12 Places to See Now
Published: April 2009
Wondering where to go in the coming year?Visit one of these 12 places around the globe—before it disappears, or gets remodeled, or becomes impossibly overcrowded after years of inaccessibility
The remaining U.S. wilderness Think of it this way: there's a finite amount of it, and it's shrinking. The wolves of Yellowstone, for example, so successfully reintroduced seven years ago, are again the target of ranchers in Wyoming and Idaho unhappy about losing livestock. Their anger may be understandable, but the proposal to remove wolves from the endangered species list in order to begin killing them just seems plain wrong. Learn why by taking a wolf tour.
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The TWA Terminal at JFK, before it's annexed by JetBlue Eero Saarinen's soaring 1962 design is theembodiment of jet-age optimism—it's rare that a building can sweep you off your feet the way this one does. Soon, however, the New York icon is to be subsumed by a massive JetBlue terminal complex at Kennedy airport, and while the airline should be commended for saving Saarinen's creation from living death as a glamorous film set (see Catch Me If You Can), it's worth a visit to marvel at the original.
Stiltsville, Florida, before it's swept away by a hurricane The novel wooden houses in this onetime resort community off Key Biscayne hover above the water on stilts—as the name suggests—and are accessible only by boat. Built in the 1930's, Stiltsville had its heyday in the late fifties—complete with gambling, police raids, and a place called the Bikini Club. Since then, hurricanes and fires have taken their toll; only seven of the striking buildings remain.
VISITOR INFORMATION FROM BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.NPS.GOV/BISC/STILTSVILLE/STILTSVILLEWELCOME.HTM.
Hotel Carrera, Santiago, before it closes next month A grand hotel in the classic tradition, this landmark on the Plaza de la Constitución was strafed by gunfire during Augusto Pinochet's 1973 coup. More recently, it was sold to the now democratic Chilean government and is slated to become housing and offices as the entire six-block area undergoes a massive renovation.
UNTIL FEBRUARY 16: 800/745-8883 OR 56-2/680-3436; WWW.LHW.COM; DOUBLES FROM $119.
The historic pubs of England, before they're modernized into oblivion There's no shortage of pubs in Great Britain, but every month about 20 of them are closed down or remodeled, old dark-wood interiors and Victorian glass and tile giving way to sleek, clean banality. The U.K.-based Campaign for Real Ale has compiled a list of 250 pub interiors worthy of preservation—and patronage.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, AND TO VIEW THE LIST, VISIT WWW.CAMRA.ORG.UK.
Michelangelo's David, newly scrubbed for its 500th birthday After months of art-world intrigue and feverish debate (at issue: whether to clean it using water or not), Italian restoration experts are now carefully—inch by inch, using a microscope, and, yes, a bit of distilled water—swabbing the grime from the 17-foot-tall marble statue inside Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia. David will be on display for the duration of the process, to be completed in May.
The Modernist architecture of Asmara, Eritrea, now being rediscovered When a 30-year war for independence from Ethiopia ended in 1993, visitors began returning to see the astounding collection of 1920's and 30's Italian designs, built during Benito Mussolini's failed imperial expansion. With a loan from the World Bank, the government is now preserving hundreds of the sleek, streamlined buildings in the capital city. The greatest concentration of Art Deco is along the old Viale Mussolini, now called Harnet Avenue.
The Kingdom of Bhutan, while it's still the land that time forgot Tucked high in the Himalayas, famously isolated and tradition-bound (telephones weren't introduced until the seventies, for example), Bhutan is slowly opening its doors—and they may turn into floodgates. The government has always strictly limited the number of tourists allowed to enter the country, but that's changing. The kingdom has recently been encouraging resort development—Christina Ong's Uma Paro opens in June.
GEOGRAPHIC EXPEDITIONS OFFERS A VARIETY OF TOURS FROM $2,395 PER PERSON, DOUBLE. 800/777-8183; WWW.GEOEX.COM.
Old Shanghai, before it's razed to make way for yet more skyscrapers The narrow streets and colonial architecture that define the city are threatened by a maniacal building spree, which has seen more than 2,000 skyscrapers go up since the early nineties. The construction boom may soon slow: scientists have warned that the city is literally sinking into the swamp it's built on, and residents are voicing displeasure at their city's Blade Runner future.
The low-lying island nation of Tuvalu, before it disappears into the ocean Global warming is far from an abstraction on these nine South Pacific atolls—high tides creep ever higher on the white-sand beaches as the country slowly shrinks before its citizens' eyes. Officials are working up evacuation plans for the 11,000 residents and hope to persuade Australia, New Zealand, or Fiji to set aside a bit of land for them.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE WWW.TUVALUISLANDS.COM.
The Great Barrier Reef, suffering because of overdevelopment This vast coral reef, an awe-inspiringly rich ecosystem spread across thousands of miles of northeastern Australian coastline, is threatened by pollution, global warming, and overfishing. Environmentalists want to designate about half the area a marine sanctuary and are supporting eco-friendly tourism.
GO BIRD- AND TURTLE-WATCHING ON WILSON ISLAND. SIX-DAY TRIPS FROM $1,235 PER PERSON, DOUBLE. 800/225-9849; WWW.WILSONISLAND.COM.
Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition hut, which is at last being rescued Abandoned in 1909 after a failed attempt to reach the South Pole, this building has held up surprisingly well, but the artifacts inside (clothing, equipment) are badly decayed. With all the recent interest in the golden age of polar exploration, the Antarctic Heritage Trust should have plenty of support for its preservation effort.
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