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A New York City Night Out,
Mad Men-Style

The bar offers “Martinis and Manicures” every night for the ‘60s bargain price of $10 for both!

The “swinging ‘60s” might be so last millennium, but partying like Mad Men’s purveyor of cool, Don Draper, is about as current as it gets. In honor of the new season of the cool AMC show Mad Men, here’s your guide to a retro night out in New York City, from kitschy New York bars to lounges specializing in Old Fashioneds and Mint Juleps:

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6 Cool Bicycle Stores

There’s no other bicycle shop in the world where you have to give serious thought to your wardrobe before visiting.

The best bike shops in the world do more than sell and fix bicycles. They fill you with a sort of enthusiastic energy that makes you want to get out there and pedal.

There are lots of great community bicycle stores out there, too many for us to declare the six we feature below to be the absolute best. But each one is superlative in its own way:

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Flying the Airway to Heaven

On the shores of Lake Constance—which straddles Germany, Austria and Switzerland—the whales are not found in the water. They are found floating above it in the form of the massive whale-like zeppelin, the world’s largest commercial flying machine.

Note that zeppelins are different from blimps. Both have bulbous tops filled with a gas that’s lighter than air. But a blimp’s top has no internal structure; blimps are essentially steerable balloons. Zeppelins use a metal frame, which makes them more stable, agile, durable and quiet for passengers (since the engine can be placed further from the cabin).

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Camping? In New York City?

Can you (legally) go camping in New York City?

It might be a stupid question to ask about a heavily populated urban area that, save for Central Park, is notoriously devoid of large green spaces. Yet, in honor of Ask a Stupid Question Day (September 28th), we thought we’d research that very topic.

Turns out the answer is: Yes, there is a campground in New York City.

And we aren’t talking about pitching a tent on a desolate plot of concrete either. Take the 2 train to Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue, then hop on the Q35 bus, and you’ll be find yourself at a campground by Jamaica Bay. A campground with, you know, dirt and trees. The sort of campground where you can roast s’mores.

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Museums for Orphaned Letters

One day you’re in. The next day you’re out.

Heidi Klum’s golden rule of Project Runway fashion is also the reality for the characters that comprise signs. One day you are an L or an R proudly pointing the way towards an attraction along with your fellow letters. The next day you are discarded.

Usually old signs end up in landfills or incinerators. But an especially lucky, and especially artistic, few have their letters go on display in museums. There people look at them not for any direction they can provide but for the works of art that they are.

Here’s a review of Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite unusual typography museums:

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Kayaking the Thumb

Ask longtime Michigan residents where in the state they live and chances are that they’ll hold up their right palm and point out their hometown upon it—the shape of a hand held up approximating that of Michigan’s lower peninsula.

Ask an outdoor enthusiast who’s in-the-know where Michigan’s best kayaking trip is and chances are said enthusiast will hold up a right palm and point to its thumb. It is at the thumb where paddlers find the wonderful cliffs and clear waters of Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay.

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The Airline for the Pet-Setting Crowd

The airline business has to the dogs. Literally. On Pet Airways, the world’s first animal-only airline, pets fly in the main cabin and not in the cargo hold.

What’s it like on a Pet Airways flight? If you are imagining a Boeing 747 with dogs and cats curled up in business-class seats while watching Lassie on their personal television screens as flight attendants stroll the isles with carts of chewy treats and catnip . . . well, you are a little off. Pet Airways isn’t some bad Disney movie. But it is a very cool service. Here’s how it works:

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Borrow a Chromebook From
Virgin America, Ace Hotel

Spot Cool Stuff recently reviewed Google’s Chromebook netbooks on our tech blog. The new computers runs the Chrome operating system is almost entirely integrated in with the cloud. The major disadvantage of the Chrome OS: It renders a computer mostly useless if it isn’t online. The major advantages: With a Chromebook there’s no need to worry about updating software, backing up files or running out of storage space.

If you’d like to try out a Chromebook for yourself on your next trip you now can. For a limited time, passengers on Virgin America and guests at New York’s Ace hotel will each be able to borrow one, for free.

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