10 (or so) Words to Backpack Your Way Through NYC

Posted on July 10, 2013 · Posted in New York

1. Pizza

Pizza, in all its delicious glory. H/T to flickr user Gane.

When the zombie apocalypse happens, pizza will be there to get New Yorkers through the day. At most slice shops around the city, a plain slice never costs more than $4 or $5 (and sometimes as low as $0.99, if you’re really on a budget). Pizza is the (kind of) native food to New Yorkers; we all grow up eating it, and it’s the first thing we miss when we leave.

2. Metrocard

The MetroCard, the New Yorker’s answer to car payments. Thanks to Flickr User Mr. T in DC!

The MetroCard will get you to all 321 square miles of New York City, whether by bus, subway or some combination of the two. Did you know that the longest subway line is the A train, which covers more than 30 miles?

3. Papaya

“Papaya,” New Yorker for “Hot Dog” Thanks, DigitizedChaos!

Sometime in the past, the word papaya became synonomous with “hot dog.” One has no relation to the other, except at Papaya King and Gray’s Papaya, the city’s dueling hot dog monarchies where one can usually score two hot dogs and a papaya juice (“Nature’s laxative”) for under $5. Just ask for the “Recession Special!” And Gray’s is conveniently located off the 1 train, just minutes from the hostel!

4. Bagels

“Make me one with everything.” -Buddah. Thanks, MHAIthaca.

5. Central Park

Central Park, where New Yorkers go to escape other New Yorkers, only to find more New Yorkers. Cheers to BooNJ for the pic!

It’s free, it smells good in the summer, and it’s beautiful. Central Park is our pride and joy, the child that went to Columbia and got all the right grades. We love it, and we cherish it.

6. The High Line

The High Line: a park on wheels. Or tracks. Just tracks. Thanks to KatySilbs for the picture!

If Central Park went to Columbia, then the High Line went to Julliard. Always the creative one who practiced instead of studying and performed at Carnegie Hall when they were 4, the High Line is New York’s prodigal park, built on an abandoned train line coursing through what is now some of the city’s most expensive real estate.

7. Staten Island Ferry

You do like free, don’t you? The Staten Island Ferry: free until New Yorkers complain about it not being free. Thanks to TheWavingCat!

Free views of the waterfront, the Statue of Liberty, and lower Manhattan. What else is there? Contrary to expensive options like the Circle Line ferry and the Water Taxis, the old blowhard Staten Island Ferry will get you from one island to another in a jiffy, with charming views of Lady Liberty along the way.

8. Williamsburg

How you’ll feel in Williamsburg. Thanks, JorgeQ82!

Williamsburg is the current capital of New York’s hipness/coolness/weirdness/overpriced coffee/overpriced beer. Though not free, and sometimes not even cheap, one can walk around Williamsburg and soak in the backdrop to the show Girls while spending your entire food budget on a latte. 

9. Harlem

Good old Sylvia’s is the Queen of Soul Food in New York.

If you’re European, the chances that the word “smoked” mean anything delicious when it comes to food are slim to none. Smoked fish and other smoked varietals in Scandinavian countries are just a vehicle for salt. When you venture up to Harlem looking for the real smoked experience, you get to Sylvia’s pleasure palace, a place where meat comes not just to die but to be reborn as gluttony. Worth a splurge or seven.

10. Yankees (or Mets)

Yankee Stadium on a perfect summer day.

Things that a Yankee game is cheaper than:

  • Taking the train from JFK to the hostel
  • Buying lunch at Whole Foods
  • Seeing jazz at the Village Vanguard
  • Grabbing a taxi from the East Village to the hostel
  • and so on…

Well, there you have it! Our 10+ words to get you through a fun backpacking adventure in NYC! Now leave the bag at the hostel and go out and explore!