Tag Archives: capture the moment

New York City – An Empire State of Mind


There is no question that New York City is the center of the world.  It is a place unlike any other.  The “Big Apple” tops many personal travel bucket lists continually drawing millions of tourists across the globe annually.


Know what to expect before you arrive:  New York City can be very intimidating and a bit overwhelming to anyone who has never set foot in any the 5 Boroughs.  Manhattan: The smallest borough geographically that contains the historic, cultural and economic heart of the city.  Queens: The most diversified economy of the 5 Boroughs that includes JFK International and LaGuardia Airports and Flushing Meadows home to the US Open Tennis tournament and Citi Field, home to the New York Mets.  Brooklyn: Once an independent incorporated city until 1898, this borough was the original home of the Brooklyn Dodgers before they relocated to Los Angeles.  The Bronx:  The only borough located primarily on the US mainland and home to the legendary New York Yankees franchise.  Staten Island:  The least populous borough that is the southernmost part of the city and the state of New York.

Before arriving put together a shortlist of everything you want to do.  Not everything can be accomplished in a short trip so plan to shorten the list along the way.  Many locations such as Times Square and the Statue of Liberty are the frequently visited compared to the other tourist locations where time can be critical unless you arrive early in the day.

Plan your budget:  New York is known to be expensive, after booking your flight and accommodations I would save as much money as you can rather than trying to make it work.  Everything from museums to observation decks can be expensive but can work with creating a certain budget.

Observation Deck View:  The popular options are One World Trade Center, Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building.  Each location provides unique views of Manhattan, the remaining boroughs and nearby New Jersey.  If you’re looking for the best option, Top of The Rock at Rockefeller Center provides it all.  During the day, guests are treated to panoramic views of Central Park and the Hudson River.  At night, the perfect location to take in the skyline above the lights.


Avoid the tourist traps:  Times Square is the center of the city that is or consistently crowded full of tourists.  From nightly live entertainers on the sidewalks to yellow taxi cabs lined on both sides of the street, Times Square is a brief visit to quickly take in and leave.  In my previous trips to the city I have often discovered that the off-the-path locations throughout the city are worth visiting.  Local comedy clubs, Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and the legendary Trinity Church that miraculously survived 9/11.


I’ve spent a combined 9 days in New York City between three trips experiencing everything that I could in a short amount of time.  Take a trip to the legendary Katz’s Deli.  Visit Yankees Stadium and see Monument Park.  Discover why New York Pizza is the greatest in the world.  View the New York skyline on the free Staten Island ferry to and from the city.  Purchase a Metro Card for the most convenient access across the boroughs.  More importantly, experience New York as you most see it.  The city that never sleeps.

Welcome to The Rock


Sean Connery penned the legendary line, “Welcome to The Rock” in the 1996 action film The Rock.  Filmed on Alcatraz Island off the coast San Francisco, CA, the former maximum high-security prison introduced the island to a new generation of people which would eventually become operated by the United States National Park Service.

Alcatraz’s rich history and dark past housed some of America’s most notorious criminals including Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Bumpy Johnson and Robert Stroud the”Birdman of Alcatraz.” Since its closure in 1963, the island has been restored and maintained in recent years as Alcatraz hosts millions of visitors each year.

Those who have the opportunity to visit Alcatraz are provided an experience to tour the 3-story cell block building and the island with an audio narration by former prisoners, guards and rangers.


The Bright Lights of Los Angeles


High above the bustling streets of downtown Los Angeles, Sky Space offers its guests an opportunity to experience the city 69-stories from above.  Panoramic views of nearby Hollywood and legendary Dodgers Stadium, this is the must-see attraction that is gaining popularity among locals and tourists on vacation.  Located on the 54th, 69th and 70th floor of the US Bank tower, visitors enter the building from the 2nd story and proceed through a security check point prior to boarding the high speed elevator.

Once you reach the 54th floor, guests exit into an interactive lobby showcased by a continuous video and a photo opportunity with a stationed photographer.  Once you have taken the elevator up to the 70th floor, guests who purchased the combo Sky Space LA and slide ticket have the option to proceed to the enclosed slide over the city and onto the 69th floor observation deck.

Much similar to the observation decks in Las Vegas, New York City and Seattle, Sky Space LA provides panoramic views of the city, Dodger Stadium, Hollywood and the LA basin.  For those who may experience vertigo, there are multiple couches located along the observation for ample views.  I’ve had the opportunity to experience this location during the day and late at night.  Each experience was very unique and provided a different perspective of Los Angeles.