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Hello from Dubai! After a 12-hour flight (and one of the best airplane experiences I’ve ever had), I am finally in the United Arab Emirates. Instead of regaling you with tales of the journey, which would undoubtedly be told with a haughty tone, I’ll just let my pictures speak for themselves.

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The journey began at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the Emirates Lounge with a breakfast of Greek yogurt, an egg white omelet and a “detox juice” made of carrot, apple and ginger.

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Settled into Business Class aboard the Emirates’ A380 plane. A380 planes are double deckers, with Business and First Class on the top level and Economy on the bottom.

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Before takeoff, Business and First Class passengers are given a welcome drink and a Bvlgari amenity kit. Champagne! Bvlgari! It’s the life.

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Emirates caters to my shameless Friends obsession. After takeoff, scroll through the expansive media library. There are enough hours of entertainment to take you around the world…twice.

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After your main meal (and a good nap) head to the back of the plane where the Business Class bar serves up a selection of canapes…

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…and drinks!

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Twelve hours later arrive in Dubai refreshed and ready to take on this futuristic, Jetson-esque hub of the world! Dubai, here I come!

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2012 has been an exciting year – one that has taken me to 11 countries and six domestic cities. Here are the top five posts that you all deemed the most worthy of reading throughout the year.  Allow me to get misty eyed and thank you for all the comments, “likes” and views this year. I look forward to more adventures in 2013 and cannot wait to share with all of you.

grand-oasis-cancun-21. the 90s are back in cancun

This journey from last January took us to Cancun of yesteryear, where girls strip down to the very bare minimum and beefcake dudes line up to drink tequila out of their belly buttons. It makes me smile that my readers found this to be the most popular post.

 

2. an affair with anthony bourdain

Not surprisingly, my encounter with my hero (and the hero of many of my readers, I’m sure) was worthy of your attention.

 

3. airport idiocy: top five pet peeves

We all have been to the airport, so we all know just how much of a hassle they can be. Plus, everyone likes reading complaint pieces where they get to say, “oh yes, that is soooo true!”

 

delposto4. five overrated restaurants in nyc

I don my snark cap and tell you that those restaurants with the $$$$ rating just aren’t that worth it.

 

5. summer of fun 2012

Every summer I make a list of the top 50 things in New York that I would love do between Memorial Day and Labor Day. You all came along on that journey with me this summer. I hope you were able to create some memories of your own!

 

Like what you have read this year? Follow me on Twitter at @tripptravelogue, or “like” me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/trippintravelogue. Thanks everyone and Happy New Year!!

I’d like to clear up a few misconceptions that people have on the glamorous lives of travel writers. Contrary to popular belief, life is not one big vacation. When you, reader, go on vacation, no doubt the worst part of the whole experience is the airport. However, at the end of that tunnel, you have a beautiful hotel, no schedule to keep but your own, and usually about a week in which to enjoy your destination.

Travel writers, on the other hand, spend the majority of their time in airports only to get to a destination, follow someone else’s itinerary and turn around to come home in about four days…only to have just enough time to recover, see some friends and get back on a plane to do it all over again. Allow me an example:

Saturday, at approximately 4 p.m. I checked into JFK at the SWISS counter, only to find that I had been granted access to the Business Lounge. What a nice little start to my press trip, I thought. But airports are fickle mistresses. They can seduce you with complimentary cocktails one minute, and the next tear your heart out and leave you for dead sitting on the tarmac like a shmo…which is exactly what happened.

Our aircraft took off down the runway for an ON TIME departure, only after the captain had announced that we’d be getting into Zurich early. The plane sped up, cocking itself at that slight angle before its wheels lift into the air, when suddenly it jolted back to 180 degrees, our bodies thrust forward as the captain slammed on the brakes….So that’s what those flimsy seat belts are for.

“Folks, we’ve had to abort our takeoff due to the failure of one of our engines.”

And so began a two-hour saga while we waited for maintenance to find a staircase so that they could actually get onto the plane to check it out. And even after that, it was discovered that there was no problem with the engine at all. The signal light was broken. So to the back of the taxi line we went, only to take off three hours late.

Of course, I missed my connection in Zurich and so I had to wait on the transfer line, only to miss the next flight to Istanbul. After I eventually did get rebooked, that flight was delayed due to thunderstorms.

Cut to the next scene: Me on a flight to Istanbul with a French child behind me kicking my seat with the force of some kind of small horse, while her mother screeched, “Arrêt!!!” for three hours. Seriously. This is how I commute to work. The normal employee may sit in traffic for an hour, get jostled on a subway, or what have you. This is how a travel writer commutes.

Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul is a shit show. There really is no other way to describe it. I was told that cruise passengers do not need a visa to enter Turkey. That is a lie. Do not attempt to stand on the immigration line without a visa, even if you are a cruise passenger. (I’m attending the Crystal Cruises’ 22nd Annual Sales Gala this week, if you are interested.) Oh, and FYI, the line to purchase a visa can give the Great Wall of China a run for its money in terms of length. Visas into Turkey cost approximately $20, and no, they do not accept Turkish Lira…in Turkey…to buy a Turkish visa. There are ATMs, however, that dole out cash in dollars and euro. But folks, let’s remember that travel writers are still writers. Making writers’ salaries. And unless you’re a former president or JK Rowling, writers’ salaries ain’t much. No worries, though. Visas are $20, and I had $36 in my checking account.

Hello, Istanbul. Twenty-four hours later. No joke. I looked down at my feet in horror as I saw they had swollen to the size of giant hams, and my toes looked like little cocktail weiners stuck into their sides. My ankles had been swallowed by my calves. At a certain point I also realized that that thing I was smelling was me. How’s that for jetsetting glamor?

Now I sit on a cruise ship and will have four hours to take in Istanbul before we ship off to our next destination. Not so much with the cultural immersion when on a cruise. (And this is a conference…so any free time you would normally have is eaten up with interviews, general sessions and sales presentations.)

Look – don’t get me wrong. I love my job. This is the life I chose, and for every 50 horrific issues, there’s that occasional private jet, epic meal or spa treatment. I love this lifestyle, but it is NOT for everyone. So the next time you meet a travel writer and say to them, “I wish I had your job,” really think about it. Do you? It’s lonely, it’s exhausting, it’s hectic and it will make you want to scream 80 percent of the time. That other 20 percent, however, is the reason why this is the only job I will ever have.

Flight to Madrid aboard Delta Air Lines Economy. Looks comfy, no?

I hate that moment when you get on the plane, lug your carry-on through Business Class and you see the people sitting in their spacious seats, sipping champagne, already settled, giving you that half-smile and a look that says, ‘Yeah…that’s right. My carry-on is guaranteed in the overhead and I’m going to sleep the entire flight. What’s up, capitalism!”

Sure, I may have been one of those people on occasion, but for the most part I’m hoofing it with my Economy brethren, damning the man and plotting the pitch-fork revolt from the back of the cabin.

This weekend I embark on a cute little 11-hour flight to Istanbul, Turkey. No, it will not be Business Class. So in preparation, I’m dusting off my little Economy Class Survival Guide, which I thought I should share with all of you.

1. Dress to De-Stress
I don’t know if this happens to you, but on long flights my body swells up to about four-times its normal size. Something about the water rising out of your tissues and sitting under your skin…I don’t know, someone told me that and I bought it. In any event, constricting jeans don’t really feel the most comfortable when your body is reenacting the scene from Willy Wonka when Violet turns into a blueberry. Comfortable clothing is key. Go for stretchy fabrics, and layers. Temperatures go a bit haywire on the plane. But please, I beg of you, leave the crushed velvet leisure suit at home. Comfortable does not mean Real Housewives of New Jersey.

2. Nurture Your Neck
Yes, Business Class has lie-flat beds. Economy seats recline a generous 10 degrees. Nothing says sound sleep like sitting upright mashed against the overweight gentleman next to you. I know they look goofy, but friends, those crescent-shaped neck pillows are incredibly effective. If anything, you won’t be the freak whose head lolls to one side as you awkwardly jerk yourself awake to prevent drooling on yourself.

3. Gimme the Drugs
Look, I don’t have a drug problem. I don’t use prescription medication for recreational use. I’m just saying that Tylenol PM, when mixed with a glass of red wine, will knock you out for about eight hours. I once slept the entire way to Israel, in Economy, on that combination. And I always use it on my flights to Europe. If it’s an unusually long flight, say, to China, go for the real stuff: Ambien. Seriously, it was like that 15-hour flight never even occurred.

4. Entertainment Options
Sure in Business Class the entertainment options are right in front of you. Hours worth of movies and TV shows. In Economy, we do not have that luxury, so you must be a little more creative. Don’t just rely on the iPod. Sometimes you get a little antsy and want to switch to a bit of light reading, so bring an engaging book. For those of you who need visual stimulation as well, load up your laptop with movies, or bring a few of your favorite DVDs on the plane. If you can constantly keep switching forms of entertainment, the flight will seem shorter.

5. Necessary Noshing
Most air carriers these days suck. If they aren’t charging you a ridiculous amount for the ticket, they’re charging you for checked bags, blankets and yes, food. It’s not uncommon to be undernourished on a lengthy flight, leaving us to fend for ourselves. Remember to load up on snacks at the airport, past security, so you aren’t awkwardly handing over your nibbles to the TSA agents. And remember – the stinkier the snack, the more likely you are making some mortal enemies. The cabin is shared space (and air), people. I don’t need your tuna salad wafting into my nose. Perhaps that turkey wrap is a better option, no?

Here’s the great thing about Montreal: It’s less than an hour flight from JFK. Wait, let me rephrase. It’s supposed to be less than an hour flight from JFK, unless both Delta Air Lines and JFK team up to turn your allegedly brief trip into an epic saga.

It all started when, after boarding the plane in record time, maintenance decided to check the tires only to discover that one of them needed changing (perhaps something to check ahead of time, boys?). After deboarding and reboarding (and another two hours of sitting on the runway due to signal chaos), finally we were airborne (and all a little cranky).

But despite the headaches of JFK and Delta, the arrival in Montreal is so pleasant that it’s easy to transition seamlessly into laid-back European mode.

How could you not love this city? It’s a destination for Francophiles, artists, musicians, foodies, barflies, young, old….the list goes on. Home to four universities, the city has 40,000 college students, which breathes energetic life into sleepy, cobblestoned streets. Case in point: Every Sunday night in the summer, Montreal is home to Piknic Électronik – an all-day outdoor festival with wine and electronic music that only gets more and more frenetic as the night goes on (and inebriation sets in). Around 10 p.m. the scene erupts into an all-out dance party – on a Sunday night. Who doesn’t love coping with the Sunday night blues by grinding up with their fellow neighbor on a wine buzz with a fresh suntan? Ahh youth.

Tomorrow is set aside for a full day of exploration, but this evening we were given a taste of local cuisine at Restaurant L’Autre Version. The restaurant sits in a building that dates back over two hundred years. Inside the atmosphere is modern and urban, while the back garden is more Provence-meets-Miami with ivy-covered walls and canopied daybeds. Chef Pascal Cormier came out to greet our table (and I was not disappointed…hello ruggedly handsome chef with a French accent…) to talk about his menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes. I opted for the venison tartare and grilled mahi-mahi served ‘puttanesca’ style with Kalamata olives and capers.

Tonight we crash at Le Centre Sheraton Montreal in the heart of downtown. Tomorrow is devoted to a culinary tour of the city and individual exploration. Not bad for a little taste of Europe just an hour outside of New York…assuming JFK will actually let you leave.

Planes, trains and automobiles. That’s Caribbean island hopping for you, except forget trains and substitute boats. Inter-island hopping can be a major pain in the ass. At least, that’s how the rumor goes, seeing as everyone runs on “Caribbean time,” a warped sense of reality foreign to cosmopolitan dwellers who schedule their days down to every bathroom break.

I may be one of these people. So you can imagine the agita I was feeling when I heard that the airline I was flying from St. Maarten (SXM) to Tortola (EIS), LIAT Airlines, was known by the locals as Leave Island Any Time. A quick search on Lonely Planet left me reeling as I read horror stories of lost luggage and a common theme that the airline always manages to at least “arrive on the day it is supposed to.” I had a noon ferry to catch in Tortola to take me over to Virgin Gorda, and the next one was not for another six hours.

Well, fortunately, this is a story that turns out well. The flight landed early and it was a very brief walk from the airport to the dock to catch the ferry. When taking a ferry off of Tortola, you will usually be embarking from Trellis Bay. As soon as you leave the airport doors, make a left and keep walking straight for about five minutes and you’ll come upon the piers. A small market is available that sells snacks and cold beverages so you can wait comfortably for your ferry.

There aren’t a whole lot of options to get off of Tortola. The BVI caters to a very upscale community and most of the luxury resorts have their own private transfers, which come at an astronomical fee. There are a few low budget ferries, but because they are the only options they tend to leave when and how they want to. I recommend using Speedy’s. A one-way ticket to Virgin Gorda is $20 and they run on a pretty reliable schedule. It’s about a half-hour ferry trip.

All in all, not a bad day for travel. I left St. Maarten at 10:30 a.m. and arrived at Villa Aquamare at 12:45 p.m. Not too shabby.

Now I sit in this 8,000-square-foot, five-bedroom villa drinking a Carib beer looking over the private plunge pool out toward the ocean, wondering what on earth I did in my previous life. But that, my friends, is a story for another day. Until Monday.

So young, so innocent.

In Moby Dick, Ishmael starts out by telling us that whenever he grows grim about the mouth, and he feels like knocking people’s hats off, he gets to the sea as soon as he can. Well, Ish, I hear you. Except for me, I take to the road.

It’s been a rough few weeks, friends. Yours truly hasn’t felt quite like herself, and frankly, has felt quite grim about the mouth. So, it seemed like as good a time as any to take to the road. I’m off to Stowe, Vermont for the weekend to clear my head, catch up with one of my oldest friends and to check out the Stowe Mountain Lodge. It promises to be full of mountain vistas, a touch of pampering, and some tasty eats – everything you need at the end of a long journey to make you forget why you left in the first place.

So here, my friends, is my essential guide for road trips. In my years of road trip experience, I’ve found that this is everything you need to make sure you get from Point A to Point B in true chilled-out style.

1. Perfected Playlist
There is an art to a road trip playlist. The key is to not try to impress anyone. Now is not the time to show off your alternative taste. I don’t need to hear your bootleg Velvet Underground track off the B side of a record that no one ever heard of. Stick to the classics: ’80s, ’90s, classic rock, and a few guilty pleasures. And you need a balance of fast and slow. It can’t be all about bringing the party up to speed. There must be a few sappy ballads or emo contemplative melodies to bring you and your companions into a pensive mood. Because what is a “find yourself” road trip without a little contemplation?

2. Physical Maps
I love my iPhone as much as the next girl, and yes, in the days of GPS travel has certainly become more convenient. But let me tell you: cell reception sometimes fails you, and your GPS does not have everything. Printing out or buying physical maps allows you to see the roads laid out in front of you. If you want to take a scenic detour, you can actually see where the two-lane highways join back up with the interstates. Let’s take a trip back to the Stone Age, friends. Join me. It’s quite comfortable.

3. Cash
Sometimes, sh*t happens, and when it does it’s always best to have cash on hand. That gas station in Eastern Middle of Nowhere may not have a pump that accepts credit cards. ATMs could be out of service. Anything, really, is possible. It’s always best to be prepared. Note: I’m going to lump “jumper cables” into this category as well. The point is, just be ready for anything.

4. Crank-Reducing Snacks
I can’t stress the importance of this. I could tell you about the time I got lost driving through the Battle of Vicksburg site in Mississippi, on the brink of starvation, and I almost tossed my companion out of the car until we made it through and found a Cracker Barrel. This could have been easily avoided by the presence of snacks. When on a road trip, you need something tasty that will stay delicious at room temperature, and not cause you to become overly thirsty (which results in numerous bathroom breaks). You also need to be able to eat it with one hand, assuming you are driving.  Nothing sloppy or runny. Sorry BBQ chicken sandwich on a roll..you need to stay at home.

5. Comfy Clothing
If you are going to be sitting in the same position, possibly eating, for more than three hours, you can leave the skin-tight jeans and heels at home. A flexible material and flats (or go barefoot!), along with a somewhat baggy shirt is the optimal driving uniform. Guys have it a little easier, since they seem to dress more comfortably anyway.

6*: This addendum is for the true road tripper. I’ve said it before, but the book Road Trip USA is the ultimate driving companion. It has a list of America’s most picturesque two-lane highways, and where you can stop along the way for local culture, flavor and color.

Call me crazy, but I genuinely enjoy an airport experience. Honestly, if you budget your time well, what’s not to like? Get there early, go through security stress free, park yourself at the bar to get your buzz and snack on before boarding. Boom. Easy…

…most of the time.

It’s a good idea in theory, but unfortunately for most, airports are a frenetic mess of neuroses and paranoia causing otherwise intelligent individuals to turn into bumbling, confused morons. Here is a look at some of the worst airport behavior. If you are a culprit, you have been warned.

1. Security Sh*t-Storm
This encompasses a myriad of behaviors, none of which will come as a surprise to most travelers. What in theory is a simple concept becomes a harried nightmare. The plan is simple: 1. Grab bin. 2. Remove shoes, outerwear, laptop and metal from your person. 3. Proceed through metal detector. 4. Grab your belongings and move on. It’s your basic assembly line mentality, and one that is uniform across all airports. But somehow, that guy leaves his iPad in its case, the fashionista is wearing shoes with padlocks that take forever to remove, and the little old couple couple doesn’t realize that belt buckles are made of metal. All of this said, the number one issue on a security line is the guy (or gal) who puts all of their belongings back together without moving aside, causing a backup through the metal detector of epic proportions. Please be kind and remove your bins to dress yourself at one of the numerous benches provided outside the screening area.

2. The Moving Walkway Controversy
I have nothing against the lazy. I am the lazy. But if you feel the need to stand on the moving walkway…I just don’t know how to deal with you. I understand that it may feel luxurious to begin your vacation at the airport, but seriously. Have a cocktail. Spring for the business lounge. If you need to stand still on a flat surface and be transported Aladdin/Magic Carpet-style across a 50-foot stretch, I will judge, mock and wish heavy delays upon you.

3. Respect the Zone
I know many of you feel that boarding with your designated zone is too much like living in a dictatorship. We’re all going to the same place, right? What’s the big deal? I’ll tell you. When people board outside of their designated zones, the overhead space fills up. When it comes time for those to board who actually waited until the appropriate point, there is suddenly no more overhead space and those that specifically packed carry-on luggage are forced to check their bags. Having said that, if you have already checked your bags then go ahead. You cut that line. You won’t hear a peep out of me.

4. A Solitary Activity
Is anyone else nervous when waiting to see who they are sitting next to on a flight? Do you wait with a strange anticipation to find out if the seat next to you will be occupied by the attractive, young stranger or the chatty elderly woman with a small phonebook of grandchildren? For me it’s always intriguing to see who I will be sharing the journey with. But that doesn’t mean I want to talk to whoever sits down next to me. I’ll make due with the pleasant “Hi, how are you?” with a nice smile. But beyond that, there’s no need for chitchat. Sometimes it works out well (like that time I sat next to NHL rookie Ian Cole). Other times…not so much (I’m thinking of you drunk business man with two failed marriages dating the “hot” Latina woman, whose picture you could not resist showing me multiple times). The bottom line: there’s no need to make new friends. In the words of the great, late Patrick Swayze in the classic film Dirty Dancing, “This is my dance space, this is yours.”

5. Aisle Denial
Undeniably the best seat in the house, the aisle seat comes with responsibility. It’s not all stretched legs and easy bathroom access. That guy next to you gazing out the window, marveling at how farmland can be so geometric will inevitably have to go to the bathroom as well. If you take the aisle seat and go to sleep immediately after take off, you will be interrupted at some point during the flight. Unfortunately, you just have to be okay with this. Grumbling is not an option. You are on the aisle seat. You are the gatekeeper. If beauty sleep is more important to you, forgo that leg room, my friend.

Well, summer is officially OFFICIALLY over (just ignore that 81-degree day we are supposed to have on Sunday). In May I wrapped up grad school and the last year of higher education I plan on pursuing at this point. In a rush of relief and thirst for freedom, I whipped up a list of 50 things to do in New York that I had either never done because I never had the time, or that I had done before years ago and wanted to do again. I called it the Summer of Fun, and I was determined to hit all 50 between Memorial Day and the Fall Equinox.

Well, my friends, 50 items in a summer is ambitious, as I learned. I only managed to hit 21 of the items, which percentage-wise ain’t that great, but I’m still pleased. Below is the list in its entirety, with the activities I managed to hit in bold, along with some info on how you can do it, too. Here’s to Summer 2012: eight months and counting…

1.    Mermaid Parade
2.    Studio Square BBQ Festival – held at Studio Square beer garden in Astoria, this pig-fest included all-you-can-drink Sam Adams and a roast of two 400-pound hogs, served up by both Jim Koch and David Burke.
3.    High line – an elevated park built on an old rail track. It runs along Manhattan’s West Side from Gansevoort Street to W 34th Street. (And it’s ehhh in my opinion.)
4.    Statue of Liberty
5.    Original Beer Garden
6.    SummerStage
7.    Central Park boozy picnic
8.    Coney Island – looking for crushed glass in your sand and gray water? Take the N or the Q line all the way to the end and enjoy this Brooklyn beach and boardwalk.
9.    Blues on Bleeker Street
10.    Visit Staten Island
11.    NYC Pizza Tour
12.    Cheesy Little Italy dinner – You will have your pick of overpriced, overquaffed Italian restaurants if you walk along Mulberry Street. Be sure to pick one with a guy playing the accordion. I opted for Palazzo Ristorante. (The bill for two people was upward of $200, just fyi.)

13.    Korean food in Flushing
14.    Governor’s Island
15.    Brooklyn Cyclones game
16.    Rooftop Film
17.    All-You-Can-Drink Sushi – The East Village is ripe with all-you-can-eat/drink sushi establishments. I prefer Ashiya on First Ave between 10th and 11th streets.
18.    Rooftop bar at The Delancey
19.    The Met Martini Bar
20.    The Frying Pan  – docked at Pier 66, The Frying Pan is an old lightship-turned-grill and bar. The crowd gets a little douchey around happy hour, but the burgers are good, the beer is flowing and the view over the Hudson is pretty spectacular.
21.    Mets game – This one is pretty self explanatory, but I managed to catch a subway series in July against the Yankees.
22.    Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
23.    City Island
24.    The Cloisters – This branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art sits all the way up in Fort Tryon Park. It is a collection of medieval pieces, including the famous Unicorn Tapestries
25.    Brennan & Carr
26.    Spumoni Gardens – Like Sicilian pizza? You will love Spumoni Gardens. This Brooklyn establishment is talked about in hushed, reverent tones among die-hard Brooklynites. It’s one stop in from Coney Island and is a great way to end a pretty lame beach day.
27.    Corned beef at Katz’s – Another must for any New Yorker, this is the spot for Jewish deli favorites. Corned beef, pastrami, cole slaw and a cold Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda.
28.    Diner – Somewhere under the Brooklyn Bridge in Williamsburg sits this old converted dining rail car. The restaurant changes its menu daily and gets its meat from the butcher shop next door. Anthony Bourdain speaks highly of it, so you know I have to concur.
29.    Roosevelt Island
30.    Camping – Take Adirondack Trailways from Port Authority up to Woodstock. Round trip tickets are $50 and you will be plopped down in prime Catskill camping territory. One of my favorite camping spots is Vernooy Kill Falls, where a short hike in gives way to a secluded swimming hole.
31.    Peter Luger’s – In all honesty, I’ve had better steak. But this is an institution, so I’m not going to knock it. But..yeah…I’ve had better.
32.    Shake Shack – This burger joint is catching like wildfire and spreading all across the country, but the original sits in Madison Square Park. Brave the lines, people. It is THAT good.
33.    Ride the 6 train through – I once heard that if you rode the 6 train south to the end of the line, it would loop back around to the Uptown platform. As it loops around, you get to see an abandoned station with beautiful mosaic vaulted ceilings. It’s eerie and abandoned and pretty cool
34.    The Original Jackson Hole
35.    Apotheke
36.    Italian-American Museum – Proud of your Italian heritage? This small museum on Mulberry and Grand gives a cool glimpse into Italian American immigrant life in New York at the turn of the last century.
37.     Blue Ribbon – Oh. my. god. This restaurant is so good. The Blue Ribbon group has opened up several restaurants, including a bakery and a sushi restaurant, but my favorite will always be the Brasserie in SoHo. Tip: Try the cheese fondue and Shrimp Provencal.
38.     The Woods – Like dancing and tacos? Who doesn’t. This dimly lit bar in Williamsburg offers some of the greatest dance parties I’ve ever been subject to. After a night of dancing head out back to the yard, where mom and pop grill up authentic tacos and burritos. Perfect for preventing hangovers.
39.     Astoria Park – Right on the Hudson underneath the Triboro Bridge is an expansive park and public pool. Great for laying out and enjoying river views.
40.     Daly’s Pub
41.    Yoga Agora
42.    The Smoke Joint
43.    Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos
44.    Smorgasburg – On summer Saturdays the lot in Williamsburg that typically hosts the Brooklyn Flea Market opens up to food vendors from around the city. For minimal fees sample delicious porchetta sandwiches, papusas, barbecue and more.
45.    Biking adventures – The outer boroughs of New York are incredibly bike friendly, and it only took me until my seventh year of living here to realize that. Rent a bike and explore Brooklyn and Queens.
46.     The Pickle Guys
47.    The Frick
48.    Broad Channel
49.    Eataly
50.    Merchant House Museum

I don’t know what it is about me that attracts men who are anti-establishment. My high school boyfriend was a die-hard Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Eagles fan, much to the shock of our fellow New York peers. And here I am, eight years later, in a new relationship with a different guy who, shockingly enough, is also a die-hard Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Eagles fan. And we live in Queens. Sundays at the local bar are interesting.

That all being said, and being the excellent girlfriend that I am, I procured Eagles tickets for my guy for his birthday. The plan was to head down the Saturday night before and have a mini vacation in Philly before heading to the game on Sunday. We were going to take Amtrak. It was going to be a breeze. And then October came and the Phillies made it into the NLDS playoffs. And all the hotel rooms were booked. And Amtrak prices skyrocketed up to $140 round trip each. So much for an easy trip…

…or so we thought.

It’s actually a breeze to get down to Philly for a day from New York. New Jersey Transit runs out of Penn Station regularly. An hour and 15 minute train ride (on a local Northeast Corridor train) puts you at Trenton, NJ. After a quick connection, you can find yourself on a SEPTA train which runs straight to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. It’s just a two hour trip and a round trip ticket will cost you $50.

Unfortunately not everything can go so well. The Eagles choked in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers. The ride home was less than pleasant.