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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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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Inner Harbor And Beyond: Cool Non-Touristy Things To Do in Baltimore

What pops into your head when you think of Baltimore? For us, it’s John Waters and The Wire. (We’re pretty big film and television fans.) Also crab cakes. (Okay, so we’re pretty big foodies too.) But there’s really so much more to Baltimore. It’s rarely given the appreciation it deserves as a travel destination. In this age of rampant overtourism, it seems ridiculous to call any locale “undiscovered” or “underrated”. But Baltimore, Maryland is truly both those things.

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London’s Best Hidden Gems: Fun Things To Do Off the Beaten Path

There are certain cities you can visit over and over, and London is definitely one of them. We have many friends and family who call it home, so we’ve been fortunate to make several return visits over time. While there are some classic London sights we’ll never tire of, our local guides have introduced us to unique, off-the-beaten-path sights and activities that tourists may not get to. If you’re looking for something new to do on a second, third or fourth visit, then check out some of London’s best hidden gems.

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Museum of Interesting Things Secret Speakeasy

The Museum of Interesting Things Secret Speakeasy NYC is a traveling, interactive exhibition of antiques, collectibles, and inventions. The focus of the speakeasy is to inspire innovation and creativity. This is achieved through interaction with relics from our past. In many cases, the audience are full-on participants. They assist in unveiling the newest acquisitions, offer their own anecdotes about particular items, and ask insightful questions. Interaction at a secret speakeasy, whether with people or objects, is encouraged. Save for a few exceptions, audience members are entirely welcome to touch the items on display.

The Museum of Interesting Things Secret Speakeasy NYC is presented by its inimitable host, Denny Daniel. He’s the curator and founder of the museum. If you are wondering what the show is like, the general ballpark is a robust mix of Barnum and Baily, Pawn Stars, and Antiques Roadshow. So, in other words, prepare to be entertained.

Please keep in mind that the secret speakeasy has been known to change venues last-minute. We strongly recommended that you check the website before the event. Typically, though, the speakeasy is held at The Loft in Soho at 177 Prince Street. Keep in mind, each month the programming changes to focus on a specific theme, so make sure to join the email list to see what is offered each month. This month’s theme  is Suffragette City, which has one of the largest collections
on the history of the suffragettes, rights and voting.

For a preview of the event, read about our experience visiting a prior speakeasy here.

5 Things to Do in Bilbao Besides Visit the Guggenheim

Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is so recognizable it’s almost synonymous with the Basque city. It’s difficult to imagine today, but in the late 1980s and early 1990s Bilbao was suffering from severe decline due to dwindling industry, rising unemployment and ongoing Basque separatist conflict. The Guggenheim Museum was a last-ditch effort to save the city, and it paid off in spades. Gehry’s building was so successful in drawing in tourism dollars, that the “Bilbao Effect” is now used as a term for urban renewal and reinvention. The Guggenheim Museum is still a great reason to visit Bilbao, but the bustling Basque city has a lot more to offer. Here are some fun things to do in Bilbao:

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11 Exciting Places to Find the Best Street Art in NYC

Updated May 29, 2019

When it comes to hunting down the best street art in NYC, there’s more to it than just finding massive murals and famous street artists. It reflects New York City’s values and shines a spotlight on its diverse neighborhoods. Street art in NYC is mostly temporary by nature, with only a few iconic pieces preserved for posterity. So the best strategy is to visit a street art gallery instead, where the murals span multiple blocks and feature a number of street art styles and artists. Whether you’re looking to discover the newest talent or to simply locate a dramatic backdrop for an Instagram post, here’s a definitive list of the best graffiti locations in NYC.

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Lunar New Year Parade in New York City’s Chinatown

The Lunar New Year is celebrated at various locations throughout the five boroughs. But easily the most festive Lunar New Year parade in New York City can be found in Chinatown. This year’s parade is on February 17th.

It’s the Year of the Pig according to the Chinese Zodiac, so dress in your most auspicious reds and make your way out to Mott Street and Canal Street in Lower Manhattan to get in on all the festivities. There will be impressive floats, marching bands, lion dance troupes, dancers and, of course, those colorful confetti sticks popping off along the parade route. Just make sure to get there early for the best vantage, it can get mighty crowded.

You can find more information on the parade, including the complete route, and other Chinatown celebrations here.

You can get a birdseye view of the event from our coverage of 2018’s Year of the Dragon here.

The Chocolate Addict’s Guide to New York City

Updated Aug 25, 2019

You don’t know what’s good and what’s bad until you try something better. Our first visits to France and Italy many, many moons ago taught us this lesson in spades. If you grew up in many parts of America before the tidal influx of imported chocolates and the explosion of craft chocolatiers, the only chocolate you may have known was Hershey’s. And Hershey’s, as it turns out, barely qualifies as chocolate. That’s not an exaggeration. In the US, the minimum cocoa solids that are required to constitute a milk chocolate instead of a what is ambiguously referred to as a “confection” is 10%, and Hershey’s is camped out right on that line. By comparison, Canada requires 15% and Europe 35%. Don’t you feel cheated?

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