New York City is known as the city that never sleeps – which is true – but it’s also seen as a trash-packed dump filled with grumpy strangers who will sooner snap your head off than give you the time of day – which is also true. For these reasons and more, it’s one of the greatest cities in the world. Here are 15 reasons to visit New York City before you die.
Seriously, if you do nothing else in New York, eat a bagel. I don’t know what they put in them, but there’s absolutely nothing in the world that compares to a New York City bagel. Make sure you go to a legit place. Best chances are if it’s a family-run business that’s been open for at least 50 years or more. Prepare to have your world rocked.
New York City is infamous for its crazies – and it’s proud of them too. Nowhere else will you walk down the street and, in a single block, pass a man dressed head-to-toe in purple fur, at least two people walking on their hands, and a baby pushing a puppy in a stroller. Ah, it’s truly magic.
Forget Central Park — although it actually is pretty cool too. Prospect Park in Brooklyn is where it’s at – less crowded and more scenic, at least in this author’s opinion, there are tons of places to stretch out, play sports, bike ride, and relax with a couple of beers – in paper bags of course. The neighborhood surrounding the park is top notch as well, filled with cute bars, restaurants, and shops.
Why pay to see a dance show when you can have them all the time for free? All over the city, from the streets to the subway, you’ll find young people with their sound systems set up performing some truly incredible dance moves. You’re often expected to chip in a dollar or so for the performance if you enjoy it, but it’s well worth it. Just be careful of legs swinging round the subway pole smacking you in the face if you happen to have a front-row seat.
Yes, he and Beyoncé usually live in Los Angeles but Jay is from Brooklyn (fun fact – he grew up in Marcy Houses in Brooklyn, which is off of the J/Z subway line – get it?). So sometimes they head back so he can visit his hood and spend some time in the concrete jungle where dreams are made. Plus, he sometimes rides the subway!
Broadway – ever heard of it? It’s talked about all the time for a reason! The performances that New York City has to offer are unparalleled, and shows use their absolute best company to perform on the world’s most famous stage. You can often get half-price tickets the day of the show, or even win them for free in Times Square if you’re lucky!
One of the best parts of the city is spending a long time in it, and then getting out! You’ll appreciate more the smell of trees, the beauty of open spaces, driving your own car, and escaping the stench of the summer trash winds (seriously, you can’t know exactly how bad this is until you experience it for yourself). Entering and leaving the concrete jungle are some of life’s greatest pleasures.
Central Park is great and all that, but one of its coolest features is the summer concert series it hosts each year. While some shows are ticketed, many are completely free, and each features an incredible line-up of big acts. Join thousands of other New Yorkers and visitors to listen to fantastic music on warm summer nights all season long.
You’ll find all manner of street art around New York City – from portraits and caricatures to spectacular graffiti art to people who dress up like statues and try to jump at you and scare you out of your pants as you walk down the street. At the very least, they’re incredibly entertaining, and you may stumble across a celebrity-in-the-making.
Many TV shows and movies have been filmed in New York City, and super fans can have the chance to walk around their favorite sets free. Check out where Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment was set, or where King Kong hung out and terrorized helicopters. And since half of the movies set in New York show it being destroyed, check out the magic before it happens for real.
For whatever reason, after a certain time of night, the subway becomes a wonder to behold. University students puking in corners, brawls breaking out in the middle of cars over a seat (even though there are inevitably 40 other free ones), and the rare businessman crawling home after a 15-hour day make for some excellent people watching, to say the least.
There’s nothing like it in the world. Though bagels still take the No. 1 New York City food spot in my book, pizza comes in a very close second. From the $1 slices downtown to the $10 slices at chi-chi Italian places, you can’t go wrong. A true New York slice just can’t be beat. Sorry, Chicago.
New Yorkers are famously neurotic, but somehow endearingly so. At least we think so. But if you ever worry that you’re the craziest person in town, just look around – I guarantee you that you are not.
The enormous Chinese population in New York means that you’ll be able to get some of the best and most authentic Chinese food in the western hemisphere. Not just in Chinatown, but large Chinese enclaves in Eastern Queens, such as in Flushing, make for a meal that can’t be missed.
Half of the fun of going to New York is being able to say that you’ve been there, and have some idea of what I’ve been talking about. Those who haven’t been will listen to your insights with bated breath, and those who have will share a unique bond – you’ve all been in the trenches together and survived, after all.