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New York

Being financially independent is hard enough as it is, without the possibility of living in New York. Forget the student lifestyle of drinking all night and having a lie-in until midday. It takes hard work and financial discipline to survive the NYC life.

We all dream of it; the bottomless brunches near Central Park, shopping debt-free on 5th Avenue, living in an apartment that’s LITERALLY the exact same as Monica’s from Friends.

New York is heavily idealised as one of the greatest cities in the world, but it’s hard to deny how magical it can be. Ice-skating at Rockefeller centre at Christmas, essentially recreating Home Alone 2, hitting the iconic bars and gliding past skyscrapers and Broadway.

It permanently feels like you’re on a movie set, the city that never sleeps embodies movement and energetic culture. It’s impossible not to love it, but is it possible to afford it?

Insider recently rated New York eight on the list of the world’s most expensive cities to live in. It was the only American city to make the top ten, and once you break down the costs such as travel, food and rent, it’s not hard to see why it made the list.

We spoke to one of our New Yorker contacts who spent one year living the New York lifestyle to get the 411. You wanna see the receipts?

Rent

Rents have increased at double the rate of incomes in the last seven years alone, according to StreetEasy, which means that you need to make six figures to live in many of the city's most elite neighbourhoods. Yikes.

An average Irish student living in NYC could be paying amounts which range between $700 and $1500 a month on rent, as well as utilities. This would of course depend on location, size, how many housemates you share with and facilities like Wi-Fi and laundry.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Our lucky wanderlust gal spent $900 on rent per month, a good deal seeing as it included utilities and the internet, as well as a washer and a dryer inside.

“I shared with three others, and only had one bathroom, and it was in a pretty dilapidated building in Bushwick with a not so helpful landlord.”

Secret deals in NYC in terms of rent are essentially non-existent. Most people agree that seeing a unicorn is probably more statistically likely. Or a Friends reunion.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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One major extra cost comes in terms of furnishing an empty space, as most apartments in the city will come unfurnished.

Buying second-hand items can be a huge help, and finding things on the street, but both of these options of course have their limitations.

For example, I got my mattress in Berkeley from the street outside our fraternity house, which most people did, and got a very rude awakening when our entire room was visited by bed bugs.

If you think California rent is better than New York, you’ve got another thing coming.

Food and Drink

First thing’s first, you HAVE to limit eating out and going for expensive drinks in glamorous bars. Many New Yorkers are blasé about dropping $10 on coffee and a mediocre muffin.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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We’d all love that lifestyle, but you have to prioritise. Pre-packed lunches is the way to go, and cooking at home.

“A cocktail in a bar would set you back about $14, and in a trendy rooftop bar you could easily spend $20 on a drink. Eating in a restaurant could set you back about $35 for a meal if you included a drink, sales tax and tip."

"This is the worst thing about price of food and drinks in NYC! You think the price will be less, but a 20% service charge adds on a hefty chunk to your bill.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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NYC also has a city tax, so your paycheck won’t have much spending power. Supermarket food in New York is also highly expensive, so even if you want to cook from home, finding lower-cost ingredients can be tricky at best.

My J1 was essentially a three month binge on fries, $4 pizza slices and the occasional scrambled egg on toast if I could afford it. Eating healthily is even harder, considering fast food and ramen are the only semi-affordable meals.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“Places like Trader Joe's were good for lower cost own-brand items and for whole food/grain type things, but fruit and vegetables generally were always expensive. Meat and fish were also very pricey, there was definitely a good incentive to turn vegetarian.”

I’m personally astounded that I escaped contracting scurvy on my J1 to San Francisco, I barely saw fruit or vegetables the entire time. Spending under $10 on one meal became a challenge that was seen as the Mount Everest of nutritional budgeting.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Try starting an Excel spreadsheet for all of your expenses, so you can budget in advance. Prepare as many meals as you can to prevent buying expensive snacks in stores, and avoid buying too many perishable food items that you would throw away if it went uneaten.

Wasting perfectly good food will become a mortal sin to you after a few weeks of living the NYC life, trust us.

Nights Out

“If you pre-drink in advance, then you don't have to spend too much on a night-out. Liquor in shops is actually quite cheap. The subway runs all night so you can get around cheaply, and otherwise a shared Uber wouldn't be too expensive."

"Some clubs charge entry and then have expensive drinks. I don't smoke but cigarettes were also a massive cost.”

Keep the receipts from any bar you go to, and it will be come alarmingly obvious that purchasing drinks the entire night most definitely adds up.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Irish have perfected pre-drinking culture, so don’t let yourself slip too much on your night out by buying $16 cocktails every ten minutes, or you’ll be in for a rude awakening when you check your bank balance.

For a couple of free beers, one of Brooklyn’s best craft distilleries (New York Distilling Co.) opens its doors to the public for free tours and tastings on weekends from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m, don’t miss your chance.

Travel

“This was one of the most expensive aspects of living in New York. Flights in and out of the city were always pricey. There is no Ryanair equivalent of budget flights unfortunately."

The Amtrak train service is notoriously expensive. Without advance booking (and even then), it can be $100 for a measly two hour journey… good God.

Buses are the cheapest option for the city, but the reliability and quality leave a lot to be desired, as you might imagine. The buses are often incredibly late, over-booked or cancelled.

The public transport system (MTA) costs you $121 per month for unlimited use, which isn’t bad compared to Dublin, and can be used on buses and subways. However, any of the longer commuter trains are much more expensive

If you’re thinking of parking in the city, be warned that the cost of this is extortionate, as are the prices for renting a car in NYC.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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People would often go to neighbouring states of New Jersey or Connecticut to get cars, rather than face the pain of using their hard-earned cash on New York prices.

Activities

Hidden costs and fees are what make so much of New York that bit more expensive than Europe and other places.

Laundromats charge extremely high prices purely because many apartments in the city don’t have laundry facilities, so they take full advantage of this. Hand-washing some of your clothes can aid this process.

When it comes to activities, there are ways of finding cheaper alternatives. The amazing city has a vast array of things to do; the buzz and excitement of the place is captivating.

The tourism industry in NYC is always booming, so charging huge fees for activities such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller entre, boat rides in Central Park and more can be expensive beyond belief.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Staten Island Ferry is free though, so take advantage of that.

Are you desperate to see the Picassos in the Museum of Modern Art, but don’t want to hand over the $25 admission fee?

The museum offers free admission every Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 pm, and you can also visit the sculpture garden for free every morning from 9:30 to 10 am.

Chelsea’s unreal free art galleries are mostly located between W. 14th Street and W. 29th Street around 10th and 11th Avenues.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s fee is waived on Tuesdays, which means you have the ideal escape for the hustle and bustle of Manhattan life.

Finding activities for free is hugely common in parks, try bringing a picnic to Central Park, embarking on a free yoga session in Bryant Park or grabbing street food (the hot dogs are mouth-watering) and chilling on the lush grass.

Central Park Conservatory offers free tours as well.

The Federal Bank of New York’s Gold Vault has free tours every afternoon. Built in the 1920s and containing over 6,500 tonnes of gold, this little-known treasure can teach you some fascinating financial secrets of the city.

Try stargazing on the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

Neighbourhood residents saved the location from demolition, and the High Line opened in 2009 as a hybrid space where visitors can experience nature, art, and design for free.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Watch outdoor movies at HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival and Syfy Movies with a View at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Grab a seat and bring some snacks, it’s one of the best free activities New York has to offer. Soak up the skyline, it’s one of a kind.

Grand Central Terminal is also a tourist favourite, the 102-year-old train station is still in massive use but it embodies NYC grandeur. The outdoor part of the 9/11 memorial is also free to visit.

So there you have it, if you budget like your life depends on it, you can survive the financial battle of New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It may not be exactly like Sex and the City, but who would ever believe that Carrie could afford a huge Manhattan apartment BY HERSELF on a columnist’s salary? It’s ridiculousness. We still want her life though.

Susan Ertz summed it up pretty well when she wrote that New York was "never built for the comfort and happiness of its citizens, but to astonish the world." Well, it succeeded.

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Miley Cyrus is a lover of tattoos, and already has a pretty extensive range of body art which encompasses varying subjects of importance in her life.

Her newest tribute which she has inked permanently on her skin is…the word 'pussy'. Yup. No word of a lie.

The newly married singer posted a series of shots of herself in the New York tattoo parlour of the rich and famous; Bang Bang NYC.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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That's all well and good, but we wanna see the result. She's worked with Keith 'Bang Bang' McCurdy before on previous artwork, including tributes to her family and husband.

So naturally we did a minor (major) stalk and came across the fresh tattoo on Miley's ankle, and we're at least impressed at the font. It's chic, and why not get a dedication to her own body part?

Female empowerment just reached a whole new level. Maybe she's taking control over the word, which is often used in derogatory terminology?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Fans aren't entirely sure when the tattoo was actually drawn on the Malibu singer, shrewd-eyed fans also spotted a photo of Miley seemingly getting inked on her wrist, so perhaps it's a whole other tattoo altogether? 

We presume some images of the tattoo will be released at some stage, we'll be patiently waiting.

Would you get the word tattooed permanently on your body? Who are we to judge, really.

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Azealia Banks is a woman of controversy, and her career has arguably been stalled and stopped multiple times because of her numerous spats with famous faces.

While Paddy Power was taking bets on whether or not the Harlem rapper would even play her set at The Academy last night, the 27-year-old miraculously showed up onstage.

She dedicated her gig to "All the beautiful Irish women", much to the amusement of the crowd of beloved fans who admitted that their rap hero was 'problematic', but has such good tunes you forget about it.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Banks hit the headlines yesterday after an incident on board a flight from Gatwick to Dublin airport, which led to the artist having to take the ferry to Dublin.

She ended up having quite the rant on board the Aer Lingus flight, calling Irish women 'ugly' and launching into a tirade about our Celtic people.

“I’ve had enough of y’all oompa-loompa looking, spray-tanned, crazy-looking b****es tonight,” she raged, which was characteristic of her numerous feuds with other musicians.

“The girls have scurvy, they’re vitamin deficient, need some calcium tablets.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Reviews of the show claim the rapper brought an impressive set to her debut Irish show, channelling talent which is arguably gone to waste as her Twitter arguments have only done her damage.

Fans know her attitude well enough to dispel any negative thoughts of her social media ranting, choosing instead to focus on her musical prowess, surprisingly soulful voice and explosive rap verses.

“I’m a rude b**ch nigga, what are you made up of?” she spits on her classic hit, 212.

The 'Queen of Ireland' doesn't make any effort to cover up her personality, so take her with a pinch of salt but don't try to deny that the gal has talent.

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Taylor Swift is one of pop's biggest superstars, and has a rake of security on her team whose sole job is to protect the Reputation songstress.

Her tour has attracted millions of people, and after the attack on Ariana Grande's concert in Manchester last year, the use of facial recognition technology is on the rise at stadiums and areas.

It has now emerged that Tay Tay uses special software to detect stalkers at her ground-breaking shows, and that fans who were mesmerised by her May 18 Rose Bowl rehearsal clips were unaware of this detail.

The Rose Bowl is an annual college football event, and used hidden cameras to capture images of guests in order to transfer them to a command post based in Nashville.

These snaps were later cross-referenced with a database of the musician's well-known stalkers, of which there are HUNDREDS.

According to chief security officer of Oak View Group, the advisory board for concert venues; “Everybody who went by would stop and stare at it, and the software would start working,” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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A man who had broken into Swift's New York townhouse and stopped by for an actual NAP made a plea deal last week and as a result, he will only serve a mere six months in prison.

The stalker, full name Roger Alvarado, gained entry when he  “allegedly climbed up a ladder and smashed a window with his hand”

While Taylor needs to make sure she is safe at all times, whether in concert or in her home, there are clear privacy concerns of the photographs.

Issues of ownership and the length of time for which they can be kept on file are the obvious queries…we wonder if Taylor ever has a sneaky peak at them? 

More and more arenas and stadiums are turning to facial-recognition technology; this year, Ticketmaster invested in a start-up named Blink Identity.

This company claims that its sensors can identify anyone walking past its cameras at full speed in just half a second… whoa.

The veteran ticketing corporation intends to use the technology to help fans pass through the turnstiles faster and in a more practical way.

Ticketmaster’s chief product officer Justin Burleigh commented that: "It holds a lot of promise. We’re just being very careful about where and how we implement it."

We want our snake-obsessed icon to be safe, but does anyone else think it's a tad 1984

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It's not everyday a normal human would run into Drew Barrymore in the office, but for Elaine Caffrey it's just part of the job. 

The Glasnevin native made the leap to New York last year, and now her life sounds like something out of an episode of Gossip Girl

Studying Marketing in DCU, Elaine was always a big fan of all things sports. Playing basketball for Ireland, she went on to do a Masters in Public Relations and was headhunted to Legacy, a sports and marketing company. 

Realising that she had a passion for digital marketing, Elaine did a second Masters part-time in UCD's Smurfit Business School.

“I'm so glad I did it but it was a tough slog while I was working full-time," she recalled. "It really helps that I’m a bit of a nerd though.” 

Not only did the masters help her with her career, but it also opened up another opportunity- a graduate visa to America. 

“I felt like if I don’t do it now I’ll never do it. I’d passed up an opportunity to go before, not that I’d regretted it exactly but I felt like I was being given a second chance. Everyone thought I was a bit mad. But I figured why not and threw myself into it.”

Swapping her family home where she had always lived with the unknown of New York, she took the leap and moved. 

“I did what loads of Irish do and came over with no job and no place to live. I only knew one girl from years ago. There were a lot of $1 pizza slice dinners.”

When it came to job hunting, Elaine knew exactly what she didn't want- to settle. 

"I could have gone for loads of jobs but I wanted to stick it out for a job I really wanted, something that I knew I could challenge myself in. I didn't want to be stuck in a job for the sake of it. Definitely put yourself out there and network." 

Eventually, she struck gold, a position as a digital marketing manager with French beauty management, Maesa. On a day-to-day basis, she manages the online presence exclusive beauty brands including high-profile influencers and Flower Beauty by Drew Barrymore. 

All awkwardness at meeting celebrities and mega-influncers is immediately broken by her "Irishness". 

"Usually I’m the only Irish person in the room, I'm the only one in the office. When I first met Drew I was like 'Oh My God' but as soon as I opened my mouth she was like 'you’re not from here, you’re Irish?' and that immediately broke the ice." 

The beauty influencer industry in the US was like nothing Elaine had expected. 

“It’s crazy how big the industry is here, at home everybody knows everyone else. It's a difficult industry to break into. 

“There’s a similarity between athletes and beauty influencers I didn't expect. At home, sports people are so revered. Here it’s the same, but with influencers. An influencer could have a product up on their Instagram and it could be sold out in 24 hours.”

And it's easy to see why, with their massive followings, beauty brands definitely recognise the power of influencers. 

“It’s insane how big influencers are over here. It’s so different to home. The other week we had a launch with 20 influencers and between them they had 75 million followers. When you think about the fact that Ireland has a population of 4.5 million, it’s crazy." 

But is the influencer bubble about to burst? Elaine is unsure. 

“It’s actually something we talk about quite a bit in the office. I would have thought that the influencer scene can only last another three to five years. But then one of them will go and turn it around and blow my expectations out of the water. They make incredible livings for themselves. 

“There’s so much content out there, it can feel quite overpopulated. We deal with four different agencies that manage influencers alone.

“Sometimes I didn't think it’ll last but a lot of them are now diversifying. Many of them are launching their own products or working on collaborations." 

With her "little family" of Irish and American friends, Elaine still keeps up with her favourite sports from home. 

"I said I'd never be that Irish girl, eating a fry at 9 am watching with GAA, but here we are," she laughs. "You know what they say- you're never more Irish than when you're away from home." 

It's a long way from Dublin but Elaine is taking a bite out of that big apple. 

“The pace of life over here is a million miles a minute, you can be doing something all the time. I work tougher and longer hours than I would back home the pay-off is worth it.  You put more into your work so the benefits are better, you’re learning all the time.”

Read on to see Elaine's top picks for the best foodie spots in NYC! 

Balthazar (Soho)

"It is in the heart of Soho surrounding by the best shopping spots in the city. The first time I went here was during New York Fashion Week and we were sat close to the Beckhams! The entire family was there as they came in after her show. It was a serious 'pinch me/fangirl' moment as I am slightly obsessed with Victoria!"

Gotan, TriBeCa

 

Spring garden @gotannyc

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"My office is in TriBeCa and this place is right beside me – I love it! There is a professional vibe within the restaurant as most people are working while there so it makes catching up on emails a lot easier as they are laptop friendly with sockets on each table. Their acai bowls are incredible!"
 

Tao Uptown, Upper East Side 

 

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"I love the decor and the vibe in Tao, it’s dark and intimate and the food is delicious. The DJ plays Hip Hop and R&B throughout dinner too which gives it a unique atmosphere."

UES Scoop Shop, Upper East Side

"UES is a speakeasy bar disguised as an ice-cream parlour. Once you go in through the “refrigerator door” you enter a hidden bar that serves the most creative cocktails I've seen in NYC! It has just opened so it is still a hidden gem uptown." 

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Protests were organised across the country last week in the wake of the not-guilty verdict handed out by the jury to Paddy Jackson and his teammate Stuart Olding.

Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison were also found not guilty of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The trial sparked a wider discussion around consent, and there was a huge public outpouring of support and solidarity for the victims of sexual assault and rape. 

Now, the solidarity I Believe Her movement is garnering international attention, with a march organised in New York City, USA this evening.

'We are holding this rally in response to the outcome of the recent Belfast rape trial,' states the event description. 

'This is a chance for everyone who feels the same upset and anger at the result of this trial to show their support for the victim.'

'The criminal justice system continually fails women in this regard and enough is enough.' 

The protest will begin at Dag Hammarskjold Park at 7pm (or midnight Irish time) and march towards the Irish embassy. 

You can find all the details via the Facebook event here.

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There can be no denying the fact that New York is the most amazing place on earth, but it is also one of the most expensive places on earth. 

If you are planning a trip to the Concrete Jungle this year, you should be ready to fork out the cash for many of the tourist attractions across the city. 

Image result for new york

However, there are also many free things to see in New York, and they're actually brilliant!

Check these out, you'll be glad you did…

1. New York Public Library 

Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan (right beside Bryant Park), the library is a great place to go for a wander. Entry is free, and there are a number of great exhibitions to see, PLUS lovely little gift shop.

 

It's a winter wonderland out there! We're thinking tonight's plans involve curling up with a good book and some tea…

A video posted by The New York Public Library (@nypl) on

2. MOMA 

The Museum of Modern Art is totally free on a Friday from 4–8pm, and you will be able to lay eyes on beautiful works of art from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, to name a few. 

3. Central Park

You can easily lose an entire day just wandering around Central Park. Lay down in Sheep's Meadow and enjoy the ambience, or go and stroll around the famous Belvedere Castle. So many glorious ways to see the City that never sleeps. 

 

Thanks to @gigi.nyc for capturing this stunning winter landscape (and for the informative caption!) ・・・ Find a way to make beauty necessary; find a way to make necessity beautiful. – Anne Michaels . 01.17.17 Reflections on a calm lake in Central Park, New York City . In frame, from the left: 101 Central Park West, The Majestic, The Dakota (partly hidden), The Langham, and The San Remo. . These buildings are part of the Central Park West Historic District which encompasses a number of prominent landmarks and buildings between 61st and 97th Streets along Central Park West. The buildings date from the late 19th century to early 1940s, majority of which are of neo-Italian Renaissance, as well as Art Deco styles.

A photo posted by Central Park Conservancy (@centralparknyc) on

4. The High Line 

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues, and it is one of the coolest strolls you will ever take. 

5. Staten Island Ferry 

If you want to catch a glimpse of the Lady in the Bay, and fancy a stunning view of Manhattan, then the Staten Island Ferry is for you! It is a totally free service, that brings commuters (and tourists) from South Ferry in lower Manhattan, across to the borough of Staten Island. Well worth the trip!

 

That view though  #statenislandferry #nycsunset #neverleaving #throwback

A photo posted by @beccaokeeffe on

6. Bronx Zoo

This delightful zoo is "pay what you wish" on a Wednesday, so you can literally enter for a dollar (or less, if you're really struggling!)  You can feast your eyes on some of the world's most beautiful animals, and even take part in the "adopt a 'roach" programme. 

7. Roosevelt Island

The best part of visiting this adorable island is actually getting there, thanks to the boxy red tram that glides above the East River. It's like a cable car in a ski resort, but with a prettier view. The island is home to tennis courts, ball fields and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, a tribute to the 32nd president of America. 

8. The Brooklyn Bridge

No trip to NYC would be complete without a stroll across one of the most iconic bridges in the world. We would suggest walking the Brooklyn Bridge in the evening, just before the sunsets, to capture some truly breathtaking views. 

9. FIT Museum

Are you are a total fashionista, and fancy strolling around one of the loveliest museums in New York? Well then head down to the Fashion Institute of Technology, and enjoy the free (and gorgeous) exhibitions. 

 

FIT Museum #surewhynot #walkwalkfashionbaby #nycfashion 

A photo posted by @beccaokeeffe on

10. The Brooklyn Brewery

There are free tours of Williamsburg's Brooklyn Brewery, on the hour, every hour from 1-5pm on Saturday, and 1-4pm on Sunday.  You can buy beer tokens ($5 each or five for $20) to sample the refreshing brews, or just skip the tour altogether and spend the afternoon in the bare-bones tasting room.

 

It's a snowy day outside, so we're hunkered down over a fresh batch of red wine barrels in our Tasting Room. Stay warm, NYC.

A photo posted by Brooklyn Brewery (@brooklynbrewery) on

 

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It looks like Cynthia Nixon could be the latest to celebrity to turn her attention to politics as reports suggest the actress is emerging as a possible candidate in next year's election for New York governor.

The former Sex and the City star has been involved in the city's political scene for some time now and according to Entertainment Weekly, both the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal have reported that liberal groups are urging the 51-year-old to consider running for office.

With a sizable presence in New York political circles, Cynthia, who is an outspoken advocate for public school, is more than qualified for the position.

“She’s an out-of-the-box candidate with progressive credentials who would excite people,” Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, a public-education advocacy group, told the Journal.

Fans will remember Cynthia for her Sex and the City character, Miranda Hobbes – a straight-talking lawyer with extremely cynical views on relationships and men.

And to be honest, Miranda would probably make a pretty great governor too.

Although her candidacy is yet to be confirmed, the actress turned political activist has yet to dismiss the speculation, leading some to believe that there may be some truth behind the rumours.

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The 29th annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest was held in California this weekend (yes, really).

However, we're demanding a recount, because the winner of the prize is actually adorable, in her own way (actually, we think all dogs are cute).

The winner of the ugliest dog contest? A Neapolitan Mastiff named Martha, who’s three-years-old and weighs 125 pounds.

Aside from her prestigious and offensive new title, Martha also won $1,500, a trophy, and a trip to New York, where she will appear on television.

She beat 13 other dogs who were competing against her, and we genuinely think she's rather cute.

This is dear sweet Martha: 

Look at her squishy little face! 

Are you wondering what the animals were judged on? Same. The contest included audience reaction, first impressions, and unusual attributes.

When one of the three judges asked Martha: “Do you know you just won the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest,” Martha's owner replied, “I’d gloat, but I need a nap.”

Martha’s was nearly blind when she was rescued from the an animal rescue project in Santa Rosa, which makes her win even more amazing.

Martha faced pretty stiff competition, and if we're being honest, the dogs who placed second and third are WAY erm, uglier than the lovely Martha. 

A 16-year-old Brussels Griffon-Pug mix named Moe won second place, and a Chinese Crested one, called Chase, took home the title of third place.

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It has been reported that at least 35 people have been injured in an explosion in New York City.

The injured are being treated following the explosion which took place at an apartment block in West Broadway and Murray Street in Lower Manhattan.

According to various news outlets, one person is in a critical condition.

Apparently, the explosion was caused by a carbon monoxide gas leak after the basement of the apartment block caught on fire.

Further reports are stating that in a separate incident, police are investigating a suspicious package found just three blocks away from Ground Zero.

This is a breaking story. More to follow…

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Several pedestrians have reportedly been struck by a vehicle in New York’s Times Square.

It's reported that at least one person has died following the incident. 

It’s thought that at least 10 people were hit before the red Honda came to a stop.

According to CBS2, the driver of the Honda has been extricated from the vehicle. 

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Earlier this year, on the eve of International Women’s day, ‘Fearless Girl’ was installed on New York’s Wall Street.

The bronze statue stands at 50-inches tall and depicts a little girl with her hands on her hips staring down the ’Charging Bull’ which has stood in the financial district since 1987.

The stunt was praised by women’s groups around the world and a petition to allow the artwork to remain gathered more than 19,000 signatures.

In response, mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio announced the statue had been granted permission to stay until February 2018. 

However, Arturo Di Modica, the artist who created the famous ‘Charging Bull’ has now accused New York City of violating his legal rights by allowing the opposing statue to be installed. 

According to The Independent, the sculptor referred to the statue an 'advertising trick' and claimed it had infringed on his own artistic copyright by changing the creative dynamic of the original piece.

Di Modica and his lawyer, Norman Siegel, are expected to hold a new conference on Wednesday where they will explain how and why they will challenge the city officials who allowed the statue to remain. 

'Fearless Girl' has been a popular addition to New York's streets and fans of the art aren't letting her go without a fight. 

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

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