Archive for the ‘Tourism’ Category
Google Maps Beefs Up Its Live Transit Information With Updates For NYC, DC And Salt Lake City | TechCrunch
One of the things that’s frustrating about Apple’s Maps is that you don’t get the integrated transit information that’s the lifeblood of living in a place like New York City or San Francisco. Google Maps has always had that information integrated into the product, which is a huge help for people who live in those metropolitan areas.
The difficulty for Google is to keep up with all of the transit options, especially when it comes to live information. Today, it announced updates for NYC, D.C. and Salt Lake City, which will show you live departure times for seven lines on the NYC Subway system (MTA) and buses, subway in D.C. (Metrorail) and trams in Salt Lake City (UTA). There are more than 800 cities with transit information available in Google Maps, but these three cities are getting more attention, since they have the most riders.
Google Maps has been a massive success since launching on iOS last December, and transit information is a huge advantage.
BOSSES at Edinburgh Airport have been slammed for asking passengers to reveal their religion during security checks.Traveller Iain McGill told how he was asked to state his faith after being picked at random for a full body scan.Airport chiefs say the question is voluntary and is designed to monitor the types of people being chosen for the scans.But Iain says he was never told he didn’t have to answer, and a top expert in flight security was astonished by the airport’s approach.Philip Baum, editor-in-chief of Aviation Security International, said: “I am totally against racial profiling of any sort as it has never successfully identified a threat.“What happens if a passenger says they are Buddhist or Muslim or Christian? Would they all be treated differently to each other?
SOME YEARS AGO, I sat on a stone-cut bench in a dark chamber in the catacombs of Paris wearing a headlamp and muddied boots, and listened to the strange story of Félix Nadar, the first man to photograph the underground of Paris. In 1861, Nadar invented a battery-operated flash lamp, one of the first artificial lights in the history of photography, and promptly brought his camera into Paris’s sewers and catacombs. Over three months, Nadar—41, moustachioed, with unruly red hair—shot in the darkness beneath the streets. He used 18-minute exposures and, as models, wooden mannequins dressed in the garb of city workers. On the surface, the images of dim, claustrophobic passageways created a stir. Parisians had heard of the vast subterranean networks underlying their streets and Nadar brought this dark lattice to light. The pictures opened up Paris’s relationship to its subterranean spaces—catacombs and crypts, sewers and canals, reservoirs and utility tunnels—a connection which, over the years, has grown deeper and more peculiar than in any other city.
Beyond the walls of the 16th-century fortress, in northern Italy, the Dolomite range rose burnished and glowing in the late afternoon light. Within the walls, Reinhold Messner, the world’s greatest mountaineer, was building a mountain. At his energetıc direction, a backhoe lumbered back and forth in the dusty courtyard, heaving slabs of rock and depositing them in an artful pyramid that by the end of the exercise had formed a small mountain.
“This is Kailas, Holy Mountain,” Reinhold said, while the backhoe ﬁlled the air with golden dust. He was relishing the scene—the whole scene; not just the satisfaction of seeing Tibet’s most holy mountain assembled in miniature under his supervision but also, I suspected, the roar and rumble and chaos and dust and magniﬁcent improbability of the undertaking. The Kailas installation is only one of the many features, fanciful and inspired, that will ﬁll his latest Messner Mountain Museum, this one dedicated to the theme of “When Men Meet Mountains.”
Reinhold Messner is well into what he has designated Stage Six of his already remarkable life, without, it would seem, a backward glance for Stage One, when he was one of the world’s elite rock climbers, or Stage Two, when he was unquestionably the world’s greatest high-altitude mountaineer. Today, at 62, he is instantly recognizable from the multitude of publicity photographs taken over the past three decades—lean and ﬁt and sporting an even longer mane of waving hair, now threaded with silver, than he did when younger. His features tend to alternate between two characteristic expressions: The ﬁrst, a look of ﬁerce intensity, which, combined with beetling eyebrows and flowing beard and hair, give him an air of Zeus-like authority. It was with this expression that he moved his mountain. The second is his trademark smile—a reflexive baring of his very white, even teeth behind his beard—which gleams on friend and foe without distinction, like the smile of a crocodile. It was the crocodile smile he was baring now, as he envisioned the climactic moment of opening night of the Messner museum: A violent explosion, simulating a volcanic eruption, was to rend the night from inside the castle walls. “There should be a lot of flames and smoke,” he said, again with relish. “It should be at night so that the whole of Bolzano can see.” He paused to savor the image of a ﬁreworks blast that would appear to viewers as a catastrophic blowup. “Then my friends will say, ‘It is a pity,’ and my enemies will say, ‘Good, ﬁnally, at last!’”
Reshaped and renamed by generations of developers and gentrifiers, the borders of New York City’s neighborhoods are often hazy at best. Yesterday’s Chinatown is today’s east TriBeCa; a resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant may, after some real estate alchemy, morph into a citizen of Clinton Hill.
These distinctions, with status, self-identity and resale values at stake, can often lead to heated disputes, so much so that a state assemblyman, Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn, introduced a bill, the Neighborhood Integrity Act, in 2011 to tamp down the tension. (The bill failed.) And City Hall offers little help: the city has never codified neighborhood boundaries, leaving profit-hungry brokers and civic activists to fight it out.
But now, thanks to the democratizing force of the Internet, dozens of amateur cartographers are reshaping these lines themselves, taking advantage of malleable Web sites — including Google Maps and Wikipedia — to provide their own definitions for where, for instance, Park Slope ends and Gowanus begins.
In a survey to find tourists’ most iconic London photographs, the red bus came out on top followed by The Queen and red telephone boxes.
Of course, the most iconic red bus of all is the Routemaster, which was introduced in 1956 and was in continuous service until 2005.
Nearly 3,000 of the original model were built, outlasting several replacement types.
A new vehicle, dubbed the Boris Bus, has taken its inspiration from the Routemaster, bringing back the hop-on-hop-off style. The first one went into service earlier this year.
A Pavarotti lookalike is entertaining train passengers by breaking into song after getting a job as a station guard.
Colin Miller travelled the world as the opera singer’s double after Nessun Dorma became the anthem of the Italia 90 World Cup.
But work dried up after the singer died in 2007 and he has landed a job with Virgin Trains at Lichfield Trent Valley station in Staffordshire.
The former greengrocer, known as ‘Pav’ to colleagues, now sings impromptu choruses of Nessun Dorma to soothe commuters held up by delays.
Some queue up to have their picture taken with the station guard – and others hop off to take a snap before their train leaves.
Mr Miller, 61, said: “I can’t sing like Pavarotti – but I give it a good go.
“All the punters love it, they know the railways don’t always run on time but people know I will be out there to keep them smiling.”
London is home to some of the most splendid and iconic streets in the world. It is also home to streets with some very rude sounding names.
Strolling through a peaceful Swiss village — charming pastoral greens studded with rustic farmhouses between an alp and a lake — my friend walked with me to the door of a nondescript barn. He said, “Stand here,” and slid open the door to reveal a solitary mighty gun — pointing right at me. Crossing a field, kicking a stray soccer ball back to a group of happy grade-schoolers, we came to another barn. This time I noticed the “wooden” door was actually metal with a clever paint job. Inside was a military canteen, now selling snacks to civilians, and a steel ladder leading down into a military-gray world that felt like a vast submarine. A network of passages, just big enough for heavily armed soldiers to race down single file, led to a series of gun barns and subterranean command rooms with charts locating other installations in the area.
If you need to get away from it all this holiday season, take your stressed-out self to a place where life is a bit less complicated. Real Simple Magazine’s managing editor, Kristin van Ogtrop, discusses with Sarah Sekula for USA TODAY some spots in which to decompress.
Block Island, R.I.
Block Island can be defined by what it lacks: There are no stoplights, no McDonald’s, no Holiday Inns. Instead, the town of fewer than 1,000 year-round residents “is a landscape of freshwater ponds, rolling green hills and dramatic 250-foot bluffs,” van Ogtrop says. In winter, Block Island becomes an artists’ community. 800-383-2474; blockislandinfo.com
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
It’s not uncommon at Shaker Village to see a pair of oxen laboring in the field or a blacksmith in period clothing shoeing a horse. It’s a delightful step back in time and “a testament to the simplicity of the Shaker lifestyle,” van Ogtrop says. “Plank-and-stone fences lace together nearly 3,000 lush bluegrass acres where a community of Shakers once lived, worked and worshiped.” 800-734-5611; shakervillageky.org