Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What Am I Missing?

You know when you’ve lived somewhere all of your life and realize that you haven’t done most of the things tourists do when they come to your fair city?  Watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, I realized just that.  With the most fabulous city in the world—sorry, San Francisco; pardon, Paris—right in my backyard, I realized with shock that I am a lousy New Yorker.

Or, as many a jaded New Yorker might say, just a normal one.

I had the pleasure of visiting the lovely Laura Bradford last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, and asked her what her holiday plans were. 

“We are going to the parade in the morning,” she said, as if it were the most normal thing in the world.

See, I’m a native New Yorker.  We hate traffic. We loathe crowds.  We avoid both like the proverbial plague.  We opt, instead, to watch parade organizers blow up the balloons for the parade rather than stand in a crowd watching aforementioned balloons drift by.  We do not go to the parade.  (Or at least this native doesn’t.)  I looked at her as if she had just said, “we’re going to search for the Loch Ness monster and then look at the eclipse without sunglasses.”

Then I realized that going to the parade sounded like a whole heck of a lot of fun, crowds and traffic be damned.  The Bradford clan had the right idea:  do this quintessential New York thing and enjoy yourself while doing it!  Now there was a novel idea, foreign to many New Yorkers.

If it weren’t for my kids’ class trips, I never would have been to Ellis Island and even though my grandparents didn’t come through its hallowed (and kind of scary) halls, it was still fascinating to visit. If it hadn’t been for a friend who worked at Windows of the World, I never would have been inside the North Tower of the Twin Towers (as we New Yorkers always called them back in the day).  A work event brought me to South Street Seaport—in 1989 and never since.  Am I lazy?  Disinterested?  Hard to know.  But I do think I need to see some of our city’s amazing sites and participate in some of its special yearly occurrences.  I am making a resolution in 2013 to do just that.

It got me thinking about the other things that are truly New York and what make our city special.  Here’s a list of things that I haven’t done:

1.     Climbed to the top of the Empire State Building.  Sure, I’ve passed it a hundred times or more while walking to another destination but I’ve never been inside its art deco walls or even climbed to the top. 

2.     Been to Coney Island.  And I’m from Brooklyn originally!  Of course, Coney Island may need a few months to get itself back up and running after Hurricane Sandy but a visit to the Boardwalk and the famed aquarium are definitely in the cards for the new year.

3.     Taken the Staten Island Ferry.  From what I gather, there is no better view of Manhattan island than from the bow of the Staten Island Ferry.  And it’s cheap!  Like a dollar or some ridiculous sum.  Why haven’t I been on the ferry?  Why haven’t I taken the kids?

4.     Visited the Intrepid.  I’ve driven down the West Side Highway a thousand times and every time, I think, “We should really go to the Intrepid.” But we never have?  Why?  Nobody knows.

5.     Walk along the Highline.  In my defense, this is a fairly new attraction but at least 90% of my friends—and their kids—have been to the Highline.  Not us!  Why?  Again, we are not sure.  Heck, it’s tough to get out of the attic (where I write); it’s even tougher to draft reluctant family members from the couch.  But we will walk the Highline in 2013.  Mark my words.

So, Stiletto friends, what fantastic sites or events in your neck of the woods have you missed?  Why?

(Oh, and by the way, EXTRA CREDIT, the seventh installment in the Alison Bergeron/Murder 101 series, publishes next Tuesday, December 4th.  Something tells me there will be a contest shortly...check back for details!)

Maggie Barbieri


  1. I live in the south and there are places and things that I haven't visited. You are so right and we should all enjoy our home attractions! Are the later Murder 101 books ever coming out in paperback? I have the first 4, but not the rest and I love your series!!!!!

  2. Hi, Margaret, glad it's not just me! So let's make a pact to see the sights in our own backyards, ok? As a matter of fact, I just learned that books 5 and 6 in the Murder 101 series--THIRD DEGREE and PHYSICAL EDUCATION--will soon be in paperback, so check B&N and Amazon or write me through my web site ( and I'll give you info as I get it on pub dates, ok? Many thanks. Maggie

    1. Yay, I can't wait to get them. I had already decided to give myself the gift of the hardback new one!!!! Happy Holidays to us all.

  3. shaking my head..Maggie, Maggie, Maggie...

    Have you been to the Statue of Liberty?

    You've never been to Coney Island? Girl, you come out here and I'll show you around. We can sample some Russian cuisine. I won't ride the Cyclone as I've done that and have no plan sto do it again.

    Maggie, I need to show you my New York.

  4. Dru Ann, I know! No, I've never been to Coney Island. And I'm glad you won't ride the Cyclone because I won't either. I used to spend a lot more time in NYC when I was younger (and actually worked on 53rd Street) but lately, I only get into NY for doctors' appointments. That will change in 2013! Maggie

  5. I think we all tend to do that. Fortunately, before I ever lived in the Southern Sierra, I visited Yosemite as a kid and then again later several times. Visited King's Canyon National Park. When we first moved here, we headed up into the mountains and visited Balch Park--big trees, Indian artifacts. Because I really can't stand driving on winding mountain roads, I know I'll never get up the the 1000 giant Sequoias which is right on the same highway we live on.

  6. I came to this site because I was a huge fan of your Murder 101 series. Now, this site has introduced me to even more wonderful authors and series. I always look forward to a new novel from you and can not wait until EXTRA CREDIT comes out!

  7. Thank you, Michelle! There are a lot of great authors on this site; it's a pleasure to count myself among them. EXTRA CREDIT will be out next Tuesday so you don't have long to wait! Maggie

  8. Maggie, I do know what you mean. I've lived for forty years in Kansas City now, and until recently, had never visited the Harry Truman Presidential Library, one of the best in the country. Also, only recently did Ben and I go to the Liberty Memorial World War I Museum, a gem and the only one in the country.

    In most cases, I've done better. The great Nelson-Atkins Museum and Gallery plus many of KC's better known smaller galleries I've visited many times. Since I researched and wrote some local guidebooks at one time, I've been to many other KC sites, and I've been involved in the literary/arts scene for a long time, so I've hit lots of our artistic treasures. But I don't take advantage of all a major city has to offer because most of the time I'm either too busy or too broke. :-(

    And there are lots of fascinating places right outside the city that we're always telling ourselves we'll go... someday. *sigh* I think I'm going to try to be a tourist in my own town in 2013.

  9. Oh, Maggie, you've got to try the Staten Island Ferry -- not only is the view unparalleled, but it's FEEE!! Best combo comuter/tourist bargain in town.


  10. Alice, I thought it was free. What a bargain. I wish I had thought to do it today--I was in the city and the weather is gorgeous here. Maggie