WallFacer Project

Today the second incarnation of the Coney Walls Project at Brooklyn’s celebrated Coney Island boardwalk is officially opening for the summer season. The popular outdoor exhibition features murals by some of the world’s most famous street artists. The show, which is curated by Joseph Sitt and Jeffrey Deitch, has colorful works by the likes of Ron English, Daze, London Police, D*Face, RETNA, Miss van, Crash, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and many more. The project is open daily between noon and 10PM, and can be found by the renowned Nathan’s restaurant.


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Into The Unknown

Along with the usual summer blockbuster sci-fi flicks, this year we can immerse ourselves in the entire historical genre. London’s Barbican Centre is presenting Into The Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction, a huge exhibition, which will take over the entire Brutalist building, exploring sci-fi through literature, film, television, art, comics, design, and speculative thinking.

The show, running from June 3 through September 1, 2017, incorporates original manuscripts, film props and models, vintage sci-fi art work, film screenings, musical performances, rare books and comics, and much more.

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Stress-Free Travel (not)

Whether you’re traveling for fun or work, travel is never stress-free. This hilarious graphic from the British travel website Just The Flight illustrates just how frustrating travel can be.

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American Writers Museum Opens

On May 16th, the long-awaited American Writers Museum will open in the heart of Chicago’s tourist district. Located at 108 North Michigan Avenue, not far from the world famous Art Institute and Millennium Park, the museum features multimedia installations, permanent and special exhibitions, a children’s literature gallery, a “word waterfall”, historic books, and author readings.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, with tickets ranging from $12 for adults to free admission for children under 12.

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Goodbye, Columbus

My experience of Christopher Columbus’ hometown of Genoa, Italy is tainted by the memories of a cold, windy and rainy autumn day and a night spent in a drafty, unheated pensione. I hopped a train the next morning and crossed the Alps into Switzerland, where the first major snowfall of the season erased all thoughts of dreary Genoa. But seeing this wonderful short film titled Genoa—More Than This by Russian cinematographer and filmmaker Alex Soloviev has me reconsidering the ancient port city.

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Travel Periodically

In 2014 Airbnb tried to launch a print travel magazine aimed primarily at their rental hosts, but only one issue of Pineapple ever made it to press. Now everyone’s favorite accommodation platform is partnering with Hearst Publishing to produce a new travel periodical.

Airbnbmag is scheduled to hit the newsstands on May 23rd. The magazine is once again targeted at Airbnb hosts, but this time the company wants to also attract Airbnb guests and travelers in general. With Airbnb rentals in 65,000 cities in 191 countries, it’s hard to see how they can fail.

The premiere issue, which will be priced at $3.99 US, will spotlight Cuba, Australia, Bali, London, Seattle, and Austin, Texas. Each issue will have four sections: “The Local” which offers advice on restaurants, shopping, and attractions from a resident’s perspective; “Stay” which will feature Airbnb rentals; “Roam” covering travel destinations; and “Belong” which aims to encourage more authentic and culturally sensitive travel.

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Sweet Travels

All of my life I have suffered from what we in the U.S. call a “sweet tooth”. This is not a uniquely North American dental disorder—although it can lead to one. It is simply the ongoing craving for candy and other sweets. When I travel, I am compelled to sample as much of the local candy specialties as possible without succumbing to utter gluttony or thoroughly embarrassing myself. On my return trip home, it’s not unusual to find at least a kilo of chocolate bars and assorted candies in my backpack. So I was chuffed to hear about an Icelandic travel writer who has set up a candy-exchange to help foreigners access their favorite local treats.

Lilja Katrín Gunnardóttir, who edits the travel website Must See Icelandwill facilitate the exchange of Icelandic candy for some of your local specialty sweets. She hatched the notion for this brilliant project after receiving a request from a Boston resident who couldn’t find his family’s favorite Apollo brand licorice in the U.S.. After exchanging emails, they decided on a candy swap.

If like me, you have a craving for some lakkris, or better yet for some mindbending Icelandic licorice/chocolate combo candies, contact Lilja here to do a deal. Be prepared to negotiate for specific candy items, amounts, and shipping costs.

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See Venice And Die (or take a number)

I feel very lucky to have visited Venice before the advent of cruise ships and budget airlines. During my earliest trips to La Serenissima, it was possible to enjoy the city without hoards of cruise ship passengers and daytrippers. In fact, most evenings the streets and canals were peaceful and uncrowded. It was even possible to eat at restaurants without reservations.

These days, the city, with a population numbering around 54,000, is flooded by nearly 60,000 visitors each day. That’s 20 million plus tourists per year. As a result of the intolerable growth in tourism, the city council has just passed measures designed to protect Venice from unsustainable tourism and the erosion of the city’s character. They have placed a cap on the licensing of new tourist accommodations, banned new fast food restaurants and take away shops, and created a system to track tourist numbers at specific sites in real time. Tourism officials have also been ordered to create new maps and brochures directing visitors to less crowded areas of the city. Municipal officials have suggested that they may begin charging for access to areas such as St. Mark’s Square and may begin gating sections of Venice and bridges to control the numbers of tourists visiting at a given time.

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Park It

Inveterate map geeks will find themselves loosing hours on this new website created by an anonymous National Park Service ranger. Our fellow map lover has collected more than 1600 high resolution maps of U.S. national parks, recreation areas, and monuments, along with related links to more maps and visitor information. I’ve already spent an evening down this rabbit hole exploring maps of parks that I’ve visited and aspirational destinations. All of the maps on the site National Parks Maps are free to download and print.

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I’m usually drawn to street art that is amusing, snarky, or lyrical, but I was blown away by Cuban artist Erik Ravelo’s series “Unforgivable”. These heartbreaking images use street art to challenge  the world’s complacency, and the inaction of our so-called leaders, in the face of the greatest refugee crisis of this century.

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