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HOUSE OF THE DAY: At $195 Million, A Beverly Hills Party Mansion Is Now America's Most Expensive Home


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There is no shortage of over-the-top mansions around the country.

But the Beverly Hills estate of real estate mogul Jeff Greene, which just hit the market with a price tag of $195 million  making it the new most expensive home for sale in the US  is in a league of its own.

Known as the "Palazzo di Amore," Greene's home was built for parties. It has an entertainment complex and ballroom that can fit 250 guests, a private-label vineyard, and parking garages for more than two dozen cars.

Greene, who made a fortune when the real estate bubble burst, is worth some $2.2 billion. With its $195 million listing price, his home is by far the most expensive on the market, beating a Florida home currently listed at $139 million.

Joyce Rey and Stacy Gottula of Coldwell Banker Previews International have the listing.

The Palazzo di Amore is not your ordinary mansion. It's a true party palace, with space to entertain 1,000 guests.

Visitors pass through three sets of gates before arriving at the grand home. The two-story entry has a pair of curved marble staircases.

The 15,000-square-foot "entertainment complex" is what sets this home apart. It has a ballroom with a revolving floor and can host 250 for a seated dinner.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

GET OUT OF MANHATTAN: The Best Things To Do In The Outer Boroughs



New York City is massive.

There's Astoria, Crown Heights, Elmhurst, Bushwick, Greenpoint, Long Island City, Flushing, and 300 other neighborhoods in this city of 8 million people. 

Yet when tourists think of New York, they always seem to think of one thing: Manhattan. 

And although Manhattan is pretty, there are four other incredible boroughs, and each has its own individual identity. Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island have endless opportunities for new and exciting things to discover. 

I’ve just moved here, and I’ve been exploring some of what this huge place has to offer. While this list does not pretend to be at all comprehensive, it is a small glimpse into some of the many things to do outside of Manhattan.


Take a Mast Brothers Chocolate tour

Mast Brothers Mast Brothers Chocolate in Brooklyn makes artisan bean-to-bar chocolate. Founded by Michael Mast and his older brother Rick, the two brothers make all sorts of different flavored chocolates. 

Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, they give tours that let you take an exclusive look at how Mast Brothers have pioneered craft chocolate, so it’s basically like taking a tour of the Willy Wonka chocolate factory. 

Escape to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic GardenIf the stress of the city has become too much to handle, the best cure could be a serene walk through the botanic gardens in Brooklyn. 

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has over 10,000 types of plants spanning its 52-acre garden. Founded in 1910, the spread also has more than 200 cherry trees, a rose garden with some of its original plants, and a Japanese hill-and-pond garden. 

It even has special events for the dreary winter months. One is called, “Light In Winter,” which celebrates the beauty of the garden and the connection to nature during the darkest months of the year.

Bonus: Starting November 1st and running through February 28, the garden is free to the public on weekdays.

Take a long walk through Prospect Park

Prospect ParkProspect Park is a lush 585-acre public park in Brooklyn. It's well-known for the 90-acre Long Meadow, which is one of the longest uninterrupted stretches of park in the country. The park is also home to Brooklyn’s only forest, the Lefferts historic house, a zoo, and a historic carousel. 

In the winter, visitors can ice-skate, cross-country ski, and even go sledding in the Long Meadow. 

Find some treasures at Brooklyn Flea

Brooklyn flea indoors winterFounded in 2008, Brooklyn Flea has been ranked as one of the best flea markets in the world. Every weekend from 10am until 5pm, hundreds of local and regional vendors sell antique furniture, vintage clothing, handmade jewelry, and plenty of other treasures. 

From April through Thanksgiving the market is on the streets, but in November the market moves indoors. 

 Check out the new Berg’n Beer and Food Hall 

Berg'nThe founders of Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg have created a beer-hall-meets-cafeteria in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood.

Whatever you’re craving — whether it be a craft beer, Ramen burger, truffled egg pie from Pizza Moto, or just a place to watch the Sunday football game on a big screen — Berg’n offers it. 

Plus, Berg’n is perfect for late night snacking since it's open from “10 am ’til Late.” 


See some experimental art at MOMA PS1

MoMaPS1MoMa PS1 is one of the largest art institutions in the US dedicated solely to contemporary art. The exhibition spaces devotes its resources to displaying some of the "most experimental art in the world."

It once served as the first school in Long Island City and has preserved much of it's original architecture, which means that the space has very unique classroom-sized galleries. 

Check out the outdoor art at Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture ParkThe four acre park is the largest outdoor space in New York City dedicated to exhibiting sculpture. It was once an abandoned landfill and illegal dump-site, and was converted into a outdoor sculpture laboratory by a coalition of young artists led by sculptor Mark di Suvero. It was meant to be an outdoor sculpture laboratory dedicated to up-and-coming artists. 

In addition to being an exhibition space, the park offers an arts education program, artist residency program, and job training.

Walk through the iconic Silver Cup Studios

Silver Cup StudiosTake a tour of the renowned Silvercup Studios, the largest film and television production facility in New York City. Notable shows that have been filmed here include: 30 Rock, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and many more. 

It is currently home to the shows White Collar and HBO’s Girls. 

Drink authentic Czech Republic beers at The Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

Bohemian Beer Hall What was once a Czech and Slovak social club, is now one of New York’s best beer gardens. The beer hall in Astoria is known for its vast selection of authentic Czech Republic, Slovakian, and German beers. 

The garden is closed in the winter, but the hall serves warm and hearty Czech cuisine throughout the cold winter months. 


See the lions at The Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the world. It has over 6,000 animals from about 650 species. Some notable exhibits include the Congo Gorilla Forest, a guided monorail tour of Wild Asian animals, Tiger Mountain, and one-of-a-kind wildlife from Madagascar. 

Bonus: Admission is free on Wednesday’s, but donations are always recommended. 

Visit the cottage where Edgar Allan Poe wrote "Annabel Lee"

Edgar Allan Poe Cottage Visit the former home of the famous American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The six-room cottage was home to Poe and his wife Virgina in 1844. Poe wrote the famous poems “Annabel Lee,” “The Bells,” and “Eureka” while living in this cottage. 

The home is now operated as a historic house museum by the Bronx Country Historical Society, and is furnished with gothic items that actually belonged to Poe, including the bed that his beloved wife Virgina died in. 

Visit "The House That Ruth Built" and tour Yankee Stadium

Yankee StadiumTake a behind-the-scenes tour of Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees Museum has a “Ball Wall” of hundreds of balls autographed by past and present Yankees. The tour also goes to Monument Park, The Dugout, and the Yankees Clubhouse. 

In the parking lot of the stadium you'll find the Fame City mural, which features Yankee legends Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Thurman Munson.

Stroll through Arthur Avenue, otherwise known as New York's 'Real' Little Italy

Brox Little Italy Arthur Avenue is a street in the Fordham section of the Bronx, and consider to be the best place to find Italian cuisine. It has often been called the real Little Italy of New York, and has authentic Italian bakeries, butcher shops, fish markets, and many specialty stores. 

Some famous spots on Arthur Avenue to check out are Casa Della Mozzarella, Madonia Brothers Bakery, Cosenza’s Fish Market, and Peter’s Meat Market. 


Check out the abandoned Staten Island farm colony

Staten Island The "playground for graffiti artist and ghost hunters," this 45-acre campus of abandoned buildings is situated in the center of the Staten Island's Greenbelt forest. The Farm Colony was once a collection of farmhouses that rehabilitated New York City’s again poor, but it was shut down in 1975 and left abandoned.

Because the structures of the Farm Colony are enveloped in trees and vines, they are only visible from November until May. 

Visit the Staten Island September 11 Memorial

Staten Island Built in 2004, Postcards is an outdoor sculpture in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island. It was built as a permanent memorial honoring the 274 Staten Island residents who were killed in the September 11 attacks and the 1993 Word Trade Center bombing. 

The outdoor sculpture represents two large postcards, and each Staten Island victim is honored with a 9 X 11 inch granite plaque bearing their picture, name, birthday, and place of work at the time of the September 11 attacks.   

Stroll through the Chinese Scholar Garden:

Staten Island The Chinese Scholar Garden is a part of Staten Island Botanical Garden, located in the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. It is a replica of a typical scholar’s garden from the Ming Dynasty and is the only authentic classic Scholar’s Garden in the US. 

Ride the Staten Island Ferry:

Staten Island Take a free ride of the State Island Ferry. The 24-hour ferry provides postcard worthy views of New York City's skyline, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. 

Have any favorite outer borough activities that we missed? Suggest them in the comments!

SEE ALSO: 33 Things Every New Yorker Should Do This Fall

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The New Chef At Tavern On The Green Is A 71-Year-Old Rockstar


jeremiah tower

Tavern on the Green has been ripped to shreds since it reopened earlier this year. The classic New York restaurant was panned by critics for being boring and complacent in a city where the culinary arts are blood sport.

Eater's Ryan Sutton said that if you go to Tavern, "you'll have spent $32 on what is surely one the worst things anyone can eat outside of Rikers."

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Tavern on the Green has hired legendary chef Jeremiah Tower out of retirement in Mexico to helm the restaurant. He told Toqueland that he wants to make the food more like April Bloomfield's red hot restaurant, The Breslin.

It's also said that he prepared five dishes in just seven minutes during his interview.

Tower, along with Wolfgang Puck and others, is known for being one of the founders of "California cuisine" culinary style back in the 1980s. 

He's also known for wild antics that make Anthony Bourdain look like Julia Child.

Grub Street did an amazing roundup of ten tales from Tower's drug addled, rock star days. He once flew an employee to Paris just to prove how wonderful French chicken is. At Harvard, where he got his undergrad and graduate degrees, he used to make famous marijuana consommé, which contained "chicken stock, fresh basil, sea salt, pepper, and '1 packed cup marijuana stems and seeds."

And then there's this (from Grub Street):

Menus for themed dinners got more and more unhinged as the drugs and free love took hold at Chez Panisse. One of the best: a "drugged and sodomized" leg of lamb injected with a syringe of Madeira and tangerine juice. Tower reportedly refused to address one customer's complaint over another leg of lamb, which resulted in an intimidated waiter returning to the dining room and delivering this line: "The chef says to tell you, 'Tough sh-t.'"

So at least it won't be boring in Tavern's kitchen.

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Why Elm Grove, Wisconsin, Is The Best Suburb In America


Best Suburbs graphic

We recently published The 50 Best Suburbs In America, and Elm Grove, Wisconsin, was ranked the best suburb in America. 

For this list we looked at over 300 suburbs with populations between 5,000 and 100,000, and factored in things like average commute time, median household income, poverty and crime rates, public school ratings, and housing affordability.

Elm Grove may be small, with a population of just 5,934 residents, but it has excellent schools, almost no crime, and is fairly wealthy, with a median household income of $109,993.

Residents can make the quick 20-minute trip to downtown Milwaukee, or head 15 minutes west to Lake Country — a popular summer getaway with outdoor activities like boating, biking, and camping. 

500 Elm Grove RdThe city, nicknamed "The Grove," takes its parks — and its environment — seriously: It earned the state title of "Bird City," which means that the city is committed to making its environment thrive for birds, wildlife, and people. 

Elm Grove shares schools with its neighboring town, Brookfield. However, unlike Brookfield, Elm Grove does not have any mega-chain-stores. Instead, residents shop at local stores, like John's Great Harvest, a famous bread store that appears at local farmers markets and attracts people from all over the region for its freshly baked breads.

Several new local businesses recently opened in the downtown area, including Fazio's Sweet Moments Sweet Life, a gourmet chocolatier, and Sparkle Spa, a skin care spa owned by local resident Laura Robinson. The town also has two staple hangouts: RJ's Ice Cream for kids, and O'Donoghue's Irish Pub for adults.

There's also a strong sense of community, with year-round events that bring the town together.

"We are a community of volunteers and good neighbors," Village President Neil Palmer said. "We are a community of families, Memorial Day parades, bike decorating contests, library story hours, charity raffles, Fourth of July celebrations, and beautiful trees and gardens."

In 1966 the town established the Elm Grove Junior Guild, which relies 100% on town volunteers to put together the annual Easter Egg Hunt, Memorial Day Parade, Fourth of July Games, Safety Village, the Children’s Halloween Party, and Breakfast with Santa. 

And residents seem to love it so much that they never leave. Rebekah Schaefer grew up in Elm Grove and later moved back to the area to raise her own family, which she says is very common. 

"Our children live at Village Park's pool in the summer and decorate their bikes for the annual Memorial Day Parade, just like we did years ago," Schaefer said. "Many kids I grew up with are residents who purchased their childhood homes from their parents."

DON'T MISS: The 50 Best Suburbs In America

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71% Of Parents Would Rather You Give Their Kids Cash Than Gifts


Kid Unwrapping GiftForget finding the perfect present for your nephew.

According to Upromise by Sallie Mae’s Holiday Financial Faux Pas survey, most parents (71%) prefer you give their kids money for college than actual gifts for the holidays.

So ditch the trips to Toys R Us, and just stop at your nearest ATM instead.

The survey also found that less than a third of people are planning on sticking to a budget for gift giving, and that 28% of people wait until the night before to buy all their gifts.

Take a look at the infographic below to see some of the other secrets Upromise discovered about holiday shopping, including how many shoppers are also buying gifts for themselves.

Holiday Shopping Infographic


SEE ALSO: Here's Exactly What To Say When Your Kid Asks, 'Are We Rich?'

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20 Vintage War Planes In Microsoft Cofounder Paul Allen's Multimillion-Dollar Collection


paul allen planes

Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has plenty of interesting hobbies, including playing in a rock band and collecting real estate and sports teams.

One of his biggest passions over the years, however, has been aviation. 

When he was young, his father was named the associate director of libraries at the University of Washington.

"I'd spend hours reading about the engines in some of those planes," Allen told Forbes. "I was trying to understand how things worked — how things were put together, everything from airplane engines to rockets and nuclear power plants. I was just intrigued by the complexity and the power and the grace of these things flying."

Allen started collecting planes and other World War II artifacts in the 1990s. In 2004, he opened his 31-piece collection — rumored to be worth many millions of dollars — to the public. It's currently housed in the Flying Heritage Collection, in a hangar in Everett, Washington. 

Allen's collection includes two types of British planes that served in WWII. The Supermarine Spitfire has often been credited with winning the Battle of Britain. This particular plane was heavily damaged during a raid on enemy territory, though it has since been restored.

Source: Flying Heritage Collection

The Hawker Hurricane destroyed more enemy aircraft than any other British plane. This plane never saw combat and was recovered from a farm in Ontario, Canada, not far from where it was manufactured.

Source: Flying Heritage Collection

He also owns a number of German planes, some of which were actually used by pilots during WWII. The Fieseler Storch was named for the German word for "stork" because its wings could be folded down to be transported by train.

Source: Flying Heritage Collection

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's How Telling Kids They're Smart Can Screw Up Their Future Success


homework kid study school

"You're so smart!" is a terrible thing to say to a child. 

Here's why.

While it seems trivial, the way adults praise children shapes the way they view themselves — with profound implications for their academic achievement growing up and professional and personal success as adults. 

We know this thanks to decades of research by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck

In one telling study, Dweck and her team gave 400 fifth graders in New York a relatively easy nonverbal IQ test.

After finishing the test, researchers gave students a single line of praise, either "You must be smart at this" or "You must have worked really hard." 

Though it was only one sentence, it made tons of difference.

As the experiment continued, the kids were given a test designed for students two grades higher than them, intentionally making them fail. Then they were given another test designed for their education level. 

The result? 

The kids that were praised for their intelligence the first time around did 20% worse on the test after they failed, while the kids that were praised for their effort did 30% better after flunking the extra-hard exam. 

All because of how the grownups talked to them. 

"When we praise children for their intelligence," Dweck told New York Magazine, "we tell them that this is the name of the game: Look smart, don't risk making mistakes."

That's because, as subtle as it may sound, praising a kid's smartness puts them into what she calls a fixed mindset, while praising effort trains kids to having a growth mindset. 

Here are the mindset definitions, care of the fantastic Brain Pickings blog

A "fixed mindset" assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can't change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled.

A "growth mindset," on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of un-intelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. 

Your mindset has profound outcomes, Dweck has written, since it's the "view you have of yourself." 

"In one world, effort is a bad thing," Dweck writes. "It, like failure, means you're not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn't need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented." 

The outcomes of having one mindset or other proved profound for people of all ages. Kids with the fixed mindset were more likely to hide their errors in an effort to look smart, while adults with a fixed mindset expected their romantic partners to make them feel perfect rather than see mistakes and work through problems together. 

The takeaway: The next time your kid, colleague, or partner comes home with a gold star, praise the effort they put in — otherwise you're setting them up for all sorts of failure. 

SEE ALSO: This Untranslatable Finnish Word Takes Perseverance To A Whole New Level

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The Silicon Valley Elite Are Renting The Google Bus For Napa Valley Wine Tours


The private charter buses that shuttle Silicon Valley tech workers to their jobs are a constant presence around the Bay Area. 

Though the buses have become for many a symbol of the gentrification sweeping the Bay Area, Google touts the environmental benefits of shuttling more than 6,000 employees who might otherwise drive their own cars to work. 

"In addition to an ultra comfortable ride, real-time location information, and wifi, our shuttles have the cleanest diesel engines ever built," Google writes on its site. "In fact, Google is the first and largest company with a corporate coach fleet to exceed the EPA's 2010 bus emission standards."

It turns out, however, that the Google bus' usefulness extends well beyond the work week . 

According to New York Magazine's Kevin Roose, "The buses have non-environmental benefits, too — at Google, for example, employees can rent them on the weekends to shuttle friends to a party, say, or host an outing to Napa Valley."

It looks like plenty of people have made use of the Google bus for social events. 




Apparently the Google bus gets rented out for many different occasions, including trips to sporting events and Outside Lands, San Francisco's biggest music festival. 



On some weekends, the Google bus looks more like a party bus than a corporate shuttle.







SEE ALSO: Google's Halloween Bash Was The Most Outrageous Office Party Ever

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How To Style Your Sideburns


Here are four ways to style your sideburns, with tips from Miles Elliot of Freemans Sporting Club Barber in New York City.


Sideburns are the eyebrows of your jawline: Without them, you look ridiculous.

Just above the middle of the ear. "No matter the hairstyle, this'll always look good," says Elliot.

The longer your hair, the longer the 'burns, says Elliot. "Just make sure to trim them a bit thinner."

Your employment options: Civil War re-enactor, Hells Angels newbie.


More From GQ:

5 New Rules of Fall Layering

Totally Transform Your Sleep in Just 7 Days

How To Make Therapy Actually Work For You

The Secret to To Burning Fat Fast


SEE ALSO: The Only 10 Cleaning Products You'll Ever Need

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These Pictures Show Why The Special-Forces-Designed Tough Mudder Course Is So Crazy


ToughMudder (24 of 43)Since Tough Mudder was founded in 2010, 1.3 million people have participated in one of the company's "military style" obstacle courses, which cover 10 to 12 miles of ground and include about 20 different challenges.

The event is part of a growing "obstacle course" trend among fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors. There is no shortage of similar competitions, including the Spartan Race, the Warrior Dash, the Color Run, and the Superhero Scramble.

All cater to people yearning to do something extraordinary. A common refrain in marketing materials, from employees, and from "Mudders" is to get up off the couch and "overcome your fears." It costs between $125 and $500 to participate in a race.

For first-timers, who make up the majority of Mudders at any event, it's about overcoming a challenge and team-building. Most people participate with a team, some with friends, some with coworkers, and others with random groups of people assembled specifically for the event.

We followed one group — the Brooklyn Fitness Team — from training through the event to see what it takes to prepare and run a Tough Mudder.

We arrived early one Sunday morning in McCarren Park, where the Brooklyn Fitness group was training. The team had been training in the park biweekly since the beginning of summer. One member described the trainings as "too damn early and too damn cold."

The team was put together by Allen Bozeman, a personal trainer with Soma Health Club. Most members of the team train regularly with Bozeman.

To prepare for the Mudder, Bozeman designed a training series that includes multiple exercises and obstacles broken up by long-distance runs. "The goal was to mimic the format [of the event]," Bozeman said.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Anyone Depressed About The State Of The World Needs To Look At This Stunning Presentation


world getting better

It's easy to focus on everything that's going wrong in the world.

If the media coverage of ISIS and Ebola has shown us anything, it's that we're easily seduced by fear-mongering.

But Dr. Max Roser wants to remind us the world is getting better. That's why Roser, a fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, created OurWorldinData, a website that tells the visual story of how the world is changing.

"We are far away from an ideal world — we should work to end poverty, to end hunger, to end war — but in all of these aspects we are making progress," Roser wrote in an email to Business Insider. 

Roser hopes people will find his work encouraging and energize them to make positive change.

"Studying our world in data and understanding how we overcame challenges that seemed insurmountable at the time should give us confidence to tackle the problems we are currently facing," he wrote. 

Here are 25 charts from Roser's website that show just how much global living standards have improved.

The percent of the world's population living in extreme poverty is declining drastically.

As global GDP increases, inequality between world citizens is shrinking.

People are becoming more satisfied with their lives as their incomes rise.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's How Much It Costs To Feed A Family In Every State


Anyone with a family to feed knows that food costs add up.

But those costs are cheaper for some than others.

Diets in Review looked at the cost of chicken breasts, potatoes, apples, and milk in all 50 US states, using the Numbeo cost of living estimates, to answer the question of whether a family of four could eat a homemade, healthy meal for $15.

The answer: It depends largely on where you live.

In the most expensive state, Virginia, it would cost $27.48 to snag these groceries. In the least expensive state, Idaho, the bill would be $9.33.

Check out how your state ranks below:

infographic feed family

NOW WATCH: The Science Is In — Why Gluten Sensitivity Is Probably Fake


SEE ALSO: This Flow Chart Could Help You Figure Out Your Top Money Priority

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The 10 Best Public High Schools In New York City


Stuyvesant High School

Stuyvesant High School is the best public high school in New York City, according to a new ranking by Niche.com.

Niche's rankings are based on a combination of statistics from public databases and user reviews.

According to Niche, a school with a high rank "is an exceptional academic institution in terms of teachers, students, resources for learning, and student outcomes," and the "students are actively involved in a variety of extracurriculars and sports the school offers."

Most of the schools on Niche's list are magnet schools, meaning they pull in qualified students from around their city.

In U.S. News' yearly high school ranking, Stuyvesant came in at #69 nationally, and #12 in New York state. U.S. News' ranking includes private schools as well.

Students at Stuyvesant rave about the opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities and how prepared they feel for college, with one student saying, "I felt that the educational opportunities at Stuyvesant prepared me to be leaps and bounds ahead of my peers at college. I have a work ethic instilled in me by the workload from high school, and am capable of balancing schoolwork, along with my social and family life."

Here are the 10 best public schools in New York City, via Niche:

  1. Stuyvesant High School
  2. Staten Island Technical High School
  3. Townsend Harris High School
  4. Bronx High School of Science
  5. Bard High School Early College II
  6. High School of American Studies at Lehman College
  7. Bard High School Early College
  8. Eleanor Roosevelt High School
  9. Queens High School For The Sciences at York College
  10. Brooklyn Technical High School

[Note: Niche calls Hunter College High School a "special case school," and says while it received an A+ ranking it will not be included in the public school list.]

See the full national list of the best public high schools in the U.S. at Niche

SEE ALSO: The 25 Best Public High Schools In America

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What 29 Rockettes Doing Kicks In Perfect Sync Looks Like In iPhone 6 Slo-Mo

19 Crazy Facts About Bill Gates' $123 Million Washington Mansion


Xanadu 2.0 Bill Gates house

With a net worth of $81.5 billion, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is the richest man in America. 

It shouldn't be too surprising that one of the wealthiest people in the world also has an insanely extravagant home. 

It took Gates seven years and $63 million to build his Medina, Washington estate, named Xanadu 2.0 after the fictional home of "Citizen Kane"'s Charles Foster Kane. 

At 66,000 square feet, the home is absolutely massive, and it's filled with high-tech details.

We've rounded up some of Xanadu 2.0's most over-the-top features here.  

1. It's worth at least $123 million.

According to the King County public assessor's office, the property is worth $123.54 million as of this year. Gates purchased the lot for $2 million in 1988.

He reportedly pays around $1 million in property taxes each year.

2. Half a million board-feet of lumber was needed to complete the project.

The house was built with 500-year-old Douglas fir trees. 300 construction workers labored on the home — 100 of whom were electricians.

3. A high-tech sensor system helps guests monitor a room's climate and lighting.

When guests arrive, they're given a pin that interacts with sensors located all over the house. Guests enter their temperature and lighting preferences so that the settings change as they move throughout the home. Speakers hidden behind wallpaper allows music to follow you from room to room.

4. The house uses its natural surroundings to reduce heat loss. 

Xanadu 2.0 is an "earth-sheltered" house, meaning that it's built into its surroundings to regulate temperature more efficiently.

bill gates house

5. You can change the artwork on the walls with just the touch of a button. 

$80,000 worth of computer screens are situated around the house. Anyone can make the screens display their favorite paintings or photographs, which are stored on storage devices worth $150,000.

6. The pool also has its own underwater music system.

The 60-foot pool is located in its own separate, 3,900-square-foot building. People in the pool could swim underneath a glass wall to come up to a terrace area on the outside.

There's also a locker room with four showers and two baths.

7. There's a trampoline room with a 20-foot ceiling.

No word on how big the trampoline itself is, but we can imagine it would be a fun alternative to your standard exercise routine.

The exercise facilities total 2,500 square feet and also include a sauna, steam room, and separate men's and women's locker rooms.

8. An enormous reception hall could accommodate up to 200 guests. 

The 2,300-square-foot hall could seat up to 150 people for a dinner party, or 200 people standing up at a cocktail event. A six-foot-wide limestone fireplace dominates one wall, while another wall has a 22-foot-wide video screen. 

9. The house has 24 bathrooms, 10 of which are full baths. 

Those bathrooms would definitely be useful if Gates were throwing such a big party. Otherwise, it seems a little over-the-top. 

codex leicster

10. There's a total of six kitchens. 

They're situated at different parts of the house so staff can be ready for any event. 

11. An enormous library houses a manuscript Gates paid more than $30 million for.

The 2,100-square-foot library has a domed roof and two secret bookcases, including one that reveals a hidden bar. On the ceiling you'll find a quote from "The Great Gatsby" that reads: "He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it."

The library is home to the Codex Leicester, a 16-century Leonardo da Vinci manuscript that Gates bought at auction for $30.8 million in 1994.

12. The home theatre can accommodate 20 guests in plush seats.

It's designed in an Art Deco style, with comfortable arm chairs, couches, and even a popcorn machine for snacking. 

13. An existing home was removed by barge to make room for a separate activities building.

The 900-square-foot building sits next to Gates' sport court, putting green, and boat docks. 

14. The guest house is just as high-tech as the main house.

According to US News, the 1,900-square-foot guest house was the first building to be completed on the property. The house — which has its own bedroom and bathroom — was meant to be a test of the technology that would eventually be used in the main house. 

Gates wrote much of "The Road Ahead" here. 

bill gates house

15. All together, Gates' garages can accommodate up to 23 cars. 

There are several different garages located at different points around the property. The most interesting one, however, is an underground cave made out of concrete and stainless steel. That garage alone can park 10 cars. Some of the concrete was purposely broken to give it a rough, "deconstructivist" look. 

16. Gates has a favorite tree, and it's monitored electronically 24 hours a day. 

He reportedly became fond of a 40-year-old maple tree that grew close to the home's driveway. It's monitored by computer, and if at any point it becomes too dry, water is automatically pumped into it.

17. An artificial stream is kept stocked with fish.

The stream and wetland estuary were created to solve any problems with runoff that the property's large walls might have created. The water is kept stocked with salmon and sea-run cutthroat trout. 

18. The sand on Gates' beach is imported from the Caribbean.

The lakefront shore contains sand that's delivered in large quantities by a barge from St. Lucia each year.

19. Someone once paid $35,000 just to tour it.

Microsoft holds an auction each year, where employees donate products and services to be bid on. Proceeds go to the company's charitable fund.

Gates has donated private tours of Xanadu 2.0 in the past. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, a Microsoft employee once won the tour with a bid of $35,000. 

SEE ALSO: Take A Tour Of Bill Gates' New 228-Acre Ranch, Complete With A Horse-Racing Track

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Here's What Happens When You Eat Olive Garden For 7 Weeks Straight


Olive Garden Pasta PassOlive Garden's "Never Ending Pasta Pass" is about to expire.

For $100, the pass offers 49 straight days of unlimited pasta, breadsticks, salad, and Coca-Cola beverages. Olive Garden sold only 1,000 passes, which all expire Nov. 9.

Our own John Greenough, a research analyst for Business Insider Intelligence, was one of the 1,000 Pasta Pass holders.

We asked him about what it was like having access to free Olive Garden every day for the past seven weeks.

At the beginning of the promotion, Greenough said he had planned to take full advantage of the pass and go to Olive Garden every day.

But the salty pasta has gotten the best of him. 

Olive Garden

"I ate there, I think, 20 of the first 25 days, but stopped for a week because I started to get horrible canker sores from all the salt in the pasta," he said. (According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of canker sores is unclear, although triggers can include highly acidic certain foods like tomato sauce.)

"Since then, I've gone sparingly because I felt really unhealthy from the pasta," Greenough said.

Olive Garden Pasta Pass

He said he has typically ordered take-out and found the service slow and unreliable.

"The take-out experience was horrific," he said. "Some days I had to wait 45 minutes to an hour to get the pasta. They had no real system in place for the take-out and would often get confused. It was really bad in the beginning, but kind of got better over time."

Olive Garden Pasta PassOverall, the best part of the deal has been the savings, he said.

Greenough estimates that he has eaten at Olive Garden nearly 30 days so far, saving him about $500 in total, when accounting for the $100 he paid for the pass.

Olive Garden Pasta PassHe said he has typically eaten the pasta for dinner and saved the salad for lunch the following day. He calculated the savings by estimating that he's spent about $20 a day on those meals. 

Calculated another way, Greenough has saved about $9.99 every day that he has eaten Olive Garden, since the company is running its $9.99 "Unlimited Pasta Bowl" promotion at the same time as the Pasta Pass offer. 

Olive GardenGreenough said the most disappointing part of the promotion has been the food.

"The worst part was the pasta and how bad I felt after eating it so much," he said. "I ate a variety of the different pastas and sauces but overall would give the pasta a 5 out of 10 and 3 out of 10 for New York City standards. The pasta always came with the sauce just plopped on top. It was never mixed in and was unappetizing to look at."

Asked whether he planned to return to Olive Garden in the future once the promotion ends, he said simply, "No." 

SEE ALSO: Olive Garden Could Make These 8 Drastic Changes Soon

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10 Tiny Flats You Can Buy In London For The Same Price As These £1 Million Mansions



London house prices are crazy. They've gone up by about a fifth in the last year, from an already-high level. The average price has already climbed over £500,000 for the whole city, let alone the highly-priced core.

So it's no surprise that some people who can are quitting London and moving out, where their money goes a lot further. But just how much further can you make your money go?

If you've ever idly daydreamed about what you could afford with your modest, central London flat, wonder no more. We've collated some of the grandest homes from the rest of the country for less than a million pounds, next to their central London equivalents. 

You could have this 10 bedroom manor in Durham. It's 900 years old, has 10 bedrooms, a banqueting hall, and it's on the market for £750,000 ($1.186 million).

Or you could have this two bedroom flat in Paddington, going for £850,000 ($1.345 million).

There's this Georgian 23-bed mansion in south-west Scotland, which belonged to the earls of Galloway. It's being sold for upwards of £595,000 ($941,000).

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

16 Fast Food Chains That Should Come To The US



Fast food restaurants are an American tradition. 

But restaurant chains abroad have also mastered the art of quick meals on-the-go. 

From creative pizzas to rice burgers, here are 16 fast food chains we wish would come to the US.


Country: Finland 

Why it's great: Hesburger is best known for its sauces and salad dressings, including a cucumber-and-paprika mayonnaise that tastes best with its hamburger.

Signature menu item: The falafel burger.


Country: Ireland 

Why it's great: This burger joint uses only Irish beef and serves French fries eight different ways, topping them with everything from coleslaw to taco meat.

Signature menu item: The curry cheese fries.


Country: Japan 

Why it's great: Lotteria is always inventing new menu items, like the ramen burger, the five-patty burger and the latest "Everything Burger," which includes lettuce, cabbage, egg, a slice of cheese, a cheeseburger, a rib patty, a fried shrimp patty, and a beef patty.

Signature menu item: The shrimp burger.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Frattiest Neighborhoods In America


Fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon Students

Greek life has been spreading through colleges around the country since 1776, but that fraternity vibe also extends to the surrounding areas and college towns.

The data experts at Yelp put together a series of maps that show the frattiest neighborhoods in 10 American cities. Yelp documented how often its users mentioned the word "frat" in reviews, and then plotted those locations on a heat map.

Austin, Texas:

Unsurprisingly, most mentions of the word "frat" are clustered around The University of Texas at Austin campus. The university is home to 26 Interfraternity Council chapters and a total of 74 Greek chapters on campus. Fratty college kids frequent nearby like Cactus Cafe and Crown and Anchor Pub. The campus is adjacent to East Austin which is the most hipster section of the city.

Screen Shot 2014 10 31 at 4.46.06 PM

Boston, Massachusetts:

Boston is home to over over 60 colleges and universities, so it's no surprise to see fratty hotspots all over Bean Town. The largest heat spots are centered around Tufts University, Harvard University, Boston University, MIT, and Northeastern. Davis Square is home to Tufts frat life, while Harvard's fratty radius centers around Harvard Square in Cambridge. Downtown Boston and Back Bay have the most densely populated frat spots in the the city.

Boston Frat Heat Map

Chicago, Illinois:

Chicago's frattiest areas fall around DePaul University, which has 28 Greek chapters, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, which has 33 Greek chapters. The red area also includes Wrigley Field, where you can find a lot of frat-type sports bars like Tom's Tap and The Hideout.

Chicago Frat Heat Map

Los Angeles, California:

Los Angeles's frattiest neighborhoods center around specific college campuses. Downtown shows the most "frat" heat around USC, for example, while the Westwood neighborhood has lots of fratty activity around UCLA. Both USC and UCLA have a strong Greek presence with 128 Greek organizations between the two schools. The fainter spots cover some of LA's more hipster neighborhoods like Los Feliz and Silver Lake.

Los Angeles Frat Heat Map

New York City, New York:

Nearly all of Manhattan's east side, with some areas in the surrounding boroughs, is covered with fratty heat spots likely due to New York's colleges and job opportunities that draw crowds of students and recent grads. The Lower East Side, Murray Hill, Midtown East, and the Upper East Side are popular fratty spots in particular; the bar and nightlife options, paired with slightly cheaper living costs than on the west side, appeal to recent graduates. Hoboken and Brooklyn also have several fratty neighborhoods thanks to lower rent costs and an easy commute to Manhattan.

NYC Frat Heat Map

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

Philadelphia has 19 colleges and universities. The University of Pennsylvania is the frattiest school in Philly with 53 Greek organizations on campus. UPenn and Drexel are located in the University City neighborhood, which has a sizeable heat spot, but the bigger fratty areas are where the popular college bars are, near Center City and the Liberty Bell.

Philadelphia Frat Heat Map

Portland, Oregon:

Portland's frattiest area overlaps with the very hip Pearl District. The Pearl District is known for its young residents, affordable rent, art galleries, and pubs. To the southeast of downtown Portland is a hotspot around Reed College, which does not have any fraternities on campus, but does cater to its younger demographic with hangouts like Coffee Cat. However, most of the nightlife happens in downtown Portland and Old Town. 

Portland Frat Heat Map

San Francisco, California:

Even though San Francisco colleges do not host many fraternities, that doesn't stop areas of the city from adopting a fraternity-like vibe. Many recent graduates move to the Bay Area to work at tech startups, creating pockets of frat-like bars and restaurants. The Marina District is considered the frattiest neighborhood because it draws a young crowd with bars like The Tipsy Pig, Eastside West, Bar None, and Stock in Trade.

San Francisco Frat Heat maps

Seattle, Washington:

One of Seattle's frattiest spots is in the University District, home to the University of Washington and its 50 Greek organizations. Fremont is where fratty bars like High Dive and LTD Bar and Grill are located. Downtown Seattle is only 10 minutes from the University and Fremont areas, and has most of the city's main attractions like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. 

Seattle Frat Heat Map

Washington, D.C.:

Washington, D.C. is home to 18 colleges and universities and is one of the most popular cities for recent graduates. While not all 18 schools have Greek life, downtown D.C. has transformed into a college town that attracts flocks of young professionals every year. Arlington also is home to a lot of young professionals with popular bars like Carpool, Galaxy Hut, and Clarendon Ballroom. 

DC Frat Heat Map

SEE ALSO: These Maps Show Exactly How Much Hipsters Have Taken Over New York City In The Last Five Years

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Here's How To Properly Layer For Winter


scarfDon't let the Aussie accent fool you: Designer Jess McKie knows her way around dressing for a cold winter.

"People get really surprised when I say that I used to work at a ski mountain," she says of growing up in Melbourne. "We can see snow if we want to."

That experience served McKie well as she designed the first fall collection for Sködia, her line of minimal, high-end basics made with an emphasis on comfort.

The cozy Sködia aesthetic is at the forefront of the "softwear" movement, which embraces any clothing that is comfortable and versatile and has longevity, staple pieces that are still fashionable and can be worn on their own or piled on together.

Who better to ask, then, for pro tips on layering for winter? Here are McKie's top six failsafe rules below, even if your wardrobe skews toward the not-so-softwear.

Pay Attention to Color
"Color is really important," McKie says. As it gets colder and your number of layers increases, it helps to keep things relatively neutral. While McKie says you don't need to dress in monotone, if you do mix colors, taking the time to make sure they complement each other can elevate your look so you're both warm and fashion-forward.

Check Your Silhouette
If you're coming off a bit top-heavy, try to add some pieces that hit at different points on your body. "It's all about the balance of the length of each layering piece that you have," McKie advises.

Don't Be Afraid to Mix Materials
"I use a lot of cotton and a lot of sweatshirt fabrics, but then I always try to choose a few different textures," she says. "That complements the simplicity of normal shirting fabric."

Simplicity Is Key
There is a limit to how many layers you can throw on. Too much of a good thing "can be a little overwhelming," McKie says.

Opt for Versatile Pieces
McKie's favorite is a gray-marl sweatshirt: "I think it goes without saying that it's a key piece that everybody should have in their wardrobe. There are so many different ways you can wear it, and the color gray goes with everything."

Invest in a Nice Jacket
After all, take it from a former Melbourne ski instructor: "You can wear anything with a really good jacket."


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SEE ALSO: 6 Crucial Style Rules For Guys In Their 20s

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