Things to do in New York

This is the 16th in a series of posts about New York – it is adapted from an earlier post from about four years ago. The main reason it borrows content is because much of it is still true!

Whether you live in New York, or you visit New York, you will find that New Yorkers are an opinionated lot.  New Yorkers will say this not that; that not thisYankees not Mets!  Uptown not downtown!  People will tell you where to go; what to do.  But when you are a New Yorker, you find that there are certain things that you acquire, that you need, that define your experience, be they persons, places, things.

This, friends, is brief overview of the contours of the this not that of one New York experience; these are the things one woman thinks a person needs, as distilled into a list of 25 persons, places, things:

1) A brunch place where they serve good bloody marys and mimosas (I used to think “bottomless” was the right modifier here, but there was a brief period where that was potentially illegal, and then, also, I got old, and “bottomless” was no longer how I cared for my drinks); where there is outdoor seating in summer (you will pick a new place when you move house, and when you come back to your old block, you will lament how the bloody marys aren’t as strong and the eggs benedict now sucks.  But it’s you, not the place, that has changed);

2) A block on which you won’t walk because the memories are still too unpleasant;

3 ) A favourite square (my preference is always Union Square — the Greenmarket; the protests; the old and new colliding);

4) That restaurant you go to when you’re all alone;

5) That restaurant you take people to when they come to town;

6) A place to park that doesn’t cost roughly what you paid in college tuition;

7) The streetcorner on which someone kissed you until you forgot to be afraid;

8 ) A best-friend-in-the-city (this, too, may change over time…);

9) The place you were when you realized that you liked asparagus/could drink tequila/knew that she was the one/realized you wanted to leave/had some small but life-changing moment that has now become linked to your New York experience;

10) A go-to dive bar (regrettably, this may also be your brunch place);

11) A good nail salon; a hairdresser you’d recommend who doesn’t charge you a fortune; someone you trust for a wax; the place you go for a blow-out; the little secrets of your beauty routine that you give away only when asked by someone you really like;

12) A pair of flats that fits in a purse/a pair of comfortable shoes that look good with jeans – New York is a walking city;

13) A preference between the Yankees and Mets; the Giants and Jets, even if you’re lying;

14) A basic understanding of deli terminology and the ability to eat a bagel, unscooped.  Please take your scooped bagels back to Foggy Bottom or Jersey City or Santa Monica;

15) The song that reminds you of the first week you were here, and you sat in your apartment or wandered the streets wondering which way was uptown, which way was downtown; when you didn’t know how to buy food in a bodega or why the bananas at Food Emporium were…dusty; the song that brings you to your knees on lonely nights even now when you feel like your heart might burst with joy or the world might end and you remember how far you’ve come;

16) That bridge that you’ve crossed (for me, feelin’ groovy, it’s always, always the Queensborough…);

17) The New Yorker who broke your heart;

18) Your friend, the Native, who says things in the New York twang that you love because you’ve heard it in movies, but hope that you never develop no matter how long you live here;

19) The place where you go to get green juice (people are very passionate about the national vs. local varieties of green juice available here…)

20) Slipping into a dark, cool church — any church; regardless of your faith — to pray or to meditate;

21) Attending a parade in the crowd.  Pick a parade; any parade – we do parades BIG in New York City;

22) The gym or fitness studio where the instructors all know you by name – and where you have actually fought people over a mat or bike or spot at the equipment (I understand that this is not a Thing that is exclusive to New York, but the stuff we have here and the fitness culture is pretty unique);

23) The place you were the first time you danced until the New York sunrise; the place you did it again (and the judgment in your doorman’s eyes when he was the one on shift both times);

24) A friend with a dog/a friend with a car/a friend with a house outside of the city — someone with the trappings of things that are related to the life you had before you became a New Yorker: these are the ways you retain some tenuous hold on the person you were before you were this;

25) Your fire-box…the tangible New York things with which you will escape if ever you are to leave.

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