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Ellis Island Hospital Opens Today for Tours

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History buffs and fans of American Horror Story will love the chipped paint and cracked porcelain sinks, the stained tiles and rusting hospital beds in the halls of the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital—open to visitors today for the first time in 60 years. 

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The World's Coolest Wrecks

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As morbid as a plane crash or sunken ship might be, there's something alluring about abandoned wrecks. Eerie, full of history, and possibly haunted, they can be truly captivating.

Moynaq Ship Graveyard, Moynaq, Uzbekistan

Believed to be one of the world’s worst ecological disasters, this desert use to be a busy Soviet fishing port. Once the rivers feeding it were diverted for irrigation, the Aral Sea (formerly one of the four largest lakes IN THE WORLD) dried up completely. Hence, the ships sitting on the old sea floor. Even crazier, the nearest shore is almost 100 miles away!

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Photo Credit: Flickr/Martijn.Munneke

Aspen Art Museum Makes Dramatic Debut

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If the Gucci and Prada storefronts weren't enough to dispel any impression of Aspen as a humble mountain town, the Shigeru Ban-designed Aspen Art Museum should do the trick. The 35-year-old art institution recently debuted a new $45 million building created by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect and funded entirely by private donations from the city's wealthy patrons.   


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The new museum, dedicated to rotating exhibits of contemporary art, opened its glass doors to a surprising blend of acclaim and criticism. Many applauded the latticework cube for its nod to traditional Japanese craftsmanship, while others (including New York Magazine's architecture critic, Justin Davidson) dismissed the façade as cage-like and unattractive. But there's little argument that the museum strikes a dramatic silhouette against a backdrop of classic alpine brick buildings. From the rooftop sculpture garden, visitors have sweeping views of nearby Ajax Mountain.


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Ban's first permanent museum in the United States is something of a departure for the architect, who is best known for his temporary, humanitarian-focused structures, including the Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the stackable shipping-container apartments he created after the Japanese tsunami and earthquake in 2011. But the museum reflects Ban's famous use of recyclable materials: he created the shell out of translucent coated paper and veneer wood planks. Inside is 33,000 square feet of minimalist, naturally lit exhibition space. 


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Inaugural exhibits include a retrospective of Ban’s disaster-relief buildings, as well as works by contemporary artists Yves Kein, David Hammons, Tomma Abts, and others. According to director Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, the free museum is committed to showcasing international, contemporary work with a social edge.


Melanie Lieberman is theEditorial Projects Assistant and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites.

Photos courtesy of Aspen Art Museum © Michael Moran/OTTO, Peter Feinzig

Meet Albertine: New York's Newest Book Shop and Salon

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This is the time for fall openings in New York City: art exhibitions, theater, opera, dance, but the most special and quietly spectacular: Albertine, a new bookshop (yes, a bricks-and-mortar store), opening to the public on Saturday, September 27, and located in the Cultural Sevices building of the French Embassy at 972 Fifth Avenue (between 78th and 79th Streets). Designer Jacques Garcia has created Albertine as a grand, private French library on two levels with an internal staircase that connects the shop and its reading room. 

What’s inside? The most comprehensive selection of French-language books and English translations in the United States: more than 14,000 titles, including novels, non-fiction, art and rare books, comic and children’s books, in addition to DVDs, magazines, stationery, and beautiful paper goods.

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Boston Designer-Photographer Frank Roop Takes Us to Kyoto

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Boston-based interior designer, tastemaker and photographer Frank Roop is an avid traveler who looks for creative inspiration wherever he goes, from the flea markets of Paris to the tile work in Morocco. We caught up with him after a three-week trip to Asia, where he attended a five-day Indian wedding in Bali and fell in love with the beauty and simplicity of Kyoto, this year's winner of the T+L World's Best City Award. Here, a few of his travel tips and photographs for the classic Japanese city.

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Museum Day Live! Means Free Entry to 1,500-Plus Museums

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Smithsonian museums are amazing for many reasons—not least of which is the fact that entrance to all of them is free. In honor of this perk, Smithsonian Magazine sponsors the annual Museum Day Live!, when more than 1,500 museums across the country do away with admission fees for one day. This year’s event—the 10th anniversary—takes place September 27.

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London's Can't-Miss Culture Spots

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All eyes are on the South Bank, thanks to its world-class art museums, galleries, and theaters. Here, a few must-see destinations.

Design Museum: This Modernist-style museum by Terence Conran hosts exhibitions on fashion, architecture, furniture, and more. On view this month: “Designers in Residence,” an annual show that celebrates local and international emerging talent.

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Stop Motion Postcards Capture Cities With Whimsy

Colorado-based animator Rachel Ryle just got back from a month-long trip around Europe and put pen to paper in a series of vignette postcards with old world charm and Instagram flare.

“I wanted to take a different spin on postcards. Capturing something iconic in each region, but giving it some TLC”, said  Ryle, whose hand-drawn images of quaint German towns (and beer steins), Italian piazzas and the Eiffel Tower, of course, come to life in snapshots and 15-second films on her Instagram. Her account has garnered accolades from MTV & Buzzfeed, and her animated drawings go more in depth her YouTube page.

Print versions of Ryle’s postcards will be available as a collection, which she plans on increasing as she adds more stamps to her passport.

Erica Firpo is a Rome-based writer and frequent contributor to travelandleisure.com.

RiSE Lantern Festival Debuts in the Mojave

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This fall, thousands of lights will glow in Nevada’s Mojave Desert—and we’re not talking about the neon signs on the Strip. On October 18, the RiSE Lantern Festival will kick off just outside Las Vegas at the Jean Dry Lakebed, forming a visual spectacle of illuminated lanterns, all inscribed with personal messages, floating into the night sky.

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MFA Houston Showcases the Grand Estate of Houghton Hall

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It is fair to say that the popular television drama Downton Abbey has reawakened interest in the grand English estate—and aristocratic life—as never before.  This weekend visitors to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston  have a last chance to experience one of the grandest of all such houses in the exhibition “Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House.” 

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