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.

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