On the east coast of the United States there is place called New York City…oh, you’ve heard of it, have you?
If you’ve never been, you need to go at least once. If you have been, you know you need to go back. What started for me as a little crush turned into such an intense love that I ended up moving to New York City! Your list might look entirely different than mine, but in line with my Things I Love About… series I wanted to share 33 random things I love about New York City.
1. The vibrant energy of Midtown Manhattan. There’s a busy energy in the city that we have never felt in any other city we’ve visited on our travels to over 70 countries. There’s so much life in Manhattan, and there’s so much going on at all times. It’s electrifying and it is infectious.
2. The innovative parking spaces.
4. Watching the neighborhoods change as we walk Broadway all the way from the Financial District to Harlem.
5. Laying in the sun chairs on the rails of Highline Park – New York’s most exciting urban renewal project.
6. Running straight into a mid-morning model photo-shoot in the Meatpacking district.
7. Union Square
Especially the buzz and bustle here from right after the sun goes down until way late into the night.
8. The sheer endless amount of mouthwateringly delicious pizza slices. Our hunt for the best pizza in NYC seems to have turned into a lifelong quest.
9. Reading the paper or people watch in Bryant Park
10. Ordering coffee off a Russian menu at Starbucks in Brighton Beach, near Coney Island, while listening to the Russian chatter around you, and realizing that even though you’re in an English-speaking country, you’ve just entered a completely different world and you have no idea what is going on.
12. The anonymity
On any given day, celebrities and world leaders join millions of locals and tourists, rich and poor, going about daily life on the streets of New York. Unlike in any other U.S. city, in New York City you, or the person next to you, could be just about anybody in the world.
13. The walk over the Brooklyn Bridge
14. Brooklyn Pride
Black, white, old, young, American or ex-pat, residents of Brooklyn, better known as Brooklynites, are proud in a way unlike any other New Yorker.
15. The Street Art – especially in Bushwick.
16. The food. I don’t think there’s a cuisine that you CAN’T get in NYC, and the amount of amazing restaurants is unrivaled anywhere in the world. This city is a food lover’s paradise.
17. World class art museums. Not only does New York City have an unparalleled food scene, but also the art scene is one-of-a-kind, spanning from major world-class art museums such as the MoMA or the MET to small galleries in Chelsea and cutting-edge contemporary art in art spaces such as the MoMA PS1. Not to mention the open studio days throughout he different neighborhoods where artists open their workspaces to the public and let strangers peek over their shoulders while they’re creating.
18. The changing cultures in Central Park throughout the day
The pet-owners and joggers in the morning, before the nannies and professional dog-walkers invade in the afternoon.
19. Looking back at the skyscrapers of Battery Park from the Staten Island Ferry.
20. The gravity-defying break dancers in Times Square Subway Station, and the eclectic “It’s Showtime!” dancers on the subway.
21. Observing locals fishing in possibly polluted waters of the East River, or off the Coney Island pier.
22. The many green spaces throughout the “Concrete Jungle”, which range from giant parks such as Van Cortlandt Park and Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx to tiny oasis like the Elevated Acre or Greenacre Park in Manhattan.
23. Observing the Orthodox Hasidic Jewish families in South Williamsburg or Crown Heights.
24. The ever-changing skyline of the city, with skyscrapers trying to outdo each other in terms of height and interesting architectural features.
25. The love New Yorkers have for their city.
26. Exploring the unique architecture of the Cast Iron district
27. The hot dog vendors, and the street food culture in general. This includes the breakfast & coffee carts in Midtown Manhattan, the pretzel guys in Central Park, the Latin American street food carts in Queens, and the Mexican tamales ladies in Brooklyn.
28. The pictures plastered on the walls at the uber-kitsch restaurants in Little Italy.
So many restaurants here have pictures of either well-known celebrities who ate there, or loads of ‘regular joe’ diners from throughout the years. As cheesy, faded and curled up around the edges as some of the pics can be, it still gives that feeling of ‘When you’re here, you’re family’. What else would you expect in Little Italy!
29. The opportunities for perspective
The views from the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building let you get such a good feeling for this dense city. If you’re interested in seeing New York City from a bird’s eye view, I compared the best observation decks in New York City.
30. Spotting film crews and trailers on location filming the next great NYC movie or TV show.
31. Contemplating what constitutes a New Yorker
Contrasting people who live out near Coney Island to those on the Upper East Side, and marveling at the fact that no matter their differences, they are all still New Yorkers.
32. Mariachi bands on the subway
33. New York is within everyone’s budget
With the exception of accommodation, hanging out in New York City can be cheap as chips and exhilarating at the same time. It might be testing out a highly-recommended hole in the wall and people watching in the park rather than Michelin-starred dining and a Broadway show, but no matter your budget, you will have a distinctly authentic New York time.