Recently I went to visit one of my favorite cities in the world, New York City. It is home to 8.4 million people, a melting pot of culture and commerce. For most people, coming to New York means seeing all the tourist sites, walking through Time Square, climbing the Empire State Building, and going to Central Park. As much as I love seeing the sights, New York City offers so much more. Here are my favorite things about New York which makes this city one of my favorite.
1- Concrete Jungle – Being in New York City is always mind blowing when I look out the window. There are buildings as far as the eye can see. What Manhattan lacks in green space, it makes up in buildings and there is so much diversity in the structures. Old brownstone residential homes mixed with new shiny office buildings. If you are lucky, you can turn a corner and see a quaint old church, with beautiful European architecture. It is truly a magnification place.
2-Diversity of People- There is so much cultural diversity in NYC. In a city where as many as 800 languages are spoken, everywhere you look, there is someone who may look different from you. Yet, everyone resides in peace, sharing the same small spaces with their neighbor. No matter where you go, you are welcome. I love walking through Korea town, where you can find some of the best Korean bulgogi the city has to offer, only to cross a street, and end up in Little Italy, where you can find authentic home made pasta made with squid ink. Because of the diversity of the people and their unique cultures, you can turn a corner and find you are in a different part of the world.
3-Transportation Heaven – There are so many ways to get around in New York City. With your choices from sea of yellow taxis, buses, and the extensive subway system, there is always an easy way to get around. Of course, you have your choice of ride share options in including Uber, and of course, you can always walk. New York is a very safe and walkable city.
4-Food Carts- I love food carts. They remind me of traveling overseas where there is so much amazing street food. You can find a great Greek Gyro food cart at almost every corner, and there are people roasting fresh nuts with an intoxicating aroma of cinnamon and sugar. It is authentic, quick and delicious. There are even healthy options like smoothie food carts as well.
5-Energy- New York City has a very unique fast pace energy which seems to pulse through the veins of everyone who lives there. Between dodging cars and the flashing lights, there is a unique energy only found in NY. It is alive with culture, powered by the diversity of the people who inhabit this beautiful island. I always feel recharged and inspired after visiting the city that never sleeps.
6-Nice People- Many people have the misconception that New Yorkers are not very nice. While they are not like the folks in the South with Southern hospitality, New Yorkers have their own unique way of showing kindness. For example, when I needed help getting around and was lost in the City, New Yorkers would take time to help me find my way back to the hotel. I’ve had my doors opened for me many times and they were kind enough to humor me and take a photo for me. When you think about sheer number of tourist who visit New York, asking for directions and blocking walk ways to take photos (yes I am guilty), New Yorkers actually display quite a bit of patience. So on behalf of all the tourists visiting New York, New Yorkers, I would like to thank you for showing Northern hospitality. We really appreciate it.
7- Street Performers – In NYC, there is never a shortage of talented people and you will see street performers all around. Dance troups in the subway will hold an impromptu dance performance, entertain the crowd while they wait to catch the subway. Musicians pour their hearts out, strumming away on their guitars. A saxophone player creates a mood of romance in the streets, the perfect background to a night on the town.
There is no other city in the United States like New York City. Between the 24 hour night life and eateries, the pulsating energy of commerce, and the multi-cultural diversity of people, NYC is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Until next time, New York, I will miss you.