Five Borough Bucket List

Playing Tour Guide in NYC!

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Despite my love-hate relationship with New York City, I love having the chance to show it off to other people. New York is filled with millions of things to do and see, so getting to play tour guide is always on my list of favorite things to do. My friends Cody and Tracy came up to visit from Jacksonville, so we planned out a day to go exploring around.
I didn’t get to go to sleep after my trip to Atlantic City until 4:30 in the morning, so my initial plan of waking up 8:00 was absolutely not going to happen. I got up around 10:00, fed and walked Cookie, grabbed coffee, and hopped on the train in. Cody and Tracy were staying near Central Park, so we met around there to walk through the park. I think you could spend all day walking through Central Park and not see everything there is, so I stuck with the big spots: the Reservoir, Great Lawn, Strawberry Fields, and Tavern on the Green.
Because Cody and Tracy had a few things planned for their trip already (museums, a show, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square), I figured we’d focus on the downtown area for our day. We made our way to Columbus Circle (first getting some pictures of the Central Park statues) and hopped on the subway. It was Cody’s first trip on the subway, and we were both pretty bummed there were no showtime performers.
We got off at West 4th Street and first took a journey through the West Village, where we saw the Friends building and some of the really pretty (and expensive…) homes. I got to use some of the things I learned during my Foods of NY Tour to be a proper tour guide.
It was super hot out (for once), so we were starting to get a little tired by the time we got to Washington Square Park. There was a band set up, so we sat on some of the benches and listened to the live music.
It was also Bubble Day at the park!
I’m bummed that I didn’t get any really clear pictures of all the bubbles, but they were definitely out there. Kids had little bubble wands, and it was great to finally see people outdoors in the nice weather.
The Arch.
During any trip to New York City, it is important to grab a slice of pizza. I’m not that familiar with pizzerias downtown, so I took us to Joe’s. Joe’s has been open since 1975, and it was in Spider-Man (the Tobey version), and some other movies. It’s good, but I think it’s a little overrated. Does that make me a bad New Yorker? I’m okay with that.
After pizza, we headed to the East Village. We stumbled onto a record shop, where we spent some time browsing the racks for some…interesting tunes.
We passed by Overthrow (such an awesome looking building) on our way to Bowery. I’ve seen this picture on about 400 different photography Instagram accounts, so I had to take my own shot.
Once we got to Bowery, we stumbled on the former site of CBGB. We’re all big music fans, so we went into the John Varvatos store to see the leftover remnants of the former bar and club.
I can appreciate the fact that Varvatos left up so many original items from CBGB, but it was super bizarre to see everything set up between racks of $2,800 blazers. I’m really bummed I never got to go, although as an angsty 15 year old I used to wear a CBGB guitar pick necklace.
We hopped on the subway (after an insanely long wait, because the weekend subways are some of the worst things in the city), and went down to the World Trade Center. But first, ice cream!
Heading to the Observatory wasn’t on their list of things to do, but I still wanted Cody and Tracy to see the Trade Center Memorial. Unfortunately, I think this is the last time I can go down to the memorial. For some reason, people think it’s appropriate to take smiling selfies and group shots in front of the reflecting pools. Thousands of people died there, and no matter what your political feelings are, it’s disrespectful to do that. To me it’s the same as going to a graveyard and taking a smiling selfie in front of a tombstone. But, we’re in the selfie generation, and no one really cares as long as they can post to Instagram. Rant over.
My friend Kris ended up being around the same area, so we all took the L to Brooklyn for a drink. We went to Skinny Dennis, a really cool bar in Williamsburg.
Skinny Dennis is a honky-tonk bar with pictures of Willie Nelson everywhere. It’s pretty much the epitome of a hipster bar, so it was perfect for my tourists to go to for a taste of Brooklyn.
I got the Frozen Willie, which is frozen coffee mixed with bourbon.
Around this time, my roommate called me to tell me Cookie had jumped in the (empty) bathtub and couldn’t get out. I didn’t feel like taking the subway all the way back to Queens, so we got a Lyft and went back to Forest Hills.
Of course, no trip to Forest Hills is complete without a stop in at Lillian’s. We got Sicilian slices (so much better than Joe’s), and walked around the neighborhood to see some of the older houses. Cody, Tracy, and I stopped in at Dirty Pierre’s for a drink before I sent them back to Manhattan on the subway. It was a long, hot day, but I think I got them to experience a good part of NYC. If we had more time, I would have liked to take them to the Brooklyn Bridge or to Coney Island. Hey, now they have a reason to come back!

Questions for you:

  • What is your favorite part of NYC?
  • What are some must-see spots for tourists in your city?
  • Best borough?

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