On 20th Street just off of Park Avenue South is my favorite restaurant in New York City, Gramercy Tavern. There are actually two sections in this establishment—the restaurant and the tavern. The restaurant is expensive and often the wait is long to reserve a table; however, the tavern serves on a walk-in basis, and has a welcoming and warm atmosphere. With magnificent floral arrangements and creative cocktails, Gramercy Tavern provides a great ambience whether you’re there alone or with friends. I have seen famous folk wander in amongst the lively and stylish environment, and some of my own favorite New York memories were created here. There can be long waits on Friday and Saturday nights; however, Gramercy Tavern is also open for lunch, a normally less busy time to come.
7. Walk Through Central Park
It may seem like a cliché, but a walk through Central Park, no matter the season, is a must. Part of what makes New York City great is the park. Created in 1857, Central Park is iconic in film. No matter how sophisticated you are, walking through the park and seeing things you have seen on the screen is a thrill. Plus, you never know who you will see. I waved to Woody Allen in the park, who waved back—good times. The bridle trails are great for jogging, and the Shakespeare Garden is an inspiration in spring and summer.
8. Linger at Any Coffee Shop in SoHo
The SoHo neighborhood in Manhattan, fashionable, exclusive, and artistic, is worth your time. With numerous boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants, it’s great to shop if you have the money, and great to window-shop if you don’t. When it’s time for a break, linger at one of SoHo’s many coffee shops. It won’t be long until someone interesting walks through the door. Some of the coffee shops feature community tables—perfect for the person travelling alone.
9. Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge
To really get a feel for the various characters in New York, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. You can find everyone from the person walking to work to a man with a pet snake on one shoulder and a boom box on the other. It’s invigorating, and you’ll feel like you’re part of the pulse of the city.
10. In Pleasant Weather, Eat Lunch on the Steps of The New York Public Library on 5th Avenue
If you want to feel the rhythm of the workforce, go to The New York Public Library on 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan at lunch. A business district, Midtown features the hurried employee looking for a reprieve during day. People with their takeout lunches relax in the sun on the steps of the library. Behind the library is Bryant Park—another great place to go at lunch where you can find people playing chess. There were once so many pigeons, that the city hired a falconer to release his bird at lunch to shew away the pigeons; the only problem was that the hawk decided one day to pick up what it saw as lunch—someone’s Chihuahua! Needless to say, the falconer plan was scrapped.
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Sona Schmidt-Harris – Follow me on Twitter @Sonag2000