Tag Archives | lovethiscity

Christmas in Brooklyn? Fuhgetaboutit! #LoveThisCity #CBias

As part of a promotional bit I’m doing for Mastercard’s Priceless (a loyalty program offered exclusively for Mastercard holders), I made a trip into the city during a busy Sunday afternoon just before Christmas.  And by city I mean New York.  And by Sunday I mean last year (this is kind of an old post).

One of the secrets I’ve learned when visiting the city is to hit downtown on Sundays to avoid the crowds.  Downtown includes the financial district which is a veritable ghost town during the weekends, making me feel like I have the city all to myself.  It’s one of my favorite places to go then, particularly because I’m right near the waterfront, affording me gorgeous views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River.

It’s probably for these reasons that I always tend to gravitate towards going downtown instead of hitting up Times Square or Central Park.  There’s also another reason though.  How many of you have ever seen those gorgeous photos of the Manhattan skyline that includes all of downtown plus the Statue of Liberty?  Ever wonder what vantage point these photos were being taken from?  It should have been obvious to me, but for the longest time it never occurred to me that they were being taken from the Brooklyn side of the East River, until one day when I stumbled onto Brooklyn’s Promenade and saw it for myself.

Brooklyn Promenade and Fence

It only took me 30 years to find this place.

After downtown, this is probably the best place to go during the evenings.  My general routine is to either drive or take public transit to the financial district, then walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to visit the Promenade.  They are still renovating this area to convert it into a full fledged city park, but most of the grounds are accessible and includes one of my favorite ice cream haunts (The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory), along with plenty of eateries to choose from (and of course, what else, Starbucks).  The famous Grimaldi’s is also right here if you’re in the need for some touristy trappy Brooklyn pizza, and finally the River Cafe, one of those places you only eat at if you’re looking to propose to someone (because the food is going to cost you almost as much as the diamond ring will).

If I’m here, I usually wait for the sun to go down and I’m eventually rewarded with the kind of Christmas lights you can enjoy all year long:

Manhattan Skyline

Very Christmas-y… #LoveThisCity

So how does Mastercard fit in?  They have an attractive loyalty program called Priceless that offers generous discounts (and sometimes freebies) for travel oriented cardholders, usually tailored for those visiting or frequenting major cities.  Though I usually check out the offers for New York, they also have intriguing offers in Chicago and Los Angeles as well (with more cities on the way, including international.)

Ice Cream is the new health food sign


Some of the offers look pretty generous too, with my favorite being the cupcakes deal.  (Don’t hate.)  I’ve always liked these kind of discounts, and while they tend to be oriented towards business travelers, it’s still basically taking luxury items or services and price breaking them to make them more affordable for those of us in the lower upper middle class traveling on our dime.

Brooklyn Bridge and Lights at Night

The costs to dine at River Cafe here: $200+. The cost to enjoy the this view: PRICELESS

Thanks for reading.  Remember, if you ever visit New York and you want to see the best possible view of Manhattan’s skyline, the Brooklyn Promenade is where you need to be.

Disclosure:  I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and MasterCard #CBias #SocialFabric #LoveThisCity

Relaxing in New York: why Introverts can #LoveThisCity as well! #MC

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias / Social Fabric community, and have been compensated to share my experiences here with my audience by Collective Bias and their client, MasterCard.

You’d think in a city like New York there would be no place for an introvert like me to truly relax and enjoy the city’s vibes from a quiet perch, but this is one of the reasons why I love this city: there are nooks and crannies everywhere from which you can sneak away and unwind, even amidst all the hustle and bustle.  One of my favorite places in fact is a “secret” garden nestled amongst a series of buildings just off of South Street Seaport.  Of course, it’s not really THAT unknown (how secret can a garden be if it’s listed on Yelp anyway), BUT it IS relatively hidden enough that less than a handful of people are usually found walking the footpaths there.  It’s located up two flights of stairs, so once you reach the top you are afforded a priceless and memorable view of the East River as it feeds into the Hudson, as well as the Brooklyn Bridge and skyline.

I used the digital zoom on my iPhone to hone in on the ship sailing on the East River here, but as you can imagine the quality wasn't very good. So I used a water paint texture to give it a more artistic feel. #LoveThisCity #MC

That’s an actual photo by the way.  I was using a digital zoom via a camera app on my iPhone to get a closer shot of the ship passing by, but the resulting photo was (as you might have expected) pretty grainy and pixelated.  I used a water painting texture to make up for the loss of quality, and now what had previously become one of the poorest photos I’ve taken is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  WINNING!

In addition to the Brooklyn skyline, look further to the east you can see the famous Brooklyn Bridge, again all from the comfort of this quiet little garden.

Sepia tones to bring out the swirling clouds over the Brooklyn Bridge. #LoveThisCity #MC

So what’s the name of this particular garden you ask?  Oh well, it’s called the pFfttdghfhTTss…

Ok, ok, I probably shouldn’t be too worried that everyone in creation will suddenly show up at the garden if I spill its name, but JUST to be safe, if you reaalllllly want to know, shoot me an email.  BUT, only if you promise to be quiet while you’re here.  Shhhhhhhhhhh!

A cute Fiat advertises a nearby restaurant in the Chelsea District. #LoveThisCity #MC

A lonely Fiat finds new life advertising for a nearby restaurant in the Chelsea district.

Once I was done taking photos here and hanging out downtown, I decided to make my way further up, partly to check out a hotel for a friend, and partly to settle in again at another favorite place of mine in the city: Madison Square Park.

I have to say, when it comes to autumn, leaf peeping isn’t my only favorite pastime; I also love “sky peeping” as well, especially when it comes to some of my favorite buildings in New York.  Most modern buildings don’t leave much to the imagination, but you won’t have to walk very far to be treated to architectural delights that continue to stand the test of time; buildings that hail from those days when builders were more artists than architects, such as the Flatiron Building.

I use my photo wizardry ninja skills to remove a lamp post obscuring part of the Flatiron building here (with clock). #LoveThisCity #MC

Madison Square Park is truly another hidden gem for the introvert, and despite serving as a central hub for tourists and shoppers alike, there are plenty of places to get comfortable for either sky peeping or people watching (or just reading on the iPad like I do, thanks to the free wifi here). In a way it’s kind of like a mini-version of Central Park that I find ideal, especially given its close proximity to Penn Station where I usually check in and out of the city.  Sometimes I visit the main city library further uptown when it’s open, and failing that I’d sometimes hit Borders at Madison Square Garden for good reads and tasty hot chocolates (before they closed it down that is. Boooooo.)

When I need a change of scenery or need to kill some time before I get back on the train home, I tend to lazily walk up and down 34th Street, taking in the bustling atmosphere with aplomb (and the shish kebabs from the food carts).

Black and white tones seem to bring out the Empire State Building here better than normal color tones could. #LoveThisCity #MC

Somehow sepia just seems to make the Empire State Building look better…

Not content to leave just yet though, I make one more stop for coffee (my third cup in case you’re counting), and settle in somewhere along 7th Avenue with my iPad:

Wrapping up an afternoon with err, even more coffee. That's why I #LoveThisCity , as you can get almost any kind of coffee anywhere, at any time. #LoveThisCity #MC

Cars, people, the rumblings of a subway moving underneath, and yet somehow… I’m still perfectly at ease, an introvert recharging in the midst of chaos.  Only in New York.

Enjoy the rest of my photos here (or view the Google+ Album)

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