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Picture of the Queensboro Bridge and Queens taken from Manhattan View of Queens and the Queensboro Bridge from Midtown Manhattan

Welcome to the second article of our new series about the New York City boroughs! In the first article of the series, we introduced you to The Bronx. In this article, we’ll tell you about the most culturally diverse borough in all of New York City: Queens. Like The Bronx and Staten Island, Queens is often outshone by Manhattan and Brooklyn – which is a real shame, as this borough has so much to offer! The borough is made up out of many cultural enclaves that offer authentic shops, restaurants and festivals all pertaining to one particular culture. For example, there’s Chinatown in Flushing, Little India in Jackson Heights and a slice of Greece in Astoria, just to name a few. This makes Queens a true melting pot of cultures, and definitely a borough worth visiting. Queens also boasts some truly fantastic museums, sprawling parks and even a couple of white sandy beaches! There’s definitely a sense of space that you won’t find as easily in Manhattan, which means the borough is full of possibilities. In this article, we’ll show you some of the best things to see and do in the area.

Welcome to Queens

Queens is the largest borough of the five, and second largest in population (after Manhattan). It’s located on the western end of Long Island, and it’s bounded by the East River and the Bronx to the north, Hempstead to the east, Brooklyn to the south, and the East River and Manhattan to the west. The west side of Queens is very urban, while the eastern side is more suburban. Some of the best parks of the borough can be found in the south. Queens is also home to both JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, and features many subway lines and stations, which means it’s very well connected. The A, G, J, and Z trains connect Queens to Brooklyn, and the E, F, M, N, Q, R and 7 trains connect Queens to Manhattan. The 7 train is especially great if you want to get a sense of the borough, as it runs mostly elevated through Queens. Read the entire story here…»

 

Sunshine, a summer breeze and a glass of cold rose wine on a deckchair next to the strikingly blue water of your own swimming pool… If this sounds like your idea of a proper summer holiday, then this article is for you! The South of France is a fantastic destination for a summer vacation. There’s the French Riviera, Provence, the Mediterranean Sea, picturesque villages, delectable food, wine, and plenty of sunshine to go around! If you choose to stay in a vacation apartment or villa, you’ll be able to enjoy all these things and more like a true local. Of course there are countless fantastic accommodations to stay in the South of France. That’s why we chose to compile a list for you with apartments and villas in Provence and the French Riviera that offer a little something extra, namely a swimming pool! Discover how you can enjoy the perfect summer holiday in the South of France.

Four-bedroom vacation villa in Salernes, Provence

Picture of a villa with swimming pool in Salernes This villa in Salernes is a typical Provencal ‘Bastide’ with a gorgeous swimming pool and terrace

To start things off, this 4-bedroom villa in Salernes is a wonderful accommodation for a vacation with the entire family. The kids will go nuts for the gorgeous swimming pool, which has a salted water system so it’s just like the sea! The villa itself sleeps up to eight people, and is a typical Provencal ‘Bastide’, but with a surprisingly modern and stylish interior. The four bedrooms and upstairs playroom ensure there’s enough space for the whole family. The downstairs living room offers splendid views of the sunny terrace furnished with a swimming pool and of the garden, which is planted with olive and laurel trees. The fully-equipped kitchen makes it easy to cook your own meals with fresh, local ingredients. You can choose to eat dinner inside or outside al fresco on one of the two terraces.

The villa is located less than a kilometer (half a mile) away from the village of Salernes, where you can find shops for all your daily needs. Furthermore, there are many vineyards nearby where you can enjoy learning more about the winemaking process. The nearby town Lorgues has a fantastic farmers market where you can pick up fresh ingredients to take home with you. Check out Provence’s Food Culture and Southern French Cuisine for some culinary inspiration! Read the entire story here…»

 

It’s without a doubt one of the most famous landmarks in the entire world: the Eiffel Tower. No trip to Paris can be complete without gazing upon this embodiment of Parisian life. And just imagine waking up in Paris, looking out the window and seeing the Eiffel Tower right there in front of you! In this article, we’ll show you how to make this fantasy a reality. We’ve selected six of our favorite apartments in Paris that offer magnificent views of the Eiffel Tower. Discover what it’s like to vacation in Paris while staying in an apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower!

Lovely one-bedroom vacation apartment in Invalides

Picture of the Eiffel Tower taken from a 1-bedroom apartment in Invalides View of the Eiffel Tower from the balcony of this 1-bedroom apartment in Invalides, Paris

The view from this 1-bedroom apartment in Invalides is absolutely stunning. Not only does it offer a splendid view of the Eiffel Tower directly from the French windows in the bedroom, but also from the fully-equipped kitchen! This means the apartment truly offers an amazing and authentic Paris experience. Tenants can wake up in the morning to the splendid view of the Eiffel Tower, prepare breakfast in the kitchen with the same amazing view, and perhaps enjoy a croissant with a coffee in the living room — or outside on the balcony, offering a striking view of typical Parisian rooftops and the Hôtel des Invalides! The apartment sleeps up to two people, and is located right in the center of the beautiful Invalides neighborhood. Just blocks from the apartment you’ll find the Seine River, monumental buildings, a bustling street market, and of course the Champ de Mars park with the Eiffel Tower.

For some history and practical information about the tower, check out our Visitor Guide to the Eiffel Tower! Read the entire story here…»

 

London, along with the entire UK, is famous for its bustling pub culture. In recent years, however, the city’s coffee culture has become a close second! The new specialty coffee wave that has swept the globe has finally taken a firm hold in London. Expert baristas from Australia and New Zealand have persuaded lovers of tea and pints alike to give their freshly roasted coffee beans a try, and their success can be seen across the city. Coffee shops serving single origin coffee made with high quality coffee beans from all over the globe have sprung up in almost every neighborhood of London!

In this article, we’ve selected ten of our favorite coffee shops in London. We’ve tried to focus on cafes that offer something a little different than your run-of-the-mill coffee place. From coffee shops that also sell bike parts to cafes that serve coffee-based cocktails at night, we’re confident this list has something for everyone!

1. Kaffeine

Picture of a cup of cappuccino in London A perfectly brewed cup of cappuccino in London

Inspired by the coffee culture in Australia and New Zealand, Kaffeine brews some of the best coffee in town. The experienced baristas use quality Square Mile beans, which you can really appreciated when you order an espresso. Besides coffee, Kaffeine also serves delicious, locally sourced food. The banana bread is something to try! The small café can get quite crowded during lunchtime, so it’s best to visit in off-peak hours. You’ll find Kaffeine on Great Tichfield Street in Fitzrovia, just a couple of blocks north from Oxford Circus. Read the entire story here…»

 

Panorama of New York City’s the Bronx and Upper Manhattan The Bronx and Upper Manhattan in New York City

This article is the first in a new series that will give an overview of all New York City boroughs! To kick off, we thought we’d start with a borough that’s often unjustly underrated: The Bronx. As the birthplace of hip-hop music and former home of famous artists and actors such as Jennifer Lopez and Al Pacino, you’d think the Bronx would be widely known as the incredibly diverse borough it is today. However, the Bronx is still often outshined by the world-famous NYC boroughs Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. Together with Staten Island, it is even at times referred to as the ‘forgotten borough’. This really is such a shame, as over the last couple of decades, the Bronx has developed into a culturally vibrant and bustling area of New York City filled with hidden gems. It’s home to the Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden, to name a few of its many fantastic landmarks. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the borough and show you some of the best attractions to see and do in the area. Hopefully after reading this, you won’t hesitate to pay the Bronx a visit on your next trip to the Big Apple!

Welcome to The Bronx

The Bronx is the only New York City borough that’s located on the mainland, and is separated from Manhattan by the Harlem River. It’s the northernmost borough of the city, and has just under 1.4 million residents. The borough is divided into the hillier West Bronx, comparable to the hills of San Francisco, and the flatter area of the East Bronx. The west and east side of the borough boast rich architecture, both old and modern, as many new residential homes were built in the past couple of decades. Besides the aforementioned landmarks, the Bronx also features great museums, lovely parks and even some beaches! When it comes to culture, there’s a great diversity in music and food. From hip-hop to Latin music, and Italian food to Dominican cuisine, you’ll find it all in the area. Join famous former residents such as Kerry Washington, Ralph Lauren, Edgar Allan Poe, Calvin Klein and even John F. Kennedy in discovering this culturally rich borough! Read the entire story here…»

 

Welcome to the first article of our new series ‘Apartments with a View’! One of the best things about staying in a local’s apartment is that it’s quite often either right in the city center or in the best possible neighborhood of the area. This also means that the apartment sometimes comes with a hell of a view. That’s why we’ve selected some of our favorite apartments in Provence and the French Riviera that offer a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean Sea! These apartments not only have the view of your dreams, but also offer something extra. We’ve chosen a broad selection of small studios, apartments for the whole family, city apartments and provincial estates, so you can be sure there’s one exactly right for you!

One-bedroom vacation rental apartment in the beautiful French Riviera town Cap d’Ail

Picture of the living room of a Cap d’Ail holiday apartment and its view of the Mediterranean Sea This classic holiday apartment in Cap d’Ail offers a splendid view of the Mediterranean Sea!

This tasteful Cap d’Ail 1-bedroom apartment is located in a magnificent former palace mere steps away from one of the most beautiful beaches of the Cote d’Azur. The palace was built in 1897 to receive British and Russian nobility, and it is now a secure residence with several apartments. The 1-bedroom apartment is perfect for a couple, but can sleep three if necessary. The sunny living room features a semi-open kitchen and two big French windows that give a splendid view of the Mediterranean Sea. The bedroom has another set of windows that open onto a small balcony. The beach of Cap d’Ail is one of the prettiest in the area, and even won an award for the cleanliness of the water! The center of the village is about a ten-minute walk from the apartment, and here you’ll find restaurants, cafes and shops. Monte-Carlo in Monaco is just a short drive from the apartment, and makes for a fantastic cosmopolitan day trip.

Also be sure to check out our top 10 beaches in the South of France for a list of some great beaches in the area. Read the entire story here…»

 

New York Habitat is dedicated to protecting not only our clients, but also the hosts who list with us, from illegal rentals. We are well aware that, when it comes to subletting and sharing, the laws and regulations are extensive and often confusing for individuals who lack expertise in the real estate field. One of the most prominent sources of confusion is Chapter 225 of the Laws of 2010, which amended the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law to ban certain short-term rentals. (This legislation is also known as the “Illegal Hotel Law” or “Vacation Rental Ban”).

Senator Liz Krueger’s recent press release, “Answers for New Yorkers Concerned or Confused About the Illegal Hotel Law” has directly addressed this confusion and we expect it to be of great help in improving the clarity of the law for tenants and property owners who would like to rent to guests. Please click on the link to read the article in its entirety.

New York Habitat would like to disseminate Senator Krueger’s clarification to our hosts, as well as to potential rental hosts, by keeping in mind that rental hosts want to know specifically about their own property or rental situation. Since there are many types of properties that hosts might possess, it is difficult to give a roadmap to the law that addresses every individual. The search through the abundance of information might make hosts even more confused than when they began.

Therefore, we have created a visual representation of various types of buildings and rental set-ups so that hosts can look specifically at their own property to see how they can avoid violation of the Vacation Rental Ban.

Please see below four property types:

Image of Four Property Types Four property types

Each division represents, not a floor or story, but a UNIT (see below an example of a unit):

Image that shows what a unit is What is a unit?

Please keep in mind that although the above representation contains a two-bedroom single-story unit, a unit may also be multiple stories (such as a duplex) and may have any number of bedrooms or be a studio. For most rental apartments, the divisions between units are clear. However, in other buildings, such as brownstones, the division into units may be unclear. If you are ever unsure, check your building’s certificate of occupancy on the New York City Department of Buildings website. Read the entire story here…»

 

Picture of coffee being brewed in Paris The new wave of coffee culture has taken Paris by storm

It’s been a long time coming, but the new wave of coffee culture that’s swept the globe has finally reached Paris! Gone are the days of old, when traditional bistros served mediocre coffee. In the past couple of years, new specialty coffee shops have started to pop up all over the city of lights! This new trend of coffee shops is heavily influenced by some of the leading coffee regions in the world, such as Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and North America. Baristas from these regions have introduced Paris to techniques such as pour-over coffee and filter coffee, not to mention fresh coffee beans from the world’s best coffee producers and roasters.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of our favorite new coffee shops in Paris. Keep in mind that the Parisian coffee culture is simply bustling right now, so this is definitely not meant as a definitive list. With that said, we’re sure this list of our favorite top 10 coffee shops in Paris will be of use to you during a visit to the city!

1. La Caféothèque

La Caféothèque on 52 Rue de l’Hôtel de Ville was one of the first new barista-focused coffee shops in Paris. Barista Gloria Montenegro, who was the former Guatemalan ambassador to France, founded the café some seven years ago. She has a true passion for coffee, personally selecting and visiting coffee growers across the globe. Customers will taste this commitment to quality coffee beans in each drink: the espresso and cappuccino are both brewed to perfection. La Caféothèque is a real Parisian gem: you’ll come for the excellent coffee, and stay for the friendly baristas and cozy interior. Read the entire story here…»

 

Picture of a New York cup of cappuccino A perfectly brewed cappuccino in New York City

In the past decade, along with many other cities around the world, New York City has undergone a new wave of coffee culture. While well-known American chains can now be found across the globe, New York City’s coffee culture has moved away from corporate giants and towards an emphasis on specialty coffee. Specialty coffee means coffee that is made from usually fair trade and organic beans that are freshly ground for each individual cup of coffee. This so-called third wave coffee movement has made way for small, cozy neighborhood cafes where baristas know customers by name.

Not only do these cafes serve a mean cup of coffee, they also offer people a quiet workspace, great reading spot or a hang out for friends (very much like the cast of Friends always did in Central Perk). In the last couple of years, specialty coffee shops have sprung up all over the city, and there are literally too many to choose from. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 coffee shops in New York City, focusing on specialty cafes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. We hope it’ll be of use when you visit the city!

1. Café Grumpy

Café Grumpy is the spot to go for a fresh brewed cup of coffee. The café started out as just one coffee shop on Meserole Avenue & Diamond Street in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint, but now has four locations in the city. Meanwhile, the Greenpoint shop has become very popular due to it appearing on the television series Girls. In the show, creator Lena Dunham’s character Hannah works in a Greenpoint coffee shop, and Café Grumpy is used for the exterior. If you’re a fan of Girls, you should definitely head to the Greenpoint location. If you prefer a quieter spot, the Café Grumpy on 20th Street & 7th Avenue in Chelsea, Manhattan has a lovely and tranquil garden space.

Check out Live Like a Local in Chelsea for more information about Café Grumpy and the surrounding neighborhood! Read the entire story here…»

 

Aerial photo of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London

Hackney is one of the most exciting areas in London. The borough has an absolutely thriving art scene, many beautiful parks, and if you’re looking for some of the best cafes, pubs and clubs in the city, you’ve definitely come to the right place! Hackney is one of the largest Inner London boroughs and can be found just to the northeast from the City. The area comprises many famous neighborhoods and areas of London, such as Shoreditch, Hoxton and parts of the Regent’s Canal. It also borders the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which was the site of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The area flawlessly combines the old with the new, and will definitely take you by surprise!

Welcome to Hackney

Hackney is roughly bordered by City Road and the City in the south, Southgate Road and Islington to the west, Amhurst Park and Harringay to the north, and the River Lea and Stratford to the east. It’s serviced solely by the London Underground along its southern and northern borders, but is easily reachable with the London Overground, which has several stops in the borough. The southern neighborhoods of Hackney are internationally renowned for their nightlife and many galleries and creative shops. Meanwhile, the center and north of the borough are up-and-coming areas that provide attractive options for affordable accommodation within an urban environment. The many fantastic markets, restaurants and pubs in the area also attract their share of celebrities! For example, Russell Brand is often spotted in Hoxton cafes such as Love Shake. In this article we’ll tour some of the top spots in the neighborhood, and show you what it’s like to live in Hackney like a local! Read the entire story here…»