Rachel Trager 's New York

Rachel Trager is the co-founder of Pink Pangea, an online community for female travellers, which came about to spread enthusiasm and travel tips for exploring the world.  But she's getting back to her roots for us here, recommending the best of her home town, New York in the latest offering in our Questionnaire series.  

Where's your hometown, and what's the main reason people visit?

I’m from Queens, New York, but have been living in Manhattan for the past several years.  I love this city—it’s got everything. One second, you’re in Chinatown, the next you’re in Little Italy, the next you’re surrounded by Ukrainian community centers, and then sari shops. And this is only in the course of two miles. 

What's the main reason you think people SHOULD be visiting?

New York is a place where people go to discover who they want to be. It’s huge with so many possibilities, and filled with a population that has seen it all.  

If you had to recommend to the friend of a friend one unmissable thing to do in your hometown what would it be?

Personally, I’d recommend a visit to the Russian Samovar, a Russian bar/restaurant on 52nd Street and 8th Avenue.  It promises incredible flavored vodka, live Russian music, waiters with a New York attitude, and the occasional celebrity sighting. 

If they had a whole day in town what would you recommend they do?

Walk Manhattan.  Start at the top of the island and work your way down.  It doesn’t matter whether you choose the East Side or the West Side.  You’ll still be amazed by how much exists in one city and how quickly it all changes from street to street.

What if they had three days?

Devote one day to Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.  You may also want to ride the Staten Island Ferry to get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.

What will you never catch a local doing?

Immediately stopping when you ask them directions on the street.  It will definitely take a few tries.  But it’s worth it because they’ll have the answers.  The person who stops right away is a tourist and won’t be able to help.

What WILL you catch a local doing?

Anything and everything.  Playing guitar in underwear in Times Square, break dancing on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, walking their dogs into department stores, and never gawking at any of these daily occurrences.  

And what local delicacies would visitors be fools not to try while they're there?

If you really want to do the New York thing, get a bagel and coffee from the guys in the street carts. Let them glob as much cream cheese on the bagel and pour as much sugar into the coffee as they please. Then enjoy your bagel and coffee while racing down the street as though you’re in a hurry.  

In 140 characters, how would you sum up your hometown as a great destination?

John Updike once said, “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.”   

Anything else you want to add!?

New York has inspired me to travel.  Being able to immerse myself in different communities on a daily basis has made me want to explore those cultures further.  It’s also been great to come home and not have to let go entirely.  

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