Public Transportation Makes Traveling New York City Easier

Regular Use Of Public Transportation Makes New York City So Explorable And Fun

Use public transportation to truly appreciate a city.

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Subways and ferries set the pace of motion in New York City. New York wouldn't be the same without its public transportation, and more importantly, the sheer number of people that use that system daily. I know from my own experience, living in San Francisco and Los Angeles, that the Metro can make or break the exploration of a city.

When I went to school in L.A. I significantly used Ubers/Lyfts and my personal chauffeurs (a.k.a. my roommate and other friends with cars). But, the emphasis here is still placed on cars. L.A. always was and remains to be a city built around roads and highways, and cars are still the necessary components of getting around. And, unsurprisingly, cars can be really, really expensive. Either the cost is money (and quite a lot of it) when it comes to ride-shares, or the cost is time -- specifically my friend's.

Public transportation is obviously available and used in Los Angeles, but by a *lot* fewer people and mostly during business rush hours. Afterward, most people aren't seen using public transportation after that evening rush dies down. It's the lack of use, not the condition of the public transportation, that can make people unfamiliar and uneasy about using those systems. Especially, when there are easily accessible, albeit hellish, highways that can be traveled with cars.

San Francisco proves itself to be a bit better when it comes to public transportation, as the CalTrain and BART move commuters from all around the Bay Area. Within the city itself, bus and rail lines (MUNI) also are a source of public transportation. However, there are still quite a lot of people that still prefer cars to public transportation, and that is reflected in the similar decrease in the use of metros past the evening rush traffic.

New York City proves the importance of transportation at all hours, as I saw when I traveled there during the past week. I was able to and comfortable with using the subways and New Jersey PATH trains past midnight and way into the wee hours of the morning. This was significant because of the greater use of these public transportation systems, by everyone. Regardless of background, socioeconomic status, or career path, everyone used the trains and bus systems to get around. They just made sense to.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that I came back to Jersey after traveling around Times Square past midnight and finding myself faced with multiple train cars filled with people at 1:30 a.m. on a Wednesday night. I always felt comfortable and safe due to the sheer number of people around me who use trains on such a regular basis that they didn't seem to think twice about their journey.

It's because of public transportation and the ability to walk across all of New York City that made exploring every street so much more exciting and interesting. I highly recommend that the next time you travel to a major metropolitan city, consider ahead of time what kind of transportation is the most common to get around. It may just help make your trip planning and eventual adventure that much more enjoyable.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say, "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing.

My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from "Shameless."

"Shameless" is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out of place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum, it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone, however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by "Shameless."

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

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Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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