hiring a guide in Fès.

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The Intoxicating Medina of Fès, Morocco: 10 Things I Loved (And A Few I Didn’t)

If you have limited annual vacation time like we do, then there’s a trip planning exercise you’re probably familiar with: The Deadly Edit. It’s the point where you recognize you’re probably not going to be able to see an entire country in 9 days, and you’re going to have to make some tough choices. But even as I painfully sliced away at my itinerary, I knew Fès had to remain a part of it. This historical city is the heart and soul of Morocco.

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Unlock the Best NYC Secrets with Open House New York

Over the years, we’ve lived everywhere from Cleveland to Phoenix, and that’s just a shortlist of the most recent. Our move east can be boiled down to a very simple consideration: access. To be specific, it was access to New York City and everything that it encompasses. We’ve discovered over the years, however, that you don’t need to live in or near the city to get the inside scoop. We’ve also learned that your experience as a local isn’t limited to a surface-level transaction. It can be deepened, but only if you choose to engage. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or tried-and-true local, here’s how to unlock the best NYC secrets with one of New York’s most vibrant, beloved and essential institutions: Open House New York.

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How to Make the Most of Your Layover in Casablanca, Morocco

One of my brother’s first encounters in Morocco was with a Maroc man who had moved from Casablanca to Marrakech, and he gushed endlessly about what a good decision he’d made. A fellow traveler I chatted with in Marrakech said he had just come from Casablanca and didn’t like it at all. Even the front desk clerk at my hotel in Casablanca, mistakenly thinking I was just beginning my Moroccan adventure, said “You’ll love Marrakech!” It didn’t inspire confidence. But Casablanca surprised me in the very best way, and it ended up being the perfect place to end my Moroccan adventure. Casablanca is the point of entry for most North American flights, and its large port also makes it a popular cruise destination. If you have a layover in Casablanca, here’s how to make the most of it–even if you only have a few hours to spare.

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Exploring Astoria, Queens: 12 Must-Visit Spots in This Cool NYC Neighborhood

One of the most common misconceptions about New York City is that there’s no sense of community. But here’s the truth: the city is simply a collection of neighborhoods. Most New Yorkers are fiercely loyal to their part of town, declaring local coffee shops, bodegas and bars as the best around. The more time we’ve spent in Astoria, the more we find ourselves championing it the same way a local would.

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Battle of the Bagel: The Ultimate Guide to New York and Montreal Bagels

One of the first things we research before we take a trip is where we’re going to eat. As we geared up for a visit to Montreal, we couldn’t ignore the serious grudge match between The City of Saints and The City That Never Sleeps. The debate was simple: which city has better bagels?

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A Graffiti Lover’s Guide to the Best Street Art and Murals in Baltimore

Did you know that Baltimore is a city with a legacy of firsts? It was the birthplace of the National Anthem. It lays claim to the first Washington monument (not Washington DC!), the first telegraph line, the first regular railroad passenger service, the first cathedral, and the first United States post office system. Its maverick, innovative spirit has been making waves since its humble beginnings as one of the original thirteen colonies. During the era of slavery, Baltimore was one of the few states home to more free blacks than slaves. That same independent streak and irrepressible spirit can be seen to this very day in its institutions, its communities, and, yes, even in its prolific street art.

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The Best 2019 Bushwick Collective Murals and Where to Find Them

When we started this blog, it was a rather impulsive decision. We thought it would be a fun way to catalog our memories, while sharing the things we love about New York City. It’s our third year covering the incredible murals at the Bushwick Collective, but it’s the first time we felt a tangible passing of time. Like pencil marks on a door jamb, our blog posts have become gentle reminders of years gone by. So how did this year compare to the rest?

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Street Art for Mankind: Murals with a Message in NYC

Let’s face it, street art has long graduated from the streets. Murals and tags now adorn office buildings, schools and public spaces, all with the blessing of owners and the larger community. It’s easy to forget that street art was once a product of necessity; it was the only way marginalized groups could have a voice. Even though bold murals now serve as backdrops for movies and television shows, street art can still be a great tool to call attention to important issues. The Freedom Murals and ILO100 Murals by Street Art for Mankind bring it all full circle.

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