NY State of Mind

With warmer weather approaching (keeping fingers crossed), it’s the perfect time to plan a quick weekend trip. New York City is a great place to go to start curing that cabin fever. See the list below for just a few of my favorites out of the endless reasons to visit the Big Apple.

1.  SITE SEEING

I’m somewhat obsessed with the sites in NY.  In my opinion, here are a few must-sees:

  • The Empire State Building.  My personal favorite to view because it looks gorgeous all lit up.  They even change the colors to reflect current events and put on light shows for special occasions like New Years Eve. You can also buy tickets to go inside to the observatory or top deck for great views of the city.

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  • 9/11 Memorial and the Freedom Tower.  The 9/11 Memorial is a beautiful tribute to remember and honor the victims.  The Freedom Tower, at 1776 ft. tall, symbolizes the year the Declaration of  Independence was signed and is an undeniable symbol of resilience.

memorial (photo credit: 911memorial.org)

  • Central Park.  You can enjoy street performers, artists, sculptures, and the Strawberry Fields memorial to John Lennon.  Or you could run into celebrities trying to find some peace too.  (I was a foot away from the Biebs and Usher while they were skateboarding there last spring- before twitter got word of it!)

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  • Little Italy.  If you’re familiar with the feasts every summer weekend in Boston’s North End, try going in September to catch the San Gennaro feast which lasts a couple weeks.  The pic below is from one of my favorite booths at the feast this past fall.  Viva!

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  • The East Village and Lower East Side (LES).  Hookah lounges, bars, restaurants, and very unique shops.  There is also amazing street art.  The picture below is Lady Liberty located near where Little Italy, Chinatown, and the LES meet.

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  • Times Square.  The center of the universe and what some might consider people-watching heaven.  Shop, watch live tv broadcasts, and view all of the lights if you can manage the crowd.  Now a lot of taxis have backseat sunroofs, so if you’re lucky enough to get in one of those you can enjoy from the comfort of the car.

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  • Rockefeller Center.  I’d loveee to see The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon if I could ever be lucky enough to get tickets. (I try every month but they sell out in seconds!)  Even without Fallon Tonight tix, there’s still so much to see on the tour of this area, including the Top of the Rock and Radio City Music Hall.  My pictures below are from the holiday season this past year and right before the tree lighting the prior year.

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2.  AMAZING FOOD.  24/7 for a lot of places too.  Here are just a few recommendations:

  • Jaiya. Thai.  Try the Tom Yum Soup medium spicy.  If you want to feel the burn, try it hot.  You might regret it though.

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  • Uva.  Italian.  My favorite thing off the menu is the truffle oil and cheese flatbread. And wine of course.

uva (photo credit: uvanyc.com)

  • Madangsui. Korean BBQ.  Watch the video and you’ll understand.
  • Maya. Modern Mexican.  I love the crab and shrimp enchiladas and carne asada.  And the pepino margarita will knock you out in a good way.

maya

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  • The Halal Guys.  Trust me, the chicken and rice plate is well worth the mile-long line you’ll wait in.

halal (photo credit:The Halal Guys Facebook)

3.  SHOPPING & ENTERTAINMENT

  • Broadway.  The Lion King is unreal!  I saw it on broadway when I was in middle school and it’s still my favorite, and still going strong almost 18 years after opening.

lionking (photo credit: lionking.com)

  • Party Brunch.  Emphasis on party since it’s easy to feel like you’re at the Rio Carnival with these.  Lavo and Il Bastardo had me back home and in bed sleeping by 8 pm.

lavo (photo credit: lavony.com)

  • Meatpacking District- If you’re into the club scene you’ll find them here.  Or visit The High Line.

highline (photo credit: thehighline.org)

  • Soho.  Synonymous with shopping, as you can see by the map of stores below.

soho (Photo credit: NY Shopping Information)

  • Museums.  Too many to name, but definitely something for everyone. The picture below is from the Jeff Koons exhibit that was on display at the Whitney Museum this past Fall.

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4. TRANSPORTATION TIME AND OPTIONS

travel (photo credit: dreamstime.com)

You can get there by:

  • Plane.  Some airlines offers flight deals from Boston to Newark, JFK, or Laguardia starting at around $50 each way if you book in advance.  It takes less than an hour from gate to gate!
  • Train. Take Amtrak from South Station to Penn Station starting at around $70 each way for a 4 hour ride.  You can take the Acela to get there in 3 1/2 (but it is usually twice as expensive).
  • Bus.  There are various different bus services that leave from Boston’s South Station or Back Bay that’ll get you to the middle of Manhattan in about 4 1/2 hours.  These include Bolt, Peter Pan, and Greyhound.  Prices range from $15-$40 each way depending on when you travel.  Bonus: they have wi-fi.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy those Netflix shows that Monica suggested in our previous post.
  • Car.  It’s a 3 1/2 to 4 hour ride.  The best part is that there is no such thing as “Resident Parking Only” there.  That means you can find a spot on the street in many areas in the city and stay there all weekend without getting these!

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What are your favorite things to do in NYC?  Share your suggestions with us @yoprobtg using hashtag #yoprobtg, or comment here!

(Tweet blogger @alittizz)

Photo credit for featured image on cover: Rockefellercenter.com

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Ready for a New (Old) Show? Netflix Classics

Anyone else feeling a little #MarchSadness? If your bracket is busted and you’ve had your fill of college basketball, now is the perfect time to start a new show on Netflix!

Check out this list from Complex on the 50 Best TV Shows Streaming on Netflix Right Now.

Here are a few of the bloggers at Yo Pro Beyond the Grind’s favorite Netflix classics:

Monica: 30 Rock, Seasons 1-7

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Kristina & Anna: Breaking Bad, Seasons 1-5 (Season 6 coming soon!)

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Steve: Friday Night Lights, Seasons 1-5

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What are your favorite Netflix classics? Tweet us and let us know @YoProBTG!

Tweet blogger @MonicaDeGiorgio

March Madness Continues Tomorrow 3/26!

Round of 32 featured some significant upsets with a number of theorized legitimate contenders falling.

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I have to say, Saturday night was disappointing.  I really thought this was the year that #1 seed Villanova could make a run into the final four or beyond.  If you watched this game like I did, you know it was painful for Wildcat fans.  Nova went 21-23 from the charity stripe, which might have been one of the only things they did well other than Senior Darrun Hilliard’s valiant effort to put the team on his back with 27 points and three big three pointers in the waning minutes of the game.  Excluding Hilliard, Nova’s starters combined to shoot only 22% (7-32) from the floor which is down right dismal.  Ennis launched a three ball from the top of the key in the closing minute of the game with a chance to take the lead….clank….NC State #8 seed man handled Nova in the paint…Ochefu looked legitimately intimidated and NC State hangs on for the big upset.  The Wolfpack will face off against Louisville on TBS at 7:37 pm on Friday…but at least a tear streaming Villanova piccolo player scored a gig with The Roots on Jimmy Fallon.

kansas logo vs. wich state logo

#7 seed Wichita State shocked (no pun intended) #2 seed Kansas.  The sharp shooting Shockers of Wichita State shot 49% from the floor and 50% (10-20) from three point land to upset the Kansas Jayhawks.  All five Wichita State starters scored double digits resulting in a well balanced attack, providing a birth to the Sweet Sixteen.  Wichita State takes on #3 seed Notre Dame at 7:15 pm on CBS tomorrow 3/26.  See ESPN preview.

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#7 seed Michigan State took care of business against #2 seed Virginia on Sunday as well.  Senior Guard Travis Trice led the way for the Spartans with 23 points, helping to earn the squad a chance to advance to the Elite 8 if they can pull off a win against #3 seed Oklahoma on Friday.  Tip off is at 10:07 PM on TBS…following Louisville vs. NC State.

Tweet blogger @UPenn2Bman

Let’s Talk About Wine

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Wine is great for relaxing after a hard day at work, catching up with friends & family, date night, etc. Who doesn’t love having a glass of wine!

Did you know that there is a winery right here in Boston?  At Boston Winery you can make your own wine or if you’re really just into wine consumption you can stop by for a wine tasting on Fridays from 5-8pm or Saturdays from 1-6pm for $10 a person.

boston winery

Or now that spring is here plan to take a drive out of town and make a few stops along the CT Wine Trail!  The wine trail is made up of 25 wineries with a variety of wine styles and stunning scenery; no matter where you are in Connecticut there are one or more wineries opened for visitors within a 45 minute drive.

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One of my favorites is Gouveia Vineyards. Stop by to do a wine tasting for $10.00 or bring food, family, and friends to enjoy their picnic area or hang out in their Stone House with 360 degree panoramic views while you enjoy their wine.

gouveia

Want to spend the night in CT once you’ve made the drive, check out Steve’s post on visiting Mohegan Sun!

What’s your favorite type of wine?

Tweet at blogger @KristinaDiGirol

Image Credit: CT Wine Trail , Funny Online Pictures, Boston WineryGouveia Image Gallery

Why March Madness is Awesome…Even If You Don’t Care About College Basketball

Think you need to be an expert on college basketball to get into March Madness? Think again! Here are 5 reasons to love March Madness…even if you don’t care about college basketball:

1. Chance to be overly competitive with your office, friends, significant other, parents, etc…and the bragging rights that ensue.

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2. An excuse to go out with friends every night for about 3 weeks to eat nachos and more delicious apps and drinks.

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3. Everybody loves a good Cinderella story. Route against the higher seed and when the underdog team wins…act like you believed in them all along.

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4. Route for your alma mater. Nothing wrong with routing for yourself, right Mr. Kardashian West?

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5. And if you get lucky, you could win some money off of your bracket!

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Tweet us at @yoproblog and tell us why you love March Madness!

(Tweet at blogger @MonicaDeGiorgio)

Image cred: @someecards

March Madness Under Way: Diaper Dandies, Super Seniors and Pure on the Court Mayhem

The first Thursday and Friday of March Madness are always two of the most exciting days of college basketball as the round of 64 gets underway with many dominant teams looking to get off to a good start while the cinderella hopefuls try to conjure up some magic.

Normally, one #12 seed always upsets a #5 seed, but this year the #14 vs. #3 match-ups have drawn all the early attention:

northeastern logo vs. notre dame logo

#14 seed Northeastern fell to #3 Notre Dame who just came off an ACC tournament championship.  Northeastern was formidable on the boards and dominated the paint early on, getting Notre Dame off balance and out of sync.  Notre Dame stepped up to the plate in the second half.  Their 60+% field goal percentage in the second half and forced turnovers were just too much for the Huskies to overcome.  Listened to this one on the radio and it was riveting…can only imagine how good it was on live TV!  Check out the ESPN recap.

UAB logo vs. iowa state logo

#14 seed UAB upset Big 12 Tournament Champion Iowa State in an absolute nail biter that came down to the wire.  Junior Guard Robert Brown led UAB in scoring with 21 points but the big story was Diaper Dandy (Freshman) Guard William Lee with 14 points and 12 rebounds.  Click here for the ESPN recap.

gastate logo vs. baylor logo

#14 seed Georgia State came away with a shocker as well, defeating #3 Baylor 57-56.  ESPN recap.

Your @YoProBTG bloggers are pulling for the following teams:

@UPenn2Bman – Villanova Wildcats; @MonicaDeGiorgio – Providence Friars

Unfortunately, @alittizz and @KristinaDiGirol both follow UConn, who was left out of this year’s big dance.  Who do you follow?  Comment below.

Tips to make it through the workday with a hangover

We’ve all been there, you decide to stay out for “one more drink” or someone orders a round of fireball shots and then the next day at work is a serious struggle.  With St. Patrick’s day this week we thought we’d share some tips from Daily Worth on how to get through the workday with a hangover!

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How do you make it through the workday with a hangover?  Comment below or tweet @YoProBTG using #yoprobtg!

image credit:  Someecards &  Quickmeme.com

Because everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, here are a few ways to celebrate in Boston this weekend!

Boston is consistently ranked as one of the best cities to celebrate St. Patrick’s day and with good reason – The city is known for its long-standing Irish heritage, the energy in the city around the holiday is amazing, and the list of things to do is endless!  Here are a few suggestions if you are looking to celebrate around Boston;

  1. Check out Boston’s own Irish-punk group, the Dropkick Murphys!  They will be playing a series of 6 p.m. shows on March 13, 14 and 15 and a noon show on Saturday, March 14 at the House of Blues. There are still tickets on Stubhub but if you can’t get into the show you can listen to their Spotify St. Patrick’s Day Takeover Playlist!
  2. Try a St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl – the city is a ton of fun on St. Paddy’s day but lines can be long and drinks can be expensive.  Sign up for a pub crawl for easy access to explore some of the best bars.  One option is the Boston Leprecrawl on Saturday which kicks off at noon from The Wild Rover, and spreads to some of Faneuil Hall’s best bars.  With a ticket you won’t have to pay cover or wait in line anywhere, and your ticket includes a free raffle ticket!
  3. Stop by Lansdowne Pub, they have dedicated a full week to St. Patrick’s day full of live performances and authentic Irish food and beer.  Festivities begin the 13th and last through the 17th, you can see the schedule on their facebook page.
  4. Visit the 3rd annual Radio BDC Irish Breakfast, presented by Guinness at the Black Rose on St. Patrick’s Day!  Doors open at 8 a.m. and the first 100 people through the door get a custom engraved Guinness pint glass and an Irish breakfast sandwich. There also will be Irish tunes and giveaways all morning.
  5. Head to Southie for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!  The Parade is listed as the 2nd largest parade in the country, being viewed by nearly 600,000 to one million people every year!  The parade starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 15, 2015 beginning at the MBTA station on West Broadway and ending in Andrew Square. Getting to Southie can be difficult on parade day so plan head over early!  The Boston Globe came up with a few suggestions where to eat on parade day, see their Restaurant Tour Along the Parade Route.

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(Joining in on the Southie Parade a couple years ago!  What are the chances we will be out in t-shirts this weekend?!)

Still need ideas check out this list of 30 Boston Area Irish Pubs

How will you celebrate St. Patrick’s day this weekend?  Comment below or tweet @yoprobtg using #yoprobtg

(Tweet at blogger @KristinaDiGirol)

Get your game on at Mohegan Sun

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Kicking around during spring break without the cool travel plans that you keep hearing about from all your classmates and colleagues?  Head south to Mohegan Sun.  Great place to kick it with friends…from gaming, to concerts, clubs, dining…the possibilities are endless.  Mohegan offers many diverse special packages.  Great way to get more bang for your buck, especially outside of peak times.  For example, book a one night stay at Mohegan’s luxurious hotel and get a $100 credit to Elemis spa.  Or celebrate your 21st birthday at Mohegan.  Fellas, we are thawing out in New England, give it a couple of months and it’s prime time for golf.  Spent my bachelor party at Mohegan after a great round at Shennecossett Golf Club, incredible water views at an affordable price and only 20 minutes from Mohegan.

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photos courtesy of newsroom.mohegansun.com and theaposition.com

Tweet blogger @UPenn2Bman

Who wants to chill?

In honor of Spring Break week, we’re talking drinks and chilling!  We have a quick tip for you vino lovers to keep your wine chilled- use frozen grapes.

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They won’t water down your wine or change the taste too much, and you won’t have to wait a half hour for it to chill like you would if you put it in the fridge.  Plus, they’re delicious to eat afterwards.  (The frozen consistency reminds me of Italian ice or sorbet.)

(Tweet blogger @alittizz)

(Photo credit: http://www.improvisedlife.com/2011/08/29/dept-of-chill-wine-friendly-grape-ice-cubes/)