New York City; advice for a first time visitor

 

 

(to a friend)

 

 

Like most people, I am a “transplanted” New Yorker. I have lived here for a long time and love the City.

The following are some of the things I love about my adopted city.

 

 

WALKING

Walk Fifth Avenue, from, say the 40’s, up to the Metropolitan Museum, which is at around 81st Street. The stretch of Fifth Avenue from 59th Street to around 96th Street is beautiful. It is residential and borders Central Park.

Walk downtown via Park Avenue South; get onto Broadway at around 14th Street and keep going downtown, thru the East Village and Soho. Go all the way down to City Hall. Right next to City Hall is the Brooklyn Bridge. Walk over it; it’s cool. There is a boardwalk and there will be lots of happy people. Great view.

Visit SoHo (a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan).

Walk up Broadway on the West Side, past Lincoln Center, to Broadway in the 70’s and 80’s.

Go to Central Park! A must.

Stay away from Times Square — sucks.

 

CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS

The Morgan Library (a museum at 36th Street and Madison Avenue). They currently have an Emily Dickinson exhibit. They feature art and old manuscripts. A very nice place.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hang out there. You can relax in the cafeteria in the basement.

A visit to the New York Public Library is a must; it is located at Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Street. Beautiful building. Great cultural institution.

I would say avoid the Modern Museum of Art — nothing great; overpriced.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open on Friday and Saturday evenings until 9 p.m. It’s best time to visit, is not crowded at those times. Most people do not know that you do not have to pay the “suggested” admission price of $25. The official museum policy is that visitors can pay whatever they wish as an entrance fee. A dollar, twenty-five cents. No problem.

 

 

SHOPPING

If you like to shop, Lord and Taylor’s at 38th and Fifth Avenue is a very nice store. Nice snack bar on the sixth floor. Clothing is pricey, but not that expensive. Most of the other clothing stores in the City are rip-offs. I would advise staying away from Herald Square and Macy’s. Herald Square is not in a nice neighborhood.

I don’t like Bloomingdale’s.

 

 

FOOD

Try the Oyster Bar if you like seafood. It is located on the lower level of Grand Central Station at 42nd and Lexington Avenue. Walk around Grand Central; awesome building.

Also, El Quijote (continental Spanish cuisine) on 23rd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues. Order the paella.

 

 

TRANSPORTATION

Subways are the best way to get around. Or walking.

The subways can be confusing (an understatement) because there are so many lines and such a variety of connections. But, ask someone for help. You would be surprised how willing New Yorkers are to help strangers find their way. I discovered this myself many years ago.

 

CINEMA

Film Forum (West Village) — the best.

Angelika on Houston Street.

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas (Broadway at 62nd Street).

 

 

BOOKS

If you want to get great cheap used books, visit the Strand Bookstore at Broadway and 12th Street. There’s no other bookstore like it.

 

 

ALSO

Some people like the High Line. It’s okay; it’s is fun to walk it once. It runs from 14th Street West to the West 30’s. Good view of Manhattan from an elevated perspective.

Some parts of Brooklyn have become trendy – e.g., Williamsburg. Greenpoint is fairly close to Manhattan; it provides an interesting change of pace.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   April 2017

 

 

********************************************************

 

 

Addendum:

 

Bill Dalzell of Salem, MA, a longtime friend of mine who read this post, reminded me of one of his and also my favorite things to do in New York City in the past: take the Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island and back.

My friend Bill used to live in Manhattan, but no longer does. He was one of the first people I got to know after moving here, and he would often suggest New York things to do, such as taking the ferry.

Indeed, it was a wonderful trip. It cost only a nickel each way then (in the late 1960’s).

You would have a great view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. You could stand outside on the deck and get not only a close up view, but also experience a refreshing breeze, welcome in New York City summers.

I told my friend Bill that I haven’t taken the ferry in a while. I’ll have to do it again. But, from the last few times I took it (and I used to do it quite often), which was at least ten years ago, the boasts had changed — it was a disappointment. The new style boats (which did not LOOK so new) had little or no deck space and it was no longer an option to stand outside. Well, you could, sort of, but the only available deck space, so to speak, was a very small area at the prow. It did not provide a good vantage point and it was a very tight space that could accommodate only five or six people. The design of the boats having changed, the ferry is less fun to take nowadays. Or, so it seems to me.

A footnote: In 1953, when I was age seven, my parents took me on a three day trip to Manhattan, which was a thrill. It was oppressively hot summer weather. Among other things we did was take the Staten Island Ferry to cool off.

 

 

********************************************************

 

Addendum:

Sadly, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s admissions fee, discussed above, may be changing. The museum, which has tried in the past to deceive visitors about the fee, is said to be contemplating a change its policy which would mean that out of town visitors would be required to pay a fee. See

“Visit to the Met Could Cost You, if You Don’t Live in New York,” The New York Times, April 26, 2017

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts a websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin.
This entry was posted in my city and neighborhood and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s