EDITOR NOTE: I’m off to NYC tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing the Big Apple again. Came across our Travel Thursday Michelle’s last sabbatical blog in NYC from 9 June 2011…I think I might check out some of her recommendations on this trip. Do you have any places I should add to my list?
Ok, so I had always planned to spend the last month of my sabbatical in the Big Apple, where I’d don the persona of a writer with a book project nearing its deadline and adopt that air of tortured creative.
I imagined spending time in NY Public Library and Bryant Park behind it (where I’d do tai chi some mornings) and find some literary-friendly cafÃ©s with other arty’ types that the city has in abundance. So, I didn’t plan to write a blog for Travel Thursday as I didn’t see this as travelling per se. Plus it’s hard to write about a place that has so much written about already and it’s just so darn HUGE! Where do I start?
I’ve been coming to New York for the past twelve years and lived out here for three, so I really see it as a second home of sorts. My first visit was for a summer after university. I volunteered in a clubhouse for people with mental illnesses and lived in Hell’s Kitchen, which was a couple of blocks from Times Square. I knew that first night when I walked to see those bright lights that I loved NYC!
Apparently, it’s a black and white thing with New York you either love it or hate it there’s no ‘ah,it’s alright’ about it. What I love most is getting lost in the big city. The buildings tower over you so you feel as if you’re in some massive labyrinth when walking the grid-planned streets.
I also love the energy’ here it’s that intangible buzz that comes with having so many people from so many different places and cultures all sharing quintessential New Yorker characteristics. They’re talkative and loud and confident and rude and ambitious and you can spot a native anywhere!
Yesterday, I walked down Museum Mile , stopped by MoMA and visited my favourite place in the city, Central Park (clichÃ©d as it may sound). This massive green space slap-bang in the middle of this ridiculously busy city is just amazing to me (take note again Accra). I spent a few hours there and as usual discovered new parts of the park I’d never seen before.
The other great thing there is Central Park Summer Stage, an annual music festival with an eclectic mix of live performances from some high profile artists, which I will try to check out while I’m here.
While I’ve never really taken to Harlem, I might check it out again this trip as my lovely cousin works there and gives me a ride back to the boogie-down Bronx, where I’m staying with her family and hyperactive but super-cute toddler daughter. While I love visiting my family, the Bronx is just too darn far and residential (i.e. boring), so can’t say much about it. Ditto Queens, which I only go to for JFK airport.
Of the five boroughs, Brooklyn is really where I feel most at home. I love BK! It’s the brownstone buildings here, where the Cosby Show was filmed, that I envision when I imagine living in New York. I actually lived in one during my last year working here -granted it was in Bed-Stuy, home of Jay-Z and Biggie, so not quite the Huxtables, but it was so cool!
I swung by downtown Brooklyn this week and made the mandatory stop at Golden Crust Jamaican cafÃ©. With chicken patty and coco-bread in hand I walked through Fort Greene and down Atlantic and Fulton streets. Other decent stops in the borough are: BAM (which also has a free music and film festival this month) Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park and neighbourhoods like Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg where you can find cool eateries.
Also DUMBO has a few cute places and is the first area with free wi-fi everywhere. Come to think of it, Brooklyn alone is massive!
While I love this concrete jungle’ (you might have guessed this by the number of times I’ve writtenthe word in this post!), I have to stop writing about it as I’ll be here all week!
And on that note, yours truly is signing off for real now
Happy travelling people!
EDITOR NOTE: Yes unfortunately it is true. It’s bye from Michelle for now as her sabbatical comes to an end. I hope you enjoyed and were inspired by Michelle’s travels and insight. Have you got the travel bug as a result? If you are about to embark on a travel break and would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.