My husband reports that one of his most vivid memories of New York City is as a young child in the late 1960’s when he visited the Bronx Zoo. While this may be a common and happy memory of many children, I believe his is far more interesting. Most significantly, he remembers visiting the produce sellers that lined the sidewalks to collect old fruits and vegetables that were to be thrown away and bringing them to the zoo. Why you may ask? Because his older brother knew you could bring food to feed the bears, elephants, and giraffes. While this would be unheard of today, his memory is quite clear about feeding the animals out of his hand—clearly ignoring the potential health issues facing both parties. The polar bear even received a special treat that day: a chocolate bunny from his Easter basket.
If you will be staying in one of the five New York City boroughs, you should consider the opportunity to meet a local New Yorker through Big Apple Greeter. This free service has paired more than 300 plus volunteer Greeters with more than 7,000 visitors each year in neighborhoods throughout the city since Big Apple Greeter started in 1992. If you want to live like a local, find the best neighborhood hangouts, and get recommendations from those in-the-know, consider arranging a meeting with a Big Apple Greeter.
For more information, visit http://www.bigapplegreeter.org/.
Time-Saving Transportation Tips for Touring
These websites will help you navigate New York City and the surrounding areas above ground, underground, and on the water.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Here is a great resource you need to know about! If you are planning a trip to New York City or you live in the NYC area, join the Theater Development Fund (TDF) for discounted tickets to hundreds of Broadway shows, Off-Broadway shows, music performances, and dance productions. Bargains of up to 70% off full-price tickets to hundreds of live productions are available each year. Tickets are available to Off-Off Broadway shows for as little as $9 each. Membership is $30 annually, but only one person of your group must be a member to purchase tickets (up to 9 tickets per performance). I joined TDF and used their simple website to book all my live theater prior to a trip to NYC. This is one resource both theater-lovers and bargain-travelers will want to use.
To qualify for TDF membership, you must belong to one of the following groups:
• Full-time Students (high school or above)
• Full-time Teachers (primary or junior high school faculty, high school faculty, university or college faculty, teacher of drama/dance/music)
• Recent Graduates (26 years of age and under)
• Full-time Union Members
• Retirees (no longer working and at least 62 years of age or older)
• Full-time Civil Service Employees
• Full-time Staff Members of Not-for-Profit Organizations
• Full-time Non-Exempt Employees
• Full-time Performing Arts Professionals
• Members of the Armed Forces
• Full-time Clergy
For more information on discounted live performances available throughout the New York area and TDF membership, visit http://www.tdf.org/.
For additional cost-savers, see the article on free tours in New York City at http://www.theidealtrip.com/new-york-city.html.
Don’t Miss This--
Terracotta Warriors: Defenders of China's First Emperor, an immersive exhibition of rare artifacts, can be seen now through August 26th at Discovery Times Square in New York City.
I was fortunate enough to personally see the Terracotta Warriors in their original location in Xian during a visit to China many years ago. The Terracotta Warriors are considered one of the most significant archaeological finds of all time and it is an exceptional experience to see these creations. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to see the Terracotta Warriors while they are here in the United States. This rare exhibit was created especially for display this summer in its Northeast U.S. debut and features authentic Terracotta Warriors, many artifacts that were buried with the warriors, items from Ancient China dating back to 221 BCE that have never been seen in the United States, and the world premiere of a set of gates from an ancient Han burial chamber.
Very few original Terracotta Warriors are allowed out of China at any given time, so this is your opportunity to see them up close and personal. In addition, this carefully curated exhibit includes items from sixteen major museums in China’s Shaanxi province, where the tomb is located. If you can’t get to China soon to see them there, be sure to get to this unique exhibition while it is available in New York.
The Terracotta Warriors, discovered accidentally by well diggers in 1974, were unearthed from the tomb of China’s Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, who built sections of the Great Wall of China, unified ancient China, and established a system of government that influenced China for more than 2,000 years. The warriors were buried in his tomb along with thousands of other artifacts needed to protect him in the afterlife. It is estimated that more than 1,000 artisans were needed to create the 8,000 individualized life-size warriors. Construction of the tomb began when the Emperor was only 13 years old and continued for nearly 40 years. According to historians, this feat involved more than 700,000 laborers.
To date, nearly 2,000 warriors and horses have been unearthed. Some of the most unique ones are featured in the exhibit now showing at Discovery Times Square, a partnership museum and exhibition center from the Discovery Channel. Discovery Times Square is located at 226 West 44th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenues, directly across from Shubert Alley. Discovery Times Square is open 7 days a week. Get there soon, as the exhibition is now in its final few weeks. This is one you won’t want to miss!
For tickets to Terracotta Warriors: Defenders of China's First Emperor, more information on the exhibit, and help planning your visit to Discovery Times Square see: http://www.discoverytsx.com/.
For more information on a recommended travel itinerary in China, including a visit to Xian to view the excavation site of the Terracotta Warriors, see the Destinations article on China at: http://www.theidealtrip.com/china.html.
My travel philosophy is based on traveling like a millionaire on a starving student budget. As a result, I am always looking for the best experiences available at a destination at the best price. Undoubtedly, the best price of all is: FREE. Knowing this, I often seek out freebie tours available to visitors wherever I travel. Fortunately, there are several exceptional experiences available for free in NYC. There are free tours of Central Park, Grand Central Station, Times Square, the New York Public Library, the High Line, and many neighborhoods in the five boroughs that make up New York City. Traveling in the Big City can be expensive, so save a few dollars wherever you can. Save your money and still experience the best the city has to offer. Get the most “bang for your buck”, wherever you travel. These tours give you the entire bang for absolutely no bucks. Now that’s truly the ideal trip for anyone.
To learn more about these free tours, see the full article at http://www.theidealtrip.com/new-york-city.html.
Do you know secrets to traveling on the cheap? Do you know of more freebies available in NYC? Share your insights by commenting on this post or emailing me at email@example.com.
The Statue of Liberty is an iconic symbol of New York City, a true must-see sight, and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. We have set aside a full day during our one-week visit, just for those very reasons, to take the ferry over for a tour including neighboring Ellis Island, a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. To learn more about both the World Heritage List and the Statue of Liberty, see the UNESCO website.
Ferry tickets to visit the monument can be purchased from Statue Cruises, the official provider of tickets and tours to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We purchased our ferry/admission tickets for the trip in advance online and are looking forward to a great day in New York Harbor. For more information and tickets, visit the Statue Cruises website.
If you have recently visited the Statue of Liberty or have a story to share about Lady Liberty, please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
In preparation for our upcoming trip to New York, I have finalized a solid itinerary of sights and activities. But, I have been doing more than just itinerary planning—I have been strengthening my relationship with my mother. How have I done this? First, I have encouraged my mother to start walking more each day in preparation for our NYC sightseeing (which will include a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge and a tour through Central Park). Second, I have also been filling her in on the itinerary developments as tickets are purchased and reservations are made. How do these strengthen our relationship? I feel that these actions are important relationship-builders and achieve several things: 1) She has a new goal to work toward; 2) she has something pleasant to think about for the future; 3) she can look forward to our time together; and, 4) It gives us an opportunity to communicate more and connect in new ways. She can anticipate a fun trip and I can enjoy conversations with her about our upcoming trip. Try this yourself if you are planning a trip or considering a trip to help strengthen a relationship. I think you will find that travel is not only about the time you spend together during the trip, it is also about bonding and communicating more long before the trip takes place.
How has travel improved relationships with the most important people in your life? I would like to hear from you. Click on “Add Comment” below or email me at email@example.com to tell me about it. I look forward to your comments!
I will be taking my mother for her first trip to the Big Apple. I have developed a special itinerary just for the two of us that includes some of the iconic must-see sites in New York along with some less-visited locales. The itinerary also includes a balance of active outdoor activities and casual indoor activities each day. My mother is in her 60s now, so I want to make sure we keep a sane pace throughout our visit. I always try to create itineraries that are appropriate to the travelers with me. When traveling with kids, I plan plenty of short activities and lots of breaks. When traveling with my parents, I try to accommodate any mobility or health issues. Our one week NYC trip will take us through many Manhattan neighborhoods, over to Brooklyn, into New Jersey, and include a tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. To balance such a busy schedule of sightseeing each day, I have also made sure to include low-key activities such as a leisurely picnic in Central Park, live theater performances, and dining with a view. I find that almost any trip is made better by a mix of scheduled activities and more casual moments. Sitting at a sidewalk café where the locals gather to watch the world go by can be a highlight in any city, and, often tells you as much about a place as the local history museum. Keep this in mind the next time you are planning a trip. I am always seeking a healthy balance in my life and it is no different when traveling. Strike that right balance and you are sure to experience the ideal trip wherever you are in the world.
How do you stay balanced while traveling? Do you have some great tips, tricks, or techniques to share? Click on “Add Comment” below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about it. I look forward to your comments!
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