Construction Starting on New Santo Domingo Hotel | Construction is slated to begin soon on the 117-room Hampton by Hilton Las Americas Hotel, located minutes from Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport and operating under the Hilton Worldwide brand. The hotel caters mainly to the national and international business sectors and will be situated next to a main highway connecting it to the eastern part of the country. www.HiltonWorldwide.com
Casa de Campo to Expand to Bayahibe | Rafael Torres, president of Casa de Campo resort in La Romana, announced plans last week for expansion into Bayahibe with new hotels and other real estate developments. Details and a masterplan are forthcoming.www.CasaDeCampo.com.do
Puerto Plata Tour Company Earns “Best Innovative Tour” Designation | Carnival Cruise Line named Outback Adventures in Puerto Plata the “Best Innovative Tour” in the Caribbean for its first-class customer service and creative, innovative tour offerings for cruisers stopping in the Amber Cove port.www.OutbackSafari.com.do
Cruise Tourism Strong in La Romana | La Romana has established itself as a stronghold of Dominican Republic cruise tourism, according to ASONAHORES President Simón Suárez. In 2015, 64.4 percent of Dominican Republic’s 461,822 total cruise passengers arrived to the port of La Romana, according to statistics from the National Office of Statistics.www.ASONAHORES.com
s, parties, parades and stars to celebrate the red, white and blue in Philly...
Summertime is almost here — and it just wouldn’t be summer in Philadelphia without huge Fourth of July celebrations and the return of the Wawa Welcome America! festival, which celebrates our nation’s Independence Day annually.
The blowout celebration returns this summer for a full week, from June 27 through July 4, 2016, eight days of festivities — all family-friendly — that will attract more than 500,000 residents and visitors.
Wawa Welcome America Fast Facts
The citywide July 4th celebration hits June 27-July 4, 2016
Festival highlights include four free concerts, three fireworks shows and free museum admission
Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks will go off at 10 p.m. over the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Over the course of the week, a wealth of patriotic activities will take over the city — think three fireworks shows, four free concerts, free museum admission, a festive parade and huge Historic Philadelphia Block Party.
Three Huge Fireworks Shows and Four Free Concerts
This year, celebrations around Independence Day in Philadelphia include not one, but three pyrotechnic displays.
On Friday, July 1, watch a free Philadelphia Orchestra concert along the Delaware River waterfront at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. After the show, turn to the skies for the first of three fireworks displays.
On Saturday, July 2, return to the Delaware River waterfront for another patriotic performance from The US Army Band “Pershing’s Own” followed by fireworks display number two.
Come Sunday night, the skies won’t light up with fireworks, but Independence Mall will fill with music and crowds for the annual POPS! on Independenceconcert.
(Photo by J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia)
The Philly POPS! will perform for free not one, but three times during 2016 Wawa Welcome America celebrations.
Of course, Monday, July 4th brings the final free concert and fireworks display. In 2016, the annual Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert goes with a family-friendly lineup including Kidz Bop Kids Live in the afternoon and an evening show with Broadway’s Hamilton star Leslie Odom, Jr., Yazz the Greatest from TV’s Empire, a Gamble and Huff tribute and The Philly POPS.
Plus, additional artists are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
Following the concert, the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks will hit the skies at 10 p.m. — an hour earlier than in recent years.
Other Festival Highlights
Beyond the blowout shows, Independence Day festivities in Philadelphia include citywide family-friendly happenings.
Free Movies and Museum Admission
Each day of the festival, free museum admission will be available to one or more Philadelphia museums including The Barnes Foundation, the National Constitution Center, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Ben Franklin Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish and the Rodin Museum.
Plus, seven locations around town like Franklin Square, the Piazza at Schmidt’s and the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing will host free Philly @ the Moviesscreenings throughout the festival.
(Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)
Fourth of July in Philadelphia by the numbers…
3 Huge Fireworks Shows
8 Days of Free Museum Admission
4 Free Outdoor Concerts
1 Historic Philadelphia Block Party
1 City of the Founding Fathers
Historic Philadelphia Block Party
At the new Historic Philadelphia Block Party, the streets around Independence Hall will be filled with live entertainment, food vendors, kids’ games and more on Sunday, July 3 just before the POPS! on Independence concert.
Independence Day Parade
On the Fourth of July, the day-long festivities begin right where the Founding Fathers worked to establish this country: Independence Hall. The Independence Day Parade steps off at 5th and Chestnut streets for its annual stars-and-stripes filled promenade through Historic Philadelphia.
Check back for more information about upcoming Wawa Welcome Americaevents and how to celebrate the Fourth of July in Philadelphia.
The home is open to the public, but overnight guests will have access to previously closed areas of the house. They will also have the option of sleeping in Princess Diana's room. The home will also be available to private groups of 18 people for £170,000 ($248.803) to split. Take about a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If you'd like to get a look at the home without spending a cent, Cynthia McFadden of NBC's On Assignment will take viewers on an intimate tour—including the gallery photographed above—of the mansion on Sunday, May 29th.
By Erika Owen, Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.
A group of 150 doctors, scientists and bioethicists have written a letter to the World Health Organization calling for the Rio Olympics to be postponed or moved because of concerns of the spread of the Zika virus.
The letter cites concerns about further spread of the virus and developing information about it in calling for the Games to be delayed or moved. The letter writers questioned whether the WHO is rejecting alternatives of when and where the Games should be held because of a conflict of interest with the International Olympic Committee.
“Currently, many athletes, delegations, and journalists are struggling with the decision of whether to participate in the Rio 2016 Games,” the letter states. “We agree with theU.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendation that workers should “Consider delaying travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission”. If that advice were followed uniformly, no athlete would have to choose between risking disease and participating in a competition that many have trained for their whole lives.”
The letter notes the concern for global health, citing the possibility of Olympics travelers acquiring the Zika virus in Rio and then returning home, especially to currently unaffected areas.
“It is unethical to run the risk, just for Games that could proceed anyway, if postponed and/or moved,” the letter states.
The letter writers include Amir Attaran, a University of Ottawa professor who specializes in public health and wrote earlier this month in Time that the Olympics should be moved or postponed.
Dr. Arthur Caplan, the director of the division of medical ethics at New York University, co-authored the letter, as did NYU professor Lee Ingel and Christopher Gaffney from the University of Zurich.
As of early Friday afternoon, the letter had 150 signatures from doctors, scientists and medical ethicists around the globe.
The WHO responded to the letter on Friday afternoon.
"Based on current assessment, cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus. Brazil is one of almost 60 countries and territories which to-date report continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes. People continue to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons. The best way to reduce risk of disease is to follow public health and travel advice."
In February, the WHO declared the Zika virus and international public health emergency. The mosquito-borne virus has spread to 58 countries and territories, mostly in Central and South America. It has been shown to cause microcephaly, a birth defect that causes babies to be born with smaller-than-normal heads and developmental delays, and linked to Guillain-Barre, a neurological condition that causes paralysis.
Brazil has been one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, which exhibits relatively mild symptoms in the 20 percent of those infected who experience them.
Olympic organizers have been patrolling the venues for months, seeking to remove standing water where the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the virus can breed. They have also cited the timing, with the Games occurring during Rio’s winter, as likely to lessen the threat of the spread of the virus.
The CDC has advised pregnant women not to travel to affected areas. For those who do travel, the CDC has advised wearing long sleeves and pants, treating clothing with permethrin, using insect repellant and staying in air-conditioned environments.
The letter asks the WHO to reconsider its advice on the Rio Olympics for several reasons, saying:
-- While individual risk is low, the risk to a population is “undeniably high”
-- Rio de Janeiro is highly affected by Zika
-- Rio’s health system has been weakened, including by city funding cuts against mosquito-borne disease
-- Because the Aedes aegypti mosquito had previously been eradicated from Rio that holding the Olympics in the presence of these mosquitos “is a choice and not a necessity”
-- The summer season in the northern hemisphere is also relevant to the course of the epidemic The letter cites a 2010 memorandum of understanding between the WHO and the IOC, which has not been released, as evidence of a conflict of interest and suggests a change in leadership at the WHO, which is led by director Dr.Margaret Chan, is necessary to restore credibility.
“WHO must revisit the question of Zika and postponing and/or moving the Games,” the letter concludes. “We recommend that WHO convene an independent group to advise it and the IOC in a transparent, evidence-based process in which science, public health, and the spirit of sport come first. Given the public health and ethical consequences, not doing so is irresponsible.
With the Democratic National Convention to be held here in July, Philadelphia has never been more ready to show itself off to the world.
With the Democratic National Convention to be held here in July, and itsexpected influx of 50,000 people, Philadelphia is more than ready to show itself off to the world. Thanks to a compact city center and plenty of bike lanes — plus a popular bike-share program — Philadelphia rewards exploration on two feet or two wheels. A college town, the city has a young vibe and a profusion of happy hours, as well as one of the most dynamic culinary landscapes in the country. The restaurant scene is expanding rapidly, from Frankford Avenue in the north to Passyunk Avenue in the south, discarding traditional “red sauce” Italian restaurants and working-class bars in favor of indie B.Y.O.B.s and elegant cafes. With an ever-increasing number of stellar museums, the transformation of industrial spaces into artist studios and a newly invigorated clutch of outdoorsy offerings, the city has never been more inviting — and not just to the Democrats.
1.WEST PHILLY WANDERINGS, 3 P.M.
Begin on the west side of town in the heart of University City. The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (free) is the city’s most prestigious space for modern work, with exhibitions that don’t shy away from provocation. It hosted the first museum solo show for Andy Warhol and early work by Laurie Anderson, and its more recentproductions, work from artists likeRobert Crumb, Gillian Wearing and Rodney McMillian, have been no less exciting.
2.VEG OUT, 6 P.M.
Philadelphia is having a vegan moment. Chic, plant-based restaurants are serving some of the best cocktails and bar snacks in the city. Hit the happy hour at V Street, a hip “street food”-style vegan restaurant from the owners of the much-lauded Vedge. The cocktails here include the Kingston Cooler, with silver tequila, IslayScotch, carrot, ginger and jerk spice. Accompany them with a “Philly shawarma taco” of grilled and spiced seitan, broccoli rabe, hot peppers and tzatziki.
3.DINNER AT WILL, 8:30 P.M.
Pennsylvania’s strict liquor laws (liquor licenses are legendarily expensive and difficult to obtain) have spawned an impressive B.Y.O.B. culture, with chef-driven restaurants offering inventive, perfectly executed cuisine without the hefty boozemarkup. Will BYOB, helmed by the chef Christopher Kearse, is one of a handful of such B.Y.O.B.s on buzzy Passyunk Avenue, and its five-course tasting menu ($75) of exquisite dishes, like the milk-fed poulard with braised fennel, bacon marmalade and abalone mushrooms, is a thing of beauty. Book in advance. Digest on the short walk to Fountain Porter, an effortlessly cool neighborhood bar with an impressive list of local beers. Try a pint of Kenzinger, brewed in, and named after, a north Philadelphia neighborhood, for $3 (if you’re still hungry, the excellent burger is just $5).
4.CHEESE IN THE PARK, 10 A.M.
Di Bruno Bros. is a local institution; the original location in South Philly’s Italian Market has been around since 1939. The bigger, newer store at the corner of 18th and Chestnut is filled to the brim with epicurean goods. Pick up a rustic baguette, fig and acacia honey jam, and whichever cheese the cheese monger recommends that day, and walk two blocks south to Rittenhouse Square, the city’s people-watching hub. On Saturdays, a farmers’ market runs here until 2 p.m. (3 p.m. in summer), and you canfind everything from draft kombucha to flowers to charcuterie from local, sustainably raised animals.
5.SOUTH PHILLY SANDWICH, NOON
Philadelphia is a sandwich town, and while the cheese steak gets all the glory, it’s the roast pork sandwich that deserves it. Get the real thing atJohn’s Roast Pork, a bare-bones South Philadelphia landmark with picnic table seating surrounded by shopping plazas and big-box stores. Join the long line of the devoted and pick up astellar sandwich ($10; order a large) with thin slices of moist pork, wilted spinachand melted sharp provolone. They do one of the city’s best cheese steaks, too.
6.BIKES AND HAMMOCKS, 1 P.M.
Philadelphia’s bike-share program, begun in 2015, now has more than 70 stations scattered around the city. Rent a bright blue Indego bike ($4 for 30 minutes) at Front and Carpenter Streets and hit the Delaware River Trail, a recently developed path that borders the water. Ride north, stoppingat Spruce Street Harbor Park, aboardwalk strewn with lights, hammocks, a beer garden, snacks from Federal Donuts and the Fat Ham, and barges housing pop-up restaurants by Jose Garces (May through September).Generally between late November and late February, theOlympic-size Blue Cross RiverRink is open to the public, alongside firepits and a winter garden. Hang a right onto the Race Street Pier, a recently redesigned modern bi-level extension with spectacular views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, where free outdoor yoga classes are held in warmer months.
7.FRANKFORD IN FISHTOWN, 3 P.M.
Ride that bike up the trail north to Fishtown, a neighborhood that’s seen huge changes. Frankford Avenue is more evidence of Philadelphia’s new hipness, a street lined with boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Pop into La Colombe, a cavernous industrial-chic coffee shop that distills its own coffee-infused rum, for a creamy “draft latte” (cold brew coffee and milk pressurized with nitrogen — add a shot of the rum for $6). Continue north, noting the Shepard Fairey mural on the building at 1228 Frankford Avenue, then stop at Pizza Brain. With claims to being the world’s first pizza museum, the dining room displays goofy pizza-themed memorabilia like movie posters, but the pizza itself (enormous slices topped with ingredients like Grana Padano, honey goat cheese and smoked bacon) is top-notch. Next door Little Baby’s Ice Cream makes its small-batch ice cream in flavors likeBalsamic Banana.
8.NEIGHBORHOOD FARE, 6 P.M.
Southwark was a beloved neighborhood cocktail bar and restaurant before it was sold in 2015, but, happily, Chris D’Ambro and Marina de Oliveira, the new owners,have only made it better. The oft-changing menu features perfect versions of classics like steak tartare and smoked mackerel pâté, as well as more outré items like asparagus and ramp custard with crispy poached egg, morels, fava beans and hazelnuts. Cocktails, which include a version of the Colonial-era drink Philadelphia Fish House Punch (a mélange of cognac, bourbon, rum, peach liqueur, lemon sherbet and nutmeg), haven’t lost the old Southwark zing, either. Dinner for two, around $90.
The FringeArts building, a former fire truck pumping station, now hosts live dance and conceptual performances.CreditSteve Legato for The New York Times
9.ARTS ON THE FRINGE, 8 P.M.
The redone FringeArts building, a former fire truck pumping station, now hosts the best and most eclectic of the city’s live dance and conceptual performances, in addition to being the headquarters of the city’s annual FringeArts Festival (held in September). Alternatively, head toUnderground Arts, a basement venue that’s rough and ready with cheap drinks, limited seating and musical acts as varied asBob Mould and Insane Clown Posse.
10.AFTER-HOURS OYSTERS, 10 P.M.
It’s worth waiting in line for the Saturday night “buck a shuck” happy hour at theOyster House, which has been serving fresh East Coast seafood since 1976. The restaurant now has a modern aesthetic — gleaming white tiles, marble bar and high wooden tables — and draws a well-heeled crowd for the bargain oysters: $1 eachfrom 9 to 11 p.m. Pair them with the house punch of red wine, apple brandy, lemon, ginger and cinnamon, or stay traditional with a classic gin martini with house-made vermouth.
The Oyster House has been serving fresh East Coast seafood since 1976.CreditSteve Legato for The New York Times
11.MORNING HIGH, 10 A.M.
The new Manhattan branch of High Street on Market might have a line out the door, but you can grab a table at the original if you time it right. Standout items from Eli Kulp’s highly skilled kitchen are the baked goods —the “red eye” danish, a pastry topped with country ham and coffee-spiked gravy, has graced the cover of Saveur — but for something more filling try the Hickory Town breakfast sandwich, stuffed with eggs, Lancaster bologna and Amish horseradish Cheddar. Coffee is from local roaster Rival Brothers. Breakfast for two, $30.
High Street on Market’s Hickory Town breakfast sandwich.CreditSteve Legato for The New York Times
12.ART AND HOAGIES, NOON
It’s hard to believe that the Barnes Foundation’s 3,000-strong collection ofImpressionist, Post-Impressionist and early modern paintings was once owned by a single man. Take the hourlong tour that starts at noon ($45, includes $25 admission fee; book far in advance) for insights into the work and the history of Dr. Albert C. Barnes’s once-private collection. It’s unthinkable to leave the city without stopping at a Wawa, the convenience store that — according to locals, at least — has the best coffee, hoagies and meatball subs around. Follow up your museum visit with a trip to the new location at Broad and Walnut Streets. Pick up an Italian hoagie, and stroll up to City Hall to eat it at the newly designed green spaceDilworth Park, under the benevolent gaze of the William Penn statue atop the building.
The Logan Hotel
Located in a very central spot formerly occupied by the Four Seasons, The Logan Hotel (1 Logan Square; theloganhotel.com; doubles from $199) opened in December 2015 after a thorough redesign. Note the massive chandelier constructed from portraits of famous Philadelphians in the foyer.
This small hotel (1715 Rittenhouse Square St.; rittenhouse1715.com; doubles from $249) was once a carriage house and has a comfortable, homey atmosphere in its 23 rooms. The helpful staff have plenty of local tips.