In my youth, I spent a good deal of time playing after-school sports on Randall’s Island in the shadows of Manhattan. On Sunday, however, I sat on the hay and grass field next to Icahn Stadium and took in some great music at Farm Aid. Though the spirit of most open-air concerts, particularly ones headed by Willie Nelson and promoting homegrown food, tends to be pretty friendly, I was still reminded of New York at another time. Immediately after 9/11, New York was transformed in so many ways: it was scarred, terrified, and numb. It was also friendly, kind, and supportive. While I witnessed the typical kindnesses amongst people at the concert—bumming cigarettes, sharing sunscreen, dancing, and chatting—it all felt reminiscent of those precarious days of aftermath when doors, along with handshakes, hugs, and goodbyes, were held for just a little bit longer.
When Virgin America began ticket sales late last month, the site was so flooded with traffic that potential customers – frustrated by long delays – simply gave up trying. Certainly, plenty of people were trying to book at once, but the real culprit was an orchestrated cyber attack that resulted in a slow start for sales. Though the offender remains unknown, it does get you wondering. Could a rival airline have been responsible? Very unlikely, though several of the legacy carriers lobbied vigorously to block Virgin America from entering the market.
For 28 years of my life, I never thought twice about Hawaii. When you grow up in Florida in a town like Panama City whose official motto is “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches,” you don’t find yourself pining for a trip to the Aloha State. But a year ago, I moved to the Bay Area and I began to wonder if I had been missing out on one of life’s most essential experiences, like reading a book or, I don’t know, breathing air. You see, you’re not truly a San Franciscan until you 1) have a bay window 2) learn to rhapsodize about In-N-Out and 3) fall head over heels for Hawaii and talk about it exclusively in hyperbole.
I’m torn. Austin or San Francisco?
Travel+Leisure magazine asks travelers to rank America’s favorite cities in a poll that features 25 of the countries best destinations. Some of my personal favorites made the ballot – Charleston, New Orleans, New York, Austin and San Francisco – but my vote for number one came down to two inspiring cities that are actually very similar to one another.
Both Austin and San Francisco have a hip and funky vibe, but the similarities that stand out to me are their live music hot spots, love of food and outdoor pursuits. Growing up in Texas, Austin has always been one of my favorite weekend getaways. It’s a haven for music junkies and bar flies with blocks and blocks of local pubs, Mexican food joints and live music dives. Similarly, SF (my new home) boasts a bar on every block, worldly cuisine and iconic music venues.
With these two cities on the list, I’m struggling to cast my vote (maybe I’ll just cheat and vote for both!). What’s your favorite American city?
Welcome to the Window Seat Podcast!
In this episode host Amy Ziff takes you to Las Vegas. You’ll find out what makes Sin City one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.