New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

It seems that everywhere we turn, we continue to face heartbreak, challenges, and horrible realities in our world. We’re still facing the realities of the global pandemic, we’re watching countries suffer war, death, and famine, and we’re experiencing the highest cost of living in our history. For me, there are some days when my daily challenges seem pointless when I think about the larger events happening in our world. People are losing their loved ones, their homes, their freedom – it can be difficult to concentrate on my day-to-day responsibilities when these things pop into my mind.

So I started the exercise of seeing what I can do to help, give back, offer support, and just be there for my brothers and sisters in mankind. These things can be big or small, but it helps me feel like I’m doing what I can to make sense of all these horrific events, and even if I can help one person a day, I’ll feel more at peace, and it will inspire me to take more of these actions on a regular basis. Kindness is contagious, and there’s never been a better time to showcase your generosity and spread the good spirit.

1. Make financial donations

Given the war, there’s so much we can do from the outside to provide resources and support for victims and their families. The healthcare system is overrun with outstanding needs, so you can donate blood, volunteer, or even give meals to healthcare workers that are overworked and being stretched too thin. If you have the means, you can also make donations to families in need that might be affected by inflation, the low minimum wages, or even at homeless shelters that need resources.

2. Make a pass through your home

Every 6 months or so, I like to do a full inventory of my apartment to see if I own anything that might serve someone else in a better or more efficient way. This could be anything from clothing or shoes to personal toiletries or books. When I make the donation to Goodwill, I ask the team in-store what items people are asking for the most often. I’ll take that list into consideration for my next semi-annual home pass to see if there are items I can bring on my next trip.

3. Build awareness

For many of us, having additional resources might be rare, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to contribute or give back to your larger society. Another great donation you can make is your time. Thanks to our digital technology in today’s world, we’ve never been more connected to the rest of the world as we are now. Spreading awareness is the backbone to making any kind of change, so if you can’t contribute your finances, time, or items, you can donate your words. You can sign petitions, share posts about communities in need, participate in marches, or even contact your local government if there are changes needed in your immediate community. Your voice is just as powerful as your wallet, so there are so many great things you can do if you want to be more involved in making a change in the world for the better. A really effective strategy to raise awareness for causes that may be close to your heart is to round up a list of nonprofit organizations that focus on a specific cause or group. You can create this list, complete with their widgets that call for donations, and then distribute that list within your digital social network. It’s amazing how powerful the share button can be, and there’s no harm in sharing with your network what is important to you. Maybe for your birthday, in lieu of gifts, you can ask your network to instead donate to a cause of your choice.

4.Listen and engage

Ultimately, change cannot take place without active listening and engagement. We must participate in a dialogue that is respectful, helpful, and engaging. We must share our ideas and ensure that we really listen to the various perspectives and experiences from others all over the world. It isn’t until we truly listen until we can see a change take place. Encourage your friends and family to participate and join in the conversation so that your loved ones can be a catalyst for change.

We’re living in a very strenuous time right now all over the globe. It can be difficult to focus on your daily needs and responsibilities when it feels like the world is crumbling all around us. Help your neighbor, but it’s just as important to take care of yourself as well.

Category : Stay in New York

April is a WONDERFUL time of the year to flex your outdoor activity muscles, as the weather is significantly more forgiving, meaning you’ll have so many more options to explore New York City, see new things, reconnect with old friends, AND put your learned English skills into real life application. April is often considered the “rebirth” month, thanks to the Easter holiday as well as spring showing her true colors with warmer days, blooming greenery, and fresh air. THIS is the month when I tend to come out of hibernation mode, as I officially pack up my winter jacket and start bringing my sunglasses everywhere I go. April gives me a second boost of energy, thanks to the excitement of warmer days and more fun things to do.

As the pandemic restrictions continue to lighten, this also means that you can reacquaint yourself with your favorite activities that you may not have been able to participate in over the past two years. This goes without saying, whether you’re fully vaccinated or not at all, it’s still strongly encouraged that you bring a mask with you, be conscientious about washing your hands, and still get those tests so you know when to stay home and recuperate. And if you’re looking for ways to put your English skills to use in real life as we’re adjusting to spring as well as the lightening of pandemic restrictions, look no further than the list below!

1. Easter Parade, April 17, Midtown Manhattan

Regardless of the religious background in which you were raised, Easter is a major holiday for celebration, and New York City is no exception. Parades are an absolute staple in the Big Apple, so here’s your chance to witness another iconic event. The event starts at 10 am, so be sure to leave earlier than that so you can grab a good view, and don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes, as the parade runs from 49th Street to 57th Street. There will be huge crowds here, so again, just be smart and bring your mask to be on the safe side. This spectacle is going to be visually stunning, so make sure your phone is fully charged so you can snap the best pics, share them with your networks, and use your English writing skills to make your photos viral, using the trending hashtags and tagging all your friends in this historic event.

2. Earth Day, April 22, New York City all over

This holiday has been around for as long as I can remember, but there’s never been a better time to be more cognizant of our home and how we treat our planet. Global warming’s effects are increasing at rapid speeds, and we all need to come together now more than ever before to do what we can to mend, heal, and repair as best as we can. I’ve been more diligent of the footprint I leave behind, and I’m always looking for new ideas to preserve our natural resources and protect our home. This year, I encourage you and your friends to come together on April 22nd to participate in community events, give back, donate, or simply devote some of your energy into planting trees, cleaning up parks, or limiting your energy resources. We won’t be able to see or make change overnight, but small habits can quickly and easily turn into bigger ones, so let’s do what we can to prolong our planet’s lifespan for as long as we can. Follow social media hashtags to see what’s going on in your neighborhood and engage in English to build your own network as well as your own English skills!

3. Central Park picnics

I want to stay on the environmental theme this month in honor of Earth Day. I’m making it a mission to not only be sensible and conscientious on the day itself, but I’m striving to extend those behaviors into the whole month of April. I’ll walk to my destinations instead of hailing a cab; I’ll open my windows to stay cool instead of turning on my fans; I’ll unplug my appliances when they’re not in use. We have one of the most beautiful parks in the world in our backyard, so I plan on wrangling my social group to spend our weekends here to soak in the fresh air and do what we can to give back. See if you can do this challenge as well!

Category : Stay in New York

The past two years have been tough on all of us – I haven’t met one person that hasn’t been affected in some way. From transitioning to working from home full-time to figuring out vaccine schedules and learning more about mental health needs to experiencing polarizing political conversations, we’ve endured so much in the past two years. It can be tough trying to figure out how we’re going to make it through this pandemic without scars.

It seems like every segment of this pandemic brings us something new, as it’s impacted almost every aspect of our lives. We’ve witnessed an incredibly volatile presidential election and transfer of power; we’ve watched the heavy debate around vaccines; we’ve seen our economy fluctuate; we’ve said goodbye to thousands of people. It’s hard to imagine a world post-pandemic sometimes because of how disruptive it’s been to our lives.

I don’t have all the answers, but I’m happy to share some of my own tricks and hacks as a New York City resident. Everyone is different and has personal levels of pandemic practice, so please take my recommendations with a grain of salt, and feel free to personalize these ideas as you see fit and as they pertain to your own individual practices.

1. Take advantage of talk therapy

I recognize that I’m incredibly lucky that my talk therapy is covered by my insurance. It’s incredibly helpful that I have someone to talk to on a weekly basis (it’s virtual, too!) – sometimes we chat about how the pandemic is affecting me, while some weeks the topic doesn’t come up at all. I see my weekly therapy appointments as regular maintenance. There are some months in my life when I feel in control and steady – it’s nice to talk with my therapist during these times because she can see me when I’m confident and in a good place. There are other weeks when I struggle, either with work, relationships, money, or even just my energy levels. These weekly check-ins help stabilize my moods, force me to reflect on what I can do better, and to identify areas that I need to work on. I’ve been able to overcome a lot of barriers and hurdles in my life from simply going to therapy once a week. I understand it’s not for everyone, and I also recognize that I’m lucky to have access to this kind of mental healthcare, but I’ll recommend this practice to anyone that is looking to improve themselves.

2. Helpful to think ahead

Sometimes it seems like we’ve been frozen in time, hasn’t it? So many of my days seem to blur together, and it so often feels like every day is the same. Beyond family visits, I haven’t planned anything for myself in two years. It feels too risky to book a vacation, only to get excited about it then have to cancel due to another variant. This has had me in a weird, dark place as I think about my future. Will we be doing this two years from now? Will all my days be identical a year from now? This kind of repetition has given me a lot of anxiety and stress, so I’ve tried to look for a solution that can help with this kind of gloom. Instead of planning for trips or vacation, I set personal goals for myself instead. Because I’m not spending as much money on travel, dinners, or events with my friends, I’ve been able to save a lot of money the past two years. With that realization, I’ve started to create monthly goals for myself, most of which are financially related. When I paid off my student loans last year, thanks to the interest pause and saving so much money, that gave me the idea to keep thinking ahead. I now have a goal that I want to reach for my 401K, a figure I want to hit in my savings account, and I’m starting to put aside some money for a major vacation once this is all over and done with (whenever that is!). Having these goals gives me something to work towards AND something to look forward to.

It’s important to remind yourself that you’re not alone – we’re ALL going through this time together. We all have different and unique struggles, so check in with your loved ones, but also be sure to check in with yourself. Make sure you’re giving yourself what you need!

Category : Stay in New York

Yikes, I forget how tough February can be in New York City. The days can chill you to your bones, and this is the time of year I feel a bit sick of the dreary days. While I love staying inside and being cozy during this time of year, I also start to feel a bit antsy. I start to crave longer days, warmer temps, and higher energy. It’s tough trying to figure out what my options are when we’re still trying to figure out this pandemic stuff, so I figured I’d share with you some easy ideas that will still keep you entertained and safe at the same time. The weather is always a hit-or-miss factor in deciding what you want to do, but I’ve come up with a few interesting ideas that can keep your mood up and without breaking your wallet.

1. Ice Skating – Central Park, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center

I know this is pretty standard and expected when you think about New York City in the winter, but it’s kind of a perfect solution. Not only does this activity get you outside in the fresh air, but it’ll get your body moving with fun exercise. Whether you’ve got your own skates or need to rent, these parks will have you covered no matter your skill level. Since we’re still in a pandemic, the outdoor setting will keep you safe. (I still recommend bringing and wearing a mask, vaccinated or not.) You’ll also be able to meet tons of new people while you’re practicing your ice skills, so be sure to bring your best English talents so you can share and trade tricks with your new friends. Bonus: these parks are surrounded with plenty of amazing restaurants so you can warm up and recharge no matter where you decide to go.

2. Broadway

This is an activity that I’ll flag as “use caution.” Because this particular option is indoors and you’ll be surrounded by dozens of people, be sure to check your theater’s rules for vaccinations and masks. Depending on your status, you’ll need to check out their guidelines before going. As Broadway starts to ramp up again in as we continue to sift through the pandemic, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of these shows, just in case another strict lockdown is on our horizon. If you’re looking to get your English skills some practice, spend some time with the Playbill before the show, and do your best to translate the spoken English on stage in your head. After the show, grab dinner with your friends and share your favorite parts – in English!

3. Hit the spa

Okay, so this activity isn’t completely for just February, but I wanted to include this because I’m realizing just how important self-care is these days. It’s been a tough two years in New York City, thanks to the pandemic. I’ve spent more time indoors these past 24 months than I have probably my whole life. I’ll admit that I don’t work out as much, I don’t eat the best foods, and I’m definitely not drinking enough water. It’s hard to take care of ourselves when the world is so uncertain these days. So to ensure that I’m treating myself from time to time, I take myself out for a massage about once a month. Not only does it give me something to look forward to, but it physically helps me relieve built-up tension from stress. If a spa isn’t your thing, figure out what will help you “reset.” Maybe it’s a library day, or perhaps it’s a night you treat yourself to your favorite dinner. Either way, it’s so crucial to ensure you’re taking care of your well-being. This could be something you do independently or with friends so you can keep your mood positive and your outlook optimistic.

February is a tough month overall – the days are short and cold, and it can be tough to be optimistic for warmer days ahead. I try to beat my seasonal sadness by getting out of my apartment for walks and Vitamin D, I chat with family and friends as much as I can, and I make sure my schedule has enough things to look forward to – I recommend doing something similar and finding things that make you happy, active, and entertained. We’ve still got some time working through this pandemic, but in the meantime, make sure you’re still tending to your mental and emotional health.

Category : Stay in New York

To me, December is one of the most unusual months in New York City. It seems like the whole month is out of schedule – I’ve found that traffic volume is completely unpredictable, attitudes are hit-or-miss, and the weather can make you either really festive or incredibly cranky and impatient. Despite all of that, however, I enjoy this month greatly for a variety of reasons.

For me, my work schedule becomes a bit lighter, as my coworkers are all staggering their vacation times, and people are starting to get into the holiday and time-off mindsets. Getting around town is unusual because I find that people are keeping non-typical schedules due to special holiday events, gatherings, and even traveling out of town. December is certainly a cold month, but it can still surprise you with out-of-season temperatures. It can be snowy and bitter one week, warm the next, then back to harsh and windy again. All of these unusual characteristics make December an exciting one, and I can’t help but feel like a little kid again because nothing seems normal this month.

So here are a few tried-and-true suggestions that I can offer you to help you get through this upcoming month, and as we’re still navigating elements of the pandemic, I’ll ensure that these tips will be relevant for this time as well.

  • Coordinate with your social groups early

Everybody celebrates different holidays, and some travel while others stay local. If you’re looking to be social this month or hold some kind of festive gathering, the earlier you can plan, the better. Please also keep in mind that we’re still doing what we can to social distance and be mindful of health safety, so it’s a good idea to know who is vaccinated as well as to understand peoples’ levels of comfort when around other people. People tend to plan travel and social obligations in advance, so it’s a good idea to do the same if you’re hoping to have a holiday social gathering yourself.

  • Wear and where

December in New York City in the time of a pandemic calls for a lot of questions that we may not have had to ask in years past. While indoor dining is back, some people may not be comfortable, and since outdoor dining continues to be a reliable addendum, you’ll need to consider these factors when deciding what and where to go. Of course, winter attire is also of high consideration, thanks to the rigid temperatures, considerations for public transportation, and knowing how to stay comfortable. I will continue to urge you to be connected with your weather forecast app, as I’ve found this will tell me what I need to wear, how long I should stay out, and even how to get there (listen, if it’s snowing, I’ll skip my heels).

  • Expand your thoughts for others

No matter your religion or the primary holiday you celebrate in December (if any), one of the main ideas of the season is consideration and gratuity for others. This is always a good time to remind yourself others may be lack in blessings, whether it’s employment, local family, extra finances, or even a positive mindset. While this time of year is wonderful to celebrate the love and blessings in your life, it’s also an opportune moment to remember those that may not have those same blessings. Do what you can to give back, whether it’s your time through volunteering, extra food, clothing, or money through donations, or even just extra love to your close ones – it’s never a poor time to think of others that may be less fortunate.

There’s no doubt that it’s been a tough two years, thanks to the pandemic. December is a time for us to reflect on what we learned, what our blessings are, and what we can do differently in the future.

As I look ahead to the next year, I’m hoping to be in contact with my friends and family, both locally and far away, more often. Because of COVID, I’ve been able to spend more time with myself, working on my short-term and long-term goals. I’ve picked up new hobbies and had the opportunity to experiment with different habits and schedules. I’m on a never-ending search to better myself, and as I face another December in New York City, I’m more hopeful for the future than I have been in the past.

Category : Stay in New York

It’s pretty common for people to opt for inside activities as opposed to outdoor when the days get shorter and the temps get lower. I’m as guilty of this as the next person! The thought of layering up and bracing the wind, brisk temperatures, and other elements, is enough to convince to just say “eh, not today” and stay home where it’s warm and cozy.

For this very human reason, it’s just as common for most people to put on a few extra pounds once the winter months start to set in. Staying active outdoors is more difficult to do, as sports clubs tend to shut down, parks close earlier, and it’s often just too cold to enjoy outdoor entertainment. Plus, peoples’ schedules start to become more packed with holiday planning and family travel, which means there’s less time to hit the gym or sign up for those workout classes.

Especially after the first winter season of the pandemic, we’ve all gotten creative with how we can stay active this winter season, even if health safety is still one of our primary concerns. I haven’t had a gym membership since 2020, and while I do miss some of the elements of physically going in-person, I don’t miss the commute, the cost, or even having to work out in front of other people. I’ve learned to get creative with my fitness with the unique elements I have in my back pocket – or my backyard! Here are just a few ideas that you can take and adapt as it fits your own needs.

  • Stairs are your friend

Any other day, I typically hate the stairs, but now that we’re all getting creative with our workout plans, I’m realizing just how great of a basic tool these simple things are. Since I’m not commuting as much and climbing in and out of subway stations, I’ve decided to use the stairs in my apartment building as much as possible. Our building has an elevator, but if I’m not in a rush, I’ll use them to whiz down to grab my mail or take my time climbing them after running errands. It’s the perfect way to keep my heartrate up, and it’s also a decent reminder of how in-shape or out-of-shape I am. (These reminders are sometimes awful, aren’t they?) Plus, because of the elevator, not a lot of people use the stairs, so I feel like it’s a guaranteed private workout, which makes the whole concept even easier to digest.

  • Squeeze in “invisible” workouts

I made this up myself ever since I started working from home full-time and wasn’t going to the gym anymore. I started to notice that I was getting a bit “softer” around the middle and wanted to do something about it. Without establishing a disciplined workout routine at home, I pulled out some free weights, my yoga mat, and a few resistance bands. By keeping them out and within eyesight, I’d pull them out do some random workouts in between meetings. Instead of walking to my kitchen to get coffee, I lunge-walked. While watching TV, I’d workout my arms a bit so I wasn’t mentally focused on just the workout or the TV. This a great way to integrate some fitness into your day without the need of carving out designated time for it, which requires an entirely different level of discipline and dedication.

  • Take your walks

I know this one is super cliché and overdone, but I can’t express how much this simple activity helped me navigate the pandemic and clear my head. There were some days when I wouldn’t leave my apartment at all, and I began to go stir crazy. I’d go on a walk, and suddenly, the fresh air would do wonders for my head (both physically and mentally), and moving my body, even just for a half hour, made me feel refreshed, energized, and calm. And bonus: while on these walks, I got to see so many happy puppies, enjoying their own walks, too! Try taking a different route every day to keep your scenery fresh, and take note of all the new restaurants you see popping up along the way.

November unofficially marks the kick-off to winter – if you’re looking to stay active while we’re still navigating the pandemic and as the temperatures sink, listen to your body. It’ll tell you what it needs, what it likes, and how to keep it active. You’ll be feeling better in no time!

Category : Stay in New York

November really starts to bring in the cold front here in New York City. The days get shorter, the sun goes down earlier and earlier, and we close our windows tighter to make room for the inevitable change to turning on our heat. If you’re a new New Yorker or a veteran, you know that being outdoors is a necessity if you want to live here. Since most of us don’t have a garage here in the city, we spend a lot of time walking to our destinations or waiting outside for the bus to come. This means that you’ll be pulling up the forecast a lot more as a New Yorker compared to any other civilian in the country. You know to dress in layers because that 20-minute walk outside in the cold morning to the subway means that you’ll be sweating by the time you get underground. And maybe the subway car doesn’t have heat. Or maybe the subway car has heat but it’s packed, making the car feel like a sweatbox.

So while it make be below freezing outside, New Yorkers will go through various phases of “I’m freezing” to “oh man, I’m sweating through my scarf” in the span of just one commute. It’s annoying and sometimes it makes me wonder why I live here, but at the same time, I love it. Of course I do, right?

If you’re adapting to your English skills, a lot of these tips will help you as you navigate the beginning of the very long winter season in New York City.

  • Do your research

Are you planning an outdoor activity? Obviously get a very clear sense of what the forecast entails and plan accordingly. As an example, my feet get cold at almost any temperature, so I’m always layering several pairs of socks if I’m going to be outside for an extended period of time. Will the event retreat indoors? Dress with layers. I can’t stress this enough. Undershirt, shirt, sweater, scarf, coat – you’ll be surprised how often you get hot in the winter while out and about in New York City. So plan ahead! For those of you practicing your English, check your social feeds to see what others are saying about the weather. Ask your friends to join you on your winter fun excursion so you can put your English speaking skills to use.

  • Safety and health first

So this feels obvious, but we’re still in the middle of a public health crisis. Whether you’re vaccinated or not, it’s still important that you take care of yourself, use caution, and listen to your body. As we get closer to flu and cold season, mixed in with ongoing COVID diagnoses, now is not the time to take any chances. Get tested regularly, drink plenty of fluids, continue washing your hands, and always have a mask with you. We still want to keep having fun this winter season, and getting sick will only drag that fun down. If you’re new to a restaurant or bar, pull up their site to find out how they’re managing their property throughout the pandemic to put your mind at ease and to ensure that you’re going to safe destinations. Don’t forget to pull out your English words to help coordinate these events so you can feel more comfortable as an English speaker.

  • Watch your device usage

As winter begins this season, we’ll be using a lot of our gas and electricity, which can equate to more possibility of fire. I realize this is extreme, but it’s important to pay attention to. I’m always very mindful about what I leave plugged in, how tightly my windows are closed (so my heat isn’t disappearing), and that I don’t leave the stove or my burners on. Chances of fire are, of course, year round, but I just tend to be a little extra cautious this time of year. I become reacquainted with my building’s fire evacuation plan and ensure that I have all the emergency numbers programmed into my phone. Winter can be deadly for everyone, so it’s extra important to stay cautious this season.

Winter is not exactly my favorite time of the year in New York City, but it can be magical if you’re careful and attentive. Keep practicing your English so you can navigate any kind of winter-related emergency, but don’t forget to have fun! If you’re warm, safe, and healthy, the Big Apple is wonderful this time of year.

Category : Stay in New York

What to say about one of the BEST months of the year (I realize that I probably say that about every month living in New York City) besides IT’S THE BEST?! I love the cooler, crisp air and the coziness that the month promotes. It’s around this time that I pull out my winter clothes, and I always get excited when I see the chunky sweaters and the cozy socks that I completely forgot about over the spring and summer. Nothing’s better!

Since New York City is still trying to figure out navigating during COVID, it can be tricky thinking of things to do in the month of October that will also guarantee that you stay safe and healthy. So I came up with a list of things that you can do that will satisfy both of those requirements. And if you’re trying to put your English skills to use in real life, I made sure to pick out activities where you can utilize those talents outside of the classroom. So pull out your favorite flannel, let’s get to planning your October in New York City!

1. Brooklyn Book Festival, until October 4th

If you’re a big reader like me, then this will be your jam! Come to meet some of your favorite authors, listen in on literary discussions, and even pick up some new reads while you’re there! This event is outside so you can feel safe enough in the time of the pandemic while it’s still comfortable enough to actually be outside. Obviously, if you’re trying to improve your English reading, this is the place for you. With all reading levels welcome, you’re sure to find something worth your time. And if you’re trying to work on your English speaking, then this is also the place – learn new words and phrases from authors all over the world – what better opportunity?!

2. New York Comic Con, October 7 – October 10

Okay, so this is one that I’ll never fully understand, but it’s a HUGE hit with fans of comic books, action movies, and anything that really just has a theme! People from all over the world travel for this extensive event, and almost all come in costume! This year, the event is back after being cancelled last year, so I’d recommend getting your tickets sooner than later if you’re interested – it’s bound to be packed! Bonus: if in-person isn’t your thing yet, they’re also holding a virtual capability as well so you can continue your safe practices. Binge your favorite theme book series or movies before you go so you can get hyped up AND brush off your English speaking skills!

3. Haunting at Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, Asbury Park, NJ

So OF COURSE I had to include something Halloween-related in this list, and if you’re up for a little bit of travel, this could be 100% worth your time and extra effort. (I didn’t know about this, and even I’m interested in checking this out!) Known for its paranormal activity for over a century, people come to this site for the thrilling experience and to willingly be spooked. Luckily, this location is taking the pandemic incredibly seriously, as they require taking your temperature and that you wear a mask, they have multiple sanitizer locations, and ongoing cleanings. So if this is up your alley, be sure to check this opportunity out, call for ticket availability, and make sure you grab your mask on your way out the door. Be sure you know how to scream for help in English!

October is a month in New York City that is not in shortage of things to do, thanks to the Halloween holiday. In addition to all of the above, you’ll surely be able to find plenty to do in your neighborhood and beyond that can help you celebrate the holiday. Even though Halloween is technically just one day, you’ll find that us New Yorkers really embrace the spooky season, and we’re more than happy to celebrate for practically the entire month of October! And again, because the weather is still so pleasant and inviting, especially with the beautiful colors, you’ll want to spend as much time outdoors as possible – so as always, I encourage you to keep practicing your distancing, always mask up, and be respectful of others and their space. We won’t get out of this until we all continue doing our part. Have fun this month, and I’ll see you in November!

Category : Stay in New York

I’m sure we can all remember where we were on September 11, 2001. I was in high school, my junior year, in Latin class. At that point, very few people had cell phones – and the ones that did had the very basic Nokia devices. Googling the news or watching live streams wasn’t even a possibility. Silence struck the rooms and the halls. We were all laced with fear and concern. When I came home from school that day, I remember the hugs my parents gave me. I remember the eerie silence and sadness at dinner that night. I think even then, as a teenager, I knew that nothing would ever be the same.

Fourteen years later, I moved to New York City. Despite the excitement and pride that I felt once I got here, I also knew that I had respects to pay. I knew that New Yorkers had a pain in their heart that I would never be able to understand. The first time I went to visit the 9/11 memorial, I was overcome with emotion. It was almost as though you could FEEL the loss. It was so incredibly moving. Every time I go back down to the site, I’m moved and humbled.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of that tragic day. It’s an anniversary that won’t be celebrated. It’s a day that will have every single person reflecting on the tragedy, remembering loved ones that are lost, honoring those that served and fell.

This will be the 6th year that I’m in New York City on September 11th. Every year, there’s always a silence that falls upon Manhattan. It’s almost like people whisper instead of talking. You catch people lost in their thoughts, gazing out the windows. Some people cry. It’s a day that affects everyone.

Since this year is 20 years since the attacks, you might be thinking about what you can do to honor those that lost their lives. It’s a bit tricky due to the ongoing pandemic and the safety measures that we’re all taking to stay safe, but there’s plenty that you can do to mark this historic day.

1. 9/11 Memorial and Museum

This location will be reserved for family members of those lost for health safety purposes. While the location will be highly trafficked this day, it’s best that you reserve this spot to let the victims’ families have this moment to mourn, honor, and grieve. This memorial is always open, so if you feel the calling to show your respects, please consider a different day of the week or later in the month.

2. Visit your local church or place of worship

Most holy locations will be holding special services on this day for people to pay their respects. No matter your belief system or religion, you’re bound to find a location that will fit your needs so that you can honor the anniversary in your own way.

3. Stream the experiences

Because of our place in the current pandemic, it’s also not a terrible idea to honor the day by staying home. Thanks to our streaming capabilities today, there are tons of documentaries that tell the personal stories of people affected by 9/11. You can revisit the day through other peoples’ memories, learn about those that lost their lives, and honor their memories through storytelling. I’ve done this a few times on select years, and it always leaves me humbled. I recommend this for anyone that is looking for a way to understand, cope, and mourn.

Like the Titanic sinking, Pearl Harbor, or the JFK assassination, anyone alive during historic events like this will never forget where they were when they heard about the attacks. I’ll never forget that day in Latin class, and I’ll never forget the feelings of sadness when updates continued to come in that day, that week, and that year. While I wasn’t in New York City when the attacks took place, I know people that lost loved ones. I’ve listened to the stories of those that were here, who they called, how they coped.

Now that I’m here, and now that I’ve seen the memorial and visited the museum, there’s a newly found relationship I have with the event. Emotionally, I feel connected. Our company will be holding multiple moments of silence on the day, and while I’m not a religious person, I do plan on paying my respects to the fallen. I plan on calling my family and telling them how much I love them.  I plan on going to bed that night, thankful for my life.

Category : Stay in New York

With September all of a sudden here, you might be wondering what there is to do this month to keep yourself entertained (and safe) as we get closer to cooler temps and shorter days. September is one of my favorite months of the year, just because there’s a crisp in the air that makes outdoor activities comfortable and fun. As we continue operating with the pandemic and doing what we can to stay safe and protected, you’ll want to approach anything you think of with some careful planning and consideration. We still don’t know how much longer we’ll be living in this state of uncertainty, but while we do, it’s so crucial that you and your friends think carefully about every activity you take part in.

A good rule of thumb before committing to any activity is to research their refund policy and how they’re navigating safety – this is a good habit to integrate so that you can make plans without worrying about losing money if the event gets cancelled or coming into contact with someone that isn’t vaccinated. We’re doing better than last year, but we still have to operate with caution. With that said, here are a few things I’ve got my eye on this September in New York City that I’m looking forward to.

1. Times Square Ferris Wheel, through September 12

This is a brand new and limited-time event, so be sure to do your research on this one! First of all, if you feel like braving the crowds in one of the biggest tourist traps in the city, good for you! Secondly, if you want to grab a brand new view of the city in an experience that is only here for a short period of time, be sure your phone is charged for the incredible photos you’re about to capture! Of course, since you’ll be in the epicenter of the Big Apple, you’ll be able to interact with people from all over the world, putting your combined native language and English translation skills to use big time! Don’t forget your mask and your hand sanitizer!

2. Governors Ball, Citi Field, September 24 – September 26

After being cancelled last year because of the pandemic, there’s a lot of anticipation for this year’s event for that very reason. Large crowds are tricky to navigate during this time, so it’s important to bring your mask, plenty of hand sanitizer, and be smart about how close you are to others. The organizers are requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result, so you can rest a bit easy with that consideration! As of now, it sounds like the event is still on, so get excited! There are tons of big names in the lineup this year, so start preparing by building a GovBall playlist on Spotify, which will put your English skills to great use! Before you know it, you’ll be singing along in real time to some of the biggest names in music right now!

3. The Magic HOUR art walk, South Street Seaport, through September 30

The pandemic has impacted every single person in this world in countless different ways. For those of us that stayed in the city during the 2020 year, our experience was unique due to the high COVID diagnosis rates and the limited healthcare crisis. For artists, this was a moment of reflection and expression and inspiration – if you’re interested in taking a peek into others’ experiences, this is the immersive art walk for you. This exhibition houses the works of over 30 artists through multi-sensory exhibitions that will transport you to the experiences of so many that will make you relate, understand, and feel connected in a time when connection wasn’t possible. While this event is outside, still be sure to bring your mask and your vaccination documents so that you can feel safe and confident during your experience.

The world is still adjusting and healing from this ongoing pandemic. We all need to continue doing what we’re doing to keep ourselves and everyone else safe – but that doesn’t mean we have to stop living and experiencing the beauty of New York City. While there are certain things that are opening back up, we have to treat these allowances with respect – we do that by being mindful of our behaviors, respecting others’ space, and protective ourselves. The end of COVID is hopefully in our future, so let’s keep working together to make that someday soon.

Category : Stay in New York