Confession: I'm a Friends addict. For nearly the entire ten years since the cult comedy took its last now, I've watched reruns every night as my bedtime ritual (true story). But I know I'm not alone. And for all of you Rachel and Ross cheerleaders, who know that the TV guide always came to "Ms. Chanandler Bong" and that there's no good answer to "How you doin'," there's big news up ahead. Next week, Warner Bros Television Group, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and Eight O’Clock Coffee will be honoring the show's 20th anniversary by recreating Central Perk, with a month-long pop-up in lower Manhattan (at 199 Lafayette St.), kicking off next Wednesday. Among the fun details: a soundtrack of Phoebe's best songs, props from the original set, and guess appearances from none other than James Michael Tyler (AKA, Gunther). Naturally, coffee will be served all day long. The only thing that could be better? Making that ever-elusive Friends reunion—with more than just three members of the gang—a reality. Fingers crossed.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Shackled to your desk today, but in desperate need of an escape? Steal a few minutes for an episode of The High Road with Mario Batali, a twelve-part series of short films on Hulu where the celebrity chef pairs up with famous residents to play tourist in New York City, visiting notable sights while chatting about everything from politics to real-life heroes. We love the unique tone of each vignette, be it a chuckle-worthy hangout at the High Line with Jimmy Fallon, or an eccentric tour of Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood with George Stephanopoulos. The latest installment launches today, and features Batali on a trip with actress Julianna Margulies to the mother of landmarks, the Empire State Building. If a New York State of Mind sounds enticing right about now, check out the newest episode below.
Jennifer Flowers is the Hotels & Food Editor at Travel + Leisure. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.
Eli Newell’s new crowd-sourced travel show Don’t Kill Eli can best be described as a real-life “choose your own adventure.” The 36-year-old comedian and world traveler will ask viewers (via videos on the YouTube channel) to vote on where he should go and what he should do when he gets there. As he puts it in his Kickstarter video, “No matter how gross or stupid or dangerous it is, if you want me to do, I’ll do it."
When Greg Vosits arrived to New York’s John F. Kennedy airport on July, 9th, he was headed to Vienna en route to the medieval city Györ, Hungary, his hometown, to spend the summer. But when the University of Connecticut doctoral student was approached by a woman clad in Heineken regalia proffering a chance to scrap his plans and play travel roulette—a game show-style contest with a far-flung destination waiting on the other end of a button—his mind raced.
“My friends will think I’m stupid if I don’t do this, I will regret it for the rest of my life,” he thought.
And so, with cameras in his face, he took his chance, Cyprus shuffled onto the board, and the Mediterranean beckoned. Now to just clear it with mom.
Like millions of Americans, I’m chomping at the bit for Sunday’s season six premier of Mad Men. So ecstatic am I for the gang at Sterling Cooper Draper (Pryce?) to forge into the late-1960’s that I had to mollify my angst in the only appropriate way I knew how: Booze.
One of the hallmarks of the AMC series has been the period-piece cocktails Don Draper, Roger Sterling, Pete Campbell (above) imbibe at bars, dinner parties, soirées, power lunches, and, yes, work. All over country, retro-tipples are chic again, from Mai Tais to Manhattans, becoming part of the show’s defining characteristics. As a proud member of the New York City cocktail tribe and avid fan of the show, I decided to teach myself to joggle a proper drink and learn my jigger from my Boston shaker.
If you haven’t made plans yet for the Season Six premiere of Mad Men on April 7th, don’t panic. Maybe you want to watch it in Connecticut?
T+L has already discussed how the TV series boosted tourism in New York City, but after last season, which saw Pete and Trudy Campbell move to the 'burbs, Connecticut is doing its part to offer some Don Draper-inspired vacations.
Citing its collection of nearly 90 architect-designed mid-century modern homes, among them Philip Johnson’s famous Glass House, the state’s tourism board is touting New Canaan, CT, as the main destination for true Mad Men aficionados. In addition to the mid-century homes, you'll find the Elm Restaurant($$$), where you can sip a "Lucky Strike" cocktail. The drink, inspired by the old fashioned that Draper drinks while working on the Lucky Strike cigarette campaign, has cherry-wood-smoked bourbon, cherry bitters, and sherry, all topped off with a garnish of, you guessed it, ash.
Anthony Melchiorri has come a long way since working as the director of front office operations for New York's iconic Plaza Hotel. Now, more than 20 years and a fair share of hotel management jobs later, the Brooklyn-born hospitality expert has taken on the role of "hotel fixer" for the Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible. And After Anthony, a one-hour special looking back on Season One, airs February 4 at 10 p.m.Here, Melchiorri reflects on the properties he visited, describes his perfect hotel room, and more.
If you’ve seen the 1998 documentary The Cruise, then you’ll recognize Timothy “Speed” Levitch, the Gray Line tour guide who would be right at home in a Woody Allen movie. The guy with a crazy mop of hair and nasally voice is now hosting Up to Speed, a six-episode travel series made exclusively for Hulu, and directed by Richard Linklater (of Dazed and Confused and School of Rock fame). In addition to illuminating the more mundane “monumentally ignored monuments” across the U.S., it sheds new light on well-known landmarks, too.
What exactly is a “monumentally ignored monument,” and why do they hold such appeal for you? When you work in tourism for a little while, you start to realize it’s a lot like high school. A lot of famous landmarks are pretty vapid—it’s the dweebs and the wallflowers, like the ignored monuments, that often have more interesting things to say. It’s the idea of finding beauty in the unexpected. History is hiding in plain sight all around us.
The idea of chucking it all and decamping to a new exotic land has surely crossed many a world traveler’s mind. This is a passing daydream for some, but for others, it’s a calling—a chance to truly immerse oneself in a foreign culture and community, and to reinvent one's life.
If you’re interested in what the experience of being an ex-patriot is all about, the risks and the rewards, we invite you to watch the new web-series EX-PATS on YouTube’s Reserve Channel. Created in cooperation with Travel + Leisure (our editors are advisors on the show), the series takes viewers around the world to profile ex-pats who’ve made the move and have some wild and wonderful stories to share.