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!)