As some of you may know, I’ve just returned from New York City. I can describe my trip with the four E’s: exciting, enthralling, exhilarating and exhausting. While the Big Apple isn’t perfect, it’s pretty close to being the perfect big city. I’m totally lucky to have enjoyed such a wonderful experience (and at a pretty low price tag too!) Here are 15 contributing factors that make NYC uniquely amazing!
1. It reminded me a lot of London
London is a place near and dear to my heart. Being in this world-class city reminded me of being back in Central London. The parks, the transit, the fashionable people, the museums, etc., were all similar to each other. Having the chance to visit New York brought back all the nostalgic feelings of traveling to the Gem by The Thames. (Yes, I just made this up, and it’s cute and catchy. Can I trademark this?)
2. The subway is efficient and cheap
Would your rather pay $2 and some change to ride a subway that can take you literally anywhere you’d want to go? Or would you rather pay a taxi fare each time you need to get somewhere? Take your pick, but here’s a professional tip: the latter is going cost you way more money. And that’s money you could be spending on something better, like pizza.
3. The food is amazing
Almost everything I munched on in NYC was delicious—especially the pizza (Check out Sottocasa in Brooklyn if you ever have the chance.) I ate Italian food, mac and cheese and so much Pizza; it was glorious. We were also staying down the street from a Trader Joes, so I got my share of fruits, veggies and healthy snacks, too! Life always rules when you’re surrounded by yummy food.
4. Classy French and Italian wines are available at every bar and restaurant
“Why yes, I’ll have the house Italian Chardonnay, please.” Here in California we are blessed with an abundance of, you named it, California wines, but it can be a little difficult (and pricey) to get our hands on European wines, particularly at restaurants. I definitely realized how lucky I was to order a good French Rosé for just $7.
5. New Yorkers are proud of their city
It’s a cool feeling to be somewhere that people actually like living. New York is a really cool place and New Yorkers want to see it stay that way. I admire that.
6. The city has cleaned up since the grittiness of the 1970s and 1980s
We’ve all seen Martin Scorcese’s “Taxi Driver.” And if you haven’t, shame on you, but back in the day, the city definitely had it’s dirt, crime and grime. Times Square was practically the red light district and the subways were a war zone full of violent crime. These days, that New York is a thing of the past.
7. In fact, NYC is actually considered one of the safest big cities
New York City has seen dropping crime rates since the 1990s and throughout the 2000s. Currently, NYC boasts all-time violent crime lows, especially in regards to murders and assaults. Taking the subway isn’t much of a risk anymore, and you can easily walk up and down most streets in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island with no issue.
8. People don’t vape in NYC
This may not be on your list of what makes a city awesome, but it’s on mine. While vaping is maybe? healthier than cigarettes, and it smells better, It’s still pretty obnoxious. I saw one person vaping the whole time I was there. Yup, one. In SoCal I can’t go anywhere without a cloud of cherry smoke assaulting my face and leaving me wondering what chemicals I just ingested.
9. It’s easy to stretch your money on a visit
I’m a big proponent of not getting suckered into tourist traps during my travels. And you should be too. Why spend money to head to the top of of XYZ building, when you can catch a great, free view somewhere else? You also don’t need to go to a big fancy restaurant every time you need to eat. Also, like I listed earlier, use the subway instead of taxis. And try to fly into NYC on a Monday or Tuesday when flights are cheaper.
10. It has some of the most awesome museums in the world
New York City is home to the 9/11 museum, the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Modern Art, the Natural History Museum, the American Indian Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image. Arts, culture and history are important to me: They’re practically at the top of my interest list. In addition, most of these museums have awesome exhibits dedicated to women, people of color and the LGBTQ community.
11. The Lower Manhattan skyline will take your breath away
I remember the first time I saw Big Ben. I remember the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower. Manhattan’s skyline, it’s urban jungle, is another homage to the engineering triumphs of humans. While we are really good at messing things up, you know, like the environment and basic human rights, we are pretty stellar at building stuff. I was definitely preparing myself for the moment I saw the skyline, in fact it was what I was most excited for, and it did not disappoint.
12. There’s a ton of really cool parks
While Central Park is a dead give away, there are also plenty of other patches of greenery worth your time. Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village and Prospect Park in Brooklyn are must sees. You can walk your dog, sunbathe, enjoy the street artists or catch a concert. Seriously, we saw Interpol in a park.
13. There are concerts, so many concerts.
(Yes, I know Wayne’s World takes place in Chicago and not New York)
Proceeding my last point, the amount of concerts going on in New York is almost insane. It even kind of puts Los Angeles to shame. In our 6 days in the city, we had the chance to see anyone from U2 to Neil Young, to Modest Mouse to Blues Traveler (But you, why you wanna give me a run-around? seriously, why?) In fact, this September Pearl Jam and Beyonce are playing a free concert in Central Park. Pearl Jam. Beyonce. Free. Could New York be any cooler?
14. The sports fans aren’t fair-weathered
While New York fans can be a little intense—I’m looking at you Yankee fans chanting DEREK JETER at the top of your lungs on the D train—I do admire their dedication. Plus, being at a Yankee game in the Bronx was pretty incredible, and the new stadium is gorgeous. Back home, LA and OC area sports fans aren’t particularly known for their loyalty. What’s that? You were a Lakers fan last season but now you like the Clippers? Huh? At least New York fans have it together.
15. It’s full of diversity
New York is full of people from all over the world. Diversity is something that we all benefit from. Diversity promotes inclusion and equality. All ethnicity, races, religions and nationalities can be found in NYC; we still have a way to go, but that’s a beautiful thing.
(all still Images feature link below. All GIFs from giphy)