New York, New York! (Part 1)


Central Park bench:
The wisdom of New York city.

A few days ago, I *almost* wrote a story, and it started like this:

These vagabond shoes 
They are longing to stray 
Right through the very heart of it 
New York, New York…
(New York, New York lyrics)
I was still in New York city, then. I felt like sharing my excitement with you. The spotty WiFi connection at my hotel did not allow it. Dommage. For a few days, I was a tourist in New York, back in the big city I love, as Manhattan was getting ready for the Thanksgiving celebrations and the Holidays. The weather cooperated, and I was greeted every single morning by crisp blue skies as I stepped outside. This is a privilege we, Seattleites, real or imported, never take for granted, especially in November. Merci, New York, for your warm welcome. It was great to see you, too.

There have been many New York trips over the years for this French Girl. This visit had been planned around a big event scheduled the last evening. I was determined to do things a bit differently this time, and stayed away from major attractions, popular locations, museums; in short, from all the places where long lines of tourists would be forming. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a tourist, either in New York city or anywhere else, but it is a tourist’s privilege to decide how they want to approach a city. 

This time, I picked a theme: les quartiers. Neighborhoods. New York is a city of neighborhoods or villages. Meatpacking district. Chelsea. East Village. West Village. Soho. Tribeca, and more. All I needed to do was select a section of the city in the morning. Hop on a Subway, Metrocard in hand. Walk, often for hours. Lose myself in the heart of a neighborhood. Left. Right. Left. Another right, pourquoi pas? Let’s see where my feet take me… Busy street. Deserted street. Wonderful, wonderful New York streets…

West Village
East Village
East Village 

Look up at buildings. Always find the time to look at the buildings. Buildings, like fingerprints, tell the story of a city.

In a big city, locals rush. They work. They commute. They run, looking straight ahead. They don’t smile. Out of town visitors call them rude. Man up, out of town visitors! New Yorkers are not rude. Parisians are not rude. They are busy tackling life in the big city. They have no time to hold the tourist’s hand. You, the tourist, are the lucky one because you have all the time in the world. Stay out of the locals’ way. And take your time, because you can. Look around. Notice details in the great urban landscape others may take for granted. 

More New York wisdom…
Central Park
Central Park bench
East Village building
Inside the Chelsea Market
Washington Square Park

Some visitors insist on being part of “it,” the life of the city. They want to feel as if they belong. Weekends are a good place to catch locals while – at last – they slow down and enjoy their city. Parks are often a good choice. Parks are precious in crazy, big cities. Nobody knows it better than New Yorkers. Just go to Central Park on a sunny Saturday or Sunday morning and watch them at play.

Central Park
Central Park

I loved visiting New York’s newest park, the High Line. An amazing walk above an amazing city, built on old, elevated railroad tracks on Manhattan’s West Side, long retired, and recently brought back to life by committed volunteers in love with their neighborhood.

The High Line
The old tracks are still there…
A large window, and bleachers so New Yorkers can watch their favorite show:
New York, the city that never sleeps.
Enjoying New York city from above…

All great cities have trendy neighborhoods, and neighborhoods are trendy because locals made them. New York city is no exception. I went to Soho soon after I arrived, and returned a couple of days later. Soho has it all: light (no skyscrapers there,) shops, restaurants, wonderful architecture, and many, many New Yorkers. In other words, Soho offers excellent people-watching, a favorite pastime of mine.

Phew. I don’t know about you, but these vagabond shoes are tired just reminiscing about all these wonderful spots, and the hours of walking it took to explore them. Better to take a break. I will be back next week with Part 2 of this story. Will you join me?

A bientôt.

These vagabond shoes need a rest. Until next time… 
All photos by French Girl in Seattle

Please do not use, reprint or Pin without permission.

— French Girl in Seattle


 The second part of New York, New York is here

Dear readers:

If you enjoy exploring France and French culture like a native, consider signing up for la Mailing List to receive exclusive travel stories first via email, or join me daily on Facebook and Instagram.

What did you think about this article? Let me know in the comment section below, (I love reading your messages and reply to most.) Don’t be selfish and share with a friend! Merci. Véronique (French Girl in Seattle)


  • Oh wow..I saw so little compared to this when I went..and quite frankly don’t know which areas we were in..You really know your way the inscription on that park bench..
    Thanks so much for this guided tour:-)
    Still wondering if you met Bear:-) 🙂

  • Oh Veronique! I just love your trip to NYC. And I was so thrilled to see your first neighborhood because I used to live there! West 10th Street & Greenwich Ave!!
    I miss it so much. Thank you so much. These shots are just beautiful! I can’t wait to see more!

  • Once again, thanks for letting me tag along. I love to walk and explore the neighborhoods of NYC. How wonderful to have visited this gal! I need to plan a trip…………Sarah

  • Dearest Véronique,
    So glad you enjoyed ‘New Amsterdam’ once more! Yes, buildings are the fingerprints of a city and they tell a great cultural story. You took great photographs and your storytelling is always a class act.
    Glad you made it back safe.
    Hugs to you,

    • Dearest Mariette. I saw a statue of Peter Stuyvesant in a cute square in lower Manhattan one afternoon and honestly thought about you 🙂 I wonder how many people forgot that New York city was once New Amsterdam?!

  • Yes, I shall join you for part 2!! A wonderful “walk” through one of the most fascinating cities in the world, with such thoughtful scenes which you snapped. Love that parking sign, and the memorial sign too. You have the most fabulous way of taking a reader with you on these trips. xx

  • Oh Veronique! What a fantastic post! I love it all. Where to start? 🙂 I love living on the West Coast, but i miss NYC and visiting it with a passion. I feel as though i’ve had a fun visit through your great photos here. West Village and Soho are my favorite neighborhoods, i think. But i also love Brooklyn.. something special about it. And Central Park is wonderful! Central Park and all the dogs who walk and play there! Ah, New Yorkers and their canines. Love! That squirrel relaxing next to the woman in Washington Square Park is quite a chunker! Well fed, perhaps? lol. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit, and i can’t wait to see more pics! Have a great week!

    • Dear Mary. Funny you should mention New Yorkers and their canines. Not surprisingly, I was fascinated by them and was planning on featuring several “dog shots” next week… I have been on the West Coast for years and sorely miss the great cities on the East Coast. For years, my American adventures always took place there, North or South, but always on the East Coast. There is so much history and culture there. I am afraid our scenic West Coast can’t compare…

  • What a great trip to NYC, and how nice that you took us along for the tour! My mom’s parents lived in Manhattan when I was growing up, and I have many fond memories of walking to the Museum of Natural History almost every other day during visits. One of my favorite recollections was watching the fire trucks zoom past the apartment on Amsterdam with the Dalmatian pup in tow.

    So happy that you were able to renew your friendship with NYC… She has missed you, too!


    • Bonjour Genie. I would have LOVED visiting my grand-parents in NYC as a child. I can’t imagine how many hours I would have spent playing in Central Park! You are correct: New York city and I were happy to see each other again.

  • Amazing photos Veronique. You are really in love with NYC! Your post made me look at NYC in a different perspective. When my girlfriends and I had a mini-reunion in NYC early this year, we had fun walking around. I particularly enjoyed walking around Soho. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip!

    • Bonjour Pamela. New York is all about walking and exploring; the sign of a truly “great” city. It is easy for a French person to fall in love with her. The French love cities, especially cities with so much history and culture. They love them even more if they feel “dépaysés” (out of their usual environment) in those cities, and what city here screams “North America” more than New York?

  • Merci, Véronique for taking us along with you on your wonderful tour away from the usual touristy places. Soho and TriBeCa are two areas I would like to visit one day and I hadn’t heard of The High Line (c’est noté!) When I’m ‘doing’ a big city, I love to take a breather in the parks. Great photos as usual and wonderful words on the benches.
    P.S. Of course I’ll join you for Part Two!!

  • How lucky for us that you and your camera had such beautiful sunny days! Thank you for those gorgeous shots of Central Park and the new Hi Line. And those vagabond shoes…so unFrench–and so very practical!

    • Bonjour Alison. Don’t be fooled by my vagabond shoes… unFrench, but truly the only sneakers Parisian women will consider wearing (I kid you not: Converse is all over Paris these days!) — I might add these babies saved my life. The comfortable Clarks boots I wore for the first two days almost KILLED my feet, and I had to stop by Bloomingdale in Soho eventually, and snatched the cute navy blue Converse. My feet thanked me profusely, trust! 🙂

  • Thank you for taking us for a walk in NY and original angles. You’ve captured the Manhattan’s essence Veronique. Looking forward to Part 2 and P.K. concert review and more photos by happy vagabond.

    • I thought about you as I visited the Chelsea underground market… a fun place for “foodies…” I think I could live in NYC, but I would choose my neighborhood carefully, and all my favorite neighborhoods are in the lower half of Manhattan…

  • Oooh, these photos are just fabulous!! Count on me in your continuing tour group. I have always said that Paris has my heart, but New York has my soul. Can’t live without them.

    Also, can’t wait for Part Deux.

    Bizzz, M-T

  • What a fun visit you have. I love New York in the fall! The photos are beautiful, thanks for taking us on a glorious long walk through the city. And my feet don’t even hurt! Welcome back to the slower pace of Seattle! XO

  • I had to chuckle at your comment about the “rude” or abruptness of some of the Europeans or New Yorkers. You are right.. man up, they are busy and trying to get things done. Those buildings!! When we were in Paris and Belgium over the summer, I couldn’t stop looking at, or photographing the buildings. If only those walls would talk!

    Enjoy the brisk Seattle weather are having. I heard it’s going to dip down in the twenties tonight 🙂


  • Thank you so much for this post about my favourite city! It’s been so long now since I haven’t been to NY, but we will go in spring 2013 and I am looking forward to it.
    Merci beaucoup,

  • Je suis heureuse de m’apercevoir que tu te balades autant que moi en ce moment !… Malheureusement en ce qui me concerne le ciel est bien gris et chargé d’eau en Bretagne… Hier soir, j’ai quitté Plouescat pour Cherbourg… Dans une petite semaine je me rendrai à Honfleur et Deauville…

    Merci pour ces merveilleuses photos… Ce fut une très agréable promenade… la bonne humeur devait être au rendez-vous en pratiquant cette marche dans un tel environnement.
    Je te remercie également pour ton gentil message et ton conseil en ce qui concerne mon petit souci.

    Je ne suis pas très présente en ce moment, je reviendrai te visiter plus régulièrement dès mon retour à la maison, dans une dizaine de jours.

    Gros bisous à toi.

    • Bonjour Martine. Ah, la Bretagne… Superbe, mais humide (un peu comme Seattle, en somme…) Honfleur et Deauville, deux de mes destinations préférées sur la Côte. Passage presque obligatoire quand on réside à Paris. Je t’envie d’aller y faire un tour. A bientôt, à ton retour de voyage…

  • what a fabulous trip! although i’ve been to nyc many times it’s always for quick trips..not enough time to really walk the neighborhoods as you have. looking forward to part 2! (and thanks for your comments 🙂

  • I’ve never been to New York (tho we were once offered a house exchange by a family from there, but passed it up for LA), so I’m fascinated to see all these different neighbourhoods.

    ‘Chapeau’ for doing all that walking in Converse – they look great, but are a bit hard on the feet!

    • Welcome, Linda, and thank you for stopping by. I did not do all my walking in the cute Converse. They only kicked in on the third day, when I could not BEAR the thought of wearing my other shoes any longer 🙂 The Converse felt like slippers after that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.