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How To Experience the Real New York City

Break away from the fanny-packed masses and experience the authentic New York City by visiting these native haunts.


  • Step 1: Book a table at the Café Carlyle; it’s where you’ll find old-style cabaret.
  • TIP: Go to the Café Carlyle on a Monday night and you’re apt to see Woody Allen playing his clarinet. He’s there whenever he’s in NYC, which is most of the time.
  • Step 2: By all means, browse through beautiful Bergdorf’s and Bloomingdale’s. But then make like a savvy New Yorker and spend your money at the discount designer haven, Century 21.
  • FACT: 44 million people visit New York City every year.
  • Step 3: Everyone loves Central Park—including tourists. Instead, head to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park—designed by the same landscape architect as its more famous cousin—to jog or stroll with the natives.
  • Step 4: Visit the borough of Queens, home to some of the finest ethnic cuisine in New York City (Chinese, Columbian, Korean) thanks to the fact that nearly half the residents are foreign-born. While there, visit the Museum of the Moving Image.
  • Step 5: Manhattan offers dozens of off-Broadway (and off-off-Broadway) shows for a fraction of what you’ll pay for a Broadway show. And many are every bit as good.
  • Step 6: Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and then enjoy some time in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), home to art galleries, cafes, and a riverfront park with stunning views of the New York skyline.
  • Step 7: The hip people visit the Museum of Modern Art on Friday night, when it’s open until 8:00 pm.
  • Step 8: Go ahead, have a vendor hot dog. But don’t miss the more exotic street fare: For $5 and under, you can enjoy an Indian lamb platter, German bratwurst, or goat-meat tacos. End your meal with a freshly cracked coconut.
  • Step 9: Forego the top of the Empire State Building for the 30 Rockefeller Plaza observation deck. You’ll be 70 floors up (as opposed to 86) with an amazing view of Central Park and the Statue Liberty, but without the long lines.

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