My Winter Wonderland
What can I say…. Winter is winter…. The cold air, the snow, the slush, the ice, the salted streets, the bitter cold air and more cold air. It is not always the most comfortable for those who live in Winter stricken areas. However for me, I don’t, I live in Orlando, Florida. In Orlando, we have Winter for about 2 weeks a year. Not kidding. Now although I am originally from New York and I feel like I have paid my cold weather dues, I do still long for the cold weather from time to time. So what do the Mrs. and I do? We travel back to my hometown of Manhattan, New York to enjoy the icy city. I love it. I truly do, but in a large part because I know that I get to leave when I am over it leaving friends and family to suffer through it.
Now I say that it takes me all of about half an hour to pack, my wife who I adore takes just a bit longer, but in my experience, traveling anywhere that is cold translates into one a simple point. Layers, dress in layers. So bring your basics, but make sure they are items that you can comfortably layer. Why? Because as you travel from place to place, you either tend to warm up during the walk or you need to remove a few when you arrive a particular destination. That’s just how it works. You don’t take off a heavy winter coat and only have a t-shirt on under it, not a smart idea. So bundles of layers work best. Therefore, when you packing be sure that this concept is the only thing on your mind. Fashion is secondary, well almost secondary especially when traveling to a renown fashionably chic city like NYC.
Once I get to New York I always stay at my grandmothers place. Visiting with my grandmother and aunt is always a pleasure. It is a visit that yields the added bonus of my cherished childhood recipes of my grandmother. Grandma’s cooking is unlike any other, the renewed memories that come with each bite is a love distinct from any other love. Judge me if you like, one taste and then you too may look for an air mattress to vacation there too! Once we arrive by taxi to grandma’s it is the train system that point forward. The train in New York City is easily one of the most efficient modes of travel in the city, heck probably one of the most efficient train systems in the world. At first glance, those Subway maps can look intimidating, but give it a chance, you can get anywhere in NYC using the train. Best part is that for $2.75 a ride that is quite the deal! You can always try a taxi or Uber, except traffic can be the deterrent, and rush hour surge pricing can be ridiculous. Perfect example, I was on 34th street getting out of Macy’s and wondered if I should take Uber to go to 79th street for some Gray’s Papaya (amazing hot dogs). The Uber estimate when I checked at that time would have cost me $72 to go roughly 35 blocks. Yeah no deal, we walked, we could have taken the train, yet wifey wanted to see more than the train cars.
In New York City, the allure is proximity. There is always something relatively nearby. By that I mean, if you want Chinese food, it’s probably a block away. Starbucks is almost every 5 blocks, major supermarkets are on every block, and when you consider bodegas and food markets as options, it is safe to assume food is not an issue. You want activities? NYC has amazing museums, parks, and shops are around every corner. Even those searching for retreat from such a dense and highly populated city has their retreat rom the many large parks or the most popular park in the city, Central Park. Those who are sport enthusiasts can go to Chelsea Piers and work on their swing, swim, skate or just enjoy the West Side views. Point is there is something for everyone, and then just when you thought they couldn’t add more to the island they do!
Like any major metropolitan city, NYC is a place that I strongly suggest you heed the simply suggestion of always remain aware of yourself and your surroundings. Keep your belongings close. Ladies, watch those purses, and guys careful with those back pocket wallets. I’m not saying don’t have a good time, however just don’t become so immersed in the experience that you become careless. Trust me, any big city is full of wonderfully amazing people. On the same token, for every 500 good there is one bad, and those are the ones to remain vigilant . Simply put, don’t display your wealth nor should you allow yourself to become an easy target because of simple precautions not taken.
Look, I’m a native New Yorker, and I love my hometown. The city is electric! It truly is the city that never sleeps. I have been all over the world and New York will always have my heart. It’s a tough city which hardens you, and I don’t mean that it turns you into a sour and angry person. I mean that it makes you a person who values time, space, culture, but does so all the while creating a tough shell. New Yorkers aren’t the easiest people to deal with as they just don’t take crap from anyone. Nonetheless, when you are in a city that moves as fast as the speed of light and never sleeps, one has to assimilate to a certain degree in order survive their surroundings. I encourage anyone who hasn’t been NYC to travel there immediately. It is without a doubt the center of the world! Well, at least in my estimation. I will say you can add the entire city to the Wonders of the World list! Safe travels.