Tourist in My Own City

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I love to wax poetic about New York; I just can’t help myself. But the fact of the matter is that, no matter where you live, after a while you start to take it for granted.

Enter: Out-of-Town Guests 

Recently, my sister and her boyfriend were town for the weekend, and I made it my personal mission to make them fall in love with this city. I tell you what – they didn’t make it easy either! They stayed in an average hotel in midtown (just no), and they were in no hurry to get going in the mornings.

The Friday night of their trip, they came over to our apartment for dinner, where they lamented about feeling like they hadn’t really experienced New York yet. I took that as my cue and advised them to wear their walking shoes the next day. It was go time.

We kicked off our day with a NYC mainstay: BRUNCH (AKA the best meal of the day, AKA the best excuse to start day drinking, AKA heaven)!

img_3920I had meticulously planned our route for the day (duh). So, we headed to Tribeca to enjoy brunch at Sarabeth’s.

Even though we had reservations, it took a little while to get seated. That was annoying, but all was quickly forgotten once we sat down. We started with a round of drinks; the mimosas were extra bubbly and the lattes looked like little clouds. Perfection.

Our table ended up looking like a buffet because we all wanted to try so many things. Among us, we tried two different omelets, pancakes and french toast, bacon and sausage, Eggs Benedict, and some of the tastiest croissants I’d had in a while.

After brunch, we strolled downtown to One World Trade and the 9/11 Memorial. I actually hadn’t seen the finished memorial myself. I still find it really strange to see people posing for pictures there, but to each his own. I was busy trying to figure out the best way to explain why there used to be two buildings there, but there weren’t anymore to my five year-old…

We continued our walk downtown, past the Charging Bull sculpture and right into Battery Park to walk around and wave to Lady Liberty. It really is beautiful down there, and the SeaGlass Carousel adds a touch of magic to it.

My son’s favorite part of any day is a subway ride (if he only knew…). So, we hopped on for a long one from the southern tip of Manhattan all the way up to the Upper West Side. Before heading into Central Park, we decided to stop for a drink and a snack at the Amsterdam Ale House.

There are a string of bar/restaurants with a similar vibe along Amsterdam Avenue (The Gin Mill, Jake’s Dilemna…), but we were left wanting. We ordered nachos, which were super greasy and lacking the chicken we had asked for, our drinks took forever, and our server was nowhere to be found most of the time. In their defense, it seemed like they were inordinately busy for the time of day it was. So, maybe they were understaffed?

After the break, we ventured into Central ParkStrawberry Fields, Bethesda Terrace/Fountain, the Mall, and all the way down to The Plaza Hotel.

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We continued the tour down 5th Avenue. It’s another area that we don’t frequent, but having worked there many moons ago, I still remember the basics. We passed Trump Tower, Tiffany & Co., and Cartier, ending up at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center.

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One more very important stop for an afternoon caffeine fix led to the oh-so-New-York experience of randomly bumping into someone you know (in this case, a guy my husband had worked with). It just feels cool when that happens, especially in front of out-of-towners. Yes, New York City has millions people living here, but it really is a relatively small space.

It’s funny that so many major attractions are right in my backyard, but it takes having guests here to go see them. Have you ever seen the hashtag “ILiveWhereYouVacation”? I always thought of that as it related to the beach or some other warmer destination, but the fact is that New York City is THE most popular destination for tourists.

Where do YOU live? Do you have any favorite local attractions to take people to? What should we add to our tour for the next round of visitors?

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