“Whether you’re a poor, huddled mass or a Hollywood actor – whether you make 8K a year or 800K – there is a New York City for you. The City doesn’t discriminate. The City has something for everyone.”
The other week, I got back to Italy from a 2-week stay in New York City, my former home town. During those two weeks, I embarked upon my usual routine – running errands, visiting friends, and retracing my youthful steps. I moved to New York City in 1998 to attend NYU, and I suppose I’ve always been biased towards the Village, even though I also lived and worked in neighborhoods spanning the city.
When I’m in New York, my new steps follow old patterns: I stalk C.O. Bigelow’s, the Union Square Sephora, Gray’s Papaya, and Marie’s Crisis; eat noodles at Republic, tacos at San Loco’s, brunch at 7A, barbecue at Dallas BBQ, samosas on 6th street, falafel at Mamoun’s, burgers at Cozy’s Diner, Chinese food at Ollie’s, pancakes at Odessa, pizza at Lombardi’s, sushi at Yama’s. I stroll underneath the arch at Washington Square Park and wait for the 6 train at Astor Place. And as I’m waiting and eating and strolling, sometimes it occurs to me that if I were ever to become famous, if I were (somehow) a beloved book character, that all of these places I gravitate to might end up on a map: Eva Sandoval’s New York City.
Eva Sandoval’s New York City? Now just wait a stinkin’ minute. Who does New York belong to? Some call it the epicenter of the melting pot that is the United States of America; I like to think of it as the melting pot of American subcultures. New York belongs to the immigrants, to the descendants of the Dutch settlers, to the starry-eyed small town folk who came up North to chase their dreams. New York belongs to everyone, and everyone has their own New York; from the 47% to the 1% (though I’m sure the 1% have a much better time than the rest of us poor slobs do).
My New York City is not my brother’s New York City. He lives on the Upper East Side; works near Columbus Circle, gets his sushi at Sushi Seki, his brunch at Bistro 61, his samosas at Indigo, his omelets at Madison Diner, his shoes at Bloomingdale’s – although Ollie’s Chinese is the intersection of our New York City Venn diagram (steamed pork dumplings – amiright?!).
My New York is not my former college roommate’s New York. She works at NYU and lives in Sunnyside, Queens. She passes through Grand Central daily and is a regular on the 7 train. Her street is lined with curving trees, she has a garden in front of her house, and underneath her 7 train stop are some of the tastiest restaurants you’ll find in the 5 boroughs.
My New York is definitely not the New York of Samantha, Charlotte, Carrie and Miranda – fictional characters who made more money than I’ll ever see in a lifetime (even though Carrie and I are both freelance writers) and who, once upon a time, frolicked through the hottest, splashiest spots while wearing Manolo Blahniks and encountering handsome men each time they stepped out of their apartments (seriously, who were those people?).
Whether you’re a poor, huddled mass or a Hollywood actor – whether you make 8K a year or 800K – there is a New York City for you. The City doesn’t discriminate. The City has something for everyone.
Here are some fun tours if you ever feel like stepping into someone else’s New York:
Walking in Holden’s Footsteps, the Holden Caulfield Catcher in the Rye tour. Check out his phony hot spots!
The Seinfeld Tour. Waste time at Monk’s diner and tee off the Soup Nazi.
Sex and the City Tour. Take a bunch of steps in Carrie’s Jimmy Choo’s.
Ghosts of New York Walking Tour. Just in time for Halloween.
When Harry Met Sally Tour. You’ll have what she’s having!
What’s your New York City?