Behold, in all its glory: my idea of heaven on a plate. Stone crab season officially opened a couple of weeks ago, and I took that as the perfect excuse to head down to the Florida Keys for a blissful weekend of sun and serious seafood binging. Three jumbo claws from the Islamorada Fish Company market, plus a cold Corona or two, made the perfect warm-weather lunch—just the thing to break up a day of snoozing in a hammock and frolicking in the surf.
Stone crab meat is not only amazingly succulent and sweet, it’s also a sustainable food product. (Only one claw is harvested at a time from each crab, which is returned to the ocean to regenerate its claw.)
Like many Americans, I have three names. Stuart Clark Mitchell. I like all of them, but they’ve led to confusion my entire life.
First of all, they could all be first or last names. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called “Mitchell,” especially in situations where names on a roster are listed last name first. Secondly, my parents had the bright idea of calling me by my middle name (“Clark”). As a result, on the first day of every class in college, I had to explain that I was indeed “Stuart,” but “Clark” would be my preference. Then there’s the question of spelling—some, including a certain person on staff here at T+L, insist on making my name a little fancier by writing “Clarke,” even after years of correcting.
While all of this may seem trivial compared to keeping our country safe, the new TSA program, Secure Flight, which launches early next year, is bound to affect people like me.
In the past decade, ambitious high-speed rail projects have condensed Europe, reducing travel times–often by more than half–on principal routes like Madrid-Barcelona (was: 9 hours; now: 3) and London-Brussels (travel speed: 208 mph).
This December, a shiny new bullet train will begin plying the tracks between Moscow and St. Petersburg. The red-and-silver Sapsan–which emerged from years of halting talks between the Russian government and Germany-based Siemens company–will traverse the 400 miles between the cities in just three hours and 45 minutes, beating airline timetables by more than an hour. The name means "peregrine falcon."
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.
More and more pet owners in the U.S. are choosing to travel with their pets, and while the Travel Industry Association of America (TIAA) estimates that only 6% are doing so by plane, the numbers are on the rise. And airlines are stepping up their game offering everything from frequent flyer programs for furry friends to “pet-only” airlines. Here are some of the highlights:
Frequent Flyer Programs
Midwest Airlines is the only airline offering pets free trips through their Premier Pet Program. For every six paid one-way flights, pets earn a free round-trip ticket. The cost to fly your pet is $300 round trip below the cabin and $250 for in-cabin travel.
DUBAI—I've just arrived here for a conference, and everyone is talking about the city's new Metro, a futuristic elevated train that soars high above the desert floor as smoothly as a magic carpet over the Arabian sands.
Opened in September, the state-of-the-art system (the photo, left, was taken with my less-than-state-of-the-art phone camera) links Dubai airport with the Jebel Ali district on the far side of town, a distance of 31 miles. For much of its length, the line runs alongside busy busy busy Shaikh Zayed Road, one of the main thoroughfares. It's satisfying to be on one of the trains, clipping along at 55 mph, while below you Zayed Road is illuminated with thousands of brake lights as traffic crawls to a stop, which tends to happen more and more often these days.
The Dubai Metro is the longest automated driverless metro in the world—a source of pride in the United Arab Emirates but also a potential problem.
In the Prada Universe nothing is as it seems. When I attend Prada shows in Milan, I sit transfixed, looking for a hint of the message. What did she mean by that bag? Are the heels on those shoes broken or are they meant to be angular and impossible to walk on? Is that just a wayward thread hanging, or do I see it on other garments? Why are the models smiling?
This season, the Prada show started innocently with basic grey suiting fabrics in designs that one would wear to work. Oh, she’s going back to her utilitarian roots?! But wait, now there's this whimsical beach scene with palm trees that evokes holidays in the sun and ocean breezes. The vacation scene caught my eye, since I am always on the look out for travel references.
Cruise passengers will be screaming with excitement on Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship. That’s all but guaranteed since the 4,00-pasenger Disney Dream will feature "AquaDuck," the first water coaster at sea—a whopper ride, 2 ½ football fields in length and 46 feet high, sitting atop the cruise ship.
The AquaDuck will use technology similar to Master Blaster at Typhoon Lagoon—it’s basically a high-speed flume. Riders will get in two-person inflatable rafts with water jets pushing them forward and upward with a top surging speed of about 20 feet per second. After the initial drop, the ride actually cantilevers some 13 feet off the ship—with nothing but the sea some 150 feet below. Talk about a rush!
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.
Is there anything more annoying than being forced to listen to others chit-chat on their cell phones? (Truth be told, I don’t care if your brother’s friend’s girlfriend’s sister broke up with you know who…) So I’m holding out that US airlines will keep in-flight mobile use out of the air.
Across the Atlantic, it’s another story. Passengers flying Emirates, Royal Jordanian, and Ryan Air, are already free to make calls and phone use agreements have recently been announced for Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, and select British Airways business-class only flights.