What better way to tool around town with Gilberto than to act like a tourist. Gilberto talks to me in Spanish, I pretend to listen and understand. We take photos of everything and ourselves. We stop at random stores and buy random things. Talk to the bartender and ask “What’s there to do in this town?”, which gives us New Yorker looks. This may sound silly but honestly, what really is a better way to see a city than to be a tourist? If you live in New York or just any town USA, you take it and everything there for granted. You know that flea market you’ve been swearing that you were going to check out? Yeah, well it closed three months ago. Stop talking and start doing already. Life’s passing you by and giving you the finger.
Touristy Tuesdays with Gilberto made this summer quite amazing. Breakfast was usually a quick stop at the deli for a sandwich for Gilberto and a cup of coffee for myself. Deli’s in New York have the best coffee for cheap. I highly recommend them. It’s hard to tell you where to begin in New York because there is no bad place. Well there are some pretty bad places, don’t get me wrong and if you’re not familiar maybe ask someone on the train and tell them where you’re going. If they tell you, you’re stupid. You might want to pick another area, especially if you’re leaving Manhattan. We usually just picked a part of town and explored only to end up in a totally different place. That’s the beauty of New York.
If you are coming here as a tourist there are lot’s more ways to get around the city than the subway. It was only this summer that we were over in Brooklyn and I said “Look! A ferry” and we giggled but I meant the boat kind of ferry. We hopped the ferry up to Long Island City and walked it back to Astoria. A new adventure and a new angle of the city. This is where you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to people in New York. I have witnessed a gentleman on the train ask someone how to get somewhere and four other people chimed in on what would be a better way. Do not be intimidated by New Yorker’s, they’re actually a lot more approachable and helpful than you may think. With the exception of bus drivers. I have witnessed some of the nastiest bus drivers. WoW! This though is a universal thing I think, because I have encountered not so nice bus drivers else where, it’s not just New York.
Another cool thing about New York is food, of course. There is everything here, so don’t be afraid to pop into a random place. Those random joints that you look at and go, “I don’t know..” are usually the ones you want and should go into. Don’t let the Health Department letter grade scare you either. Don’t get me started on those things, that’s a whole other animal that I will go donkey nuts about, don’t get me started. Moving on, go down a random street and find a hole in the wall. Bars have some great food if you’re looking for a quick fix. Please stay away from the mega-Euro cafe things. Again, just like the coffee, stop in a deli and get a sandwich, it usually will be cheaper and more than likely much better. Plus if you fail or the guy at the deli happens to be a dick, that’s an experience and a story to take home. “Dude, the guy at the deli wasn’t playing around, he was like “come back when you know what you want”… damn!” I’ve actually had that happen to me but at a pizza joint. Oh pizza, be careful where you get pizza. Some of those joints have the oiliest pizza, I can’t do it personally. Then there are a lot that have awesome pizza. Use your judgement, 99 cents for pizza? Hmmmm… Follow me? If you’re sober, I don’t recommend them.
I think the beauty of New York is it’s full of surprises. I have lived here going on nine years and I’m still finding new treasures and hidden little gems. It’s ever changing with new little pockets of people and restaurants opening and closing constantly. I personally embrace change and new folks and ideals coming in and out. I love it. Be open to change and new things, be ever growing and evolving. Nobody cried when they decided to get rid of the outhouse and bring the toilet inside, yet you get pissed off when a company decides to change it’s logo? That, that was tradition, that shouldn’t change, that Americas going down the drain and changing. So change is only good if you like it and it suits you or benefits you!? Stop. Just stop.
Ok, so go out and explore. It doesn’t have to be New York for crying out loud. I’m sure you have a greasy spoon in your town or bar or store you haven’t checked out. Support your community and fall in love with where you live. What are you waiting for? Go!! You might meet someone and come home with a story. If you come home alive it couldn’t have been that bad of an experience.