Remembrance of Travel Past: Inn on Randolph

My friend who owns the gorgeous and super LGBTQ-friendly Inn on Randolph in California touched base with me. With stay-at-home orders still in place and most people unwilling or unable to travel, business has been very severely affected — as in many very worthy venues. The all-woman-run Inn on Randolph is just fabulous, with a relaxed yet luxurious feeling, super comfortable rooms, DELICIOUS food and of course fantastic wines from nearby Napa, Sonoma and beyond.

The Inn on Randolph in Napa is gay friendly. Can't wait to visit when it's open again1
Some of the happy guests at the Inn on Randolph

I wanted to include the piece I published in ManAboutWorld Gay Travel Magazine here as a reminder of an unforgettable visit with a group of LGBTQ leaders and travelers a few years ago and a hope to visit again soon!

Here’s the gorgeous garden where they’ve conducted same-sex wedding ceremonies.

We love the LGBTQ-welcoming Inn on Randolph, an incredibly hospitable 10-unit bed and breakfast. It’s located on a leafy residential street a pleasant, brief walk from downtown Napa, California. The (all-woman) staff is cheery, super accommodating and knowledgeable about the innumerable options worth considering in the area. Don’t miss the gourmet breakfast, and be sure to return later in the day for their delicious cookies. Accommodations include bathrooms with heated, hardwood floors (much of which is original to the 19th-century mansion), pillow-top beds, wine refrigerators with bottles for purchase, televisions, bath robes and slippers. We stayed in the main house which gives you instant access to those cookies, but the five separate cottages provide more privacy.

Our group enjoyed numerous bubbly toasts!
Here’s the shady, comfortable back deck of the Inn on Randolph

New York City Love Letters — Birthday Edition: Beauty That Caught My Eye

Today’s socially distant exercise bike ride — birthday edition! A bit grey and cold and yes there were a few snowflakes BUT the sun popped out along with my iPhone and I snapped a few pix. At the end I included a few from a previous walk in a nearby park. A little green to brighten up this surprisingly cool spring. 🚴‍♂️

Detail of sculptures at Hearst Building at Columbus Circle.

“There is no finer example of “old meets new” in the world of New York City architecture than the Hearst Building on Eighth Avenue and 57th Street. In 1926, William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper publisher who was the model for “Citizen Kane” commissioned Joseph Urban to design a new Manhattan headquarters for his growing media empire. Urban, best known for his set designs for the Ziegfeld Follies, approached the project as if it were an elaborate theatrical extravaganza. A six-story cast-concrete base adorned with giant fluted columns and 8 allegorical statues representing Comedy, Tragedy, Music, Art, Industry, Sport, The Sciences and Printing was completed in 1929. The plan was to add a soaring tower on top of the base, but the Depression intervened, and the additional floors were never added.”
Built in 1884 … The Dakota, also known as the Dakota Apartments, is a cooperative apartment building located on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in the Upper West Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, United States. Its construction was completed in 1884. The Dakota was the home of John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, from 1973 until his murder in the archway of the building in 1980. 
Maine Monument honors the 260 American sailors of the USS Maine, which sank in Havana, Cuba in 1898. Atop the monument is a gilded bronze sculpture of Columbia Triumphant in a seashell chariot led by three hippocampi (half horse, half seahorse); it is said to be cast from the guns of the ill-fated ship. The sculptures at the base depict allegorical figures of the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Courage, Fortitude, War, Justice, and Peace.
I love this giant sign paying homage to nurses.
Close up of plants in the park.
Central Park
The Century is an apartment building located at Central Park West and 63rd Street in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City. It was constructed in 1931 at a cost of $6.5 million and designed by the firm of Irwin S. Chanin. The Century is designed in the Art Deco style, unlike many of its neighbors, which are designed in the Beaux-Arts style.
Einstein mural by street artist Kobra in Chelsea, NYC.
A section of the Museum of Natural History, NYC
A walkway in the park.
This is from an earlier walk in my neighborhood park
Also my neighborhood park St. Nicholas Park
Plant in my neighborhood park
Beautiful old trees along Central Park West
Plant in St. Nicholas Park
Detail from the Maine monument (goes with the golden statue at the beginning of this series) at Central Park
Super tall at Columbus Circle
Super tall at Columbus Circle

New York City Love Letters: A Spin (Almost) All Around Manhattan

I had sincerely intended to simply hop on my bike and enjoy a nice long socially distant exercise bike ride … but I just can’t help myself. A historic building caught my eye; then a view of Brooklyn and before you know it, I snapped a few more photos. Sigh! Hope you enjoy these haphazard images. 🚴‍♂️

One image I think is symbolic of these rides is the near perfect trace of Manhattan as captured by my Strava (cycling tracking) app. (Check out the last photo.)

Beneath the Williamsburg Bridge, a suspension bridge in New York City across the East River connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan at Delancey Street with the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn at Broadway near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (Interstate 278). Completed in 1903, it was the longest suspension bridge span in the world until 1924.
This has the catchy name of Slip 5 Battery Maritime Building (BMB) — in New York, New York.
A view of Red Hook, Brooklyn from the southern tip of Manhattan — in New York, New York.
The bikeway beneath the colorful underside of FDR Drive. — in New York, New York.
A view north of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges — in New York, New York.
The Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton is located in the Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, a Roman Catholic parish church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York at 7 State Street, between Pearl and Water Streets in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City. — in New York, New York.
Love this contrast of the old and the new (the same church from the previous photo is peeking in at the lower right) — in New York, New York.
Who says nothing pretty came out of the 60s? 😉 1 New York Plaza is an office building in New York City’s Financial District, built in 1969 at the intersection of South and Whitehall Streets. It is the southernmost of all Manhattan skyscrapers. The building is 640 feet tall with 50 floors, and is the 100th tallest building in New York City. — in New York, New York.
The Williamsburg Bridge is a suspension bridge in New York City across the East River connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan at Delancey Street with the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn at Broadway near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (Interstate 278). Completed in 1903, it was the longest suspension bridge span in the world until 1924. — in New York, New York.
Abandoned building on East River
Cool view of the Empire State Building looking north and west from a bulge in the lower east side of Manhattan so that a portion of the East River is in the foreground.
These two residential buildings are conjoined via this glass walkway which includes a pool! “The dancing building.” (See comments below)
So beautiful. Headquarters of the United Nations Building. The United Nations is headquartered in New York City, in a complex designed by a board of architects led by Wallace Harrison, and built by the architectural firm Harrison & Abramovitz. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manh… See More
View west of the Chrysler Building through Tudor City, which is a Tudor City is an apartment complex located on the southern edge of Turtle Bay on the East Side of Manhattan in New York City, near Turtle Bay’s border with Murray Hill. It lies on a low cliff, which is east of Second Avenue between 40th and 43rd Streets and overlooks First Avenue. Construction commenced in 1926 making it the first residential skyscraper complex in the world. Tudor City was one of the first, largest, and most important examples of a planned middle-class residential community in New York City It is named for its Tudor Revival architecture.
This was the route of my bike journey (as traced by my Strava tracking App)

New York City Love Letters: Traipsing around Hamilton Heights & Sugar Hill (Harlem)

These attractive brownstones, statuary and flora captured my eye in my neighborhood on today’s socially distant walk 🚶

Statue of General Alexander S. Webb (1835–1911), second president of CCNY (1869–1903) — at The City College of New York.
Gorgeous little planter on Convent Ave. Her counterpart is the very last photo of this series. — in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan.
Brownstones — in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan.
Love this horse relief. There are two on the facade of this parking garage which is a former stable. — in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan.
A bouquet of tulips in St. Nicholas Park
Mount Zion Lutheran Church. I was disappointed to learn it’s only 75 years old. It looks 275 years old! LOL 
Compton-Goethals Hall City College New York at City College New York
Gorgeous flowers in St. Nicholas Park

New York City Love Letters: Photos from a Bike Ride around Randalls and Wards Island

Today’s socially distant exercise bike ride took me east through upper Harlem and across the Madison Avenue Bridge through Mott Haven in the Bronx and onto Randalls and Ward Islands, which I just learned are conjoined islands separated from most of Manhattan by the Harlem River, from Queens by the East River and Hell Gate, and from the Bronx by the Bronx Kill.

The entrance to Hell Gate Bikeway on Randalls and Wards Island

Despite these scary-sounding place names, it’s a gorgeous parkland offering myriad sporting activities. Well, normally they do. No baseball games these days! But plenty of socially distant cyclist, walkers and a few picnickers.

About to head out on my socially distant exercise bike ride touring Randalls and Wards Island
Entrance to Hell Gate Bikeway on Randalls and Wards Island
Cool underside to Hells Gate Parkway above the bikeway on Randalls and Wards Island
Tugboat steaming along the East River bordering Randalls and Wards Island
Park along the East River bordering Randalls and Wards Island
Heading home through the Port Morris section of the Bronx
Adorable buildings in Mott Haven, a charming neighborhood in the Bronx
A mural in Mott Haven, the Bronx
I LOVE Strivers Row, which is in my neighborhood in West Harlem
Looking west along 138th Street towards City College of New York

My First Quote as an NYU Professor on the Hospitality Job Prospects for 2020 Graduates (Skift)

I have my first quote from my work at NYU. It’s in this article in Skift, Hospitality School 2020 Graduates Confront an Evaporated Hotel Jobs Market.  I’ve been quoted a number of times in Skift regarding my work in the travel space in general so they know me there. I’m happy about the quote but my heart breaks for seniors graduating into this bleak environment. They’ll come out of it with amazing experience but it’s going to be a tough path ahead.

Excerpted from the Skift Piece by Cameron Sperance

Faculty members are bringing coronavirus into daily lessons to offer real-life crisis management training. Ed Salvato, a professor at NYU’s tourism and hospitality marketing graduate program, cancelled the business case study he originally planned this semester in favor of having students follow a brand and analyze their coronavirus recovery strategy.

Faculty at NYU’s graduate hospitality program have incorporate the coronavirus downturn into lessons.

“It’s not that I’m expecting students to come to class with a magic bullet for the industry, but I want to get their heads in that space,” Salvato said. “Ideally, they’re going to be at a job on a group still thinking of recovery into 2021.”

New York City Love Letters: Photos from Bike Rides Around A City in Perpetual Early Sunday Morning (1)

New York City has become the opposite of what it’s known for: quiet, empty and pretty much shut down. It feels like a perpetual Sunday morning especially in these gorgeous first weeks of spring. But there’s an undeniable beauty to this city which I’ve attempted to capture during my socially-distant exercise bike rides.

Of course too many people are dying and we are taking quarantining seriously to keep ourselves, loved ones and fellow New Yorkers safe. We have bottomless gratitude to those incredible first-responders, hospital staff, front-line workers, grocery store clerks, public transportation and others who risk their help to keep us all safe, healthy and fed.

Which ones do you recognize here? Comment below! I’ll publish more here as I get the time and inspiration.

"The Great Empty" — A Virtual Tour of Beautiful Spaces in the Coronavirus Era

Paris, March 18 from the NY TImes

New York is very quiet. As are Paris, London and other great cities

Most of us are stuck at home self isolating in this time of fear and uncertainty with a possibly deadly virus lurking everywhere we breathe and on every surface we touch. For those of us who travel for a living, it’s been not only a devastating blow to our incomes but a whack at the core of who we are as curious wanderers. But at least this article from the March 23 New York Times, The Great Empty allows us to view some of our favorite spots around the world like we rarely get to see them: quiet and still. They’re also waiting for us to come back. They’ll be patient. So we have to as well. We’ll get back there soon.

For now, enjoy this gorgeous photo journey. I’ve included one of their photos above and one of mine below during a recent (socially distant) bike ride around an empty Manhattan. The Statue of Liberty stands socially isolated with no visitors but she’s guarding us in this foggy time and will be there when New York welcomes visitors again. And that’s me on my bike riding along a very empty Fifth Avenue.

What’s your next trip?

How are you coping with this forced home isolation? And what’s the first trip you’ll take when this is over? I’m planning on heading to Paris! (Comment below!)

The fog-shrouded Statue of Liberty will be there when visitors return
Me on my socially distant bike ride on an eerily empty Fifth Ave

Disinfecting your space on an airplane (reposted from the NYT)

If you have to fly in this ear of COVID-19/Coronavirus (or anytime), here are a few tips from an expert writing in the New York Times for how to disinfect your space on an airplane.

This is an excerpt. Here’s the full article.

And check out the fabulous Naomi Campbell’s much mocked but super appropriate-at-this-time airport routine including products she purchases and her cleansing her airplane space.

“Wiping down surfaces on a plane won’t hurt, as long as it doesn’t give you a false sense of security,” Andrew Mehle, associate professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of Wisconsin Madison, said, stressing that sanitizing your space on a plane should be done in conjunction with washing hands and following other best practices. …

study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window. Researchers studied passengers and crew members on 10 three- to five-hour flights and observed that people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. …

When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down too. Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them. …

More >>

Is it safe to travel in the era of the Coronavirus?

The NY Times published a timely article answering travelers’ questions about the Coronavirus. Here’s an excerpt. Visit their site for the complete article.

Arriving passengers wear masks at Singapore’s Changi Airport. Anyone who has been to mainland China within 14 days of arrival is not allowed to enter Singapore.  Credit…Adam Dean for The New York Times

The coronavirus outbreak that has sickened almost 75,000 in China and killed more than 2,000 worldwide, has upended travel and commerce across the world. In light of the spread of the disease, which has been named COVID-19, would-be travelers to Asia and even parts of the world with few or no cases are wondering what to do.

The Times asked readers for their most pressing questions and got a flurry of queries: Should I cancel my trip to Asia, despite the financial penalties? Or go ahead? What about going to other parts of the world? How hard is it to disinfect an airplane, anyway, and is a mask enough to protect from the virus?

For anyone planning to travel, the website of the World Health Organization is a good starting point. (W.H.O. has been issuing daily updates about the spread of COVID-19 and the status of cases.) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has advised Americans to cancel all nonessential travel to China, also offers information and guides for travelers. The Times has a map of the number of cases reported in each country.

In addition to those agencies, travelers should consult the websites of their home country and their intended destination to see what policies have been put in place.

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“You should also be double careful to do the things we say everyone should always do like hand washing with soap and water, especially after touching surfaces or coming in contact with someone who has been coughing,” said David Eisenman, director of University of California, Los Angeles’s Center for Public Health and Disasters, and professor of community health sciences at the university’s Fielding School of Public Health. “You should be avoiding close contact with others if you’re sick and you should have your flu shot.”

Click here for of the most common questions and the current advice from health and travel experts. Questions have been combined and condensed for clarity.

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