In no particular order, here are 10 things I just love about this city. Naturally, I could go on and on. For an extensive list of things that will make you love the city too, visit nycgo.com or Time Out New York, newyork.timeout.com.
1. The fruit cart. It’s like visiting a portable market! This is my go-to spot for grabbing fruit before or after yoga, and sometimes veggies.
2. The Subway. Although people criticize the MTA like there’s no tomorrow (yes, I know, all the trains are not on time, but what can you do?) we would get nowhere fast without it.
3. Bikram Yoga NYC. I love, love, love my yoga studio. Bikram is in my opinion, the most challenging yoga out there. You gain so many wonderful benefits, burn a ton of calories and gain an overall improved quality of life. Who knew a hot room could do such a thing?
4. Cheap eats! In this city, everything is on the go, I get coffee, breakfast sandwich and banana for less than $5. No spending a fortune here!
5. There is ALWAYS something to do. No matter the time of day, or night, something is happening, from comedy to theater, events run the gambit.
6. The Coffeeshop. As if Union Square wasn’t awesome in it’s own right, The Coffeeshop makes it better. Great food and drinks at the right price. Live it up!
7. Legends. Located across from the Empire State Building, Legends broadcast all LSu football games. It’s the perfect place to meet Louisianas’ who are NYers now.
8. Bar None. Awesome because it’s a Saints bar, WHO DAT! This 3rd ave and 13th street bar is a ton of fun. I’m there weekly cheering for the Saints and dancing to New Orleans beats and enjoying cheap drink specials.
9. Green spaces i.e parks. In the concrete jungle it’s nice to see some foliage, if I’m not on my way somewhere, I’ll stop and sit, taking in all in. Naming Central Park (though it is nice) is a cliche and isn’t at the top of my list. Fort Tryon Park is beautiful and a whole lot closer to where I live.
10. Cultural Capital of the World. In a matter of hours I can ‘visit’ multiple countries sampling food and browsing stores. It’s easy to see how some say there is no other place they’d live. Most of what you need is usually literally around the corner.
In 1999, I was busing tables and cleaning sheets at a hostel in Miami. I’d been hitching around the country for three months– and had just arrived from a week-long stay with Trappist Monks in Kentucky.
One night, after a few drinks and a midnight swim, a bold Australian told the crowd of gathered vagabonds that he knew where the best pizza in the world was made. Better yet, he would share this secret with us the next day. About a dozen warning bells went off in my mind. First of all: an Australian? What do they know about pizza? (Now, if he had said he knew where to find the best meat-pies, that would be a different story) Second: In Miami? I don’t think so. The next day he took us to a hole-in-the-wall that I’m certain I could never find again. What they served wasn’t pizza in the sense that I knew it, but it was undoubtedly delicious. The crust was thick and doughy, the sauce had meat and sausage in it. And maybe it was just the fact that I was weakened by giving platelets to drum up bus fare…but I’m pretty sure it was the best pizza I’d ever tasted. Of course, that was before I’d spent any amount of time in New York. Because there’s pizza and there’s New YorkPizza. There’s artisan flat-bread covered with vine-ripened tomato sauce, organic buffalo mozzarella and dusted with fresh basil— and then there’s New York Pizza. I may rave about Vista Springs Cafe and American Dream back in my home state of Oregon, but I am keenly aware of the fact that New York Pizza is playing on a whole different field. A field in which grease is not necessarily the enemy, in which slices can be folded, and it’s perfectly acceptable to eat standing up. When I lived in Brooklyn in 2001-2002, I was an Americorps volunteer with a $50.00/month stipend. On average, I spent about two-thirds of that on pizza. So I’m willing to claim some knowledge of the subject. As I prepare to return to New York for the first time in nearly ten years, here are the places I will. not. miss. (Either because I’ve been there before or received shockingly impassioned e-mails about them in recent weeks):::
Lucali - Brooklyn
Lombardi’s - Manhattan
Grimaldi’s - Brooklyn
Zero-Otto-Nove - Bronx
Nick’s - Queens
Patsy’s - Harlem
Totonno’s - Coney Island
Salvatore of Soho - Staten Island
Di Fara’s - Brooklyn
Tony’s Brick Oven -Staten Island
Any recommendations? Endorsements? Names that don’t deserve to make the list?