I used to wonder how anyone could feel so strongly about moving away from one of our towns in Calhoun County. After all, it is inexpensive to live here and convenient to traverse, as opposed to New York City where moving around town is pricey and sometimes nerve-wracking. However, I have visited there three times in the last two years, and my affection for New York City is growing.
Here are reasons why, for those who have never visited there:
New York City feels familiar. No matter where I go when I am there, I see things that I recognize from television, the movies, and print media. Outdoor flowers shops? They can be found every four to five blocks. Remember from “Seinfeld” the episodes about the “Soup Nazi,” the bakery that sells chocolate babka, and the vegetables stands that sell Mackinaw peaches? You’ll walk right by these or similar places. Even better, go in and buy yourself some soup, pastries, or fruit. We see Times Square on television at Christmastime and on morning news shows. The subways are just like we imagine they would be, and the yellow taxicabs are everywhere. It is fun to raise your hand in the air and have a cab pull up to the curb -- a familiar feeling, although it never happens around here.
The food in New York City is great and less expensive than I expected. It abounds there. Even the tiniest buildings house great places to eat. Also, food is sold on the streets by dozens of vendors who have grills full of aromatic meats and vegetables. With that much competition, every food place has reasonably priced and tasty meals and treats. A family member and I ate at one such place called One Thai Chef. Thanks to Groupon.com, we had two appetizers and entrees for $27. We bought pastries from French and Italian bakeries. We could not pronounce the names of the delicacies we tried, but we surely savored them. Another delightful place was Lily’s Victorian Restaurant in Union Square where we met a fellow Southerner who served us food. Amy’s Bakery in Chelsea was aromatic and was recently featured on a cooking show.
New York is actually a series of neighborhoods, each with its own identity. You’ve heard of them, too – Rockfeller Center, Midtown, Flatiron District, Little Italy, Chinatown, Soho, Harlem, Greenwich Village, Wall Street, Upper East Side, and many more. Each neighborhood appears to have a park of its own, and each has museums, art galleries, and shops of all descriptions. We even found a thrift store in Chelsea and bought an eclectic mix of things.
Broadway, where the big-name plays are housed in various theaters, is one of the most famous streets. We had not planned to go there because the tickets for the plays we wanted to see cost about $250 each. However, there are ways to get around paying those high prices, and we took advantage of one. If you go to Times Square in the afternoon, there are discount ticket offices that sell reasonably priced tickets for leftover seats. We saw “Let it Be,” a celebration of Beatles’ music. Also, tickets for the longest running plays now cost between $40-60. We could have seen “Phantom of the Opera” for around $50, but it was not playing the night we were there. There are also several theaters that are located on “Off Broadway.” Their prices are lower.
Subway costs run up quickly: $2.50 for a single ride and about $30 for a card that lasts seven days. The cabs are more reasonable than I thought. A 20-block ride only costs about $11. The ferry over from Hoboken to Manhattan costs about $9 a person, but parking the car in Hoboken costs about $10 a day or $28 for overnight.
I would advise taking a bus tour for a first visit to New York City; but, after that, get a map and go on your own. You’ll be amazed at what all you’ll discover in this familiar fantasyland.
Email Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.