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A weekend in New York City

It had been five years since the last time I was in New York City, but with my prior trips I’d covered the tourist attractions. This time around I’d skip the ferry to Ellis Island and the tour up to the top of the Empire State Building.

I wanted a more authentic New York experience, so I thought to myself ‘what would a New Yorker do?’ Here’s what I came up with.

Get out of Manhattan

A lot of New Yorkers don’t live in Manhattan, so it was important I not spend all my time there. Soho, Midtown, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and the list goes on. No two neighborhoods are alike.

The feel of the city will change quickly as you travel north, south, east or west. My personal favorites are Brooklyn, West Village  — Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment is here — and the Lower East Side near Central Park.  Grab yourself a metro card and make your way to one of the many burrows.

Eat local

A pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Deli will set you back $20, but oh man, it’s so worth it. The one and only location is crammed with people on weekends with lines out-the-door for table service as well as takeout. You may have to wait your turn to enjoy this east coast gem, but have patience; your stomach will thank you.

Notable: If the restaurant looks familiar, it’s because a scene from “When Harry Met Sally” was filmed here.

Other local recommendations: Joe’s Pizza, Di Fara (also pizza), Peter Lugar’s Steakhouse and Nathan’s Hot Dogs.

Brooklyn Promenade

The Brooklyn promenade is the strip of land along the bay that’s backed against houses. Locals will be out running, walking their dogs, pushing strollers and the like along the walk way.

It’s a beautiful area that ends at the Brooklyn Bridge and gives you a nice view of Manhattan. Step off into a side street and stroll the tree-covered thoroughfares and admire the brick homes.

When you’re done, instead of taking the train back into Manhattan, walk the bridge. It’s quite the experience.

Go to a Yankees game

Yankee Stadium. CC: Sabrina Russello

I’m a Cardinals fan but for most New Yorkers it’s all about the Yankees — or the Mets … but mostly the Yankees. Yankee Stadium is fairly new just being built a decade ago after the team’s last World Series win in 2009. The house will be packed, the fans honest about their team’s performance and the hotdogs fresh. I’d recommend wearing grey, navy or white so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Splurge on Fifth Avenue

If you’re going to New York, take money to spend. Fifth Avenue is New York’s Rodeo Drive with some more affordable options like Zara, Nike and Sunglass Hut. But if you want to spend big and go on a NY shopping spree, here’s where to do it.

See the city after dark

New York has a lot to offer anyone throughout the day but the city really comes to life at night.

Enjoy a drink and the view at a rooftop bar like the Skylark or Bar54; dance the night away at one of the clubs on nearly every corner; or to save on money, people watch in Times Square … just remember to stay away from mascots like Elmo and Batman … they’ll ask for money if you even entertain the idea of them.

When you’re done with your night, I recommend grabbing a slice at a pizza shop. A late-night slice is part of the New Yorker way of life.

More touristy notables: 

  • Take a walk through Central Park
  • Visit the MET – Love art and history? Go here. It’s also a great break from the summer heat
  • See a Broadway show – Recommendations: Wicked, Oklahoma, Waitress, Aladdin, Lion King
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth at Serendipity  3

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