Blue Whale Model, Hall of Ocean Life (Image Courtesy of AMNH)
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this past week that the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) will be a New York City COVID-19 vaccination site beginning immediately. You can now get yourself vaccinated under the monumental Blue Whale model located in the Museum’s iconic Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Just think, you will be the envy of your Instagram feed!
All eligible New York City residents can now register for an appointment at vaccinefinder.nyc.gov and there are set-aside appointments for groups including New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents and staff and members of District Council 37 (DC37).
The Museum is honored to be part of this historic and lifesaving effort, and grateful to the Milstein family for their continuing support. The staff of the AMNH hope to see you soon under the Blue Whale, now sporting a post-vaccination bandage on her fin!
Cherry Tree Blossoms in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery (All Photos By Gail)
Today, April 22nd, is Earth Day, so I wanted to celebrate something from the earth that adds value to my life each time I leave my house. For me right now, that means spring flowers. We didn’t get to fully enjoy the unique beauty of spring in 2020, due to the pandemic lockdown, but now many parks and botanical gardens are reopened and in full bloom. On the weekends especially, I try to spend as much time outside as possible, and flowers are my favorite subject to photograph. Please enjoy this carefully-curated selection of ten beautiful flowers taken during my recent adventures in and around the NYC area.
As soon as weather turns from winter to spring, you are going to see a full spectrum of jewel-hued tulips pop up all over NYC. These guys were hanging out in a public planter in the Flatiron District.
This rose bush grows in a planter bed out front of my apartment building, and it somehow manages to stay alive nearly all year long. This photo was taken in early December of 2017, and I can’t believe I got such a great shot of these tiny Pink Blossoms, and one still-tight bud, covered in a light snowfall. The roses are actually taking a break right now as there’s at least two feet of accumulated snow in the bed, but this photo is a reminder that they’ll be back in the spring.
We all miss traveling and hope that by the summer, with active vaccination, we’ll be able to take at least some shorter trips to select destinations. But even today, some people need to take flights for work or drive to visit relatives they care for. Whether you’re planning your vacation, or just want to feel safer on a business trip, there are a few precautions you can take in these difficult times.
Here’s how to travel during a pandemic.
The Basic Rules
When traveling, make sure you learn the destination’s safety requirements, but even if the place, e.g., doesn’t call for wearing a mask at all times, you might want to use common sense and put one on when in busy spots.
Maintaining social distance will remain a good idea for some time even with the pandemic situation getting better, so keep 6 feet apart when possible.
The same goes for avoiding sick people, washing and sanitizing hands, not touching your face, and covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
When choosing a hotel or other accommodation, make sure you check their website or call ahead to learn about their safety protocols.
Things to look for are wearing masks and using gloves for staff, advanced cleaning procedures, social distancing, set protocols if someone gets sick, contactless check-in and payment, and hand sanitizer available at all places. It’s also essential to have enough time between guests in the room to get it cleaned and aired properly.
It will not hurt if you disinfect the doorknobs, countertops, faucets, and other high-touch surfaces when you arrive yourself. Make sure you pack alcohol sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, gloves, and masks.
Also, pack enough changes of clothes to avoid bringing in germs from outside. High-quality v-neck shirts, like the ones from Fresh Clean Tees, will be perfect for any trip as they come in multiple colors and go with everything.
Flying can feel a little scary. Even if summer sees things getting much better, it’s smart to take extra precautions. Choose the airlines that are clear about their safety protocols and implement them throughout the entire process from check-in, boarding to the flight itself.
Wear a mask at all times and have a few of them to switch if your flight is longer. Minimize the interaction with other passengers, use hand sanitizers and bring your own food on the plane.
If you’re traveling by car, you might feel safer, and it’s highly recommended if there’s an option to do so. Depending on your location, you might need to be more or less vigilant about minimizing your stops and activities. However, pack all the proper supplies and some food for the road, so you don’t have to stop to eat too often.
If you choose to eat on the road, opt for restaurants that offer a drive-thru, curbside service, or have outdoor seating. We also recommend stocking up on water if you’re driving to remote locations and suggests investing in good quality water cans instead of plastic bottles.
Plan, Plan, Plan
You probably have your usual routines during holidays, but currently, you might need to reconsider some of them. Skip the indoor theme parks, big crowded squares, shops, bars, and clubs. Focus on outdoor activities, nature parks, drive-in movie theaters, outdoor dining, picnicking, and entertainment venues you know have taken all the needed safety measures.
There might be an app available in your destination that updates on the COVID-19 situation, so you can check which areas are safe and which to avoid.
We all want to return to making plans and enjoying our lives, but we still need to be flexible and cancel certain activities if needed. If you don’t feel comfortable, or you learn about health risks in certain destinations, cancel those plans and opt for another activity. Even in cases where you already paid for, e.g., a tour, you should still cancel if you don’t feel safe.
Lastly, if you or your family member feels unwell, just stay home. Don’t forget to check the recommendations of the U.S. CDC before traveling.
This is one of my favorite photos taken during an August visit to the New York Botanical Garden shortly after it reopened post-lockdown. 2020 was a hard year, but I like to think that it made me a stronger, more resourceful, more appreciative and more compassionate individual. I thank you for your readership and support of the blog this year, and I hope that you have at least a few precious memories of 2020 as we welcome and look forward to 2021, where things can only get better. Cheers!
In a year that, few will argue, has been unreasonably difficult for almost everyone, the holiday season offers us many opportunities to open our hearts, connect with others, and participate in something greater than ourselves. With that in mind, Wreaths Across America (WAA), a national non-profit organization that honors our military with a mission is to ‘Remember, Honor, and Teach,’ will continue this December with the placement of sponsored veterans’ wreaths at 2500 participating locations across America, most notably at Arlington National Cemetery. A highly-anticipated part of this annual event is the weeklong, miles-long parade of tractor trailers, wrapped vehicles carrying veterans and Gold Star Families, law enforcement and motorcycle riders, leading the escort of wreaths to Arlington for placement.
This year’s annual escort of wreaths will have a different look and feel due to the necessary changes being made throughout the country for health and safety. The physical journey – which will include one tractor trailer load of wreaths hauled by Gully Transportation professional driver JD Walker, who is also a Gold Star Father and NAVY Veteran, 11 wrapped CHEVY vehicles carrying Gold Star Families, and nine police cruisers – will take place from Tuesday, December 15th through National Wreaths Across America Day, Saturday, December 19th.
Continue reading you find out how you can sponsor a wreath for just $15, and other ways to share and participate in the event!
Say you were creating a miniature holiday diorama, and you were in need of something to represent a Pink Christmas Tree. Wouldn’t this flower, which is a variety of Cockscomb, be just the thing? These little pink blooms have been spotted in the public flower beds around First Avenue and 16th Street during the transition into early fall, although the bright pink color fades as they come to the end of their lifecycle.