A great conversation starter was posted on Twitter by Katie Honan. She asked, “New Yorkers, what’s the one New York thing you haven’t done?”
Lots of people weighed in. Glancing through the replies, I’d say the Empire State Building was the place most mentioned. The Statue of Liberty was another famous spot that a lot of New Yorkers just haven’t made it to, yet. (And if they haven’t yet, they ain’t likely to). I’m not, I swear, going down memory lane again but these two places were easier to visit a few decades ago.
You could go to the Empire State Building on a whim. It was free to ride the elevator to the 86th floor and get an unmatched view of the city. For a couple of bucks, they even had a recording booth in which you could make your own 45 record (if you’re under 30, don’t ask).
In my deep research for this week’s column, this one blew me away. You can still ride the elevator to the 86th floor but it costs $36! That made me curse but I don’t use such language.
If you’re a New Yorker and haven’t been to the Empire State Building, you can now avoid it on principle. Thirty-six dollars, my ass.
And these days, you gotta make reservations for the Statue of Liberty, if you want to go up to the crown. Reservations? Who’s doing that?
Katie herself listed McSorley’s, the famous Irish bar on the lower East Side, as a New York institution that somehow she’s missed. I’m guessing she’ll get to it.
Katz’s Deli, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and the Circle Line were mentioned by others. Peter Luger Steakhouse, Radio City, the UN, and the Cloisters were places still on the bucket list for some.
This being New York, you had to expect some true New York responses. One person said he’d never jumped a subway turnstile and another said he’d never thrown up in a subway station or train. Someone else said they’d never stopped professing love for the BQE. Another guy said he’d never had a hot dog from a street vendor. Say what? He must’ve arrived 10 minutes ago.
Islands seem to be too much of a hassle for some. Ellis, Liberty, Governors, City, and Staten were yet to be visited by people claiming to be New Yorkers — which makes me wonder about Rockaway.
All those New York landmarks might as well be the moon for some locals. It’s completely possible to live on this spit of land and never, ever, leave. You might not get the best meal, healthcare or education but all those things are still available for those who can’t bear to leave the beach. I mean you can even go to college online.
You can even play a parochial version of Katie Honan’s game. What Rockaway thing have you never done? It’ll be easy to find someone who’s never been to the Empire State Building, but the trick is to find someone who hasn’t been to Connolly’s or on the boardwalk.
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