Last week I wrote a little bit about travel burn out and having a lackluster feeling for the place you live. Many of us wanderlusters may forget to appreciate the awesomeness of the place we live and tend to let our minds daydream and compare to all the exotic places we would rather be.
This weekend I took some time to be a tourist in my own city and do some of my favorite activities. Now of course I’m from NY so you might say that’s easy. But if you use a little bit of creativity and take a few chances you can find new things in your home town or spend time to re-visit your old faves!
The day started out with a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. This is one of the most awesome touristy things to do in NY for a multitude of reasons. One, it’s FREE and you know how much I like doing things for $free.99! Two, you can drink openly on the ferry, and if you didn’t know I do enjoy having a drink with my boat rides. Three, you get stunning views of the financial district and the ferry cruises directly past the world famous Statue of Liberty.
Once you get off the ferry you can either hop right back on and return or you can stroll around the newly renovated waterfront park which you’ll see when you exit the ferry to the right. I can’t say I’m on an expert on Staten Island or know a lot of things to do there, so for me a stroll around the park and then hopping back on the ferry worked out just fine.
We headed back right around 4:30 and caught one of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve seen in some time. After the ride we decided to revisit yet another one of New York’s gems, the Brooklyn Bridge, which I highly recommend walking over at night. Skip paying for a subway and take a 15/20 minute stroll from the ferry to the Brooklyn Bridge. Navigate around some construction, follow the detours and behold! New York City lit up in all it’s glory. The entire walk over the bridge is nothing but photo opps and sparkly lights. It’s really special.
After the bridge there are SO many options, you can check out Brooklyn Bridge Park (a brand new waterfront with dazzling views of the skyline and nearby Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges), Smith Street to bar hop, or Park Slope for some great eats, all within walking distance.
It’s a trek but some of the more daring tourists will take the train to the end of the line to Coney Island, a historic amusement park that fell into neglect after WWII but has remained a NY treasure and has recently undergone many renovations.
Summer is prime time to go, with free fireworks every Friday night, and all the rides, food stalls and bars in full swing. Don’t overlook the Coney Island Side Show, it’s a hokey must if you’ve never been. Even in winter I sometimes go to see the few attractions that are still lit up, eat at the original Nathan’s hot dog restaurant and look out onto the sea. There’s something pretty cool and eerie about being there when it’s completely dead. Free.99 tip: to save money at Nathan’s order the kids meal. Bonus, you get a toy!
So there you have it! Three New York faves from a local! These are things I’ve done hundreds of times and will probably still do a hundred more. And every time it makes me appreciate what I have right in my own back yard.