Check out my interview with UnAnchor.com! I’m their latest in a long line of local guidebook writers with New York Like a Native: Five Boroughs in Six Days.
Sure, Manhattan’s great. But why stop there? There’s more to the city than skyscrapers, and you won’t find the “real” New York in the lobby of a landmark. Skip the lines, high prices, and headaches that plague other Big Apple tourists and experience everything New York has to offer?
In New York Like A Native: Five Boroughs in Six Days, you’ll find that there is plenty to see and do in the less traversed parts of the city.
∞ By train, bike, ferry, and even your own two feet, see the city the way a local would – in all its glory.
∞ Discover the secret skyline views of Staten Island and dine at a restaurant staffed entirely by real Italian grandmothers!
∞ Trek through the cultural melting pot of Lower Manhattan (and take in a scenic downtown artwalk along the way).
∞ Then, head north of Central Park for immersive tours of historic Harlem and the Bronx’s Grand Concourse.
∞ Spend a day at hidden haunts in Queens. Delve into New York’s film history and enjoy a night of free comedy at the city’s latest hotspot!
∞ Bike through Brooklyn for a day of art galleries, off-off-Broadway theater, and more!
Don’t suffer through throngs of tourists just to see a small fraction of this big, wonderful city. This itinerary guides you throughout the city through the eyes of a local, so you can look up from the map and experience New York for all that it is.New York Like A Native: Five Boroughs in Six Days offers six days’ worth of off-the-beaten-path activities, many of which are free or at suggested prices. Also included are detailed maps, public transit directions, and recommendations for unique local restaurants.
Coming soon on Amazon Kindle!
It’s hard to believe that in a city of eight million that barely stretches its population over a handful of islands would have any space left for solitude. In Urban Explorers, I find and explore abandoned buildings, empty parks, and unique spots to be alone.
Rainey Park and Socrates Sculpture Garden
Photo (c) Irene Hartmann
When I was little, my mom could get rid of my with two simple words: “go play.” I used to know what that meant. If someone told me to just “go play” these days, I wouldn’t know where to start.
Astoria’s double-whammy of public space, Rainey Park and Socrates Sculpture Garden, gives me a few ideas.
Due to my prodigious clout as a travel blogger, I am proud to announce that the innovative tour agency Time Travel Vacations (TM) is now offering exclusive tours to my readers! Check back regularly for more.
Time Travel Vacations: Manhattan in the 1960s
Imagine this New York - five course dinners at La Grenouille, cabbing it home, and hitting the diner as soon as you arise from your whiskey coma, all for the price of a modest meal at Applebees’. You can have all this and more with a Time Travel Vacation (TM) in 1960s Midtown!
Photo (c) Irene Hartmann
This is what New York looks like when you don’t live here. Whether you’re visiting for business or for pleasure, you tend to stick to the shiny parts of the city. Thousands go in, out, up and down the glittering behemoths that now blind my as I cross the river for a shift of the Upper East Side, in a cookie shop tucked between two unassuming bodegas. You can’t miss it when you’re walking down the street, because the store has an industrial fan hooked up to a window so they can pump the scent of freshly-baked cookies onto Third Avenue. People often remark on the scent when they come in, looking for some accidental indulgences. “Oh, I smelled it from the street and I just couldn’t resist!” They must be thinking these are some special cookies. They aren’t. But the fan sure is working.
What a better example of the Western European nanny state is there than the government employee in Centraal Station in Amsterdam who is being paid by the taxpayer each of the three times she knocks you in the head with her flashlight for sleeping.
"Last warning," she says, the second-to-last time she catches you using your napsack as a pillow. "Next time, I’m throwing you out."
And she isn’t kidding.
The tourism office is altogether too noisy to catch some secret z’s, and two separate McDonaldses in the city center soon grow wise to your plan of buying the one euro small coffee and allowing your head to simply go limp while holding it. At least the employees there have the decency to look guilty when they kick you out.
You buy a tram pass, remembering the contentedly slumbering hobos on the F train back home in New York City. Because the lines are so much shorter, you can’t expect to sleep much longer than twenty or thirty minutes.
Until. of course, the overly friendly Nederlander passengers on the train endlessly shake you awake each time you find yourself on the cusp of sweet sweet sleep. Natives have you pegged from the start — tired eyes, big-ass backpack, map to hostel clutched in hand. You’re a tourist, and they are as a whole very worried that you will miss your stop and become lost in their city.
You get off at Dam Square and you figure, it’s a warm day, I’ll find a spot in the sunshine and do it housecat-style. You come to hours later, once the sun has shifted to now cover your body in shade. A park cop meanders by and tips his hat to you.
You pull the blanket you stole from the plane out of your napsack, nod to the cop, and drift back to sleep. At long last.
This is the one who changes you. This is the one who breaks your heart at least twice a week. You will fight for this one for months, maybe, or years, until you one day realize he will never change. Your heart breaks one last time, and you pack your bags and leave. You move on and it never gets easier.
Your next love will wear a suit and pretend to be someone he is not. You will comfort him, sometimes, at night. You will not believe the words that are coming out of your mouth, but you hope he does.
The next one will smile all the time and work hard for you, but you will never really mean it when you smile and say, “I love you.”
And, years later, you see him again. And he has changed. Maybe only imperceptibly, or maybe from the efforts of a better woman. He will still challenge you and you will still love him for it. But you will know better now, or so you think. You will laugh politely at his jokes and smile as he walks you through his ever since. You will say goodbye, promise to meet up at some unspecified time. You vow to wait for him to ask you for once.
One, two, three days go by. Three months. You find yourself crying at night, and at first you don’t know why. Rinsing mascara out of your pillowcases in the bathroom sink, you realize: that dumb boy can still break your heart.
Did you know that many New York City subway stations are also living pieces of art? For the low, low price of $2.50, you can not only travel through literally hundreds of miles of tunnels, but you can see art installations while doing so! There are 267 art installations throughout the subway system. Here are ten that are so worth the price of a trip.
You’re bored of pizza and Chinese, so why not try something truly exotic?