New York City can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some, it is a place romanticized by shows such as Sex and the City and made infamous by Martin Scorsese films. For others, it is an impossible terrain to navigate without the essential survival tools—a good map and an even greater sense of direction. For me, having moved to the city a year ago, New York is the perfect place to satisfy any mood. The best part is that you never know exactly where the city will take you—the journey is a reward in itself.
A typical tourist's journey is pretty standard: The traveler spends a weekend visit covering the list of must-see sights—Times Square and the Statue of Liberty to name two. After this, there is the requisite trip to the Theater District to see whatever Tony-award winning play is hot at the moment, followed by spending major money at a restaurant new to the Zagat guide.
For me, my weekend journeys through New York might have started out this way, but with a year's worth of experience they have taken a much different off-the-beaten-path route.
Although I live in the Bronx, I spend my leisure time in downtown Manhattan, where I venture into quirky shops and dine with friends at excellent—and sometimes unusual—restaurants. One of my favorite Friday night haunts is Pomme Frites, which in my opinion serves the best French fries in the city. Unusual condiments like Vietnamese pineapple mayo are a nice touch.
I am a big fan of vintage jewelry, and I think the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon is combing through the finds at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market. I never know what I will discover and was quite pleased with my most recent purchase—a vintage Monet necklace.
When I want to kick it up a notch, I head to the Meatpacking District on Saturday nights. With its redbrick streets and renovated warehouses, this is the best place to find trendy restaurants, many of which turn into hot clubs at night.
It took me a whole year to discover my off-the-beaten-path journey through NYC. If you're only here for a short visit, take the tourist route, but make sure to leave some time for a detour.