Guest Post: A Day in the City for a New Yorker

Hi there! I’m Pen from New York Nonsense, where I blog about the ups and downs of making life in New York City work on a real person’s budget. You can also find me as Mrs. Porcupine on Weddingbee, finishing up my wedding recaps! I thought I would share an ideal, fun day for you all in the city I have always called home.


What can I say about New York City that you can’t find in the multitude of guidebooks that are available out there? Having grown up in New York City my entire life, my New York is a different place than the traditional visitor’s experience. I can’t recommend the best double decker tour bus, tell you the best hotel to lay your head, and I’ve never even been to the Empire State Building. (Not even on a school trip!)

My New York is a blur of sweaty sidewalks in the summer that turn to crisp fall mornings while rushing to work. It is a land of crystal sidewalks in the winter that melt to sludge as spring peeks out from behind concrete.

Hopefully not this snowy again – personal photo of sidewalk crossing via the Blizzard of 2010

If you want a day that breaks away from the traditional visitor’s guide you might want to start with brunch at Essex Restaurant. For $22.95 on the weekend, you can drink all the mimosas and bloody marys you want. They claim the deal caps off at three drinks each, but the waiters always come back to refill your glass without keeping tabs. Savor a mimosa and a Mexican matzo brie among the chatter of the hundreds around you.

Photo via Essex Restaurant

After brunch, go for a walk on the Highline, a park unlike any other you will find anywhere else. A piece of nature packed tightly between an urban jungle of concrete and architecture. Once an elevated freight train rail system used to transport meat and other goods to the New York of the past, it is now a FREE place to stroll on a sunny New York afternoon.

Personal Photo of the view from the Highline

Then take a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge. Take a breather to avoid the packed subway cars, and forget for a few minutes that you are amongst millions.

Personal Photo

Stop at the New York Transit Museum once you make it across the bridge for a piece of history about the subways and buses that breathe life into the city. With all their stops, stalls, track work, and headaches they bring thousands of people to work and school each day. For $7 you can learn about the early beginnings of the New York City subway system, before it was the MTA, and frolic through restored subways cars of the past.

Personal photo of the entrance to the Transit Museum in an actual old subway station

Make sure you never go home without sampling a slice of pizza. It can be from anywhere and it will be some of the best in the country. Usually the best spots are the least ritzy, simplest pizzerias. But, you can never go wrong with a pie from my all time favorite- L&B’s. Nestled in the more residential, less trendy neighborhood of Gravesend, Brooklyn you can’t get wrong with a Sicilian or traditional slice.

Sicilian Slices – Image via

What are your favorite spots in New York, whether on a visit or after living there for years?


  1. says

    I love Essex Restaurant and the entire LES! I’ve only been to NYC twice, but I made a point to walk along the Highline both times and will do so again when I return. Such lovely views, and as you mentioned, free!

  2. Holley says

    Great tips! I love Mamout’s in the Village for cheap and delicious falafel. I’ve never had better. I have to go every time I’m in NYC! I also dig the Jewish delis. We don’t have food like that in Texas!

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