5 Mundane Things I Miss Since Living in Manhattan

Totally Lame & Completely Desirable

"New York City is the greatest city in the world!" - is actually an unfair statement. New York is fantastic and absolutely incomparable to anywhere else - but really it's its own world. A beautiful, chaotic, jungle of a place we lovingly call Manhattan.

Manhattan living is just that - living - not resting. All systems are always a go in this town, and to survive you have to constantly be running and hustling. There's a beauty to that. It keeps you motivated and going, there's no time to be lazy or to take a rest. But at some point, perhaps as I've gotten older, I've begun to crave stillness, quiet, and rest in order to keep moving without getting burnt out.

Suddenly the mundane doesn't seem so terrible or boring - it actually, and I can't believe I'm saying this, sounds nice. Kinda great, even. I'm not saying I'm completely lusting after suburban living, no I'd get bored pretty quickly without a little chaos, but there are certainly aspects of it that are more appealing than it once was, and that I appreciate more after having lived without for a while.

Now, fair warning, when I say "mundane" I absolutely mean it - the most basic things are what I miss, and what makes me excited (don't judge) and even a little envious to think about.

Loading up on Groceries (and putting them in your trunk)

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  • Oh you don't have to wait in insanely long lines at Trader Joe's in Union Square and then limit your purchases to what you can realistically carry back to your apartment?? What's that like?
  • I absolutely miss bulk shopping and not having to worry about how to get my purchases home - or pay a delivery fee - and just filling up the trunk of my car with goodies.

Having a car

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  • Admittedly, I was relieved to be rid of my car upon moving to New York. No more traffic! No more sitting endlessly on the 405 freeway hoping to get to your destination in time. And yes, being able to take the train and have a great public transportation system in New York is wonderful...until it's not. You know, when the train is running late and you have to wait 10 minutes to cram yourself into a packed train car. Or when the station is freezing in the winter or unbearably hot and humid in the summer, or when it's raining and you hope you don't slip on the gross stairs into a puddle of filth, or just the times it smells like urine and shattered dreams.
  • After a while, I missed having a car. Your own little space that's all yours, that you can jump into and crank the heat or A/C when needed, and you don't have to share with anyone.
  • As a native Californian, it's entirely possible that I grew up spoiled by having the ability to go either to the beach, the mountains, the desert, or the city at the drop of a hat. But just that feeling of knowing you can go anywhere at a moment's notice, if you so wished; whether it's just a weekend road trip or a quick getaway? Yeah, I miss that.

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Supermarkets!

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  • When I first moved to the city I was surprised and a bit baffled that there wasn't a big supermarket chain here. You know, like a Ralph's or a Publix where you can buy absolutely everything all in one place. It just doesn't really exist in NYC. We have plenty of markets and lots of stores and pharmacies, but a huge place that has all of them under one roof? Not so much.
  • I know how random and weird of a thing this is to miss, but whatever, I like my quality one stop shops!

Backyards

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  • I just want a little yard that I can safely let my dog out to run around and play in, and where I can have an outdoor retreat at my door, and can plant my own little herb and vegetable gardens.
  • What's wonderful about New York is how many parks we have, and they're all beautiful and so nice to stroll through or picnic in...but I miss having my own yard. It doesn't need to be big, I just want to open up the back door and have an outdoor space to myself and for my dog!

Space

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  • I think what it all mostly boils down to is space. I miss having it. Whether it's space in my home, or space in a yard, or in a car, or even a market, I just want to have room to myself! New York is very unifying in so many ways. We're always all together in the city: in our apartment buildings, out in the streets, in the subway, wherever. And while it's lovely to be among my fellow City dwellers, I also crave having something that's just for me.
  • Constantly sharing space can grow tiring, and as I get older I'm less and less comfortable with the dormitory experience of the city and want a home of my own.

Am I ready to hang my hat and wave goodbye to New York? No way. This city is magic and there's no place quite like it. Every day I wake up in New York and go outside, I feel like I'm stepping into a postcard or photograph - and even after years here, that excited feeling hasn't diminished.

But I do see the appeal of the other side, and I wonder if at some point I am going to want to retire from being in the city full-time and embrace those mundane little things like the tiny, often taken for granted jewels that they are.

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5 Countries to Visit This Fall

As the weather starts to chill out, we're just getting warmed up to travel

It's not winter yet!

So that means, we're all about that fall travel. It's a beautiful time of year to be outside in many countries, soaking up the colorful landscapes and fresh air. Here are our picks for the top places to visit this fall.

1. Germany

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Burg Eltz Castle is a magical step back into the Middle Ages that's been here for more than 850 years.

2. Switzerland

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The red leaves in Bern are absolutely striking.

3. Italy

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Nothing like the sheer beauty of the formidable Italian alps.

4. Peru

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Machu Picchu beckons visitors from near and far this fall.

5. Mexico

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It's not too cold to skip the beach!

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.



Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.

💀💀💀💀/5

Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.

💀💀💀💀/5

McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.

💀💀💀💀.5/5

Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.

💀💀💀💀💀/5

Every Hell House in America

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In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…

💀💀💀💀💀💀/5


Destinations

The 10 Best Ethically-Conscious Zoos Across America

From coast to coast, these zoos are doing their part to help wildlife.

With fall weather making us all eager to spend more time outdoors, it's the perfect time of year to pay a visit to the zoo.

Just about every major city has a zoo where visitors can get up close and personal with wild animals, but of course, not all zoos are created equal. Particularly if you've watched Tiger King, you probably already know that some zoos do much more harm than good.


Thankfully, there are also many zoos who are doing great work in conservation efforts and creating the best environment possible for their animals and the animal lovers who want to visit them. Below, we've rounded up just a few of the most ethical zoos in the United States.

San Diego Zoo

As one of the most popular zoos in the country, the San Diego Zoo specializes in endangered animals and focuses on saving them from extinction. They also partner with other zoos around the world to share their research in rehabilitation and conservation that would be difficult, if not impossible, to conduct in the wild.

Austin Zoo

Located on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, the Austin Zoo started as a goat ranch and has gradually grown into one of the state's most animal-friendly zoos. Now boasting over 300 animals from over 100 species, the Austin Zoo operates with a mission to assist animals in need, taking in exotic animals that need to be rescued or rehomed due to a variety of reasons.

Indianapolis Zoo

With a strong commitment to conservation, the Indianapolis Zoo supports efforts around the world to save endangered animals and their land. They are home to over 1,400 animals in habitats that closely mimic those of the wild and have been adopting more eco-friendly practices in addition to their conservation efforts.

Woodland Park Zoo

Located in Seattle, Washington, the Woodland Park Zoo is one of the country's most ethical zoos. They focus on recreating their animals' natural habitats as closely as possible, and the zoo also has conservationist breeding programs on-site to help grow the populations of endangered species.

St. Louis Zoo

Not only is the St. Louis Zoo free to visit, but it's absolutely massive; here, you'll find 19,000 animals from 600 species over a sprawling 90 acres. According to their website, the zoo has "witnessed dozens of cheetah births, hatched and reared endangered Micronesian kingfishers and returned Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles to ponds in their native homeland—to name only a few successes." The St. Louis Zoo also has a program called the WildCare Institute, which takes a holistic approach to healing troubled ecosystems.

Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo might not be the first attraction you think of when it comes to New York City's outer boroughs, but it offers a much-needed slice of wildlife in the concrete jungle. This zoo is home to award-winning habitats that span over 265 acres. Outside of the city, the Bronx Zoo employs thousands of conservationists who work to protect endangered exotic animals in the world's most threatened environments.

Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

In addition to impressive worldwide conservation efforts, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium—located in Omaha, Nebraska—features the world's largest geodesic dome. This dome creates a realistic desert environment that acts as a home to countless animals and plants.

Columbus Zoo

Ohio's Columbus Zoo houses over 7000 animals from over 800 species. They've made great strides in breeding endangered animals, such as the three polar bear cubs who were born at the zoo in 2016. The Columbus Zoo also boasts a massive 100,000-gallon coral reef tank, and some of the country's best primate habitats.

Alaska Zoo

It should come as no surprise that the Alaska Zoo is a fantastic place to see your favorite arctic and subarctic animals. Located in the city of Anchorage, this zoo focuses on arctic creatures you won't find at your zoos in the continental United States. They especially focus on polar bear rescue.

Denver Zoo

Colorodans are known for their love of the great outdoors, and their appreciation for Mother Nature translates into the practices at the Denver Zoo. They were the first zoo in the country to go above and beyond usual conservation efforts by getting rid of traditional enclosures, creating realistic habitats for their 4,000 creatures from over 600 different species.