Grand Central Station is one of New York City’s most iconic fixtures, right up there with Times Square and the Empire State Building. Only a couple of blocks away from the Westgate NYC Hotel, it’s also close to some of the Big Apple’s most popular attractions like St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Bryant Park.
Located in midtown Manhattan, the terminal is a certified National Historic Landmark that deserves a spot on any tourist’s itinerary. Find out why it’s worth seeing below:
It’s an architectural marvel.
Calling Grand Central a “train station” is the same as calling the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican a “church”. It is the world’s largest railway station, at 44 platforms and 67 tracks, including a rail yard and sidings. The terminal covers 48 acres of prime real estate in Park Avenue and serves an average of 750,000 commuters daily.
In addition to its sheer size, Grand Central can be classified as a work of art on itself. It was designed in the distinctive Beaux-Arts style that has defined turn-of-the-century American Renaissance architecture. The façade and structure of the terminal are made primarily of granite, and the sumptuous interiors use imitation Caen stone, Botticino marble, and pink Tennessee marble.
There’s artwork all around.
The terminal incorporates numerous public artworks into its design, making it a worthy addition to any art lover’s itinerary. Grand Central’s south façade alone features several works of art, including the world’s largest example of Tiffany glass; a 13-foot-wide clock worth 20 million US dollars; the 48-foot-wide Glory of Commerce sculptural group by French sculptor Jules-Félix Coutan; and a 4-ton, 8.5-foot bronze statue of American railroad and shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, the man responsible for the station’s existence.
Inside, you’ll find the Main Concourse ceiling mural, which was designed in 1912 by French artist Paul César Helleu. Themed after celestial bodies, the artwork contains over 2,500 hand-painted stars and golden bands amidst a turquoise backdrop. Another notable mural is the Graybar Passage mural that was painted by muralist Edward Trumbull in 1927. It is a depiction of American transportation.
Contemporary works of art have been added to the terminal over the years. These include a mixed-media mural called A Field of Wild Flowers made by American visual artist Roberto Juarez, a mosaic made with glass and bronze called As Above, So Below by Brooklyn-based artist Ellen Driscoll, and Sirshasana, a hanging sculpture made with aluminum, polyester resin, and crystals made by Donald Lipski, an American sculptor.
It’s a shopping and dining destination
Since its inception, Grand Central was built with the commuter’s comfort and convenience in mind. When it first opened, it contained several amenities including a ladies’ waiting room, a shoeshine room, a beauty salon, and a barbershop. Today, it houses numerous shops, restaurants, cocktail bars, and other services. The 65 retail establishments include an Apple Store, L’Occitane, M.A.C. Cosmetics, and diptyque.
On the lower dining concourse, you’ll find fast-casual New York institutions such as Shake Shack and Magnolia Bakery, as well as the 107-year-old fine dining restaurant Grand Central Oyster Bar. Grand Central Market occupies its own area, where local vendors sell high-quality gourmet products and fresh produce in a European-style market setting. There’s even a tennis club on the premises called the Vanderbilt Tennis Club which is open to the public from 6 A.M. to 1 A.M.
Grand Central Station is New York in a nutshell: vibrant, exciting and diverse. A full calendar of events means that there’s always something going on, so check it out next time you’re in the city!
TOP 7 KERALA TOURIST PLACES YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO MISS
If you want to experience and explore the beauty of nature, then you can’t afford to miss touring the regions of Kerala. There are many unimaginable and unbelievable tourist destinations in Kerala that will leave you wondering that you still have to learn more about the magic of nature.
Kerala is one of the notable states in India. It makes up about 600km of the shorelines of the Arabian Sea. Being near the sea, it has one of the most classic scenes of nature. The shorelines in the region are famous for connecting canals, rivers, streams, and lined-up palm beaches. Bordering the state are fascinating mountains, guttered by beautiful slopes, plantations and wildlife reserves.
Because of the natural composition of its regions, the state developed and made Kerala, one of the leading tourist hubs in India. When you tour and visit Kerala, you’ll get stunned by the beauty of nature and incredible scenic environments. To get you started on Kerala Tourism, the following are top-rated tourist places to keep in mind:
1. Kochi—Port City.
Kochi is a remarkable tourist destination in Kerala. It forms part of Ernakulam District. Local and international travelers refer it as the port city of Kerala, found at the West Indian coastal shorelines of the Arabian Sea. Many people celebrate Kochi because it is the best tourist attraction in Kerala and the sixth in India. The collection of attractions that catches the eyes of many include Jain Temple, Kochi Marine Drive, and Kochi Harbour Jain Temple. The city also serves as the destination for popular chemical industries and other ports in India.
2. Kannur—Drive-In Beach.
Kannur forms part of a Kannur District, found on the north of Kerala. The city is clean, beautiful and famous for its breathtaking beaches. Some popular beaches present in the city include Meenkunnu, Payyamballam, Muzhappilangad and Ezhara. Muzhappilangad ranks as Asia’s only drive-in-beach and has exquisite scenery and remarkable features.
If you are looking to visit one of the ancient seaports in India, then Kollam should come to mind. It is a seaport city on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake. Cashew processing and coir manufacturing are the main industrials activities carried out there. It has Ashtamudi Lake, which contains the backwater tourist destinations of Kerala, Cashew Capital manufacturing centre and Kollam, which ranks as the best seaport in India.
4. Thekkady—National Park.
Thekkady is a famous tourist destination in Kerala. It has a beautiful national park, a wonderful wildlife reserve in India. You can find the national park in Periyar. That is why they named the park after the city, “Periyar National Park”. The park serves as the home for the Bengal tigers, Indian elephants and Indian bison. In the national park are the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Periyar River. The river is an artificial lake that supplies water to quench the thirst of the animals in the national park.
5. Alleppey—lagoons, backwaters and beaches.
Are you looking to tour some of the best beaches, backwaters and lagoons in Kerala? Then find your way and travel to Alleppey, in Alappuzha district, the coast of the Arabian Sea. When you tour this region, you get to experience the best of natural water tourism. There are boat services that take you on a tour over the water.
6. Wayanad—mountains, rivers and waterfalls.
It is always exciting to tour a waterfall. You’re full of awe and amazement as you see the waters flowing through the peaks of the mountains to the valleys. That is what exactly what you experience when you visit Wayanad District of Kerala. This region has a collection of natural tourist attractions of lakes, rivers, mountains and waterfalls. The most popular waterfall in the area is Meenmutty Falls. It lives in Kalpetta, having a three-tier fall at a height of 300 meters.
7. Kozhikode—luxurious temples and mosques.
Religion is one of the things buried at the heart of India. So, when you get to any of the cities, you will hardly find a place without mosques. While most of the temples and mosques take the normal form, Kozhikode city is different. You can find some of the most luxurious temples, mosques and art collections in the entire world at Kozhikode, which is also called Calicut. Apart from the religious tourism, there is also the famous British East India Company, Thussharagiri Falls, Vasco da Gama lands, seaport and Kuttiyadi Dam.
Kerala features great tourist attractions of Indian. It is a great place to rest, relax and meditate. In each city, you will find an interesting tourist attraction that will fill your needs. Every year, Kerala tourist places attract hundreds of thousands of people, making the various regions as a tourist hub in India. Apart from the named tourist places above, there are other breathtaking destinations of Kerala that you will see when you get there.
Tips For Diving In Australia As A Beginner
Being able to do diving during your spare time can be life-changing. There’s so much just waiting to discover in our oceans that it seems like a wasted opportunity to not explore it. Being above ground, we see the vast expanses of ocean, but many of us will never venture underneath to see the wonderful wildlife and nature that lives below. For anyone diving for the first time, the experience might seem a little daunting, however, once you know the basics, it gets easier. Here are some tips for diving in Australia as a beginner.
Research is important, as it is when it comes to anything that’s new for you. It’s important to get an idea of what is expected of you as a first-time diver, the places that are available to dive and the dangers that come with it. For many, diving is something that is based on how healthy you are and how you perform underwater. If you’re afraid of vast open spaces, then perhaps diving in the deep end isn’t something you’d enjoy and so you’re probably going to prefer the shallow end. Think about what might pose as a health risk for you as an individual and whether it’s something that could endanger you or can be looked past if managed in the correct manner. Consider all these factors and do plenty of research before you start looking for companies or services that offer the diving experience.
A good location is essential for diving, and although you shouldn’t really be doing anything too daunting for your first time as a diver, there are still plenty of places that are iconic for their beautiful nature and wildlife underneath. When researching good locations, it might be worth starting off with HMAS Brisbane. They offer diving activities in a diving site called HMAS Brisbane, which is a sunken wreck. This unique type of diving experience is one that will definitely quench your thirst for diving, and you’ll soon find yourself wanting to explore other diving areas, whether that’s in Australia or throughout the rest of the world.
When learning to dive for the first time, it is essential that you listen to the instructor and to not allow yourself to be distracted. Just like you would when doing a skydive or an extreme sport that requires you to learn the basics first, it’s important to pay attention. Otherwise, you might be putting yourself at risk and the risk of other people’s lives who are there to look after you. When it comes to diving, you are going to be underwater, and in some situations, it might be a place that’s significantly deep. Getting into air trouble, you want to know the relevant signals or procedures that the instructor has put in place for you. These rules and instructions are put in place to protect you, so take them seriously.
Diving isn’t as simple as the more basic of things that you learn in life, and so it’s good to ease yourself into it, rather than throwing yourself into the deep end (pun intended). It’s the pressure that you don’t want to put yourself under unless you feel confident enough to face that type of dive. Start in shallow waters first before venturing into the deeper parts of a dive site. Always proceed with caution and if you have any reservations about doing it, speak to your instructor. Panicking in these types of situations isn’t helpful for anyone, and you want to go into the dive feeling confident and knowing that this isn’t something that is going to feel out of your comfort zone.
When you’re skilled enough in diving, it might be worth getting some of your own basic diving equipment. This can provide for more opportunities to go diving alone or with family, but it’s something that you shouldn’t be doing until you’re more experienced. Having your own equipment can encourage you to do more of it, even if it’s as basic as a snorkel and goggles. It can be nice to have your own when it comes to diving and doing more of it.
Diving in Australia and beyond is something everyone should give a go, and it’s possible to pick up the skills quite quickly by using these tips. You’ll start off as a beginner, but you’ll soon find you become comfortable in the water after you get the help needed.
5 Spanish Beach Holiday Destinations Off The Beaten Track
Spanish package holidays have been a firm favourite of Europeans for more than 50 years, with many going to tried-and-tested destinations such as the Costa del Sol and Costa Brava. But what if you’re looking for a Spanish beach holiday somewhere new? Well, Spain has plenty of fantastic beach resorts you’ve probably never heard of, so we’ve unveiled five of the best destinations off the beaten track for you to consider.
The beach resorts in the far south of the country may be less well-known than those on the Mediterranean side of Spain, but they boast many more untouched beaches, including the spectacular Zahara de los Atunes beach, which stretches for five miles from the picturesque fishing village of the same name. The beach is popular for its water sports and makes an excellent family-friendly destination for those looking for all the trappings of a beach holiday but without the crowds. There are no high-rise hotels, giving the area a more intimate, friendly feel.
The Cíes Islands, Galicia
The little-known Cíes Islands in the north-west coast of Spain is a real find. With white-sand beaches that glisten in the sunshine thanks to tiny particles of quartz and waters of the clearest blue, it’s no wonder these islands are known as the ‘Galician Seychelles’. The 1,200m long Playa de Rodas, with its natural lagoon, sugar-like sand and turquoise waters, is beautiful. It doesn’t get much more off the beaten track than the beaches of the The Cíes Islands, accessible only by ferry, and with no hotels and only campsites available, you can live like Robinson Crusoe, if only for a few days.
Es Pujols, Formentera
On the tiny Balearic island of Formentera is the resort of Es Pujols. The one resort on the island, it provides a slower pace of life for those uninterested in the sights and sounds of its boisterous neighbour Ibiza. During the day, visitors can chill out on one of two white-sand beaches, while in the evening raise the tempo at one of the resort’s trendy nightspots. Es Pujols may be small, but it has everything a holidaymaker could want, from sunbathing and water sports to great restaurants and nightlife.
Hidden away in the province of Alicante is the small whitewashed town of Altea. It’s just a 20-minute drive from glitzy Benidorm but couldn’t be more different. Here you can experience traditional Spain in all its glory as you wander along the cobbled streets of the old town before stopping off at one of the many traditional tapas bars for a bite to eat. Visit the exquisitely decorated Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Consuelo church before finishing your day soaking up the sun at one of the many beaches dotted around the Altea area.
Punta Umbria, Huelva
For unspoiled coastline head to Punta Umbria in the Spanish province of Huelva. There you’ll find a number of spectacular beaches, including the urbanised beach of Playa de Punta Umbria, which offers plenty of peace and quiet and escape from the crowds while still providing plenty of amenities to keep you and the family fed and watered. Be sure to take time out to visit the Paraje Natural de las Marismas del Odiel, a protected area of wetland where you can take long walks and enjoy the sights of spoonbills, loons, cormorants and flamingos.
Now that you know about these off the beaten track destinations, why not try something a little bit different for your next beach holiday to Spain?
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
New on Four Jandals
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