Soho NY versus Greenwich Village

Soho NY and Greenwich Village are two bustling, lively downtown neighborhoods in New York City. Both have tons of great shopping, wonderful restaurants, and easy access to transportation, all of which draws tourists and locals alike. Both neighborhoods have their own distinct traits and attributes that distinguish them from one another and contribute to their uniqueness. Here are some things to know about both Soho and Greenwich Village.

Location and History

The neighborhood of Soho NY runs from Houston to Canal north to south, and Crosby to West Broadway east to west. The area is characterized by the cast-iron buildings that lend beauty and historical context to the area. In contrast, the neighborhood of Greenwich Village goes from 14th street to Houston north to south, and Broadway to the Hudson River east to west. Greenwich Village is located northwest of Soho. Historically, both Greenwich Village and Soho have drawn populations of artists. Soho’s large loft spaces, originally used for industrial purposes, attracted artists who appreciated the large, open spaces and natural light. Greenwich Village has been known as an important part of the bohemian movement and served as a home to many artists, alternative thinkers, and members of beatnik culture in the 1950s.

Things To Do

One popular and well-known fixture of Greenwich Village is beautiful Washington Square Park. NYU is also located nearby, making the area a mainstay for college students and businesses catering to them. Soho NY is currently well-known as a shopping district. The area offers shops on all ends of the spectrum, from J. Crew to Chanel and everywhere in between. Excellent eateries abound as well, like Maison Ladurée, Dominique Ansel Bakery, and Balthazar. Greenwich Village also boasts wonderful restaurants, like Artichoke Basille, Babbo, and Minetta Tavern.

Transportation

Soho is served by many subway lines, such as the 1, the A,C,E, the N,Q,R, the B,D,F,M, and the 6. Greenwich Village is served by the 1,2,3, the A,B,C,D,E,F, and M, and the R and the L. Both are easy to get to from many parts of the city. However, Soho is much more easily accessed from the Upper East Side than Greenwich Village is, since the 6 goes straight from the Upper East Side to Spring Street. The PATH train stops in Greenwich Village (at Christopher Street), making that neighborhood very easy to access from New Jersey.

Overall, both Soho and Greenwich Village carry a lot of appeal. Soho attracts many tourists because of its large selection of shopping, and Greenwich Village remains more populated by locals and students from the college. However, both neighborhoods have their own advantages and distinct charm, and both are worth visiting or living in!

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Moving to New York? 7 Tips to Navigate the City Like a Local

Times Square at Night

You can always spot people who haven’t quite got the moving to New York thing down pat yet. They’re the ones that march eagerly toward the empty subway car instead of crowding into the crammed ones with everyone else. They’re the ones that buy bagels at the end of the day. They learn very quickly that those things are on the “what not to do when you’re new to New York” list. Want to know more of what not to do? Read on.

Image Source: Flickr/Richard Ricciardi

1. Avoid. Times. Square.

Unless you work there, live there, or you’ve got a really good reason to be there, there’s really no reason for you to hang out in Times Square. It gets really busy there, with tourists and street vendors packed shoulder to shoulder. How tight does it get? It’s crowded at midnight. Oh, did you think we mean “Avoid Times Square on New Year’s Eve”? No, we mean avoid Times Square on a Tuesday.

Cheap Umbrellas

Image Source: Flickr/Liam Kearney

2. Invest in a Good Umbrella

They tempt you, drawing you in when you need them most — we’re talking about cheap umbrellas, of course. They grace every bodega, taunting you when a freak thunderstorm hits. They’re cheap, but they’re cheap for a reason: They’ll last you a block before they’re destroyed by a gust of wind. Plan ahead and invest in a good umbrella.

3. Scope Out the Underground WiFi Spots

There are subway stations in NYC with full-blown WiFi, thanks to wireless carrier deals with NYC’s MTA. This means that if you have to send a text, you’re awaiting an important email, or you need to make an emergency phone call, you can do it at one of these stations. As of the end of 2014, 76 stations in Manhattan and Queens were wired. The plan is for every subway station in the city to be set up by 2017. Some of the stations on the list include Herald Square, Bryant Park, and the 81st Street B and C train station underneath the Museum of Natural History.

4. Speaking of Empty Subway Cars …

That sole empty subway car in an rush-hour train packed full of passengers is empty for a reason. Trust us. Sardine it in a cramped car like everyone else.

Houston Street

Image Source: Flickr/Wally Gobetz

5. Houston Street

It’s pronounced “HOW-stuhn.” Never say “HYOO-stuhn.” You’re welcome.

6. Save Money and Make Your Own Chipotle

We get it; you’re busy. After moving to New York, you don’t have time to cook for yourself all the time. The thing is, if you eat lunch out every day, you end up spending a lot of money that you could be saving. Even if you “only” spend $10 per day on lunch, that’s at least $200 per month. (That doesn’t include your $5 latte and $2 bagel in the morning, adding another $140 per month.) Insane, no? Instead, you can stock up on groceries from places like Costco (order it online via Instacart) and find recipes online that teach you how to make your own Chipotle. Then you can splurge on yourself once a month without feeling guilty.

Taxi, Taxi

Image Source: Flickr/Damian Morys

7. Practice Good Cab Etiquette

These days, with the proliferation of car services like Uber and Lyft, catching a cab may seem like a 2004 person’s problem. But there will come a time when you will need to hail a yellow cab. Don’t cheat by going downwind (or upwind) of someone who’s been patiently waiting for a car. The cab karma gods will get you.

Main Image Source: Flickr/Robert Francis

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St Patricks Day Fun in NYC: 7 Ways to Celebrate This March

St. Patrick

St Patricks Day is coming up quickly, on March 17. Have you made any plans yet? If you call New York City home — or you’re planning to visit during the holiday — here are some fun ideas for taking part in the holiday festivities.

Image Source: Flickr/Hugh Nelson

Catch Celtic Appalachia at Symphony Space

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early! On March 14, Celtic Appalachia is playing two shows at Symphony Space. This evening of foot-stompin’ revelry will feature more than 15 world musicians, singers, and dancers genre-jumping through the jigs, reels, and harmonies of Ireland, America, and West Africa.

Tour Irish New York

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a walking tour around the former “Little Ireland” district on the Lower East Side. Learn about the important contributions of Irish immigrants to the history of New York on this family-friendly tour. Tours take place on March 14 and 15.

Visit the Irish Arts Center

Enjoy a free day of Irish arts and culture: The Irish Arts Center is hosting its Annual St. Patrick’s Open Day on Sunday, March 15, from noon to 4 p.m. Learn how to play the tin whistle, take an art workshop, try football with the Manhattan Gaels, and enjoy a cup of tea. Bring the kids for this all-ages Irish extravaganza.

St. Patrick

Image Source: Flickr/Diana Robinson

Watch the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

A tradition for over 250 years, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an experience not to be missed. Every year, roughly two million onlookers flock to Fifth Avenue to see bagpipes, marching bands, and the rest of parade’s thousands of performers. The parade begins at 11 a.m. at 44th Street and marches up Fifth Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street, to 79th Street. It finishes at the American Irish Historical Society at East 80th Street.

Want to avoid the crowds? Watch the entire parade on WNBC Channel 4.

Eat Your Fill of Corned Beef

If you’re in search of corned beef, stop by Katz’s Deli (205 E. Houston Street) for a sandwich overflowing with corned beef. They recommend pacing yourself … if you want to finish, that is! Looking for the full corned beef and cabbage meal? Drop in to the Landmark Tavern (626 11th Avenue), where they serve up this popular specialty year-round.

St. Patrick

Image Source: Flickr/Vincent Desjardins

Visit an Irish Pub

What would St Patricks Day be without a visit to an Irish pub? Luckily, New York is full of pubs, both authentic and not-so-authentic, so you’ll have no trouble finding a place to grab a Guinness and a bite to eat. Here are a few choice Irish watering holes to check out:

  • Make a visit to McSorley’s Ale House (15 East 7th Street), one of the oldest bars in New York, where your choice is simple: light or dark beer.
  • Heading out after work in the Financial District? Stop in at The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog (30 Water Street), where you can sample punch, whiskey, and cocktails, along with a delicious menu.
  • Spending the day on the Upper East Side? Plan a trip to Molly’s (287 3rd Avenue). The low ceilings, dark walls, sawdust floors, and wood-burning fireplace will transport you straight to Ireland.

Enjoy Irish Entertainment at Sober St. Patrick’s Day

Want to escape the drunken crowds instead? Head to Sober St. Patrick’s Day for an evening or food, music, and entertainment. Featuring performances from the likes of the Donny Golden School’s Irish step dancers and Malachy McCourt, it’s sure to be a fun night for the whole family!

Main Image Source: Flickr/Diana Robinson

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Home of the Week: A Hip Modern Home in Houston

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we move from a Mediterranean home in Beverly Hills to a striking ultra-modern new construction in Houston, Texas.

This $2,386,000 home is one of the more unique properties you’ll ever see, and it is apparent from the moment you look at its memorable exterior. The aesthetic of the interior is in a word, amazing – for the way it effortlessly blends seemingly opposite design principles. The exposed beams and vents remind you of upscale lofts you’d find in the trendiest neighborhoods of New York City; but the one-level home offers up way more open living space.

Located enviably in one of Houston’s most sought after enclaves, the home’s Southern roots are ever present in the cozy feeling you get from reclaimed timber and the salvaged stone you see throughout. Adding to the warmth you feel inside is the professional interior decorating, which boasts over $250,000 worth of furniture and art that are included in the sale of this trophy property.

If you’re lucky enough to call this house home, I’m willing to bet you’d spend a lot of time entertaining. Who wouldn’t be tempted to invite family, friends and even strangers over to enjoy the open air lounge, salt-water pool and gas fire-table perfect for drinks, dinner and hearty conversations?

Click here if you’d like to learn more about this home listed by The Jackie Zehl Team with Coldwell Banker United, Realtors.

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Living in Texas: 5 Reasons to Move to Dallas-Fort Worth

Home to over 26 million people, Texas is one of the most populated and diverse states in the country. With numerous metropolitan cities, living in Texas is very different than some may believe. Movies and popular culture have long portrayed Texas’ ties to the cattle industry and Southwestern culture more prominently than other notable characteristics of the state. The truth is that Texas, and Dallas-Fort Worth in particular, is home to many national and international business entities, a vibrant multicultural community, and abundant opportunities. Following are five of the major benefits to living in the DFW Metroplex.

1. Diversity and Multiculturalism

While it’s common knowledge that Texas has a long, rich history with Mexico and its culture, many are surprised to learn that the state has strong ties many other cultures as well. For example, early German and Czech settlers have a strong influence in various regions of the state. Today, Dallas-Fort Worth is home to many first and second-generation immigrants from Asia, Europe, Central America, and Africa. DFW offers houses of worship for nearly every major world religion and the area is home to the state’s largest Jewish population.

2. Jobs and Economic Growth

According to Forbes.com, Dallas and the surrounding communities enjoyed a job growth rate of 2.6 percent in 2013 and an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent. With a strong economy, workers can find job in nearly any industry including technology, finance, aviation, and oil and gas. American Airlines, Frito-Lay, Dr Pepper, and JC Penney have headquarters in the Metroplex.

3. Affordable Living Costs

Living in Texas is often more affordable than other states. According the BBC, land is cheaper than other states. Forbes.com lists the DFW median home price as $188,000. Texas is also unique in the fact that residents do not have to pay a personal state income tax.

4. Abundant Choices for Day and Weekend Trips

Since Texas is one of the largest states by area, living in Texas offers many opportunities for in-state travel. With forests, beaches, desert, and rolling hills, there is no shortage of day and weekend trip options. From quaint bed-and-breakfasts in the Hill Country to inner-tubing on one of the state’s gentle rivers, the Metroplex is a great central location for exploring the rest of the state. Dallas-Fort Worth is only a few hours from other major cities, too, including Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.

5. Friendly People

Texans have a reputation for friendliness. Even in the state’s larger cities, it is not uncommon for strangers to greet one another. Many of the state’s largest metropolitan areas rank quite high on “happiness indexes” on various polls. According to MarketWatch, DFW is the “happiest” area among the United State’s top 10 markets.

Diverse and friendly, Dallas-Fort Worth offers something for everyone. These are just a few of the many advantages Texas has to offer newcomers.

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Fun Kids Activities (That Are Totally Free!)

Okay, Dallas-Fort Worth parents: Are you in need of some fun kids activities that’ll cost you absolutely nothing? You’re in luck. The Metroplex is packed with great family-friendly things to do that won’t cost you a dime. Gather up your crew, and try out these frugal and fun kids activities.

Fort Worth Water Gardens

You wouldn’t think there would be a serene park with gushing waterfalls and hidden springs right in the middle of downtown Fort Worth, but there is. The Fort Worth Water Gardens are an urban oasis right across from the Fort Worth Convention Center. There are three pools of water to check out — aerating, quiet, and active. If your kids are old enough, venture with them down a series of steps to the bottom of a crashing waterfall.

Build and Grow

If your kids enjoy getting crafty and building things, this is one of those fun kids activities you don’t want to miss. The home improvement store offers Build and Grow clinics on Saturday where kids get to make something out of wood and take home their newly built projects — all for free. Everything is provided at no cost: building supplies, tools, aprons, and goggles. Your kids can get hands-on constructing fun projects like helicopters, bird feeders, and treasure chests. It’s a great Saturday-morning activity that won’t cost you a thing.

Nash Farm

There’s history (and free fun) in the heart of the Metroplex at Nash Farm, Tarrant County’s oldest intact farmstead. Take your family for a tour and various hands-on activities. You can go for a hayride, do some crafts, pet the sheep, and then enjoy a picnic lunch.

Frisco Fire Safety Town

Turn a safety lesson into fun by planning an outing to Frisco Fire Safety Town. Here, kids get to explore and learn in classrooms, an interactive fire engine, and safety house. They also get to participate in hands-on activities — things like driving battery-powered jeeps through the streets of Safety Town, and riding bicycles while wearing helmets.

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Who knew that more than 600 acres of preserved wilderness is so close to downtown Dallas? Have your kids put on their sneakers and head over to Cedar Ridge Preserve for some outdoor fun. There are seven miles of hiking trails, native-plant nurseries, and an area that’s perfect for a picnic lunch.

There are fun kids activities aplenty in Dallas-Fort Worth. DFW residents, do you know of a hidden gem for free family fun? Leave a comment on this post!

Image Source: Flickr

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Apartment Renovation in NYC: How to Do It Right

An apartment renovation in NYC can be every homeowner’s dream — and nightmare. On the one hand, homeowners are excited about turning their homes into the spaces they’ve always dreamed about, but they’re also worried about the possibility of costs spiraling out of control. If you’re planning a renovation on your New York apartment, keep these tips in mind.

1. To create your budget, add up your projected costs … then double it.

Budgets written down on paper make total sense, but they often don’t anticipate everything that could come up during the reno. You may discover that your subflooring is severely damaged and needs to be replaced before you can even think about laying down that Brazilian walnut flooring you’ve had your heart set on. Or maybe there’s heretofore undiscovered water damage that will need to be repaired. If you haven’t set aside a cushion for the unexpected, you could find yourself spending a lot more than you’d planned. By automatically doubling your estimated budget, you’ll be able to anticipate and deal with any unexpected expenses.

2. First do what you have to do, and then you can do what you want to do.

The phrase “Work now , play later” can totally be used when it comes to your NYC apartment renovation. Whether you’re putting together a $10k job or you’re planning to drop half a million dollars on your renovation, it’s natural that you want something that reflects all of your hard work (and money) with an obvious aesthetic upgrade. Everyone loves the sexy part of home renovations — picking out the Carrara marble countertops, or deciding between an AGA or a Wolf range, or figuring out which Farrow & Ball paint shade will best show off your fabulous living room while bringing out the color of your eyes.

But while there’s nothing cool about, say, spending $30k on a plumbing upgrade, If your apartment needs under-the-hood fixes, make those first. There’s no point in “putting lipstick on a pig.” Take care of the plumbing issues, electrical problems, or any damage that’s causing issues with your apartment. It may mean slicing some of the budget for the more cosmetic fixes or postponing some of them, but in the end, you’ll be thankful you did. If you ignore glaring structural issues with your apartment, you’ll pay much, much more for them in the long run — and fixing them later might even mean having to tear out your precious aesthetic upgrades in the process.

3. Consider using less expensive materials.

You may have your heart set on an all-marble kitchen, but mixing some of your surfaces with a less expensive material like butcher block can save you several thousand dollars or more. If you find that you have to spend more than you thought on structural and behind-the-scenes issues, be creative when it comes to your aesthetic fixes.

4. Don’t go cheap when it comes to contractors.

You may think that if one plumbing contractor gives you a bid for $5k and another gives you a bid for $9k, it’s an obvious choice: Go with the cheaper option and have more money to spend later. Well, you could assemble a line that wraps around the city a thousand times filled with people who’d tell you they wish they hadn’t made that decision. When it comes to NYC apartment renovations, don’t cut corners that you will regret later. Go with the contractor with the great reputation who’ll do it right the first time. This strategy will save you money down the road.

Image Source: Flickr/Andreas Karsten

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A Winter How-To Guide for Philadelphia Homeowners

In Philadelphia, each new season brings its own set of challenges. During the winter months, one primary goal is keeping your home insulated and warm. Here’s a quick how-to guide to help you take care of some common cold weather chores every Philadelphia homeowner might face.

Draft-Proof Doors

If you notice cold air seeping through the gaps around your doors, consider replacing the weather-stripping seal. Self-stick weather-stripping tape is sold in different thicknesses, so it’s a good idea to measure the gap between the door and the frame before shopping. To apply, simply unroll the tape and peel off the sticker before pressing into place. If you’d prefer not to use the sticky-tape vinyl weather strip, you can purchase a felt version that you nail in place. Still feeling cool air? Try making a draft snake using an old pair of jeans or other recycled materials.

DIY Log Carriers

For homes with wood-burning hearths, a log carrier is the best way to transport firewood in and out of the house. To limit your trips back and forth to the wood pile and to protect your floor from dirt and debris, one quick solution is to make your own log carrier out of fabric or canvas. You can recycle old materials or sew your own carrier using heavyweight fabric and wooden dowels, as shown in this DIY Network how-to guide.

HVAC Filters

The all-too-brief lull between air conditioning and heating season is a great time to have your heater cleaned and serviced. During the Philadelphia winter months, you’ll also want to periodically change your HVAC filter to guarantee your heater is operating most efficiently. Disposable HVAC filters are inexpensive and sold in most home improvement or hardware stores. You may also opt for a reusable filter. The reusable varieties are more expensive but can be rinsed off and dried before they are returned to the heating unit. Check your HVAC filter monthly and aim to replace it every two to three months, or more frequently if needed. When you do need to change the filter, make sure your heater is off. If your heater doesn’t restart after changing the filter, check for correct placement or call your HVAC service technician for further instruction.

Many simple insulating techniques earn homeowners significant savings and added warmth in the coldest months. If you’re a crafty and creative person, there’s no limit to the number of ingenious ideas you can come up with to fight winter drafts and increase efficiency in your home.

Image Source: Flickr/Kevin Burkett

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Cure Those Winter Blues At Home With These Bright Ideas

Grilling-tips-in-Philly

The holidays have come and gone. The warmer weather just feels so. Far. Away. If you’re like me and sadly don’t have a tropical getaway in your immediate future, you may be feeling a case of the winter blues. Fortunately, this is not a serious condition and can be cured with the following fun ideas in your home:

1. Have a BBQ
Yes, barbecues are usually reserved for the spring and summer months, but who’s stopping you from having one in January? Grab some hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken and fire up that grill! Make sure to check out our tips for grilling in the chilly weather!

Image via Flickr user Pete R.


2. Brighten up your space
The winter months can feel like they drag on since the sun sets early and the days are much shorter. While the sun may not be shining outside, you can bring some of those warm, sunny hues into your home by incorporating them into your decor. Throw a bright throw over your favorite chair, blow up your favorite family beach photo on canvas and hang it in your living room, or even switch out a plain white lampshade for a bold color. You’ll be surprised how much these small changes can really affect your mood!

Image via coldwellbankerpreviews.com


3. Infuse your home with a summer scent
Scent is one of the most powerful triggers which can immediately bring us back to a specific place or time. Coconut, tangerine, and florals immediately remind me of a warm summer’s day. Light a candle in your favorite summer scent to be transported to your happy (summer) place!

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Image via bathandbodyworks.com


4. Buy some fresh flowers
Your backyard garden may look a little “blah” this time of year, but you can always bring the garden indoors by purchasing a fresh bouquet of flowers in your favorite hue. If taken care of properly, your fresh flowers may even last a week or more!

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Image via ColdwellBankerPreviews.com

How do you keep the winter blues away in your home? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Things to Keep in Mind Around Your Home as You Clean Up from the Winter Storm

As I’ve been watching the coverage of the most recent winter storm, I’ve been wondering about the environmental impact these storms have regarding the materials used for clean-up. The biggest factor is the salt and its impact to the eco-system. Since there is nothing we can do about how our local governments treat the roadways, except voice our concerns about clean-up methods, there is action we can take when it comes to how we deal with the snow around our homes.

Going Green During Your Winter Clean-up Around the House

Of course the best green advice is a back-breaker: shovel. And then shovel more, and you know the rest of the story. But an alternative might be to locate and hire an eco-friendly snow removal company like Eco Snow Removal to help you in the process.

If you want to get high-tech in your snow removal method, you might want to consider having a professional install a Sno*Melter on your roof, driveway or sidewalks. How jealous is this going to make your neighbors?

But if you don’t have the budget for a Sno*Melter anytime soon, then the most common de-icer method ends up being salt. There are all types of products on the market, so make sure to choose wisely because some products can wreak havoc on the environment (and your pets). The least toxic solution is calcium chloride or calcium magnesium acetate (CMA). Be sure to check the labels of the products you are bringing home to ensure you’re not introducing harmful agents around your home. Here is a great reference chart to help you in your next purchase.

Have another green snow or ice removal solution? Share with everyone so we all can get in on the snow day fun.

Photo credit via Flicker user Justin Wolfe

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