New York: Best place to see July 4 fireworks

July 4th fireworks over One World Trade Center, the replacement for the original World Trade Center decimated in the 9/11 attacks.


This is the view from a roof in Brooklyn Heights, just across the East River. An ideal place for an ideal evening.

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Eats: The best cupcakes in the world

It’s been a worldwide quest: trying to find the cupcakes of my youth.

My search for this Holy Grail (see here, where it first started) has taken me from New York’s Lower East Side to the Upper West Side. From Seattle to Ho Chi Minh City. I always scope out a cupcake store wherever I go.

Like so much else in life, many look luscious, but they betray my tastebuds. Dry to the point of sawdust, with frosting that’s waxy or sickeningly sweet.

I went back to a strong contender the other day, just to make sure it was still The One. It is, because nothing else that I know of comes close.


The winner, which is still anemic next to the original, is … New York’s Magnolia Bakery. (One bang on the drum; it’s not worth a drumroll.)

Calm down. I know it’s a touristy cliche, often with lines around the block because of its role in Sex and The City, Saturday Night Live and The Devil Wears Prada. But the yellow cake with chocolate frosting (my standard) is pretty satisfying.

magnolia park2

There are lots of locations, but I like the original on Bleecker Street in the West Village. Nothing like it on a nice summer afternoon, where you can savor your purchase at a nearby park with some of the luckiest pigeons on the planet.

If you know of better, I’d sure like to hear about it! My research is never done.

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New York: A new appreciation for the Brooklyn Bridge

Walking across NYC’s Brooklyn Bridge has been my favorite mode of transportation for a very long time.

Here’s why I love it so much.

Only bad thing about doing that when you’re in a hurry is that you don’t have time to really stop and take a look.

Recently, I had that rare opportunity. Seeing it through the lens of a real camera (not my iPhone this time), I was even more awestruck.

brooklyn bridge1

Manhattan BridgeAlso got the Manhattan Bridge and the Empire State Building in the bargain.

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Why I love New York: Reason Number 6,432

New York. It’s all about …

meatball obsession

new york cake

The Nosh.

new york drama

The Drama.

new york humanityThe Tidal Wave of Humanity.

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Rendezvous with mysterious guy on NYC trip

Can’t wait to meet this guy! We have a date to rendezvous at a NYC apartment when I’m there for my next photography class. The details:

The apartment has a Neato (he is a smart house cleaning robot) on duty. If you would like to have Neato clean your room, leave your door widely open … Please put your suitcase and shoes to the wall and don’t leave any shopping bags on the floor. Otherwise, Neato may get trapped!

He might be great in a demo, but I’ll make sure I stick around and see how he does in real life.

If he aces that,  I now know how to kidnap him and spirit him home … It’s curtains for him!
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NYC: Neiman-Marcus, and such a deal!

So I pack light to stay over in New York for a photography course I’m taking. It’s June and schvitzy in Pennsylvania. A little overcast, but I still figure I don’t need an umbrella.

When I emerge from the train station in Manhattan, the weather is more late fall than late spring. Plus it’s drizzling.

By the time I’m done with class, I look like I’ve just gotten out of the shower. Manage to get my mitts on  the last umbrella at the closest drugstore.

Still frozen the next day. So where to find a hoodie among all the bikinis and sunglasses?

neiman marcus

Ta-Da. There it was. Neiman Marcus Last Call. Whatever that meant.

I was told it wasn’t an outlet; it was the floor between the bargain basement and the retail store. Not exactly true.

The prices were still Needless Markup. But not quite as marked up as the real store. I was desperate.

neiman marcus me

So my new hoodie is toasty, and it’s got a real Neiman-Marcus label inside. What more could a gal ask for on a crummy autumn day in June?

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Why you should visit a part of France you’ve never heard of

Thinking about going to France this summer? Or hiking the Appalachian trail? How about both?

It’s possible in a real piece of France you’ve probably never heard of. And if you live in North America, you don’t need to cross an ocean. It’s closer to the Empire State Building than the Eiffel Tower.

The latest from Planet Lippstone in The Huffington Post.


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