New York, New York
I am on the precipice of crossing the 3,000-mile mark on my Vespa scooter. While that may not seem like a lot for the typical commuter during the course of 18 months, one must remember that I don’t commute and live in a city that is only 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide! During this time I have learned some valuable lessons.
The primary purpose (advantage) of a scooter is to circumvent traffic and park easily/legally. How often have you been stuck behind a garbage truck or the like? How often have you driven around the block dozens of times looking for a spot on the street or god forbid pay for parking in a lot? These occurrences don’t happen on a scooter. Of course, they never happen in an Uber, but what fun is that! The other benefit is the open-air experience of being on the street alongside pedestrians and other aspects of Streetlife. You can experience the sight, sounds, and smells of this vibrant city in a way that is impossible in a car, bus, or subway. I have pulled over and taken in the sweeping skyline views coming over the Brooklyn Bridge, the stunning architecture of Grand Central Station, and many, many more. I was surprised to learn that marijuana was illegal given the frequency of smells wafting from nearby cars.
At the end of the day, what gives me a small modicum of confidence in cruising around town on my Vespa is experiencing NYC, all 3,000 miles of it. In this week’s Loupe, we tune our gaze to NYC as well as the value inherent in experience and knowledge!
YOUR VERY OWN CONCIERGE
You always need to be in the right place at the right time, that's a given! That doesn't mean you have to be where everyone else is, but you have to be where you want to be. Unfortunately, in NYC, lots of other people are competing to be everywhere, and therefore you need an advantage. Sometimes you haven't purchased tickets for that hot Broadway show or new restaurant three months in advance (like I do!;), and you need to rely on an alternate method: a concierge. If there is one thing that New Yorkers understand better than most, it is a concierge. The first thing I learned when attending school in the Northeast was the value of one's own time. Chicagoans just aren't the same. Therefore, if you want to be heading in the right direction at the right time you may consider the services of Insider. Introduced to me by fellow Louper Danielle M., they are perfect for getting that impossible reservation last minute. Also, they will help plan the perfect trip with excellent insider access, as well as plan events. They will basically do anything required and bill by the hour.
YOUR OWN RESTAURANT CONCIERGE
Before you head anywhere, you need to know where to go. I generally plan my travel around food. When I am looking for a place to eat, one of my go-to apps is The Infatuation. This app has humble beginnings, created by former music industry executives Chris Stang and Andrew Steinthal in 2009. They are most known for creating the uber-popular foodie hashtag #EEEEEATS (have you used it?) Their smart-aleck tone caught on, and they have expanded to 10 cities. If I thought that was a large accomplishment, they purchased the assets of the venerable Zagat brand from Google last year! They have created an app that works easily to find the restaurant nearby, by neighborhood, and or cuisine. They have even taken the extra step of categorizing restaurants by “Perfect for...” so you can easily find the perfect spot. They also manage the Zagat app/website which is also quite handy and separate from The Infatuation system. Experience finders know when to defer to others, and for food, you may defer to The Infatuation! They've branched out further and are in the 3rd year of creating a food and music festival called EEEEEATSCON; the 2016/2017 events were in Santa Monica. The third event in the series will be held on October 6, 2018, at ... Forest Hills Stadium in our very own borough of Queens! That's right, you heard it, get your tickets HERE!
EXPLORE LIKE A SEASONED TOUR GUIDE
There is a ton of history that you probably drive by every day on your commute to work, or walk with your dog, but do you know it is there? To learn, there is the History Here App which is free and provides alerts when you are near some place that is historic. This app is part of the History Channel and covers the entire United States — it is particularly slick and is rich in detail and interesting facts. Turn your everyday walks/drives into your own tour and learn about the city you inhabit. Become a tourist in your city and consider History Here Found!
PARK LIKE A SEASONED PRO
If you drive in NYC as I do, then you need the ParkNYC app; thank you fellow Louper Jerome K! This app allows you to enter your location into the app, set the amount of time necessary, and voila! No need to go back to your car and place those annoying (litter) tickets in the window. It is perfect for me because there is no place for a ticket on a scooter. The app also gives you notifications of how much time remains on the meter. Further, it keeps track of where you have been. If you go to a parking area frequently, it will store it for convenient use. My favorite trick is the ability to double the parking time from the stated amount ... all you need to do is buy a ticket for the max time, set an alarm and note the location, so you can add money to the app when the ticket is about to expire! This is ideal for lazy ones like me, who hate having to go back to the car to add more money. Happy parking!
GO SOUTH (STREET)
10 Corso Como
South Street Seaport has been FOUND! The decade-long transformation from sleepy and smelly into a "destination" is finally upon us. It started with an iPic (which I love) and sealed the deal with 10 Corso Como, a very cool Italian multi-brand store, its flagship in the United States. The store is founded as a 3D magazine, meant to be meandered through rather than shopped. They even have an Italian cafe that you may have to call your concierge service to get into! Also opening soon on nearby Pier 17 are new concept restaurants by Jean Georges and David Chang. Come to eat or have a drink on the pier where there is a view of all three bridges as you look North up the East River.
To be candid, there is nothing more exhilarating than crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on a scooter, taking in the panoramic view of New York City and all its wonders. Enjoy NYC and consider Insider NYC, Infatuation, History Here, ParkNYC, and 10 Corso Como Found!