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USA, New York

Page supplied by 

Derek Loewen: 

Treeplanter, trouble maker, vagabond, musician and writer straight from the deepest darkest coldest centre of Canada. Currently living in Belgrade, Serbia.

Notable Attractions:

 

  • Central Park (Manhattan. Several subway stops)

  • Bronx Zoo (Bronx. Subway stop: Pelham Parkway)

  • Empire State Building/ Times Square (Manhattan. Midtown area) 

  • Yankee Stadium (Bronx. Subway Stop: 161st Street/Yankee Stadium)

There are few cities more dreamed about among travellers than New York. It’s possibly the most well represented city in the Western world. According to a New York Times article in March the metropolis’ population hit an all time high of 8.6 million last year. Every street tells a story, every story containing countless others.

I always knew I’d make it to New York someday, however under which circumstances remained unclear. Finally, while in Quebec I decided to give it a go. After buying a bike in Quebec City I cycled 1000km winding through the historical towns and snow covered peaks of the Adirondack mountains of Upstate New York. Safe to say the trip was as refreshing as it was arduous (especially at the border). Onwards now to the city “so nice they named it twice”, otherwise known as “The Big Apple”, or referred to by The Legend of Sleepy Hollow author Washington Irving as “Gotham”.

If old Irving were still around he’d implore you to check out Sleepy Hollow. It’s located north of Yonkers in Tarrytown but includes the famous Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and Kykuit, the hilltop estate belonging to the Rockefellers. There’s a proper town centre with plenty of restaurants and activities but be prepared to tackle some lushly steep Hudson River Valley hills in the town.

In the city itself I know each borough is amazing in their own right but I spent the majority of my time in Brooklyn. I only scratched the surface during the 3 days I was there but there are some fascinating suburbs nestled beside a bustling and forward thinking city centre. The hub of this nebula would be the trifecta of Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Library. The park has a market every Saturday and Sunday where the community meets up to try each others’ home grown food, herbal remedies and much more. 

The Brooklyn Museum suggests a general admission of $16 and for that you get a multi story anthem of the area’s history, struggles and triumphs including detailed exhibitions pertaining to ancient history, feminism and civil rights. The first Saturday of every month the museum opens their doors to the public for a live music dance fest with all exhibitions free of charge. Afterwards, hit Washington Ave. for some authentic Cajun eats at Lowerline (794 Washington) and some soul, gospel jams at The Way Station (683 Washington).  

Greenpoint was an area suggested to me by a friend and I ended up there three nights in a row. After seeing an indie concert in the acoustically angelic Park Church Co-op (129 Russell Street), I wandered the Manhattan Ave. area which is filled to the brim with local delis and themed bars for a reasonably priced outing. I recommend the Capri Club (156 Calyer St.) but remember to bring quarters for the vintage jukebox sitting in the corner aching to be played.  

For the sports fan there are too many teams to even name at several different levels. Something casual to recommend would be an NCAA College Basketball game. Long Island University in Brooklyn offers $10 tickets for their basketball and volleyball teams if you don’t want to break the bank.

Time to end this thing. I could write an entire novel on New York after only 4 full days, including some excerpts of hilarious stand-up comedy in Greenwich Village (The Lantern, 166 Bleecker) or the humorous banter that went on inside the boxing memorabilia bar Jimmy’s Corner (140 W 44th St, New York). If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the friendly and vibrant “City of Dreams”, head out your door, walk down the street and find your own story. You won’t be disappointed.