There is endless to say about New York, more specifically the Manhattan I know and love endlessly. To the world it’s a harsh cold city, but all that stands out when you are there on the concrete streets are the people who look you in the eye and recognize your presence with the nod of a head. Of course, telling someone who lived there this very thing makes them ask “where did you visit in New York?!”
This comes from being a Londoner, a city known for the coldest air of all in the form of it’s residents. Yes the game of ‘look people in the eye’ is just a regular thing people do in New York. In London it’s seen as a come on or something rather ridiculous (ridiculous because humans have always looked each other in the eye).
The streets of the ‘Big Apple’ rumble with car horns and honest conversations of locals lives and it’s easy to disappear underneath the towering skyline of grays and windows that light up in yellows as dusk sets in. Public spaces are where locals hang out playing chess games or sitting on steps. There is endless to do in this city whether you want to go shopping, sightseeing, visit an art gallery or see a concert on a pier. If there’s something to do, you can find it in the five boroughs. None of the boroughs rumble with as many people or as much to do in such a small space as Manhattan.
Its a place where raising your hand can instantly make you feel like a local and standing in line at the Whole Foods during rush hour can make you feel like you should have gone to work yourself. Maybe this is how it feel after visiting a handful of times or maybe it’s a city that has become so comfortable in it’s skin that it’s dark grit has worn thin.
Times Square is filled with performers or just plain people dressed as superheroes or Disney characters, taking all that they can out of the theme park that it has now become. It is a far cry from the days of being only a place you went to get into trouble or get something illegal in the 80s. It is truly no longer known as being the ‘worst block in town.’
The neighborhoods that make up Manhattan are more diverse than any other borough in New York and it can be hard to tell where one ends and another begins unless you leave Chinatown and head towards Little Italy. Yes, there is so much to see, do, eat and experience in each neighborhood that a plan of action is required to see as much as possible during your visit.
Stumbling upon icons like the Flatiron building or Grand Central Station are common place in a city where almost every corner an iconic landmark or a story behind it – whether that story is fictional on film or real. This borough has more to tell than any one visit could ever share.
And than the skyline clears to pathways made by man making you aware you have discovered Central Park, full of life of locals who come here to unwind, sunbathe, workout and create their own New York memories. The park’s geography and sheer size makes it easier to grab a little piece and unwind away from the hustle and bustle of the city that keeps moving outside it’s green edges.
In all the hours I’ve spent sitting at the edge of Bethesda Fountain I had never before wandered over to the water’s edge of the lake, this time hearing a little commotion my eyes glanced to the waters edge and watched a handful of turtles come up and eat some crumbs some tourists had left.
While people paddled on the lake and the view of the boathouse so near the turtles engaged with the tourists who only too happily fed them. Leaving the well fed turtles behind along the path to Bow Bridge where people pose on either side with their heads tilted and best sides showing, only one other person noticed the hummingbird quietly enjoying the summer flowers.
Time flies when you’re having fun people watching and seeing all those sights so by far the best way to get around the city is by Subway. This was discovered the hard way when rushing to meet up with friends for a Friday drink at 6pm and instead of taking the subway a taxi was caught leading to getting out and rushing to be a little late instead of a lot late. Even in Manhattan’s small size many streets are now one way only making taxi’s not the fastest option any more (particularly at certain busy times). This means taking the subway or buses is a viable option in efficient travel.
The choice of where to stay within your budget is quite simple with the vast array of options throughout the island and the easiest way to determine where is best for you is what you want to do during your stay in the neighborhood. If you want to be near the hustle and bustle of Times Square or would rather spend time walking through Central Park or even enjoy the restaurants and bars that Soho has to offer than there is something for everyone. TripAdvisor and TimeOut New York both have helpful lists to help narrow it down to what works best for your visit.
Ultimately, Manhattan can be whatever you want it to be. It’s the kind of place that is much safer to walk down than ever before and like anywhere you will find the best food and drinks to be had off the beaten path (or even over the river). It is a city of dreams and the people are only to happy to help you realize yours if you just ask them.
The list of places to eat or drink is seemingly endless and on this visit I caught up with the ever talented Sydney from Crepes of Wrath and some friends at Bonnie Vee. Whenever I was out and about I had no qualms about stepping into one of the countless delis scattered on almost every corner for a ‘snack.’ I finally made it to Magnolia Bakery and instead of getting a traditional cupcake I got the cheesecake which was worth every forkful of breaking my usual diet. While waiting to see Lorde on a Pier I had a grilled cheese dinner from Morris Grilled Cheese Truck again. My last dinner was had at Bubby’s below the High Line, the meal made me wish I was staying longer alone so I could eat here again.
It’s a city that never sleeps and I’ve yet to tire of.