It’s March and the weather in NYC is beautiful. I don’t remember a time where I could wear a tank top in March. Well today, that wasn’t the case. With the sun beating down and the temperature in the 70s, I pulled on my tank top, rolled up my jeans, laced up my tennis shoes and hit the streets of NYC. I didn’t have a destination, except I knew I needed to make it to Chinatown to pick up some scarves for my mom. Other than that, I was hoping to try some new foods, see some new sights and purchase a few treasures. After eight hours of strolling the streets, I not only ate some amazing food, saw some unforgettable sights and bought several new things, but I feel like I finally got a true feel for what NYC has to offer. From the culture to the architecture and everything in between, this city is truly amazing, educational and I’m happy to say… my new home.
I started off going south on 2nd Ave. and took in the amazing scents of all the restaurants. At 23rd, I cut over to Lexington and continued south which brought me to Gramercy Park. Here I found a bench and spent time people watching, soaking up the sun and reading Lovely Bones. After a little R&R I continued south on Lexington, stopped in at a few boutiques, bought a pair of shoes and after a few turns, ended up in Union Square. I can’t begin to explain how much energy this area had today, it was amazing. There was a craft show filled with beautiful pieces of art, unique homemade goods and jewelry. Besides the craft show, there were people selling plants, fresh food and looking for foster parents for several adorable animals. Coupled with the farmer’s market/craft show, Union Square was buzzing with people and filled with diversity, making it one of my favorite experiences in NYC to-date.
As I continued south, I ate some delicious New York pizza in Little Italy, indulged in ice cream at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and picked up some souvenirs for the family. From Chinatown I went east, through Confucius Plaza, past the Manhattan Bridge and into the Lower East Side. Here I found some great fabric stores, a discount candy store called Economy Candy and my new favorite market, Essex St. Market. Apparently when the city forced the pushcarts off the streets more than 50 years ago, a garage- like market was formed in its place. Inside are different vendors selling fresh fruits/veggies, delicious cuts of meat/fish, a variety of cheeses, gourmet chocolate and a wide range of food from numerous countries. I highly recommend all New Yorkers check it out at 120 Essex St, between Rivington and Delancy.
I started my journey back uptown and headed northwest through Soho, NYU and into Midtown. During this part of my journey I found a great art store called A.L. Friedman. I enjoyed my first donut from Tim Horton’s and agree with the locals that it’s NY’s best donut. I also enjoyed some people watching in Times Square and bought an ice tea from a cafe, just so I could use their bathroom. After visiting a few more shops and taking pictures of some great buildings, I started venturing back home. Of course I couldn’t pass up the “Nuts for Nuts” stand and had to indulge in a bag of sugar-coated cashews, they are delicious!
Needless to say I had quite a journey today and think it is amazing that each little neighborhood in NYC is so different, yet equally fascinating. It is such a cool experience to walk through NYC and feel the culture changes, see the architectural differences, and take in the millions of sights and sounds. I knew that I loved NYC, but I really never knew how much this city has to offer, how much I can learn and what a great opportunity I have right now. If you come to NYC, bring your most comfortable shoes and walk from neighborhood to neighborhood and experience what I did, I promise it’s worth it. Next journey? The West Side.