A Slice of New York: Wait it’s a state?

When I tell people that I’m from New York they immediately get so excited. “Wow, I loveeeee New York City!!!” But wait, it’s a STATE with 40 million people. I guess it’s kinda like when I just came and moved to England-  many Americans straight up act like England is only London. I’m like…. giant pause. I get it. I get it. I’m not travel or geography shaming. It’s natural to associate with things we are familiar with. But I hope to give you a few suggestions so next time you head to New York you expand your horizons and don’t think the only thing to do is go to New York City! There is room for so many activites in NY state. A huge shout out to my friends from my Facebook page who helped me answer what their favorite things to do were in Upstate!! Couldn’t have thought of everything without you. Writing this brings back so many fond memories and makes me miss home, especially the people that make it my home. No matter how far I go– New York is always so close to my heart.

My hometown– Syracuse, NY- I gotta show ‘Cuse some love. Although I hate the winters there, fall and summer are pretty amazing. And winter is cool for winter sport lovers (which I am not.) Although, I never plan on living back in Syracuse, it’s a wonderful place to visit and call home. The  best time to visit Syracuse is the fall– drive around and admire the changing leaves, apple picking at Beak and Skiff and make sure to eat all of the apple cider donuts and Honeycrisp apples. Trust me on this one. Pumpkin picking. Corn mazes. We have it all. If you can head up to the Syracuse University campus and watch a game at the Dome, go eat and drink on Marshall street or Armory Square. That is a blast. You have never seen so much orange in your entire life.

Food– When I brought my boyfriend to my hometown this summer, I had a list a mile long of food he MUST try. Just like NYC is famous for pizza and bagels- Upstate has some epic meals and specialities you can’t really get other places. Some of my favorites include: salt potatoes, Dinosaur BBQ(the original), Pastabilities, Gannons(best ice cream ever), chicken riggies, Just Donuts and of course– WEGMANS. I kid you not– my father gave my boyfriend a 40 minute tour of our local grocery store. If you have ever been to Wegmans, you understand. It is the best grocery store I have ever been to and I have to visit every time I go home. My Dad was touring us around every aisle, we were eating samples around every corner and  he was introducing us to all of his worker pals. It was a true initiation and sounds hilarious when I say it out loud.

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A Slice of NYC: My tips on the Big City

Sitting down to write a blog post on NYC is pretty intimidating. I am originally from New York(the state) but I have very strong ties to New York City as it’s where my parents met and fell in love, many of my family members still live and arguably my favorite city in THE WORLD. How could you really give a must do list when you can honestly do anything and everything. This summer I got to play tourist(and tour guide) in NYC showing my adorable english boyfriend the ropes. I haven’t shut up about New York since we started dating almost two years ago so I had to blow his mind. Here is what we crammed into 5 days and some additional tips from my insiders who have lived in the city for a long time. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this article!!

Photo cred: @thereelnickbell

Accommodation: Luckily I don’t really have to worry about this one because I casually couch surf between my brothers, childhood besties and college besties who live all around the area. But I highly suggest getting out of Manhattan!

Public transportation is accessible and Ubers are everywhere. The prices will be much better a little further out. I prefer Brooklyn to any area in NYC. It has so much charm, good food, funky art, a fun nightlife and it’s much less crowded than Manhattan. Sure, go see the hussle and bussle but if you have more than a night or two I would recommend staying in Brooklyn to get a broader perspective of what New York has to offer.

Brooklyn spots: Brooklyn Promenade, walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Museum,  Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, A raging warehouse party(usually promoted by word of mouth), Brooklyn Barge, Brooklyn Brewery. Drop in for a yoga class at Yoga to the People.

 

 

Classic NYC spots: Central Park (go to the reservoir on E 90th St.) & Time Square- Awesome experiences but don’t spend all your time there!!! There is so much more to see. The Freedom Tower & 9/11 museum, Washington Square Park, Bryant Park. Shopping on 5th ave(head to Madison Ave for the same shops but less people.) 

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Always American

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After living abroad in two different countries over the past couple of years and visiting numerous others I have gained a whole new insight about what it means to be an American. Usually I am long winded but today I want to keep it short and sweet. Today is a day in history that makes people around the world nostalgic and cognizant of a horrible tragedy that shook up America and the world as we knew it. Looking at the date, September 11th, always gives me a funny feeling in my stomach and brings thoughts of America, New York, my family and the incredible strength and resilience of the place I am proud to call home. Being an American abroad is an interesting hat to wear. I am greatly outnumbered and in the past two years I have spent on the road, I can count on two hands how many Americans I have met. I try to explain to my new friends from England, Australia, Canada, and basically all over Europe that traveling simply isn’t valued the same way in America. We don’t have “gap years”. I didn’t even know what a gap year was until I moved to South East Asia. Some of my American friends will read this and still not know. I am not saying that one way is right or wrong, but it simply is the way it is. Traveling for the vast majority of Americans is for 2-6 weeks of vacation, not a renowned lifestyle.

I have found that as an expat American I spend a lot of time answering questions, proving stereotypes wrong and explaining things that “we’ve only seen in the films.” I love being American and I love my country. Like any country we have many faults and we are held to an impossible standard due to the international spotlight we have held for decades but overall our ideals prevail and freedom remains paramount. I do everything in my power to enlighten everyone I encounter on how many beautiful people there are in America and represent the well educated, well cultured, middle class, open minded population who often get overlooked.  We are so much more than the Kardashians.

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I will save my criticisms for another day because today I simply want to honor the men and women who lost their lives and the millions of people left behind to pick up the pieces. It doesn’t matter where you come from if you were alive on September 11, 2001; you know where you were, how you found out and what you felt about it. Whenever the topic has been brought up with a group of friends from other countries, I can feel their genuine sympathy and empathy as human beings and members of our generation. Today I pause to be grateful for my life, my freedom, my country and my ability to create a life I love. I pause to remember all of the pain that this day brings for so many. We will truly never forget. Despite all of the superficial ways that America is portrayed in films, reality television and on the internet, I can genuinely say that September 11th is a day that represents the heart of America, the strength of it’s people and the ability to rise from the ashes.

refuse to let the hate and tragedy of that day outshine the light. The stories of the heroes who sacrificed everything, including their own lives, those are the stories that need to be told. The countless fathers who never made it home to their kids. The police officers, firefighters, military personnel, and ordinary Joes who gave their lives to save others, they deserve the spotlight. September 11th 2001 was the first day I saw my parents as vulnerable human beings. The first day I saw my dad cry and the first time I realized that some pain is simply too great to put into words. In my humble attempt, I hope I remind my fellow Americans how truly strong and beautiful our country is, especially our people. I hope for my international friends, you get an authentic representation of how today feels from the inside. For anyone who lost someone 14 years ago today, my heart goes out to you. I know the pain never fades but hopefully the fact that millions are here to feel that pain with you lightens the weight of the burden. We simply can’t survive events like this without sticking together and searching for the hope under the rubble. Today and ALWAYS, I am proud to be an American.

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