Living on long Island offered us the diversity of both city and island life.
For Matt, the best part about bringing an outsider to the city for the first time was hopping on the Long Island Railroad and heading into Penn Station and the shock of stepping out onto the street right in Midtown Manhattan surrounded by Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building and tons of skyscrapers. I loved flying over Manhattan on evening flights and seeing all the city lights and driving through the City late at night and seeing all of the action that is happening regardless of what time it is. There is just so much to look at.
Manhattan truly is the city that never sleeps and has so much to offer; you could live there your whole life and never visit the same place twice. The history of the city is on full display and contrasted with constant change and growth. Take Trinity Church for example, a structure of historical architecture sitting in the backdrop of skyscrapers in the heart of the Financial District. We got our fill of touristy activities like visiting the tops of the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, and grabbing some “dirty water” dogs from street vendors or pizza. One year or Matt’s father’s birthday, we took a dinner cruise that went along lower Manhattan in the Hudson River and East River. We enjoyed views of all the Manhattan bridges as well as the Statue of Liberty. Another fond memory was when Matt surprised me with a Blue Man Group show while we were spending the weekend in the West Village.
Central Park is far larger than most people could ever imagine. Though we spent a lot of time there exploring the zoo, taking carriage rides, getting caricatures drawn by street vendors, or walking through strawberry fields, we only scratched the surface.
The other boroughs had plenty to offer as well: The Bronx has the best Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade offers the best view of lower Manhattan, Francis Lewis Park in Queens during the fall is amazing.
Long Island offered a slightly slower pace, but in Huntington, we had our fill of amazing restaurants and music venues, whether we were rocking out to the Stone Temple Pilots at the Paramount or relaxing to Cuba Gooding Sr. at Hecksher Park. And while it wasn’t Hawaii, we enjoyed beaches from Montauk to Fire Island. We even made snowmen on the beach one winter.
A big part of New York for us meant family. We were so fortunate to be able to spend precious time with Matt’s father, siblings and stepmother, not to mention extended family and friends from his youth. We celebrated every Easter with Nani’s pizza rustica, and every year his aunt created a feast for thanksgiving. Summers meant pool parties and late nights with his sisters and our weekly family dinners are now cherished memories.