New York, New York… a city that has captured the attention of millions through its flair, its charm and perhaps most importantly: its liveliness. Having been to New York, I now look for the urban gems as I enjoy calling them, rather than the hustling and bustling of Times Square, Madison Square Garden or the infamous Fifth Avenue. Without a doubt, these eminent places showcase the New York that everyone loves and aspires to see; yet, these are but the tip of an iceberg. Most of what it has to offer, what really matters, is below the surface, hidden from the naked eye. One has to explore- often on foot- to get to know parts of the real New York, from the view of a New Yorker.
Apart from Manhatten, all the boroughs have places to explore and are worth getting to know. Firstly, the reputation of Brooklyn is ever changing, with the borough continuously increasing in popularity. Amongst the Brownstone houses and sights such as Coney Island, leading the way is the neighbourhood called Williamsburg, known for its creative nature, artistic cafés, restaurants and venues. If you find yourself visiting, try getting off the L train at Bedford Avenue, to start exploring the dynamic scene. If you are looking to get involved with the borough’s signature ‘hipster’ style, Williamsburg delivers a promising range of broad fashion choices.
Local markets (the Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg and Artists & Fleas) are great places to explore the hip clothing that is specific to the area. When walking around, you feel engaged with the people and the fashion; you forget where you actually are. Enjoying a taste of Brooklyn, rather than coping with tourists at Rockefeller Centre allow you to walk with sufficient breathing capacity, leaving you to discover new places feeling relaxed. If you have the time and the weather is in your favour, cycle across the Williamsburg Bridge. It is covered in graffiti art and bike rental is available.
Another option is 165 Banker St. What might you find there? A night bazaar, open Fridays and Saturdays with fashion, live music and food. Additionally, activities such as mini golf or ping-pong can be enjoyed for a few dollars: a great way to spend the evening without actually SPENDING. If indoor art is more of interest, head over to Chelsea. Thursday nights, from 6–8 p.m. are when the new shows open in Chelsea. This means a flow of wine and art galore. As for food, replace a trip to the tourist infested China Town with Flushing in Queens. This borough takes pride in offering authentic Asian cuisine- with many options to choose from.
Finally, if in the mood to expand the mind and soul: head over to the mathematics museum. This may sound unconventional for a fun outing; however, trust the fact that New York will deliver you an unforgettable way to engage with formulas. If you’d rather stay in Manhattan, there are a variety of options for you to engage with in the borough itself. The Whispering Gallery located in Grand Central beneath an inconspicuous underpass has people murmuring into the corners of the beautiful archways. The walls allow sounds to travel across the domed ceiling. Therefore, when two people stand at diagonal arches, they can hear each other’s whispers. So take your pick and take a risk: try something new and have a fabulous time in the city that never sleeps.