New York: Escaping the Bright Lights

New York: Escaping the Bright Lights

Turning a Skeptic to a Fan

I am not a fan of New York. There I said it. Gasp! I know I just ruffled some feathers, but I had to get that off my chest. I don’t do the overcrowded streets, the cramped apartments or the inflated cost of living (I’m a frugal Fran at heart), but I just returned from a week long stay and I have to tell you I just might be coming around to the “Big City”.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love city living. I spent years in Washington DC and absolutely loved it. They say home is where the heart is and DC definitely has my heart. A lot of people will wonder, “how do I dislike New York so much but love DC when they have a lot of similarities?” Let me just say, they’re different or at least I thought they were. After this last trip to New York I just might be a fan of the city that never sleeps. I experienced the city in a new way. I wasn’t a tourist, but rather I ate where the locals recommended, I escaped the busy streets of Manhattan for the quiet family environment of Staten Island, and for once the glitz of New York finally started to make sense.

When traveling I always look to escape the tourist traps. I want to experience the real city and immerse myself with the locals. New York was no different. I stayed in the Financial District and spent my days in Brooklyn, Harlem, and Staten Island. This isn’t to say I didn’t fall victim to the #basicbitch tourist traps, but it is in walking the streets of Harlem where I first felt a part of the city. As I wandered the streets of Harlem I felt the spirit of the people, in Brooklyn I found the cute restaurants I would frequent if I lived there, and I became a pro at navigating the subway. My past experience of the DC metro probably didn’t hurt. When I heard New York natives/locals complain as they walked the streets of Manhattan to get to and fro I couldn’t help but empathize with them. Manhattan is in fact where I felt the most out of place and it was in part due to the tourists who constantly got in my way. I know I was technically a tourist, but I know how to navigate and not appear as such. I spent time out on Staten Island with my friends and for the first time EVER I could picture having a life in New York.

Don’t worry I’m not moving to New York, but I won’t spend years avoiding a return trip. My best friend will be getting married in the spring and I have to say I look forward to returning to the concrete jungle framed by roses.

8 thoughts on “New York: Escaping the Bright Lights”

    • I used to say the same thing and I haven’t given up on it yet, but it’s just not right for me at this point in my life. I want to hear all about your travels!

  • I’m starting to appreciate NYC more than I did before, especially since I’m trying to see more of the ‘normale’ stuff and not all the tourist stuff. However, I also visited DC, and I must say: I really liked that city more than NYC. It was much cleaner, I felt that the people were friendlier (or had more time, everything in NYC is always rushy), and the history there is phenomenal. Of course, I can’t draw any hard conclusions, as I’m not from the US and visited DC only twice and NYC 4 times now, but I can understand why you love DC and NYC (or at least Manhattan) not so much!

    • The best recommendation I can give is to not spend all of your time in Manhattan. Do as the locals do and you will enjoy your time so much more!

  • It’s totally understandable why people don’t like NYC! I grew up nearby in the suburbs and loved taking trips, but I know several friends who passed up opportunities living in NYC because of the pace of life. I haven’t spent that much time in DC, but I’ve heard that there are a lot of great things happening there!

  • My friends recommended staying in Brooklyn when I visit New York next year and they said it’s a lot calmer and a lovely area too. I’m not a fan of big cities either. But I live in London. I know… Since I learned to avoid the touristy areas and go to local places and small cafes, I started to enjoy London a lot more and I think the same goes to New York. It’s stressful being a tourist in a big city not knowing where to start from. But once you get to know the place it becomes so much more exciting. I can’t wait to visit New York, it’s such a vibrant place.

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