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Big Apple Unpeeled 8th October - 8th November 2010

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Birmingham Post feature - Taking a virtual trip to the Big Apple

Did you get the Birmingham Post today? You did? Great! Turn to page 24 ;)

Thank you to the Birmingham Post for the feature in the news paper and on the website too!

I hope you will keep an eye on the blog and subscribe to the RSS feed, and I also hope you will join me and become my virtual travelling companion throughout my month long stay in NYC. The trip won't be the same with out you!

What would you like to see of New York City and it's surrounding areas? I'll be asking you to get involved and make suggestions, so watch this space!

By my reckoning this time next week I will have stepped off the plane and will be making my way into the heart of Manhattan.

I've been keeping up quite an energetic pace this year and especially so since booking my flights to the Big Apple 9 weeks ago. Because of the nature of my trip and also because I am hosting a 4am Project event over there, I have given myself plenty to do, and with hindsight I could have been doing with nine months of planning instead of nine weeks!

However, a strange calm has come over me today. I think it's called being relaxed! I still have lots to do, but I have broken the back of my to-do lists and am feeling quite philosophical about it now. I'm as prepared as I'm going to be. Now it's just a matter of getting there and getting the ball rolling state-side.

Let the adventure begin (asap!)

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Monday, 27 September 2010

As featured in the Birmingham Mail!

The Big Apple Unpeeled blog is now featured on the Birmingham Mail's website! On the Lifestyle blogs page specifically. Take a lookie!

Though the cleverness of feeds, whenever I update this blog, the Birmingham Mail page will update with the latest post too. I've worked the with Birmingham Mail on something similiar for their Your Communities page for my hyperlocal blog.

I have worked with the Birmingham Mail and the Birmingham Post serveral times over the years and first cut my teeth as a photographer with them during 6 months work experience as a photojounalist, and it's great to be teamed up with them again!

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These feet ain't made for walking......(New York City)

I have realised the biggest challenge I will face during my stay New York City.

Keeping my tender feet blister free!

Now for a woman who owns a lot of shoes, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. They lure me in with their good looks, their shiny newness and their tempting colours. I bring them home and I cherish them. I keep them in colour and style co-ordinated box. I give them a really good home. But the sad thing is....they just don't love me back! *sniff*

Once placed upon my feet these beautiful foot adornments turn into creatures of torture. My delicate feet protest and the result is blisters. It doesn't matter the style or make (I've enough bought Clarkes!)

Of all the shoes I own, I have 2 or three pairs that I can safely wear without any repercussions, so naturally I am predicting a problem when I hit the streets of New York City!

I want to do a LOT of walking whilst there, to soak in the atmosphere, to see everything the city has to offer and to meet people and there is no way I'm going to let my shoes slow me down! It's a city that needs to be seen on foot.

I'm going prepared. Armed with a pharmacy sized supply of plasters and tape, my feet will be protected and blister free whilst I hop, skip and jump around the streets of Manhattan ;)

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Wednesday, 15 September 2010

My Byte Sized New York Travel Guide Books

Only 22 days until I set forth to Manhattan, and I am devouring many a New York guide book. I am going to be stepping off the tourist trail during my stay, but some of these books highlight some gems that I just don't want to miss!

However, in my attempt to travel light (ahem) to NYC I don't want to be laden down with heavy books that will push my airline weight restrictions over the limit, so I've struck upon a genius idea!

Using the tools of my trade, my camera and to some degree my iPhone, I'm taking photos of the relevant pages of information that I don't want to forget!

And I'm shrinking all 8 books into a tiny portable plug-in guide.

I'm also storing some essential guide tips on my iPhone which will be very handy when I am out and about on the streets on Manhattan.

I can't fail to forget about anything whilst in the Big Apple now :)

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Thursday, 9 September 2010

iphone Apps For New York City - Apptastic!

I'm going a teeny bit iPhone app crazy in the build up to my NYC trip.

I've selected these apps based on those that will help be get around the city (by bus, subway or on foot), things to do, and travel tips.

If my memory serves me right, these are all free apps too!

So, taking it from the top, left to right, I bring you...... The Big Apple Unpeeled's Guide To New York City iPhone Apps! Snappy eh? ;)

Wifi Finder from JWire

I'm definitely going to want to keep in touch on the go. I want to be able to share photos, snippets and audio as I hit the streets. Now, there is no shortage of Wifi spot around New York City and I think this app will come in handy mainly as it will tell me where the FREE public wifi spots are.

I'm not 100% sure yet on how shops/bars/cafe's wifi works, but I am imaging a purchase is in order to access it, and whilst that might be suitable for some occasions, when I actually want a drink or a snack, I don't want to be slowed down by making an obligatory purchase before I can get online.

This is where the free public wifi will be appreciated. Hopefully it will be fast, and enable me to tweet/blog/audioboo on the move.

NYC Subway Map by MXdata

I already think this is going to be my go-to subway map. It's just go everything I want.

Not being familiar with the New York subway, I'm going to need a hand at getting around, at least at first.

This app is going to make sure I get where I want to with minimum fuss.

This is the part I am most excited about - a subway route planner! It advises on how long a journey will take, how far, what changes at stations are needed and it's all nicely colour coded. How could I go wrong?!

There's an up to date service status of each subway route, so if there is work being done on a subway line, I know to avoid it.

And, of course, a subway map. I'm so pleased with this find!

KICKMap Lite from

"Kickmap is designed with clarity and ease of use to encourage more people to ride the city's complex subway system."

It is what it says it is. A subway map. It doesn't have the interactive features of NYC Subway Map (above) or the live track updates. But it is a clear map and easy to read. I'd say this is of more use to those with more experience of using the subway and just need a quick map reference to put them on the right road (or subway train!).

NYC Subway Map by Gotham Wave Games

Another clear map, like above. The handy thing about this app is once you have downloaded it, it is there on your phone and it doesn't need internet connection to work. Another back up, just in case! Hey, you can never have too many back ups :)

Hopstop by

This covers all options for getting around! Not just in New York City, but other major cities in the US.

Just tell this app where you are, and where you want to go! Then decided how you want to travel: Subway, Train, Bus, Walking, Taxi..... And it's got a map too. There is no way I'm going to get lost in NYC now!

Time Out New York by Time Out

So, now I know I'm not going to get lost, I can start getting to places and do interesting things!

When you open the app, it automatically updates it's listings.

The first page you are taken to will give you a list of all the neighbourhoods in NYC. Take your pick!

What I particularly like is the amount of choice, and that the selection is nicely categorised under Arts, Music/Nightlife, Eat, Drink, Free&Cheap. It's gotta cover everyones taste and wallet.
The map is interactive, and once you have selected what you want to do, it will show you exactly where you need to go and what's on nearby too.
You can also plan in advance by looking up a date in the future.

For my trip it's going to be the arts and culture sections and the regional news that I'll be dipping into the most. Useful to have. I guess I'll see how much use out of it I'll get once I am over in New York.

What I like about this app is the Only In New York section. I'm hoping it will offer something a little unusual for me to do see or do. I really don't want to be stuck on the tourist trail when I am out there, so perhaps this app will offer good alternatives.
It's worth noting this also has a web based version too.

What doesn't this app give you?! I love it! It's got all the bases covered, from accommodation to banks, from wifi to bars and films, restrooms and arts......! I can't wait to use this app and I know it's going to be very useful.
My City Way also cover other cities such as LA, San Francisco, Boston and Las Vegas.

Did you know that the Empire State Building lights up in different colours and that those colours relate to a specific event or occasion? Well, in case I'm curious, this little app will tell me what the current lights mean.

Hmm, not 100% sure about how much use I'm going to get out of this one, but I'll keep it on standby just in case.

New York Now pulls in it's data from RSS feeds, which is fine and dandy, but it just hasn't got the choice available compared to the other apps I've listed.

More things to do, should I ever exhaust what's on offer on the other apps!

Easy to use. Nicely sectioned, and uses a map to tell you what's on nearby as well.

You can also save your favourites to go back to. Guidepal cover so many cities, I can't list them all here, but you can check them out on their website.

Photography New York City - Digital Field Guide by Wiley Publishing Inc.

This app not only tells you where to go to get shots of all the major landmarks in New York City, but it also tells you how to take those shots.

It's takes you through selecting a landmark to photograph, to showing you where it is, and it holds your hand whilst you take your shot.

I've selected Brooklyn Bridge as an example. As you can see below, you can get the settings to change to suit the time of day you are shooting.
I think this app would be good if you have a limited time in the city and want to capture all the landmarks. Also, it's a great assistant if you are not familiar with your camera settings and don't know your iso from you f.stop.

It's even got a Sun and Moon calculator so you can find out the sunrise and moorise times of your location. It calculates the depth of field and gie you an exposure calculator as well as giving the the option to create HDR photographs.
At 3 miles in length Central Park is a pretty big place.

This app provides a very simple map with landmarks mapped out.

I think this will be useful for getting my bearings. It also shows you rest rooms and restaurants too.

An all round travel site with tons of user reviews. I'm not sure how much I'll use this, but it might be useful on occasions.

So! There you have it! Maybe you'll find a few apps on here that will be useful for you New York City stay.

As you can see, I've still got room for one more app on this page and it's screaming out to be filled. What app would you suggest for NYC? :)

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