New York City is one of those places in the world that you should see – you may like it or not, but it is an experience you won’t find elsewhere. Other cities might be larger by size or population, but few can match its diversity: The more than 8 Million reflect immigrants from all over the world, speaking more than 800 languages and bringing their cultures, food, religion, fashion and so much more to form the quintessential melting pot! It creates a vibrant and energetic city that is fun to visit – I have visited many times and will certainly be back!
One of the things you might have heard is that New Yorkers are rude. Sure, it’s a fast-paced city that can be overwhelming to the first-time visitor, but for every rude taxi driver (if that is your first impression on arrival) there is a friendly New Yorker: On my first visit, I took the train from the suburbs into Manhattan and must have had “newbie” written on my forehead. I started chatting with a New Yorker and, on arrival, she took me on a quick tour of Grand Central station, before rushing off to her office job! How is that for a friendly welcome.
And there is a lot more to explore in the city and its diversity makes sure that there is something for everybody to enjoy:
New York is a city of culture with more musicals, theater or music performances than anybody can visit on a vacation. They go from celebrated Broadway musicals that will go on to tour the world to little off-off-Broadway shows few have ever heard about. You can listen to world-famous musicians in grand concert halls or to local artists on a street corner. Yet despite the number of theaters in the city, many of the most popular performances sell out, so if you have your heart set on a specific show, make sure to book in advance. Or, go with the flow, and try one of the discount ticket booths to buy cheap tickets for whatever is available that day! I never leave New York without at least seeing one performance, somewhere!
And if performances are not your thing, you might want to check out one of the museums: You might have heard of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) or Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), but there are hundreds of museums from history and ethnic exhibits to religion, arts, entertainment and, yes, a skyscraper museum! Check out the list of museums and I’m sure you’ll find something that interests or amuses you!
New York is also a city of fashion, all kinds of fashion. It’s one of a handful of cities that doesn’t just follow trends, but creates them. Granted, some of the trends I wish would pass, but that is part of what makes New York such a great example of what America is all about – anything is possible and all of it can peacefully exist side-by-side. From the grand luxury stores along 6th Avenue to the grungy stores on a little alley. From the runway shows of the great designers to people making their own fashion, it’s all there and most is available to take home! And while New York is an expensive city and the sky is the limit (well, really your credit card limit is probably the limit), there’s always some discount sale or warehouse sale going on to snatch that latest trend for less!
And all those immigrants from all around the world have not only brought their languages, they also brought their food. You can find authentic food from all around the world somewhere in the city, just ask. You can go with the staples, from a bagel to start your day to a picnic lunch in Central Park and a Michelin-starred dinner at the latest hot spot to a late-night hot dog from a streetside stand. Or, you can try something new that you haven’t eaten before – I’m pretty sure there is one cuisine in the city that you’ve never eaten or even knew existed!
When all that crazy energy of the city becomes too much, you can always escape. My favorite way to see the city is also the most relaxed: You can take the Circleline Cruise around Manhattan Island and see so much of the city on the 3 hour cruise, all of it while relaxing on your boat and the traffic, noise and people far away. It also gives you great photo opportunities of the skyline, bridges and buildings while giving your legs a rest.
For a slightly shorter break, there’s always Central Park. It’s always busy, so not quite the peaceful oasis you might hope for, but it’s a fun place to have a picnic and watch people go by. And that will never get old in New York City – with new people arriving daily and constant change, it never gets boring to just sit and watch the people of this great city going about their business!