New York

New York, NY is a wonderful town, an empire state of mind, and a whole bunch of other things. It leads the world in fashion, finances, and many types of arts and media. Some of its excellent and less-touted museums include the Isamu Noguchi Museum in Queens, Neue Gallerie, Museo del Barrio, and the Brooklyn Museum. You can find a respite from hectic urban life on Roosevelt Island in the middle of the East River. City Island in the Bronx is a small fishing village which has fiercely local residents along with deer, unusual snakes, and many species of birds. Long Island is a summer playground of the rich and sometimes famous, but it also has fishermen and ordinary suburbanites who live there year round. New York waterways include the Erie Canal, the Hudson River, and the St. Lawrence River, which stretches up to the impressive if commercialized Niagara Falls. Between the Adirondacks, the Catskills, and the northern end of the Appalachians, New York has a whole lot of mountains. Depending on the weather, you can do downhill skiing as well as cross-country, take a mountain bike tour of local breweries, or relax on the water. The food scene in New York City is fun but overwhelming. Some of the best ethnic food is in the outer boroughs, such as Flushing's Chinese restaurants or the second Little Italy in the Bronx, up near the famous zoo. Albany has vegan food, natural sugar-free smoothies, and organic tea and coffee; farm-to-table food with locally-sourced produce and fine wine; and classic seafood or Greek dishes. Buffalo has vegan soups, salads, and desserts; vegetarian Asian food; fresh juices; and direct-trade coffee and wheatgrass. You can get brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes in Poughkeepsie; organic, unprocessed foods and fresh gluten-free baked goods in Rochester; and macrobiotic food and organic pizza in Syracuse. In Woodstock, you can partake of organic items like curried fresh green pea fritters with toasted coconut sauce or Tuscan arugula and white bean salad with roasted garlic dressing, and chase them with organic wine or beer if you like. In Bethel near the farm where the Woodstock Festival was actually held, you can go to a fun restaurant and distillery with unpretentious and excellent choices such as vegetable soups or sandwiches with homemade sauerkraut. Try the Peace Vodka!