Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re enjoying a calorific dinner with loved ones – or if you’re in the UK, I hope you’re enjoying your Thursday.
Sadly, I’m in the office until 5pm. When I reached Astor Place this morning, it was a ghost town. But while I might grumble about working holidays and starting at 7am, I don’t think I’ll ever stop appreciating seeing the city before its daily madness. I love being the only one on the streets each morning. (And I intend to make up for it by eating plenty of pie later.)
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to reflect on a handful of places that I’m grateful for here in New York City. Now, of course, I am grateful for pretty much everything I’ve ever done here – including all of the 365 adventures I went on last year (well, maybe apart from the food poisoning), and I have a lot more to be grateful for than just places… so this is already flawed… but….
…here are a few that come to mind.
1 :: Little Italy. I know it’s a cesspool of tourists and bad pizza, but it gave me my first home here in New York City back in 2011. That bizarre apartment with glass doors allowed me to be right in the middle of the action as soon as I arrived. And while dodging Little Italy’s aimless visitors was a pretty grueling sport, its residents were always so welcoming and its awful t-shirts never failed to make me laugh.
2 :: Spring Lounge. This dive bar on the corner of Spring and Mulberry streets can be manky but I’ll always be thankful to it… because it’s where I met Ryan. Thanks, Spring Lounge! Plus the bartenders are great, there’s always a seat if you head there for an after-work drink and it’s right opposite Pomodoro, the pizza place mentioned above (which comes in handy after a few of their cheap G&Ts.)
What to do there: Head there on Wednesday for free hot dogs or at noon on Sunday for free bagels.
3 :: Myers of Keswick. Being an expat can be rubbish sometimes. After too long away, I start missing the most bizarre things, like roundabouts or the M&S tights department. But Myers of Keswick has a very extensive stash of British tuck that gets me nostalgic and keeps me sane.
What to do there: Make sure you try Tunnock’s Tea Cakes or homemade mince pies.
4 :: The Promenade. I love the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights – which gives an unrivaled view of the Manhattan skyline – because it always lets me take stock and marvel at how lucky I am to be here.
What to do there: Go at sunset. Or sunrise. Or at night. Or in the middle of the day. Anytime at all – it is always glorious.
5 :: The High Line. It encapsulates so many of the things I adore about New York (art, views, architecture) and I love how the creative restoration effort represents the care the city has for itself. I always appreciate any walk there.
What to do there: Grab your camera and snap away at the iconic street art you see from the walkway. (Oh, and be quiet for the locals please.)
6 :: The Cathedral of St John the Divine. Visiting the cathedral was the first time I got put in my place about American history. I can admit I’ve always been a snob about American history, which seems so recent to us Brits. But one step into the cathedral and I shut up. It is an astonishing work of art – and I don’t care what century it’s from.
What to do there: Take the vertical tour which takes you to the roof on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
7 :: The Blue Man Group Theater. After a bit of a rubbish day last year, I remember that I decided to treat myself to a last-minute ticket and – although I went on my own – I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. It was a reminder of something much bigger: that living in this city can be hard sometimes, but it also always offers you a remedy for your blues. (Am I getting too cheesy?)
What to do there: There’s nothing you can do but laugh.
8 :: Upstate. It’s easy to forget that New York is more than the city – and it’s easy to forget just how close it is to some of the most beautiful parts of the country. I love that living here has introduced me to quiet spots that are particularly beautiful in the autumn. You’re beautiful, New York.
What to do there: Hike, hike and hike.
9 :: Carroll Gardens. Being so far from home, I love that I’ve found a new one that feels really – well, me. I can’t wait to get back there every day.
What to do there: Jump off at the Bergen or Carroll Street stop and wander around the brownstone-lined streets before nipping into Henry’s Local for a cup of smooth coffee.
And 10 :: My blog! Yes, I’m so vain but I love this little place. I am so thankful for the adventures it has taken me on. I have many more exciting plans for it, and I’m grateful that it gives me a creative outlet – and a product that’s all mine.
And I’m thankful to you for reading!
Now, let me know what places you’re thankful for here in NYC – and have a very happy Thanksgiving!