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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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Man spent entire pandemic alone in five-star NYC hotel

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Man spent entire pandemic alone in five-star NYC hotel

Isolated in the lap of luxury, he watched the skyline go dark.

When New York City went into its COVID-19-induced lockdown in March 2020, the fire department announced properties were required to keep one person on-site in case of trouble. For Midtown’s five-star Chatwal hotel, that person became Robert Mallia, Crain’s reported.

Mallia was not the 76-room-hotel owner’s first choice, but when multiple other people passed on the gig out of fear or to prioritize their family, Mallia — a 36-year-old childless bachelor — volunteered.

“Having the chance to live in a building that you worked on is cool,” said Mallia, an architectural designer for the Dream Hotel Group, which owns a portfolio of Manhattan hotels including the Chatwal. “My apartment is quite modest compared to a five-star luxury hotel.”

In the 14 months he’s been living in Room 307, the space has at least become familiar.

“When weeks became months, I got used to my room, like in ‘Shawshank Redemption,’ ” he said. “I’m content in my cell now.”

Initially, though, it was quite the adjustment from his Long Island City apartment, which he still makes frequent visits to.

“At first, it was strange,” he said. “It was perfectly silent.”

With all 59 members of the hotel’s staff gone, Mallia has been responsible for cleaning up after himself. For food, he has mostly relied on takeout. 

“It’s nothing too glamorous, I’m afraid,” he said.

His daily schedule involves waking up at 5:30 a.m. and doing a variety of housekeeping: sorting mail, looking for leaks and other maintenance problems. Once a week, he flushes every toilet in the building; twice a month, he turns on all the showers and sinks for 10 minutes.

His only companions are a rotation of security guards and the building’s chief engineer, who makes weekly visits to confirm fire code compliance.

The owner’s other hotels have begun reopening this month, and the Chatwal will likely follow suit soon — good news for Mallia.

“I miss being at home,” he said. 

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At Miss Universe pageant, Myanmar’s contestant pleads “our people are dying”

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Ma Thuzar Wint Lwin, Miss Universe Myanmar, holds up the "Pray for Myanmar" sign during Miss Universe pageant's national costume show, in Hollywood, Florida May 13, 2021

Myanmar’s Miss Universe contestant, Thuzar Wint Lwin, used the pageant on Sunday to urge the world to speak out against the military junta, whose security forces have killed hundreds of opponents since it seized power in a Feb. 1 coup.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said in a video message for the competition, where she was appearing in the finals at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

“I would like to urge everyone to speak about Myanmar. As Miss Universe Myanmar since the coup, I have been speaking out as much as I can,” she said.

Myanmar’s junta spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment.

Thuzar Wint Lwin is among dozens of Myanmar celebrities, actors, social media influencers and sports people who have voiced opposition to the coup, in which elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown and detained.

At least 790 people have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group. It says over 5,000 people have been arrested, with some 4,000 still detained – including several celebrities.

Thuzar Wint Lwin did not make it to the last round of the Miss Universe competition, but she won the award for Best National Costume, which was based on the ethnic costume of her Chin people from northwestern Myanmar, where fighting has raged in recent days between the army and anti-junta militia fighters.

As she paraded with her national costume, she held up a placard that said “Pray for Myanmar”.

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Save time searching your purse with this mini purse light

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Save time searching your purse with this mini purse light

We women all know the struggle. Unless you’re Mary Poppins, we’ve all experienced the endless searching for a particular item in your handbag and pulling out everything except the actual thing you need. Let’s put a stop to the rifling around and start using a purse light. This 3-pack of innovative LED lights turns on automatically as soon as your hand approaches it so you can easily see all of the contents in your handbag. It’s a unique and practical way to save time from rummaging around, so you can get on with your day!

The SOI Purse Light with Automatic Sensor gives off a white translucent glow and has a polished finish. It has a convenient auto-shut-off feature that turns off ten seconds after you’re done searching your bag. Its elegant, circular design is nice and compact so that it will fit perfectly in most handbags.

You can also use this LED purse light in your suitcase, backpack, camping tent, and other dimly lit areas where you need a little light. Since you get three in each order, you can place them in multiple bags for the ultimate convenience. Its battery capacity lasts through approximately 6,000 cycles (1.5 to 2 years), so it’s something you can use for a long time!

This purse light scored an impressive 4.3-star rating on Amazon. One happy customer says, “I love being able to dig in my bag and find something. I love that the light is oval, not a cumbersome ball. I’m completely satisfied.”

Add some more light into your life and get this automatic round light for your handbag while it’s on sale today for only $24.99. You’ll love how much easier you’ll be able to find anything and everything inside that seemingly bottomless bag of yours.

Prices subject to change.

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