The Big Apple – New York – has far too many wonderful things to fit into just one tiny article. That’s why it’s been split into lots of them, because there’s just so much so see! So far we’ve seen some of the more well-known landmarks, and begun to explore some of the smaller ones. In this entry, we’ll see some of the things the locals themselves go to, and why you should make the effort to visit them. Only if you have the time, of course – you’re going to want to go back home and tell your friends how awesome the Statue of Liberty was.
In a place in Midtown called the “meatpacking district” you’ll find Chelsea Market. I’ll explain what Downtown/Midtown/Uptown are in a few moments, but first let’s learn about this little treasure trove. If you like food markets, then this is your ideal place. Chelsea Market is packed full of little shops, selling food from around the world –Spanish food, Korean food, Mexican food – all of it! The walkway also has beautiful fountains and fairy lights for you to look at whilst you’re waiting for mum and dad to come out of the Italian biscuit shop. Or, go and grab a delightful cupcake at one of the Market’s many bakeries.
If you’re looking for the places those people you see on the TV live, more often than not they’ll be in some of New York’s more upmarket neighbourhoods. Try Greenwich Village. It’s close to New York University, so it’s full of buzzing student life. It’s also the “bohemian” or artistic centre of the city, and a very gay-friendly area. Famous residents who live there now are Sarah Jessica Parker, husband Matthew Broderick, and other actors like Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield also have places in the area.
One of Greenwich Village’s most famous locations is Washington Square Park. It’s quite a small, rectangular space, but it’s pleasant nonetheless. It has a huge fountain, and an archway that looks a lot like the Arc de Triomph in Paris. Centred around this park are various New York University buildings, and you’ll see lots of students hanging out there on their break. If you’re interested in European history at all, there’s a notable statue of Italian hero Garibaldi (not the biscuits, the person) that stands in the park. The Park marks the beginning of one of New York’s most famous streets – Fifth Avenue.
If you walk in the other direction, i.e. the opposite way to the Empire State Building, you’ll encounter Chinatown and Little Italy. These are two places in which there are a lot of Chinese and Italian immigrants, and they’ve really made their mark on the neighbourhoods. You’ll find beautiful decorations lining the buzzing streets, and people will often speak their own language in public. It really makes you feel like you’re actually in Rome or Beijing!
The most noticeable aspect of these little clusters of people is that there are restaurants everywhere, all claiming to have ‘authentic’ food. In the next and final instalment of the New York series, we’ll learn where to find good food (which is difficult in a city as massive as New York!), how to navigate the confusing subway system, and what the business district has to offer.
Image credit: Alice Barnes-Brown