As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m a New Yorker through and through. I’ve lived in Queens in the same familiar house all of my life. When I was little, my parents would take me and my brother into the city to see Broadway plays and while I loved the plays, I think I was enamored with the skyscrapers and bustling crowds even more. Unfortunately for me however, our visits came to an end after we discovered that trips into the city gave my mother headaches. She would get a headache on every single single trip. And I do mean every. single. trip.
As fate would have it though, I ended up attending high school in the city. Now you would think that my constant exposure to Manhattan would somehow lessen the charm that it had over me but I must report that this was simply not true. I’m pretty sure my biggest fantasy in high school was just doing all of the stereotypical New York tourist things just for the fun of it. However, those tourist activities are normally very expensive and I was more than content to just be in the city hanging out with friends rather than being swindled blind like the poor unsuspecting tourists that don’t know any better. All this being said, you can imagine how happy I was when I was finally able to fulfill my dream of pretending to be a tourist for the day. It all started last Friday with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, followed by a lunch at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, and ending with a stroll through Dumbo, Brooklyn. The weather, may I just say, was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining and it was a wonderfully warm day – not too hot so that you might want to drag yourself to the nearest body of water and throw yourself in just to cool down. The walk over the Brooklyn Bridge was quite nice. Every now and then, my friend Claudia and I, would stop to take pictures (and selfies) and enjoy a bit of the view along the way. The pedestrian walkway was pretty crowded with people – it was a mix of New Yorkers who had the same idea that we did, New Yorkers who were in a rush to get somewhere (which I don’t really understand – if it’s that urgent take public transportation), and the real tourists who were in awe of everything around them and would frequently stop to take pictures. I was surprised to see, even though I probably should not have been, to see a lot of street vendors lining the way selling their wares and artwork. There were a few of them selling almost identical work in close proximity – to those vendors I can only wish luck. Towards the end of our walk on the bridge, we were graced by the presence of a group of university guys walking almost directly on our tails. If we had come to a sudden stop they would have most definitely bumped into us without being able to stop themselves. I felt that I must mention them in this post because they seemed very much a part of our experience after having been so close to us that there were times that I heard their loud, obnoxious conversation over our own. I wish these obnoxious youth well in their endeavors. One can only hope that they learn sometime in the future what a respectable walking distance is.
Once of the bridge, Claudia and I made our way over to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Grimaldi’s, for those who are unfamiliar, stake claim to the coveted ‘Best Pizza in the City’ and can be found in many a New York City guidebook under ‘Places to Visit’. We soon learned that Grimaldi’s does not serve slices and only takes cash. Yup. If you want to eat at Grimaldi’s you better be hungry for an entire pie. And you better have the cash to pay for it. Anyway, being the famous little pizzeria that it is, there was a line of people extending down the sidewalk waiting for their table (because they also do not take reservations). Claudia and I almost left because we were hungry and there were other places that didn’t have a line extending down the sidewalk but we stuck it out like troopers just to catch a taste of “New York City’s Best Pizza’. And why do they call themselves the best pizzeria in NY? Because each pizza is made in a coal oven which apparently does something for the crust or something (Admittedly, I don’t really care what they make it in…as long as it tastes good). And so the verdict: the pizza was alright. Not mind-blowing like all the reviews boast. I feel like I’ve had better pizza in other places. Grimaldi’s pizza was certainly not bad – it was great – but it was also not the best pizza I’ve ever had. I do encourage people to get on over there though for the experience. The atmosphere of the restaurant and the quick service makes the trip worth your while. <img
Bellies full, Claudia and I head over to some park with a great view the NYC skyline where there were a line of folks waiting for the NY ferry. Everything about the park was gorgeous although I was a little put off by the fact that they were selling ice cream for $4 a scoop. That’s so unreasonable! Let’s suffice it to say that I did not get any ice cream that day. Even though I really, really wanted to. I can’t remember the name of the park (curse my memory!) but if you ever come across it or think you can find it based on the clues in this post please note that they do not allow dogs or furniture on their lawns. That’s right. Leave your sofas at home.
Anyway, the day ended with a nice stroll around Dumbo, Brooklyn where there were a lot of nice expensive looking eateries and small shops around. On the particular day we went there was a Come Out and Play Festival that some people were setting up for and I do believe it was basically an event where adults could play like little children. We did not attend because I had to head home but we were able to watch some employees make a fool out of themselves while they worked.
So that was my ‘Pretend to be a tourist Day’! It was great, and relatively inexpensive might I add. I now feel inclined to have more days like this. It’s strangely refreshing to be a tourist in your own city. Maybe next I’ll hop on a boat to the Statue of Liberty, who knows? Catch up with me next Thursday to see what happens next!