19 Dec I’ve Fallen in Love with New York
A New Yorker-friend said to me, “You can come from anywhere, but when you arrive in New York you can become a New Yorker.”
After spending a week there, I now know what he means. New York has served as a main port of entry for millions of immigrants arriving in America, all clutching the American Dream. It’s a city that fills you with hope that you can fulfil those dreams and be whoever you want to be. If you want to be a New Yorker, then you can become one and fit right in.
I’ve fallen in love with New York.
As a traveller I’ve always been looking for that place that makes me feel like I belong. I’ve been to many cities that I’ve really liked, but I couldn’t imagine myself living there. But I could definitely see myself living in New York. Where do I sign up?!
In many ways I could see a lot of similarities with London, but New York has something special. I’ve had so many wow moments on this trip- listening to a piano player singing Frank Sinatra’s New York New York in an original speakeasy called Bill’s Gay Nineties; gazing in awe at the Rockerfeller Christmas tree; experiencing sunset at the top of the Empire State Building; taking a horse and carriage ride around Central Park; meeting Donald Trump at Trump Tower; joining thousands of Santas in a giant pub crawl around Manhattan; drinking Martinis in the King Cole bar at the St. Regis; seeing some of my favourite works of art at the Museum of Modern Art; standing at the base of the Statue of Liberty on a sunny day; and simply enjoying a cup of coffee and a bagel!
There are so many things I love about New York and I know that I’ll be back.
The people are friendly
One of the main reasons I love New York is the people. Funnily New Yorkers have gained a reputation of being a little bit rude, but I found no evidence of that at all. Coming from England where everyone is reserved, it was such a pleasant change to come into contact with such friendly people. From the moment I stepped off the plane at JFK I felt welcome. People were always asking me how I was and wishing me “Happy Holidays!”
When it comes to service, we could really take some pointers from New York over in England. In restaurants, shops and bars in London and other parts of Europe, staff often do their jobs with a certain resentment. You ask them for something, and they look at you like you are inconveniencing them. But in New York, if you ask for something, the staff all seem to have a smile on their face. Obviously they make their wages from tips in the States, but if they are faking their pleasantness, they do it incredibly well.
One day I was walking down Fifth Avenue and almost bumped into a cart because I was gazing longingly into a shop window. The guy yelled, “Watch out lady!” and I apologized. He responded, “It’s OK, shoes are pretty!”
Another time I dropped my Metro card in the street, and someone picked it up and ran after me. It’s those little things that will stay with me.
It’s the city that never sleeps
New York is a 24-hour city. There is always something to do, no matter what day of the week it is. If you feel like dancing every night, there’s always a party. If you can’t sleep and you want to eat food at 4am, then there are restaurants open all hours. Every day there is a special event or some new venue popping up.
Nowhere does Christmas like New York
If you want to get into the festive spirit, then nowhere does Christmas like New York City. Temporary Christmas markets and ice skating rinks pop up all over the city, the store windows are transformed into elaborate works of art and twinkling Christmas trees light up the city. Even if you’re the biggest scrooge at Christmas, New York is guaranteed to make you smile.
You can get every kind of food imaginable
You can find any type of food you want in New York City at any time of day or night. One of my favourite things about New York was the stalls selling all sorts of things from hot dogs and pretzels, to dumplings and waffles. If you’re feeling hungry, you’re never far away from a great place to eat. I was staying on St. Mark’s Place, which had all kinds of incredible Asian restaurants at good value prices, and I had some great sushi! And for a quick snack, you can’t go wrong with the $1 pizza slices! Being so multicultural, New York has every cuisine from all over the world with options ranging from street food to high-class restaurants.
There is so much to see
In one week I only touched the tip of the iceberg. I watched the most incredible sunset of my life at the top of the Empire State Building, saw the city by night from the top of the Rock, browsed the art collections at MoMA and took a cruise to the Statue of Liberty, but there are SO many things to see and do in New York. And I didn’t even make it outside of Manhattan!
I could spend weeks, months, years exploring New York. Even born-and-bred New Yorkers haven’t seen it all!
So New York, I can tell this is the beginning of a great love affair. I will be back!