My first trip to NYC was in fall of 1999, when I visited with two University of Guelph friends. We booked the lower floor of a Brownstone advertised as a B&B (way ahead of AirBnB) in Hell’s Kitchen. On our last night at a local pub, one New Yorker said to us, “Leave it to three Canadians to book a B&B in New York!”
It was love at first visit with NYC – the food, the people and the energy. It was Halloween weekend and the Yankees won the World Series. We did all the tourist attractions including the observation deck at the World Trade Center. And I fell in love with the culinary diversity where you can travel the world without leaving the city and eat authentic Chinese cuisine for lunch, Italian for supper and drink some of the best coffee the world has to offer all in a span of one mile.
A few weeks ago, I returned to NYC for the fifth time since 1999. The original purpose of the trip was to attend a conference at the New York Academy of Sciences. And of course, I decided to stay the weekend, this time in Tribeca. There are so many reasons why I love New York City…I’m sharing my top two with you now and in my next blog I will highlight my favourite food experiences.
There is no other place like it in the world. It has an iconic skyline. You can eat or do pretty much anything at any time. The subway runs 24/7, which means the city never sleeps. This creates a fast-paced feel which you become part of until you get back to your small town vibe….sigh! When people tell me NYC is a concrete mass, I reply with, “You haven’t spent your time well exploring all the neighbourhoods.” You know from following my blogs that I’m a walker and people walk a lot in New York City. After a delicious lunch with a New York friend, I walked from 50th to 86th to the Neue Galerie to see the Woman in Gold installation. That walk was 36 blocks! But it was just another afternoon in NYC. I am convinced walking is one of the happy ingredients to NYC’s creative energy. Another reason why I love New York City.
Speaking of walking, on the last day of my trip, I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, and literally ran into a new Canadian friend (I connected with at the conference and shared dinner with) and her husband midway to Brooklyn! When the bridge opened in 1883, the landmark, designed by John A. Roebling, was a feat of engineering. At that time it was the longest suspension bridge in the world and the first structure to cross the East River. Thank you New Yorkers!
New Yorkers are a creative, industrious and resilient bunch. You’d be surprised how often you bump into extremely helpful New Yorkers as you’re roaming the city. I’ve been assisted by locals with directions, the subway system (one of the best in the world), and had people chase me down the street because I dropped something. I have found they’re far more open to meeting new people, doing new things, and having fun than many other cities I’ve traveled to. I believe it has to do with the city’s diversity where anyone and everyone belongs. There is a magic about NYC and the people have a lot to do with that feeling.
There is a NYC backbone created from the many people who are ambitious and determined to give it their all and make it big. I find New Yorkers are happy to welcome you and connect you to their city. Do you need a recommendation for a restaurant, a hotel, the fastest route somewhere, or the best time to visit the gallery? They step up, give you the information and introduce you to their contact to connect you to what you need. It is the fast pace and matter of fact nature that I love about the people of NYC.
Diversity, deliciousness and never ending options in this 24 hour city…more reasons why I love New York City. Stay tuned for my next blog when I share with you my top three incredible food experiences from my trip to the Big Apple.