A Tamponnaise in America Part 2

New York City. When I think of New York, the first thing that always pops in my head is a song from the musical Annie, called « NYC. » My favorite part goes « NYC, just got here this morning! 3 bucks! 2 bags! 1 me! » To me, New York will always be the city of Broadway…because that was the big dream back when I was a kid in acting class…to see a real Broadway show! My dream came true when I was 16, during my acting class trip to New York. We saw « The Phantom of the Opera, » a musical I had been obsessed with since I was old enough to talk. The story, coincidentally, was what made me fall in love with Paris, and probably what I can credit with my ending up in France…but that’s another story.

Anyway, so here we are! NYC. 3 Creoles, 2 bags each, and one taxi to the Upper West Side!

We landed on the 4th of July, which I probably don’t have to tell you, is America’s birthday. And what better way to say « Welcome to America! » to my parents in-law, than to show up on the 4th of July and see the most amazing fireworks display in the entire country? We have a saying in the US for times like these… »Go big or go home! » 

I used Airbnb to find us a great apartment in Manhattan next to Central Park. I swear by Airbnb, it is so much better than a hotel! Not only is it cheaper, you also get to discover what life is really like in the city you are visiting, and usually you have great hosts that will guide you around the neighborhood.

So after numerous trips to The Big Apple (which is the nickname of NYC I have no idea why though…) I have devised my favorite tourist program! Here it is…Jen’s Top Ten Must See Things in New York City!

1. GO TO A BROADWAY SHOW! Obviously this has to be first. I took my in-laws to see Aladdin, because I thought that they would already know the story and the music enough to enjoy it even if they wouldn’t be able to understand a word. Broadway shows…musicals especially…are like no other show on this Earth. You actually CANNOT go to New York without seeing SOMETHING on Broadway, it’s against the law.

2. Go to the Top of Rockefeller Center. It’s one of the highest points in New York and you’ll be in awe looking down on all the skyscrapers. You can tell where the really rich people live because they have rooftop gardens and pools. You can do the same thing from the Empire State Building, but I prefer Rockefeller Center, especially during Christmas time because the famous Christmas tree is there.

3. Times Square. You have to go once during the day and do all of the ridiculous shops; my Creole company loved the giant M&M store, the giant Disney store, and the Toy Store. Then you have to go to Times Square at night and be blown away by everything all lit up. Also I usually am against stupid bus tours in big cities, but my in-laws wanted to do one, so we caught a bus in Times Square for the sunset and actually it was one of the best bus tours I’ve ever been on! They took us all the way to Brooklyn so we saw a lot of the neighborhoods in Manhattan before crossing the bridge and seeing the entire city lit up and glittering at night. I totally recommend it!

4. Get some culture. My favorite museum is always the Met, but if that is not your style, New York has everything you could ask for. The Museum of Natural History was pretty impressive, it was right next to our apartment so we spent an afternoon there and it was my first time. I would definitely go back because you can’t see everything in only a few hours!!

5. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s just cool.

6. Go see Freedom Tower. This is the new World Trade Center, constructed next to the site where the old towers stood, and where the memorial now honors the lives lost during the attacks on September 11th. There is a special tree near the memorial site…it is the only tree to have survived the attacks, and now they call it the Survivor Tree. It is a beautiful symbol of resilience and rebirth.

7. While you’re down in the area, go see the Statue of Liberty, of course! I’ve only taken a Ferry out there once…and I have to say it kind of sucks. The lines are long, the ferries are crowded…it’s a long day. I can see it just fine from the pier.

8. Ok for the French people wondering where to eat!! Go to Katz’s Deli and get a pastrami sandwich. Nothing is more New York than a pastrami sandwich with a big pickle. Other New York must eat things include a giant slice of pepperoni pizza, cheesecake, a hot dog from a dude on the street, (with American mustard which is the BEST mustard!) and…my husband’s all time favorite…Shake Shack. We probably ate there every other day he loved it so much. Shake Shack is like a high class Quick. They only use the best beef possible and it is probably the best fast food burger you will ever taste. You have to get a milkshake there too…it’s in the name, after all!!

9. Central Park. Sit on a bench, or have a picnic, and people watch. You can also take a horse-drawn carriage around the park, which is a beautiful thing to do if you’re there around Christmas.

10. Go to Chinatown to buy your souvenirs!! You will pay at least half the price for the same things elsewhere!!!

My Tamponaise in-laws had a bit of culture shock. The first day, they were desperate to find a baguette. The second day, they wanted to know why ordering an expresso was so difficult and why it tasted so bad. By the third day, they got into the swing of things, although I think they concluded that New York is not really their thing. If you also don’t like the fast pace of big cities…don’t worry…the rest of the country is not at all the same. 

There is no place in the world quite like NYC.


musical – comedie musicale
bucks – des dollars
coincidentally – par coincidence
skyscraper – gratte-ciel
rooftop – sur le toit

lit up – eclairé
glittering – scintillant
resilience – tenacité
rebirth – renaissance
pier – la jetée

pickle – cornichon
dude – mec

horse-drawn carriage – une calèche

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