“Blog Post Type: Expert Opinion Piece”
I’m a walker. To experience New York City by foot is the authentic way to see the sights and sounds of this robust city. Ask any New Yorker. They’ll tell you. Knowing this, I fit in — not as a genuine New York City dweller, but as a pseudo, quasi look-alike. But that’s ok. I’m from Chicago. I know, understand, and fully appreciate the value of two good feet residing in comfortable shoes hitting the pavement towards the unknown.
My trusty feet will take me through the door for drinks of lust, pleasure, passion, or any other sexually laced drink at OralFix Aphrodisiac Cafe at the Museum of Sex or my nose may navigate my legs towards Agozar, a Cuban joint serving happy hour. Either way, I have no set plan and alternating it for the sake of interest, albeit general or morbid, is not only ok but highly encouraged.
Rambling down a cab infested street while traversing alongside bags-in-hands shoppers with their minds set on their fifth pair of shoes or third clothing bargain-buy in an hour is everyday life in the big city. It’s no easy task leather tramping all day through, around and in-between the vast hardened consumerist, leisurely wanderers, and business suits rushing to their next meeting.
Photo by Tom Mullen via Trover.com
I’m an open-minded, free-spirited soul. Wiser than my years dictate. Although these traits may seem noble and admirable, navigating large crowds is intimidating at times. For some, the mere thought of having to walk down the sidewalk through hundreds if not thousands of people to experience, take part in, and be a part of a local scene or culture is downright petrifying. Time for brutal honesty – this where the magic happens. The magic always appears outside your comfort zone. This is where one comes alive.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we are social creatures. We yearn for connections, meaningful conversations, learning, sharing, and growing. This can happen on a chaotic sidewalk in Midtown Manhattan. I have map in hand, plans for the day or evening somewhat set in stone – and then a question arises. How good is my research on this place where I’m going? Is the food as good as advertised? Are the drinks as tasty as stated on a website?
Photo by Sufiyan Saeed via Trover.com
I’m the type of person who will walk up to a stranger in the middle of street and ask for recommendations for the best ethnic places for food if I’m questioning myself about my research. This simple gesture of respect is part of experiencing the sights and sounds of New York City. I know I’ll learn at a museum, eat tantalizing food, and walk distances to experience local music and art, but to engage in a small conversation where people’s faces light up by sharing their experiences is bliss.
After a day of tramping the streets of New York City, the Hudson Hotel will be my calling where I’ll kick my feet up on the bed with a smile knowing I became intimate with the Big Apple traveling by foot.
About the Writer
Tony is a freelance travel writer and photographer, roller coaster enthusiast and self-proclaimed Sudoku master. He is based in the Midwest U.S. and blogs at The Walking Traveler. He is working with Hipmunk on their #HipmunkCityLove Project.
Feature photo by Stills ‘n’ Stories via Trover.com