New York City, NY

Living Like a Local on your visit to New York City

Cynthia Bord

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Is it your first time visiting New York? Are you unsure of what to do or where to start? New York City is a hodge-podge of the best food, culture, and nightlife the city has to offer.

Here’s everything you should do during your visit to the City that Never Sleeps so you can get the most out of your experience while living as the locals do:

Don't pay for the Empire State Building.

It’s crowded and disorienting. The only people you will interact with 150 floors above street level are other tourists and the view is blurry at best. You can grab a better city view at the New Museum near Soho. The glass pane is closer to the ground, but at least you get a nice cityscape up close.

Have a photoshoot.

The backdrop of brownstone buildings, cement streets, and iconic bridges will offer a great background to any social media photo you’ve been dying to post.

Go to local bodegas.

A bodega is any little store that sells essentials and groceries. Some have a grill and sell a bacon egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. If that’s too heavy for you, go for a bacon, lettuce, and tomato (BLT) on a roll or bagel. Get it toasted or as is.

As a student, these breakfast sandwiches were my go-to. They're filling, delicious, and a big part of a typical New Yorker’s “What I Eat In A Day”.

Pet the bodega cat.

Most bodegas keep a cat to catch mice in their store. If the cat feels so inclined, you may get a few pets in. But be wary of scratches, you are in their store after all.

Have Korean barbecue in Koreatown.

West 32nd street is wall to wall with Korean barbecue restaurants. You can have your pick of barbecue, tofu stew, or intestines. It’s a pick-your-own adventure, Korean style. Go for lunch or dinner, it’ll have you coming back.

Go clubbing in Koreatown.

There are a few clubs that are “hopping”, playing club beats and Korean pop hits by bands like Blackpink. Long lines usually begin around 11 PM for these clubs, but women usually enter for free.

Go bar hopping in East Village.

There’s a large cluster of dive bars, dancing clubs, and classy lounges in the neighborhood next to Chinatown. Try all of the bars within the same 15 block radius from each other and get a taste for the nightlife in New York, full of camaraderie, intrigue, and adventure.

Try the pizza.

New York’s renowned for its pizza. At about $4 a slice, you get a full stomach and a delicious meal. Try it with a parmesan chicken or veal pasta and you’re pretty much a native.

Buy food from a halal cart.

Halal carts sell chicken or lamb over rice with white sauce on top and salad on the side. Beef isn’t sold because the Muslim faith believes it is sacred. Halal is a lunch staple for many workers on their lunch break from the office or construction site. Lunch at carts is usually $8 with a soda, but remember to bring cash.

Spend a day in a museum.

Take a list of museums in New York City, throw a dart, and go to whichever one the dart lands on. I promise you will have an inspiring and educational time wherever you end up. And it’ll probably contain some artwork or artifact from a famous artist or historical event that you can recount to your friends.

Try that new food trend.

Whatever’s happenin’ right now, New York’s got it. Cheesy Korean hot dog, Japanese hot pot, or French steak and fries, anyone? Whatever you see on your social media feed right now that is making your mouth water, is probably a train ride away from where you’re staying, if not closer.

Walk or bike central park.

Central Park is one of the largest man-made parks smack dab in the middle of the upper part of Manhattan. Rent a bike or paddleboat in the summer and experience nature in the middle of skyscrapers and horse carriages.

Buy cosmetics in Flushing.

Flushing is an area in Queens with a high populace of Chinese Americans. In particular, you can find great quality Korean makeup and skincare for good prices. Customers usually buy face masks in packs of 5 or 10, for value and for continuous use.

Hopefully, this article gives you an idea of what living in New York is like and what you can look forward to on your trip. As always, mind your belongings and enjoy everything the city has to offer!

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writer on love, tech, and politics, lover of coffee and petter of dogs

New York, NY
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