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Image of handmade baskets Provence’s markets are known for their handmade goods, including these woven baskets

The Provencal region has beautiful beaches, beautiful residents, and a beautiful artistic legacy. It also happens to be the home of some of the country’s best shopping, particularly for produce, spices and handmade crafts. (To get you started, why not take a look at the southern French cuisine you’ll find in the area?) While it may be difficult for you to peel yourself away from the amazingly blue waters, trust us: the marketplaces are worth a few hours of your time – or multiple visits! C’est magnifique!

1. Aix en Provence

Image of a flower market Place de l’Hotel de Ville in Aix en Provence is famous for its flower market

Old Town serves as the central hub for many of the markets in Aix, with Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday being the most popular. (You can get a sense of what a Provencal market is like here.) Place de Prêcheurs is the setting for fruit and vegetable vendors (perfect for vegetarians looking to cook meat-free dishes!); Place de l’Hôtel de Ville is where you can pick up a fresh bouquet for your beloved and browse older tomes for your library. Craftier folks will find the markets for textiles and antiquities precisely to their liking at the Cours Mirabeau and Place de Verdun, respectively. If you are in town during the month of December, don’t pass up the opportunity to tour the exquisite Christmas markets. Aix en Province has a lot more going on that just its markets, however – see what else you can accomplish in this city, even in a 48 hour trip! Read the entire story here…»

 

Picture of Eiffel Tower carousel The famous carousel outside the Eiffel Tower

Traveling is a joy – it broadens horizons and brings people together to share stories and laughs. The experience is made all the more memorable when you travel with your family. But when everyone is paired off into different hotel rooms it can sometimes feel like you’re not traveling together at all. The solution? A vacation rental with enough space for the whole crew. In this post we’ve chosen a few of the best examples of family-friendly apartments in Paris everyone is sure to love.

1. Three-Bedroom vacation rental in Bastille

Paris -2820 A literary haven in Bastille (PA-2820)

Walking into this charming Bastille apartment is like stepping into the secret library in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Colorful books on every subject are artfully tucked into whitewashed bookshelves stretching across multiple walls throughout the apartment. They pop like pieces of candy against the neutral hardwood floors and pale furniture, encouraging everyone who sees them to pick one up and flip through Paris’s rich culture. This dual-story apartment is located on the third floor of a four story walk up (find out why Paris has so many stairs!), and has a king, queen, and twin bed between its three bedrooms. The neighborhood itself is one of the most historic districts in Paris, within walking distance of the Notre Dame Cathedral as well as the Musee du Fumeur and Pont de Bercy. The closest metro stations include the Bastille and the Gare de Lyon. Read the entire story here…»

 

Once known as “Lambehitha,” or “landing place for lambs,” the Lambeth district is located in central London. From its early Viking days as a lamb trading port, this region has since developed into one of the most iconic areas in London and the world. Although initially a marsh, Lambeth is now home to everything from the London Eye to Waterloo. It is presently one of the most visited areas of London, along with the popular West End, and is a great place to visit for any intrepid traveler.

Westminster Bridge at sunset with the Big Ben The Westminster Bridge connects two of London’s major neighborhoods: Lambeth and the City of Westminster.

The district of Lambeth is located along the south bank of the River Thames, opposite Westminster. (In fact, the two were linked by a horse ferry across the Thames until the opening of Westminster Bridge in 1750, followed by Blackfriars Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge.) It’s a great place in which to look for an apartment with a view of the Thames or just go for a walk along the river. Within the context of London Lambeth is centrally located with a wealth of culture all its own. Read the entire story here…»

 

picture of Big Ben in winter Big Ben on a snowy London Day

There’s nothing quite like seeing the joy in children’s faces as they frolic in the snow. Of course, wintertime cannot be entirely devoted to those white flakes. The answer? London. Centuries of history spread out across 3 districts offer countless activities for you and your family during the winter season. Some of these activities take advantage of snowfall, while others are best for chilly days where you cannot bear to be anywhere besides indoors. Here is a list of our favorite things to do for families in the wintertime.

1. Visit the city’s museums

Image of the Natural History Museum The National History Museum is just as famous for its architecture as it is for its exhibits

The metropolis of London is not short on museums, many featuring priceless artifacts! For marine fanatics, the HMS Belfast stores nine decks worth of history, from the ship’s mechanics to the ways in which sailors lived aboard the vessel. Want to know more about London’s iconic double-decker buses and black taxis? You’re in luck: The London Transport Museum seeks to educate the masses on the importance of London’s public transportation system. The National History Museum, one of London’s most prominent galleries, boasts exhibits dedicated to geology, ecology, zoology, paleontology as well as a wildlife garden. (And don’t miss the most complete Stegosaurus known to humankind.) For astronomy, engineering, and medicine, the Science Museum cannot be matched. A day of kitschy fun can be found at Madame Tussauds, where you and the kids can pose with the lifelike wax figurines of your favorite celebrities! And for the child in all of us (or the children in your party), there’s the V&A Museum of Childhood, which displays toys and other playthings as a testament to the boundless imagination of kids. South Kensington is home to many other museums; check out our guide to the district here. Read the entire story here…»

 

Photo of Eiffel Tower under the snow Exploring the Eiffel Tower in the snow is magical

Often when we think of winter activities for kids we think of Christmas – visiting Santa and baking cookies – but what is there to do once all the Christmas decorations are down and the presents are unwrapped? Contrary to popular belief, there are lots of things to do with your family for a winter holiday vacation well after the holiday season has drawn to a close. This is especially true in Paris, where wintertime is a season of bustling activity! Although there is no shortage of kid-friendly activities in the City of Lights, these are a few of the ones we think are the best.

1. Go Ice Skating

The ice skating rink outside the Hotel de Ville. Ice Skating in front of City Hall? Don’t mind if we do.

Unlike in the United States, many of the city’s winter ice skating rinks stay open for weeks and months after the holidays. Popular indoor skating centers include the Patinoire Pailleron and the Patinoire Sonja Henie. However, the most famous and popular of all ice rinks in Paris is hands down the Patinoire de L’Hôtel de Ville, the ice rink in front of City Hall. Be sure to admire the surrounding architecture, as much of Paris was redesigned in the late nineteen hundreds in the Haussman style. In fact, that’s part of why Paris has so many stairs! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of brownstone steps Central Harlem’s rich history means it is home to the traditional brownstone apartment

Welcome to Central Harlem:

Perhaps no neighborhood in New York can match Harlem for its artistic and cultural output, thanks to the works of its African-American community. The Cotton Club at 142nd and Lenox made icons of bandleader/composer Duke Ellington and singer Lena Horne; activist Marcus Garvey is immortalized by the eponymous park; and famous residents have included the likes of Maya Angelou and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Central Harlem is north of Central Park, south of the Harlem River, west of 5th Avenue and Harlem River Drive, and east of Morningside Park and Edgecombe Avenue (guide to the neighboring districts of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights here). Although an area of historical significance for centuries (the Continental Army successfully prevented the British from invading New York during the American Revolution), Harlem became world-famous thanks to the period known as the Harlem Renaissance. The era, linked to the 1920s, witnessed an explosion of literature and the arts from the district’s black population. Read the entire story here…»

 

Photo of people rallying against illegal hotels in front of New York’s City Hall People rally outside of New York City Hall to protest against illegal hotels in the city. William Alatriste, New York City Council

On January 20th 2015, the New York City Council conducted a hearing on short term rentals and the legislation affecting them. This controversy affects all New Yorkers, since illegal rentals can result in safety and noise concerns, as well as overcrowding and a decrease in building services, not to mention eviction of the leaseholder and their guests. New York Habitat attended the hearing, since the agency actively monitors the status of laws affecting apartment rentals in order to provide the most reliable service possible to clients.

Changes are coming to the way the city deters illegal rental activity, which will have a large effect on city residents and tourists alike. Therefore, it is important for all New Yorkers and their guests to understand the controversy and outcome of the hearing.

What is the status of short term rentals in New York as of January 2015?

Image of the facade of New York City Hall in Manhattan New York City Hall in Lower Manhattan

New York property laws set the length of time and manner in which a unit can be lawfully rented, and limit the conversion of units from permanent residences into transient hotels. These regulations were put in place in order to protect the safety, privacy, and quality of life for residents and tourists alike, as well as to curb the city’s affordable housing shortage. Read the entire story here…»

 

Canary Wharf is to London what Lower Manhattan is to New York – a financial powerhouse characterized by towering skyscrapers and finely pressed suits. Global banks and media houses attract some 100,000 workers daily. It is actually one of two main financial centers, sharing the title with the City of London. (See our video tour of the City of London here.) In fact, the second tallest building in the UK, One Canada Square, calls Canary Wharf home. Canary Wharf has historical roots in shipping, and for 160 years was one of the busiest docks in the world. The docks were finally closed in 1981 after the port industry began to decline. Its current iteration is the vision of Michael von Clemm who first came up with the idea to convert Canary Wharf into a bank office and business district in the late 1980’s. As one of the poshest districts in town, be sure you’re caught up on our basic tips for London etiquette.

Canary Wharf and London from above Canary Wharf in London on the horizon of the Thames

Located on a little peninsula along the north of the River Thames, Canary Wharf and Docklands can be found in the east of London on the Isle of Dogs. Its northern borders stretch from Limehouse in the west to London City Airport in the east. For information on what else is in the area check out our video tour of Hackney and the East End. This article will discuss the places in Canary Wharf and Docklands mentioned in the video, including Cabot Square, the West India Quay, the Thames Barrier, Island Gardens, and the Greenwich foot tunnel. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Central Park in winter Central Park looks beautiful in any season, but the winter snow makes it extra idyllic

New York may be a city of millions that seems perpetually catered toward the young twenty something demographic, but that is an egregious oversight. There are plenty of reasons why people of all ages enjoy the benefits of being a New Yorker (or at least a temporary one). Lest you think the best hotspots are trendy bars and clubs, remember that New York’s best sights and activities are classics, whether it’s a spirited jaunt around a skating rink or a sampling of hot chocolate. Best of all, these activities are perfect for each member of your party! Here are some of our favorite family-friendly activities for wintertime in New York! (Don’t forget activities you can do with your family all year round, or activities for rainy days in New York City!)

1. Ice Skating

Image of Central Park’s ice skating rink Many people come to Central Park in the wintertime just to glide across its famous rink

A classic wintry day on the town, children love to glide (though you can expect more slipping and sliding from novices) across smooth ice.

  • The best rink combines wide skating space with a scenic view. Perennial favorites include the rinks at Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center (which are surrounded by loads of shopping and dining opportunities) as well as the open greeneries of Central Park and Lakeside at Prospect Park. (Why stop there for Central Park? Explore more of the parkland with our helpful guide to Central Park). Read the entire story here…»
 

Welcome to one of London’s best-kept secrets – the East End! In this video tour we’ll show you a glimpse of all that this thriving neighborhood has to offer, including a bit of the history, culture, and of course the local hot spots. Starting as a series of villages outside of the City of London, local docks brought high demand for workers and with them the seed of urban development. This has blossomed in the last few decades, making London’s East End and the greater neighborhood of Hackney a haven for art and culture.

Canal in the East End Take a walk along one of the East End’s many canals

The East End can be found (understandably) in the eastern section of London. It’s bordered by Bishopsgate to the west, the River Thames in the south, the River Lea in the east, and Regent’s Canal in the north. This article will discuss the places mentioned in the video, including Shoreditch, Hockston, and Spitalfields. Not sure how your London street smarts compare? Our tips and etiquette guide for visitors might help you out. Read the entire story here…»