Category Archives: New York State

The Red British Phone Booth (That’s Not Really A Phone Booth)

We Found Another One

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We seem to have a fascination with phone booths–maybe because they’re disappearing from the landscape. We found one in the middle of rural Oregon last summer, and some months later, we stumbled upon this one, which is styled after the famous red phone booth icons found in London. It’s conveniently located in downtown Watkins Glen, NY right in from of the Wildflower Cafe.

But there’s a caveat: it’s not actually a phone booth because there’s no phone in it. It’s a tourist kiosk with brochures, but don’t let that stop you taking a picture with it 🙂

It’s A Wonderful Life Comes to Life

Bedford Falls is Alive and Well in Upstate New York

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How can we forget George Bailey running down the streets of his hometown, screaming Merry Christmas to everyone as he finally discovers his true purpose in life? Where did this miracle happen? Why, Bedford Falls, of course.

Sadly, Bedford Falls is a work of fiction. However, according to legend, it was inspired by a real life town in Upstate New York. Before the film was made, Director Frank Capra was a familiar visitor to Seneca Falls, NY. Long known for its contribution to the Women’s Rights Movement, Seneca Falls is believed to be the inspiration for the fictional town of Bedford Falls. The names are similar, anyway, although we did run into George Bailey himself. See video below:

Bedford Falls, Seneca Falls…OK there’s that. But the layout of each town is nearly identical, the politics of the time eerily similar. And then there’s the bridge. The famous bridge that George Bailey almost jumped off and into the river below. Seneca Falls has one of those, too.

The famous bridge

 There will always be skeptics, but Seneca Falls, NY long ago claimed the title of inspiration for Mr. Capra’s mythical town, going so far as establishing a museum devoted to the film. To celebrate, It’s a Wonderful Life actually comes to life each December in a winter festival. Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey—George’s youngest—returns each year for the festival to sign autographs. 

Zuzu–Karolyn Grimes–signs autographs at the Museum, December 2016

And there’s plenty of reenactors to go around—George, Violet, Mr. Potter, Clarence. They’re all roaming the streets of Seneca Bedford Falls one time each year.

 

Links
More info on It’s a Wonderful Life Festival
It’s a Wonderful Life Museum

North Manhattan…Have You Been?

Might as Well be the Sixth Borough

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If you’ve ever played tourist in New York City, chances are you’ve never been anywhere north of Central Park. But Manhattan is more than just concrete. Would you believe there’s actually dense woods and a medieval castle-looking place just a short subway ride away?

Northern Manhattan is a borough of its own in a way. Between Fort Tryon and Inwood Hill Parks, it’s easy to forget the trademark New York City hustle and bustle just a few miles away. And for NYC residents, the rent in northern Manhattan is a lot cheaper than the rest of the island, if you don’t mind a longer commute.

And if you’re in the area, you must visit The Cloisters, a 20th century building modeled after an ancient castle, although its courtyard looks like an Italian villa. It’s now a museum with relics from throughout the last millennium. Plus it provides fantastic views, but we won’t spoil it for you. Get on down there and see for yourself!

Fort Tryon Park
Inwood Hill Park
The Cloisters

Getting to Roosevelt Island the Fun Way: The Skyway

A Ride in the Sky

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See the time-lapse video of the tram ride below!

Parked in the middle of the East River, just between Manhattan and Queens, Roosevelt Island gives any tourist or resident a phenomenal view of the Upper East Side and Midtown. The island itself is going through some changes with new construction and such, but this small chunk of “small town” within the five boroughs (with very few cars) is sure to amaze even those who have called New York City home for decades.

Then of course, there’s the way to get there. Sure, you could take the subway and arrive the “normal way”, but imagine commuting to work every day through the air. Some people do. UndiscoveredWanderings recommends you take the Roosevelt Island Tramway. It’s just a lot more fun.

It’s easy and quick; no car, no train, no fuss. And the best part is, you can use your MTA card!

Information on the Roosevelt Island Tramway

Retro Dining at Mac’s Drive-In

Travel Back Through Time

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Mac’s Drive-In. The name itself evokes images of a 1950s eatery where the food was delivered right to your car window. Not so common anymore, but this relic of the past strives to maintain that nostalgic service, complete with vintage music while you eat.

Founded in 1961, this gem of the Finger Lakes is well known by locals and visitors alike. Open during the warmer months of the year, Mac’s iconic roadside sign has stood the test of time and is the first thing patrons see when they flock to this historical place each summer. The later in the day it gets, the more people there are; it’s packed full almost every night. Adding to its menu of classic American eats, Mac’s is also one of a handful of places that still serves Richardson’s Root Beer. You can’t beat it. To put it simply, the root beer floats here are supreme–see video below for proof.

Adding to the retro ’50s and ’60s atmosphere, Mac’s also hosts weekly vintage car shows that are open to the public (call ahead for details). Who said time travel isn’t possible?

Interview with John Conley, Co-Owner of Mac’s

Official Site