My husband and I visit Manhattan a couple times a year. We both feel a connection with the city – like we could happily live here in an alternate version of our lives. We both like the busy bustle, the crowds, the energy, the life and history of the city.
I love the way that in one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world, moments are found in little pockets and corners. All of my memories of New York are of moments in tiny restaurants, friends apartments, basement bars, rooftop bars, benches in corner parks, boutique stores, hidden markets, book stores and not-even-close-to-Broadway theaters.
I have been to New York dozens of times, but never gone to most of the tourist sights, and I am okay with that. Because the tourists are never found in the real heart of the city. I like hanging out with the people who live there. I have gone to Times Square, but that’s really it. Some day I would like to visit Ellis Island, but I’ll get to it.
I also don’t agree with people who say New York has to be an expensive city. Yes, it certainly can be. But some of the things we love the most are the free ones! You can also find tons of short-run or trial or soft-opening free events around the city, if you do some searching. Usually, the most expensive things we ever indulge in are museum tickets.
We do tend to be creatures of habit. So, here are some of the things we love to do when we come to the city:
1. Go to The Strand bookstore
The Strand is an incredible 4 story book store near Union Square. The books store takes up nearly an entire city block. They have a huge range and selection, including an entire basement of remaindered books at rock bottom prices, and a rare books section on the fourth floor.
2. Get coffee and go to a park!
The parks in New York are (in my opinion) some of the best public parks in the world. Obviously Central Park is the most well known park in the entire city. But almost every single park in New York has great upkeep, opportunity for people watching, and a unique flavor. We frequent Washington Square park, and also Union Square.
3. Go to a bar or restaurant we’ve never gone to before.
The city is just full and restaurants in a million trends and vibes and flavors. It would almost be a crime to double up on one repeatedly. There’s always some new place to try out! The pictures above are from The Library Bar at Nomad Hotel.
4. Hit up a Museum
MOMA or The Met, either one is a great way to fill an afternoon and enjoy some of the greatest art in the world – both current and old.
One of our secrets to the city – come during Labor Day! The crowds and most of the city’s residents are all gone!
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