86th and 97th

A few months ago, my two-decade-long-downtown-resident boss asked me what Harlem was like. Yesterday, she inquired about the cultural scene in Williamsburg. A few weeks ago, she asked me for travel tips on visiting Central Park. For reals? I’m your NYC tour guide now?

Before I moved to this fair island, I had no idea how strictly Manhattanites remained within their own neighborhoods. I just assumed the greatest of everything was within an arm’s reach, and everybody accessed it with ease. But, it’s not true. Most NYC residents don’t walk past the Lipstick Building every week or sit on the fountain at Lincoln Center three times a month. I do. But, I am not most NYC residents. I am the resident tourist.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand where they’re coming from. I understand what an extreme bother it is to travel up to 74th Street from Houston, and how easy it would be for the chocolate chip cookies at Levain Bakery to remain as rare a delicacy to me now as they were when I lived in Virginia. But, I ain’t from around here, and I’m seeing most of this for the first time. I’m gonna play until the sun goes down.

Manhattan is my neighborhood, and I want to know every corner of it. Oh sure, I’ll only ever have a cursory knowledge of Upper Manhattan and a slight familiarity with Alphabet City, but these are places I would never have trodden if not for my itchy feet. I’m going to scratch the itch and get to know them as well as I can.

There is much to see and always more to be seen. And, I don’t care how far away it is from Midtown.

 

Streets Walked: 118th St. to Park to 37th St. to 8th Ave. to 58th St. to Lexington Ave. to 44th St. to 1st Ave. to 64th St. to York to 79th St. to East End to 86th St. to 5th Ave. to 86th St. to Columbus to 75th St. to Central Park West to 97th Traverse to 1st Ave. to 115th St. to Pleasant Ave. to 117th St. (woah.)

Sights Seen: Timely Woody Allen quote on curtain at 58th St. Library

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