Think You Know New York? Look Again…

~ Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:57 PM ~

After arriving at JFK or La Guardia airport and hailing a yellow cab or catching the subway into central New York, you’re forgiven for immediately thinking you know the place. Like walking onto a huge film set, you can look around at the numbered streets and the tip of the Empire State Building and the place seems so familiar.

However, instead of merely going for the typical sites to tick off – Times Square, the Natural History Museum, the Statue of Liberty – why not look beyond that skyscraper façade and try to find a slice of New York that hasn’t been in the movies? So as well as heading off to MoMA and collecting your Intrepid Museum tickets, we recommend that you seek out other not so well known places. Here’s my top 3 lesser-known NYC sights:

Church of the Intercession
On West 155th Street, you’ll find the Church of the Intercession, just next to the huge Trinity Cemetery. The chapel was built in 1915 and, although originally it was part of Trinity Church, it became independent in 1976. Enter the church grounds and marvel at the church exterior with carvings of gargoyles and distorted animals. Go through a door on the side of the church and it opens onto a staircase leading to an eerie, dimly lit gothic crypt.

La Plaza
A few blocks away, on the corner of 9th Street and Avenue C is the La Plaza Cultural Center. In the 1970s, the place was deteriorating and in need of much love and refurbishment. Enter the local community, however, and they transformed it - removing all the trash and brightening up both the inside and outside. Now it is used as a community performance space at the weekend and as a place of respite from the surrounding noise and chaos the rest of the time. Drop in and you’ll be greeted by some colourful characters and no doubt some dazzling cultural community event!

Washington Square Park
Located at the foot of 5th Avenue, in Midtown and on the way to what was Ground Zero, Washington Square Park is often overlooked. Many people rush through it on their way to explore Greenwich Village or stock up on some cheap footwear from the stores doted around. However, it’s well worth hanging around in the square, not only merely to people-watch, but also because it won’t be long before you’re propositioned to play a game of chess by the gents who frequent the square. For a couple of dollars they’ll sit down, tell you their story, make you believe you’re surely gonna win, before checkmating you and taking your greenback!

** Lorna Malkovic writes for several travel blogs and enjoys rooting out the undiscovered sights wherever she lands. She currently works from home in Essex, South England.

Guest Post - Child Proofing your Home

~ Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 5:49 PM ~

Once your babies are on the go and crawling around the home it is essential that you ensure your home is as safe as possible to prevent any accidents and of course your toddler getting into the cupboards and emptying the contents! I am sure you have encountered this before!

There are an array of different pieces of safety equipment on the market, some of which should be considered an essential, others of course are dependent on the layout of your own home and may not be necessary.

Stair gates for example should be fitted on the top and bottom of every set of stairs in the home and should be considered an essential in this respect. However, the safety gates don’t just need to be used for stairs they can be useful in order to prevent children entering other rooms which may pose a risk such as the kitchen or utility room where you typically find hazards such as washing machines and cleaning products.

Once your toddler moves from a cot to a junior or single bed a bed rail would be recommended especially if your child moves around a lot whilst sleeping.

Smaller pieces of safety equipment can come in ‘starter packs’ and these typically contain everything you will need for a standard home, if you have a bigger house then you may need to double up on the packs to ensure you have enough pieces. These safety packs typically include cupboard door locks to be attached to the inside of the cupboard door in order to prevent your child opening the door, foam door stoppers to prevent trapped fingers, fridge locks, corner cushions if you have any furniture with sharp edges and socket covers to stop your child sticking fingers or anything else into them.

If you have a fireplace in your home it will also be important to invest in a fire guard to keep your child a safe distance away from the heat, preventing any burns.

Do you have any other home safety tips?

Guest Post - Choosing A Family Car

~ Posted on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 8:43 AM ~

Looking for a new vehicle can be an intimidating purchase, and if you're looking for something family friendly it can be even tougher. Choosing a family car requires a lot of thought, as there are several things to take into consideration including safety, style, kid-friendly features, and more. However, picking out a family vehicle doesn't have to be difficult.

First, you need to determine the type of vehicle you need. Sedans may be a practical choice, but an SUV or a minivan will likely offer you the most room and comfort. In recent years, automobile makers have really stepped up their accommodation to better fit growing families. The Jeep Patriot, for example, offers plenty of passenger room in the back while still possessing a stylish design. After you determine the style of vehicle you want, you'll need to check out the safety features and interior options (more information available

Safety features should be your main concern. Make sure there's a seat belt to accommodate everyone. If you'll be using booster seats or car seats, make sure there's a latch feature, which will make the children seats more secure. Most cars come standard with a latch feature. Also take in to consideration how many air bags the vehicle has, and where they are exactly. A lot of new cars now provide side impact air bags as well as the ones in the front of the vehicle.

If you're traveling with a family, chances are you have a lot of accessories and things with you. Make sure the car you eye has at least a decent amount of storage room. Storage room in your vehicle is very convenient, especially for road trips, as you'll want to bring a long plenty of things to occupy the kids. Cars with DVD players are pretty convenient as well.

Make sure you test drive any vehicle you consider purchasing, as there are several factors to take in to consideration. For example, you'll want to bring the kids a long for a test drive to not only make sure they're comfortable, but if car seats are easily accessible and easily inserted and removed from the seats.

As always, the 'little things' can make your purchase a lot easier. For example, remote keyless entry is a great feature for any parent who seems to always be carrying a child, a diaper bag, or anything else. Safety locks on the rear door and windows with child-lock are very necessary as well. Also, children can be pretty messy - You'll want to make sure the interior fabric is easy to clean and that there are cup holders easily accessible for the kids.

It can be pretty hard to find a car for your family. You need to make sure it has all the proper features and equipment, while still remaining inside your budget. However hard the search may seem, there will be a vehicle that has everything you want, from looks to safety to engine power. A vehicle is a pretty big purchase, so make you don't settle for anything less than what you want.