Tag Archives: New York City

NYC’s 1st Winter Lantern Festival

Events Up Coming NYC 1st Winter Lantern Festival Light Tunnel

NYC’s 1st Winter Lantern Festival has started and is creating a hug buzz around town! Be sure to guarantee your tickets and get ready for a gorgeous light spectacle!

Events Up Coming NYC 1st Winter Lantern Festival Entrance
Events Up Coming NYC 1st Winter Lantern Festival Light Tunnel
Events Up Coming NYC 1st Winter Lantern Festival Dragon
Events Up Coming NYC 1st Winter Lantern Festival Vases
Events Up Coming NYC 1st Winter Lantern Festival Performance
Events Up Coming NYC 1st Winter Lantern Festival Peacock
Events Up Coming NYC 1st Winter Lantern Festival Animal Kingdom
Events Up Coming NYC 1st Winter Lantern Festival Elephant
Events Up Coming NYC 1st Winter Lantern Festival Dance
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New York City is known for its beautiful night lights year round and, of course, for its abundant Christmas decorations! People travel from all over the globe to visit NYC during this time of the year, as well as New Yorkers also have a great time!

NYC’s 1st Winter Lantern Festival will happen through January 6, at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, Staten Island!

What to expect?

To start, you’ll see around 40 LED installations that can be as tall at 30 feet up, spread throughout 7 acres of land and over 30,000 Chinese lanterns.

It’s a fantastic experience for all ages that shows the beauty of the Chinese culture, with art works, dances and so much more!

The thematic lanterns installations have curious names: Light Tunnel, Wonderland, Sea World, Animal Kingdom, Chinese lights, Panda Paradise (ha! cute!) and Holiday Zone!

Oh! There is also a huge dragon!

“In Chinese culture, dragons are used to symbolize power and strength. They are often depicted in the colors red and gold, which represent good fortune and neutrality.”

In addition, entertainments are varied! Face changing, martial arts shows and lion dance. The water sleeve dances can be traced all the way back to 221 B.C., when dancers used clothing and other techniques to elongate their arms, creating an eye-catching performance. Plus, there is still sugar painting and a fun zone!

Oh! And the process of creating these lanterns is crazy! Take a look at the video below!

So, be sure to purchase your ticket and get your phone ready for we’re sure you’ll be able to get some pretty awesome pictures to share on social media.

If you need any type of assistance for your upcoming NYC trip, or you have a corporate request, contact our experts!

Tickets: $15 – $23

Location: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island

Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday: 5pm-10pm
Friday & Saturday: 5pm-11pm


Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Winter Lantern Festival

So You’re Making The Switch To NYC – Are You Prepared? 

Curiosities City Secrets Making The Switch To NYC Redd Angelo Thumbnail

If you’re thinking of making the move to New York City, you’re in good company. But, if you’re ready to make this switch to NYC, you have to be truly prepared. So, here are a few considerations!

Curiosities City Secrets Making The Switch To NYC Redd Angelo
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Redd Angelo

The year of 2017 saw a huge population increase as NYC gained 447,000 new residents, according to the city’s latest available figures. The Big Apple still has the diversity and allure it’s always had, and it shows, whether that be from new workers, retirees or births.

That being said, the culture in New York City is like nowhere else on earth. Other big cities can lay claim to similar energy levels and vibrancy, but the city is unique. Before you start exploring what New York has to offer, it’s essential that you plan fully to ensure you’re ready before the leap.

The biggest consideration: money

The number one consideration you need to make before moving to NYC is money. New York is not a cheap city; NYC rent averages at $2,698 for a one-bed apartment, or $1,212 for a room. This is already higher than much of the USA and indeed the world, beating out even London’s property market.

This shouldn’t deter you, but should form part of your budgeting. A deposit is likely to be expensive, but if you have a good salary lined up, obtaining the right advice on proper credit options is a potential for giving you some wiggle room.

You will also need a comprehensive budget for your daily outgoings. Groceries can cost up to two times what they do on average in America, and going out is expensive; a mid range meal could charge $40 per head, according to CNBC. This shouldn’t deter you – like living anywhere else, saving money and getting by is a case of being frugal and choosing your luxuries.

Salaries should help, too – Slate have reported that the average Manhattan salary is $66,000, over $20,000 above the national average.

Understanding the scale of the city

Despite it’s ultra-high-rise, congested-looking nature, New York is also incredibly expansive.

New York’s southern tip, Staten Island, is only 30 miles from the most northerly point, Wakefield; yet traveling on public transport would take 2.5 hours at least.

As a result, it’s not always feasible to pick up a job in Manhattan but expect to commute from what seems like a close direction. Research NYC public transit and don’t overextend yourself – it’s a big city and it’s best to take it slow.

Engaging with the city’s culture

Finally, make sure you have a good idea of New York’s culture. The city reflects its enormous diversity  through demographics – 40% are foreign born today, according to World Cities Culture Forum. The result is that no neighborhood is the same and that can be seen on every street corner.

Enjoy the culture, but be aware that your behavior and actions might be different on one part of city to the next and there’s a lot of variety to be seen and enjoyed.

New York City is a place that 8.5million people call home, and hundreds of thousands add to every year. Understanding the cost of the city, the culture of its residents and its scale is crucial to doing well. For someone prepared to take their time, plan and absorb the city, you stand to gain a lot.

Finally, if you have children, see why NYC is a great city for kids. Also learn about some curious facts about New Yorkers before moving to help you settle in faster.

Guest Writer: Cindy Trillo
Photo Credit
: Courtesy of Redd Angelo

Ditch Your Luggage and Go Have Fun in NYC: LuggageHero

Curiosities City Secrets LuggageHero NYC

Having long hours between connecting flights or arrive hours prior to check-in in your hotel, is surely a hassle! Plus, carrying your luggage around NYC is certainly a challenge, but LuggageHero is the perfect solution to all your problems!

Curiosities City Secrets LuggageHero NYC Girls Walking

Having long wait hours between flights during a trip is certainly annoying, but having to carry your luggage with you everywhere go is even worse, right?

Plus, the best way to commute in New York City is on the subway, but these massive stairs are a challenge on their own…imagine with your heavy bags.

So, we have the perfect, safe and convenient solution for all your problems: LuggageHero! And the name says it all!

Jannik Lawaetz founded the company in Copenhagen, back in 2016. From there, he quickly expanded in 2017 to London and, lucky us, to New York City!

The idea was to use local stores, pubs, coffee shops, dry cleaners and even hotels as a temporary storage place for people with long connecting flights or even for those who have arrived earlier than the check-in time or were “kicked out” of the hotel long before the flight home.

So, how it works? Easy!

  • Check in when arriving at the shop
  • Attach security seal that is provided for free, found in the shop, through the zippers of your bag
  • Check-out upon pick-up

And voilá! You’re ready to adventure yourself for a few hours in our beautiful concrete jungle!


Curiosities City Secrets LuggageHero NYC Janni Copenhagen
Janni Lawaetz, Founder of LuggageHero.

“I founded LuggageHero as I got tired of not having enough convenient places to store my luggage. As I am a frequent traveler, I couldn’t believe that anyone had not solved a problem so obvious to many people.

I decided to create a concept that was simple to use, trustworthy and where you would always only pay for the hours you spend.” ~ Jannik Lawaetz, Creator & CEO

Everything is stored far from any public access in safe locations, that are also inspected by the team at Luggage Hero. So, don’t worry. It’ll be safe when you go out to have fun!

Oh, it is good to say that the location you’re dropping your back at might request to open your luggage before storing, to guarantee you don’t have any illegal item in it like weapons, etc.

Curiosities City Secrets LuggageHero NYC Girl Subway

They offer over 250 super convenient locations and are spread across Manhattan and Brooklyn, making it quite easy for you, regardless of where you’re at or where you want to spend your time exploring.

The cost in New York?

Amazingly reasonable! It’s only $2/hour per bag and the price already includes insurance with coverage up to $3,000 for each bag, against damage, loss, and theft.

But wait! You don’t pay more than $12 per bag for the first 24 hours, so don’t worry.

They do not accept money, which is actually more convenient since you don’t need to worry with having the right currency!

So, just submit your credit card information for swift drop-off and pick-up at a LuggageHero location.

If you decide along to way, not to drop it off, don’t worry! You’re only charged when you actually drop off your bags, so you won’t be charged if you changed your mind.

And last, another great thing is that you don’t need to download any app for this. You can just go online and book everything through their website.

Seamless, fast and safe, the way New Yorkers like it!

If you’re not sure what to do in NYC while you wait for your connecting flight, or to check into you hotel, take a look at all of our amazing BTSNYC Experiences! We’re sure you’ll have a great time!

Book luggage storage in New York.

Curiosities City Secrets LuggageHero NYC Yellow Cab

Photo Credit: Courtesy of LuggageHero.com

Why Launching Your Startup in NYC is a Good Idea

Curiosities City Secrets Why Launching You Startup In NYC Is A Good Idea Rob Bye

The tech industry in New York City is booming and there are many reasons why launching your startup in NYC is a good idea!

Curiosities City Secrets Why Launching You Startup In NYC Is A Good Idea Taton Moise

The tech industry in New York City is booming with Silicon Alley currently ranking at number 2 in the country behind Silicon Valley.

During 2016, a mere 421 New York-based tech companies managed to raise $9.5 billion in funding with many NYC startups becoming extremely successful. In terms of net dollars, Silicon Valley may still be ahead but the NYC tech ecosystem is actually expanding at a faster rate.

As far as the availability of investment sources are concerned, NYC enjoyed a 36% of the total US start-up funding in 2017 with an excess of 290 investors backing 1333 business initiatives.

If you are looking for a place for your tech startup NYC should, without a doubt, be on the top of your list for a myriad of reasons such as the following.

New York City has an energy unlike any other

There is no denying that, despite relatively high living-costs, NYC is simply a great place to work and live.

The vibe in and around NYC is unlike any other in the world, bursting with the possibility of everyone seeking to fulfill the American Dream. The city is home to a number of key industry players, something a tech start-up can only benefit from.

It is also easy to find good co-working spaces, such as those rented out by WeWork, which are ideal for entrepreneurs, startups and community groups alike.

Thanks to the advancements in cloud technology, most startups don’t require immediate server specialization, making working from a co-working space or even an internet café a completely viable option.

The tech ecosystem is exceedingly healthy

NYC is home to a large number of venture capitalists such as Erik H. Gordon (CEO of ErGo Ventures LLC), and many more who have strong ties to the city.

Angel investors and angel groups are also commonplace, as are the more than 30 start-up incubators and accelerators that will provide your company with funding, mentorship maintenance as well as invaluable access to possible investors and consumers.

Over recent years a number of tech start-ups, of which Zocdoc is a prime example, have flourished in the city. Zocdoc is an online platform that is dedicated to providing users with an improved all-around healthcare experience.

Currently valued at approximately $1.8 billion, Zocdoc makes use of technology to facilitate everything from diagnosis to treatments and payments – a concept that has made them one of the highest-ranked NYC tech startups ever.

The city boasts exceptional diversity in terms of talent

When compared to Silicon Valley-based companies, the NYC tech scene is far more diverse with up to 40% of the city’s tech employees being female and a fifth being individuals of color.

The general talent pool in New York is extremely diverse with engineers and economists casually rubbing shoulders with designers, medical technicians, and trendy creatives.

According to renowned US businessman Michael Bloomberg, New York’s engineering school is projected to produce up to 400 new companies in its first 30 years. He highlights the immense potential the diverse student population of NYC possesses.

While you are by no means limited to two choices (Silicon Valley vs Silicon Alley), when it comes to finding the right location for your tech startup, the benefits of picking NYC speaks for itself.

All you need is a great idea, a bit of ingenuity and a whole lot of determination to have as good a chance as any to make it in one of the most prolific cities of the world.

Guest Writer: Cindy Trillo
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rob Bye and Taton Moise

Journey Into The World Of NYC-Based Illustrator, Thomas Pitilli

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli

Thomas Pitilli, a NYC-based illustrator, in love with Comics, talks about his amazing career, challenges, inspirations and his favorite spots in New York City!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli Working

The other day we met Thomas Pitilli, a native New Yorker living in Brooklyn. He works with some of the greatest publications today like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Billboard, Playboy, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post and other big names.

After briefly browsing through his work, we fell in love with it. We are huge fans of illustration and his style certainly called our attention.

If you want to see more details about his work, check out his website and read the interview we did with him below!


1) Tell us a bit about you. Where you were born, what you studied, what you’ve worked with, did your parents incentivize your work, etc.

My name is Thomas Pitilli and I am an illustrator from Brooklyn, NY. I am an actual Brooklyn native, one of the few left nowadays, haha.

I’ve been drawing and making art since as far back as I can remember. When I was 3 or 4, I wanted to be a fireman and when I was 5, I wanted to be Peter Pan. But, from then on, I’ve always aspired to be a professional artist!

Like most kids, I grew up obsessed with cartoons and comic books and it didn’t take me long until I started writing my own stories and making my own “books” made out of stapled sheets of typing paper with my drawings on them.

Both my parents are artistic, so thankfully, my creative imagination was always encouraged at home. An adolescence filled with constant drawing and practice led me the School of Visual Arts, in Manhattan, where I wound up studying illustration and cartooning.

I immediately began pursuing my dream of becoming a professional illustrator upon graduating. I spent several years hustling, trying to get as much freelance work as I could get, while supplementing my income with various odd jobs and part time gigs around the city.

A decade since graduating, I can proudly say I now make my entire living as an illustrator. NYC is not an easy city to ‘make it’ in, but you know what they say, ‘if you can make it here…’

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli Metro Internaional Naked

2) Where did the passion for illustration come from? And why Comics?

My passion for illustration came out of my love for comics actually. When I was a little kid, I discovered comic books by rummaging through my older brother’s collections. I quickly became fascinated with the artwork inside and from then on, I was obsessed.

Through comics, I was exposed to a variety of different types of artists and styles, which then led me to explore other art forms outside of comics. I’ve always been drawn to artists that tell stories, whether it be in a comic book or in an oil painting.

The idea of getting a specific idea across through a drawing and making people feel something specific just by looking at it is truly satisfying to me and definitely fuels my passion for the craft.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli Hollywood Reporter

3) What are the personalities that inspire you, in the illustration world, but also within other industries?

Confidence is a big one for me. When someone exudes confidence in what they do, no matter what the profession, I’m definitely inspired by that.

I like watching fighting sports, like boxing and MMA. The confidence and conviction that those fighters posses is so inspiring and interesting to watch.

I study that and try to understand how I might be able to apply that kind of attitude to what I do. The quote that always sticks with me is, “competence breeds confidence”, which pretty much means, if you work on your craft hard enough, the confidence you have in that area will likely follow.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli Metro International

4) What type of mission and message do you strive to convey through your work?

I don’t really think I have a particular mission or message that I strive to convey in my art. I’m fascinated by people, body language and faces. Those have always been the things that I love to draw, so most of my work focuses on people, either interacting with each other or with themselves.

I have always loved drawing the female form and my work usually has a strong female protagonist within it. I think of my approach to illustrating similar to that of a street photographer.

I’m more concerned with capturing moments than creating any kind of particular statement. Also, the vast majority of my work is client based, so I spend most of my time trying to convey other people’s message or idea. There’s a very satisfying challenge within that as well.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli New York Observer

5) You’ve had works featured in many renowned publications like the Wall Street Journal, Scientific America, Climbing Magazine, Scholastic’s Choices Magazine and The New York Times! Tell a bit about these works and the process behind them.

I really enjoy making editorial illustrations. I get exposed to some pretty interesting articles and topics that I might not otherwise come across on my own.

The process is usually a pretty quick, yet intense one. I normally have less than a week to take the illustration(s) from concept to final. It’s a collaborative process between the art director and I, and at its best, it can be a very fun and rewarding process.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great publications and some great art directors. Some of my favorites are the ones where I felt like I was pushed creatively and was able to stretch new muscles.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli New York Times Giftbag

6) We see a great variation of styles and even colored vs black & white pieces. We love them all! What do you enjoy most doing and what style does your audience resonate more with?

I tend to gravitate towards black and white line drawing. I feel like that’s where my strengths are. That’s also what I have the most fun making as well.

Color has always been a challenge for me, it definitely is the longest part of my process, mainly because there is a lot of reworking and trial and error involved in it for me.

Like I said earlier, storytelling has always been the most appealing aspect of illustration for me. It doesn’t always have to be a literal narrative either, sometimes you can tell a story with a pose or a facial expression, or the capturing of a simple moment.

I feel like that’s the kind of thing my audience responds to. Although there’s no real way to predict what people will like or not like. Ultimately all you can do is make the work that you most enjoy making and hope somebody else likes it.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli New York Times

7) What are the best places to buy comics in New York? Are there any hidden, off-the-beaten-path old book stores or thrift bookstores you love to go check out?

My favorite comic shop in NYC is Forbidden Planet, down by Union Square. They have a pretty extensive collection of both new and old comics, with a super helpful and knowledgeable staff.

The Strand Bookstore is also a great place to find comics. They are more geared towards trade paperbacks and all of their stuff is at a discounted price, which is always a plus!

Speaking of discounted prices, there’s a place in Midtown called Bookoff, and downstairs, they have a used comic section where you can find some really rare, out of print comics, both single issues and trades.

If you’re a nerd like me, this city has definitely got you covered, haha.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli Pinup Series

8) Does anything inspire your work when you think about New York City?

So many things inspire me about New York City. I get most of my ideas while riding the subway or walking the streets. I love people watching and random interactions with strangers. Even just the weird things you overhear while riding the train can be inspiring and creatively stimulating.

If it’s a nice day out and I have to come up with an idea for a particular project, I will often times take my sketch book to one of my favorite parks and start brainstorming. Something about the constant hustle of New York generates a kind of rhythm that is very conducive to making art.

I also love sneaking in specific NYC locations into some of my work. I’m lucky enough to work with the iconic characters of the Archie Comics world and when I create covers for them, one of my favorite things to do is place those characters into some of my favorite NYC locations like the fountain at Washington Square Park, or specific subway platforms.

Because I grew up here, my relationship with the city is very personal and deeply embedded in me, therefore it’s embedded in my work as well.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli Wall Street Journal

10) What is your biggest ambition when it comes to work? A publication you’d like to be featured in? Someone you admire and would like to meet? A project that you’d love to work on? Anything what would rock your world if you had that opportunity!

I have a lot of ambitions when it comes to my work. I’d definitely like to continue working in the comics field and see where that takes me.

I’d love to work with a variety of different writers and publications in the comics world. I don’t rule out writing and illustrating my own graphic novel one day either. I’m always inspired when I see illustrators or cartoonists working with well-known brands, lending their unique voice to a campaign or advertisement.

Being able to share my work with an audience that goes way beyond comics or illustrating, that’s something I’d love to do. Being an artist whose work is primarily created for print or the web, I’m definitely a stranger to the art gallery world.

I’d like to change that one day by perhaps showing a series of pieces that were specifically created to be viewed in person. Other than those things, I stay open to whatever opportunities present themselves.

One of the exciting things about being a freelance artists is never really knowing what types of projects may be in my future!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli Library Journal

11) What are your top 5 local, hidden spots in New York that you love to go? A restaurant, bar, museum, store, coffee place, park, street, etc?

Central Park is definitely one of my favorite places in this city. I’m a big fan of New York summers, I really feel like that’s when the city shines the most. With that being said, Central Park is probably one of my favorite spots on a nice Spring/Summer day. I spent multiple times playing Frisbee over there at the Sheep Meadow this summer and really enjoy the relaxing vibe.

Speaking of summer, I try and make it to the beach whenever I can. People don’t really think of beaches when they think of NYC, but there are some nice locations if you want to trade the concrete for some sand every now and then. I really enjoy hanging out at Rockaway Beach and Coney Island. Much more of a low key, laid back vibe at Rockaway, but Coney Island has that history and energy that can be fun sometimes too.

As far as food goes, there’s a nice little farm-to-table restaurant in my neighborhood called Brooklyn Beet Company. The magic ingredient over there is beets. They have a veggie burger that is made out of a beet and they also have this awesome beet ketchup! Definitely worth checking out, unless you hate beets, haha.

I’m sort of a health nut, so when I’m running around and in need of a healthy lunch, I like to pop into HU Kitchen (See Antonia Grecco’s post on Hu Kitchen) on 14th Street in Manhattan. They use a variety of local ingredients as well. It’s sort of the healthier alternative to something like Chipotle.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Thomas Pitilli Jughead Cover

And still:

As far as neighborhoods go, I’d probably say that the West Village is my favorite. It still has some old cobble stone streets and some of the most quite blocks in all of NYC. Things seem to fall off the typical grid system over there too, so I often get lost whenever I’m around there!

And, probably one of my all-time favorite places in NYC is The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s always been a sort of sanctuary for me, a place where I can spend hours and come out totally inspired. My favorite spot in that museum is the Sackler Wing. There’s this huge window covering the entire room with an awesome view of Central Park, it’s really cool.

That’s more than five, I know! I have a bunch more too. Some runner ups would probably be the Highline and Chelsea Market!

12) And last! Where can people find your work and purchase your illustrations!?

I’m all over Social Media, but I’m most active on Instagram where you can find me .

You can also check out my website at www.thomaspitilli.com.

And, if you’re interested in purchasing some of my artwork as a print, check out my Etsy Store.

Thank you Thomas, for this fantastic journey into your world and keep up your breathtaking work and captivating energy!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Thomas Pitilli

A Wedding Vow to NYC: “I take you, New York City…”

Shop NYC Wedding Vow to New York City

Wedding Vow to NYC: I take you, New York City, to be my lawful partner in crime, to have and to hold from this day forward. I promise to always cherish you; and if I do that, you’ll surely do the same for me…

Shop NYC Wedding Vow to New York City

We invited our followers to write a Wedding Vow to New York City.

Charles Dorneles’ Wedding Vow was the one selected to be featured! It portrays our deepest love and respect for this amazing city called New York City!

I take you, New York City, to be my lawful partner in crime, to have and to hold from this day forward.

I promise to always cherish you; and if I do that, you’ll surely do the same for me, even though every year you still put me through hell during winter (with bitter cold) and summer (with excruciating, humid heat) time.

I accept you in good and bad times; actually, worse times, considering the fact you have one of the world’s worst traffics ever and I will spend a lot of time just commuting. But, I’ll just take this time to be present and thankful for everything!

I also pledge to be with you in richness and in poorness. In fact, I’ve got plenty of money now, but, if I’m not careful, I can go bankrupt with all your expensive clothing, restaurants and your fancy lifestyle.

And, above all, I will always love and honor you, simply because I know there’s no other city like you. You have all I need to have a long, extraordinary and fulfilled life – from your breathtaking skyline that makes my eyes sparkle to your glorious green parks. You are the most intriguing city in the world and you offer me not only different cultural backgrounds with secret Off-Broadway shows and the underground music scene, but you also give me to-die-for food from all over the world.

Living with you is a unique and priceless experience and, yes, I admit, you have some “many” issues, but none of them can overcome your superiority and grandioseness.

You inspire me and I intend to live with you until death do us part. In truth, until death do “me” part, once you will live forever. Thankfully, to all human race!

I. Love. You.

For Wedding inspiration, take a look at these fantastic celebrations.


Guest Writer: Charles Dorneles
Photo Credit: Featured image

The Huffington Post: One of NYC’s Top Travel Entrepreneurs

About BTSNYC What The Press Says Huffington Post

Regardless of your profession, being featured on The Huffington Post is definitely one of the ultimate goals! Our Founder, Fernanda Paronetto, was selected as one of NYC’s top Travel Entrepreneurs.

About BTSNYC What The Press Says Huffington Post

The day we got the news that our Founder, Fê, was featured on the Huffington Post as one of NYC’s top Travel Entrepreneurs, was memorable.

Not only for the tremendous honor and accomplishment in the Title, but because it was the day after her birthday!

What a gift, right?

The extremely talented Tech, Business & Lifestyle Brand Strategist, Sissi Johnson, was author responsible for the fantastic piece.

So, read below an excerpt of the article:

If you believe there is nothing like exploring a city through the eyes of a local, think again. Brazilian Fernanda Paronetto knows all of Big Apple’s best kept secrets.

“I always had this indescribable passion and curiosity for NY, so I was often here visiting, always uncovering the best hidden spots and events. The city is just so dynamic, alive, full of novelties, so multi-cultural, beautiful, with an intense energy – the list can go on forever.”

On starting Behind the Scenes NYC remotely, she said:

“A New York woman in her 40’s sent me a message saying: ‘Hi there! I was born in NYC and have lived here my entire life. But, I didn’t know about this restaurant you wrote about. So, I went to it last night, and simply loved it! Thank you for the tip!’ – I was like: WOW!

“I’m in Brazil, in my room at my mom’s house, giving tips to real New Yorkers who are actually enjoying them and thanking me! There must be something right about what I’m doing…”

As a final point, we are so grateful for this acknowledgement. Plus, it an honor to have Fernanda named as one of NYC’s Top Travel Entrepreneurs.

If you want to learn more about Fê, and her journey to New York City, you’ll simply love the article written by Hustle & Deal Flow – a movement for creators.

Travel + SocialGood Global Summit 2017 In NYC

About BTSNYC Social Responsibility Travel Social Good Global Summit 2017 NYC Home Page

We are passionate about sustainable travel! So, we’ve partnered with Travel + SocialGood for their upcoming “Travel+SocialGood Global Summit” in NYC, happening in November!

About BTSNYC Social Responsibility Travel Social Good Global Summit 2017 NYC

It is an honor to announce our newest Media Sponsorhip support!

We’ve partnered up with Travel+SocialGood for their upcoming “Travel+SocialGood Global Summit” in NYC on November 16th – 17th!

DO YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE? Applications close on October 15th, so apply now, here!

“Our goal is to shift the way people think about sustainable tourism. When people hear those words, they usually think about ecolodges or types of travel that often feel unattainable. But, you can have sustainable tourism experiences right here in NYC – and these immersive, authentic experiences are the ones we remember the most.

Furthermore, by mainstreaming sustainable tourism, we have the potential to solve issues like poverty or inequality through travel – and that’s powerful and inspiring.

The Summit is our biggest event of the year and it brings together thought leaders and visionaries to collectively ideate on solutions to push the industry forward. This isn’t your ordinary travel conference. It’s collaborative and action-oriented, and in the main hackathon portion, our attendees are able to produce tangible results and ideas that anyone can implement into their business model.” ~ Kelley Louise

DO YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE? Applications close on October 15th, so apply now, here!

More about the event:

The travel industry represents 10{c8399be91965ff06a5fa23750b49beaf0bc09e4b1c94b50d52f75c5d1635bbfd} of global GDP and employs 1 in 11 around the world. Yet on average, only $5 out of every $100 spent by travelers remains in the countries visited.

Our industry possesses the power to impact every issue our global community faces. There is an immense amount of potential to harness the power of the travel industry and transform it into a force for good.

“We can change our world through travel.”

Now, in its fourth year, the 2017 Travel+SocialGood Global Summit will draw together 150 innovators in the travel industry to collectively tackle a single issue facing the travel industry. Therefore, our goal is to develop concrete and actionable solutions to push the industry forward.

TSG is proud to be teaming up with Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)Sustainable Travel International (STI)Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) and Tourism Cares to present the 2017 TSG Summit.

The Summit:

Building off of the momentum and format of previous Summits, this year’s event will be focused on different workshops and activations aimed at finding actionable solutions to push the industry forward.

In addition, we are proud of tangible results from previous Summits, including the Ritz-Carlton’s Impact Experiences, a program which has now launched in locations worldwide.

Apply or Nominate an Attendee!

The 2017 Global Summit is invite only.

Our goal is to bring together the brightest innovators within the industry. Therefore, connecting both private and public sector, as well as established and entrepreneurial travel professionals.


Applications close on October 15th, so apply now, here!

Lastly, if you enjoy this type of event, you might want to check out the other articles in our Social Responsibility page!

For Corporate requests to engage with serious and credible organizations focused on community-driven project, contact ou experts. We can help you find the right fit for your company.

Doc Hersons: Story Behind a Harlem-born Absinthe Brand

Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Kevin Herson Stacey Luckow

New York City is known for many things, from being the #1 Fashion Capital in the world, to its tireless nightlife, but did you know it’s also the home of the 1st and very special, all natural, small batch absinthe producer named Doc Hersons?!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe White
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe White with Sparkling
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe White Root Beer
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Bloody Mary
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Cocktail
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Green Ginger Beer
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Green Ice
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Green
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe 3 Flavors
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Decor
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe WeWork BTSNYC Experience
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Kevin Herson Stacey Luckow
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New York City is known for many things, from being the #1 Fashion Capital in the world, to its tireless nightlife, countless fantastic restaurants and yet a priceless art scene. Of course, there is much more to this list!

But, maybe something you didn’t know: It’s also the home of the 1st and very special, all natural, small batch absinthe producer named Doc Hersons.

A while ago, we hosted a great tasting event, paired with fantastic acoustic music, at one of Williamsburg’s coolest rooftops. Doc Hersons was the brand we brought in to offer the tasting and share a bit of his journey.

We were so intrigued with the product and their story, that we decided to interview Kevin Herson that founded the brand with his wife, Stacey Luckow.

1) Tell us a bit about your background and what lead you two to start Doc Hersons? Is it a family tradition, or a personal passion?

We started the distillery in 2012 in our basement in Harlem. My day job as a commodity broker ended around 3pm each day, while Stacey would only return home from working at our vintage clothing store in the East Village around 9pm.

This left plenty of time for me to experiment in the basement of our Harlem apartment. I started buying distilling equipment and experimented with making Whiskey and Moonshine.

Then I decided to try make some Absinthe, since I had always enjoyed drinking it.

My Chemistry background and knowledge supplied the baseline for which soon became a full functioning Absinthe distillery on 142nd and Broadway, the 1st Absinthe distillery in NYC.

2) We love Harlem! What is it about this neighborhood that relates to the brand and being there during the journey to bring this product to life?

I feel that starting a distillery in a Harlem basement just seems sort of a natural beginning for an Absinthe distillery. Harlem has many great stories and an amazing history, as does the Absinthe.

3) Why absinthe? I feel that not many people know how to drink it, so what are the challenges when trying to introduce this spirit into people’s lifestyle?

Absinthe has an interesting history and many myths associated with it.

I think the spirit is very misunderstood, and the controversy surrounding it was intentionally made well know through the efforts of the French wine industry – read the “History” paragraph on Wikipedia).

Our Absinthe is very unique and we simply enjoy it over ice or in the various different cocktails that call for Absinthe as an ingredient.

I feel the biggest challenge regarding Absinthe is dispelling all the myth’s surrounding it. This will take time, for almost 100 years Absinthe was illegal in the USA so we have some truthful storytelling to do to educate people that Absinthe can be enjoyed just like all the other wonderful categories of spirits out there.

4) So, what’s the biggest myths about absinthe?

Absinthe doesn’t make you hallucinate, it never did and it never will.  It’s a unique spirit and the truth is it’s delicious!

5) Tell us a bit about how absinthe is made.

We start by fermenting grains from upstate New York. We then run that ferment through a stripping still to get a raw alcohol, raw meaning all the good and the bad alcohol mixed together.

Then, we take that raw alcohol and transfer it into our pot still, add a bunch of different botanicals from fennel, anise, Grand Wormwood, mint, lemons… etc. That concoction is boiled and fractionally distilled to collect all the good alcohol infused with the flavors and essential oils from all the herbs.

Once we collect the good stuff, we proof it and then add additional herbs for color and flavor, all 100{c8399be91965ff06a5fa23750b49beaf0bc09e4b1c94b50d52f75c5d1635bbfd} natural. Finally, we strain off the spirit from the botanicals, let it settle and then bottle it all up to enjoy.

6) Do you know a few curious historical facts about the spirit that you can share?

Wikipedia does a good job of this. However, most people don’t know that Absinthe was originally developed as a Malaria prevention. This was way back when it was first produced, in 1792.

7) What are the main characteristics of each of the 3 products by Doc Hersons?

  • Green Absinthe: Notes of licorice, mint and slightly bitter
  • Red Absinthe: Floral Hibiscus, licorice and citrus notes
  • White Absinthe: Poppy seed, licorice and vanilla woody spice

8) Besides having the drink neat or with ice, when you teach people about how to consume it, what are the best easy mixes with each of the 3 flavors?

Each of our different styles of Absinthe can simply be enjoyed over ice or in the various traditional cocktails that call for Absinthe as an ingredient.

Or, one can enjoy them in the following simple cocktails:

  • Green Absinthe (1/2 oz) over ice, fill the glass with ginger beer and garnish with a mint leaf
  • Green Absinthe (1/2 oz) over ice, fill the glass with club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge
  • Red Absinthe (1/2 oz) over ice, fill the glass with ginger ale and garnish with an orange wedge
  • White Absinthe (1 oz) over ice and garnish with a jalapeño slice

Or even add 1/2 oz White Absinthe to your favorite Bloody Mary cocktail for an extra note of flavor and fun.

9) Are there any upcoming flavors we can expect to see in the near future?

We are working on some other spirits projects, but as for Absinthe we just produce the three styles traditionally know, Green, Red and White.

10) The bottles and the labels are very unique and give us a delicious, nostalgic feeling. What’s the idea behind the visual communication?

Branding and aesthetics are all centered around classy, simply, elegant and intriguing. Visual representations of what one can expect when they enjoy sipping on our Absinthe.

11) Do you offer any catering service and experience, for people interested in learning more?

People are always welcome to reach out personally to find out more about our Absinthe. They can even email or call to schedule a special distillery tasting/tour. We do both public and private events to promote our brand on a regular basis. Each event is coordinated on a case by case basis.

12) Where can people purchase your products, besides online?

Besides online, there are a number of liquor stores listed on our website DocHersons.com under our “buy” tab. There are also many bar and restaurants throughout NYC and NY State that serve our Absinthe.

13) Any new upcoming project that you’d like to share with us, as a “teaser”?

We are working on a new spirit to be released in February of 2018. Keep an eye out but it’s a surprise!

14) Since you’re a Harlem-expert, we’re curious to know what are your favorite “behind the scenes” spots!

Regarding a couple cool spots in Harlem, I can suggest our favorite spot, Harlem Public. You can ask for Roni the bartender, he is awesome and makes some of the best cocktails in the city.

There’s also a great liquor store there called Pompette Wine. When you get there, ask for Mozel. He owns the store and knows a lot about great local wines and spirits.

We don’t live in Harlem anymore and haven’t for about 5 years, so we are not really current with some of the newer happening spots.

We live in Brooklyn now, so some of the cool spots we like to visit are Le Boudoir and Chez Moi, both in Brooklyn Heights!

Thank you Kevin, and Stacey for sharing your beautiful story with us. It’s certainly an exciting journey, and we will stay tuned for the new spirit launching soon!

If you want to learn more about Doc Hersons, this small batch absinthe producer, take a look at their website.

When you decide to visit the neighborhood, you might want to start by visiting a park we love called Morningside Park. Plus, stop for lunch at Seasoned Vegan, even if you’re not Vegan. We promise, you’ll be amazed with their dishes!

Lastly, if you’d like to be put in touch with them, we can connect you! As Kevin mentioned, they offer very exclusive tasting tours, so let our experts organize it for you! For Corporate requests, for catering or tours, talk to our team.


We Love Uncovering the NYC Subway Secrets

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Secret Subway FDR Tracks Waldorf Astoria

One of the things we love the most in New York City, is uncovering the NYC subway secrets. We compiled a few of what we most enjoyed!

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Secret Subway FDR Tracks Waldorf Astoria
Secret FDR Tracks beneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel

There is just so much to talk about when the subject is: NYC subway secrets. It’s hard even to know where to start from.

To start, maybe we should go back and see how it all began:

“At 2:35 on the afternoon of October 27, 1904, New York City Mayor George McClellan takes the controls on the inaugural run of the city’s innovative new rapid transit system: the subway.

At 7 p.m. that evening, the subway opened to the general public, and more than 100,000 people paid a nickel each to take their first ride under Manhattan.

IRT service expanded to the Bronx in 1905, to Brooklyn in 1908 and to Queens in 1915.

Since 1968, the subway has been controlled by the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA). The system now has 26 lines and 468 stations in operation; the longest line, the 8th Avenue “A” Express train, stretches more than 32 miles, from the northern tip of Manhattan to the far southeast corner of Queens.

Every day, some 4.5 million passengers take the subway in New York.”

~ via History.com

That said, we can still list some other peculiarities that we love:

1. Did you know that there are many abandoned platforms, like the one underneath 42nd street on the A/C/E line?

2.  The FDR Subway Track (picture above!), beneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel is one of the most protected sites. FDR, stands for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and was designed exclusively for him during his Presidency.

3. Wanderlust Projects, know for their illegal parties, that trespasses authorized areas, has organized an illegal party in an abandoned Subway Station. We love these guys!

4. Up through 2006, the New York City transit system operated an armored Money Train that took all money collected from fairs to a safe place at 370 Jay Street, Brooklyn. (You can see more at the New York Transit Museum).

5.  Joralemon Street, in Brooklyn Heights, has a fake townhouse, in the middle of several others colored ones, that hides a ventilation shaft for the Subway.

6. MTA Arts for Transit invited the sculpture Tom Otterness, in 2004, to create those beautiful little bronze creature spread through out the 14th Station and 8th Avenue. See more about his project below:

…and still:

7. The Knickerbocker Hotel was once a very acclaimed hotel, here names like F.Scott Fitzgerald and John D. Rockefeller used to “hang”. The forgotten white door at Track 1 on Times Square/42nd Street station.

8. When you get the Q Line from Dekalb into Manhattan (the abandoned Myrtle Ave station), you will be able to whitness the Masstransiscope artwork by Bill Brand, installed in the year of 1980. This was once the is located in the abandoned Myrtle Ave station. Facing the front of the train, you need to sit on the left side seats.

9. We loooove the Underbelly Project, dating back a few years to 2009. See below where some of the most amazing works of art are secretly hidden.

10. Decommissioned in 1945, the famous City Hall Subway Station has maybe the most amazing architectural designs of all. How to see it? Stay on the 6 train after its last stop, at Brooklyn Bridge. It will continue running, and you’ll be able to see a bit from this station, when you pass by. Beware: it might get a little dark, since lights might go out at some point. Just, stay cool.

11. The Woolworth Building had an exclusive and direct access into the subway, for all the tenants. For an exclusive tour into the building, contact our experts!

12. The wierd “finger-pointing” moment that every conductor does before opening the train’s doors, is simply for safety reasons, indicating that the train is completely stopped.


13. Famous people have done fantastic works of “art” in the subway. Take a look at what Aaron from Underground_NYC has created through the dance moves of the famous Brazilian ballerina, Ingrid Silva:

Curiosities City Secrets NYC Secret Subway Ingrid Silva by Underground NYC
Ingrid Silva by Underground_NYC.

…there is just so much more, but we’ll leave it for a second article about the NYC subway secrets!

So, with all this, there are a few books and gadgets we’d like to recommend, if you’re into these secret subway stories and adventures like us:

1. Beneath the Streets: The Hidden Relics of New York’s Subway System
2. The City Beneath Us: Building the New York Subway
3. Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure: A TOON Graphic (Toon Graphics) (for Kids)
4. Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story
5. The New York City Subway: The History of America’s Largest and Most Famous Subway System
6. My Subway Ride (for Kids)
7. The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway
8. Estella Nursery Decor Pillow, NY Metro Card (for Kids)
9. Sterling Industries 138-094 Double Sided Wall Clock with Map of New York Subway
10. New York Puzzle Company – New York City Transit MTA Subway Kids – 36 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle (for Kids)
11. Glossy Paper Subway Gift Bags
12. and still, a New York City Subway Map Poster Print

And last, we hope you enjoyed this post, as much as we enjoyed doing it!

Yup, we are fascinated with uncovering the NYC subway secrets!


Text Excerpts: History.com

All the images used on this website are the property of BTSNYC or used with proper credit.
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