Photo Of The Day: I Heart NY

Photo of the day - I love NY
Happy Valentine’s Day! Can a place be your Valentine? This year, I’m in Istanbul, my second love, but my first will always be New York City. Still, I’ve never quite gotten the appeal of souvenir T-shirts that announce where you’ve been or what places you love most. There was a nice trend after September 11, 2001, of people wearing “I (Heart) NY More Than Ever,” which made sense and contributed to the solidarity of that time, and the trend has been revived in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. But otherwise, why do you need to declare your love for a place while you’re still in it? Flickr user em_photos2010 captured this family, who evidently couldn’t love New York more, as they all wear their hearts on their sleeves (so to speak). We’re not sure where they are wearing their shirts (other than outside Johnny Rockets, which are all over the world, including some cruise ships), and I’m guessing NYC is not their hometown, but maybe it’s a second love.

Add your favorite photos to the Gadling Flickr pool for another Photo of the Day. Remember, you can also now submit photos through Instagram; mention @GadlingTravel AND use hashtag #gadling when posting images.

[Photo credit: Flickr user em_photos2010]

Gadling t-shirts go on adventure travel around the world

wildlife, adventure, adventure travel, Gadling, ostrich
One of the best things about blogging for Gadling is seeing where my coworkers are off to next. Like me, they’re sure to pack that essential item for every adventure traveler’s kit: the Gadling t-shirt.

We’ve collected photos of Gadlingers flying their colors in some of the most remote parts of the world, and some places that are not so remote but equally rugged, such as the waiting area at JFK airport. Above we see Mike Barish in Rotorua, New Zealand , with his new girlfriend an ostrich who looks very jealous of Mike’s stylish choice in adventure apparel. Check out the gallery for a photo of him getting up close and personal with a lizard on the Tiwi Islands, Australia.

Mike says, “Something about my Gadling shirt seems to attract wildlife (sadly, that has also included mosquitoes). These two critters behaved themselves while I posed with them, but neither seemed particularly thrilled to share the spotlight with me.

Also in the gallery you’ll see Annie Scott on the Zambezi River, Zambia, and at JFK; Jeremy Kressmann at Kuang Si waterfall near Luang Prabang, Laos; Sean McLachlan in Somaliland and the Jesse James Farm, Missouri; and Tom Johansmeyer heading to the airport.

We’re all busy planning our trips for 2011, so if you have any place you’d like us to write up, drop us a line. Our dance cards aren’t full yet and we’re a pretty flexible bunch. At least that’s what the ostrich says about Mike.

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Authentic New York City souvenirs under $20

new york city souvenirsTrying to find authentic souvenirs amid all the mass-produced merchandise can be tough. Here are five affordable New York City souvenirs that make great gifts for foodies — and any traveler who wants to keep a taste of the Big Apple close at hand.

Shake Shack
Danny Meyer’s New York City-based burger empire makes adorable Small Fry onesies for infants and Shake Shack T-shirts for adults — the silhouettes are a nod to the hour-long waits at the original Madison Square Park location, which even has a Shack Cam webcam to help people figure out when to go.
Cost: $18 each
Where to Buy: At any of the five Shake Shack locations (Madison Square Park, Times Square, Upper West Side, Upper East Side, or Citi Field)

Gimme! Coffee
Ithaca, N.Y.-based Gimme! Coffee has a Manhattan location and an outpost in Brooklyn. Perfect for espresso lovers, this 3-ounce porcelain cup’s message is loud and clear.
Cost: $9.95 for a cup and matching saucer
Where to Buy: www.gimmecoffee.com

Broadway gear
You’ve already paid for expensive Broadway show tickets and hate the idea of paying $20 for a souvenir program. Luckily, you don’t have to go home with just the Playbill. Stop at one of the bars in the theater, where you can buy a drink and keep the reusable plastic cup. For example, a Coke in this Wicked commemorative cup costs $5, while a Wicked mug at the souvenir kiosk is $15 (and doesn’t include a drink).
Cost: $5 for soda in a souvenir cup
Where to Buy: Broadway theaters, such as Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre (222 W. 51st St.) or The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre (1515 Broadway)

Magnolia Bakery
Though the cupcake craze seems to ebb and flow, Magnolia Bakery (made famous by Sex and the City) offers a cute alternative to the regular I Heart New York T-shirts. Plus, the shirt will last long after the sugar rush subsides.
Cost: $20 for adults; $15 for teens, toddlers, and infants
Where to Buy: www.magnoliabakery.com

Jacques Torres
Warm up with this deliciously sinful Wicked Hot Chocolate — it’s spiked with cinnamon, allspice, sweet ancho chile peppers, and smoked ground chipotle chile peppers. If you can’t resist sampling the hot chocolate at the store, expect to pay $3.25 for a small 8-ounce cup and $4.25 for a large 12-ounce cup.
Cost: $18 per souvenir tin, which makes 8-10 cups each
Where to Buy: At any of the four NYC locations or www.mrchocolate.com

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What to do with old travel t-shirts – Souvenir tip

Recently my mother presented me with three garbage bags full of t-shirts that she had cleaned out of the attic. T-shirts have always been my favorite travel souvenir. Many of them were sized for an eight year old and most were dreadfully stained, but I could hardly get rid of them. They were my mementos!

Instead of tossing them, I cut out all of the images and logos and made a travel quilt. The throw is a wonderful conversation piece, and now I have an excellent way to display all of my travel experiences.

[Photo: Flickr user Zezebono]

Use a t-shirt as a pillow case – Hotel tip

You’ve already gotten the benefit of wearing your t-shirt. Now, make that shirt work just a little harder.

If you’re concerned about the cleanliness of your pillow, the inside of your shirt is probably cleaner (or at least more acceptable) to lie on than a suspect pillowcase. Simply turn the shirt inside-out, slide it over your pillow, and you’re good to go… to sleep.

[Photo: Flickr | bandita]