NYC As An Outside Local
I was born in Connecticut just outside of New York City. Since before I was born my dad worked in lower Manhattan. I have been coming to NYC for day trips since before I can remember. Even though my sister’s mom and I have moved a couple of times. Now residing in Park City Utah, my dad still lives in Connecticut. He lives in the same house and works the same job in Manhattan. My older sister lived in Manhattan for eight years, during that time I only spent a couple of nights staying over at her apartment.
May 2014 I had my first experience of being a tourist, although I had already seen all the big attractions in NYC from day trips throughout my life. My sister Jamie and I came to stay at our dad’s house with our two best mates from England. They wanted to see everything- and everything within the week we were there. True tourists with accents and we all of a sudden became the locals touring them around. The first days were totally amazing and fun. But quickly started to become stressful for Jamie and me. Although we LOVED hanging out with our friends, being in the city trying to navigate multiple attractions a day all over Manhattan caught up to us.
After a couple of late-night trains rides back to the suburbs and early morning rides back into the city. We decided we needed to stay in a hotel for one night since we had an early morning Gossip Girl Tour. Yes on a tour bus, with a guide, showing us where in the city Gossip Girl has been featured during the 10 year TV show series. One of the most touristy things to do in the city. Before even making it to the hotel we stopped by water street to have lunch with my dad and then went to look at the 9/11 memorial. Jamie got so stressed and overwhelmed with the crowds and tourists she started having a total mental breakdown. She lost it, yelling and crying with a migraine, she started throwing things out of our sleepover bag to find her phone charger and go check in to the hotel.
I can now truthfully say my underpants have been on the streets in Manhattan… Maybe not my most advertising note. But every time we talk about it we can’t stop laughing. We stuck out the next day and ended up having a blast. After going back to the suburbs we decided the last day our friends could go in by themselves and we would go paddleboarding with our oldest sister and dad.
This time for the first time ever I am acting like a New Yorker. Staying with a family with two kids, both parents with good careers, in a spacious three-bedroom apartment two blocks from the central park (my favorite spot in the city) on the upper west side. For me this is the type of NYC trip I love. I love the little things about NYC, more of them off the tourist map location. Central Park is one of my favorite spots in the city (no kidding the country girl likes the trees and grass) Yes I do, but it is more than just that.
The fact that in this overpopulated concrete jungle of every type of person imaginable you can find peace, nature, relaxation, and alone time. A place where tourists roam with cameras and everyone speaks with a different language. Locals find a nice quiet spot to read a book or do homework. I love to people watch, maybe a little weird but don’t worry I never follow them or creep. But I love to learn about people, pick up on their cultures, observe their styles, and guess what part of the world they are from.
The first morning of staying in Manhattan I left the apartment and got a scone and tea from my favorite place in the city, Alice’s Tea Cup. And it happened to be on the same block of the apartment. Then walked straight to the park to sit on a bench beside the lake, read my book, drink my tea, and eat my scone. I would not consider myself a local and neither would New Yorkers but sitting in the park having my breakfast and reading. None of those camera glued tourists would think I was anything else.
I believe money doesn’t buy you happiness. In New York especially it sure can buy you a much different life. It is crazy the differences of class in such a big city of New York. In a rural town pretty much all the kids go to the same schools, the same parks, on the same sports teams. The kids who have eight-bedroom homes might go on more vacations than the kids who do not but in all reality, these kids grow up with similar childhood and opportunities. In New York, it is a totally different world. Not only is it a different part of the city but these worlds never connect. The kids go to different schools, different parties, take different transportation and have different opportunities. They might be equally happy or unhappy but the worlds are not even close to equal.