Exploring NYC

I've written before about how much I love New York, and being home now for a while I'm between projects has continued to enforce that feeling. I figured I haven't done a Big Apple post in a while so I thought I would highlight a few of the experiences I've taken advantage of over the past couple months in the city.

As I always say - the best part about living in a city the size of NYC is that whatever you're into, there's other people into it as well. Some of the spots on the list, I've visited with friends which I'm very happy I've either made in this area, or have reconnected with people from Winnipeg, Toronto, and Hartford days. Other spots, I have explored on a run, or just to checkout a new spot and maybe meet some new folks.

Christmas in New York - this is truly a site to see. The city lights up even more than normal, it's flooded with tourists, and although it's crowded, there are so many new pop-ups, skating rinks and attractions, that there seems to be a lovely holiday cheer in the air. While I wasn't in town for most of the season, I did snap a view of the Rockefeller Center tree (just outside the office),.I also joined my buddy Dave and his girlfriend and friend to see the Nutcracker by the NYC ballet at Lincoln Center (absolutely phenomenal), and visited a light festival on Randall's Island. That light show was only partially Christmas-themed and had weird areas like "Mushroom land" with giant glowing mushrooms which I'm sure would have been amazing on some sort of acid trip. The light show shut down the week after we saw it.

Pretty cool walking out of the office

Sports - it's hard to envision New York as a sports city when you're walking around town. You rarely see people wearing gear, nobody's from New York City, and there's just so many other things to do that sports don't really come to the top of the mind. However, we have 2 NFL teams, 2 NBA teams, 2 NHL teams, 2 MLB teams and 2 MLS teams. Quite crazy really. I was lucky enough to attend my first NFL game with my buddy Dominic in New Jersey - seeing the tailgate, the size of MetLife Stadium, and watching New England and Brady crush the NY Jets were all highlights.

Mike and Dominic at the Patriots vs Jets at MetLife Stadium

Parks - I've made it very clear that I like Central Park. It makes for the perfect run as it's 3 miles from my house (warm-up) and once you're inside it's such a nice escape from the city and so motivating to see tons of other runners. I've made it up to CP almost every weekend I've been in town and I've been lucky enough that I haven't seen snow yet while living here (missed the couple falls they had while I was in California). Last weekend I also checked out Prospect Park in Brooklyn for the second time, as well as Washington Park which has the Old Stone House from Brooklyn's war time. There are so many stunning and tranquil parks scattered across the five boroughs and I certainly plan on checking out more.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn - bleak as dusk approaches but record temperatures at 18C in January!

Vegan Restaurants - I'm saving my full list for another post, but I've been slowly checking off as many vegan restaurants across Brooklyn and Manhattan as I can. I'm insanely lucky to be in a city where you literally can't walk a block without at least having plant-based options, and usually full-on vegan restaurants. It's incredible.

Running - While I still like training on my own with a good podcast, angry rap music, or an audio book in my ear, joining up with a couple running groups has been fun. I've been introduced to new trails, met some cool people, and have generally felt positive leaving. My favourite group is called Run and Chug NYC who meets every Wednesday at a bar, runs 4-5 miles, then hangs out and enjoys a pint or two. Perfect mix of running and socializing and the organizers and people all have a really solid vibe.

I'm taking advantage of being here again this weekend before I head off on my boys golf trip in California next week. On the docket is the 9/11 memorial, probably some more miles in Central Park, and there's a few new restaurants I've been eyeing as well although that's a battle with the enjoyment I'm getting out of some home cooking.

One thing I have realized is how much I like exploring this place. Maybe it's because our apartments are so small, that we all want to get outside and do stuff? But it made me realize that I want to take advantage of whatever city I live in, and always want to keep that exploratory ambition. There's plenty of great parks, museums, and restaurants in Winnipeg and Toronto, but it was rare that I would take advantage to the extent I am now. Anyway, some food for thought, and I hope you're all taking advantage of the great spots where you currently live!

Thanks for reading,

Mike