As I spend so much time in New York, I rarely do the tourist things anymore. I've never been up the Empire State Building or even to the Statue of Liberty (well, I've seen her from the ferry) and usually in the few days leading to my departure I freak out and do all things touristy so that I don't feel guilty.
And I always do them alone.
But not this time. This time my mother was in town AND the Engineer was done exams - so they had to come with me! Not that I have to twist my mum's arm, but the Engineer always needs a bit of prodding.
One such occasion was a walking tour of the LES (Lower East Side for you non-NYers or non-immigrants) which blended my two favorite things: eating and history. At first the Engineer moaned about having to come with us so it completely surprised me when our tour guide asked if we had any questions and his hand popped up. I nearly dropped my friend banana (Dom. Republic stop #1) when he dared to speak out loud in front of people. (Two minutes before when our guide asked if there were any first born sons the E refused to volunteer. He informed me that he doesn't like talking in front of strangers in a snide whisper.)
The best part was, I knew the answer to his question! I also knew the answer to the guides first question: what immigrant group is currently the largest entering the States (Dom. Rep hence the bananas)? My hand shot up like the super nerd I am. In fact, the whole group of old ladies was impressed with my immigrant knowledge. I felt like in Grade Seven again when I was still the smartest kid in class.
The tour was really interesting and I recommend anyone to do it via Big Onion tours or the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (my fav museum in New York). I swear, I must have been a Jewish immigrant in my last life because I truly relish the history of this tiny pocket (like did you know one in four Americans can trace their history through Ellis Island and subsequently the LES?).
I quickly realized I was that person on the tour. The one who knows all the answers. The one who has lots of questions. The one who keeps putting up her umbrella to get some shade and hitting the man from Texas.
The E wasn't even embarrassed though, because even he was into the history. Trust me, if he is, then so will you.
Where was my mum? Behind us taking pictures. In fact, we kept losing her because she would be stuck somewhere taking pictures. The E got mad at me when I wouldn't wait for her. I hissed that she should listen to rules and that means keeping up with the group.
I am that nerd aren't I?
I must also point out our favorite hot spot on the tour. It's a must if you are going to NYC and love pickles. Go down to Essex Street to 'The Pickle Guys'. It's been there forever and they have barrels of pickled food from actual pickles to carrots. You can get them 1/2 sour or full -which just means how long they sit in the brine. Go full. Go full and then eat them all. It's like a delicious garlic bomb is going off in your mouth . I kid you not, I am literally salivating as I sit at my MacBook right now just thinking of that dill kosher goodness.
Aaaaaah (that's Homer-esque drool)
PS. The Engineer can't wait until I come back because now all he wants to do is go on walking tours!! muhahahahahaaaaaa