Agenda-Free Adventure

I just spent three days roaming around Manhattan on what I’m
calling my “no real reason” tour. Usually when I go to NYC it’s for a particular purpose – to see a show, visit a
museum or celebrate a special occasion. But this trip was different. It may have been the only time I’ve gone to
Manhattan with no real agenda, except to enjoy it.

All I did to prep this getaway was line up some accommodations with my friends who live in the city. Three different
pals in three different neighborhoods were kind enough to play host: I stayed on W. 60th near Columbus Circle; crashed
on a couch on the Upper East Side and climbed 7 flights to my final lodging on West Broadway in the Village. I realize
how lucky I am to have pals spread out all over the city. Each night I was able to catch up with these friends over
dinner and drinks at their favorite restaurants, enjoying city life from their point of view. During the day I roamed
around on my own, admiring the peak fall colors in Central Park, window shopping, visiting the NYPL — taking in all the
sights and sounds (and one too many hot pretzels). The fabulous mild fall weather cooperated perfectly. I also
witnessed my first-ever NYC Marathon, cheering along a college buddy who was running for her fourth time. There was
plenty of great people-watching that day, and throughout my visit. And you just never know who you’ll see — last night
Al Sharpton walked right by me on 53rd St., a most appropriate “celebrity-sighting” for an NYC excursion.

I highly recommend spending 60+ hours just being in a big city with no set plan, preferably one where you have some
good pals with couches, of course. It’s such a great way to travel if you can do it. I’m going to try this again next
month and in January too, although the colder temps may make it more challenging and less enjoyable. Thankfully my
friends have all invited me to crash anytime. Now I just gotta work on making friends like this in other cities.

[photo from pmarella at flickr]