Murica. I have to admit I have not ventured to a whole lot of places in the land of the free. New York was a definite must go to city and that’s where my boyfriend and I went, in addition to a short stint in Philadelphia. Since my last post was so fun to write, I thought I would continue the “cities as your family member” series. The concept is so accurate though if you think about it! Every city truly does have their own thriving personality, and unearthing that is essential for any prospective traveler.
New York: The Robust, Brash and Sassy Gay Uncle.
New York struck me as that loud and proud uncle who is always the life of the party, has big dreams, but tends to usually stick to people who are just like him. He will take no shi* from nobody and will tell you straight to your face. New York has got the sass, class, flash , and perhaps some cultural clash? In just over 5 days this dynamic metropolis epicenter gave me that first impression. It has no patience with naive tourists or newbies that visit. Just the sheer size of it is overwhelming, but each district is so distinct from one another, more so than any other city I’ve been to. The distinction or more so compartmentalization within the city is especially evident where various ethnic races reside. Larger concentrations of Latinos, and African Americans seemed to conglomerate in the Brooklyn area, which seemed drastically different when you enter Manhattan where cultures were more integrated. Of course, this is completely an outsider’s perspective that only a first time visitor can notice. That moment was where I realized and appreciated how Toronto’s profuse array of cultures inextricably intertwine and integrate with one another so seamlessly. Canada prides itself as the “cultural moasic”, where every inhabiting culture just fits with each other with it’s imperfect corners. I love this metaphor, but I would much more prefer to call Canada like a huge bowl of sangria mixed with a smorgasbord of colourful fruits instead! That picture is much more fun to imagine, don’t you think?
Shake Shack is Where it’s at.
You haven’t had a real good fast food burger, until you’ve been to the shack. Back when I was still in my New York virgin days, countless people told me that if I go to New York a visit is not complete without trying Shake Shack. I was skeptical at first, considering I’m not a fan of regular fast food anyways but apparently it was an experience that would be tragic if missed. Juicy and very fresh! You can’t go wrong having a meal there, unless I guess if your vegetarian, then you would want to stay away at all costs.
The Grand Holiness of Pizza.
If you’re close to the Brooklyn area be sure to check out Grimaldi’s pizza! Literally just under the bridge, you will be guaranteed delcious pizza every time! Although locals say this is not the BEST pizza in New York, if you’re a tourist on a time schedule and in the area! Highly recommend this place! Take a que from the long line (no pun intended whatsoever) that it will be good!
Williamsburg was probably my favourite area during the 5 days spent in New York. Apparently it was the original hangout spot for hipsters but it’s still maintained that eclectic feel, just without the saturation of them around every corner. Highly recommend checking it out and just perusing through the many vintage and unique bars that you may find yourself in! One type of unique bar that is sprouting up more and more particularly in this distinct neighbourhood is the pizza bar. Yes. Behold the amazing conception of a free mini pizza complimentary of a drink! Mind you it is not a mind blowing pizza but hey that free food tastes pretty darn great! Be sure to check out places such as The Charleston to get a taste of exactly what I’m talking about.
Philladelphia: The Gregarious and Warm Open Brother who’s an American History Lover.
It may have only been a 2 hour bus ride from New York but the two cities couldn’t have been more different from each other. We only stayed in the city of “brotherly love” for 2 days but I did kinda get where the slogan was coming from. People here seemed more welcoming to tourists and willing to help out a newbie in need.The vibe there was a bit more chill, a bit more go with the flow.
From the cobblestone streets, the smell of horse manure wafting through the air, to the brick buildings, Philadelphia’s sights and smells take you back to imagining what life was like back in the good old days of Colonial America. The streets are literally like a walking outdoor museum. Everywhere you look there is some sort of historically significant building with a small sign describing the context behind it.
Of course the city is famous for the acclaimed show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. Philly has a pretty terrific bar scene, especially along Market Street and the Old City. Mac’s Tavern is a definite pilgramige for anyone who is even the slightest fan of the show. The popular local watering hole was formed by 2 of the costars, Rob and Kaitlyn McElhenney and you can see their photos adorned along the walls. Down to earth vibes only emanate the joints here. No snobby socialites can be seen around this side of the tracks… especially hipsters they can just turn around and saunter right back to New York.