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Grand New Park Planned for New York City


Though I haven’t seen any solid poll numbers, I’d wager that the vast majority of New Yorkers have never been to Roosevelt Island. Let alone the vast majority of tourists visiting the city. This spit of land, snugly situated in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, is probably best known as the backdrop of a climactic battle in the first Spider-Man movie, with the webbed wonder striving to rescue commuters trapped in the Roosevelt Island tram (Spidey and the Green Goblin also do battle in the island’s abandoned smallpox hospital).

But those who don’t live on the island (or don’t travel to play tennis on the nice indoor courts there) will soon have a very good reason to make the trek. Plans are moving ahead to build Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the island’s southern tip (currently off-limits to the public), adding a dramatic new public space to the city.

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Denmark Full of Shiny, Happy People

200910-b-christian-alsing3jpg The Danes have come up with an unusual way to lure travelers to their country. They’re very happy, and if you visit, it might rub off on you! (And save you some money.)

The claim of joyfulness is based on scientific surveys, not merely on, say, an interview with a Copenhagen resident after a few glasses of schnapps on a Friday evening. In one recent research endeavor—the World Values Survey, the work of a global network of social scientists—Denmark came out on top when it comes to the happiness of its residents.

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Sail New York Harbor on a Yacht


Some of the best views of New York City are from the water. The Staten Island Ferry is the time-honored cheap method of getting out on the waves, and it’s worth the ride at least once—but you’re on a big, loud boat that, um, ends up at Staten Island. A more sublime experience is had onboard a sailboat, using nothing but the harbor wind for power. If you don’t happen to have your own schooner, that’s where the Shearwater comes in.

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The Best Bed in Maine

Admittedly, I haven’t tried out every bed Down East. But it’s hard to imagine a better night of sleep than one I recently indulged in at Hidden Pond, a year-plus-old retreat inland from Kennebunkport, the Bush Family stomping grounds.

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Cool New Architecture in NYC


The most talked-about building in New York City over the last several years doesn’t exist. That would be the Freedom Tower, the centerpiece of the World Trade Center reconstruction project. But If you’re like me and have a short (or even medium-level) attention span, you’ve lost track of what the Freedom Tower’s going to look like, when it’s going to be built, whether it’s going to be 1,776 feet tall…

Happily, lots more of note has been going on (and up) in Manhattan—an island known more for its frantic pace of construction than its design brilliance. That’s why a spot like Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s revamped Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center is most welcome (so welcome, in fact, that extra seating was added in the airy cafe due to overwhelming demand).

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Calling All Hippies! Woodstock's Having a (Big) Birthday Party This Summer


If you were born at the Woodstock Festival (and it’s said that two people were), you’re celebrating a 40th birthday this summer. Congratulations! Of course, the 40th anniversary of the muddy shindig at Max Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York is also at the center of its own schedule of celebrations. The site of the concert (which as any amateur musical historian knows was not in Woodstock but in Bethel, nearby in Sullivan County) is now home to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, an outdoor performing arts center and complex, including the Museum at Bethel Woods. From now until May 30, visitors to the museum can wax nostalgic at “Rock Heroes: Selections from Hard Rock International’s Music Memorabilia Collection,” which will display the Gibson SG that Pete Townsend played and smashed on the Woodstock stage, a red vest once formerly owned by Jimi Hendrix, and many other mementos.

The Center’s Pavilion Stage, which seats 4,500 under its roof and an additional 10,000-plus on the lawn, is also hosting its usual variety of concerts this summer, with much of the schedule related to 40th-anniversary festivities. Most of the lineup isn't set yet, so check bethelwoodscenter.org for updates. Among the gigs that have already been announced: a gray-haired blast from Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire (June 14) and a burst of blues from B.B. King and Buddy Guy (August 27). If your aging-hippie ears can’t take all the noise anymore, put July 11 on your calendar. That’s when the New York Philharmonic comes to town. Just don’t take the brown acid.


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