New York City, May 2017 GoPro Travel Video

In the 1960’s, Donald Trump’s father (real estate developer, Fred Trump) tried to kill Coney Island as we know it. He held a press conference in which he threw a mock funeral for the amusement park in the hopes of having it demolished and rezoned for high-rise condos. Thankfully, he was a huge loser and failed bigly, and as you can see in this video, Coney Island is still very much an amusement mecca. From the historic Coney Island Cyclone featured prominently in the cult film The Warriors to the ramshackle Wonder Wheel, the vibrant park is storied but still very relevant. Other sights seen here include the Roosevelt Island tramway, Central Park, Times Square, Governor’s Island, the Financial District charging bull (and girl), Astoria, Queens, East Village and Joe Strummer mural, Freedom Tower, Oculus Train Station, Tom’s Restaurant (from Seinfeld), Brooklyn Bridge, and Staten Island Ferry.

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Dominican Republic, April 2017 GoPro travel video

La Republica Dominicana, once unified with what is now Haiti as the island of Hispaniola, was reached by Christopher Columbus in 1492 on his maiden voyage across the Atlantic. After several decades of slave trade, the ratio of African slaves to Spaniards was twelve to one, and the influence of Africa on demography and culture exists to this today. My friend Alex and I spent our time in DR between the nearby towns of Punta Cana and Bavaro on the East Coast, where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet. I arrived first and took a guagua (local bus) from just down the road from the Airport to Veron and eventually Palma Real, changing busses three times and never knowing quite where I should be waiting for the bus and what bus to board. Regardless, I eventually reached Cocotal, the community my Airbnb was located. I spent the afternoon across the road at Melia, the sister resort of the Cocotal residence enjoying their beach and sunset. When Alex arrived the next day, we checked in to the NOW Larimar after about an hour of arguing in Spanish with the security guards over whether or not we had clearance to enter. After a quick trip down to the beach, we walked back toward Melia and took a trip up in the Canalloon, the giant tethered hot air balloon seen here. After a trip up to see the sunset views, we went back to the beach at Now Larimar for a bit before calling it an evening. The next day we traveled further inland to Bavaro, where we took dune buggies through the countryside to the Cave of Fantasy. We made the same trip back, enjoyed a quick swim at the NOW Larimar pool, and Alex was on his way. I took a motorcycle taxi all 25 km back to the airport, and thus concluded another successful Spanish immersion trip.

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Buck Hill, March 2017 GoPro Travel Video

 

Burnsville, Minnesota isn’t often thought of as a travel destination, but after the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, it does boast some tourist appeal. Burnsville is home to Buck Hill, the Twin Cities slopes where Lindsey Vonn learned to ski years before she was an international alpine skiing superstar. Coincidentally, it also inspired legendary Twin Cities punk band the Replacements with the fodder for their surf (ski?) instrumental used in the GoPro video above.

 

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Las Vegas, February 2017 GoPro Travel Video

Sin City. Fear and Loathing. “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.” My preconceptions of Nevada’s largest city centered mostly on glitter, glam, and excess. To some extent, they were right but there is so much more to Las Vegas than the strip. Sure, it can be fun to walk through the casinos and nightclubs, but the natural beauty of the Mojave desert is not more than a ten minute car ride from the Bellagio. Our trip took my travel partners and me from the MGM Grand and its spacious heated pool to Lake Mead and the Railroad Tunnel hiking trail and from the Fremont Street Experience and Golden Nugget casino to riding Vespa mopeds through Red Rock Canyon. Other stops off the strip included the Pinball Hall of Fame, Las Vegas monorail, and memorial site where Tupac Shakur was assassinated in September 1996 (“Pour Out a Little Liquor”). A hidden gem on the strip is in the parking garage of the Cosmopolitan hotel and casino. Original artwork by Shepard Fairey adorns the walls, and is likely overlooked by 95% of those passing through. By the way, in case anyone is wondering, I broke even on blackjack and won 9 cents playing slots. I’m rich.

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