I was lucky enough to have been born in the Big Apple almost 17 years ago. Although I was raised in the Bronx, I identify more with the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where my grandparents live. These days, the Upper West Side is known for being an upper-middle class neighborhood, but my dad reports that it wasn’t the best when he was growing up. Despite the fact that it’s primarily residential, the Upper West Side offers plenty to do. The first thing I would show a tourist would be Broadway. You’ll always find something to do or eat on Broadway. Columbus Avenue also offers many fantastic restaurants, and it tends to be much quieter and much less crowded. If you’re looking for something to do, you can check out the Museum of Natural History on 79th and Central Park West.
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You can also head down to Lincoln Center and maybe catch a ballet. You can walk up to Central Park, hide behind the veil of green trees, and pretend you’re not in a huge city. You can even go ice skating in the winter. There’s a movie theater on 84th street that makes up for its lack of a wide selection of movies by offering comfortable, reclining seats. Walking aimlessly is always an option. There are always tons of people to meet in the Upper West Side if they’re walking slowly enough for you to introduce yourself. Simply getting on the train gives you an opportunity to hear dozens of foreign languages. New York truly is a melting pot, and there are all sorts of people you can meet.
There are so many restaurants on the Upper West Side. You’ll almost always be able to find food from every culture.
A few of my favorite places to grab a bite are: Café Viva, which offers pizza made with soy, and all sorts of healthy ingredients; Hunan Balcony, a typical Chinese restaurant; Sixteen Handles, a frozen yogurt place where you can serve yourself; and Europan Café, a simple café that offers salads, pastries, pizza, sandwiches, and tons more. If you’re looking to listen to some music, Central Park almost always offers free concerts in the summer. Additionally, most concert venues are just a train ride away. There’s also always a chance that someone will get on your train with his or her guitar and play some music for donations.
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