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Vanessa Selbst

My New York City

I recently decided to give up my bi-coastal life, and have moved my US-base from Las Vegas back to New York City–Brooklyn, more specifically. I have lived in New York intermittently for a lot of my life, but haven’t been here with any regularity since I went to law school in 2008. I missed it: the yellow taxis, the skyscrapers, the masses of people, the food–there’s nothing quite like it. There’s life here. People are out in the streets, walking, playing, laughing, lounging. This exists on every block and this is why I could never get bored in New York. From the throngs of people on the subway, to the bodega clerk to the old Italian woman with the ancient Rottweiler, the environment is interactive, electric, and diverse. These people live here, and now I’m one of them again.

Admittedly, New York can be an intimidating city, but once you figure out a few basics, it stops being so scary and starts becoming a world of excitement to unlock, little by little. Here are some things I love to do in New York City.

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1. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Take the subway to York Street and get off in DUMBO. Hang out on a bench in Brooklyn Bridge Park and read a book, taking in the view of the iconic bridge, its neighbor, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Manhattan skyline. Then, weave through the masses of people as you make your way along the one-mile stretch of bridge across the East River. Stop half way through for amazing pictures and to read about the bridge’s construction.

2. Go to a museum. The Natural History Museum on 79th street is one of the largest in the world, and takes several days to really get through. The museum is located on Central Park, so conclude your visit by strolling along some of the park’s winding paths and appreciating the wildlife in the middle of a metropolis.

3. Visit the Highline. The Highline is an old elevated freight train line that fell into disrepair after they stopped using it in the 1950s. It’s been converted into a park, complete with various sitting areas, plantings, and views of the west side of Manhattan. It’s a great place for an evening stroll or an afternoon in the sun.

4. Catch a show at the Upright Citizens Brigade. This is a small theater that does cheap and hilarious improv shows nightly. Lots of super funny and famous folks have come up through this theater, and I, myself, took improv and sketch classes here in 2007.

5. Eat food. New York has about a bajillion restaurants that are little, independently owned and operated places. In order to find a good one, use Yelp. Unlike in other cities, where Yelp isn’t as widely used, in New York, it’s not uncommon for a place to have 500 reviews or more–pretty good sample size! Visit Chinatown for dumplings and Little Italy for everything (ironically, they’re on the same block). Eat pizza at Lucali.

6. Shop. Go to Union Square farmer’s market and/or Christmas market and buy some local produce or art. Go window shopping in SoHo, with quirky boutiques and dozens of artists selling paintings lining the streets.

7. Catch a professional sports game. It’s baseball season right now and while the Yankees have the most history, the Mets are my favorite baseball team. They play at the all-new Citi Field in Queens. Take the 7 train, packed with super fans in jerseys and orange and blue, all the way Mets/Willets Point Station. Eat a Nathan’s hot dog and drink a beer and (hopefully) watch the Mets win.

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