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New York Like a Native: From Shoes to Szechuan

New York, New York — a spectacle of twinkling lights, towering heights, and golden opportunities, the asphalt jungle Ol’ Blue Eyes couldn’t get enough of. Neither, apparently, can the rest of the world. Given that it’s one of the most frequented spots on the planet, New York City’s constant influx of tourists and newcomers can often muddle the difference between a New Yorker and someone who just lives there. Here are five easy tips to truly rep the New York in style.

1. Lace up

The first thing you need to properly walk the streets of the city is the right pair of shoes. If you’re thinking that’d be a pair of Timbs, you’re right — in 1999. Style has evolved in the Big Apple since the baggy pants era, and so has the choice of footwear. Unless your crew’s name is emblazoned with a yellow, jagged W, you’d do better off supporting local New York businesses like GREATS, a company that sells designer quality shoes at prices that won’t recur in your nightmares. Proudly started in Brooklyn by New York natives Ryan Babenzien and Jon Buscemi, GREATS shoes stay true to their name, built on a classic, timeless aesthetic that evokes a fundamentally New York spirit and gives back to the community in equal measure. And GREATS’ premium leather construction gives your feet the all-day comfort you need to handle all the walking you’re gonna be doing while here.

2. Avoid the crowds

Once you’ve got the proper pair of GREATS, where are you gonna take them? True New Yorkers know what city landmarks are less prone to crowds and actually worth visiting – proving the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Instead of spending outrageously on flashy observatory decks, enjoy the sights at some of the dozens of rooftop bars across New York, particularly in Chelsea and the West Village. You’ll get just as good of a view, and the added benefit of Dutch courage, for those whose knees begin to buckle at a certain height.

3. You Can Tell By The Way I Use My Walk

Avoiding the crowds is as important on the streets as it is on the rooftops. New Yorkers can’t be bothered to wait behind wide-eyed novices and snap-happy “photographers”. Learn the rhythm of the streets, and don’t be afraid to pick up the pace or cut corners when necessary. Part of being a true New Yorker is projecting that characteristic, out-of-my-way-or-else confidence, and that begins with the feet. You’ve already got the GREATS, now you gotta bring the goods. It’s no surprise that on the list of places with the fastest average walking speeds, New York is the sole American city to crack the top ten. Don’t be afraid to step it up when you need to.

4. A Tale of Two Parks

Central Park gets all the pizzazz and recognition, but Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, might just be the better scenic trip. Divorced from the hustle-bustle of Manhattan, Prospect Park is a calm, idyllic paradise that hardly seems real, let alone part of New York. With wide, sweeping hills and enough flora and fauna to rival its more conceited counterpart, Prospect Park is the choice destination for many New Yorkers in the know.

5. Follow Your Nose

New York is a place of varied, multicultural delights. Rather than munch on the typical burger-and-fries fare you’d find in any big American city, seek out weird and wonderful flavors that only Gotham provides in such ample measure. Our current favorite is Szechuan food. Notorious for the tingling sensation its peppercorns leave on your lips during and after the meal, we also can’t get enough of the aromas, flavors, and recipes that make up Szechuan cuisine. For the most authentic cuisine, try Flushing, Queens.

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