This weekend: A war hero comes home--the Intrepid Museum (re)opens in NYC
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will reopen this weekend in New York City after nearly two years of renovations.
The ship, launched in 1943, belonged to the Navy's Essex-class carriers, renowned for helping to win WWII. The Intrepid fought in almost every major battle (and survived many kamikaze attacks), then went on to serve in the Vietnam War and recover NASA space capsules before retiring in 1974.
In 1982, the museum opened aboard the ship. In 2006, the Intrepid departed its home on Pier 86 to go to Staten Island and New Jersey for renovations (after getting stuck in the mud). The entire project, which included rebuilding the city-owned pier, has cost about $115 million.
After all that, it's time to celebrate. The grand reopening begins on Saturday; the first 1,000 visitors will get a commemorative coin. You can see the new interactive and multimedia displays at the museum, which is devoted to period aircraft, artifacts, and the life stories of the soldiers who fought in the wars. Plus, there are fireworks scheduled for Saturday night. The fun continues through Tuesday, which is Veteran's Day.
Fun trivia: it took 7,000 gallons of paint to cover the 27,000-ton carrier.
Pier 86, 12th Ave. and 46th Street, 877/957-7447, intrepidmuseum.org. Get detailed directions here. General admission $20. Open Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday and Monday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Tuesday 2 to 6 p.m. (last ticket sold at 5 p.m.).
A few travel stories that caught my eye this past week: Beyond the Bellman: Unusual, and Enviable, Hotel Jobs Duck master, vibe manager, and chief beer manager are a few of the titles [Peter Greenberg] 4 rules travelers should know for 2009 Mandatory passports, "transparent" airline pricing, and (quite possibly) a passenger bill of rights are all up ahead [Elliott.org] Calexico named NYC's best street food vendor for '08 The "Cal-Mex" street cart plans to have a bricks-and-mortar store soon [NewYorkology] Strange Statues Around the World Lots of creepy stuff is out there [haha.nu, via Happy Hotelier] Walt Disney World's new dinosaur-themed restaurant opens What's the fossil-dig pit filled with? "It's nice dirt. It's clean dirt…. It's Disney dirt." [Chicago Tribune]
A few travel stories that caught my eye this past week: 5 reasons to travel during the holidays Will this year be the best time to travel — ever? [CNN] Carnival fuel surcharges being eliminated The cruise line will eliminate the cost on 2010 bookings — the same time a price increase goes into effect. Some customers sailing in 2008 and 2009 will be eligible for refunds. [Miami Herald] A look at smoking bans worldwide in a nifty mash-up map [Jaunted] Best Guidebooks to NYC Fodor's, Lonely Planet, and HG2 all come in for praise [New York Times] Trying to translate snow to sand Sandboarding in Oregon: not as crazy as it looks at first [Boston Globe] Swiss bunker becomes first zero-star hotel The windowless, underground hotel, not yet open to the public, will have "images from the outside" projected on a large screen. [AP via Yahoo]
A few travel stories that caught my eye this past week: Legitimate cheap Broadway tickets from $20 for fall NewYorkology looks at cheap tickets (we gave some of our own buying strategies last year). 36 hours in Milwaukee After the obligatory Laverne & Shirley mention, things pick up. [NYT] The Big 10 for tourists What to see in these college towns besides football games. [Chicago Tribune] A requiem: Tourism swamps Asia's unique, remote places "For many tourists, coming to Luang Prabang [in Laos] is like going on safari. But our monks are not monkeys or buffaloes." [AP] Virgin Galactic says thanks, but no thanks, to space porn movie offer The producers supposedly offered a million dollars to film a 62-mile-high movie (normal fare for the partially weightless flight will be $200,000). [Gadling] America's Most Reliable Airlines Crunching the numbers for on-time arrivals and other key metrics for the past five years. [Forbes]
My taste test of new Big Day Breakfasts at Hilton Garden Inns
Starting this week, participating Hilton Garden Inn Hotels will offer a new type of breakfast. The national chain has teamed up with Chris Jacobson, a chef who competed on season three of the Bravo TV show Top Chef, to create three new breakfast dishes for the chain's nearly 400 hotels. The upside of having a celebrity chef is obvious: Top Chef is a popular show, and Jacobson is a personable former pro athlete who will be an asset in the chain's Big Day ad campaign. The potential downside is that bringing in a celebrity chef might seem like just a gimmick, especially when he's designing just a few dishes rather than overhauling the entire menu. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. There's a waffle with blueberry thyme compote and granola with flax seed, lemony yogurt, and strawberries, and both dishes are good. The most interesting option is a poached egg served on shredded brisket and kale. (Vegetarians can replace the brisket with tofu.) It's a healthy take on hash, but more importantly (to me, anyway) it tastes good. Jim Cone, vice president of marketing for HGI, says that individual hotels may use premade brisket instead of making it themselves from scratch, but he also says he tasted Jacobson’s dish with premade brisket in Dallas recently and thought it was very similar to the dish Jacobson made himself. According to Cone, a couple of substitutions may be made by individual hotels (these depend on the ingredients they can get from local suppliers): Spinach may substituted for kale in the hash (Jacobson and Cone each pointed out that both kale and spinach are so-called super foods, very rich in nutrients), and plain yogurt may be substituted for the Greek yogurt Jacobson uses. The taste is similar, but Greek yogurt has a thicker, creamier consistency. ELSEWHERE HotelChatter talks more about the Top Chef