Beyond the Moon: A Chat with Astronaut Buzz Aldrin

Published July 2009 on PopSci.com

It’s been 40 years since Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landed the Apollo 11 lunar module in the Sea of Tranquility. Aldrin, now 79 years old, recalls that fateful day with clarity. Alarms were sounding inside the space capsule during their speedy descent, and even down to the last seconds, the astronauts were uncertain whether they would need to abort the landing. Millions of Earthlings watched on television as the Eagle touched down…

So You Want to Be Indiana Jones?

Published July 2011 on Concierge.com

Finding a truly legendary destination that hasn’t been spoiled by tourist kiosks and souvenir hawkers can feel like a search for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. But have no fear, intrepid explorers—it’s still possible to hack your own jungle path with a backpack full of maps to discover a lost civilization (and if you’re lucky, a hoard of gold). We’ve scoured the globe for mysterious places that instill a sense of otherworldly wonder, where you can explore at will without feeling like you’re trapped in a theme park. So hold onto your hats, Indiana Jones wannabes, because the journey has just begun…

10 Most Visited Cities in the World

Published September 2012 on Budget Travel

Where do Americans travel most outside the states? That was the question asked when compiling Budget Travel’s Top 10 Most Visited Cities by U.S. Travelers. Paris? Definitely, no doubt. Florence? Maybe… what about Bermuda? Thanks to the travel experts at Expedia and their analysis of U.S. hotel bookings and flights abroad, we now know the answers. And to go along with our Top 10 Most Visited list, we’ve created a mini-guide for each city with the three must-see, must-do attractions for both new arrivals and return visitors. Can you guess all 10 top cities? Some of the answers may surprise you…

Invisible Passengers: Where Germs Breed on Planes

Published December 2010 on Budget Travel

Holiday travelers are filling up flights, and flu season is in full swing, so it’s more important than ever to protect yourself against illness. We dug deep to identify the major germ zones on planes (and tips to avoid them). No, you’re not likely to contract meningitis, but better safe than sorry, right?…

New Green Wave of Eco Hotels

Published August 2010 on AOL Travel

Imagine a hotel that breathes, that generates power and cools itself using the wind, that absorbs the sunlight for energy like a plant, that collects and recycles rainwater from underground pools, and is covered with a landscaped roof sloping out from the hillside. Welcome to the new world of eco hotel design, where sustainability and green innovation are the current buzzwords. As architects experiment with new technologies and materials that will provide for a greener future, so, too, is a renewed eco-consciousness spurring enterprising hoteliers to build lodgings that are not only energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, but inspired by and adaptable to their natural habitats…

Seven String Samurai: Interview with Jazz Guitarist Charlie Hunter

Published in All About Jazz

Jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter is not a musician who’s comfortable resting on his laurels. With nearly twenty albums under his belt and no sign of stopping in sight, Hunter continues to wow audiences with the wizardry of his seven-string guitar technique, by which he lays down bass grooves and simultaneously wings guitar solos along the frets with flawless finesse. This has earned him a reputation as an intrepid musician and an incredible showman who draws packed crowds into jazz clubs across the U.S. and overseas to see his magic at work. But the razzle dazzle of his unique virtuosity is second fiddle to the music itself. His albums have run the gamut from blues to bebop, free jazz to funk fusion, with Hunter constantly experimenting with new sounds and rhythmic arcs, all the while perfecting that pocket counterpoint between the guitar and bass…

To Go or Not to Go? Controversial Destinations

Published June 2010 on AOL Travel

There’s always a dilemma about traveling to an endangered destination. Whether it’s the threat of global climate change, commercial enterprise or sightseer wear and tear, your conscience might stop you from buying your ticket. But for those who decide to fulfill their dream of experiencing a natural wonder like the Antarctic or the remnants of an ancient civilization like Angkor Wat, there are ways to ensure a visit will inject some much-needed cash into the local economy, as well as being low-impact…

How Airlines Are Ruining Their Own Image

Published June 2010 on AOL Travel

The airline industry’s reputation has taken enough of a hit these days: from bankruptcies to bomb scares, runway troubles to flight disruptions from volcanic ash. They should be working overtime to restore their images. But some airline ad campaigns are the public relations equivalent of a crash landing. We’ve singled out the best of the worst airline ads—some in bad taste, some a matter of poor placement, some lost in translation, and others a simple case of comedy gone terribly wrong…

Insider Travel Guide to St. Lucia

Published March 2012 on Concierge.com

Like other honeymoon destinations, the default mode on St. Lucia is “liming” (relaxing). While it’s tempting to spend all your time squirreled away in your resort sipping a rum cocktail, enjoying the turquoise view, and working on your tan, there are endless spoils for those prepared to explore the island. Those Piton mountains were meant to be climbed. Up north, the Castries market is a lively experience, while down south in the former French port of Soufrière you’ll get a taste of Caribbean–Creole culture. Want a real down-to-earth spa treatment? Try mud-bathing in the steamy Sulfur Springs that were once in the interior’s largest volcano. Or you can immerse yourself in St. Lucia colonial history by hiking up the hills of Pigeon Island to explore the ruins of an 18th-century British naval fort…

Bedford-Stuyvesant – Neighborhood Review

brooklyn-bed-stuy_a_450_2013430

Published June 2013 on NewYork.com

Bedford-Stuyvesant (often shortened to Bed-Stuy, pronounced “beds-tie”) is one of Brooklyn’s largest neighborhoods. It’s so big, in fact, that the A and C trains make six stops along its southern edge and the J train makes six stops on its northern border. Classon Avenue separates it from Clinton Hill to the west. To the north, Flushing Avenue and Broadway divide it from Williamsburg and Bushwick. Atlantic Avenue is the southern border, across which is Crown Heights.

The Dutch originally settled the area in the 17th century, but developments starting around the turn of the 20th century shaped its identity. A flurry of construction in the late 19th century established its distinctive brownstone blocks and solidified it as a bedroom community for families looking to escape Manhattan’s crowds. In the 1930s, African-Americans flocked to the area and it eventually earned the nickname of “Brooklyn’s Harlem.” (Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey Boulevards are major thoroughfares in the neighborhood.) In the 1960s, racial tension erupted into riots. For decades, absentee landlords, drugs and crime plagued the neighborhood. Slowly, but surely, Bed-Stuy has been experiencing a rebirth.