Today Roni Weiss tells us about his hometown New York City! Roni helps to run a not-for-profit organisation which is focused on increasing diversity and opportunity within the travel industry! You can read more at travelunity.org. He also keeps a travel blog roniweiss.com
Where are you living?
I live in Pleasantville, in Westchester County, which is considered to be part of the NYC Metro area. Before Pleasantville, I lived in the South Bronx and in Harlem for a bit.
Tell us about yourself?
I do consulting work in the travel industry and help run Travel Unity, a not-for-profit focused on increasing diversity in travel. When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my family – Lauren and our four kids, ages 3 months to 4.5 years.
What is your favourite thing about New York?
My mom grew up in uptown Manhattan (Washington Heights) and my dad grew up on Long Island, but I grew up north of Seattle. I always knew that I would spend some time living in NYC (and its periphery), but I didn’t know for how long. Once I came here to live in 2011, I knew that I couldn’t live anywhere else.
What is your favourite thing to do in New York with a day off?
The Staten Island ferry is free and gives you great views of the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan. There are so many neighborhoods in NYC that I have yet to explore, especially in the boroughs. Even within Manhattan, there is an abundance of variety, and I still like getting even to the more touristy places, like Grand Central, Bryant Park, and the main branch of the New York Public Library.
What in your opinion is the one thing you can’t miss when you visit New York?
You’ll never be able to do everything in NYC in one lifetime, let alone one trip, so you have to temper your expectations. That said, as much as it is worth doing all the touristy things, if you’re so inclined, you also should get out and see the boroughs a bit. The view of Manhattan from Long Island City is quite cool, and they’ve built the area by the water up in recent years, so you can have a nice time there, on top of it.
Of course, we have world-class museums, too – pay attention to which ones are “suggested donation” – while you shouldn’t hesitate to contribute, don’t feel like you need to limit the museums you see based on a non-required payment.
Any top tips where to go/ what to do on a rainy day?
With the abundance of museums, restaurants, etc., NYC is a pretty easy place to stay occupied in during rainy days. Other than going to a park or hanging out in Times Square, many days will probably not be very different for you, unless the weather is really crazy.
Where is your go-to restaurant?
I’ve only been to Arabesque (4 E 36th St, New York, NY 10016) once, but I loved the atmosphere and have been waiting years for an excuse to go back. Even if you just drop by for appetizers, I recommend checking it out.
On the flip side, even though you can have very expensive food in NYC, you can always find something cheaper, whether $1 pizza, your standard fare Chinese food, or places like Papaya Dog (I like their chicken burgers, fries, and flavored drinks). In Koreatown, you can also find some interesting food that won’t break the bank. Street cart food varies in quality and price. For some of the glitzier ones, you may as well just go to a restaurant…
And where do you suggest going for a drink in the evening?
Wherever you are in NYC, there’s always some place to drink. Also, some bars are known as catering to certain sports fans, so if you’re from out-of-town, you might be able to drop by a place that you’ll feel at home for a bit.
Is there one thing not many people know about New York?
People think that New Yorker’s aren’t friendly – they’re just busy and tend to keep to themselves. Ask what you need to and people will help. Once you’ve been helped, they’ll generally move along, but don’t suffer in silence or wait for someone to offer help – they might not always do so. Another truism – if a subway car is empty, there’s a reason – you weren’t just ‘lucky’.
For more info about Travel Unity see www.travelunity.org
Please feel free to comment below! I’d love to hear about your own experiences and suggestions for a trip to NYC!