into suitable, Travels

From Brooklyn to Manhattan and back and the best time to travel

September 3, 2015
The high-rise buildings along Chicago River

I don’t quite know yet how this post is going to pan out. Because I’ll need to rely mostly on memory to regale you with stories on America’s iconic cities. Ok, let’s put it this way, while I’ve been living here all my life, please bear this in mind. The USA is one heck of a large country. Russia, by the way, is the world’s largest in terms of landmass. But most of that land is uninhabitable anyway. Unless you’d like to take a grim tour of Siberia and Chernobyl. And within the world’s busiest and economically successful country are over fifty federal states. Some of us say with great pride; long live democracy and the freedom of speech and all of that.

And collectively, across all state lines, there are over two hundred cities. So where can one small American girl begin to tell her own (true) story about the land she loves dearly and the cities and places she’d still love to visit, apart from those she’s been too. In her own pursuit of happiness – this saying is enshrined in our Constitution, by the way – she’d like to visit most, if not all of the cities. So setting all challenges aside for now, relying faithfully on memory, experience and personal knowledge (not selective), let’s take a quick, surreptitious tour. The writer is slight off the hook here because there’s not a snowball’s chance that she’ll even be able to cover ten cities in the time and space left to her here.

Yes, I know, the introduction was already too long. Couldn’t be helped, I was still trying to clear the cobwebs and gather my thoughts. Let’s begin and try our best then. Did we happen to mention snowballs? Thankfully, the ice has melted and now we are well and truly into the nippy throes of spring. Being a Central Park fan, this happens to be my favorite time of the year. Now, many of you, particularly those from Europe, might not mind winter so much. You’re used to it. But think about it, as a guest in our country, why would you want to spend your vacation time in another region’s winter of harsh and epic proportions.

Traveling city to city by road or air is not a good idea during our winter months. We are likely to endure harsher forms of extreme weather in the future as global warming and climate change takes its toll on us. So, do yourself a favor, travel only during the spring and summer months. Depending where you are, Dallas and Austin in Texas, in particular, you might want to be a little careful. It gets nasty hot down there. Now, I’ve been to Miami, and that’s entirely a different story altogether.

Taking nothing away from the cowboys, I happen to like the eclectic and mainly Latino cultural vibe down there. So, while you’re soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the late evening sea breeze, you can easily forget that you were on the boil earlier in the day. All season round, the weather is a lot more pleasant in California’s seaside cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. I’ve been down there and have the post cards to prove it. I mentioned the cultural and architectural landscapes of Frisco and how much I enjoyed it in an earlier post. Just out of curiosity, I did hop up to LA.

I only wanted to take a quick drive by Sunset Boulevard but landed up in the more suburban Santa Monica and ended up staying there for the weekend. I dearly wanted to travel further up to Seattle, but at that stage there simply wasn’t enough time. But on vacation time, you have enough space to get there and to Eugene, Oregon. Now, Eugene, and even Boulder in Colorado (not too far from Denver), is something of a holy grail for me. Remember my earlier reminiscing on my short-lived athletic career? Apart from the famous athletes and road runners living there to train during the off-seasons, you could also visit the factories and design centers where some of the world’s most famous sneakers (athletic, running shoes) are manufactured.

Time’s almost up, so I’d better close off with a note on my home town. I grew up in Brooklyn. While our neighborhoods have been upgraded quite remarkably over the years and many more folks from around the world, never mind America, have moved in, much of Brooklyn’s old-world cultural and architectural charm still remains. If you like your sidewalk cafes and bistros and food markets a little more quaint and authentic, you can bypass the inner city and its surroundings and spend a little time with the locals here. As I finish this post, I’m still stuck in Manhattan with my boxes and soon to be covered furniture. I can tell you that the restaurants downstairs are at a level that easily matches the most famous bistros of Europe, particularly those in Paris.

But even for a lower to middle income American girl like me, prices are exorbitant. If money was no option to you, I’d come on over. If you love architecture as much as I do, you’ll enjoy yourself walking by many iconic skyscrapers lining Manhattan’s avenues. Of course, you have to go up to the top of the Empire State Building. It’s a matter of cultural pride and heritage to us, so, as far as we are concerned, you haven’t properly visited New York until you’ve met the old lady, the Statue of Liberty herself.

From the air, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the statue as your plane makes its way down to JFK. But do me a favor, and for this you don’t even need a dollar, go to Central Park, one of the world’s most famous urban city green lungs. I’ve learned from experience, city living never needs to be grey when you’ve got such beautiful natural surroundings right on your doorstep.

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