New York City is home to 8.8 million people (in the 2020 census), covering 300 square miles. It's a city bustling with life every minute of every day. That's approximately 30K people per square mile.
It's a whole lot of chaos with a side of crazy packed into each square mile and yet each day it thrives. Life in the city is truly a movie that comes to life. Especially during the holiday season, with beautiful decorations or simply just on a Tuesday.
With a coffee shop on nearly every corner, some of the best and worst smell that you’ve ever beheld, and home to some of the kindest folk and busiest group of hustlers I have ever met in my life.
You never know what you will find, but once you leave the comfort of your home, you’re in it.
They say good things come in threes but in NEW YORK, NEW YORK (city so nice they named it twice), I’ll do you one better and give you six things that you can only experience only in New York.
Three for free three that are worth the price you pay.
1. Traveling by Ferry
Living in this city everything from your apartment/home, your cab, dinner, and your drink of choice (coffee for me) all come with a higher price tag. While I enjoy all those things – there is nothing quite better than the FREE and fresh air atop the Staten Island Ferry. It’s something you’ve got to do at least once and doesn’t cost you a dime. Now food/shops on the other side, not free, you’ve been warned.
2. Brooklyn Bridge
This beauty was built with quite a history. It was unveiled in 1883, which means it’s coming up on its 140th year connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn and dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world”.
The great creator of this project, John Roebling, was a brilliant German engineer who sadly was injured before the project (death by tetanus from crushed toes). His thirty-two-year-old son, Washington Roebling took over as the engineer and helped to design the bridge. This father-son phenomenon created an icon that is walked all over by nearly 10,000 people daily, and now (this past year) is no longer occupied by bicyclists and is free for you and those boots made for walking, running, and Instagramming to your heart’s content.
The best time to take a stroll is early in the morning or during the rain because the bridge is most empty then and the views are just sensational, with all the chaos of New York at bay and likely a coffee in hand.
3. New York Marathon (NOVEMBER)
This is one of the about most incredible events, and there’s a little something for everybody!
The runners run, and the rest cheer loudly as can be and high-five every which way. There are signs and incredibly annoying bullhorns, and even a few DJs set up here and there to provide entertainment.
This year’s race brought nearly 50,000 people to the streets of New York and even showed a few famous faces amongst the crowd. Those included Aston Kutcher (age 44) actor and comedian married to the “luckiest girl alive,” Mila Kunis, then there's Claire Holt (age 34, running her first marathon) famous for her work as Rebekah Mikaelson, sister vampire in the series “The Originals,” and most notably, Casey Neistat (age 41) a filmmaker, creative You-Tuber, and creative guru who celebrated his homecoming with a video on the marathon experience (i got beat up at the NYC Marathon 2022 - YouTube).
The race begins annually with the wheelchair divisions who roll through at an incredible rate and bring everyone’s hands together throughout the five boroughs at the incredible feat, for the 26.2-mile event. Next the professionals, men, and women division in just over 2 and a half hours running at blurry paces as they book it through the five boroughs.
Then there's everyone else, different waves of people from the guides leading the blind, foreign visitors representing loud and proud their country and color, to fully painted body art, and just everyday runners bopping along, feeling that high that comes with the challenge until they cross the finish line.
It inspires me, and as I look around the feeling is mutual whether 5 or 50 you see smiling faces cheering and offering their hands as a sign of support and showing the true spirit of NYC.
People running stop to thank those watching or grab water to quench their thirst and a goo packet to get a quick burst of energy only to chuck it a few miles later. 26.2 miles is no small fry and I say kudos to all those who do. If that’s not you, grab a coffee and bagel and come cheer on your fellow New Yorkers, make a sign, or throw up a high-five, snap a photo, and you too can be off to the races.
4. Daaa Bronx Bombers
There’s nothing more important to some New Yorkers than their hometown boys. The New York YANKEES, a major league baseball (MLB) team, sports the famous blue and white pinstripes. The other NY Team, the Mets share New York and operate out of Queens, a neighboring borough.
The Yanks, one of the most successful sports teams in history was home to many of the GREATS. Even if you know nothing about baseball outside of watching Sandlot, you've heard of Babe Ruth, right?
Well, the Babe, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and most recently Derek Jeter, who all once swung a bat in the pinstripes covered in the Yankee symbol, once played right here in New York. Those legends, all inducted into the hall of fame, give the place a certain awe. It is an EXPERIENCE.
Tickets can be spendy the closer you get to the field, and last-minute tickets can be less than a hotdog, and beer, or popcorn and water. Stand for the seventh-inning stretch and take yourself out of a ballgame.
5. The NEW YORK Coffee Festival (OCTOBER)
They say, New York, truly has something for everyone.
Imagine a festival comprised of two floors filled with COFFEE.
The entrance fee can be a bit spendy, but considering the price of a latte these days, it was absolutely worth it.
There are even competitions, the COFFEE MASTERS. A fast-paced, multi-discipline global barista tournament that takes place annually at London, New York, and LA Coffee Festivals since 2015. It's a big deal in the coffee world.
The rooms were full of magic buzzing with the art of the brews, beans, and the different processes of making it. Baristas bustled filling small sample cups with coffees, both hot and cold, leaving intricate patterns and designs of hearts and flowers atop the drinks, feeding a frenzy of caffeinated New Yorkers. For more, The New York Coffee Festival 2022 (October 7 - 9).
6. Our Lady on Liberty Island
Last but certainly not least, this is a MUST for visiting New York. Whether you visit the island (Liberty, not Ellis) or just wave from the water taxi that does a loop, she’s a beauty.
While in New York you must pay tribute to the lady in the harbor, a symbol of strength and resiliency. Two words, lightning strikes. Did you know that our lady is struck by lightning at an alarming rate, due to the conducive material and height?
She, gifted by the French some 137 years ago is copper clad (the same as the penny in your pocket) and covered in an oxidizing something so as not to waste away, standing at 305 feet and 1 inch, because well give a (wo)man an inch and they think they’re a ruler.
It’s a fun place to visit, filled with multiple gift shops and spots to eat. The views are worth the cost. There are two separate islands, Liberty and Ellis Island. Ellis Island, as seen on HITCH (a brilliant New York movie with Will Smith) is not home to the National Museum for immigration as a tribute to those who entered the country through New York in years past. Ellis and Liberty both can be visited through any tour booked online, or in person.
And so, this Ferry Tale continues.