With people supposedly moving out of the city in (socially distant) droves, an uptick in violence, and everything fun either being shut down or restricted, the big question lately has been “Is it worth living in NYC?” After thinking about this carefully and concluding that I’m a NYC ride-or-die chick, I found another question worth considering: What do I want out of life in New York? Decades from now, when I look back at my life in New York, what do I want to have done here that I couldn’t have done anywhere else? All this soul-searching has resulted in the creation of my ultimate NYC bucket list. Hopefully, it can serve as a starting point for other NYC locals who plan to be here for the long-haul.
Complete all the classic tourist activities.
I know that New Yorkers pride ourselves on being above our city’s tourist attractions, but we’re actually missing out. These activities are high-rated for a reason, and they allow us to gain a new perspective on the city’s landmarks which we often take for granted. So give into the hype: watch the sunset from the Empire State Building. See how long you can keep your arm raised like the Statue of Liberty. We can’t let the tourists have all the fun.
Find go-to places for all the classic New York foods.
I don’t know about you, but I feel embarrassed when an out-of-towner asks me where they can get the best pizza or the best bagels and my mind draws a blank. The truth is that I haven’t ventured to enough restaurants to form an opinion worth sharing. I want to be one of those people who have tried every pizzeria in the vicinity and can confidently tell you that the dollar pizza joint will give you the best bang for your buck.
Find go-to places for all “exotic” cuisines.
Similar to how I know next to nothing about where to get the best classic New York food, I’m equally ignorant when it comes to knowledge of all the international cuisine NYC has to offer. It’s a crying shame that instead of having to hop on a plane to experience Russian food, I’m only a subway ride away from dozens of Russian restaurants, but I still have yet to try them.
Visit every museum at least once.
From world-class to quirky, NYC has a museum for nearly every interest. I don’t want to die without stepping foot into the Museum of Food and Drink Lab or the Waterfront Barge Museum, or Historic Richmond Town at least once.
Get chummy with the neighbors.
For a lot of people, myself included, life in New York is pretty lonely, and the forced isolation of the Covid-19 crisis has greatly exacerbated that. Since I can’t join a club right now and Bumble BFF seems a little suspect, the least I can do is start being friendly with my neighbors. Not only will I benefit from the increased human interaction, but also studies show that neighborhoods where people know each other tend to be safer. Since the average NYC neighborhood contains at least 60,000 residents, it won’t hurt to know a couple of faces.
Take neighborhood tours.
It’s funny how you can be in an area everyday and not really know much about it. That’s why I love neighborhood tours; they allow you to get to know places on another level. And afterward when you pass by these places again, they become more than buildings; they become settings of interesting stories.
Consciously buy from local small businesses.
Now, more than ever, I want to make sure I’m doing what I can to help out my fellow New Yorkers. If that means having to spend a bit more because the mom-and-pop version of an item is more expensive than the big box brand, so be it. Ya girl loves a deal, but she also loves touting products that were made in New York.
Know who my local representatives are and what they can do.
Yes, what the politicians in Washington, DC do matters, but it’s the people in City Hall that have a greater, more direct effect on my life. I ought to, at the very least, know their names so I can know whose name to be cursing when my area is the last one shoveled after a snowstorm or when the city takes weeks to clear out a fallen tree on my block.
Read one NYC-centric book a month.
Part of my love for NYC comes from growing up here and walking its streets, but, to tell you the truth, I really became head over heels for the city once I began reading books about it. Not only was I learning new things about New York that I would have never learned while going about my daily life, but the books also put to words the feelings I had for New York that I could never properly articulate. As I continue my love affair with this city, continuing to read books about New York will keep the spark alive and will also increase my knowledge of it (so I’ll have more cool things to share with you!).
What’s on your ultimate NYC bucket list? What does a good life in New York City look like to you? Leave a comment sharing your ultimate NYC bucket list and your thoughts!
And if you liked this post and you like what I do here at Shiloh in the City, sign up for my email list and follow me on social media so you can get more insight into making the most out of being in New York City.