Before moving to New York City this year, my niece and nephew delighted in informing me that there were nine rats per person in the city, and they were convinced I would soon find one in my apartment. I’m happy to report that they were wrong (I haven’t seen one yet). I have, however, discovered some great things about living in the largest city in the United States. Here are just five of the best experiences residents enjoy in New York City.
Spread throughout New York City’s five boroughs are diverse and unique shopping opportunities that even the most skilled shopper will find awe-inspiring. Whatever you’re into, there’s a place for you to indulge your passions, from the very affordable street wares to the high-end boutiques. If designer duds, handbags and shoes make your heart quiver, then New York City won’t disappoint, with many famous and up-and-coming designer boutiques. Residents learn to slip away a block or so from the more popular shopping haunts to discover what really makes the city so amazing. Unique bookstores like Phaidon, which specialize in the arts, or Bauman Rare Books, which houses rare and first-edition books, are only the beginning. New Yorkers who are into music visit East Village Music Store where vintage instruments can be bought or sold, or they hang out at Other Music with famous DJs and musicians, where they’re introduced to new artists rarely heard on the radio. There’s also something for adults who like to walk on the wild side every now and then with a variety of adult-themed shops all over the city. Everyday living in the city requires essentials from groceries to home goods and the best part about the dreaded errand day is that many stores in the city deliver right to your door, eliminating the task of juggling too many bags while walking home. Accessibility to anything and everything is only a short subway ride away and most times, a few blocks or steps from your door.
4. Fantastic Food
Talk about variety — the dizzying choices of food options in New York City can make even hard-core foodies sit on a park bench for a rest. From booze-infused sweets to tasty ethnic street fare, there’s a meal for the pickiest of eaters. Food carts and trucks have become all the rage nationwide, and New Yorkers indulge like no other. Food carts and trucks abound and offer a variety of choices. Ethnic food, unusual sweets and uniquely flavored, single-batch ice cream are just a few of the street food offerings.
Those employed in the city rarely brown bag it because food carts are all around for a quick, inexpensive and delicious meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even the mid-day snack. And don’t let the size or appearance of a place fool you. Sometimes the smallest and counter-only-service restaurants are the best. A general rule of thumb: if there’s a line, you’re virtually guaranteed a great meal. In addition to the great restaurants, open-air markets can be found sprinkled throughout the five boroughs as well. Farmers from the tri-state area bring in fresh fruits and vegetables, while smaller farms offer specialty cheeses, organic and grass-fed meats, raw honey of unusual flavors and beautiful flowers and plants.
3. Arts and Cultural Scene
Everyone knows New York offers great fun for those who live for the arts. Award-winning theater on Broadway and Off Broadway is unmatched in variety and quality. Museums offer not only famous paintings by Van Gogh and Renoir but also fascinating exhibits, films and libraries for the public to enjoy. Local residents enjoy the famous Museum Mile but also venture off the Mile to take in museums such as the National Museum of the American Indian, The Seaport Museum, and the New York City Police and Fire Museums. New York City also offers the best in music from large venues like Lincoln Center and The Metropolitan Opera House to small clubs where on any given night you might be treated to a performance by the next superstar. Poetry and musical festivals, clubs to dance the night away and the unexpected underground art on the walls of the subway platforms round out the unlimited and tremendous arts and cultural scene NYC has to offer.
Seasonal festivals and street fairs offered in each neighborhood along with monthly park events provide New Yorkers and visitors alike a steady stream of activities year-round. Central Park, Battery Park and Bryant Park are the more notable city parks, although the five boroughs offer many more. And tourists aren’t the only ones who turn out to see the city’s famous attractions. Residents go to the Seaport to take one of the many boats that offer scenic tours via the Hudson River. Boat tours sail by day past the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Governors Island, and along the way guides point out other wonderful places to visit. A unique way to experience the city is to sail by night. Passing Lady Liberty with her torch lit and surrounded by this spectacular city of lights is an emotional reminder of the United States’ strength and endurance. For those with wobbly sea legs, many touring companies throughout the city offer individual and group walking tours of neighborhoods and historic districts. Ghost walks, cupcake crawls and chocolate walks can all be found in the city.
1. Joys of Daily Living
Many New York City residents will tell you that one of the most amazing realizations is that every day, without even trying, they walk by national landmarks, historic buildings and fascinating architecture. Places most people put on their bucket list, New Yorkers enjoy in their backyard. Living in New York is exciting, and whether you’re walking past Ground Zero to catch the subway or running past the Statue of Liberty, as a resident or a visitor, you’re constantly reminded of how proud you are to be an American.