I am a proud New Yorker, having lived here on and off (mostly on) since 2012. Ever since I was in high school, I wanted to live in Manhattan, and made countless trips on the Metro North to explore and get to know the city. I’ve lived in 4 neighborhoods, 2 boroughs, and am solidly an “uptown girl”. When I saw the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment’s NY in 25 campaign on the subway, I immediately started writing a list of my own New York in 25! I too wanted to share my favorite things about New York City in 25 words, so here they are in no particular order…
- New York Public Library
I am an avid reader as you may have seen from some of my monthly recaps, and I get 99.9% of my books from the New York Public Library system. My local librarians know me and make book recommendations. I am at the library at least once a week either picking up books from the hold shelf or dropping something off. With physical books, audio or e-books, and plenty of DVDs (not to mention many other services like laptop lending, English and career classes, and music), the Library keeps New York well-read and cultured.
- Central Park
The urban oasis in the heart of Manhattan is often cited as one of the top things to do in the city for good reason. For me personally, it is a forest in the concrete jungle, a place to meander, exercise, relax on a bench, read a book, or chat with a friend. It is a constant in a changing world.
My favorite neighborhood, filled with good food, art, culture and history, and beautiful streets. I am including all of Harlem here – from the west side to the east.
- Metropolitan Museum
As a proud member (thanks mom!) I am often at the Met, also a wonderful aspect of Central Park, to check out the ever-rotating exhibits with friends or to pop in quick on a Friday evening with my husband. Although we think we have seen most of the museum, a new gallery always surprises us!
- Free Summer Shows
Summer in New York City is the best time of year, with SummerStage concerts all over the city, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn festival, the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park, and the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s summer performances in Marcus Garvey.
- Bagels and Pizza
Classic NYC cuisine that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world! They say it’s something about the water, but I think it’s the entire experience, standing on line at a small deli or breakfast joint to get your wax paper or foil wrapped, gooey hot bagel, or to get a slice on a grease-stained paper plate at a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria. When I travel, these are the two foods that I miss!
- Skyline Views
When returning to a city from a long trip and the first look of the skyline comes into view, my heart leaps with joy! It’s a feeling of comfort and wonder that is unique to New York. Also, if you’re lucky to have a friend with a view of Manhattan from an outer borough or from New Jersey, or if you are at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade at sunset, you will know this feeling, seeing the city lights at night.
- Historic Sites
I love to wander different New York City neighborhoods and love when I stumble across one of the historic sites. Walking through Sylvan Terrace in Washington Heights, along the brownstones of Prospect Park West, or visiting any of the 23 historic houses in the five boroughs (if my count is correct, I’ve been to/seen 9 of them) will give you a glimpse into the history of this city. Not to mention there are additional National Parks sites within the city that are also worth a visit, and will transport you back in time.
- Uptown Parks
Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood have the most beautiful parks per block*. Inwood has one of my favorite parks Fort Tryon, has beautiful walkways, a garden and is also home to the Met Museum extension, the Cloisters, whose historic setting alone is worth the trip. Inwood Hill Park has lovely walking paths and benches near the river. Washington Heights has much to offer with the J. Hood Wright Playground with a stunning view of the George Washington Bridge, Fort Washington Park with a nice pathway along the Hudson River, and Highbridge Park with the renovated High Bridge providing a pedestrian path to the Bronx. Harlem has number of community gardens as well as Marcus Garvey Park, with an amphitheater full of music and theater performances in warmer months.
*My own conclusion, this is not scientifically backed.
- Around-the-World Cuisine
New York City is famous for its worldly eats. While certain neighborhoods are known for specific international foods, the city as a whole is a microcosm of cuisine. I’ve had the privilege of trying food from countries I haven’t been to. Sharing food is sharing culture and having the opportunity to try new things is a blessing. Favorites are Ethiopian, Thai, and Greek – three countries I have not been to!
- Public Transportation
Love it or hate it, public transportation keeps NYC moving. 24/7 the trains and buses crawl through the city’s underground or through traffic-laden streets. Although you may be stuck for hours on a subway or have to double back on a route because of late night track work, you usually can make it to your destination! I love my monthly pass that gives me full access to all five boroughs. Last summer, I even made it all the way out to Riis Beach at the very end of Queens using just my MetroCard!
These are just my NY in 25 – what are yours?