New York City Expected to be Top Thanksgiving Destination

Thanksgiving Day Parade
Associated Press

Whether it’s for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, to visit relatives or just to do a little drinking, New York City is expected to be the top U.S. travel destination this Thanksgiving, according to TripAdvisor. If you’re planning on being part of that in-crowd, here are some dining and entertainment options for you.

And if you’re heading home to New York City, here are new places for you to check out.

Thanksgiving Dinner

That same TripAdvisor report said that 16 percent of Americans will eat at a restaurant on Thanksgiving, largely to avoid cooking. The Refinery Hotel’s Refinery Rooftop $25 continental breakfast comes paired with a view of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. At The Maritime Hotel’s La Bottega, chef Lucia Piscopo is putting an Italian spin on Thanksgiving dinner with dishes like sautéed Tuscan black kale and offers a vegetable lasagna.

Entertainment

Looking to get away from the relatives for a spell (or at least get everyone out of the house)? The New York Pass can get you into 80 attractions. It comes in one- ($85), two- ($130), three- ($160) or seven-day ($210) increments. If the options are overwhelming, make use of one of its itineraries, which are based on neighborhood or theme. The New York Pass also includes fast-track entry to 15 marquee sites.

Airport Dining

Not only are U.S. airports are continuing to increase their health dining options, they’re getting tastier too. Restaurants by OTG in Delta’s gates in LaGuardia Airport (concourses C and D) feature collaborations with famed New York chefs Michael White (Cotto), Andrew Carmellini (Victory Grill) and Anne Burrell (Vagabond Burger Bar). And if you’re traveling with kids, the iPads on every table should keep them occupied, at least until boarding time. Then, you might want to follow these tips for flying with kids.

And this May, Delta unveiled a revamped terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which features Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack and Blue Smoke on the Road. Terminal 2’s dining options are undergoing a similar overhaul. While renovations aren’t slated to be finished until next summer, some temporary eateries opened in September.

Iconic Airports: Where Are They Now?

Original LAX airport design
Original LAX plan, courtesy LA World Airports Flight Path Learning Center

Yesterday, I went out to JFK Airport with no flight to catch and no visitors to greet. It was the annual Open House New York event, where private buildings and homes all over the city open to the public for a few hours, and it was a last chance to see the iconic TWA Flight Center before it is turned into a hotel. (You can see our photos from last year here.)

Native New Yorkers, retired flight attendants, tourists and architecture enthusiasts flooded the airy terminal, closed since TWA ceased operations in 2001, taking photos and sharing stories about the good old days of air travel. The mid-20th century was the high point in airport design; its airy and futuristic buildings can be appreciated by any modern day traveler who has ever had a layover at La Guardia.

We looked at some of the most iconic airport architecture in the U.S. and their current status. Is your favorite still flying?

%Slideshow-100872%DCA Terminal A – Washington D.C.’s first airport opened in 1941, and was considered to be the most modern in airport design at the time. In addition to its status as historic landmark and aviation icon, it’s also an archaeological site: the airport was built on a former colonial plantation and the birthplace of George Washington’s granddaughter.

Status: The original terminal was restored to its original look in 2004 and 2008, with the interior currently undergoing a massive renovation. You can still see many parts of the original lobby and building as it looked when President Roosevelt dedicated it. Check out some vintage postcards of the airport from the Boston Public Library.

IAD Main Terminal – One of Swedish architect Eero Saarinen’s airport designs, Dulles was designed in 1958 and dedicated in 1962, the same year the TWA terminal opened. The architect called the building and control tower “the best thing that I have done,” and inspired the design of Taiwan’s international airport. The “mobile lounges” were one of the most innovative concepts, carrying passengers in relative luxury from the terminal right to the plane

Status: Dulles wasn’t a popular airport from the beginning, as it didn’t allow jumbo jets until 1970 and the distance from the city is still off-putting, but it’s now one of the busiest in the country and is continuing to expand. The mobile lounges are still around, but the new Aero Train is more commonly used.

JFK Pan Am Worldport - The 1960 “flying saucer” was designed to bring the airplane to the passenger, sheltering the planes under the overhang for all-weather boarding. It was opened for Pan Am and renamed the Worldport in 1971 when it was expanded to accommodate the Boeing 747, and was the biggest passenger terminal in the world for several years. After Pan Am went bankrupt in the ’90s, Delta acquired the terminal and used it for many long-haul flights.

Status: Although it is on the list of the most endangered historic buildings and beloved by many airline and architecture enthusiasts, it looks like the Worldport is permanently grounded. While Delta just completed a major renovation of their other terminal at JFK, they need the room for airplane parking, and the flying saucer is already beginning to be demolished.

LAX Theme building – The distinctive Theme building is a perfect example of 1960s futuristic architecture, resembling something out of the Jetsons and actually inspiring the cartoon’s design. Part of the original ambitious plans for the airport was to connect terminal buildings with a giant glass dome, with the Theme Building serving as the main terminal, as in the picture above. One of the most famous buildings in the world, it’s photographed more than the Eiffel Tower.

Status: The Theme building has been a restaurant since 1997, and you can visit Encounter for a meal even if you aren’t flying. The free observation deck is open on weekends only if you just want to watch the planes taking off.

LGA Marine Air Terminal – For a passenger who arrives at one of La Guardia’s many dim and low-ceilinged gates, it’s hard to imagine that an Art Deco beauty is part of the same airport. Opened in 1940 and funded by the post-depression Works Progress Administration, the Marine Air Terminal originally served the glamorous Clipper planes, carrying 72 passengers on long transoceanic flights with sleeping berths and a high-end restaurant. The second World War made such flying boats obsolete, and the terminal sat unused for several decades.

Status: It’s now the main hub for Delta’s shuttle service to Boston, Chicago and Washington, even after a massive renovation to Delta’s other terminal at LGA. While it might have less modern facilities, it’s the only terminal to feature an original mural dedicated to flight (with a secret message).

LGB Main Terminal – The first trans-continental flight landed at Long Beach in 1911, but the Streamline Moderne terminal wasn’t built for another 30 years. The modernist building was considered avant garde at the time, but now feels classic and a bit romantic among airports, the kind of place you can imagine passengers boarding with hat boxes and cat eye sunglasses. Much smaller than nearby LAX, JetBlue made it a west coast hub in 2001 and put the California airport back on the map.

Status: Last year, LGB was fully modernized to make it more green and “resort-like,” with outdoor spaces outfitted with fire pits and cabanas. The renovation uncovered more of the mosaic tile art by WPA artist Grace Clements, then 28 years old, and covered by carpet for 70 years.

Homeless Tour Guides Offer Visitors New Perspective In Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain
kygp, Flickr

Students, the elderly, history buffs and tour operators — these are the kinds of people who typically guide visitors on sightseeing expeditions around their city. But Barcelona is proving tour guides really do come from all walks of life, thanks to a new program that puts homeless people in charge of leading tourists.

The Spanish city says it’s aiming to improve the lives of the unemployed and give tourists a unique perspective on the city by offering some of Barcelona’s 3,000 homeless people the chance to guide travelers on the Hidden City Tours walk. The tour will provide visitors with a historic look at the city and hopes to open their eyes to the “social reality” of the region.The concept was inspired by a similar program employing homeless guides in Britain. The tours will begin in mid-October and be available in English and Spanish.

However, it’s not just in Europe where you’ll find travel industry workers who are homeless. The New York Times revealed today that many of the Big Apple’s homeless shelter residents hold down several jobs, including positions as security guards at JFK Airport.

Would You Play A Game Of ‘Departure Roulette’?

Diane Bondareff/Invision for Heineken

After arriving at the airport, would you be willing to drop your travel plans to head somewhere else? Heineken is daring travelers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to do just that.

At the push of a button, travelers could be whisked away to Bali instead of Branson. Sure, it’s just an advertising ploy to promote Heineken Dropped, a YouTube series that has the beer company sending travelers to random destinations, but it got us thinking about the pros and cons of spontaneous travel. It’d be fun to discover somewhere unexpected — like the man above, who is being sent to the island of Cyprus instead of going on a six-week vacation with his grandparents to Vienna, Austria — but what if you packed completely wrong for the trip?

If you want to read more stories about spontaneous travel, AFAR magazine’s Spin the Globe feature sends writers to randomly chosen destinations. Here’s some recent features from Gadling contributors Don George and David Farley.

[via Adweek.com]

Solar Airplane Completes Cross-Country Flight

solar airplane
Solar Impulse |Merz| Rezo.ch

If you have been following along on the journey of Solar Impulse, the solar airplane that was set to fly across the United States, we have good news: the journey is over after a successful flight from Washington to New York on Saturday.

The two-month, ground-breaking flight started in California and took 14,000 viewers along for the ride in streaming video. The “Clean Generation” initiative flight of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg successfully landed at New York John F. Kennedy International Airport at 11:09 p.m. EDT. Flying across the United States, Solar Impulse was powered only by energy that came from 12,000 solar cells installed on its wings and horizontal stabilizer.Making aviation history, the team of Solar Impulse has come a long way but has even further to go. In 2015, they plan on flying around the world, totally on solar power of course.

The Solar Impulse team will be available to the public at JFK International Airport on Saturday July 13 from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday July 14 from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.