There’s a place in Manhattan that seems not an obvious choice for a tourist; one I assumed every New Yorker has visited at least a hundred times. To my surprise, it turns out that some of them have never been there, and others believe it’s nothing special, so they simply don’t come. When I post pictures of Union Square – for that’s the place I’m referring to – I always read many comments saying that I must have just arrived in the city. I have been living here for more than a year and I still come here, and even upon my previous visits, Union Square was the first place I decided to go. What’s more, I still just love coming here.
Maybe I will change my mind in a couple of years; maybe I will wonder what the heck did I like about the place so much, but at this moment I believe it to be one of the first places you should visit. Why here? For me, this is Manhattan’s heart. It’s here that many subway lines connect, so you will always see people coming and going – you’ll witness the ebb and flow of human tides, especially during rush hour (around 9 AM and after 5 PM – it’s really worth to see that human ocean). This means there’s a real cultural mixture here. You’re going to see everyone at Union Square – all nations, skin colors, the weirdest clothes, and styles. You will listen to Hare Krishna folks, watch random passers-by play chess, marvel at the dancers (there’s always someone dancing here all of a sudden). When you get bored, you can always go to the park and watch the dogs play in their special designated area. Union Square always makes me smile, for it gives me the picture of what New York is (at least what it is to me) – the modern Babel tower, with roots sunken deeply into the subway system.
I recommend you buy something to eat at the Union Square Whole Foods and just sit on the stairs for half an hour. I promise you won’t stop staring at the amazing human fauna walking right before your eyes.