In Love With New York

Despite its ongoing changes, no other place in the world can match the creative energy, vibrancy and diversity of New York City.


It was love at first step for New York and me the minute I set foot on the island during my maiden visit here as a teenager. I still remember the moment: Thursday, June 12, 1980; 7 p.m., Times Square, in front of a Chock Full O’ Nuts store (they were everywhere back then).

I was visiting as part of a high school choral/theater group, and we were on our way to see the first of what would be five Broadway shows in four days: A Chorus Line. I stepped off the bus onto the sidewalk, looked up, felt the vibe and energy of the city well up from the street into my body and immediately was hooked.

I had found my soul mate.

I didn’t move here until 1991, and even though we’ve had our ups and downs and the city has changed in tremendous ways since then—not all for the good—New York remains the love of my life, and I wouldn’t want to call any other place home.

Four Tips From a New Yorker

The best advice I can give for anyone planning to visit New York for the first time is to not force yourself onto the city but to instead let the city unveil itself to you. By that I mean, keep an open mind, open eyes and open ears as you walk about town—and you really should walk whenever possible as it’s the best way to see and experience the city. Take the subway, which is the most convenient mode of transportation (and much safer than its reputation would have you believe), and don’t be afraid to talk to us if you need advice—most of us love to help out visitors, provided we have the time.

If you follow those four tips, you’re sure to find one of the great joys of New York: street life! The unexpected presents itself on a daily basis. These experiences almost never fail to bring a smile to my face. Here’s a sample of what I’ve encountered in the two weeks that I’ve been back after a 16-month stint in California:

  • an impromptu belly dancing performance while having dinner at a quiet neighborhood restaurant,
  • a three-piece jazz band playing on a street corner at 1 a.m. on the Lower East Side,
  • a mariachi band performing on the subway,
    break dancing teenagers on the F-train,
  • a couple dressed as circus performers talking politics while walking in Midtown one evening.

Garner even more tips to enjoy a New York City vacation by reading the rest of our current New York articles, starting with our main feature, jam packed with useful information, by Laurie Bain Wilson (I was too busy with my move home to be able to write it!). Wilson is an expert on family travel to New York, having penned the acclaimed guidebook, New York City with Kids, which is featured alongside a guide for offbeat travels in the city in our Book Review column. Wilson also shares her top 10 places in New York to take your kids before they’re teenagers and her seven favorite family friendly restaurant picks.

For info on an additional 10 recommended New York restaurants, check out my Taste Buds column. I also wrote a piece on how to gain a new perspective of the city by conducting your sightseeing from the water. Wilson and I also co-contributed this week’s College Visits column and a piece on alternative attractions worth seeking out. And don’t miss the New York neighborhood hotels piece by Leslie Long.

General Features and Columns

Autumn is an ideal time to visit New York, because it’s also a great time to get out of the city and explore its varied surroundings. A short car or train ride away from Midtown Manhattan are farms and colonial towns and attractions in Westchester County. Read about suggested fall foliage tours and Halloween events, particularly in famous Sleepy Hollow.

Not creepy enough for you? Read our bat vacations article on where to go in the world to see hundreds of the real winged creatures at one time. Amy L. Hatch writes about turning everyday trips into education opportunities for your children, and Kim Foley MacKinnon reminisces about her luxury crossing on the Queen Mary 2. To really feel like a passenger during the heyday of transatlantic cruise travel, capture the memories in one of the personal travel journals reviewed in our Products Column. As always, don’t miss our Travel Deals column.

Next week we’re taking you to Tucson, after which we have some more surprises in store for you.

Happy travels,

Donna M. Airoldi
Editorial Director

Destinations: New York City

Themes: Family Travel, Urban Endeavors

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