Tag: New York

The Queen City of the Great Lakes {Buffalo, NY}

Buffalo, New York is generally not a popular travel destination, it definitely was not on my list, but bear with me as I try to convince you to add this up-state city to your list. My opinion changed after I spent seven days exploring this city and the surrounding areas.

Buffalo Park Systems

Frederick Law Olmstead designed and built the first park and parkway system in the U.S. in Buffalo, and some claim it was his best work. The Buffalo Olmsted Park System is comprised of six parks, seven parkways, eight landscaped circles and several smaller spaces. These parks also surround many of the city’s museums.

Architecture

Buffalo is home to rich architecture, and the residents are working hard to maintain this part of their history. You have the Ellicott Square Building, built in 1896, on Main Street was once the largest office complex in the world, and other interesting buildings located downtown.

Up next, Buffalo is home to seven different Frank Lloyd Wright constructions—Chicago is the only other place with more of Wright’s works. I had the chance to visit his Darwin Martin House, which was built between 1903 and 1905. This house has undergone incredible changes and is well on its way back to complete restoration.

Gardens Galore

Are you a fan of gardens? Then you need to head to Buffalo during the summer months to join Garden Walk Buffalo, the nation’s largest garden walk. This event is comprised of over 400 private gardens and they are something special!

My favorite part of exploring the many neighborhoods of Buffalo, though, was the brightly painted houses. Who doesn’t want a hot pink house?

Buffalo is also home to Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Garden.

Niagara Falls & Lake Erie

Niagara Falls is a true natural wonder that amazes millions of visitors each year. Take a gander at this natural wonder on the US side with Niagara Falls State Park or head over the border to Canada for another perspective. (Read about my visit to Canada’s Falls here.)

Don’t have time to visit Niagara Falls? Head to one of the parks along the Buffalo River for an evening stroll or dinner and catch a glimpse of Canada on the other side of the river or the Buffalo Main Light, which was established and lit in 1833 and deactivated in 1914.

So, have I convinced you? Is Buffalo now on your bucket list?

 

Checking In: New York Marriott Downtown

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I recently made a trip up to New York for another National Geographic workshop, and stayed at the beautiful New York Marriott Downtown. If you are looking for a hotel in Lower Manhattan, then look no further.

The New York Marriott Downtown is located within walking distance from Battery Park, Wall Street, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and One World Observatory. The hotel is also situated near a few subway stations making it easy to get around the city and to your favorite sites.

My favorite part of this hotel is the view. Instead of getting views of a brick wall, the New York Marriott Downtown offers views of the Hudson River, New Jersey, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The hote also is home to Bill’s Bar & Burger, one of New York’s top burger joints, as well as Bill’s West Side Bar.

If you are looking for a comfortable hotel and affordable hotel in The Big Apple, then you need to book a stay at the New York Marriott Downtown.

The People of New York City

When I was planning out my trips for the year, I never expected to attend another National Geographic Expeditions trip or head back to New York so soon, but it ended up working out perfectly. This trip to New York marked my third trip with National Geographic, and I decided to step it up a bit with the advanced level class. Our assignment for the weekend was to capture the people of New York experimenting with light and flash. This assignment was kind of a lot out of my comfort zone, but it really pushed me to try out things I had never considered before with this art.

Our first location was the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain in Central Park. This section of Central Park is considered the heart of the park. It provided the perfect backdrop for capturing tourists, locals and street performers. The best way to access this part of Central Park is from the 72nd Street Station, and just follow the path for Strawberry Fields and the Lennon Mosaic.

That evening, we headed to one of New York’s more iconic locations, Times Square, to continue our lesson on street portraits. Let me tell you it is no easy task to approach strangers for thier portraits. Additionally, Times Square is one of the more challenging locations to shoot due to all the bright and changing lights.

For our second day, it was unfortunately raining, but we made the most of it and headed to Grand Central Station to practice movement with people and light. Grand Central is one of my favorite places in New York. Not only does it make for some people watching, but it is a spectacular piece of architecture.

What are your favorite places to people watch in New York?

WELCOME TO NEW YORK!

Home to the Empire State Building, Times Square, Statue of Liberty, The Big Apple is consistently one of the top 10 US tourist destinations.

When a work trip presented me with an opportunity to tack on a three-day weekend I took it. The Tall Man and I spent two solid days playing mega tourists and checking off our NYC bucket list: Times Square, the Empire State Building, New York Public Library, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park and more.

Our flights arrived into LaGuardia at 11:00 am on Friday, so we grabbed a cab, checked into our hotel and embarked on our first adventure. Prior to arriving in New York, we decided we would see the Vikings exhibit and the Star Wars exhibit at Discovery Times Square per recommendation of one of my coworkers. Our first exhibit was the Vikings exhibit. If you are a fan of the show, Vikings, or just the Norse culture then we recommend checking this exhibit out. It is very informative and has a ton of awesome artifacts.

From Discover Times Square we decided it was time for a late lunch. The Tall Man selected Virgil’s Barbecue. (I’m looking forward to introducing my man to some real southern barbecue the next time he comes to Atlanta.) After lunch, we wandered around Times Square for a bit before venturing onto the New York Public Library, which opened its doors on May 23, 1911. We were completely blown away by the intricate details inside the building and the architecture in general. I would totally go to my public library more if it looked like this building.

On Friday night, we headed to one of the most iconic buildings in New York—the Empire State Building. Construction on this massive yet beautiful structure finished on April 11, 1931, and it once held the title of tallest building in New York for 70 years. After purchasing tickets, you ride the elevator to the 60th floor where you can stroll through the small exhibit and the gift shop before riding the elevator to the 68th Floor Observation Deck. Take a second and walk through the exhibit. It’s pretty amazing the expense, time and expertise that went into building this iconic building. Lucky for us, the night was clear and we could see all the lights of New York.

We started our Saturday morning off with a lovely stroll down 5th Avenue to Central Park. One of our stops along 5th Avenue was Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, which was completed in 1878. It is a spectacular piece of architecture. After reaching Central Park, we looped back to Times Square for the Star Wars Exhibit, which was is a very cool exhibit. Following the Star Wars exhibit, we explored Times Square a little more. We spent the rest of the afternoon strolling the streets of New York before enjoying a delicious dinner at Madison & Vine near our hotel followed by a delectable chocolate mousse at Benjamin Steakhouse.

The Plaza Hotel | New York City

Sunday morning we caught a cab and headed down to Lower Manhatten. We started with the 9/11 Memorial and a viewing of the Freedom Tower. We then proceeded to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. If you are looking for spectacular views of Manhatten, I suggest you take this hike—it is totally worth it in our opinion. Plus the bridge in and of itself is a pretty spectacular piece of work. Completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridges in the United States. The Brooklyn Bridge also holds a special place for The Tall Man and myself since we crossed one of Roebling’s bridges in Cincinnati on our first date.

Once in Brooklyn, we headed to One Girl Cookies for a small treat and hot chocolate before heading back to Manhattan. Once back in Manhattan, we grabbed our New York Harbor tickets to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Dedicated on October 28, 1886, Statue of Liberty has stood guard of the New York Harbor and welcomed immigrants during Ellis Island’s operations.

That evening, we walked back down to Central Park for a stroll in the snow flurries. Central Park was established in 1857, and today it is an 843 acres park in middle-upper Manhattan area. It was surprising to me how this space makes you forget you are surrounded by a concrete jungle, your only reminder is the honking of passing cars.

Central Park | New York City

Have you ever been to New York City? What is on your New York City bucket list?