Central Park bench:
The wisdom of New York city.

A few days ago, I *almost* wrote a story, and it started like this:

These vagabond shoes 
They are longing to stray 
Right through the very heart of it 
New York, New York…
(New York, New York lyrics)
I was still in New York city, then. I felt like sharing my excitement with you. The spotty WiFi connection at my hotel did not allow it. Dommage. For a few days, I was a tourist in New York, back in the big city I love, as Manhattan was getting ready for the Thanksgiving celebrations and the Holidays. The weather cooperated, and I was greeted every single morning by crisp blue skies as I stepped outside. This is a privilege we, Seattleites, real or imported, never take for granted, especially in November. Merci, New York, for your warm welcome. It was great to see you, too.

There have been many New York trips over the years for this French Girl. This visit had been planned around a big event scheduled the last evening. I was determined to do things a bit differently this time, and stayed away from major attractions, popular locations, museums; in short, from all the places where long lines of tourists would be forming. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a tourist, either in New York city or anywhere else, but it is a tourist’s privilege to decide how they want to approach a city.

This time, I picked a theme: les quartiers. Neighborhoods. New York is a city of neighborhoods or villages. Meatpacking district. Chelsea. East Village. West Village. Soho. Tribeca, and more. All I needed to do was select a section of the city in the morning. Hop on a Subway, Metrocard in hand. Walk, often for hours. Lose myself in the heart of a neighborhood. Left. Right. Left. Another right, pourquoi pas? Let’s see where my feet take me… Busy street. Deserted street. Wonderful, wonderful New York streets…

West Village
East Village
East Village 

Look up at buildings. Always find the time to look at the buildings. Buildings, like fingerprints, tell the story of a city.

In a big city, locals rush. They work. They commute. They run, looking straight ahead. They don’t smile. Out of town visitors call them rude. Man up, out of town visitors! New Yorkers are not rude. Parisians are not rude. They are busy tackling life in the big city. They have no time to hold the tourist’s hand. You, the tourist, are the lucky one because you have all the time in the world. Stay out of the locals’ way. And take your time, because you can. Look around. Notice details in the great urban landscape others may take for granted.

More New York wisdom…
Tree in Central Park
Central Park
Central Park bench
East Village building
Inside the Chelsea Market
Washington Square Park

Some visitors insist on being part of “it,” the life of the city. They want to feel as if they belong. Weekends are a good place to catch locals while – at last – they slow down and enjoy their city. Parks are often a good choice. Parks are precious in crazy, big cities. Nobody knows it better than New Yorkers. Just go to Central Park on a sunny Saturday or Sunday morning and watch them at play.

Central Park
Central Park

I loved visiting New York’s newest park, the High Line. An amazing walk above an amazing city, built on old, elevated railroad tracks on Manhattan’s West Side, long retired, and recently brought back to life by committed volunteers in love with their neighborhood.

The High Line
The old tracks are still there…
A large window, and bleachers so New Yorkers can watch their favorite show:
New York, the city that never sleeps.
Enjoying New York city from above…

All great cities have trendy neighborhoods, and neighborhoods are trendy because locals made them. New York city is no exception. I went to Soho soon after I arrived, and returned a couple of days later. Soho has it all: light (no skyscrapers there,) shops, restaurants, wonderful architecture, and many, many New Yorkers. In other words, Soho offers excellent people-watching, a favorite pastime of mine.

Phew. I don’t know about you, but these vagabond shoes are tired just reminiscing about all these wonderful spots, and the hours of walking it took to explore them. Better to take a break. I will be back next week with Part 2 of this story. Will you join me?

A bientôt.

These vagabond shoes need a rest. Until next time… 

All photos by French Girl in Seattle

Please do not use, reprint or Pin without permission.

— French Girl in Seattle


 The second part of New York, New York is here.



Véronique - France with Véro
Véronique of France with Véro

Véronique of France with Véro

Vero shares her homeland weekly on social media with virtual tours, photo essays, live events and other publications at France with Vero. Learn more.

Or click a link below to read the next (or previous) post...allons-y !

Leave a Comment

Join la Mailing List

Be the first to read stories and travel tips I don’t share anywhere else!

No spam, ever. That’s a promise. Visit the Privacy Policy.

Les Catégories