Monday, July 19, 2010

Renewing the Love for New York

I've been living in New York for seven years now and most of the time I love my city. However, sometimes I get that itch that makes me fed up and want to hop on the next flight from JFK going anywhere but here. It usually happens after inadvertantly seeing yet another homeless penis or dealing with train traffic and rude cab drivers on the way to my tiny over-priced apartment. So, sometimes I like to renew my vows to New York by going off the beaten path and exploring the lesser known parts of the City. Time Out New York has a very cool feature called great walks.
These walks are self-guided tours that take you to the hidden treasures in the outer boroughs or on the island.  There's the Sweet Tooth Walk, that takes you on a sinfully delicious journey through doughnut shops and ice cream parlors until you collapse into a sugar-induced coma. The film nerds out there might like Woody Allen's Manhattan walk which revisits places where he shot his movies. Fascinated with organized crime? There's the True Crime walk that takes you to the places where the shit actually went down. There's a walk through Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn that guides you through this old school Italian hood visiting local treasures such as the Caputo Bakery which has been around since 1904. There's even the self-explanatory Stoner Walk.

For our anniversary, the boyfriend and I did the Long Term Relationship Walk which took us to Sunset Park and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. We had so much fun.We were directed to the most amazing bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwich) shop and discovered that Sunset Park has the most amazing view of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. We took a bus to Owl's Head Park which had an unobstructed view of the ocean. We walked along the promenade and discovered the coolest neighborhood with eclectic houses including one that looked like a witch's hovel (See photo on the right). As a creative person, going to these new spots can be very inspiring and kick your imagination into high gear. I know that I got several ideas for characters and stories especially from looking at those unique houses and staring out at the ships and sailboats in the ocean.

So, while it's easy to associate New York with the more prominent landmarks: the Empire State building, Times Square, and the subways, there's so much more to this very old, very rich city. So I encourage you to take one of these walks on the days when you feel like you a need an escape from the New York that you see every day. It may even help with that writers' block that won't go away. So you lucky New Yorkers take some time to remind yourself why we live in the greatest city on the planet.

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