I had three rushed days in NYC, but I fit in as much as I possibly could. I didn't get to see some of the most famous sights of the city, like the Statue of Liberty (thanks Sandy), but I did get to see a city unlike any other. Many people say to me "What's there to do in New York City?", and so I complied this list:
Lights, cameras and action! New York City is full of artisans trying to make it big. At any given time there's over two dozens plays to go see in the city. In the need for a romantic play to get your mind off your broken heart? How about a mystery drama that will leave you thinking long after it's over? Or a toe-tapping play about rock and roll? Or a dramatization about war? New York has it all, and it's not that terribly expensive either!
2. 9/11 Museum and Memorial
I had the majority of a blog post dedicated to the Museum, but I unfortunately never made it to the memorial and the the memory pools that sit in the footprints of those two goliathan towers. Entering the 21st Century, and off the high of the 1990s, nobody could have been prepared for the the events of September 11th, 2001. It's a day forever stamped in our minds, and a day that plunged the United States into a decade long war, as well as reignited a religious struggle around the world. This is Ground Zero. This is where the towers fell, this is where the innocent died, this is where missing posters clung desperately on any flat surface, and this is where a city, divided by wealth, race, color and creed, was unified.
3. The High Line
You're thinking one of two things: either "You can't put that on your list. You didn't even go here!" or "What's the High Line?". While it's true I didn't get to the High Line while in New York, it was on the top of my list heading into that city. It's built on old abandoned coal tracks that used to feed into the buildings on Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. These tracks have been converted into overhead parks, and offer an unique view of the city. With currently 1 and a half miles to walk, the High Line is quickly growing in popularity, for photographers, lovers and joggers alike.
4. Central Park
New York is famous for their skyline, and for the lack of skyline in the city's heart. Central Park is 2 and a half miles long and a half mile wide, and is full of more than enough attractions. If you aren't crossing bridges, skating on lakes, playing Frisbee, going fishing, going to the zoo, going on a horse drawn wagon, going to outdoor performances, playing chess or just enjoying the open air, Central Park offers many more activities for one to indulge in. It is a much needed green oasis in an otherwise concrete jungle.
5. Character Restaurants and Pubs
New York fries, New York pizza, New York steak, New York cheesecake. Just thinking about the food in this city makes me hungry! Everything is better in New York, and the food lives up to this. I experienced everything from loud bars to small cramped burger joints to a Halloween themed restaurant, where people stand on tables and Dr. Frankenstein gives birth to his monster on a nightly basis. There's something for everybody in New York, even for those picky eaters!
6. Roosevelt Island
While I'm sure many islands around Manhattan belong on this list, I spent hours exploring a corner of Roosevelt Island and I didn't regret a single moment (except almost getting locked into the park with the abandoned smallpox hospital as my only company; that was scary). Although I only went to the southern part of the island, the man who first mentioned it to me, said the best place in New York is the northern part of the island. He said the architecture is unlike anything else in the world, and the streets can be navigated for hours and around every corner you will see something different. I never did get to that side of the island, so I'm going to believe him.
7. The American Museum of Natural History
Do you like Ben Stiller? What about Owen Wilson? Robin Williams? These comedic geniuses are in the "Night of the Museum" trilogy, and it all starts here at the AMNH. Although not full of living dinosaurs, troublesome cavemen and gum craving Easter Island Heads, the museum is a sprawling structure with endless sights, covering the flora and fauna of the world to the makeup of the stars above our heads. To step inside its halls are like walking through history, frozen in time. It's an experience unlike any other!
8. Grand Central Station
This century old building is one of the main intersections of the subway system in New York, and has over 750,000 people walk through its doors each day. Imagine this, almost a million people every day. Lined with gold, green and stained glass windows, somebody unfamiliar might mistake the station to be a church or temple. With its many winding staircases and dozens of tunnels, this old building has stood the test of time and has become an icon of this great city.
9. The Empire State Building
Built at a record setting pace, with a floor going up each day, the Empire State Building towers over the skyline of New York. While no longer the tallest building in the city, it can boast this statistic with pride, especially since it's over 70 years old. While old, the building is also very modernized and is leading the world in superstructure energy efficiency. This building has even been the scene for the many King Kong movies, has a museum built inside, is guarded by a very aggressive bald eagle, and is known as one of the most recognizable buildings in the world (unless you're me, in which case I got it and the Chrysler Building mixed up).
10. The People
Perhaps cliché, but the people of NYC are a unique breed, and people watching in this city is a must. You'll see everyone from inspiring hip hop artists to actors, entrepreneurs to celebrities, paper boys to shop keepers, and burger flippers to seers. New York is a thriving, bustling city that has become one of the greatest places on earth, not because of the museums or parks, but because of the people, their determination and their strength. If you get a New Yorker alone, they will praise their city to no end. Of course there are problems in New York, but the people there, who live and fight for their city, love it to no end. It is this love that makes the city glow, and that makes New York such an incredible place to be.
Don't forget to pin it!
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
Get Your Complete List of What to See & Do in Regina!
They say hope was the last thing to die in Auschwitz.
It's been just over 70 years since the Allies liberated the death camp and the horrors of the "Final Solution" were revealed to the world. Prior to their arrival, Auschwitz was the most effective death camp ever created, having taken the lives of over 1.1 million Jews.
Block 4 of Auschwitz holds the museum, explaining the best it can about what happened seven decades past. The museum explains what Auschwitz was originally built for – a camp for Polish prisoners of war – and how it became key to the Nazi's "Final Solution". The museum goes over the construction of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II (Birkenau) and Auschwitz III (Monowitz), the increased sizes and effectiveness of gas chambers and the factories of death that stood and smoked over the camp during its operation.
Those who attended my Chernobyl lecture at the Queen City Collective earlier in May would have heard me singing praises about HBO's new miniseries Chernobyl, and for good reason. HBO did a fantastic job on the miniseries by immersing the audience into mid-1980s Soviet Ukraine and by peeling back the layers of the disaster.
With that said, there were some liberties HBO took while making the show. As somebody who spent two days in the Exclusion Zone in 2016, I know a thing or two about how the events unfolded, and a few parts of the miniseries weren't accurate.
Chernobyl began by tackling a nearly impossible task. The miniseries had to break down one of the largest cover-ups in human history. They had to show the devastation of the world's deadliest nuclear disaster and also highlight the many countless heroes who stepped up to make a difference. It's natural to expect HBO to simplify this – and they only had five episodes to do it. I don't blame them for some of these mistakes, but I felt they should be pointed out.
Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".
Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.
Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada. Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade. The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.