If you’re not careful she will swallow you up, never to be heard of again. One minute you can be opening the door to a penthouse suite in the Chelsea section and the next week you and those precious belongings could be riding the #2 Train for shelter.
It’s that easy to lose your place in the world but New York, New York can easily be your best friend or your worst enemy.
If you are looking for an article to map out tourist attractions, this is not the one. This is the map of the city here, the parts of this city that tourist maps highlight in red with a WARNING.
To any tourist reading this, thinking about either your first trip or a return I am here to tell you that you are missing out on the best part of NY by simply ignoring NY.
Manhattan is the hot spot. Everything that is to see is packed into 20-30 blocks on that island. You have the World Trade, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Madison Square Garden, Times Square, The Statue of Liberty and so much more but why would you think that is all there is to our city?
Where do you think the workers in those tourist attractions live, where do we go at night when our shift ends? We can’t afford to live in those high rises you take pictures of and place on Facebook. Rent in Manhattan is the same as sending your child to college. We live in high rises but a far different kind you see on the island.
Most people come to NY to shop and eat. I hear tourist all the time ” I just want a slice of their famous pizza or some cheesecake”. Don’t get me wrong we have some of the best but it won’t be found in Manhattan, that’s for sure. Just because you pay $50 for a meal does not mean it’s the best you ever had. Manhattan does not offer the true NY experience in anything unless you have Sak’s Fifth money to spend but if you’re on a budget I have better options for you.
You want to experience NY, then the first thing you need to do is get out of the street waiving your arms for a cab, look to a corner on any block and find a train station. How can you tell someone you visited NY but didn’t ride the subway.
You want to know how we live and survive everyday?
Pay the $1 for the Metro Card then another $2.75 for a one way fare then feel the heartbeat of the city. Involve yourself with the morning rush or the afternoon hustle it takes to get home. Know the feeling of being forced to miss two trains as it’s so crowded on the train and platform that you literally have to fight your way just to be packed like sardines.
Are you hungry, feel like a little shopping? Once again forget that over-priced Manhattan food, travel to the Bronx where the variety, atmosphere and prices are second-to-none. The hustle and bustle of Times Square is all about cartoon characters, Naked Cowboys and high-priced stores, but entering the birthplace of Hip Hop is a sight. The South Bronx is where it’s at, 149th & 3rd Avenue to be exact. Catch the #2, #4 or #5 train and it will drop you off underground where you can walk up the stairwell and the sounds of loud music, chatter, traffic and the smell of foods from so many different nationalities that you would think you are in the cafeteria of the United Nations Building. This is what the Bronx is, a mixture of family, strangers, love, fights, arguments, laughter and passion.
No it’s not the cleanest part of NY but it’s home, home to African-Americans, Spanish, Mexican, Whites, Jamaicans, Dominicans, Africans and more. We take pride in what we offer to the city and want you to walk away like you had the best experience in the world. There are no cartoon or animated characters roaming the streets charging you for pictures, or over-priced restaurants, this is everyday people, everyday food mixed with enough hustle and bustle that gives off the same energy of Times Square. There are stores everywhere to shop, vendors on every corner selling everything from socks to TV’s, if you need it we have it.
So while you’re sitting at home planning your vacation to New York please keep in mind that there is life to the city beyond Manhattan. I may be biased because I live in the Bronx but I can tell you from experience there is no place like home.
Come and find out for yourself.
To be continued…