New York City Girl

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Having grown up in New York State and spent my formative years as a New Yorker it occurred to me, I had never actually considered myself to be a tourist in Manhattan. New York City has over 50 million foreign and American tourists a year. Recently, I joined the ranks and visited Ellis Island, took in a show off Broadway, garnered a bird’s eye view from the World Trade Center and had a moment of silence at the 911 memorial.

When I moved to Florida one of my first jobs brought me to New York City as a sales manager. Throughout the years I would go to the city for meetings and events but I honestly had never done the attractions. I always hit Fifth Avenue for a little wardrobe refresh, if you consider that an attraction.

This year we went to New York City for spring break. Some of the highlights included; visiting Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and the 911 memorial. We also dined at the newly renovated Tavern on the Green and ate Dim Sum in Chinatown.

We met up with my step daughter and the three grand kids who had never been to New York. Seeing the sites of the City through their eyes was interesting. I found myself wondering if they thought all New Yorkers’ were used to seeing a naked cowboy singing in the street, a dancing grown up baby and a number of furry characters roaming Time Square at all hours of the night.

Places to Go & Things to Do


New York City has a plethora of great attractions, museums and things to do. For us, we had a mixed crowd of young kids and adults so we needed to strike a balance. When choosing your hit list, pick things that cater to the majority of the crowd. The kids were interested in the Natural History Museum, some gaming attractions, Times Square and some of the more traditional landmarks such as Ellis Island and the 911 Memorial.

IMG_8195We started our first day with a trip to Ellis Island. Our ancestry traces back to Ireland and Germany and it was interesting to see the names and photos of boats that carried our forefathers to this country. Once we arrived we spent time in the great hall and looked at all the amazing images and faces of the immigrants who came to the United States so long ago. The thought of traversing continents and oceans in hopes of a better life or in some cases to escape dire circumstances is a central theme of our great and welcoming country. There are samples lining the entrance walls of exams immigrants had to pass, photos of new comers suspected of being sick showing bright white chalk marks on their lapels and desperate faces of women and children carrying all their worldly possessions.


The Ellis Island Ferry takes you to the Statue of Liberty. Be sure to reserve early or you won’t be able to go to the top. We went to the base and the views were inspirational looking up at Liberatas and seeing the broken chains at her feet. This flamboyant gift from France is a symbol of our liberty and the ties that bind all those who enter. After 911, the Statue of Liberty once again became a renewed symbol of hope and her true identity and meaning were a poignant reminder to us all, “Liberty Enlightening the World”.

After leaving Ellis Island we headed to the 911 memorial. This is a must see! There is no other event in my life and the life of many in my generation like 911. Staring into the reflection pools representing the two towers is truly a cathartic experience. Many memories come flooding back as I thought of where I was on that horrific day. Off in the distance one tree survived the attacks and was in full bloom on the day we visited. This symbol of life blossoming anew is truly touching.



When in New York City, bring your wallet! There are plenty of choices including some wonderful and reasonable Deli’s. We choose Tavern on the Green for a special dinner, the Moonstruck Diner for a more casual lunch and Chinatown for some amazing Dim Sum at the Nom Wah Tea Parlor. Other mentionable include The Oyster Bar and Cipriani’s near Grand Central Station.

The Tavern was fabulous! As we arrived and entered the bar area a swanky 40’s style band was playing. The lead singer was in character complete with a vintage dress and oversized microphone belting out classics such as Fly Me to the Moon and Mack the Knife. The dinner was amazing from both a taste and a service perspective. The ambiance was polished and harkened back to a flamboyant Mad Men era. We had a variety of dishes but the Coq Au Vin and the Rack of Lamb would be considered no less than divine. Don’t miss the Truffle Caesar Salad. You’ll want to beg for the recipe. Fun cocktails such as the Queens, Bronx and the Manhattan have you sipping and savoring every minute. There is even a kids menu with mini yummy cuisine for the smallest pallet.

Moonstruck has a great late night dessert menu and offers a quick breakfast option for all to enjoy. There are multiple locations and we never had a problem being seated even with a party of eight.

FullSizeRenderIf your feeling adventurous, head to Chinatown and try some Dim Sum. Be fair warned, you will be approached to buy every kind of souvenir and fake watch known to mankind. Be careful not to go into the back alleys. Our final destination was the Nom Wah Tea Parlor. This iconic restaurant has been family owned since 1920. Everything was delicious and plentiful. The sampler platter, original egg rolls and spare ribs top the list of delectable. The wait was over 30 minutes so be prepared to stand on the corner for a bit but the wait was worth it once inside.

Expert Insight

I am usually a big planner but this trip was much more flexible. There are some great apps that help you plan at the last minute and still get good deals. Instead of waiting in line in the rain for tickets to a show, try Today Tix. This app lets you peruse shows of interest, order tickets and has a red shirt representative meet you outside the theater at show time. We saw a great show called “Fully Committed” with Jessie Tyler Ferguson from “Modern Family.” He plays nearly 40 characters complete with voice accents and attitudes. The premise entails a struggling actor who works taking reservations at a fancy restaurant in New York. The show is hysterical and plays at the Lyceum Theater.

My Uber app crashed during our visit but my husband was able to load his up. This is a great benefit as they now have an Uber XL which can accommodate bigger parties for a ride. Of course the subway offers an easy, less time consuming and efficient way to get around the city.

We did encounter a bit of a snag at the hotel. Apparently, when you are between seasons some older hotels do not convert from a heating system to an air conditioning system. This caused a stifling few nights and very little sleep. To avoid the whole hot mess, ask some questions before booking with a follow up question about having in-room fans or windows that actually open.

I hope you’ll come along for my next road trip!

Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, travel blogger and speaker and may be reached at or

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The Dark Side of Social Media

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The Dark Side of Social Media


Has social media become ground zero for hatred causing a viciousness epidemic? Recently I witnessed such depravity; I had to take a step back and wonder if there ought to be Geneva Convention Rules for social media.

Eighty one percent of young adults think online bullying is easier to get away with than bullying in person. Forty three percent said they have been bullied before. I wonder where have our young people learned this snarky behavior? Perhaps the source goes back to their parents.

Many of you may have followed the controversial development project in the works in Jupiter. People seemed to have a great deal to say about the project from both sides. If you ask me the online ranting, taunting and, in some cases, defaming people because they had a difference of opinion, went too far. As I followed along to see what both sides had to say, I noticed a spirit of shaming that can only be characterized as a mob-rule mentality. As soon as a post was made the same four or five people would try to shut the post down with personal attacks, antagonistic rants and badgering comments.

I was curious to see what was behind all this hatred and bitterness. I get the fact that people are very passionate about their beliefs and, when pushed, Americans have always been able to mobilize into action. When I went to see what all the fuss was, I found friendly smiling faces some with lovely portraits of children by their side with interests such as church, saving the animals and other assorted noble causes. There were several rapid fire rounds of emotional exchanges sent out across the social media sphere in a mob-like wave. I returned to some of the repeat offenders profile pages and found they had removed most of their personal information.

How brazen the exchanges became from these bullies cloaked in anonymity living out their lives in The Matrix of social media. One person seemed to attack every post within minutes and even went on to attack any person who disagreed with her position. In one exchange, the post writer tried to comment back and was met with this response, “This is America, I can shame and bully if I want to.” Really!

Not only do we seem to have an epidemic of hatred and bitterness on-line but we are clearly having a famine of kindness and love. The whole exchange was just ugly and left me wondering if social media has amplified the bully on the playground to the point where anonymous personal attacks have become the new weapons of mass destruction. I can only hope this is just a small sliver of reality and not what my America has really turned into. Have a Happy New Year and may we all spread a little more kindness!

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at or .

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The Power of Owning Your Choices

The Power of Owning Your Choices

As we cruise into holiday mode, there will be a plethora of choices to make including which gifts to buy, what parties to attend and which family members to visit. For some, the holidays are a joyous time but for others stress can overwhelm you and ruin the season. There may be underlying family struggles or hurt feelings lingering from your past.  There is good news; you hold the power to move forward within you by owning your choices.

I recently watched a segment about a reunion at Alcatraz. Former prisoners and guards from the notorious prison came back for a visit and to share a meal. Admittedly, it was an odd segment but one of the prisoners said something very cathartic which caught my attention. He was talking about his story and how he ended up in Alcatraz. He robbed a bank and was locked up as a result of his crime. During his time in prison, he came to realize that he had chosen Alcatraz. He explained he had made a choice to rob a bank and the choice led him to being captured and then serving time to pay his debt to society, so in essence his own choice put him in Alcatraz. After his release, he never committed another crime again.  He had an awakening and owned up to his choices. The power of owning up to what he did released him. Conversely, another one of the inmates interviewed was now in his 80’s and had only turned his life around five years ago.  He turned away from his decades of crime and a life of wrecked personal relationships to start again.  

Our choices have short-term and long-term effects in our life. There are methods to head off negative choices which start by weighing your decisions carefully. Here are three simple steps to consider;

  • First, intentionally prepare for a decision and avoid impulse decisions. Think about the benefits, downsides and if the choice fits in with your goals and direction. I use this to stop myself from shopping or eating something I don’t need. Would I rather have one more blouse or money in my 40lK for retirement?
  • Second, evaluate the possible outcomes. For evaluating I use the Suzy Welch method described in her book 10.10.10. Consider the ramifications or benefits of your decision today, tomorrow or down the road. In Suzy’s terms, how will your choice affect you in the next 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years? When I think of this in terms of the prisoner example, he was probably living in the 10 minute, 10 month zone but not truly considering how his choices would haunt him for years if he were caught.
  • Finally, follow through and own your choices, don’t rationalize. Sometimes moving forward on some of life’s harder decisions can be difficult. Things such as whether to accept a new job, move across country or start a new venture can create monumental changes in life. Personally, I find emotional decisions to be the most draining. Should you keep a friendship after someone has betrayed you? Are your kids on solid ground?

To help with the decision process you can use a few tools to guide you.

  • Collaboration and asking feedback are a good way to get a 360° perspective.
  • Considering your past experiences and personal knowledge then applying wisdom to create a solid barometer.
  • Listening to your intuition or what I call your internal voice, this can provide invaluable guidance in decision making.

Is there a choice or something you need to let go of this holiday season? Maybe you’re facing a dysfunctional family situation or you need to forgive someone.  Look at your choices with discernment, clarity and from the perspective of will this matter today, tomorrow or next month. Then, move on with confidence. Owning your choices and decisions can be very liberating. Happy Holidays!

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at or .

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