NYC To Welcome Self-Driving Cars in 2018

New York City is ushering in a new era of cars in collaboration with General Motors. Starting in 2018, a number of self-driving Chevy Bolts will take to the streets within a 5-mile section of NYC. The city has previously opposed the inclusion of automated cars in the city traffic, but recent developments in GM’s Cruise Automation technology has turned the tables.

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, the testing will take place in a designated area under the direct supervision of engineers. There will also be a police escort for cars on the road, as well as several other rules to ensure safe transportation.

Cruise Automation CEO Kyle Vogt explained: “Testing in New York will accelerate the timeline to deploying self-driving cars at scale.” Manhattan is a place which offers “new opportunities to expose our software to unusual situations, which means we can improve our software at a much faster rate,” he said.

NYC traffic conditions will certainly pose a challenge for the software, but testing and further development will better prepare the cars for an urban environment.

Pretty Woman Coming to Broadway

Pretty Woman is coming to Broadway next fall. The film, released in 1990, was an international hit, grossing $463 million. Starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, the story captures an unexpected romance between businessman Edward Lewis and a woman named Vivian.

The stage-adapted musical will be produced by Paula Wagner of The Heiress, with music and lyrics written by Canadian star Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. The show will be directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, who has won Tony awards for his work on La Cage aux Folles and Kinky Boots.

The new musical will feature a book by the film’s director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton. Cast includes Tony-winner Steve Kazee of Once as Edward Lewis, and Samantha Barks as Vivian. Ms. Barks played Eponine in the film Les Miserables in 2012.

Brooklyn Bike Shop Owner Launches Campaign for Children with Special Needs

Sandra Alfonzo runs her own bicycle shop in South Slope Brooklyn, and loves watching children enjoy their bikes throughout the city. One morning, during her morning run, she spotted a child without a bike. He watched other kids whizz by sadly, but knew he would never ride one himself because he was in a wheelchair. At that moment, Ms. Alfonzo took on a new project: providing customized bikes to children with special needs. With no experience in fundraising, she calculated that she’d be able to buy one adapted bike, priced at $4,000, each year if she could successfully get a small donation for every flat tire that she fixed at the shop, and match each one.

Upon hearing of her plan, a regular customer revealed his background in fundraising and gave her some pointers. Together they researched adaptable bikes and spoke with an organization called Freedom Concepts about the options that exist and the challenges they may face throughout their campaign. Today, Alfonzo’s project is called AdaptAbility and is already raising funds online. Alfonzo is hopeful that they will be able to purchase their first bike by next month.

Instagrammable Locations the New Thing in NYC Tourism

If you’re visiting NYC, you’re surely planning trips to popular spots such as the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and of course a Broadway show.

But have you heard of the pink doors of Sel Rrose restaurant on the Lower East Side? Or Metrograph, a small cinema and restaurant in Manhattan? Or While We Were Young in the West Village? Maybe not, but some people are traveling to New York just to snap photos as these “grammable” locations.

A new trend is sweeping through the streets of NY as Instagram users hop around the city visiting photo-shoot worthy locations, choosing settings that offer vibrant backdrops or moody, romantic atmosphere for their Insta accounts.

New York local Kate Lumpkin says the new insta-culture has both benefits and drawbacks. While some tourists don’t get an in-depth experience of the city, others use Instagram trends to explore and enjoy some of the lesser-known spots throughout NY.

Sel Rrose owner Kristin Vincent agrees, and says she painted the restaurant doors with social media in mind. “It’s a New Yorker’s way of seeing the city. It’s not just the pink doors,” she explained.

NYC’s Solar Eclipse

On August 21st 2017, New Yorkers flooded the streets armed with special glasses, smartphones and cameras to experience the first solar eclipse visible from NYC since 1979.

Experience the New York eclipse with Time.com:

 

Community Gardens Thriving in NYC

Farmers and sustainable living enthusiasts are convening throughout NYC to support the GreenThumb program’s community gardens. Spread across numerous neighborhoods, these gardens offer a green summer sanctuary as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to local communities who may be in need.

This summer, the garden count has reached 553, all of which are cultivated by a dedicated crowd of 20,000 volunteers. There is now an annual budget of $2.9 million as well as a staff of 35 people who offer free training and ongoing support, as well as tools and materials. Located on public or city-owned property, the gardens have been the subject of several real estate-related disputes.  For the most part, though, the gardens are considered an integral piece of NYC.

GreenThumb director Bill LoSasso, explained that the project is especially beneficial in communities with many new immigrants.

“Sometimes when you arrive in a new place, you don’t have a network you can tap into for support. By joining a community garden, you’re joining a network of neighbors who are coming from diverse backgrounds who can help new members of their community to get settled.”

Many newcomers to NYC have roots in agriculture as well, making community gardens a familiar, comfortable place for them to meet like-minded community members.

Mr. Efrain Estrada, for example, grows peppers, eggplants, okra and squash. Originally from Puerto Rico, Estrada has confessed that he used to hate working on his family’s farm. Now, he is actively involved in his community garden, and grows so many vegetables that he sends some home to his relatives. “I had farming in my blood,” he says.

Get Ready for Summer Streets NYC 2017

Summer Streets NYC is one of the biggest, most exciting summer activities in New York, and the 2017 happening is expected to make a real splash. Planned for three consecutive Saturdays in August, this outdoor event will turn 7 miles into a pedestrian playground complete with walking tours, dog parks, art exhibits and misting stations.

Last year’s event boasted 300,000 visitors including local families and tourists. Activities are free of charge, and this year’s event will include a 270 foot waterslide, a water park shaped like a dishwasher, 165-foot long zip line, a rock climbing wall, fitness classes and more.

Check out last year’s Summer Streets NYC event:

 

NYC Free Summer Show Guide

NYC in summer is the place to be. Whether you’re visiting from out-of-town or a local looking for something to do without too much of a commute, free theater and shows offer a unique, New York-themed experience that you’ll never forget! With the added benefits of fresh air, interesting people and of course the lack of expense, these shows are the perfect local activity.

Here’s a brief guide of free shows in the city:

  • Shakespeare in the Park. NY’s most prestigious free summer theater, with shows held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
  • New York Classical Theater. Offering a more interactive experience, these shows generally have the audience follow along for about 3 blocks.
  • Hudson Warehouse. A pay-what-you-can theater specializing in the classics and located at the Bernie Wohl Arts Center on the Upper West Side.
  • Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. An annual affair which will take place at the parking lot behind Clemento Soto on the Lower East Side.
  • Potomac Theater Project. Offers experimental workshops and other works in progress at Atlantic Stage 2.
  • Theater for the New City. This summer, the company is offering a political new musical called “Checks and Balances, or Bottoms Up!” throughout the city.

Cookies and Good Deeds Collide in New NYC Bakery

A tiny new bakery has opened on Wall Street, in a space barely larger than a closet. What’s even more interesting, though, is that this space is actually a significant step up for the Feed Your Soul Café, a boutique cookie shop which grew from infancy in a small studio apartment.

Fast forward 10 years and it’s now a popular online retailer for baked goods and cookie dough with a philanthropic twist: for each order that is placed, a freshly baked cookie is donated to The Coalition of the Homeless. These cookies play a significant role in their everyday milestones and special events like birthday parties.

Owner Mya Zoracki has said that while the brand has big dreams for the future, it will never lose sight of its primary goal: “to inspire and help everyone it can along the way.” The new Manhattan location is the first Feed Your Soul Cafe, and serves babkas, brownies, sticky buns and cookies.

 

Doing Something Different in Outdoor New York

Travel Guide SC shows us what kind of off-the-beaten path attractions are currently hot on the streets of New York City, in particular, the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. One example seen here is the Rhythmic Color mural, featured by NYC’s Department of Transportation Art Program.