I have always believed that you need to know where you are from to know where you are going. To apply this to travel, I believe I must first experience all the great things my hometown has to offer before I can go out and explore the world.
The first time I learned what it meant to be a New Yorker I was in 8th grade on a senior trip in VA. I was taken aback by the way people responded to our answer of where we were from. I suppose I had never thought about it before. But now people were visibly reacting with combinations of shock, fear, intimidation, admiration and intrigue. This is my first memory of being proud to state that I was a New Yorker. Now I have a better understanding of why. As Alicia Keys and Jay-Z sing, In New York concrete jungle where dreams are made of/ there's nothing you can't do/ these streets will make you feel brand new/ big lights will inspire you let’s hear it for New York.
Ever since I finished graduate school and had free time again, I have been committed to doing all the things I have always wanted to especially in my hometown. I try to take every advantage of living in this great city. I am also committed to seizing every opportunity that presents itself when I know I might not have another chance. A good example of that is a celebrity book signing. I might complain often about crowds, and commuting during the work week, but I never forget how lucky I am that I can go to a concert on a Tuesday night and not have to plan a vacation around it. It frees me up a great deal to take vacations elsewhere and never miss out on anything that I want to do. That is the greatest part about living in New York City. That and the exposure to the best food, art, and historic landmarks in the country. I might sound biased but I have a lot of experiences to back me up.
I try to approach seeing NYC the way I would as a tourist. I lay out an itinerary for the day, take pictures, and try to appreciate what I am doing. For me, that’s the easy part if I am excited about where I am. I forget that I have passed this 12 times on the bus. It’s like I am on a mini-vacation and I want to soak it all in.
The other day, a friend and co-worker of mine said this to me: “Even though you are a New Yorker, you enjoy New York though the eyes of a tourist. You enjoy the things about New York that most New Yorkers take for granted.” I thought this was the highest compliment because I love being a tourist other places and take it seriously. I hadn’t previously thought that my passion for traveling and being a tourist could be contagious. I love the thought that just by me being me and talking about what I want to do and have done could inspire others. I adore giving out tips and passing on information on what I consider must-dos.
This week, I am listing what I love to do and eat in NYC and the things I think you should to do at least once.
If you are interested in a complete list of attractions in NYC, please visit:
For additional reading, this is another favorite NYC guidebook of mine:
New York City Must Do Activities
There is a reason why Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys and Jay-Z have all sung about NYC. It’s because it really is one of the greatest cities in the world. Here are some of the experiences that will help you understand why.
· Reach to the top of the Empire State Building
· Attend a concert at Madison Square Garden
· Attend a concert or stand-up act at the legendary Carnegie Hall
· Radio City Music Hall, and at least once in your life see the famed Rockette’s Christmas Show. It’s not my cup of tea (I don’t think women should have to parade around as reindeer) but I have seen it and glad to check it off my list.
· Rockefeller Center, especially during Christmas time to see the skaters and the largest Christmas tree in the country.
· New York Botanical Gardens Holiday Train Show- I have done it before and will do it again! They use plants, fruit and organic matter to create mini replicas of all NYC attractions. Every year they add a new one to their collection. The detail is so amazing you have to see it to believe it.
· Macy’s in Herald Square- Is always incredibly decorated outside for each season and is the largest department store you will ever see. If you have small children or are a child at heart be sure to go during Christmastime to see an entire floor laid out in Santa’s workshop leading up to taking a photo with the big man himself.
· Joe’s Pub- Is a great spot to see an intimate concert (temporarily closed for 3 months beginning in April 2011 for renovations.)
· Caroline’s Comedy Club- Right in the heart of Times Square, relatively cheap and a great venue to see a lot of celebrity comedians.
· Lincoln Center (NYC Ballet & NYC Opera) - To see either is such a treat, nothing like the elegance of these buildings and performances.
· Central Park- There is a zoo, carousel, and much more. You can spend a classic NYC afternoon here. I wish Tavern on the Green were still open it was a favorite of mine.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2- A few of my favorite places!!