I am a New Yorker. In November 1998, my husband and I were married at Windows on the World, the famed restaurant on the 106th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center. Our wedding occurred on a perfect fall day, crisp and clear. We exchanged vows as the sun set. The red and pink glow gave way to a spectacular nighttime cityscape dotted with lights that stretched for miles.
I love my city.
On September 11th, 2001, when the towers fell, I spent several difficult hours reassuring my seventh grade students at Scarsdale Middle School that their parents who worked in New York City were almost certainly fine. Safe. On their way home right this minute.
But, of course, I didn't know that for sure.
Meanwhile, my husband was part of the city's pilgrimage, walking uptown, towards my mother's apartment. We were both unable to get home to Brooklyn.
New Yorkers have known terror. We have known the sadness, uncertainty and loss particular to such an atrocity. We live in a city that, like Boston, was attacked in two distinct, choreographed blows.
Tower one. Tower two.
Explosion one. Explosion two.
Boston has been on all our minds this past week. Nationally and internationally, the story has touched people's hearts and moved them to action.
But, as New Yorkers, we really get it. Don't we?
Boston is on a path towards healing. But one thing New Yorkers know -- and that Bostonians are about to discover -- are the reverberating ripples of influence a terrorist attack brings not only on a city and its people, but also on its tourism, its real estate market and its economy as a whole.
And so, this summer, I propose that New Yorkers, en masse, visit Boston.
Let's keep the city vibrant, its restaurants and shops bustling, and its hotels filled.
Think of it: historic walks, great pubs, and local accents that put ours to shame! All of this can be yours when you visit Boston.
To make planning the trip easier on you, I have compiled, with the help of my Boston-based, hip, 20-something cousins, a Top 10 list of attractions in and around Beantown. In trying to be creative, I have purposefully avoided most of the obvious touristy things that you probably already know about, such as The Freedom Trail and Faneuil Hall although some touristy attractions had to make the list.
1. Exercise. Tour the city on bicycles by taking the Hubway instead of the subway. This bike-sharing system throughout Metro-Boston lets you unlock bikes set up at docking stations all around town. You can join for a 24-hour pass or a three-day access pass.
2. Play ball. Attend a Red Sox game on July 19th, 20th, or 21st... when they play against the Yankees, of course! I won't tell you which team to root for, but I will tell you to grab a great meal before or after the game at Island Creek Oyster Bar. (That's "Baaah.") (Love oysters? Want a real New England experience? Then visit the farm where these come from and boat along Duxbury Bay.
3. Appreciate art. Like your culture with a side of tequila? Visit The Institute of Contemporary Art, which offers a "First Friday" event for 21 and up. "Art goes overtime on the first Friday of the month with guest DJs, live performance, gallery talks, specialty drinks and more. The ICA's Water Café will offer a small plates menu and full bar, including cocktails inspired by the museum's current exhibitions." This event does sell out, so get your tix in advance here:
4. Shop. Visit Boston's original Art and Indi Design Market! "Celebrating its 10th year, the SoWa Open Market® is the hip and happening place to be on Sundays from May to October! The market is located outdoors in the vibrant SoWa district in Boston's South End and includes an extensive arts/crafts section with a rotating group of indie makers and designers, an award winning farmer's market and a collection of the yummiest food trucks around. To round out your Sunday, within walking distance you'll find a vintage market, artist studios, galleries, shops and many of Boston's best restaurants."
5. Enjoy music. Speaking of outdoor activities, why not have dinner and drinks along the waterfront followed by a concert at The Bank of America Pavilion? This summer, see Sting, The Go-Go's, LL Cool J, The xx and Grizzly Bear...and many more.
7. Eat. You don't need to travel overseas to enjoy unique culinary experiences. Head to Stir, a demonstration kitchen and cookbook store for cooking lessons from Top Chef Winner Kristen Kish. Foodies will also love Craigie on Main. The burgers are apparently out of this world, but since the restaurant only serves 18 each night, you better line up early for this elusive piece of perfection.
8. Set Sail. Go sailing along the Charles River. You can pretend you are a Winklevoss rowing crew for Harvard.
10. Act like a tourist. I must conclude this list with my favorite childhood memory of Boston, taking a ride on the Swan Boats in the Public Garden. Read Make Way for Ducklings and the "Trumpet of the Swan" to your children before making the trip to this beautiful 24-acre park. Follow it up with a fancy, kid-friendly meal at The Four Seasons and then shop along Newbury Street.