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By air or by sea, the tropics are for lovers thanks to amphibious planes

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By air or by sea, the tropics are for lovers thanks to amphibious planes

Big Hollywood would have you believe seaplanes are only for drug runners, Bond villains — and Tintin.

In reality there’s a much more romantic side to
these half-boat, half-plane amphibious craft.

Something about being able to seamlessly (and under a minute’s time) take off from, and land back upon, the rhythmic, drifting milieu of the sea just flutters the heart. Ask Devon Windsor and Johnny Dex!

Not to mention being ideal for the COVID era, as the private, intimate quarters of a seaplane are strictly limited to the couple, a micro group of friends or family, and the captains. Er, pilots.

Since the Earth is 71 percent water, it’s also 71 percent tarmac for the magical seaplane. But we’ve narrowed it to six romantic rides nearly right above the sea.

No shirt, no shoes, no passport … yessir! No car is OK, too, since you haven’t a choice but to get to this very private and remote — and beautifully adults-only — island in the Florida Keys by motor yacht or seaplane. So, a no-brainer.

Alpha dog operator in the region, Tropic Ocean Airways, can fly you here from Fort Lauderdale’s Sheltair (from $3,000/one-way) or Miami’s Seaplane Base (from $3,250). There’s only one TV on the entire island, in LPI’s Great Room. Snub the odious thing and instead tune in to the island’s deep-sea fishies.

A darling of the jetsetter glossies, the resort offers a Tropic Ocean package exclusively for seaplane passengers, from $2,590/night (use code LITTLEPALM).

That wafting aromatic cloud of moozadell and pepperoni hijacking your nostrils? It’s likely coming from this 10-acre boutique resort’s prized wood-fired pizza oven on the sleepy Bahamian island of South Andros.

You’ll be headed right for it inside a Tropic Ocean Airways Cessna Caravan (scheduled service from $282/one-way; charter from $3,500) commandeered in either Miami or Fort Lauderdale.

 Or, even from New York City, with a refueling stop. Land in a small channel to the northwest of the island, then do a boat transfer to Caerula Mar, just minutes away. Pizza up, then safely and sanely wait a half-hour to digest before snorkeling in the blue hole ocean caves that surround the place (from $485/night).  

The score was love-love. Land at the same place Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian spent their honeymoon.

Once upon a tedious time, you’d have to fly into Nassau, take a puddle-jumper to Andros, then taxi over to a jetty, then ferry to Kamalame. No more! Now you can just seaplane it directly from Nassau right up to your villa and kickstart the hay-rolling thanks to COCO Bahama Seaplanes, launching just this month (from $1,967/one-way).

Like every island in the Bahamas, they only ask that you pass your COVID PCR test before entry, pretty please. A five-night “Escape to Paradise” package starts at $1,900.

Thatched roofs are their business and business is good. This no-kiddies-allowed resort is the first and only all-inclusive in the Keys, sitting on the northern-most in the archipelago.

“With not an elevator or tight hallway” in sight, the resorts boasts, its 135 bungalows each come with their own soaking tub, outdoor shower and Huffy Beach Cruiser bike guaranteed to get even the most supine guest to pedal out (from $899).

Get there by, of course, Tropic Ocean Airways, from Fort Lauderdale Int’l’s Sheltair hangar (call for pricing; FlyTropic.com).

You could arrive at this Key Largo, Fla.-based bayfront resort via road trip down US 1. But you’re better than that. Instead, Keys Seaplanes (call for pricing) can get you there from Miami Int’l, or the cutsier-branded Fly The Whale (call for pricing) will do the same from Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, your choice.

A third party will “tender” you (it’s a small boaty thing) onto shore so nary a drop of water will dampen your inappropriately worn socks before settling in one of their signature rooms, two-story bungalows or stand-alone villas (From $299).    

Solar urticaria — better known as sun hives — doesn’t play. For those unlucky few allergic to our smiley star, it’s out with the tropics, in with the Finger Lakes at this newish, 125-room year-round resort.

Normally a chartered flight-for-six to the area from the East River (from a seaplane terminal by East 23rd Street, wouldn’t you know) would be in the $12,000 to $15,000 range (for the whole plane), but Cape Air will seaplane individuals for $2,000 to $2,500 a pop, roundtrip.

And they’ll even toss in a fun lagniappe: a mini bottle of bub for the hour-long flight. The fam-friendly Lake House features a boardwalk, hot tub, wellness center and an “event barn” — an evening of do-si-doing awaits (from $201).

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Museums are safest indoor activity, study finds

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Museums are safest indoor activity, study finds

For people fatigued with quarantine amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study from Germany recommends what to do after getting out of the house.

Don’t go out to eat or get a haircut, don’t go shopping for food or go to the gym —  go to a museum.

According to the Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin) in Germany, the risk of COVID-19 infection via aerosol particles is far lower in museums than in supermarkets, restaurants, offices and on public transportation.

Variables considered were the quality of the airflow, the type of activity carried out in the space, and the dose of aerosol particles inhaled by people in a room.

“What is clear from the study is that it is above all the situations in which we like to be that are unfavorable,” said Martin Kriegel, who helped lead the study. “Situations in which many people come together in a confined space: there you can not ventilate sufficiently, it will always be an unfavorable situation.”

Outdoor activities all increased last year in the face of canceled indoor events and cautions about the dangers of catching the virus while around other people inside.

The study said food shopping, dining indoors or exercising in a gym are at least twice as risky as visiting a museum to view art.

Museums, however, haven’t been considered essential to the populace.

Celeste DeWald, the executive director of the California Association of Museums, told the New York Times earlier this month: “It’s frustrating to see crowded shopping malls and retail spaces and airports, yet museums are completely closed and many have not been able to reopen at all for the last 10 months. […] There is a unique impact on museums.”

Critics think museum closure is a political matter.

In a column for the Los Angeles Times, art critic Carolina A. Miranda called California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s policies “absurd.” Museums in the Golden State remain closed to visitors.

“The wildly uneven criteria speak more to the powerful, well-funded lobbies helping shape public health policy than to anything resembling science or even common sense,” Miranda wrote. “At a moment in which it is possible to get a tattoo or paw the goods at Chanel in Beverly Hills, it should be possible to visit a museum. Period.”

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New version of first-ever African-American screen kiss discovered in Norway

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New version of first-ever African-American screen kiss discovered in Norway

A new version of the first known on-screen kiss between two African-American actors has been discovered in the collections of the National Library of Norway.

The 1898 film, directed by US film industry pioneer William Selig, stars vaudeville actors Saint Suttle and Gertie Brown and shows them courting and kissing in front of a cloth backdrop.

The only previously known copy of ‘Something Good – Negro Kiss’ was acquired from a collector in Louisiana in 2017 and added to the US Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2018 for its cultural value.

It depicts a tender scene between two African-American actors at a time when caricatures of Black life were more common.

The version identified by Norway’s National Library differs in that it is longer and the actors are filmed from a greater distance.

“It is more complex, there is more of a prelude before the kisses, with wooing, refusal and negotiation,” said Eirik Frisvold Hanssen, head of the National Library of Norway’s film section.

It was taken to Norway by a young Norwegian man, who likely bought a copy at the time in the United States and brought it back home, the National Library said. It is among the oldest films in the library’s collections.

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German police carry out dozens of dawn raids on far right crime network

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German police carry out dozens of dawn raids on far right crime network

BERLIN – Hundreds of police in Germany carried out dawn raids on 27 homes and business premises on Friday, including a lawyer’s office, in an operation targeting members of far right groups suspected of drugs and weapons trafficking, public broadcaster MDR said.

Prosecutors told the broadcaster that eight people, aged from 24 to 55, had so far been arrested in the raids which were carried out by 500 police officers. The suspects were members of the neo-Nazi groups Turonen and Garde 20, MDR said.

Authorities said the two gangs have for years been kingpins in the drugs trade in the eastern state of Thuringia, running a network that distributed crystal meth and weapons.

The offices of a lawyer in the central state of Hesse were also raided.

MDR said that its own investigations had revealed that the raids were the result of two years of tapping and bugging operations by security services.

The Turonen and Garde 20 are recognizable by their wearing of black clothes with far right nationalist insignia on them. They have become major players in the promotion of far right heavy metal concerts, at which neo-Nazi bands from Germany and other countries perform.

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