10 Essential Stops For a Literary Tour of New York

Rediscover the legendary night-life and join the modern scene of one of the world's top writers' cities

It used to be bars, not cafés, where the writing community socialized, collaborated, and gossiped. And though Greenwich Village has largely been replaced by Brooklyn (which might soon be replaced) as the writers' neighborhood, you can still explore the history of New York City's vibrant and important literary scene. Design the best tour around the following ten famous homes and hotels, bars, cafés, exhibits, literary scenes and landmarks.

1. Minetta Tavern

Open since 1937, the Minetta Tavern was a favorite social spot and drink fountain of such great authors as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Dylan Thomas and E. E. Cummings. It was also the semi-home of Joe Gould, the writer who wanted to write the longest book in history. It was the birthplace of Reader's Digest and has now become a Michelin-star rated restaurant after renovations in 2009. You won't find the cheap drinks enjoyed by early-20th-century writers but you will be able to order duck breast and a $33 burger while you talk knowledgeably about Pound's best work.

2. White Horse Tavern

Rather than an upscale remodel, you'll find at the White Horse Tavern a gorgeous bar and restaurant bearing the marks of history since its construction in 1880. Dylan Thomas was also a regular of this tavern and, according to legend, drank himself to death here with eighteen shots of whiskey. Other famous patrons include James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac (someone carved "Go home, Kerouac!" in the bathroom) and Frank O'Hara. Take time to admire the memorabilia on the walls but probably don't try to beat Thomas's fatal record, especially if you want to make it any further on your tour.

3. The Algonquin

In midtown, The Algonquin opened in 1902, when a single room cost $2 per night. It's home to the famous Round Table, where writers and artists met and conversed for years. Members of the elite group included Dorothy Parker, Robert Sherwood, Alexander Woolcott and Edna Ferber. John F. Kennedy once said, "When I was growing up, I had three wishes – I wanted to be a Lindbergh-type hero, learn Chinese and become a member of the Algonquin Round Table." Food doesn't come cheap anymore but its rich history might be worth the price.

4. The Plaza

A bit north of The Algonquin, The Plaza Hotel sits at Central Park and was the site of several famous literary events. Truman Capote held his Black & White Ball in the hotel in 1966. And what defines luxury and vitality more than being part of the setting of The Great Gatsby? It opened in 1907 and five decades later was the site of filming for Hitchcock's North by Northwest. The hotel's website quotes Hemingway as having once advised Fitzgerald to "give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza."

5. Old Town Bar

Open since 1892, the Old Town Bar has been a favorite of writers such as Seamus Heaney and Billy Collins. Madonna, another kind of star, shot a music video there, starring Christopher Walken, a bigger star depending on who you ask. So you have a choice of artistic history to discuss over drinks at the bar. Also of note: in 2010, the urinals in the men's bathroom had a 100-year birthday celebration. Heaney, Walken, and world-famous urinals—now that's a tour stop.

6. Morgan Library

In between food and drinks, the Morgan Library and Museum makes for a worthy stop to see the manuscripts and notes of New England Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. An upcoming exhibition called "This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal" promises to be the "most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the life of one of America's most influential authors and thinkers." Permanently on display are artifacts including journals and diaries. For more on the stunning Morgan Library and its prizes, including a Gutenberg Bible, check out The Journiest's profile.

7. New York Public Library


Certainly a necessary stop for many reasons, one particular draw is the real-life Winnie the Pooh bear at the New York Public Library's Children's Center in the Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street. Young readers and kids at heart will enjoy the history of the teddy bear that inspire A. A. Milne to write his beloved Winnie the Pooh stories for his son, Christopher Robin. While you're there, take a moment or longer to relax in peace in the beautiful and finally renovated Rose Main Reading Room. Its high, painted ceiling and majestic wooden interior make it a perfect spot to rest your feet and page through a book or scroll through social media.

8. Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House


The Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House on West 10th Street was built in 1836 and has a vast artistic history over almost two centuries. Situated in the center of a neighborhood whose past residents—including Mark Twain, Willa Cather, Richard Wright and Marianne Moore—are often listed in metal plates next to their front doors, the Writers House is currently home to a weekly reading series hosted by NYU. It became the hub of NYU's creative writing program in 2007 and has hosted authors such as Zadie Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Cunningham and Charles Simic. Their reading series continues, free and open to the public on most Thursday and Friday evenings.

9. Otto Enoteca

Explore the modern literary scene starting at Mario Batali's 8th Street pizzeria and bar, Otto Enoteca. Its kitchen stays open until midnight and the spacey bar area serves a wide variety of wines and spirits, including the restaurants own brand of wine and they even offer twice-weekly wine classes. Those ingredients help make the somewhat hidden restaurant popular with late-night patrons, many of whom might turn out to be writers, publishers or critics. A trip from the Morgan's bookshelves to Otto's wine shelves is a good plan for an evening's adventure.

10. KGB Bar

The KGB Bar on East 4th Street is difficult to find but once you're inside, the dark, Russian-themed bar doesn't seem like the most social of places to meet writers and talk books. Nevertheless, KGB hosts many fiction and poetry readings in its tiny space. It's so devoted to the literary scene, in fact, that it publishes its own online literary journal. Once a month, on the third Thursday, the bar hosts "Drunken! Careening! Writers!" its ongoing comedy-based, alcohol-influenced reading series. Arrive early for a seat at one of the several tiny tables or pull up to the bar and admire the barely-lit Russian memorabilia hung on the walls.

Don't forget:

Other fabulous stops include: The Strand, Housing Works Cafe & Bookstore, Overlook Lounge, the Library Hotel and McSorely's Old Ale House.

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Travel Tips

Best Jobs for People Who Love To Travel

If you want to travel but have a job that is currently holding you back, here are a few of our suggestions for the best jobs for people who love to travel.

For many people, traveling is an amazing experience, but traveling is not always feasible because of responsibilities to work.

One way to get around this roadblock is to get a job that will let you travel and see the world. Here are some of the best jobs for people who love to travel.

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Translator

A translator is a wonderful job for those who want to travel. It will bring you to many places as you work, so long as those places speak the language you can translate. The great thing about translating is the variety of work you can get by translating for specific clients or just translating for tourists in the area. You can choose what type of scene you wish to work in very easily.

Pilot

A pilot fits the definition of a job that gets to travel perfectly. Now, whether you are a private pilot or a commercial pilot, you will still get to fly all over the planet. The only major problem with this job is the requirement of flight classes. But once you get your license, you can fly freely around the world while making yourself money to fund your trips.

Travel blogger

Being a travel blogger is a temperamental job but, if done correctly, it will allow you to visit anywhere you want. Writing to fans as you travel the world can be a fun and exciting way to engage with the planet. This job can be difficult to do, though, as you must be able to write consistently and capture your audience with each post.

English teacher

This may not sound like a job that allows you to travel, but schools all around the world are always looking for more people to teach English.

In this career, you would move near the school that you would teach at and live there over the course of your time there. The interesting thing about this job is that it does not necessarily require a teaching degree, depending on the school and country in question. You also get to live in a new country for an extended period.

When it comes to the best jobs for people who love to travel, these are just a few of our suggestions. There are plenty of jobs where you can travel around the world, but these ones are far-reaching and cover a lot of different lifestyles. They might seem like pipe dreams, but hey, you never know!

Seattle, Washington is a rainy, coffee-fueled, coastal town often referred to as the "Emerald City."

Located against the ecological wonderland of Puget Sound, this cosmopolitan, seaside city is a mishmash of arts, culture, history, nature, and, of course, cloudy weather. Thanks to its proximity to nature, its greenery, and its culturally rich, big-city atmosphere, the city is becoming increasingly popular, both for tourists and those looking for a change of scenery.

The Big Stops: Tourist Seattle

If you only have a few days to visit Seattle, you'll probably want to check out the area's most famous attractions.

For nature lovers and summit-chasers, there's the imposing, wildflower-shrouded Mt. Rainier.

Mt. Rainierthebesttravelplaces.com

Mt. Rainier

For foodies, there's the popular Pike Place Market, a giant patchwork of food-sellers and friendly chaos where you can purchase everything from giant crabs' legs to bottomless amounts of coffee (more on that later).

Pike Place Marketseattle.eater.com

And finally, there's the iconic Space Needle and the Sky View Observatory, which will give you extraordinary views of the city.

Space Needlegetyourguide.com

Seattle Arts and Museums

For arts and culture lovers, Seattle has plenty to cut your teeth on. Don't miss the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a collection of extraordinary blown-glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.

Chihuly Gardensfodors.com

Chihuly Gardens

For art, there's the giant Seattle Art Museum Downtown. Seattle also offers the Museum of Pop Culture, a nonprofit that features all your favorite icons from history, and plenty of other options.

Museum of Pop Culturesmithsonianmag.org

For some history, there's the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, which commemorates Seattle's history as a gold rush hub.

There are plenty of quirky attractions—like the giant Fremont Troll, the 18-foot sculpture in the Fremont neighborhood that cuts an imposing figure.

Fremont Trollsillyamerica.com

You could also take in the city from a boat—marine enthusiasts might enjoy visiting to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to explore the history of this port city.

Seattle, of course, also has a gritty underground side—you may know the city from its time at the heart of the '90s grunge movement.

It also has a long, storied history that has left more than a few scars. You can literally see its underground through one of its underground tours, which will take you on a walk through the "buried city," the remnants left over from before the Great Fire of 1889.

Seattle Undergroundpinterest

Natural Wonders

Seattle is notorious for its natural wonders. For a close-up view, there's the Seattle Aquarium, a marine experience that showcases the best of what Puget Sound has to offer.

For more exposure to the beauty of Seattle's nature, try the Washington Park Arboretum, a 230-acre showcase of Seattle's wetlands and natural wonders.

Washington Park Arboretumtriposo.com

You might also pay a visit to the Alki Beach for some time with the ocean waves.

Alki BeachMetropolitangardens.blogspot.com

Or consider taking a more exhaustive adventure to Discovery Park, a giant and labyrinthine natural park at the edge of Puget Sound.

Discovery Parktrip savvy.com

Food and Drink

Food tours are also popular options for those who want to get more intimate with the city's cuisine, and Seattle is often ranked as one of the best cities for foodies.

It's also a great place for coffee-heads. You might also pay a visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, AKA Ultimate Starbucks, a tasting room that features a coffee library amongst other treats for coffee addicts.

Sarbucks Reserve Roasterydesigner.com

Moving to Seattle

If you're planning on moving to Seattle, locals say there's a few things you should know. First off, it is most definitely overcast the majority of the time, though the rain is rather like a mist. That makes the rare sunny day shine even more, though, locals say, in addition to fostering natural abundance.

The city is generally very congested with traffic, which can be noisy, though it offers great public transportation options, from buses to rail—regardless, you'll want to get an Orca Card for that.

Like every city, Seattle has a number of diverse and charismatic neighborhoods. For example, there's the beachy, more laid-back West Seattle.

West SeattleWest Seattle

There's the vibrant Capitol Hill, a hub of arts, culture, tech bros, and nightlife (during non-COVID times).

There's the historic and artsy Pioneer Square, featuring plenty of museums, shops, galleries, and pubs.

Pioneer Square SeattleExpedia

Fremont is a more bohemian area. Belltown is a trendy waterfront neighborhood that's close to everything.

In general, Seattle residents love the city for its proximity to nature, from beaches to glaciers, and its abundance of arts and cultural attractions. As Kimberly Kinrade said, "Seattle is for people who love culture, but refuse to sacrifice their wild nature to attain it." Residents dislike the steep cost of housing and all things that come from rising prices, including the city's large homeless population.

In general, the city is known as environmentally conscious, liberal, and dog-loving. The people are often referred to as nice but possibly a bit standoffish and cold (the "Seattle Freeze" is when you make plans to hang out and then bail, which is apparently very common). The rain can certainly get depressing, but the proximity to nature helps.

Remember, if you do happen to move: umbrellas are dead giveaways for tourists.


What's your favorite part about Seattle? What did we leave out? Let us know at @thejourniest on Twitter!

Travel

Weed World Candies Exist to Prey on Gullible Tourists

Weed is still illegal in New York, but scamming tourists is not.

You wouldn't know it walking around midtown Manhattan, but marijuana is still illegal in New York.

It does seem strange to think that perhaps the most metropolitan city in the US would be lagging behind so many other parts of the country that have legalized possession, production, and sale of cannabis and THC products, but it's true.

New York's decriminalization of marijuana has led many smokers to be more brazen with their public consumption in recent years, and Governor Cuomo recently announced plans for limited legalization for recreational use at the state level. But for the time being the sale of products containing THC is still very much illegal.

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Adding to the confusion is a company that has sprung up to prey on tourist's uncertainty. Weed World trucks have multiplied at a staggering rate since they first started appearing in Midtown and the Village a few years ago. Easily a dozen RVs and vans now line the tourist-dense streets of Manhattan, advertising Girl Scout Cookies and Gorilla Glue, clad in marijuana-leaf decals and occupied by employees who are paid either to be stoned out of their minds, or just to pretend they are.

With eyes nearly in slits and an air of relaxation that suggests that customers are temporary interludes from a permanent nap, they will promise you as much as they can get away with while letting their branding do most of the work. They will sell you four lollipops for $20, which would seem like a great deal if not for the fact that they will not deliver on the strong implication that they'll get you high.

They have a Twitter account where they celebrate the supposed availability of weed and claim to "have New York locked down." They'll even sell you vape cartridges that advise you to "get medicated," and which are packed with potent doses of… flavor?

weed world truck

An employee once assured me that their candies do contain THC—maybe they wouldn't be so brazenly dishonest today—and in a drunken state I coughed up $5 to test that claim. There is a faint weedy taste to their candies, and you may find trace amounts of CBD inside, but that's it. It's a scam. There is no THC. Nothing that will give their customers the experience they're selling.

Worse than the trucks is the Weed World Candies storefront that opened in midtown in 2019. Just walking past you would swear that people were passing a massive blunt inside.

The smell is unmistakable and overpowering, except that it's fake. Whatever chemical fragrance they pumped onto the street, it was not connected to anyone smoking weed. Inside, the psychedelic wall art complemented shelves lined with suggestive candies and boxes emblazoned with pot leaf insignia.

Whatever the venue, they are all too happy to sell you overpriced hemp products and CBD creams and chocolates made to look like nugs. And if you're a tourist, or a moron like me, you might believe the scam long enough to give them money, but nothing they sell will get you high.

weed world store Hiroki Kittaka

The owners of Weed World, Judah Izrael and Bilal Muhammad—who prefers to go by "Dro Man" or "Doctor Dro"—will defend their products by claiming that they serve to promote legalization and decriminalization efforts by normalizing the idea of public sale of marijuana. But at no point in the purchasing process is the illusion that their candies will get you high broken. At no point are their customers offered literature explaining the mission of Weed World.

On their website's FAQs page, there is no mention of THC or its absence from their products, but the first question, "How much should I eat?" is answered, "It's all based on your tolerance but there's no limit." Tolerance for what? Sugar? The company—which originated in Alabama and has spread to cities around the country—mostly seems like a very profitable way to sell candy to gullible adults.

weed world wall art Nicole Mallete

The best thing I can say in their defense is that one of their trucks was recently busted by police in Saraland, Alabama, with products that "tested positive for marijuana." Assuming this isn't a screw up or deliberate frame-job by the police, it's possible that some of the Weed World trucks are using their faux activism as a front for selling actual drugs. If so, that would be the most honest thing about this company. Until that's confirmed, ignore these trucks and maybe just ask a friend for a hookup.