By Christine Smith, Global Escapes Certified Travel Associate
New York, how I love thee….on this my most recent trip to the Big Apple, I was pleased to see that the city has lost none of its charm since my last pilgrimage. Impossibly huge yet feeling so personal, exotic yet familiar, simultaneously corporate and individualistic, this city is full of contradictions that make it irresistibly endearing.
What could a small-town girl like me see in such a bustling metropolis? Since I was a small child, born and raised in rural north Georgia, I have been enthralled with the diversity of landscapes, cultures and people groups throughout this world. My father and I often watched public television shows that focused on these subjects, such as Nature and Nova, and I would sit cross-legged in front of the television, wishing deep in my heart to see and experience even a small part of it someday.
Though New York is not exactly the Serengeti in Africa or the jungles of the Amazon, it does have the unique quality of being what we as Americans call “The Melting Pot.” Both historically and currently, this city is a landing pad for many visitors and immigrants to the US, and they are given the opportunity to build a life for themselves and thrive here. And boy, do they ever! The streets are teeming with countless restaurants of every ethnicity, markets overflow with unique handmade goods, and the streets are filled with a swirl of dialects and languages of every kind.
If anything, New York has become even more diverse since my last visit. Previously, the most common phrases overheard where stereotypical and predictable, which I reveled in and identified with my favorite city. Today as I wandered through the Chelsea Market, my senses were overwhelmed by the smells of exotic spices, joyful shouts of merchants in phrases I couldn’t pinpoint, and the many goods on display for sale. I was in heaven!
Not to worry – all the still “can’t miss” things about New York are still in place. Times Square still buzzes with activity and digital screen advertisements, Broadway shows are better than ever, and the Statue of Liberty is still standing proudly. In fact, there is even a new must-see attraction in the downtown area, as One World Trade Center has just opened, allowing visitors to visit the 102nd floor for a 360-degree view of Manhattan, the harbor, and both rivers. I couldn’t resist buying a ticket, and the views were indeed stunning.
As a returning visitor, this stop was less about getting to all the major attractions and more about soaking up some quality time with my favorite city. I’m happy to report that it didn’t disappoint! Never been before? Haven’t been in a long time? What are you waiting for? This historic, friendly and diverse city is just waiting for you. There’s always room for one more!