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Headed To Walter Reed With Camp4Heroes To Bring Christmas To Our Vets: A Pit Stop In Washington DC Part 1

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My friends and I arrived in Bethesda, Maryland to go to Walter Reed with Camp4Heroes to bring Christmas To Our Vets. The day was extremely foggy.


Having never had the chance to really visit Washington DC my friend and I woke up early with about 3 hours and headed from The National Mall and The Lincoln Memorial.

I had always wanted to see this statue ever since I saw Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

Not really wanting to walk up a ton of stairs, we decided to use the elevator to the memorial, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as there is an exhibit on Lincoln in this space.

The Lincoln Memorial honors the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Henry Bacon is the memorial’s architect and Daniel Chester French designed the large interior statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln (1920), which was carved in marble by the Piccirilli brothers.

Jules Guerin painted the interior murals, and the epitaph above the statue was written by Royal Cortissoz. Dedicated on May 30, 1922, it is one of several memorials built to honor an American president.

In getting to the memorial you pass the most amazing statues. These actually stand guard to the bridges to The National Mall.

Around the exterior are these.

What is the most surprising thing, is that these statues, The National Mall, Lincoln, the Washington Monument and other buildings that surround the area, are gigantic. We see the crowds at The National Mall and we actually do not comprehend how many people are actually there. Think New Years Eve in Times Square and triple it. 

The National Mall also including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and World War II Memorial. More on those tomorrow.

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Film

NYC Movie Travel Guide: Visiting Filming Locations of Famous Movies

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New York City has long been a favorite destination for movie lovers, thanks to its iconic skyline, bustling streets, and vibrant energy. If you’re a film buff looking to find more content related to the magic of the silver screen, then this NYC Movie Travel Guide is just for you. 

Take a journey to the filming locations of famous movies, walk in the footsteps of your favorite actors, and experience the city like never before. From classic blockbusters to indie gems, New York City has served as the backdrop for countless cinematic masterpieces. Get ready to explore the city’s most famous filming locations and walk in the footsteps of your favorite movie characters.

Times Square

Lights, camera, action! Start your movie adventure in the heart of Manhattan at Times Square. This iconic location has been featured in countless films, including “Spider-Man,” “The Avengers,” and “Midnight in Paris.” Take a stroll down the bustling streets and soak in the electrifying atmosphere.

Central Park

Step into the green oasis of Central Park, where many memorable movie scenes have been shot. From “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” to “When Harry Met Sally,” this sprawling park has provided the backdrop for countless romantic and adventurous moments on the big screen. Don’t forget to visit the famous Bethesda Terrace and Bow Bridge.

Empire State Building

Feel like you’re on top of the world at the Empire State Building. This iconic landmark has been featured in numerous films, including the classic “King Kong” and the romantic comedy “Sleepless in Seattle.” Take the elevator to the observation deck and enjoy breathtaking views of the city that never sleeps.

Brooklyn Bridge

Take a walk across the majestic Brooklyn Bridge, which has been featured in films like “Annie Hall” and “I Am Legend.” Marvel at the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline as you follow in the footsteps of your favorite movie characters. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the bridge as your backdrop.

Grand Central Terminal

Step into the bustling Grand Central Terminal, a hub of transportation and a favorite filming location for many movies. From “North by Northwest” to “The Avengers,” this iconic train station has played a starring role in numerous films. Marvel at the celestial ceiling in the main concourse and imagine yourself in a movie scene.

Statue of Liberty

No visit to New York City is complete without a trip to the Statue of Liberty. This iconic symbol of freedom has been featured in films like “Ghostbusters II” and “X-Men.” Take a ferry ride to Liberty Island and get up close to Lady Liberty herself. Don’t forget to capture the moment on camera.

Coney Island

Experience the nostalgia of Coney Island, a beloved amusement park that has been featured in films like “The Warriors” and “Uptown Girls.” Take a ride on the iconic Cyclone roller coaster, indulge in Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this iconic New York City destination.

The High Line

Take a stroll along the elevated park known as the High Line, which has become a popular filming location in recent years. From “The Amazing Spider-Man” to “The Devil Wears Prada,” this unique urban park offers stunning views of the city and a glimpse into New York City’s industrial past.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Channel your inner art enthusiast at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a cultural landmark that has been featured in films like “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “When in Rome.” Explore the vast collection of art and immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this world-renowned museum.

Washington Square Park

End your movie-inspired journey at Washington Square Park, a vibrant gathering place that has been featured in films like “When Harry Met Sally” and “August Rush.” Sit on one of the park’s iconic benches, watch the street performers, and reflect on your cinematic adventure in the city that never fails to captivate.

New York City is a treasure trove of filming locations, offering movie lovers the opportunity to step into the world of their favorite films. From Times Square to Central Park, the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty, each location holds a piece of cinematic history. So grab your camera, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on a movie-inspired adventure through the streets of the Big Apple.



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Travel

How Do Aussies Spend Their Time?

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Australia is known across the world for its enviable lifestyle. With bountiful natural landscapes, this island continent provides a haven for outdoor living. A stable democracy with robust economic opportunity has created a society that values work and leisure pursuits. This allows Australians to enjoy one of the highest standards of living globally. Yet, what defines the typical Australian lifestyle?

Let’s explore how Australians spend their hours across various pursuits and interests.

Gaming Adventures

Gaming holds a strong cultural spot in Australia. Over 81% of Aussies play online video games, and the most eager gamers exceed 11 hours weekly. Action, sports, and puzzle varieties dominate. More new genres are also attracting a wide pool of fans as virtual reality becomes mainstream in gaming.

Beyond gaming, Aussies also find their fix on various online casino platforms. These platforms provide endless online gambling options, including pokies. To find them, the best Aussie online sites offer a thrilling escape into the world of slot machines and chance. The reason for the popularity is the convenience and variety across poker, slots, roulette, blackjack, and more.

With high smartphone usage, Aussies can access their favorite pokies on the go, wherever they are.

Connecting Online

The internet and mobile devices are indispensable to daily Australian life today. Over 90% own smartphones, while 85% have internet access at home. The online world provides endless content, from browsing social feeds to streaming movies.

Business owners also use social media to grow their businesses and increase visibility. YouTube is the top online platform, at over 78 %. Facebook still dominates social media here, with 87% of Aussies active users.

Advancing Education

Education shapes Australian lives, with school attendance compulsory until Year 10. Australia’s learning system is renowned globally, ranking ninth with a quality index of 70.5.

Some choose vocational pathways after Year 10 or 12. Most Australians also pursue higher learning. Over 1.4 million local and international students annually select Australia’s world-class universities to further their studies and careers. This has led to a high rate of skilled workforce. Lifelong learning matters greatly, both professionally and personally.

Earning a Crust

Work remains vital for Australians in funding the lifestyle they desire. Over 13.8 million of the population in Australia hold jobs. This keeps unemployment rates below 5%.

Full-time employees work average hours of around 38 per week. Australian jobs span diverse industries. These include healthcare, construction, education, retail, finance, mining, manufacturing, public service and more.

Community & Connection

What sets Australian life apart is the value placed on community, mateship, and personal life outside work. Spending time with friends and family nurtures this connectedness and Australian identity. Catch-ups often happen at cafes, restaurants, parks and beaches. As an Australian, you also use weekends to nourish precious connections, especially barbeques, birthday parties, and weddings.

Entertainment Options

Australians enjoy more entertainment options than ever before, thanks to technological advances. Over 80% still tune into traditional television. However, the average monthly viewing has dropped to under 51 hours today compared to 2010 when the average adult spent about 120 hours monthly watching their favorite programs.

Streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ now capture younger eyeballs instead. Music, podcasts, e-books, and gaming apps also fill leisure hours on personal devices. Cinema and local festivals, concerts, and theatre are top choices for offline fun.

DIY and Gardening

The Aussie “have a go” attitude shines brightly at home improvement and gardening. Nearly half of Australian households complete a DIY project annually. Savings drive some. The deep satisfaction of building, repairing, or growing things also motivates others.

Popular projects range from building decks and pottering in veggie patches. Others include installing water tanks, revamping kitchens, and tuning up cars in sheds. Whether improving households or finding Zen, DIY, and gardening fulfil creative souls.

Outdoor Lifestyles

Australia’s abundant landscapes, climate, and envious work-life balance promote an outdoor lifestyle. On weekends, Aussies showcase their love for popular pastimes for all ages. These include bushwalking, jogging, fishing, surfing, and hitting local beaches and parks.

Cafes overflow with brunch-goers before many get outside. Even those short on time enjoy city green spaces during workday breaks. Recreational facilities like pools, yoga studios, and courts also enchant health-conscious Aussies.

Aussies Love Affair with Sports

If being outdoorsy confirms the Australian way of life, their sports obsession seals the deal! Whether as players or spectators, sports pulse through this nation.

Popular sports include cricket, Australian Rules football, rugby, tennis and more. Weekends see locals playing or cheering teams across grassroots, club, and national levels. Sports unite young and old across Australia. This includes backyards to floodlit stadiums, regardless of background.

Cuisine Culture

Eating out is an Australian passion that underpins hospitality jobs. Cafes and restaurants cater to shifting tastes as the food culture continues rising. Aussies are also famously known for their vibrant BBQ culture.

They love gathering around the “Barbie” with friends and family in backyards across the country. The classic sausage sizzle unites Australians of all ages. Steaks, chops, shrimp, and veggies sizzle alongside herb-damper bread, and salads with beer keep conversations flowing.

This Barbie culture peaks on Australia Day, Christmas, long weekends, or any good excuse for celebrating mateship over some snags off the grill. It’s often joked that each Aussie man must master the altar of the barbecue, but all take turns marinating meats, prepping salads, and curating playlists.

Artistic Pursuits

The arts uplift Australian leisure time. Aussies love their music, festivals, museums, galleries, theatre and cinema. Australia’s artistic talent shines globally, especially in literature, film, on stage, and design. Embracing arts and culture enhances well-rounded lives.

Australians are unique people who prioritize work and leisure for an enviable lifestyle and society. Education and jobs provide income to fund pursuits across the community, sports, travel, and the arts. Yet connections with people and places ultimately nourish Australian identities.

Protecting work-life balance remains Australians value, and they spend their hours shaping economic and social prosperity. Moreover, they sustain by investing time across their communities, nature, and culture. They also ensure they keep their spirit of fun alive.

Photo source Everything Australian: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/895653444617208157/

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Common Regrets of Not Buying Travel Insurance

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Travel insurance is something many travelers think about but often decide to forgo, usually in an attempt to save money or because they believe their trip will go off without a hitch. 

However, the unforeseen nature of life’s events—ranging from minor inconveniences to significant emergencies—can transform what was supposed to be a relaxing getaway into a stressful, financially burdensome ordeal. People who have traveled without insurance and faced issues often share common regrets, shedding light on the importance of considering travel insurance for future trips.

Deciding Against Travel Insurance: A Calculated Risk?

When planning a trip, many travelers find themselves asking, “should I buy travel insurance?” It’s a valid question that often goes underappreciated until the need arises. Making that decision can feel like taking a calculated risk – weighing the cost of the insurance against the likelihood of needing it. 

Unfortunately, life’s unpredictability doesn’t always sway in favor of those calculations. Individuals who decide to travel without insurance frequently end up facing regrets, especially when confronted with situations that would have been covered had they opted for insurance.

Financial Losses from Last-Minute Cancellations

One of the most common regrets among travelers who skip buying insurance is the financial loss incurred from last-minute trip cancellations. Life is full of surprises, and unexpected events like illnesses, family emergencies, or work obligations can arise at any moment, necessitating cancellation. 

Without travel insurance, the money spent on flights, accommodation, and pre-paid activities often becomes non-refundable. Those who have experienced this loss firsthand understand the value of trip cancellation coverage, which can reimburse expenses for covered reasons, and mitigate the sting of having to cancel a long-anticipated journey.

The High Costs of Medical Emergencies Abroad

Perhaps one of the most significant oversights of traveling without insurance is underestimating the cost of medical care abroad. Those who have faced medical emergencies while uninsured often regret not having coverage that would have taken care of expensive medical bills. 

From a simple visit to a doctor for a minor illness to hospital stays or emergency medical evacuations, the costs can be staggering, especially in countries where healthcare is privatized and expensive. Travel insurance with medical coverage can provide a safety net, ensuring that travelers receive the necessary care without the added stress of exorbitant medical fees.

Stranded Without Assistance During Travel Disruptions

Another frequent regret is being stranded without support during travel disruptions, such as flight cancellations, missed connections, or natural disasters. Travel insurance policies often include assistance services and coverage for additional accommodation and meals during extended delays. 

Those who find themselves stuck in such situations without insurance realize the value of having a policy that includes travel assistance – offering guidance and financial support to navigate through the inconvenience.

Loss of Personal Belongings

Travelers without insurance also commonly regret not having coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged personal belongings. The distress of losing a passport, electronics, or luggage becomes even more acute when faced with the prospect of covering replacements out of pocket. Travel insurance can offer peace of mind by covering personal items and important documents, providing compensation or assistance to replace what’s lost and help get the trip back on track.

The Wisdom in Considering Travel Insurance

While the hope is always for a smooth, incident-free trip, the reality is that countless variables beyond our control can impact travel plans. Those with experiences of traveling uninsured often wish they had considered how a relatively small upfront investment in travel insurance could have saved them from considerable financial and emotional distress. 

The common regrets shared by these travelers highlight the pivotal role travel insurance can play in providing a safety net. It supports not just the financial aspects of travel disruptions, but also offers invaluable peace of mind, allowing travelers to focus on what matters most—enjoying the journey.



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Public Invited to Provide Comments Online, by Email, Mail, Phone and Fax Tomorrow Through March 11

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced details of a public comment period of the tolling structure that has been proposed for Central Business District Tolling, New York’s congestion pricing program. The agency will accept written and audio comments starting tomorrow and will hold four hybrid virtual/in-person public hearings in February and March.

The proposed tolling structure is available online. It is modeled on recommendations made by the Traffic Mobility Review Board on Nov. 30.

Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, and continuing for 76 days through Monday, March 11, 2024, members of the public may submit written comments online and by email, mail and fax, and may submit audio comments by leaving a voicemail message. All comments will be recorded and submitted for review.

Online: https://contact.mta.info/s/forms/CBDTP
Email: cbdtp.feedback@mtabt.org
Mail: CBD Tolling Program, 2 Broadway, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10004
Phone: 646-252-7440
Fax: Send to (212) 504-3148 with Attention to CBDTP Team.

The hearings begin on Thursday, Feb. 29, and conclude on Monday, March 4. Members of the public who wish to speak at the hearings are required to register in advance online, by calling the Public Hearing Hotline at (646) 252-6777, or in person. Registration will open one week before the start time of each hearing and will close 30 minutes after the beginning of the hearing. Speakers will be provided two minutes to speak. The hearings will be hosted in person at 2 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 in the William J. Ronan 20th Floor Board Room. People may also register to participate remotely via Zoom or telephone.

The hearings will be accessible online at mta.info/CBDTP at these dates and times:

  • Thursday, Feb. 29, at 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, March 1, at 10:00 a.m.
  • Monday, March 4, at 10:00 a.m.
  • Monday, March 4, at 6:00 p.m.

Each public hearing will be livestreamed on the MTA YouTube channel at youtube.com/@mta-live and on the project website: mta.info/CBDTP.

Next Steps

The Central Business District Tolling Program was mandated by the State of New York in April 2019 and modeled on urban congestion pricing programs around the world to reduce traffic congestion and raise needed revenue to improve public transportation. Other cities around the world that have similar programs have also experienced improved air quality.

Following the public comment period, MTA Bridges and Tunnels (known legally as the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority) will review the public comments. Then its Board, which is coterminous with the MTA Board, will consider adopting a ratemaking regulation that includes any updates that may follow the public comment period.

As with any proposed toll ratemaking, this  public comment period is being conducted in accordance with the State Administrative Procedure Act.

Accessibility and Interpreter Services

At the public hearings, American Sign Language and CART Captioning Services will be available.

Members of the public who are deaf or hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or the free 711 relay service, and then ask to be connected to the Public Hearing Hotline at (646) 252-6777 to speak with an agent.

Members of the public who do not have access to a computer or who do not have access to the Internet can listen to each of the hearings by calling the Zoom meeting via a telephone number which will be provided at a later date.

If language assistance or any other accommodations are required, please submit a request at least five (5) business days before the scheduled hearing date in one of the following ways: e-mailing cbdtp.feedback@mtabt.org, calling the Public Hearing Hotline at (646) 252-6777, or by sending a letter to MTA Government & Community Relations, Attn: Central Business District Tolling Program Hearings, 2 Broadway, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10004.

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Travel

Step Into the World of Hirschfeld at The Algonquin Hotel

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The Algonquin regarding their newest offering, The Hirschfeld Package, in which guests can immerse themselves in the artwork of legendary artist Al Hirschfeld during their next stay.

An iconic American caricaturist and frequent guest of The Algonquin, Al Hirschfeld immortalized Broadway stars with his distinctive line drawings for over seven decades. He was best known for his black and white portraits of celebrities and stars, in which he hid the name of his daughter Nina after her birth in 1945. Some of these pieces can be found gracing the walls of The Algonquin, in addition to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the New York Public Library.

Just steps away from Bryant Park, The Algonquin is a long-standing symbol of classic style and an endless source of inspiration to creatives. While visiting, guests can experience the unique artwork of Al Hirschfeld with this exclusive package, which includes:

  • Bottle of Hirschfeld Label Wine
  • Complimentary Entry to the Museum of Broadway
  • Discount to a Show at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre
  • Hirschfeld at The Algonquin Signature Gift
  • Overnight in a guest room or suite
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