I had a whim today. Well, really, it was because I saw this Time Out New York article on my Facebook timeline: talkin’ bout the 50 places you should visit in New York City. I’ll get the waiting out of the way: I’ve been to 33/50 of them. Not bad! But honestly? After living in the city for ten years, I’d expect to have easily aced this test!
You know, I think we get into certain habits, certain ruts. There’s the places we visit again and again and again — the closest park, our favorite museum — and others we go our whole NY lives without ever setting foot in. Come on — who here has actually been inside the Chrysler Building? Or the Flatiron Building, for that matter? What the heck is inside these buildings? Is it like… offices?
Well, I guess I’m gonna find out, because on my whim, on my lark, I’ve decided that I should finally, in 2019, cross every single one of these landmarks off my list.
Empire State Building I’ve been to the top in the freezing wind! Now if THAT ain’t devotion to the city, I dunno what IS! Brooklyn Bridge Obviously I have done this, and a few times at that! I used to work two jobs on either side of the bridge, and I’d walk from Brooklyn day job to Manhattan night job via the bridge, like a real COMMUTER! Central Park I can’t actually COUNT the number of times I’ve been to Central Park, but it’s gotta be in the hundreds. I’m absolutely there once a year on Dec. 8th, to sing John Lennon songs in the park.
Statue of Liberty
One World Observatory
The Metropolitan Museum of Art um yeah, there was a period of time when I practically lived in the Met. CHECK!
The High Line is a mandatory side-trip anytime I need to go from Midtown West to Greenwich Village. Theatre District my work brings me to the Theatre District all the damn time, this was the easiest one to check off my list. I’m in the Theatre District on Theatre Business at least once a month. CHECK!
9/11 Memorial and Museum
Rockefeller Center Well, THIS is just a MUST in the holiday season! Been here quite a few times (not just for the tree, either!) Grand Central Terminal To you, it may be a “landmark,” but to ME, it’s a necessary port of transit (and, often, a guaranteed clean-enough public bathroom in Midtown East, when in need) Prospect Park I think I’ve only been here TWICE, but that counts enough!
New York Historical Society
Bronx Zoo been once! Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum I was just here for the first time last year for the Dahn Vo exhibit! I loved this museum and I’m going to go again! Times Square honestly it’s gotta be hard to live in New York and NOT end up in Times Square at SOME point? But they say you never forget your first time… New York Botanic Garden I went on Easter Sunday one year! Totally worth the trek, just be sure to get off at the correct stop… Brooklyn Flea is honestly, please don’t kick me out of the borough, kind of overrated? But I’ve been!
Flushing Meadows Park
Chelsea Market I’ve been coming to Chelsea Market since the Anthropologie was a flower market. Before the tourists and the Food Network. Not quite as OG as the Nabisco factory, but almost.
Smorgasburg I’ve been maybe twice, when I lived in Greenpoint and close enough to walk to the waterfront location. While I enjoyed it enough, it was too crowded! I wouldn’t go back on purpose, honestly!
Brooklyn Heights & Brooklyn Promenade
Macy’s Herald Square I’ve been for work, I’ve been for fun, I’ve been for clean bathrooms before my therapy appointment in the neighborhood. I’ve been TOO many times. Brooklyn Botanic Garden I have such a soft spot for this place. I remember coming here once on my own, right after it opened, just to walk around and take heavily filtered Instagram photos. Luckily for you, there’s a blog post about that! Coney Island Cyclone I memorably rode the Cyclone WITH MY DAD! And the safety bar hit me in the chest and knocked the wind out of me and that’s as much as I really remember. Then we stuck our feet in the sand and drank ciders at Beer Island. And caught a double-header baseball game of the Brooklyn Cyclones team. Fun day. Yankee Stadium I’ve only been to one game at Yankee Stadium, but it was EPIC. The home team was losing badly in the seventh inning, prompting most of the fans to give up and leave, then they rallied and came back to win the game!! We all scream-sang along to “New York, New York” while leaving the stadium, it was beautiful! American Museum of Natural History as one of the finest “donation” museums in NYC, this is a great place to visit for *basically free* any damn time you want to. So believe me, I HAVE. Union Square one of my favorite hangouts when I first moved to the city. Home to the bathroom I MEAN the Barnes & Noble. Close proximity to a lot of work stuff, so I’ve been quite a few times. Best fresh market in the city.
Roosevelt Island I have faced my fears and taken the ride over the river to Roosevelt Island! The Cloisters well, seeing as how I used to live just a few blocks away from the Cloisters, I have been there quite a bit. The views are unbeatable in the fall! I really want to go back.
Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
Lincoln Center I’ve been through Lincoln Center countless times on account of I used to walk from my home in Harlem downtown and home from Midtown East. I love that area SO MUCH! South Street Seaport I was just down here the other day! They had a beautiful Christmas tree up, and I can’t remember the last time (which was probably the first time) I’d spent any time down there. It’s really cute! Scarily bougie, but I’d definitely take tourists there if the weather was warmer! Museum of Modern Art ahh, my favorite part of the NYCID was the free year of MoMA membership, when any spare time in Midtown was as good an excuse as any to drop in on the museum!
Radio City Music Hall
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
New York Public Library my mom LOVES this place. I mean, BOTH of my parents worked in libraries growing up, and I’ve brought each of them here on separate occasions as tourists. I love their exhibits as well! Someday I aspire to actually catch the free museum tour! MoMA PS1 no ifs, ands, or buts — this is MY FAVORITE museum in the WHOLE CITY! I am waaaay overdue for a visit here! If you’re spending more than a couple days in the city, this will give you a REAL sense of the town! And if you LIVE HERE, well, you MUST go, because it’s FREE! Chinatown another area I’m overdue to revisit. I love the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory! Washington Square Park Arch has a bittersweet history for me. I work in the park, so I’m there all the time, but I can’t look at the arch without remembering December 21st, 2010, when I was standing across from the arch when I got the call that my friend Aaron had passed away. I know some awful secrets about that arch, too, but if you wanna know the REAL story, you’ve gotta take the ghost tour!
Madison Square Garden
Governor’s Island I finally got around to this one just this year! I think this has to be the most recent “new adventure” to tick off the list. I would 100% insist that any New Yorker visit this beautiful island… within their first 10 years of living here, if not As Soon As Possible!! (and pack a picnic!)