Monday, October 24, 2016

Real New Yorkers

This list of 100 Things Real New Yorkers Should Do really bugged me. I've done about 6 of them. Some are a bit iffy because I've done half of the thing, so really, about 6 total. On general principle, I don't like lists of things I should do, and this one makes an awful lot of assumptions, not to mention how much of the city it ignores, how much is personal taste or style, and how hipster it all feels. So, I had the compulsion to critique the list, and that gave me the idea to do it as a blog post.

The Items on the Checklist

Explore the Temple of Dendur at the Met
     If this was there when I was growing up, then I did it.

Get rush tickets for a popular Broadway show
     I've been to Broadway shows, but never without getting tickets in advance, other than cheap matinee tickets for less popular shows.

Catch a secret-until-the-last-minute performance by a huge musician in a small club
     Never was one for small clubs

Order a full steak spread at Peter Luger Steak House (“Holy Cow” included)
      Never been there. My favorite steak place is Keens.

Go wild at a secret all-night party, like a Blkmarket Membership bash, and dance until 10am
     Sheesh. Never did anything like this when I was young. Not something I'd ever have been interested in. Parties are fun, with friends, in my own home or theirs.

Make out on the Brooklyn Promenade
      It's a nice location. There are plenty of others.

Buy something shady in Chinatown, bonus if it’s in a secret backroom
     I wouldn't buy something shady anywhere.

Bike around Governors Island
     Haven't been there and biking isn't my idea of fun.

Eat pizza from Grimaldi's as a reward for walking across the Brooklyn Bridge
     I've walked across the bridge, but Grimaldi's is overrated, according to my friend who lives near there. She told me it's gotten very touristy. There are better pizzerias. I wish I could remember the name of the one we went to that's also in that neighborhood.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise
     Too long a trip for me to get there that early and no motivation to do so.

Munch on tacos in the Rockaways
      I went to Rockaway Beach all the time growing up, especially to the long-gone Playland and to play skeeball at the long-gone Boardwalk concessions. Don't like tacos, though, and don't know if they were there back in the '60s.

Take a graffiti walking tour in the Bronx
      Plenty of graffiti elsewhere, too, and I don't need to take a tour to find it. Do miss 5 Pointz in Queens, though.

Grab a spot in Bryant Park for a film screening
     Love the park, hate outdoor film watching.

Join a Flushing Szechuan eating tour
     Wish I could eat the way I used to. Used to enjoy Chinese food in Chinatown, and at an Upper West Side restaurant that's gone now.

See Saturday Night Live as an audience member (a dress rehearsal counts)
    No interest, but I did get to see a filming of Late Night with David Letterman.

Catch a DIY show at Trans-Pecos
    I don't even know what this is. Ah, Google tells me it's a music venue.

Tour the Brooklyn Brewery
    Why? I have no interest in beer and ale.

Swim in the ocean at Fort Tilden
     And that's different than swimming in the Atlantic in the Rockaways, and on Long Island how?

Sing the Rangers' goal song with 18,200 of your closest friends at MSG
     Been to a Rangers game, rooted for their opponent, the NY Islanders. Hated the Rangers back then and still do.

Drink a beer at the best Brooklyn dive bar, Sunny’s
     Again, not a drinker of alcohol.

See a free summer concert at Celebrate Brooklyn!
      Not sure why I need to do this, either.

Feel cultured at an artsy revival at Film Forum
      Lots of ways to feel cultured. Haven't done this and have little interest in doing this.

Attend opening night at the Metropolitan Opera House
      Been to one opera in my life -- Carmen -- in summer camp (we went to a different cultural even each week, including a Broadway show). I'm not an opera fan.

Walk the full length of Houston Street from the Hudson River to the East River—correct any tourist you hear pronouncing it like a city in Texas as you go
     I wouldn't correct people. I've walked most of the street. I do my walks in sections.

Savor an everything bagel at Barney Greengrass
     My favorite bagels are from Murray's.

Shout out a suggestion during an improv show at UCB or The PIT
     Haven't done this and won't, either. Don't know what/where UCB and The Pit are, either.

Wake up before dawn to get in line for a ticket to Shakespeare in the Park
     I don't know which annoys me more, watching shows outdoors or getting up before dawn.

Eat a hot dog at Nathan's Famous in Coney Island and promptly making yourself sick on the Cyclone
      Went to Coney Island a couple of time as a kid. Not a fan of roller coasters. I get my Nathan's hotdogs at Mets baseball games.

Run the track around the Central Park Reservoir
     Actually on my list to do, but to walk around it, not run around it. I've walked the southern half a few times.

Appreciate live jazz at the Village Vanguard
     Went to a jazz club on a blind date once. Didn't enjoy it.

Clink cocktails with a special someone on the Met's rooftop bar
     Aside from not enjoying cocktails, this sounds too hipster for me.

Catch the opening bell at the NYSE, disregard the rest of list if you’re the one ringing it
     Why, or why is this on the list? I have zero interest in doing this.

Laugh at a stand-up set at the Comedy Cellar, act surprised when a famous comedian drops in to try out some new material
     I used to go to comedy clubs back when my husband and I were dating. It was fun. It's hard to find the time now.

Enjoy a groundbreaking cabaret performance at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater
     Not my thing.

Buy designer clothes for less than a Benjamin at a sample sale
    I'm not into designer clothes, other than some jeans that actually fit. Then again, it depends on what's considered designer. I like DKNY clothes if I can find nice sweaters I an afford, and I wear Ralph Lauren jeans. Does that count? I pay full price or sales prices at Macy's.

Eat a fresh cannoli from an Italian bakery on Arthur Ave
     Hard to believe, but I don't like cannoli. And there are other Italian bakeries just as good. My pastries of choice, though, are the kind you find in kosher bakeries, like Moishe's.

See a Moth StorySLAM at the Bell House, and get up the nerve to tell your own story one day
     I have no idea what this is, but it doesn't sound appealing.

Dress up for the opening night at Chelsea’s art galleries, and down free booze
     Two things about this annoy me: dressing up and free booze, or any kind of booze, actually.

Learn your New York history at the Tenement Museum
     Or the Museum of the City of New York, or the New York Historical Society.... But the Tenement Museum is on my To Visit list.

Stay for the fireworks after a Friday night Brooklyn Cyclone’s or Staten Island Yankees baseball game
      Someday, I hope to see a Cyclones game. Meanwhile, I've seen fireworks after Mets games at Citi Field.

Feel the holiday spirit with every kick from the Rockettes at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular
      Did this a few years when I was growing up. Now it's just too touristy.

Complete the crying-in-public transportation trifecta—bus, train and ferry—because this city can be rough
      Again, why oh why would I want to do this? Have ridden buses, trains, and ferries, but didn't feel the need to cry on any of them.

Slurp down soup dumplings from Joe’s Shanghai in Flushing
     I've had dumplings in Chinatown and in my own neighborhood, thanks.

Lose your way in Central Park and find yourself far from the usual destinations
      I've gotten turned around in Central Park, but usually, I'm just wandering without a destination in mind.

Shell out the money for Sleep No More—it’s worth it
      Hmmmm.... Had to Google this: It sounds interesting, something I might do, if I were 30-40 years younger.

Go to the Bronx Zoo Wildlife Conservation Society after a particularly cute baby animal (e.g. tiger, gorilla, red panda…) is born
    Been to the Bronx Zoo, when I was a kid, and to see Panda in the '80s, but the visits weren't tied to the birth of any animals.

Ask a famous director a question at a Tribeca Film Festival Q & A after a screening
      Sounds interesting, but I haven't done this and have no plans to do so.

Wear a costume in the Village Halloween Parade
      Watched the parade live once, but have no interest in participating.

Chow down on an authentic pierogi from a Polish restaurant in Greenpoint
     You can get them in restaurants in other parts of the city. Really.

Confess your love for your fill-in-the-blank (partner/the city/pizza) from the top of the Empire State Building
    Never been in the ESB, and probably never will. Too touristy.

Dance the day away at MoMA PS1’s Warm Up
     No thanks.

Welcome spring with the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
      I've welcome them at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx one year, but blooming magnolia trees, also in the NY Botanical Garden, are more magnificent. I do love magnolia trees.

Argue with a stranger about the merits of your preferred New York team at a Mets vs Yankees Subway Series game
     I hate baseball or any sports arguments and I avoid the Subway Series games. Too much crazy.

Play piano with your feet at FAO Schwarz when it opens at its new location
    Never did it, and not holding my breath, either. It should be in Macy's Herald Square now.

Swim for free at a public pool
     This has no appeal for me.

Drink vodka and eat like a Russian in Brighton Beach
     Also has no appeal for me.

Let go of your inhibitions at a burlesque show at the Slipper Room
     Another thing that would've been fun when I was a lot younger. And had friends who would go with me.

Forget your ill will toward tourists and visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
     Went to the Statue of Liberty in the '60s, walked up to the crown, looked out the windows of her eyes. The arm was closed by that time, but the head was open. There wasn't an Ellis Island museum yet.

Buy a $5 umbrella on the street corner, then lose or break it within the hour—it’s a rite of passage
    Maybe it is now? Maybe for hipsters or people who don't buy good, lightweight umbrellas and always carry them with them? I always have a small Totes umbrella with me.

Ride the water taxi to buy cheap furniture at the Ikea in Redhook
   I've been there -- subway, then long walk -- but not to buy furniture. I don't need or want cheap furniture. Their style isn't my preferred style. I didn't like their meatballs, either.

The night before Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, go see the balloons being inflated
    My sister and I bailed out on seeing the parade in the '70s because it was too cold. Why on earth would I want to be there the night before?

Celebrate the lunar new year in Chinatown
    I had to work one Chinese New Year in Chinatown (at the library there, in the '80s) and the firecrackers freaked me out. I did once go to a many-course meal in a Chinatown restaurant one lunar new year's eve with friends. So much food. Two courses of duck. Yum.

Join the crowds at a massive concert in Central Park
     Just. No.

Take the tram to Roosevelt Island
     Finally got around to doing that a year or so ago.

Spend a rainy day among fossils at the American Museum of Natural History
     I felt like I grew up there when I was a kid, going with my parents and also with my school classes. Been there with friends as an adult, too. I don't think it rained any of those times.

Sober up with a dollar slice from 2 Bros Pizza at 2am, regret nothing
    Never had their pizza. Never have been drunk.

Smell the flowers at the annual orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden
     Actually did this once. Took hundreds of photos.

Cool off on a hot day by dipping your feet in the Washington Square Park fountain
     Took photos of it, but no, haven't dipped my feet in it.

Eat a hot dog from Gray’s Papaya, regret everything
      Never tried their hotdogs.

Hop on a trolley tour of the Green-Wood Cemetery
    Wouldn't mind doing this someday

Nab one of the coveted lawn chairs on the High Line
    I walk the Highline path, take photos, sometimes sit on a bench, but mostly, I just walk around.

See a show at the Apollo Theater
   Never did this. Used to watch Live at the Apollo on NBC Saturday nights, after SNL aired. Does that count?

Drink a cheap bottle of beer on the deck of the Staten Island Ferry and feel free to shout out, “I’m the king of Kings County!”
     Again with the booze. Sheesh.

Learn about something weird or spooky at the Morbid Anatomy Museum
      Didn't know about this place. Might be worth a visit.

Eat a slice of ‘za off a paper plate from Joe’s Pizza while watching the basketball players at the W 4th St Courts
     Not my thing.

Nap away the afternoon in Hammock Grove on Governor’s Island
    Not my thing, either. If I go there, I'm walking and taking photos.

Shout-sing every word to “New York State of Mind” at a Billy Joel concert
     I sing along at concerts, and I've seen Billy Joel -- at Shea Stadium.

Ice skate at Rockefeller Center
    Been ice skating, with lots of falling, but not there. I'm too brittle now to want to try it.

Gorge at Smorgasburg

Find a bargain $1 book or a signed/rare edition classic on Strand Book Store’s shelves
     I used to buy a lot of reviewers half-priced books there.

Photograph Manhattanhenge from the middle of a major street
    This has become such a touristy type of thing. Way too crowded.

Spot Chris Noth, Sarah Jessica Parker or a Baldwin brother roaming the streets of Manhattan (For extra cred, barely care)
     Haven't seen them. Did see Gene Wilder on Fifth Avenue once in the '70s.

Get into a shouting match with a cab driver who refuses to take you to Brooklyn or Queens after midnight
    I took cabs sometimes when I lived in Manhattan, but not after I moved back to Queens.

Play shuffleboard, table tennis and/or pool at Fat Cat
     Played those in summer camp, and ping pong in our basement when I was growing up. Have no interest in playing any of them now.

Witness the New York City Ballet in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
     Saw that once.

Picnic in Sheep Meadow
     Not a picnic person, though I did go to one in Central Park, but at picnic tables north of the Sheep Meadow.

Trek to the Cloisters to see Unicorn tapestries and other medieval art
     Saw that when I was a kid, with my parents and sister.

Finish a whole sandwich from the 2nd Ave Deli
    Yes, but it took two sittings. I'd buy a corned beef on club for lunch at work, then take the second half home with me for dinner.

Relax those weary muscles at Spa Castle
    Not my thing.

Treat an armed service member to a drink during Fleet Week
     Never had the opportunity. I don't usually hang around Manhattan during Fleet Week, nor do I plan to.

Try enough noteworthy cupcakes (Magnolia, Billy’s Bakery, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, Sprinkles, etc) to write a dissertation explaining your favorite
     Those aren't real cupcakes, not the kind I grew up with. Kosher or East European-style cupcakes for me. My favorites came from a long-gone kosher bakery called Honey & Spice, on the Lower East Side. The icing is harder and flatter and thicker and yummier than the poufy swirls atop cupcakes these days.

Shake that booty at an outdoor silent disco

Be amazed (and quite possibly grossed out) at the the Coney Island Sideshow
     Don't remember ever doing this.

Read a book at the New York Public Library main branch
     I worked there as a page in the '70s. I would read magazine volumes in the closed stacks on my breaks. Did some research for college classes in the main reading room, too.

Admire the view from the F and G trains between the Fourth Ave–9th St and Carroll St stops
     Haven't done that, yet.

Pay what you wish on a Sunday at the Frick Museum
     Been to the Frick, during the week.

Sing your heart out at Gagopa Karaoke in Koreatown
     No thanks.

Check out some indie films at the New York Film Festival
    Worth doing, but I haven't.

Play a sport—tennis, volleyball, softball—at a New York public park
     I try to avoid playing sports. My exercise is walking around the city.

Wait in line for a stellar temporary exhibit at MoMA
     I've done that and won't ever again. I hate standing in line and the museum was too crowded to really be able to see the art, especially when you're short, like me.