The Big Apple

New York, New York. There is no place like it. The city has its own heartbeat. There is so much to love about New York: the energy, the skyscrapers, the art, the parks, the lights, the culture. It’s no wonder why New York is my favorite city. I have been there multiple times. It’s my home away from home. It’s hard to make a list of things you have to do when visiting New York, because there are endless things to see and do.

There are 2 things that stand out specifically as my favorite New York experiences. Number one was when I went to see the Broadway musical, The Phantom of the Opera. I had seen the movie and absolutely loved the music, so I knew I would enjoy the show, but wasn’t sure how it would compare to the theatrics shown in the movie. Boy was I wrong! The show had me at the edge of my seat in aw. Not only were the performers phenomenal, but the theatrics were insane. They brought the show to life. It felt like you were there. Now, you don’t have to see this show (even though it is the longest running Broadway show). There are so many other shows that I have heard great things about, but nothing compares to seeing it in New York. The second best experience I had in New York was the Ground Zero Museum Workshop. This is not to be mistaken for the memorial! The workshop is located at 420 West 14th street. It’s in a small room, but it holds a plethora of pictures and artifacts from 9/11. When you go to the workshop, you get a pair of headphones and walk around the room stopping at each picture and figure listening to a story told by Gary Marlon Suson. He was the only photographer allowed at Ground Zero. Over a span of 7 months, he took photos that brought the horrors of that day to life. The museum touches on many heartbreaking stories of the lives that were affected by this tragedy. Although this isn’t the most uplifting thing to do in New York, it is a must. Once you visit the workshop, take a trip down to the memorial to take in the number of names carved into the structures. It’s not only a real eye opener, but also a beautiful tribute that honors those who were lost.

Okay! That was heavy. Now back to the fun stuff! If you’re visiting New York in the summer, take a trip out to Coney Island during the day. There, you can get a taste of the beach and take in the amusement rides and carnival foods while you’re at it. However, whatever you do, check the weather before! Out there it is a hit or miss on windy days. And I tell you from personal experience, Coney Island is not a place you want to be on a ferociously windy day. Now, you can’t go to New York and not go to Central Park. I mean that would just be wrong. It’s quite incredible how peaceful and quiet it is there. It serves as an escape from the chaos of the city. Central Park is magnificent, but my favorite park is Bryant Park. There, you can find New Yorkers playing chess, reading books, catching up with friends, or watching a movie on the lawn. My favorite thing about New Yorkers is that they are fast pace and work hard, but they also know when to slow it down and take in the simplicity and beauty that life has to offer.

Obviously there are a ton of site seeing opportunities. There’s the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Chinatown, Little Italy. The list goes on and on. If you’re a sports fan like me, you can catch a game at Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, or Madison Square Garden. A good date night would be dinner at Little Italy followed by a visit to Top of the Rock. The dim lighting and outside seating in Little Italy sets a romantic ambiance. Finish the night at Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center), overlooking the city and Empire State Building fully lit. It doesn’t get much better than that! If you want to get the full New York experience, hit up Times Square. The bright lights and street performers will leave you feeling inspired and alive. Finally, end your trip with a sunset circle line cruise to get a different view of the city.

Visiting New York in the winter is a whole different experience. Central Park covered in a sheet of white is about as majestic as it gets. Ice staking at Rockefeller Center is definitely on the bucket list. If you don’t have the patients to wait however, you can still check out the giant Christmas tree and light shows. It is sure to get you into the holiday spirit! Although it may be a little chilly outside, that doesn’t slow New Yorkers down. There is still electric energy to surge you. My last piece of advise is to find a hotel that is near a subway station. I promise you the subways are not as bad as people make them seem. They are far more clean than movies perceive them to be and they are much cheaper than taking a taxi across town. The only hotel I have ever stayed at is the Hilton Garden Inn on West 35th street. There is a subway entry right on the corner that leads to almost anywhere you’ll be going. When you make the reservations, be sure to request a room with a view of the Empire State Building. After visiting New York you’ll know what all of the fuss is about and will be dying to go back.


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