One thing that living in New York this summer has reaffirmed to me is this: I hate the Subway. I hate, loathe, and abhor it, to be more precise. One, it’s summertime, so it’s super hot and sweaty (making you look absolutely lovely when you turn up at work). Two, it’s dirty and gross. I’m sorry, New York, but one place where almost every other major city in the world (especially DC) beats you is in Subway cleanliness. Three – and this one is my fault – I have the bad habit of absentmindedly getting on an express train when I really need a local, only to realize the error of my ways when I see my destination go whooshing by me.
Despite these challenges, I have to ride the Subway almost every day. But whenever possible, I walk to where I need to go. Sometimes it’s a specific destination; other times, I just walk around and explore different parts of the city. In my humble opinion, seeing this city on foot is the way to go. Rather than exiting from an underground cave, completely disoriented about your location, walking gives you a sense of the city and where its neighborhoods and important spots are located. It lets you stumble upon cool spots and hidden gems you otherwise wouldn’t have known about. And, most importantly, it doesn’t involve clinging to a metal pole while sandwiched between people with varying levels of personal hygiene standards.
And so recently (two Sundays ago, to be exact), I took one of the long walks I so love, just because. Here are some of the places I stopped.
First up, I walked from my neighborhood (Gramercy Park) down towards the East Village, stopping for a slice of pizza at Artichoke Basile. True story: I wanted the famed artichoke slice, but it was $4.50, and I literally only had $4.00 in cash. Pathetic (but, the pizza margherita was tasty nonetheless):
Next, I walked down 2nd Avenue for a while, pausing to take this picture of Professor Thom’s (one of two “Michigan” bars in Manhattan):
I continued down 2nd Avenue and stumbled upon a 16 Handles. Treat yo self, I thought (since I was taking a long walk and all), and I stopped in for some salted caramel fro yo. By the way, 16 Handles salted caramel frozen yogurt is the best fro yo flavor known to man. Don’t even challenge me on this one.
When I got to St. Mark’s Place (8th), I turned and headed west down the street, which is one of my favorite spots in Manhattan – there’s such a fantastic energy there. I made my way to Astor Place, where the signposts are covered in really cool (and super Instagram-able) mosaic tiles:
Astor Place is also home to what I like to call “The Poor Man’s Cube.” Meaning, it looks an awful lot like the Cube in Ann Arbor, but it’s smaller and you can’t spin it. Nice try, New York.
I continued walking west (and then a bit south) to Washington Square Park, which is a wonderful place to hang out but which, no matter how many times I visit it, will always be the place where Sally dropped off Harry. And if you don’t get that reference, then we cannot be friends.
After hanging out around the park for awhile, I headed north on 5th Avenue and then cut over at 14th to Union Square (which is one of my least favorite spots in New York – way, way too crowded).
And then I continued walking north until I got back “home.” All in all, the perfect evening strolling around Manhattan. New York, I love you more and more every day.