How to Experience New York City Like A Local

City Travel, New York City — By on June 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm

By Rob Silverman
Special to Lost Girls World

Manhattan SkylineI wrote my book New York, New York, So Good They Named it Twice, as a guide to experiencing what it’s like to live in the greatest city in the world. I came to live in New York 15 years ago, and my wife and I are so in love with living in this city that we are raising our four children here, and never intend to leave. Getting used to living here took a little time – what’s the best way to travel using public transportation, how do you order a sandwich at a busy deli, what’s the difference between a co-op and a condo – but if you visit, you will find that the vibrancy of this city is unparalleled.

Those of us who live and work in New York can spot a tourist a mile away.

  • They walk slowly, often in clustery groups that block our passage down the sidewalk.
  • They hang out in Times Square and Fifth Avenue.
  • They are not wearing black…

Nobody wants to look and act like a tourist, especially in a fashionable, frenzied and sophisticated city like New York. So, here’s some advice if you are visiting New York but want to act like a native.

Central Park imagesUse Central Park
This is one of the world’s most beautiful parks, and New Yorkers use it as their urban oasis. Because our days are spent pounding the pavements between work and our apartments, Central Park puts us back in tune with a slice of Mother Nature. We have picnics here, jog, ride bikes, skateboard, ice skate and go sledding with our kids in the winter. The Central Park Zoo is a great place to take your kids to see polar bears, penguins, monkeys and more. Don’t use the hotel gym to get your exercise, come and run or walk around the reservoir. Take the 6 subway to 86th Street and walk over to Fifth Avenue and you’ll find the reservoir between 86th and 96th Streets. You’ll get breathtaking views of the skyline around Central Park, and you never know who you’re going to see.

Have a Power Lunch
New York has some of the greatest restaurants in the world, and some of the most talented and influential business people make a lot of deals at lunch. Captains of industry, from publishing and TV networks to banking and politics, all frequently dine at these restaurants: Michael’s (24 W. 55th St.), Union Square Café (21 E. 16th St.) and the Four Seasons (99 E. 52nd St.). Be sure to wear properly chic attire and get inspired by the wattage going on all around you.

Shop Local
Yes, there’s Bergdorf’s and Saks and Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue, but New Yorkers like to shop in Soho (meaning South of Houston). The streets are cobbled, the stores are smaller. Trust me, you’ll love it.

Enjoy The City that Never Sleeps
You may come from a place that rolls up its sidewalks at 6 p.m., but when you’re in Manhattan, you must stay up late, drink, eat, dance and listen to music so you can stagger back into your hotel room at 4 a.m. with your head held high. Where else in the world can you do this? Go to the Meatpacking District (a.k.a. MePa) on the Lower West Side to find places where you have to be on the list (or be spectacularly beautiful) to get past the velvet ropes, or go to friendlier bars like Hogs and Heifers (859 Washington St.) or Brass Monkey (55 Little W. 12th St.).

Rob Silverman and his wife Janet are raising their four children in New York, and have no intentions of ever leaving. By day, Rob works in finance, and is the author of New York, New York: So Good They Named it Twice, An Irreverent Guide to Experiencing and Living in the Greatest City in the World and The Job Lottery: A Graduate’s Guide to Getting a Job.

Photo credits: Sakeeb SabakkaAsterio Tecson, La Citta Vita

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