“Whoever is born in New York is ill-equipped to deal with any other city: all other cities seem, at best, a mistake, and, at worst, a fraud.” – James Baldwin
Despite its long, cold winters and sometimes even colder people, New York City remains my favorite place to be. Partiality aside, if I didn’t live here, I think I’d still feel the same way for several reason, which I will share in a moment.
For the first-time visitor, NYC can be quite overwhelming, with its crowded streets, fast-paced movements and astounding buildings and skyscrapers. It’s a lot to take in. After all, it is the largest city in the U.S. But don’t let that intimidate you. There’s so much to see and do here that one could never truly say that they’ve seen and done it all.
As a New York City resident, I recognize that I, like many natives, take my city for granted. There are a number of our most fascinating points of interest that I have never taken the time to really go and see up close, such as, the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. I’ve never even taken a ride on the ferry or a double decker tour bus in Times Square. I would certainly encourage all first-time visitors to see and or do at least one of the aforementioned.
The most efficient and effective mode of transportation in the city is by subway. Our subways aren’t always the most visually appealing but the experiences you may have will make the trip worth it. During your travels, you are sure to come across some free (and unsolicited) entertainment from some talented and not-so talented people. Dancers, singers and musicians alike, often share their gifts with us, whether we like it or not. Hey, it’s a free show!
Shopping in New York City is an absolutely MUST! If you are a lover of fashion, NYC is definitely a place to draw inspiration from. I am honored to say that I live amongst some of the world’s most fashionable individuals. People come from all over the world to experience our unique sense of style. It ranges from classic and opulent to what I like to call “Homeless-chic.” It is the only city I’ve been to where even a dingy and worn-out ensemble can become a fashion statement.Our famous 5th avenue strip hosts big brand stores like Fendi, Bergdorf Goodman, Prada and Louis Vuitton. For the more practical shopper, there’s SoHo [South of Houston] where you can find more for those who prefer a more hipster and edgy style of dressing. This area hosts an array of sneaker stores, trendy boutiques and even some high-end luxury brands.
My absolute favorite part of my city is the countless places to dine. Even our food trucks are 5-star! I’ve always wondered if I could choose an area in NYC and eat at every restaurant there. I’ve tried it and it’s nearly impossible. For the certified foodie, you will never run out of options. The great thing about eating in NYC is that you can find all kinds of food and drink deals to help keep more money in your wallet.
Grab a $5 frozen margarita at our popular Mexican restaurant Blockheads or a $7 Gyro at any of our many halal food trucks. There are tons of menu options everywhere that cater to the $15 and under crowd in some of the swankiest eateries. Located on East 8th St is Cafetasia, one of my favorite Thai restaurants. It features long communal tables and an evening ambiance that is great for a date night. Not only is the food delicious, but you can also snag a drink, appetizer and entrée for just $11 during happy hour! Definitely a cool way to save and eat well in an expensive city. A late night favorite for most partygoers is a little spot called Pop Burger. The classic $12 mini sliders are a staple. A little pricey but my God are they worth it! There’s also a lounge in the back where you can party some more if you choose.
Speaking of parties… We totally have every other city beat in this capacity. This is really a city that never sleeps. Events take place here from Sunday to Sunday! There’s something going on every single day of the week. The bars and clubs are endless. The outdoor events are abundant. There are a number of FREE concerts, festivals, and parties to attend during the spring and summer seasons. There’s a reason celebrities are spotted here so frequently. I’ve even reveled with Jay Z and Beyoncé in the most casual dance setting.
One of my favorite places to party is at The DL on the Lower East Side of the city. During the warmer months a daytime party called “Everyday People [EDP] Brunch ” is hosted here. You can enjoy brunch downstairs and drop it low upstairs! It tends to be more of a hipster crowd dancing to everything from Michael Jackson to Trinidad James. The people here are very trendy and fashion forward. Celebrities such as singers Solange and Elle Varner are often spotted at this event. If you love Caribbean music, The Delancey is right up the street and hosts the famous strictly reggae party “DownTown Top Ranking” every Thursday night. Leave the heels at home. Let your hair down or take it off because this party is only for those who came to jam. For the more pretentious crowd, I’d go closer to midtown Manhattan. Pranna, Kiss & Fly, 1 Oak and Marquee are some of the more popular hangouts. Be sure to look your best. Some doormen can be very selective. You’re sure to spot a famous person or two in one of these establishments.
New York City has much to offer for anyone looking for a fun and interesting getaway. You can see a show on Broadway, take a carriage ride through the city of lights at night, or rub shoulders with luminaries at an upscale bar. No matter where you’re from or what you like to do while on vacation, this city has something for you. Enjoy it!
This story was curated by Chaunna Henry.