Finally the Tour Guide Around New York

On Saturday, I got to play a new role: tour guide around New York. Yes, it is true, I finally know my way around New York enough to have played guide to my older brother, who was visiting from Boston. Coming in for a brief six hours, Nick wanted to get a taste of classic New York. Unfortunately, it was raining, so we couldn’t go to Coney Island, the Statue of Liberty or even the Top of the Rock. So I decided we’d grab an overloaded pastrami sandwich at Katz’s (as a part of my multimedia project) and venture up around Midtown to give him a taste of the center.

First, I took Nick to Times Square, giving him a taste of the flashing lights of the city that never sleeps. Funny enough, this was one of my first times walking straight through Times Square, and I quickly realized it was one of my least favorite parts of Manhattan. Nick and I trekked through large crowds of people, feeling like we were more likely in the circus than in The Big Apple. Although tourists love New York, the crowds of them in Times Square is almost unbearable ( See! Don’t I sound like a true New Yorker now?) And as any older brother would do, he tried to embarrass me, making me take a picture with a chicken who charged a $3 tip. Yep,as I mentioned, Times Square isn’t my cup of tea in New York.

Seeking refugee from the lights and chaos of Times Square, Nick and I took a small walk to my favorite New York landmark, Shake Shack. Sharing a malt, I was able to show Nick some classics of new New York and share some of my own finds on the island. The half chocolate, half vanilla malt is the best!

Afterwards, we ventured to the Rockefeller Center (my first time), and we tried to get into a NBC studio tour. One way I knew I was still a bit of a tourist in this town is that I didn’t think that the tour would be booked days in advance. And little did I know it, it was. So instead of catching a glimpse of Matt Lauer (and Cody), Nick and I ventured up Fifth Avenue to the what I consider classic New York: FAO Schwarz! This was one of my favorite stops of the day, getting to see the original store off Fifth and seeing all of the old toys. It made me desperately want to visit New York at Christmas, imagining what FAO, Bergdorfs and the Plaza would look like doused in snow. But in reality, it is summer, and I was sad to learn just how many kids weren’t at FAO, but out at Apple. At that moment, I felt a very New York feeling: nostalgia.

Although Nick and I had quite the random day of exploring New York (mostly due to the weather and museums closing early on Saturdays), I enjoyed the confidence of knowing how to take Nick around and which streets to turn on and which subway to take; I wasn’t lost, and I wasn’t a tourist anymore. Seeing as this is one of my last posts in New York, it just goes to show how far I’ve come this summer and what I’ve learned. I might be an angrier walker on the street now, but I had a blast exploring New York, the United Nations and meeting new friends. If only it could be May again…. oh, hell, there comes that nostalgia thing again. I guess I am just a real New Yorker now. Or at least here’s hoping!

-Harriet White


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