For a guy who loves his fruits and veggies, the "Big Apple" can't be beat. New York City is a place that inspires me every single time I visit, and I was lucky to be there early this summer. I've been going to New York for years, and while I love hunting for new restaurants or book stores or furniture shops, there are few staples that I can't seem to pass up when in the city.
Located in the heart of Manhattan, The Met is as much an architectural gem as it is art museum. Besides the fact that it's one of the world's largest art galleries- it holds over 2 million permanent works!- it also is packed with an incredible array of temporary exhibits that I like to research before I arrive. If you get to visit, I recommend the rooftop garden. With a café and bar, it's the perfect place to sit and ogle the Manhattan skyline and Central Park.
As much as I adore The Met, it's the much smaller and less well-known Whitney Museum of American Art that I turn to first. I have always been a fan of American History, and the museum focuses on 20th and 21st-centuray American Art, pieces that tell the story of our country's modern history. My favorite aspect of the museum it that it sources many of its works from living artists and showcases young and upcoming artists each year.
Whether it's off Broadway or on, the theatre scene in New York is unbeatable. I always try to make time for at least one show, and on my most recent visit I got to see Wicked! I've been in the audiences of some of the most famous and long-running shows like Cats and The Lion King, and gotten to be one of only a few thousand people who have seen shorter-lived productions, but you just can't go to New York and NOT see a show. I think it's actually a state law...
NY Public Lib
I never seem to spend as much time as I want to at the New York Public Library, a space whose history is almost as lovely as the building itself. The library originated in the 19th century from the combined efforts of all different kinds of groups- grass-roots organizations, social libraries, and private donations from bibliophiles and philanthropists alike. Each time I visit the newly-restored Rose Main Reading Room I feel like I've entered one of the great cathedrals of Europe- the ceiling is painted with murals that give the impression that you're actually look through the ceiling, up to the sky- but it's the thick red quarry tile from Wales that gives the room its powerful echo, reminding you just how big the space is.
Union Square Farmers Market
You can take a farm boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy! New York may be famous for its restaurant scene, but on a breezy day there's nowhere better to be than the Union Square Farmers Market. At the peak of the season, there are almost 150 farmers, fishermen and bakers sharing their New York-sourced goods, but there are also 60,000 shoppers enjoying the cooking & canning demonstrations, recycling & composting how-to's and general camaraderie of the market. I recommend grabbing some local cheese and tomatoes and fresh bread, sitting down in the grass, and watching the world pass by.
Best of all, New York is the perfect place for people-watching. No matter when you go, or where you stay, just make sure you have time to wander through the different boroughs and imagine your life as a New Yorker.