New York City: Guide to Being a Local

Over Christmas break and into the new year, I traveled to New York City with one of my friends. She is a photography student at Parsons The New School in Manhattan. Since she lives there full time now, she wanted to show me all of the local things to do rather than the touristy things, which was completely fine with me. I wanted to feel like a local. I went to New York for the first time last year during Labor Day weekend and fell in love. Funny story about the first time I stepped out of the taxi cab into the heart of the big city... All I was thinking in that moment was that the city was filled with people that would steal stuff or pickpocket you. So my first response when I got out of the car was to hold all my baggage in my hands as tight as I could because I thought someone was going to run up to me and steal all of my things. Of course, that didn't happen and I learned quickly the way of the big city. I quickly learned why people call it the city that never sleeps and why people never want to leave the best city there is. Anyways... the first time I went, we crammed in all the touristy things we could in three days. From Rockefeller Center to Times Square. This time around, I was in New York for nine days, which was more than enough time to explore the city and rediscover why I love it so much.

There is something about New York City that drew me in and made me never want to leave. There was this feeling of independence I felt there, no judgement, but all creativity. That is something I never truly experienced before and wasn't used to. And I loved it. I love the fact that everyone is doing their own thing, and no one is spending time judging you. It is a city where you can pursue your own dreams and not get judged or bullied for trying. It is a place filled with inspiration. Millions of people. Millions of ideas. Collaborations. There are so many different people with so many different ideas, bouncing them back and forth between each other and building these ideas into something bigger to create something beautiful and unique. That is what I love about the city. The simple idea that you can be yourself and pursue your dreams with all that you have in you. The idea that you can do something big and crazy. So that is what keeps drawing me back to the city. I want to make my ideas known and be inspired by all that is around me. The bright lights, the city that never sleeps. The idea in my head that keeps coming back and telling me to do it, to pursue the dream that seems impossible. Because that is what the city is all about. It takes having a dream and choosing to pursue it. That is what makes people great. You see the famous videographers, photographers, actors, actresses, social media stars, etc. It wasn't like they just woke up one day and were making a living off of their dreams. No. It took each of them choosing to pursue that dream when it seemed impossible.

So, if you haven't been to New York City yet, the city filled with creativity and inspiration, I encourage you to go. And if you do decide to go, but aren't sure what to do, I might be able to help you with that. I'm going to let you in on a few secrets of New York and a few not so secretive secrets that you need to do. While I went over Christmas Break, it rained a lot, which is okay because I love the rain and there is still so much to do even if it rains. While it rained, we decided to go museum hopping. And a good thing to know before you visit any museum in New York, most of them are "pay what you wish" either every day or a certain day each week. That means the suggested price to get into the museum might be $25 but you could pay $5 if you wanted to. The MET is always pay what you wish. If you go to any museum on a rainy day, there is bound to be a long line. If you want to skip the long line, you can pay in advance online, but if you do that, you will have to pay the full price. My advice is to try and get there as early as possible and if you get stuck in a long line, just stick it out. It will be worth it. For all you art lovers out there, make sure to check out the MoMA. You will have to pay to check out the MoMA, but I can promise you it is worth it. The art is breathtaking. The American Museum of Natural History is pay what you wish, The Guggenheim Museum is pay what you wish on Saturdays from 5:45-7:45 and the Whitney Museum is pay what you wish on Fridays from 7-10pm. 

 The Cooper Hewitt Museum

The Cooper Hewitt Museum

If you want to go to the top of the Empire State building and think it is worth the $40, reconsider your options. Sure, Empire State is a classic thing to do while you're in New York, but there are better places to get an even better view of the city. Top of the Rock is about the same price as the Empire State building, if not cheaper, and it has a way better view of the city, if not the best view. Another touristy thing that I think is a must is skating at Rockefeller Center in the wintertime. You will pay for an overpriced ticket to be packed in on the small rink with lots of tourists for an hour, but I think it is worth it. It is just one of those things you need to do once while you are in New York. I paid $60 for the tea and ice skating package and it was so much fun. The food was mouthwatering and so so good and skating was a lot of fun at night under the Christmas tree. If you don't want to spend a lot of money to iceskate, you can go iceskating in Bryant Park or Central Park for way cheaper and it is way less crowded. Either option is fun. 

 Iceskating at Rockefeller Center

Iceskating at Rockefeller Center

 Tea and Iceskating at Rockefeller Center

Tea and Iceskating at Rockefeller Center

Now real talk: Food. I could talk about food forever. SO GOOD. And New York City is filled with the most delicious food. All week, I spent my time scoping out the best restaurants and trying the best foods. My favorite restaurant by far was a little Thai place called Klong. It is more local and the prices are amazing. Love love love Klong. It is a definite must while in Manhattan. After Klong, you might be craving something sweet. Well, go no further than Spot. Spot is a cute little sweets restaurant right next door to Klong. They have the best cheesecake and raspberry sorbet. Now if you are looking for a cute and friendly breakfast or brunch place, check out Jack's Wife Freda. This restaurant is a little more on the pricy side, but it is worth the money. You will leave the restaurant in good spirits. There are so many more delicious restaurants to try, but these are just three of my favorites. The best restaurants in New York are found by just exploring. So explore the city and you will stumble upon some of New York's best kept secrets. 

 Jack's Wife Freda

Jack's Wife Freda

Also, make sure to buy tickets to see a Broadway show or a ballet. They are expensive, but they are a must. You will walk out completely in awe of the performance feeling nothing but inspiration. Besides that, just explore the city and see what you can find. Get lost in the beautiful city of New York and let it inspire you.

Now go plan a trip!! Hope this article helped!